Monday, November 28, 2022

the cozy season (a bonus post)

I so rarely write a post and then post it on the same day, but here goes! First, if you're here early Tuesday morning, make sure and read my Share 4 Somethings post that I made later in the day yesterday. Just click that link! Is this me making up for taking a blog break last week? These posts will definitely be all I make again until Wednesday of this week.😉  I had to share this one, though, because I was inspired by the festive drink I had after dinner tonight.

Cheers to the cozy season! I love hot chocolate and my semi-homemade version is way better than the overpriced versions found in coffee shops. (This is why it's best I figure out how to make things on my own.) Also, speaking of semi-homemade, does anyone remember that old show on either The Cooking Channel or Food Network called Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee? I always loved the show because it was so practical. That being said, the same could be said of my version of this yummy holiday drink. 

First, this is the mix I buy, because it's so good, why make your own?

The package says to mix it with 8 oz. of hot water, but I prefer to mix it with milk. I add a dash of cinnamon to the milk, give it a good stir and microwave it until it's super hot, usually about 3-4 minutes. I stir it more when it's steaming hot, add in the packet of powder and stir in a tablespoon of this yummy peppermint mocha creamer.

This cools it down a little, so you may need to give it another 30 seconds in the microwave. I top it with whipped cream (a tiny bit) and stir it all together. It's not low in calorie, but it could definitely be considered an indulgent dessert! You could lighten it up by using skim milk and zero sugar creamer, or you could exchange the creamer for peppermint flavored liqueur...but it doesn't take much, so start with a small amount first. 

Do you do things like this? I am the queen of "doctoring things up". I don't like to add pressure to myself by making everything from scratch or with complicated recipes. I do love easy things made better with doing special things to make it extra delicious. I do this with things like using boxed cake mixes but making homemade frosting, or exchanging one ingredient I don't love for another that I do. I love to cook, I love to bake and if you're reading this and want the greatest pieces of advice that everyone ever shared with me regarding cooking, it's that you should taste things as you go and season every layer. I can't tell you how many dishes I've salvaged by tasting them before serving them to someone. 

What's a tip or trick that you can share with me and anyone reading this blog? Do you have a favorite holiday drink or treat? I'd love to hear from you! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all! 🎄


  1. I used to love the Semihomemade cooking show. It was popular, along with Paula Deen, before all those other shows on the Food Network. And my style of cooking is definitely semi-homemade too. Thanks for idea on the cocoa!

  2. I knew someone would remember that show, Tanya! I loved it too and always took several of her suggestions. Those were the days before she started dating someone completely wretched...have you heard who she was in a years long relationship with? I'll message you on Instagram and tell you.

  3. I loved her show because I am also a semi-homemade queen! I make homemade icing for cakes but use box mixes and add extra eggs. Most homemades cakes I have tried are dry, so this is a win win. I am there for the frosting anyway. I love figuring out my own sauces and dressings. I rarely buy bottles of those anymore. I need to stock up on hot chocolate and all the fixings. It will be much healthier at home even if it is a bit indulgent.

  4. Amy, I wish there were still episodes that are replayed. I have looked in the last couple of years and never found anything. I also loved her tablescapes. She was so inspiring! I love making my own ranch dressing- my boys like it so much better than the store bought stuff, though if I do buy it, I only buy the Kroger brand. It's better than Hidden Valley and a fraction of the cost. The last time I looked at the HV brand, it was almost $10 for a big bottle! I refuse to pay that. I'll send you a message on the gram.

  5. I am going to have to pass this recipe on to my family, who all love coffee treats (at $5 a cup). I was doing something similar a few years back, instead of spending money on drinks at Starbucks. I would buy a packet of Mocha powder from Kroger and put it in a blender with ice and coffee and have a chocolaty drink that tasted even better than theirs. I need to do that again, because I'm kind of hooked on Dunkin's frozen mochas now (not good for the waistline or the wallet) :)

    And I have never watched the show you mentioned! But that does remind me of how much I used to love the Pioneer Woman show! Why do we stop doing things? I need to find some new ones to be inspired by.

    I love reading all the comments you get every day. It's fun to hear other's opinions :)

  6. Debbie, you should totally pass it on to them! They'll love it as much as me. I will say- after I drank that last night, I felt a little nauseous. Maybe next time I'll cut back on what I used or omit one thing altogether. My son Noah LOVES hot chocolate and had been asking for this for a couple of weeks and I kept forgetting. Ooops. He was so happy to see this set up last night when he got home from work. He had dinner and had this drink for dessert.

    Why do we stop doing things? I love the Pioneer Woman too! She is so inspiring to me and nobody has ever made me want to cook like her show does. I would love to visit her town, store and's on my bucket list! I also love Ina Garten and Giada...not necessarily for their ease of recipes, but to be inspired and to admire the beauty of where they each film from.

    I love reading all the comments on other blogs too! Especially the bookish posts that I love most. Speaking of...that's coming up tomorrow on my own blog. ❤

  7. That looks so delicious! Definitely going to have to get some of that creamer! And your nails! 😍 I love glitter nail polish!

  8. We are such hot cocoa nuts here! We do whip cream and then top it with the Andes Peppermint Crunch- so yummy and festive :)

  9. You should, Mandy, it is DELICIOUS! Thanks for that! I love it too, even it wasn't what I went in for originally. I do love glittery polish, especially at this time of year!

  10. Holly, I'm going to have to try it your way! That sounds amazing.

  11. I love adding in ingredients when using packaged items. I usually subsitute milk for water in some baking to make it more rich and always add additional chocolate chips and sometimes a little chocolate syrup when making boxed brownies. Vanilla is usually a good add in to, depending on what is baking. I also always doctor up frozen pizza with additional cheese and toppings.

  12. Marilyn, those are all great additions to anything! I use cinnamon a lot's even good with just a dash in a cold glass. I recently heard someone say that on that show Manifest we watched on Netflix and it sounded good, so I tried it and it was delicious! It's good in coffee too and has so many health benefits.


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