3 Ways to Create Togetherness This Winter

The holidays are over for another year, and the whirlwind of activity is at an end. The let-down that comes with the end of all of those exciting parties and feasts and gifts is made easier by…well, by the relief of not having to attend any more exciting parties, cook any more feasts, or wrap any more gifts! Now that we’ve finished the long, lovely, and stressful season of celebrations, we can focus on making the most of staying in.

In this late phase of winter, turn your attention towards enjoying some quiet togetherness with your nearest and dearest. Settle in for the simple pleasures of games, movies, and comfort food.

Family Game Night
Turn off the TV, break out the board games, and spend a silly night at play with the kids. In the interest of family harmony, may we suggest skipping Monopoly? While you play, snack on these healthy, sprinkle-covered “donuts”.

Apple Fruit Donuts
From Hello Wonderful

Cream Cheese
Food Coloring (optional)
Honey (optional)

Slice your apples into rings about 3/4in thick.
Use a knife, corer, or even a metal pastry bag tip to remove the center.
At this step, you can color your cream cheese with food coloring and/or sweeten with a drizzle of honey.
Spread each apple slice with cream cheese “frosting”.
Top with sprinkles and enjoy!

Dinner Party with Friends
Throwing a dinner party for friends doesn’t have to be labor-intensive. Assign each friend a different element of the meal like appetizers, wine, and dessert, then let your crockpot do the heavy lifting for the main entree. The long, slow simmering of this crockpot casserole will give you and your friends plenty of time to work your way through a bottle of wine (or two) while you catch up.

Mexican Casserole (serves 8)
From Well Plated

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 10oz cans red enchilada sauce
1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 tbsps chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
For serving: fresh cilantro, diced avocado, green onion, sour cream

Heal olive oil in large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add turkey and onion and saute until turkey is cooked through. Transfer to the bottom of a large slow cooker.

Add quinoa, enchilada sauce, black beans, tomatoes, corn, bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, garlic, and 1/2 cup of water. Stir to combine.

Cover and cook on high for 2.5 to 3 hours or on low for 5 to 6 hours. Casserole is done when all the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender.

Remove lid and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Stir in 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese, and sprinkle the rest on top. Cover and cook on high until cheese melts, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot with desired toppings.

Date Night/Netflix & Chill
Spend an evening cuddled up with your partner on the couch watching a movie. Whether you choose an old favorite or try something new, make sure to put your phones (and any thoughts about work) in another room. Snack on this tart and spicy snack while you snuggle.

Chili and Lime Popcorn
From Killing Thyme

1 package of popcorn
2 tbsps coconut oil
1 tsp chili powder
Juice and zest of 1 lime

Pop the popcorn according to the directions on the package.
In a small saucepan, heat the coconut oil on medium-low heat.
Add the chili powder and lime juice; stir to combine.
Bring to a low simmer, then remove from heat and stir.
When your popcorn is ready, drizzle on the flavored coconut oil and toss to coat.
Finish with salt and lime zest to taste.