Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summertime [and a treat!]

It may not be summer on the calendar, but it sure feels like it outside!  My goodness, the temperatures have already soared into the 90s with the humidity so high that my hair won't even curl.  The yard is full of ant hills and weeds, and the air is so sticky I can barely breathe.  Or maybe I can barely breathe because of this baby pressing ever closer to my lungs.  I'm going to be brave and post a picture.  No, this is not what I meant by "treat" in the title; keep reading for that.  I could go on and on with self-criticism but this is me, 19 weeks pregnant.  For the record, I think the side view is the worst.

Another sign of summer is hanging baskets.  I've always wanted some, and received these as a gift from Justin's grandmother.  I sure hope I don't kill them.  If they die, I'm blaming it on the heat.  Don't you think they're just so cheerful?

Another major sign that hot weather is here to say is my blender becoming a permanent fixture on the countertop.  I've been making smoothies almost every day since I've been pregnant to get lots of fruit in me, but now Justin is joining in on the frozen action.  The poor guy hardly ever gets coffee anymore because I don't ever want to drink it, and therefore don't think to make it for him before he leaves for work.  Now that the weather has warmed up, he's all about his iced coffees and homemade frappes.  I'll try to remember to write down what I've been putting together for him because they are so goooood!  I do want to share an a-maz-ing recipe for Frozen Hot Chocolate.  If you click on the link you'll find the printable from Tasty Kitchen, but I'll share it here too.  There are a few extra steps to making this drink but it is so worth it.
Ingredients [some have been modified from the original version to reduce sugar]
2 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa
2 Tbsp butter [yes, butter!]
1/3 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips [you could use milk chocolate]
1/3 cup White chocolate chips
12 oz. can of Evaporated milk, divided
4 1/2 cups of ice
Homemade whipped cream
Marshmallows [if you fancy them]

Here's the extra step: using a double boiler [just a pot with 2-3 inches of boiling water with a heat-safe bowl on top], whisk together the sugar, cocoa, and butter until it becomes a paste.  Because I am impatient, I melted the butter in the microwave first and then added it.  Once that's mixed smoothly, add in the chocolate chips.  When they melt, add in 1/2 cup of the evaporated milk.  Stir this until it's smooth, or looks like this:

Now you need to let this come down to room temperature.  I popped it in the fridge for about 10 minutes and was good to go.  Add the 4 1/2 cups of ice to your blender and break it up first if necessary.  Then add in the rest of the evaporated milk and the chocolate mixture, blending until smooth.  Pour into frosty glasses and top with homemade whipped cream and/or toasted marshmallows.  This easily makes 4 medium-ish milkshakes or 2 huge ones [as pictured above].  The best part is, the sugar isn't too high and I used fat-free evaporated milk.  It seemed weird to me to not use ice cream, but it is sooo good and you don't have to feel too guilty about it!  Enjoy!

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