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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Welcome Poppy & Apple Cider Sangria

I was downloading pics from my camera to the computer and realized just how many posts I've neglected to write about over the past few months. I'm off today with a quiet are at school. Hubs is at work. It's cold outside, so I'm none too anxious to get out if I don't have to. I'm trying to think of something to do besides crawl back in my bed and take a nap.
Just wondering what I should fix to take to Thanksgiving dinner at my brother & sister-in-law's house. Last year I made mashed sweet potatoes, green bean casserole & macaroni and cheese. I have to work Wednesday and Thursday this week which means whatever I do will have to be make ahead. There are recipes for Apple Cider Sangria all over pinterest, and I made a "test" batch last week, so I'll probably make that. Of course, with the weather being unseasonably cold for November (we Texans are used to playing football in the fall leaves in jeans and a sweatshirt on Thanksgiving Day...not temps in the 30's!), I don't know if folks will want cold spirits. I also found a recipe for sweet potato cookie pies which look tasty...a sugar cookie shell filled with sweet potato/cream cheese filling topped with a dollop of whipped cream, a pecan half and a drizzle of caramel. That's not really all that "make ahead" with the whipped cream topping, etc. *sigh* suggestions are always welcome.
On a completely different note, I am in love with a certain little critter that became part of our family on August 10, 2013. Her name is Poppy and she is an adorable guinea pig (even if she did bite my finger and draw a little blood yesterday when I was trying to corral her so I could clean her cage). Let me let you all see for yourselves...She's growing by leaps and bounds. I was kind of concerned about her and Missy the dog whose track record reveals, "does NOT play well with others."
Poppy loves her timothy hay!
Aren't her markings beautiful!
So far they get along just fine. Not fine enough for me to leave Poppy unattended with her favorite piggy-sitter, but fine enough as long as there's a cage between the two of them. She roams the house in her big plastic sphere while her cage is being cleaned. She has escaped before on a couple of occasions. She has this thing about the pillows behind the couch and in front of the fireplace, so it's pretty easy to figure out where she's gone when she gets loose. Who knew guinea pigs had such a vertical leap? She is very entertaining to watch when she gets excited (usually about a treat of some sort). She bucks like a miniature bronco and squeals excitedly while running around her cage at break-neck speed. Very amusing. She enjoys fresh fruits and veggies: apples, sweet potatoes, spinach leaves (well washed and in moderation, of course), carrots, oranges, etc. I fed her a couple sprigs of parsley which she appeared to enjoy immensely...until she started scratching her ears and rubbing her face. No more parsley for this little pig!
I took her to the vet for a nail trim & those suckers grow back fast. I guess I'll need to learn to trim them myself. Of course, she is Alisa's critter, so maybe she should be the one to trim the claws!
Let me post the recipe for the Apple Cider Sangria in case you all would like to add it to your Thanksgiving menu (and so I'll be able to get to it again since I can't remember my pinterest login info LOL). Here goes...

Apple Cider Sangria
One standard size bottle of Pinot Grigio
2 1/2 cups apple cider
1 cup club soda
1/2 cup ginger brandy*
3 honey crisp apples, cored and chopped or sliced
3 pears, cored and chopped or sliced

Combine all ingredients and chill several hours or overnight. This makes for a beautiful peach-colored beverage with fall fruits floating in it. I used one large honey crisp apple and two pears in my test batch and it yielded about 2 quarts.
*I could not find ginger brandy anywhere, so I substituted peach brandy and added some peeled, sliced fresh ginger with the fruit. This drink is only moderately sweet. If you prefer a sweeter drink, you may wish to substitute a sweeter white wine or add a bit of simple syrup (combine one part water to 2 parts granulated sugar. Microwave on high stirring every 30 seconds until sugar dissolves. allow to cool. It should be consistency of pancakes syrup. Store in airtight container) to taste.
When I make it again, I am going to substitute ginger ale for the club soda and see how that turns out! Let me know if you try a variation and how it works for you!
Until next time...


  1. Poppy is way too cute! We're just north of you in OK and it's crazy how cool it's been already. I think I only wore my heavy winter coat a few times last year. I just hope if it's colder this year, we get a few good snows. I'd love to take the kids sledding.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Tracy! FYI, I changed the amt of ginger brandy from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup for that Apple Cider Sangria after I revisited pinterest for the recipe. Wishing you and your family a warm and blessed Thanksgiving.