All Kinds of Sweetness, Going On.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of NECTRESSE™Sweetener for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.


     Every day, my morning starts off with sweetness, when one of my triplets gets me my coffee, and delivers it right to my sleepy-self, with a kiss and a hug.  A day is bound to be good, when it kicks off with 2 of my favorite things in this world: my kids & my coffee. 

     They know just how I like my coffee too.  A small plop of light cream, and 1 teaspoon of sugar, please.
Three or four years ago, we switched from using white granulated sugar, to sugar in the raw.  If I was going to use sugar in my coffee, the raw form seemed to me, at least in some small way, to be a better choice.  The only time I use sugar at all really, is in my coffee, and while baking.  The baked goods are mostly for my kids and husband. Or, that’s what I tell myself anyway. Of course, [Read more…]

Valentine Chocolate Covered Spoons

Chocolate covered spoons are something we have been intending to try making, for awhile now. There really needs to be no upcoming holiday to make them. But when there is a holiday coming up, it’s another good reason to go ahead and make them!
If you have never heard of chocolate covered spoons, they are just what they sound like they are:  spoons covered in chocolate!  And then prettied up.  They can be used to to stir your coffee, hot chocolate, warm milk, etc – to add some chocolatey flavor to your drink, or make licking your spoon that much more enjoyable!  Meanwhile, if you’ve made a whole batch, they just look pretty sitting in any container in your kitchen.
Chocolate covered spoons can be made as simply or fancifully as you’d like. You’re the designer, with each and every spoon, and that’s the fun of it!  I already had an idea of how we wanted to make some chocolate covered spoons for Valentine’s Day, so that’s what we’re sharing with you in this post.

Here are a bunch of our spoons, already finished. I thought they looked nice in this simple white gravy boat. We made even more than this though.  We’ll be using some ourselves, but we really made them for the kids to give to their friends. And our oldest made some for her whole basketball team. lol.  I made a simple Valentine card printable, to go with each spoon, and you can get that for yourself HERE, if making these spoons is an idea you’d like to use for your kid’s friends or classmates, too.  It’ll make a unique Valentine, don’t you think?

I did not photograph the step-by-step process, but I think it is simple enough directions to explain.   All you need is some hard plastic spoons, *chocolate to melt, a tad bit of shortening (optional, I guess), and whatever you’d like to decorate the chocolate covered spoons with!   We used Valentine sprinkles and marshmallows for this batch.  But you can drizzle with white melted chocolate after, use sprinkles on other (holiday) colors, cover in nuts…whatever you’d like!

*Because we have a boy with a severe peanut allergy, we cannot use the chocolate melts (like Wilton’s) that are sold in stores in the baking / candy supplies aisles, because they are not guaranteed peanut-safe.  They are convenient though, and melt very nicely, if you can use them!  Since we cannot, we use Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Chips, and so the best we can with those. I believe we can find peanut-safe melts online though, if we planned ahead.

We got everything out that we needed:  spoons, chocolate (chips), sprinkles and marshmallows, and shortening.  You can melt the chocolate in a mug or a glass measuring cup – just choose something deep. We got a few cookie sheets out, and covered them with some wax paper.  

We began melting about 1/2 cup of chocolate chips at a time, in a mug, in the microwave, with just a 1/2 teaspoon of shortening. (I normally avoid shortening for anything, but a tad bit does help the chocolate melt and stir up smoothly.)   We started at a minute, and then did 10-1secomd intervals, stirring completely in between, until all of the chocolate is melted and smooth. 

Two important tips:   1) You do not want to overheat the chocolate, or it will be ruined. Little by little is the way to go, and add a dab more shortening if you feel it needs it.  2)  I use the handle end of a wooden spoon, for stirring chocolate.  I saw that tip somewhere a long time ago, as it doesn’t heat and cool like metal does.  Stir rapidly, for smooth and shiny chocolate.

When your chocolate is melted, dip a spoon!  It does take a little patience to wait for each spoon to stop dripping off excess, unless you want to make a big mess.  Then, over an extra the cookie sheet or wherever, sprinkle on your decorations!  For the ones we were adding marshmallows to, we pressed those in first, and then added the sprinkles.  We had fun with our little Valentine variety. Simply rest the handle of the spoon on the edge of a cookie sheet, and the wet chocolate end of the spoon on the wax paper to harden.  As soon as the sheet was full of spoons, we put the sheet in the refrigerator, to further harden.

A couple of other things we have learned:   The spoons really need to be kept in a cool place. Cold, is best. SOME of our spoons, developed white specs on the chocolate the next day.  We know that tends to happen sometimes when the chocolate is overheated any amount.   It could very well have something to do with our needing to use chocolate chips too.  (You know how milk chocolate chips have that white-ish coating sometimes?)  But we did notice, that they spoons we left int he coldest place, are still looking perfect!! Those are the ones we’re giving away! lol.  Regardless……the little change from the smooth chocolate you see will not hurt you or any different.  It’s just prettier to prevent it, if you can.

To package nicely, we got some skinny clear bags sold in the baking/candy making aisles. They have some for chocolate covered pretzels, and that what we used!  We just cut them down to about 8 inches, and they were perfect!  Then we tied on curling ribbon, and curled!  As I said, I designed a Valentine for each spoon, for these.  But this is a fun project for you (maybe with our kids too!),  and it’s certainly a pleasant treat that will bring a smile to anyone’s face, when given away, or served with a hot drink!


Banana Cream Cocoa

If you love chocolate and bananas, you just might love this hot sweet treat, in a cup:  Banana Cream Cocoa.

I do love chocolate. Don’t all women?  I also love bananas. But somewhere along the way, I saw a pattern, and realized eating raw bananas is not a good idea for me. My stomach goes to hell and back, trying to digest it.  Lots of pain involved. (Does anyone else have this issue?).  But, I can eat bananas cooked in all other forms:  banana bread, banana nut crunch, banana pancakes, Banana Hannah, (just kidding.  Wasn’t me. Swear.)  And once upon a time, I loved eating chocolate covered bananas. Oh how I loved those.  So Banana Cream Cocoa sounded good to me!  We made some yesterday.

Participating Ingredients:

  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 chopped banana
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 4 oz. chopped milk chocolate*
  • 1 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate*

*This time, we chopped chocolate bars with a serrated blade knife.

Bring 3 cups of milk…..

1 chopped banana….

2  Tbsp. sugar….

…and 1 tsp. of cinnamon to a boil, whisking frequently.

Add 4 oz. chopped milk chocolate, and 1 oz. bittersweet chocolate….

….and mix some more.

…until all of the chocolate is melted nicely.

Remove from heat, and let sit 1 minute.

Pour mixture into blender….

….and puree.

Divide into 4 mugs, and go bananas!

Note:  My kids and husband loved it, but a couple of them did think it was very strong in banana, and maybe cinnamon, so you may want to cut those amounts-but of course it’s a personal taste.  I found, when it cooled down enough in my mug, it was delicious!

I am looking into having all of the recipes in the Vittles section, offer a printable version somehow. Probably a page print out, with the recipe instructions in the simplest form, minus the chit-chat and photos.  Do you like that idea?

Cocoa Colada

If  “sometimes you feel like a nut”, and could go for an Almond Joy, this Cocoa Colada just might be a quick fix for you.  If you bake quite a bit, you may already have all of the ingredients. Or you may not.  But the few things you need are worth running to the store for. Of course, then you could just pick up an Almond Joy, I suppose.  But, that’s beside the point.

Here’s a super simple easy recipe, for a little coco-nutty twist on hot cocoa! Like most of my recipes, this one too is ‘kid approved’ by our kids.

Participating Ingredients:  2 14oz. cans of coconut milk, a cup of water, 1/2 cup of sugar, 8 oz. of chopped milk chocolate and coconut flakes, for garnishing. (How easy is this?!)

We needed to pick up the coconut milk, but we already had milk chocolate chips, and decided to use them. They need to be chopped up pretty well.

If you have one of these handy choppers, you can use it instead of a knife and cutting board.

Take a couple handfuls of coconut flakes, spread them out on a pan, and lightly toast them in whatever way is easier for you. We used our toaster oven.  * Warning:  you really need to keep an eye on it while toasting. Once it starts to toast, it can burn very fast due to the coconut oil of the flakes.  (I forgot to take a photo of ours after toasting.)

Bring the 2 cans of coconut milk and 1 cup of water, to a simmer over low heat. Whisk now and then to keep from sticking at the bottom.

Add 1/2 cup of sugar…..

…and the 8 oz. of chopped milk chocolate….

…and whisk until melted.

Divide cocoa evenly into 4 mugs, and garnish with the toasted coconut. (If you didn’t burn it. ; )

You can also spike it with a little coconut rum, if you’d like!

But in that case, please don’t serve it to the children.

Our kiddos loved it!!   Not much conversation. Lots of sipping.

There was only enough made for 4 servings, and my kiddos had been playing out in the cold for a long time.

So I let them have it all.

Because I’m thoughtful like that.

Even with chocolate.

I know. Call me a saint. ; )

My kids all loved me enough, too, to let me have a sip of each of theirs.

See?  Love that goes around, comes around.

I had a plan to make and share a Banana Cream Cocoa recipe as well, with this one.  But since it was 60 degrees out today,  I thought maybe I should just hurry up and share this one.

Wishing you just one more chilly day, to try it for yourself!

Serving Up a Hot Cider Drink, just as you ordered….


Many of you did indeed request the hot cider drink simmering on our stove the other day.  I must say, our kids can’t get enough of it.  We all started a WICKED FUN project out in the bitter cold and snow today. (That’ll be coming up in a few days or so, on the blog here.)  Soon after we came in to warm up, we decided to make another batch of this cider to enjoy.  It smells and tastes SO good.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Please note:  The ingredient amounts listed below must make one-big-batch!  We’ve been making it by halving the amounts, and it’s been plenty enough for at least 2 cups each, for our family of 6.  But for many more people, it might be best to make the whole batch.  This WOULD be a GREAT treat to serve, if you are entertaining a small party.  I think guests would be impressed with such a delightful warm beverage, and appreciate it coming in from the cold too.  So here it is.  If you make it, let us know what the verdict is at your home!



Spiced Cider Wassail
(Makes about 4 quarts)
2 quarts apple cider
1 quart orange juice
1 quart apricot nectar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
6 broken pieces of cinnamon
1 tablespoon whole cloves
one orange, sliced thin
one lemon, sliced thin
whole cloves

In a stainless steel pan, bring to a boil the cider, juices, cinnamon and cloves. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Transfer to a punch bowl if you’d like.  Stud the orange and lemon slices with whole cloves and float them in the wassail. Serve in punch cups or small mugs.


I must admit, I haven’t used the word ‘Wassail’ yet.  It’s a bit too fancy for my simple tongue. Not to mention my simple mind, because I had no idea what that word was.  So since I was posting the recipe, I thought it might be wise to look it up first. Here’s the definition, for what it’s worth.  But just feel free to call the drink whatever you want, like I do.  : )


Main Entry:
\ˈwä-səl also wä-ˈsāl\
Middle English wæs hæil, washayl, from Old Norse ves heill be well, from ves (imperative singular of vera to be) + heill healthy — more at was, whole
12th century
1 : an early English toast to someone’s health 2 : a hot drink that is made with wine, beer, or cider, spices, sugar, and usually baked apples and is traditionally served in a large bowl especially at Christmastime 3 : riotous drinking : revelry


*Love our blog? We want to connect with you around the net! How about subscribing to our blog in the sidebar, joining our Google Friend Connecting, ‘Liking’ our Page on Facebook, or following me (Laura) on Twitter?