I am sitting here writing to you on one of the coldest days we have had so far. The sky is clear and the mountains, visible over the colourful forest of changing leaves, are capped with snow. I have a cup of ginger tea and Graceland in my ears. I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity, and this particular setting seems apt to discussing those meandering thoughts.
I’ve always had a creative practice intertwined into my life. When I was a kid I danced, played violin, wrote stories, and later on (in high school) took photos. It never seemed like an intentional choice but rather a natural way to spend time and part of a schedule that included sleeping, eating, and going to school. As I got older those choices did become more intentional. I strayed from the dance and music, instead embracing writing and photography as I went to university.
Cultivating an actual “creative practice” isn’t something I thought about until more recently. My whole life’s worth of education has revolved around arts. My high school was an art school and I took photography and creative writing in university. It’s only lately that I have felt that constant artistic presence lacking.
Towards the end of my university degree I took more academic classes. In a way, that helped me to clarify and refine an artistic practice that had before that point held no distinct shape. I realized that spending hours each day hand binding a book full of my photographs (while listening to audiobooks) brought me incredible joy and fulfillment. Walking through the desolate rural settings of Quebec with nothing but my film camera and myself for company was breathtaking and entrancing. I worked to bring these practices more, well… into practice. Because that’s the thing, it is easy to let yourself fall out of the habit.
I feel like I am finally at the stage of settled into my new home to bring these things back into my life. I have a little collaboration going with a friend I met through the internet. It is still in such early stages, but it feels so good to have a project to think about and work on. That’s the thing about creativity that I’ve been learning; it does take work, and practice, but the payoff is so hugely rewarding. It’s a special world I get to create for myself, a manifestation of the world inside my head. It doesn’t matter so much who sees it or how it’s judged, because mostly it is just for me, and the process is everything.
Last weekend I was searching my cupboards for something to make, and this hot cocoa mix came to mind. I don’t like to buy pre-made mixes because they are always too sweet for me. Plus, I think having actual dark chocolate alongside the cacao powder is key, and most of the mixes don’t include that.
This hot cocoa mix is gingery, lightly spiced, and deeply chocolatey. It is perfect for these blustering days we have been having, and even makes you a little glad for the cold weather because it means you get to cozy up with a mug of deliciousness.
I spent the afternoon sipping hot cocoa and sorting through my poetry books. Sometimes when I’m lacking creativity I like to read a few poems and give myself a chance to explore the secret worlds of other people. It provides a spark of imagination and always inspires me with my own work.
I hope you make this! Let me know babes. Sending hugs to all of you. ♥
Spicy Ginger Hot Cocoa Mix
Makes apprx. 1 1/2 cups mix
- 1 cup cacao or cocoa powder
- 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/8 tsp chili powder
- 2 – 3 tbsp granulated sugar (depending on desired sweetness)
- 85g finely chopped dark chocolate (use your favourite chocolate bar)
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
Mix all ingredients together and store in a glass jar.
To make a cup of hot cocoa, use 1 tbsp of mix to 1 cup (250 ml) of non-dairy milk (or part water part milk).
Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the cocoa mix until everything is combined and the chocolate is melted. Top with coconut whipped cream and cinnamon. Enjoy!