It’s holiday treat season, and luckily I nabbed this Cedar Rapids Symphony of Holiday Cooking cookbook from Czech Village Antiques that I’ll be using for the rest of December!
Last week, my husband and I took a wonderful trip to Decorah, Iowa. After some unseasonably warm temperatures (55°F in December in Iowa?!), the dipping mercury and a trip to northern Iowa was a welcome change that helped get us in the holiday spirit. We both loved the Koselig exhibit at the Vesterheim (read more about Koselig/hygge in my previous 1973 Chili Skillet Stew post). One of the prevailing themes throughout the exhibit was how to thrive during the harsh winters. “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing,” a museum panel told us. I’ll raise my glass of mulled wine to that!
That night, John and I bundled up in layers of knit clothing, double socks, headbands, mittens, scarves–pretty much the entire suitcase of clothing. We had gotten a map of a self-guided historic architecture tour from the Winneshiek County Convention & Visitors Bureau. We hit the sidewalks looking like starfish stiff with sweaters and coats and armed with our map. The downtown district is filled with absolutely beautiful Queen Anne and Italianate homes spanning from 1854 to the turn of the century. Many of the homes were lit up for the holiday season with fresh garland and wreaths adorning the Thomas Kinkade-esque exteriors.
To conclude our historic tour, we stopped inside the 1904 Hotel Winneshiek. The lobby was absolutely breathtaking! It’s a rotunda that exposes the two floors above it and is crowned with a stained glass ceiling. An enormous Christmas tree hid the floor to ceiling fireplace that’s flanked with nutcracker soldiers and high backed chairs. There’s a bar just inside the lobby, so John and I got two glasses of wine and settled into the Chesterfield sofa in front of the fire and enjoyed simple Koselig bliss.
After you take a historic walking tour of your own neighborhood, whip up these simple Christmas wreath treats. Check with your county’s historical society, museums, and cemetery associations to find a tour of your city!
Georgene Robb’s Christmas Wreaths
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 3 cups of marshmallow bits (I used mini marshmallows)
- 1 teaspoon of green food coloring (Or whatever amount makes them green enough for your taste)
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 3 1/2 cups of corn flakes
- Melt butter and marshmallows over hot water (you can simply put a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water on the stove)
- Stir in the rest of the ingredients
3. Arrange in wreath shapes and decorate with cinnamon candies (I let them cool for half an hour before peeling them from wax paper)