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Enjoy festive winter drinks

By on January 3, 2011

hot cider


I have just been thinking that it would be fun to have some kind of festive adult beverage for the season. Nothing too complicated. Any ideas? — Jas, Florida


You can make sangria, wassail, homemade cocoa, flavored or Irish coffee, flavored or chai tea, egg nog, daiquiris, margaritas, mimosa, mojito, etc. Visit for some hot beverage ideas or try the following recipes.

Hot-Buttered Rum Batter

1 pound butter
1 pound powdered sugar
1 pound brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 quart French vanilla ice cream, softened
1-1/2 ounces rum, optional
boiling water

Cream together the first 6 ingredients, and freeze until needed. To serve: Add the rum and 2 to 3 tablespoons batter, and fill with boiling water to fill cup. Sprinkle with nutmeg. — Brenda S., Missouri

Slow Cooker Cider

2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice
2 quarts apple cider
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 orange, sliced

Place the cinnamon, cloves and allspice in a double thickness of cheesecloth. Tie with a string to form a bag. Place cider and brown sugar in the slow cooker and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the spice bag and place the orange slices on top. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours. Remove the spice bag before serving. You can adjust ingredients to desired taste. — Kim, Florida

Winter Punch

4 cups cranberry juice
2 cups orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
cinnamon sticks

Mix together all the ingredients, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Warm in a slow cooker. Serve with a cinnamon stick in each mug. — Ellise, South Carolina

Crock-pot® has provided the following recipes, too. Their latest model has all the multi-functionality you’ve grown to love in your older style Crock-Pot, but a new sleek design that boasts hideaway handles.


Hot Spiced Red Wine

3 to 4 bottles dry red wine
6 apples, cored and thinly sliced
6 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
1 cup sugar

DIRECTIONS: Combine all ingredients in the Crock-Pot® Slow Cooker and stir well. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 1-2 hours.

Spiced Rum Coffee

1 gallon brewed coffee
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
2/3 cup sugar
6 sticks cinnamon
3 teaspoons whole cloves
1 teaspoon anise flavoring
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 cups whipped cream or non-dairy topping
4 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup spiced rum

DIRECTIONS: Combine all ingredients (except whipped cream and vanilla) in stoneware. Place stoneware in slow cooker heating base, cover, and cook on low for 3-4 hours. In a bowl, combine whipped cream and vanilla and refrigerate. When ready to serve, ladle into coffee cups and top with a dollop of whipped vanilla cream and dust with cocoa powder.

Mulled Cranberry Tea

2 bags tea
1 cup water, boiling
48 ounces cranberry juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries, optional
1/3 cup sugar
1 large lemon, cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 sticks cinnamon
6 whole cloves
Lemon, sliced thin
Cinnamon sticks

DIRECTIONS: Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for up to 5 hours.


5 cups apple juice
5 cups cranberry juice
5 cups orange juice
5 cups lemonade
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups water
4 sticks cinnamon
1 orange, sliced
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon Angostura bitters
2 cups rum, optional

DIRECTIONS: Combine apple juice, cranberry juice, orange juice, lemonade, sugar, water, cinnamon sticks, orange slices, cloves and Angostura bitters in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. Add rum just before serving. Remove cinnamon sticks, cloves and orange slices before serving


I was given several cans of evaporated milk. I do not want them to go to waste, but other than pumpkin custard pie, I have never used this. Do you have any good recipes or ideas? — Barb, Pennsylvania


You can make fudge, brownies, cheesecake, breakfast casserole, beef stroganoff, quick breads, cookies, pudding, casseroles, soups, chowders, bread pudding, French toast and mashed potatoes, to name a few options. Look at the label for a customer service number and ask for recipes and ideas. Or visit evaporated milk manufacturer’s websites, such as NESTLE ( and Pet Milk ( ) for recipes.


Can you freeze a whole ham? — Lisa, Indiana


Yes. You can freeze a whole fully cooked or fresh ham. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (, for best quality, fresh ham that has been frozen should be cooked within six months. Fully cooked ham that has been frozen should be consumed within two months. You can freeze spiral cut hams, too. It’s entirely up to you if you prefer to cut the ham into smaller portions prior to freezing it. You can place it in the freezer in its original packaging or portion it and repackage it in your own airtight freezer container or freezer storage bags.

photo by 3liz4

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