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Monday, September 7, 2015

Apple Pie Hot Toddy inspired by Broken Homes and Gardens

Apple Pie Hot Toddy
Today I'm happy to be hosting a book tour stop for the novel, Broken Homes & Gardens by Rebecca Kelley. If you enjoy chick-lit and rom-com's, I think you'll love spending a day with this book. Seriously, I read this book in a day. It was a fun little reality-escape on a pleasantly cool day we had last week.

Set (mostly) in Porland, Oregon, Broken Homes & Gardens centers around young-twenty-something Joanna who returns to the States after a brief stint teaching English to kids in the Czech Republic. Typical of most people that age (at least the ones I know/knew), she doesn't really know what she wants to do with her life...who she is. She falls in love with the city, gardening, and unexpectedly, a guy named Malcolm.

I loved the fact that the characters in this book are flawed, like every real person alive. They try new things and make wrong choices, and sometimes realize too late what the right choices should have been. I won't give spoilers, but this is a great love story that takes twists and turns, and ultimately concludes with a cliffhanger (hurry up book 2!).

As far as food and drink goes, this book is actually overflowing with it. And while I wouldn't really consider it a foodie-novel, it's obvious that Kelley appreciates the role that food and drink play in everyday life. The mention of brownies made from scratch alone convinced me of that... "She jolted awake, as if tasting the blissful combination of sugar, butter, and chocolate for the first time."

Since Joanna had a garden (with dreams of a larger one in the future), there were plenty of nods to freshly grown produce like tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, pumpkin, and basil. Mozzarella (for Caprese), gazpacho, muffins, sushi, dried fruit, mixed nuts, pie, fig bars, gingerbread pancakes, cinnamon rolls, popcorn, peppermint, and eggs. Sangria, vodka tonics, coffee, raspberry lemonade—the list goes on.
Apple Pie Hot Toddy
I decided to turn to a fun little passage in the book where Joanna improvises a cocktail to enjoy with her date on Halloween night. Earlier in the day she had steamed one of her homegrown sugar pumpkins and turned it into pumpkin puree. With the puree spooned into the bottom of two lowball glasses, she set to work.

     "Joanna shook her head and added some spices, shaking each glass spice jar vigorously into the cup; nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cardamom. Then about a tablespoon of sugar. "What else?"

     "Milk?" Malcolm suggested. "It's in pumpkin pie. EIther sweetened condensed milk or regular milk."

     "We don't have sweetened condensed milk." She went back to the fridge and filled the glasses halfway with 2%. "Okay, now alcohol. What goes with all this stuff?"

     Malcolm backed away as Joanna searched the cupboards. She pulled out a bottle with a waxy red cap. "Hey, that's my Maker's Mark." He took the bottle from her. "No way are you wasting it on this—ah—recipe."

     "Fine. How about ... brandy. Does that go?"

     "Oh yeah," Malcolm said. "Totally." Joanna toped each glass off with brandy, stirred each drink carefully, then took one in each hand. "Aren't you going to taste it first" Malcolm asked. She gave a little shrug and headed back into her room.

     "Here you go," she said grandly, handing James a drink and shutting the door behind her. "It's a pumpkin pie. I invented it."" p.160

You can probably guess the reaction to that "inspired" concoction. So, I decided to make a cocktail inspired by Joanna's concoction that I'm sure would have gone over much better. I stuck with the "pie" theme, but chose apple instead of pumpkin (apples were a topic of conversation at one point in the book, and pie made a couple of delicious appearances, as well). And while hot toddy's can be made with either hot water or hot tea, I chose tea as the base for this one since it was Joanna's beverage of choice, much for the ritual of actually making it.

This is the perfect beverage for enjoying while curled up in front of a fire, or huddled on a comfy sofa, tucked under a blanket on a cool, rainy Porland night. Really anywhere for that matter, but this one's for Joanna...and preferably Malcolm, not James, to enjoy alongside her.

Apple Pie Hot Toddy
Warm up with this whiskey and tea-based Hot Toddy infused with the comforting flavor and spices of apple pie. 
Print Friendly and PDF
Apple Pie Hot Toddy
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Keywords: beverage dairy-free vegan soy-free nut-free apples tea whiskey

Ingredients (serves 2)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tea bag
  • 3 ounces (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) Piehole Apple Pie Canadian Whiskey
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 pinches of ground cardamom
to garnish:
  • 2 apple slices
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
Bring water to a boil; remove from heat and add tea bag; let sit 3-5 minutes, then remove the tea bag.

Put half of the apple pie whiskey, honey, lemon juice, and cardamom into the bottom of each of two mugs. Pour half of the tea into each mug, then stir to combine.

Garnish each mug with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick, then enjoy.

Broken Homes & Gardens by Rebecca Kelley

Broken Homes & Gardens

author: Rebecca Kelley
publisher: Blank Slate Press
source: TLC Book Tours
soft cover: 268 pages

"foodie" read: I wouldn't really consider this a foodie read, but food actually plays a pretty substantial supporting role. Malcolm happens to be pretty darn amazing in the kitchen (and basically everywhere else).

random excerpt: "In her room, she slipped into a pair of yoga pants and a tank top, shaking her head and mumbling responses to Malcolm's comment. She headed into the kitchen. She would make tea; she needed to calm herself down. What would she do without tea, without this fifteen-minute ritual? Her accomplice in procrastination and avoidance." p. 182

teaser: A girl, a guy, a broken-down house. Not exactly on-again, off-again, Malcolm and Joanna are in-again, out-again: in love, out of each other’s arms, in an awkward co-living arrangement, out of the country. Their unconventional relationship is the only way, Joanna says, to protect herself from the specter of commitment, which inevitably leads to heartbreak.

When Harry Met Sally for the Millennial generation, set in the damp and drizzly neighborhoods of Portland, Oregon, Broken Homes and Gardens is an ode to friendship, lust, and the unrelenting pull of love.

Broken Homes & Gardens author Rebecca Kelley
about the author: Rebecca Kelley grew up in Carson City, Nevada, wandered for a few years, and eventually landed in Portland, where she teaches writing at Oregon College of Art and Craft. She is the co-author of The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. Broken Homes & Gardens is her first novel.

connect with the author: website | twitter | instagram

recipe inspired by the book: Apple Pie Hot Toddy


I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Apple Pie Hot Toddy