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When iced coffee is no longer an option

When the cold strikes this month, put on your fuzzy slippers, curl up with a blanket, grab a hot beverage and get ready to watch some quality TV or read a good book. Wait, you say you don’t have a good hot beverage idea? Do not worry, The VanCougar here to rescue you from this potentially devastating catastrophe.

Hot cocoa is a classic drink for chocolate lovers, and very simple to make. The requirements: mug, water, microwave or stove and spoon. The directions: boil water, pour in mug, add cocoa mix and stir. Voila! You now have hot cocoa.

Additions/Variations:
Hang a candy cane over the edge of the mug, and as it melts it will add a delightful peppermint taste to your drink. You can eat any remaining candy cane when the cocoa is gone, or on the flip side, add another candy cane if it melts before you finish the cocoa. You cannot have uneven peppermint taste in a quality cup of cocoa.

Add marshmallows, the more the better, while the cocoa is still hot enough to melt them. You can just drop them in and let then melt in place, stir them in to melt faster or eat them when they are only partially melted because you cannot resist. Feel free to add more because those little suckers melt fast. If you cannot fit any more marshmallows in the mug, you know you are doing it right.

Whipped cream should already be a necessity in every household. Fill the mug about a half an inch from the rim and fill the rest with whipped cream. It is best to keep adding it until the floating whipped cream spiral is at least as tall as the mug itself. It will keep melting so you have to be proactive and ready to add more whipped cream at any moment in time.

If you are not a cocoa person, try apple cider. The best way is to get a100-pack box, and keep a spoon, mug and apple cider packets with you at all times: in your car, at work, in your backpack and of course at home. Much like the cocoa, preparation is simple: boil the water, add to cup and stir in the packet. If you are looking for less of a powder-in-a-packet option, it is cider season for local farms so check out their options for fresh-pressed cider.

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