Saturday, February 15, 2014

Oatmeal Panic in the Southeast!

As I type this, we are preparing for the storm. I may edit later but, just in case we don't have power for a while, I am setting up the post now. Yup, I'm already looking at the worst possible scenario. ( Ruthy says it's a writer trait, looking for that worst case possibility). Having lived through major ice storms in NC for decades, I don't hold out hope.

The birdometer has been telling me the weather is going to be rough. What is the birdometer, you ask? When I am going through a ten pound bag of birdseed a DAY and the birdfeeders look like Grand Central Station, it means trouble is on the way!

You may not see the crowd of birds. Most are blending in. That's what they do in the winter.
People posted a lot of  LEP (Losing Electricity Preparation), things I hadn't thought of:

  • Turn up your thermostat so your powerless house will hold heat longer.
  • Make sure to run your taps even if the temps aren't that cold. You don't have heat inside the house keeping them warm anymore.
  • Where is your caffeine source coming from?
  • Do you have cash? ATMs and credit card machines won't work even if the gas stations and stores are open.
  • Make sure to take a shower and wash and dry your hair beforehand.
  • Have you done the laundry? Do you have clean underwear?  (My personal fave.)

I ticked off my list of survival grub. I had the milk (it can stay on the screened porch), the bread, Girl Scout cookies for ManO.

But if the power was off, how would I get my cholesterol lowering Gluten Free Oatmeal and fiber without a hot, piping bowl of oatmeal?  I quickly searched the Internet, ran up to the grocery (the panicked crowd hadn't deluged Fresh Market, just the regular stores) and came back home to bake before the storm. I hit a winning recipe on the first try! I adapted my recipe to make it less sweet, more breakfasty than dessert or snack.

Before: I do love my cookie scoop and parchment paper.

After: If I give the snowman a cookie, will he keep the snow and ice at bay?

Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies (Recipe adapted from Delectably Gluten Free Blog)

1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 T vanilla extract
1 cup Pamela's Baking Mix
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups gluten free oats
1/2 cup chopped  pecans (feel free to add other ingredients like chips or dried fruit)

Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, using a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed. 
Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. Slowly add the baking mix and cinnamon and blend on low, adding oats.
Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts until evenly distributed. 
Drop by the spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 
Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the cookie (until golden brown).  
Let cool on cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack. 

The birds were right. And so were the weather people. Storm started as I finished my post and added almost half a foot of snow and ice. 


 The big news, you may have seen it. Picture of gridlock in Raleigh goes viral  ManO went back to work part time this week, saw the snow and left work. Along with the rest of the Triangle. It took him an hour and a half to go a quarter of a mile. My daughter's twenty minute commute took 3.5 hours. The snow started hard and stuck quickly. Everyone was leaving at the same time. Thank goodness most folks got home safely. This wasn't a matter of people not knowing how to drive in snow but not being able to go uphills when traffic was at a standstill. 

We didn't lose power but our son and family did (their survival food was pizza delivered). About five inches and an inch of ice stopped the world for 36 hours. But we took advantage of not being able to go anywhere, caught up on tv shows and carb loaded (hey, I had my blog technically done). It could have been worse. My sister in MD got 20 inches. My sister in NYC got a ton. Both had ice. 

And next week they are calling for temperatures in the 70s.

Oh, and the funnier version of the picture of our calamity is here. Staypuff Man attacks Raleigh  
So what about you? Do you have a plan of attack when the power goes out? Go to foods? Tricks to make the time bearable? How many quilts are going on your bed if necessary?


  1. So glad it all come out okay for you and your family. I love an oatmeal cookie--so I will try this for sure! Even though we went through a similar situation this week, I just prayed a lot, especially when the lights would flicker. Thanks for the tips though--some things I had been doing (taking a bath before), but some were new (turn up the thermostat). Awesome post, Julie!

    1. Just remember you can add extra sugar. These definitely aren't as sweet as some oatmeal cookies out there. Or maybe just add chocolate chips or M&Ms or butterscotch chips or.... Glad the post enlightened.

  2. luckily my power has never been off long enough to really suffer. well during hurricane Ike but I went otu of town for that and got back just when the power had come back on. I wont' have that option for much longer so guess I'd better do the hurricane preparedness stuff..sigh...I'm not much of a survivor I'm afraid...

    1. Hey, if you are even thinking about preparedness, you are a survivor!

  3. So interesting! I realized the last time we had a power outage that we didn't have enough candles or batteries. I never have candles because we have small people around, but I really needed to have a whole bunch (with holders) ready for emergencies. Hard to go to the bathroom in the dark!

    1. Lots of good battery candles out now that help. I had a colleague whose daughter was lost in a college house fire caused by candles. Scared ever since.

    2. Candles scare me too. I tend to only put them on the stove top, bathroom counter and kitchen counter. If in a power outage will put a couple on the mantle.

  4. I was here earlier but Blogger was a bit upset... I think it was the snowman, but it could have been the WEATHER... You know Blogger!!!! Julie, isn't the unexpected snowfall just a hoot???? (People in Atlanta are THROWING things at me now.) So we bathe BEFORE The storm.... :) Well, who knew????

    What a week for the East Coast, following up on the crazy way this storm entered the country creating havoc in Portland a week ago. Now there's a dip for you!

    I love this. I love seeing the storm through Southern eyes, it's funny but also understandably worrisome when you're not surrounded by a proliferation of snowplows, tons and tons of salt, etc.

    1. We have SO many people who have moved from snow slammed parts of the country because they want to get away from the deluge of snow. I remember Rachelle McCalla, in NB, saying if she wanted to have the deep freezes they are having, she would have moved to Minnesota!

      So many Southern places are out of salt but I guess that is true of the north now too.

  5. Glad you survived the storm. We only got 10 cm. up here but just a little east of us got 30 cm! I think everybody is heartily ready for winter to be over and done with this year. Even skier friends I know are 'enough already'! But our groundhog predicted six more weeks of winter so I guess we have to stand guard. And after reading your blog I realize I don't even have a flashlight any more...and only a few candles. Guess I'd better prepare.

    Oh - and thanks for the gluten free cookie recipe. I'm finding that more and more people are wheat allergic so making a batch of these for a church potluck would make me Ms. Popularity. Just have to find that Pamela's baking mix.. Not sure if it's sold in Canada but I think I've seen something similar in the health food section of the grocery store.

    1. Yes you can. The other thing you can do is to grind GF oats into a flour and then add baking powder/soda as you would a regular oatmeal cookie.

      People laughed at me, okay my family laughed at me, when I prepped for Y2K but it has served me well. Growing up in DC and having a lot of civil preparedness drills and Dad working in a location used as a shelter put the fear of disaster in me.

  6. I prepared by buying groceries and gathering candles. But then it hit me (after the ice started) that I should have stocked up food that doesn't need cooking! Oh well. I'm thankful we didn't lose power. My son in Augusta lost power for two days. He finally boxed up his refridge and freezer stuff and took it to the church to store.

    1. During one of the hurricanes, I remember the church I was serving allowed the neighborhood to come in and get ice out of the automatic icemaker. It was gone in no time. Glad you all survived!

  7. Preparedness sure pays off, doesn't it?

    We spent last spring getting more prepared than we had been - a woodstove for heat, an oil lamp for light, a well-stocked pantry - and we've been awfully thankful we did that this winter.

    Since we have city water, a power outage doesn't affect our supply, but we have friends with a well. When we had our big storm last October, they were without power for almost three weeks. They couldn't get water from their well because the pump is electric. Hauling water and taking showers at friends' houses got old very quickly.

    A generator is the next thing on our "preparedness list'!

  8. Catching up with you too, Julie. My plan of attack involves the fireplace, a gas grill, a Coleman stove, charcoal and cast iron dutch ovens. Oh, and lots of blankets. I should probably add ear plugs so I wouldn't have to listen to the boys complain about being bored--no TV, no way to charge their cell phones or Kindles. Sigh. Thank goodness for car chargers.

    Those were some great suggestions, though, about making sure your body and the laundry are clean. ;)

    Your cookies look YUMMY and I'm glad you didn't lose power. Prepared is good, but it's even better if you don't have to put your plan into action.