This winter has been depressingly mild. Warm temperatures and not enough snow. About the same level of gusto as my creativity, in fact.
Over cocktails with a girlfriend last week, I mentioned that I am not making much of anything. No jewelry, no blog posts, no journal entries, neglected crochet...it's a long list. I couldn't articulate why the urge to create seems to have left me. She expressed sympathy, saying, in her gentle and sweet way, that she loves the creative side of me, describing it as unique and special.
I need to find more time for the facets of me that I miss. This morning, I have cleared off the messy piles in my studio, and over the weekend I worked a few rows on my erstwhile cardigan. Slight progress. While I get myself in order, I have some hipstamatic photos to share with you. This silly iPhone app makes even the most humble pastrami sandwich look like something worth writing about. Expect to see more of this funky vintage style in this space....
Years ago I watched Chocolat and coveted the little pan the heroine uses to make hot cocoa. Just the right size for a few cups of milk and cocoa, with a spout for perfect pouring. It's a frivolous thing to want, but I thought maybe I'd find one in a thrift store some day. Unbelievably, years later, that is just what happened. Sweet serendipity. We had popped into the Humane Society Thrift store to collect a basket to hold a thank you gift for the cocktail companion mentioned above when I discovered it.
A vintage red le Creuset pot with a worn wooden handle and two pour spouts for $4. Yes, four dollars! Both my boys were with me when I saw it in September and I absolutely, unashamedly, boisterously crowed my joy right there among the mismatched coffee cups and rusty cheese graters. It didn't matter that we were in the throws of an Indian summer; hot cocoa was served the very next morning at breakfast.
Again I’ll mention the same girlfriend, for she introduced me to this hot cocoa recipe last year at Christmastime. It's so simple, and so delicious, that it has become a family staple of snow days, camping trips and après-ski ever since. In a large bowl, add two cups of sugar, one cup of excellent cocoa, a large handful of your favorite bittersweet chocolate chips, and one split and scraped vanilla bean. Whisk this together and decant it into a quart mason jar, along with the vanilla bean. In your new, beloved hot cocoa pot, add two tablespoons of this mixture for every cup of milk. Whisk over a gentle flame until steam rises and all the chocolate has melted. (Also delicious for adults with coffee liqueur, peppermint schnapps, brandy, whiskey, etc.) Enjoy.