Spending a snow day with three high-energy kids is a lot like circuit training at the gym. Our typical snow day workout goes like this:
Wake-up to a quick warm-up of milk and cartoons. Then it’s time to fuel up before heading out to shovel. Breakfast is important because getting on snow pants is a workout in itself. At best a 20 minute exercise, at worst a 45 minute drenching cardio segment. After driveway is cleared, it’s back inside for some hockey practice. No relaxing, maybe a quick water break to rehydrate. Once someone gets hit with a stick it’s time to move on to another activity. From the basement we rotate to the kitchen station for a little upper body work. A recipe involving dough is my preferred mode since there’s lots of kneading and rolling involved. And if we make the dough from scratch it means we can get in some dough punching after it rises. Bonus!
After kitchen time and a quick lunch we clear up and prepare for another cardio burst. With the lure of hot chocolate or a pack of Pokemon cards it’s back into snow pants for a brisk walk to town. Getting them back home needs another incentive. Promises of ice cream or a yummy dessert usually does the trick to motivate them to pick up the pace.
Back home the dough punching or rolling usually turns into “brother punching”. To cool things off we get in some mental exercise with a board game or two. This is the toughest part of the workout – but we are heading into the home stretch. After our last burst of energy we settle in for some screen time. While the boys zone out to TV or video games I can get dinner on table. Our last activity? A much anticipated dinner of serious carbo-loading and off to bed. And hopefully to school the next day!
Leftover Deep Dish Pizza (a perfect snow day recipe)
For the dough:
½ cup warm water, about 105 degrees
½ packet active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
¾ cup room temperature water
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 ½ tsp salt
For the toppings:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup tomato or pasta sauce
1 cup roasted sweet potato cubes (optional)
1 cup chopped leftover meatballs (optional)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Mix warm water, yeast and sugar in a measuring cup. Let stand and dissolve until yeast starts to bubble and swell, about 5 minutes. Add room temperature water and oil, stir to combine.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour and salt. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and mix until a ball is formed. This can be done in a food processor as well. Dough will be very sticky and might need a little bit more flour but add in small amounts. Dust work surface with flour and knead dough to form a smooth round ball. Add a few sprinkles of flour as needed.
Place dough in a large bowl coated with oil and cover with plastic wrap.
Let rise for at least 2 hours until doubled in size.
Punch dough down and divide in half, reserving one for another snowy day. Simply wrap the extra dough in plastic and refrigerate or freeze. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly oil a round cake pan, 9” diameter. Press the dough to fit evenly into the pan building up a lip around the edge of the pan. Let the dough rest a few minutes if it is snapping back. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork several times and then bake for about 5 minutes until dough is set.
Remove from oven and gently press down any bubbles that have formed.
Brush crust with the olive oil and add toppings. First layer the sauce and about half of the mozzarella.
Then toppings of your choice.
Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and grated parmesan.
Return to oven and bake until crust is lightly browned and cheese is bubbly, about 30 minutes.
And the VERDICT is:
Matthew (age 7): “Wow, work of art”
Dylan (age 5): “That rised!”
Liam (age 5): “You gotta love cheese!”
Snow days are never easy but if you have this to look forward to they’re not so bad!
(recipe for pizza dough adapted from The Cook’s Illustrated)