Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Snow Cream! We Made SNOW CREAM!!!

It wasn't until I was living on my own and well into my twenties when I realized that making Snow Cream wasn't a part of everyone's childhood. My friends in college had no idea what I was talking about when I asked if anyone knew how to make Snow Cream the first time it snowed our freshman year. (And considering that we were in Kirksville, MO - the weather armpit of the Midwest - that was probably sometime around Sept 1.) It snowed often - and a lot - when I was in college at Northeast Missouri State (now Truman State University), so I desperately wanted to make snow cream. Unfortunately, this was pre-internet/pre-Google (yes, I'm that old) and the idea never occured until late in the evening... and after a few drinks... so it was always to late to call and ask my parents how to make it.

I've mentioned it a few times to various people since college and not one single person knew about Snow Cream. So it faded into the dusty corners of my memory, along with the lyrics to Whitesnake's "Is This Love?", the Law of Constant Composition and the names of all of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Mostly because we went through a really long stretch here in the St. Louis area without a prolonged snowfall accumulation!

That all officially ended on Christmas Eve this year. J and I packed up the car and headed up to Mom and Dad's after work on the evening of December 23. When we woke up the morning of Christmas Eve it had already snowed enough to cover the ground. It snowed all day and all night - it was beautiful (as long as you weren't trying to get anywhere). Christmas Eve is usually just the four of us (Mom, Dad, J and I) and involves lots of lounging around, eating, drinking (yay Bourbon Slush!!!) and playing games. I love it.

This year (after a Bourbon Slush or two) Dad said the magic words, "Want to make some snow cream?", and it all came rushing back to me. Is this love that I'm feeling... Is this the love that I've been searching for... Is this love or am I dreaming... No, no, no - not the lyrics to "Is This Love", snow cream! J looked totally confused, but I hopped right up and grabbed my coat - we're gonna make SNOW CREAM!

We used to make snow cream whenever we had a big snow when I was growing up. I remember making it a lot during Christmases in Kentucky (did it snow more often in Kentucky when I was a kid or do I just keep remembering the same Christmas over and over?). Snow cream is made from snow (obviously) and has a much smoother consistency than ice cream and best of all, it only takes a few minutes to make.

So Mom found the biggest bowl she could find and Dad and I bundled up to head out into the cold wilderness... um, the driveway.

 You need lots of snow - as much as you can get in the biggest bowl you have.

 Don't pack it down - you need it to stay light and fluffy.

 This is why you can really only do it when there's some serious accumulation.

(Note the bottle of Knob Creek and the bottle of Makers Mark on the island. It was a good Christmas.)
 You need fresh, pure snow - you don't want to get any that has touched the ground - so you need to be able to scoop up a big bowlful without scraping or packing it down.

And here's the thing about making snow cream - there's no measuring involved.

You just have to do it until it's "right".

Until it looks and tastes right.

Turns out it's super easy, and if I'd put a little effort into it, even with my pickled twenty-year-old brain I could have figured it out.

Hey Dad... the Knob Creek is still there. Where did the bottle of Makers Mark go?

 Sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. That's it. Stir in sweetened condensed milk and add vanilla. Who knew?

You can add other flavor extracts to it too - but Dad and J are classic vanilla kind of guys, so vanilla it is.

Keep stirring until it's smooth and creamy.

While I was preparing to write this post I googled snow cream and found that even Paula Deen has a recipe (and it's the same one we use). Some recipes online heavy whipping cream and sugar rather than sweetened condensed milk. Whatever. According to Wikipedia, this was the precursor to ice cream. My grandmother always told me that they never knew what ice cream was, and that snow cream was a favorite and rare treat for her when she was a child growing up in rural Kentucky (imagine the theme to "Little House on the Prairie" playing in the background while you read that part).

So anyway, we had our yummy snow cream and J had his first snow cream experience. Taking the first bite...

Carefully savoring the first bite...

Yep - the verdict is in - he likes it!

(And nothing goes with snow cream like... beer?)...

 I was all nostalgic about it and Dad got a kick out of the whole thing.

So did Mom.

This was such a treat and so much fun to make too. For those of you with kids that have never done this with your kids - do it! Or call me and I'll come do it with them.
(Special note to Shaina: I have dibs on doing this with your kids!!!)

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Since this is as close as I'm going to get to an Oscar, I'd like to thank... (also Christmas 2010 ROCKED!)

This is a totally true story. Two days ago I was sitting on the couch, clad in old navy sweatpants that are two sizes too big (but stay on thanks only to the drawstring waist), a white t-shirt stained with... um... something reddish and black flipflops that are so worn that there's probably only about an eighth of an inch of rubber between my feet and the ground. I was playing with my favorite new toy. (I know, my husband spoils me - it was a Christmas present from J). I was cruising Facebook and gorging on Fritos and creamy gorgonzola dip (shut UP - you know it sounds delicious, don't judge if you haven't tried them) when I saw that I'd been tagged in a post by my friend, Sarah - turns out she was bestowing me with the Stylish Blogger Award! I put down the greasy corn chips and stinky cheese and looked down at myself just to double check... Yup! I am one stylish biatch.
Honestly, I'm just so surprised to have won this award. I didn't prepare a speech or anything. It's an honor just to be nominated. I can't believe you like me... you REALLY like me! First and foremost, I want to thank the big guy upstairs - Jeremy's in the bathroom upstairs because what he's doing is too stinky to be allowed on the same floor I'm in. Thank you for that, Jeremy. Also, I want to thank my parents - without you I wouldn't be here. Literally. In addition, I want to thank myself. Without me, The View from a Broad wouldn't exist. So thank you, Heather - you're my everything. And finally, I want to thank Sarah for being such an incredibly insightful friend to realize my genuis should be awarded. Thank you Sarah.

Okay -I'll stop the smarty-pants act now. Honestly, go check out Sarah's blog. She's a truly dedicated mother (soon to be a mommy for the second time) who is in the midst of living her own American dream - beautiful family (1.9 kids, loving husband, two cats and two dogs), white picket fence, great home and a job she really enjoys. We should all be so lucky.

Now as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. So I there are a few things I must do as a recipient of the Stylish Blogger Award. I must:
1. Thank the person that gave me the award. (Check.)
2. Share seven things about myself.
3. Pass the award on to other bloggers I follow who have inspired me.
4. Copy the award from Sarah's blog and display it on mine. (Check.)
5. Notify my selected recipients.

Okay... so... seven things about myself. So I'm thinking this should probably be seven things not everyone already knows about me. Which really narrows it down because I kind of share (okay, let's be honest, OVERshare) everything on here. But I'll give it my best shot.

1. I have a peepee dance. You know how parents can tell when their kid needs to go potty because they're doing the peepee dance? I still do it, when I'm too engrossed or obsessed with what I'm doing to really realize that I need to go potty really bad. My Mom still calls me on it ("Heather, do you have to go to the bathroom?" "Yes." "Go to the bathroom right now."). J has now learned to recognize it and calls me on it now too.
2. I have a stork bite birthmark on the back of my neck. It's right at the hairline and so usually hidden. It has absolutely nothing to do with anything but I'm really proud of it. For no reason whatsoever.

My first bath! The red arrow points to my stork bite birthmark. The black bar preserves my dignity.
3. My mother was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma weeks before I got married. This is what killed my paternal grandmother. It's scared the bejeesus out of me and I was ready to cancel the wedding and was in a serious panic. Thankfully Mom's was found early, hadn't metastasized and it was completely removed surgically. (She's six years cancer-free, which is considered "cured". Yay!) Since then I've had three basal cell carcinomas removed via Mohs surgery. My dermatologist tells me that since there is malignant melanoma on both sides of my immediate family it's not a matter of "if" I get it, but "when". That sucks.
4. I cannot burp on demand. Despite years of lessons from Dad at the dinner table - I never could get the hang of it. To his total disappointment.
5. On a related note, I desperately want to learn to fart on demand. My friend Juliet swears she can teach me how...
6. My first car was an electric blue 1979 Firebird. It was in cherry condition when I got it. Two weeks later it'd been through a barbed wire fence. It was a tank. I loved it. Dad sold it for scrap metal while I was away at college and may never get over that heartbreak.

Don't look at my hair. It was 1987. Leave me alone.

7. I'm scared to death of being alone/dying alone. Between our decision not to have kids and what just happened with Jeremy's heart - it's a paralyzing fear at times.

So - how's that for ending on a high note? Awk-ward...  At least you're not stuck nodding your head, looking around nervously and trying to find a way to change the subject. Good thing segues are so much easier in a blog than in real life, huh?

Moving on. My next duty is to pass the award on to other bloggers who have inspired me. That's easy - much easier than the 7 things thing. I'll start with The Tardy Princess written by my best friend, Mary Beth Neukomm. I love this woman - she is exactly the kind of mother I feel like I would have been. And she is also the funniest and most clever woman I think I've ever known. Including me! She hasn't updated the blog in a while (hint, HINT), but her subject matter is her daughter, Ryan. And I am Ryan's self-appointed Fairy Godmother. 
The Tardy Princess herself, Ryan Neukomm.

The second blogger I'll mention is a woman I've never met before in my life. But I found her first blog, French Laundry At Home, very shortly after she'd started a few years ago by accident and was quickly hooked. Carol Blymire is clearly an incredibly brilliant woman with a truly engaging "writing voice". I read every single post immediately after she posted it. And when she finished The French Laundry and started cooking her way through Alinea on Alinea at Home I moved on with her - and continue to enjoy this journey as well. Carol is the blogger that really inspired me to start blogging in the first place. As most of you know, she also inspired me to cook my way through Ad Hoc at Home (due to Jeremy's heart surgery I've taken an indefinate break from that blog - but do hope to get back to it one day). So thank you Carol!