Not helping with this little sugar monkey on my back issue I seem to be having

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life74 Comments


I discovered something last week that apparently, people in Utah have known about and reveled in for years. No, it's not the secret to making Ned Flander's Hot Cocoa, but it's completely related:

Stephen's Gourmet Hot Cocoa.


Is it hypocritcal to lament the holidays and my battle with the sugar demons and yet come on here and shamelessly promote a heavily sugared product?

So be it.

I picked this up on a whim at my local Rainbow Foods while seeking out something other than Swiss Miss or Nestle cocoa mix. I thought, "We'll give this one a go."

I'm not exaggerating when I tell you it tastes like the cocoa that you would be served by angels.…in Heaven…while having hot chocolate with Jesus. It's THAT good.

I'm still very focused on Moving More these days and if I come in from a 2 degree day of shoveling 20 inches of freshly fallen snow, I'm thinking 8 ounces of cocoa ain't killin' no one.

This one agrees.


Mmmm. Come on in from the cold, Cole. Mama's got some cocoa for you. And probably for me too.




Cathy ZielskeNot helping with this little sugar monkey on my back issue I seem to be having

74 Comments on “Not helping with this little sugar monkey on my back issue I seem to be having”

  1. #1

    Oooh, that looks so yummy! Sometimes, you just have to indulge. And after all the snow you guys have gotten and the subsequent shovelling, you can afford a treat. 🙂

  2. #3

    You and me both, Cathy! I’m having a hard time staying away from all things sugary this time of year too. But I figure I can survive in damage-control mode (eat treats, keep exercising) to be social and enjoy the holidays and then return to a more disciplined approach to eating and exercising in the new year.

    In the meantime, enjoy your cocoa! 🙂

  3. #4

    You deserve it, indulge and enjoy it. We had swiss miss here yesterday after shoveling. Today kids are home again for 2nd snow day in a row. So there will be more cocoa and thinking maybe to surpriese them with smores from the microwave as a special treat. Enjoy your day.

  4. #6

    I’ve found a way to have my hot chocolate and (not) eat the sugar too! It’s Chocolate No2 from montezumas ( This is dark chocolate with chilli. It’s quite spicy and not very sweet, so I add sweetners rather than sugar. So I get the chocolate, the heat and the kick without the sugar rush. Once you try this you’ll never go back to the powdered chocolate mixtures. A luxurious treat for a cold day.

  5. #7
    Kerri Bradford

    Cathy dear…I just have to say….you are spot-on about the Stephen’s Hot Chocolate! It’s so good that I just put it in my package to send to my boy who’s out in Washington DC right now. There’s nothing better.

    Do I even dare tell you that the Vanilla and the Peppermint Chocolate are good too? 😉

    Enjoy it! It is divine!

  6. #8
    Korey Lindberg

    Dang you and you’re wonderful tasting food items you like to tempt us with…LOL! Just so you know, there is a batch of your “sex muffins” baking in my oven right now AND I have gestational diabetes right now so I’m actually going to have to practice some self control when their deliciousness pops out of the oven this morning. And now this hot chocolate looks divine! I will have to look for it the next time I’m out at the store…I mean, who doesn’t like to drink heaven cocoa with Jesus! ;D

  7. #9

    Cathy your storm is headed my way in the east!

    question for you…I love the pictures you take of objects like the mug etc. Can I ask what settings/lense you use?

  8. #10

    I found ONE canister of Stephens peanut butter cocoa — to DIE for! While searching out more, I found a Stephens Carmel Apple Cider mix … in a green canister. Very good — but not the butterfinger candy flavor of the other cocoa mix! Just a bit of enability since I’m struggling with my own “sugar” (and fat, and quantity) issues!

  9. #12

    Mmm, can’t wait to find some and try it. My DH and I never learned to like coffee, so hot cocoa is our drink of choice, especially in the winter. And we have plenty of snow outside, too, so this is great timing! Thanks for the recommendation.

  10. #13
    Dorothy F

    28 degrees in South Florida today – I am living on Cocoa. Trust me I understand. I can not imagine being this cold and having snow too? Cocoa is the only thing that warms me up so I will just do 30 more minutes of aerobics.

  11. #14

    Thanks Jane. I shoot almost exclusively with my Canon 24-70 L Series lens. Pricey, pricey lens for sure, but I am truly in love with the images I get with it. I was shooting probably at 800 ISO on that shot, with a 3.2 f stop.

  12. #15

    Okay, Loydene,

    So yesterday I went to get some more at my local store and they were SOLD OUT, so… they had some of the peanut butter cocoa. Okay, YUM! Still like the other better, but it’s pretty darned good!

  13. #16

    Dar, if you can’t find it, you can order it on Amazon. I did, last night. 6 canisters of it, mostly because my local store does a horrible job of stocking anything! LOL!

  14. #17

    Kerri, it really is like Heaven on Earth! I also bought some of the Peanut Butter cocoa (because they were out of the basic one). To. Die. For.

  15. #18

    Yummy! It almost makes me wish it would not be warming up around here (in Dallas). It is going to be in the 70’s tomorrow. Ugh, so not Christmas.

  16. #20

    Cathy, I need your help. I have been trying to find these Have a Holly Jolly Christmas circles that I used as gift tags last year. I thought I got them from your site last year. I cannot find them here. Am I crazy? Did you do post these last year? If so, where can I find them again?? Thanks Cathy!!!!

  17. #21

    Really thought I had found the most divine cup of hot chocolate in Trader Joe’s Sipping Chocolate. I will search for some Stephens, do the taste test and let you know…

  18. #22
    Kristyn G

    Wow at the snow! and that my friend is why I will NEVER live north of the mason dixon line! This southern girl is freezing in our 28*F this morning!
    Stay warm 🙂

  19. #23

    oh my heck! I’m on my way to the store to pick some up! I’ve seen it but never gave it a second glance! Can’t wait to indulge myself this afternoon with a little hot cocoa!!


  20. #24

    When I moved away from Utah last year, I stockpiled this heavenly powder and now take the process of rationing it VERY seriously. 🙂 I haven’t found a substitution in over a year…

    On Christmas (when calories don’t count), try it with milk. Mmmmm!

  21. #25

    LOL “I’m not exaggerating when I tell you it tastes like the cocoa that you would be served by angels.…in Heaven…while having hot chocolate with Jesus” – okay my off to pick up some Stephens. I live in Utah so it shouldn’t be hard to find – right? Thanks for making my day and upping my calories!!!

  22. #26

    I didn’t realize that Stephen’s was a Utah thing. Last year my daughter gave us a case of Chocolate Raspberry. It was delicious. But- when I peeled the label off there was another label underneath. Archer Farms (isn’t that a Target brand?).

  23. #27

    OK – not only do you have the heavenly cocoa – you make it extra-special with the whipped cream & chocolate shavings – GO GIRL! You are Mama-special!

  24. #35

    Goodness gracious he is looking like his Daddy in that shot!! (you know, judging from all the times I’ve hung out with you guys- ha!) But really!!

  25. #37

    OMG and the way you present it with whipped cream and chocolate shavings… you do that with EVERY cup? If you do, I’m coming over for Cocoa!

    Oh, and man! Cole is looking quite like a young man now these days! your little boy is GONE. Hate to tell you that.

  26. #39
    Andrea A

    I have a friend here (in Virginia) who used to bring it back from Utah with her when she visited friends, and she used it as Christmas gifts. I got a canister one year, and I immediately started searching for more. After amazon was sold out for what seemed like forever to me, the commissary started stocking it. I could hardly believe it. Bought 2 cans this morning to have around for the holidays. I don’t do the chocolate shavings, but I do use Redi Whip or, if you like peppermint, a peppermint Peep star marshmallow on top. (it really does flavor the chocolate, so if you don’t like peppermint, don’t bother) It’s a good change of pace for me. I LOVE the stuff.

  27. #40

    Thank you for that post from one sugar addict to another. I too have been enjoying the more than occassional Hot Cocoa this month. It’s nice to know I’m in good company. I try to tell myself it’s better than having the eggnog. I have tried this brand and agree it is wonderful.

  28. #42
    Nancy May

    Has anyone tried the no sugar added milk chocolate? I am sure it isn’t as good as the sugary option but maybe it is good.

  29. #43

    If I had shoveled all that snow I would indulge in some hot cocoa. How many points does this one cost? I have found that I really enjoy the 25 cal Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa with a squirt of Lite Redi-Whip – ok two squirts.

  30. #44

    That’s it!!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I have been racking my brain trying to remember this. Getting older is so much fun 🙂

  31. #46

    ok seriously, you put whipped topping and shaved chocolate on his Cole’s hot cocoa!? or did you do it just for the photo! 🙂 you are the best mom ever! I’ve said it before… i really want to be you when I grow up!

  32. #47

    Cathy, speaking of Amazon, they have a Stephen’s Gourmet Milk Chocolate that is sugar free. I haven’t tried it, but next time I order from Amazon, it’s in my cart!

  33. #49

    Best indulgence – Stephen’s Candy Cane Cocoa, topped with Peppermint Whipped Cream and crushed candy canes.

    The cashier looked at my kinda funny when I had my cart loaded with Stephen’s canisters this summer on our vacation to Utah. It was 100 degrees outside, but I was stocking up!

  34. #50
    Mary Ann

    If you really want to add some calories try putting some coffee mate powdered creamer in there. My husband does this and it’s sublime!

  35. #52
    Pilbara Pink

    Seriously – you are breaking my heart, I cannot find anywhere that will ship this cocoa outside of the US, including Amazon. And there is a candy cane flavour -Puleesse!!!! I may have to have it sent to you Cathy and make you forward it since you started this 😉 Mind you it is over 30degC here in Western Australia right now (8am) and heading for around 45degC today so you wouldn’t think cocoa would be so appealing would you? But I figure if I crank up the aircon ….. No outdoor exercise going on here at the moment either!

  36. #53

    So sorry as to not have spread the Stephens word sooner. I love the stuff. I have a cup almost every morning year round. They even have different flavors, but plain chocolate is my fav.

  37. #54

    Have you ever thought of having your store order it for you. Then when a case of it comes in they call you and you go pick it up. It is just for you.

  38. #56

    OMGosh! We can’t wait for hot chocolate season here. It doesn’t even have to be really cold. Cool will do. And we fix it like you do with cream and cinnamon on top. But we found something new to add this year, Kraft has some little chocolate covered marsmallows. We add a couple of those in too!

  39. #57
    Margy Eastman

    I can’t believe all the snow – and the Metrodome! It’s -30 here, but we only got 2″ of snow this weekend.

    Have fun diggin’!

  40. #58

    “I’m not exaggerating when I tell you it tastes like the cocoa that you would be served by angels.…in Heaven…while having hot chocolate with Jesus. It’s THAT good.”

    LOL!….so funny! Seriously – I laughed out loud! Funny!

  41. #60

    Thank you for feeding my choco habit…I don’t drink coffee and I can no longer indulge with a Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate since I know how many calories, sugar, and sodium that it contains! So I’ve been searching for a sub and Nestle and Swiss Miss do NOT hit the spot! So, hopefully this is available in TX!

  42. #61

    Ok, I had to immediately make myself a cup of hot chocolate after reading this post! My MIL sends down a canister of Tim Horton’s hot chocolate every year. It is good so am anxious to compare it to Stephen’s. Have to look for it today!

  43. #62

    Having a hard time finding Stephen’s in IL. Will continue the search but I just want to say, ingredients in Trader Joe’s Sipping Chocolate=cocoa powder, cane sugar, chocolate liquor and cocoa butter. With less fat and a LOT less sodium than Stephens…
    Ingredients in Stephens=Sugar, Sweet Whey, Maltodextrin, Partially Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), Corn Syrup Solids, Non-fat Dry Milk, Natural & Artificial Flavor, Sodium Caseinate (A Milk Derivative), Salt, Mono and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Soy Lecithin.
    But, you’ve gotta make TJ’s with milk and I use less than the recommended amount-I use 1 1/2 TBSP to 1 cup skim milk.

  44. #63

    So, Cathy- since you are a Penzy’s gal, how does Stephen’s Cocoa compare to the Penzy’s cocoa mix? I can’t imagine anything better than the Penzy’s cocoa- but I will hunt down Stephen’s if you say I should!!!

  45. #64

    Angela, I just realized the amounts of Partially Hydrogenated EVERYTHING in the Stephens. Calories are one thing, but yikes! Okay, I will pick up the TJ Sipping Chocolate on my next TJ run!~ : )

  46. #65

    Molly, I like it SO, so much more. But, its loaded with bad stuff. Sigh. Partially hydrogenated everything. But like i said, its Jesus Cocoa!

  47. #66

    It’s all we drink here in Utah. Have you tried the Hazelnut? Or maybe it’s best you not . . . I’ve nearly been tempted to replace the water in my faucet with a tank of this stuff during the holidays.

  48. #68


    REALLY? So unfair to start tempting me when I am just in the midst of working my way (slowly, very slowly) back to Weight Watchers! 😉 But if it IS like cocoa they drink in heaven, I feel like I can pass it off as a religious experience and justify it… right?

  49. #70
    carol in seattle :)

    Having grown up in Utah, I well know the bliss that is Stephen’s. Try the Hazelnut variety…it’s my most favorite!

  50. #71

    At Costco, they sell HUGE canisters of Stephen’s. It’s so good, I drink it year round. My monthly goal for January (I do monthly instead of yearly goals…yearly is too hard!) is to cut out refined food products. Goodbye, Stephen’s. For one month, anyway.

  51. #72

    I’ve had a hard time finding any cocoa mix without the dreaded PH ingredients.
    Thanks to you, Cathy, I’ve been running this year and finally got a nike+ for my nano:) Love it, but as someone who also quit WW (due to cost), I was hoping there’d be place to track weight at nikeplus web site. I’ve searched and sent them the question, but thought I’d try you too:) I can count points on my own, but I miss the visual graphs of WW (but not enough to fork over $$ every month).
    Thanks for all the inspiration!

  52. #73

    Deirdre, I just realized how much PH stuff is in there, and i think thats why ive been getting some headaches this week. UGH! I guess ill have to wean off.

    : )

  53. #74
    Mandy P

    I LOVE the Stephen’s hot cocoa. The candy cane is hands down my favorite. It’s also really good to use as a coffee creamer. I live in Alabama and usually place an online order every winter.

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