Whole Foods Warm Winter Sangria Recipe

It's Holiday Party time! That usually means stress, but thanks to Whole Foods, you don't have to worry!

Whole Foods has several holiday food offerings and promotions to help you set the table with ease. You can even order some (or all… I won't tell!) of your feast on-line! A whole meal for four is only $59.99! You can pick up a fully cooked 3-pound boneless natural turkey breast (skin on for more moisture), mashed potatoes, cranberry relish, traditional gravy, and stuffing. If you have time to make the fixins, but not the bird, no problem! You can just the turkey (or the just the rolls… or just the stuffing… or just whatever it is you need…) to be picked up in-store.

Sangrias Aren't Just For Summer

Every good party deserves a fabulous drink. Being that it's been incredibly chilly of late, I decided to share a recipe for a drink that will keep you warm all winter long.

Sangria (named after the Spanish word for blood, "sangre") can be as different as the drinker, but is usually made up some basic ingredients, mainly wine, chopped fruit, and some sort of sweetener (honey, sugar, syrup, or orange juice), plus a small amount of added brandy, if you want to get extra toasty. Chopped fruit can include orange, lemon, lime, apple, peach, melon, berries, pineapple, grape, kiwifruit and mango. Brandy can be substituted by other liquids such as Seltzer, Sprite, 7 Up, or other juices.

Although sangrias are typically red, white wine can also be used, but those are called sangria blanca. Some recipes that use heavier reds can be lightened by mixing a bottle of white in the mix. In some parts of Southern Spain, sangria is called zurra and is made with peaches or nectarines. Mulled wine can also be used to provide a rich full-bodied taste, chilled with orange juice, lemonade and a sliced pear to add sweetness.

I found all of the ingredients for my Warm Winter Sangria at Whole Foods in Encinitas. Since I'll be mulling the wine, I wanted to go with something that would taste just as good warm. I chose a California wine, "Red Velvet" by Cupcake. It's a bold and sweet wine that was on the Value Wines shelf. Aside from the wine, the ingredients I used are pictured below, including me as "brown sugar." Get it??? Brown Sugar??? Ahhh… I'm so clever… 

Sugar Jones' Warm Winter Sangria

Warm Winter Sangria

  • 4 cups Spiced Pear juice

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 bag of cranberries
  • 2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice (I used Satsumo Tangerines, just because)
  • 2 oranges, cut in wedges
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 1 lemon
  • Dried mango slices (fresh mango when in season)
  • And, of course, one bottle of Red Velvet wine by Cupcake

Mull the spices in the pear juice

Add wine and fruits.

Stir on medium for about ten minutes.

Serve warm.

Stay toasty!

PS: I was given a $50 Whole Foods gift card for items in this post.

Mentally Exhausted Before Even Moving

Is there anything more daunting than moving? It's an exhausting and mind-numbing exercise similar to pushing a boulder uphill.  There's no way it's not one of the most stressful events in a person's life.  I keep thinking that we're just too old for this... carrying box after box, lugging large pieces of furniture in and out of the moving trucks, going to bed with aching knees and backs and hands, thinking we can totally do this with ease… but we can't.

There's a lot of heavy lifting to do before we get to hang out on that white sandy beach. Just thinking about the heavy lifting of moving is making my heart heavy.  I'm thinking about how much I'm going to ache, physically and mentally. 

Change, regardless of why you do it, is stressful, physically AND mentally. And this move is going to be a whole lot of change all at once. There are a thousand little details that have to be planned, organized, and executed. I wish I could just wave a magic wand and be on the other side of the unpacking already! We should probably just hire a moving company here in San Diego. Moving checklists might be helpful. When you're stressed about a big move, the simplest things can slip the cracks of a cracked mind. 

Finding the house after finding the neighborhood after deciding on the city in the foreign country we decided to move to was not as stressful as packing boxes is going to be. I tend to over-noodle things, including what to keep and why. And then I start crying over old photos and letters that I come across as I'm deciding. That's when my husband hands me a glass of wine and there-theres me.

I've got to be honest. He's been handing me a lot of glasses of wine lately. I'm stressed about the packing and unpacking, of course, but I'm anxious about the next phase of life. We're leaving our comfort zone behind, and with that, all the things that are familiar on the daily. I know we're still close enough to come back often, but things that were a constant way of life now won't be.

Although it's not going to be easy, it's a good thing.

A change of scenery gives you a chance to get out of your comfort zone and release some innocuous daily habits that are sucking the life out of what you should be doing. And by "you," I mean me, of course. There's a lot I am able to accomplish in a day, but I don't always because I get drawn into the latest tragedy/scandal/brand fail on Twitter or Facebook. Social Media is such a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it has brought me so many great experiences. On the other hand, I don't manage my time on it well enough.

I was talking to some friends on this last media trip, tossing around the idea of not having wi-fi at home. Naturally, they thought I was crazy. I don't know… maybe I am. But I think I'm just ready to approach content creating and life differently. Like I told them, It's easy enough to access at the Starbucks nearby. Plus, I really want to be focused about the time I spend online and off. It's just too easy to spend all day online, arguing politics, chatting about the latest food craze craziness, or reading through everyone's intense cardio workouts while I sip my Americano.

Life's too short to let hours frivolously whittle away, not living intentionally. That's what I need to keep in mind as I release my grip on comfort. As my friend Fadra reminded me... 

What's life if not for living?