Shameless promotions: Mint Edition

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Beta accused me of being “overly jolly” the other day. In the doom and gloom of a withering 2017, with no hope that 2018 is going to be much of an improvement, and terrified for the future of my spawnlings, I spent a little more on Christmas than was probably necessary. I’m especially susceptible to magical holiday eats, the more festive the better.

A bit of backstory on this impulse buy: I had caught Alpha spiking his hot chocolate with peppermint extract and only just stopped him before he poisoned himself. While it smelled lovely, I’m sure that the digestive horror caused by a tablespoon of extract doesn’t bear thinking about. A week later, during a Thanksgiving baking extravaganza, I discovered I had no vanilla extract. Why you ask? Because Alpha had drunk it in his hot cocoa. How my children stay alive is a mystery. Please don’t report me.

I was forced to explain the existence of flavored syrups for just such a thing, Torani’s for example, but had not yet brought any home despite continued begging. So just regular, boring, plain old cocoa – until I found Bobs Sweet Stripes, peppermint flavored stir sticks! I know, stir sticks. What sort of ridiculous extravagant thing is this? Just stick a candy cane in the cocoa! But no – these are so much better.

First, they come in a variety of flavors. I brought home to my precious darlings the standard peppermint and a chocolate mint as my budget allowed for only so much whimsy. I had seen a cinnamon on the shelf as well, but hadn’t brought it home for fear of its being too cinnamon-y in the aggressive God Hates You kind of way that cinnamon candy tends to be, thus no one in the house would eat it. Contrarian Beta, however, objected to this executive decision, declaring that he hates mint in all its forms and prefers cinnamon.

Long story short on that is that I brought him around on the chocolate mint sticks and converted him. Both minty flavors are gentle and subtle, not at all overpowering, with the chocolate mint being less of the pepper variety, giving way to a stronger chocolate. Who doesn’t like more chocolate flavor in their hot chocolate!?!

The major difference between these stir sticks and just sticking a candy cane into your drink is that they’re soft. The kind of soft of those weird old butter mints that always seemed to be at weddings when you were a kid. Or in that crystal candy dish on grandma’s coffee table. I’m a sucker for weird old lady melt-in-your-mouth candy and this fits the bill. It doesn’t dissolve instantly, but will erode quick enough that if you linger on your drink it will have have disappeared, flavoring your hot cocoa.

I give this a Carrot’s “Its taking a lot of self control just to eat them straight up” and recommend it to you – and your obnoxious smalls – this holiday season.

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History is a spiral

(scene opens in dim basement, closing credits of Atomic Blonde playing)

Me: Man, that movie made me sad. I can’t believe I’m nostalgic for the Cold War.
Husband: You mean back when we knew who our enemies were? Don’t worry, the Russians as still the bad guys.

Someone who understands

(scene opens in brightly lit festive face-care aisle)

Helpful Target Lady: Can I help you find anything?
Me: Yes. I woke up yesterday to discover I had teen boys covered in acne and now have to teach them a skin care regimen that’s not too girlie. There used to be a St. Ives blue clay face mask?
HTL: I haven’t seen that in a while. I can recommend some other brands if you like. How many boys do you have?
Me: Three. (Points to Delta, hiding his face) He’s the youngest. The other two are just 12 and about to hit 14. They haven’t even gotten to the serious acne age yet and we’ve already hit gross levels. Like they still stink getting out the shower.
HTL: I called those the Gangrene Years. I had five boys.
Me: (Helpless laughter, touches arm in sympathy) You are a woman of strength. There’s hope for me?
HTL: Yes. But it’s going to take a while.