Thursday, December 22, 2011

Our Anniversary

Five years ago, December 17, 2006, I woke up all nervous and giddy.  My sister and I escaped the chaos of my apartment, which was filled with bridesmaids and flowers to make a Starbucks run.  She made sure I at least ate a bagel, since my nerves were killing my appetite, and we all got ready for the biggest day in my life.  That sounds so cliché, but it really was the biggest day in my life: my wedding day. It’s that day that every little girl dreams about.  And it was finally here.  There were no movie moments of final nerves or last minute second-guesses.  I was just excited to be spending the rest of my life with my best friend.  I will never forget the look on his face as I walked down the aisle, or how my hands shook as my dad passed me off to my future husband.  People are often down on big weddings, but I truly loved every moment of mine – maybe it’s because we are theatre people, so we’re used to putting on big productions.  Or maybe it’s just because I’d been warned so many times that it all becomes a blur, so I tried really hard to sit back and take stock every now and then and remember each moment.  Regardless, it really was a great day!

To commemorate our five-year anniversary (can you believe it’s been that long?), Aaron and I decided to revisit the places we celebrated.  We started by driving out to Malibu and visiting the chapel at Pepperdine where we got married.  How many people can say that they got married on a cliff in Malibu overlooking the ocean? 

The weather was eerily reminiscent of the Saturday before our wedding – cold and grey.  Fortunately for us, it poured rain the day before our wedding, clearing the skies so you could see all the way out to Catalina!  Not so this year, but that’s ok. It was just fun seeing that skyline again.

After visiting the chapel, we had lunch at La Salsa in Malibu, which had been a favorite of ours while I was in law school at Pepperdine.  Then we drove further down the coast to Santa Monica and got massages.  Massages are a rare indulgence for us, but I will say it was a most welcome indulgence this year!

After that we had dinner at the location of our reception in Marina Del Rey.  The restaurant where we held our reception went out of business about two years after our wedding – we like to joke that our wedding was just so good, they knew they couldn’t top it. :)  The location has now been through several iterations, and just recently reopened as a restaurant called Killer Shrimp.  Even though it didn’t seem like a typical “anniversary” place, we knew we had to be cheesy and sentimental and try it out.  When we told the hostess that our wedding reception was at their location five years ago, she squealed and let us go up to the banquet room to reminisce.  After that, we got a table outside on the patio, next to a heat lamp, right next to the marina.  The food was delicious!  Aaron won best meal with his steak, and my shrimp were delicious and spicy.

Now that we’ve passed the five year mark, and are officially an “old married couple” (especially by LA standards), I guess it’s on to the next chapter . . . whatever that may be.  :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Here We Come a Wassailing

Sorry for the gap in blog posts – we've had some big things happening in the Stevens/Sherry family..  My sister got engaged to her boyfriend.  Then we had Thanksgiving.  And now it’s on to the holidays, which includes Christmas, plus my five year anniversary and my parents 40th anniversary!  Amidst attempting to plan for everything, the little bloggy got set aside.  Anyway, Aaron and I finally set up our tree and did most of our holiday shopping, so now I have a wee bit of time to blog.

Have you ever had wassail?  It surprises me how many people have never had it!  Wassail is a hot beverage (according to Wikipedia, it is English in origin), made with cider and citrus juices and spices.  My grandmother always had a big pot of it on the stove whenever we went up to Oregon to visit for the holidays.  It tastes like Christmas!  I was never a big eggnog fan, so this was my Christmas drink of choice.  And, bonus, it’s great if you feel like you are coming down with a holiday cold – it has so much vitamin C in it that it will knock that cold right out of you!

Yesterday, I made wassail while we set up the tree and watched “Love Actually” in the background.  Here is my grandmother’s recipe:

  • 1 Gallon Boiling Water
  • 6 Lemons – Juice and rind
  • 6 Oranges – Juice and rind
  • 2 to 3 cups sugar
  • 2 heaping tablespoons Lipton’s tea
  • Fresh mint.
  • Stick cinnamon, whole cloves, ginger, allspice, whole nutmeg
  • Cheesecloth
  • 1 quart apple cider.

Put sugar in boiling water. Add fruit juice and a few rinds. Add Tea last.
Remove from fire. Let stand 15 minutes. Strain.

Add handful of fresh mint. Make spice bag out of cheesecloth. Put in stick cinnamon, whole cloves, ginger, allspice; whole nutmegs are optional.

Add quart apple cider. Reheat and simmer until spiced to your taste – 20-25 minutes. Remove spice.

Float citrus slices on top.

Serve Piping Hot!

I couldn’t find any cheesecloth at the store, so I just put the cinnamon sticks straight in the pot and then used my tea strainer to contain the cloves and other spices.  I have no idea how many servings this makes.  We had 4 people at our house last night, and everyone had multiple mugs of wassail, and we still have over half a pot left.  It also makes a great breakfast beverage as an alternative to coffee, if you are looking to limit caffeine intake!

For those who are interested, here is the accounting:


1 gallon boiling water

6 Lemons

6 Oranges

2-3 cups sugar

2 tbsp tea

fresh mint


1 quart apple cider


~20 servings
per cup