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Homemade Chocolate Syrup

This is better than using Hershey's because you get a great tasting chocolate syrup without all the yucky chemicals and preservatives.

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (I use organic evaporated sugar cane)
  • 1 cup cocoa powder 
  • 1 dash salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon REAL vanilla extract
  • *If you are using this for ice cream, you may want a thicker chocolate, if this is the case, add about a teaspoon of cornstarch.  You can add more, depending on how thick you want it, but only add it after stirring and allowing it to thicken and only about 1/4 teaspoon at a time, so it doesn't get too thick.  Keep in mind, that it will thicken as it cools down and sits for a few minutes. 
  1. Combine the water, sugar, cocoa, and salt together in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Whisk constantly until the mixture begins to thicken and begins to simmer.
  3. Remove from the heat.
  4. Stir the vanilla into the sauce.
  5. You can serve immediately or put into an airtight container and refrigerate until ready for use. 
Because this has no dairy or anything that spoils, it keeps for a long time.  My little girl made a batch that was in the fridge for three weeks and still tasted good.  We have never had it longer than that because we use it a lot, but who knows?  I am sure it can last longer! 

Homemade Whipped Cream

So simple!

Put your metal bowl (from electric mixer if you have one, if not any bowl will do) into the freezer and also put your whisk into the freezer for about 5 minutes.  This cold surface is the key to quickly whipping your cream.

  • Half pint of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 of cup of organic sugar cane or granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon REAL vanilla extract

  • Take your tools out of the freezer :) 
  • Pour heavy whipping cream into bowl
  • Start to mix and gradually pour sugar and vanilla.
  • Mix on high until peaks form.
  • Continue to mix until you have high peaks and STOP.
  • If you over mix you will have butter instead of whipped cream :) 

*Note: You do not need an electric mixer.  You can hand whip this.  Just like whisking eggs - with a very loose wrist and a nice rhythm. 

Homemade Hot Cocoa with Whipped Cream

It's so simple and delicious without the preservatives and extra chemicals.

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa.  I like the unprocessed cacao, but either one is fine. 
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar cane or granulated sugar *
  • 1 pinch of salt (about 1/8 of a teaspoon)
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 3 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of REAL vanilla extract*
  • 1/2 cup half and half, however, I like to use organic evaporated milk.  Either one is good. 
  • You can sprinkled some cinnamon too, but that's optional.  My daughter loves it this way, my sons, not so much. 
*The person who gave me this recipe told me to put 3/4 cup of sugar.  That was way too sweet for us, so we cut it down to 1/2 cup of sugar.  However, since we are not big on a sugar high, we have chipped away at this serving as well, and make it with a little under 1/2 cup.  So taste and see...
Ha, if you are Catholic, you are probably now humming or singing "Taste and see, the goodness of the Lord," 

*When my mommy was over she made this with real vanilla bean and it was to die for! 

  1. Boil water
  2. Combine the cocoa, sugar, and pinch of salt and put into the boiling water.  Stir until well incorporate.  If water starts to dry up, put more*
  3. Simmer and continue to stir for about 2 minutes.  Make sure it doesn't scorch - that'll give you bad burned tasting cocoa ;)
  4. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until hot, but do not boil.
  5. Remove from heat. 
  6. Add vanilla.
  7. Divide between 4 or 5 mugs (depending on size).  
  8. Add the half and half or evaporated milk to the mugs of cocoa.
  9. Finish off with a dallop of homemade whipped cream! *
* At the end of Directions #2 you can cool off and put in a container.  Now every time you want hot cocoa you can microwave a mug or milk with a little vanilla and put some of your cocoa mix into it.  Finish off with half and half/evaporated milk and whipped cream OR you can just have it with whipped cream OR just have it alone.  You may want to triple the recipe to have on hand.  

*Homemade Whipped Cream Recipe to Follow on a New Post...

*If you are used to the packaged stuff this will not taste like that.  This is creamy real hot cocoa.  Very delicious, but different. 

Later with MyselfLater with Myself by Sheryl Sorrentino
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Raw.  This is the one word that I would use to describe this book.  It has an honesty that is refreshing.  What this author has done with this story is amazing.  It takes true, God given talent, to do what, Sheryl Sorrentino, has done with this book.  This type of writing isn’t something that you cultivate, I truly believe, that it’s a talent that you are born with.  She is able to tell a horrific story,  through the eyes of a victim without the victim sounding victimized, instead she sounds strong, sympathetic, and triumphant for having gone through what she did.

The story is told from the perspective of the main character, Millie, who as an adult, has to unleash herself from the horrors of her childhood.  Through therapy, she is able to go back and relive the childhood that has haunted her for many years.  We are able to relive this childhood with Millie, and we are able to feel sympathy for a child who was forced to grow up and witness things that no child should ever see.  Sorrentino does such an amazing job with each character.  We are able to get a full picture of what life for Millie must have been like.  What I really enjoy about Sorrentino’s writing is how she is able to give full details without sounding redundant. She gives just enough for us to be able to visualize, without boring us with unnecessary details.  Many authors, even successful ones, have tried this and failed.  I have been known to yell at books,  “I don’t care if Bella took a sip of water from a freaking glass cup with dots on it!”  Really, who cares if a character is drinking out of a glass with dots, unless it’s important to the big picture.

The story itself is heart wrenching, as a mother, I wanted many times to just scoop this little girl in my arms and tell her how special she is.  The things that she lived through seem unreal, until you get to the end of the book and read that these are accounts from the author’s life.  It is amazing to me that a story so close to this woman’s heart can be told with such truth and clarity.  Yes, this story is deep and tugs at your heart, but it’s not a dreary read, there are many times that I laughed out loud.  These family members where some characters I tell you.  They had big personalities and in the midst of all the dysfunction there were moments of hilarity and even tender ones.

After putting down this book, the characters remained with me.  I pondered for many days.  This to me is the sign of a great story.  I am so happy that I discovered this author, and I really hope she continues to write more stories because honesty and talent like hers is hard to come by.

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