Achieving tree.

Well, there we have it. Ever since my mom dressed me as a homemade strawberry, I have loved full regalia on Halloween. This year, as my husband put it, “Molly achieved tree.” On my head sits an over-sized bird’s nest. If this tree is built to scale, whatever gigantic bird laid those eggs must have swayed that tree like a rubber spatula. And check out the legs on that strawberry. I bet Tigger got a little spring in his step when he saw that outfit. (See picture.)

Our southern California neighborhood came out in full force this year. Downstairs neighbor Travis dressed as a Banana. Floating high above the crowd, his banana stem acted as a beacon for all forgotten fruits. Nicole & Dino went as a very cute Bert an’ Ernie. The Rivera family teamed up as the cast of Alice in Wonderland, and John rocked a Cop costume, complete with bullet-proof vest. I find nothing more enjoyable then hanging in my courtyard with my neighbors. It looks like Bert n’ Ernie were having a good time, too.

I have been recipe testing like a crazy person lately. Since Halloween was pot luck and the nature of pot luck is the unknown, I cashed the opportunity to try out a few new recipes: Creamy Corn Chili, Mulled Apple Cider and Maple Syrup Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting. It was a good day. All three turned out. Lucky for my neighbors.

Given that all three recipes are for the cookbook, I am going to hold out on you, but I’ve got another post-halloween treat of a beverage that I discovered while dressed as a tree.

For starters, I’m not much of a drinker. Alcohol usually makes me feel like I ate a whole grocery store cake with extra icing, which offers a hangover surprisingly similar to a bottle of vodka. Plus, I experienced Lost in Woonsocket, a beautiful film about alcoholism that my husband directed. A haunting story that reminds me to serve something non-alcoholic at parties. It’s for real. Just like a single cube of tofu breaks out my face like a 13 year old, I watched a single sip of alcohol turn a normal human being into a drunk.

Of course many, myself included, enjoy the occasional celebratory drink or two, thankfully unharmed. And while in New York for culinary school, I learned about the delights of sake. Light, fresh and not overly sweet, sake is a fermented rice alcoholic beverage that you sip rather than glug. It’s tasty and warm. Special and delicious. Slow…

I mentioned recipe testing Mulled Cider, right? Dots connecting… You’re right! I made sake spiked mulled ciders for myself and my neighbors to rave reviews. Just an inch of sake, fill it up with warm crock-pot cider and enjoy! Plus since you mix each glass to order, there is an entire pot of mulled cider for anyone who is opting out. Someday I will certainly pass along my mulled cider recipe, but for now, here’s two links to other sites I trust for inspiration:

Eating Well Magazine – Fireside Mulled Cider

Cooking Light – Hot Mulled Cider

May your fall be filled with warm cups of cider…

xo – Organic Spark


  • Erin

    With the world of sorrow that alcohol can bring, thanks for remembering those who choose to opt out!

    November 5, 2009
  • Jen Wittman

    How can you use the words, "Maple Syrup Carrot Cake," and not include that recipe!?! I must know how that is made. Please share. Love the blog, love the costume, love the Molly.

    November 5, 2009
  • madness rivera

    That strawberry suit kills me. But the tree suit killed! It was the hit of the party, Mol, for reals. So good.

    November 5, 2009
  • Molly Chester

    Erin – Thank you for your kind words.

    Jen – It's coming! I promise! Looking forward to Thanksgiving with you guys!

    And Madness – I knew you'd like the strawberry suit. :)

    November 11, 2009
  • […] year about this time, I posted a blog mentioning Mulled Cider, but I didn’t share the recipe. Cruel. At the time, the cider was headed for our cookbook; […]

    February 19, 2011

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