Posts tagged with: mulled wine

On the Third Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

Three listing snowmen. Listing because certain snowman builders had likely overindulged in the holiday wassail Sven had warming over a low, slow flame all last evening. Yes, I fear Paolo and a couple of his cabana boysin-training had far too much wassail and not nearly enough cookies to soak it all up last night.

leaning snowman 1This gentleman was found in the formal garden. I can tell Paolo made this one because it shows a heavy bent toward the traditional while displaying a marked lack of creativity. Note the big, goofy smile and lumps of coal placed disturbingly close to the ground. Paolo: cute, but not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree!

 

leaning snowman 2I suspect newbie Henri of building this snowman out near the fire pit. He appears to be wearing a beret of some sort, as well as a saucy neckerchief, and displays remarkable flexibility. Henri has shown similar limber inclinations. How do I know? Erm…the boys were were practicing…diving. In the indoor pool. Yes, diving. That’s exactly where I saw Henri bending and stretching and flexing his beautiful…but I digress. Henri’s artistry, even when inebriated, far surpasses darling, dim Paolo’s.

 

leaning snowman 3And then there is this inebriated redneck snowman. I’m pretty sure we can blame our equally redneck cabana boy-in-training, Travis. Travis is already on Sven’s shit list and has managed to rack up more demerits in his three weeks in the Lair than any other cabana boy ever. We would get rid of him altogether but…

 

Travis the cabana boyWell, here is Travis as I found him this morning, passed out on a bench outside the cabana boy bunkhouse down near the pool area. Don’t you feel the teensiest bit sorry for him? I sure did. He looked plum worn out from all that snowman building! Plus, he’s probably still growing or something and just needs extra sleep. Poor Travis. He just lives life a little bigger and louder than some of the others. I’m sure he’ll get trained right up and learn to mind his manners well enough to please even Sven the Taskmaster!

 

Swedish GloggJust for funsies, here is the recipe for Sven’s wassail. It actually isn’t wassail at all (which is English) but is a Swedish drink called Glögg. Glögg is served in Finland and Sweden during the six weeks leading up to Christmas. This is a cold, dark time of year in Scandinavia. This glögg recipe resembles a variety of historical mulled wines, such as wassail and gluwein. Here is Easy Swedish Glögg, courtesy of MyRecipes.com (though Sven claims he posted it there!):

Ingredients

2 cups water or orange juice
1 (3-inch) piece orange rind
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
5 whole allspice
2 cardamom pods, bruised
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 (750-ml) bottle red wine, such as Burgundy
1/2 cup sugar

Combine first 9 ingredients in a pot over medium heat. Bring mixture to a simmer, being careful not to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Strain mixture, and serve immediately, or gently reheat before serving. If you prefer a stronger flavor, steep spices longer before straining.

Yummy! Nice and warming on a cold winter day. Just be sure not to overserve yourself or others. You may end up with listing snowmen and hungover cabana boys like we did! I must talk to Sven about appointing someone (other than Paolo) minder of the Glögg pot…

Forget Me Not_Meanwhile, I will give a copy of the Forget Me Not anthology (all proceeds benefit Alzheimer’s and brain health research and I have a Cross Springs prequel novella in there) to a commenter who tells me this: If you found a leaning snowman on your lawn one snowy morning, who would be your likeliest suspect for drunken snowman builder?

If you’d like to get your own copy of the FORGET ME NOT anthology, hurry! It will only be on sale through December 31. Here’s the Amazon link, but it’s available at all e-tailers: http://www.amazon.com/Forget-Not-Anthology-Supporting-Alzheimers-ebook/dp/B015WQQEBU/.

Baby It’s Cold Outside!

acttemp_600x405For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere we’ve had a rather chilly winter. Oh, alright. It’s dang cold out there!!

Temperatures have plummeted below freezing all over North America. In Minnesota, the reports from Bandita Susan is snow, ice and temperatures below zero, forcing school closings! (I thought they went to school up there no matter what, but I guess blizzard conditions prevent that!)

My mom, (HEY MOM!) who reads the blog daily, reported yesterday that she had over 6 inches of snow Saturday, more was falling on Sunday…and she was “just plain sick of winter.” Hate to tell her but we have February still to go, which historically worse than January.

Even down here in Texas it’s gotten into the single digits more than a few days and today we started in the teens and only getting to 38degrees Farenheit. I think the cows are looking for warm blankets, too!

In the winter of 1978 I was in nursing school when a blizzard with 70 mile an hour winds hit the Midwest on a Friday. blizzard-of-1978My nursing school was attached to the hospital that sponsored it and I lived in the dorms there. The weather was so bad, that not only did they cancel our classes and clinicals, (yea!), they asked us to help staff the hospital as nurse’s aides, since most of the staff couldn’t come in to take care of patients. Since I worked in the hospital on weekends as a unit secretary/aide, I got paid for my hours! (Yea!!!) So, for three solid days, I worked 14 hour shifts, then went back to the dorm for basically a giant slumber party. Any food in the fridge was free game and we cooked up some wild concoctions, ate popcorn and chocolate while watching movies together! By Monday, Columbus had thawed out, roads had cleared to passable, staff showed up for work, and we got to go back to being just students.

MV5BMTU1NTA3NzMwOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzEzMTEzMw@@._V1_SX640_SY720_The new term in weatherology is POLAR VORTEX. I think the term came about in popular vernacular with the movie THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW. Have you seen it? Yeah, something we did caused a super storm of 3 Polar Vortex’s to converge and a new ice-age was started. Dennis Quaid plays the Dad meteorologist/expert who has to save his son and his friends trapped in NYC. I liked the movie a lot! But that was the first time the term Polar Vortex was used, I think. Now we’re hearing about them daily. Geesh that’s cold!

So what to do to stay warm?

Let’s explore a few ideas that DON’T have to do with cuddling with your sweetie. (Please people, take pity on the L&D nurses who already are busy in the summers and early fall!!)

1. Mom, (HEY MOM!), always says, “Make soup.” And the woman can make some goooooood soups! So, I make soups. Here’s the recipe for: 

Suz’ PASTA FAGIOLI AND MEATBALL SOUP

 ½ pound dried navy beans       2 boxes Kitchen Basics® Original Beef Stock (red box)

4 cups water                                 1 & ½ onions, chopped (Yes, it’s a lot of onion, but onion makes the broth taste so good!)

3- 4 celery stocks with leaves, chopped              3 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 cloves of garlic sliced thin       ¼ cup of butter

Salt             Pepper             Oregano             Basil

12-24 miniature meatballs (recipe follows)

  1. Preheat oven
  2. Prepare meatballs and bake in oven for approximately 30 minutes, turning once.Pasta_fagioli_use
  3. Clean beans per package directions.
  4. In large soup pot, heat beef stock and water, adding beans. Salt and pepper Bring to a boil. Cook for 30 minutes.
  5. In skillet, melt butter then add onions, celery and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Heat until onions turn opaque. Add garlic and cook another minute or so.
  6. Add vegetables and meatballs to bean/broth mixture. Add oregano and basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for another hour.
  7. Add pasta and cook until al dente. (15 minutes)
  8. Taste to be sure beans are cooked soft. Add more salt or pepper to taste.

MINIATURE MEATBALLS

1 pound ground beef         1 egg      2 TBS. ketchup  

1 TBS. prepared mustard          1-2 cups bread crumbs

Mix beef, egg, ketchup and mustard. Add breadcrumbs until meat mixture is no longer “wet”. Pull off portions to make meatballs, 1 inch in diameter.

 

201012-w-hot-chocolate-lake-champlain

 2. Don’t feel like cooking? Drink something warm. I like hot chocolate made with Gihardelli chocolate and whipped
cream on top. OR a nice mug of spiced tea. OR for the wine drinkers among us…how about a hot mug of mulled wine? Warm and relaxing…. Just avoid the cuddling you suddenly feel like indulging in!
 
 
 

a-pair-of-warm-socks

3. Warm socks! mmmm, nothing like getting out of a hot shower, padding across frozen tiles as you get dressed, then sticking your cold feet into some thick, warm socks. Ahhh…doesn’t it make you feel good with me just mentioning it?
 
 
 

Vanished final for Barnes and Noble Bestselling with quote

4. Read. Now it’s important you do this in the right way. Grab the afghan, snuggle on the couch, but only with a four-legged friend to sit on your sock-covered feet,  and pull out a good book. A good romance is best, IMHO. If you want some extra heat, you could pull out an erotica or a romantic suspense. But make sure it’s a book that holds your interest so you can stay under the afghan on the couch nice and toasty!
 
If you’re looking for a good RS and the weather is still cold in February, you might try VANISHED, book #4 coming out the end of the month. Hey if nothing else, the PURPLE cover should warm you up some!
 
So, what do you do to stay warm? Do you have a favorite recipe for soup? Got some favorite socks? Mulled wine or hot chocolate or hot tea? What do you plan to read through the Polar Vortex? If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, what do you do to cool off this time of year?