Welcome to February. For me and my midwest/upstate New York upbringing, February and March have the potential to be the dreariest months – the holidays have long since come and gone, and the shine of a promising new year can start to wear off, succumbing to the cold and regular day-to-day.
So every year around this time, I try to bring some sparkle back into my life. I try to mix up my workout routine – last year I joined the gym, this year I’m adding some mindfulness-centered yoga. I plan mini road trips to visit friends, take on new crafting projects and spend hours at the library or bookstore, look for new books to read or cookbooks to spark some inspiration. And I try to bring some brightness onto my plate with vibrant produce and new-to-me flavor combinations.
This month, I’m also making a special effort to use my preserves in creative ways. For one, so many jars are languishing on my shelves – the salsas and peach sauce and crushed tomatoes are getting used up at a reasonable clip, but the poor jams are getting a bit neglected. There’s only so much toast I can spread it on, or yogurt I can swirl it into. Plus, using my preserves is an easy way to bring the flavors or warmer seasons to my meals. So I’m giving myself a challenge to find new ways to use my preserves. I’m going to use my marmalade in a savory dinner recipe, and preserves in a cocktail. I’m going to use jam as a marinade, and jelly as a glaze. It is going to make me think outside the box (or the jar, if you’re feeling pun-ny), lighting my creativity and motivation. And it will be delicious.
I’m so excited to share these recipes with you this February. In the meantime, what are you doing to bring some sparkle into your life this winter?