Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas trees and Cocoa!

Gentleman Farmer had the day off work on Thursday, so he and I decided to hop in the 'sleigh' and head to the hills for our annual Christmas Tree Hunt!

The day was sunny and bright, unlike many other years where we've "enjoyed" snow, rain, sleet or cold!

After searching for an hour or two, tromping through the acres of trees, we succeeded in our quest for the perfect tree. We've been coming to this same place for years, and we somehow always seem to find the "best tree on the place." I wonder how that works?It was a Noble Fir ( Gentleman Farmer prefers Nobles to the many other types available), the perfect height for the low ceilings in our home, and it was a lovely blue-green color! The lovely "Tannenbaum" was cut, tied to the rooftop of our 'sleigh' and then we dashed home with our treasure. Soon it will be adorned with festive ornaments and twinkling lights.
As we decorate our lovely tree, with the fire crackling and music playing, we shall have a steaming cup of hot cocoa! Not just any old premade cocoa mix, mind you! My favorite recipe is the one my Grandpa used to make for me; rich, creamy and sweet! Here is his recipe:
Grandpa's hot cocoa
2 Tablespoons Hershey's Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 (or more!) Tablespoons Sugar
Add just enough evaporated milk to make a thick paste
Continue to fill your cup a little more than halfway with the canned milk
Finish filling cup with boiling hot water.
Stir and enjoy with your favorite tree decorating partner! ;~}
Here are some recipes for four flavors of homemade cocoa mix that make lovely Christmas gifts.
Just layer the ingredients in a pretty jar, add a ribbon and a tag with directions.
[On the back of the tag, add these directions; Mix contents in a large bowl. For each serving, place 1/3 cup cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup boiling water. Store remainng mix in airtight container.]
Mexican Cocoa
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup powdered milk
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped Mexican chocolate (like Ibarra, found in the Hispanic food isle)
Cinnamon sticks
Makes 1 quart mix or 12 servings
Peppermint Stick Cocoa
1 cup powdered milk
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon salt,
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy
Makes 1 quart or 12 servings
Mocha Cocoa
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup espresso powder
1 cup powdered milk
1 Tablespoon salt
1/2 bittersweet chocolate or miniature chocolate chips
Makes 1 quart or 12 servings
Classic Cocoa
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup powdered milk
1 Tablespoon salt
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/2 miniature marshmallows
Makes 1 quart or 12 servings


All this talk about cocoa has me craving a nice hot mug! Anyone care to join me?


"How sweet are Thy words to my taste!" Psalm 119:103


Michele said...

Put the pot on, I'll be right over (the river, and thru the woods)! Can't wait to see your decorated tree! xoxo

p.s. We went to a little U-Cut tree farm in Snoqualmie on Sunday. Chris saw it while working, and he treated us to a lovely outing. It's a nice little farm (not just trees), with a "neigh" that Pea just adored!

Victoria Lynn said...

It's so nice to meet you! Thank you for stopping by and for the nice comment. I moved from Port Orchard, WA to the Nashville area on June 1. I was born and raised in the Seattle area. I lived there almost 50 years. I miss Seattle but I love, love, love the South! Your farm sounds like a dream come true. Have a blessed Christmas season!
Victoria Lynn

Jennifer said...

Oh, your tree hunt sounds like so much fun. We purchased our tree yesterday and decorated it this evening....every year, I think it is just the prefect tree!!

I love the cocoa gift ideas - thanks for the yummy recipes! Have fun with your tree decorating.

Linda C said...

Thanks for taking us along on your adventure! Made me feel like I was there:) And I didn't have to leave my nice warm room:))

Here in south central Wisconsin, we received another 6-7" of snow yesterday over ice the night before. Snow Day all around.

I am waiting for someone strong to get the Christmas trees and decorations down from the attic so I can get to it! All of our kids and families will be here for Christmas:) So much to do!

Linda C

Lori said...

Ah, that sounds so yummy!! I will have to try the Mexican cocoa, can't believe I've never had that one before {I'm a chocoholic}. Thanks for the recipe....hope you are having a lovely day!

Michele said...

LF, I was hoping the Gentleman Farmer would have some words of response on the tree "hunt", being the Great Hunter and all... =)

Kelli said...

Your tree hunt sounds wonderful! I went on the same adventure many times while growing up!

cheri said...

I have great memories of tree hunting when the boys were little. What fun! And thanks for all the yummy sounding recipes!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Love your images. Last July I did a post on the Walter Baker chocolate girl.

Anonymous said...

Hi Raeann,

What a lovely post!!! And those hot chocolate recipes -- mmmm, they make me want to skip dinner tonight and jump right into making some hot chocolate! :)

Sharon said...

What a great day you had! How fun to go pick your tree like that!

Hugs, Sharon

Wren Cottage said...

ohhhh thank you so much for these recipes!! Perfect after an adventure like you had! Sounds like so much fun going out there and cutting your own tree!
Thank you for sharing!!!
xoxo Madai