Kid-Friendly Winter Drinks

winterdrinks

I love a hot chocolate packet, don’t get me wrong, but by mid-January I’ve reached my instant hot chocolate threshold. To spice things up, my kids and I tried a few warm winter drink recipes: vanilla milk, healthy hot chocolate and homemade apple cider. The [not very scientific] results are in.

Meet The Tasters:

Mom: I didn’t last long cooking organic homemade baby food (store-bought’s fine with me!), but I do my best to provide a well-balanced diet for my kids.
Toddler: A pudgy 19-month-old who has never met a food he didn’t like.
Preschooler: The pickier eater of the two, this 3-year old is hesitant to try new things but doesn’t shy away from fruits and veggies.

Dreamy Nighttime Milk
Source: allrecipes

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 drops vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  1. Pour milk into a microwave-safe mug and place into microwave. Cook on high until the milk is very hot and begins to foam, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in honey and vanilla, then sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.

The Verdict:
Mom: The most “doable” of all the recipes, this is simple enough that I can easily repeat it and yummy enough that it feels like a treat. Next time, I’d ease up on the vanilla.
Toddler: Oh! A juice! YUMMY. I yike it!
Preschooler: Mmm. Good. It tastes like cinnamon sugar toast. It makes you have good dreams. Thank you. I like the taste of it. Can we do this dreamy milk another time?

Healthy Hot Chocolate
Source: The Chic Life

  • 1 cup, plus 1-2 tablespoons milk of choice
  • 2 rounded teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon raw sugar (or sweetener of choice)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Place milk in a small pot over medium low heat.
  2. Meanwhile, place cocoa powder, sugar and extra tablespoon of rice milk in a small bowl. Whisk until a paste/thick mixture forms and powder is absorbed. Add additional tablespoon of rice milk, if needed.
  3. Whisk cocoa mixture into milk mixture. Heat till hot but not boiling. Stir in vanilla extract.
  4. Pour into a mug and sprinkle with cinnamon, if using.
  5. Serve and enjoy once the drink is cool enough to safely drink

The Verdict:
Mom: I’m not sure how healthy it was after we added the marshmallows, but it tasted delicious! It has a richer dark-chocolate flavor compared to typical hot chocolate. I loved it, but the boys only drank about half of theirs.
Toddler: Um, marshmallow. Cheers! I yike it!
Preschooler: It’s kinda hot but still okay. Well, I like the taste. I like the marshmallows.

Homemade Apple Cider
  • 10 fresh apples
  • 1 orange
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Dash of nutmeg (ground)
  • Dash of cloves (ground or 4 whole)
  • 1 Gallon of filtered water
  1. Wash apples and peel if they aren’t organic.
  2. Cut into slices and place in slow cooker.
  3. Slice orange into 8 slices and add to slow cooker.
  4. Add spices.
  5. Pour water into the slow cooker and turn on low for about 8 hours. I prefer to make this before bed and have it ready (and the house smelling incredible) for breakfast.
  6. Strain out apples and spices using a cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer.
The Verdict:
Mom: I appreciate the health benefits of apple cider, and boy did this make my house smell heavenly! Because it’s more labor intensive than store-bought cider, I’ll probably only make it around the holidays. That said, the boys loved it and requested it the next day.
Toddler: MORE JUICE!
Preschooler: I like it. I tastes kinda like apple orange juice. It tastes like strawberry.
 
All in all, it was a fun experiment. The boys enjoyed all three of the drinks, and I enjoyed getting out of our instant hot chocolate rut. We’re looking forward to the next big snow so we have an excuse to run inside and whip up warm drinks – healthy hot chocolate for me and warm milk for the boys. Cheers!

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