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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

Monday's Menu: Hot Cocoa Mix and Warm Citrus Punch

I love coffee because it's HOT. (Oh, yeah, and the caffeine. Did I mention I'm incoherent until my first cup of coffee in the morning?) A mug of anything warm and steamy is reason enough to drag myself from this screen and summon up excuses for why this can be put off.

I've got two great recipes for you. One is for a homemade cocoa mix that will keep your pantry stocked all winter long. It makes a lot. An adorable gift idea is to pour some of the dry mix into a mason jar and top it with crushed peppermint or marshmallows. Add a bow if you've got one, and voilà. You've got a hostess gift on your hands.

The citrus punch is something to make when you're hosting a holiday gathering and want your house smelling festive. Serve what's leftover to your kids for breakfast as a special treat, and make sure to tell them where the recipe came from. (I'd like some free hugs and smooches for this one.)

And don't forget. Hot drinks demand that you simply pause and sip slowly. This goodness can't be rushed.

Hot Cocoa Mix

16 ounces of Nestle's Quik (More if you want it really chocolate-y)

8 quarts of instant dry milk

8 ounces dry coffee creamer

1 cup of powdered sugar

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Fill each mug 1/3-1/2 full with dry mix and adding steaming hot water. Stir, and enjoy!

Hot Citrus Punch

1/2 gallon apple cider (the pulpy, refrigerated stuff)

2 cups of orange juice

1 cup of pineapple juice

1/2 cup of lemon juice

1/2 cup of sugar (to taste; you can also eliminate it altogether)

3 cinnamon sticks

12 whole cloves (in a tea ball)

Simmer until heated through. Fish out the cinnamon sticks and cloves before serving.