My Favorite Time of the Year

By Phyliss Miranda

Between the great autumn fever blogs our Fillies did last week and the weather turning cooler, making the leaves turn to beautiful hues of fall, I can’t help but think about some of the things I like to do in the autumn.

I don’t go out as much this time of the year, so I love to bake and read.  As I’ve said before, and those who have read any of my Kasota Springs contemporary western romances know, I also include a recipe in each book.  It’s always one of my family favorites; and, two of my characters, Lola Ruth and Granny Johnson, use it in the book.  Of interest, Lola Ruth got her name from my mother, Ruth, and my mother-in-law, Lola; while Granny Johnson got her name from well … my own beloved Granny Johnson.  My Granny Johnson’s Chocolate Cake receipt and the history behind it’s five generations is in The Troubled Texan, which is the first of the Kasota Springs books.

Sylvie’s story, which I’m writing now, has a twist and I’ll be using more recipes.  Just gotta wait to read the book to see what twist I give to recipes and characters. But, I’ll give you all a hint. They all come from readers and school teachers.

With cold nights and cool days, I love to read and drink something hot in the evening, so I thought I’d share with you a great recipe. It’ll definitely be in the book. You can prepare this Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix for yourself or it’d be a great holiday gift.  It’s easy and quick to fix.

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix      

2 cups Confectioners Sugar

1 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

2 cups Powdered Milk or to cut calories use Instant Nonfat Dry Milk

Instructions: In a large bowl, sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa. Stir in the powdered milk and whisk well. 

You can add miniature marshmallows to the mixture if you’d like.  Drop in a few chocolate chips to make it even more rich. When ready to use, mix ½ cup hot water with ½ cup cocoa mix, stir and enjoy. 

If you have small kids or just want something special for yourself, make Red Velvet Hot Chocolate, by adding red gel food coloring; and dip the rim of your favorite cup in sprinkles. Use gel instead of regular food coloring, since it’ll give the drink a darker red look.  I can see this being a really fun treat during the Christmas season.


So what is your favorite drink during cold weather?

To one reader who leaves a comment today, I will give you an eBook copy of Out of a Texas Night.  

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A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

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36 thoughts on “My Favorite Time of the Year”

  1. I love caramel apple cider oh my that stuff is delicious. I also love pumpkin spice coffee. Enjoyed your blog for today!!!

    • Hi Glenda, good to hear from you. Caramel apple cider sounds yummy, but I’m not familiar with it. Do you use a caramel syrup? I’m interested in how it’s made. Yes on the pumpkin spice coffee! The caramel apple cider really intrigues me. I’d love the recipe. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs, Phyliss

  2. I love hot black coffee. I’m not much into other drinks but I do love hot chocolate from time to time so I’ll be trying your recipe. Yummy. Someone will win an awesome book

    I love this series and I’m glad you’re giving Sylvie her own book. I can’t wait. Love you, your Texas girl living in a Kansas world.

    • Hi my Kansas friend. My hubby drinks black coffee, but after a zillion years, I’ve stopped. Basically, to save the calories, since I use sugar and cream! I think the red velvet hot chocolate is cool because it’s different and will go with the season. Thank you for the nice compliments. I’m enjoying writing Sylvie’s story because she has such an interesting background … that only she and I know right now! Take care of yourself my Kansas BFF! Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Debra. Thanks for stopping by. I thought this hot chocolate was different and would be fun to make. Have a great week! Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Debra. Good to see you. I think the dry recipe is great to keep around. I have the packets, but then I have to add the marshmallows. The red velvet could also be great for Valentine’s, depending on what part of the country you live in. Here in the Texas Panhandle, it’s still really cool in February. Have a great day. Hugs, Phyliss

  3. I love the recipe. It would be great to have ready for the grandkids& me. 🙂 The book sounds wonderful. Thank you for sharing about your mom & granny. So wonderful to have a 5 generation cake recipe.

    • Good morning, my early bird friend. We’re on the same line about how much fun the recipe would be with little kids; and of course my grands came to mind. Although my youngest grand is in junior high and the oldest in med school, I’m definitely taking the red velvet one to Kansas for Christmas. I think it’ll be fun to drink, while we play games. For Halloween, I guess we could use orange gel and dip the rim of our cups in orange sprinkles. What would we call it … pumpkin hot chocolate? LOL Have a great day. Hugs, Phyliss

  4. I love the occasional hot chocolate but hot apple cider is a great fall and winter treat. Daily its coffee of course but I’m a weakling and need flavored cream. Pumpkin spice creamer is fun in the fall and winter because thats win it can be found. I have pumpkin spice chi tea in the fall and winter too. I love when authors add recipes to their books!

    • Hi my friend. Good to hear from you. Since you like apple cider, watch for my blog the day before Halloween. I have something special in the works. Oh yes, on the flavored creamers. That’s why I stopped drinking coffee. Too much sweets when I add my sugar. Since I’m diabetic, I have to watch what I eat and drink. I do love tea. Since you like recipes in books, I know you’ll enjoy Sylvie’s story. Big hugs, Phyliss

  5. I love hot chocolate, but my tummy doesn’t love it as much. I can only have a few sips before I become nauseous. But it still doesn’t stop the craving.

    • Hi Janine. I’m sorry you can’t enjoy hot chocolate, but understand. I bet you have some great recipes for other things to drink when it’s cold outside. Have a great day and hugs, Phyliss

  6. I will have to try this hot chocolate myself. I do my baking when the snow flies outside. It seems like every time it snows I am in the kitchen baking something.

    • Hi Quilt Lady. Good to hear from you. I think you’ll like the recipe. I totally agree … when it snows the oven automatically comes on and the mixer comes out! Have a great day! Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi my friend, Nat. Since we both were raised in the same neck of the woods, I think we are definitely on the same page about our favorite time of the year. I believe you’ll enjoy the recipe; however doubt the men in your life would like the red velvet with sprinkles! I can see it now! Love, P

  7. Chi tea. Lol probably spelled that wrong..or a good cup of got chocolate ?.? will have to try recipe.

    • Hi Tonya. Good to see you this morning. I drink sleepy-time tea at night, but I’m a cold tea person; preferably southern sweet tea! LOL Hope you like the recipe. I thought it’d be a great thing to make and put in nice decorative jars for Christmas presents. Have a great day!

    • Hi lady, good to hear from you. I hope you enjoy the recipe. As I said earlier, watch for my last Tuesday of this month’s blog. I have something that I think is very interested in the works. Have a great day. Hugs, Phyliss

  8. I drink all kinds of flavoured tea, though my favourite is chocolate-coconut-vanilla flavoured tea. I just haven’t been able to find it anywhere lately.

    • Hi Minna, good to hear from you. I like flavored tea also. Have you tried Torani Italian Syrup? I use it because I can get a lot of flavors that are sugar-free. Some grocery stores carry it in small bottles, but I’ve had good luck at places Like World Market and Pier 1 for the bigger ones. Some are seasonal flavors, but I bet you can mix your own. Just a thought. I love coconut and it’s on my shelf right now. Yummy! Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a great day. Hugs, Phyliss

  9. My favorite cold weather drink depends on the time of day and my mood. I usually make a fresh batch of Russian Tea (also called Friendship Tea and mentioned in an earlier post by Cheryl Pierson who gave the recipe) at the beginning of the season. Hot chocolate goes well when it is cold and snowy out. It is also my drink of choice when baking and eating cookies. One drink I save for special evenings in Autumn and Winter is Irish Coffee. I enjoy the process of making it and drinking it. I ordered it once in a restaurant and nearly choked. I obviously don’t make mine anywhere nearly as strong as they do commercially.
    I hope you have a most enjoyable Autumn.

  10. Hi Patricia. So good to hear from you. Yummy! All of your choices sound good. I don’t like strong coffee or tea, so I’d likely be like you with the restaurant type. I was so glad to see Cheryl’s Friendship Tea last week. I’m also like you about cooking in cold, snowy weather. Eating cookies…yes, yes, yes! Before I go to bed every night I enjoy a couple of cookies and drink milk. But when it’s cold outside then herbal tea is perfect. I hope you have a wonderful Autumn, also. Thanks again for dropping by and giving us your favorite drinks. Hugs from Texas, Phyliss

  11. I almost always drink black tea with milk added in the winter and cold sweet tea in summer. I’m boring right? One thing is I’m picky in that I won’t drink most teas. I prefer RedRose and then British Blend Tetley if Red Rose isn’t handy. They aren’t bitter like other teas like Lipton are. Funny because Lipton is a UK compnay I found out but don’t sell it in the UK! haha

  12. I almost always drink black tea with milk added in the winter and cold sweet tea in summer. I’m boring right? One thing is I’m picky in that I won’t drink most teas. I prefer RedRose and then British Blend Tetley if Red Rose isn’t handy. They aren’t bitter like other teas like Lipton are. Funny because Lipton is a UK compnay I found out but don’t sell it in the UK! haha

    • Hi Eliza, glad to hear from you. I’m a true southern girl and love cold sweet tea in the summer, so no you aren’t boring in the least! I’m like you also in the fact that I don’t like just any tea, but am different because I love Lipton over all the others. Sure didn’t now it was a UK company and it’s funny they don’t sell it there. That is funny! Not familiar with RedRose but I just might check it out. Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving a comment. You’re a jewel, my friend. A big Texas hug to you, Phyliss

    • Hi Denise. Good to hear from you. I don’t drink chai tea, but have had it mentioned so much that I might check it out. I had a bout with kidney stones several years ago, actually several bouts, so I have to be very careful about teas with a lot of caffeine in them. But I’m gonna see if I can drink chi tea. Hope you have a great evening. Big hugs, Phyliss

  13. Hi Kim, good to see you here. I hope you try the Red Velvet hot chocolate this winter. I think the homemade dry mixture would be a great gift for folks like delivery people, the postman, and others you know but don’t want to spend a lot of money on. I think homemade gifts are the best, but I don’t always abide by my own rules. Hope you have a great evening. Hugs from me to you, Phyliss

  14. Hi Phyliss….I’m sorry I missed your post yesterday. Wow, and it’s so short! Love it.! I’m going to have to try that hot chocolate. But I drink a lot of hot tea in the winter months. My favorite is Cranberry Vanilla. Yummy!

    • Thanks, Linda. I know you’re a tea drinker, but didn’t know your favorite. The next time we all get together for a movie night at home, I thought we might make some of the chocolate and do the rims with sprinkles. We’ll have Cranberry Vanilla tea, too! Love ya, P

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