Snow Day. Sunset. Hot mulled wine.

February 11, 2013

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When we lived in Toronto, I thought I hated winter.

Nothing stressed me out more than hearing on the news that a snow storm was coming.  Living in the suburbs, and on a snow belt no less, we’d have to plan ahead by setting the alarm for 4:00 a.m. to get up in pitch darkness, plough ourselves out (my husband did this, not me).

And the choice was to either drive to the office on unploughed roads at 5 a.m., or wait until the ploughs were through, enjoy (not) a 4 hour drive to work, and throw off the entire workday because in spite of our best efforts, we were now late for work.

And then we’d come home to the classic Canadian frustration:  the municipal plough pushed the snow up against all of our driveways, so that we’d have to dig out again before being able to pull back into the driveway.

The only solace was that everyone else in Toronto was in the same predicament, so in a sense, it bonded us.  It truly is human nature that misery does indeed love company.

And together, we’d all count down until the arrival of Spring.

Then we moved to Northern Ontario, where most of our neighbours are self-employed with seasonal businesses either geared to the tourist trade (such as our friends with a nearby restaurant) or construction.

So for many around here, vacation time takes place throughout the winter, so snow machines (a.k.a. Snow Mobiles, ‘Ski-Doos’), abound.

And now, each weekend, neighbourhood friends come roaring up to our back door, calling out ‘Can you guys come out to play?’

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Even the neighbourhood children start out early with their own snow machines.

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Winter is now my favourite season.  And snow storms?  I LOVE them.  (As long as no one I love has to drive anywhere).

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In fact, see that little walkway we have in this photo?  During snowstorms, I find myself periodically looking out the window, in an attempt to will the snow to submerge that walkway.

It’s something of a barometer of how deep the snow is.

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Sunset feels like a miracle to watch all year-round.

In the summer, we watch it on the dock from our Muskoka chairs (a.k.a Adirondack chairs, depending on where you live).  And a gathering is a corn roast or a lobster cookout, or an impromptu party.

In the winter, the sunsets are much more vibrant.  They light up the sky, and drop much faster.  But they are spectacular, nevertheless.

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And it fascinates us to watch the gradual re-direction of the sun throughout the winter.  Without the distraction of background noise or traffic, somehow it’s easier to note these changes.

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But I don’t think there is a better way to enjoy a great winter sunset, than with friends…

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And a hot beverage.  Hot chocolate, warm cider, or mulled wine will all do the trick.

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Just in case you find yourself with a group of friends, some snow machines, and a thermos, here’s a recipe for mulled wine to keep you warm.

And even if you don’t have a snow machine, I’m sure you’ll find a way to enjoy this recipe.  Enjoy.

Hot mulled wine

Yield: Approximately 6 servings

There are as many recipes for mulled wine as there are brands of wine. This is a forgiving recipe. Feel free to add more or less sugar, and the apple cider can be swapped with apple juice or orange juice, and you can play around with the seasonings.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle medium bodied red wine (don't use expensive wine for this recipe)
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 allspice berries
  • Zest from 1/2 orange

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in either a crockpot or large saucepan (or dutch oven).
  2. Stir to combine.
  3. If using crockout, heat on low for 3-4 hours.
  4. If using stove, bring to a simmer (don't boil) and allow to simmer gently for 1 hour.
  5. Serve in glass mugs or brandy glasses wrapped with cloth napkin, garnished with a cinnamon stick (or if you are outside, simply use a mug).
http://www.onecooktwokitchens.com/snow-day-sunset-hot-mulled-wine/

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ann February 11, 2013 at 9:13 am

Omg so happy for you and Scott. Looks sooooo nice in the winter. Lovely pictures. Good things happen for a reason and you two are one of them. Enjoy your boundless snow. Cheersssssss!!!

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One Cook, Two Kitchens February 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Thank you Ann! We do love it, and winter is just as special as summer – just very different!

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Gwendolyn February 11, 2013 at 12:11 pm

What you describe SOUNDS LIKE PURE AND JOYOUS HEAVEN TO ME!!! Living here in Michigan, the snow storms in the last couple of years has always missed us somehow??!!! I miss those big snow storms! Thank You for sharing of your life experiences, thoughts, and those AWESOME pictures! Oh, and this great recipe for Hot Mulled Wine. Can’t wait to make!! sounds so DELICIOUS. There is nothing better on a cold bbbrrrrr winter day/night than a cup of mulled wine! :o) Blessings!

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One Cook, Two Kitchens February 12, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Hi Gwendolyn, thank you so much for your lovely words! We’re actually finding that we have considerably less snow than we did in the past as well – the water levels on the Great Lakes are so low now.

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