Harvest Hot Toddy

Now that cold weather is here to stay, I wanted to share my version of a classic winter drink with you. The hot toddy is honestly one of the perfect alcoholic drinks for wintry nights and they are super simple to make. I love sipping hot tea in the winter and the addition of a little bit of gin makes it even better! We actually found a locally sourced gin called Death’s Door which blends really well with the spiced tea in these. Hot toddies are a great low calorie, low sugar beverage for holiday parties since there isn’t a lot of fruit juice or sugary syrup. The tea I used for these is one of my new favorites from Trader Joe’s called Harvest Blend Herbal Tea. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby, simply pick up an herbal tea with a strong cinnamon note to it.

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Hot Toddy

Harvest Hot Toddy

(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 tea bags of harvest blend herbal tea
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 4 oz. gin (we like Death’s Door)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

Directions:

  1. Add tea bags to hot water and let steep for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Pour 1/2 oz. juice and 2 oz. gin into each mug. Add 1 cup of tea.
  3. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and lemon wedges.

Party Time!

One of the things I love most about the Christmas season is the renewed sense of closeness between friends and family. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been basking in the good cheer of shared food and friendships. It started with a cookie exchange between colleagues, followed by a Channukah celebration at our friend Josh’s, a food-laden Christmas party for Nutrition & Food Service at work, a graduation celebration for Genevieve and an End of the World party on 12/21/12. In each instance, I feel blessed to have become part of a community of good friends here in Memphis; friends who invite me to share in their lives not only during the holidays, but year round. 
The existence of our families and friendships are not entirely dependent on the existence of [holiday] activities and traditions, but the sustenance of such rituals is the soil in which we cultivate a deeper sense of commitment, history, and meaning. A group of casual friends becomes a community, a family becomes a tribe.” Rebecca Parker Payne, Kinfolk Vol. 6
The Channukah party host, Josh (on the left) shares a bit of the history behind
the lighting of the Menorrah. 
Josh’s girlfriend, Amanda, still got to join in the fun via Skype!
In post-apocalyptic get-up for the End of the World celebration!
Luckily, the end didn’t come!
When we were watching it the other night, I realized I could totally use those tights again if I ever needed to dress up like the Will Ferrell version of Elf…
Have a Merry Christmas!!

Views from the Weekend

I was happy to have a long weekend – many, many thanks to my friends, family, coworkers, and patients who are Veterans! The weather was just gorgeous this weekend here in Memphis so, I made sure to enjoy it as much as possible! Lots of running and bike riding for sure. 🙂 Our bike ride on Sunday with our friend, Geneveive, turned into quite an adventure when a rain storm popped up! I was happy to be home again in warm clothes for my introduction to Battlestar Galactica. I can’t say that I’m hooked yet… but maybe in a few more episodes I will be!

Downtown Dining Week at South of Beale – Apple Cobbler with
Jack Daniels sauce. Yum!
Biking through Overton Park to the Victorian Village event!

Classic Souther Picnic Foods at the Victorian Village!
Catfish, hush puppies, coleslaw, potato salad and
cobbler!
The Main Event – Newly Remodeled!
It’s gorgeous!

Fall truly is my favorite time of year! I’ve been so happy to finally welcome skinny jeans, hot oatmeal, chai tea, and scarves back in to my life. That’s not to say I haven’t learned to love summery dresses since I’ve moved down South! (Which I seem to have started to accumulate more of than anything else in my wardrobe – haha!)
The work week has started off well so far with a fun Memphis Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics meeting on Social Media this morning and a baby shower for my coworker Jackie this afternoon. I tried my hand at making buckeyes for the first time for the shower. Gosh, I had forgetten that they are so delicious!!

Photo compliments of: http://partyinthepantry.blogspot.com/2009/11/buckeye-candy-good-stuff.html

This Weekend: Bridal Shower and Passion Pit!

It looks like the cooler weather is here to stay! Friday was rainy and chilly – perfect for enjoying a bowl of pho after work. Yum. Also, I was definitely wishing I hadn’t forgotten gloves on my 12 mile run on Saturday! Brr! After that run I savored my very long, hot shower! Once I had psyched myself up to face the chill again, I met up with Will to shop at the last Downtown Farmers’ Market of the season. I was so sad I couldn’t volunteer one last time. 😦 However, since Will was volunteering I did get to see some of the fun pet Halloween costumes! So adorable.
After running and market time on Saturday, I headed to a bridal shower for my office-mate/fellow Dietitian, Erin. It’s always a bit fun to see everyone outside of work! The shower was a great time. (Despite the fact that I spent a lot of time trying to get creative on how to wrap Erin’s gift. Why do they even make CLEAR wrapping paper! Lol.)
Since I was the only one with a real camera, I was elected to be photographer. Here’s a few pics from the party!

Guest of honor in the middle with the lovely party hosts! 
Delicious brunch dishes. My fave was the french toast casserole. Yum!
All the lovely VA nutrition staff at the party!

After the party, I was able to get in a glorious long afternoon nap. It was much needed! Later that evening, Will cooked up dinner and we headed to Minglewood Hall for Passion Pit! To be honest, initially I wasn’t super excited to go since I had gotten a bit burned out on their Manners album. It was one of the only cds I had to play in my van the summer I worked for Americorps and did a ton of driving. The concert was much better than I thought it would be! I am really digging the stuff on their newer cd, Gossamer which just released a few months ago. I’m beginning to think this album is much, much better than Manners! Here’s one of my favorites from last night.

“Take a Walk” by Passion Pit
There they are! It’s so hard to get good pics at concerts. Oi.

Hope you did some fun things this weekend! Here’s to another great week! I seriously can’t believe that it is almost November. Where did October go???

Make New Friends but Keep the Old

Happy Wednesday!!!
 Goodness. Time has seriously been flying away from me! Probably because I have been having so much fun. 🙂 Seriously. This was one of the best weekends ever!!!
  For lunch on Saturday, I met up with a few friends at the Beauty Shop and then headed to a blind wine tasting at Great Wines Memphis! Yay! Since it was blind, you were supposed to guess what each wine was based on the flavor. I’ll confess, out of the 15 wines we sipped, I only guessed 2 right. Haha! Goes to show how little I know about wines! We had a lot of fun pretending we knew what were talking about though.

  Saturday evening we celebrated Will’s 30th in a big way with Amanda and Josh at their combined Treasure Isle July Birthday bash! What couldn’t be fun about festive drinks and food, colorful leis, a slip-n-slide, an outdoor movie, viscious mosquitos, and fireworks! Totally one of the best parties I have ever been to! The other great thing about this party?! My friends from Bluffton arrived to join in on the fun that night! I was terrible about taking photos at the party, but our friend Joseph took lots of pics! For all the photos, click this link! I did get this one of Will on the slip-n-slide though… Trust me, it was just as hilarious to watch as you might think. Lol.

Sunday, I spent the day adventuring with Ben, Bird, Lydia, Amy, and Will! Here’s a few pics from our day!

Toes in the Mississippi River Model
Modeling at the Mississippi River Model…
Fish taco from the food truck rally at Shelby Farms.
Our little geocaching find! I never knew how much fun geocaching was!!!

Umm… so maybe I was terrible about taking pictures the whole weekend. Shucks. It was fun though, you’ll have to believe me! Haha. Let me just say, I was so glad I took the day off on Monday to catch up on sleep! At the party on Saturday I realized how many great people I have been able to meet here in Memphis. It’s going to be tough to leave and have to make new friends all over again in Chicago. 😦 At least I know I’ll always have Bird, Ben, Lydia, Amy (and Erica, of course)! We have stuck together through the years after our BU days – and hopefully many years to come!