Our first real snow of the season - not counting a few scattered flakes here and there throughout the fall that all but melted by afternoon - came late Wednesday night while we were sleeping, and we awoke Thursday to the soft silence of a snow-blanketed morning. Only the occasional sound of the snow plows, scraping along the streets, interrupted the tranquility.
When I left work that day, the freezing cold air - only 12 degrees - shocked my nose and fingertips. My boots crunched loudly on the ice underfoot.
Such a cold evening was perfectly suited for cozy pajamas, decorating for Thanksgiving, listening to Christmas music, and sipping a warm cocktail.
With cider, mulling spices, vanilla and rum simmering cheerfully on the stove, and the fireplace warming up the living room, I put out a few Thanksgiving decorations while listening to Christmas music and waiting for Jamie to get home.
I remember a time when I was 7 or 8, and I was supposed to spend the night at a friend's house. My mom took me over to their house, and stayed for a while, working on some sewing projects with the other mom. But when it came time for her to leave, I felt a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and couldn't stop the tears that threatened to spill over. I wanted to go back home with her. I loved being home.
When we got home, the house was so warm, a fire crackling in the dusty, black wood stove. My brother and sister were in the living room with my dad, reading on the couch under a snuggly blanket. It never occurred to me how disappointed my friend was that I had left; all I knew was that I was happy.
This little brown and white tea set is one that my mom gave me a few years ago, a pattern that was popular in the 80s, and that I loved when I was a kid. The old fashioned scenery on the dishes is so comforting, and reminds me of that long-ago-evening. I don't actually have any cups to go with the set, just the teapot, a cream pitcher and another small pitcher, so I drank my cider from the little pitcher.
It made me happy. There's so much to be thankful for this winter.
Mulled Cider Rum Cocktail
- 4 cups apple cider
- 2 tablespoons mulling spices
- 1 vanilla bean pod (leftover after using the seeds for another recipe)
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup spiced rum
- cinnamon sticks
Combine the cider, spices, vanilla bean and rum in a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 30-40 minutes, then strain out the spices. Serve each cup with a cinnamon stick.
Yields 4 servings
Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen