Cocoa: a recipe for winter solstice warmth
Tonight is the shortest night of the year, and the beginning of winter.
I love the winter solstice. It’s a seasonal “holiday” based on rhythms of the earth, and I’ve become even more attuned to the rhythms of the earth after meeting devoted farmers who coax up such delicious food despite everything that Mother Nature throws our way.
Another thing about the shortest day is that it inspires a sense of wonder, a feeling that anything can happen in the darkness.
Anything can happen
A few years ago I started a tradition with loved ones where we write what we’d like to manifest for the following year, then send it out to the universe. Sending it out meant a little fire in a terra cotta pot or just a visualization of the wishes going up in a pink bubble. I know this is pretty woo-woo for some people, so, if that’s you, feel free to scroll down to the cocoa recipe.
When I think about what I’d like to create for next year, I leave off all those “shoulds” that typically come with a New Year’s resolution. You know what I’m talking about: organize the hall closet, lose ten pounds, update my LinkedIn profile, take the cashmere sweaters in for repair. Things I should do, that feel good afterwards, but don’t provide much joy during the process.
The winter solstice is for dreaming up things that are nourishing, and that bring great pleasure. For the winter solstice, I imagine a most lovely life and all its endearing moments. Such as:
- Find a used book store to get lost in. My friend Jessi gave me a recipe book about farm cooking in Indiana. She discovered it at a used book store in Santa Barbara, and I was so touched that she thought to schlep it all the way back for me. It reminded me that I haven’t browsed a used book store in so long, probably because I don’t have one in my ‘hood. I need to find one, if only for the scent that hits me when I walk in the door.
- Time with friends. I saw Jessi and Danielle this morning, and I realized that I hadn’t seen them in months. We just grabbed coffee, but I’m still flush with the pleasure of seeing their faces. And then I thought of all the other lovely friends I haven’t seen in so long, and the great small pleasure of just checking in to say hi.
- Big exciting adventure. My friend Ann is moving to London for two years. That’s something I could get excited about.
- Make something. Besides dinner, I mean. I’ve become an Etsy junkie, and would love to jump into some projects.
- Things for fun not related to work. More music and movies and books. I’d LOVE some book recommendations!
- Wandering around events like the Allegan, Michigan garden walk or Geneva, Illinois Christmas walk. An afternoon at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
- World peace. That’s a given. And a great cup of cocoa.
As you plan your own vision for manifesting a creative, inspiring, nurturing year, make yourself a cup of indulgent cocoa to warm your insides and foster inspiration.
Indulgent cocoa for contemplating the universe
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 grind fresh black pepper
1 cup half-and-half
In small saucepan over medium high heat, whisk together cocoa, sugar, cinnamon and pepper and about 1/3 cup half-and-half until smooth. Add remaining half-and-half and cook, stirring occasionally, until bubbles form around the edges. Pour into your prettiest cup. Enjoy.