A little bit of warmth on a cool fall day {Swiss Style Mocha & Instant Spiced Tea}

I love a hot drink on a cool fall day!  I drink coffee year round (primarily for caffeine, of course) but I drink a lot of hot tea once the weather cools down.  I’m not a big fan of instant drinks but these two are an exception.  They are definitely not gourmet drinks but very good and nice to have on hand if you want a quick hot drink to warm up in this cool weather.  They are also nice as holiday gifts – just fill a jar with some of the mix and package with a nice mug and instructions on mixing (I’ve done this before with the Spiced Tea and it was a big hit!)

Note: I found multiple versions of the Instant Spiced Tea recipe.  They all taste very similar and are all listed below.

Swiss Style Mocha

Swiss Style Mocha

1/2 c. instant coffee

1/2 c. sugar

2 T. unsweetened cocoa

1 c. nonfat dry milk powder

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

~ For each cup of hot water, add 1 T. + 1 tsp. of mix {This was too weak for me – I used about 2 T. per cup).

Instant Spiced Tea

Instant Spiced Tea – version one

2 c. Tang

1 c. instant lemon flavored tea

2 c. sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cloves

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

~ For each cup of hot water, add 2 tsp. of mix.

Instant Spiced Tea – version two

2 c. Tang

1 c. sugar

1/2 c. instant tea (not lemon flavored)

.6 oz lemonade mix

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

~ For each cup of hot water, add 1 T. + 1 tsp. of mix.

Instant Spiced Tea – version three

2 c. Tang

2 1/2 c. sugar

1 pkg. lemonade mix

2 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 1/2 to 2 c. instant tea (not lemon flavored)

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

~ For each cup of hot water, add 2 tsp. of mix.

Instant Spiced Tea – version four

1 large jar Tang

1 small jar instant tea (not lemon flavored)

1 or 2 pkg. lemonade mix

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

~ For each cup of hot water, add 2 tsp. of mix.


Fall is here! {Broccoli Soup & Wheat Germ Yogurt Bread}

I LOVE fall!  I love scarves and sweaters, the sound of leaves crunching beneath my shoes, open windows, and soup!  I really love soup!  I grew up eating this Broccoli soup which my mom got from Mema and now that fall is officially here I thought I would welcome it with memories of my childhood and a little dose of comfort food.

And what better companion to soup than a wonderful loaf of homemade bread.  Ok, I have to admit something now… even though this blog is called ‘Mema’s Kitchen’, some of these recipes are actually things Papa made.  Most of his handwritten recipes are the breads and this is one of them.  I have never tried this one before and it was delicious!  Perfect density and easy to make (I guess it helped that I had my mom’s super cool Kitchenaid mixer with the dough hook!)  We sliced it and served with butter tonight but mom wants to try it toasted with jam in the morning.  I think I shall try that as well!

Broccoli Soup

Broccoli Soup

1 T. oil

6 T. chopped onion (I used purple onion)

2 cans chicken broth

4 oz. thin egg noodles

salt to taste

1 pkg. frozen chopped broccoli

3 c. milk

1/2 lb. grated american cheese (we’ve always used cheddar instead)

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and saute the onion.  Add chicken broth and bring to boil.  Add noodles and salt and cook 3 to 4 minutes.  Stir in chopped broccoli and cook 4 minutes.  Add milk and cheese.  Stir until the cheese is melted and broccoli is heated through.

I love to garnish with more shredded cheese!

Wheat Germ Yogurt Bread – sliced and ready for dinner!

Wheat Germ Yogurt Bread – makes 2 round loaves

4 1/2 to 5 c. unsifted flour

1/3 c. instant nonfat dry milk

2 T. sugar

2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. plain yogurt (I used plain greek yogurt)

2 pkg. dry yeast

1 1/3 c. water

2 T. margarine

In a large bowl, mix 1-3/4 c. flour, dry milk, sugar, salt, & undissolved yeast.  Combine water, yogurt, and margarine in a saucepan.  Heat over low heat until liquids are warm (120 to 130 degrees) – margarine does not need to completely melt.  Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer.  Add 1/2 c. flour and beat 2 minutes at high speed.  Stir in wheat germ and enough additional flour to make a stiff dough.  Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Divide dough in half and shape into 2 round balls.  Place on a greased baking sheet.  Cut a circle in top of each loaf 1/2 inch deep and 1 inch from the edge.  Cover and let rise 45 minutes in a warm place.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Let the Holiday Season Begin! {Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies & Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake}

Rowan’s birthday is mid-September and I always feel that his birthday is the beginning of my holiday season.  First a birthday, then Halloween, then Thanksgiving with 3 niece/nephew birthdays thrown in around that time, then Jonas’ birthday, quickly followed by Christmas, and topped off with a New Year’s celebration.  I admit, this is my favorite time of the year but by New Year’s I’m done with the holidays and ready for a day (or a week!) at the spa!

This year, there is a severe peanut allergy in Rowan’s class.  He asked me to bring chocolate chip cookies for this birthday and with the allergy I cannot use pre-made cookie dough bought at the grocery store.  So why not try another one of Mema’s cookie recipes, right!?  Now, I am not the best at baking cookies.  In fact, other than no-bakes and pre-made cookie dough, I’m rather lousy at it.  I can successfully bake a cake or pie from scratch, I can make fantastic casseroles, I bake bread every week, but cookies are another story – they always flatten on me and become crispy.  But I’m always up for a challenge and thought I’d give it another go with the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe I found in Mema’s stash.  And what do you know… this one actually worked!  They are moist and delicious!  I was looking at this recipe and thought it looked like something that would come from a package so I checked my brown sugar, my bag of chocolate chips, and finally found where Mema got this recipe – there is an almost identical recipe on my butter crisco package.  I’m thinking maybe she got this off an older package of butter crisco (the recipe on my package calls for different kinds of chocolate chips and no pecans)?  Wherever she got the recipe, these are very very good!

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 c. butter crisco shortening

1 1/4 c. firmly packed light brown sugar

2 T. milk

1 T. vanilla

1 egg

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 c. chopped pecans (optional – I omitted these with the nut allergy in Rowan’s class)

Mix together crisco, brown sugar, milk, & vanilla.  Add egg and mix in thoroughly.  Sift together flour, salt, & baking soda.  Add to wet mixture and mix.  Add chocolate chips and pecans.  Drop onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.  Yields 3 dozen cookies.

In addition to making cookies for Rowan’s class I also needed to make something for his birthday party the next day.  Of course he asked for a chocolate cake (big surprise!) so I used Mema’s “Chocolate Chip Cake” recipe, slathered it with a homemade chocolate butter cream frosting and topped it with some candles and we were ready for a party.  Oh my… very moist and delicious!  The boys ate it up and the adults came back for seconds.  One thing to note – the title of this recipe is quite deceiving – this is not a yellow cake with chocolate chips.  This is an extremely rich chocolate cake with chocolate chips in it so I am calling it a “Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake” – just so we know what we’re getting into here 🙂  Top it with chocolate frosting and you have made a little piece of heaven for any chocolate lover out there!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake

1 Duncan Hines Butter Cake Mix

1 c. oil

1/4 c. water

1 small pkg. Jello chocolate instant pudding mix

4 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

6 oz. chocolate chips

1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Mix together cake mix, oil, water, pudding mix, eggs, & vanilla.  Add chocolate chips and chopped nuts.  Pour into a greased & floured bundt pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes.  Do not overbake.

So… happy birthday to Rowan and a big welcome to the holiday season!  I’m not quite ready for you yet but I think I can make do 🙂