Crockpot Hot Chocolate (with Cool-Whip toppers)

Has anyone else had colds, fevers, and just all-out sickness invade their home and family recently? We’ve finally fought off the ick, but for a solid week it rampaged through our house and no one was spared. Even know when we’re all technically ‘well’, we’re still physically recovering. We’ve pretty much decided we’ll be couch potatoes this weekend while we recuperate. A cup of piping hot hot-chocolate was just what the doctor ordered to help lift our spirits.

This is so easy to make and by-far the richest, creamiest, most-chocolaty hot chocolate I’ve ever had. It’s perfect for fighting the blues, or even just to knock the Winter chill off. None of that pre-packaged stuff will ever give us our fix again. The cute little coolwhip toppers are the perfect little addition too. Between the frigid temps, coughs and colds, and post-Christmas stupor this is the perfect little pick-me-up.

Crockpot Hot Chocolate (with Cool-Whip toppers)

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crockpot Hot Chocolate (with Cool Whip toppers)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk, or 1 1/4 cup homemade condensed milk
6 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

For Cool Whip Toppers

1 small tub of cool whip
shallow baking dish
cookie cutters

Directions

1. Stir together the whipping cream, milk, vanilla, and chocolate chips in a crockpot.
2. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is hot and chocolate chips are melted. Stir again before serving. Garnish as desired.

Cool Whip Toppers

1. Evenly spread thawed cool whip into an 8×8 or 9×9 inch baking dish. Set in freezer and allow to freeze for at least 2-3 hours.
2. When re-frozen, remove the cool whip from freezer. Using cookie cutters, cut shapes out. Use a butter knife to gently remove the shapes away from any excess cool whip.
3. Gently place shape on top of a mug of hot cocoa and enjoy.

Crockpot (or not) Pumpkin Bread

Saturday morning we woke up to snow falling. I love snow, and so do my kids, but snow seems to make them a little bit frantic, and crazy. Sadly, even after four kids, I am still not a morning person, but there’s something about snow falling while sipping my piping hot cup of coffee that can make even the most chaotic morning  just a little bit magical. Still, there was something missing, and my coffee seemed…lonely. So I decided to use my last can of pumpkin and make some pumpkin bread, the perfect accompaniment to any snowy morning, and another pot of coffee. The kids went out to play in the snow, which wasn’t even sticking, and I waited for our bread to finish baking, soaking up every stolen minute of peace and quiet. Right about the time the troops clomped in feeling frozen the bread was ready to eat. This pumpkin bread is easy and delicious, and sure to get all the kids around the table ooh-ing and aah-ing. It’s so good, that they won’t even want to talk between bites of deliciousness and sips of milk. For a treat I threw in some chocolate chips, around 1/4 cup, and even threw a few on top for a ‘garnish’ because I find chocolate so aesthetically pleasing. I was going for magical in the midst of chaos, remember? Morning, noon, night, what day couldn’t use a little magic in it! Make some ‘magic’ of your own today.

Crockpot (or not) Pumpkin Bread

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crockpot (or not) Pumpkin Bread

  •  1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar*
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 15 oz can of pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • chocolate chips (optional)

*To make your own easy brown sugar, add 1 tbsp molasses to 1 cup of sugar and mix together thoroughly. Just like store-bought brown sugar, extras can be stored in a ziplock bag and put in the pantry, cabinet, etc. for future recipes.

Directions

  1. In a stand mixer, blend oil and sugars together.
  2. Stir in the beaten eggs and canned pumpkin.
  3. Gradually add the remaining dry ingredients, mixing until evenly incorporated.
  4. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan.

Crockpot Cooking

  1. Add 2 cups of water to your crockpot, and then sit the loaf pan inside the crockpot.
  2. Cover the top of the crockpot with 8-10 paper towels. This is important as it traps the moisture and condensation so the bread doesn’t become ‘mushy’.
  3. Place the lid on the crockpot, keeping the paper towels securely in place.
  4. Bake on high 2 1/2-3 hours.

Oven-Baked

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Bake pumpkin bread 50-60 minutes in the oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.