The holidays are almost upon us. There’s a nice crisp chill to the air. And all around, people are starting to celebrate the scents, sounds and festive feel­ings of the holidays.

The days are shorter, and the children are in school and into their activities. Workdays at home are no longer punctuated by crashing household items, or phone calls from nannies and sitters beseeching your return from the workplace. Even those without children ap­preciate the return of those of us who do. The harried pace of life slows a bit as many of us take the time to mentally slow down.

Maybe you’re new to your area. You’ve just unpacked the last of the boxes and finally found that punch bowl you swore didn’t make the move. Or, you’re just happy that you stayed put another year and know exactly where that punch bowl is stored.

As for me, this is my most peaceful and contented time of year. You see, I grew up in a place where the temperature stays a relatively constant 86 degrees… Every. Single. Day!

So I relish the changing seasons, the won­derfully crunchy and colorful fall leaves, the delicious apples, and pumpkins. I just love pumpkins!

Your Inner Entertainer

I don’t know about you, but with these sights, smells and sounds, my “Martha Stew­art” alter-ego appears. Much to the delight of my family, I become a cooking, baking genie. Not that I eat it all, but the scents of orange peel, anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, all­spice and cloves make my soul happy. I adore that sounds of cranberries popping and the smell of roasted pumpkin seeds.

Now with all that creating, of course I like to share with a crowd. The potlucks and holiday gatherings we so love in our community are the perfect way to share these fuzzy feelings as we entertain old and new friends. So this holiday season, I think I’ll issue a com­munity challenge:

Share A Recipe With A New MilSpouse Friend

It doesn’t have to be a holiday recipe or anything complicated. It can be anything. Just a way of saying, “hello and welcome to the neighborhood.” If you haven’t PCS’d, make friends with a family new to the neighborhood. If you’re the one who PCS’d, it’s a perfect opportunity to potentially find a new crew. This includes all you Macho MilSpouses too! You can find a new buddy. And I’ll also join in!

Since I’m a new “friend” to all of you as the new MSOY, I’ll share one of my fa­vorite recipes and practice what I preach. It’s my pretty flexible adaptation of a “Barbados (Bajan) Punch,” made with­out alcohol, prepped for the holidays, and suitable for large gatherings.

This drink is a lot like a MilSpouse in that regard. We’re adaptable, resilient, diverse, and there are over 1.1 million ex­cellent variations of us! So, cheers from my house to yours. And Happy Holiday Season to you! 

MSM NOV13 Drink

Barbados (Bajan) Punch

1 12-oz. can of frozen limeade concentrate

1 12-oz. can of frozen cranberry concentrate

1 cup unsweetened pineapple or orange juice

3 teaspoons rum extract

2 dashes angostura bitters

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 2-liter bottle of lemon/lime soda or ginger ale

2 cups ice

 

– Combine all ingredients except the soda in a sealable container, and let this concentrate sit refrigerated overnight for the flavors to blend.

– Just before serving, place ice in a large punch bowl. Pour concentrate mix over ice, then add the entire bottle of soda. Stir to mix.

Voila! You’re done. This can be garnished with frozen cranberries, sliced apples or oranges and Star Anise. It serves about 15. This punch can adapt to any flavors you love or variations you choose. 

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