SNOW DAY!! Boy, those two little words seriously change in meaning from the time of being a kid, to being a mom. As a kid, I would dream of snow days - growing up in Cleveland, Ohio it was always a possibility, but it seemed like some years those glorious words just never came to life. I remember the excitement going to bed as snow fluttered down at a fast pace, collecting on my window sill thinking; tomorrow my mom is going to come into my room and tell me that I can stay in my pajamas! Snow days were the best. My mom was a teacher when I was young, so if there was a snow day she was home with us, and snow days meant staying in pajamas, building forts, playing games and baking! Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins... playing in the snow until we could no longer feel our toes and fingers and then coming inside to big mugs of hot chocolate and mini marshmallows.. what was not to love.
Then, there's snow days when you are a mom. It's Monday morning and your alarm sounds (by alarm, I of course mean my 2 year old calling me repeatedly from her room, in case I forget after the first 10 calls that she is awake and ready to come out) -- and before I open my eyes, already thinking about my laundry list of things I need to get done on this cold Monday morning, I hear my husband tell me he got the text notification from school that it was a snow day. SNOW DAY - Yikes. But I had SO much planned to get done today. And so, I put a halt on my list scrolling through my head about all of the things I "need" to get done -- and start thinking about the new day ahead. How am I going to make these magical snow days as sweet for my kids as my mom did for me?
So, we bundled up, and braced the blistering cold and headed to the grocery store. (I HAD to at least get some of the things on my list done today). We gathered ingredients for the week, and I decided that today our fun cold snow day activity would be to make a big 'ol pot of hearty vegetable soup. So we did just that. And we spent the rest of the day playing... pretty hard might I add.
So, snow days have changed indeed. It's easy to get flustered that my plans had all been messed with - but sometimes it's important to take a pause, and remember that those things aren't always that important. And, the things I remember most from my snow days are the kinds of things I hope to pass on to my kids... plus, by 12:00pm dinner was essentially made, so -- it didn't turn out to be so bad after all.
HEARTY VEGETABLE SOUP
2 medium sweet onions, chopped
3 zucchinis, chopped
5 large celery sticks, chopped
3 C chopped carrots
1 28oz can of peeled tomatoes, chopped (I use Cento San Marzano)
1 32oz box of organic vegetable broth (I use Trader Joe's)
1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp garlic powder
Salt & Pepper (heavily, or to taste)
Chop all vegetables to your liking (sometimes I do it more finely, sometimes I enjoy it chunky!)
Add 2 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to a large soup pot, and place on medium high heat
Add onions, and let them sauté slightly until translucent
Add the rest of the chopped vegetables, and cook on medium heat covered - until cooked down a bit, and there is an inch or so of liquid from the vegetables at the bottom of your pot
Add one 32oz box of organic vegetable broth (I love the one from Trader Joes -- this isn't necessary, you can skip this step and just add water, but I find it makes a bolder soup, and it also helps it to be ready faster!) -- I then refill the box with water, and add that as well.
Add one 28oz can of peeled and chopped tomatoes and their juice. I use San Marzano, because they are the lowest in sugar of all the canned tomatoes. They don't come chopped, so I chop them myself.
Add chopped parsley
Add garlic powder, salt and pepper
Cover, and bring to a boil
Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, and allow to simmer for at least 2-3 hours covered
Season with salt & pepper again before serving or reheating
I didn't serve the soup last night with cheese, since I served it with the cheesy garlic "bread" sticks, but when I reheat this for lunch, I put a little shredded cheese in the bottom of my bowl before ladling it in, and it is absolutely delicious!
CHEESY GARLIC "BREADSTICKS"
Preheat: oven to 425 F
1.5 C Mozzarella Cheese
6 Tbsp Cream Cheese
3/4 C Almond Flour
1 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste
1.5 Tbsp dried oregano
1.5 Tbsp of dried basil
1/2 C Shredded mixed cheese
salt to taste
Melt mozzarella cheese & 2 Tbsp of cream cheese
Mix in almond flour and egg and mix until smooth & blended well
Form into a ball
Flatten between two sheets of parchment paper, and roll to desired thickness
Gently peel off the top piece of parchment, and place the crust on parchment onto a baking sheet or pizza pan
Cook for 8-9 minutes.
Allow to cool, remove from parchment paper, place onto a pizza sheet or stone
Melt remaining 4 Tbsp of cream cheese in a bowl
Add 1 Tbsp dried oregano
Add 1 Tbsp dried basil
Add 1 Tsp garlic powder
Spread cream cheese mixture onto the bread dough, and top with shredded cheese
Top with remaining 1/2 Tbsp of oregano, basil, and 1/2 tsp of garlic powder (sprinkle a pinch of salt)
Place back into the oven, and allow to cook until the cheese is bubbly and a little brown
Slice into "sticks" and serve warm!