I LOVE wintertime and I love snow! I think it is invigorating and incredibly beautiful. (Which is a really good thing considering that I live in northwest Pennsylvania... aka "the snow belt"!)
I love the feel, the look and the smell of a fresh, cold winter day. (And the way the snow sparkles in the sun like DIAMONDS doesn't hurt anything, either!) ;o)
I'm like a kid -- I love catching snowflakes on my tongue, or watching them land - delicate and perfect - on the sleeve of my coat. And like people or fingerprints, every snowflake is unique... no two are exactly alike... and snowflakes always have 6 sides. How amazing is THAT?!
Just look at these actual, highly magnified photos of real snowflake crystals -- aren't they GORGEOUS?!
Admittedly, some people (like my darling husband!) aren't too crazy about winter. Silly boy! So... what are my tips for not just surviving the cold, but actually enjoying it?
First of all, dress for it!!! Sounds so simple, but you'd be surprised how many people (darling husband included!) who DON'T... then wonder why they're so, um.... *COLD*???!!!!
- Warm coats (I love cozy down outerwear, and it is WORTH the money!)
- Warm, waterproof boots (my Columbia boots keep my toesies toasty warm. Good boots are expensive... don't skimp here! Cold or wet tootsies are NOT fun!)
- Scarves, hats, mittens... mmmm, soft and warm. Absolutely necessary - and fun fashion accents, too!
Some of my other cold weather strategies...
- Hot, hearty, homemade soups with warm, crusty bread. Look for my favorite winter soup recipe below.
- Lots of rich, dark hot chocolate with marshmallows - yum!
- Warm, crackling fires whenever possible!
- Soft fleece or flannel PJs and warm fuzzy slippers.
- Flannel bed sheets and warm down comforters.
- Snuggling under a quilt with your sweetie and your kitty.
- Find something you like to do outside... I especially love cross-country skiing.
- When all else fails... take a vacation somewhere warm! (This is my husband's favorite winter-coping strategy!) You'll come home de-stressed, recharged and... ready to shovel the driveway! ;o)
(Yeah, I was having more fun than he was!)
Here are a few of my other favorite winter pictures...
It makes A LOT, so call your family or friends over to share a warm 'n' cozy evening "in" and... *let it snow*!
SAUSAGE TORTELLINI SOUP
Brown in LARGE soup pot: 2 pounds fresh, sweet Italian sausage with 2 medium chopped onions and several cloves of fresh garlic.
Add 4 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced; 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced; 1 box frozen Italian green beans; 1 chopped red, orange or yellow bell pepper; 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes in puree (I prefer San Marzano); 2 cups low-sodium V-8 juice; 10 cups chicken broth; 1 or 2 chopped chipotle-in-adobo chiles; 2 cans undrained canellini beans, a few dashes Worcestershire sauce; salt and pepper, dried oregano, and ground red pepper (cayenne), all to taste. Bring to a boil then simmer about 2 hours.
Add 1 box frozen chopped spinach and a bag of fresh or frozen tortellini. Simmer another 15-20 minutes or until tortellini are cooked through.
Garnish with chopped basil leaves and freshly shaved parmesan-reggiano cheese and serve with thick chunks of hot, crusty bread.