Winter break is almost over. It’s Wednesday and just the fact that I’ve been feeling this since Monday means I’m not doing so well with ‘living in the moment’. I needed this break. I’m not sure there’s a single person on the school campus I work at who didn’t need this break. I think the day we all had our lock-down procedure run-through (oh yes, because schools have now become a dangerous place to work, we all need to know where to go on campus in case an active shooter is on the premises) the faculty and staff of our school gave a collective sigh and thought, “How much longer until Winter Break!?” I capitalize “Winter Break” on purpose. It’s very much a proper now in my book. I need it. I never thought I’d work at a school. Heck, I never thought I’d be a school counselor. Technically, I do not have a counseling degree. I have my Master’s in Social Work and was originally hired to be a co-director of student life, which meant that I was hired to plan all the events on a private Jewish campus that make it feel a little bit like camp. I was not 2 weeks into that job when I walked into a meeting that I thought was going to be about working with the kosher food bank but turned into a meeting about the possibility of transitioning into a position as a full-time middle school counselor. Two years and a half years later, I can confidently say that saying ‘yes’ to that offer was one of the best decisions I ever made.
So now, here I am, in the middle of my third year working at a school in a job I was only semi-educated for and I’m realizing that the end of this Winter Break means the beginning of second semester and facing the reality that I’ll be moving on soon. I gave myself a break from really thinking about the impending move to LA and start of my position as the Director of School Counselor for a very prestigious private Jewish day school. It’s intimidating as h*ll. But, I’m realizing that its time to face the facts that 2014 will be a massive year of challenges and change and boy, don’t I just LOVE challenges and change! (I don’t. I don’t like either of those things at all).
And yet, it’s Wednesday and dang it, I still have half a week to live this Winter Break OUT LOUD! I’m pretty proud of the hubby and I for doing the majority of the things we said we were going to do during this time off. We went to the Miami Zoo on Christmas day which, as it turns out, every other Jew in Miami decided to do. We went to the new Perez Museum of Modern Art . We also had some epic play dates with a dear friend from work and her insanely adorable daughters. Mama did a little shopping, an activity that netted everyone some new threads, including mama and got to hang out with the one and only Jeremy Ashley, my co-creator of Jewhungry. And, of course, I did A TON of cooking. I also did a ton of coffee-drinking as our sweet little kiddo has decided to start participating in some serious sleep regression. YAY! I mean, who needs sleep, right? What a waste of time! Why would we be sleeping when we could be staring at the clock at 1:45 in the morning and praying to the sleep gds to please return our good sleeper. Seriously, give. Her. Back.
The recipe below is one I based off a delicious iced coffee drink my local Whole Foods used to feature in the summer. But since it’s Miami and it’s kinda always summer, I’m curious as to why it’s off the menu. And since I’m doing a lot of coffee-drinking I figured I do some coffee-drink-making. It seems like everyone’s got a coffee/chocolate combo but lately, I’ve been really digging on almond-flavored stuff thus, almond-flavored coffee. I hope you enjoy and if you do end up making this recipe, send a little ‘l’chaim’ up my way.
A photo-montage of Winter Break. Enjoy.
Vanilla Almond Frappuccino
Recipe will make 3 – 4 drinks
1 Cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 – 3/4 Cup extra strength coffee (double up on your typical brewing scoop amount but maintain same water amount)
1 Tbsp granulated vanilla sugar (or regular sugar will do)
Instant coffee works here as well – again, double up on what the directions call for in terms of coffee/water ratio
CHILL COFFEE BEFORE USING
1.5 Tsp vanilla extract
1 Tsp almond extract
Chia shot – (just to feel a little better about drinking a frappuccino)
2 Cups of ice
Pinch of salt
Sliced almonds for topping
Make double-strength coffee by brewing with twice the coffee required by your coffee maker(that should be 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per each cup of coffee). Chill before using.
Once coffee is properly chilled, combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high-speed until ice is crushed and drink is smooth.
Pour into tall glass and marvel at how you just created a delicious, full-flavored coffee beverage for a fraction of the price. Pat yourself on the back.