A Long, Hot Week

For those of you that don’t live in the mid-Atlantic region, you may not know that last Friday Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, and other areas were hit with what is know to the meteorological world as a derecho. According to our buddies at Wikipedia “A derecho ( /dəˈreɪtʃoʊ/; Spanish pronunciation: [deˈɾetʃo]; duh-RAY-cho) is a widespread, long-lived, straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms.”
I had never heard of this type of storm before, but boy does it scare the pants off of you! They are apparently characterized by quick, unexpected onset of very high speed winds. And unexpected it was. I was out Friday night at a church function, and a friend of mine dropped me at my car afterwards. While chatting for a few minutes she noticed what she said was red lightening. I thought it was more likely a fireworks show since the 4th of July wasn’t far off.
Well I was wrong.
A few seconds later wind gusts started picking up great speed, and we thought it best to say our goodbyes and head home quickly.
It took almost 30 minutes to drive what normally takes only 15 minutes, and because of the clouds and wind my cell phone was malfunctioning. Beard and Bitsy Girl were at home in this, and I couldn’t let them know I was on my way.
By what I can only call the grace of God I made it home safely to my, albeit eccentric, weather-fanatic husband who had since filled our bathtub with pillows and blankets and had our daughter laying in it. He had seen tornadoes before and worried one was on its way to us.
Luckily for us, there was no tornado, and through 70-90 mph winds our humble little home survived no significant damage.
Except we lost power.
We were very fortunate to have been welcomed into the home of friends on Saturday evening, with whom we stayed for two nights.
Bitsy Girl and I did have to survive Friday night and Saturday without power, and I’d like to share a few of the things we did to stay cool.

 

  1. We left our windows open Friday night after the wind had died down.  The temperature dropped both outside and in the house to a comfortable 75ish (I had no way of knowing since our thermostat is electric).  Once I felt the humidity kick in again in the morning (around 10 am) I shut all of the windows.  I left all of the blinds shut to block the sunlight.
  2. We wore as little clothing as possible.  This is obviously going to keep us cool.  In addition, I kept splashing a little water on the backs of our necks, knees, and the insides of our elbows.  Believe it or not, by splashing water on these spots you cool down the blood in your circulatory system fairly quickly, therefore cooling down your body quickly.
  3. We bought water.  Again, obviously.  We have well water here at the DP Home, so when the power goes out, we have no water.  And when it’s going to be 101 degrees outside, pregnant ladies and babies need to drink a lot of water.  And drink a lot of water we did.
  4. We sought shelter in cool places.  Some places in a nearby city still had power, including, of course, the mall, and many other stores.  Bitsy Girl and I stopped by to say hello to Beard at work (which also had A/C), then met my in-laws for lunch at the mall food court, then went to Sam’s, all of which were electrically cooled.  🙂
  5. We did not open the fridge or freezer.  I had read on the US FDA website that food in a full freezer can stay safe for up to 48 hours if you do not open the door.  Our freezer isn’t usually fully packed, but I did manage to make it to Sam’s club to buy about 20 pounds of frozen vegetables to quickly shove in my freezer.  They were out of ice, and that was the cheapest and bulkiest thing I could find to stuff my freezer with.
  6. We planned to barbeque.  By the time our power was turned back on Monday afternoon, Beard and I had some meat in the freezer that had defrosted.  Although it was safe to cook and eat, it was not safe to refreeze.  Having just turned the A/C back on after 4 days of 86 degree temperatures inside the house, I wasn’t about to turn on the stove.  So we invited some friends over and grilled our chicken and bratwursts.  Some of our friends had brought some sides and snacks that also would not have been able to be re-frozen.  It was a fun way to celebrate the return of electricity.

What other tips do you guys have for surviving without air-conditioning and electricity in a heat wave?  

It’s Going to Be a Green Monster Kind of Week

First, let me explain what a green monster is, then I’ll tell you why I’ll be drinking these all week.

I first read the term “green monster” on the blog  Oh She Glows.  This blog is written by a very creative vegan baker and blogger.  She has some of the best tasting and most innovative recipes I’ve seen on the web, and they’re pretty darn healthy, too!

Now, if you’ve been reading long enough, you’ll know that no one in the DP family is vegan or even vegetarian, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy the occasional healthy vegan recipe, including, of course, green monster smoothies.

A green monster is a smoothie that is made with a few cups of greens (usually spinach or kale) in addition to the usual fruit, ice, milk/yogurt, etc.  Green monsters are almost always very green in color (thus the name) but have little to no taste of the greens in them.  They are an excellent way to get your  daily dose of greens!

Why will I be drinking these things this week?

Since college I have been eating a green salad for lunch almost everyday during the warm months (and soup in the cold months).  I am one of those people that just loves veggies dressed in olive oil and vinegar.

I know there are those readers thinking “yes, yes, me too!” and then there are some of you thinking “ugg, I knew there was something I didn’t like about this lady”.

In the past week or so, though, (approximately weeks 11-12 of this pregnancy) I have not, for the life of been, been able to eat a green salad.  Which is weird.  Beyond weird.   But, of course, being the huge fan of Sam’s Club that I am, I bought the giant container of fresh baby spinach this week (which for the record, I go through by myself in a week and a half with no problem.

So my problem is that I have tons of spinach and no appetite for it.  And my husband is not about to dig into a green salad either.  Because of this, I’m embracing the green monster smoothie, both to use up my spinach and also to get it in my body in the least offensive way possible.

One of my go to green monster smoothie recipes is this:

DP’s Go To Green Monster Smoothie

(makes 2 servings)

2-3 cups spinach

1 banana

1/2 cup milk or yogurt

3-8 fresh or frozen strawberries (depending on size and mood)

2-4 tbsp flax seed (depending on how things are “going” that day)

1 cup of ice

I throw this in my blender on high until it’s smooth, then pour into two small Mason/Bell jars.  I’ll keep the second serving in the freezer if Beard isn’t feeling a smoothie; it’ll thaw just by taking it out and sitting on the counter at least a half hour or more before you want to drink it.

 

As a treat, sometimes I’ll look up some crazy delicious sounding green monster smoothies, and this is one I loved from Oh She Glows:  Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bomb .

I did alter the recipe quite a bit when I made it because of what I had on hand:

  • I didn’t use tofu
  • My spinach was raw
  • I used extra cocoa powder instead of carob powder and Chocolate Infusion powder
  • I used cow’s milk
  • I used no oil
  • I used flax seeds instead of chia seeds (which DON’T do the same thing, but I just wanted flax in there)

The smoothie is a delicious treat!  Try it. 🙂