It’s October, the holiday cheer is approaching, and we are left to slog through cold weather until springtime brings relief from wintertime dreariness. But why wait until spring? A good book and a warm drink are sure winners to brighten your evening. Today, the Willow Hill Blog will provide some ideas for warm drinks and some good reads so that you can be prepared for what will come these fall and winter seasons. Enjoy these from the comfort of your apartment in Puyallup, WA.
First the books. Favorite genres vary, so this list includes a variety of genres to choose from:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Young Adult Fiction) — The setting is a dystopian society, where teenager Wade Watt lives on the fringes. When the creator of a popular video game system dies, a virtual contest is created to compete for his billions. And contest users are willing to kill to win.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (Historical Fiction). A Goodreads reviewer describes the book: “January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….”
Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail by Jennifer Pharr Davis (Contemporary) follows Jennifer as she hikes the Appalachian Trail, and describes her adventures and the realizations she comes to during the forty-six days it takes to hike the 2,181-mile trail between Maine and Georgia.
Second, warm drinks! For starters, let’s start with some basic recipes for hot cocoa and spiced cider. It doesn’t have to be snowing to enjoy these great drinks!
Homemade Hot Cocoa
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup granulated sugar
? cup hot water
? tsp salt
4 cups milk (Dairy or nondairy)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix cocoa powder, sugar, water, and salt together in a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, stir constantly and bring to a boil. Boil one minute. Reduce heat to a simmer, add milk and heat through. (Do not boil.) Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. (For a flavorful variation add a drop of peppermint extract.) Makes five servings.
Hot Spiced Cider
8 cups fresh apple cider or apple juice
3 cinnamon sticks
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
4 whole cloves
1 orange, cut into slices
Heat the cider, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and orange slices in a 3-quart saucepan.Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the mixture is hot, stirring occasionally. Or mix ingredients in a slow cooker, heat on high until hot and then turn to warm setting.
If you want to get more adventurous, check out this blog: Fifty Hot Drink Recipes to Warm You Up on a Cold Day
Please feel free to share your favorite recipe or book recommendation in the comments.