Archive | December, 2012


31 Dec

The holidays are such a wonderful time to spend time with family and friends keeping up old traditions or making new ones. As you might suspect most of my family traditions revolve around food or a special drink of some sort. For us the holiday gatherings start in November with a few Thanksgiving dinners and then onwards into December with holiday parties, Christmas & Christmas Eve dinners and then comes to an end with Epiphany dinner on January 6th.

Glüwhein 1

This holiday season I decided to try my hand at mulled wine since last year at this time my family and I were lucky enough to be traveling in Germany and Austria. My sister and I traveled together before we met up with our parents in Munich and stayed with a good friend of mine and her husband in Ingolstadt (45 minutes outside of Munich) where we got to experience the German Christmas Markets for the first time. They were so wonderful! Filled with beautiful decorations, huge Christmas tress, unique gifts, awesome German food and mulled wine: Glühwein! This was my first encounter with Glühwein and I loved it! To me it was Christmas in a mug…red wine, cinnamon, cloves, all spice, oranges. YUM 🙂 Every Christmas Market had its own version of Glühwein and it was fun to try them all as we visited Ingolstadt, Munich and Salzburg. To me, Glühwein became the drink of the season.

Glühwein 2

The recipe below takes me back to the Christmas markets and beautiful snowy landscape with each sip. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do and Happy New Year’s Eve!!

Makes about 3 liters and serves 10 – 12

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 4 hours & 10 minutes


  • 1 box of red wine or the equivalent to about 3 liters (I used Black Box Merlot which worked great. I would stick to a Merlot, Syrah or Spanish Garnacha – advice thanks to Amusée)
  • 3 – 4 four fresh oranges
  • 1 tbls allspice (NOT ground)
  • 1 tbls cloves
  • 1 tbls cassia buds (cinnamon buds) or four cinnamon sticks
  • 1 – 2 tbls sugar (the worse the wine the more sugar you will have to add)


Pour wine into a slow cooker or very large heavy bottomed stock pot. Start to warm the wine. DO NOT BOIL. Add the slices of one orange and the freshly squeezed juice of two. Place the allspice, cloves and cassis buds or cinnamon sticks in a cheese cloth and tie into a small bag. Drop that into the wine. Let the wine warm for at least 2-4 hours before serving so the flavors come together.

Before serving take the cheese cloth with the spices out, add the sugar and stir to dissolve. If necessary add juice from the last orange as well.

Serve warm in fun holiday mugs.



Chicken and Red Pepper Chili

14 Dec

It finally feels like the holidays here in Minneapolis. We just had our first big snow this past weekend and lights on the trees are twinkling through a soft layer of white. A whopping 8 inches fell!! Being snowed in all day makes for a good excuse to cook something warm and comforting. We worked up quite an appetite shoveling twice that day so we decided to make a big batch of chicken chili that would warm you through and stick to your ribs. This chili is both hearty and healthy with a good does of veggies. I particularly enjoy the addition of red bell peppers to the mix as this adds a slight sweetness which balances nicely with the spicy kick of the red pepper flakes and cayenne.

I hope this chili warms you through and enjoy the winter wonderland!




Serves: 4

Timing: 1.5 hours or more

Prep time: 30 min

Cook time: 1 hour or more


  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can Heinz beans, not drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • a good couple of shakes of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy…)
  • 1/2 tbsp oregano

Note – all spices are to taste so feel free to add more or less depending on preference.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large dutch oven, on medium to high heat sauté onions in olive oil until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for about 2-3 minutes. Add ground chicken and cook through. While the chicken is cooking chop the red bell pepper. Combine both beans, diced tomatoes, red bell pepper in the dutch oven. Stir the tomato paste into the chicken broth and add to the pot along with all the spices. Stir to combine and place in oven to simmer for at least one hour.