As promised, this is the first hot chocolate, henceforth will be known as HC. Oh, keep in mind that there is no need to give up HC in the summer months. If you don’t want it hot, just have it COLD. Yeah, am I the problem solver or what! Just so you know, I am sipping on some HC right now and it reached almost 80 degrees today. I wanted to try it without the milk and just got some arrowroot to try. It really IS creamy, using only water… PRESTO, a NO-fat drink.
I am going to start this off with a recipe the ancients used. Originally, I wanted to start with a more mellow, traditional recipe; but then I got the idea to go all the way and show you what HC is capable of! It might not be good for the faint of heart as it’s HOT, I mean spicy hot. This is not your grandmother’s hot chocolate. Here goes:
Ancient Aztec Cacahuatl
- 5 cups Half-and-Half
- 1 Vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
- 8 oz. Mexican chocolate, such as Abuelita, chopped
- 1/4 cup Natural cocoa powder (you can use unsweetened baking chocolate powder)
- 1 to 2 tsp. Ancho chile powder, to your taste
- 3 tbsp. Honey
- Whipped cream for garnish
- 1 to 2 tbsp. Slivered unsalted roasted almonds for garnish
- In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, combine the half-and-half and vanilla bean. Heat until the mixture comes to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the chocolate and cocoa powder. Whisk to combine. Simmer for 5 to 10 minute, or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Watch it closely so that it does not boil over.
- Add the chile powder, a little at a time, to taste. Stir in the honey and blend. Discard the vanilla bean.
- Pour the hot chocolate into 8 small cups and top with the whipped cream and slivered almonds.
Chocolate Tidbit~In 1764, in Dorchester, MA, USA, the first American chocolate manufacturer was founded; and Baker’s Chocolate is still in business today.
Here’s a pic of my first blanket. I’m so excited! I messed up the border a little, but I see it as a learning experience, considering that I didn’t follow any directions other than the idea that it was sort of like the parts of a picture frame; and that the inner edge is at an angle so that the pieces could fit together. I went with a thin border because I didn’t want it to take away from the rest of the blanket. I didn’t block this or anything. I think that maybe I should because one side looks longer than the rest. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Whew, with this blanket finally done, I can start on two bably blankets that I want to do. One will be LCB and the other will be a granny square type. I am thinking that I will work on them both together to start off, just to see how it works out. A.C. Moore just had a Moonlight Madness sale and I took advantage and bought all the baby colors of the Caron’s Simply Soft that I could get. The green is not really a baby green, but so beautiful; which is why I want to make a granny square blanket. I am planning on using that green to connect everything. I love this green so much that I wanted it incorporate it into more than just a border…yet, it’s not really a baby color. I am convinced that it will work in nicely, though. The yarn is still in the car and it’s too late for me to run out and get it, so, stay tuned for a pic of all the colors.
I also got a few other balls, not related to my baby projects. Still trying to decide what to do with them… I think THAT is the hardest part of any project, just deciding the project!
Hear ye, hear ye… I proclaim Wednesday as being Hot Chocolate Recipe Day! I thought that Wednesday could use a name other than “Hump Day”, so HCRD, it is. I will post a recipe a week, starting with this Wednesday. All recipes will come from a new book I bought called simply, “Hot Chocolate~50 Heavenly Cups of Comfort” by Fred Thompson.
Last week, I was inspired to create something. Still needs work, but I couldn’t help posting it.
y fantasy yarn project is completed! Very cool…. I must say, that there were NO fireworks, though….. just the fact that I finished it merits a pat on the back… the fact that my scarf/wrap will remain with me, merits a Yahoo! Remember when I started it, way back in December? I started it somewhere between this post, and this post. In this pic, you can see that I am almost finished dropping all the stitches to create what is known in looming circles as the Matrix Stitch. You can see just how much wider the whole piece becomes after you drop the stitches. On the left, you can see the original width. This ends up being a really heavy piece of fabric. Oh, when you drop the stitches like this, blocking is not necessary…. very cool.
I was debating on what to do with the fringes. To fringe or not to fringe. I decided to fringe because I love fringes. Here is a pic:
I did not want an overabundance of fringes, so I put them only on the knit stitch matrix part. I decided to put one on each end of the “matrix”. I could not put only one on each one as the distance between them would’ve been too great. I still need to really size them up to make sure that all are as close to the same length as possible. Still, I am planning on wearing it to church tomorrow morning as I might be reading and want to look a little bit more dressed up than usual. Wow, you really cannot see the length here, but it measures a little longer than 70″, excluding fringe. Since it’s heavy, I am sure that gravity makes it stretch longer than that. I go overboard all the time because my mentality is, and always has been, more is better. Well, at least it’s mine and nobody needs to know that I just “winged it”. I still intend on taking another pic of it outside in full sun so you can get a nice idea of how it really sparkles and shimmers in daylight.
I should mention that nowhere online did I find instructions on how to do this. As a matter of fact, I do not think that you are supposed to do it after the fact of knitting it; but that is just me, doing something because nobody said that I can’t or shouldn’t. It worked out pretty well, so nothing lost and something gained. **~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**~**
Okay, I really didn’t want to make another post, but I want everyone to know that I am doing okay and getting used to the idea of being diabetic. I have not actually “done” anything yet, just reading what I can and getting ready mentally to take action. Don’t worry, I am not procrastinating because I really need to get every thing rolling by the end of next week. That is when my Dr wants me to call in two days of sugar readings. Also, I need to have a sonogram done by then to make sure that I am not pregnant so that she can Rx me medication.
Believe me, I want to get started quick, but to be truthful, I feel like I have no clue what to do… even though my Dr said that I should just avoid sugar and carbs. I bookmarked a diabetes site: American Diabetes Ass. & more importantly, Diabetes DIET from the Mayo Clinic. Finally, something substantial about food. This second site looks really useful…. feel free to check it out.
Bittersweet just wrote a great article on chocolate. Those of you who are vegetarians, specifically vegans might be interested in her site called Bittersweet. She crochets great little animals, food, and even a plate of tofu. She is really creative in her own right, and deserves a read. Her article is called: Not All Chocolate Is Created Equal.
Fantasy? Yes. Fantasy because the yarn needed was a LOT more expensive than I usually buy and I would need tons of it, because of low yardage, to complete my project. It’s a sort of scarf-wrap knitted (or loomed) with LB (Lion Brand) Moonlight Mohair and the LB Trellis novelty yarn. The LB site page is here. It’s made using 1 strand of each yarn. I love how the fringes look. The yarns I wanted to use are MM Rainbow Falls and Trellis Rainbow. Love the colors with the black undertone; the colors just jump out at you, or so I think they would.I select my yarns according to the most yardage.. just a quirk of mine. I usually try to counterbalance price vs. yardage and it usually ends up being stuff from Red Heart or Carron, big skeins, the one pounders. Now Moonlight Mohair has a total of 82 yards/75 meters, and the Trellis yarn has a total of 115 yards/105 meters. I am used to skeins of 200, 300 something yards when I get worsted yarn, and for the novelty yarns, go for the brand that has the most yardage. Moonlight Mohair costs something like $7-$8, and Trellis I saw today for $5.99 per skein. Now that is mega bucks when you consider that this project calls for 8 skeins of the MM and 6 skeins of the Trellis….you do the math. In addition, my project would require me to make it wider and possibly longer than the dimensions on the instruction sheet… which, BTW, used to be a free in the isles of the stores, and now costs $2.50 off the LB site. I am still searching stores around here to see if they still have it out, but I see so little of that now, in general.
Now, one of the reasons that I took up knitting was to SAVE money. I can’t believe some of the prices of the yarn out there. I can actually rectify hefty prices for the natural materials out there, but not the artificial ones… that seems ironic since there must be some kind of labor used to create all the novelty yarns out there. I even got some of that recycled silk yarn from somewhere online and it was cheaper!
I was surfing the other day and found myself at Smiley’s Yarns and what to my surprise should appear? Moonlight Mohair and Trellis dancing in the air! On sale for $2.99 and $1.99… whoa… still that trigger happy mouse button and take a look! My colors were available, so I ordered some. I was so happy because I had given up on this project using my fantasy yarn… now, I got my xmas present to myself. The box came just today, which was pretty darn quick, just a couple of days. DH accepted it at the door and I was beside myself because he has already commented on the fact that I have yarn coming out of my ears over here… oh well, couldn’t be helped as the return address was from SMILEY’S YARNS. Also, in the past, he was never home when I got my “special deliveries”. Now he calls me the “Secret Shopper” and I kind of like that… maybe I’ll start a blog with that name. To be honest, he probably called me that because today I got his present at Modell’s with him there, then I chased him out of the store so that I could maybe get something else that would be a surprise; but to be sure, my online shopping had a hand in it, too.
So, now my mission is to recreate this scarf/wrap without actually paying for the instructions since there were free at one time. If I cannot find the sheet with the instructions in some craft store around here, I will wing it and judge for myself. Should be easy enough. Basic knitting, with garter stitches thrown in at the ends and maybe on the sides to keep it from curling. I won’t be able to start this right away as I am still working on a couple of projects for friends and one of them is a Xmas gift. But soon.
Happy Holidays, everybody.
Just completed a swatch, dropping the stitch AFTER a solid knitted swatch was made. Because I was well into my scarf/wrap, with fantasy yarn, I got the idea for the drop stitch, called “matrix stitch” in the world of Knifty Knitter. Keep in mind that for me this is innovation, despite the possibility that long time knitters already find this information common place. When I searched the internet looking for instructions, I only found on how to do it from the very beginning and it doesn’t look exactly like this. I have posted a pic below:
How this was done: I knitted 12 stitches across, then started by binding off 2 stitches, then actually allowed the next one to drop all the way down the swatch, then chained 5 stitches across to traverse the dropped stitch area. Then bind off next two, chained 4 across, dropped next stitch all the way down. I settled on using 4 chains across. At the very end, I had to leave 3 stitches because of the count across not being even; but you know, I like leaving 3 knitted stitches on both ends to make a sort of border as opposed to using 2 stitches. I love how this shows off the glitteriness of the yarn even more. Dropping the stitches definitely adds mega width to the original width. This swatch literally doubled in width. I like that. The only draw back is that the process of dropping the stitches all the way down, all the way across, will be a lot of work. I will need to make sure that it runs all the way down on every column, the mohair gets tangled up and I’ll have to gently pick it out (maybe cut it) to make sure that I don’t ruin it.
I am really excited about this project and can’t wait to get it finished. The other night I went out on a break night for the first time in weeks and spent the time in Starbucks and worked on my three current projects, the Log Cabin Blanket, Black Fingerless Opera Gloves, and this wrap.
Have a Great Day!
I’ve decided to post the demo videos I come across so that when I am ready for them, all I have to do is go to one place. I don’t think that I can make one page for it because, at least for youtube, it becomes a new post. The category “video” should be enough to find them.
I’ve always wanted to learn the continental way of knitting. It’s WAY more efficient to knit this way and a LOT faster. Check it out for yourself. This video is great because it shows different stitches, knit, purl, yarn overs… maybe more, I forgot because this video did not hit my blog until after I left the house today. I still need to go for the sonogram today, but that is later this afternoon. I probably won’t blog it until tomorrow or late tonight.
FYI: I discovered that in transferring posts, if you go into the editor, you can copy everything, even pictures and videos… Everything gets transfered, no problem. I didn’t know this and chances are, there are others out there who don’t either.
Continental knitting demo
Just want to let everyone know that I am starting to transfer some knitting posts over from ~Dragon’s Yen~ so you might think you are seeing double.
Thank you for your patience!
Hot Chocolate is one of my indulgences. THIS is what I do for myself that lifts me out of my every day existence, and into the clouds. I do not need to retire to a private space, I do not need a lengthy period of time; only the time it takes to make and drink a quick visit to heaven. My quasi normal attraction to chocolate became manifest at a young age when I found myself using two envelopes of Swiss Miss in one cup, still not satisfied. Then I added some instant coffee, something still missing. C~H~O~C~O~L~A~T~E hmmmmmmm just rolls through your mouth and off your tongue, doesn’t it?Currently, I use chocolate bars, various spices, non-dairy creamers, extracts, whipping cream, brewed coffee. Well, you get the picture. Anything that would not make the brew curdle or turn my stomach, whichever came first. I got turned on to putting actual chocolate bars into it by my friend, Cindi. That night she became my very best friend! I was so grateful to find someone to share my chocolate fetish! For my son’s birthday party, I put together a weird hot chocolate “mix”. I say “weird” only because I was throwing stuff together the night before the party in a frenzies with cocoa powder flying all around. Though I did not know it at the time, what I did was not exactly original… or crazy.
Just this week my ego bubble was broken when I found the above book entitled, “Hot Chocolate~50 Heavenly Cups of Comfort”, by Fred Thompson. I found it while shopping at the A&P on sale for $3.99! So, I just had to scoop one up; such fun finding a book at the A&P. Mr. Thompson uses a lot of the things that I do in search for the Ultimate cup of hot chocolate, including creating dry mixes. What a shot in the arm of validation! I’d often tell people of the stuff that I mix with coffee or hot chocolate and always got a strange look, or a little comment of dismissal which ended the conversation, cutting off my zen for chocolate. I am always perplexed at the popularity commercial mixes enjoy. The actual chocolate content is almost non-existent.
I am so much of a chocolate freak that I used it as a topic for a speech given as a class project for a public speaking course I took years ago to help myself become comfortable in front of people…. HEY, btw JUSTIN… it worked! I chose to give a demonstrative speech, or maybe they called it an “instructional” speech. So, I took my favorite subject and spoke about making a fast, but utterly delicious and authentic cup of hot chocolate in the microwave. I’ll post the recipe at the end of this article if any of you are interested. I did my homework and even spoke about the history of the cacao bean and the drink that was made by the ancient Mayans. Did you know that their women were forbidden to drink chocolate? Hmph!
I have a mission! Because of my new life style, I need to convert my hot chocolate favorites into decadent sugar free must-have recipes. I have a couple of things going for me here. I already love the dark chocolate which is chock full of antioxidants. I learned in this book that the most popular way in the world to have this drink is to make it with water and not milk, and that will be a big plus. I think what I am going to do is publish a recipe a week for those of you who would be interested to insert a little heaven into your everyday life.
Okay, so here is my quickie, microwavable recipe for Authentic Hot Chocolate. I have no idea what to call it, so maybe you guys can post some suggestions. How about this. The one that I pick will get a special mix. Are ya game? Don’t worry, post office people, no liquids needed.
No need to be exact in the measurements. As a matter of fact, be generous with heaping spoonfuls! Everything to YOUR taste.
(SO FAR, UN-NAMED HOT CHOCOLATE)~
1 tbsp. Dutch processed hot cocoa powder
1 tsp… Instant coffee (optional for you caffeine lovers)
1-2 tbsp. Non-Dairy creamer, Plain *(or try 1/2 tsp. Arrowroot)
A pinch/dash of salt (optional, but it really does enhance the flavor)
Sugar (I give no measurements because it should go according to your taste, if you like sweet or not so sweet. Be creative with your sugar. You can use any sweetener from refined white (eww!), brown sugar, molasses, honey, sugar free syrup, or whatever)
Put all ingredients in to a microwavable mug, preferably a large one. Boil up some water and pour a little into the mug and stir until ingredients mix well and dry ingredients emulsify.
Okay, here is the part where you get to choose. You can either use all water like when making instant coffee, or you can fill up the rest of the mug with milk or cream or a combination of both.
Microwave initially for 1 minute on 50% power, and in 30 second increments after that to get desired hotness. If your chocolate is not creamy enough, add more non-dairy creamer, arrowroot, or cream. Grate some fresh nutmeg into your cup for garnish. If you use the dried spice kind, remember that fresh is more intense in flavor, so you might need more of the dried stuff.
I am sorry if this is confusing, but I wanted to make it appealing to a wide range of people with varying dietary needs.
I said that I was going to get a pic of my son up here and here it is… at least it’s still knitting related. I did this hat and scarf on the KK looms last year. The hat was so big that it still fits him this year, but I nixed the scarf because it curled and I thought it was too dangerous for him to wear around his neck.
All items below were made with looms. Hat and scarf with the KK blue loom. The preemie hats, mittens and wrist warmers were all made with the Provo Craft mitten looms.
Here is a pic of my first batch of preemie hats, 30 in all.
Here are pics of mittens and fingerless wrist warmers. The wrist warmers ultimately were given to a friend of mine, but I still have my mittens and they are really warm, with enough room inside to move my fingers for, say for instance, driving. Using these looms, I also made long and fingerless opera gloves for a friend, but still waiting for a picture.