Another Christmas Beverage

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Ever had mulled wine? I tried it at a bar a few weeks ago and a friend suggested this Jamie Oliver recipe.

I made half a batch (one bottle of wine) to try it out. We liked it so much that I made another batch. I didn’t have a vanilla pod or star anise. But I did manage to get the rest of it. Making the syrup part is pretty easy. The photo above is of my rolling boil for 5 minutes. After the syrup is made, you add the rest of the wine and bring up its temperature.

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When you scoop it out, you do get to avoid various pieces of citrus fruit peel, cinnamon sticks, cloves and bay leaf. But it’s a really nice hot drink to have on a cool winter day. And if you’re not a big red wine drinker, this is a good way to use some of that red wine you have around the house.

Give it a try. It’s super easy and totally worth the effort!

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Christmas Cocktails

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I went to a small get-together on Saturday night. After a lovely dinner, we had a few cocktails and watched the 1945 movie, Christmas in Connecticut. The friends I was with, have a tradition of doing this every year. The movie is hilarious and the cocktails and the company make it even better. I haven’t laughed like that in a while.

The first cocktail we had was called a Dark and Fluffy. I think I could find several uses for the marshmallow fluff vodka. Just a little shot in your cocoa would be a nice treat. 😉

Dark & Fluffy
2 parts Godiva chocolate liqueur
2 parts marshmallow fluff vodka
1 part heavy cream

Shake over ice.  Rim the glass or sprinkle with unsweetened cocoa.

I wish I would have taken pictures of this lovely little drinks. The next one was rather refreshing but does pack quite the punch.

Candy Cane Martini:
2 parts white crème de cacao
2 parts vanilla vodka
1 part peppermint schnapps

Shake over ice.  Garnish with a tiny candy cane.

And Winter Came…

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It’s December 9th and it’s our first big snow. In my area we’re expecting 6 – 9 inches. Judging by the snow in my driveway, we’re about halfway there. I’ve been to church and to Barnes & Noble. Therefore I’ve cleaned my car off twice. The driving is slow, but do-able. I always find it interesting to see the 4-wheel drive people in the ditch. Just because you can get yourself going, doesn’t mean you can stop any easier than the rest of us! Contrary to popular belief, 4-wheel drive doesn’t make one invincible.

I have two places that I want to go today. I have a feeling that I’ll need to make the decision when the time comes. Going swimming should be ok. That’s only a 4 mile drive. But the holiday party across town? I really want to go, but that drive might be more challenging. Hmm…

Trying Something New…

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I’ve been in a food rut lately. I like to have something fixed on the weekend that can morph into lunches for the week. About a month ago, the title of a cookbook caught my eye. Fix-It and Forget-It, 5-ingredient favorites, Comforting Slow-Cooker Recipes, by Phyllis Pellman Good. I hadn’t had time to really sit down and go through the book until today. I did find a few recipes to try. “Reuben Casserole” was the first one.

Reuben Casserole

2 cups deli-style corned beef, torn into bite-sized pieces, divided

15-oz can sauerkraut, drained, divided

1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese, divided

1/4 cup Thousand Island dressing, divided

4 cups dry packaged stuffing mix, divided

1. Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Layer half of each ingredient in the order listed.

3. Repeat layers.

4. Cover and cook on low 2-4 hours, until casserole is cooked through and cheese has melted.

I didn’t exactly measure the ingredients properly. But I think that’s fine. I got a pound of pastrami at the deli since it looked better than the corned beef. The stuffing mix was made by Pepperidge Farm and came in a 30 oz bag. I did measure the first layer for 2 cups worth of stuffing. I probably ended up with more Thousand Island dressing than 1/4 cup too. I just poured it from the bottle and spread it around with a spoon so that it was coated.

After all was said and done, I’d say it was fine. I’d probably use about half of the stuffing mix and keep the rest the same. I have a feeling it might be better on the next round.

Swim Time / Think Time

On Sunday afternoons I’ve been swimming. It’s a good time to go. People are watching football. There are lanes open in the pool. I get in a workout that I don’t have to fit into the work week. I can swim longer because I’ve got more time. But the best part? It gives me time to think.

When I first started lap swimming, a friend of mine said that she’s able to work a lot of things out in her head while swimming. It’s totally true. Besides counting the laps, what else are you going to do? A few weeks ago, I was struggling with what I was going to plan for Algebra 2. I took a break and went swimming. While swimming back and forth for over an hour, I worked it all out. Today, I need to compose an email to my principal. I haven’t done it yet. But during my swim, I worked it out in my head.

So besides it being a great workout. Swimming has had the added benefit of helping my deal with my stress and use the time to work through various issues running through my brain. Too bad I didn’t figure this out earlier… Oh well…