Branding Our Life

Month: November 2016

Holidays with Hiland: White Chocolate Peppermint Stick Scones & Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa

Hildand HolidayWhat are your favorite family traditions for the holidays? One of mine is decorating the tree while listening to Christmas records, sipping hot cocoa, and eating tasty holiday treats.

Of course, the tastiest treats are made with the best ingredients. That’s why I use Hiland Dairy in my holiday baking. I’m an Oklahoma girl, and I drive past Hiland Dairy plants on a regular basis. I like knowing exactly where my ingredients are coming from! I’m confident in the quality of their products and appreciate that they never use artificial growth hormones. Ready to check out Hiland for yourself? Click here to learn more to enter for a chance to win a year of Hiland Products.

You know those traditions I mentioned earlier? With Christmas just around the corner, I couldn’t wait any longer to break out the vinyl collection, decorate the house, and whip up two of my family’s favorite winter sweets: White Chocolate Peppermint Stick Scones & Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa.

Scone Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Flour
  • 4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Stick Hiland Butter (8 Tablespoons)
  • 3/4 Cup Hiland Half & Half
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup White Chocolate Chips
  • 6 Crushed Peppermint Sticks (Candy Canes)

Scone Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees (Fahrenheit).
  2. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients –including sugar.
  3. Cut butter in to flour mixture. Tip: I usually pop my butter in the freezer for about 15 minutes before I plan to use it. Then I use a cheese grater to finely grate butter on top of flour mixture then work it in.
  4. In a smaller bowl pour in half & half and beat egg.
  5. Stir egg mixture in to flour slowly.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips and candy cane fragments.
  7. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently.
  8. Form dough in to a circle and cut in to eight equally-sized wedges.
  9. Place scone wedges on prepared (lightly greased) baking sheet.
  10. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Ingredients

  • 1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 Cup Boiling Water
  • 1 Pinch of Salt
  • 1 Quart Hiland Chocolate Milk
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • Half Pint Hiland Heavy Whipping Cream

Cocoa Instructions

  1. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Add cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. Let boil for about a minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Add Hiland Chocolate Milk and heat though, stirring often. Do NOT boil.
  4. Add vanilla and stir.
  5. Whip Hiland Heavy Cream in a mixing bowl.
  6. Serve hot chocolate with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with crushed candy cane pieces.

 

A Month With My First Foster Pet

Anyone else get a little choked up by those ASPCA commercials? I do. Sometimes I just go ahead and cry. So, recently, I decided I wanted to do something to help save animals. I talked it over with my husband, and I turned in my foster application to the local Humane Society. Shortly thereafter, I got a gorgeous kitten to take care of.

I had cats when I was younger, but since I’ve been married, the only pets we’ve had have been hamsters. So… a kitten was a big change! It was so good though. This sweet kitten stole my heart from the moment we got him home.  It was so fun watching him grow (and he grew like a weed during his month with us), and discover his little personality.

Here are some pictures from our month together. He was a great snuggler, and he loved sitting on my desk as I blogged.

It was hard taking him back to the Humane Society when our time together was up. But as hard as it was, I’m so glad he had a wonderful family ready to make him a permanent family member.

I’m so glad I had this experience. We’ll be taking in other little ones as our schedule allows, and I’m so excited! Fostering, like pet ownership, isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve been thinking about it, maybe it’s time to give it a try.

Fall Spiced Cider Recipe

Fall Spiced Cider RecipeFew things say “fall” quite like warm, spiced beverages. One of my personal favorites, and one I often serve when I entertain, is Spiced Cider. It’s a crowd- pleaser, and you can make and serve it right from your slow cooker. It makes the perfect addition to any holiday gathering!

Ingredients

  • 1 Gallon – Fresh Pressed Apple Cider
  • 5 Cinnamon Sticks
  • Palm full of whole cloves (approximately 30-35 individual cloves)
  • 5 Ounces – Bourbon or Dark Rum (optional)
  • 1 Orange (sliced)

Instructions

  • Pour cider in to slow cooker.
  • Add cinnamon sticks.
  • Put cloves in tea infuser or bundle in cheese cloth and add to slow cooker.
  • Add alcohol, if desired.
  • Turn slow cooker to “high” for approximately two hours, or three to four hours on “low.”
  • Slice oranges and add toward end of desired simmer time.

If you’d like you could garnish each mug with an orange slice or a cinnamon stick.

Quick tip: Clove has an assertive taste. Sample cider at about the halfway point to see if the clove should remain for the rest of the time. Of course, that all depends on your personal taste.

 

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