Thrills and Chills of Winter: Polar Vortex Edition

Frosty Window
Wake Up to Winter! Yes the Polar Vortex has returned to us with just a bit more bite to it than what we usually get in southeast New England. Back when we first moved here I don’t think I felt my toes until April. Although I’ve acclimated over time, the vortex phenomenon has me getting out the extra down comforter and generally adopting the layered look.

But, you ask, what about stepping into the shower? This is a perfect time to create a little home spa experience. I boost the heat in the bathroom, turn on the shower and perched tub-side I use a homemade sugar scrub scented with eucalyptus oil. Massaging hands and feet, knees and elbows, will keep the Qi, your healing energy, moving. Inhaling the eucalyptus under the warm rinse of the shower clears your sinuses too.

Maybe you received some body scrub like this Sugar Scrub1 as a holiday gift, but if not you can easily whip up one yourself. I made mine from white sugar and coconut oil, but you can vary the texture by substituting salt or a larger grain sugar such as Demerara. As for the oil, you can choose from pantry supplies like coconut, olive or vegetable, or use an aromatherapy base like sweet almond or jojoba. Even baby oil will do and imparts its own pleasant fragrance.

Sugar Scrub: I chose a shallow clean jar my fingers could easily scoop into, measured 2 parts sugar to 1 part oil and added a few drops of essential oil—adjust the blend to your liking. Let your fingers warm the oil for a moment before applying as needed. Just 2 tablespoons of sugar to 1 tablespoon of oil means I get to experiment again this winter!

More Winter Warmers

Scarf: Good thing I finished knitting this lofty Brioche stitch cowl over the holiday break
Briioche Cowl1

I made up my pattern from these video tutorials
Two balls of yarn in Rowan Big Wool in Wild Berry – you can find something similar here
The needles I used are size 15.

Extreme cold makes me feel like a pioneer of olde, but I do like my modern kitchen tools! Plus, you get the results sooner. Add herbs and spices to deepen the flavors and give yourself a richer taste experience.

Soup: Taking the hint from Chris’ post I simmered a ham bone, split peas and veggies, removed the bone and pureed the rest with my immersion blender. For the final touch I stirred in sautéed carrots, leeks and herbs.
Split Pea Soup

Baked Apple: This is what satisfies my sweet tooth on a cold day, dressed up with walnuts, currants, raw oats and a sprinkling of spice. Core the apple in an appropriate bowl, add the stuffing, a tsp of water, cover and microwave for 2 minutes or until tender.
Baked Apple
Winter will be here for at least 8 weeks – don’t just wait for it to pass, put those resolutions to good use and treat yourself well too.

Share your favorite winter strategies in the Comments. Chris and I would love to hear from you!


2 thoughts on “Thrills and Chills of Winter: Polar Vortex Edition

  1. Thrilled with a scrub recipe. I recently bought a few scrubs but I would like to try making one. Also, the baked apple looks yummy on this extremely cold day. I can almost smell the spicy aroma of cinnamon wafting into my home.

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