Stress Addict: Green Tea-Peppermint Popsicles & Raspberry-Yogurt Popsicles

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

-Better than cocaine, right? Plus, it's a natural high.-

I’m addicted to stress.

I only recently figured this out. I was looking in my mailbox freaking out over why a new kindle hadn’t arrived yet. Did the mail lose it? I needed it soon! What if it doesn’t show? It’s hot outside, so what if the heat breaks it? The roads are bumpy and so it could shake apart. I’ll open a box of shattered glass and plastic! How do I even use it when it gets here? It seems so complicated! But?! Oh no!? AUUUGH!

Oh God, I think I’m gonna die…

-I am Anxiety Man. Able to leap to the worst conclusion in a single bound. (I hope I didn't stain the tablecloth for this photo.)-

My friend, Janelle, who was on the phone with me as my poor little heart ran so fast you would think I overdosed it with ecstacy and Pixy Stix, finally brought me back to earth. “Garrett. Stop. Why are you stressing this? It’s not solving anything and nothing can be done right now. Just stop." Her voice was so firm and each word given so much importance and stacatto she sounded like a female version of Allen Rickman.

I paused a moment, more because my heart skipped a few beats and caused me stroke out for a bit than because of what she said, but I thought about it.

Why was I? It was in the mail. There was nothing to be done except wait.

I realized then that I wanted to stress out about this. The adrenaline would flood my body. A neurotic electrical storm would rip through every memory and thought to find any shred – any damnable hope – of a solution. Muscle cells would fire like pistons raging against whatever dilemma was at hand. Stress, for me, was my power. Fuel for destroying my enemies be they human, situational, or, apparently, the United States Postal Service.

You see, in my experience stress brings about solutions.

The saying goes that you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. The people who say this, usually have a gross excess of time and money, or a sugar daddy. When you sweat the small stuff it’s because the small stuff usually has a solution. Something can be done to remedy the problem at hand.

-Like have a panic attack. I hear mint calms those down.-

For example, when your flight gets cancelled you go into overdrive. You run like a greyhound after a mechanical bunny to the next information booth. You fight everyone else at the airport. They are your enemies; competition for a limited number of seats on the next flight out. They must be destroyed. You plead, yell, cajole, seduce, bribe the poor kiosk lady for the shittiest, leftover seat. Simultaneously, you’re on the phone with a booking agent looking for a backup to that as you e-mail a competing airline for an opening just in case. In the end you might get a flight out and still get home in time to watch a new episode of True Blood.

Sweating the small stuff gets things done. It gets results.

Many of you might not call something like missing a plane small stuff. My belief is anything not world ending is small stuff.

My house burned down? Screw it. I’m going to Mexico. Nothing to be done about it. (This is an example my own personal world ending.)

A meteor careening towards Earth? The end of the world is inevitable and no Bruce Willis on a shuttle with an atom bomb to save us all? Screw it. I’m spending my time at a drug induced orgy and having unprotected sex with strangers. Not like I have to really worry about the long term consequences, right?

-Best. Apocalypse. Ever.-

To me, it’s the big things that aren’t worth agonizing over. What can be done? Nothing, that’s what. So why bother? Little things, however, can be fixed.

I find the easiest way for me to deal is to do something where stress cannot even exist. Take making popsicles as an example of this. At your laziest you just pour some juice into a mold and place it in the freezer. Wait a few hours. During the time you can ulcerate yourself trying to figure out what that noise you heard in the wall a few moments ago was. (Did the pipes burst? Shit, there might be a flood. I hope insurance covers it. I’m going to go online and review my policy. Afterwards, I’ll call the insurance agent just to be sure they sent the right policy over. Crap, the furniture is new. Will it be destroyed? Will I have to move? I should look up apartments, too.)

Once you’ve made your calls, printed out some rental listings, and stressed over any other number of possible outcomes and the solutions you have judiciously selected and nervously set into place – you know, just in case – you go and grab your popsicle. No stress involved. Just put in your mouth and suck.

-No jokes. Too easy. Just look at the pretty berries.-

I turned back to my phone. “Janelle, stress works for me. Just let me have it.”

“You’re going to give yourself an ulcer this way,” she said.

“Oh God, you’re right. I stress too much. I may already have an ulcer. My stomach has been hurting. Maybe I should make an appointment with the doctor? Maybe I’ll try WebMD and diagnose myself?” I panicked.

“NO!” screamed Janelle. “You’ll just think you’re dying of ebola or cancer. WebMD self diagnosis is evil. I ban you forever from that website. Forever. Banned. Done.”

“What if I-?”


“But I’m stressing myself to death! I need to figure this out!”

Crud. I've moved on to meta-stressing.

Let me tell you. Nothing more stressful than stressing about your stress.

Time to make more popsicles.

Green Tea-Peppermint Popsicles

1 14 oz. can coconut milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups of mint, smashed and bruised
4 tea bags of green tea
1/2 cup honey

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Warm until the mixture is hot and steaming, but not boiling. Take off heat, cover, and steep for 30 minutes. Reheat over medium high heat until steaming. Take off heat. Strain out the mint and tea. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Raspberry-Yogurt Popsicles
4 oz raspberries, smashed
1/3 cup sugar
juice and zest of one lemon
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt

Place the raspberries, sugar, and lemon in a small saucepot and warm over medium heat until the sugar melts. Lightly mash the mixture with a fork. Allow to cool. Mix with the yogurt and pour into popsicle molds and freeze.


  1. I made Pina Colada popsicles with rum in them last weekend and thought I was a genius, but these far outdo the popsicles I made! The green tea and peppermint combination is really intriguing.

    I am a stress baker. Coincidentally, at the moment I am stressing because I didn't bake anything last week, even though last week was rather stressful. What the hell, man?

  2. What if you shut the freezer door a little too hard and cause the compressor on the ancient refrigerator in your place to go out? How do you know it's gone out? If you open the door to check on it then you have to close it again, and chance breaking the compressor again. I've had a compressor die, I can make stress from popsicles. Great writing as usual, Garrett. You continue to make Tuesdays in the office excellent.

    Do you know an approximate weight/volume of the green tea leaves you used? I don't have green tea bags, but I do have an officemate that keeps loose leaf tea in the office that can be pilfered. The tea and peppermint popsicles sound really good to me.

  3. Garret, thanks for getting my creative juices flowing! Looks as if you have frozen your creative juices into a popsicle. Oh, I just had to go there. Have a great day! Just don't eat your popsicle outside or it may melt to quickly and that would just be the end of the world!

  4. A friend of mine would call your desire for stress being "risk-driven."

  5. Brianne: What the hell, indeed?

    Timmie: I don't. Just pack the mint in until you have 2 cups. I also didn't say how much each makes because every mold is different. I got about 6 popsicles for each recipe.

    Annonymous: I like to think of it as living on the edge.

  6. Sometimes people stress about the easy stuff so they don't stress about the important stuff. I too am anxiety ridden and realised I stress about un important crap to take my mind off of important things.

  7. Don't know if it this is a lifelong strategy or new (or kicked up version), but my stress addiction went into overdrive as my thesis work ended- needed to put all my residual energy somewhere...
    Thanks for the recipe; my popsicles are so bland. I will definitely try cooking the fruits with sugar first

  8. These look amazing and perfect for summer! This post of yours was perfect...I just got back from a doctor appointment and had a little meltdown (having a baby and he said it could come in the next 2 weeks...ahhh!!). So I am going to try making some popsicles right now and try to breathe. Do you think I can substitute peppermint tea for green tea and mint leaves? that's all I have on hand at the moment...

  9. I love your mantra of sweating the small stuff and letting the big stuff pass you by. I was reading your article to my husband and it was just such a great conversation topic. Having read some of your post, I just love the stories along with the beautiful pictures and easy-make-along sensual bites. LoveLoveLove, can't wait till next tues.

    Signing off,

  10. Kim: Of course! And congrats on the baby!

    Sandi: Thank you so much. I hope you enjoy the next post, too. =)

  11. Wow! These are perfect for the hot weather. Love it! Thank you for the recipe and stress story. I enjoyed reading it. Makes me less stressed out :-)!

  12. Oh Gods. For me its when I leave the house. I think it might actually be OCD. I always question if I left the garage door open; are swarms of people in my house now pilfering through my stuff? (and more importantly, eating the last banana nut muffin?). Did I turn off the stove and the lights? It IS bad and addictive and so much easier to fall into than any other "high". I am proud to say that I recently put up a sticky note with a leaving-the-house checklist. We all have our vices, but I'm going to stick with my weakness for caramel.
    :)Thanks for the post

  13. Haha! I can't stop laughing about eating the green tea Popsicles with you guys after dinner!

  14. Hi Garett. I had lots of fun reading your post. But it makes sense that we should focus more on the little stuff because those are the things that we have control of.

  15. I don't know which to make first! I have popsicle forms which I never use - I don't know how to make them. I have some coconut milk open so I think I'll try the green tea. Is this coconut milk in the can (the really thick stuff) or in the carton (milk like consistency)?

  16. strawman: Either should be just fine! =)

  17. Thank you for these recipes. I just had the raspberry version and I'm going to make the mint when I am done snarfing them all down and my popsicle molds are empty. The lemon in the raspberry gives it just the right flavor. My husband doesn't know the difference between plain and vanilla yogurt but they are still fantastic.

  18. Hetty: I'm sure it's awesome with vanilla yogurt. =D

  19. I find peppermint goes well in candy things but...the mint pictured is actually spearmint! I like spearmint better when combined with green tea. Actually, a really killer combination if you can get it is apple mint + green tea, that is the traditional combo used in moroccan mint tea.

    I also find that, in terms of calming me, spearmint is a little more of a calm flavor than peppermint. Peppermint I think of as having a very "perky" aroma.

    Remember there are many different types of mint...and...also if you substitute, you generally need a lot less peppermint than you do spearmint or other mints. Peppermint is really really intense, whereas the other mints are a little more mellow.

  20. Alex: Yep! I used up the rest of my peppermint for this recipe so I used spearmint for the picture. ;)

  21. Garret, please me more careful. This is the second time in a row you've made me laugh obnoxiously in a room full of coworkers, I believe they are starting to suspect Im crazy :P Also, I LOVE the idea of coconut cream in popsicles, what a great tip!

  22. Craft Sparrow: I promise nothing!

  23. wow those raspberries are just nice to look at. i've never tasted one that's in popsicle form, though. about stressing the small stuff, you are just confusing solving a problem with a panic attack haha. we all need to solve problems -- big and small ones. it's just our approach that makes us all unique in our own little ways.

  24. Hi Garrett ,
    I have read this article carefully and I must say you are amazing! Got to this blog by mistake, and I'm truly happy for that! you did a great job here.


Hey, you're leaving a comment! That's pretty darn cool, so thanks. If you have any questions or have found an error on the site or with a recipe, please e-mail me and I will reply as soon as possible.

Vanilla Garlic All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger