Some of my favorite winter time things….

Well, since it isn’t feeling a WHOLE lot like winter here in Central California (although today it is cloudy, and it may rain….so I guess it feels a LITTLE bit like winter….I just wish our temperatures would drop!), I’m going to focus on some of my favorite winter time things…..

*Christmas lights in various places in the house…..I’ll post pictures in the next couple of days….need one more extension cord, and for D to do the outside lights πŸ™‚

*warm drinks in my favorite mugs…..and that mug changes from year to year πŸ™‚ (see some recipes further down in this post)

*a roaring fire…..really praying about how to get a fireplace insert to make our fireplace work better for heating the house! (I found someone locally that is selling one for $250 but we just don’t have $250 laying around :))

*music playing……during the Christmas season (from the day AFTER Thanksgiving to Christmas Day) I like to listen to Christmas music…..instrumental and vocal…..the rest of the winter, I like lots of different things….I LOVE classical music, but the kids don’t enjoy it, so it is something that is a huge indulgence for me πŸ™‚

*reading, stitching, or crocheting in my chair with a warm blankie over my lap and my honey sitting next to me (generally clicking away on his laptop :))

*baking….need I say more?

*soup!!!! I LOVE soup, but only during the winter months, when it is cold outside. To me there is nothing more comforting and nourishing than a big bowl of soup…..unfortunately most of my family doesn’t really consider soup to be a meal.

Ok, onto some of my favorite hot drinks. I think my FAVORITE is chai tea, and I have found a recipe that is easy to make and store a big batch in the fridge to heat up when I want a cup. This recipe is from Kathleen Daelemans from Cooking Thin. You can find this recipe at food network’s website.

Chai Tea

Recipe courtesy Kathleen Daelemans

 
 
 
1 tablespoon fennel seed
6 green cardamom pods
12 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 (1/4-inch) piece ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
6 black peppercorns
7 cups water
2 tablespoons Darjeeling tea
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup milk
In a medium saucepan, combine fennel seed, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, ginger root, peppercorns and water. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and steep for 10 minutes. Add the tea, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer 5 minutes.
Strain mixture, discard spices and return the tea to the saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and milk. Serve immediately.


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Hot Spiced Cider

Serves 8

1 quart apple cider

2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar

6 whole cloves

3 whole allspice berries

2 cinnamon sticks (3″ long)

Combine all ingredients in a small crockpot and cook on high for 1-2 hours until hot, then turn to warm for serving.

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Hot White Chocolate with Peppermint

4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
14 ounces milk
2 ounces cream

2 small candy canes or peppermint candies, crushed

Place the chopped chocolate and vanilla in a mixing bowl. In a saucepan heat together milk, cream and peppermint candies until boiling. Pour over chocolate and whisk well to melt. Pour into mugs and garnish with real whipped cream and more crushed peppermint candies.

These are some of my favorite winter time things……what are some of yours?

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