Walking in a Winter Wonderland….

This morning I woke to an overcast and chilly morning. The temperature dropped to near icy in my house overnight, so I had to pump up the heater quite a bit to get it back to a temp that was tolerable. When it gets that cold, I just don’t want to get out of my warm bed!

Chilly houses aside, I am actually yearning for some snow right about now. I know in some parts of the country there is snow falling right now. In one of my favorite parts of MA, they have snow showers, and I can just picture one of the meadows where we shot some of our pictures looking just like a winter wonderland. I would love it if this year we could have a white Christmas, but I am not holding my breath. We usually do not get snow until after the first of the year sometime.

So while my son worked on some of his lessons, and I sipped my jasmine tea, I cleaned up my desktop, and looked for a new wallpaper to replace my autumn one.
Here are some of the beautiful images I found…

bbbrrrrrrr!! Looking at these pictures makes me want a nice toasty warm hot chocolate!! YUM!!!

Here is a classic Hot chocolate recipe I found online. This is not a low-calorie version, but sometimes you just have to have a warm and fuzzy treat!

Gourmet hot cocoa recipe

Serves 1


  • 3/4 cup whole or skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon peppermint, orange or almond extract (optional)
  • Cinnamon (optional)
  • Homemade marshmallows (optional)


  1. In a microwave-safe mug, combine milk, cocoa, sugar and extracts. Place mug in microwave and heat on high 60 seconds.
  2. Stir and microwave 30 seconds more or until mixture is hot. Remove mug from microwave; let stand 30 seconds. If desired, serve with cinnamon and homemade marshmallows.
Here is the recipe for the homemade marshmallows:

Homemade marshmallows

Serving size 16 to 20 marshmallows


  • 3 (7 gram) packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup cold water, divided
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower or canola oil


  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer with whisk attachment, add gelatin and 1/2 cup of the water; stir until all of the gelatin is moist, and set aside. Whisk powdered sugar and cornstarch together in a large bowl; set aside.
  2. Grease a 9-inch square pan with half of the oil. Fit a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan; grease parchment with remaining oil. Add three tablespoons of the cornstarch mixture to the pan and distribute evenly on all sides by shaking the pan.
  3. In a medium saucepan with a candy thermometer fitted to the side, stir together remaining water, sugar, corn syrup and kosher salt. Heat sugar mixture over medium-high heat until the thermometer registers 245 degrees F, about eight minutes. Do not stir. Turn standing mixer on low speed.
  4. With the mixer running, pour the hot sugar mixture into the mixing bowl. Increase speed to medium; whip for three minutes. Add vanilla, increase speed to medium-high and whip until mixture doubles and is white and fluffy, about seven minutes.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, immediately transfer marshmallow to the prepared baking pan. Rub hands in the cornstarch mixture and smooth the marshmallow into an even layer. Sift 1/4 cup of the cornstarch mixture over the top of the marshmallows and place a piece of parchment over the top. Let stand two to three hours.
  6. To release marshmallows, run a rubber spatula around the edges of the pan; dust a clean cutting board with cornstarch. Flip the pan upside down onto the cutting board and gently pry the marshmallow out with the rubber spatula. Discard the parchment and dust the top of the marshmallows with additional cornstarch. Cut into squares using a pizza cutter or desired shapes with cookie cutters and dredge pieces in the remaining cornstarch mixture. Shake off excess before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to seven days.
AND…if you want a low calorie version of hot chocolate, with a minty kick, here it is:
Light and Minty Hot Chocolate

1 mint tea bag
1/4 c. boiling hot water
3/4 c. skim milk
2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. agave nectar or sucanat
Mint sprig, for garnish (optional)
Place tea bag in cup. Pour boiling water over tea bag and steep for 2 minutes. Squeeze tea bag and remove from cup.
Meanwhile, heat milk over medium heat in small saucepan until very hot but not boiling. Add to tea mixture, then stir in cocoa powder and agave nectar or sucanat. Mix with a spoon until cocoa powder completely dissolves. Garnish with mint sprig if desired.

Nutritional information: Calories: 98, Fat: 3 g., Carbs: 19 g., Protein: 1.5g., Sugars: 16 g.

Until Next Post, 
Have a great day!

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