Home for the Holidays (+ mulled wine!)

A peek at our new home plus a delicious recipe for spiced mulled wine!

Home for the Holidays (+ mulled wine!)

I’ve mentioned this before on the blog, but this past year we made a huge move from Austin to Chicago, where I’m originally from. Years and years ago (when I first met Jack who lived in Austin) I was SO excited to leave and to live somewhere warm… forever! I didn’t miss fall, I didn’t miss the seasons, I basked in the sun in December and I loved every minute of it. As far as I knew, I would never be back but, well, life has a way of changing in unexpected ways and here we are!

On a warm summer day in July we saw this condo and decided that we could do this winter thing. So here we are doing winter, which I can’t say I LOVE, but I’m excited to be back home near my family.

You all saw the kitchen a few months ago, but the rest of the house had been almost entirely empty until very recently. Little by little, our living space is starting to come together. We’ve been doing a lot of staying in (its cold out there!), creating new traditions like actually putting up a Christmas tree and making warming recipes like this mulled wine below.

Home for the Holidays (+ mulled wine!)

Speaking of staying in…here’s a little peek at our new living room. The layout of this space was challenging because we didn’t bring anything from Austin and the space was entirely empty when we moved in. So I designed these built-ins, we ordered (and waited and waited) for a couch to arrive, I picked out (and changed my mind about) chairs, coffee tables, etc… It finally started to feel like a room we can get cozy in.

And then there was the TV. In our other homes, Jack always had a giant bachelor-pad style super ugly TV. Since this room is so integrated with the rest of the house and opposite the kitchen, I didn’t want that to be my view while I cook. So enter – the prettiest TV I’ve ever seen – The Frame by Samsung. I’m not one to get excited about electronics, but when we saw this TV in a store a few months ago, I knew it would be just the thing to keep the room looking nice while Jack could still be the tech nerd he is.

Home for the Holidays (+ mulled wine!)

This TV also solved a problem I didn’t really know I had. See, I love art but I can never decide what to hang on the walls. This usually ends up meaning… nothing. Now I can change the artwork that’s displayed on it all day long if I want to! There’s a really great selection of artwork to choose from and it’s nice to be able to change the look of a room on a whim. I love how this bird piece works with/as my holiday decor because now I have less holiday tchotchke to collect (and store). When Christmas is over, bye bye birdies!

Home for the Holidays (+ mulled wine!)

Ok, this is Jack, the “tech nerd” chiming in for a minute. I could talk for WAY too long about my love for this TV, but I’ll try to keep it short. To start, its design is nearly perfect. It sits flush with the wall, comes with the wall mount included(!), and all the connections and stuff go through a box on the other end of a tiny cable (they call it the Invisible Connection) so you don’t have wires sticking out the side of your TV. There are also three trim colors you can get that attach magnetically to the side of the TV – we chose white.

Picture-wise, it’s state-of-the-art 4K with HDR, so the colors and resolution are top notch. While it’s great for my video games and movies, it’s also stunning for the “art mode,” which is so cool. You hit the power button, and the TV adjusts the brightness and color tone to the surrounding room, so the TV just looks like a picture frame on the wall (see above) when it’s not in use, instead of the giant “black mirror” that Jeanine always hated.

Home for the Holidays (+ mulled wine!) Home for the Holidays (+ mulled wine!)

Ultimately, of course, this is a site about food and drink, and I also love this drink. While I put up the Christmas tree, Jeanine decided to try her hand at some mulled wine. Neither of us have had mulled wine before, but with the cold Chicago winters and our cozy new house, I can see this becoming a thing for the next few months. Wait… it’s cold here for months?!

Home for the Holidays (+ mulled wine!)

5.0 from 3 reviews

Mulled Wine

Serves: serves 6
  • 1 bottle dry red wine, such as merlot
  • 2 cups apple cider, more as desired
  • 1 navel orange, divided (half for the recipe, half for garnish)
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 6 whole cinnamon sticks, plus more for garnish
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons ginger juice, to taste (optional)
  • cranberries, for garnish, optional
  • rosemary sprigs, for garnish
  1. Slice half of the orange into thin rounds and set aside for the garnish.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the red wine, apple cider, and the juice from the remaining ½ orange. After you squeeze the orange half, slice it into wedges and put those into the pot along with the cloves and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and simmer on low for 20 to 30 minutes. Be careful not to let it come to a boil.
  3. Stir in the ginger juice. Taste, and if you like your mulled wine sweeter, add more apple cider. If you would like it more spiced, add more whole spices and simmer for 15 more minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat, strain, and pour into a pitcher or mugs. Serve with the reserved orange rounds, cinnamon sticks, cranberries, and rosemary sprigs for garnish.

Thanks so much to Samsung for providing the Frame TV featured in the post!


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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Christy

    Absolutely beautiful!!

  2. Amie

    Beautiful and comforting decor!
    I also want to know where is the rug from?

  3. Liese

    Interesting to read more about your move and acclimatization to Chicago. We live near Charlotte, NC and have been looking at retiring in Chicago (originally from MI).

    The TV sounds interesting but it must be powered on all the time to keep a picture up right? Wonder about the energy consumption, we turn our tv off with a multi plug to stop the phantom energy use.

  4. Kim

    What is a good dish to serve with the mulled wine?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Kim, I would serve it before dinner or after a meal (maybe with a couple of cookies). It wouldn’t necessarily be bad with a meal, but there are a lot of flavors going on that I wouldn’t pair it with a specific dish. It’s more of a treat on it’s own. Hope that helps!

  5. Diana Lopes

    Your place is gorgeous and I do think it’s wonderful to stay home during the holidays! Everything has its ups and downs, but we need to consider the ups a bit more at times, x)

  6. Tricia Cullinan

    I love the rug in the room, where is that from??

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Rugs USA, it was so cheap and I’m pleasantly surprised how nice it is 🙂 Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/2iHUd1T

  7. This is so sweet, your home is stunning! And Scott has been talking about that framed tv to me for a while now too ;). It is so functional, I love love love it in your space Jeanine. Happy new Christmas season in your Chicago home, I hope you enjoy winter a bit this year!

  8. Denise

    I just wanted to commend you on a fabulous blog and also on your cookbook: Love and Lemons which I purchased this summer. I’ve made most of the recipes and each one is perfect. The simplicity of some of them is astounding esp with the amazing flavors you get. Congrats. Job well done.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Thanks Denise, I’m SO SO SO happy to hear that you’re loving the cookbook!

  9. Susan

    Your living room looks wonderful. I especially like the idea of that kind of TV – never seen one like it before – especially since I’m looking at huge black matte mirror in our living room, which I otherwise love. On the other hand, with all the pictures we have on the walls, art on the TV might be a little much. Your take on mulled wine is quite interesting. I may have to try it, because we’re actually having snow today in El Paso, TX.

  10. Patricia

    Jeanine & Jack,
    Thank you for sharing photos of your beautiful new home in Chicago. If you ever get fed up with the wicked cold weather, just remember how lucky you are to live in a place with four real seasons!
    It FINALLY got cold here in Austin, and last night I made your Tomato and Chickpea Tortilla Soup for a family gathering. Everyone loved it! I gave you all the credit and even pulled out your lovely cookbook to show my guests.
    Love the mulled wine recipe and am looking forward to more holiday-themed posts!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Patricia, I’m SO glad everyone loved the soup! Hope you’re staying warm over there, everyone has been texting me pictures of the snow 🙂 And thank you for spreading the word about the book!

  11. Allison

    Your living space is absolutely gorgeous! I love the decor and that wonderful TV/artpiece you found. Kudos on your new place, and many thanks for the mulled wine recipe. I plan to try it this weekend, as even Atlanta is supposed to be getting a “wintry mix.” Stay warm! XO

  12. Yolanda

    I can’t wait to make this over the weekend!
    Your new space looks lovely. It’s good to hear you guys are near family and enjoying a good cold winter.

    Cheers from Austin!

  13. Heather Johnson

    I would love to know more about the built ins under the tv! They look exactly like what I’ve been wanting to do in my space. Where did you get the pieces for them?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Heather, our builder had them made – they’re made from the same type of custom cabinets that are in our kitchen. The easiest thing (not necessarily cheapest) would be to find a local cabinet maker. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.