Hurricane Irene 2011: Eating out the storm.
Thankfully the Lehigh Valley is far enough inland that we likely won’t experience the commanding winds associated with Hurricane Irene. Then again, Mother Nature is just about as predictable as the hormones of a pregnant woman so the motto here is: Prepare for worst, expect the best!
According to The Weather Channel online (at 11:21 AM, EST), locally we can expect periods of heavy rain beginning sometime tonight (08/27/2011) with winds continuing into tomorrow at up to 32mph. Rainfall throughout this storm is expected to total around 3-5 inches. Since the ground is already saturated due to heavy August rains, flooding is certainly a consideration. And, as with any storm there is always the possibility (more like the probability) of power outages.
Despite the storm we will still have to eat. But don’t count on your favorite restaurant being open. Some Lehigh Valley businesses in addition to places of worship are already planning to close. (Others may close due to loss of power.) And with the potential of power outages you’ll probably want to skip cooking that big Sunday roast. While some gas stoves may function during a power outage (using them during outages is not recommended), those with electronic ignitions will not. Of course grilling out is an option if you don’t mind cooking in the wind, rain, and possible lightning?! (Certainly not recommended!) So, what’s a girl to do to keep the belly full? When shopping for last minute storm supplies, consider these food options for your weekend meals:
Salad: no, not just some lettuce and tomato tossed on a paper plate, but a real, meal salad like Grilled Veggie Pasta Salad, Spinach-Apricot Salad with Spiced Lentils, or Grilled Steak and Potato Salad. (For obvious reasons, you must prepare some of these ahead of time.)
Sandwiches: yes, you could toss a few pieces of bologna on some bread and chow down, but why not celebrate the storm with a Sweet & Spicy Hamwich, a Maui Luau Sandwich, or a Twisted Reuben.
Fried Chicken: or baked if you’re on a health kick. Chicken is one of those proteins that often taste better leftover and cold. Cook up a big batch this afternoon and share with your neighbors. (Or not.) Spread out a tablecloth on the living room floor and have yourself a hurricane picnic!
Pizza: it’s not just for breakfast anymore. You’ve never eaten cold pizza before? You don’t know what you’re missing. Order a few pies today and feast throughout the weekend.
Canned Foods: If you’re one of those survivalist types and enjoy eating out of cans, most canned foods are completely precooked and don’t require additional cooking so grab your fork, and dig in—that’s if you have a hand can-opener available! (Check labels for food preparation safety guidelines.)
Comfort food: What storm would be complete without a stash of comfort food? Stock up just in case your grocer sells out. (Those chips and candy bars are goin’ quick!) If you get the opportunity, stop by Kitchen Chemistry for today’s featured cupcake: the Hurricane Berry Cupcake—vanilla cake with black raspberry filling, swirled with a black raspberry cream cheese icing, topped with a fresh blackberry. (Open until 4pm today, closed Sunday due to the storm.)
This examiner has to have her coffee. Make up a pot (or two) ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. Cold coffee is better than no coffee. Most instant coffees will dissolve in cold water but this won’t cut it for most coffee hounds. Consider your must-haves and make proper preparations.
Turn up your refrigerator and freezer a few degrees so in the event that power is lost, your food will stay cooler longer. It’s also a good idea to pick up a food thermometer for the fridge to make sure that the foods you are eating are at their proper, safe temperatures. Open your refrigerator and freezer only when absolutely necessary to prevent cooling loss.
Included below are a few hyperlinks to help you prepare for the storm. Do your research now while you still have your internet connection and electric!
Check out this site for information concerning power outages.
Stay on top of local closings with 69 News.
Read about Food Storage Temperature Guidelines on eHow.
Let the American Red Cross guide you to preparedness.
Honk if you like this Driving Flood Facts factsheet.
Honk twice if you like this one.
Have you lived through a hurricane before? Share your thoughts and tips below.
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Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we dine. (And we’ll eat and drink some more!)