Subtitle: The art of eating well during a week-long power outage
Hi. Remember me? Yeah I dropped off the grid for awhile, sorry about that. Very brief "Cliff Notes" on where I've been and why I haven't been posting (I've still been lurking, tho!).
Hubby and I went on a super super strict diet back in early March because I needed to drop some weight really fast. I got a job offer and had to meet certain physical requirements because of where I'm headed, so rigorous work-out regimen and strict diet were required, and I wasn't doing much standard cooking....thus I had little to post about. Also, I was super busy....because....
I had to arrange a ton of paperwork, gather loads of data, and we had to make a trip back to the US for me to undergo a series of physical / medical evaluations in preparation for my deployment to Afghanistan for my new job (yup, that
So anyway....I've been back in the US visiting with my family awaiting my deployment in a couple of weeks. And for those of you who don't know (which may be all of you) my family all lives in Alabama. Specifically, North and Central Alabama. So last Wednesday I awoke to my father shouting at me at 5:30 in the morning to come downstairs and get in the tornado shelter because a storm was headed our way. Thus began a long day that ultimately yielded the 211 separate tornadoes you guys eventually got to see on the news and which cut off our power around 5pm that day. We just got power back last night.
There I was. Stuck in a house with no power with my husband already back in the Philippines (he only stayed a week with me here), with 2 elderly parents who have many physical infirmaries. A large, cluttered house, full of tripping and fire hazards. Now loaded with candles in various make-shift candle holders. A house with 2 refrigerators and 2 freezers full of food we were desperate to save. With power out for dozens of miles. The next day I would have to strike out in my dad's Traverse on half a tank of gas driving towards Tennessee hoping I'd make it far enough to find someplace that wasn't already sold out of gas, pick up some supplies and (hopefully) find ice.
But we did it. We got through the next 5 days without power, grateful that our biggest (and really only) complaint was not having lights, hot water and spotty mobile phone coverage. I'll spare you the gory details and get to the fun stuff.....how we made the most of the food we were trying to save to have a great time dining in the dark.
Well we were caught unawares here, as the storm started early that morning and didn't let up all day, with the power going out at 5pm. With very little ice we had to move quickly to save the most vulnerable goods....defrosted meats, milk, mayo, the usual. So we scraped by on sandwiches that evening and wondered how long the power would be off. We got our answer on Day 2....
As reports came out that we would be minimum 4 days without power, possible more, we spent most of the day on the road in search of supplies. But that night we noshed on spiral-cut ham and I threw together a quick spinach salad. Not fancy but hey, it was a long day and we were improvising.
Breakfast. Mom and I were starting to worry about the produce languishing in the fridge that hadn't yet made it to an ice chest as we were out of space. So I snatched up the last of our green onion, a couple tomatoes, some fresh garlic, shredded cheese and half a dozen eggs. Mom started a can of sterno and we cooked up a lovely table-top omelet. Afterwards we fried a bit of bacon, then I salvaged a bit of my homemade bread and we toasted a few slices on the pan over the sterno. Mom had an old camp-pot for making coffee. I took a few oranges that were "on the verge" and made some fresh squeezed orange juice.
Lunch was grilled hot dogs, waldorf salad and baked beans. For dinner, we grilled hamburgers, and over the sterno we grilled up some mushrooms and onions topped off with the last of their Swiss cheese. For dessert, I scrounged together some fresh fruit that I was worried would spoil and made a nice fruit salad of pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, kiwi and green apple. We were running low on candle-holders, so I opened a bottle of Malbec and once we were finished....presto, new candle holder. ;-)
For breakfast we used the last of the strawberries, blueberries and blackberries that hadn't gone into the fruit salad to top off our cereal and I sliced some fresh grapefruit. Another hot pot of coffee made it easy to forget the lights were off.
Lunch was tuna salad sandwiches on fire-toasted rye bread with a side of leftover potato salad. I had some hummus I'd made the week before and we had that with slices of cucumber and bell peppers for a mid-afternoon snack.
For dinner, we fished out some frozen crawfish pies and crabcakes, figured out a way to cook them on the grill along with corn on the cob. Another bottle of Malbec to wash it down and the last of the fruit salad for dessert.
The last day the power was out we spent most of it out of town again, headed down to my sister's house to wash some clothes and get a hot shower. Along the drive between north and central Alabama we passed a great deal of the tornado damage from the worst of the twisters that happened on that day. And reflecting on that, while we were happy to get our power back after midnight last night, we didn't feel at all put off by our circumstances. After all, we were fine. Not only were my parents' house and my brother's house both unscathed in Huntsville, the mile-wide EF-5 tornado that ravaged Tuscaloosa and Birmingham missed my sister's house in Birmingham. Our homes are intact, we are all okay, and that's really all that matters.
So if you find yourself stuck without power for a few days and not sure how to save your food, I hope this will help!
My data services were pretty spotty but I did manage to get this one photo posted to my Facebook with the caption "Hey tornado, suck on this!!"