Fall Foodie: 5-Ingredient Red-Wine Cranberry Sauce

Good Afternoon and Happy Friday, everyone!

Today’s post is coming at you all a little later than usual (I’m an early bird, after all)– but for good reason. The last Friday before Thanksgiving is always a little crazy at my job since so many people are on vacation next week and it’s sort of a mad dash to get those last minute loose ends and cases wrapped up before the office is a ghost town for a few days.

I’m powering through a lengthy “To Do” list today, but that also includes sharing a quick, easy, delicious- and crowd-friendly side dish recipe for next week’s festivities! If you like citrus, and if you like red wine- then you’re going to love and appreciate this recipe for cranberry sauce!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • One 12-ounce package cranberries
  • 1ΒΌ cups sugar
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. In a medium pot, toss the cranberries and sugar to combine. Pour the red wine over the cranberries and heat over medium heat.
  2. Peel the zest away from the orange with a vegetable peeler and add it to the pot. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice into the pot.
  3. Add the cinnamon stick and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Cool the mixture to room temperature before serving.

This makes about ten servings, so if you need to adjust the measurements to better accommodate a smaller/larger crowd- feel free! And I recommend making a little extra, anyway- since it tends to go quickly whenever I serve it!

With the holiday next week, the posting schedule here on ‘Blondie Birdie’ is going to be a little different- with content up on Tuesday, Thursday (before I head out to have dinner with my family!) and on Saturday when I wrap up this past November and prepare for the final month of 2019.

I’ll see you all then! Enjoy your weekend!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Thanksgiving Cover-Up…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Whenever people ask me what Thanksgiving with my family is like- I’m always honest. It’s a lot of fun- with minimal political talk, occasional roasting of one another, and either football or Christmas music as the background noise to a lot of conversation and even more eating.

My mother, who has hosted the holiday every year since I was a little kid- always goes above and beyond for a house filled with people- making enough appetizers, main courses, side dishes and desserts to feed a small and very hungry army. It’s absolutely insane- and you will always go home with at least a few containers filled to the brim with leftovers. It’s just a given.

Of course, as fitness-oriented as I try to be- I still indulge on Thanksgiving- which is the ultimate “cheat day” anyway. And for this reason- I want to be as comfortable as possible for when I slip into my inevitable food coma. Gone are the days where I would wear nice jeans to the meal (buttons and zippers are essentially post-dinner torture devices that cause the ultimate discomfort) and although I can embrace an elastic waist as much as the next person- I still want to look put together and “dressy” during a big holiday with a lot of my family in attendance.

I’ve embraced layers in recent years- which both keep me warm and help hide what I’ve affectionately named the “pie paunch” after a big meal- and I’ve been loving pairing big, slouchy sweaters over loose-fitting and cozy cotton dresses over the course of this fall.

My short-sleeved little black dress for example, looks a little more dressed up and chic when I throw on this baggy white knitted sweater over it. Paired with some black, fleece-lined leggings for extra warmth and my black knee-high boots- I look presentable for dinner but remain perfectly comfy while I go for seconds on the stuffing and sweet potatoes.

If you’ve got any Thanksgiving styling tips for maximum comfort- feel free to share! The more suggestions, the better!

A little later on this week I’ll have a Thanksgiving-inspired recipe to share (it only requires a handful of ingredients and about 25-30 minutes of your time- so I have a feeling you’ll all enjoy it!) before we break for the weekend.

Until then, enjoy your “Hump Day,” everybody!

xx

– Ashley –

The Monday After…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I am, admittedly, not too thrilled at the prospect of having to return to work so bright and early today- especially after having a few days off since last week. Going from having such a fun and exciting mini-vacation to reporting back for what is typically a high stress job isn’t exactly the best feeling in the world- but my bills are sadly not going to pay themselves- and I’ll need that income now that the holidays are right around the corner!

As I had mentioned last Friday- I wrapped up my impromptu time off with a trip to Foxwoods to catch what would be my second Hozier show within a 48 hour period. The trip was a milestone in another way, as well- as Troy had never been to a casino before. Myself, having gone to Vegas more times than I can remember- was fascinated by this since I had just assumed those of us who grew up in and around New England had all been forced to go Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun at one point or another by our grandparents or to celebrate a 21st birthday. It’s almost a rite of passage.

Naturally, I insisted Troy try a slot machine- and he successfully won 64 cents before wisely cashing out. I lost $5 during my own gambling endeavor- so maybe he’s onto something with not going to casinos at all, ever.

I digress- the show was incredible as usual and I had a really, really nice time. I’m so grateful to Troy for coming and experiencing a whole lot of music, good food, long drives, and sub-zero wind chills with me- and to my longtime friend Steven for hooking us up so fantastically with passes, amazing seats- and a few drinks! So much love to them both.

On Saturday, before I finally let my body catch up on sleep and I got around to cleaning my apartment (I’ve been living in Greenfield for six months as of today, by the way!)– I stopped by the Boston-Dot-Com Ski & Snowboard Expo to rep Indie617. I ended up broadcasting my show live from the venue, and got to meet a ton of great people face-to-face while giving out a bunch of free stuff. I’m awful at Winter sports- but everyone’s enthusiasm was infectious and I had a really, really fun time.

But now I’ve got to head back into the real world- and my morning/most of my afternoon will more than likely consist of catching up on e-mails, voicemails, meeting summaries, etc. while dodging phone calls and small talk around the office. A typical Monday morning, if you will.

A little later on this week I’ll be back with my go-to Thanksgiving ensemble and a recipe for those of you who are looking for something quick, easy- but still delicious- to bring to the final Friendsgivings or to the main event itself next week!

Until then, enjoy your Monday! Stay warm and focused. We’ll get through this one together!

xx

– Ashley –

“Be Still My Foolish Heart – Don’t Ruin This On Me…”

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

What an unbelievable whirlwind of a mini-vacation it’s been- and the party has been unexpectedly extended into this weekend! A little later on today, after I have some coffee, freshen up, and make sure the errands I put on the back burner until now get done- I’ll be heading back down to Connecticut and to Foxwoods Casino as a continuation of the North American Hozier tour.

This comes after an absolutely incredible show in Boston the other night- where Troy and I managed to watch the performance from the front row of the absolutely breathtaking Boch Center (also known as the Wang Theatre- which always gets a chuckle from people visiting from out of town.)Β Prior to the show, we did our best to stay warm in the colder-than-usual temperatures with a quick dinner at Citrus & Salt. Troy had churros for the first time- and that in itself was a wonderful experience. For me, anyway. I enjoyed it.

It was, by far, one of the best shows I’ve been to in years. So much talent on one stage- from the opening act, Angie McMahon- all the way to the encore that resulted in a deafening ovation from a sold out venue. There was even a birthday toast for one of the Hozier bandmates- resulting in everyone on stage wearing a red wig to match her hair as they drank whiskey and the crowd sang along to “Happy Birthday” for her. Such a sweet, adorable moment.

And after some catch up and some drinks with a dear friend backstage- it was time to get moving onto the next venue. The tour life, after all!

Needless to say, I’ve been on a bit of a cloud nine. I’ve been having so much fun. Monday might be only a few short days away- but work is the last thing I’m concerning myself with right now. I just want to enjoy these final days off!

Tomorrow, I’ll be making the brief trip into Boston to host my Indie617 Saturday show- with a bit of a catch! I’ll actually be broadcasting live from the Ski & Snowboard Expo at the Seaport World Trade Center. If you’re in attendance- come by our booth and say hello!

And after I fully rest and recuperate this weekend- I’ll be back on Monday morning with another recap, I’m sure- as well as some holiday-inspired posts and a look at what I wear to look cute (but stay comfortable) when I’m going to be stuffing my face on Thanksgiving.

Enjoy your Friday and the remainder of your week, everybody! Stay warm and safe out there!

xx

– Ashley –

Fall Foodie: Hot Mulled Cider

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

I’m getting ready to run some final errands before I head out to Boston for a couple of days for a mini vacation, but before I do- I wanted to share what is- hands down- the best (and easiest!) recipe for the perfect mulled apple cider for those of you who are attempting to savor these final days of Fall and may be looking for some refreshments for your upcoming Friendsgivings/Thanksgivings.

A handful of ingredients and 20 minutes is all you need to whip this one up- and it’s a crowd pleaser for sure!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 16 cups pure apple juice or fresh apple cider
  • Four 2-inch cinnamon sticks
  • 2 oranges (peels and juice)
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 6 star anise

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Pour into mugs, rest the cinnamon sticks inside the cider- and serve.
  3. Grab the fluffiest, coziest blanket you own, get comfortable and curl up- and enjoy!

I assure you- this is the only cider recipe you’ll ever need to get you through what’s left of Autumn and the early Winter! There’s so much flavor in each mug!

I’m going to be back on Friday with a full recap of my days away- so stay bundled up, stay warm- and enjoy the rest of your week, everybody!

xx

– Ashley –