Wishing You All…

A Very Merry Christmas!


Homemade Eggnog

If you’ve never tried or made eggnog from scratch before, let me urge you to do it. Today. It’s my favorite Christmas drink. You can find my step-by-step photos over on the Tasty Kitchen Blog here.

Reuben is sick today. I hope he feels better soon – it’s sad to see him so miserable.

This evening, if he’s feeling up to it, we’re heading over to Reuben’s family’s house (a few miles down the road) for a new-to-me tradition: a soup party! Sounds like an awesome custom to me. Family members bring a different kind of soup to share. So far I’ve heard rumors of seafood, squash-apple-parsnip and oyster (or was is clam?). I’m planning on bringing my Sausage and Potato Soup.

Another new-to-me tradition: opening presents on Christmas Eve. We’ve always saved our presents for each other for early Christmas morning. When do you open your presents?

I leave you with these beautiful words from the hymn “As with Gladness Men of Old” — it’s not one often sung, but the words are powerful. The tune is the same as “For the Beauty of the Earth

As with gladness men of old

Did the guiding star behold

As with joy they hailed its light,

Leading onward, beaming bright

So, most gracious Lord, may we

Evermore be led to Thee.

Holy Jesus, every day

Keep us in the narrow way;

And, when earthly things are past,

Bring our ransomed souls at last

Where they need no star to guide,

Where no clouds thy glory hide.

Merry Christmas from Reuben & Erica!


Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

For some reason, I have been averse to pairing mint with chocolate my whole life. Whenever someone would order a mint mocha or mint chocolate chip ice cream I would inwardly shake my head in wonderment. Why ruin perfectly good chocolate with mint?

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

But I heard people raving about the peppermint hot chocolate at Starbucks. Could I be wrong in my presumption? I decided to give this mint-and-chocolate thing a try.

Am I ever glad I did. The fresh, strong flavor of peppermint lightens the rich, heavy hot chocolate perfectly. Which means you can drink more of this scrumptious beverage without feeling overwhelmed by the creaminess.

Recipe Notes

  • The original recipe suggests chopping your chocolate, but I just used chocolate chips and they melted perfectly.
  • The OR also directs you to bring the milk/cream to a boil and add it to the chocolate. I just put it all in a pot and let it melt together. Worked wonderfully!
  • The peppermint flavor that I used left little grease puddles at the top of my hot chocolate. If you’re a purist, go for a non oil-based flavoring.
  • I added a few drops of the peppermint flavoring to the whipped cream just for kicks. I highly recommend it.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate | adapted from Bon Appetit | makes 4 servings | PRINTABLE PAGE


  • 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 1 teaspoon + 2 tablespoons sugar or sweetener of choice
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chocolate bar, chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon peppermint flavor
  • candy canes, for garnish


1) Place 1/2 cup cream, 2 tablespoons sugar, the milk and chocolate in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the chocolate has completely melted and is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the peppermint flavor.

2) In a small bowl, beat the remaining 1/2 cup chilled cream with a few drops of peppermint flavor (optional) until soft peaks form.

3) Serve the hot chocolate with whipped cream and a sprinkling of crushed candy canes. Enjoy!

Homemade Frappuccino


Skiing is my favorite winter sport. Feeling the snow swish beneath my feet as I slide down the “mountain” (in Minnesota, the closest things we have to mountains are very large hills).

It’s always fun to plan out our lunches for skiing, trying to come up with something special and delicious. A few weeks ago, I decided that Frappuccinos would be a lovely treat. Creamy coffee drinks are my favorite.

Thus I purchased a pack of bottled Frappuccions. The words “low-fat” on the bottle disturbed me a bit, but I was sure they would be yummy anyhow. Alas, not so. We found them to be overly sweet and thin.  We dumped in some cream and they were improved immensely. But I was sure I could make something better myself.


Sure enough, I was able to produce something rich and creamy with much better flavor and less sweetener. That’s the beauty of making it yourself – you can customize it to your own personal tastes!

Here is my method for making your own creamy bottled frappiccino drink at home. Don’t think of it as a recipe as it’s meant to be highly customizable. I like my coffee fairly strong, so keep that in mind.


Scroll to the bottom to see the giveaway winner…

Our family has always enjoyed a good cup of eggnog at Christmastime. Mom would carefully pour out a small portion and add a bit of milk to make it less rich. We kids would savor the little we got and agree that any more would be too much.

These days I prefer to make my own eggnog. I know exactly which ingredients go into it. And it is such fun to make.



Homemade Eggnog

Adapted from a recipe from a friend.

Printable Page


  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups maple syrup (or granulated sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg + more for garnish
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream


1) In heavy 4 quart saucepan, off heat, whisk the eggs, maple syrup, and salt until well blended. Gradually stir in half of the milk.

2) Cook over low hear, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 25 minutes

(mixture should be about 170 – 175 degrees F). Do not boil.

3) Pour custard in a large bowl. Stir in vanilla extract, 1 Tsp. ground nutmeg and remaining milk. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 3 hours.

4) Just before serving, in a medium bowl, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. With wire whisk, gently fold whipped cream into custard mixture. Serve with extra whipped cream on top and a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg.

Store in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

Makes about 16 cups or 32 – 1/2 cup servings

And now for the giveaway results!

Using random.org I selected a winner:

Commenter #156 Marty Rummel, who said: “CCC’s are hard to beat! Give me chocolate chips with walnuts, please!”

Congratulations, Marty! I will contact you with further information.

Thank you all for entering my contest. May you have a Merry Christmas!


19 Responses to “Homemade Eggnog + Winner”

  1. You know, Erica, the first time I ever had egg nog was last year–when I was twenty years old. I had never had it before then because I…was scared of the name.

    I know…I’m a dweeb.

    But I gave it a try…and it wasn’t SO bad. I had it from a carton, which was probably my downfall. However, yours looks like something I would really enjoy! I bet it would change my life. :)

  2. Kerri says:

    Looks sooooo good. I have always been reluctant to making eggnog due to the amount of eggs, but this year I am going to go for it and try it out. I am sure it is much better than the store brands, you know it’s gotta be better tasting. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe. I just love your pictures. Keep up the great work!

  3. Begoña says:

    So wonderful, so so so so wonderful! Love your blog!

  4. Lovely photos :). My boyfriend’s family has a long tradition of making eggnog from scratch. Have you heard about aged eggnog? I’m curious as I hear the taste is milder and delicious but it sounds a bit unsafe to keep eggnog for months or even a year.

  5. dropfood says:

    Your recipe was posted.

  6. *drools* I looove eggnog, but I have never made or had homemade eggnog! We’ve always bought it from the store (and I still love it, so I guess I should try the homemade!). Gorgeous pics, as usual. :-)

  7. These look amazing, especially the freshly grated nutmeg! I’m not even that big on eggnog but suddenly I want some!

  8. This looks delicious! And your photography is so lovely. Have a wonderful Christmas!

  9. That looks amazing! I want to try eggnog before – the other kinds I’ve made didn’t really work out. =) By the way, I tried mixing chai tea leaves with our gingerbread muffins last night…I liked the touch it added. Thanks for the idea!
    God bless!

  10. […] Eggnog {This is the most delicious looking eggnog I have ever seen!} […]

  11. Anna says:

    This looks delicious! I was scared about making eggnog because of the raw eggs! But now, I’ll try it! thanks for the recipe! :)

  12. Victoria says:

    I have yet to try homemade eggnog. This year I gotta try this one!! Yum! I featured this on my blog too: http://vixenmade.blogspot.com/2011/12/festive-eggnog-recipe-roundup.html

  13. […] via 1 and 2 This entry was posted in a-z to a stylish christmas, Christmas by Shopgirl. Bookmark […]

  14. […] Let’s make some Homemade Eggnog! […]

  15. […] Erica Lea on December 21, 2010 in Drinks, Holiday See this recipe post on Erica Lea’s site! December 21, […]

  16. Diana Leah says:

    Simply divine, the result was a huge hit last night! Thank you for sharing.

  17. Erica Lea says:

    Diana: So glad you enjoyed it! Have a lovely evening. :)

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