I’m going to brag for a moment: I have the best husband. Ever.
We met when I was in high school, during those awkward teen years when you’re still trying to figure everything out and it feels like you will never, ever become an adult. It was a stage in which I wore flannel almost every day, was trying to grow my hair out after I had accidentally dyed it black trying to fix a previous dye job, listened to Nirvana like it held the key to surviving teenage-dom, and was still shuttling back and forth between my parent’s houses with no clear place to call home.
And even though the teen love odds were definitely against us, we’re still together after all these years. This year we’re looking forward to celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary and our 16th year we’ve been together and it dawned on me that this year also marks the point that we’ve been together exactly half of my life. Yes, I know, right?
While we wish we could go on a year-long sabbatical or even a month-long vacation to celebrate, we can barely squeeze in date night these days with our little ones, so we have to think a little smaller. Like coffee. Our dates happen when the kiddos fall asleep while we’re driving, are cuddled up in the stroller as we walk, or are upstairs napping… and they almost always involve coffee.
As coffee-loving Seattleites, it’s probably not surprising that we’re fans of Starbucks, but what would probably surprise you is that we’re almost entirely brand loyal. Yes, I realize Seattle has a coffee house or mocha box on every corner, but it was Starbucks that originally made coffee drinkers out of us after our daughter was born and now it is our tradition for our mini “dates”.
So, to get in the spirit of celebrating 2013 as the year of our mini dates, we recently went to Walmart to pick up some of the Starbucks Coffee Holiday Blend. The trip had two purposes: 1) to try the Holiday Blend which we had heard was amazing and 2) to start to brew some Starbucks here at home for when our mini dates happen when the kiddos are napping upstairs and we’re housebound. But, while we were there, we developed a third purpose: to find some fun treats from the bakery at Walmart that would go well with the Holiday Blend coffee to kick off our first coffee date of the year.
And, what do you know, but there’s actually a whole system for pairing foods with coffee to enhance the flavors of both. Starbucks appropriately calls these “delicious pairings” and they even have displays throughout the US at many Walmart stores to showcase their many pairing suggestions. Since we had already grabbed the Starbucks Holiday Blend coffee, we just had to figure out what we wanted with it, and we quickly figured it out – The Bakery at Walmart cinnamon rolls with white icing.
We walked around the bakery at Walmart a bit until we were good and convinced cinnamon rolls were our perfect pairing, which gave us time to get some mini donuts for a late Christmas celebration that same day as well as see what other delicious treats we wanted to try for our next bakery run. And, just look at all this deliciousness!
We got a chance to have our first coffee date at home on a gorgeous but frigid New Year’s Day when the kiddos went down for an afternoon nap and we seized the moment. I mean, I couldn't stare at this for weeks, could I?
I though it fitting that we should get a start on our resolution on the first day of the year by curling up by the fire with coffee and cinnamon rolls. Not only was it a fun end to the hectic holiday season, it gave us the perfect time to reflect on the year ahead.
With the awesome smell of fresh brewed coffee filling the air, we first sipped the coffee together. It proved to be the perfect afternoon pick-me-up with its smooth dark roast and hints of spicy and sweet. It’s the perfect complement to holiday treats with cinnamon and spice like rolls, gingerbread, and my favorite, pumpkin scones. Since I love Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes more than any other beverage, it’s really no surprise that I loved the Holiday Blend, even on its own.
But, paired with the deliciously ooey gooey warmed cinnamon rolls from The Bakery at Walmart, the combination was simply heavenly. The perfect balance of sweet and spice, it was amazingly decadent and flavorful without being too much of a good thing. Before we knew it, our plates and mugs were empty and we were chatting about our plans for the New Year.
In searching for ways to make 2013 the year with more “us” time, the key is to really make that time together count and our #DeliciousPairings was a great way to get started. Instead of thinking about it as coffee and instead regarding it as a whole year of mini dates, snuck in during naps and days out with the family, it’s going to be a whole lot easier to actually make it happen and not abandon our resolution mid-January.
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