I hate to admit it, because I’m certain I’m in the minority, but I feel like the first month of this year just flew by. I can hardly believe that we’re already facing February, and when I think about the fact that our baby is due in less than four weeks, I’m confident that this cold season will be over before we know it.
Jackson’s guitar teacher was here last weekend, lamenting over the fact that January is often slow, boring, and a little bit depressive. It immediately dawned on me why I feel so differently, and I think it’s because we’ve been incredibly social with lots to celebrate (three birthday in three weeks!). We’ve also set aside time for getting together with friends, both at their house and ours, I’ve hosted my cookbook book club, and even made time for lunch with some special ladies.
We haven’t noticed how dull January can be because we’ve interacted with a lot of people, so here’s what I suggest: throw a party or get-together this month to cheer you up and help the time go by quickly! It could be a big family snow day party with sledding, skating, and snow-fort building penciled in (this is fun for adults and/or kids), a simple casual night in with board games (works well for a multi-aged group) and lots of tasty eats, a movie-watching gathering where you try and catch an Oscar-nominated movie or something your group has been dying to see, an adults-only get-together for drinks and dessert, or a sleepover for your kids and their friends. I can’t think of a better way to make the most of this long, cold season and I don’t know of anyone who’s ever been disappointed by sharing plates of tasty food with their friends and family. I’m certain it will warm your heart and make these harsh weekends just a little more fun and memorable.
I have several recipes designed for cold-weather entertaining. They’re simple, seasonal and in most cases can be made in advance, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy your guests.
- Flatbreads – Super easy and totally customizable. Make these in advance, serve them at room temperature, and revel in your brilliance.
- Another popular option is to make a batch of no-knead bread and serve it alongside some assorted mustards, good quality hard cheeses, and fig jam.
Mains to Try:
- Pretzel Chicken with Creamy Mustard Sauce – serve with roasted fingerling potatoes tossed with olive oil, sea salt and fresh herbs, and green vegetable. Perfect for any kind of proper sit-down dinner.
- Slow Cooker Pork Ragu – One of my favourite recipes. I can’t imagine anything better for easy entertaining. Print it off, and make it this weekend. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
- Slow-Cooked Beef Stroganoff – My food-writer friend Robyn recently made this and she reached out over Twitter to tell me “I made the beef stroganoff last night and it rocked my world!” That’s a pretty generous endorsement don’t you think? This works well for a large group, or even if you’re just having a few friends over, because you can never goes wrong with having leftovers.
- I like to serve chocolate pudding pie, cake, a big platter of homemade cookies, or even something store bought at this time of year.
- This impromptu gathering was hugely popular and is perfect for the cold-weather season.
- A family-friendly birthday party menu that’s perfect for any kind of big gathering you might be hosting this month – why not plan something for Family Day weekend?
Are you suffering from the winter blues this year? What are you doing to combat them? Any fun gatherings penciled into your calendar this month?