S E C O N D A N N I V E R S A R Y !
The day after this past Christmas, Alex and I headed north to a resort on Lake Superior for a mini getaway to celebrate our 2 year wedding anniversary! The weather that week was even more freezing than normal. The coldest day had a high of -15°F (feels like -35°F), and the warmest it ever got was 2°F. Like, why?? On the way there we stopped at REI and gifted each other new, fancy Norweigan gloves as our “cotton” anniversary present. #minnesotacouplegoals anyone lol?
Being the stubborn people that we are, we didn’t let the frigid cold stop us. We still adventured outside – we just happened to wear all of our clothes, creating so many layers we had to walk kind of stiffly. I definitely felt like Ralphie’s little brother from A Christmas Story – “I can’t put my arms down!”
Our first jaunt out into the artic tundra (I say that because that’s where the cold front came from) was snowshoeing on a nearby trail. Just five minutes in, I had ice forming on my eyelashes and my non-water proof mascara was running down my face. It was lovely... We didn’t last long on this trail before we had to retreat to the lodge because my toes and fingers were painfully numb. Back at the lodge, while all the guests and their hyper kiddos were out skiing on the nearby mountain, we had the Jacuzzi and sauna all to ourselves. Hallelujah! As soon as our body cores had returned to normal, we somehow willed ourselves to gear up again, and went back outside. Through the silent forest we hiked up the slippery, deserted trail to discover a few frozen waterfalls. Because all my fingers and toes afterwards still had okay circulation we decided to press our luck and drive to a different, longer trail to hike before the sunset. A couple miles through another forest we made our way to a frozen lake. And Alex stood on it! I was getting a little antsy to get back to the lodge so I was already starting to head back so I didn’t stand on the lake. Oh well. But before we went back to the car, we stood at the lake’s edge, just for a minute, not saying a word, and instead taking in the complete silence of the snow covered lake and forest. Complete silence is such a rarity when you live in a large city, and we were grateful for the chance to experience it.
The morning of check out we practiced our cross country skiing skills. The weather was much better, a whopping 2°F! Swish, swish we slowly made our way down the trail, staying upright the whole time! We both have loved getting to cross country ski when the opportunity arises, so naturally we stayed out as long as we could before we had to head back to the resort to check out on time.
BEST PARTS OF THE TRIP:
- sauna after adventuring outside
- making our abs hurt from laughing so hard
- cross country skiing
- peppermint hot chocolate after cross country skiing
- alex accidently breaking the window, and me coincidentally catching it on video
- our car still worked! Go little Subaru go!
- shrimp scampi at Cascade Lodge Restaurant
NOT BEST PARTS OF THE TRIP:
- having a room whose radiator didn’t work. Thankfully they gave us a space heater that worked wonders!
- the water. Like worst water I have ever tasted
- having to warm my toes under water after they had turned completely white
Drinking hot chocolate after adventuring outside in the frigid cold will make any hot chocolate the BEST hot chocolate in the world. That’s how I felt about the Nestle hot chocolate packet and hot water I got from the resort lobby as we checked out. I even added a little peppermint stick, which really put the hot chocolate on a whole new level!
Inspired by hot chocolate, I created this Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies. If you have never had Mexican hot chocolate, it is essentially hot chocolate with various spices that create a little bit of a kick. Similarly, these cookies are rich in chocolate, thanks to the cocoa powder base, and provide a kick in the back of your throat from the cayenne and paprika. (You can reduce the amount of paprika if you have zero spice tolerance.) These cookies are naturally flourless and dairy free. What’s better is that these cookies are extremely easy to make – and it only requires one bowl!
Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies (Flourless + Dairy Free)
Prep time:Bake time: Serves: 16
- 2 cups powder sugar, pre-sifted
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- Pinch of cayenne
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 3/4 cup almonds, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 egg whites
- Preheat oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper, set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, paprika, cayenne, and nutmeg.
- Mix in almonds, chocolate, and vanilla extract.
- Whisk in egg whites, until just combined.
- Drop dough by the spoonful onto the pre-lined baking sheet, spacing 2" apart.
- Bake for 10 minutes, until the cookie tops are dry and slightly cracked. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the sheet before transferring cookies to a cooling rack.