Sunday, September 4, 2011

Come On, Irene

When we last spoke eight days ago, Hurricane Irene was bearing down on New England. A lot has happened since then. Here's a recap.

So, Hurricane Irene became Tropical Storm Irene by the time it hit New England. That was good news. We ended up losing our power at noon on Sunday. It got pretty gusty at times, and there were some scary moments with the big trees blowing about, but all in all, we were really fortunate to escape the storm with basically no damage to our house or cars. Some of our neighbors weren't so lucky - more than one had cars that were either damaged or completely destroyed by falling trees and limbs. We also didn't get as much rain as forecast, so we were spared any flooding. Good thing, since we're still repairing our basement from the Great Flood of 2010 :)

Anyway, my hubby and I weren't terribly disappointed to be without power. We're both crunchy-granola types that enjoy hiking and being unplugged from the world, anyway. I joked that this would be our little cabin-in-the-woods vacation I wanted to take all summer, but never got the chance to :)

With the electricity out for the forseeable future, the race was on to use up our perishable foodstuffs before they went bad. I thought it would be a good excuse to get creative and put new twists on dishes in order to use up as much stuff as possible. And can I get an Amen for having a gas stovetop? Amen!

So, on Sunday night, I grabbed a package of tempeh, a yellow bell pepper, celery, some shredded carrot, the last of my baby spinach, a small can of tomato sauce, two half-used onions (red and white), and some garlic. By the light of my headlamp, I whipped up a souped-up version of Tempeh Sloppy Joes from The Vegan Table. There may have been even more stuff in there, but it was so dark, I could barely see what I was throwing in the pot. Whatever.

Who needs candlelight? Nothing says romance like a battery-powered lantern.
After we put the little bambino to bed, we upped the romance factor even more.

A glass of merlot, a puzzle, and a headlamp? Ooooh, baby.

Monday dawned a beautiful, sunny day, but alas, still no electricity. No matter, we still had fun. Hubby had to go to work, but my son and I spent most of the day cleaning up the yard and playing outside. We also worked on the puzzle together. Even during the day, we still needed the headlamp to see the puzzle well. Apparently, the headlamp didn't help my son see his pants, however.

By Monday afternoon, the food in my two refrigerators was pretty much toast. I can't tell you how difficult it was for me to pour out an ENTIRE, UNOPENED, 64-oz bottle of carrot juice (*sob), 5 unopened tubs of tofu, 4 unopened packages of tempeh, 3 unopened cartons of soymilk, 2 unopened packages of Tofutti cream cheese, and 1 unopened package of meatless meatballs. And a partridge in a pear tree. Oy. It was painful. I even swished the carrot juice in my mouth before I came to my senses and spit it out. Carrot juice!! Oh, it was agony.

For Monday's night dinner, it was pretty slim pickings. It was time to use up the rest of the produce in my fridge before it went bad, so I took it all out, chopped it up, and made a minestrone-esque stew. You know what? It was really good! So good, I even wrote down a recipe :)

Minestrone-esque Stew
Serves 2 hungry adults and 1 hungry toddler

1 large carrot, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
6 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 15-oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon instant veggie broth powder
dried basil, oregano, and Italian seasoning (to taste - approx 1/4 to 1/2 tsp each?)
water (as much as you'd like - I just added to the pot until it seemed right!)

Salt and nutritional yeast ("nooch"), to taste

In a medium pot, saute the onion in a little bit of olive oil until softened. Add the rest of the veggies and continue cooking until softened, approximately 7-10 minutes. Add the broth powder, beans, seasonings, and water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes. At the very end, stir in some salt and nooch to taste.

At around 8:45 Monday night, the power came back on. And you know what? We kept on doing the puzzle. We did turn off the headlamps, however. You wouldn't believe how much easier it was to do a puzzle with the lights on. Who knew? :)

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