Weekend Kitchen: Loco cocoa


By Julia Westhoff

Food as bribery – do or don’t? I know it’s controversial, but in my house, it works. Need rooms to get cleaned? A mini Snickers bar will get the job done in a jiffy. Begging for good behavior during sister’s doctor appointment? A bag of old Christmas cookies will work magic. But probably the most used food bribe in this house has to do with getting the kids to go outside.

I believe that kids should go outside every single day. At the same time, on these bleak, blustery February afternoons I can understand their hesitation. Enter hot cocoa. You go outside for half an hour, I reward you with some delicious hot cocoa. It’s a win-win.

And my hot cocoa game is strong, I must say. Over the years I have honed my skills at turning just about anything in the pantry into delicious mug of cocoa. Out of milk? That old can of coconut milk will do the trick. No cocoa? Whisk chocolate chips or a Hershey’s bar into some milk and you’ve got some great sipping chocolate. As you can see in the picture, I have become adept at turning most anything in our fridge into a topping – the girls go nuts for all of it.

My latest find has been Abuelita Mexican Hot Chocolate disks. Have you seen them? I thought they were an exotic delicacy, but then I saw them right there on the shelf next to the Nestle at Hy-Vee. They melt into hot milk for a yummy cinnamon cocoa.

I don’t have a recipe for the week, but I would love to hear what you like to do with your hot cocoa!