Another 50 Shades of Grey

The other 50 shades of grey

That got your attention, didn't it? But this is a family column, so I'm not going to get all kinky.

I just wanted to talk about the striking beauty of late fall, and the way the colours of nature can transform a day. One moment can be flat and dreary and the next can be breathtaking  in its intensity.

The transition of summer to autumn and then hinting at winter is one so subtle it can span our full range of emotions.

Melancholy, joy, passion, anger, depression... like the shades of leaves fallen from the trees, or the flavours of dishes served at the table.

We go from sumptuous harvest flavours in tomatoes and peppers, to the softer sweeter taste of roasted root vegetables, and then we warm ourselves with rich stews and soups accompanied by breads and biscuits.

As the days get shorter, it can be a daunting task to maintain our joie de vivre, to stay above the grey. Perhaps though, if we use the greyness as a foundation for our own bright spots to shine through then the cold dark season won't seem so bad.

My solution is to make a list of 50 ways to make the grey exciting (wink wink)... I'm putting the first half in this week's column, and I'm going to list more in a couple of weeks when we might start to get bogged down again.

If you have any ideas of your own, dear reader, I'd love to hear from you.

  1. Grab some of the last harvest flavours and preserve them. Bottle homemade tomato sauce, or oven-roast tomatoes or pickle peppers. (See last week's column if you need a recipe or two!)
  2. Buy a good bread, some tasty cheese and serve with slices of pear and apple (and local wine or beer, of course!)
  3. Try new ways to enjoy the roasted squash like this lovely tart recipe.
  4. Take a drive and enjoy the views through the orchards and vineyards of the beautiful Okanagan valley. 
  5. Buy yourself a new scarf or hat or pair of gloves or mittens - preferably in a bright colour!
  6. Visit a fall craft fair.
  7. Enjoy homemade "apple goop" for breakfast.
  8. Eat in for dinner, cooking something seasonal. Stuffed squash? Roast pork tenderloin with apples?
  9. Eat out for dinner at one of the many local restaurants offering seasonal cuisine.
  10. Stay warm and still think of summer moments by adding warm caramel or chocolate sauce to your ice cream :)
  11. Have a "date night" with your significant other, or a "friend night" - all the local movie theatres offer deals on various weeknights, or you could go bowling... Enjoy, laugh, create your own sunshine!
  12. Take a walk outside at lunch. Breathe the fresh air, enjoy the view, congratulate yourself on getting some exercise. (if it's rainy, just take an umbrella. You won't get soggy on one little walk.)
  13. Give yourself a challenge to smile at 10 people in a day. See what happens.
  14. So some fall tidying (like spring cleaning, you know?) - declutter and send something to charity or put an ad online. Congratulate yourself for giving back to the Universe.
  15. Try a new local wine or beer, or even spirits. Not sure of what to try? Ask someone at a local store - Metro Liquor has some great selections in Kelowna. Toast your good health.
  16. Visit a farmer's market - they still exist, even in winter, you know!
  17. Stop by the lake, and take in the view. Think about what a great part of the world we live in.
  18. Hug someone, or ask for a hug if you need the boost. It doesn't cost anything and the energy you use will come back exponentially.
  19. Watch a cute animal video. (Sounds corny, but it always makes me smile...)
  20. Host a kitchen party, and make some gifts to give over the holidays. My antipasto recipe is a great one to make as a group.
  21. Call an old friend, or a relative you don't speak to often. Catch up, and soak in the good vibes of connecting.
  22. Make some Rice Krispie squares for your kids' class or team, or for the office. Watch the good old-fashioned smiles come out :)
  23. Take the dog for a walk. Or the cat. Borrow someone' s pet if you need to, or tag along with them. Animals have good karma, and they're good at spreading it around.
  24. After you've shared some love, celebrate your own good karma by treating yourself: a pedicure? A drink after work? Maybe a bit of sleeping in on a day off...
  25. (Since I am a foodie, this has to be my last one tonight) Make some comfort food. You decide: mac n' cheese? meatloaf? pizza? Mine was always tuna casserole, with jellied salad. That stuff is just good for your soul once in a while. 

Most of all, smile and enjoy the moment. The next moment coming could be entirely different, so it's important not to miss something that you might not experience again, at least for a while.

And smiling lets you share your joy with the world. The world could always use a bit more joy, don't you think?

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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