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Cozying Up With Comfort Foods And Warm Winter Fun

Winter has returned!

Over the last couple of weeks, snow has drifted in and out.  While I'm not a fan of snow, or the cold. I am a big fan of cozying up, making tons of comfort food and filling the house with wintery smells. 

The dogs are loving the magical white powder.  Wynter is a snow dog for sure. She can't wait to get out there once there is a nice layer down and she plays like a young puppy again. Riley loves it when she starts the game of chase up, as most days she's too busy hunting and sniffing the previous night's creatures to play with him. 

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Stay Inside

When the kids were little, we would dress in layers, pack everything into the minivan and drive up to the ski resorts for snowboarding and skiing. But I would take that time to grab a few books, my headphones, and spend the day in the lodge by a roaring fire and a table full of snacks for when the family would come in hungry.

These days, I still have that fire going, my comfy loungewear, a fuzzy blanket, and a good book to enjoy on the couch.  As I've gotten older, I actually have started looking forward to the snow days, when I can slow down and enjoy my cup of tea.

One of the reasons that I tend to shy away from going out into the icy wilderness is that I have a condition called Raynaud's phenomenon which makes it very painful to be in the cold. I have heated gloves, and I use a CBD salve that actually helps the pain once my hands or feet get too cold. But I don't spend a lot of time in the snow for that reason. 

Comfort Foods for Cozy Days

I will say that comfort food is my GO-TO when I'm having a rough day, when I'm cold, or when I just want to get cozy with my hubby and watch a movie (fall asleep watching a movie ) in front of the fire.  So I gathered a few of my favorite comfort food recipes from my favorite food bloggers and I am excited to share them with you. 

These are actual recipes that I use here in my house and that I LOVE to make.  

Butter Your Biscuit: Loaded Potato Soup

This is one of my favorite food blogs and I'm always enjoying her take on familiar recipes. This potato soup is NOT VEGETARIAN, however I usually swap out the broth for a vegan broth, leave out the bacon, and it's good to go.  This is a very close recipe to my own potato soup recipe that I've been using in my kitchen for years.  

In this recipe, she suggests using a cast iron dutch oven.  I find that it works great in any pot.  I even throw it all together in my slow cooker and let it cook all day.  

Great recipe!

Loaded Potato Soup

Loaded Potato Soup

This is super creamy and made in just one pot. Loaded Potato Soup is the ultimate comfort food that's so easy to make! It's packed with tender chunks of potatoes, some veggies, bacon, and cheeeese!

Homemade In The Kitchen: Chicken Pot Pies For Two

Even though we are mostly vegetarian, this is a great recipe and it's very easy to swap out the chicken and broth for vegetarian options. 

We've been mostly vegetarian, with some occasional fish for just about 20 years. And it has become so much easier recently to find easy swaps for chicken in your usual grocery store.  A great swap for chicken in this recipe is King mushrooms.  They have a great chewy texture and hold up great while baking. 

I love this recipe written for two people instead of a large family.  Now that Michael and I are finally on our own, I've had to learn how to cut down the portion sizes from most recipes so we aren't making too much.  And this is just the right size for one or two people!

Chicken Pot Pie For Two

Chicken Pot Pie For Two is baked in two ramekins or two 6-inch round cake pans and topped with a homemade pie crust. It’s an easy chicken dinner for two without having leftovers for days.

A Grill For All Season: Smoked Mac and Cheese

There are two things that I ADORE, my Traeger Smoker Oven and Mac and Cheese. But until I read this recipe, I had never considered putting the two together. Now, I can't wait to dig my way to the smoker and get this started! 

We have smoked cheeses, salmon, shishito peppers and pizzas in our Traeger, and the results are unbelievable. This is a fun blog for those like us, who love to smoke food!

Smoked Mac and Cheese

Smoked Mac and Cheese

Creamy, cheesy, and smoky Traeger Mac and Cheese is the ultimate main course or side dish to any meal. I guarantee this Smoked Mac and Cheese will be the best macaroni & cheese of your life.

But I think tonight, I'll gather some stuff from the pantry and freezer and make a pot of our Vegan Chili and some fresh bread. My Easy Vegan Crock Pot Chili Recipe is perfect for slow afternoons and filling the house with delicious smells, without making a giant mess in the kitchen. 

Cozy Winter Crafting With Cricut

One of the things that I love doing for my friends and family is making special crafted cards with my Cricut cutting machine. This is the latest one that I just sent my daughter and she loves it! It took about an hour to cut and glue together.  The SVG file is in the Design Space App for Cricut and is free for Cricut Access members. The file is: Pin Up Girl Valentine Card #M21F3752

I also found some great cardstock at A Cherry On Top that has fun textures and colors. 

If you make this one, make sure you tag us on Instagram to show us your work!

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Quiet Thoughts

This time of year, when there isn't as much light, there are many people like myself who struggle to stay positive. The last few years have been hard, with so many losses. I try to make time for meditation and mindfulness, but it gets tricky. 

I want you to take a moment and think about the people you choose to keep in your life, take a deep look at why they are there. Oprah Winfrey said recently in an interview that I watched that she only talks to the people she wants to talk to. She said at this point in her life, she has to focus on the relationships in her life that bring her happiness. Amen!! 

Don't try to force relationships that aren't there. Some people need to be let go and move on. You can't help everyone. Sometimes people are drowning because they need to, and if you try too hard… they will take you under with them. Don't let them. 

Take some time to get into the sunlight. Breathe! 

Talk soon,

Crysta

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