Saturday, January 21, 2012

How to make a snow granita

Snow granitas chilled and ready to serve....mmmmmm. I want one now!
We loved eating snow ice cream this week, but just before the thaw, a friend told me about snow granitas.  Have you ever had a granita at a coffee shop?  It's essentially iced coffee with milk and sugar, blended with ice.  With snow granitas, mother nature has done the work for you, and your ice is ready to go in the form of snow!  I decided not to look up a recipe so I could post my own recipe right here on my blog.  

Snow Granitas

What you'll need:

6 quart pan
large spoon
1 1/2  coffee mugs full of coffee (doesn't matter if it's hot)
1/2 cup sugar (add more to taste)
1/4 cup powdered milk (I didn't have milk.  You might substitute 1/2 cup of milk instead)

I got out my 6 quart pan and filled it 3/4 full with snow.  I had the best luck when I mixed the sugar and powdered milk with the coffee before pouring it on the snow.  You can pour them directly into the snow, but the sugar crystals may not dissolve and the powdered milk may be lumpy.  I tried pouring both hot coffee and room temp coffee, and it didn't make too much of a difference.  I actually liked that the snow was melted a little more by the hot coffee.  

After you mix the sugar and powdered milk into the coffee, just pour it over the snow and mix.  Put it in a mug and drink it or eat with a spoon.  Add more sugar, milk and even coffee to taste.  I liked mine not too strong, so this may be a milder recipe.  I left the pan out in the cold as the snow thawed, and the snow melted into iced coffee that kind of tasted like a bottled frappucino.  Yummy and successful experiment!

Not to be left out, Saraiah made her own "granita."  It has no coffee.  I told her she was allowed to use honey.  When I cleaned it out, I discovered she had used about 1/4 cup of honey and about 3 T of raisins.  There is also snow.  I tasted a bit on my fingertip because I was squeamish about the raisins.  It was tasty.  Note to self: honey might be a yummy option for snow sweetening in the future.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Thaw

Maple seed
Today the snow was thawing in full force.  Water was dripping from everywhere!  It was great fun to be out there seeing the white world transforming back into greens and browns.  Melting snow was falling from the trees into our slower creek, making ripples that were constantly overlapping.  

The creek that flows downhill was draped with icicles formed as the snow melted from branches.  It was lovely.  My mind was singing the song from Bambi:  "drip drip drop little april shower..." It's not spring, but I couldn't help thinking it must be how it feels for people who live with snow all winter and finally have that first day of warmth.  

One of the kids locked isaac out, apparently barefooted, because I saw footprints in the snow when I went outside.  Don't worry, he was only outside long enough to walk to an unlocked door. On a sad note, the pink barefoot footprint sticker with the Hawaiian Islands as the toes has now fallen off of my minivan.  How will I distinguish it from anyone else's now?  The barefootmommy-minivan is having an identity crisis!
Koa's footprint over the flower beds.  Dirt's making a comeback!
Darn cleavers, they still stick around.  But at least they'e pretty.
Spotted towhee can't wait to be hidden in this very spot in a few days.
Remains of the pepper plants from this summer.

This was some sort of salad green that went to seed.
stubborn flowers

Look carefully at the largest bubble.  Saraiah found that you could see its reflection!

Look how the water just bubbles up on the bamboo.

i love the little buds that i see

There are a few things that I haven't figured out how to do justice with in still photography: frost, water and icicles.  The thing that makes them beautiful in part is the way they make light dance and move.  I'm still learning how to capture that.  I think a long exposure on a tripod, making the water look smooth might have been a cool idea.  Note to self: get a tripod that works.  

icicles over the waterfall
a branch encased in ice

kids' climbing tree

reflected tree over creek

leaf or ice flower?
many helicopters!

Snowed in

Koa was so tired from playing in the snow, his rear leg just dragged behind him when I called him for his food after this picture.  It's going to be hard when he gets old and that's normal.  For now, I'm happy he played so hard he was sore.

We've had a solid six days of being snowed in at our house.  We're on a hill and traded in our 4 wheel drive truck for a fuel efficient Prius a few years ago, so we had no chance of leaving except for hitching a ride.  I don't know the last time I've been home this long, except maybe after childbirth.  Whenever I have had a baby, I let Brandon drive for the first two weeks and enjoy my break.  I think it'll be just as weird to drive again as it is when I'm first behind a wheel after a kid is born, and it will be really weird to actually go somewhere.  I kind of like the Little House on the Prairie feel of being snowed in.  Today, however, I ran out of flour.  Last night we used the last of the chocolate chips, and the coffee is on its way out.  It's melting today, and, like ending a play date before the kids begin to maul each other, I think it's good timing.  But oh dear, was it wonderful.  I love to be home.    

the girls and their tolerant doggy

A friend gave us the idea of making paper airplanes to pass the time.  Of course the girls had to dress theirs up with color.  

The pile of mending I was saving for a snow day.  5 days in, I began to tackle it.  I've fixed four things, and all have been used, so I guess it was good.  One thing that was fixed too late were the shoes that are now a toe to short for Maia's feet!

The thaw is beginning

I think this is a song sparrow.

Varied Thrush

Varied Thrush

Song sparrow, I think.  All puffed.  See the dirt on his beak?  I had to startle him out of the dirt next to my house to get him to fly up where I could get a good shot. He was having some nice snacks, I think.


I really wish I knew mushrooms and lichens and fungi.  I don't know what this is.

little birdie fetching food from the slightly frozen creek.

Cinnamon is not impressed with the snow.

Brandon's bamboo doesn't mind the chill.
Our neighbor girl was inspired to build this fort.  They packed snow into a plastic drawer.  She told Maia it was her castle!

Enjoying the last of the snow.