In case you haven’t noticed, it’s Winter. And it’s cold. I mean cold. Like, “oh it’s 20 degrees out, we’re having a heat wave!” kinda cold. But if you’re like me and live in New England you should come to expect these conditions. Along with sleet, snow, rain, and sunshine….all in the same day. Seriously.
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that the cold weather tends to make me want to hibernate and bake cookies all day, but unfortunately I’m not Betty Crocker and a house full of cookies doesn’t exactly scream self control or burn enough calories to justify eating a dozen. So instead of dreading the Winter I’ve come to embrace it with fleece lined and double gloved open arms. Here are some of my favorite things to enjoy the Winter weather, which the majority are involving food. Are you really surprised?
In order to get myself started up especially on those bitterly cold mornings, I begin my day with a warm and satisfying breakfast. Nine times out of ten my morning meals consist of a hot bowl of oatmeal and a cup of tea. More than just warm you up, oatmeal also fills you up for a the long run due to all that fiber and a good amount of protein it has.
To make this meal even more filling and downright delicious, add a handful of chopped nuts or better yet a glob of your favorite peanut butter.
Some of my favorite oatmeal variations include Almond Joy, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Peanut Butter Cup. Whoever says you can’t have chocolate in the morning has obviously never put it in oatmeal.
Who doesn’t love a good bowl of mac and cheese or mashed potatoes on a cold Winter night? Comfort foods warm the body and the soul during the colder months, but that doesn’t mean they have to pack on an extra layer to enjoy them. A lot of the classic comfort food dishes can be made healthier and even vegan like this vegetable lasagna without sacrificing an ounce of flavor. Here’s a few of my go to ideas:
Soups are the perfect answer for any Winter meal. Since they are mostly liquid, soups can help fill you up leading to eating less at your main meal. Try adding a cup of soup before dinner and load it up with whatever veggies you like.
Chili is also a cold weather staple in my house, especially with the Super Bowl right around the corner. Want to know the secret to making a “super” bowl of chili? Bet you’ll never guess what my secret ingredient is.
Peanut Butter. Yes, I even add it to my chili (and African Peanut Stew) Add 1/2 cup of peanut butter to your favorite chili recipe to see why mine never lasts more than a couple of days. If you’re not such a nut about pb like me, add 1/4 cup to still get that nutty flavor and leave people guessing what the secret ingredient is.
To go with your cup of soon to be blue ribbon, county fair winning chili recipe, what better to pair it with than a sandwich? A grilled sandwich. That’s what is better.
Turn any favorite sandwich up a notch and heat it up or grill it. Therefore, you can call it the fancier name of a panini. By far the best sandwich I have made this Winter has been my Cheddar and Apple Panini which is a true New England style sandwich..or rather panini.
No panini press? No problem. Just add your sandwich to a hot skillet and press down the top with another skillet. No fancy equipment required to make such a fancy named sandwich.
You knew it was coming. There’s no better way to get the blood pumping and make your own personal heater by getting in some exercise. Not gunna lie, this is how I kept warm while refusing to turn on the heat when I was living down South last year. It’s amazing how much 30 minutes of exercise can do a for a chronically cold individual.
Also, get outside! There’s nothing a few layers and good quality boots can’t handle if it leads to some fresh air and the beauty of a fresh coat of snow. Snowboarding, skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, walking, the list goes on for activities the Winter brings and ways to enjoy it. Instead of complaining about the weather, embrace it. You’ll forget all about how cold you thought you were once you get moving and enjoy the scenary.
After hiking up a mountain all day I’m sure you could use a little pick me up with a treat or two. Even if that mountain is actually just walking to and from your car in 12 degree weather. The colder months are also about enjoying the tastes of the season. Snow and hot chocolate go together hand in hand. I remember always having a mug of hot chocolate waiting for me at the front steps when I would play out in the snow all day, and adding a dollop of fresh snow always made it the perfect drinking temperature.
Now that I’ve grown up and have a more refined palet, I’ve swapped my snow for candy canes and peanut butter. Try jazzing up your favorite cup of cocoa by adding in a mini candy cane or a spoonful of peanut butter.
What’s your favorite way to warm up in the Winter?
What is your favorite comfort food dish?