Cupola House Wassail Recipe from Edenton, NC


An Image of wassail in silver punch bowl and historic cupola house in Edenton, NC

Cupola House Wassail Recipe

1-gallon apple cider
2 (12 ounce) cans frozen lemonade
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1/3 teaspoon ground allspice
4 sticks cinnamon
5 dried apple rings
1/2 orange, thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
1 quart of white wine

Mix the first five ingredients in a large pot. Heat to boiling and simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Place fruit in the bottom of the punch bowl. Add wine. Pour cider mixture over fruit and wine. Serve. 

Historic Cupola House decorated for the holidays

I've had the pleasure of working with Visit Edenton this December promoting it as a  #CountonMeNC travel-friendly destination in 2021. As North Carolina's first colonial capital, this charming town has been making holiday wassail for over 250 years.  The Cupola House, one of the oldest British buildings in the United States, is known for its gardens and wassail. Cupola House Wassail is always served along with delightful cookies when the home is open yearly to the public for the Edenton's Candlelight Tour. 

The Georgian-style home was built-in 1758 for Frances Corbin, an agent for Lord Granville, one of the original eight proprietors, given land by the British crown in the Carolinas. By 1918, the home was in disarray, and a group of Edenton volunteers banned together under the name of The Cupola House Association, purchased the home to preserve it. 

Before becoming the museum it is today, the house was the Chowan County library for forty-five years. In 1971, the house was designated as a Registered Historic National Landmark. 

Lady serving wassail at Cupola House in Edenton, NC

Edenton's Cupola House has seen many ships come and go in the Albemarle Sounds. The house is available for tour on one of the town's historic walking tours.  The gardens are open to the public daily.


The Cupola House Wassail Recipe is printed in Recipes From St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Edenton, NC. A cookbook printed in 1995 that I found in my mother-in-law's storage unit. I brought it back to life in 2002 and have enjoyed many recipes from this collection. It's probably one of my most favorite North Carolina cookbooks. 

Two glass-mugs filled with hot wassail

Learn more about this historic North Carolina town to plan your delightful distancing getaway  to Edenton, NC 

Want to pair your wassail with a savory cookie?  You may like these Savoury Cheddar Cookies from Epicure. It's a twist on a Southern Cheese Straw.  Edenton's cookbook recommends cheddar puffs. The recipe ingredients are about the same, but in this NC version, you bake into small balls at 400 for twelve minutes. 

Photo Savoury Cheddar Cookies by Epicure. Little Round baked cheese cookies

Easy Peppermint Bark Recipe That Your Kids Can Make

I've shared many times before that I am not really a baker. But, Liza loves to bake so that means more often than not, I have to make something sweet for the holidays. 

candy cane and white and dark chocolate peppermint bark

Peppermint Bark is probably the easiest thing to bake for a non-baker, and Liza can do it unsupervised now.  All you need are sheet pans, candy canes, white and dark chocolate.  I like to use European brand chocolates, but any chocolate will work.  

Easy Peppermint Bark Recipe 

homemade peppermint bark with crushed candy canes on top of white and dark chocolate

Easy Peppermint Bark Ingredients

2 large Lindt White Chocolate Bars
2 large Lindt Milk or Dark Chocolate  ( I mixed my chocolates for a unique twist)
25 small candy canes broken

Melt white chocolate in a double boiler. I mix in a little butter to help smooth the chocolate. Scoop melted white chocolate onto parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet. If you are using Epicure Sheet Pan Silicone liners then you do no need to use parchment paper. 

Melt dark chocolate in a double broiler. I add a tablespoon of butter for richness and to help the chocolate soften. Spread dark chocolate mixture on top of white chocolate. Mash candy canes. 

My kids love doing this (to get the candy canes as smashed as high-quality retail peppermint bark then they peppermint needs to be very fine, but you can do this version any way you like and my kids made chunky.  Sprinkle the peppermint on top of the chocolate and press some into the chocolate. Freeze for 30 minutes to an hour. Break into squares. Or let soften and cut squares neatly.

It is that simple. 

Peppermint Bark in a red, white and green gift box.

This is also great to make after the holidays as well because all candy is on sale, and it makes the new year a little more festive. 

Originally posted in December 2014 and updated December 2020. My kids do not even look like this any longer. 

How to Get Rid of the 2020 Quarantine 15 with the 90-DAY #EPICLIFE Challenge

I am about to embark on my tenth year of blogging, and once again, I'm telling you I want to lose weight. It's like clockwork. The topic of weight loss comes up about every two or three years on this blog. If we still listened to records, it would be as if I was a broken record saying, "I need to lose weight this year!"

2019 was a good weight loss year. I had lost 15 pounds and felt great for my 50th birthday in December.  I had established a fabulous exercise routine and was maintaining my weight by the end of the year.  I felt good. 

Then horrific 2020 came, and along with it came the unwanted COVID-19 in addition to the extra  "Quarantine-15." My exercise routine halted. I ate pasta as if I would never ever get to get to go to Italy again. I've eaten more rice than they have in China since being home this year. Seriously, Will bought the biggest bag of rice I have ever seen. The rice was a 25-pound bag of jasmine rice imported from Thailand.  Fifteen pounds of that rice is now out of the bag and has latched onto my stomach, thighs, butt, and boobs.

Lifestyle Blogger Leigh Powell Hines holding brown toy poodle puppy
Meet Ollie, our new baby in the family. Unfortunately, we lost our beloved 
Andy on November 13, 2020. 

Stress levels this year were at an all-time high. Somehow, my skinny husband manages to lose weight in a pandemic.  On the other hand, I basically erased a year's worth of hard work and discipline in the span of a three-month quarantine. We lost our beloved poodle, Andy, this year, too

My goal in 2021 is better portion control and regular exercise. I'm also not giving up jasmine rice either now that I have mastered cooking it to perfection in my multipurpose steamer made by Epicure.  

Graphic that says Make Good Food the New Norm. #EpicLife

Instead, I'm going to set realistic goals, eat healthier foods, use the right portions, and take the #EPICLIFE Challenge with Epicure.  It is a FREE 90-day wellness and lifestyle program that begins January 4, 2021, and is under the leadership of Registered Dieticians working with the Canadian-based company, Epicure.  All of Epicure's seasonings are gluten-free, lower in sodium, and have reduced added sugars. All you need to get started is to join my VIP GROUP,  A Dash of  Flavor with Leigh Powell Hines, on Facebook, and register online so you can have access to the program and community support.  Be sure to use me as your referral: Leigh Powell Hines  (  2201058164 )  when completing the consultant name in the field of questions. 

My Epicure website is about one of only one thousand websites in the U.S. where you can purchase Epicure cookware and seasoning blends. Epicure is a household name in Canada and is quickly growing in the U.S. I added the company as an affiliate this year because I like that it's NEVER-LIST of ingredients and the fact that I can pronounce every ingredient. Epicure's concept is simple. It helps busy families get affordable meals on the table from raw to ready in 20 minutes or less. 

I have already fallen in love with many of its products and will look forward to following this #EpicLife program for 90-days. 

green graphic that reads Make Real Results the New Norm #EpicLife

I already have many of the products offered in the Epic Life Collection, which are some of the seasonings you need to make the recipes in the challenge.  I purchased Epiure's Perfect Portion Scoops and the Epicure Good Food. Real Results Guide. This guide is filled with useful tips, grocery lists, meal plans, and recipes to help you succeed from day one and achieve long-term results. I will then buy anything else I need for the weight loss challenge a la carte.  Every Epicure products are sold separately but are often bundled together for extra savings. 

You can start slow, and only purchase the good food real results guide by Epicure and the perfect portion scoops. 

And a few key ingredients to get you started. If you do want to purchase the entire collection, I would suggest purchasing the following seasonings. 

Lemon Dilly Dip: This gluten-free seasoning is a workhorse in lower-calorie recipes. It comes in the Good Greek Real Fast Collection along with the spinach dip, Souvlaki seasoning, Greek dressing, and recipe cards. I use the Souvlaki seasoning all the time. I'm kind of like the Dad in the movie, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" with index. I sprinkle Souvlaki on chicken even when the recipe does not call for it. 

Four Epicure Seasonings and Five Recipe cards for the Greek Collection

Epicure's 3-Onion Dip replaces higher sodium Lipton's Onion Soup Mix in your pantry.  Bottled marinara sauces contain added sugars, therefore, Epicure's Marinara Sauce Mix is a good staple to have on hand. Jarred salsa is high in sodium. Epicure's Poco Picante Mix is lower in sodium, gluten-free, and absolutely delicious. 

photo of Good Food Real Results Recipe Guide by Epicure

Order your guide now. Start 2021 with better sleep, good food, mealtime wins, more energy, and real results. 

My goal is fifteen pounds for weight loss, but ten pounds will make me joyful.  What is your goal?  Real people get real results with this #EpicLife Challenge. 

Sally, a resident of Canada, is on her tenth challenge. 

Two images of a woman named Sally who has lost 73 pounds and 56 inches from The Epicure Epic Life Challenge. She has done the challenge ten years

And Brittany has a success story, too.  These are real people like you and me.

Two images of a woman who has lost 27 percent body fat and 45 pounds by using the Epicure Epic Life Challenge

Join me. I'll be with you every step of the way. My new poodle, Ollie, too. Together, we will do great things in 2021. I'll be hosting live cooking classes and tips throughout the challenge. 

Register for the Epic Life Challenge. Take the leap. It's free. 

Disclosure: Epicure is an official affiliate of HinesSightBlog, and I am registered as a consultant and an independent website, whereas commission is made on any products purchased. All opinions of the products are my own

A Buckeye Brownie a Day this Holiday...(Recipe)

A buckeye brownie a day this holiday will make your bottom rounder than Santa's tummy. 

Holiday  Buck-eye brownies, cross between a brownie and a buckeye candy

Yes, Virginia, they are worth the calories! I may even leave some out for Santa, but I'll have to make them again because my first batch will not last until Christmas Eve. 

Buckeye Brownies

Submitted by: Heather Prentic from Mars, PA

Package of brownie mix. Make it gluten-free by using Epicure's Brownie Mix.
2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup plus 6 T of butter, softened and divided
8 oz jar or 1 cup of creamy peanut butter
6-oz pkg of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Prepare and bake brownie mix in a greased 13"x9" baking pan according to package directions. Let cool. Mix powdered sugar, 1/2 cup butter, and peanut butter. Mix well and spread over cooled brownies. Chill for one hour. Melt together chocolate chips and remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. Spread over brownies. Let cool; cut into squares. Makes 2 to 3 dozen

For another idea, use Epicure's individual petite pan


NC Small Business Holiday Gifts that Every Woman will Love (The Family, too)

For the past few months, I have hosted the OutaboutNC Small Business Holiday Gift-Pop-Up on Facebook with  Kim and I were able to promote these NC businesses without any cost to them to give back to the state in 2020.

It's been a tough year on hospitality and retail, which those two subjects are at the core of what my social media platforms are all about. The event was sponsored by our blog affiliates, which help support bloggers, so they do not have to beat the payment finding sponsors every day, and we can continue to share editorial content with you. Your purchases from our website affiliates are a passive way to help support the blogging industry because you don't show up to work for free, and neither do we. 

As I've gotten to know these North Carolina business owners, I have put together a list of my favorite products that I think would be great holiday gifts.  These gift ideas would be great for anyone on your list, however, I've geared this holiday gift guide toward women. 

I've been known to wrap up my own Christmas gifts and place them under the tree, so no judgment from me if you place these in your holiday cart today just for you. 

non-toxic hand=-poured beeswax lavender vanilla candle made in NC

5” Honeycomb Pillar candle with 100% Pure Beeswax Candle made in NC

100 % Natural Beeswax, hand-poured  NC-made aromatherapy candles

Wellness by Ari is based in Matthews, North Carolina. Owner, Dasha Kosovon,  began the quest to find non-toxic candles in 2018 for her family. So many candles are made with artificial scents and man-made ingredients. "This desire came after burning a candle that was gifted to us and seeing black residue in our kids' noses after burning the candle. That’s when we said “Never Again!” and began working on creating a candle that would not only be pleasant to burn but beneficial." stated Dasha. 

Wellness by Ari candles are hand-poured with U.S natural beeswax and organic hemp wicks and scented with pure essential oils. She has many best-selling aromatherapy scented candles such as Honey CinnamonChristmas Tree, Lavender Vanilla, and Forest Romance

Hand-stamped hammered bar necklace with birthstones

Adventures by Bloom is located in Cary, NC, and was recommended to me by a friend who lives in Cary. Owner Laura Gerenser began her business with mobile metal stamping classes in 2017. Adventures by Bloom has now grown into a gift shop and craft space in downtown Cary, offering metal stamped jewelry classes and local products from over thirty artisans. 

hand-stamped christmas tree holiday ornament with family names

Stay 6 feet apart 2020 holiday ornament made to look like a ruler

Keepsake 2020 Holiday Ornaments from Adventures in Bloom in Cary, NC 


Fluffy-white zip-up jacket

Cozy attire and affordable fashion from Anna Jean Boutique in Elizabeth City, NC

I think it is wonderful when you see young women pursuing their dreams.  Brie Barclift graduated from Meredith College in 2018 with a degree in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing and founded Anna Jean Boutique in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.  

The boutique is full-service in Eastern North Carolina, from clothing to accessories.  I love that she finds affordable fashions that can make women look great.  I love the Frosty Nights Fluffy Zip-Up Jacket and the Cozy Collection Loungewear.  Who doesn't love to lounge? Brie looks great in both. I love the Netflix and Chill outfit.  That's like the epitome of my life: blog, Cook, Netflix, and Chill in my chair.  Currently, I'm finishing the Crown and will soon start the Queen's Gambit. 

NC-made-gift basket with NC food appetizers

A gift box containing three NC jams such as pepper jelly, blackberry jam and bacon and fig jam.

North Carolina Food can be experienced throughout the world with a customized Hometown Goodie Boxes Gift.  From holiday jam to charcuterie gift boxes, there is something for everyone's culinary tastes. 

North Carolina is a foodie state, and we have a lot to offer in culinary products from Murphy to Manteo. Hometown Goodie Box founder, Linda Seymour, combined her own love to eat with North Carolina made products. Through her goodie box business, people from all over the world can experience a taste of North Carolina. 

"Growing up in Eastern North Carolina, I was surrounded by families, farmers, and neighbors that grew vegetables and fruits, harvested nuts from their trees, and raised animals for consumption. Craftsmanship, ingenuity, and pride in every aspect of life’s work forged the lives of the women and men around me," stated Linda. "Over the years, I’ve tried to pass these "hometown" treasures and traditions on to my own family and friends, and now - through Hometown Goodie Boxes - I'm excited to pass them on to other people.  The "NC Family Breakfast" box is one of her most popular collections. 

NC handmade natural espresso cups with colbalt blue decoration

pottery necklace and jewelry holder with dog paw print handpainted in 22k gold

wood-fired vase with slipping trail details

Beautiful NC pottery designs from Curry Wilkinson Pottery 

North Carolina has so much talent, and two truly talented individuals are Curry and Sarah Wilkinson, who founded Curry Wilkinson Pottery in Burlington, NC.  Curry was an apprentice under NC potter Joseph Sand when he first met Sarah. She is the creator behind the NC holiday ornaments and pottery jewelry featuring hand-painted 22K gold. 

Curry Wilkinson Pottery opened in 2018, where these North Carolina artisans focus on home decor and functional pottery art.  Each handmade pottery  piece is one-of-a-kind,  and in my opinion, quite affordable. They are also animal lovers, with three pets of their own and certain products have 10% of the proceeds going to the NC animal rescue organization, Paws4ever, in Mebane, NC

holiday gift ideas with Beautycounter clean beauty producs

beautycounter luminous cream eyeshadows gift box

Make better health a priority in 2021, and share clean beauty with your loved ones. Beautycounter has gorgeous holiday gifts for men and women that anyone would love. I certainly have my favorites, but the one product I'm looking the most forward to is the Luminous Lid Cream Shadows

Give the gift of clean beauty. I've been brand loyal to Beautycounter, a clean beauty brand with the most rigid ingredient process. Beautycounter Founder, Gregg Renfrow, started the company with the mission of health before beauty after learning that only 30 harmful chemicals were banned by the FDA due to harmful side effects.  In contrast, the U.K. bans around 1400 ingredients in its products, while Canada bans around 600 chemicals/ingredients in its personal care and beauty products. 

Renfrow leads this company with advocacy behind its' mission with ingredient transparency, powered by the people, the planet, a purpose to get safe beauty products in the hands of everyone at all price points by changing federal laws.  Every Beautycounter product is transparent of its ingredients and is responsibly-sourced to protect both people and the planet.  

tory burch bag with countertime skincare line with retinatural formula
The safe alternative to retinol is Beautycounter's Retinatural Countertime formula that mimics the effects of retinol with the harsh side effects making it a safe beauty health choice for anti-aging beauty products.  The Countertime Ultra-Renewal Eye Cream and Countertime Tetrapeptide Supreme Night Cream are my favorite skincare products. 

Beautycounter has a never-list of over 1800 unsafe chemicals that it does not allow in its products.  Beautycounter is about both health safety and product performance. Some ingredients are synthetic because they perform better and they work. Natural sometimes is not the best choice when it comes to safety and products due to allergens. I've been part of Beautycounter's affiliate marketing/sales team for four years, and it's the brand I stand behind and support. It is my number one skincare and cosmetic brand by choice. If you have a passion for clean beauty, please join my VIP group, Curating the Good Life with Better and Safer Beauty (Deals for VIPs), on Facebook.  

We have lots of fun over there through giveaways, mystery hostess events, and much more.  Being clean is about more than just switching to safer beauty.  It's a lifestyle, and I help my group do it at their own pace and on their own budget. Getting clean can be overwhelming, but every little step makes a big difference.  Beautycounter's curated  The Clean Guide can help consumers make better and smarter choices. 

red holiday lantern with santa and snowman and spinning christmas tree

Holidays Gifts from St. Nick's Nacks. This lighted shimmer water lantern with a snowman, Santa, and a spinning tree. Would make fabulous holiday decor for the season. 

BuDhaGirl All Weather Bangles jewlery in gold and fawn colors

Callahan's Holiday Gifts for Her and one of the largest patterned face-covering/mask selections from designers such as Simply Southern to Vera Bradley that I've seen anywhere locally. 

pumpkin cheese cake holiday fudge from Callahan's of Calabash

When COVID protocols forced the closure of restaurants and retail in 2020. Callahan's developed its first-ever online retail store. Because Callahan's inventory is massive, not everything is online, including its fudge. Still, you can call during store hours and have Callahan's homemade fudge shipped as well as other gifts if you are looking for something particular.  Callahan's has something for everyone or even for yourself. I think the all-weather bangles from the BuDuaGirl brand are a perfect holiday gift idea for someone special on your list.   

Because my parents owned a second home in North Myrtle Beach, I grew up going to Calabash, NC, during the holidays and over the summers. We would eat fried seafood then stop at Callahan's of Calabash to shop.  It was my favorite place to go because the Christmas shop looked like a wonderland. This family-owned business, established in 1978, takes up several blocks of the town's main street corner as you head to the waterfront. Callahan's has one of the largest Christmas shops in North Carolina called St. Nick's Nacks. My Dad loved Callahan's homemade peanut butter fudge.  

My Dad consistently claimed their fudge as the best in NC and never left a trip without a pound in a bag.  His favorite was the peanut butter, which is typically available year-round in the store.  

cheer holiday ornament

Last year, the store sent me a Cheer ornament for Liza because I knew that it would be Callahan's if any place had one. Seriously, they have everything!!! I was thrilled to include Callahan's of Calabash in my OutaboutNC virtual pop-up store. 

stud earrings from the  pink champagne celebration from McRae Design using colors pink, red and green.


Plaid earrings with gold, burgundy, and a holiday plaid pattern

holiday tear-drop earrings in pink, red and green

McRae Design offers a monthly subscription box where you receive new one of a kind jewelry releases each month. 

Jen McRae is the creator behind McRae Designs in North Carolina. She embraces the colors in paintings and then formulates many earring designs and color palettes from those paintings, then she releases them as a jewelry art collection. I am one of those rare women who don't wear earrings because I've never had my ears pierced, but I was drawn to her Mad about Plaid-Holiday collection. Her latest inspiration is the Pink Champagne Celebration collection with beautiful greens, pinks, and reds.

 I love reading the McRae Design website because artist Jen McRae tells the story of why she chose the path that she did with her color choices and pattern collaborations. Jen has also branched out into designing to snap clips for your hair and mask/wallet clutches. I think Jen is most fond of plaid, and since she is located in Scotland County in the town of Laurinburg, plaid designs certainly fit her brand well. 

plaid hair clips

I basically live in Zyia Active Wear these days. I joke that I wear it to type 100 words per minute.  The first purchase I made was Zyia's Bomber bra, and now I've thrown away all of my old bras, and I only wear Zyia Active sports bras. I love them.  I also live in the Zyia Light and Tight Leggings and a half- zip pullover.  I'm wearing those three Zyia Active items from TL Style Boutique, which is also a sponsor of the OutaboutNC pop-up.  

Kim was the one who helped keep me all organized with these pop-up events. Zyia Active is a lifestyle clothing brand founded by Erin Bradley, a fellow cheer mom. No doubt, cheer moms are unstoppable. I'm so impressed with the brand. 

dog in stroller with woman wearing Zyia Activewear

green pocket  1/2  zip pullover from Zyia Active

purple bomber bra from Zyia Active

Zyia Active has something for every body type  I truly love my Zyia light and tight leggings and Zyia sports bras. I get sad when I have to put them in the wash. I think I need a pair for every day of the week. I also recommend Zyia underwear. I thank Kim for helping me sponsor the holiday pop-up. I ordered the green pocket half-zip pullover for myself this week because I wanted to own two of them. It is a true staple in my wardrobe. You do not get too hot in the house, but yet it is easy to layer without being bulky

customized-name-braclets in a variety of colors from Raleighwood Beads

Colorful Nutcracker necklaces

pink and cobalt blue bead braclet

Each Raleighwood Beads necklace, bracelet, or earrings have a unique name. If you see something you like from Instagram, it can be recreated with a similar look, but would still be one of a kind.  The bracelet pictured above is called the Brenna Bracelet. It features a beautiful cobalt blue patterned bead. 

Raleighwood Beads Owner and Designer Carolyne Grizer never make the same jewelry design twice. She will work with you to customize your own design, and each design is unique. One of her bestselling items during the holidays is the whimsical Nutcracker necklace. Carolyne loved beads as a child, and she would be fascinated with all the beads in Michaels. Not living in Raleigh during her childhood, but close enough to make day trips, her Dad would announce, "Lets' go to Raleighwood!" hence the inspiration for the name behind her Raleighwood Beads jewelry.  Raleighwood Beads designs can be found in many local NC boutiques. 

Epicure multipurpose steamer filled with chicken parmesean accompanied by a green salad and pasta noodles

I am thrilled to introduce the Canadian company, Epicure, as one of my latest blog affiliates. Epicure was founded by Sylvia Rochette in 1997.  Like many of us today, she was a busy mom who wanted to eat clean and healthy but needed to quickly get dinner on the table. She developed time-saving silicon cookware that can be used in both the oven and microwave.  Epicure is a household name in Canada and launched into the U.S market last fall.

 Epicure helps time-starved families get affordable and simple meal solutions on the table from raw to ready in 20 minutes or less.  All ingredients in its healthy seasoning mixes are clean, non-processed, and gluten-free.  I have fallen in love with Epicure products because it is what I needed in 2020 to make life in my kitchen easier.  The first product any person should buy is the Epicure multipurpose steamer.  It is a true workhorse in the kitchen. I used it for Thanksgiving with so many dishes, and without it, I don't think I could have made as many dishes as I did. There are tons of Epicure multipurpose steamer recipes. 

Creamy mashed potatoes in the Epicure multipurpose steamer

With the Epicure steamer, you can make entire meals such as steamer chicken parmesan in eight minutes and steamer buttery mashed potatoes in ten minutes.  It has truly become one of my favorite products. The best deal is to get the Epicure steamy dinners collection which includes three meals that can be cooked in the steamer.  Join my A Dash of Flavor with Leigh Powell Hines group on Facebook. 

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