Power outages and bad weather can be unexpected and disruptive. Here are some ways to prep ahead of time.
1. Flashlights and lantern are your friends during an outage. When the power went out, I stumbled around in the dark for the lantern. We were lucky we had that, but we also had to use our cell phones for light. Before the next outage, I am going to make sure we have more flashlights and batteries. We no longer use candles, as it's a fire hazard with our 2 cats running around.
2. If your heat is electric, think ahead to how you'll keep warm in a cold climate.Portable heater? Fireplace? Blankets work, until it's 40 degrees in your home.
3. Stock up on water and food. Food should be ready to eat in a can, that doesn't require heating. This assortment of camping foods is a good idea too.
4. Speaking of food, food in the fridge lasts 6 hours, the freezer a little longer. Keep the fridge closed during the outage and your food may last a little longer.
5. Cell phone. Our cordless phone went completely dead in the outage and I couldn't find the corded phone. Luckily, Walt had a battery powered cell phone charger like this one , which was a lifesaver.
6. Cash. It's good to have cash on hand for emergencies, in cash you need to go to the store and their credit card machines aren't working. This was actually happened a few times to me.
7. Full gas tank. This is one thing I try and have all winter long but the last few days I didn't have even a 1/4 tank of gasoline. In an emergency, everyone heads to the gas stations and as you may have seen on the news in the past, it can be total chaos.
8. Games and books for the little ones. Uncharged iPads and computers are useless in an outage. If you know bad weather is heading your way, charge up your electronics ahead of time. And have a stash of games and books just in case.
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10. When it's time to dig out, don't hurt yourself doing so. During cold weather, blood vessels constrict, causing the incidence of heart attacks to go up, especially in those with high blood pressure. Take it easy shoveling or best, use a snow blower. If you don't have a snow blower, pay a neighbor to clear out your driveway.
11. Extra medication. We always have extra over the counter medications, like Tylenol, Pepcid, Excedrin, etc. Also a good idea to have extra prescription medication on hand, especially emergency medications like asthma inhalers and blood pressure medication.
Here are more supplies to have on hand:
- Three-day supply of non-perishable food.
- Toilet paper
- Three-day supply of water - one gallon of water per person, per day.
- Portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- First aid kit and manual.
- Sanitation and hygiene items (moist towelettes and toilet paper).
- Matches and waterproof container.
- Extra clothing.
- Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including a can opener.
- Photocopies of credit and identification cards.
- Cash and coins.
- Special needs items, such as prescription medications, eye glasses, contact lens solutions, and hearing aid batteries.
- Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers.
- Other items to meet your unique family needs.
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Throwing a party can be serious business, so it's good to find shortcuts whenever possible. I love using my slow cooker to simmer up dips, side dishes, desserts, and more. The recipes I follow require very little attention and always end up tasting great, so consider adding one of these Crock-Pot dishes to your next party menu!
1. SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP
Making spinach artichoke dip is a breeze in the pot. Toss together artichoke hearts, spinach, sour cream, onion, garlic, parmesan cheese, milk, feta, mayo, cream cheese, and seasonings. Cook on low for two hours and stir.
2. QUESO DIP
Here's a copycat recipe of Chili's queso dip that all your guests will enjoy. And it takes just five minutes of prep. Combine Velveeta cheese with milk, cayenne pepper, paprika, canned chili, and a few more spices for just one to two hours.
3. CHEESE FONDUE
You can use white grape juice or white wine for this irresistible cheese fondue recipe. The rest is a mixture of shredded Swiss, Emmental, and Gruyere cheeses, flour, nutmeg, and garlic. Don't forget to warm your pot before adding the cheese — it'll melt faster that way.
4. CHOCOLATE FONDUE
Surprise your guests with s'mores fondue in the pot. You'll need milk chocolate chips, marshmallows, whipping cream, and graham crackers or fresh fruit for dipping. Combine all ingredients and cook for around two hours on low.
5. CHEX MIX
Or cook up a crispy Chex mix snack. You'll need a mix of corn, rice, and wheat Chex with pretzels, oat cereal, peanuts, butter, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder. Cook for three hours, stirring occasionally, then let cool on baking sheets before serving.
6. HOT DOGS
Did you know you can fit 60 hot dogs in a six quart slow cooker? Stack them vertically, cook on low for four hours (or high for two hours), and you'll have enough hot dogs to feed a hungry crowd.
These three-ingredient Crock-Pot meatballs come together in a flash. You'll need frozen meatballs, grape jelly, and BBQ sauce. Stir the sauces together before adding the meat and cook for three hours.
8. SEVEN LAYER DIP
You can even make seven layer dip in your pot. Pile refried beans, diced green chilis, ground beef, sour cream, salsa, shredded cheese, olives, and more in your cooker and heat on low for two hours. Vegetarians could experiment with meat substitute — like TVP or tempeh — in place of the meat.
9. CORN ON THE COB
If your grill space is limited, try cooking your corn on the cob indoors. You'll wrap the corn in foil packets with whatever seasonings you like best. From experience, I love adding basil, salt, and pepper to mine, so the pesto variety looks amazing.
10. BAKED BEANS
These vegetarian bourbon maple Baked beans take some extra time, but the taste is well worth the effort. You'll soak a pound of dried white or navy beans overnight, then combine them with bourbon, maple syrup, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, and some other sauces and spices. Cook for around 12 hours for the best results.
11. GARLIC BREAD
Many guests like a good side of carbs with their meals. Serve them thisgarlic Parmesan pull-apart bread. You can even make it easy by using store-bought biscuit dough. You'll cut each biscuit into six pieces before coating in a butter and garlic mixture. Bake in your Crock-Pot for two to three hours on low.
12. PULLED PORK
You can use this pulled pork in sandwiches, soft tacos, or whatever else you like. Just take pork shoulder and combine it with spices, sauces, and other seasonings in your slow cooker. Set the temperature to low for eight hours. Pork is done when it shreds easily using a fork.
13. UPSIDE DOWN CAKE
Satisfy your friends' sugar cravings with this pineapple upside down cake. You'll layer the bottom of your crock pot with canned pineapple and maraschino cherries. Then top with some yellow cake mix batter and bake for three hours on high.
14. BUFFALO WINGS
Or jazz up game night with these Crock-Pot Buffalo wings. Coat frozen wings in a delicious sauce before cooking for four hours. You'll then take the wings out of the pot and brown them in your oven for 20 minutes. Serve with a peppery hot sauce.