I’ve been meaning to share this Andes Mint Hot Chocolate recipe with you since the holidays and well, I sort of forgot about it. I packaged the dry ingredients in glass jars and gave away a few as gifts. I noticed, however, that one lonely jar of Andes Mint Hot Chocolate failed to have a recipient and has been hanging out, sorta sad, on my kitchen counter.
Last week and 2018, in general, found me needing comfort despite what is shaping up to be a bend but don’t break kind of year.
Warning: If you’re not a fan of reading people’s personal struggles and just here for the recipe, just scroll on down for the recipe card. I promise I won’t be offended.
- 1¼ cup instant non-fat dry milk
- ¼ cup presweetened cocoa mix (Nestle)
- 2 tablespoons powdered Swiss chocolate coffee creamer
- ½ cup chopped Andes mints
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Pour into a 1 pint, wide mouth jar.
- *If gifting, add the dry ingredients to the mason jar. Add the chopped mints on top of the mix rather than mixing in.
- When ready to enjoy: Add ⅓ cup of Andes Hot Chocolate mix with 1 cup boiling water.
- Add mix in a large mug; add boiling water. Stir until well blended and Andes mints are melted. Adjust amount to suit how chocolately you want it. Garnish with mint.
Like any year, I embraced the clean slate that a new year represents. I opted for choosing a sentiment rather than any resolutions. I’ve been reading the book, The Gratitude Diaries (highly recommend) and chose “Gratitude” as my word/sentiment of the year.
Things were going well.
When I found myself getting frustrated with something as insignificant as say, a delayed Amazon Prime delivery, I reminded myself of just how insanely coordinated things have to be to get a package from point a to point b, clear across the country in a matter of 2 days. The thought of the miles that a package travels and all the hands that it goes through to get to me so timely, made me relax and be grateful that we live in a world where you can order on Monday and have something on your porch on Wednesday. And if it’s Thursday when your whatever it is that you ordered arrives, well, that’s still quick enough for you to be grateful.
But then things started going downhill around the middle of the month with the following few words from my father…..”They found cancer in my prostate”.
I don’t know that you can be fully prepared to hear the “c” word when it affects your immediate family and hits so close to home but we are grateful that my father is generally healthy, it’s been caught early, and the prognosis is good that it can treated effectively and removed.
Scary and uncertain, but still so much to be grateful for.
The following week, my recently added, sweet rescue pup Tucker ended up back in the veterinarian’s office for continued issues with his spine. Back in October, he was diagnosed with Intervertebral Disc Disease and had pinched a nerve. We have been aggressively treating him with medications and weekly trips for laser therapy.
He seemed to be getting better and we’ve continued to limit his activity- no jumping, no running, no excessive excitement.
But on a Saturday morning, I woke to him shrieking in pain trying to get himself up from his dog bed. And then again when he turned his body too quickly.
Extra Rimadyl and monitoring over the weekend but Monday morning we were there to open our vet’s office.
Much like my father’s few words sent me into a panic, Tucker’s were similar.
“We need to discuss surgery”.
Two days of steroid injections and by Wednesday we were off to an appointment with the top veterinary surgeon in the state.
For now, we are continuing to treat medically and exploring acupuncture in addition to laser treatments. Last week I was literally in a vet’s office 5 of the 7 days.
Exhausted. Overwhelmed. And just sad.
I was outside with the dogs taking in just how much bad news we’ve gotten in the past few weeks and I looked over at my hot mess of a herb garden.
There, among fallen leaves, dried lavender, dead basil in an herb garden left to fend for itself (I’m so sorry herb garden) was a couple of sprigs of mint that despite unprecedented snow this year and several hard freezes beckoned me to snip them and make that hot chocolate sitting on the counter….for myself.
Maybe I underestimated how resilient mint is, but I found so much hope and strength in those surviving mint sprigs.
When I take a moment to breathe, I find gratitude in knowing that Tucker found his way off a cold shelter floor and into a home that will care for him as if we’ve had him forever.
And I am grateful for a husband who says “whatever we need to do” when I suggest my dad move upstairs and receive his chemotherapy here in Baton Rouge rather than 2 hours away. A man who is my constant calm as I schedule a surgery consult for a dog we’ve had less than a year.
I’m even grateful for those precious sprigs of mint who enhanced my hot chocolate and reminded me that regardless of what 2018 throws our way, it’s all going to be okay.
Have a great week, friends.