Saturday, February 15, 2014

Southern Virginia Snow Cream Recipe

Here in the South we don't storm the grocery store milk aisles because we are afraid of running out of cereal. We rightfully storm the milk aisles in preparation for snow cream. Not having snow cream in a blizzard because we ran out of milk...now that would be a real disaster!

To make snow cream, set out bowls to catch freshly fallen snow. Tradition says that you do not use snow from the first snowfall of the year, but in Southern Virginia, we take what we can get.  Mix 4-6 cups of fresh snow, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla. Adjust ingredients according to personal preference, and stir until creamy. Mine usually ends up with a little extra sugar and vanilla. Pull out all the stops and use the real vanilla for this. It makes all the difference.


SOUTHERN VIRGINIA SNOW CREAM
 
4-6 Cups Fresh Snow
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp real vanilla 
 
Stir Until Creamy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

SOUTHERN SNOW DAYS: MAKING MAGIC

I love snow. I am a wide-eyed child, excited about the weather, wondering not if it will snow, but how many inches we will get. As much as I love freshly falling snow, there is one thing I do not love about it… being out in it.  I do not enjoy being cold or wet, which is why I really appreciate the system our family has developed through the years. Over the years our routine has evolved into one in which my husband and children venture out donning hats, gloves, and coats, sleds in tow, while I stay behind to warm towels in the dryer, make homemade soup, and have the hot chocolate warm and waiting. I like our system where everyone gets to enjoy the snow in his or her own way.   It works for us.

While we each like to enjoy the snow in our own way, there are some universally practical things to keep in mind for staying safe in the snow and some ideas to help you fully enjoy it, as well.  Communities that receive snow more often than we do already know these things. Here in Southern Virginia, snow isn't something we have to opportunity to think about very often, and it can be easy to overlook some things whenpreparing for it.  Here are just a few practical ideas for making the most of your snowy day.  

·        Prepare accordingly. Have groceries in the house, paper products, pet food, bottled water, and firewood if you should need to build a fire. Keep flashlights a manual can opener handy. Few things are worse than being stranded without food, water, and heat.

·        Call to check on your neighbors. As you head out to the grocery store to prepare for your several day shut in, please remember those elderly and shut-in neighbors who often have to rely on others for their weekly supplies. Just a phone call is all it takes to make sure we are all safe, fed, and warm.

·        Visit with or call to check on your neighbors. If you live where you can walk to each other’s houses, invite them to sled at your house. Turn it into a sledding party or quietly visit over a cup of coffee. Although the idea of being confined to my own house with no access to the outside world for days is somehow strangely appealing to me, I understand that it can be a very lonely time for a lot of people. Today my husband delivered a container of coffee to a neighbor with two small children who happened to run out at a very inopportune time. I couldn’t bear the thought of her being confined by snow to her house with twin five year olds with no coffee, so I sent Mark over with enough to make a pot.  Even he enjoyed the coffee delivery, exclaiming when he returned, “The American Pioneer is back. That was fun.  The Hummer is a BEAST in the snow!”

·        Make hot cocoa.  If using your family’s generations-old from scratch recipe is meaningful and brings you joy, please do it! If not, buy a box of Nestle hot chocolate and enjoy! Our family likes to drink our hot chocolate from fun winter-themed mugs that I’ve collected throughout the years.  The mugs don’t match, and the children inevitably want to use the same snowman mug with matching spoon, so they have learned to take turns. Problem solved.

·        Make snow cream. Here in the South we don't storm the grocery store milk aisles because we are afraid of running out of cereal. We rightfully storm the milk aisles in preparation for snow cream. Not having snow cream in a blizzard because we ran out of milk...now that would be a real disaster! To make snow cream, mix 4-6 cups of fresh snow, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla.  Adjust ingredients according to personal preference, and stir until creamy. Mine usually ends up with a little extra sugar and vanilla. Pull out all the stops and use the real vanilla for this. It makes all the difference. Southern Virginia Snow Cream Recipe

·        Feed the birds. Birds have to eat, too, and it can be hard to find food when the ground is frozen and covered in snow. My children and I make a very simple bird feeder.  Each feeder starts with a half of a bagel or an empty toilet paper roll if you don’t have bagels. Run a string or piece of yard through. Do this first, because it will be very messy if you do it last. We learned this the hard way.  Cover the roll or bagel in peanut butter and then roll in bird seed. Hand outside from a branch. Birds and squirrels have devoured our feeders in less than a day.

·        Make it magical. Every person enjoys the snow in their own way. Do what makes you happy, whether it is making snow angels, building a snowman, shoveling your neighbor’s driveway, watching it snow from inside your warm home, sledding, or warming up the towels and cocoa, do what makes you happy, because that is the only way to truly enjoy and appreciate this winter gift.