Roasted Apple & Rosemary Tisane

The week following a holiday always seems to require extra effort to get the household routine back in order and running smoothly.

It was lovely to slow down over Thanksgiving, play game after game of chess with the boys – their current fixation – or putter in the dappled yard while the chickens bustle about in the fallen leaves. Getting back to school and work, however, was a little bumpy. By mid-week I was feeling overwhelmed with everything on my plate – and I couldn’t ignore the tickle in my throat that indicated I may be coming down with something.

I thought about how I could jostle my calendar to make it all work, but then, over a quiet cup of tea,  I decided to slow right down. Instead of jotting yet another to-do list, I took a few moments for myself, something that a mother who works from home seldom does. There is no lunch hour, no scheduled breaks, and certainly no quitting time when your work and your life overlap so closely.

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Iced Coffee Frappe at home

Keep cool and caffeine-fuelled with this homemade version of an iced coffee frappuccino.

The advertisement at a local drive-thru joint beckoned to me yesterday: a tall, frosty iced coffee concoction, its whipped cream topping perfectly formed, appealed to my sagging energy levels.

The three kids and I had just left the park, and we were all hot and tired, not to mention bothered.

Then I remembered the dregs of a jar of cold-brewed iced coffee waylaid at the back of my fridge, and a recipe in Alice’s book, Savory Sweet Life for an iced coffee frappe. Bingo.

So I stepped on the gas and headed toward my own kitchen. Shortly afterward, I had my ice-cold caffeine fix in hand and I had saved five bucks.

I couldn’t just stop at the coffee, though. Whipped cream was needed, after the week I’ve had, shaved chocolate, too, and an espresso bean for good measure.

Thanks to this extra tall iced frappe (and its over-the-top-espresso-bean-garnish), I was sufficiently fuelled and cooled for the task of catch-up. Here’s the recipe should you find yourself with a monster to-do list and few alternatives.

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Ringing in the New Year with Kids (Recipe: Pomegranate Sparklers)

The standard New Year’s Eve depiction features fancy parties, champagne toasts, and fretting about who is going to pucker up with you. But for those of us with small children, ringing in the new year often comes long before midnight. However, despite early bedtimes, you can still make the turning of the calendar a special event at home.

On Monday, Aimée shared many ideas for entertaining on New Year’s with ease. Those parties can easily be adapted for a family event, but for a more kid-focused bash, it’s the perfect opportunity to create a special evening interwoven with learning and discovery.

From ocean to ocean, each country celebrates the coming new year in a different way. Incorporating traditions from other cultures will amp up the fun and spark curiosity – and who knows, perhaps you’ll decide to continue a few of those traditions next year! [Read more…]

Connecting Over Coffee (Recipe: Toffee Caramel Dessert Coffee)

Written by Kristen Doyle of Dine and Dish.

Since becoming a mom, coffee has become more than just a hot beverage to jumpstart my morning. Coffee has become an integral part of my personal social time. It has become an excuse to take time out of my day to get together with other moms. Coffee at home or at the local coffee shop has become something I look forward to because I know it will mean the chance to re-charge and reconnect with friends I care about.

For hundreds of years, coffee has been a social connector. There is something about sitting down with a steaming cup of Joe and chatting with friends that just feels right.

We have recently started serving a cup of dessert coffee to guests after dinner parties. Dessert coffee slows things down, allowing guests to continue to savor the ambiance of the meal and the company. Conversations continue to unfold, relationships continue to form, bonds continue to be made… all over a cup of coffee. [Read more…]