The Year In Food » Fine Seasonal Eating

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In my earliest days in San Francisco, some friends and I went really deep with soft rock. We cherished our ridiculous record collections – from Air Supply to Foreigner – and I still have a deep and abiding love for the earnest sincerity of those songs. They are the definition of soft, with their muted drums and smooth bass notes and understated sax solos, all underpinning extremely sentimental verses. It is, no doubt, trawling the depths of nostalgia: childhood, when I’d hear these tunes on the radio, and my early 20s in San Francisco. It taps into something kind of profound. Pulling up all of these unnameable feelings that feel really good. And it taps into something deeply goofy.


On a long drive home last weekend, I needed to tap into the goof to stay awake. I love a long drive on an empty interstate. Perhaps because it affords a bit of uninterrupted space, to think, to listen to podcasts and music, to process. But that doesn’t mean that long drives are necessarily easy. Especially in the final stretch.  So I pulled up all of my softest soft rock playlists, pounded a mug of matcha, and just channeled something spectacular. I’m pretty certain that singing along to your favorite songs from the way back is close to a spiritual experience. Anyway, it was for me. I was singing along, remembering that I had always wanted to make an album of acoustic covers of my favorite lite rock hits, and just feeling phenomenal about life. I highly recommend this if you are nodding off and still have three hours of driving ahead of you.

One of the passing thoughts during peak goofiness – tired but overstimulated on matcha and these sparkling songs – was that Smooth Operator would make the best name for a drink. A cozy, warming, chocolate drink. After sleeping on it, I realized the ridiculousness of calling a drink something that calls to mind our digestive processes and varying states of ease around that. But I chuckled – that’s the magic of road trips, soft rock, and some late-night highway delirium.

Next-Level Hot Cocoa

I love making hot cocoa at home in the winter months, especially now that I live in a place with a real winter and am getting to work on perfecting my #hygge! I add warming winter spices: cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and a pinch of cayenne, for a little extra. I love So Delicious Dairy Free because their unsweetened Almondmilk is to the point with minimal ingredients and high fat content, which ensures extra creamy drinks. Use the Carousel coupon for 20% off So Delicious Dairy Free at Target.

Next-Level Hot Cocoa
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 teaspoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch chili powder (optional!)
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch sea salt
Add all of the ingredients to a saucepan. Heat over medium-low, stirring frequently, until the mixture is steaming hot but not bubbling. Remove from the heat and whisk. You can use a stick blender to make it frothy if you wish. Finish with a dusting of cinnamon, ginger, or turmeric. Enjoy!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of So Delicious Dairy Free. Opinions and text are my own.

  • online cake delivery in kolkata - Lovely drink, it reduces the tiredness and make me energetic once again. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Jesse - Smooth Operator, love this.ReplyCancel

  • Norma - This sounds wonderful and I look forward to trying a hot chocolate drink (which I seldom have.) Then I think I’ll try the same spices and the Almond Milk (thanks for the heads up on the coupon) with regular coffee or espresso! Coffee based drinks are my go-to drinks and I think that combination will work… you?ReplyCancel

  • Carliste - oooh! I would love to have a cup of this lovey hot cocoa right about now! In the cold evenings such as the one nowadays where I live, you are in constant need of something hot to warm up your insides.ReplyCancel

  • Pam @ Nutrition to Heal Yourself - OMG chili chocolate is my favorite! I am definitely giving this a go, probably as a post-dinner treat. YUM.ReplyCancel

  • Dephinah Sirako - I love cocoa, definitely try itReplyCancel

  • Matcha Me - The hot cocoa looks so good! Where is the mug from?

    Jared ReplyCancel

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