Suddenly, it is cold and windy. The air feels like fall. Last week, it was cool, but not cold. It smells like sleep today, a friend said. I understood: that cool, crisp air, retaining the heat of the day’s sunlight, merely suggests that cold weather is on the way; it relaxes and soothes and makes you feel as golden as the sunlit leaves.
Today, though, it didn’t smell like sleep. The air smelled like cold, wet dirt mixed with the advancing edge of a Arctic cold front, still three or four weeks distant.
Driving home the other night I was caught up in the setting sun’s dappled light upon the trees on my street. The sun sparked amber lights across the tree tops while casting long shadows underneath. Today, I walked through the woods, listening to the leaves crunch beneath my feet. They provided a dry barrier on top of the loamy woods’ floor. I’m glad I had my camera in hand. I’ll share some of the pictures over the next few weeks.
This evening, before bed, it seemed like a perfect air for hot chocolate. Here (more or less) is my recipe for hot chocolate. Reading it I’m sure you’ll understand why I’m not a baker…..
Take two mugs & fill with milk. Dump into pan. Add 3 – 4 heaping teaspoons of Dutch Process Cocoa (my favorite everyday cocoa powder is Penzey’s) and some sugar (or about 4 packets of Splenda. Quantity dependent on sweet tooth.) Dissolve into the milk. Add a few sprinkles of cayenne pepper — the secret ingredient of the Mayans — and the bewitching heroine in the film Chocolat. Add a dash of salt — just a teeny, tiny bit! Stir in a splash of vanilla extract and then heat, stirring constantly. A moment before it begins to boil, turn off heat, add about 1/2 mug of cold milk to cool and to take the edge off if too chocolaty. Pour into mugs and sprinkle 1/2 a dash of cinnamon on to top of each mug. Delight in sipping your yummy hot chocolate.