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winter



Make S’more Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting to Survive Six S’more Weeks of Winter

Has this been the longest winter ever? It’s starting to feel like it. Currently it’s a -21 wind chill outside and I’m starting to convince myself the sun may never come back; summer will always be a distant fond memory.

Like S’mores. That little campfire treat is one time I put my guard all the way down and say screw it! Gooey marshmallows, melty chocolate (I always splurge and use dark chocolate), and that crispy little graham cracker turn any dull summer night in to an instant memory maker. And right now, as I watch another winter storm swirl around the backyard, I’m clinging to those sweet memories of last summer to keep me warm.

cupcakes chevron

Another way to keep warm? Baking, duh! All that batter beating and pre-heating turns the kitchen in to a little den of coziness. A den of coziness with cupcakes!

And not just any cupcakes, but big, fat S’more cupcakes.

smores cupcake

And not frosted with just any frosting, but big dollops of homemade chocolate cream cheese frosting.

chocolate cream cheese frosting

Winter just became manageable, folks.
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2014 Olympic Games: Where and When to Watch

Opening ceremonies for the 2014 Olympics are on Friday, February 7th, but the games officially begin tonight, on the 6th, and run all the way through the 23rd. Are you ready? (Olympic freestyle mogul skier Heather McPhie is!)

2014 Winter Olympic Games - Season 2014

In the U.S., NBC is the official broadcaster of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. (They were also the network to watch for the 2012 Summer Games and will be the host all the way through 2020, thanks to an almost $4.4 billion contract.) NBC will offer live and tape-delayed coverage of events on television via NBC, MSNBC, NBC Sports, CNBC, and its other channels. The network will also stream all events online and via the NBC Sports Live Extra app. All of this means that you are in for a lot of sports!


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Spice Up Fall with a Chicken Taco Soup Recipe That’s Simple and Satisfying

It is the crunchy season, aka fall, and that means it’s soup and stew season, too. Woohoo!

I love fall. Like lovvvve fall.

Not such a fan of the soups though. I’m more of a stew and chili kind of girl, if I have to be. But a few years ago, I found a compromise in my Crock Pot and it has become my family’s single most favorite meal of fall and winter.

I used simple, healthy Mexican ingredients — a food genre I swear I could eat every single day — stirred them up, and started filling bowls with Taco Soup.

chicken tortilla soup

It’s one of those slow cooker meals that fills the house with intoxicating smells for hours until you’re so hungry you’ll risk third degree burns on your tongue just to get that first taste!
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Twice Baked Shepherd’s Pies Makeover a Favorite Winter Classic with Baked Potatoes

New on our “cozy food” seasonal menu rotation is a made-over classic. It’s the Shepherd’s Pie like you’ve never tried it before. It’s usually not my thing – loaded with lamb and mashed potatoes – two foods I don’t particularly care for. But I’ve got a pretty big thing for the baked potato.

I made a Shepherd’s Pie that’s a little leaner, bigger on flavor, and maybe even cuter.

Call them miniature. Call them single-serve. Call them dinner! These Twice-Baked Shepherd’s Pies are bound to be a staple of your winter menu.

twice baked potato shepherd's pie

I skipped the mashed potatoes because, like I said, I’m a little un-American and truly can’t stand the stuff. But, a baked potato, much less one that’s been baked twice, I’m all over that.

Then I cut the lamb and even skipped over the beef and went right to ground Italian turkey sausage – super lean with a great taste that fits right in here.
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Your Seasonal Depression is Real and it’s Easier to Deal with SAD Than You Think

I’m not afraid to admit I get a little bummed out as summer transitions to autumn, and then to winter. The perfectly named Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is an affliction of which I’ve always suffered, but for the longest time I thought I was being an overly sensitive wimp. After a mild and jovial summer, the cool air that gusts melancholy over the Midwest in early September had me wondering if I was about to get SAD again, if it was a legitimate condition, and if so, what I could do fight it.

SAD

I shot our resident mental health expert, Brooke Randolph, LMHC an email asking her about SAD, and she revealed that after two decades of speculation, SAD had officially been classified as a common disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). In 2008—before SAD was an official diagnosis—Brooke wrote, “Our natural response to the seasonal changes only becomes a disorder when the distress is in excess of what would be expected from the stressor (seasonal change) and/or when it interferes with functioning in more than one key life area.” For example, if seasonal change begins to negatively impact your responsibilities as an employee, student, or partner, you probably have SAD.
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