Hot Mulled Wine reminds me of Christmas, Madrigal dinners, and travel. The aroma of the simmering wine is wonderful and sipping it is even better. While my paternal line is Czech, mulled wine was not a tradition in our home.
Wishing you a Veselé Vánoce (Merry Christmas) andŠťastný Nový Rok! (Happy New Year)
2 bottles of red wine (we use Cabernet Sauvignon)
5-6 cinnamon sticks
6-8 whole cloves
4 whole black peppercorns
4 allspice berries
4-6 star anise
zest of one tangerine (use fruit)
zest of one lemon (discard fruit)
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup raisins
tangerine slices from zested tangerine
2 apples, sliced (we used green apples)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup raw honey
1 cup apple cider (optional)
2 Tbsp. Czech Rum (I used Cointreau)
Combine all ingredients in a simmering pot. Simmer until hot. Serve.
There are folks who ladle it into a cup, fruits and all, but we prefer to strain it and just serve the hot wine with a cinnamon stick in the cup as a garnish.
It is at it’s best when served immediately after mulling but this delicious drink will keep fairly hot even when taken off the heat for about 30 minutes. The leftover mulled wine (if you have any) can be reheated in a saucepan on the stovetop. If you wish to keep some for the next day, allow it to cool completely and then pour into glass bottle or mason jar, closing tightly and refrigerating.
Czech and Slovak heritage is of great interest to me, given my Father’s family roots. Late 2020, I participated in ‘Czech & Slovak Christmas’ offered through Global Slovakia Academy. It was a wonderful class, offering education of the Slovak advent and holidays, celebrations and food.
The Slovak Honey Cookies are traditional Christmas treats and I had to try them. They are very similar to our traditional Gingerbread cookies, using honey instead of Molasses. They are absolutely delicious and a new favorite for the holidays.
SLOVAK HONEY COOKIES
3 cups (400 g) plain flour
1 cup (140 g) icing sugar
4 tbsp (60 g) butter softened
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
2 tsp of gingerbread spice mix
3 tbsp clear honey
Preheat your oven to 180 C/ 350 F. Line a baking tray with paper.
Sift together the flour, icing sugar, soda bicarbonate and spices.
Add butter and honey to the dry ingredients along with the eggs, and mix well to form a soft dough.
Wrap in a cling film and leave overnight in the refrigerator to chill.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a thickness of half a centimeter.
Cut out with your desired cookie cutter and place well apart on the baking sheet.
Bake for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Decorate with icing if you wish.
1 egg white
1 ½ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice.
Whisk the ingredients together until stiff peaks form.
Add more sugar if needed and have patience.
Spoon your icing into a sandwich bag, twist the bag tightly until the icing wedges into one corner, and then poke or cut a tiny hole into the corner. Make sure your cookies are completely cool before beginning to decorate.
Crisp, autumn apples paired with nuts, dried cranberries, feta and salad greens. Yum! The salad dressing is the perfect pairing as well. A great salad as an entree or as a side. It’s Fall Y’all!
APPLE CRANBERRY WALNUT SALAD
6 cups salad (I used a combination of arugula and baby spinach, any spring green mix will do)
1 red apple
1 green apple
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped (I used pecans)
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 cup apple juice
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar in a pinch)
2 tablespoons honey
scant ½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup oil
Core and chop apples (thin slices or 1 inch chunks). Toss lettuce, apples, walnuts, feta, and cranberries together in a large bowl.
Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Toss with salad immediately before serving. Enjoy!
Honey + Chicken = Delicious! I am fortunate to live next to a beekeeper and have two additional friends that have hives in their yards. Local honey is such a wonderful treat and inspires me to try new recipes. This recipe is definitely a keeper and wonderful paired with a fresh, green salad.
These Berry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars are great for breakfast on-the-go or for a snack. The bars are free of refined sugar and gluten. The original blueberry recipe from Iowa Girl Eats is delicious (of course everything she makes is!). My second batch was made with blueberries and raspberries…Yum! I may try to substitute applesauce for the bananas on a future batch for family members that don’t like the taste of bananas.
Wouldn’t these be great to freeze and have on hand especially for busy Moms once the kids are back to school?
BERRY BREAKFAST OATMEAL BARS
2.5 cups certified gluten-free old fashioned oats, divided (I actually just used the food processor on all of the oats)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1/2 cup mashed banana (about 2 small or 1 large banana)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 heaping cup of berries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees then spray an 8×8″ baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
Add 1 cup old fashioned oats to food processor or blender and process until oats have turned into flour (Note: I blended the entire 2.5 cups). Set aside. Alternatively you can use a scant cup of oat flour.
Add milk, mashed banana, honey, coconut oil, egg, and vanilla to a large bowl then whisk to combine. Add remaining 1.5 cups oats, oat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt then stir to combine. Fold in the berries then pour batter into greased baking pan.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the center has set. Cool before slicing into bars and store in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can individually wrap the bars in Saran Wrap and freeze.
Autumn brings cooler weather, falling leaves and wonderful vegetables. I’ve become a huge fan of roasted vegetables and loved the idea of combining squash with Brussel sprouts. Adding cherries, nuts and honey were the icing on top of the vegetables.
This is a wonderful dish for a potluck, holiday and just an ordinary night at home.
ROASTED BRUSSEL SPROUTS
4 cups Brussel Sprouts, ends trimmed, yellow leaved removed, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH
1.5 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and dubbed into 1 inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans or halves
1/2 cup dried cherries (or Craisins)
optional: 2-4 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (I did not add additional honey)
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease the foil-lined baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, combine halved Brussel sprouts, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt (to taste) and toss. Place on foil-lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. During the last 5-10 minutes of roasting, turn them over for even browning. The cut sides should be nicely browned and partially charred.
Roasted Butternut Squash
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a foil-lined baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, combine cubed butternut squash (peeled and seeded), olive oil, honey, and cinnamon. Toss to mix.
Place butternut squash in even layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once half-way through baking, until squash is softened.
NOTE: You can roast both the Brussel sprouts and the butternut squash on 2 separate baking sheets at the same time .
In a large bowl, combine the roasted Brussel sprouts, roasted butternut squash, pecans, and cherries (or cranberries) and mix to combine.
OPTIONAL: For more sweetness, add 2-4 tablespoons or honey or maple syrup…add slowly to desired amount of sweetness.
The idea of Peach Bruscetta resonates with me as did the Strawberry Bruscetta I’ve made many times. This recipe was delicious and I made it strictly according to the recipe. The grilling of the bread and the peaches took some time, but the end result was worth it.
Next time, however, I may try using Goat Cheese instead of Burrata and skip grilling the peaches, using my tried and true Peach Salsa as the topping with a drizzle of honey.
Anyway you make, you can’t go wrong this time of year with fresh Colorado peaches, cheese and bread. MMMMM….
GRILLED PEACH BRUSCHETTA
1 loaf ciabatta bread, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 ounces burrata cheese, torn
3 medium ripe peaches, halved and cored
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon
Flaky sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Honey, for drizzling
Preheat and oil a cast iron or gas grill. Brush 2 tablespoons olive oil evenly over ciabatta slices and grill over medium heat until crisp and lightly charred on both sides, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Brush peach halves with vegetable oil or spray with non-stick spray. Grill, flesh side down, until lightly charred, about 3-4 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly, then chop and place in a medium-sized bowl.
Chop tarragon and add to bowl along with salt, pepper and remaining tablespoon of olive oil and mix to combine.
Spread a layer of burrata over each slice of ciabatta and top with a dollop of grilled peach mixture. Season with additional salt and pepper and drizzle with honey.
Cinnamon Basil was a garden experiment that produced more than I expected. Now, what do I do with it?
I found this interesting Cinnamon Basil Pesto recipe and decided to try it in three ways:
Simple spread on a wafer/cracker
Served on top of a mild cheese (brie, gouda, etc.) and wafer/cracker
Served on top of a mild cheese with wafer/cracker and drizzled with honey
This fun experiment ended with the pesto, cheese and honey winning my vote!
CINNAMON BASIL DESSERT PESTO
1/3 – 1/2 cup walnut oil
2 cups firmly packed, fresh cinnamon basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/4 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese (1 oz.)
2 teaspoons raw sugar or packed brown sugar
In a food processor or blender combine 1/3 cup of the oil, the basil, almonds, coconut, cheese, and sugar. Cover and process or blend until nearly smooth, stopping and scraping sides as necessary and adding enough remaining oil until of desired consistency.
If the pesto is not to be served immediately, divide it into three portions. Place each portion in a small airtight container. Refrigerate up to 24 hours or freeze up to 3 months. Makes about 1-1/3 cups pesto.
Biscuits and gravy were introduced to me when I moved to St. Joseph, Missouri in 1975 and they’ve been a favorite breakfast in our house since. My husband, Karl, made biscuits and gravy, with scrambled eggs, and sausage almost every weekend while the girls were young.
Biscuits were made from scratch, Bisquick mix, or even refrigerated buttermilk biscuits. The gravy, however, was always made from scratch and the flour browned to just the right shade of perfection before adding the milk and watching the bubbly goodness thicken to our perfect gravy thickness. A cast iron skillet was always the cooking vessel of choice.
Daughter, Megan, stayed with me for a few days while her hardwood floors were being refinished and she wanted to make biscuits and gravy. We tried a new drop biscuit recipe that we liked but she made the gravy the old fashioned way.
I love a little sweet with my savory so for my breakfast dessert, one biscuit with honey. MMMM…
What a wonderful walk down memory lane and the chance to revisit family tradition.
DADDY’S DELICIOUS BAKING POWDER DROP BISCUITS
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 425º.
Combine all dry ingredients.
Blend in the warm butter.
Slowly add the milk to the mixture until the dough holds together.
Use two spoons to drop evenly sized biscuits on ungreased baking sheet.
1 lb. bulk breakfast sausage
1/3 cup flour
3-4 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
Prepare biscuits and keep warm.
Cook sausage patties in a large skillet, preferably cast iron. Set cooked sausage patties aside and keep warm.
Add flour to sausage drippings and let brown (watch carefully or it will burn). Once flour is brown, add milk, salt and pepper and let gravy bubble until it thickens. This may take about 10 minutes. If the gravy becomes too thick, add milk to gain desired thickness.
Optional: Add some crumbled cooked sausage into gravy.
Serve hot with biscuits, sausage patties and eggs of your choice.
Spring brings wonderful strawberries to the markets. Honey goat cheese pairs beautifully with strawberries and with a hint of honey drizzle, you have a very simple, delicious appetizer (or dessert). Yummy!
STRAWBERRY HONEY GOAT CHEESE BITES
1 dozen large strawberries
8 oz. package Honey Goat Cheese (I use Haystack)
Wash, stem and halve strawberries.
Allow them to dry on paper towels.
Place a small piece of Honey Goat Cheese on top of strawberry and drizzle with honey.