It's now officially winter - something many of us have been dreading! I would say winter is my least favorite season but there are some things that I truly LOVE about winter so I thought I'd share. After all, winter lasts for three months so we need to just suck it up and seize the day!
Here's why we should greet winter with a warm welcome...
1. It's a good excuse to nest.
We're spending most of our time inside so all the more reason to make your home super comfortable and cozy. I recently wrote a blog on cozyfying your home - check it out for some ideas. If you really want to treat yourself right, why not give your bed a makeover? New sheets in fresh new colors and a cozy blanket will do the trick. Jill Ciccone, from Haven Your Home in Shrewsbury, has an amazing selection of hotel bedding and yummy blankets. Plus, she's got a great eye and has so many ideas on how to add layers to your home (like pillows and window treatments).
2. The winter sky is amazing.
I don't know why this is, but I find the winter sky to be so beautiful and full of color. Both the sunrises and sunsets. Maybe it's because there aren't any leaves on the trees to obstruct the view. Or maybe there's a scientific reason. Just look up and take it all in. Here's a shot that I took yesterday morning, on the first day of winter. Since I'm obsessed with my color palettes, I immediately set to matching paint colors to the sky. See how beautiful winter can be?
3. The cold weather makes us burn more calories!
At least that's what I think! I know this might sound strange, but one thing I love about winter is the fact that it forces me to MOVE FAST to keep warm. When I go to the gym, I maximize my cardio time. Hot yoga? Yes please! Or when I go out for a walk with my dog, I book it. I'm pretty sure I burn way more calories in the winter than in the summer.
Speaking of walks outside, a key benefit is that you develop a nice healthy glow. Okay so maybe it's windburn, but at least it's a little color!
4. It's the perfect time to make chili!
I'm a huge fan of one pot meals and chili is my favorite so I thought I would share my recipes. These are totally made up and nothing is exact, so please use your judgement and alter as you wish! You really can't mess chili up...
1 package of jalapeno chicken sausage (I get mine at Trader Joe's)
1 onion, chopped finely
1 jar of salsa verde (I get mine at Whole Foods)
1 box of low sodium chicken broth
3 cans of canellini beans
1 roasted chicken (you can either roast yourself or buy pre-done)
Saute the sausage and onion in a big pot (I like to use my dutch oven) until the onion is soft. Add half the jar of salsa verde and stir. Add box of chicken broth and canellini beans. Tear the cooked chicken into little bite size pieces and add to the pot. Simmer for about an hour and you're done! Serve with bread or chips if you'd like. Of course, it's also yummy with guacamole, cheese and sour cream. If you want some more kick to it, add more of the salsa verde.
Red Chipotle Chili
2 lbs of ground beef or turkey
1 onion, chopped finely
2 green peppers, chopped finely
1 jar of roasted chipotle salsa (I get mine at Whole Foods)
1 bottle or can of beer
1 28 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes (I like to get organic - makes a huge difference)
1 14 oz can of tomato sauce (again, organic is great here)
Chili powder to taste
3 cans of dark red kidney beans
1 can of chipotle peppers (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Okay, I really wing this one, so please bear with me!
Brown the ground meat with onion and peppers until they're soft. Add 1 jar of chipotle salsa. Stir and cook for a bit (till it's really fragrant). Add about 3/4 of the can or bottle of beer. Let it cook off for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes (both cans). Add the chili powder. I'm always generous here but keep in mind that you can always add more but you can't take it out! Add the kidney beans. If you really want to kick things up a notch, you can add some actual chipotle peppers. You can find them in a can. Just remove the seeds. But don't touch the seeds with your bare hands, because if you then touch your eyes they will BURN! Trust me, I've done it many times. You should definitely add the sauce that comes with the can of peppers. It's gold. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer for about two hours. The longer the better!
Serve with bread, chips and/or condiments of your choice!
5. It's a good time to learn a new skill.
I learned how to knit in December (from my wonderful sister-in-law Joan), and it's something that I pick up every winter. It's the perfect thing to do while watching football, which is always on in my house (and I have no idea how football is played so I need to occupy myself!) To the left is a work in progress - a kitchen rag/towel. I love using these. It makes wiping down the counters so much more pleasant!
If you want to learn how to knit, I know of some talented knitters who would love to share their knowledge! Just send me a message and I'll hook you up.
How about embroidery? I tried to sew my family members' initials onto napkins so we could keep track of whose napkin belongs to whom, but I did a horrible job and you can't even tell what the letter is. So learning to embroider is a goal that I've set for myself. Or nice designs on dish towels? Like little XXXXX's? I love the idea of it. And I think it would be much faster than knitting. While I love knitting, it does take a while to crank things out.
I'm curious, what would you like to learn?
6. It's a good excuse to watch TV...
In your newly tricked out bed! There's nothing better than a snow day for sitting in front of the television all day. My favorite blogger, Amy Byrnes from A My Name is Amy, recently wrote a post on her favorite TV shows. Click here to see what she has to say! You just have to follow her blog. She always has such great insight into the everyday. And she's hysterical! Lots of LOLs while reading her stuff!
7. Or just chill...
Well, hopefully you won't actually chill (stay warm with chili and good walk!), but I think the benefit of winter is that it allows us to relax a bit and recharge. Especially after the holidays!
Why do you love winter? Please comment below!
I'm all about sharing ideas in home design, gardening and living so we can love our homes. I'm joined by my dog, Boomer, who is always by my side.