Snowpocalypse 2014

We don’t see much snow at all in the south. And one thing I have learned in the two years we have lived in South Carolina, we don’t really get snow at all.
Until the last two weeks when our kids were out of school for two days for a dusting.
From 2 weeks ago.  Yes, that’s sled in our front yard…. a teenager can hope.

When I refer to a dusting, I really mean like the dust on a table, not a dusting Northerners refer to.

The lake across from our house
We just can’t handle snow.
We really can’t handle ice.
The two are combining this week & has us buckled down for a Snowpocalypse.
Go ahead and laugh.
I laugh too.
I also bought an extra tank of gas for our grill loaded up on extra firewood, bought extra lighters, stocked up on bottle water, soup ingredients, healthy snacks, hot chocolate, candles, blankets, nonperishable foods like peanut butter, popcorn, etc…. & , kitty litter & cat food for our four legged babies.
I’m not going to be caught in this mess unprepared!
I’ve also pulled out some of our favorite “snow day” movies to curl up and watch with the kiddos in front of a fire over the next several days.  With the winter Olympics going on as well right now, combining the two themes will make for some great entertainment!
Here are some of our favorites:

Do have a favorite snow day/ Olympic flick?  How do you prepare for crazy winter weather where you are?
Here’s hoping that being prepared will chase just a bit of this winter weather away!
Have a great Monday!

An Unexpected Snow Day

I love a good winter snow.
In fact I become giddy like a little child when even the slightest of flurries fall from the sky.  I am  always so disappointed when the weatherman predicts snow and then we don’t get any.
So, this past Saturday, when the skies opened and snowflakes began to fall in South Carolina I did a little happy dance, grabbed the camera and told my kiddos to get outside!
We took a few shots in the early flakes as I guessed they would quickly be gone after lunch.
But, I was wrong!
{Sometimes I like to be wrong.}
In just an hour we had a beautiful, winter wonderland!

Oh! How I love this winter beauty!
And I love to enjoy it even more, so we did!
With lots of laughter, and snowballs, and wrestling and just plain ole silliness, we had a fabulously wonderful Southern snow day!

In fact, I guess the only one who didn’t enjoy the snow would be Windsor.

{He’s just a spoiled rotten beagle.}
The end of the day was most beautiful to savor.

A perfect ending to a perfect day.
I hope you had just as wonderful a weekend!

Hot chocolate!

The pile of jackets, boot, and wet clothes continues to grow as day three of this southern snowstorm has arrived, but oh, what fun we have had in this snow!   From sledding to building snowmen and forts to snowball battles, I think we have done it all.

Bradley & his cousin, Ethan, working on a snowman
Madeline takes the hill
Bradley loves the thrill of going fast
carrying sleds back up the hill
my beagle, Winston, racing Kenzie down the hill
Samantha takes a tumble

But, at the end of the day, nothing is more cozy than curling up with your favorite patchwork quilt with a fire roaring in the fireplace while sipping hot chocolate. 

 Mixes are easy to do, and there are ways to “dress” them up so that they taste a bit better than powder and water, but being snowbound just makes me want more.  My favorite recipe is so easy.  You can make it on the stovetop, or leave it simmering in the crock-pot for easy refills.
Rich & Creamy Hot Chocolate

1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk  
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
6-1/2 cups water
High quality Chocolate Chips
Whisk together & pour into your heated Crockpot or in a pan. 
Stir in 8 ounces milk chocolate chips until melted, and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours in the crockpot on low, or about 20 minutes on the stove using the low-med. setting.  if you use the stove-top, stir often to keep it from scorching.


  The kids especially love this topped with whipped cream.   


It looks like we are going to be snowbound for a couple of more days as the temperatures are staying in the 20’s during the day.  Living in a poor, country community in the south often means there is no money for keeping road crews for snow days.  I don’t really mind it too much as the kids are enjoying their days out of school and off from work.  

And me?  I’m enjoying my kids oh so much!

Enjoy and stay warm!

{Comfort Food} Savory Stew for a Southern Snow Day

For the second time in two weeks, we have significant snowfall on our little farm in North Alabama. Needless to say, all four of our children are beyond thrilled! 

We spent all day out playing in the 8-inches of snow as well as taking care of our little farm.  
As you can see, there is rarely a dull moment to be found around here!

After a day out in the snow, there is nothing more satisfying than a bubbling pot of stew.  I don’t know why, but it seems that soups will always warm me up quicker than anything else!  We love lamb here, so Mulligan Stew fits a snowy occasion perfectly.  Overflowing with meat & veggies, this stew fills as well as warms you right up!

Savory Mulligan Stew

2 pounds cubed beef tips
2 pounds cubed lamb
2-1/2 tsp salt, divided
11/2 tsp ground black pepper, divided
1/2 all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 medium yellow onions, cut into i-inch pieces
1 (8 oz) pkg of baby bella mushrooms
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 cup red wine
6 cups beef broth
3 cans (14 oz) of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
6 medium carrots, sliced into 1-inch pieces
4 ribs celery cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 Tbsp sugar
4 cups cubed potatoes
3 Tbsp fresh thyme
Garnish: Fresh thyme
1.  In a large bowl combine beef, lamb, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, add flour and toss gently to coat.

2. In a large Dutch oven, heat 4 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat.  Cook meat for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently until browned.  Remove meat and set aside.

3.To the pot add remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, onion, mushrooms, and garlic; cook for about five minutes, stirring often.  Add wine and cook for two more minutes.  
Add broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, carrot, celery, sugar, remaining salt and pepper, and reserved meat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, uncovered, stirring occasionally.  Add potatoes and cook until they are fork tender.  Add thyme, stirring until well mixed.
Garnish with fresh thyme if desired.
I went beyond the thyme garnish and added a tablespoon of Creme Fraiche.  With the texture of sour cream, it has a buttery taste that really added to my stew.   Don’t be afraid to try something new!

How has your week started out?  Is it snowing?  Raining?  What’s your favorite thing to eat on a snowy day?