You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘frugal shopping’ tag.

I’m curious as to how large the “chocolate” and “coffee” tags in the sidebar can get. With enough mentions, maybe this whole blog will be taken over with CHOCOLATE and COFFEE. Worse things could happen. The following recipe is more an assembly job than anything. You can play around with it, add fruit, subtract coffee, etc. Ultrapasteurization will not make your mousse fall on its face; it’s just a flavor thing. I would summarize the UP/P difference as slightly artificially creamy (most brands add carrageenan to thicken it) vs. melt-in-your-mouth creamy.

Mousse a la Mocha
1 c. heavy whipping cream, pref. pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), well chilled but never frozen
4-6 oz. dark chocolate (around 70% works great), to taste
2 Tbsp strong brewed coffee

Chill beaters, spoon (for scraping sides of bowl), and bowl for beating cream (and holding finished mousse) for 30 minutes or so. When the 30 minutes is about up, melt the chocolate in your preferred way. I like to set a metal mixing bowl atop a small saucepan filled halfway with water, which I keep at a simmer until the chocolate is mostly melted. Then stir in the coffee.

Take the chilled apparatus out of the freezer and immediately whip the cream until it achieves soft peaks (when beaters are lifted straight out of the bowl, soft peaks will curl over). Do this by making violent circles with a hand mixer on high speed, trying to keep the cream inside the bowl, for a couple minutes or however long it takes. (Discerning the “soft peak” point seems to require anexperienced eye. I have made it too soft, so that some of it returns to liquid while chilling in the fridge, and too stiff, such that the texture—though thankfully not the flavor— approximates creamed butter. As long as you don’t beat the cream straight into Butter Land, it’s pretty forgiving.) You can then fold in the chocolate/coffee mixture, or alternatively, stop beating just before the soft-peak point, add the chocolate, and then beat until you’ve reached the right consistency. Refrigerate at least a couple of hours and serve. Makes about four servings.

Just as an aesthetic consideration: though it doesn’t bother me, I have not figured out how to avoid having small chunks/bits of chocolate floating around in the mousse, even when I melt it thoroughly. If anyone knows the secret to making it nice and smooth, please advise.

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To try and balance out the tags, I will talk a bit about my discovery of the addictive hobby that is BIRD-WATCHING. As we cannot currently have “real” domestic pets, last week I bought a cheap feeder and some not-so-cheap bird seed in order to attract some cute creatures to our lonely domicile during the day. it took the chickadees and the squirrels only a couple of days to locate the feeder. I’ve found I can stand three feet away from the whole situation (which now includes a makeshift bird bath, per the bird seed bag’s instructions), and as long as I remain perfectly still, the birds have no qualms about coming to feed and chatter and even kiss right in front of me. Who needs a snuggly kitten when you have so many feathered friends? Well. . . I can still want one. But having happy, chirping, beautifully colored birds in view all day makes it even easier to love being a housewife. If anyone is interested, I’ve collected some homemade bird feed ideas from various websites that I could pass on to you here, though I haven’t tested any of them myself yet.

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Finally, a Trader Joe’s update/unofficial ad. How I love that store. The unsweetened baking chocolate at $.99/8 oz was sadly no more (now $2.50 ea, I think), but their “Pound Plus” bars (17.6 oz) are $3.50-$3.99. That’s $.20-$.23 cents an oz, folks, and it tastes just fine to me. Lest you begin to suspect that I try to feed us on coffee and chocolate, with an occasional vegetable, here’s a sample of the other good buys I found today:
* TJ’s Pomegranate green tea (64 oz), $2.99 — so refreshing, and a very subtle tea flavor; I usually hate cold tea
* Chicken drumsticks, $.99/lb — and no, they do not package them in 10 lb cases as a cruel trick.
* TJ’s peppermint Castile soap — a longtime favorite. As the label says, use it for your body, your hair, your body and hair on a camping trip (? whatever), your hands, your dishes, your floors, your countertops, your baby’s bottom, etc. It smells great and, on top of the overwhelming versatility, has aloe vera to moisturize whatever surface it ends up on. (I’ve always wanted creamy floors.)

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