Miss A Columnist

Melissa Wenzel is a freelance writer and public relations consultant. After graduating from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Telecommunications at Arizona State University, Melissa went to work for a boutique public relations/public affairs agency where she cut her teeth in the business by working on some of the state’s most polarizing elections and controversial public figures. Two years later, in need of a little soul cleansing, Melissa took a job with the American Red Cross where she worked media and crisis communications in the wake of local and national disasters, including Hurricane Katrina.
After her twins, Jonathan and James were born in 2007, Melissa returned to work part-time before starting her own consulting and freelance writing business in 2009.

When she and her husband are not chasing, or being chased by their four year old boys, Melissa can be found elbow-deep in cake batter or pouring over a new book. She’s currently trying to muster the courage to learn to scuba dive. Read Melissa’s musings on life with her light saber wielding twins at Musings of a Twin Mama. To learn more about her work, visit www.melissawenzel.com. If you have something for moms, children or families that you would like covered on Miss A, please email Melissa at melissa@melissawenzel.com.

Food Network’s Alton Brown’s Recipe for Healthy Hot Cocoa

Last week, after a walk around the neighborhood on a chilly afternoon, I made hot cocoa for my kids. While I was waiting for the water to heat up, I flipped over the package of the instant hot cocoa mix and was surprised with what I saw: a whole bunch of ingredients I couldn’t even pronounce. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to give my kids preservatives and unnecessary dyes if I don’t need to. So, I set out on a quest to find a suitable substitute and was pleasantly surprised with the results – yummy, instant hot cocoa! Not only do my kids love it (and can’t tell the difference from the pre-packaged kind), it’s a cinch to whip up and makes great holiday gifts for friends and neighbors. Leave it to Food Network’s Alton Brown to come through for this health-conscious mama. Here’s his fantastic recipe for hot cocoa. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: thekitchn.com


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • Hot water


Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly. In a small pot, heat 4 to 6 cups of water. Fill your mug half full with the mixture and pour in hot water. Stir to combine. Seal the rest in an airtight container, keeps indefinitely in the pantry. This also works great with warm milk.

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