Hot Spiced Mulled Wine || Simple Bites

Hot Spiced Mulled Wine for your Valentine

Temperatures in Montreal are shockingly low today (-29C!) and I’m here with a suggestion on how to stay warm this Valentine’s Day – with a thermos of hot spiced mulled wine.

My first trip to London happened to be at Christmastime, when Fortnum & Mason displayed plum puddings on pedestals in their windows and Oxford Street was trimmed in holiday lights. I wandered around Borough Market, stopping to get a meat pie and an enormous cup of mulled wine. There were many firsts on my maiden UK trip, but that hot, sweet wine was the first thing I recreated at home.

It took a few tries, but I eventually came up with this recipe that is delicately spiced and not too sweet. The key is cooking a spiced syrup, then adding and gently heating the wine. You never want to boil the whole batch, or you will burn off the alcohol.

On weekend, we take two thermoses out to the sledding hill or the skating rink: hot spiced cocoa for the kids and mulled wine for the adults. Even on the coldest of days the robust drink warms us from the inside out.

Hot Spiced Mulled Wine || Simple Bites

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Mexican Molletes (avocado bean cheese melts) || Simple Bites

Mexican Molletes (avocado, bean & cheese melts)

I wish I could spin a story about feasting on molletes during our trip to Mexico with the kids, but even though we ate like kings on the local fare, I can’t recall ever coming across the traditional dish of beans and cheese melted on bolillos.

I suppose molletes (pronounced: mo-YEH-tehs, alright?) are more of a comfort food in Northern Mexico, and we were in the state of Nayarit at the time. Nope, I didn’t grow up eating them either, unlike bolillos, instead, I discovered the idea on a wonderful little corner of the web written by Lisa of Homesick Texan.

Open-faced sandwiches? Piled high with refried beans and salsa, then topped with cheese and broiled? Everything about them sounded delicious – and I knew my burrito-loving children would likely echo my sentiments.

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Kids in the Kitchen: Mexican Garlic-Oregano Bolillo Buns || Simple Bites

Kids in the Kitchen: Mexican Garlic-Oregano Bolillo Buns

Where I grew up in the frozen Yukon Territory, winter arrived early and stayed late, so the best way to cope was to embrace the snow.

Once a year our family hosted a sledding party that lasted all day; the crunch of our guests’ tires on snow beginning after breakfast and lasting into the night, when the Northern Lights flickered overhead.

Before the party, my mother and I would make bolillos, traditional Mexican crusty rolls, to serve with my mother’s hearty soup, and the pots of chili that guests brought. It was my job to shape the buns, making sure the ends were twisted and placing them on cornmeal-sprinkled baking sheets.

After the second rising, we would slash the tops lengthwise from end to end, and slide the pans into the oven to rise gloriously and turn brown all over.

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Beet Braised Lentils with Thyme and Apple | Simple Bites #recipe #dinner #vegetarian #meatlessmonday

24 recipes for the Year of the Pulse

This new year I’m keeping my food resolutions relevant and attainable. In fact, I only have one: eat more pulses in 2016.

I’ve just returned from a quick trip to Toronto to celebrate Pulse Feast, the kick-off to the International Year of the Pulse (#IYP2016). United Nations has declared 2016 the year we sit up and take notice of this incredible crop, a harvest that is mainly grown here in Canada.

What is a “pulse”? That’s a good question and one that I am getting asked frequently. Chances are you already are familiar with beans, chickpeas, lentils and dried peas – yep those are all pulses. They are good for your health, good for the environment, and mighty good to eat. The following list demonstrates the sheer variety of pulses available.

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cheese platter

Happy New Year – thanks for being here

Happy New Year!

There’s snow gently drifting down outdoors and we’re all still in PJ’s even though it’s after noon. I’m frying pancake and eggs and filling everyone up before they tumble out of doors to play in the drifts.

I like this slow start to the day and I hope it’s a sign of the year to come. We certainly would embrace a calmer 2016, but it remains to be seen when the year will hold.

2016 pancakes

I wanted to say thank you for being here. It’s been a slower year for the blog, mostly because I was juggling everything that life sent my way – a book tour, a family reunion, a wedding cake, a backyard wedding party, a car accident, my husband’s kidney donation, and my sister’s surprise preemie. To name a few.

Thanks for sticking by me through it all. You are the most supportive readers, and I truly cherish every response you send my way.

I can’t wait to get back to regular blogging in 2016; I’ve missed it so much. In the next few weeks I’ve have a couple of fun announcements, so stay tuned!

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