Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix and Homemade Microwave Popcorn

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!

Microwave Popcorn
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!

Nativity Silhouettes

I started putting up our Christmas decorations today, and was a little sad to note that in our new place, we don't really have a kid-friendly area to put up some of our nativities in the living room.  However, since the living room is really the main room in our home, I felt that it needed a nativity!  As I was looking around the room pondering this dilemma, I was drawn to our head silhouettes.  Then it dawned on me that I could use this same idea and divide the frames into a nativity!

 I have the files for each of the pictures and the picture that I took these images from, if anyone wants them.  They are for 5x7 frames and the files are 72 bmp.  The resolution isn't perfect, but it's better than good enough for me!  I really loved how these turned out and how they look in our living room!  The take home point from this post is to be creative about how you decorate seasonally.  I have a few areas in our home that I change the images in the frames to depict seasonal interests.  I just keep the images that had been in the frames in a folder in one of my scrapbook storage boxes so that they won't get bent, and then once the holiday or occasion passes, I put the usual ones back in the frame.