This post is written in partnership with Woodwork. All stories and opinions are my own.
Can y’all believe 2015 is about to come to a close?? WOW. It feels like this year has just flown right on by!! Crazy-town!! During the colder months, I like my beverages to be cozy and comforting. I almost want to feel warmth in a cup when I choose an adult beverage. This Spiced Cranberry Sangria is ALL of that in a cup. Cranberries just remind me of family time. Is that weird?? LOL When we visit my dad’s house for Christmas, we always make fresh cranberry sauce. It’s a holiday tradition! So anytime I see cranberries, I just get these warm and fuzzy feelings. Anyways, enough of my rambling. Let’s get to the details of this yummy party beverage! Cause NYE is right around the corner!! Sangria’s are ALWAYS a good option for parties. Super simple to make and can be doubled/tripled/quadrupled depending on your party size.
So, I’ve teamed up with some amazing bloggers to help you bring your entire NYE Party full-circle!! And I’ve got some Entertaining Tips from Food Blogger, Nick Evans of Macheesmo. Let us help you throw the BEST NYE party ever!! We’ve done all the hard-work for you! From drinks (mine included above), appetizers, desserts, outfits, NYE makeup and decor, we’ve got you covered!! Plus we’re offering up a giveaway: one random winner will receive a $200 gift card to their choice of Sephora, Nordstrom, or Target! Let’s get this party started!! But first…my Spiced Cranberry Sangria!
1 bottle of your favorite red wine (I went with Woodwork Pinot Noir because of it’s Caramel and Nutmeg Notes..perfect for my spice combination!)
32 oz jar of pure cranberry juice (R. W. Knudsen if you can find it)
1.5 cups of fresh apple cider
1/2 a bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed
1.25 cups of sugar (or more to taste)
3 cinnamon sticks
1 whole nutmeg, halved
50 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice berries
1. Slice one orange in half and stud it with the whole cloves.
2. In a large pot (I used my crock pot) over high heat, add the cranberry juice, apple cider, sugar, fresh cranberries, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, orange halves studded with cloves and allspice berries.
3. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook until all cranberries have popped. Stir often.
4. Once all of the cranberries have popped, turn off the heat and let cool to about room temperature.
5. Dice up the remaining fruit (peel and section the orange).
6. Place cut up fruit in a serving pitcher.
7. Add in the cranberry juice mixture to the pitcher.
8. Add the wine to the pitcher and stir to combine.
9. Taste to see if you need to add any more sugar.
10. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
11. Serve in your favorite wine glasses with some ice. Strain the liquid into the glasses. Garnish with some of the fruit from the pitcher. Enjoy!
Recently, I had the chance to interview a really cool Food Blogger: Nick Evans of Macheesmo
I always love hearing other people’s entertaining tips and here’s what he had to say (plus I got a little Boss Girl on him…lol)
1. Tell me a bit about your journey to where you are now: Food Blogger, Author and Contestant on NBC’s Food Fighters. What was your start moment?
Like so many things, it started with a very specific need. In my case it was the need to eat dinner! I had just moved in with my girlfriend (now wife) and she wasn’t into cooking. I decided to take the reins on dinner plans and learn how to make good food at home. I started the blog in 2008 to keep myself honest and meet home cooks along the way. Over the years I’ve sort of transformed from bubbling kitchen idiot to someone who actually feels somewhat comfortable teaching people how to eat better at home!
2. What have been some of your defining moments? Like where you thought “wow…this is happening.”
Getting a cookbook deal was a pretty big moment for me. I’ve always wanted to write a book and see it in shelves so getting that chance was pretty special. Also, getting to be one of eight home cooks to be featured in Season one of Food Fighters was pretty cool. I got to meet some real pros and prove that I can actually hang with them in the kitchen.
3. You recently released a cookbook entitled “Love Your Leftovers”. Do you have a recipe favorite that we MUST all try?
I have a bunch of favorites, but I’ll give you my wife’s favorite which, I think, holds a certain amount of clout since she eats pretty much everything I make. It’s my recipe for Nick Nuggets, a homemade version of the popular fast food option. I make it with leftover chicken (or a rotisserie chicken) and once you get the hang of it they don’t take that long. They are SO delicious.
4. The holidays are here and people are already in holiday entertaining mode. What are some of your best kept secrets to successful holiday entertaining?
I love entertaining during the holidays, but I love it because I’m spending time with family and friends. I always encourage people to keep it simple, but maybe put a little extra energy toward a few key dishes. Don’t feel like you need to produce the whole ordeal from scratch. Pick a few special items – maybe a homemade pie or pasta from scratch dish, maybe a prime rib or something similarly impressive, and then feel free to take some shortcuts with the rest of the stuff. This is especially true if you don’t have help! One of my tricks is to make a nice cheese plate with some fruit and good cheeses earlier in the day and then cross appetizers off my list!
5. I know the holiday parties I will be attending and hosting this year will include wine. What are some of your favorite wine/food pairings? Like the kind where you’re left feeling “oh man, I need more of that!”
My absolute weakness is cheese and wine. I’m far from a wine snob, but I like to drink a big fruity red like Woodwork Cabernet Sauvignon (or their new Zinfandel release is equally great) with basically as much brie or soft cheese as I can get my hands on. I seriously have to stop myself! Woodwork retails for about $15 so it’s a great deal for a really awesome wine. It’s my go-to this holiday season. (Heck… I’m drinking a glass while I write these answers!)
6. My last question…what is your life motto and why?
“If you will it, Dude, it is no dream.” Because I’m a big Big Lebowski fan and, I guess, Theodor Herzl (my son’s name is Theo!) Also, I think there’s a lot of truth in that statement. Stick with it and you can make it happen.
Thanks Nick for hanging out with me and sharing some of your expertise for holiday entertaining, plus sharing a bit more about your background!
Now on to the FUN stuff. Cause you know there’s a giveaway involved in this post somewhere. LOL Plus I promised I’d bring this NYE Party-thing full circle, remember?!
What to Serve:
Spiced Cranberry Sangria / Taylor at Pink Heels Pink Truck
What to Wear:
How to Decorate:
Need help prepping for New Year’s Eve? We are giving one winner a $200 gift card to their choice of Sephora, Nordstrom, or Target!
Where I Party