December 14, 2014


Glögg is a Nordic mulled wine that is optionally spiked with stronger alcohol. A friend of mine's grandparents basically do a glögg bar crawl to Swedish bars in Chicago each Christmas season. I partook once. Good times! Now when I am feeling festive for the holidays, I make glögg at home and share it with others.

750 ml bottle of red wine
250 ml inexpensive brandy
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. dried currants
1/4 c. blanched almonds
10 cardamom pods
5 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange zested
1 T. minced ginger

Combine red wine, brandy, sugar, currants, and almonds in a pot.  Place spices in a jelly or tea bag and submerge in the pot.  Heat on medium low for 45 minutes.  Remove spice bag and serve.

December 12, 2014

vegan nacatamal pie

2014.12_vegan nacatamal pie
A friend of ours recently left Colorado to travel the world and teach English. Her first destination will be Nicaragua. In the process of lightening her load, she left us with her crock pot. I thought it would be nice to expand my own horizons and make a Nicaraguan dish for our first crock pot meal. I honestly had no idea what Nicaraguan food was like until I looked it up. It's interesting how we seem to be satisfied with a certain number of ethnic foods (Chinese, Thai, Indian, Italian, Mexican) and ignore inspiration from other parts of the world.  Anyway, I made Nicaraguan nacatamal pie - a crock pot version of nacatamales which are fairly similar to Mexican tamales. Instead of using pork butt I made these vegetarian and added anasazi beans though small red beans would have been more authentic to Central American cuisine. Speaking of food diversity, wouldn't it be interesting to have more bean options on our grocery store shelves?

Filling Ingredients:
anasazi beans, cooked
rice, cooked
potatoes, sliced
bell peppers, sliced
tomatoes, sliced
onions, chopped
green olives, minced
achiote paste
black pepper

Topping Ingredients (adapted from The Cooking Bride):
2 c. instant Masa Harina
1 t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
2 c. veggie broth
½ c. olive oil

Mix the filling ingredients in a 6 qt. crock pot.  Mix the topping ingredients and glop it on top of the filling.  Cover and cook on low for 5 hours or until potatoes and masa dough are cooked.

December 10, 2014

paracord macrame plant holder

2014.12_paracord macrame plant holder
Just in case we ever need a survivalist stash of paracord, there is some wrapped around our hanging plant... But really, this was a fun craft project. I melded instructions from henhouse and whimseybox. I had to do and undo the project three times until I was satisfied. Luckily it was an easy process. Apparently not all paracord has the same breaking strength so pay attention to what you buy. I bought 550 pound cord which is the most common and what the survivalists go on and on about. Next I plan on making a paracord dog collar for Francois which might actually prove useful someday while backpacking.