Beating The Winter Blues... - Kate's Kitchen Blog at - 322954

Kate's Kitchen

Beating the Winter Blues... 
Mar. 2, 2014 8:41 pm 
Updated: Mar. 5, 2014 9:00 am
It is -6 degrees outside right now.  On March 2nd.  That pretty much sums it up, don't you think?  Wind chills tonight are predicted to be in the -20s with record lows, and single digits tomorrow.  What???  My husband and I went for groceries earlier tonight, so this way we can at least stay in the house the rest of the week since there are more snow chances this week.  I think I'm starting to get the winter blues, and Spring is only supposed to officially be 19 days away.  By this point, I really thought things would be looking up, but we have had below zero temps nearly every morning since December.  I haven't even written in my blog for the last couple of weeks, I'm not as motivated to cook, and I just want to stay curled up in a blanket each night.   

Can any of you relate?  Even my magazines this month said "What to Cook on a Snowy Day" and "Winter Survival Guide."  (Sadly, I haven't even read these yet.)  So I guess I'm not the only one feeling like this.  I am looking for some ways to beat the winter blues! 

I am watching the Oscars right now, so that has been fun.  I have hardly seen any of the movies, but I still love to watch.  I love this song now:

"Let It Go" - Frozen

Lately, I have also been planning my husband's birthday, which is going to be awesome!  I can't wait.  I will blog about this at the end of the month.  My birthday is next weekend so that should also be fun.  We also got our grocery shopping done, so I can keep cooking this week.

I do have a funny story to share, which may be partly to blame for my winter blues situation.  This past Friday afternoon, I decided to try a Zumba class at my work.  I have heard so many people say it's so much fun.  Ok, I'll give it a try.  Well, if you don't know what it is, which I didn't either, it is basically like dancing the whole time and you follow the moves of the teacher.  I'm what you could call a "wanna-be dancer."  So I'm following the moves (or trying to), and about 20 minutes in, I lose my balance and fall over, twisting my knee in the process.  Awesome.  I sit there for a minute and think it seems okay, so I get up and kind of fake it through the rest of the class.  I feel like such an idiot and think about that show "Dancing with the Stars," and how I would last about 15 minutes of the first practice. 

I work the rest of the day at my desk, but then when I stand up to go home, my knee is so stiff I can barely walk out to my car.  Even worse, I had to miss my work party that night which included complementary dinner at White Star Ale House, a restaurant in Cedar Rapids we haven't been to.  This really brought me down over the weekend, I guess figuratively as well as literally, (haha).  I have been icing , elevating, and wrapping it over the weekend, but at least I can stand on it and hobble around.  I did this same type of thing a few years ago, so it seems like it will be okay.  This is what I get for trying something new.  I'm a "walk aerobics" girl, and the teacher on the DVD always says "this isn't dancing."  I should have known my limits!  I think this ends my Zumba phase, and for any of you contemplating zumba, just be careful!  If you like it, then more power to you, I just don't think this my kind of thing. 

I made the following recipes last week from All Recipes:
Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup

Easy Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup photo

This soup was very good and so easy!  I just doubled the liquids (water and half-and-half) so it would be more like a soup, but kept all other aspects the same.  The flavor was great!  This reminded me of the Baked Potato Soup at Panera, which I love.  I quickly put this in the slow cooker before work, and it was very easy to finish once I got home.  I love this soup and will definitely be making it again!

Saltine Toffee Cookies

Saltine Toffee Cookies photo

These cookies are fabulous!!  Don't let the saltines fool or scare you; they are absolutely delicious with the toffee and chocolate combination!  These would be a really unique addition to any party, cookie exchange, or holiday gathering.  They come together very quickly, and when you break them apart, you have a lot!  I think these would be great with crushed candy canes on top as well. 

Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak

Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak photo

This slow cooker Salisbury Steak was awesome!  I wasn't sure how it would come together, but followed the directions exactly, and was very happy with the result.  The steaks cooked perfectly and had great flavor.  This is a dish that works better for the weekends because of the shorter cooking time and having to brown the patties before adding to the slow cooker.  However, if you put them in during the afternoon, it is great to already have dinner taken care of.  This pairs very well with homemade mashed potatoes. 

This coming week, I will keep up the cooking, icing my poor knee, and trying to stay warm!  My beating winter blues ideas for this week:
Reading Hannah Swensen mysteries (finished Lemon Meringue Pie Murder today), cuddling under blankets, chocolate, hot chocolate, daylight savings time, the Bachelor and Modern Family, birthdays, St Patty's Day, movies, Wonder Years reruns on Netflix, and cooking of course!
Mar. 3, 2014 3:04 am
Your pictures are beautiful and have made me hungry! I know what you mean about the weather - it doesn't affect me by getting the blues, but boy oh boy! I'm getting so ready for some warm weather! I love to be in my kitchen when it's cold and snowy; soups and desserts being my favorite thing to make. Hope your knee gets better!
Mar. 3, 2014 5:55 am
It's bitterly cold and snowy here too- I've been looking for signs of spring and there are some! A bird outside my work window has been collecting sticks! Ducks are already pairing up, courting between drifts of snow! Squirrels are coming out a bit more often. Hang in there, and buy some strawberries, they're delicious this year and it reminds you that somewhere it's warm.
Mar. 3, 2014 9:20 am
It's even frozen in Texas right now! I can't imagine weathering this winter up north. I do love your photos and am hungry. The slow cooker salisbury steak may be on our menu tonight-it's still early in the day-thanks for sharing.
Mar. 3, 2014 10:43 am
Mother Ann I am so ready for warm weather too! I'm glad it will be staying light out longer soon. Edob, thanks for sharing those positive signs of Spring, that is encouraging to hear. I will have to buy some strawberries and maybe make some tropical smoothies soon. Paula I hope you try the steaks; we really liked them. I plan to give the recipe 5 stars.
Mar. 4, 2014 4:46 am
You are a few hours north of me but we have had that bitter cold & snow as well. I have a lot of gardening I do the other 3 seasons so the winter is like a vacation for me. Have a friend that keeps asking me to come to the Zumba class she teaches. Not gonna happen since graceful is not a word to be used in the same sentence with my name :) At the end of the week daylight savings time starts so Spring is coming! Loved the photos!
Mar. 4, 2014 3:52 pm
It was really beautiful here today in Winnipeg Manitoba, only -30 with the wind chill. I have about 5 feet of snow in my back yard and the BBQ is just a slightly higher bump in the snow. I can't believe I am saying this but I am tired of roast chicken and winter hearty meals, I want a grilled steak and a salad!
Mar. 5, 2014 7:12 am
I wish I had some of your soup! On a cold day, that would be delicious! Beautiful Photos! I hope your knee gets better. I hurt my knee and tore the meniscus and the ACL so if icing doesn't seem to help, please see an orthopaedic surgeon.
Mar. 5, 2014 9:00 am
Haha, CatHill that made me laugh. Graceful is definitely not a word that should ever be used with me either! Marli, I can totally relate; I am really getting tired of those "winter comfort meals" too. I want to grill out and go to the Dairy Queen down the street! You're amazing; I can't imagine having 5 feet of snow! Lela, the soup is so good and easy, you should try it! I'm so sorry you hurt your knee too; it is no fun! Thanks for all your comments everyone, I loved hearing from you! Daylight savings time this weekend!
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About Me
My favorite things to cook
My favorite things to cook would have to be dinner options. This is the main meal I cook most days and this is where I try the most new things. I absolutely love pasta or any Italian dish, and so does my husband. Macaroni and cheese is really becoming my favorite food, and there are so many ways to change it up! Pasta and macaroni are my go-to favorites!
My favorite family cooking traditions
My grandma is a fantastic cook, so I love going to her house for any meal, especially holidays. I love her ham balls, chicken casserole, and chocolate chip pudding cookies. Eating these foods always reminds me of being at her house. I love whenever I visit her that she always has afternoon tea around 3:00pm. I think this is a nice little tradition and want to keep it up myself.
My cooking triumphs
I think the best thing I ever made was BBQ beef brisket out of the Food Network magazine. Pretty much anything I make from this magazine I consider a triumph, but I could not believe that I made this brisket; it was that good. This is definitely one I would use to impress people, plus you cook it in the slow cooker, so it is really minimal work!
My cooking tragedies
I remember I made some kind of dinner casserole and I think I accidentally used condensed milk instead of evaporated milk - it was so sweet and just gross! The first time I tried to make homemade spaghetti sauce, the recipe just said to use ground beef and diced tomatoes and that the tomatoes would cook down. I'm not sure what I did wrong, but this did not work and I have found a new recipe since. I also remember burning some butter or something on a flat baking sheet; the smoke alarm even went off and I threw the pan away!
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