Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Morning Beverages

Christmas morning breakfast is a really fun meal at our house.  Once the gifts are opened, then everyone changes into their new jammies and/or Christmas clothes - it isn't long until everyone looks around for the food.  

For Christmas breakfast to be a hit - it involves a little prior preparation & thought on my part.  We usually have orange juice and/or cold chocolate milk, with maybe a little egg-nog - not a big deal.  But I've tried two drinks that I now want to make part of our normal routine in the future.  

I usually have a green smoothie every day - and love it.  (Makes me less anxious about getting enough green veggies)  I decided to try layering my normal green smoothie with a red strawberry smoothie.  If watermelon was in season now - I'd know exactly WHICH recipe to use (see this post on Strawberry/Watermelon Smoothies HERE).  I used similar proportions, but eliminated the watermelon.  Still delicious.  Layering takes two blender jars - but you could quickly rinse out and reuse the same jar if you only have one.

We also love hot chocolate.  But that involves another pan on the stove, and careful attention so it doesn't boil over.  Milk has that annoying quality of foaming when heated.  Crockpot hot chocolate doesn't have any of these problems.  It sits in the background quietly warming until you are ready for it.  

I (personally) thought this hot chocolate was not sweet enough.  But others disagree, and love the fact that it is rich and chocolatey without being overly sweet.  You can always ADD sugar (or marshmallows) and remedy that yourself.  Using a crockpot is genius on a busy morning like Christmas.  

Crockpot Hot Chocolate:  (recipe found on SEVERAL websites)

10-oz can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated!)
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup dry baking cocoa - (should not be sweetened)
1-1/2 tsp vanilla (real vanilla is a must, not artificial)
7-1/2 cups warm water

Combine all ingredients in crockpot.  Cover and cook on high (for 2 hours) - OR - low (for 4 hours).

Depending on your individual crockpot, you may notice the edges start to burn.  The hot chocolate isn't ruined, but be careful not to scrape the sides or bottom when stirring and serving so the burned bits don't get distributed throughout.  Serve with whipped cream, marshmallows, peppermint bits, and/or any other thing you enjoy with hot chocolate.

Christmas Red/Green Smoothies

In two separate blender jars, combine the following:

RED layer:
2 cups frozen strawberries
2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
1-2 cups water
1 tsp vanilla

GREEN layer:
2 handfuls green spinach
l large banana
1/2 cucumber (optional)
1 cup frozen mango chunks
1-2 cups frozen pineapple chunks

Blend using "smoothie" or "ice crush" setting on blender.  You may need to run it through the cycle a few times to completely combine/crush frozen ingredients.  If your smoothie gets stuck (being frozen) - simply stir and add a small amount of water to loosen it and make it easier to blend.

Carefully layer each color alternately in short drinking glasses.  Insert a red striped straw and serve.

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