Healthy 2-Ingredient Hot Chocolate

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2-ingredient hot chocolate: Easy like Sunday morning

Now that it’s finally cold here in NYC, Operation Home Body is in full effect. And that means I’ll keep my tail home with my Pinterest boards and cookbooks at the ready, and maybe even get around to updating this blog a little more often. While I was away over Christmas, I wowed my nieces and nephews by making cocoa with nary a packet or powder, which made me realize, once again, that we’ve over complicated one of the simplest things on earth. On winter weekends, the kiddo and I fire up the frother and make an amazing cup of hot chocolate faster than you can boil water, rip open an envelope, and stir.

Here’s the ingredient list from our old friend, the Swiss Miss:

Ingredients: sugar, modified whey, cocoa (processed with alkali), hydrogenated coconut oil, nonfat milk, calcium carbonate, less than 2% of: salt, dipotassium phosphate, mono- and diglyderides, artificial flavor, carrageenan. Contains milk.

And here’s my version:

Decent quality dark chocolate and MILK — yup, that’s it.

Healthier Hot Cocoa

1 cup of milk of your choice (cow’s, goat, almond, whatever floats your boat)

2-3 dark chocolate discs (I use Jacques Torres’ baking discs for everything), or about a tablespoon of dark chocolate chips — look for about 60% dark chocolate to add just the right amount of sweetness

A sprinkle of cinnamon

Using frothing attachment on your coffee machine, or in saucepan on your stove top, scald the milk until it’s very hot. Drop 2-3 baking discs into the bottom of mug and pour the milk on top. Stir to “melt” the chocolate at the bottom of the cup. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve!

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Snack Attack: Healthy Pumpkin “Pop Tarts”

Healthy Pumpkin "Pop Tarts"
Healthy Pumpkin “Pop Tarts”

I can’t believe I’m even typing this. Just last week, I was the person complaining that dreaded “pumpkin spice season” is starting way too early. That said, the kid is going to to her first pumpkin farm field trip next week and I have a can of pumpkin burning a year-old hole in the pantry. Plus, I need snacks for school and activities to keep the kid busy so here I am. While these little snacks are technically a dessert, they’re pretty low in sugar and super-simple to make for school lunches and snacks  … so why not now? (Plus, who am I kidding? I love Halloween…)

Pumpkin “Pop Tarts”

For the crust

1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons very cold butter

Mix flour with salt in a bowl. Add cold butter and cut in a in food processor. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, until dough forms into a ball. Gather up and pat into a round disc. While you make the filling (see below), cover and refrigerate dough for 30 minutes before rolling out.

For the filling

1 15 oz. can of pumpkin
2 Tbsp of agave nectar, maple syrup, or honey
1/2 Tsp of cinnamon
1/4 Tsp of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You’ll also need your Halloween cookie cutters — go grab them or a sharp knife to create pumpkin and ghost shapes. In a small bowl, mix together the can of pumpkin, natural sweetener, and spices until incorporated (go ahead and taste it — you might need to adjust the spice and sweetness, depending on your tastes or your child’s). Using cookie cutters, cut multiple shapes (top and bottom) into rolled-out dough. Take one of the “shapes” and spread a thin layer of pumpkin mixture on each and top with the corresponding piece of dough. Crimp each piece together with your hands or a fork until sealed. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

You’ll probably have some of the pumpkin mixture left over at the end. Don’t throw it away! Stir it into oatmeal or hot cereal in the morning — it’s delicious!

Only 41 more days to Halloween…

Love,

The Lunch Lady

Hey Moms, Up Your Brown Bag Skills With This Easy Trick!

Hearty fruit salad
Hearty fruit salad

It’s only the second week of school and we’ve been felled by the flu — or some other kind of school-borne illness (did I mention she’s only been back for 4 days?). Since both Lady M and I are both sick, I have the patience for just 5 minutes of “extra” tonight. As a result, I’m dusting off this fruit salad with yogurt dip for tomorrow’s lunch. I’ll use the seasonal stuff from the fridge: cantaloupe (you need a large firm fruit to make the hearts), peaches, and apples. Lady M likes plain Greek yogurt with a splash of agave (as shown), but you could use any prepared yogurt your child likes for the dip.

Love,

The Lunch Lady

Beat The Back-to-School Blues With This Easy Breakfast

We’re still getting used to Pre-K over here. Breakfast in bed always helps.

Heart in the hole.
Toad in the hole with a heart

Toast two slices of whole-grain bread. Cut a heart-shape in both slices of bread with a cookie cutter (I used a heart, but any shape will do). Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan, add one slice of bread, crack an egg into the heart, allow to set for a minute, then place the second piece of bread on top. Flip the sandwich after the egg white has set (no longer runny) to brown the other side. Serve!

Love,

The Lunch Lady