It’s the middle of December, and the winter holidays are rapidly approaching. The air is crisp, and may cause you to gasp as you escape from a warm, cozy building and soon wish you hadn’t. You might decide to return to the warmth.
Or, you could take a quick stroll, hoping you don’t get chilled as you brave the icy weather in the name of fresh air and exercise. Fresh air can be overrated when it drops below a certain temperature. It’s best to decide for yourself.
Some of our favorite activities during December are shopping and eating. These tend to take place inside warm buildings with background music. Holiday tunes softly playing in a restaurant filled with cheerful, chatty people can be festive.
However, Christmas oldies blasting into an empty restroom as you temporarily inhabit a stall can be somewhat unsettling. Some people find the entire holiday season disconcerting. Family, friends, shopping, visiting, traveling, working, fitting everything in, conflicts, drama, job loss, and illness tend to add stress and dark clouds to an otherwise bright sunny sky.
There is, however, a recipe for comfort and joy during this chilly and hectic season. I offer two words to warm the chilliest disposition: hot cocoa.
Even those with lactose intolerance can indulge with careful substitution. For chocophobics, there is carob. But I have a recipe with somewhat traditional ingredients that is quick, easy, and instantly satisfying.
First, choose an eight ounce mug. Then measure one-third of a cup of instant, non-fat dry milk, and place it in the cup. Now add two tablespoons of cocoa powder. Most real cocoa powders call for four tablespoons, but I believe this is too much. You decide. Next fill the cup with cold water, and stir until smooth. Microwave on high for one to one and a half minutes, depending on your microwave. Stir again, and enjoy. Don’t burn your tongue, and you will find yourself smiling uncontrollably!