Thursday, December 1, 2011

X-Treme Food Stamp Challenge--When the lights go out

No it wasn't because we didn't pay the bill.  It was probably due to the snow and ice storm we'd had the night before, but yesterday, right as we were finishing eating breakfast, the power went out. 

For breakfast, we had whole wheat blueberry muffins, made with blueberries I got at the farmers market in-season and froze (as a bonus, the farmer said that, while they weren't certified organic, they were grown without chemicals), and with real butter and cheese omelets.  I had a Diet Coke to drink, as is my morning custom.  The kids were so excited about the freshly fallen snow that they didn't want to wait for breakfast to go outside and had some frozen blueberries and a couple slices of cheese as a pre-breakfast snack. 

I was just taking the last couple bites of my food, when the power flickered a few times and went out.  I hadn't even put away the remaining eggs and butter from when I was making breakfast, but with the power out for who-knows-how-long, I wasn't going to open the fridge and risk the rest of the food in there just to put away a couple things!  Instead, I got a bucketful of snow from outside to use to keep the food cold until the power came back on.

I didn't want lunch, and my husband was out trying to contact DHS in person in an effort to get our benefits raised now that neither of us are working, but the younger children had peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. 

With the power still being off by the time I needed to get dinner started, I wasn't able to make pasties as my meal plan for the week told me I should.  However, since I had a chunk of venison in the sink thawing when the power went out, I was able to roast that up for dinner along with potatoes.  I decided to serve up applesauce and pickled beets (applesauce canned by me and the pickled beets were ones my mom had grown and canned) with the roast and potatoes (and of course I was going to have gravy!), but then the power came back on!  I grabbed some carrots my mom had grown and I had packaged and frozen out of the freezer and tossed them in the pan to complete my roast dinner.  The kids wanted the pickled beets anyway though!  The kids and I also got to have milk with dinner, since we could get back into the fridge.

After dinner, I had planned on making popcorn balls for my 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies entry and was going to even if the power was still off, which would have been possible since we have a gas stove and that butter I mentioned before was still chilling in snow.  Silly me guessed how much popcorn I should pop for the project, since it is bulk popcorn from the farmers market and there was no label to say how much yielded how much popped and I didn't feel like looking it up somewhere and, boy, did I guess wrong!  I ended up with about twice as much popcorn as I needed, but everyone was happy to help me *ahem* dispose of the evidence (that means we ate it).  The popcorn "balls" ended up not being sticky enough to be balls, so I left it as loose pieces and most of it was pretty quickly eaten up (except the container of it I hid behind the kale chips, so no one will find them but me.  Muhahaha!).  For some reason, the kids were still hungry later in the evening, shortly before bedtime, so they had some cheese to snack on.  I also had a ate night snack, more of those tortilla chips and apple-tomato salsa (I've actually been working on the jar pictured in the post for the recipe all week!).

For most of the day, we were drinking water, since we weren't going to be getting in the refrigerator for anything!  However, today, we weren't drinking tap water, since the electricity being off invariably means that the water would be under a boiling water advisory, because the water system in the trailer park is on the same electrical system as our house.  We've lost power and/or water (due to main breaks, etc) enough times though that we keep a small supply of bottled water around for such a contingency, so we were drinking that.  After the power came back on, I did have a couple cans of Diet Coke and the toddler had some juice, in addition to the milk we had for dinner.


  1. Wow! It must me extra challenging when life throws curve balls, but it sounds like you rose to the occasion.


  2. Life is very good at throwing me curve balls! I've just had to get really good at hitting the damn things!

  3. Do you have a method for heating when the power goes out? We have both the wood stove and a generator that has the capability of keeping our furnace going if we really want it to (ie only if we ran out of wood, which is unlikely as we live on the edge of a very untended bit of forest that has about 14 cords of downed trees within sight of my kitchen window). Our house is designed nicely in that if we have to heat with just the woodstove, it's possible to shut off over half the house with a single door, and simply "not heat" that portion. The woodstove makes enough heat to keep this portion of the house pretty warm... the room it's in (the parlor, or living room) can get as high as the mid 80s (oh glory!) if we get it cherried nicely, and the kitchen and two bedrooms in this half of the house end up being in the mid 60s.

  4. On sunny afternoons, if I leave the front door open, we get some nice passive solar heat generated. Other than that, there is just body heat (which does more than one might think, since everyone prefers to sleep in our small room rather than their own) and the stove. If we owned the place, there would be more backups, but renting limits our options.

  5. Yeah, that's what I thought. Even if you could afford a generator, there's a question if they'd let you use one. :( Oh, about the caramel corn? You can use honey in place of the corn syrup and get the same result. :)

  6. I'm pretty sure they would let us use a generator, but we have a hard enough time figuring out how to have enough gas in the car just to go to essential things, so there is no way we'd be able to afford to keep fuel around for it. Plus, there would be a HUGE chance it would get stolen!

    The idea of honey had occurred to me, but I decided to try the cheaper option first, in case it was a fail. I'll keep that in mind for next time though. Thanks.

  7. Oh the joys of winter....this is on our list of reasons we own big dogs=more heat to go around. With two we put one on each side of the bed and huddle between them :)

    We have an electric piece of crap stove so our only option for food is the grill when the power is out. Which normally means warmed canned goods and toast if nothing else was out.

    When we finally get back out of an apartment a generator is at the top of our list for a house. Next to a big enough yard for a garden and the dogs.