You’re so HOT…Chocolate!

 Beverages, Cold Weather Favorites  Comments Off on You’re so HOT…Chocolate!
Jan 202015

Whether you’re watching football from the stands, commuting to work or simply hanging at home on a chilly evening,

Hot Chocolate  always hits the spot. Take a break from the usual and whip up one of these versions — you’re in for a treat.

The first chocolate beverage is believed to have been created by the Maya around 2,000 years ago, and a cocoa beverage was an essential part of Aztec culture by 1400 AD.

Back in the days of the Aztecs, cocoa beans were valuable not only for their culinary importance but also as currency.

Cocoa beans were often given as gifts during important ceremonies and festivals. Even so, they also used the roasted beans to make a Chocolate drink.
Their version is much different from the hot chocolate  we know today.

The Aztecs actually drank it cold, flavored with wine and chili peppers, and not at all sweet. The beverage became popular in Europe after being introduced from Mexico in the New World and has undergone multiple changes since then.

Until the 19th century, hot chocolate was even used medicinally to treat ailments such as liver and stomach diseases.

When it hit London (in the 1700s), chocolate houses became popular and very trendy. It was the English who started adding milk to their chocolate and it was enjoyed as an after-dinner beverage.

Today, hot chocolate is consumed throughout the world and comes in multiple variations.

Which one will you choose to be your new favorite?

Peanut butter hot chocolate

CQ-Peanutbutter Hot Chocolate

Click here for a twist on standard hot chocolate, with a touch of peanut butter.

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate with Cream Cheese Whipped Cream

CQ-Red Velvet Hot Cocoa

You must try this Delicious Red velvet version

French Hot Chocolate


French hot chocolate is not for the casual chocolate-dabbler, the chocolate shy, or anyone with an aversion to heavy cream. It’s deep, dark, and utterly magnificent.

Vanilla Bean White Hot Chocolate

CQ-White hot chocolate

Oh this is heaven on earth~ absolutely delicious Vanilla Bean White Hot Chocolate. This yummy drink tastes mostly of the vanilla bean, with just a creamy hint of the white chocolate.

Marshmallow Cookies AND Cream Hot Chocolate

CQ- Cookies and cream hot chocolate

There is nothing better than kicking up your feet after a long and cold day and sipping on this glorious stuff. That’s right. Glorious. You will never have plain hot cocoa again!

Now that you have your favorite Hot chocolate, how about a tasty homemade marshmallow….


These taste so much better than store bought, they are light and soft, not gummy at all.  You will never buy marshmallows at the store again!


Grab your mugs. You can never give chocolate enough attention. …it’s chocolate!



Easy Homemade Marshmallows

 Beverages, Cold Weather Favorites  Comments Off on Easy Homemade Marshmallows
Jan 202015
Easy Homemade Marshmallows
Author: Gina B
[url href=”×300.jpg”][img src=”×300.jpg” width=”200″ height=”300″ class=”alignnone size-medium” title=”CQ-Marshmallows”][/url]
  • 4 Tablespoons (4 envelopes) Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup cold water (for gelatin)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup cold water (separate from the other one)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar to coat the marshmallows once they are done
  1. Soak the 4 envelopes of gelatin in 1 cup water and set aside.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, combine the 4 cups sugar and the other cup of water.
  3. Cook on the stove (while stirring) until sugar is dissolved,this will not take long.
  4. Add the gelatin to the cooking sugar.
  5. Bring to a boil. ( I stir a lot while this is cooking so that it does not burn)
  6. Once it has come to a boil, remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl, let cool down.
  7. Once it has cooled for a while (it can still be warm) add the salt and vanilla.
  8. The mixture will look like a clear liquid with maybe some white on top, don’t panic that is how its supposed to look.
  9. With an electric mixer, mix for what will seem like a long time (10 to 15 minutes).
  10. The mixture will start changing from clear to opaque to white.
  11. It will start to thicken and double in size.
  12. Once it has turned white and gotten pretty thick, pour it into a greased 11″x15″ glass baking pan.
  13. I use butter or margarine to grease the pan.
  14. Again, if you do not have this size pan, you can use a 9″x13″ but your marshmallows will be thicker.
  15. Let this set.
  16. Once it has set you can cut it with a knife (slide the knife through).
  17. Take out the sweet little cubes and roll them in powdered sugar so that they don’t stick together.


Marshmallow Cookies AND Cream Hot Chocolate

 Beverages, Cold Weather Favorites  Comments Off on Marshmallow Cookies AND Cream Hot Chocolate
Jan 202015
Marshmallow Cookies AND Cream Hot Chocolate
Author: Gina B
[url href=”×200.jpg”][img src=”×200.jpg” width=”300″ height=”200″ class=”alignnone size-medium” title=”CQ- Cookies and cream hot chocolate”][/url]
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup hot cocoa powder milk chocolate flavor
  • 5 Double Stuff Oreos Finely processed in a food processor
  • 1 tsp. marshmallow flavoring
  • 2 Double Stuff Oreos broken up for garnish
  • Marshmallow Flavored Ice Cream Topping for drizzle
  1. Warm up milk on stove until it becomes hot, but do not let it boil.
  2. Add in hot cocoa powder, finely ground/processed Oreo cookies and Marshmallow flavoring.
  3. Stir to combine well.
  4. Pour into two mugs.
  5. Top with whipping cream and drizzle with Marshmallow Ice Cream Topping.
  6. Sprinkle on some extra Oreo crumbs for garnish.


Vanilla Bean White Hot Chocolate

 Beverages, Cold Weather Favorites  Comments Off on Vanilla Bean White Hot Chocolate
Jan 202015
Vanilla Bean White Hot Chocolate
Author: Gina B
[url href=”×300.jpg”][img src=”×300.jpg” width=”200″ height=”300″ class=”alignnone size-medium” title=”CQ-White hot chocolate”][/url]
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1- 14.oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 squares of Ghiradelli White Baking Chocolate bar, chopped finely
  1. Slit the vanilla bean down the side and scrape out the black insides.
  2. Combine milk, pod, vanilla bean scrapings, and sweetened condensed milk and begin to warm over medium heat.
  3. Remove from heat once milk begins to steam (not boil).
  4. Remove pod and add chopped white chocolate, whisking well.
  5. Serve immediately.


French Hot Chocolate

 Beverages, Cold Weather Favorites  Comments Off on French Hot Chocolate
Jan 202015
French Hot Chocolate
Author: Gina B
[url href=”×300.jpg”][img src=”×300.jpg” width=”203″ height=”300″ class=”alignnone size-medium” title=”CQ-French-Hot-Chocolate”][/url]
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional, but delicious. Will intensify chocolate flavor)
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, at least 72%, chopped*
  • Giant bowl of whipped cream, for serving
  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, whisk together the whole milk, heavy cream, powdered sugar, and espresso powder until small bubbles appear around edges.
  2. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
  3. Remove from saucepan from heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until melted, returning the sauce to low heat if needed for the chocolate to melt completely.
  4. Serve warm, topped with lots of whipped cream


Red Velvet Hot Chocolate with Cream Cheese Whipped Cream

 Beverages, Cold Weather Favorites  Comments Off on Red Velvet Hot Chocolate with Cream Cheese Whipped Cream
Jan 202015
Red Velvet Hot Chocolate with Cream Cheese Whipped Cream
Author: Gina B
[url href=”×300.jpg”][img src=”×300.jpg” width=”290″ height=”300″ class=”alignnone size-medium” title=”CQ-Red Velvet Hot Cocoa”][/url]
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. red food coloring
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp. cream cheese
  • Cocoa powder for garnish
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  1. Start by pouring the heavy whipping cream into a stand mixer.
  2. Add the sugar.
  3. Begin mixing on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Right before it peaks and stiffens, stop mixing.
  5. Add the cream cheese.
  6. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes.
  7. That’s it for the whipped cream.
  8. Store it in the fridge while we work on the hot chocolate.
  9. Heat the 4 cups of milk in a saucepan on medium heat.
  10. Mix in the chocolate chips and salt, stirring continually until combined and completely warmed. Add the food coloring and stir to combine.
  11. Top with cream cheese whipped cream and lightly sprinkle with cocoa powder.


Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

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Jan 202015
Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate
Author: Gina B
[url href=”×300.jpg”][img src=”×300.jpg” width=”199″ height=”300″ class=”alignnone size-medium” title=”CQ-Peanutbutter Hot Chocolate”][/url]
  • 1 cup powder chocolate milk mix or powder cocoa mix
  • 8 cups hot water
  • 3/4 cup chocolate syrup
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Pour cocoa mix in a 3-4 quart slow cooker.
  2. Carefully stir in hot water.
  3. Stir in chocolate syrup.
  4. Cover and cook on low heat for 3-4 hours or on high for 90 minutes to 2 hours.
  5. Whisk in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth.
  6. Ladle cocoa into mugs. Serves nine.


Christmas in Puerto Rico

 Beverages, Easy Recipes, Holiday/Entertaining  Comments Off on Christmas in Puerto Rico
Dec 042014

Puerto Rico is an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands, the largest of which are Vieques, Culebra, and Mona. The main island of Puerto Rico is, by land area, the smallest of the Greater Antilles. With around 3.6 million people, it ranks third in population among that group of four islands, which include Cuba, Hispaniola and Jamaica. The capital and largest city is San Juan. Due to its location, Puerto Rico has a tropical climate and is subject to hot weather all-year-round.

a PR flag
Puerto Ricans are known for their unforgettable “parrandas or trullas navideñas”. A Parranda is when a small group of friends gathers together to “asaltar” or surprise another friend. It’s the Puerto Rican version of Christmas caroling.
The parranderos arrive at the destination and then very quietly gather by the front door. At a signal all start playing their instruments and singing. The parrandas usually begin after 10pm in order to surprise and wake the sleeping friend. The parranderos are invited in and refreshments, music and dance follow. Of course we don’t surprise unsuspecting victims. The parranderos are given plenty of “hints” beforehand by the homeowner that he is ready to receive a parranda.

a Parranda
The party goes on for an hour or two then everyone, including the owners of the house, leave to parrandear some more. The group grows as they offer their parranda at several houses during that night. At the last house probably around 3 or 4 in the morning the homeowner offers the traditional chicken soup or asopao de pollo. The party is over at dawn.
Part of the holiday festivities includes cooking a pig on a spit. Most Puerto Ricans will feel their Christmas was a little incomplete if they did not get to participate or enjoy an old fashioned lechón asao. Cooking the pig is a big event. The pig is purchased and prepared a couple of days ahead. On the “big day” the pig is mounted on a stick and put to cook as early at 4 in the morning. At least two people must be on “watch” with the pig to turn it and make sure all goes well. Friends and relatives begin arriving later in the morning (this is an all day party.) While the pig roasts there is lots of holiday music. Older women will be in the kitchen cooking side dishes that will accompany the lechón. Children will be playing tag and getting in trouble. Guests bring traditional holiday desserts.

Traditional Puerto Rican Christmas foods such as pasteles, lechón asado, arroz con dulce, tembleque, and coquito give Puerto Ricans a separate identity from the rest of the world. Before Puerto Rican traditions became influenced by American culture Christmas Day was a joyful day and some gifts were received at some houses, but it was not from San Nicolás. Santa couldn’t make it to the tropics in his hot wool suit with cap and reindeer. Our holiday gifts used to be from Los Reyes Magos.
Our Reyes celebration begins on the eve of Three Kings Day.

a Pig a PR food

On the evening of January 5th Puerto Rican children go outside with scissors and shoe boxes to cut grass for the camels to eat. The grass goes into shoe boxes and the boxes are placed under the beds of parents, grandparents, godparents, uncles, aunts, etc. Some- time during the night Los Reyes come and while their camels eat the grass Los Reyes fill the shoe boxes to overflowing with gifts, and sweets, and many wonderful things.
Coquito is an eggnog-like alcoholic beverage traditionally served in Puerto Rico. It is made with rum, egg yolk, coconut milk, sweet condensed milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. The drink is commonly associated with the Christmas holidays, where it is traditionally served along with other holiday food.
Variations of the drink include flavored rum or spiced rum, coconut cream, lemon zest, ice cream, ginger, ground nut horchata, vanilla, chocolate and evaporated milk; these ingredients are not required but are used to make the taste sweeter. Sometimes Coquito is made with pitorro as its alcoholic base. Coquito is served in shot glasses or small cups and it is usually sprinkled with grated nutmeg or cinnamon.


Click here for the recipe
El Museo del Barrio in New York City hosts an annual Coquito Tasting Contest during the month of December.
El Museo del Barrio, often known simply as El Museo (the museum) is a museum located in the East Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan. El Museo specializes in Latin American and Caribbean art, with an emphasis on works from Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican community in New York City.

a el museo del barrio

Christmas in Puerto Rico is a big deal, bigger than in most places and bigger than you might imagine, if you get the chance to visit Puerto Rico, you will enjoy one of the most festive Christmas seasons in the world. And work on your tan as well.

 Posted by at 6:54 pm

Coquito – Puerto Rican Egg Nog

 Beverages, Christmas, Entertaining, Holiday/Entertaining  Comments Off on Coquito – Puerto Rican Egg Nog
Nov 282014
Coquito – Puerto Rican Egg Nog
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
[url href=”×300.jpg”][img src=”×300.jpg” width=”205″ height=”300″ class=”alignnone size-medium” title=”a-coquito”][/url]
  • 1 – 12 oz can Evaporated Milk
  • 1- 14 oz can Condensed Milk
  • 1- can Coco Lopez brand Cream of Coconut
  • 6 oz Bacardi or your favorite White rum
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Coconut or Vanilla Extract
  1. Mix or blend all ingredients together
  2. Pour into a decorative bottle or re-use the rum bottle
  3. Refrigerate for minimum of 1 hour , before serving
  4. Serve Ice cold with a stick of cinnamon as decoration