Snow day traditions

At the first sign of snow my kids start begging for hot chocolate and popcorn. I welcomed them inside from snow once, and that’s exactly how long it took for the tradition to stick.

It’s funny how every single morning I tell them, “It’s time to go to the bus! Put on your shoes, get your bags and get in the van!” And never once have they responded by putting on their shoes, getting their bags, or getting in the van. Not once. Yet, they take one look at hot chocolate and they immediately say, “THIS LOOKS LIKE A LONG-STANDING TRADITION TO ME!”

I tell them they have to earn their hot chocolate — which means they have to play outside AT LEAST as long as it takes me to make a pot of hot chocolate.

In honor of the late-season snow we got yesterday, here are my go-to snow day recipes. Except for the marshmallows, these are easy enough to throw together while looking out the window to make sure your two-year old isn’t running naked through the yard.

Hot Chocolate

1/3 cup unsweetened chocolate powder
1/3 cup sugar
4 cups milk

In a medium saucepan combine sugar, chocolate, and 1/2 cup milk. Stir over medium heat until combined and no lumps remain. Slowly add remaining milk. Heat until warm, but not boiling.

Stovetop popcorn

3T oil
1/2 C popcorn kernels

Makes about 8 cups.

Add oil and kernels to the pot, turn heat to high. It’ll take a few minutes for the kernels to start popping, once they do turn the heat to medium. Once the popping stop completely, remove from heat.

Recipe notes: I used to shake the pot a few times through cooking to avoid burning, but when my hand was in a cast I couldn’t pick up the pot, so I stopped doing it and there were never any issues, so I don’t do that anymore. A lot of people also recommend heating the oil before adding all the kernels. I’ve never done that. This is streamlined lazy stovetop popcorn.

In our house popcorn isn’t only a snow day snack. We eat it almost every day. It’s the cheapest, healthiest, easiest snack I’ve found that the kids like. The kids like popcorn sprinkled with parmesan cheese, I eat mine with nutritional yeast.

When Thomas saw David blowing his hot chocolate, he started blowing his popcorn. It was cute until there was popcorn all over the floor and table.

Mary Virginia: Mommy, this marshmallow is delicious.

Me: I think so too. Did you know marshmallows are my favorite food?

Mary Virginia: Do you mean treat?

Me: No, I mean food.

Mary Virginia: When you get to be a grown-up…marshmallows are food?



2 tsp butter
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp clear vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch

Line a 13×9 inch pan with foil and grease the foil with butter; set aside.

In a large metal bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup water; set aside. In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook, without stirring until mixture reaches soft-ball stage (240 degrees with a candy thermometer).

Remove from heat and gradually add gelatin (if you’re using a stand mixture, combine in the mixer at this step). Beat on high speed until mixture is thick and has doubled in volume, up to 15 minutes. Beat in vanilla.

Spread into prepared pan. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 6 hours.

Using foil, lift marshmallows out of the pan. Lightly coat a knife or pizza cutter with butter or cooking spray and cut marshmallows into squares.

Combine cornstarch and powdered sugar. Dust all sides of cut marshmallows with the cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture. (I like to put the cut marshmallows into a tupperware with the mixture and shake it up.)

* I don’t actually make these fresh on snow days, they’re too much work. I usually make a few batches around Christmastime, and what we don’t I store in the fridge or freeze.


What are your snow day traditions? Besides looking out the window, sighing, and saying, “Ugh. This again?”


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1 Comment

  1. Gayle Ann March 14, 2018

    When you are a grown-uo, chocolate is also a food.

    Add a splash of vanilla syrup. I watched mine being made at Starbucks one time, and noticed they did it. It mellows the bite of the chocolate while adding richness. The extract doesn’t do it as well as the syrup.

    Our local movie theater wants $25 for popcorn and 2 drinks. The price is ridiculous, considering how cheap it is. We’ve experimented with various flavorings too. I’ve never tried making my own marshmallows. I’ve seen recipes and thought about it.

    This year, you should try growing a few rows of popcorn. And, just to make it more fun, after it is a few inches high, plant string beans at the base of the stalk, and they will naturally climb it.

    Speaking of marshmallows, my husband insists on buying Peeps this time of the year, though he isn’t that fond of eating them. It just usn’t Easter without them. So a few years ago, I was inspired. My mother had a mini marshmallow dessert she made with Cool Whip, instant pistachio pudding, crushed pineapple, and walnuts or pecans. Mix in mini marshmallows. So, a new Easter tradition was born at our house…. Sacrificed Peep dessert, which is a title fitting the occasion. I used the kitchen shears to sacrifice the Peeps, adding them after the Kitchen Aid mixed everything else. I use the frozen bread dough to make bunny bread (really simple. Google bunny bread and Taste of Home), And, the bread and dessert are now solid traditions. It’s a joke now…. “When are you going to sacrifice the Peeps?” “Can I help sacrifice the Peeps?” But, they aren’t wasted!


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