Sunday, December 2, 2012

Homemade Eggnog and Christmas Wishes

Gypsy Slow Down

"But now she loved winter. Winter was beautiful "up back"- almost intolerably beautiful. Days of clear brilliance. Evenings that were like cups of glamour- the purest vintage of winter wine. Nights with their fire of stars. Cold, exquisite winter sunrises. Lovely ferns of ice all over the shadows of the "Blue Castle." Moonlight on birches in a silver thaw. Ragged shadows on windy evenings- torn twisted fantastic shadows. Great silences austere and searching. Jeweled barbaric hills. The sun suddenly breaking through grey clouds over long, white Mistawis. Icy-grey twilights broken by snow squalls, when their cosy living room, with its goblins of fire light and inscrutable cats seemed cosier than ever. Every hour brought a new revelation and wonder."
Blue Castle, by L.M Montgomery.

I love the little brick house in the winter. In the summer she is a house, surrounded by fields, near a road, with an old Victorian mansion across the street converted into an office building. A place where we live and sleep and throw parties on the lawn under the trees. Our free time is taken by the yard and the fields and I just want our space, want it to be over, this care taking thing. At night the sunlight streams in and invades, the brightness touches every surface and the grass is green and the trees are full and we eat outside in the wooden chairs when it's cool enough, sipping wine and I'm always barefooted.

 But in the winter, the little brick house is herself. The darkness descends early in the day and shrouds her in dusky comfort and she is my cozy refuge. Warm and inviting. Spicy cinnamon and throw blankets on the couch. Where we sit and watch Christmas movies and eat soup and drink hot tea and the warm walls don't close in on me, they envelope me in tenderness. After a long day at work, the big wreath is hanging on the side of the house and there are lights in the bushes and garland over my door. My little ceramic owl with the spicey scented wax smells like home. And I am never happier in the little brick house than in the winter. It's were I want to be.

Gypsy Slow Down

I can't believe this is our third Christmas in the little brick house. This weekend we decorated and put up our tree. I made eggnog. Witt didn't care for it, since he doesn't like eggnog, but it was still festive and I froze the leftovers, maybe it will make it to Christmas? I've been wanting to make eggnog for a while, the kind you cook over the stove. I found a recipe in Food Network and it looked simple enough. Until I got to the part where you have to stir it constantly for 25 minutes. I really don't have enough patience for that, but I persevered and it thickened up nicely. I served it with some rum and a dash of cinnamon and Witt was kind enough to try it and said it tasted like eggnog which made me happy and I agreed. We had gone to the company shops earlier and picked up some tasty Greek lentil salad and olive with feta and some pimento cheese. So we had our little appetizers with crackers and drinks and trimmed the tree. 

Gypsy Slow Down

Gypsy Slow Down

I have been hoping for something for some time. After a long season, Christmas seems so hopeful, when wishes come true. The magic is still alive for me, even if my holiday to-do list is a few pages long. I still love this season, this time of year. The carols and the hymns, the way church is decorated with garland, the musicals, the traditions. The birth of Christ, who came to make everything new. 

 If not this Christmas, maybe in the New Year.

Gypsy Slow Down

Here is my recipe for homemade eggnog, modified from Food Network.

Homemade Eggnog

2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 2 %)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup stevia in the raw (or 1 cup sugar)

Heat milk and cream until bubbly around the edges. Whisk the egg yolks with the stevia or sugar and add to the hot milk, stirring constantly. On low to medium heat, cook eggnog, stirring, until thickens and temperature reaches 160 degrees. Chill for three hours or serve warm. Add rum to taste. Serve with a dash of cinnamon. Enjoy with the one you love.

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