Quick and Easy Hot Cocoa Mix

It’s that time of the year again. That’s right gift giving is in season. As winter approaches the hot drink are rolling. Now recently I have been invited to a few housewarming parties and the traditional gifts are fine and all, but with a tight budget and with the holidays coming around the corner I had to figure something quick and easy. Looking around the kitchen I was suddenly struck with a new idea for a gift. Something that will last and would be enjoyed by others and not just the host of the party. I figured “how about something in a jar and is easy to make?” Well at first I thought of cake mix, but what if the gift receiver doesn’t have an oven or can’t bake?, so I instead I went for the simple route. Hot Cocoa!

IMG_6484

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa, dutch processed (I used Ghirardelli chocolate)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup instant coffee granules (I used Nescafe vanilla)

Step 1: Sift all the ingredients

Step 2: Stir to combine all the ingredients.

Step 3: Scoop or funnel the mixture into a mason jar and seal tightly.

Step 4: Store at room temperature and decorate it however you like

To make the hot cocoa drink just add 1-2 Tbsp. of mixture into a heat-proof mug and add in 1 cup of hot water or milk.

IMG_6486

Spam Musubi

While watching the show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” I came across Spam Musubi from Mana Bu’s. I just had to recreate it. Since I didn’t want to go the conventional route and make it with the traditional mold. I will be recreating the version on the show, which is similar to an onigiri. Here is a review of Mana Bu’s Musubi.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

  • 1 canned Spam (any flavor you would like to use)
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. mirin(I didn’t have any so I will be making a substitute)
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3-4 cups of cooked Japanese short grain rice
  • sheets of nori (for sushi making)

Step 1: Slice the Spam into 1/2 inch slices.

Step 2: Brown the Spam in a skillet over high heat until both sides are browned.

Step 3: In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, mirin, water, and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.

Step 4: Once the Spam is done browning, turn the heat down to low and pour in the sauce mix.

Step 5: Simmer the sauce gently for 20-30 minutes, the sauce will have thicken as well.

Step 6: Once the sauce thickens, take the pan off the heat and set aside. (I will be cutting them in half to fit into the onigiri shape)

Step 7: Wet your clean hands with cold water sprinkle with salt.

Step 8: Take 1/2 cup of the rice and place on one hand. (I couldn’t take pictures for steps 8-12, my hands were covered in water, rice, and nori)

Step 9: Make a dent in the middle of the rice with your other hand.

Step 10: Place in 1 piece of the Spam in the dent.

Step 11: Working rapidly, wrap the rice around the filling, and form into a ball. To make the traditional triangular shape, cup your hand sharply to form each corner, and keep turning it until you are happy with the shape. (I recommend using a mold, it was really difficult keeping it in a triangle shape.)

Step 12: Wrap the musubi with 1-2 strips of nori seaweed.

Beef Bowls

While living in Miami I had tried my very first beef bowl and it blew my mind. I just had to make some. So I will be attempting to recreate a traditional beef bowl today.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

  • 5oz. thinly sliced beef (I will be using veal, didn’t slice it thin enough)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 oz. (2 tsp.) ginger root, grated
  • 2 servings of rice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sake
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups hot water

Step 1: In a large pan, add in the onion and hot water and bring to a boil.

Step 2: Allow to boil for 7 minutes, or until the onion is soft.

Step 3: Add the sake, sugar, salt, soy sauce, ginger and beef; stir, cover, and boil for 8-10 minutes over medium heat.

Step 4: Taste and add more sugar and/or soy sauce if needed.

Step 5: Serve over the steamed rice.

Notes: Leftover broth can be used for dipping.

Hot Nutella Coffee

Finding a stash of leftover whipped cream and half a jar of Nutella I thought of combining them. I wanted something hot, but that it didn’t require any real effort to make. So coffee came to mind. I’ve been going through a coffee phase and mocha has always been a favorite. Why not use Nutella.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

  • 8 oz. hot coffee
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. + 1 Tbsp. Nutella
  • 1 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar (or more, to taste)
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream

Step 1: In a large mug, stir together hot coffee, 1 1/2 Tbsp. Nutella, cocoa powder and sugar. (Add more sugar to taste, if needed.)

Step 2: In a small bowl, add in remaining Nutella and 1 Tbsp. of the hot coffee mixture. Stir until Nutella has dissolved.

Step 4: Fold Nutella mixture into the whipped cream until incorporated.

Step 5: Top hot coffee mixture with whipped cream mixture.

Decorated Cupcakes

Well today I will be decorating a multitude of cupcakes for my portfolio and it is so time consuming. But I really got inspired from a multifaceted playlist a few days ago. There were also many other sites that I checked out, but there were to many to count.

Edible Decorating Items:

  • Butter Cream Frosting
  • Fondant
  • Edible Glitter
  • Edible Dusting
  • Nuts
  • Berries
  • Candies
  • Food Coloring
  • Water
  • Vodka
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Cookie Crumbs
  • Corn Starch
  • Shortening

Decorating Tools:

  • Piping Tips: 2D, leaf, round, star, petal, and etc.
  • Piping Bags
  • Off-set Spatula
  • Rolling Pin
  • Pairing Knife
  • Food Safe Paint Brushes

Here are the decorated cupcakes:

Iced Coffee

After a night filled with films and junk food I really needed a pick me up in the morning. But since it’s now the summer time and I couldn’t stand the thought of drinking something even warm I figured why not iced coffee. And not just any old iced coffee, I wanted to make a Vietnamese iced coffee. Really easy and few ingredients to it. The great thing about this drink is that it is just as good when hot. This version isn’t as sweet as the traditional version, but I prefer it this way.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

  • 1 cup freshly brewed dark roast coffee (I will be using Seattle’s Best Level 5: Purple Bag)
  • 2-3 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk (Chilled in the refrigerator)
  • 4-5 ice cubes

Step 1: Spoon the sweetened condensed milk into 1 heat proof glass cup.

Step 2: Pour 1 cup of fresh coffee into the glass. (I recommend pouring it down the back of a spoon to reduce shifting the milk.)

Step 3: Top glass with 4 ice cubes each and stir together with a long-handled spoon.

Note: I like to add a dollop of freshly whipped cream to make it into a latte.

Frozen Nutella Hot Cocoa

It’s getting hot now since it’s summer, but I was craving for some hot cocoa. I knew if I were to get some it would just make me really sweaty from the heat. So today I will be attempting to make a frozen version, but with a twist of some Nutella. While scouring the net I stumbled upon Serendipity’s Famous Frozen Hot Chocolate and I found many variations of it. Since buying the mix was out of the question I figured I could make my own, but in a budget friendly route. The upside was that I have all of the required ingredients already. This venture will be the collaborations  of 3 different recipes. For the Nutella idea I would have to give thanks to this link. The frozen hot chocolate recipe is from this link, although I will be cutting this in half. Finally the hot cocoa mix is from this link and I will be only using 2-3 servings of it.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp cocoa mix
  • 4-5 Tbsp Nutella
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup whole milk (I used 2% milk)
  • 2 cups ice cubes

Cocoa Mix (2-3 1.5 oz. hot chocolate packets of your choice)


  • 1/4 cup + 3 Tbsp dry milk powder
  • 3 Tbsp + 1 1/4 tsp confectioners’ sugar, sifted (I had to use granulated sugar)
  • 1 Tbsp + 3/4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp + 3/4 tsp powdered non-dairy creamer (didn’t have any so instead I will be adding liquid creamer, in sweet cream flavor)

Step 1: In a blender add milk, cocoa mix, salt, and Nutella. (I recommend sifting the cocoa mix before adding to the blender)

Step 2: Blend until combined

Step 3: Add in the ice and blend until the ice becomes small chunks.

Step 4: Pour evenly into 2-3 glasses and place on top of a plate.

Step 5: Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips or chocolate shavings.

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

Finding a pile of lemons got me thinking of lemonades. I’ve always loved the one from Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, but it was difficult trying to figure out the recipe to it. So I’m going to wing-it today.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 3/4 cups fresh lemon juice with pulp (4-6 lemons)

Step 1: In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of water and sugar.

Step 2: Bring to a boil, stir to dissolve sugar.

Step 3: Allow to come to room temperature

Step 4: Cover and place into refrigerator until chilled.

Step 5: In a large pitcher, combine all ingredients and stir to combine

Step 6: Add a few lemon slices to the pitcher and serve cold.

Cafe con Leche

While at a local breakfast joint in town I spotted a drink called Cafe con Leche. I wanted to try it and I fell in love. The smooth thick texture of the drink just melted my dislike of most coffee drinks. Adding some sugar had me hooked to the drink. Later on I wanted to recreate the drink.

Café con leche (Spanish: “coffee with milk”) is a Spanish coffee beverage. More similar to the Italian caffè latte than to the French café au lait, café con leche is a coffee beverage consisting of strong or bold coffee (sometimes espresso) mixed with scalded milk in approximately a 1:1 ratio. Sugar or sweetener is added according to taste.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

  • 1 Tbsp coffee per cup of water (use a darker roast, such as French roast, for best results)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk (whole or 2%)
  • sugar to taste (I add 4 sugar cubes = 2 tsp)

Step 1: Place coffee in bottom of pre-warmed French press or compress it down in the filter of coffee maker.

Step 2: Add boiling water, replace lid (without lowering filter), and allow to brew for 5 minutes.

Step 3: Meanwhile, place milk in a small saucepan.

Step 4: Bring just to boiling point (the first larger bubble breaking on surface), then reduce heat to barely simmering.

Step 5: Simmer gently for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until coffee is done

Step 6: After the 5 minutes are up, depress plunger on press to strain grounds.

Step 7: Divide coffee evenly between 2 mugs.

Step 8: Add hot milk to each cup in equal amounts to coffee. (strain milk before adding)

Step 9: Sweeten to taste. Garnish with a dash of cinnamon, if desired.

Tips:

  • Instead of simmering the milk in a saucepan you can place it in the microwave and heat it until it is almost boiling

  • Once you’ve heated the milk and the coffee is ready, it is time to mix them. Everyone’s tastes are different and microwaves vary in how much power (watts) they use, so I can’t tell you exactly how much milk to use or how long to leave it in the microwave. I can tell you that the typical proportion is about 1/3 cup of coffee to 2/3 cup hot milk. I recommend putting 1/2 cup of hot milk in a mug first, then slowly adding the hot coffee. If it needs more of one or the other, you can add it until you get it just right!

Tropical Punch

I found a few packets of Kool-Aid on my snack tray and I wanted to use them up. So decided to combine them and make a tropical punch flavor. Well one of the packets was tropical punch, but the other ones were orange and cherry. So I thought why not just combine them all. So I did.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

  • 3 envelopes of Kool-Aid unsweetened drink mix (flavors: cherry, orange, tropical punch)
  • 2 3/4 cups of white sugar or 2 3/4 cups of simple syrup (this will require you to take 2 3/4 cups of water out of the gallon cold water)
  • 1 gallon (4 quarts or 16 cups) cold water

Step 1: Open drink mixes and pour into a glass pitcher or punch bowl

Step 2: Add the sugar (using a simple syrup)

Step 3: Add the water (already had the water measured in pitcher)

Step 4: Stir the mixture until the drink mixes and sugar has dissolved

Step 5: Refrigerate until ready to use

Previous Older Entries

myTaste.com