Mint and chocolate are meant to be together, and this Instant Pot Peppermint Crio Bru is here to prove it! Feel free to enjoy this warm, comforting, and healthy chocolate drink all day, every day.
I'm a cheesy, over-the-top Christmas lover and darn proud of it!
- Mannheim Steamroller music in July, CHECK!
- Christmas Caroling at my neighbors (AKA mom), CHECK!
- Watching Hallmark Christmas movies since October 31st, CHECK!
- Turning my car into a Polar Express, CHECK! (Although that only lasted a year because my kids were not impressed with my train conductor impersonation).
With the exception of too many predictable snowball fights in said Hallmark movies . . . I LOVE IT ALL!
It only felt fitting to roll out a quick TIDBITS Talk this month to talk Christmas, traditions, food, and snow fun. THIS IS:
TIDBITS TALK – CHRISTMAS AND WINTER EDITION
And yes, this is my best effort for a Christmas card this year 🙂
This year has felt heavy, no doubt about that. I'm going to suggest we dump some good ol' Holiday Cheer over the world right now and just relish in jingle bells, Santa Clause, sugar cookies, etc.
Who's with me!?
I told you I was a Christmas weirdo . . . YAY FOR AN EXCUSE TO ACT LIKE A CHILD AGAIN!
Since my flavor palate goes to everything peppermint at Christmas time (anyone else?), I thought it was fitting to share the Crio Bru flavor we make the most at my home:
Peppermint Crio Bru. Candy Cane Crio Bru if you're an elf.
It's warm and cozy, with a kick of cooling peppermint and arguably the greatest Crio Bru flavor of all time
IMPORTANT ITEMS OF BUSINESS FOR TODAY
- Favorite Christmas memory. What's yours?
- How to decorate Christmas cookies without it turning into a war zone.
- Your kid wants a phone for Christmas. DON'T PANIC! I've got your solution.
- Cheap Christmas tree decoration ideas.
- Sledding – where are the helmets!?
- Homemade gift ideas for kids.
- If you're local, DON'T MISS THIS!
- Christmas Breakfast – Fancy and lets you be lazy too.
- Things I'm lovin' lately – Chocolate and some other things, but mostly chocolate.
Now get yourself a cup of hot Crio Bru and let's talk Christmas!
1) FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MEMORY
What is your favorite Christmas memory? I'm sure you have many, but what is the first one that just popped into your head?
Mine was on the Salt Lake City Front Runner – Christmas 2019.
My kids and I prepared 8 goodie bags loaded with candy and a homemade plastic ball ornament with a tag that said, “You are Loved.”
I planned a 2 day Christmas getaway to Thanksgiving Point that included using the Front Runner as our form of transportation. This brought a little extra adventure to our mini getaway.
On the Front Runner the kids were given the task of giving a Christmas goodie bag to the people they felt needed it most. They took this task very seriously and watched every person on the train for signs that they needed a lift in their day.
What started out as a train full of disconnected, technology absorbed people, quickly turned into smiles, laughter, and chatting as my kids would stand in front of a stranger and yell, “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” and stuff a gift bag into their lap.
My kids were like little Christmas Angels, beaming with joy and light, and turning a boring train ride into a joyful, memorable afternoon.
The scene is permanently imprinted in my memory and my kids still talk about it like it was the greatest event of the year.
2) CHRISTMAS COOKIES – KEEPIN' IT FUN FOR MOM TOO
Nothing gives me more anxiety than kids hovering around a table full of sprinkles, sugar cookies, and 10 bowls of frosting that undoubtedly have had spoons licked then stuck back into them.
OH, THE GERMS!
Germs aside, it is a seriously exhausting project getting all of the supplies, cookies, and frosting ready to go as well.
Well, it took me a few years to figure out how to make it easy, but I DID IT! Let's break it down:
- THE COOKIES: If you like to bake, Mel's Sugar Cookie recipe is my favorite of all time. My only extra tip is to refrigerate them for an hour or so before you bake them. This will help keep the shape of what you intended it to be (instead of your star turning into a blob). Want to make it super easy? Call a local bakery. You can buy the cookie dough to roll out and bake at home, or simply tell them what shapes of cookies you want and pick them up baked and ready to decorate.
- THE FROSTING: I really, REALLY do not like making frosting, especially 7 different colors of frosting. Instead, call the local bakery again, tell them what colors of frosting you want and ask them to divvy them into piping bags. Last year I had them make me 4 piping bags of each color and it was AMAZING! It really helped control the frosting licking, smearing, wiping on clothes situation. I like to order Royal Icing because it will harden so I can stack the cookies, but cream cheese and butter cream frosting will likely be an option too.
- THE SPRINKLES: Instead of handing over ALL THE SPRINKLES, I keep them at my side. When a child wants one, I pour a little bit into a condiment cup and hand it to them. Again, sprinkles don't get thrown into the air like “it's snowing” and I maintain my Christmas cheer.
- NEXT LEVEL: I love to take the extra step of outlining and flooding the cookies with white frosting. It creates a beautiful white canvas for the other colors and the kids feel like rockstars when they see their final product. Here is an incredibly helpful tutorial on how to do this. Again, I used to make homemade royal icing, but I've found that I can take the bakery Royal Icing and simply add a little water if it's too stiff to “flood” the cookie border I made. If this doesn't make any sense, check out the tutorial and you'll know exactly what I mean.
Lay down plastic, disposable table cloth, set up a station of 2 plates for each kid (one for unfinished and finished cookies), place the frosting piping bags in the center on a large piece of foil (so you can throw it and get a clean piece if it gets really messy), place the sprinkles out of reach, and you are ready to decorate some epic Christmas cookies!
What are your cookie decorating tips?
3) KIDS AND PHONES, AKA, THE OTHER “TALK” PARENTS DON'T WANT TO HAVE WITH THEIR KIDS
I bought my daughter a Gizmo watch thinking I'd avoid the topic of phones until she was approximately 25. Well, she started 5th grade this year and apparently “everyone” has a phone.
Now to be clear on 2 things:
- I know her claim is absolutely not true
- I do not think a phone is essential for a 5th grader
Still, there were times I thought, “it would be really nice if I had a phone for the kids.”
I was aware of the Gabb phone but after seeing it used by my niece, there were a few things I wasn't a fan of. So I kept researching, and that's when I discovered Pinwheel.
Pinwheel's mission is to teach kids how to use a phone as a helpful tool instead of a mind-numbing, reality escaping, addictive toy. I spent an hour reading over the entire site, watching their videos, and using their live chat button to ask the associate a million questions. By the end of all that, I was dying to try it out.
In a word: It's GENIUS.
To see my in-depth tour of the phone, check out my Instagram story, but I'll detail a few things I love most about it here.
- ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS: No internet, social media, ads, or spam calls. Hallelujah!
- CONTACTS: I get to create a list of contacts for the phone. Only these select few can call and receive calls/texts from the phone. This means I have the essentials (mom, dad, grandma, aunt) plus a few of her best friends.
- PARENT PORTAL: With a Pinwheel phone, all changes have to be made from the Parent Portal that only I have access to from my computer. Here I can add contacts, apps, chore reminders, etc. I can also control what features of the phone can be accessed and when. For example, I turn off all apps, texting, and calling when the phone is in bedtime and homework mode. Then in the evening, the phone is in “everything mode” so she can call and text her friends. Note: even when all features of the phone are turned off, she will always have access to call/text the emergency contacts (me and her dad). Again, GENIUS!
- NO WORRYING: From the parent portal I can see who she's called and read her texts. Even if she deletes the texts from her phone, the entire conversation remains in my parent portal. I'm not sure what some might think of this, but in this crazy world, I consider that information 100% my business.
- APPS: The only apps allowed on the phone are apps that promote learning and responsibility. No escaping into addicting mindless apps with this phone! And again, the parent controls what apps are downloaded. The child can't do it from the phone.
Screenshot of my Parent Portal
There is so much I like about it, I could go on and on, but the Pinwheel website does an incredible job explaining everything, so head over there for all the details. I particularly liked the video from this page and this Gabb phone comparison.
Bonus: Use the code TIDBITS-TEN to get 10% off your phone.
4) CHEAP CHRISTMAS TREE DECORATIONS
All of the pretty ornaments I collected before I had kids have one by one been destroyed by my young kids over the years. I put my tree up this year and realized 3 things:
- Wow, this is one naked looking tree
- Hey! My kids are past the “toddler throwing glass ornaments at the cats” phase!
- I'd rather spend my Christmas tree ornament money on actual Christmas presents
2014: The year of the triple tree destroyers (notice the bottom of the tree?)
Help! Aside from candy canes, what are some super cheap Christmas tree ornament ideas? Bonus if they can be a SIMPLE homemade project to do with my kids.
5) SLEDDING AND HELMETS
Okay, so we want our kids to wear helmets on a bike, on a motorcycle, when they ski, in sports, etc. But somehow flying with abandon down a steep mountain with little to no control over where a flimsy plastic sled is taking you requires no helmet? Mostly I'm slipping this topic in today to hear other people tell me they make their kids wear helmets when they sled so I can tell my kids, “See? SEE!” I recently bought these warm winter helmets and have been insisting that “If you want to go fast, you wear the helmet.” Tell me, have I gone too far?
Note: I'm wearing a full face helmet because we were also snowmobiling here – just in case you thought I was taking things a little too far on the helmet rule 🙂
6) HOMEMADE GIFTS FOR KIDS
My kids LOVE making homemade gifts for the masses at Christmas time! We've made Instant Pot Crayons, Instant Pot Chocolates, and homemade plastic ball ornaments, but I'm looking for some new ideas, preferably non-food ideas for this unique 2020 year. Do you have any tried and true ideas?
7) LUMINARIA – LIGHT SHOW OF MY DREAMS
This is for any local Utah folks. If you want a fun outside activity that will fill your soul with childlike wonder, DO NOT MISS LUMINARIA AT THANKSGIVING POINT. I took my kids for the first time last year and it was positively dreamy. Go see it!
8) CHRISTMAS BREAKFAST
Growing up, my mom wrapped everything on the breakfast table. Cereal boxes, milk, utensils, plates, EVERYTHING! Every year I consider doing this, but by that point, I undoubtedly suffer from “I cannot, will not, wrap one more thing!” syndrome.
To make it so I can stay present and enjoy Christmas morning, I make German Pancakes, Fruit Whip (basically unsweetened whipped cream with various chopped fruit, freeze-dried grapes, and a handful of granola), and Crio Bru. It's easy, healthy, and doesn't add “Sugar Rush” to their “Christmas Eve Insomnia”.
What do you do for breakfast on Christmas morning? If your answer is “Christmas Stocking Candy” no judgment here, just don't tell my kids that's a thing 🙂
9) THINGS I'M LOVING LATELY
You got a triple dose of all the things I love recently in my gift guides for Instant Pot People, Creative, High Energy Kids, and Rockstar Women, but allow me to place emphasis on the things that make me the happiest right now.
- My Comfy: I have the first version of the Comfy, but this new one is the softest, coziest, happiest thing in the world. It's kind of goofy, kind of weird-looking, but when you put it on, YOU JUST DON'T CARE.
- Alter Eco Chocolates: Expensive chocolate alert! Sorry, but not, because there is simply no better chocolate on the market right now. The Mint Creme and Super Dark are my favorites, and yes, I buy these only for me, no kids allowed.
- I Love You Books: These books are cheap and full of happy tears. My kids LOVED filling these books out for grandma, dad, and myself, and it's a treasure I will keep forever.
- Electric Frother: I've owned a few frothers, but this one outshines them all! It will froth even almond milk! My new favorite thing is to brew a very concentrated batch of Crio Bru, then fill a mug with 1 part Crio Bru concentrate + 2 parts almond milk, heat it up, and froth it to the top of the rim. Be sure to leave a solid 2 inches at the top for lots of froth. Use the TIDBITS10 code for 10% off.
CRIO BRU FLAVOR OF THE MONTH – PEPPERMINT CRIO BRU
Mint and chocolate undeniably belong together. If you don't agree, well, why not?
Warm, dark cocoa bliss with a refreshing blast of mint . . . I can safely say this is my favorite flavor combo.
Bonus: As always, a cup of Crio is 1000x healthier than a cup of hot chocolate and can be drunken any time of day without a caffeine or sugar buzz.
HOW TO MAKE PEPPERMINT CRIO BRU
- Add Crio Bru grounds, water, almond milk, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract or oil to the pressure cooker pot
- Cook for 5 minutes
- Pour through a fine mesh strainer, add maple syrup, and enjoy!
MORE CRIO BRU FLAVORS TO TRY
I love to hear your thoughts! I laugh, cry, and smile through every single one!
Talk to you soon!
Pressure Cooker Peppermint Crio Bru
Start your day out with a comforting cup of peppermint Crio Bru!
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 30 mins
- Yield: 8 cups 1x
- Category: Drinks
- Method: Pressure cooker
- Cuisine: American
- ½ cup Crio Bru Ground Cocoa Beans, any flavor
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups milk (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
- ⅓–½ cup maple syrup or agave
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1–2 teaspoon peppermint extract (or 1 drop of peppermint essential oil)
Peppermint Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- Add Crio Bru, water, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and peppermint extract to the pressure cooker pot. Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes.
- While Crio Bru is brewing, whip all of the whipped cream ingredients with a high speed blender or hand mixer until thick. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
- When cooking is complete, use a natural pressure release for 10 minutes and then release any remaining pressure.
- Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and pour Crio Bru through the sieve to filter out the grounds (this also works well in a nut milk bag).
- Serve immediately with a dollop of peppermint whipped cream. Can also be stored in the refrigerator in a mason jar. Enjoy cold or pour into a microwave safe mug and warm for 1-2 minutes.
- Important: Use a fine mesh sieve or nut milk bag to filter out the grounds. A regular strainer isn't fine enough to use as a filter.
- Adjust the intensity of peppermint flavor to your liking. I prefer 2 – 3 drops of peppermint essential oil for a powerful minty punch.
- I prefer almond milk because cows milk tends to foam more. If using cows milk, wait to add it until after you've cooked and strained the Crio Bru.
Keywords: instant pot drink, chocolate drink, healthy hot chocolate