Wintry weather is upon us in most of the nation. Even here in Los Angeles, it's brisk and cold, with gusts of wind making it even chillier.
You could nip into one of those chain-store coffee houses and buy an overpriced cup of hot cocoa to take the frost off your nose.
I've been known to do that, sure.
But the prices! To pay $3.50 or even $3 for something that costs about 35 cents to make? It staggers the mind. Think how much money each of us could save if we stopped going for just one year to these establishments. One year of, say, a daily $3 drink, and let's say 300 times a year (to account for those odd days you don't go). That's $900. That's a lot of change.
All that money that could be going into a 401K or your child's college tuition or your emergency fund or paying down that student loan.
It frosts me. It should frost you!
So, to warm up--and to save a ton of money--try this. It's the best cup of cocoa you'll ever drink. You can make it at home for pennies, and you don't even need to dirty a sauce pan.
Into a tall mug, add:
1 tbsp. good-quality cocoa powder--Valrhona, Scharffen Berger, Droste, or even ol' Hershey's
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
Stir these together with a spoon, then add a spoonful of water or milk to make a paste. Stir until smooth. Add a cup of milk and stir again. If you want, add some mini-marshmallows or two large marshmallows, and microwave for 90 seconds.
Remove from microwave, stir in 1/4 tsp. of vanilla extract, and enjoy. If you want to, of course you can add whipped cream on top.
And drizzle chocolate sauce on top of that. And add a candy cane. To stir with, of course.
Because, after all, it's a free country.