Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

It's that time of year where you need to cozy up by the fireplace and have a nice hot drink. I've kicked up the standard hot toddy with some citrus flavours and the addition of Chai Tea. Why not?

I love taking a boring recipe and making it a signature drink for the holidays. It's fun and whimsical and better yet, DELISH.

Oh, and by now you know how I feel about pretty things. I found these mandarin oranges at the local market and they came equipped with these magical green leaves on them. I mean? Could I leave these behind? Not a chance in Hot Toddy Heaven.

I gently picked them up and placed them in my shopping cart then thought it would be a good idea to protect them from the quick hands of the checkout cashier. Everyone knows what I'm talking about when I say that the cashiers scan and throw stuff. Scan and throw. Scan and throw. Do they care about my mandarins with leaves? Do they care about my chip bags. Do they really care about my eggs? No. No AND NO.

Anyone who shops at a supermarket knows all about that roll of plastic bags for fruits and vegetables. It's one of the things that makes me totally insane.

First you have to find the beginning of the roll. You do this by feeling it. You roll that sucker around and around like a roulette wheel. Are you with me here? Get the picture? So I'm spinning and spinning and clearly not winning. I finally start reading roll with my hands like it has braille on it. Slowly slipping my fingers over it until I hit pay dirt.....the beginning of the DARN thing. Now I unroll one bag and try to open IT.

You do realize that you require a degree in aerospace science and biomechanics to open that bag right? I rub the bag together between my hands, blow on it, try to pry it open and then figure out that the reason it isn't opening is because it's UPSIDE DOWN. I know you have been in this position. Don't lie to me. I KNOW.

When I finally open the stupid bag, I gingerly place each mandarin orange leaf tethered beauty inside. As soon as it was time to check out, I handed the bag to the lady and said "please be careful with my leaves". All I could hear her say inside her head was "IS SHE NUTS OR WHAT". Come on people. Don't they know?

When I arrived home I instructed my husband to DNTTM. (DO NOT TOUCH THE MANDARINS) He knows.

Come with me and my leaves.....I'm going to show you how to get your hot toddy ON.

Spiced Chai Hot Toddys

For each Hot Toddy: 2 oz (60ml) water Cinnamon stick 1 small piece of ginger, peeled and sliced 1 strip of lemon peel 2 oz of your favorite booze, you can use whisky, bourbon, rum....the sky is the limit 2 tsp organic honey 1-2 tsp fresh lemon juice 1-2 tsp fresh mandarin juice 1-2 tsp fresh grapefruit juice Grating of nutmeg Chai tea leaves or teabag

Put the water in a small pan along with the cinnamon stick, ginger and peel over a low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer. Pour the liquor into your heatproof glass, then pour over hot water and spices. Add the Chai tea and let steep. Stir in the honey and fruit juices and taste for sweetness. Top with a little nutmeg.