Annie turned over in her bed, the blanket clenched in her small hand. She blinked. “Is it midnight?”
Jean smiled. “Not yet,” she whispered. “In a few minutes.” She pressed the back of her hand to Annie’s forehead and frowned, giving it a kiss to be sure. When her little girl struggled to sit up, Jean nudged her back. “You need to rest, Moppet.”
“I want to stay up for the bells.”
“You can.” Jean wrapped the blankets more tightly around her. Annie let out a sigh that turned into a cough. “Here.” Jean reached up and pushed the small window open. The cold air tickled her hand.
With difficult, Annie turned over in the narrow bed, the nightcap pulled down over her ears, the heat of her fever just visible in her pink skin.
Her mother leaned down, singing softly. The time came and both fell silent as the bells rang out in the distance, a serenade over the town, solemn in their call.
“Happy New Year, Mama.”
“Happy New Year, Moppet.”
I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s Eve but I love the prospect of a clean slate. I am that supremely annoying person who will ask you what your resolutions are and then follow up on them two months later. “Hello? Did you just hang up on me? Mom?”
I can’t help it, okay? I like change- I think it keeps things interesting. I’m always on the lookout for truly awesome resolutions. Does anyone have any they want to share? My biggest one is that I’m learning another language this year- Italian. We got Rosetta Stone for Christmas (a family gift) and I’m already in the throes of that early lovey dovey stage where it’s all I want to think about or play with. What’s “dreamy sigh” in Italian?
Anyway, just because the holidays are (almost) over, doesn’t mean that festive winter joy has to go by the wayside. Peppermint is a distinct winter/holiday treat and what better way to experience it than in liquid form; cold and sweet and bracing as a cocktail and warm, cozy in cocoa form.
Makes 8 drinks
1 Cup of pomegranate juice
The juice of 1 lime
4 Ounces of vodka
1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract
8 ice cubes
8 mini candy canes
2 TBsps of chopped, fresh mint
1. Combine juices, vodka, peppermint and 1/2 cup water in a shaker with ice.
2. Shake vigorously and strain into 8 shot glasses.
3. Garnish with candy canes and mint.
Homemade White Chocolate Peppermint Cocoa
Makes 16 cups | Via Life and Kitchen
12 Candy Canes
3/4 Cup of white chocolate chips
2 1/2 Cups of nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/2 Cups of confectioners sugar
1 Cup of unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder
1. Using a food processor, grind the chocolate chips into a fine powder. Pour into a bowl.
2. Grind the candy canes into a fine powder in the food processor.
3. Mix the chocolate chip powder and peppermint powder with the dry milk powder, sugar, and cocoa powder.
1. Mix 1 cup of hot milk with 1/4 cup of the cocoa mix.
2. Stir well.
[Gift Idea for next year: Cooks.com
1 Hot cocoa mix packet
1 Candy Cane
Mint Extract (to taste)
1. Prepare hot cocoa per packet’s instructions.
2. Add mint extract to taste.
3. Stir with peppermint stick. Will make you feel delightful.