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No matter how many years we’ve lived here, the first snowfall is always breathtaking. Everyone tucks away in their homes, warm noses pressed against frosty windowpanes, watching lazy snowflakes drift down. Yes, Minnesotans are all about winter — after all, when a season lasts nearly half a year, you’ve simply got to embrace it.

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Some folks face the winter with thick blankets, candlelight, and all things hygge. Others bundle up with scarves and tromp around in the snow. We celebrate the season with freshly-baked cinnamon rolls, hearty meats, earthy root vegetables, and bright citrus — a touch of sunshine for the seemingly endless cold days. It’s a time for friends and family to come together, gathering in warm kitchens while the wind howls outside.

We’ve created recipes to complement all of winter’s magnificent personalities, from the cheery clamor of the holidays to the dark, quiet nights that stretch out long after the new year begins. That’s the beauty of it. It’s a season where it’s equally lovely to toast with festive cocktails, scoop up second helpings of comfort food, or share simple meals by candlelight. (Hygge, after all.)

People may complain that winter overstays its welcome in this neck of the woods. But when the temperatures dip below freezing and the winter chill settles around us, we smile and set the table. Bring it on, Mother Nature. We’ll pull up a chair for you.