It’s time to bring on the wassail! I’ve shared how much I love the holidays. Time spent with friends and family and all the special preparations are precious and heartwarming. A rheumatoid arthritis (RA) diagnosis may change the traditions up from year to year, but the magic will always be there!
Food is definitely a part of the traditions so important to our family. The RA diagnosis has changed my approach in two ways. First, I’m moving toward better organization and minimalism and secondly, I’m mindful of dietary implications to my disease.
Emotions and the holiday excitement already super charge this time of the year. I have to work on keeping my plans and schedule in check so I don’t overextend myself and create an arthritic crisis or flare. It’s particularly important to stick with my FRESH lifestyle during the holiday season. And the FRESH lifestyle is good for everyone! That is why I’m more strategic with what I prepare in my kitchen to help celebrate this festive time!
My two way approach to menu preparation for the holidays:
- Organization. I was diagnosed with RA almost six years ago, therefore I’ve developed some tricks and tips to enable me to enjoy the season and still be able to participate in activities unique to this time of the year. It’s all about organization and minimalism. Instead of trying new recipes each year, I’m inclined to stay traditional with an anti-inflammatory element to my choices. Wassail is one of my favorites. It is a wonderfully warm drink full of spices and the goodness of apples and oranges. It is a simple recipe brewed in a slow cooker that is so aromatic that makes the house smell heavenly all day long!
- Dietary Implications. The apple cider and orange juice are a great choice for a hot beverage. Remember the saying ” an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Apples are rich in antioxidants and flavanoids to fight free radicals. Orange juice is full of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. The ginger, cinnamon and cloves all have anti-inflammatory effects. Now that’s all great news for someone with RA!
Here is the recipe for the Wassail:
One Gallon Apple Cider
4 Cups Orange Juice
4 Hibiscus Tea Bags
10 Cinnamon Sticks
10 Whole Cloves
One Tablespoon Juniper Berries
1 1/2 Inch Fresh Ginger (cut into slices)
One Apple (sliced in circles)
One Orange (sliced in circles)
Place all the ingredients in a slow cooker set on High and let cook for 3 to 4 hours. The color will darken and the fruit will soften. Remove the tea bags and serve hot with a cinnamon stick and three cranberries in a mug as a garnish. Enjoy!
This recipe is perfect for a neighborhood gathering or when the family gets together. The garnishes make it special for the season. This is a favorite of mine because it is so tasty without added sugar. It is certain to warm you up and put you in the holiday spirit!
It can be made ahead the day before, kept in the refrigerator and reheated at the time of serving. I like that flexibility!
Arthritis Wisdom would love to hear from you with your tips for holiday entertaining. Please leave them in a comment! Blessings to you!
photo credit: Renata Pate. My dear friend. Entertainer extraordinaire.