Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Morning Crunch!

 aka Dark Chocolate Peppermint Chex Mix

by Jaelyn Penner 

One more recipe for all of you mint-o-holics out there!  OK, I went outside of the “natural, healthy” realm for this treat.  In reality, this recipe has no redeeming nutritional value.  But it’s good!  And, since most of us indulge freely over the Christmas break (which is ok every once in a while!), this becomes, through the magic of Christmas, the perfect Christmas morning snack!  I mean, cereal for breakfast– mint for the morning breath – chocolate for the energy and Christmas cheer – enjoy with a strong coffee for the perfect 6am “mommy-we-just-can’t-wait-to-unwrap-presents” instant perk-up!
You won’t need a ton of this stuff.  It’s heavy on the chocolate and really more of a candy than a “mix.”  But it’s super easy to make and totally worth it for the novelty and decadence.


5 cups Corn Chex (you can use Rice Chex, but they aren’t as uniformly shaped so won’t look quite as nice)
¾ cup Nestle dark chocolate and mint chips (I believe you can only find these during the holidays– can substitute with same amount of Andes chips, which are available year-round)
¾ cup Nestle semi-sweet chips
1/8 tsp. peppermint extract
Crushed candy cane or other peppermint candy for garnish


1.        Put Chex in a large mixing bowl.  Line a baking sheet with foil.
2.       In glass measuring cup, heat the chocolate in the microwave on High for 1 ½ minutes.  Stir thoroughly.  Heat for 1 minute intervals, stirring between, until smooth when stirred. 
3.       Add peppermint extract to the melted chocolate, stir well.
4.       Pour chocolate over Chex and stir to coat, being careful not to break the Chex while stirring.
5.       Pour onto baking sheet in single layer, again, be careful not to break the Chex.  Top with crushed peppermint candy while still warm.
6.       Cool until hard (7 minutes in fridge or 20-30 minutes at room temperature).
7.       Break candy with your hands into desired size chunks, place in gorgeous container, and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Few of My Favorite *Minty* Things!

The Month of Mint continues!  


by Jaelyn Penner

Fun Fact:  Did you know that (according to the all-knowing online sage Wikipedia), peppermint has been found to enhance memory?  As a sleep-deprived mother of a toddler, I can definitely appreciate that!

Today, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite (and easy-to-find) mint products.  These are really staples in my house.   I don't use them every day, but when I need them, I NEED them, you know?  Let me know what you think - I have a feeling you are going to love them as much as I do!
Beverage:  Minty Green Tea

 In addition to my Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mocha, my other favorite minty beverage is a mint green tea.  At any Starbucks, you can get the Tazo brand "Refresh" tea, that is nicely minty.  Even better, brew one bag of that with one bag of Tazo's "Zen" green tea, and you have a yummy, calorie-free, caffeinated beverage that will make you feel warm AND refreshed!

Pick-Me-Up:  Origins "Peace of Mind"

 This is the ultimate stocking stuffer for women - only $12, it can fit in your purse (or pocket, if your pants are roomy!) and provides instant relaxation and focus.  Nothing better to have at the office!  You just rub a bit on your fingers, inhale the aroma, then rub into your temples, behind your ears, and the back of your neck.  Tingly and cool - Instant rejuvenation!

Shower Indulgence:  Eucalytpus Spearmint Sugar Scrub

This shower must-have is great for waking up in the morning OR winding down after a hard day.  The Eucalytpus and Spearmint combination helps to calm and clear my mind, and the oil/sugar scrub is an  absolutely luxurious way to exfoliate and moisturize.  Bonus:  this product is widely available at nationwide Bath and Body Works stores.  Hint:  this line of products rarely goes on sale, so snatch it up when it does!  Current regular price is $16. 

What are your favorite mint products?  I would love to hear from you!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Love Letters for Newtown

Hey Everyone -

By now, I am sure you all have heard about the horrible events last Friday that took the lives of 20 first graders and several school staff members, and changed an entire town forever.  My heart breaks for those that died, and especially those that are left to try to make sense of it, and grieve their losses.  The surviving children will be scarred forever, but I believe that there is something small yet powerful that we can do to  help them know they don't have to fear the world forever.  

Please take a minute to go to this site and leave a message of love for those affected by the recent tragedy in CT.   It's a small thing, but could be the best thing most of us can do:  to send so much love that those touched by unimaginable evil can start to have faith in the goodness of the world again.

If you don't prefer to go to Facebook, feel free to leave your "love letter" in the comments below this post.  We'll make sure it gets to the right place.

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