Thursday, December 8, 2016

Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa

What's more comforting and yummy than a hot cup of rich, creamy cocoa on a cold winter's day?

Homemade cocoa is the perfect warm beverage for grandkids while the work away on paper craft projects.

Homemade cocoa using a high quality cocoa or cacao powder packed with nutrients makes this creamy cup especially comforting and satisfying. It should be so smooth and creamy it lines the sides of your cup as you sip away.

Grandson, who's been busy cutting out construction paper snowflakes (his favorite being his "Blackout" creation)
says he loved his cocoa so much it made him burp!


1/3 cup Cocoa or Cacao Powder
1/3 cup fine, granulated Sugar
1-1/2-2-1/2 cups Dairy Free Coconut Milk, unsweetened


  1. Mix together the dry ingredients until well-blended and any dry lumps are removed with a whisk or fork.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the milk and stir with a flexible spatula until the desired consistency and taste, while simmering on a low-heat. Be sure to scrap the cocoa mixture away from the sides and from sticking to the bottom on the sauce pan. I enjoy my cocoa thick and silky, while the grandkids prefer a thinner consistency.
  3. Optional: add whipped cream or marshmallows.
  4. Serve warm. If too hot, you won't enjoy the rich chocolate flavor as much. 
  5. Serves 3-4

Granddaughter made me a "Bird on a Shelf" of blue construction paper, crayon and tape that I get  play a game with moving it from shelf to shelf every day. Such a clever, creative girl!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Deep-fried Brussels Sprouts with Barbecue Sauce

My daughter and I whipped up a batch of these delectable deep-fried Brussels Sprouts in about 30-40 minutes. When served up warm with your favorite Barbecue Sauce, they're just as good if not better than the standard appetizer fare of BBQ meatballs and chicken wings. Terrific option for your vegetarian guests. It's a quick and easy recipe that will serve 6. Double of triple the recipe for a party.


1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed

2 large Eggs, beaten

1 cup All-purpose Flour (gluten-free flour optional)

2 cups Panko Bread Crumbs

Safflower or Canola Oil, for frying

Kosher Salt

Black Pepper, course ground (optional)

Barbecue Sauce, for dipping


1. In a deep, large pot of salted boiling water, boil Brussels sprouts until they turn bright green and are fork-tender. About 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

2. Arrange three bowls: one for the flour, one for the beaten eggs, and one for the Panko bread crumbs.

3. In another deep, large pot (to avoid splatter), fill it with enough oil to reach 1" to 2" high and heat on medium-high (less, if using gas) until good and hot. You don't want to brown or burn the deep-fried sprouts. Do a test Brussels sprout first, before cooking the whole batch.

4. Dredge the Brussels sprouts first in flour, then in the egg mixture, and then in the Panko.

5. With a slotted spoon or wire ladle, lower the dredged brussels sprouts down into the hot oil and fry until evenly light golden brown and crispy, about 2 minutes or less. Transfer Brussel sprouts to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt (and pepper).

6. Serve with barbecue sauce.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

When you are scrapping out your Halloween pumpkins before you carve your beautiful designs into them, be sure to save the seeds for roasting... don't let them go to waste, as they make a very nutritious and delicious snack.

My daugther's family just finished carving their pumpkins, and now the grandkids and me are roasting them in the oven; seasoning them with a mix of pumpkin spice, sugar and cinnamon for a sweet treat.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. 

Seed the pumpkin:
Using a large, long-handled spoon, scrape both the pulp and seeds out of your pumpkin into a large bowl.

Clean the seeds: 
It's messy, but you'll want to separate the stringy pulp from the seeds you're about to roast. Rinse the seeds in a colander under cold water,  plucking out any remaining pulp, then shake dry. Don't blot with paper towels, as the seeds will stick.

Dry the seeds: 
On an oiled baking sheet, spread the seeds out in a single layer and roast at 300 degrees F for 30 minutes to dry them out.

Add spices: 
Leave the oven on at 300 degrees F, while tossing the seeds in a large bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil and your choice of spices according to taste. If savory, include salt. Return the seeds to the oven spread out on the same baking sheets, and bake until crispy and a light, golden color. It will take about 20 minutes or so. Keep an eye on them!

Sweet Toss (below): with cinnamon and sugar (pumpkin spice optional; do not use salt).
Indian Toss: with garam masala; mix with currants after roasting.
Spanish Toss: with smoked paprika; mix with slivered almonds after roasting.
Italian Toss: with grated parmesan and dried oregano.
Barbecue Toss: with brown sugar, chipotle chile powder and ground cumin.


Roasted... Yum!