By Angela Keyser, Director of Marketing for High Quality Organics
The hustle of the holidays are well upon us. Whether your scrambling to get some last minute shopping or baking in, or preparing for a holiday party this weekend, I hope you find time each day to take just a few minutes to stop and enjoy the beauty of the season. The lights, sounds, smells and excitement of children are such wonderful little blessings that help us remember it’s not the gifts or glamor, but the moments that make this season so special.
One of my favorite memories growing up was the annual Christmas caroling party my parents hosted in our tiny farmhouse. I, along with my siblings, would help my mom decorate the house and prepare all the food. Looking back, I’m in awe of how she did it: four kids, working on the farm full-time and still managing to turn our house into a magical masterpiece at Christmas! What I learned was her awesome ability to plan, organize and create simple, great-tasting foods…and throw one heck of a party!
So, in the effort to help with your holiday celebrating, I wanted to share some seasonal favorite recipes that are easy to make and just as delicious to enjoy. (Check our recipes section for additional recipes.) Most of them you can make ahead of time so, hopefully, (yeah, right!) you can avoid the last-minute rush of making cocktails or setting out the appetizers and actually have a few minutes to compose yourself before the razzle dazzle begins. Enjoy!
Hot Buttered Rum Apple Cider*
NOTE: This cocktail is best enjoyed while strolling through the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights, wrapping presents in the wee hours of the night or simply snuggling up on the couch and watching your favorite Christmas movie.Serves: 8-16 Time Required: 10 minutes plus time for spiced butter to firm in refrigerator. Then, 5-10 minutes to warm apple cider and melt butter in cider.
IngredientsFor Spiced Butter 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 heaping teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves Pinch of salt For Cocktail 64 ounces (half gallon) of apple cider Spiced Butter Cinnamon Sticks Rum or Apple Brandy Directions Step 1: Make spiced butter. Combine butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt in a medium bowl using a fork. Step 2: Use a plastic scraper or spatula to form butter mixture into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Step 3: Place apple cider in large pot and heat on the stove until it simmers. Reduce heat to low.Step 4: Remove spiced butter from refrigerator and plastic wrap. Cut into small chunks and add to hot apple cider. Stir until butter is melted. Optional: Transfer to a crock pot for buffet service. Step 5: To serve, add hot cider to a mug with a cinnamon stick and a shot of rum or apple brandy, if desired. *Recipe adapted from Once Upon a Chef on Yummly.com