Instead, I'm trying to stay cool by running the air conditioner and the ceiling fan at the same time (being pregnant has turned me into a walking furnace).
I don't know if I'll ever get used to the weather here in the south. While there are many positives to living here (loads of barbecue, friendly people, "Red State", etc.) I don't count the weather as one of them. Some of you may say, "You won't be saying that when winter comes!" Oh yes, I will. See, I actually don't mind winter. Some of my fondest memories are of the various blizzards I have weathered during my childhood and adolescence. There's nothing like curling up in front of the window with a gratuitously large mug of coffee and watching each snowflake make its balletic descent into obscurity. I was lucky last year to experience one of the snowiest winters this area has seen in a long while. It made leaving the north a bit easier.
As much as I love snow, however, autumn has always occupied a special place in my heart (hence why it was chosen as the preferred season for our wedding last year). And I suppose my internal clock has yet to reset itself, because I've already switched over into "Fall Mode"...a tad early for this climate, methinks.
For example, I desperately want to mull some cider. "You want to do what to that cider?" I want to mull it. No, I do not want to ruminate on it, although I have found myself in a very contemplative state whilst sipping apple cider. I want to mull it in the following sense:
To heat, sweeten, and flavor with spices for drinking, as ale or wine.Mulled, or spiced, cider is a favorite of mine. As a matter of fact, just this evening I purchased a bottle of home fragrance oil from Bath & Body Works in that very scent. It typifies autumn to me (probably because my mom makes a massive batch of it every Thanksgiving)...and it's damn good!
So last week, when the weather was beginning to look like it could be cooling off, I became a little overzealous and made my own mulling spices, fully intending to mull the gallon of cider I purchased back when I made my apple pie (also in a fit of zeal). I will share the recipe for the spices with you and hopefully you live in a climate that will allow you to actually use them without having to run the air conditioner full blast. I found this particular recipe on Love to Know:
Basic Mulling SpicesMakes 1 1/2 cups
6 cinnamon sticks
1 small whole nutmeg
1/2 cup whole cloves
1/2 cup whole allspice
Grated peel of one whole orange
Put the cinnamon and nutmeg in a zippered storage bag and chip into medium sized pieces with a hammer or the flat side of a meat tenderizer. Place in a storage container (in my case, another plastic bag) with the cloves, allspice and orange peel.
To use, place two tablespoons full of the spice in a square of cheesecloth, tie with twine, and add to four cups of cider (or wine). Sweeten to taste (I used about 1/2 cup of sugar for four cups). Simmer for three or more hours and serve hot. This works best in a crock pot, but you can do it on the stove, just make sure not to boil it.
This mix smells heavenly! Whenever I walk by the cupboard where it is kept I stop and inhale deeply. Ahh, fall...