Mulled Wine

mulled wine

There is nothing more comforting during the holidays then a glass of mulled wine.

Watching the snow fall with a piping hot mug of this scrumptious beverage feels decadent, like you are relaxing at a chalet in the Swiss Alps.

Of course then you snap back to reality and realize that there is chaos all around you and it becomes an excellent and comforting way to deal with the stress of the holidays.

A friend of mine makes this regularly throughout the winter and was kind enough to share her recipe with me.

You can make this in a crock pot on low or on the stove. Do NOT let this boil!

Here is what you need

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1 bottle of good red wine

1/4 cup Candied ginger

3 Cinnamon sticks

2 Clementines peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon Allspice berries

1 teaspoon Cloves

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

Wrap the cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice in cheesecloth.

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Put it in your pot with the sugar and chopped up clementine.

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Add the entire bottle of wine

Fill the empty wine bottle with water and add to your mixture.

Let simmer for 2-3 hours

You don’t have to use the best wine you can find, just find one that tastes good and has a mild and fruity flavour. I found this bottle of Cupcake wine from California for $10. It was delicious!

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For an extra bit of “fortification” add an ounce of Grand Marnier to the bottom of your glass. This not only amps up the alcohol content but it also adds an extra burst of flavour.

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Top up the glass with the mulled wine and enjoy!

 

 

 

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Brie and Jam Appetizer

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Last Saturday we had plans to go to a friend’s house for dinner.

We were asked to bring an appetizer.

The days leading up to Saturday were chaotic at best. We had just gotten home from Quebec, I had dozens of cookies to make and ice and work was quite busy.

I didn’t have the time or brain power to make anything complicated

So I came up with this gem using Provisions fruit pastes. I mentioned Provisions Food Company as one of my favourite things in a previous post.

It is so simple and quick. It took only 10 minutes to make 2 dozen of these little bits of heaven

You only need 4 ingredients

Phyllo pastry

Brie

Fruit paste or jam

Melted butter

Heat your oven to 375 degrees

Using a pastry brush cover one sheet of phyllo in butter

Cover your remaining phyllo with a damp cloth. Phyllo dries out very quickly and will become flaky and impossible to work with.

Take a second sheet of phyllo and lay it on top of the first sheet. The butter helps the sheets stick together and helps to add flakiness.

Using a paring knife cut the phyllo into 6 slices

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Put a piece of brie and a teaspoon of fruit paste on the end of each slice

Take one corner and fold it up towards the other side to make a triangle

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Repeat until you get to the end of the phyllo

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Cover in melted butter and make for 5-7 minutes or until they are golden brown

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Word of warning… let these cool off for a few minutes before you dive into them. They are hot!!!

Not bad for only a few minutes of work.

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If you need a quick, easy and inexpensive app to bring to a holiday party I think this one hits the mark.

La Belle Province – Our trip to Quebec City

 

Bonjour from Quebec City!

For those of you that don’t know Old Quebec City is Canada’s only walled city and is also the only walled city north of Mexico. It is over 400 years old and has managed to keep a lot of it’s charm.

To enter the city you have to drive through the gate. Sofie was totally amazed by it

We only have one day left in this beautiful city and we are all feeling a bit sad to leave

The kids are having such a great time

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Sofie has been taking pictures non stop and now wants to move here

Callum has been enjoying the toy stores and the giant tobogganing hill outside of our hotel

Quebec City is incredibly family friendly

We went to New York for our last winter vacation but this year decided we wanted something more quaint and without the hustle and bustle that comes with New York City

We definitely found it in Quebec

We are staying at Chateau Frontenac which looks like a castle on a hill top

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Sofie said that she feels that she is in a fairy tale because castles are always on the top of a hill and then the village is below

Beside our hotel is the tobogganing hill. It is 150 feet long and can get up to 70 km per hour. It was built in 1884 and is a winter staple here. The hill opened yesterday and Chris and Callum were the first riders of the season.

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Sofie and I tried it later that afternoon and it was a blast!

You could spend days just wandering the streets here

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There are so many stores and restaurants crammed into these small and winding roads

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It is picturesque

Like I said our hotel is on the top of the hill. Going down into the city is easy, it’s getting back up that can be a challenge. Yesterday afternoon we took the stairs, all 200 of them. We smartened up that evening and took the long way around to avoid the stairs.

My legs are so sore this morning from those darn stairs!

Luckily we have a hot tub and pool in our hotel so we could relax after that long haul

Today we went to the Mega Parc which is a giant mall with indoor skating rink and an amusement park. This kids were beyond excited!

 

When we got back to the hotel we noticed a lot of security guards around the elevators. Turns out the Prime Minister of Canada was having a meeting at the hotel. We stuck around the lobby for a while to see if we could meet him.

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Sofie was very excited to shake his hand and take a picture with him. Callum couldn’t have cared less.

 

The Prime Minister was very nice and it was a great experience for the kids.

The French have a reputation for being snooty and unwelcoming but that is the exact opposite of what we experienced here. Everyone was incredibly friendly and engaging. People on the streets tilted their hats and said hello. Shop keepers spoke to the children directly instead of talking to them through us, which is so common in Ontario. There was never a moment that we felt like unwelcome tourists. We felt at home immediately and are already planning a trip back here in the summer.

 

Gift wrapping ideas for Christmas

PicMonkey Collage

Wrapping paper is my arch nemesis. I always cut it too big and then have to hack away at it once I have already started folding

The paper is easily ripped so I need to patch it

I can’t cut a straight line either so everything is wonky and crooked

By the end it looks as though my five year old wrapped the present

Actually Callum would probably do a better job than I would

So in an attempt to avoid wrapping shame this year I decided to use brown craft paper to disguise my inability to keep a pattern straight. It is also harder to tear which is a bonus.

I wrapped all the presents this way and wrapped them in red ribbon that I got from the dollar store or red and white twine that I got from Ikea.

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I am trying to steer clear of gift tags as well so I wrote the names on the paper with a metallic Sharpie.

I think it looks classic and still very Christmasy

The kids made the ornaments for all the presents using this recipe

They decorated them with glitter glue

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I put together a collection of what I think are amazing ways to wrap presents. This is what I aspire to!

Simple White Christmas Gift Wrap 3w

Simple and elegant from Love That Party

chalk board wrapping

Amazing idea from Going Home to Roost

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A good way to put the Scrabble game to use from Craftionary

doily

This is a great way to use up scraps of yarn and doilies that you may have laying around from HGTV

candy

Brown paper packages tied up with string and candy! Yes please. Great idea from Crafting in the Rain

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Love this idea from New Nostalgia

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Simple and sweet from Apartment Therapy

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I could never pull it off but I think it is a great idea from Craftionary

Maybe one day when I get some patience I will be able to wrap presents as creatively as these bloggers did. Until then I will continue to fake it with my craft paper and ribbon.

DIY Head Board

 

I have the best husband! He has been so busy with work and making a very large harvest table for a friend and yet he still carved out time to make a beautiful headboard just so I would be happy

He’s pretty awesome

This is what our old headboard looked like

 

It was okay but we were looking for something a bit more stylish

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As I mentioned in a previous post I got the fabric from Tonic Living

Headboard

Headboard

The nail head trim is from Joann Fabrics

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We weren’t going to remove the current headboard as it keeps the bed from falling apart

Chris came up with a plan to cover the front and the sides so you couldn’t tell that the original headboard was still there

He started by cutting out a very large piece of ply wood and attaching 1×2 pieces of wood to the top and sides

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We attached the foam with a staple gun

As you can see the foam looks like a disaster. We couldn’t find a piece that was large enough so we made do with what we had

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When the foam was covered by the batting you couldn’t tell that it was made up of several different pieces.

Then we put the fabric on. I love working with solid fabric because if your fabric isn’t perfectly straight you can’t tell

Finally it was time to add the nail head trim

I started by drawing a chalk line on the fabric to mark where the trim would go

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This stuff is genius! It only took about 5 minutes to put all the trim on. It comes in a 5 yard length and is easy to turn and cut.

I have gone the individual nail head route before and it is tedious and painful to say the least. Any time I have a project that involves nail heads I will use this.

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This is the final result

 

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I am in love with it!

This head board from Restoration Hardware was our inspiration and I think Chris did a pretty great job of matching it

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Cost break down:

Fabric – $42 from Tonic Living

Ply wood and wood trim – $45

Nail head trim – $12 with a 60% off coupon at Joann Fabric

Foam and batting -$50

Total cost:$149.00

It wasn’t as cheap as I would have liked but it is better then spending $1800 at Restoration Hardware!