Strega Nona Entertaining: Conjuring Creative Fun

From recipes to rituals, I will kindly divine the perfect celebration for you!

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Winter Solstice All Around the World

Looking to ramp up your Winter Solstice shindig this year? I personally always like to adapt a theme to center it around. That keeps it fresh and interesting for your return guests and a welcome surprise for new faces. This year the First Day of Winter falls on a Saturday, which makes it a perfect time to hold your Solstice celebration on the actual day. If you go with an “around the world” theme, you can invite each of your guests to bring a dish or beverage to share, unique to their cultural heritage or family. This way you’ll also gain an eclectic smorgasbord of a menu! Since I’m enjoying my new position as associate digital editor at Taste of Home Magazine so much, I had to try out some of their culturally diverse recipes from the December issue.

Every successful soiree should have a signature punch. Here’s a fun one from Chile:


Start to finish: 15 minutes

Servings: 16

4 cups 2% milk

1 cup sugar

3 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)

3 whole cloves

2 cups strong brewed coffee

1 ½ cups pisco, aguardiente, grappa or brandy

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, combine milk, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Strain into a large pitcher, discarding spices. Stir in coffee, pisco and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Serve over ice.

Nutrition information: 1/2 cup: 129 calories, 1g fat (1g saturated fat), 5mg cholesterol, 29mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate (16g sugars, 0 fiber), 2g protein.

(Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home Test-Kitchen)

Round things out with a pretty, swirled Chocolate Babka bread and some savory Chicken Piccata Meatballs, and you’ve got your party started! Don’t forget the ambiance: buy some fresh cut flowers in red and white, accented in evergreens. Light a lot of candles and place them in strategic spots safe from guests’ elbows and the curious cat. Happy Winter Solstice.


Photo by Krivec Ales from Pexels









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Colleen DuVall has written articles, plays, short films, and a novel. Most recently, her work has been featured in her new blog, Off The Beaten Path for the Shepherd Express online (, and the Wisconsin Life radio show for WPR. She recently adopted a little grey and white cat named Tessa, after beloved 22-year-old Bootise passed on.


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