Spiced Sangria

Several years ago we took a day trip to Manayunk, PA to have lunch and walk around. Located about 15 minutes from Center City Philadelphia, Manayunk lines the Schuylkill River and Manayunk Canal and is filled with restaurants, consignment shops, funky stores and more. It's a great place to visit or bike through. In fact, we first discovered Manayunk while biking along the Schuylkill. You can start on the path directly behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art and go down to Valley Forge and beyond. Great place to go biking or walking. 

While having lunch at Jake's Restaurant, we ordered an autumnal sangria which really hit the spot. Any time we get an interesting cocktail, I usually ask in my kindest way for the recipe. I don't want any bartender to give away any mixology secrets they hold dear, but hopefully they're flattered by my asking. Thankfully, our waitress got at least a list of ingredients from the bartender. That gave me something to work with. I have played around with the ingredients and amounts over the years to get this recipe down to what it is today. If you're looking for an interesting drink to serve at your autumn/winter gatherings, or you want something to wash down your Applewood Smoked Cheesecake, give this a try.

Spiced Sangria

Yields approximately 2 quarts

Mix the following ingredients in a large pitcher and chill for at least one day:

16 oz red wine (I use a cabernet sauvignon, but you can use any red)
16 oz white wine (I use a chardonnay, but you can use any white)
8 oz cranberry juice cocktail
8 oz apple juice
12 oz port wine
3 oz Cointreau
5 cinnamon sticks
20 whole cloves
4 whole allspice
1/2 orange thinly sliced
Thin peels from the skin of 1/2 an orange (Apple slices would be nice in here too...)

Serve over ice and enjoy!

I'm Catherine, a small-space urban gardener in New Jersey (Zone 7a) who started gardening out of upcycled wooden wine boxes. For years, I wanted to try gardening, but didn't know where to start. I got up the nerve to give it a try - starting small with a single wooden wine box that turned an idea into reality. That reality quickly turned into my filling every sunny inch of space of my postage-stamp size lawn and turning it into a garden oasis. I grow mostly vegetables and herbs with some exception for fruits (when the squirrels and rabbits don't get to them first). I love learning from gardening communities (and lots of trial and error).

I hope one day to take all that I'm learning and apply it to a larger plot of land. To help me get there, I'm extending my learning through the University of Massachusetts, Stockbridge School of Agriculture's, Sustainable Food & Farming program. (I'm addicted to learning as much as I am to gardening.)

This blog isn't just for gardeners (although I hope it inspires some of you to try growing a plant or two). The recipes (food & cocktails) in theRecipes section of this blog contain ingredients that don't have to come from your own backyard. If you like visiting your local farmer's market(or even your grocery store) and would like to get some new recipes you can use with the fresh produce and herbs you get from your local growers, this blog will have plenty for you too.

In addition to gardening and cooking, I also love to visit and photograph my surroundings. I feel fortunate to have so many amazing places here in New York/New Jersey, where I live and work. Visits to local farms, farmer's markets, and cycling through rural farming areas help me feel connected and refreshed. share these experiences in theExploring section of the blog so that you might visit through proxy or be inspired enough to visit yourself. 

With very few exceptions, all of the photographs on this site are ones I have taken myself. (For the photographers out there, I shoot with a Canon 7D and sometimes with my Lumix  DMC-ZS15 compact camera.) 

I hope this blog inspires you to grow, create, explore, and try something new. The best way to stay up-to-date is to follow me using the social buttons above, or click Subscribe and sign up for my email newsletters.    

Happy Gardening and Healthful Living!

- Catherine