Nutella Hot Chocolate

I did a triathlon today. Not an official one. But I swam, biked and ran, all in the same 24 hour period. If I was the crafty type, I’d make myself a puff painted t-shirt with some sort of sequin appliqué to commemorate the LBDelicious First Unofficial Triathlon Workout Day of 2012. But, do you know what drives me absolutely insane? Crafty things! Just ask my friends who were with me the first time I went to a “stamp party.” 2 hours of dealing with small, pre-cut pieces of cardstock and a table full of sparkly embellishments following very specific directions to make a greeting card sent me into a nervous breakdown. I went home and cried. No joke. Crafts + LBD = tears, stress, anxiety, feelings of self doubt and a strong desire for adult beverages. My crafty friends have discovered that if they’re going to get me to come to their craft parties, they have to (a) promise me I don’t have to really follow directions and that there is no right or wrong way to make the greeting cards, snack bags, or other hand-crafted goods we’re committed to for the day, (b) supply plenty of bad-for-me snacks that I can mindlessly devour when I get stressed out , (c) give me constant positive reinforcement that I’m “doing a good job” and (d) let me drink wine while crafting. Otherwise, I’m a drag and it’s better for everyone if I just stay home with my All-Clad and KitchenAid products, away from cute papers, patterns, markers, stamps, stickers, scissors, acid-free tape and die-cut machines. My blood pressure increased just typing that sentence out.

But, I digress. Back to the triathlon I did today. The day started out with a 450 meter swim, courtesy of Shaun, who is pretty much a beast in the water. Really, he’s pretty much a beast regardless of what athletic thing he tries to do. Thanks to his instruction, I’m getting much more efficient and maybe even a little faster in the water! We did drills and even an interval workout, which means I swam fast and got way out of breath. And since it’s Sunday, I couldn’t miss Chris’ spin class (who also went for a swim with us), because it’s awesome. Chris is a professional mountain biker with a high tolerance for pain, a bizarre amount of energy and moderate ADD. And, we have oddly similar taste in music. So, not only is it a good workout, but I usually sing along to something on our spin mixes and I’ll probably laugh at something random he says when he gets slightly distracted.

That’s generally all I do on Sundays – a swim & spin class is plenty for me. But, two things intervened: (1) Shaun & Chris both are fantastic motivators who’ve somehow convinced me to work out harder lately, and (2) Lindsey and I needed to do a 9 mile training run as we get ready for our next half marathon. We planned this run around the information that all weather-related sites gave us leading up to the weekend: it was supposed to be sunny and warm today, and yesterday was supposed to be the crap-tastic, rainy, gloomy day, hence the decision to run today instead of yesterday. The weather people LIED. And they lied badly. You’d think with all the weather-related technology we have now, predicting something like temperature and/or rainfall wouldn’t be that complicated. I guess we’re wrong about that.The temperature dropped quite a bit from the time we started running until we finished, and it rained on us the whole time. We agreed that this run was on par with two other memorable runs we’ve had in cold: the Lexington half marathon where we thought we would die from hypothermia in the middle of a deserted horse pasture – a terrible death, for sure, and the 10 miler we did in DC with Anne last year, who planned an awesome route around a peninsula on a sunny day that turned bitterly, unexpectedly, cold and windy (in that one, I really thought my blood was going to freeze; we earned the delicious food we got that night at Ted’s Bulletin).

I was so tired after we finished that I couldn’t even stick around for snack time, which is one of the best things about a nice long run with Lindsey. We love our snacks. And we’d talked all week about how good Yogurt Tap would taste after such a long run. But the last thing we wanted after freezing for 1 hour 20 minutes was frozen yogurt. And we were both so exhausted & cold, we just wanted to go to sleep. So I came home and made a totally unhealthy but sublime post-workout snack: Nutella hot chocolate.

This, friends, is what I call “a happy.” And yes, that is the super cute (and super fragile) Anthropologie measuring spoon that I adore and use pretty much every day. I swear it makes measuring small amounts more fun.

Oh, and the great part about this recipe? It only has 2 ingredients! There is no need for you to keep bland, boring pre-packaged hot chocolate mix in your pantry ever again. This is by far the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.

Nutella Hot Chocolate

(for one serving)

In a small saucepan, heat up 1 cup milk. Add 2 tablespoons Nutella. Take a moment and smile in anticipation of consuming liquified Nutella. Do not harbor any guilt about using 2 full tablespoons either. And don’t even bother looking at the nutritional information – whatever amount of calories is in that much Nutella is absolutely worth it, especially if you did a triathlon that day.

Whisk together and simmer over medium heat until Nutella has melted and the milk is hot (not simmering), maybe 5 minutes. Pour into a mug & enjoy.

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Strawberry Nutella Crepes

Last year, I brought my dear friend Lindsey to a Georgia Tech game. Well, okay, she didn’t actually go to the game with me, she just hung out at our tailgate for several hours. And on a trip back to the tailgate spot from the student center bathrooms, I spotted from – no joke – 200 yards away, a ginormous, huge, beautiful jar of Nutella. It was the biggest jar of Nutella I had ever seen. And I was hungry, in desperate need of a snack. I stopped in my tracks. I got tunnel vision and was only able to focus on the jar of Nutella. I grabbed Lindsey’s arm. And basically ran to get a Nutella crepe supplied – for free! – by a new crepe restaurant in Smyrna.

Not gonna lie: I may or may not have done a little happy dance while I was inhaling my crepe, right in front of everyone. It was the best thing to ever happen to me at a Georgia Tech tailgate. And, to this day, when I’m tailgating for Tech games, I’m on the lookout for my random crepe cart with a large jar of Nutella.

Sadly, my mysterious, magical free crepe cart hasn’t shown back up near the student center parking garage tailgate spot. But, I did recently attempt crepes for the first time all by myself. And lemme tell you: they’re super easy. You should try them. I followed Julia Child’s dessert crepe recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She has two crepe recipes: one that’s just a general crepe (which I’m sure would be just fine here, but possibly better for savory crepes) and one that’s for desserts, which uses only egg yolks instead of whole eggs, and calls for the addition of orange liqueur. I have to tell you: I was afraid. Crepes seem so delicate and difficult. And I generally have no patience for finicky in the kitchen. But, that crepe batter came together in a matter of minutes, and I’ve been eating on it/practicing my crepe-flipping technique ever since. That means, I’ve been eating lots of Nutella. And I’ve been a happier, better person for it.

Adopted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Dessert Crepes

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup water

3 egg yolks

1 Tablespoon orange liqueur (Julia calls for 3 Tablespoons; I only wanted a splash. No orange liqueur? Use brandy, or good ol’ vanilla extract probably works)

5 tablespoons melted butter

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 cup flour

Place ingredients in a blender in the order in which they are listed here. Blend at the highest possible speed for 1 minute. Place batter in fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.

To make the crepes, assuming you’re like me and don’t have/don’t want to buy a crepe pan: get the smallest nonstick pan you have. I used my trusty 7″ el cheapo nonstick skillet that I use to make omelettes. Heat the pan over medium high-ish with 1/2 tablespoon butter. Make sure the butter coats the entire pan – you may want to use a silicone brush to accomplish this task.

Pour into the pan a scant 1/4 cup batter, and twirl the pan around so that the batter covers the bottom of the pan. This is important, both the amount of batter, the twirling, and the covering of the bottom of the pan. If you use too much batter, you will not have happy crepes. Anything more than JUST ENOUGH to cover the bottom of the pan results in a thick crepe, and we’re not trying to get pancakes here – we want paper thin, light, airy wrappers for our Nutella & strawberries. I messed that up several times. It’s hard to just use barely enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan. But you just have to let it go & do what Julia says every once in a while.

Back to the recipe: once the base of the pan is covered with batter, let it cook for about 45 seconds. Then, flip it over to cook on the other side. I found that the more batter I used, the harder it was to flip them. Not that I’ve got the hang of flipping them, mind you, but the less batter I use, the easier it is. How do you flip them? Julia says something about using two spatulas or your hands. Since I have burned myself so much that I have very little sensitivity to heat in my fingertips, and I like to live on the edge, I used a spatula to help me grasp the edges, then used my hands to pull the crepe out of the pan and flip it. And I usually screwed that up somehow. But, look! One turned out really nicely. This is before I rolled it up and tore into it.

What else can you put in crepes? Anything. Cream cheese & fruit. Cream cheese fruit dip & fruit. Bananas & Nutella. Peanut butter & jelly. Goat cheese. Spinach. Mushrooms. Anything your little heart can dream up. Best of all? This batter has lasted a couple of days and still gives good results. And they take just a minute or two to make. Have I convinced you to make them yet? You should.