Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

We rang in 2010 rather quietly, with a nice family movie night, roast pork a la mommy, (slow-roasted pork loin with Italian herbs), and lots of snuggles.

Here is a picture of Olivia in her most recent backyard-building project-an enourmous snow fort we built together during the last days of December. I love her crooked little smile!

We've been spending our days making the rounds at friends houses, eating lots of leftover ham, and basically just lazing around between bouts of laundry and dishes. And sledding! Oh my have we been sledding! We are trying to find the best hill out here, and so far it's a tie between Carol Stream and Lombard hills-one is very steep, the other is more popular and boasts a slippery uphill climb and a chain link fence to guard one against falling backwards into lots of saplings.

Of course, after a nice afternoon of sledding with her buddies, O likes to make hot chocolate and chill out. Here is her best recipe for a warm cup of hot cocoa.
In a small sauce pan, simmer enough milk for two cups of hot chocolate. About three cups, to fill our big mugs! Add two squares of baking chocolate, broken up as best you can. Simmer this over a very low flame until the chocolate is melted and begins to combine with the milk. Then add sugar to taste, (Assuming you used unsweetened chocolate) and a few dashes of ground cinnamon. Turn off the stove at this point. Whisk gently until all ingredients are combined. Remove from stove top and carefully pour into big mugs, top with whipped cream.

Alternatively, I like to make homemade vanilla lattes. I made these for my ladies when we went on retreat, and they loved them. Simply fill a mug 3/4 full with your favorite regular coffee, then add 1 tsp. sugar, 1 tbsp. vanilla extract, stir, then top with milk.

Stay warm and enjoy the pretty winter scenery while it lasts!

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