Peppermint Stick Cocoa

I know Christmas has come and gone, but cocoa is always good, right?  And peppermint is always good, and I have a feeling you can make this with any kind of candy anyway (like red hots!).  I made these for my neighbors this year, because I wasn’t up to baking, and I had found this recipe and wanted to try it.  It turned out really cute, and got good reviews, so I’m going to share it here.  I had a little leftover but I’ve run out, so I made more today and made enough to send a batch to each of the boys as well.  A few Christmases ago I gave each of the daughters in law a hot chocolate maker and frother.  I had recently discovered that two of them had been broken when they got them, but no one had wanted to hurt my feelings by telling me.  After a little searching, because Crate and Barrel was no longer  selling them, I found them here.

At any rate, it made me want to send them all some of this really good cocoa mix. And make some more for us.I made a few changes in the basic recipe, which I’ll explain.  The original is good, but I like this a little bit better.  I think you could give this as gifts, or just keep it on hand for yourself and your family.  I’m not sure about making a sugar free version, because I’m not sure if there is a suitable substitute for the chocolate chips.  I assume you could make a lower sugar version with Splenda or your sweetener of choice.  Or, you could just splurge once in awhile.

So, to see what I did, check it out on my Cook It page here.

Mom’s Meatloaf

For some reason when you say meatloaf a lot of people make that face.  You know, that bad face that says, YUCK!  And I admit, I don’t like a lot of people’s meatloaf either.  But really, how can you hate what is essentially a big, giant hamburger?  I made it often because my youngest son was not much of a meat eater, but he would eat hamburger in almost any permutation.  I was not willing to serve hamburgers every night of the week, but meatloaf seemed like a real meal, so I ended up with several versions.  All three of the boys would eat it, and it was easy to make an extra one to freeze for later.

Jeff and I went to the store and we bought all the ingredients, because my plan is to make my old recipes and measure and take pictures and write it all down and then post them.  I never cooked with real recipes, I just threw in this and that, and over time they evolved.  I chopped and measured and mixed and cooked.  I photographed and set the table and we sat down to eat.  It looked great.   But…. The garlic mashed potatoes were wonderful.  The spinach salad was super.  But the meatloaf was, bland.  Not my meatloaf at all.

So, I have to go back and try again.  I suspect I didn’t put enough of my normal spices in it, since I was trying to measure (instead of, “hey, that doesn’t look like enough of that!”)  So, I’ll try it again before I post the recipe.

I thought about NOT posting anything and then I thought, no, everyone has cooking disasters.  At least this was edible.  Too bad it was 1 1/2 lbs of bland.  On the other hand, I can crumble it up for chili or spaghetti or something else.  Appropriately we can eat it anyway.