The other 50 shades of grey

Beating the winter blahs

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 those bleak grey winter skies that seem to go on endlessly this time of year. Or rather, I wanted to talk about how to avoid focusing on them.

The transition of autumn to winter has not been subtle in the last few years. As a result, I know for me at least it can span a full range of emotions. Melancholy, joy, passion, anger, depression, I feel them all. It can be frustrating, like those poor leaves that tried to fall from the trees after that first snowfall.

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, the cold dark season won't seem so challenging.

My solution is to make a list of 50 ways to make the grey exciting. I’m putting the first 10 in this week's column and I will to list another 10 on my Facebook page this week.

Perhaps you can help me. Send me your favourite way to brighten the winter greys and I’ll share them here too.

Here’s how we start:

1. Buy a good bread from a place like Okanagan Grocery, Sprout or True Grain in Summerland (let me know other great places). Add some tasty cheeses and meats. Serve with slices of winter fruits like pear and apple on that charcuterie board you got for Christmas. (Feel free to accompany it with local wine or beer.)

2. Try new ways to enjoy roasted veggies, like this delicious potato tart. (link: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/harissa-sweet-potato-tarte-tatin )

3. Salvage the flavours of winter ingredients that sometimes need a boost, like oven-roasting tomatoes for your dishes. (link: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-tomatoes-recipe-1947520 ) You will never look back after trying these.

4. Buy yourself a new scarf, hat or pair of gloves or mittens - preferably in a bright colour. Then see number 5 or 6.

5. Take a drive and enjoy the views through the orchards and vineyards of our beautiful Okanagan valley. Even on the bleakest winter day, we are blessed with amazing views.

6. Try a winter sport that doesn’t require you go outside—curling. You are supposed to wear comfortable clothing and you don’t have to lift that stone hardly at all. (Link: https://www.kelownacurling.com/general_info/novice/ )

7. Enjoy homemade "apple goop" (link: https://happygourmand.wordpress.com/recipe-archives/apple-goop/ ) for breakfast. It works on top of yogurt, pancakes or even with toast or oatmeal.

9. Eat in for dinner and cook something cozy. How does stuffed squash sound for a vegetarian (or vegan with small adjustments)? (link: https://www.budgetbytes.com/wild-rice-stuffed-acorn-squash/ ) Or maybe you’d like roast pork tenderloin with apples? (link: https://www.inspiredtaste.net/21117/perfect-roasted-pork-tenderloin-recipe-with-apples/ )

9. Eat out for dinner at one of the many local restaurants we have. Many have winter events and special menus to keep things fun and interesting.

10. Stay warm in your fuzzy socks with a good book about summer. I find the warm feelings are increased if you add caramel or chocolate sauce to your coffee or your ice cream.

I am sure we can come up with 50 ways. Singer Paul Simon did it. Let’s beat winter at its own game and put the fun in those grey shades.

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

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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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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