We had friends over for a walk in the woods and a light dinner yesterday. The late afternoon weather was perfect for a walk, with the sun reflecting off of the pure white snow, casting long lanky shadows from the ash trees and maples along the trail in the woods.
My husband went out about 30 minutes before our friends arrived and set up a old painted table with the simmered mulled wine, cheeses, bread and nuts. I
I included four Nicholas Mosse pottery mugs for the wine - my husband and I purchased these for my mom many years ago - they were made in Ireland and were the perfect mug to drink mulled wine from in the woods. The cheeses were of course, Italian. For many years Williams-Sonoma has stocked Mulling Spices in their store, mainly over the holidays. Mulling the wine is really easy to do - mix 1 quart of a red wine with 1/3 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of mulling spices on the stove and simmer for about 20 minutes. We poured it into a thermal carafe and then put the carafe in an insulated wine bag. This really kept the wine very warm for when we finally got to the end of the path and to our refreshments. Dinner was pretty simple, and incorporated several of the aperitivo recipes I've made in the past month; the brocolli sauce with polenta, sauteed black olives with tomatoes and artichoke/parmesan crostini. Our friends brought over a beautiful platter of broccoli rabe and sliced Italian sausage. After munching and talking about our next travel plans (some of them with our friends of course) I served Ina Garten's Italian Wedding soup from her back to basics cookbook. Dessert included the easy and absolutely delicious Banana Cake recipe from one of the blogs I follow - Slow Like Honey. Today's schedule includes some yoga, cleaning up from yesterday's dinner, and a visit to the dentist for a cleaning - I hate, hate, hate the dentist. Now I will have to treat myself to something for being good and not cancelling the appointment. I've also signed up for a small group 'reformer' class in a small local gym - it will be held on five Wednesday mornings and focuses on Pilates and getting people ready for the larger group classes. I'll keep you posted on how that goes, I don't think I have any core left - it has turned into something I do not recognize! Ciao Bella!