I know, I know, it’s easy to embrace winter when you live in California. Even in Northern California (especially when the weather is so mild). (And I really feel for my friends and family who are experiencing such a crazy winter on the east coast). But it is storming here today! And we had a small earthquake this morning! And I just had to cancel lunch with my dear friend in the city because it’s too windy and wet to be on the roads. So instead of lunching at the butlerandthechef.com in San Francisco, I’m sitting down to write this post, feeling lucky to be warm and dry in my cozy kitchen, and pondering all the things I love about winter…
First of all, I love a fresh start to the year. I’ve decided to stop making New Year’s resolutions and instead pick a word or a theme to carry me through the year. This year’s word is “mindfulness” – not a big surprise! My kids guessed it before I even told them. Along with being attentive to my theme and enjoying the moment that I’m in, I’m also trying to make a habit of doing the activities that are important to me – yoga, stretching, meditation, sketching, reading… I have a list that reminds what they are. I just need to remember to look at my list! Anyway it’s nice to start off the new year with a renewed sense of purpose, and if I get off track, it’s good to remember that every day is a new day.
Now that the holidays are over and the Christmas cookies are all gone, I’m happy to get back to my healthy eating habits too. I’ve planted some new kale plants in the garden, and I’m trying to eat lots of greens and vegetables – roasted, stir fried, and in salads.
Thanks to my daughters, I’ve learned about “overnight oats”. I try to prepare these every night before I go to bed – they’re kind of fun, they look cute in the fridge (so important, right?), they’re pretty tasty, very healthy, and they make it easier to get out of the house in the morning. I put 1/2 cup of Trader Joe’s organic, multi-grain hot cereal in a glass container, add a sprinkle of cinnamon, some ground flax seed (or Chia seeds), some frozen blueberries or raspberries and cover the whole thing with almond milk (any kind of liquid should work – even yogurt). I put a lid on it and pop it in the fridge. In the morning I microwave it for a minute, add a little more almond milk, some sweetener (I like Stevia), and it’s ready to eat!
OK, it’s not as good as pumpkin pancakes or eggs benedict, but it’s a great healthy option for weekdays.
Another thing I love about winter is all the citrus! My little lemon trees are starting to get blossoms on them and they smell amazing!
We recently harvested a ton of lemons, not exactly on purpose, but I’m not going to blame anyone. So we had to figure out what to do with bowls and bowls of beautiful Meyer lemons before they went to waste! After giving many away, making lemon chicken, lemon fizzy water, and preserved Moroccon lemons, we still had a bunch left (and it’s healthy eating season, so we were trying to avoid sugary desserts). I decided to use my micro-plane and zest a big batch of them. Then I cut them in half and juiced them. I froze the zest on sheets of wax paper in ziploc bags, and froze the juice in ice cube trays. Now we’ll have lemon juice to last us through the winter.
I also harvested a few blood oranges off of my little tree, and made a delicious salad dressing!