Hay Rides and Hot Cocoa

At one of our local parks, there is a Festival of Lights where companies create festive light displays for people to enjoy in the evenings. Tonight, there was a free hay ride through the park so people could enjoy the lights with their families on a nice leisurely ride through the park.This was the first year that they have done this, and it sounded so fun! I wanted to take my kids so we bundled up and headed to the park after dark. The hay ride was a very enjoyable 10 minutes, but unfortunately we waited in the cold for about an hour to even get on the hay ride! I was hoping to create some fun holiday memories with my kids, but I think my kids might remember this as some kind of torture! If we go next year, we will definitely dress better, bring blankets, and something hot to drink. It might be more trouble than its worth.

There was hot cocoa offered at the hay ride, but Nyah, Gabe, and I skipped it because of our food allergies. When we got home, I whipped up some hot cocoa for them so they wouldn’t feel like they missed out. Here is one of my recipes for homemade hot chocolate with a low calorie variation.

Homemade Hot Chocolate

This hot cocoa is loaded with good antioxidants from the cocoa powder (as long as it is non-Dutched). You can even use fresh ground cocoa nibs for an even healthier chocolate drink.

Serves 1

1 cup milk of choice

1-2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (regular, non-Dutched)

1 Tablespoon sweetener of choice (honey, agave, raw sugar, or stevia)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or peppermint, rum, raspberry, coffee extract, etc.)

1 Tablespoon chocolate chips (optional)

Heat the milk in the microwave in a 2 cup measuring glass for about 1 minute or until warm. Whisk in the cocoa powder, sweetener, and vanilla. Heat again in microwave for about another 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips if using. Enjoy!

For a Skinny Dark Chocolate drink, use low-fat, unsweetened milk of choice (unsweetened Silk almond milk only has 35 calories per 8 fluid ounce serving) mixed with 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder and 1 Tablespoon Truvia (skip the chocolate chips). When made up this way, this hot cocoa has less than 70 calories, depending on the type of cocoa powder you use. That beats Swiss Miss cocoa from a can any day!

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