Delicious Cinnamon Spiked Hot Apple Cider - The Perfect Hot Cocktail


My friend Cindy came over on Halloween for some pre trick-or-treating festivities.  She came with a scrumptious option for an adult hot apple cider.  Now I like Apple Cider but I don't love it and often times will forgo the calories for something else - such as, chocolate....  In any event, she convinced me to take a sip from her mug and I was ruined.  This was one delicious and super easy cocktail.

The secret ingredient is cinnamon whiskey such as Fireball or Sinfire.   There is something so soothing about having a warm cocktail that I was never able to relate to since I can't stand whiskey so I have never thoroughly enjoyed a hot toddy.  

I feel so lucky to finally have a warm cocktail recipe that I love and have Cindy to thank. This recipe is delicious, inviting and so simple to make.  While drinking this I felt like I was being wrapped in a  warm, cinnamon-y hug.  I definitely plan on making this for the holidays!

Delicious Cinnamon Spiked Hot Apple Cider
Ingredients
Hot Cider (any variety will work)
Cinnamon Whiskey (suggested Fireball or Sinfire)

Directions
Gently warm the cider in a saucepan over medium heat.  Pour a shot or two into a mug and pour in warm cider.  Enjoy!

Links I am Loving...


Ahhhh, perusing the internet I found some fun articles that I wanted to share.  None of these are life changing - just fun articles that are great to peruse when you have a few spare moments...

My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Image Courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year.  I love eating with reckless abandon and turkey day is the day to do just this - as far as I am concerned anyways....  Over the years I have come up with my traditional thanksgiving favorite recipes and I wanted to share them with you.

My normal menu consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn casserole, pumpkin crisp, gravy and cranberry sauce.  In looking at this menu, the first thing I always notice is that there is nothing green - no vegetable or salad and I must say that is just fine with me.  So without further ado...

The turkey recipe I use is Martha Stewart's Turkey 101 which is amazing and turns out perfect every time.  I am sure that it has something to do with the bottle of wine and pound of butter used to baste the turkey that makes it so succulent and amazing!

photo courtesy of MarthaStewart.com


As for stuffing...I used to make Martha Stewart's standard stuffing recipe that can be found here, however about five years ago I was introduced to a stuffing recipe that won a Good Morning America stuffing recipe contest.  OMG - this stuff is SOOOOOOOOOO freaking good!  It is ridiculously fattening so I only make it once a year, however it is so worth it!  The recipe dates back to 2007, however you can still find it online here.  I have included the recipe below just so I always have it in the event that page ever gets taken down.

Corn casserole might sound a bit unusual for Thanksgiving but again, I make it once a year and just seems to mesh well with everything on the plate.  Think cornbread but more delicate and buttery.  The recipe is from AllRecipes and can be found here.


Now Gravy is so easy and I do cheat by using a bottled product, but it is so delicious nobody will ever, ever know and you don't have to worry about lumps!  Williams Sonoma Turkey Gravy Base is a gem!  You can thank me later.


I am not a pumpkin pie fan.  I think it is part texture and part overall pumpkin taste but I always had a pumpkin pie and an apple pie at Thanksgiving until I stumbled upon Pumpkin Crisp.   This dessert is made with boxed yellow cake mix so if you have any nostalgia for a basic yellow cake then this could be one of your new favorites as well.  I blogged about this a while ago and you can see the full recipe here.

The cranberry sauce I make is the standard Ocean Spray version that can be found on the back of the fresh cranberry package.  Sometimes I will add some fresh orange zest to add an additional flavor element to the sauce but that is optional.

So....that is my run down for what I make for my family on turkey day.  I hope you try some of these delicious recipes.  They are tried and true for multiple years so I can vouch that they are all super yummy!

Down Home Italian Dressing
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 extra-large yellow onion, chopped
  • 7 large celery ribs, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 ounces pancetta, diced&
  • 6 cups day-old, finely diced French bread
  • 3 cups crumbled unsweetened cornbread
  • ½ cup butter, cubed, cold
  • 1 tablespoon ground sage
  • 1½ tablespoons poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 4-5 cups chicken or turkey broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • large Parmesan shavings

Directions
  • Heat oil in large skillet on medium. Sauté pancetta for 2 minutes.  
  • Add onion and celery and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook another 3 minutes. 
  • Mix together breads and ¾ cup toasted pine nuts in a large mixing bowl. Add cheeses and cooked sausage to the breads. Mix together with the dried seasonings. 
  • Add sautéed veggies with any pan drippings. 
  • Slowly add broth and stir until mixed thoroughly. The consistency should not be soupy, but very moist. If not, add more broth. 
  • Test for saltiness and add a dash more if needed. 
  • Place in an extra deep 9-inch-by-13-inch greased pan. 
  • Dot the top with the cubed butter and cover with foil. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes. 
  • Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes or until slightly crusted on the edges. 
  • Top with remaining toasted pine nuts and chopped fresh sage. Add shaved cheese just before serving.

Quick Tip - Freezing Wine for Recipes

Years ago I was stuck in a doctors office for what seemed like an eternity.  I came across an issue of Food and Wine magazine and inside there was a tip so genius I have been using it for years.  As the title states, it is freezing wine.

Have you ever cooked with wine and either didn't finish off the bottle at dinner or just didn't feel like drinking the rest of it for a few days?  I was coming across this predicament quite often and I found myself throwing away quite a bit of decent wine until this. 

All you do is take your good wine and pour the wine into ice cube trays and freeze.  I like to leave them in the freezer for a day.  Once they are set they will look like this: 


The wine cubes will be solid, but slightly soft.  Each cube is the equivalent to two tablespoons of wine and since you will be freezing the cubes, they will be good to use for about two weeks and still taste great!  

Try this tip out and let me know what you think!


Links I Am Loving...


I love reading the endless amounts of cool information on the internet and I am fascinated by what people are reading.  Below are some links I have stumbled upon this week.  Please pass on interesting articles you are reading...

Ten Delicious Ways to Use Rotisserie Chicken: I stumbled on this when looking through my Pinterest boards for some inspiration for dinner one day.  There are some refreshing and relish dinner options provided.

Seventeen Ways to Pimp Your Pumpkin Without Carving It: Having two boys that are ages ten and eleven, I can't wait to try some of these fun techniques.  Not having to carve a pumpkin will also cut down on a lot of mess for me also!

Which Wine Pairs With Your Halloween Candy: Halloween is on Friday and I fully plan to have a glass or two of wine to celebrate - while raiding my boys' candy bags.

How to Detox Every Day: I try to do all things in moderation.  I know myself well enough to realize that a long term detox isn't my thing, but I love these little tricks to help me keep my body as healthy as possible.

10 Snacks That Make You Beautiful: I am a snacker, so any ideas on snacks that are actually good for me is an article I will always want to read.

25 Definitive Style Rules Every Woman Should Follow: While I love a good trend, the classics are always a good reminder.  This article outlines some classic trends that can always be incorporated into your daily wardrobe.

You're Not the Only One: 8 Memoirs To Get Your Through Hard Times:   Life isn't easy all the time or even some of the time.  I love reading memoirs from people who have overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles - anything to keep this life in perspective...