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The Other Hot Stuff

December 12, 2011

Ah, those memories.

Coming home to a cup of it.

Steaming away.

("I know it's hot; it’ll cool.")

Hot cocoa.

And you thought we were going to say the other one.

You can get your cocoa bean fix through hot chocolate, but health experts say hot cocoa is healthier.

It’s all about flavonoids that are more powerful than vitamins such as ascorbic acid in protecting circulating lipids from oxidation.

In other words, it helps your heart and circulation.

This being National Cocoa Day, it's time to pay homage to this  underrated and overlooked beverage.

So what’s the difference?

Cocoa is the seed from the cacao tree, which is fermented to develop flavor.

They are then ground up to produce dry cocoa powder, which removes the fat of the cocoa butter.

Hot chocolate, on the other hand, is made from chocolate bars then melted into a cream or ground into a powder and has a much higher sugar and fat content than hot cocoa.

Archaeologists discovered cocoa beans in the burial chambers of the Olmecs as early as 1500 BC.

They were that important.

The Mayans soon fell in love with the drink and called this concoction "chocolat" and drank cocoa powder mixed with spices and herbs.

Kings had their cocoa beans ground with water, wine, and peppers.

There's still some confusion about what's what, with some calling themselves cocoa but are really flavored hot chocolate.

But when you find the real stuff it's a great way to have your chocolate cravings, completely guilt free. 

I'll now turn it over to our members who are pretty hot stuff too.

J. Peterman


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Under Construction: Design Stuff & Member Commenting - Changes Soon.
74 Members’ Opinions
December 12, 2011 12:28 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 lotlot said...

Hot dog.

Hot cocoa.

Just had a cup a few days ago.

Gonna have more cups as the holidays come and go.

Hot dog.

December 12, 2011 12:28 AM
293 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-5 rings90 said...

Just over a year ago on my first winter camping trip in Upper Michigan, CM brought the Dark chocloate instant mix along as a substituion for my AM coffee. I became hooked.

I do happen to prefer real cocoa and make a homemade cup of once a week by heating the milk over the stove & mixing in the cocoa and a bit of Irish Cream. When I am being lazy I do the Dark Hot Coco & a bit of Irish Cream and ALWAYS the Mini Marshmallows. For me it's the best part of the winter season.

    I will admit tho I do happen to prefer real cocoa and make a homemade cup of once a week by heating the milk over the stove & mixing in the cocoa and Irish Cream.  When I am being lazy I do the Dark Hot Coco & Irish Cream.  For me it's the best part of the winter season.  

December 12, 2011 1:44 AM
4224 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 RoadYacht said...

Stirred with a candy cane- - Tis the season tr la la la la   and it would not be real without that mint, peppermint, stir stick....ah, the memories....why, I have memories of hot cocoa even before there were mini mallows.....

more on the honor roll
December 12, 2011 1:45 AM
4224 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 RoadYacht said...

Oh, wait a minute....are mini mallows the seeds for growing regular marshmallows?!?

December 12, 2011 3:49 AM
Stage_2 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 JALOPKIN said...

Whatever Form it takes, Cocoa, Chocolate, Powder'd or Liquid ... It is Good for Mind, Body, and Spirit ... I am still especially fond of the Gelt we give to the Children at Channukah each year, so's they can play successfully with the Dreidle (A Life Lesson, of course ... Preparing them for Mah Jongh, Backgammon, and  Vegas ...)
Never mind all that claptrap about Fats and Sugars ... They are GOOD Fats, and the Sugars burn off in about a minute ... The Health Benefits of Chocolate and Cocoa marvelously outweigh the dinky possibilities of any detriment that might almost could maybe arise, as to not even be considerable ... A Thick n' Creamy cup of Hot Cocoa, with a Shot of Brandy, or Port, or a Robust Red ... or even Rye ... is a comforting thing indeed ...
Besides ... of all Confections, Chocolate is the Least Cariogenic .......

December 12, 2011 6:18 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 hazel leese said...

Try as I might, I have never equalled the wonderful flavour of the cauldrons of cocoa brewed up over a wood fire which imparted a smoky taste. Girl Scouts camps in the 1960's. I remember especially the muddy sludge in the bottom of the mug. We all had to select and sharpen our own marshmallow toasting sticks and behave nicely so no body's eye got poked out. I do not recall any discussion on the carcinogenic properties of different products, just innocent, guilt-free enjoyment. I expect that this pleasurable activity has been banned by the Elfin Safe Tea. Confession - I keep a jar of stuff with a label full of E-numbers that is some sort of chocolate and powdered milk just add boiling water. If the milk has turned sour, it's better than nothing at breakfast time.

December 12, 2011 6:43 AM
10photoviewsFirst-comFirst-photoHr-1 digger5x5 said...

Just before a trip to Italy a few years ago with friends, I found out that the abdominal pain I was suffering from was a hernia.  For whatever reason, if I drank coffee I could be almost totally disabled from pain for a couple of days.  But hot chocolate had only salubrious affects.  So I drank my way through Tuscany by waking up with a cup of that brew, rather than any of the typically Italian strong coffee drinks. Of course I told nobody why until after we returned and surgery was on the agenda.
And hazel (that was my mother's name, by the way) the "stick in the eye" thing actually happened to my then-12-year-old grandson on a school-sponsored overnight camping trip in a remote area of Virginia.  Fortunately for him, a highly respected opthalmologic surgeon spent one day a week in the nearest town, and she happened to be there that day to remove most of the resulting splinter, the remainder of which he still carries in his eyeball. 
Wow, a far cry from cocoa and hot chocolate, which is, by far, better than being "poked in the eye with a sharp stick."

December 12, 2011 7:14 AM
First-com kshuck said...

I'm told that my grandfather was one of those men who didn't know how to show affaction, or pride or joy of any kind. His mom died in one of the flu epidemics the wracked Chicago in first decade of the 1900s and he was dragged back to Poland and handed off to various family members as a source of free labor. He'd spent time as a salt miner in the Polish mountains before he was even 18. Gramps was overly handsome, a great dancer, formally undereducated but with a consuming desire to know everything. He read obsessively, used a particular Bay Rum as aftershave and had beautiful handwriting (characteristics that I have found essential in men since I started noticing them). Nevertheless the man was, reportedly, emotionally unavailable. I say reportedly because I was his angel and didn't know him the way other people did. I am looking now at a snapshot I have matted on my wall of Gramps and I sitting on the living room floor surrounded by my grandma's open jewelry box, scattered clip earrings and two mugs of cocoa. We both have cocoa mustaches and I am carefully applying a clip earring to my grandfather's right ear. He's smiling. Whenever I stayed with him we'd drink one mug of cocoa togehter and he'd tell me stories about his life. I can't drink it now without thinking of him. He left me a gold wristwatch, a century of his memories and the confidence that comes from having one person in your childhood willing to get up in the night to make you a proper mug of cocoa.

December 12, 2011 7:24 AM
5032_95964901121_819966121_1934583_6351931_n 10photoviewsFirst-comFirst-photo Kimberly Richardson said...

I have not had a cup of hot cocoa in a long time. Love it with marshmallows.

December 12, 2011 7:42 AM
Me_and_dave 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Andy said...

I love it straight or in coffee, sometimes with a little something extra.....alcoholic.  And, I love comfort foods that we can feel virtuous about having

December 12, 2011 8:04 AM
10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Lynn830 said...

Chocolate has so many advantages from the antioxidants that any worry about fat or sugar is a trifle.  Okay, so the Aztecs drank it with herbs.  The Mongols drank tea with onions.  We don't need to do that.  A fine dark cocoa, a touch of cinnamon perhaps, a touch of coffee (instant espresso), and the mini-marshmallows.  Once melted, they cannot grow into big marshmallows.  A fitting sacrifice.  I did have some Mexican hot chocolate that came in a lump and needed to be chopped up a bit to aid the melting.  Tasted about like cocoa.  Arguing the difference is arguing the difference.  You do that.  I'll drink my cuppa.

December 12, 2011 8:11 AM
Poison_dart_frog_2 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1 Miss Blue said...

good morning kshuck
a beautiful story.

December 12, 2011 9:03 AM
28961 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1 Ummgawa said...

A little sugar,a little cocoa, a pinch of salt, a twinge of vanilla and (God forbid) whole a sauce pan on medium heat and a decent sized cup.


December 12, 2011 9:03 AM
4244 Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 ChefDeb said...

Yes KSHUCK, a really lovely story.

KIMBERLEY RICHARDSON should have a cup of cocoa today.

December 12, 2011 9:11 AM
Me_and_dave 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Andy said...

KSHUCK ~ Thank you for sharing such a lovely memory

December 12, 2011 9:17 AM
4244 Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 ChefDeb said...

Growing up, after my mother would make cocoa on the stove with its careful balance of cocoa, sugar, vanilla extract and the tiniest pinch of salt, she would put it steaming into the Waring Blender for one good bloooosh before pouring it into a mug and marshmallowing it. The frothiness added to the velvety sheer magic of it, even if you did burn your tongue.

My restaurants all have had espresso machines which in turn are the best milk steamers ever. And in each restaurant, in NYC or Yankeeland I made the preparation of the hot cocoa base standard so it could be added to milk and steamed to perfection. Marshmallows or Whipped Cream. Candy Cane in season.
Well guess what. "They" want Swiss Miss. In the same way that today's consumer thinks a "scratch" cake is Duncan Hines and find actual scratch cakes not fluffy enough, real Cocoa is apparently too rich. So sadly, I menued a choice of Old Fashioned Hot Cocoa or Swiss Miss AT THE SAME PRICE. In this last restaurant of mine I stopped bothering with the actual cocoa. Isn't that so sad? I want to say tragic but I don't want to demean real tragedy, but seriously, Swiss Miss? I admit on certain occasions when I need an instant warm sugar fix I have one myself (yes, the dark chocolate one) but I have to top it off with some icecream to make it really good. But there you have it...I can say that literally 9 out of 10 people choose the instant.

oh don't think I can't hear you thinking "well why give them the choice, educate them." They return it. They complain. They whine. I am in the business of pleasing palates, not educating them unfortunately. So glad to be hanging around with some people who know a good cup of Hot Chocolate!

December 12, 2011 9:19 AM
Waldo 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Tommy Typical said...

It's gone viral. There was chocolate wine served at a get-together over the weekend. Cocoa futures soaring? Used to drink BROWNIE the chocolate soda pop from the 50's and early 60's. And then there was Mom's hot cocoa made from Hershey's and whole milk that she simmered in one of her magical pots . The first time I visited a client in Lancaster, PA. I stayed in Hershey and the smell permeated the air. And over the years it is fun to imagine the intersection of Chocolate Avenue and Cocoa Avenue where the streetlamps are shaped like kisses. In this age when capitalism is given such a bad rap, we should remember men like Milton Hershey and the Nestle Company I pass by in Indiana with the statue of the rabbit with the toothy grin; and think of all the joy they have brought people and all the folks they have employed over the years. I hope that men and women of vision continue to want to make people's lives a little better and they deserve to be paid for fit. I don't begrudge them a nickel. We have so many choices because someone somewhere is thinking up a better mousetrap as we speak and it may involve cocoa.

December 12, 2011 9:32 AM
Beth_1209 10photoviewsCom-100First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-5 EADutton said...

I just bought some yesterday...the kind with the mini marshmellows in it.  When my grandchildren visit they always request it!  Their mother frowns on too much sugar in their diet, so when then come to Grandma's house they get their sugar and chocolate fix!  I myself indulge in the sugar-free version, and of course, less the mini marshmellows!
Last year someone did give me a gift of Chocolate Wine.  Not a very good gift for a I re-gifted it.  The person I gave it to thoroughly enjoyed it! 
So, enjoy your hot cocoa!  "Tis the season and I think having a cup of hot cocoa on a cold winter's night will give you that comforting feeling of contentment. 

December 12, 2011 9:34 AM
Beth_1209 10photoviewsCom-100First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-5 EADutton said...

BTW....who won the $5,000?  just curious.

December 12, 2011 10:35 AM
10photoviewsCom-100First-comFirst-photo SkyWalker said...

ChefDeb, that is a terrible story! Swiss Miss!!! After reading all this I'm literally dying for a cup of hot cocoa - not Swiss Miss. Thanks!

December 12, 2011 11:03 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-5 George Hall said...

Kshuck~I love life stories and yours is the best! Thanks! Regardless of what anyone else should say, your Granpop was who you remember.

December 12, 2011 11:12 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-5 George Hall said...

I remember from 70 or more years ago (or more) having hot cocoa with my mother. She would quote ( from Christopher Morley I think:) Animal crackers and cocoa to drink,These are the finest of suppers I think.When I'm grown upAnd can do what I pleaseI think I shall always  Insist upon these.

December 12, 2011 11:23 AM
10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Rusty said...

Kshuck, wonderful story.  Happily stuffy, withdrawn grandfathers can be pulled out of their shells by granddaughters who innocently give their love asking nothing in return and therefore getting that hidden best. 

December 12, 2011 11:28 AM
4162 10photoviewsCom-100First-comFirst-photoHr-1 Cyndy said...

I haven't had hot cocoa for years . . . I remember it most from high school football games -- the concession stand always had hot dogs and hot cocoa.  Guess I'm going to have to stock up on it -- the idea really brings back great memories!

December 12, 2011 11:56 AM
Bwme 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 nachista said...

It has always been a little pet peeve of mine when people say hot chocolate when it is really cocoa.  Also, not all cocoas have the same health benefit, it depends on how it was processed.  But a hot steaming cup of chocolate flavored beverage is good on a cold day no matter what you call it.
This is the recipe for my ridiculously rich hot chocolate.  I made it for my coworkers a couple of weeks ago when we were having a big storm and every last one of them has asked for the recipe.  It is a little pricey to make but it will knock your socks off, put hair on your chest, and keep you warm for days.
Since I don't drink coffee or tea I like to find alternative warm beverages to do the trick.  In addition to cocoa I like Gluhwein, here is my non-alcoholic version.
I am also working on a spiced hot cider recipe with cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, and lemon.  My problem is that I usually don't cook with recipes, so before I can post the recipe to my online box at tasty kitchen I have to take the time to test out different measure to find which ratios I like best. 
As for cold drink recipes I am working on a virgin cosmopolitan (lime, lemon,  cranberry juice and a drop of marachino cherry syrup) and virgin christmas cocktail (sparkling apple cider, cranberry juice, raspberry juice and fresh berries). 
Of course if you don't want to make a drink but your want your house to smell like one you can always steep orange peels, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in hot water in a crockpot set on low.  One of the best air fresheners in the world.

December 12, 2011 12:02 PM
Paolo 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 paolos said...

I'm in a funk again and I don't think that a cup of
hot cocoa can get me out of it this time.
First let me thank those who were kind enough to
extend birthday wishes to my youngest on Saturday.
We had a busy day standing in line to ride the Pink
Pig.  Priscilla, as she is affectionately known, is an Atlanta Christmas
tradition and that tradition is almost as old as I am.
We spent two hours in line for a two minute ride
but when you are four years old, standing in line can be as fun and exciting as
the ride itself.
I know what y'all are thinking.  Why do Atlantans
queue for pig rides every Christmas?  Well we all don't and it's not a live pig,
it's a miniature train that goes by the aforementioned moniker. If it were a
live pig, the wait would have been at least four hours and would have attracted
a whole nother clientele.
Now for my blue funk.  I know the cause of this
one. I knew that Saturday's birthday festivities would interfere with watching
one of my favorite sporting events live, and have no regrets there. It is called
the Crosstown Shootout and involves what have been my two favorite collegiate
basketball teams, the University of Cincinnati and my own Xavier University.  My
own allegiance aside, I was always happy to see the best team win. This time the
game ended in a disgusting brawl.  Disgusting enough that had it been a hockey
game, it would have been newsworthy.  I don't think it's the brawl that bothers
me as much as the this is what basketball is all about attitude
expressed by Xavier players after the game.  If the NBA wants a minor league,
let them pay for it.  Allow college students to play sports as they are meant to
be played. Put the thugs and gangstas back on the streets.
I am sorry to interrupt, I just wanted to vent. 
Please don't let this distract anyone.  Y'all can go back to hot cocoa, winter
tales and caroling.  The combination might get me out of this funk.

December 12, 2011 12:12 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 hazel leese said...

Not being the type of person who follows the commodities market, I am amazed to be able to inform you that I spotted an item in today's paper saying that the price of cocoa is about to skyrocket, so get your stock in now. Having said that, I watched a depressing documentary about how children are exploited in the harvesting of this product, the farmers make very little money and the commodity dealers make loads of money. Left me wondering if it is ethical to consume cocoa products at all. Does it give you cancer? No idea. Does it give you karma? Yes.

December 12, 2011 12:16 PM
Stage_2 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 JALOPKIN said...

CHEFDEB:  I knew a Swiss Miss a long time ago ... a reasonably acceptible Girl whose daddy was a Banker ...  Didn't mind so much the braided Armpits, but never could abide all that yodeling in the Kitchen and the bathroom ... Made the Chickens nervouse and made the neighbors curious too ......
"Scratch" is where its at !!!  Duncan Hines is for people who are Taste Free ....... All those Chemicals that Box Mixes are full of, by Law, aren't much different from the stuff you clean your commode bowl with ... (Yes, I know about the Preposition)

December 12, 2011 12:32 PM
Poison_dart_frog_2 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1 Miss Blue said...

Hazel....Fair Trade
Paolos....BLUE funk?
Tommy T

Back in the good ole days, when we seemed to do a better job of protecting our food supplies, I routinely inspected a bottling plant that processed and bottled Brownie Soda. The product contained enough milk, so as to fall under the "dairy" regs of the time. A forklift would load pallets of racks of the just filled bottles in to a giant retort. The large metal doors would be closed and secured as steam and pressure built up to required levels for proper pasteurization. Circular graphs recorded time and temperature data as the retort slowly rotated to keep the ingredients from settling out and cooking on to inner bottle surfaces. That whole process took an hour. After  that process, the stem and pressure were relieved with great whooshing sounds. The pallets of product were then removed, slowly cooled and sorted into 6 pks or left in the 24 unit wooden crates for distribution.

December 12, 2011 12:39 PM
Poison_dart_frog_2 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1 Miss Blue said...
hmmmm....wonder if this workd with heavy dairy cream?

December 12, 2011 12:46 PM
4244 Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 ChefDeb said...

IVAN--always so naughty...of course scratch is" where its at," but for people who would rather have fast food because they know what it tastes like (it isn't the price much of the time, its the predictability)they are comparing cake to Swiss Rolls (Little Debbie style).

NACHISTA You nailed me. As soon as I posted that I was so glad to be hanging around people who knew a good cup of hot chocolate and I hit "send" I was frustrated not have put "hot cocoa."

December 12, 2011 1:20 PM
Atticus_1 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Bert said...

Chocolate being harvested in the rain forest is fascinating to watch. Big yellow pods are cut down by the harvesters, and eventually cut open to expose white round objects. It may be that the round objects are seedpods. The only complaint that I had was that children are often recruited to do the harvesting, making "chump change" for their efforts.

December 12, 2011 1:39 PM
4224 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 RoadYacht said...

I just had an insight that made me run to my office and share... those mini marshmallows grow into Peeps!!!

December 12, 2011 1:41 PM
10photoviewsCom-100First-comFirst-photo Cassiepants said...

Paolos~ I am wondering when it became de rigeur to be poor sports? So sorry for the general lack of good manners on the parts of both the basketball teams. Perhaps that is why I don't really follow basketball. Los Angeles has a rather nasty history of 'win a game, flip a police car.'
Nachista~ I love tastykitchen! I actually stood in line for an impossibly long amount of time to get Ree Drummond's autograph on my copy of her cookbook. Only time I've ever done that. And her chocolate cake recipe - (from scratch! Ivan and ChefDeb) - made me feel like a culinary genius. I'll have to save your hot cocoa recipe for a day when I have a bunch of people over - what an indulgence.
I have not often had the good fortune to get homemade hot cocoa. But I still remember the first time my mother made it when I was a little girl. As a culinary clutz in the kitchen, she had very few recipes that I'd want to recall. Watching her stir in the powdered hershey's unsweetened cocoa and sugar, I could smell happiness brewing in that pot. And I was absolutely correct. To this day, I still love the skin which appears on freshly made hot cocoa, warm milk with sugar, and cooked chocolate pudding.
My other experience with hot chocolate - an indelible one -  is burning my tongue sipping McDonald's hot chocolate in the back of my Uncle's white van in New Hampshire. We were visiting and the day was chilly enough that I couldn't wait to wrap my hands around the cup. It took two days for my poor tongue to recover.

December 12, 2011 1:44 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 hazel leese said...

Yeah, Bert~ the harvester children are "recruited." Dream on.

December 12, 2011 2:11 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Peter Lake said...

Chef Deb, I discovered Jo Nesbro this year too.  His books are a treat indeed.

Some of the more enjoyable books I read this year include The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern, 11/23/63 by Stephen King, Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson, The Interpretation of Murder by Jeb Runbenfeld, In the Garden of the Beast by Erik Larson and Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olson.

I have already added some of you good folks' reading suggestions to my list.

An old friend of mine who teaches lit has as part of her imbedded email signature "quit whining and read". Good advice I think.

Park & Soney.....hope you got to enjoy the great weather in our neck of the world.

December 12, 2011 2:12 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Peter Lake said...

Oh no.... A repeat paste....ignore it please.

December 12, 2011 2:14 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Peter Lake said...

A tray laden with mugs of hot chocolate, no matter how it has been prepared, is nothing short of magic.

As soon as it is brought into a room and set down amongst the inhabitants, a down-like blanket of comfort begins to descend upon them.

Time slows down, sharp edges soften,  harsh thoughts are forgotten, arguments are absorbed into silence and temporarily forgotten, pain is soothed, conversations become whispers that can be heard throughout the room, and even the harshest lighting becomes a warm, caressing glow.

You find yourself smiling at the warm memories that have removed the cloaks of your worries and made them retreat into the darkness where they belong.

The only sound to be heard is that of cautious sipping followed by sounds off contentment.

These moments are trapped and preserved in amber.  To be view and the moments captured are quicken when you need them the most.

When the tray of empty mugs is cleared away,  best wishes as conveyed along with hugs, handshakes and pats on the back.

Life is very good

Peace out

December 12, 2011 2:17 PM
Poison_dart_frog_2 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1 Miss Blue said...

Repeat pasting  will now be  known as Peter Lake-ing?

December 12, 2011 2:36 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Peter Lake said...

I am deeply honored and humbled. At last! I have made my mark.

December 12, 2011 2:58 PM
004 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1 korthal said...

My Mother made the best cocoa from scratch with the large marshmallows.
And to this day I still like the large marshmallows better.
They melt just the right way.
Minis just don't do it for me.

December 12, 2011 3:04 PM
Bwme 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 nachista said...

Cassiepants, send me a friend request over on TK, I'd love to see your recipes.  I've got about 85 on there.  I am slowly working on getting all of them photographed...however badly the images turn out, I'm about half way done with getting photos for all of them.  I'm still working on recipes to add.  I am making a holiday slush for our BIG cousin family party this saturday, I need a name for it: Cranberry juice, raspberry juice, lemon juice, fresh ginger, water sugar...boil and stir then freeze, chop it up and pour sparkling apple cider over the top and float lemon slices and cranberries in it.  Since it's red I was think "The Rudolph", I'm not very creative with names.

December 12, 2011 3:11 PM
10photoviewsCom-100First-comFirst-photo Cassiepants said...

While doing my holiday shopping the old-fashioned way (online), I stumbled across this:
Not quite the same as hot cocoa, but interesting nonetheless...

December 12, 2011 3:23 PM
Bwme 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 nachista said...

Names for that slush punch, as suggested by my coworkers: Moose Mush, Jingle Berry (not to be confused with Dingle Berry), Yule Shoot Yer Eye Out, Sled Marks, Sunset Snow, Bell Ringer, and Stocking Stuffer.  Not that any of them have to do with characteristics of the punch.  Someone suggested I call it the Gilligan's Island...still haven't figured out the connection.

December 12, 2011 3:31 PM
10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Rusty said...

Fresh fallen snow and a hearty breakfast, then sledding down the front hill.  I can still hear the girls laughing and the dog barking, also the cries of "don't go in the pond."  Our mittens became snow covered and snow filled.  Hats were often lost along the way to the bottom, and noses turned red--that Roudolphesque look.  I always left for the kitchen just a little before the rest of the family.  They would pile in through the back porch and head for the wood stove stripping off mittens, scarves and jackets  and within a few minutes our hands would be wrapped around a "from scratch" brewed cup of cocoa.  Then the stories would begin.  "did you see what I did?"  "You almost hit the fence."  And on and on till someone had to insist we stop the chatter and get to work.

December 12, 2011 3:59 PM
First-com Anam Cara said...

You know, I am trying to remember a chocolatey drink from my childhood, called Ovaltine. Mom was never without some in the house and it was even more beloved than hot cocoa. Do they even make it any more? Mmmmmmmm...can taste it now and I WANT SOME!!
Someone had better come up with a source or I'm afraid a "hissy fit" will ensue. *grin*

December 12, 2011 4:02 PM
004 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1 korthal said...

If you put Ovaltine in your search engine you'll get a lot of answers and places you can get it.

December 12, 2011 5:10 PM
Paolo 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 paolos said...

A rare meteorological event last Christmas brought
substantial snow to the family farm in North Georgia.  When I say rare I mean
rare for this part of North Georgia. When I say substantial I mean 4 or 5 inches
in parts maybe more or less in others. That day, three generations of Grits went
sledding for the first time.  Gram had as much fun or more than the youngest of
the bunch.
Yes, I did have the longest run of the day, but
then I'm a Britn and that is to be expected.  Hot cocoa after sledding is
mandatory even in the south.
If you haven't had hot cocoa flavored with peppers,
you are missing a treat.
Miss Blue ~  is there any other kind?

December 12, 2011 5:24 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Peter Lake said...

Heck, I even like the hot chocolate-like substance that that is served from the coffee machines that can be found in most cafeterias....even though it has a bit of instant coffee and chicken bouillon mixed in.

Needless to say I am not a cocoa or chocolate high-hatter. Just easy to please I guess.

I do favor the combination of hot chocolate, caramel and sea salt though. I wish they had a liquid foam of bacon to top it off.

December 12, 2011 5:34 PM
10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1 spring rain said...

I am very thankful that I was born after chocolate was discovered.

December 12, 2011 5:37 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Stoney said...

paolos ~
There are a lot of words to describe that fiasco and I don't like any of them but the term assault and battery ought really to come into play and take the punishment out of the hands of those who, if they knew anything about discipline, would never have let those creeps out on the floor in the first place.
I was, yesterday, cognitively challenged but my spirits were borne aloft by this:

Maybe it will work for you.

December 12, 2011 5:57 PM
Paolo 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 paolos said...

Being in the shadow of the presence of saints like jax and pete, always works.  Not to mention St. Oney.

December 12, 2011 6:32 PM
10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Mooseloop said...

A fire in the fireplace, nice music on the Bose, and sippin the hot cocoa....yes, life is good. Good evening to all! from the N. Ga hills....

December 12, 2011 7:00 PM
10photoviewsCom-100First-comFirst-photo Cassiepants said...

Stoney~ What a wonderful place for people who need recovery time...thank you very much for sharing. 

December 12, 2011 7:07 PM
10photoviewsCom-100First-comFirst-photo Cassiepants said...

Nachista~ I think I sent you an 'add friend' thing on Tasty Kitchen. I don't have any recipes posted, though... I'm more of an eater than a recipe-submitter.... :)   Mooseloop~ I always love your images of the North Georgiahills. Thank you!

December 12, 2011 8:21 PM
Waldo 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Tommy Typical said...

After a morning of skiing, we took a snowmobile ride up the mountain near Park City, Utah and the sky was crystal clear. We stopped right at sunset and had beef stew and hot chocolate by a roaring fire; the simple fare was like manna from heaven and the warmth of the fire so primatively perfect. It was a magical experience followed by an early morning drive to Sundance for breakfast. Have you ever had one of those 24 hour experiences that have you saying "What a day!" Out of nowhere God surprises me as if to say "Knock yourself out, Kid!" My best prayers are a simple Thank You. Cocoa as a hot drink or in a bowl as Cocoa Puffs makes me feel gleefully cuckoo.

December 12, 2011 8:39 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1 bebe said...

PAOLOS.................I would have wished you a happy daughter birthday, but I did not check Saturday's posts because we had to go to town earlier than usual and I didn't have time. I hope you all had a wonderful time. I saw the brawl this morning w/ my tea. Charming. I don't see any end to the thuggery. Until we can end teenage pregnancy children will grow up in poverty & neglect w/ no one to show them the right way. It is a vicious cycle and breeds thugs who use violence as easily as most of us use thank you. Depressing and my 2 cents......................or as I opened tonight's paper & read that Mississippi is taking applications for new VISTA programs. They will be used where I work and it will be most proabably a joke. It will be our hardearned money used again to do not much of anything. It will be under the guise of AMERICORPS and we have several of those at my school. Weep for America............................I am thankful for the people who raise responsible children and expect them to behave in a civilized fashion. They help to make up for the children & then young adults gone wild...........................
I'm pretty much w/ PL.............................I love it in most guises & don't get enough. I plan to change that by having a cup at least every other day. With whipped cream..................mmmmmmmmmmmmm..................................
CHEFD...........................I do find it utterly bizarre that gieven the choice between homemade & Swissmiss, the choice is..................are you kidding me? In the spirit of PL.....................let's raise our mugs of whatever and enjoy!

December 12, 2011 8:40 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1 bebe said...

KSHUCK..................wonderful memory.........................

December 12, 2011 8:54 PM
10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Lynn830 said...

I've been thinking about it all day, and I now have my giant mug of cocoa.  We did have some vanilla, but no marshmallows.  It is still good.  I used dark cocoa powder with plenty of sugar.  My one stepdaughter who is a health nut and won't eat any sugar makes it with maple syrup.  I find it interesting, but not what I want.  I've got to get some mini-marshmallows.  I hope your holiday preparations are going well.

December 12, 2011 8:58 PM
First-com ojai22 said...

Whoops, didn't get it all in there:

December 12, 2011 9:02 PM
First-com ojai22 said...

So you have to copy and paste, I can't get it to work properly. So glad the day is over and I'm making all these mistakes alone.....

December 12, 2011 9:19 PM
4244 Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 ChefDeb said...

ojai22 don't feel bad, I am so challenged on posting links here that I usually throw myself on the mercy of Paolos & Stoney to post for me!! It was nice of you to find that info for Anam Cara.

What are we putting in our mugs of hot cocoa on The Sepiatrain tonight? Cheers!

December 12, 2011 9:47 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1 bebe said...


December 12, 2011 10:11 PM
First-com Anam Cara said...

I wish to thank the members who so thoughtfully directed me to the Vermont Country Store in my search for Ovaltine. As of this typing, that much sought-after beverage is on the way
to satisfy my cravings and needless to say, I will now cancel my "hissy fit" which has been building up precipitously since the inception of the "cocoa" discussion. Mucho gracias to all.

December 12, 2011 10:24 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Stoney said...

It was nineteen and fifty nine, the then Most Beautiful Girl In The World and I were fifteen and let's just say, pretty close.
Having stopped at her house fairly early of a Saturday morning prior to going fishing, I watched as her mother, wife of a third generation confectioner, made the morning pot of cocoa, buttered toast and cut it diagonally.
The little beauty came quietly down the stairs and with a sleepy morning voice: "Hi."
"Ey," and I watched as she sat cross legged on a kitchen chair in her flannel jammies and nubby cheerleader socks.
Her charmingly disheveled hair obscuring her half-open blue eyes she dunked her toast a little unsteadily and munched away.
It probably didn't happen this way but it is too compelling not to say:
I remember thinking: "I could do this for eighteen thousand four hundred and eighty more days… no problem."

scammed ~
That's a long time to carry that baggage. It's over.

This pretty much sums up why, for me, hot chocolate is preferable:

December 12, 2011 11:21 PM
Bwme 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 nachista said...

Cassiepants, I got the friendship request on TK, we're friends now.  It is a small internet after all. 

December 13, 2011 12:01 AM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Peter Lake said...

bebes, when it comes to cocoa or hot chocolate, whipped cream comes standard. The extra plate with an additional mound of whipped cream is optional......and preferable.

December 13, 2011 12:04 AM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Peter Lake said...

ChefDeb, in theSepia's club car, anything goes when it comes to.... Well anything I guess, but especially beverages. I'll take a shot of Kaluah

December 13, 2011 5:36 AM
4244 Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 ChefDeb said...

Sounds perfect.

December 13, 2011 5:46 AM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1 bebe said...

STONEY......................what a lovely story................
PL............But of course.....................

December 13, 2011 7:24 AM
Paolo 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 paolos said...

Miss Bebe ~ On behalf of the kiddle, thanks for the
All in all there are  over 10,000 college
basketball games played every year and for every one that ends in a brawl there
are over 9,999 that don't.  I suppose being close to home, it stings more. 

I'm sure that you understand the task more than
most, it's the same battle that Jax faces, for every one you help there is one
that doesn't make it, one that turns back defiantly and one tht  just doesn't
have the strength to continue crawling out of the muck. 
Let's have a cup of cocoa and turn the page, it's a
new day.

Honor Roll

Stirred with a candy cane- - Tis the season tr la la la la   and it would not be real w...


Dec. 12, 2011 1:44 AM

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