The other day when my husband came back from a run (yes, an outdoor run in January in Illinois!)  I said, “Weren’t you cold?”  His answer:  “No, I was dressed for 3 degrees and it was 10!”  Sadly, the following days just got colder and colder.

How do I survive the cold?  Not through exercise, I’ll tell ya that.  For me, it’s hot beverages all the way.  (Although to be honest, I drink hot cocoa year round.)  Try not to judge me too much for being passionate about hot drinks.  :)

Baby, it’s cold outside!  Grab a cup’a something warm that makes you smile and enjoy!

{hot cocoa}

Well, let me start by saying Starbucks sells the best hot cocoa mix in the galaxy.  It’s not cheap, but it is just the best.  I’ve bought it in packet form at Target and Costco, or at most Starbucks you can buy a large container.

I’ve also been really happy with Caffe D’Vita’s organic hot cocoa mix from Costco.  Don’t you feel warm and cozy just looking at it?  The hand-knit scarf helps, too:

blog drinks cocoa

I am now a little afraid to look at the ingredients in many standard hot cocoa packets.  I was personally not too stoked to see artificial flavoring in Swiss Miss.  It just seems so unneccessary–and there can be a lot of other head-scratching ingredients in there, too.  

A very yummy and ingredient-safe option is to buy dutch cocoa (look in the baking section or in the international food aisle) and mix it with your own sugar.  Add to a cup of steamy milk and you’re good to go.  Like, really good.  I like this route because you control how sweet the drink is, and you also know the only ingredients are cocoa, water or milk, and sugar.  In the words of my brother-in-law after taking a sip, “That is REALLY good!  How did you make it?”  It’s really easy!

{let’s talk Starbucks}

I am caught in the tension of loving and missing the local coffee shop and loving and embracing the world-consuming Starbucks.  I make it a point to shop local when I can, but I do whole-heartedly love Starbucks, and I am not ashamed.  ;)

My favorite Starbucks drink is their soy green tea latte–extra hot.

blog drinks starbucks

(A word to the wise–If you drop your cup on your kitchen floor, your Starbucks mermaid might even become a pirate!) If you like green tea, you should try it.  It’s very green and some say it tastes like grass.  To me, it tastes like heaven, and I’m allergic to grass, so…..yeah.  And there’s just something about soy in this drink.  Mmmm.

If you like Starbucks and haven’t registered a Starbucks gift card yet, you really should.  You can buy yourself a gift card, go online and register it, and Starbucks will load a free drink onto your card every year for your birthday.  You’ll occasionally get special coupons via email, codes for discounts, and opportunities to earn free drinks by taking customer satisfaction surveys.

Oh, you want to send me a Starbucks gift card?  I wouldn’t stop you!

{trader joe’s}

Trader Joe’s makes a simply divine chai tea latte mix.  I have yet to meet a person who didn’t think it was the cat’s pajamas.

blog drinks chai

And, while not as good as Starbucks, Trader Joe’s matcha green tea latte mix is pretty good, too.  While you’re at Trader Joe’s, pick up some coffee.  Most of it is excellent and reasonably priced, plus you have the option of organic and fair trade (at reasonable prices, even!) if that’s your thing.

{home is whenever I’m with you…..or with a cup of something hot in my hand}

I might make that phrase into some wall art.  Is it just me or am I getting funnier and funnier?!

Ok, looking to make something low-budget and at-home?  Try using an electric frother (available for super cheap at Ikea and pictured below, or there are tons of options on Amazon) to froth up some warm half and half or creamer.

blog drinks frother

I pour my creamer into a cup, put it in the microwave for 20 seconds or so, froth it for 20 seconds or so, and then pour in hot, freshly brewed coffee and sugar if desired.  Foam = fancy and delish!  Add a dash of coffee syrup (mine is from Target) and you are golden.  blog drinks syrup

Another fun idea is to make half a mug of hot cocoa, then cap your drink off with hot coffee.  Poor man’s mocha, but it works!

Feeling extra fancy?  Pour some heavy cream into your electric mixer and beat until it looks like whipped cream.  Experiment with adding a little sugar and vanilla extract, and for best results, chill your bowl and whisk before starting.  It is 100% yummier than whipped cream from an aerosol can.  Promise.

Hot water with honey and lemon is very soothing when you’re feeling under the weather, or if you’re just feeling cold and want something natural to cozy up to.

When it goes on sale at Target, I seldom pass up a Tazo tea concentrate.  Half a glass of milk (dairy, soy, almond…) and half tea concentrate, it doesn’t get much easier than that.  It’s extremely cost effective, too, since the whole box of concentrate costs about as much as a medium sized drink at Starbucks.

blog chai concentrate

Ladies and gents, thank you for strolling the Hot Drinks Hall of Fame.

What keeps you warm these days? 

 

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