March is a long month and a classic time for people to give up the fight and sink into the depths of the Winter Blues. Even an occasional thaw and slightly longer days just seem like a cruel joke when the heart longs for the warm, sunny, greenness of spring.
Here are a few ways your kitchen can help cheer you up and get you through until spring really, truly arrives. It's almost here! I promise!
Bake a Chocolate Cake Baking a chocolate cake brings happiness in so many ways: the delicious smell of a cake baking filling your home, that nice sense of accomplishment when you gaze at your lovely cake sitting on the counter, the actual consuming of the cake, and the (possible) sharing of the cake at work the next day so you don't end up eating the whole thing yourself. Here are a few of our favorite recipes.
• Julia Child's Reine de Saba
• Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guinness Cake
• Elana Amsterdam's Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
• Vegan Chocolate Ginger Orange Cupcakes
Go on a Winter Picnic Picnics aren't just for summer! Make some hot chocolate (or a boozy toddy if you're feeling frisky), put it in a thermos and pack it up with a wool blanket, some cups and a few treats. Grab your true love or a friend and hike out into the cold/snow/drizzle. Find a park or an outdoor ice skating rink or somewhere where you can find a little shelter and set up your picnic. If possible, walk to your location. The exercise will both warm you and get those endorphins flowing.
Accomplish Something A sense of accomplishment can be a mood elevator. Choose a task that can be finished in an afternoon or evening like cleaning your silver or organizing your kitchen junk drawer. Reward yourself with a treat (see below)!
Treats! Treat yourself to something luscious. Ignore the price and calories and indulge! A special, triple cream cheese or a plate of brightly colored macarons would be nice. This is not a lie-about-on-the-couch indulgence - that only leads to more of the blues, in my experience. Instead, try to make an occasion of it by setting the table, lighting candles, etc. Also, feelings of guilt are not allowed and should be firmly beaten back with a broom. On a similar note:
Cheat a little! Go off your seasonal-produce-only mandate (just this once!) and purchase something delicious that reminds you of spring. It probably won't be as good as when its truly in season, but it may offer a comforting hint of the season to come. Note: Never do this with tomatoes.
Winter Picnic, Indoor Version. OK. It might still be too nasty for an outside picnic. Then make your living room floor your destination. You could even build a fort! Lay down a blanket, set out your favorite picnic foods and lounge around as if you were in a summer's field. Cue bird song!
Share your tips for beating the Winter Blues in the comments!
(Image: Apron image from Apron of Grace)