Thursday night brought a cold, cold rain which froze on the ground and in the streets as the temperatures dropped even further. Next came the snow, so pretty to watch. I quickly recorded a message on the college's inclement weather hotline canceling Friday classes and reminding students and staff to check again for updates before traveling to the campus on Saturday. This decision was an easy one.
I woke up early on Friday morning, even though I could have slept in. Scamp did not want to go out into the snow, but he soldiered through and quickly ran back in. As the morning progressed, the snow turned to sleet, converting the snow on the ground into a crunchy mess. The next time Scamp went out, his skinny legs kept busting through the top layer of the crusty snow, startling him with each pop and crunch. He stopped moving at one point and looked at me with very scared eyes, shivering in the cold. I walked over in my slippers and scooped him up. Back inside, I held him close for a bit until he got over the trauma.
Friday night, I changed the message to include closure for Saturday massage clinic and office hours. The roads were just not safe. Saturday was cold all day. Scamp adjusted to going out, skirting around the edges of the yard where the snow wasn't as deep.
Saturday I got out the big oval slow cooker and began preparing the feast I had planned for my snow day. First, I rubbed bone-in chicken thighs with cumin, salt and pepper. I browned these in a pan over a medium heat. While the chicken browned, I peeled and cubed about 3 pounds of sweet potato and combined that with two cans of rinsed and drained black beans, spreading them evenly on the bottom of the cooker. I placed the browned chicken thighs on top of the bean and sweet potato mixture.
In the same pan I had browned the chicken in, I combined three minced garlic cloves, allspice and paprika and heated them just to the point where the garlic was beginning to soften, then poured in some chicken stock. I scraped up all of the bits of chicken (and all of the flavor in the pan), then added some salsa to the mix. This mixture was poured over the chicken. On went the lid and I cooked it on low for 8 hours.
I removed the cooked chicken pieces and carefully pulled all of the meat from the bones, returning the meat to the slow cooker as I worked. I gave the mixture a good stir and put the lid back on. While it stewed a bit more, I chopped up some roasted red pepper and threw that into the stew. Then I pulled the leaves off several stems of cilantro. Then I was ready for a taste test.
I got out a small creme brulee dish and spooned a small portion of the stew into it, then mixed in some cilantro leaves. I cut a small piece of cornbread and added that to the side of the dish. I sat down to taste everything. The first bite nearly made me swoon. It was delicious, probably one of the best things I have ever made. Thank you delish.com!
Sunday morning, I managed to sleep until 8:30 a.m. Yay! I got up and looked out the window. There was no change. But as the day went by, there was a lot of melting and shifting. I could hear pieces of snow and ice shifting up on the roof, then falling into the yard with a big swoosh. When I went out with Scamp at midday, it was warm enough to be out without my down coat. I shook the melting ice off the iron patio chairs. Scamp ran around like a maniac.
But when I watched the news, I saw that most of the roads were still not clear. The street I live on was certainly still a mess. The news people said that everything would be refreezing that night. I decided I better cancel morning classes and have faculty and staff report at 10 a.m. So I dialed in and recorded a new message. By the time it was over, I canceled all classes on Monday and sent the staff home at 3 p.m. I did not want anybody driving after dark. Those decisions are tough ones when conditions are not universal throughout the area. County schools were closed. City schools were open. What to do? But I believe that I made the right decisions for our students and staff.
It has been an eventful few days! And I am still enjoying the leftover stew!!!