The winter months can be long and dreary, but a snow-cation is the perfect way to break up the monotony of the season. Whether you’re looking something fun to do with the kids or just a relaxing day at home, there are plenty of ways to make your own winter staycation unique and special. From outdoor activities to cozy nights spent indoors.
Snow Day Fun
When the snow starts to fall and days become shorter, it can be difficult to find something fun to do. For those who want to make the most of a winter staycation, here are some ideas for how to enjoy a cozy snow day!
Start off the day with a hot cup of cocoa or tea while watching the snowflakes fall outside. If it’s safe enough, bundle up in warm clothes and take a stroll around town or your neighborhood. Enjoy the beauty of nature and appreciate how peaceful it is outside when there is no traffic noise. Afterward, come back inside and relax on the couch with a movie marathon!
Food for the Soul
I’ve talked in other blogs about my love for cooking heartwarming meals in the Wintertime. There is nothing like a warm soup, simmering all day or a hearty meal to perk you up. Just like ice cream tastes better in the summer, warm foods just taste better when eaten at home with snow falling outside.
I’ll share another favorite recipe of mine! And to add some magic to any of these dishes, check out my Sourdough blog for tasty things and tips or starter care.
Creamy Garlic Butter Chicken with Spinach and Bacon
- 6 chicken thighs, boneless and skin off (or chicken breast)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 6 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1/3 cup chicken broth (or dry white wine)
- 1/2 cup crispy bacon, chopped
- 1 3/4 cups half and half
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves
- Salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- Crushed chili pepper flakes, optional
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch (cornflour) mixed with 1 tablespoon of water (optional, if you like a thicker sauce)
1. To make the garlic butter chicken thighs with creamy spinach and bacon: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper, and sear in the pan for 5-8 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Once cooked, remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
2. Melt the butter in the remaining cooking juices leftover in the pan. Add in the onion and garlic and fry until fragrant (about one minute). Pour in the chicken stock (or white wine, if using), and allow to reduce down slightly. Add the crispy bacon and fry for 1-2 minutes to release the flavors.
3. Reduce heat to low heat, add the half and half (or heavy cream), and bring to a gentle simmer, while stirring occasionally. Make sure to lower the heat to avoid the sauce to separate. Add Italian seasoning and season with salt and pepper to your taste.
4. Add in the spinach leaves and allow to wilt in the sauce, and add in the parmesan cheese. Allow sauce to simmer for a further minute until cheese melts through the sauce. For a thicker sauce, add the cornstarch mixture (1 teaspoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water, see the ingredients list) to the skillet, and continue to simmer while quickly stirring the mixture through until the sauce thickens.
5. Add the cooked chicken back into the pan; sprinkle with chili pepper flakes (if using), and spoon the sauce over each chicken thigh. Serve the Garlic Butter Chicken with Spinach and Bacon over pasta, rice, or a low-carb favorite like zoodles, cauliflower rice, or steamed veggies. Enjoy!
No Snow but Still Cold Outside?
With winter in full swing, many of us are looking for ways to stay entertained. A winter staycation is the perfect way to enjoy some downtime without leaving your home. For those of us who live in areas where snowfall is not guaranteed (or is guaranteed but hasn’t happened, yet…), a winter staycation can still provide plenty of fun activities and cozy moments!
From building miniature snowmen out of playdough and cotton balls to hosting a hot chocolate bar complete with all the fixings, you can make your home feel like a true winter wonderland. Even if there’s no snow outside, you can always set up an indoor snowball fight or cook a soul warming meal together. With so many ways to create a cozy atmosphere indoors, it’s easy to enjoy the beauty of the season from inside your own home!
Snowman Playdough Recipe
- 1 cup bleached flour (for a whiter snow color)
- 2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup water
- food coloring for more colorful snowmen
1. In a large bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients (flour, salt, cream of tartar) and mix well.
2. If you are making colorful snowmen, mix food coloring with your water first. Then add the vegetable oil and water with food coloring to a large pot. Mix together.
3. Add the dry ingredients to your pot and mix well.
4. Cook over low to medium heat until the dough starts to form and becomes dry.
5. Once it starts to form a ball together and looks fully cooked, take off the heat. Let the dough cool first before touching.
6. Once cool, knead the dough for 5 minutes to make the dough soft.
Enjoy building all the snowy creations you can think of!
However you are keeping warm this winter, stay cozy, stay creative and enjoy the season for all that it is.