Luxury on the Cheap
Happy Christmas, everyone!  And to all a good night.

What is luxury?  The best of something?  Opulence?  Fancy designer doo-dads?  Expensive clothes?  How can someone experience luxury if it's a struggle just to make ends meet?

Well, I may not know how to score a fabulous vacation on a private jet, but there are some "little luxuries" everyone can enjoy - but not everyone knows about.

And sometimes, especially when we're stuggling, those little luxuries can mean the difference between getting through the day ok and totally losing your mind!

One thing that we seem to depend on every day is caffeine.  "Give us this day, our daily coffee..."  Right?  In Seattle, there are more Starbucks stores than churches!  Caffeine has been shown to lessen the effects of depression -- even the SCENT of coffee has been shown to deliver the same results.  Here in the rainy Pacific Northwest, it's hard not to be an addict.

But instead of spending 4 dollars or more on the daily dose - there are other ways to have a luxurious, decadent coffee drink - for pennies, instead of big bucks.

Here's one I like. 

Minty, Creamy Coffee

You will need:  1/3 cup powdered milk (buy in bulk if possible)
1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup instant coffee (Starbucks Via or generic - I can't tell the difference)
2 tsp powdered cocoa
5 crushed peppermints (or a candycane)

Combine the ingredients - then use 2-3 teaspoons per cup of boiling water for a fancy flavored coffee!  Shazam!  I find the mint mitigates the stinky coffee breath.

Another drink that tastes almost sinfully good to me is flavored English tea.  This is also incredibly easy to make, which makes it even better in my book.

You will need:  plain tea bags, vanilla flavored soy mik, honey.

All of these ingredients can be found at the dollar store.  I know, I was there yesterday!

Take standard black tea bags -- generic, preferably - and brew normally.  Fill your cup 3/4 full with hot tea, 1/4 with vanilla soy milk (or plain, or milk, or cream - whatever you have) and add a generous squirt of honey.  Stir and enjoy!

My kids tell me this tastes "very friendly in the mornings."  I agree.  You can use this same process to make a decadent chai tea (it comes in tea bags) for a nice change of pace.

Even though we know the best things in life are free, it sure is nice to share a little luxury from time to time, especially with a good friend.

Be sweet.


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