Toddies and Talks of Snow

Boomerang: Hot ToddyToday was the first day that the weather just snapped cold in a matter of hours. It was rumored all morning that snow was coming, which always stirs a bit of excitement. Autumn is winding down, and I was inspired to start a mini series about the rituals of this season, or transitional seasons – that fine line between Autumn and Winter. Over then next few days, I’ll share some of my favorite things about this time, each focusing on a different one of the senses. (All of them appeal to sight!)

IMG_1765When walking to my car tonight, I had to tip-tip-toe carefully on the slippery ground. My nose was frozen, my cheeks were rosy, and hair slightly damp from the sleet, as I point my face down carefully calculating every step. All the while I was both loving the moment and also looking forward to getting to the comforting warmth of home.

I am curled up sick on the couch in my favorite oversized sweatshirt, which was the inspiration for this recipe. My go to recipe when I’m not feeling 100% – a Hot Toddy.

Boomerang: Hot ToddyI love this recipe because 1. You cannot mess it up. 2. It’s fully customizable to your tastes. 3. It requires no trip to the store – you probably have everything in your pantry. 4. It keeps you warm while soothing a sore throat or a stuffy nose.

Here’s what you need:

Boomerang: Hot ToddyINGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz. Boiling Water
  • 1.5 oz. Whiskey
  • 1 Tea Bag (Black tea or spiced tea works best.  I usually use Tazo Awake or Joy, but experiment with it! Maybe try a chai tea or Bigelow’s Constant Comment)
  • 1 Lemon Wedge (If in a pinch, you can substitute with lemon juice)
  • Honey (Amount to your liking)


  1. Drizzle honey into the bottom of a coffee mug. Use as much as you like. Personally, I’m not a big sugar person, so I use a minimal amount.
  2. Pour whiskey on top of the honey.
  3. Squeeze the juice from the lemon wedge into the honey and whiskey, then drop the wedge in the mug.
  4. Hang the tea bag on the side of the mug, and make sure it doesn’t get into the whiskey/honey. (Tip: I like to wrap the string around the handle of the mug to hold it in place, allowing the tea bag to hang around the top/middle portion of the mug.
  5. Pour the boiling water into the mug, directing the pour so it is flowing over the tea bag. (To brew the tea)
  6. Once the mug is full, allow the tea bag to brew the tea to your desired tea strength. (I recommend waiting till the water turns medium to medium dark.)

IMG_1731That’s all there is to it! There’s so much wiggle room to experiment with flavors and strengths. You cannot mess this up!

IMG_1703If you give this a shot, let me know how you customize it. Or, if you’ve made this before, let me know how you make it. Do you create it differently?


Fresh Picks: Lemon Tree Grocer

Lemon Tree Grocer CrateThe weather here in Chicago has been unusually mild, almost Autumn like. Weird for July end. It’s part of my weekly routine Monday nights after work to hit the grocery store and then cook my meals for the rest of the week. It’s a relaxing way to unwind after the first day back at work, and it makes it so much easier the rest of the week if I don’t need to cook! Since Monday was so nice out, I decided to mix things up and head down to quaint downers grove and absorb the energy of everyone basking in these unusually mild days. I headed towards a great little spot called Lemon Tree Grocer.

fruitIt’s a tiny spot, so it’s best for picking up a few things or simple recipes with just a handful of ingredients. Or, if you want to try something different, this is a great stop to pick up unique beers and cheese. And really, who doesn’t want to indulge in that?!

I was making tomato basil bruschetta last night, so my first stop was to pick up a loaf of french bread. I just love that they carry bread from Red Hen Bread, a small, local bakery located in Chicago.

breadThe atmosphere is great with the way they incorporate textures through the concrete floors and the wood crates. It keeps things streamlined and modern while also feeling cozy and intimate through the dim lighting and the tiny little store. There’s also a spot to grab lunch or dinner here with an outdoor patio. I’ve made a mental note to definitely come back for a mid-afternoon glass of wine on the patio on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

salsaAnd to leave you craving, check out all those homemade salsas and guacamoles! I’ll snag a bottle of wine and all of those dips. Yum!