I am in the foothills of Tennessee this weekend. We are brought here for both work and pleasure. The fella has a conference he is presenting at, and I am enjoying strolls through empty campuses covered in orange, red, and gold trees.
I walked all over Maryville Campus yesterday. I felt like I had the whole place to myself. The students have retreated home over fall break. It was peaceful, quiet, and perfectly crisp. The few people I did bump into were from the SWEHA conference. Truly brilliant people to sit and have a chat with.
We aren't to far from The Great Smokey Mountains. We took a drive through them yesterday and it reminded of why I love this time of year so much. The trees are putting on a vibrant show, everyone sells apple cider ( or mulled wine), and when we get home we lobotomizing two of the most perfect pumpkins you have ever seen.
Since you put up with my gaping absences I will share my favorite mulled wine recipe with you. It's on heavy rotation in our house during Autumn and Winter.
1 bottle (750ml) merlot
2 cinnimon sticks
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups water
juice of 1 small-medium orange
orange peel, careful to avoid the white pith (bitter)
In a large dutch oven or stock pot bring water and sugar to a simmer. As soon as the sugar is incorporated add the wine and orange juice. Drop the cinnimon sticks in, add cloves and orange peel.
*I push the cloves into the orange peel and little it simmer in the wine. It is much easier to pull them out this way that accidentally serve a clove up in a drink to friends.
I simmer this for about 5 minutes and serve or I leave it on the lowest setting on my stove and let people ladle it out at their leisure for parties. Some friends even serve it out of their slow cookers/ crock pots.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!