This post was originally published at Our Nest in The City


Rhythms or rituals or habits – call them what you like, but don't deny that they, one by one, make a life. The small things we do and then do again and again until they become instinct are the building blocks for our memories, who we are, and how we live. And they're always ebbing and flowing as we age and change, but I love that some things always stay the same.

Even well into my thirties I still recognize the magical stillness of the first big snowfall of the season, and the thrill of my footsteps being the first ones on untrodden snowy territory. I still remember the bliss of laying in deep fluffy snow, warm in my snowsuit, wishing I could sleep for hours on my winter bed. The simple project of building a snowman, the awe in seeing normal landscape heavy with white, the deep feeling of comfort when arriving to a warm home after these adventures.

Living vicariously through my children brings these pleasures flooding back and I'm so grateful for the chance to see the winter world through their eyes. As an adult I'm tempted to fixate on the challenges or extra laundry, a messy entry way, and a car covered in snow, but the rhythms of playing in the snow, embracing the cold, and warming with hot chocolate and a fire after it all keep me from curmudgeonhood.

A couple of years ago, when we ran out of the store-bought hot chocolate mix and I wanted to make the kids a warm treat after a particularly chilling playtime outdoors, I came up with a homemade recipe. After many tweaks, I settled on my tried and true recipe and I'm happy to share it today. All told, it costs about half the price of store-bought mix (depends where you buy your ingredients, of course) and it endlessly versatile to your milk preferences. We add peanut butter to ours to make it more filling and it tastes like Reese's chocolate which I highly recommend, but leave it out if that's not your thing.

Hot Cocoa

Homemade Hot Chocolate (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups milk of choice
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (optional)
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar or maple syrup

On medium heat, whisk together the cocoa powder, milk, and sugar until thoroughly mixed (a few minutes). Then stir in peanut butter until blended (a minute or so). That's it! I love this recipe as it's much more affordable than buying hot chocolate mix and it takes no added time (to boil the kettle for the mix is the same effort as warming milk on the stove, I promise!)

Five minutes and four simple ingredients and you have delicious homemade hot chocolate, the perfect welcome home after hours in the snow.