Liquid Libations to Kick Off Winter Celebrations

With the Holiday season comes snowy weather… Of course this is also a time for Snow Angels, Christmas caroling, building Snowmen, putting up outdoor Holiday lighting…all which require tromping into the house to warm up! If you’re not quite at drinking age, that usually means hot apple cider or cocoa…with marshmallows, of course. If you’re a smidge older, it includes adding some liquid enhancements.

So, because my fabulous gal pal at Cowboys and Crossbones got me inspired by our good friend alcohol, I thought I’d share a recipe and the matching song… ūüėČ

First, the recipe…. And please feel free to share your favorite seasonal¬†alcoholic (or non) liquid¬†treat in the comments below…I’m always looking for new additions to my repertoire.

Wassail

6 c. Apple juice or cider
2 c. Cranberry juice
2 c. Orange juice
1/4 c. Sugar
1 Tbsp Bitters
3 Tbsp Lemon juice
In a cheesecloth:
6 Cinnamon sticks cut into thirds
16 whole Cloves
1 tsp whole Allspice
Tie up cheesecloth. Place all liquid ingredients into a pot, then drop in the cheesecloth spice ball. Simmer until ready to serve. Add 1 c. of light/spiced rum if preferred…but please, if you’re going to drink, assign a designated driver. Don’t Drink And Drive!

Flavors Of Your City

As many of you have figured out, I have a love of languages and travel. Growing up a military brat cultivated these passions….my mom being an amazing cook simply added to my love. Along the way she taught me how to indulge my love of Filipino cuisine by teaching me how to make things like Filipino eggrolls, chicken adobo and pancit. (And no, I don’t consider myself a foodie)

Pancit made by yours truly!

Pancit made by yours truly!

After we returned stateside from our 4 year stint in the Philippines we settled in the Chicagoland area where I finished my education. When you mention food to most people from Chicago, the first thing you hear about is pizza…specifically deep dish pizza. Although I’m a pizza snob, that’s not what I crave when I think Chicago. For me, it’s a specific place…Portillo’s.

Portillo's Drive Thru

Portillo’s Drive Thru

Now most people want Chicago style hotdogs when they stop in…but for me it’s always been one particular thing… A nice, wet Italian Beef with mozzarella.

Italian Beef from my last trip

Italian Beef from my last trip

After living in the Chicagoland area for nearly 20 years (the longest I’d ever lived anywhere…prior to that the record was 4 years), I moved to Florida. Although most of the people living in Florida are transplants, technically it’s a part of the south. As I was once told by a friend, “the only thing further south than Florida is Mexico”.

For a girl who doesn’t like tea except when she’s ill, moving to the land of Grits and Sweet tea was very different. People were drinking the stuff everywhere…and I learned to adapt, though I’ve never loved the stuff. I’d still much rather have coffee. But one day, sitting in Cracker Barrel I found myself sending a text message to a friend of mine (a good ol’ boy from Louisiana who’d moved to Tennessee).

Me: I’ve got a question for you.
Him: What’s that, darlin’?
Me: Does me liking grits mean I’m turning southern?
Him: Absolutely!

In case you’re wondering, I like my grits with butter, salt and pepper….sometimes with a fried egg on top.

Then there was my time in El Paso. Although I like seasoning in my food, I’ve never been a big pepper person. Salsa was something you ate with tortilla chips. As for margaritas? Hate tequila…have never been a fan. So why is it that since I’ve been back I love pretty much anything with jalapenos? Or that when I went to breakfast with a friend at Perkins last week I was completely bummed that although they had salsa, I knew it would not be spicy enough to fit the bill…

As for margaritas…I won’t be having them anywhere but in El Paso, but I actually found one I loved after a little pushing from my friends out there.

Margarita courtesy of Carlos and Mickeys in El Paso

Margarita courtesy of Carlos and Mickeys in El Paso

What I’ve learned is that I love exploring and experimenting with different, awesome foods (and drinks). Every region of the world has their favorites/specialties… So tell me…if I were to visit you, what foods (or drinks) are a must not miss? Is there a favorite restaurant?

In April I’m headed back to the Bahamas… I can’t wait to visit The Poop Deck…Awesome Conch Fritters!

Chatting Coffee and Columbus Day

I woke up this morning thinking I wanted to share a little bit of Foamy the Squirrel’s philosophy of the world.¬† You see, anything you’ve ever thought and wanted to say but were either too tactful or too politically correct to say, Foamy’s been there, saying it for you.¬† So I wondered to myself, what video(s) should I choose for my first introduction….and decided to do what most blog writers do.¬† I considered the people I read…and what I’ve found interesting.¬† And whether it’s been Jenny Hansen¬†talking about her favorite coffee mugs or ¬†Terri Lee¬†who got “Dancing Cheek to Cheek” stuck in my head or Good Morning Joe. who discussed the merits of tea versus coffee there is no question that coffee talk has been a ruling topic of conversation lately.

In honor of this…and to give us all a chance to laugh, I figured I’d kick this off with some of my favorite rants about coffee.¬† I dare you to not relate….

***WARNING-If profanity offends you, you probably don’t want to watch this***

I always wondered about those cup sizes… Next…ordering…

You know…I LOVE Starbucks.¬† In fact, I wait with bated breath for fall so that I can get my favorite pumpkin spice.¬† The truth, though, is that my cousin in Michigan never went into¬†a Starbucks because she was intimidated and never knew what to order.¬† And I don’t think she’s the only one intimidated.

As much as I enjoy Starbucks, the stuff I like is frou frou and filled with whole mik and sugar, and it’s not cheap.¬† So I’ve been limiting myself.¬† Thankfully, my guy bought me a Keurig.¬† There are so may flavors available for that baby and there’s the little cup thingie that you can use to make coffee with any brand of coffee, even if your flavor of choice doesn’t come in K-cups.¬† Between the flavored creamers & coffees, you can pretty much create all sorts of interesting recipes.

Oddly, my husband thinks coffee is gross.¬† He prefers tea.¬† So does my mom.¬† Me?¬† The only time you’ll catch me drinking tea is if I’m sick or losing my voice.

What is your beverage addiction of choice?  Is it tea?  Coffee?  Soda?  Hot chocolate?  What are your favorite flavors?  What do you think of Foamy?

Hope you’re enjoying your day.¬† If you’re from the States, Happy Columbus Day!¬† (BTW, what historical facts do you remember about Columbus?¬† Can you name his 3 ships?¬† What country sent him?…Share your knowledge of all things Columbus!)