Got cabin fever? What can you do to break up the day when you are stuck in the house? Here are seven quick ideas to chase away the winter blues.
#1. Bake up some fun. Pull out your cook book and make a cake, brownies or your favorite cookies from scratch. Perhaps, a loaf of fresh bread would make a nice compliment to tonight’s dinner. Or throw together a few extra meals to store in the freezer in anticipation of some late nights when you won’t have time to cook.
1C (2 sticks) butter
1C all-purpose flour
¾ C unsweetened baker’s cocoa
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease/flour a baking pan and set aside. (The other reason I love this recipe is that all of the mixing takes place in just one saucepan, so the clean-up is minimal.)
In a heavy saucepan, quickly melt the butter, then remove pan from heat. Add in sugar and vanilla, stir. Add eggs one at a time, being sure to mix each in completely (be careful the mixture isn’t too hot because you don’t want the eggs to cook). Mix in the cocoa (I use my hand whisk for this) and then the flour, baking powder and salt.
Pour into the greased baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. I like my brownies super gooey, so I take them out while the center is set but still soft. I tried these in a mini muffin pan and got perfect brownie bites (cooked for just 15 minutes).
Try this tip:
If you’re going to make your favorite cookie dough, why not just double the recipe and store half for another day. Just wrap half of the raw dough on a sheet of wax paper (forming a log in the center) and fold as you would a burrito. Then, wrap this log in a sheet of aluminum foil, mark the outside with the name of the cookie and place in freezer (you might need to place the log on a cookie sheet when you initially put it in the freezer but after about 30 minutes it should be hard enough to store without the extra support). When the day comes that you are ready to bake this portion, simply pull it out of the deep freeze, thaw for an hour, open, cut into pieces and bake.
#2. Pull out those extra cozy blankets and build a fort
|apparently one Brelinsky isn’t having loads of fun|
#3 Raid the bookshelf or movie stockpile for some oldies but goodies that haven’t garnered any attention in a while. Then, sit down and read together or pop-up a big bowl of popcorn and have a family movie night.
#4 Collect paper, pencils, crayons and scissors. Design a few Valentine’s Day cards or birthday cards. See who can create the most elaborate snowflake cut-out or write a love note to a far away friend.
#5 Go play outside. Bundle up in your warmest mittens, hat and coat and spend a little time romping in the snow. Use a stick to sign your name in the slush or draw some silly faces.
#6. Sip some hot cocoa or a snow shake.
Hot cocoa recipe:
Optional: add a bit of cinnamon to taste
Shake all dry ingredients up well
Fill a mug halfway with hot water (or hot milk) and spoon in the mix by the tablespoon, stir until dissolved. If you opted for the hot water, you will want to add milk to finish filling up your mug (otherwise your hot cocoa will be too thin)
Snow shake recipe:
Fill up a cup to the top with snow, then add milk (until it reaches about 1/3 of the way up) and sugar (by the teaspoon, to suit your taste), stir together. You can also add either a pinch of baker’s cocoa or a squirt of chocolate syrup.
#7. Play a game.Try a board game or card game (think War or Go Fish). Set up nine plastic cups in a hallway and bowl them over with a soft ball. Need to get your parts moving? Try a little Simon Says or Hokie Pokie.