Rosemary Cider

This post and the recipe for Rosemary Cider originally appeared on January 8, 2013. As I was sipping cider this week, I couldn’t resist sharing it again. Enjoy! 

It should come as no surprise that one of my favorite tasty discoveries this season came in the form of a cocktail. Although, it may surprise you to know that this particular concoction is alcohol-free. (But don’t worry, I came up with a little drunkiepoo version just in case that’s your thing!)

To give credit where credit is due, I actually first had cider with rosemary with one of Dale’s fried pies, which, if you’re a local, is also a must-try!

Rosemary Cider from Secrets of a Belle


Apple Cider (I’ve found Simply Apple is also quite delish!)
sprig of rosemary
Knob Creek (if desired)

– – – – – – – – – – –

Fill a jar with apple cider.
Add a sprig of rosemary and seal.
Let mixture sit in the fridge for a couple of days.

Drink cold, or heat it up and add a little bourbon! Equally perfect for extra chilly walks in the park or snuggling on the couch with a good book.

Speaking of books…

illustration by Donald Chaffin for the first US edition of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox

illustration by Donald Chaffin for the first US edition of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox

This illustration may or may not have prompted this post and my recent download of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. Have you ever read it?

Winter Pantry

For those of you not from ’round here’ before I tell you about our Winter pantry, I should probably start by explaining something about Winter in the South. It’s all based on a propensity of false hope. While I’d say we Southerners are regularly a pretty cynical people, when it comes to the weather we tend to be unusually optimistic. We dream of a White Christmas, which usually turns into a January and February full of grey, rainy days. People say “snow day,” and we’re all like…

Ron Swanson's Snake Juice Dance on Parks and Recreation

But the next day…

Rachel Dratch as Debbie Downer on SNL

*/sad trombone/*

So you can imagine our shock when this happened…

Winter in the South | Hannah & Husband

This time, the forecast was actually right! Sleet and freezing rain left everything enveloped in a shimmering armor of ice, which I like to call nature’s winter glitter. Hardly any snow to speak of until this morning, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Anyway, the most comical thing about winter weather in the south is really how Southerners choose to prepare themselves for inclement weather. When snow hit NYC at the end of January, all my New York friends hit the liquor stores. Their pantry may only have had a box of Thin Mints and a pack of Ramen, but you can bet there were a couple bottles of bourbon.

Around here, on the other hand, the stores are emptied of bread and milk. This always baffled me. Somehow we think having the two most perishable items we can buy on hand during an ice storm is going to help. This may be because our pantry and liquor cabinet is always stocked. (After all, we’re Southern. We grow and make our own–click here for our moonshine punch recipe.)

Snow Day Salmon Recipe | Hannah & Husband

Last night’s dinner. We prepped for the weather by picking up a salmon fillet at Earth Fare on Sunday.


Nevertheless, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share what we keep on hand in the kitchen this time of year, and ask you to do the same. I’m curious how this varies from family to family, region to region.

  • We keep a lot of fruits and veggies on hand regardless of the time of year. I recommend always having frozen veggies on hand, but when thinking about fresh stuff this time of year, try to stick to veggies with a longer shelf life. The absolute musts to have on hand are onions, carrots, & lemons because they’re just so versatile. Other favorites for us are squash, apples, and potatoes.
  • We always have ingredients for chocolate chip cookies. Always. No exceptions. (This includes the bourbon smoked sea salt to sprinkle on top.)
  • Bacon & eggs… obvi.
  • Vegetable, chicken, and beef broth are always in our pantry for homemade soups or roasting meats and veggies.
  • Garlic is a necessity, and then I try to keep 3 fresh herbs that mix and match well on hand at all times. For instance, before this weather hit, I had gotten parsley, rosemary, and thyme. I can roast veggies and make a nice gremolata. I can make a compound butter. Or I can just throw all 3 in a soup or on the fish.
  • Pasta is our version of fast food. Lately, we’ve been especially hooked on this recipe for Cacio e Pepe (Thanks, Smiths!).

So that’s our list, what about yours?

What foods do you stock up on to prepare for winter weather?

Candlemas: February 2nd

Last night while Husband watched the Super Bowl, I was googling Groundhog Day to find out a little more about the origin of Punxsutawney Phil. (Wow, I just read that sentence back to myself. I so want to go back in time and high-five the 2001 Me who tried to feign interest when Tom Brady was in his first Super Bowl. “It’s ok, 2001 Hannah. In 2015, you won’t even have to pretend you’re interested while you cuddle with your hot husband in your adorable house. You win.”) Anyway, in the midst of reading about the February 2nd legend, I learned about the tradition of Candlemas. While it sounds like a made up word or possibly an Amy Sedaris crafting holiday, is a beautiful tradition that has been around for hundreds of years.

Candlemas: Feb. 2nd | Hannah & Husband

The tradition is that on February 2nd, priests bless the candles that light the homes in their community for the remainder of Winter. Candlemas occurs 40 days after Christmas, and, as with many ancient holidays, there are lots of theories about how February 2nd became a special day. Legends range from the end of a plague in Constantinople to a Christianization of the Gaelic festival of Imbolc. However, the most common thread seems to be the presentation of Jesus at the temple. 40 days also has to do with the Jewish tradition of female purification after childbirth so another name for Candlemas is “Feast of the Purification of the Virgin.”

The candles come into play as a reference to this scripture in Luke’s gospel. Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the temple and Simeon, after seeing the baby, calls Him “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” As the tradition goes, priests bless the candles and then people take them home to light the remainder of the dark winter nights and even to ward off thunderstorms.

Two thoughts for today…

  1. When I was little my mother always kept candles lit this time of year, and now that I have a home, I do the same thing. There is a homeyness that comes with the glow of a candle. A warmth it adds on the coldest, darkest nights that I can’t quite explain. Oil lamps, pillar candles, tea lights–they’re a cheap fix for some good juju, I promise!
  2. January is hard and grey and bleak. What sort of light are you bringing to other people these days? There is something to be said for being the hopeful, encouraging friend that makes everyone you meet feel like the most important person in the room. Go forth and be a light in the dreary!
In East Tennesseee? Fig & Company is my new go-to candle source. Check out that colorful display!

In East Tennesseee? Fig & Company is my new go-to candle source. Check out that colorful display!

Some Crafty Candle Links from Winters Past:

Candle Salad & the 1950s Dinner Party with the “Club” 

Repurpose Old Jars Into Vintage-Looking Candleholders

May the remainder of your Winter days be filled with light!


Clean Out the Fridge Recipe

Clean Out the Fridge Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup | Hannah & Husband

I have this tendency to get really excited at the market about all the pretty vegetables, buy said pretty vegetables, then eat about 2/3 of the pretty vegetables and have this weird assortment of stuff at the end of the week. Thus, my classic clean out the fridge recipe: Butternut Squash Soup.

Start with a simple base, add a couple more items of your choosing, and pick a spice palette. You’ll have a heart-warming bowl of winter goodness in no time that’s perfect for sipping as you binge-watch Netflix. Which, as you can see, we did just the other night…

Clean Out the Fridge Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup | Hannah & Husband

Clean Out the Fridge Recipe
Butternut Squash Soup

The Must-Have List of Ingredients:

one butternut squash (obvi)
1of any onion you have on hand
at least 2 carrots
chicken broth (enough to cover all your veggies, usually about 6 cups)

The Optional List of Additions:
(pick at least 2)

sweet potato


Pick one of the options and spice to taste. Start with a little, but I’m going to say that as a general rule, if you’re using dried spices, you’ll probably be using at least a 12  to 1 teaspoon for a big pot of veggies.

Spices (Option 1)
curry powder

Spices (Option 2)

Spices (Option 3)

If You’d Like a Creamier Soup:

If you want a creamier soup, simply stir in a dollop of Greek yogurt, sour cream, or heavy whipping cream just before serving. I’d recommend letting your creamy product warm up a bit on the counter as you cook so that it blends better with the hot liquid.

Clean Out the Fridge Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup | Hannah & Husband

Make It:

First things first: You want to chop all ingredients to roughly the same size, and throw them in a heavy bottomed pot.

Next, cover with chicken broth.

Cover and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once it’s boiling, turn your heat down to medium low. Let the pot simmer until the veggies are soft. (This can take 30 to 45 minutes depending on how much you have in the pot.)

Add a bit of spice towards the end.

Use an immersion blender to break down your softened vegetables.#

I was once throwing a dinner party and experimenting with soup. I didn’t realize that throwing hot liquid into a blender can be disastrous (not to mention dangerous). The hot liquid exploded all over the walls and cabinets in my kitchen and me. Lesson to be learned: Either cool the soup before using a blender or buy an immersion blender. They’re $30-$40 and worth every penny! 

Taste your soup. Do you need more spice? If so add some now.

If you’re using a cream ingredient, stir it in just before serving and be sure not to leave your pot on the heat.

We always serve this with cheese toast. You should too!


Curing Cabin Fever: Happy Clutter

Do you have cabin fever? I’ll be the first to confess that winter is hard for my mental state. I get a crazy case of the Januarys that will last until things finally start to warm up, and we can spend our after-work hours drinking cocktails on the porch, riding bikes, and playing tennis again. Until then, I’ve finally come up with just the right set of circumstances to make my case of the Januarys not quite so bad.

Curing Cabin Fever: Happy Clutter | Hannah & Husband

Curing Cabin Fever: Happy Clutter | Hannah & Husband

Idea #1:
Surround yourself with Happy Clutter

Clutter is usually treated as such an ugly word in internet land, but I’m not talking about laundry all over the living room and stacks of mail. I’m talking about “happy clutter.” The clutter that’s created by a stack of books you’d like to read, a pile of quilts to curl up under, a stack of records waiting to be played, or a basket for your latest sewing project beside your favorite chair. To me, these are the little touches that can make your home feel warmer and happier.

What’s your version of happy clutter?


It’s Officially Cranberry Season

This week the time change hit the Slaughter house like a cannonball. With the days getting shorter it seems all we want to do is cook, sleep, put on Netflix, and make pretty things. So as promised, I’ll be sharing some recipes that will help us all hunker down for winter, starting with the Cranberry Orange Relish that I mentioned earlier in the week. It’s perfect for all those turkey sandwiches I’m sure we’ll all be eating during the holidays. It’s even pretty tasty to have on the side of your Thanksgiving plate as a tart little something between savory bites. Enjoy!


Cranberry Orange Relish

1 cup fresh cranberries
rind of 1 clementine
fruit of 2 clementines
1/4 cup golden raisins
2T Patron Citronge (or other orange liqueur)
a little bit of sugar

– – – – – – – – – –

1.) Add fruit to a food processor/blender and chop fine. You can serve it on your table like this or…

2.) For more of a condiment, for sandwiches and stuff, add the mixture to a heavy-bottomed saucepan with the liqueur and cook until it turns bright red. Add sugar if it needs a little sweetening up.

Store in a jar and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Cozy Up Your Home with “The Holiday”

I will be the first to admit that there are some movies you watch solely for the eye candy… The ProposalIt’s Complicated, anything Diane Keaton has ever made (with the exception of The Godfather & Father of the Bride), and, of course, The Holiday. Admit it, while Jude Law is pretty darn adorable in that little sheet tent with twinkle lights, the movie itself really isn’t all that fantastic. But that house? To die for! So as the temperatures drop, I’ve been brainstorming ways to cozy up our own little home, and I thought it only appropriate to share my notes.

1. Every English cottage should have at least one velvet, over-stuffed ottoman.  It’s a foot rest, it’s a place to set your tray of tea and crumpets, plus it is extra seating for guests.

2. Blankets, Blankets everywhere. Blankets here and blankets there. It’s a cottage, which means that, at a moment’s notice, you should be able to drop everything and curl up under a blanket with tea and a good book.

3. Scent is so very important in any home. I especially love this old trick of fruit pricked with cloves. It’s also something to do when you have busy hands and don’t want to do anything that requires too much thought.

1. I just adore this metal apron on a deep sink. Along with the big knobs and tall counters, cabinets and cart, this kitchen acts as a perfect study of contrasts in big and small. I think bringing large things into a small space like this makes for a fun, whimsical, comfortable style.

2. Every cottage should have a handmade garland. (Tutorial to follow this weekend.)

3. Every home (anywhere) should always have tea kettle on the stove. Not only does it humidify the air in the winter, but it also is great in case you have unexpected guests.

1. If you are lucky enough to have a home with good bones, show them off.

2. I love eclectic touches in a classic home. This drum topped with a mirror makes for the perfect, quirky little side table.

3. In a cold, English cottage there should be lots of rugs thrown about to add texture and warm things up. This striped stair runner is a perfect way to make sure that texture connects the 2 floors and that your toes stay warm as you walk up to bed!

1. A classic white iron bed will make any room seem cozier.

2. Blankets & Throws & Quilts, oh my!

3. To add to the coziness and that warm snuggly feeling, one must have a fireplace in the bedroom. And, of course…

Who wouldn't want to soak in this tub?