Sunday, December 1st. A grey day. The house perfectly silent. I climbed out of bed, donned my fluffy robe and head to the kitchen. With the heat slowly warming the home and a pine scented candle lit, I busied myself in the kitchen making breakfast; Oatmeal with cinnamon and almond milk and all the toppings (shaved coconut, chopped cashew nuts, sliced banana and peanut butter. The plan today: finish up my Christmas shopping and buy our Christmas tree.
After breakfast cleanup I got dinner into the slow cooker. A Sunday roast for the most wonderful time of the year has finally arrived!
Granville Street was buzzing. Shoppers scooping up Black Friday sales. A tall Christmas tree greeted me as I walked into Chapters, the largest book store in the city. I picked up some gifts in their homeware section and continued on. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer streaming out of a shop adding to the festive feel. Across the street, the matinee line slowly moving into the Stanley Theatre’s production of The Sound of Music. 3 hours later, my backpack was bursting at the seams (I bring my own bag to avoid plastic). I ordered a lemon tea at Starbucks and waited for my husband. We’d agreed to meet after my shop and go to Aunt Leah’s Christmas tree lot. We settled on a bushy 6 ft Douglas Fir.
The home was filled with the anticipation of a delicious dinner when we got back. There is something truly comforting about using the slow cooker. The kitties spent a few moments inspecting the tree. It will sit outside for now. After dinner we’ll put on Fred Claus and get on with the decorating.
Yesterday during my food shop I picked up 2 bottles of red. I think a glass of spiced mulled wine will go perfectly with our tree trimming tonight.
If you’ve never made Mulled Wine, it’s really simple. The easiest way is to make it stove top although I’ve seen some recipes for the slow cooker. I add Apple Cider to sweeten it. Mulled wine dates back to Roman times. This drink was used to defend the body against the cold. It’s pretty cold out there today. That’s my excuse.
Mulled Wine Recipe
You Will Need:
1 bottle red wine
1 Orange – Zest and slice it. Keep a slice or two to garnish your cups.
If you’re using a pre-made Mulling spice, add 1 Tblsp and an extra dash of cinnamon
8 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
2 tablespoons pure Maple Syrup (You can substitute with sugar. This is a respectable Canadian home however which means Maple Syrup is a staple in my pantry).
1 cup Apple Cider (optional). You can also add Brandy if you like yours extra boozy. My husband added a splash of Grand Marnier (orange liquor) to his.
In a saucepan, add the red wine, cider, maple syrup, orange slices (and zest) and all your spices. Many shops will carry pre-made mulling seasoning like the one pictured below. If you purchase one of these, I’d suggest a Tblsp of the mix and an added dash of cinnamon.
Allow the wine, cider and spices to simmer for 15 minutes over a medium/low heat.
Make sure the wine doesn’t come to a boil for long as the alcohol will evaporate.
Remove from heat and strain. Serve in mugs and garnish with additional orange slices or cinnamon sticks. Enjoy.
For a roast that melts and falls apart you want to use a Chuck Shoulder Roast. An Inside Round cut will be more for a roast you want to slice (like for roast beef sandwiches). A Chuck Shoulder Roast is the best cut for pulled beef as well as it shreds naturally. I popped it in the slow cooker (after browning it on the stove top) with 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped carrot, 4 garlic cloves minced and a blend I made with: 1 1/2 cup of beef stock, 1/4 cup of red wine, 2 Tblsp of flour, 2 Tblsp of Worchestershire, 2 Tblsp dried tarragon, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 tsp Thyme and a Tblsp of Soy Sauce. Into the slow cooker on Low for 7 hours. Perfection.
And the tree is trimmed. Happy Holidays friends! Thanks for joining me today.
Until next time.