>Snow Day Musings


I think I’ve mentioned before that I live in Georgia.  If I haven’t, well then now you know.  I live in Georgia. 
Well, I live in an idyllic little suburb of Atlanta to be exact.  Where we currently have 5 or 6 inches of snow on the ground, accompanied by about 1/2 to 1 inch of ice.  According to the local news, driving conditions are “treacherous.”
We’re southerners.  We (and by we, I mean the state department of transportation) don’t really have the equipment to handle this sort of thing.  So, we hunker down and make the best of it. 
School and work have been canceled for three days now, and we have been hesitant to get out in our cars.  The kids have enjoyed the impromptu vacation, and I have to admit that my husband and I haven’t been complaining too much, either.  Cabin fever hasn’t really gotten to us.  Not yet, anyway.  

Although we don’t have sleds and snow equipment, we made do with a trash can lid and the top to the kids’ sandbox.  It doesn’t seem to bother our 5-year-old.  He just loves the thrill of flying down the hill in our backyard and crashing feet-first into the fence. 
And our 11-year-old dog is like a puppy again.  He loves running full-tilt around the yard, kicking up snow behind him, burying his nose in snow drifts and finally flopping sideways onto the ground in a heap.  I think he’d stay out there all day if we’d let him.
Even the baby got in on the sledding action.  Sort of.  He seems content just to be outside with us, watching the action.
At one point yesterday we bundled everyone up and took a little walk to check out the neighborhood.  The streets were a little slushy and icy, so we didn’t go far. 
This one seems happy enough to just eat the snow.  It’s relatively clean, I suppose.  And he knows now to look out for the yellow snow.  Important life skills every child must learn.

While I did go to the store over the weekend for milk and eggs, I was determined to stick to my pantry clean-out plan.  As such, I’ve gotten pretty creative over the last couple of days while we’ve been snowbound.  Some of my experiments have been successful, while others have been less so.  For instance, making dulce de leche with fat-free sweetened condensed milk?  Success.  Making cheese with powdered milk?  Less so.  I mean, you can do it, but you really shouldn’t. 

Like every good southern girl, I had some stone-ground grits in the pantry.  So, on night one of “Snowpocalypse 2011”, we had pot-roast hash over creamy grits with poached eggs and raw kale chips (more on those later).  Not bad for a pantry/leftover meal.
Night two brought pizza (and yes, I did use the powdered milk cheese-like substance, but I also used some provolone slices and goat cheese I had in the fridge).  The mushrooms and peppers were from my produce box, and the tomato sauce was made from some canned tomatoes I had in the pantry.  Pizza crust recipe here. (I used half whole-wheat and half AP, and I subbed whey for the water that the recipe calls for).
My friend Rachel, who writes Time for Good Food, shared yesterday that as a child, snow days always meant her mama would make something decadent and fudgy.  Her homage to this tradition was to make these boiled peanut-butter cookies. My decadent indulgence was these fudgy brownies topped with dulce de leche caramel (recipe at the bottom of this post).
So, the moral of this story is that being stuck inside on snow days doesn’t have to mean subsisting on white bread and hot-dogs (as the scenes of empty grocery store bread shelves would have you believe).  So what if the pizza guy isn’t delivering (and thank goodness he’s not – these roads are TREACHEROUS I tell you) – you can make your own pizza.  And while snow ice cream is a special treat for some, you can also make some delightful chocolate treats to go along with it.
 Dulce de Leche Caramel
prep time: 2 seconds
cook time: 20 minutes
yields: enough to frost this pan of brownies
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  1. Empty cans into a heavy-bottomed saucepan
  2. Place pan over medium-low heat
  3. Cook, stirring constantly (for real – keep stirring, or it will burn) and scraping the corners of the pan periodically, until it becomes a light caramel color and has thickened significantly.
  4. Remove from heat and pour over brownie recipe of your choice.

10 thoughts on “>Snow Day Musings

  1. >Hope you guys are staying warm in the city:)the brownies are just what you need on this lovely arctic week.Luc's mom showed me how Brazilians make Dulce de Leche for brigadeiros when I was in Sao Paolo. They just put unopened cans of condensed milk in a pot of water and boiled it for 2 hours. I never did it… my overactive imagination had it exploding all over the ceiling. I'm with you.. open the can up and cook it down…unpressurized.

  2. >@Toby – yeah, I've been tempted to try the can in the water trick, but like you have visions of pressurized cans of molten hot caramel exploding like grenades in my kitchen. This is a much less deadly version. Hope you're staying warm in Dahlonega, too.

  3. >I went to an Epiphany dinner where the hostess tried the can in the water dulce de leche. It didn't explode and it did turn into caramel. For some reason she was expecting it to solidify and it didn't. Oh well, snow days in the South are a treat as I remember from my childhood. Enjoy!

  4. >Lovely photos of your family and your food. I really really like your pot roast hash and egg on grits. Never had grits as we don't have it here in the UK but we eat a lot of white corn (several varieties of them) in the Philippines. I adore both condensed milk and dulce de leche. I love this post!

  5. >Oh my gosh, what fabulous photos…your cute family, adorable dog (who certainly doesn't look 11!) and the drool worthy food…I want one of those brownies! Such a lovely post!

  6. >Beautiful photos, beautiful family! I'm still having trouble "seeing" you in your new house! 🙂 I am so excited about the homemade pizza – it's my hope to have B10 help me make a bunch of these (AFTER the pantry cleanse and I go to the store), so he can cook them himself by pulling them out of the freezer.(Also – LOVE the snowman!)

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