Friday, January 12, 2007

The ice storm approacheth

Time for a good old Oklahoma ice storm. It was supposed to start as rain this morning turning to freezing rain this afternoon as the temp dropped with the arrival of arctic air, and another surge of freezing rain tomorrow (Saturday), turning to sleet or a snow/sleet mix by Sunday.

Well, things are working out a bit differently -- typical for something as incredibly complex as continent-scale weather! At 8 am it was 30F (15 degrees cooler than expected) and there was a thin layer of ice on things outside, and freezing rain. Half an hour later the temp had dropped to 28F, eek! Quick, bundle up the kids and myself, hop in the car (hmm, slushy, slidey-y roads), and pick up the things I'd meant to get already, sigh. Now we have milk, eggs, lots of apples, and some other things.

The big concern, besides being stuck at home for days (that's not too bad) is losing power for a significant amount of time. Ice storms and power lines and trees are not a happy combination.

As I was dropping my husband off at work this morning, we figured we'll be fine as long as the gas still works (i.e., heat via fireplace, cooking, hot water). This arctic air is going to keep us in the chill box for most of the next week, though. Without power we wouldn't be the warmest we've ever been, but if we can eat and drink good warming food and keep a low fire in the fireplace, then certainly we can bundle up and find ways to occupy ourselves. We can play board and card games, the kids can play with toys, we can read, play the piano (with cold fingers!), and go to bed shortly after it gets dark and get a good long night's sleep (under LOTS of covers). Thanks to my guys' recent camping adventures with Cub Scouts, and forward-thinking relatives, the boys now have at least four wind-up flashlights, yay.

If the weather is good but we have no power, we can use our charcoal grill for a change of pace with cooking. I would feel secure, I think, rather than perpetually underprepared, IF we had oil lamps, our fireplace were actually efficient, and I always kept our pantry well stocked. How cool it would be to have a wood stove and a good store of seasoned wood -- we could cook and heat water and heat the living area all at once.

Speaking of pantry, I can make these hearty main dishes this weekend, with the gas stove and oven.
- Black bean soup (beans cooking right now) with diced sausage.
- Baked pasta with simple red sauce, Mozzarella, Parmesan.
- Soup with wild rice (or lentils) and diced sausage.
- Quiche, or scrambled eggs and salsa (or some such), and corn tortillas.
- Mexican rice and beans -- as burritos or on a plate with tortillas.

and sides of baked or roasted or mashed or gratin-ed sweet potatoes and baking potatoes; baked or sauteed apples or raw apple slices; and I think I have carrots.

For breakfasts (and go-withs) I want to have homemade breads -- my task for the rest of today -- and eggs; maybe coffeecake or quick breads (cranberry and pumpkin) for tomorrow morning. And cream cheese. If the power is out I'll make coffee on the *stovetop*, or even the grill, if necessary!!!

Lunches and snacks: leftovers, breads with peanut butter or cream cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cream cheese rollups, cinnamony apple slices.

And tea. With boiling water, I can drink tea and chai for a couple of hours from my big, swaddled teapot.

Gee, I don't really cook like this most of the time, though we all enjoy it when I do. It's just that I want hearty, warming foods! I really need to tend my beans and laundry now, and start bread. Chatter, chatter says the sleet, throwing itself against our ice-laden windows and window screens...

No comments: