Green + White

Today's post is brought to you by the color green and the color white. Both my high school and college colors were green and white, so I've always had this little sentimental attachment to them. But it seems while thinking of house decorating, I've got green and white on the brain! 

Today's white portion is what I teased in my last post: the now-white tables we'll use in our new house! We spent Saturday and Sunday prepping and painting these tables, and the results really turned out great. I can't wait to see them all set up when we move in!

Eric found two tables at a thrift store a few years ago and currently one is serving as our record-player holder, and the other holds my sewing machine. They're good, sturdy tables, and I love the look of their unique scalloping and detailing along the legs and top of the table.

To minimize any chance of bumps from dirt or debris on the table, we rubbed down the surface with a damp towel and let it dry. We were a little lazy this time around and skipped the sanding, which it turned out we didn't really need to do anyway - we went straight to the priming!

We were lucky with the tables, as the paint really stuck well, and the legs only needed two coats of paint. We finished the top with three coats, since it would be the most-visible area of the table.

I think they look great! They'll bring such a cohesive look to the living room/"French" room. And the best part, besides being ultra thrifty, is that we can proudly say we did the work ourselves!

So the white paint is done, for now. With those two tables and the chair, we've still got about 1/4 can of white paint left - talk about stretching our dollar! We're hoping the tables don't get nicked up in the move, but in case they do, we'll have the perfect amount of touch-up paint.

Today's green portion of this post actually doesn't involve paint (though don't be surprised if you see a green-paint post in the near future....), but the snack that fueled these marathon paint sessions over the weekend.

Kale chips.

If you follow any food blogs, you've been hearing a lot about kale lately. It seems to be the posh leafy green these days - if leafy greens could be considered posh. And to tell you the truth, I just don't get it. I've tried kale inn salads and I just find it too tough with not enough flavor. I've been skeptical of all this kale hype, but when Eric brought some home suggesting we try it, I decided to give it one last chance - in chip form. 

A drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and a trip to the oven later, I was in love. Kale chips are AWESOME. They honestly taste just like potato chips, but are about 1000 times better for you. And they couldn't be easier to whip up.

First, wash your bunch of kale.

Then, rip it into chip-sized pieces and toss with a little olive oil and a light sprinkling of sea salt. (Don't make the same mistake as me and dump a quarter of the sea salt jar on the chips - they will still be delicious, but you may end up guzzling about two quarts of water to make up for it)

Next, arrange the kale pieces on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Finally, pop those puppies in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until crispy.

Add them as a side, them wolf them all down, completely forgetting there's anything else on your plate.

And I'm not just saying they're delicious just because they're a healthy alternative to chips - I may even prefer them to chips. They're also boyfriend-approved; Eric said he could see himself happily munching on kale chips during a game and not even miss chips and dip.


Seriously, try kale chips. Make them right now - they're too easy not to.


Paint it White

Remember our check list of projects we can tackle before the move? Well, we can officially check off two more! This has been the perfect weekend to do some home projects, what with it being 30 degrees and snowy almost all day yesterday.... (Seriously, on Friday, it will be APRIL. Shouldn't the snow knock it off by now??). We took what surely was our first trip of many, many more to the hardware store yesterday to pick up some primer, some white paint, brushes and a drop cloth in order to get two big projects completed.

Commence: Operation "Paint it White."

I've got a vision for our living room and "French room" (Yes, we have a room we are calling the "French room," not because it will be inspired by France, nor because were particularly like French things, but because it's got French doors and we aren't fancy enough to call it a "parlor."). Included in that vision are some white accents. The only problem is, we don't have any white furniture, and as our motto is "Chic but cheap," our option was to paint what existing furniture we have.

Beginning with this chair:

Eric picked this chair up at a thrift store a few years ago and for the past two years it's been serving as my "pull-up helper" during P90X. This thing is in good shape (I mean, that's what two years of training with Tony Horton will do to you), but it just needed a little love and updating.

As soon as we brought the chair out to work on it, Mr. Pancakes expressed his interest in "helping."

We realized there would be certain disaster if we let Mr. Pancakes hang around, so sadly he was quarantined in the bedroom during most of the afternoon (Don't worry, he had food, his litter box and his favorite toys - rubber bands - to keep him happy).

We started off by removing the seat to make life easier, then sanded the wooden frame with 120-grit sandpaper - by hand. After a while, we realized this was a job for the power sander.

Eric did most of the sanding. But I got to try out the sander, too. Gee, I feel just like Bob Vila!

After the whole thing was sanded, we wiped it down with a damp rag and let it dry for a couple of minutes.

Then, we began priming the chair. When we were done priming, we realized the back of the chair was going to be a big issue when trying to paint the frame. The problem is, the thing wasn't easily removable. We took out a couple of screws, but the bottom was cling to some sort of dowel rod. 

So we simply just kept the back on, but tilted it back so we'd have easier access to the frame lining the chair back.

After the primer was dry, we each grabbed a foam brush, dipped it in some interior semi-gloss white paint, and went to work. The first coat went on pretty thinly, as did the second. But by the third coat, we thought we had a pretty-good finished product on our hands.

I was amazed how the simple white paint gave new life to this chair. The white really brought out the curves to the frame and made the chair look fresh, modern and way more expensive than it really was. But even though the chair looks great as is, it's not done yet! Oh no, my friends. This chair is going to go through another transformation, and I'm really excited about the final FINAL product. I just can't reveal it until May.... so hold on tight until then!

Our second project was painting a couple thrift-store tables white. One of these tables currently holds our record player and receiver in the dining room, and the other holds my sewing machine in the bedroom. I'll get to those projects in another post, but I'm already excited about how amazing they'll look in our new house!

Have you done any furniture transformations with a simple coat of paint? I'd love to see your examples!


First Thing's First

I'm still kind of floating on air after the news of the accepted offer on our new home - it's been hard to think of anything else! Little by little I've been piecing together ideas of how we'll decorate the space and just how much work we have ahead of us. We've got the home inspection scheduled for tomorrow morning, which is just about the final stepping stone to actually calling this house ours. Who knows? The home inspection could go haywire and the entire place may crumble before our eyes - but the house looks to be very well-cared for, so I'm not expecting any wrenches been thrown in the inspection. Fingers crossed!

In the wake of our offer being inspected, Eric and I have been thinking of all the projects we'd like to complete before moving in. There's a lot we'll want to get done, so we figure it'd best to knock as much out as we can before actually moving in. So, we made an initial list of everything we think we can get done in the next month, and are keeping it on our refrigerator:

That list will give you the tiniest sneak peak of what we're envisioning in our home. I promise it's not going to be an all-white space, as all the "white paint" references allude to!

And already it looks like we're able to cross one thing off the list! On Sunday, we tore through our closets to see what unnecessary items we could purge. If you know me at all, you know I have a tendency to hold on to things for a little too long. No, I'm not a hoarder (as Eric may tell you...), I just see the value in keeping certain items around for those "You never know when you might need it!" moments. (Actually.... I think I've actually heard almost every subject on "Hoarders" utter that exact phrase..... yikes).

We were able to fill up five and a half jumbo-sized trash bags of items to donate to Goodwill! And I'm not going to lie, about 4.5 of those bags were filled with only my stuff. Looking back on some of the clothes and shoes I donated, I had to laugh; though a lot of it dated back to college, I couldn't believe how out of style so many of the things were! Has anyone else noticed tops from the 2000-2007 era were, like, incredibly short? How I traipsed around campus feeling awesome in tiny little midriff-baring tank tops is beyond me. And is Hollister even a store anymore? Apparently it was necessary for me to own plenty of pre-torn jeans and faded polos from Hollister circa 2004. Ugh....

But the college clothes and even some high school outfits I was still holding onto weren't even the dustiest relics I gave up. The single oldest item I donated is more aged than many current high schoolers, and I know this because the date was printed right on the front of the t-shirt: Green Wave 1995 Tennis Camp. What else happened in 1995, other than a Midwestern 10-year old with glasses and braces learning the proper technique for an overhand serve? Well, let's see:
  • DVD media storage was announced
  • "Toy Story," the first wholly computer-animated movie, was released
  • OJ Simpson was deemed "not guilty" in the murder of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman
  • Youths across the nation exasperated their lungs trying to hold the last note of Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise"
  • The average price of a gallon of gas was $1.09

It's time that t-shirt find a new home. 

Because Eric has a Goodwill located close to his office, he's making trips to drop off the bags all this week. I can't tell you how amazing it feels to have so much room in my closets! It's definitely going to make our move much easier.

We've also started a "Furnishings Fund" jar, wherein we'll collect loose coins and dollar bills to save up for buying a new couch, rug, curtains, tables and odds and ends. Every penny counts when buying things for our first home! We only just contributed to the jar this morning, and look how much we've accumulated already!

And on that note, while visiting Eric's mom over the weekend, she sent us back with some power tools, paint rollers and trays and a few garden tools for the house. She also offered to give us her outdoor patio set! I'd been looking at patio furniture online and was surprised at how expensive it is - anything in good condition that we can get for free is just an added bonus!

So, there you have it: Our first steps and projects we're undertaking on the road to being homeowners. I'll be posting about projects frequently, so let me know if you have any questions or requests on what you'd like to see! And, of course, if you have any tips on making a smooth move, saving up for big purchases or anything else home-related, please let me know - I need all the help I can get at this point!


House Hunt Update

First of all, I need to apologize for being a little absent lately. Things are pretty, pretty, preetttyyy wild in my world right now. House hunting is no small feat, my friends, and on top of that, I've started my training for my half marathon on May 7th. Let's just say if it's not houses or running, it's probably not on my brain.

Last week, we'd pretty much decided to sit back and cool out on the house hunt. We'd exhausted almost everything on the market in our desired neighborhood, and we weren't wowed by anything. Then, on Tuesday we went and saw a couple more homes; One had a lot of space, a great deck and a big master bedroom, but was a little more south than we'd like to be. The other we had completely written off because the online pictures of the interior weren't exciting and the square footage seemed a little low BUT it was in an ideal location. 

Well, that second home we had written off? It was the perfect example of why you can't judge a book by its cover.... or it's online photos. The interior was clean, very cute and definitely had lots of charm. It is a little smaller than I was looking for, but the basement is in excellent condition and could be easily finished - meaning extra living space down the road! But the real kicker was this home's breathtaking backyard; we walked outside and our jaws DROPPED at how beautiful it was - and this was at night! Cobblestone patio leading to a granite-blocked deck. Expansive, lush backyard with 14 different kinds of flowers and beautiful landscaping. A Golden Delicious apple tree. An archway across the path leading to the garage filled with real grape vines that grow seedless green grapes! Seedless green grapes!!! A slab and a fire pit. An amazing garden area..... it goes on. I'm not saying it looks exactly like what's pictured below, but, I mean, it's not far off.

It was the first house we had gotten really excited about. We decided right then and there that we'd put an offer on it.

An offer! What a huge deal! We knew the offer we put in was a long shot, but were hopeful. Well, after waiting and excruciatingly long day yesterday, we finally heard last evening that they'd countered our initial offer. Their counter was exactly what we'd expected, so no letdown here. We rolled up our sleeves and decided we'd play ball. We put in our counter offer this morning, and now have another day of waiting!

As an avid viewer of the show "House Hunters," I must say I'm a little perturbed at how they package the offer to purchase and countering process. Uhhh... I WISH it was as easy as picking a number, calling the Realtor and enjoying a cup of coffee as you wait for the answer. NO. It is a painful process filled with nervous and anxiety and upset stomachs. "House Hunters," I love you, but you're doing it wrong.

AAGGGHHH!!! Such an exhausting process. But we're so hopeful they'll accept this counter. I know I shouldn't be doing this, but I'm already dreaming of the ways I'll decorate and how I'll spend summer days and nights in that amazing backyard. 

Cross your fingers, please!

[GIANT MEGA UPDATE NEWS: Just minutes after I posted this, our offer was accepted!!! I know that doesn't mean it's 100% a done deal, but it's a whole HECK of a lot closer! PARTY TIME, DUDES!!!! :)]


Birthdays and Brewery Tours

There's nothing I love more than a good ol' birthday celebration. I've always loved birthdays - and not even just my own! There's nothing more fun than taking a friend out and making them feel special. Often, you help celebrate by drinking tasty beers. And if you're totally awesome, you celebrate your birthday at the place that happens to make those tasty beers.

Case in point: My friend Abby. She hosted a totally laid-back but totally awesome birthday celebration at Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee on Saturday. The Lakefront Brewery is in a fantastic Cream-City brick building located on the banks of the Milwaukee River. The vibe inside is definitely fun, relaxed and everyone is encouraged to get nicely sauced on their deliciously brewed products. The brewery tours are informal, but informative and always infused with good laughs. Plus, I mean, you get to drink before, during AND after the tour, so you can't go wrong with that.

Another awesome thing about Lakefront? It houses Bernie Brewer's chalet! Bernie, the mascot of the Milwaukee Brewers, is famous for taking a dive down a slide whenever the Brewers hit a home run at home. Now, at Miller Park, he slides down a big, fancy slide into the Kalahari-sponsored "splash zone," but back when the Brewers played at County Stadium, he slid from a modest, wooden "chalet" into a fiberglass beer mug. When County Stadium closed 10 years ago, Lakefront Brewery asked to purchase the chalet, slide and beer mug with the intent of letting its patrons make the famous slide midway through a tour. Well, insurance issues kept that from happening, but the the chalet and beer mug is still proudly displayed in the brewery today.

I've been on the tour about six or seven times to date, but Eric has gone well over 10 times, I'm sure. He could easily lead a tour, himself. He's been on a tour with almost every Lakefront guide there is, and when he saw our guide for Saturday, his eyes lit up. "We got him!" He exclaimed.

"Him" was Curtsy. The handlebar-mustachioed comedian who won Eric over on a trip to the brewery during a bachelor party. I've heard Eric talk about "the best brewery guide ever" on a few occasions, and always hoped I'd get him to see what the fuss was about. 

Eric was right - he was funny, personable and quick-witted. He had an answer for every question and was quick on the draw to deal out joke after joke. He happened to take quite a liking to my friend Abby, here, and even let her help hand out beers during the halfway point of the tour.

Cursty was quick to show off his impressive strength.

As was Eric...

At the end of the tour, the entire group is encouraged to participate in a rousing sing-a-long of the theme song to "Laverne & Shirley." Why? Because "Laverne & Shirley" was set in Milwaukee. And they worked at a brewery. And also, because at that point in the tour you're usually buzzed and ready to sing your lungs out. It is ALWAYS fun. Always.

After the brewery tour, we headed over to Milwaukee burger institution Sobelman's for a bite. Sobelman's is home to one of the best burgers I've ever tasted, and was even involved in a burger battle against Downtown Milwaukee's AJ Bombers on the Travel Channel's "Food Wars" show last fall. I've had both burgers and I'm a fan of both places. But I'm still standing by the Dise burger any day of the week....

Though Sobelman's comes close. Their bun is phenomenal, chewy and lightly buttered. The burger is juicy, thick, bursting with flavor and a hint of hotness from its jalepenos. 

Notice above they proudly advertise their "Loser burger," which is the burger they developed for the "Food Wars" show, in which they lost to AJ Bombers' "Milwaukee Burger."

Aside from their burgers, Sobelman's also has one of the best Bloody Marys in the city - they even hire a kid whose job is strictly to make bloodies. This bloody is loaded with all the fixins: cheese, pearl onion, mushroom, shrimp, celery, asparagus, lemon, tomato, olive and pickle (though my pickle is always given away). It takes a while to slurp down, but it goes down oh so well.

Abby's birthday was my favorite kind of celebration - no frills, all fun. Spent at two of my favorite places imbibing in some of my favorite beverages and foods. Gone are the days were birthdays meant wearing heels and going to clubs with horrible music played way too loudly. And that is exactly the way I like it.


Dogs vs. Cats

Coke vs. Pepsi
Heinz vs. Hunt's 
Cats vs. Dogs

These are three polarizing arguments that people will battle until the end of time and no one will ever come out a winner. (Except for the ketchup argument.... If you prefer Hunt's, I question you as a person entirely). 

Where do I stand? Coke. Heinz. Ca..... I mean, Doo...... I mean....... I DON'T KNOW!!! I love both cats and dogs. I grew up always having a pet dog and cat at the same time (until my beloved beagle, Reese, passed away when I was in college), and they're both fantastic pets. Dogs are playful and loyal. Cats are quirky and independent. I will admit I believe it's easier to get more attached to a pooch than a kitty, but Mr. Pancakes has changed my perspective on the "buddyability" of a cat altogether. 

Are you as indecisive on the subject as me? Just weigh the pros and cons of each pet and see who comes out the clear winner for you.



I caved

Yes, I realize Easter is still, like, a month and a half away. Yes, I realize they've only been on the shelves for about two weeks now, but these little buggers have been taunting me in the holiday aisle for a while now, and I am so, so weak when it comes to these chocolate-coated sugar-bombs.

I bought a box today and am allowing myself to have one egg per week until the box is empty. Moderation is key! You know, until Easter actually hits, when I'm sure I'll stuff my face with about five more in one sitting...

I look forward to Cadbury Creme Eggs this time every year, and am always so sad when they disappear from the stores. However, a couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon the Holy Grail for a Cadbury junkie like me: a recipe for homemade Cadbury Creme Eggs. The best part? They look surprisingly simple to recreate! Look for my very own stab at the recipe sometime near the end of May, when the high-fructose-corn-syrup withdrawals really start taking their toll.....

I've found Cadbury Creme Eggs are a very polarizing candy - you either love 'em or you hate 'em. How do you feel about my most-beloved holiday treat?


Home Sweet Home?

So... I've got a little news. Actually, it is a BIG news - and really exciting, too! Eric and I are officially in our first house hunt! I guess wintertime in apartment living has really gotten to us, and we're itching to buy a place of our own. Actually, if you would've asked me in January - or, heck, two weeks ago - if I'd be purchasing a house this year, I would have snorted, laughed and answered with a resounding "NO!" I thought that was probably a couple years off for us (let alone after a wedding), but after finding a couple of homes online that we really liked, and also crunching numbers and realizing we could actually afford these homes (which, it turns out, being able to pay for a house is, like, a pretty big deal when looking to buy), we kind of went all in!

Luckily, since I work in the real estate industry, I've got a lot of great resources at my disposal while going through this process, including my Realtor - I've got a great one, who I'm totally confident in to steer us in the right direction while going through this totally new, completely overwhelming process.

Yesterday we took a jump into the most fun process of looking for a new home - the showings! We were pretty excited about seeing all the homes in person, and may or may not have pretended like we were on HGTV's "House Hunters" for the day.... We toured five homes total, all actually really different from one another. There were two that were fairly easy to rule out, one that has potential but is a little small for our liking and two that we loved.

I made sure to pay special attention to closet space in all the homes.

While Eric was in charge of snapping all the photos.

I'll tell you, touring homes is fun, but afterwards it's a really exhausting process. We were constantly weighing the pros and cons of each place, thinking about things down the road and carefully considering every option we'd have with each home. Let's just say I was wide awake at 5:45 this morning, my mind heavy with ifs ands and buts about both homes. They're both in fantastic locations in a neighborhood that we already really love and enjoy spending time in.

We still have to figure a few things out about financing, so it's not like we'll be signing any contracts in the next week, and who knows - maybe another home will come on the market that we absolutely adore.  But as for now, I'm getting really excited about all the possibilities. 

Or maybe it's just the idea that street parking may soon be a thing of the past for me. Oh, sweet, sweet garage-parking freedom.

Do you have any tips on the home-buying process? What was the most exciting/nerve wracking part of the process for you?


When the cat's away...

When the cat's away, the mouse will..... cook pasta.

Remember when I mentioned I'm a lucky girl because I've got a guy that regularly cooks me healthy, tasty meals? Well, this healthy guy also isn't the biggest fan of pasta, so we rarely eat it. I'm lucky, sure, but pasta is one of my favorite foods - one mention of the word "pasta" and I'm drooling all over myself like one of Pavlov's dogs.

That being said, whenever Eric has to be out of town on business, I use the opportunity to treat myself to a new pasta dish. I don't like when he leaves, but the promise of delicious meal of pasta softens the blow ever so slightly. Eric just happens to be down in Myrtle Beach for work (I know... poor baby), so it was "all carbs ahead" for me.

Just how did I treat myself tonight? With linguine in clam sauce.

Wow, was this ever good. Whole-wheat linguine drenched in a light sauce of butter, sauteed garlic and clam juice (I promise it's better than it sounds). Topped with parmesan cheese, chopped parsley and red pepper flakes, I was in noodle heaven. As you can see, that's an awfully large plate of pasta. About halfway through I started feeling pretty full, but it was so good I just couldn't stop. I wolfed down the entire plate, and am currently paying the price. Thank goodness for stretchy pants. But, oh, was it worth it.

I spotted this dish in my new favorite cookbook, and while I tweaked it somewhat, the results were still spectacular.

Do you know the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? Well, if you give this mouse a plate of pasta, she's probably going to sip on a glass or two of 2-Buck Chuck. 

Because, of course, she is a classy mouse.

*squeak squeak!*


Grown-Up Girl Scout Hot Chocolate

It happens every year. We're met with doe-eyed, sweet innocence and asked if we would like to buy cookies. Whether we'd feel guilty about turning down such apple-cheeked youngsters or we've got a slight obsession with the thin, crispy cookies we all know by name (even if we're reluctant to call them by their newer, more politically-correct names), we buy them. The ordering of a box of Girl Scout cookies is one of the most exciting, anticipatory events of the year - we are assured that, in just a few short weeks, we will be receiving sweet goodness.... which will undoubtedly disappear within the span of a day or two.

Last week, whispers of receiving boxes of GS cookies floated around Twitter. I was jealous. "When are you getting the cookies???" A question I'd pester Eric with at least twice daily for about five days straight. And finally, they came. They came last Friday, and let's just say there was already a missing row of Samoas (excuse me, "Carmel DeLights"....) by the time the box arrived home.

Now, it takes everything I've got not to tear into those boxes and polish them off in one sitting. Don't judge - I know a few of you out there have done the same. But this year, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to enjoy my cookies, but with a new twist.

Obviously the only rational thing to do was to take these symbols of youthful innocence and goodwill and slather them with a little adult beverage.

Just look at those happy little girls, having the time of their lives climbing a tree or whatever they're doing. And look what I've done - I've gone and slapped a bottle of Irish liqueur right by their pristine little faces.

I am horrible.

OK, so I've got the cookies, I've got the totally necessary alcohol, how do I combine the two? When it's nearing the end of February and the temperatures are still barely climbing out the 20s, the answer is easy: Grown-Up Girl Scout Hot Chocolate.

I could've easily made this recipe for Girl Scout Cookie Irish Coffee, but then I wouldn't really be able to justify making my own whipped cream - so hot chocolate it was.

Pull up a chair and listen to a story of how I made Girl Scout cookies buzzworthy.

First, you mix up some cocoa powder, sugar and just a dash of salt.

Then, ad a bit of water and stir, stir, stir, until it boils.

Mmmm.... boiling chocolate....

Next, stir in four cups of milk, a little vanilla extract and a little mint extract. The result will look like the vat of chocolate Agustus Gloop fell into in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Try not to dive in, yourself.

Now that the hot chocolate portion is finished, make sure you go ahead and dump some Irish liqueur in the mix.

Voila! The hot chocolate portion is complete! Now, on to the fresh cookie whipped cream.

Take some whipping cream and, well, whip it! And whip it good!

Continue whipping until peaks just begin to form. Then, add in confectioner's sugar and vanilla extract. Continue to whip that until stiff peaks have formed.

And now to the good part: Take about 8-10 Thin Mint cookies and send them on a whirl through a food processor so they end up nicely ground.

Then, add the ground cookies to the whipped cream and stir until well combined. It should look a bit like cookies 'n cream ice cream.

Finally, plop a nice ol' lump of mint cookie whipped cream on top of your hot chocolate. Sprinkle with additional cookie crumbles, and garnish with a whole Thin Mint cookie.

Kick back and enjoy all the creamy, cookie, boozy goodness.

You know, I guess you don't HAVE to lace your hot chocolate with Irish liqueur - if that's not your bag, leave it out! But for a saucy twist, I definitely recommend it.

Grown-Up Girl Scout Hot Chocolate

For the hot chocolate:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
dash of salt
1/3 cup hot water
4 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
one shot Irish liqueur (or more if you're feeling feisty... or none if you're not!)

For the whipped cream:
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies, crushed

Mix sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a saucepan, add hot water and begin stirring constantly. After the mixture boils, continue stirring while boiling two additional minutes. Add the milk and continue stirring until hot chocolate reaches desired heat level. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract and mint extract. Mix in shot of Irish liqueur.
In a cold metal bowl, whip whipping cream on high until peaks begin to form. Add confectioner's sugar and vanilla extract and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Finally, add in crushed cookies and whisk until combined. Be sure not to overwhip, as the consistency will become buttery, rather than fluffy.
Spoon whipped cream on top of hot chocolate, top with additional cookie crumbles and garnish with a full Thin Mint cookie, if desired.



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