Posted in Beverages

Polar Vortex…or Perfect Storm??

If you’re reading this from, well pretty much anywhere in the United States, chances are you are bundled up in layers, curled up near the fire, hugging the space heater, etc. There’s no other way to say it: IT. IS. COLD. Though I must say between the term “polar vortex” and watching the giddy news reporters bundle up in layers to report on location, I have found this whole phenomenon to be rather entertaining. It also makes me exponentially aware of how lucky I am to have heat and a warm shower.
Of course, there is one realization I had this week that was accompanied by a twinge of sadness…no more Swiss Miss hot chocolate. To me, those little packets are synonymous with snowstorms and cold weather. I remember many a childhood snow day spent sledding, then removing snow pants, boots, plastic bags, gloves, hats, etc., dumping them into the dryer and running to the kitchen for some delicious hot cocoa.

Well this week has proven to be a bit different than those beautiful childhood memories of snow days. Little Blue has yet to return to me (if you didn’t get to read my previous post, he’s getting outfitted with a transmission that’s willing to face 2014). He’s a smart little guy…choosing the coldest week in 2 decades to hide out in a garage where no one forces him to drive in subzero temperatures. However his gain has certainly been my…well let’s call it adventure. I was out the door at 6 AM both Saturday and Sunday to make the mile and a half trek to my shift at the hospital. Now remember I love to run; thus,  typically a mile and a half walk is a welcome treat and a great way to start a day. Well I must say I learned a few things this weekend: 1) A mile and a half walk is not a treat when the ground is covered in snow and ice. It also takes significantly longer than a brisk fall mile and a half trek    2) Some residents around here are not the best shovelers. I forget I was spoiled in the Poconos where shoveling is an art mastered by the age of 10;    3) This city does not have enough streetlights. Seriously, people. Black ice is hard enough to see when there is light, let alone when there isn’t! I fell twice. And it gets worse. I had received the most AMAZING Christmas gift. It’s a Starbucks coffee thermos but it’s magical. When you bring it into any Starbucks during the month of January, they fill it with coffee FOR FREE. Any Starbucks, anytime. For a whole month!! Well on my 2nd trip down to the ground, that empty thermos fell out of my bag and, as I focused on breaking my own fall, it rolled away into the street where of course it was promptly run over by a pick-up truck. My month of free coffee was gone in the blink of an eye, transformed into shards of plastic splintered all over a dark, icy road.

Not the best beginning to a new year I must say. However I forged onward, confident that things would turn around. Well, today 2014 took another interesting twist. My phone rang after school today and it was the director of my apartment complex. They completed a routine radon gas testing 2 weeks ago in my building…yep, you guessed it: my apartment failed. There are elevated radon levels which need immediate attention. They’re coming tomorrow to inspect and determine whether it can be fixed in a timely manner. If not, I’m packing my bags again. Granted, it will be to another apartment in this same complex…but still. I FINALLY had unpacked almost every box.

So now I’m in a waiting game. I’ve decided to rename 2014 the Perfect Storm Year. In just 7 days I’d say it has certainly lived up to that title. Don’t worry, it’s still the Year of Love too…I mean through it all, I am still lifted up by the love of the people around me who continue to make me laugh, give me rides, and take me to dinner to forget about my worries, if even for just a little while. And of course, the plus side to all of this? I’ve spent a lot of time indoors and thus mastered something that’s even better than hot cocoa. I MASTERED THE GINGERBREAD LATTE!!! I know, it’s a teeny bit late for the holiday season…but I’m telling you, if you’re looking for a sweet treat to warm up with, this is it. I curled up on my couch, this cup in one hand, grading in the other and for just a brief moment all seemed right with the world again.

Here is the recipe. Make it , enjoy it, love it. And most importantly, stay warm!!

Katie-safe Gingerbread Deliciousness/Polar Vortex Comfort Beverage
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons molasses
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 Tablespoon coconut sugar

Heat all of these ingredients in a saucepan until bubbling. Then pour into a cup of STRONG coffee (or espresso if you have one of those makers!) I also sprinkled some nutmeg on top.
Bonus: It smells AMAZING!!!

And if you could, please say a few prayers for Little Blue, my poor apartment…and on a more serious note, all those people who aren’t as fortunate as we are to have warm homes and hot showers, especially on these bitterly cold nights.

Come on, 2014. I still believe in you. I know you’re just waiting for 28 to arrive…I’m over 27 too 🙂

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