In the cooler seasons, hot chocolate is a staple in our home, but it feels like we go through it so quickly! I found this recipe (which can be altered easily to suit individual tastes) and don't think I'll ever go back to buying hot cocoa mix from the store ever again! I haven't done any sort of cost analysis on this, so I don't know that this really is a huge money saver, but I like being in control of the flavor!
Hot Chocolate Mix
11 c. dry milk powder
1 4-oz container powdered non-dairy creamer
1 4 oz container french vanilla powdered creamer (or any other flavor...I really like hazelnut)
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar (play with amount to find desired sweetness)
3 c. instant chocolate drink mix (Nestle's Quick, for example)
1/4-1 1/2 c. cocoa powder (again, play with the amount to find your desired chocolatey-ness; I used about 1/2 c.)
Basically, you just mix all of it together and put it in a container that you can seal. This makes at least one gallon's worth of mix, so just make sure your container is at least that big. Then you just use it like you would any other hot cocoa mix and add hot water!
Easy stuff! I never knew you could make homemade microwave popcorn, but I learned how a few weeks ago, and now we have it all the time. You just take about 1/4 c. of popcorn kernels and put them in a brown lunch sack. You fold over the end of the sack just once and use a small piece of tape to secure it. Then you stick it in the microwave for about 1 min 50 sec (or just use the popcorn setting on your microwave...that's what I do). After that, you have full control over how much butter, salt, or other toppings you want to put on it. My kids like it lightly buttered and tossed with some parmesan cheese or just lightly buttered with garlic butter. It's been such a long time since I made air-popped popcorn that I almost don't even remember how to really flavor it, so I'll be looking up some ideas for that!