Food Network Staffers' Favorite Little Things That Make Winter Less Awful
These days, we're all about the warmth.
Ugh, winter. Between the bitter temperatures, snow-related traffic jams and the onslaught of cold and flu season, it can be a rough time of year to say the least. Luckily, we have a few tricks up our sleeves that keep us feeling cheerful and cozy all season long. Check out some of Food Network staffers' favorite things that make the frigid temps a little more bearable.
Cheesy, gooey, golden-brown mozzarella sticks.
Imagine: It’s mid-January, the holidays are over, you’re SICK of the cold weather and you just want to curl up in a blanket and wither away until May — June if you’re picky. Now, instead of just being miserable for a few more months, imagine there was something that could make the gray days blue, make your soul warm and make your joy shine. Lucky for us all, there is… and they’re called mozzarella sticks.
“Fried sticks of cheese,” you ask? These little babies are not simply fried sticks of cheese… they’re strips of heaven. Best when straight out the fryer (Giada has a killer recipe, pictured above), the oil is hot enough to warm up your fingers to a point where you have no choice but to dunk it in delicious sauce and shove the entire thing in your mouth all at once. And that’s it! Burn, dunk, shove, repeat. Looking for me? Oh, you won’t find me because I’ll be burn-dunk-shove-repeating until the birds start their chirping.
— Casey Austin, Social Media Contractor
Do you want to sleep like a cozy little baby? Do you live in the Midwest or Northeast? Do you have feet? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then I implore you to buy a set of flannel sheets this winter. It’s as simple as this: WARMTH. This time of year, we bundle ourselves up to go outside, but when we’re indoors we tend to just accept being a lil chilly as we hop into bed. Not anymore, people. Flannel sheets will literally blanket you in warmth — all-over warmth — and that’s exactly what we’re all craving right about now. If you know me well, you know I love Costco, so I picked up a set (in a very classic beige color!) from my local warehouse. But check out the department stores or big-box stores near you. Chances are you’ll find some pretty discounted sets this time of year.
— Maria Russo, Senior Editor
A hearty dollop of vanilla whipped cream — on top of hot chocolate, naturally.
Even though I’m a January baby, I’m not the biggest fan of winter…like, at all. Though I’ll gladly take a snow day here and there, being trapped indoors because of frigid conditions can quickly drive me up a wall. It’s for that exact reason that I always keep a jumbo bag of mini marshmallows and a box of hot cocoa mix stocked away in my pantry. There’s just something about a frothy cup of hot chocolate that makes cold and snippy days a bit more bearable. If marshmallows are sparse (what, you don’t make s’mores in your microwave?) I love to make this Really Vanilly Whipped Cream from Food Network Kitchen. It’s super easy to whip together and makes a great right-from-the-bowl midnight snack. If you’re really feeling the winter blues hard, Ree Drummond’s Brandy Whipped Cream and Ina Garten’s Rum Whipped Cream also sound like they’d do the trick!
— Michelle Baricevic, Online Editorial Coordinator – Food Network Magazine
I love having a cup of tea before I go to bed during the week. It gives me a chance to wind down from the day, and it's expecially cozy come winter. This caramel tea from Yogi smells like a hug in a mug and is my version of an almost-sweet treat. It’s even more comforting sipped while wearing a pair of fuzzy socks. Just sayin’.
— T.K. Brady, Digital Editor
Last Christmas, my parents bought me a remote start for my 13-year-old car. Unintentionally, this little gadget has kickstarted a reliable routine that I stick to every single day. (Believe me, I’m just as surprised as you are.) I always start the car while I’m making breakfast, which is typically a soul-soothing bowl of oatmeal (this brand is my favorite) with almond milk and peanut butter. By the time I’ve eaten and cleaned up, the car is perfectly toasty and the windshield is defrosted. Plus, I didn’t have to run out into the cold to start it! Win-win.
— Leah Scalzadonna, Digital Editorial Producer
I’m cold pretty much year-round, so I’ve always got a cup of hot tea in my hand. To be perfectly honest I didn’t believe the Yeti hype until I received this tumbler as a gift. My old tumblers were adorable (polka dots! gold embellishments!), but never really did the job (leaking! spills!). Now my tea stays hot throughout marathon meeting days and no awkward dribbles down my shirt while I’m on a video call because, adulting.
— Julie Hines, Manager of Digital Programming
This winter, I’ve been breaking out the old fondue pot — melted cheese and bread (and even with apples, pears and some steamed veggies) feels cozy and fun for a snowy night in watching movies. Admittedly, my kids would rather have chocolate fondue. Either way, I'm happy my old-school fondue pot is getting some use — might be time for a new one….
— Debra Puchalla, SVP, Food Network, Genius Kitchen & Cooking Channel
A warm, hearty bowl of soup.
I love Slow Cooker Ribollita. It will warm up any blustery winter day. It’s packed with veggies and beans and uses crusty bread as a thickener.
— Leah Brickley, Senior Editor, Culinary