11 Reasons to Love Winter in Chicagoland and Beyond

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It's bundle season! Shout out to our good friend José for hooking us up with these parkas from The North Face. They easily keep us toasty in zero degrees.

The biggest difference between living in California and Chicagoland is obviously the cold weather, which starts around November and can last until early May. That's a long time to stay inside the house, inactive, waiting for spring to appear.

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Instead, we moved here accepting the challenge to make winter one of our favorite seasons.

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While Brandon is outside snowblowing our driveway, I'll share with you 11 reasons to love winter in Chicagoland and a few other exciting local destinations.

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#1: When it's cold outside, we embrace the opportunity to try new recipes. Cooking is time consuming, and once we're freed of the pressure to be outside, enjoying the sunny days while they last, we can focus on cracking open our favorite cookbooks.

Because I'm a notorious overachiever, we recently made three recipes at once from Devin Connell's book, Conveniently Delicious - crispy eggplant with tomato salad, acorn squash rings with yogurt ranch, and turmeric roasted cauliflower and potatoes.

Let me know if you want the recipes!

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Some other recipes we've made, from various sources:

  • Seared ahi tuna steaks with asparagus and garlic Chinese eggplant
  • Crispy shrimp tacos with coleslaw and sriracha aioli
  • Ramen bowls with soft-boiled eggs and pork tenderloin
  • Salmon patties with Cooper's Hawk copycat cashew brussels sprouts
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#2: We layered up our parkas, scarves and gloves to walk around downtown Downers Grove for the annual ice sculpture festival.

Click here to see the full blog post with all 23 amazing sculptures.

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#3: Casa Margarita in the Hinsdale train station

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#4: As you can see, it took two hats and a set of earmuffs to get us to the Westmont Winter Beer Festival. Worth it!

We walked the mile from our house to Ty Warner Park, in the snow, uphill both ways (just kidding, Illinois is very flat), holding gloved hands and taking in the nose-numbing air. It's impossible to stay cooped up inside all season. We embrace a chilly winter walk.

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Our festival entry came with 20 drink tickets (!!) which we had no hope of redeeming entirely because we were feeling tipsy after only 10. The Westmont Park District throws a generous party!

This snapshot shows just a few of the drinks we tried - from ciders and pilsners to rich, dark stouts. We even tried mead for the first time, the same fermented honey beer people drank in medieval times!

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#5: Orange and coriander drizzle cake

Spice Club at local library

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#6:

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#8:

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#9:

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#10: Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend, Indiana

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