First Snow


One gray morning when I was six, I looked out my bedroom window and saw my first, ever, twirling ballet of snowflakes. I had never seen snow before. A magical, new world beguiled me as I realized the sparkling, whispering softness covered every tree, rock and blade of grass. Jubilation followed, when my Mother announced there would be no school that day. Children’s voices squealed outside and I wanted to join them.

We had recently moved from Charleston, S.C. all the way to the Pacific Northwest, so I had no boots or mittens yet. My mother bundled me in my new hooded coat, slipped bread bags over my tennis shoes and I ventured out to immerse myself in the white mystery. I caught snowflakes on my tongue, all the while spinning and twirling with them till I was dizzy enough to fall into the soft embrace of deep snow, over and over again.

My hands were red from the cold, and icy flakes were packed into the top of the bread bags before I finally went in to warm up. The intensity and joy of that experience gave me my first, complete, awareness of myself as being similar, but separate, from everyone else on the planet.

The snow my new friends and I had shared that day initiated me into the realm of nature magic. I have, thankfully, been entranced ever since.


Slider Rolls, Why Bother?

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I know you’ve heard of slider rolls, but it’s possible you thought they were some trendy thing for game day parties that you didn’t need to know more about. I thought that, until I realized the creative possibilities and the ease of making them. They are stellar party food, and if you pull them out of your freezer for unexpected company, they will think you are Wonder Woman. With Christmas and New Years coming up fast, do yourself a favor and make some of these rolls for your freezer.

There are more filling ideas than I could possibly fit in this post, but I will share a couple of my family’s favorites below. If you google the word sliders, you will find plenty of inspiration. I will attach a recipe link for Taste Of Home slider recipes at the bottom of this post. Sliders are a great addition to potluck suppers, and are usually the first food to disappear completely at parties.

The following recipe is my favorite yeast roll recipe for slider buns. It stands up to gooey fillings, and holds its shape during reheating. Beyond that, it is delicious. If you are adept at Sourdough or Rye bread, those doughs make fantastic sliders, too. A lot of people just buy Hawaiian rolls, and they are o.k., but a little too sweet for some fillings. Typical bakery rolls get soggy too fast.

When you bake a normal pan of rolls, they are pulled apart after baking and before serving. Sliders are turned out of the pan still connected to each other. They are sliced as a group while still connected, also. It makes it easy to slice them evenly, in a sheet. I generally slice them before I freeze them, so they are ready to go if I need to thaw them in a hurry. When you are ready to assemble sandwiches for heating, just lift off the top halves of the rolls as a unit. Place it back on when you are done layering the filling.

Slider rolls are bigger than average dinner rolls but smaller than a hamburger bun. They contain unsalted butter and eggs to make a roll that is tender, but tough enough to withstand sauces and cheeses without splitting or collapsing. I weigh the dough balls at 2.30 each and place 12 of them in a 9×13″ pan, with space between each. This recipe will make 24 rolls if you weigh them at 2 oz. each. I weigh them a little bigger, so it yields only 23 rolls for me.

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As they rise, the rolls will swell to fill the gaps.

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Here is my recipe for Slider Rolls:

1/4 cup of granulated sugar
2 pkgs. active, dry yeast
2 cups whole milk, scalded and cooled to 105 degrees
1 cube unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
6 cups of All Purpose flour
3 tsp. Salt

Scald milk, then cool to 105. Melt the butter and allow it to cool. Combine the flour and salt in a KitchenAid mixing bowl with dough hook.

Whisk the yeast and sugar into the 2 cups of cooled, scalded milk, and allow the mixture to sit about 5 minutes until it gets foamy.

Add the yeast sponge to flour and salt, and turn the mixer on at a low setting until dough begins to come together.

Stop the mixer and add the eggs first, then the butter. Knead about 6 minutes. Oil your hands when you are ready to take the dough out of the bowl as it is a little on the soft, sticky side.

Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with a lid or Saran Wrap. Allow the dough to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down the dough, and weigh into 2 – 2.30 balls. Place in greased 9×13 inch pan, spray the tops with veggie oil, and cover with Saran wrap. Allow to rise till doubled and gaps between each roll are almost nonexistent.

Bake at 325 convection or 360-375 regular oven. Brush with melted butter when they come out of the oven. Stand guard if you intend to use them for slider rolls! They smell so good that anyone in the vicinity will snatch one when you aren’t looking! 🙂

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My family likes slow cooked, shredded chicken breasts with BBQ sauce, cheese and fresh coleslaw on sliders, or, Cuban sandwich sliders.

Cuban Sandwich Sliders

Thinly sliced dill pickles
Slices of swiss cheese, on bottom and top layers
Highly seasoned roast pork
Sliced baked ham

Layer ingredients over the bottom half of the rolls placed on parchment lined cookie sheet. Apply the top half to the rolls and cover with foil. Bake about 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

The possibilities are endless!

36 Slider Recipes