When you taste “Real” hot cocoa made from this mix you’ll wonder why you ever bought commercially prepared packets! It is almost embarrassingly easy to make your own… I say almost because others will never suspect just how easy it was!
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (the kind used for baking; Hershey’s)
Whisk sugar and vanilla together in a medium mixing bowl. Add cocoa powder and stir until combined. Transfer mixture to a quart jar with a lid. Label and store up to 1 year. Yield: 3 3/4 cups mix; 24 servings
To make 1 mug of cocoa:
Place 2 1/2 Tbs Real Hot Cocoa Mix in a standard 16 – 24 oz. microwave-safe coffee mug. Add 1 cup milk; stir. Microwave on high 1 1/2 minutes or until hot. Do not allow it to boil. You’ll have to experiment with timing on your particular microwave to find how long it takes. And some coffee mugs really heat up in the micro, so be careful when you remove it after cooking.
Stove-top Cocoa 2 servings: 4 servings: 6 servings:
water: 1/4 cup 1/2 cup 3/4 cup
Real Hot Cocoa Mix: 5 Tbs. 1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. 1 cup
milk: 1 3/4 cup 3 1/2 cups 5 1/4 cups
We all know that soda is “bad” for us; we love it anyway. But did you have any idea how simple it could be to create custom-flavored fizzy “sodas” from 100% fruit juice? The seltzer water bubbles dramatically when added to the juice. Kids and adults alike will enjoy this fun and refreshing beverage. See Transform Backyard Fruit into 100% Juice for directions on turning excess or nuisance fruit into a luxury beverage.
|Homemade organic juice! See Transform Backyard Fruit into 100% Juice.|
1 part 100% fruit juice (homemade or purchased), chilled
1 part seltzer water or unflavored sparkling water, chilled
Set our required number of glasses, putting a few ice cubes in each. Fill each glass half-way with juice, half-way with seltzer water. Serve immediately.
yield: one 9- or 10-inch pizza
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp sugar or small blob of honey
3/4 tsp instant yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbs olive oil or butter
1/3 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
toppings of choice, about 1/2 cup total per pizza: sliced olives, mushrooms, chopped tomato, spinach leaves, etc.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch or 10-inch pie pan, pizza pan, or small cookie sheet.
Place flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a small mixing bowl. Add warm water and olive oil and mix well. Cover bowl and allow dough to rest 5 minutes.
Plop dough on prepared pan and pat with buttered fingertips into a circle.
Spread sauce to within 1/2-inch of edge (you can sprinkle garlic salt and crumbled basil leaves on the sauce to perk of the flavor); top with cheese. Add any other toppings of choice.
Bake in a prepeated oven until crust is baked through and cheese is bubbly, 12 – 14 minutes.
or cheese of your choice
pre-cooked shredded meat with cheese
pre-cooked ground meat with cheese
beans & cheese
Use avocado instead of cheese if you are dairy-free.
In a medium bowl, whisk together masa and salt. Pour in 1 3/4 cups of hot water and mix with hands until soft dough forms. If dough is too dry add more water 1 Tbs at a time. If dough is too sticky, add masa 1 tsp at a time. Cover bowl with a clean dish towel and let dough rest 15 minutes to 1 hour. (The coarser brands of masa, such as Bob’s Red Mill, require a longer rest period to hydrate the flour.
|After: freezer containers of beef for 7 future meals.|
Divide dough into eight 2-inch balls. Pat between your hands to form pancakes. Place 1 Tbs filling and 1 Tbs cheese in center of each disc, fold edges toward center. Squeeze and flatten the package back into a pancake.
Heat a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat. Cook pupusas 3-4 minutes per side, until golden brown and “sun spots” appear.
Special Note: Take a cue from my friend Rebecca Blackman, who shared her warm and melty Salvadoran Papusas on the set of Kitchen Wisdom and use a tortilla press. The press flattens masa dough in seconds. Add 2 -3 Tbs. filling, fold in half and pinch the edges to seal. They will cook more quickly since the dough is thinner; just 2 minutes per side, turning Pupusas into gourmet fast food!
Ps. Rebecca recommends the hefty cast iron tortilla press manufactured by Imusa Victoria. It is available on amazon for under $25 and is a great tool to have if you need to follow a gluten-free diet — as well as making incredible authentic Mexican tortillas!
Scented with cinnamon and vanilla, rich in protein; as far as desserts go this one is a “good guy.” Custard Cups “bake” in the microwave and are done is under 20 minutes from the time it takes you to pull the milk and eggs out of the refrigerator, to the time you dip your spoon into the bowl. Mmmm… Can I let you in on a few secrets? If you prefer a richer custard you may substitute half & half for part of the milk. Custard made solely with 2% milk is usually a bit softer, more wobbly. I am wild about the incredible flavor of Watkins clear vanilla and always use it in special recipes like this one. You can order Watkins clear vanilla online, or check your phone book for a distributor near you. And on a final note, this recipe does not divide in half well.
1 1/2 cups milk (2% or whole)
2 Tbs honey or 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
In a 1 quart microwave safe bowl, heat milk, uncovered, on high 3 minutes or until hot. Do not boil.
Meanwhile, in a 2 cup Pyrex measure, beat the eggs with the sugar, salt, and vanilla until smooth. Whisk egg mixture vigorously back into hot milk. Pour mixture back into Pyrex measure and divide evenly among 4 ungreased 6 oz. custard cups or ramekins.
Microwave on high, uncovered, 6 1/2 to 7 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Let custard cups stand in closed microwave for 5 minutes to finish setting up. Serve warm or chilled with cinnamon sprinkled on top. Refrigerate leftovers, covered, up to 3 days.
Yield: 4 half-cup servings
When you are blessed with a windfall, make applesauce
Hint: If you are making smooth applesauce and will be running the cooked fruit through a food mill there is no need to peel the apples as the machine will remove the peels for you. You can substitute pears and make Pearsauce.
1 1/4 to 1 3/4 lbs. apples per pint jar
sugar & ground cinnamon (optional)
Wash apples; drain. Core, peel, and quarter apples with a knife or Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer tool. Place apples in a pot large enough to hold them and add just enough water to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cover and cook until tender, about 20-25 minutes.
For Chunky Applesauce~
Mash cooked apples in the pot with a potato masher to desired degree of texture.
For Smooth Applesauce~
Puree cooked apples in a food processor or food mill.
Return the apple pulp to the pot. Taste it and add sugar if desired to sweeten, beginning with 1 Tbs per pound of apples. Add cinnamon to taste, keeping in mind that the flavor will develop later. Reheat and enjoy now, refrigerate up to one week in a covered container, or preserve by freezing or canning.
Bring applesauce to a boil, stirring to prevent sticking. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe rims with a clean damp paper towel, apply lids and rings.
Process pints and quarts 20 minutes in a boiling water canner, adjusting for your altitude.
No need to heat the applesauce. Ladle into straight-sided, wide mouth canning jars or freezer containers. Wipe rims with a clean damp paper towel, put lids on, label, and freeze up to 1 year.
This is a fun way to prepare apples for portable snacking. (See Dried Apple/Pear Dice for another.) Kids have fun putting Dried Apple Rings on their fingers as jewelry and nibbling them off.
Wash apples and pat them dry. We like to use the whole fruit, so we leave the peels on, but if you choose to peel them be sure to remove the core first, or the apples may break. Using a chef’s knife, cut apples crosswise into 1/2 inch thick “rings.”
Arrange apple rings in a single layer on dehydrator trays and dry at 135 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-16 hours (110-115 degrees for raw; will require additional drying time) until lightweight and leathery with no pockets of moisture. Squeeze a few together to check for doneness; they should not stick together.
Let Dried Apple Rings cool, then transfer to a jar with a lid. Set them on the kitchen counter out of direct sunlight for a 2-3 days to condition, shaking the jar daily to redistribute moisture within the pieces of fruit. If you notice moisture collecting inside the jar the Dried Apple Rings are under-dried. Return them to the dehydrator for another hour or two, until done. Repeat conditioning treatment, then store in a cool, dark cupboard up to 1 year – if they last that long.
|Two great apple snacks: Apple Dice & Apple Rings!|
A simple trail mix; just three well-chosen ingredients. Pears for their honey sweetness. Sweet potatoes for their satisfying chew,along with satiating protein and fiber content. Walnuts for their buttery rich flavor. In short, these three taste good together! You could just as easily make a mix of dried apples, carrots, and almonds. Suit yourself; this mix is made to please you. If you keep a small container of Pair-a-Dice Trail Mix in your purse, backpack, or car you will be able to head off away-from-home hunger strikes without resorting to fast food or coffee drinks to fill you up and give you needed energy.
2 slim orange sweet potatoes
6 medium pears, processed according to Dried Apple Dice / Dried Pear Dice
2 cups walnuts
Make Roasted Dried Sweet Potato Dice:
Roast the sweet potatoes on a parchment paper covered baking pan for 30 minutes in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour, to firm up.
|Even-size sweet potato pieces are arranged with room for air-flow while they dry in the dehydrator. After drying they will be leathery with no pockets of moisture.|
Peel the sweet potatoes and cut in 1/2 inch dice. Arrange pieces in a single layer on dehydrator trays and dry about 8 hours at 125 degrees, until dry and chewy. Let cool, then store in a closed jar.
Walnuts can be used as is, or – better – turned into Crispy Walnuts:
Soak the walnuts 8 hours or overnight in a quart of water with 1 tsp salt added.
|An overnight soak followed by a stint in the dehydrator improves the digestibility of nuts.|
In the morning, drain the walnuts and spread them on dehydrator trays and dry at highest setting, about 145 degrees for 24 hours, until completely dry. Alternatively, you may dry the walnuts in the oven on its lowest setting, about 150 – 170 degrees for 12 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally until completely crisp. Cool completely and store in a closed jar.
|These Crispy Walnuts have great toasty flavor and inviting texture. I guarantee you’ll like them!|
When you need an on-the-go snack that is rich in nutrients, simply fill a small jar (4 oz. jelly jars or baby food jars are great) with some of each: Dried Pear Dice, Dried Roasted Sweet Potato Dice, and Crispy Walnuts. It is best to mix a small amount as needed in order to preserve the textures and individual flavors of each ingredient.
|Dried Pear Dice|
|Crispy Walnuts, Dried Sweet Potato Dice, and Dried Pear Dice are combined for a tasty and healthful on-the-go treat.|
This idea came into being as I was playing with my new mandoline – the kitchen tool, not the musical instrument – but all you really need is a chef’s knife. Somehow dried apples are just more fun to eat this way! I use a dehydrator to prepare Dried Apple Dice. Theoretically I suppose you could dry them in a low oven; I have not tried it. If you don’t own a dehydrator, trust me – you want one! If you’d like to make Dried Pear Dice, select pears that are firm-ripe for ease of cutting and best quality. Dried Apple or Pear Dice inspire all kinds of great trail mix ideas. See Pair-a-Dice Trail Mix for one delicious option. Another way to dry apples it to make Dried Apple Rings.
Wash the apples and pat them dry. Remove the peels if desired. Using a chef’s knife, cut the “cheeks” from the apples, leaving a square-shaped core. Cut the “cheeks” into 1/3 – 1/2 inch cubes.
|Leaving peels on means more nutrition and less waste.|
Scatter cubes in a single layer on dehydrator trays. Dry at 135 degrees for 8-9 hours (110-115 for raw; will require additional drying time) until lightweight and leathery with no pockets of moisture or stickiness. Squeeze a few to test for doneness.
|Two great apple snacks: Apple Dice and Apple Rings!|
Allow apples to cool completely, then transfer to a glass jar with a lid. Set them on the kitchen counter out of direct sunlight for a 2-3 days to condition, shaking the jar daily to redistribute moisture within the pieces of fruit. If you notice moisture collecting inside the jar the apple dice are under-dried. Return them to the dehydrator for another hour or two, until done. Repeat conditioning treatment, then store in a cool, dark cupboard up to 1 year – if they last that long!
|Ani Rioh Heigh joins me on the set of Kitchen Wisdom to share her beautiful Lotus Apples.|
Credit for this recipe goes to a new friend of mine, Ani Rioh Heigh, who delighted the entire OSU Jackson County Master Food Preserver Class of 2013 with her 5 Minute Demo on the last day of class. The apples turn out lovely in flavor and appearance; this is comfort food at its best.
cinnamon sticks, 2-3 per apple
jumbo size muffin pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Wash, dry, and core apples with coring tool.
To make lotus, place the tip of the paring knife on the inside top of core opening at the top of the apple; from the inside of the core opening score a line down the top of the apple towards the bottom of the apple about 3/4 inch long and 1/4 inch deep. Then, staring 1/2 inch away from the scored line on the top of the apple, begin a slice towards the scored line, shallow at beginning and ending at scored line to about 1/4 inch deep. It will be about the size of a nickel; this is the first lotus petal. Repeat around the top of the apple usually 5 times to complete the lotus.
|It may take a few apples, but with just a little practice you can turn out apples like this, it really isn’t hard.|
Insert 2-3 cinnamon sticks into the hollowed core. Place apple in muffin tin. Repeat with remaining apples. Set muffin pan on prepared baking sheet. Bake until you can place a toothpick into flesh inside the cored portion of the apple and it is soft. Baking time will vary from 20 minutes for just one apple to 40 minutes if several are baked at once; check every 5 to 10 minutes. Apples will release their juices when done and the cinnamon flavor will permeate the fruit.
|Use a jumbo-size muffin pan; it catches all the delicious juices. The apples on the left and right are baked. Top apple is cut into a lotus. Apple at lower-middle of photo is simply cored.|
Eat warm with cream or just plain; also good with ice cream or cold.
Ani Rioh Heigh