Hot Drinks for a Cold Day
One of my favorite treats growing up was my mom's homemade hot chocolate and homemade freshly-squeezed hot lemonade. Nothing warmed you up quicker than having a big mug of one of these hot beverages. It's not something my family splurged on very often which made it even more special.
I think without fail, I burnt the roof of my mouth every single time with both of these hot beverages. For some reason I always wanted to sip the hot lemonade through a straw. Don't try that, you'll scald your mouth.
I grew up in a small house that only had two space heaters. The small bathroom had a small heater and the living room had a bigger heater. Both of them ran on natural gas. These two heaters were expected to warm the entire house and actually did it fairly well. It was a tradition, and still is, to back up to the heater to get warm in the winter. I spent many a cold night standing in front of the heater to get toasty warm and it's always the first thing I do when I go to visit my mother in the winter.
Simple Recipe for Homemade Hot Chocolate
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 cups whole milk
- Handful of miniature marshmallows or whipped topping (optional)
Place the cocoa powder, sugar and milk into a saucepan, mix thoroughly and cook over medium heat, stirring continuously. Do not allow the mixture to boil. As you continue to stir it you'll notice steam bubbles along the edge of the pan. When this happens, remove the pan from the heat and serve. Top with marshmallows or whipped topping if desired.
Simple Recipe for Hot Lemonade
- 8 large lemons
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 5 cups of water
Clean the lemons and place them in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes. Remove them and roll them firmly on the counter. Both of these procedures help to loosen the pulp from the lemon and allow you to juice them easier and get more juice from them. Squeeze the juice from the lemons and set aside.
Mix the sugar and 5 cups of water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the squeezed lemon juice into the saucepan stirring it in. My mother always added the actual lemon pieces as well just in case she might have missed some juice. (That's why I had you clean them). This is optional of course.
My mother always felt it was necessary to bring it to a boil before removing it from the heat. It's probably not necessary and is probably the reason I always burnt my tongue on it.
Serve and watch for the seeds.
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