Here on the East Coast, I’m currently in the middle of Polar Vortex III. Sitting here looking out the window of my apartment and grumping because Penn hasn’t declared a snow day (Really, Amy G?) makes me wonder how I survive winter year after year because, let’s be honest, my years in Wyoming sure didn’t cultivate in me a love of snow. Today’s post is about my winter survival kit.
Winter means that I want to curl up with something warm to drink. There’s just something romantic about sitting in my apartment under a blanket, reading and drinking a warm beverage. I used to be more of a hot-chocolate type, but college has somehow transformed me into a serious tea drinker.
My staple is Twinings English Breakfast Tea.
Most people who say they dislike tea just haven’t added enough sugar to it. Black tea is my favorite, and this one takes the cake for supermarket options. I go through at least one tea bag a day, if not more, and I always drink it with skim milk and demerara cane sugar. The cane sugar is a must. It has a molasses-ey flavor that you don’t get with artificial sweeteners (and besides, those are bad for you anyway). This is my go-to winter drink.
Sometimes I’m feeling more exotic (and my suitemate is gracious enough to share his tea), and I go to
Smaks Bespoke Hispaniola.
My suitemate brings back this yummy tea from Trinidad. Comprised of black tea leaves and flakes of vanilla pods, this tastes like black tea blended with warmed vanilla ice cream. Delicious. As always, I drink it with demerara and milk. To my delight, I found that it’s available online. Find it here. (Also try Trinidad Breakfast for a super-smooth traditional black tea, or Parang for a chai-like vibe)
If I’m going to be curling up on the couch reading all day, that means I’m not particularly in the mood to cook. Which means my winter survival kit has to include quick eats.
One of my go-to comfort foods is Amy’s Macaroni and Cheese
So cheese, much creamy, wow. That is how I would describe this mac and cheese wonderfulness. Amy’s stuff in general is my favorite because it tastes wholesome. The cheese feels real, unlike the orange concoction that is Easy Mac (although don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy Easy Mac on occasion). It’s certainly not low-calorie but it is good for your soul. Trust me on this one. You can find Amy’s products generally in the supermarket; it’s becoming more commonplace. Find it in frozen food by the “healthy” stuff.
But what “survival kit” of any sort would be complete without something chocolate? My roommate and I found this gem of a recipe last semester, and we’ve been hooked ever since.
Chocolate-Covered Katie’s One Minute Chocolate Cake in a Mug
ONE MINUTE CHOCOLATE CAKE IN A MUG?! Can this be real??!?!? Yes, it can be real. And it is amazing. It’s also vegan (if you use non-dairy milk) and only 200 calories. I usually cook it a little less than it’s pictured here, which results in something the texture of warm gooey brownie batter. Since it’s egg-free, you can cook it as much or as little as you like. I make this on evenings when I want something sweet and don’t want to leave the apartment. It always satisfies me, it’s filling, and it’s the reason why we now keep cocoa powder and vanilla in our apartment at all times. Yum.
Part of winter survival is surviving the battery your body goes through during the winter. Winter weather tends to dry out my skin completely, and so my winter survival kit also has to include something to keep me from looking like a giant prune.
One of my favorites is Hempz Herbal Body Butter
Yes, that is a marijuana leaf. Hempz is made from hemp seeds, which makes it insanely good at moisturizing. I use it on my hands, my feet, and everywhere else to fight off the drying winter weather. It smells delish, and it’s pretty reasonably priced, too. Find it at Walgreens or other drugstores.
And for the lips…Burt’s Bees Refreshing Lip Balm with Grapefruit
Unlike some of Burt’s Bees other lip balms, which I feel like have to be thoroughly melted before applying, this one always goes on smooth and moisturizes my lips well. It also smells absolutely amazing. It’s a must-have.
I started writing this earlier when it was snowing buckets and buckets, and now it’s finally clear, which means no snow day. 😦 But I’m sure thankful that the snow has gone.
What is in your “winter survival kit?” Comment below!