“Once we stop wishing it were summer, winter can be a glorious season in which the world takes on sparse beauty and even the pavement sparkles.”
Katherine May, Wintering
Winter teaches us to look. To see beyond the conventional beauty found in neighboring seasons and find the awe-inducing qualities of Winter.
Like so many, this month has been a hard one for our family. This past week in between watching SNL reruns and attending my own pity party, I paused for an hour to reflect on what I admire about Winter. Here is what I came up with:
Seeing the bare architecture of deciduous trees.
Watching Fall’s leaves turn into nutritious soil for Spring’s garden.
Watching the chickadees forage for seeds outside my window.
Warming fires inside.
Warming fires outside.
Snow capped mountains on a clear day.
Hot tea all day long.
The way the sun feels in Winter.
Seeing the meditative dance of smoke arising from our neighbor’s chimneys.
The roar of a Winter fed river.
A quiet calendar.
Red rose hips on bare branches.
Observing the natural process of death as a necessary part of growth.
Lingering dinners at the table.
The crunch of snow underfoot.
Long nights that are the perfect setting for cozying up on the couch to watch a movie together.
In the quiet mindfulness of Winter, the days aren’t as crowded with activities and tasks which makes it easier to appreciate the little things.
Covering every root-y vegetable in a blanket of cheese and cream.
That citrus hits its peak in the Winter so that even though we can’t always see the sun we can remember what it tastes like.
I’d love to hear where you are finding beauty right now.
*Also, for paid subscribers our next Cook - Along will be Sunday, January 30 at 3:00 pm PST. I’ll send along a recipe next week that we will be cooking together so you can prep if you’re into that sort of thing.
Citrus and Avocado Salad with Yogurt and Rosemary Granola
I’m not actually much of a breakfast person. I like my mornings served with coffee and if the day allows leisure, a good book. But when it’s time for breakfast it’s usually savory that I crave. This simple parfait or breakfast salad of sorts sits somewhere in between sweet and savory and really you could push it further into either side if you’d like. Omit the fennel and chili flake and add more honey if you prefer to tip towards sweetness. Either way, keep the rosemary. I feel like that is what makes this dish decidedly wintery, but in an unexpectedly fresh and light sort of way.
1/2 cup yogurt (I prefer plain, Greek yogurt)
1 orange, segmented (if you can find it Cara Cara is a favorite or use grapefruit instead of orange)
1/2 avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch wedges
1/2 cup Rosemary Granola (recipe below)
Honey or olive oil to finish, optional
Flake salt, optional
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
These amounts and arrangements are mere suggestions. Add more or less if you see fit.
Add the yogurt to a bowl or plate. Arrange the oranges and avocado on the yogurt. Top with granola and finish with fresh rosemary. You can also add on a drizzle of honey or olive oil (or both!) and a sprinkle of flake salt.
1 egg white
1 cup oats
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup pepitas
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon chili flake
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350*F.
In a medium bowl add the egg white and whisk until frothy.
To the bowl add the oats, pistachios, pepitas, sesame seeds, chili flakes, fennel seeds, and rosemary. Stir to combine. Then stir in the honey, salt and olive oil.
Spread this onto the prepared sheet pan and bake for 25 - 30 minutes, until deeply toasted. Stir every 10 minutes.
Let cool on the tray before storing in an airtight container for up to two weeks.