Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix Recipe

The last time I went grocery shopping was about two weeks ago. Oops. We are getting to the absolute dregs of our pantry. And refrigerator. And freezer. I keep seeing tumbleweeds weave between the ketchup and the hot sauce when I open the fridge to look at the nothingness. Still nothing.

Then, the car broke down. Hurrah! So, I walked the kids to a playground that is close by (we were going to go to a different one, since it was almost freezing and the one within walking distance is in the middle of open farm fields…also known as 20 degrees colder than the rest of the world, no lie). As we were walking home, Little Girl said, “Can we have hot cocoa when we get home, please?”

If you have ever actually heard Little Girl speak, her voice is incredibly sweet. At least, I think it is. She really got me with the “please.” You know that scene in Shrek where Puss in Boots gives him The Eyes? That’s what Little Girl’s polite asking voice is like.

“Little Girl, remember how we have almost no food at home?” There was most certainly nothing resembling milk in the house. “You can have tea instead.” From the one remaining packet of mint tea. 

At this point, Little Guy starts yelling “HOT COCOA! HOT COCOA PLEASE!”

(as if he doesn’t talk loud enough as it is.) And Little Girl starts the lawyer business. “But mommy, you know we both love hot cocoa when it’s cold outside. Can’t you figure out a way to make it?”

See what I’m up against? She already knows how to flatter me into action. Well, MacGuyver is my middle name. Or something. Go, go, Google gadget!

Thanks to Frugal Mama – It turns out I did indeed have enough stuff in my pantry to make hot cocoa! (Sort of.)

I only had 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, so I started from there and changed the proportions to suit my purposes. This batch makes about 11 servings if you are an evil mom like me and only put 2 Tbsp of mix in to the kid’s cup. One good thing – there are no weird ingredients in this!

Instant Hot Cocoa Mix

1/4 c Cocoa Powder – mine was partial dutch process, Frugal Mama suggests dutch process. Partial worked fine.

1/2 c Powdered Sugar

1/2 c + 2 Tbsp Nonfat Dried Milk (Frugal Mama says whole dried milk will coagulate)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp corn starch

Whisk ingredients together and store in an airtight container. If you are down to the last 1/4 cup of cocoa powder and want to be totally lazy like me, you can mix the whole lot in the empty cocoa powder container and store it that way. Pour approximately 4 oz hot water over 2 Tbsp dry mix, stir and enjoy!

You know what, Pinterest? I'm a real mom, and this is what real moms do for packaging.

You know what, Pinterest? I’m a real mom, and this is what real moms do for packaging.


Mug Brownies: Keep Them Secret. Keep Them Safe.

Give No Candy

This is an illustration of Little Girl. This is an illustration of Little Girl on Candy.

Maybe you’re generous with treats, but I’m not. Namely, because my child becomes a foaming-at-the-mouth, high-flying ball of crazy when she has sugar. I don’t eat much sugar myself, but sometimes I just must have a treat. Sitting down at the end of a long day with my husband and eating something delicious is about as close as I get to a date these days, so I take what I can get. Last night I got Mug Brownies. After finally getting the kids to bed, I had dessert in two minutes. That is right, two short minutes to calorie-laden bliss.

Pinterest is dangerous. I got the idea when surfing. I have tried this recipe 3 times, and tweaked it because I didn’t particularly like the texture of the original. Vegetable oil works instead of butter, but make sure it’s fresh. Mine was not the first time I tried, and the outcome was unacceptable.

Fudgy Microwave Mug Brownies

Mug Brownies

If the mug says "fruit" on it, does that increase the health factor?

2 Tbsp Butter

4 Tbsp Brown Sugar. Granulated ends up like it sounds: grainy.

4 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour. I say 4, but being a little short for each tablespoon works in your favor. A higher chocolate-to-flour ratio is a good thing.

2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder

2 Tbsp Water, plus a bit more if necessary

Chocolate chips for awesomeness

Ice cream, for serving with extra flair

Melt butter in microwave in a mug or other heat-friendly receptacle. Stir in brown sugar until mostly dissolved. Whisk in flour and cocoa powder with a fork and add water until you reach the desired brownie-batter consistency. Stir in chocolate chips. Microwave on high for 1 minute, top with ice cream and NOM NOM NOM.

Brownies. In a mug.

You know you want some.

How to Make Onion Pie

Onion Pie – delicious, probably a little nutritious, and a great way to use a lot of onions if you have them. How to cook with the little ones underfoot? Have them help, of course! (Or, in the case of Little Guy, roll around on the floor and drool on spatulas). I got this recipe out of “The Cook’s Book,” a cookbook from the lovely Genesee Country Village and Museum.

The Best Way to Use 3 Lbs of Onions

Onion pie makes a nice warm dinner on a cold day.

I didn’t actually have half the ingredients today, though, so I did what moms on a budget do best: improvise. An aging jar of alfredo sauce substituted for the missing cream and eggs, and Italian bread crumbs substituted for the top crust I didn’t have enough butter/lard/shortening for. The result was quite serviceable. I wouldn’t say it is Little Girl’s favorite, but house rules are “eat dinner or go hungry” so it did get eaten.

Little Girl Peeling Onions

Little Girl is an onion peeling machine. Many hands make light work!

My question: when is a child old enough to use a real knife? Mine obviously aren’t there yet, whenever it is.

Anyway, here’s my edited recipe:

4 Tbs butter, because it is delicious. Use oil if you have to take all the joy out of life.

3 lbs onions, peeled and sliced thin.

1 jar (14 oz, more or less) Alfredo sauce, salt and pepper

Italian Bread crumbs and one pie crust, or two pie crusts.

Sautee the onions in butter until they are soft and start to brown. Mix in the jar of Alfredo sauce and season to taste. Pour into pie crust, cover with another pie crust or bread crumbs (or you could try both. Why not?) and bake for 1 hour at 350 or until it looks done/you can’t wait anymore. Serve with crumbled bacon and cheese for some good old-fashioned saturated fat deliciousness.

(To make a bottom crust, I cut 1/4 cup unsalted butter into very small pieces in the pie pan. Then I smooshed it with about 2 c flour with my fingers until it looked like cornmeal, sprinkled on 6 Tbsp of very cold water, mixed slightly and pressed it into the pan. Less dishes to wash!)