10 Ways to Make this Year More Seasonal
So, it’s January and you are thinking about new years and new starts. You are looking for a personal commitment that goes beyond the personal, finding a self-care practice that might actually change the world. Well, look no further! Let’s get seasonal in every aspect of our lives in 2018: food, garden, home, and wellness. We’ll take ourselves into nature and bring nature into our bodies and homes. With intention, we can slow down and tune in to earth’s pulse and moods.
Here are 10 ways to Make this Year More Seasonal:
1. Cook at Home More Often
Cooking at home can be time-consuming. If you are a small household, it can also be difficult to not waste the leftovers of a home-cooked meal. There are so many reasons that most of us enjoy eating out, especially for dinner. This year, let’s cook from home more often. We’ll have more control over the ingredients in our meals, we’ll save money, we’ll enjoy our home as the beautiful space we’ve created to support and nourish our lives, we’ll see more of family and friends, and we’ll get to know ourselves better.
- My favorite, quick seasonal meal is quiche. I’ve become quite an expert at making tasty casseroles of veggies, cheese, and eggs with whatever the garden or farmers market has to offer. Here is a list of Martha Stewart’s favorite quiches. Honestly, after you make 3, you won’t need a recipe. Make them crustless and cut the amount of time and effort in half!
- I’ve bookmarked Taste of Home’s list of 30 easy soups to make for dinner. That’s how good and easy the recipes are.
- In the fall, Bob and I went to a local demonstration about heirloom apple varieties. One of the helpers was a 12-year-old who made her own lunch by going online and teaching herself how to make these salads in mason jars. She was very impressive and the salad looked delicious! Give it a try!
2. Grow Something, Preferably Food
It’s January, and very few people are able to grow plants or food outdoors in the Mid-Atlantic region. Not to worry, there are plenty of affordable ways to grow flowers, plants, and food indoors. If you think you don’t have a green thumb, just choose one of these projects and tend to it every day. You’ll be amazed what regular attention and watering do to living things!
- Force bulbs to grow and bloom indoors without soil using this method.
- Let Rodale’s teach you how to grow herbs indoors.
- If you have space and a little basic growing know-how, you can grow salad greens indoors all winter long. Here’s how!
3. Minimalize and Declutter
One of my core values is simplicity. I like to own nice things and care for them well. It’s about time for me to take to my closets and cupboards to de-clutter and minimize. This is such a satisfying task because my home becomes quite chaotic during the growing season. In January, I love, love, love to clean and organize my home. I start with the refrigerator, which needs a solid work through with hot water and a trash can after all those holiday meals, cookie bakes, and leftovers. Here are three cleaning hacks to get you motivated to minimalize and declutter for your seasonal life:
- This chick organizes her cleaning routine by day and month. That’s pretty seasonal!
- Deep cleaning hacks from No Biggie.
- The Spruce has the decluttering hacks down to a science!
4. Take Up a Journaling Practice
Nothing grounds me in my day as much as my morning journaling practice. I sit by the kitchen window, hot coffee in hand, a candle lit, and gentle music playing in the background. I watch the birds and trees and listen to the morning silence, then take on a particular topic to exploring in writing and drawing. Here’s my gratitude journaling practice.
- Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg is one of the best resources for journaling I’ve ever used.
- Acorns and Lemonade offers this basic how-to for beginner journalers.
5. Ferment Something
Winter is such a great time to teach yourself how to ferment. I highly recommend starting with sauerkraut. When you start in the winter the cooler temperatures give you time to monitor your ferment and learn at an easy pace. Once the weather gets warmer, the heat speeds up the fermentation process, often right when we are at our busiest. Learning basic fermentation will help you keep seasonal ingredients for your meals on hand all year long. It’s safe and easy!
- Organic Authority has this primer for beginner fermenters.
- It’s a Love/Love Thing pulled together these 15 recipes for beginners.
- And, here’s BBC’s Good Foods beginners guide for fermenters.
6. Join a Farm Share or CSA
I wrote a fairly thorough piece on this and you can find it here. Do it. Make it work. Your local food system, and ultimately your health, depends on their success.
7. Handcraft a Tea Blend or Cocktail
Drinks in the winter are comforting and nourishing. Get the most from your inclination for hydration by making your own tea blend or handcrafting a winter cocktail. Herbal teas offer a variety of flavor combinations that can calm or invigorate, stimulate digestion, and nourish. A well-crafted cocktail or mocktail can bring the most out of seasonal flavors like cranberries, citrus fruits, and aromatic spices. Give these recipes and how-to’s a try:
- Blend Bee has this pretty thorough post on creating tea blends with various taste profiles.
- Mosaic, the blog of Ten Thousand Village has this post with 7 Seasonal Cocktails that can easily become mocktails.
- And, it’s definitely not too late or unseasonal to make these cordials we wrote about in November.
8. Bring Nature into your Home
This morning we awoke to 6-degree temperatures in Harpers Ferry, WV. Brrrr….Not my favorite weather to go outside. I have to every morning to care for the chickens and goats, so I make the most of it since it takes so much effort to bundle up. I always take a moment to feel the sunshine on my face, and sometimes I’ll dance to Beth Orton’s Someone’s Daughter (which became a ritual after my mom died), before coming back inside. Often, I will see a pine cone, gnarly branch, bird’s nest, or perfect acorn. I bring them in and place them on the altar in my office. When I get overwhelmed or stuck in my work, I’ll pick up one of the items and hold it while staring out my office window toward the animal pen and pasture. Instant grounding. Instant inspiration.
- Fellow blogger Jenn has this great site all about getting your family outdoors. Check it out and take her 5-day nature challenge!
- Here’s a list of 35 ways to enjoy nature in winter.
- And, here are 100 ways to study nature in winter.
9. Read Cookbooks
Some cookbooks are as enjoyable to read as they are to explore in the kitchen. Deborah Madison is a wonderful cookbook writer with an impressive history supporting farmers’ markets. Molly Katzen is another favorite, you may remember her from the Moosewood Cookbook. My favorite food memoir is Blood, Bones, Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton of restaurant Prune in New York. There’s never been a better time to find a variety of food ariting that is highly enjoyable.
10. Join our Monthly Seasonal Challenges
We’re building a community dedicated to healing the connection between people and planet through seasonal living. Curious? Learn more by joining the January Seasonal Living Challenge! Click the link and complete the form. You will receive a series of emails that focus on food, garden, home, and wellness practices that align with January’s frosty energies. Be sure to join our Facebook group to participate in conversations about seasonal living with like-minded friends and neighbors!
What are your favorite activities to make January a little more enjoyable?
Do you read seed catalogs like they are a bible? Do you binge read trash novels, binge watch TV series? January can be tough, with a little bit of planning and effort, it can be a highly enjoyable month. Leave a note in the comments section, or, better yet, join our Facebook group and make a post about your January strategies.
Here’s the ‘Days to Spring’ online counter to help you manage your winter blues.
Was this post enjoyable? Why not join us on Bloglovin’?
Seasonal Living Resource Library
Become a pro in the kitchen and the garden!
Sign up for access to our exclusive Seasonal Living Resource Library. it's full of free downloads and printables to help you create your seasonal life. Supported by a weekly newsletter with original content for subscribers only!