I have pretty much always worked for non-profit preshool/child care programs in my career, which means, we NEVER get snow days. Typically, policy has been we don't close unless the public schools close, and the public schools never close!
Well, that is, until this week! Seriously, this is the first time I've remembered Minneapolis and/or St. Paul Public Schools closing in well over ten years. (I remember the University of Minnesota shut down one day during my freshman year because the air temperature was a high of -20 Farenheight, with even scarier wind chills. I'm sure the schools were closed that day, too!) It was such a surprise, receiving a call from my coteacher on Sunday night, with the message "SNOW DAY" loud and clear! THEN, last night, my boss called, stating, "another snow day tomorrow!" Wow! (The reasoning? I guess we got such a dumping of snow over the weekend, the city has not yet been fully plowed, so the school busses can't get through.)
Well, really, the reason doesn't matter -- snow days are the BEST! Of course, my favorite thing to do on a snow day is BAKE! Now, I've drastically changed my Christmas cookie plans for this year, since my parents have decided to come up. My mom does a ton of baking most years, and I didn't want to duplicate anything she's making, so my list has been cut from a dozen different things to about five. I wasn't even planning on making roll-out cookies this year, (since my mom already makes them,) but yesterday, I just couldn't help it! Snow days require frosting and sprinkles, in my opinion!
No offense to my grandma, whose "Christmas Cookie" dough I almost always make, but I decided to do something simpler this year, with a smaller yield. I settled on Real Simple's Basic Sugar Cookie Dough, which was just right. I ended up getting 40 cookies from this recipe, (the suggested yield is 18,) likely because I rolled the dough a little thinner and used smaller cookie cutters than they did. (I also believe strongly in re-rolling scraps. If I hadn't, I would have wasted at least half of the dough!) My cookies only took about 9 minutes, too, instead of their suggested 12 to 15. After cooling, I whipped up a super-simple buttercream, (1/2 cup butter, 4 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, and about 3 tbsp milk, or until the frosting held together but was still creamy and spreadable,) and attacked my stash of sprinkles. Wahoo! Dan didn't feel like helping with the decorating this year, and that was just fine -- the recipe was manageable enough, I finished the decorating before I was sick of it. :)
AND, since we cannot survive on cookies alone, (although it would be fun to try,) I did some actual cooking these past couple of days, too.
First, "Saucy Hungarian Eggplant," from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers:
For some reason, seeing bulgur in the cupboard made me think to make this dish! Really, though, it is spectacular and easy, and one of my favorites from this cookbook. I couldn't believe the prices on decent-looking artichokes from California this week, so I decided to pick up two for us to enjoy alongside. (We also had salad! It was a veggie-full meal.)
Last night was an incredibly simple miso soup supper:
Here's my recipe, which serves two:
1. Combine 6 cups of water, 2 strips of kombu, 2 dried shiitake mushrooms, and 4 "coins" of fresh ginger. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and cover your dashi. This can steep basically as long as you'd like, but for at least a half-hour. Remove and discard the kombu, shiitakes, and ginger.
2. Return the broth to a boil. Add 1/2 package firm tofu, pressed and cubed small, about 12 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced, and 1 "bundle" of soba noodles, broken into about 1-inch pieces. Boil for five minutes, or however long your noodles take to cook, stirring frequently.
3. Turn off the heat and stir in 1 bunch of green onions, sliced, and 2 tablespoons of miso. Enjoy!
We had a small bowl of leftover soup, which I wasn't expecting, but because we had barely done anything all day long, I guess our appetites weren't at their normal level! Alas, I guess I'll just have to have the leftovers for breakfast this morning!
Off to enjoy snow day #2, here -- if I feel like getting out to buy more flour, I'll definitely be doing more baking! Wee!