Tag: BaltimoreBabes

Family Recipe: Wassail

Happy holidays! Well, in preparation of the holiday party and New Year season, I have a little recipe for you all. I have seen feedback that many people don’t like getting a story before the recipe so I’m going to post the recipe straightaway. If you want to hear about Wassail – go read below the recipe for that.

image description: image of cranberry juice, apple cider, cinnamon sticks, an orange, and whole cloves all assembled on a blue mat.

Wassail

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Ingredients
2 Quarts apple juice or cider
1 pint cranberry juice
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tsp whole allspice
1 whole small orange, studded with whole cloves
1 cup rum (optional)
1 tsp aromatic bitters (optional)

Instructions
Put all ingredients in crock pot. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour, then on low for 4 to 8 hours.
Serve warm from crockpot..

image description: a white ceramic mug with cider in it and an orange slice on the rim, then two orange slices, a cinnamon stick, and whole cloves arranged on a blue mat.

Wassail is hot mulled cider – many different formulations exist over different cultures – my mother’s family is part British so it’s possible this is an old family tradition. I was always under the impression that most of my family’s traditions derived from their time spent stationed on the Army base in Germany though.

The word, according to Wiki, is derived from the Medieval Christmastide tradition of wassailing – or an English drinking ritual to guarantee a good harvest in the new year.

Wassail is a drink that we have made every single holiday as far as I can remember. Thanksgiving – when we celebrated it – included putting the Wassail on early in the morning and beginning to drink it by noon. Also, I personally have never had the alcoholic version, so this was a very innocent tradition from my childhood.

When I had my first holiday party in our home in Atlanta, I made wassail as one of the things I had – it was one of the biggest endeavors I ever undertook – but it was so much fun! I haven’t managed to replicate it in Baltimore mostly because of the size of our row home.

Hopefully you enjoy this recipe too! Let me know what you think.

❤ J

Holiday Gift Guide: Dog Mom Edition

This holiday season is challenging for me, now that we only have two dogs and my longtime service dog has gone over the rainbow bridge. But for some reason, concentrating on the pet dog and service dog in training we do have is helpful to distract me and make life a little brighter.

There isn’t much more fun for me than giving my service dog in training pup new toys and sometimes finding new (or replacing old) devices that make our lives with pets easier.

A dark miniature schnauzer curls up against a human’s legs in the foreground and a lighter schnauzer is curled up against the end of the sofa in the background.
image description: gift guide: dog mom gifts. images include a spot bot, a car belt harness, an automatic ball throwing device, hooves and antlers to chew, dog treats, and a stuffed dinosaur.
  1. SpotBot Pet Handsfree Spot & Stain Cleaner – We have replaced this a few times. Not by any fault of the spot bot itself, more because of inattentive cleaning patterns. It works GREAT. Got our carpets in our old rental that were off white when we moved in back to true white when we moved out in SPITE of five years of pets and being right on the backdoor. – If you have ADD be aware that it needs to be immediately emptied and cleaned when it’s done cleaning the rugs otherwise it does tend to gunk up the gears.
  2. Dog Safety Vest Harness – We bought two of these for use in all car travel with our dogs. It keeps them safe and keeps me from spending all my time being worried about them falling off the seat.
  3. Automatic Ball Launcher – I do not have and have not used this, but it looks like it would be a really fun toy for both our toy-chase obsessed SDiT and his buddy the cat.
  4. Natural Cow Hooves for Dogs – We have these and have replenished them for the dogs every year or so. There are plenty to go around for the two of them and they last a long time.
  5. Zuke’s Mini Natural Soft Treats – Dog treats are a very individual sort of thing, but we have used these mini treats very successfully in training and the pups love them. The size makes it much easier to avoid overfeeding.
  6. Deer Antler Dog Chews – my older dogs never got into these antler chews but the SDiT loves them so he’ll probably get a pack in his stocking this year.
  7. Dino Dog Toy – This dinosaur dog toy has chew guard technology. It also has a squeaker – which is one of my dogs favorite things ever. We haven’t tried the chew guard technology yet, but I’ll report back!

What are your pet’s favorite things? Any toys we should look into?

❤ J

Holiday Gift Guide: Chronic Illness Edition

Knowing what to get for your friends who are disabled, or chronically ill is sometimes challenging – there are allergies to consider, many are poor, living in very small spaces, and often your best bet are things to help comfort – or checking their Amazon wishlists!

Here are a few things that I personally use and appreciate for comfort when I am dealing with pain flares, ongoing colds during the beginning of winter, and being stuck in the house because of illness.

  1. Weighted Blanket – This has been invaluable to me since the loss of my service dog. He used to provide a very direct weight to help me sleep, and this blanket does a fairly decent approximation. It has also anecdotally helped many other people both disabled and abled.
  2. Electric Blanket – I prefer the Serta and Sunbeam brands – and I especially love the reversible sherpa and fleece throw I have on the sofa right now.
  3. Kindle or E-Reader – I get so much mileage out of my Kindle, in general, but especially when I’m sick. Cold and flu season means I spend a lot of spare time inside in bed or on the sofa catching up on sci-fi reads. E-readers are especially good for disabled people because we can check out books from the library on them – you can change the formatting to larger or smaller letters to help with vision – and they are much lighter than chapter books or other tablet readers to hold for long periods of time.
  4. Car Adaptor Electric Blanket – This blanket is ideal for long car rides over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house – or Aunt Janelle’s in my case – I love it because we have to keep the car colder for both my partner AND my service dog. This helps me regulate my own temperature and stay comfortable for long periods of sitting.
  5. Contour Orthopedic Cervical Pillow – This pillow has helped immensely with neck and back pain from a pinched nerve. Supposedly sleeping on our backs reduces pressure and compression to help with chronic conditions. It is also helpful if you have sinus problems – for example – I notice my partner snores if he’s not sleeping on his back, it’s particularly bad if he ends up on his stomach. We both have these kinds of pillows to support back sleeping.
  6. Bathrobe or other cute loungewear – I personally linked the bathrobe because I like that it goes well with my final dream gift, and it is nice to have something easy to throw on to answer the door when you spend all day on the sofa.
  7. Coleman Inflatable Hot Tub – This hot tub was a wishlist purchase. After spending a weekend at the hot springs in Colorado, we realized that a lot of ongoing pains we had were drastically reduced. So my partner started investigating how to go about getting a hot tub in a Baltimore row home — let’s just say that wasn’t a very inexpensive or easy endeavor. He finally came across the Coleman hot tubs and realized we could do it! We got the square one because we’re very particular about shape and aesthetic but the round ones are even cheaper! This is a GREAT family gift.

Let me know if there’s any particular disability mitigating gift you’ve thought of or given that you loved over the years. Thanks for reading!

❤ J