Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Best Blog Tips UPDATE THURSDAY NOV. 30TH: We had more snow Weds. night and the power went of yet AGAIN at 8:30 PM! It went back on at about 10:40 AM this morning. I added some new photos at the end of this blog post. BCG

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Me walking down our driveway; photo by Brian Grogan

NOTE: Why does snow cause such havoc in the lower mainland of BC and Vancouver Island? Because we don't get it very often! People aren't used to driving in it, it's often quite heavy and wet and breaks trees, which cut power lines (and there are ALOT of trees!), and cities don't have much snow-removing equipment. BCG
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Tamale square from the freezer, reheated. I had experimented with a baked casserole made from real (but vegan) tamale dough with a vegan "chicken" filling sandwiched between. It was okay, but tasted undercooked and "stodgy". I had frozen two leftover pieces in the corn husks that I lined the casserole with, and I steamed them for our lunch on the first day. I had some of the red chile sauce left to serve with it, and I added some melted vegan mozza. The steaming really improved the texture and flavor...yum! I will be playing with this further!  UPDATE 2011: The completed recipe is actually in my new book, World Vegan Feast!  For "vegan butter", try my new recipe for palm oil-free "Buttah". PS: Our beautiful little cat Tina, in photos below, passed away.

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What DH calls a "Boiled Dinner"-- an Eastern Canadian phrase that sounds unappetizing, but is actually "comfort food"! I cook sliced savoy cabbage and julienned carrots in vegan "chicken-style" broth, and serve with steamed potatoes and veggie sausages (in this case, Tofurkey "Keilbasa")-- mustard and vegan butter on the side.

(Oh-oh! The power went off for a minute or two as I was writing this [it's snowing again], and I lost some of it-- I'll keep trying and save more often! Update: It did it once again, but Dh came in and said the Hydro guys were working up on the corner. )

We have had two weeks of intermittent power outages on Denman and Hornby Islands, due to underwater hydro cables being repaired, and wind. But then we had a snow storm and the two islands (and much of BC's Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, which is not used to this sort of thing, and there are never enough snow plows!) lost power for two or more days.

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Our poor plum tree!

There were also little local lines down, and that's what happened to us-- a beautiful big old maple tree on our road split in half and fell on the power lines, which were dragging near the ground in the driveway of one of our elderly neighbors. Since there were so many emergencies, we were out of power for 3 days, only getting it back yesterday morning around 8 am. (They did come and cut the tree off the line and make it possible for us to drive on the road.)

It's a bit of an adventure at first, and we were well into the swing of it from the week before, but during those past outages, we got the power back before dark. This time it was different-- it gets dark so early up here (around 5 pm) and gets light so late in the morning, that it gets pretty dreary.

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Tina, one of our 3 cats, likes to play in the snow, but now I think she wants us to "turn it off"! UPDATE 2011: Unfortunately, our sweet little Tina succumbed to a fast-acting virus the next winter.

We had the bathtub full of water for washing and flushing the toilet (we do have a back-up outhouse, too);

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View of the outhouse from our back deck, taken Nov. 30th

I had containers of drinking water; we have a good wood heater and candles (our one remaining kerosene lantern was acting up), and of course, flashlights (I kept a little one hooked to a belt-loop on my jeans!), and a battery-operated radio. We have a little butane stove and lots of food in the house.

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Frying French toast on the butane burner by candlelight.

They plowed our road, so, though we have to walk up and down our quite long driveway to where the car is parked, we can get out and about. So, we have no reason to complain, really, but after 2 days we were having to remind ourselves that we are MUCH better off than most of the world, and to quit whining! (I know you Prairie and eastern Canadians are laughing at us!)

The worst part was the lack of light in the morning and evening. We would light about 6 candles and sit reading at the table, but would get so sleepy that we hit the sheets at about 8:30!

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The lonely-looking tire swing beside the forest, viewed from our front deck.


We did eat pretty well, though. The first day I felt like baking! But, of course, no oven. So, I made candy! I hardly ever make candy, but, I was bored! The first thing I made was my "Double Nut Clusters", which I sometimes make for Christmas. DH was in 7th heaven! Here's the recipe:

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Makes about 20 candies

As I’ve said before, I’m not much of a candy-maker. I like easy candy recipes, and you can’t get much easier than this! High in fat, though.

1 cup semi-sweet organic dairy-free chocolate chips (you can use the naturally-sweetened ones)
1/2 cup any nut or seed butter (I used peanut butter because that's all I had, but hazelnut or almond butter is delicious!)
2 Tbs maple syrup
1 Tbs coconut oil
1 cup chopped toasted nuts of choice (I used walnuts)

Combine and melt the chips and nut butter with the maple syrup and coconut oil in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. When the mixture is smooth, stir in the nuts. Drop by spoonfuls on waxed paper or parchment on cookie sheets. Refrigerate until firm.

Nutrition (per candy): 127.6 calories; 66% calories from fat; 10.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 2.3mg sodium; 77.9mg potassium; 8.9g carbohydrates; 1.4g fiber; 1.9g sugar; 7.5g net carbs; 2.8g protein; 3.1 points.

On the third day I made these:

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Printable Recipe

Makes about 36

This is a recipe my kids used to make-- I lowered the fat and upped the chocolate flavor.

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened organic cocoa powder
1/3 cup soy or other nondairy milk
1 1/2 cups oatmeal (old fashioned rolled oats)
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter (or other nut or seed butter)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened grated coconut
1/4 cup chopped pitted dates
unsweetened finely-grated coconut for coating the "Hot Rods"

Blend in a saucepan the sugar, cocoa and "milk". Bring to a boil, stirring now and then. Boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly over medium-high heat.

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Cooking the mixture over the butane burner.

Stir in the oats, peanut butter, vanilla, coconut, and dates.

Drop by tablespoonfuls on cookie sheets lined with parchment or waxed paper. Let stand until cooled and firm. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

Nutrition (per candy): 56.3 calories; 23% calories from fat; 1.6g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 4.3mg sodium; 72.3mg potassium; 10.2g carbohydrates; 0.9g fiber; 7.0g sugar; 9.2g net carbs; 1.2g protein; 1.1 points.

Now, for the breakfasts....

One morning we had Shredded Wheat, but another morning I made an apple version of my Orange-Cranberry-Bulgur cereal:

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Serves 1

This is a delicious breakfast cereal with lots of fiber (both soluble and insoluble), and good fats.

1 cup water
1 small apple, organic and unpeeled, cored and chopped
3 Tbs bulgur wheat
1 Tbs oat bran
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 Tbs golden flax seeds, ground

Mix the water, bulgur, oat bran, ginger, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down to low, cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Take off the heat and let sit for a few minutes, covered, if it isn't thick enough for you.

Stir in the flax seed. Serve with your favorite non-dairy milk and a little brown sugar or the sweetener of your choice.

Nutrition (per serving): 191.2 calories; 12% calories from fat; 3.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 257.1mg sodium; 301.3mg potassium; 41.1g carbohydrates; 10.2g fiber; 11.3g sugar; 30.9g net carbs; 5.7g protein; 3.3 points.


Then I made French Toast again, but a different version, and not so low-fat!

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Serves 2

Panko is a type of Japanese bread crumbs, made from French-type bread and quite flaky. It makes a wonderful crispy coating.

NOTE: For a lower fat recipe (when the power is on!) you can baked the coated slices on dark cookie sheets sprayed with a little oil from a pump-sprayer at 500 degrees F for about 5-10 minutes per side, or til golden on both sides; and poach the apple slices in a few tbs. apple juice instead of brown sugar and vegan butter.
Nutrition for lower-fat version (per serving): 347.8 calories; 8% calories from fat; 3.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 566.1mg sodium; 465.4mg potassium; 67.5g carbohydrates; 13.1g fiber; 23.6g sugar; 54.4g net carbs; 5.7g protein; 6.4 points.

3 small apples,cored and sliced (peel only if the skins are unsightly or sprayed)
1 Tbs vegan butter
1 Tbs brown sugar
4 slices bread (not a heavy bread), hard crusts removed
7/8 cup non-dairy milk
1 Tbs sugar  (or maple syrup)
3/4 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
a few gratings of fresh nutmeg
3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 Tbs vegan butter
a vegan whipped topping

Whisk together the batter ingredients. Soak the bread slices in this mixture in a medium-sized shallow baking pan, coating both sides of the bread thoroughly until all of the mixture is soaked up.

In the meantime, melt the first Tbs. vegan butter in a large nonstick skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the sliced apples and toss, then turn the heat to medium-low, cover, and poach until they are softened. Stir in the brown sugar and set aside.

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Poaching apples by candleight on my butane burner.

Spread the panko (breadcrumbs) in a shallow dish and coat the soaked bread on both sides (add more panko if necessary).

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Heat the last 1 Tbs. vegan butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bread slices and brown on both sides until golden and crispy.

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Serve each serving (2 slices) topped with half of the poached apples, and some whipped topping, too, if you like!

Nutrition (per serving): 473.7 calories; 29% calories from fat; 14.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 688.8mg sodium; 489.2mg potassium; 74.2g carbohydrates; 13.1g fiber; 30.2g sugar; 61.1g net carbs; 5.7g protein; 9.9 points.


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Night snow scene

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Tina trying to decide whether to go out or not

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Tina makes a decision and exits the "cat door", while Brian rounds the corner to photograph some snow scenes.

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Soup cooking on the woodstove

Stay warm!

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Anonymous said...

Wow! I don't know what I would do if my power were out for 3 days--I hope yours stays on for a while now! At least you ate well...I am impressed! It all looks great.


Anonymous said...

Glad you're getting by allright in spite of the hassles. Roughneck like Canadienne pioneer, eh? Those treats look awesome. In Canada I suppose just heating our bodies expends calories in the winter, but I think I put on a couple inches just looking at those photos. Burp!!

spiceislandvegan said...

Wow, if we ever have a power outage for 3 days I hope you are with us to cook all that stuff! You are pretty creative with all that. Are you going to come up with a 'power outage' newsletter next (recipes created with NO POWER?) he he he.... This is just like camping food.

Tina looks cute with the snow.

Hopefully, the power will stay up forever after this experience! :-)

Amey said...

What a fun post - it feels so adventurous, almost like we are out there in the snow with you. It's really neat to see how much you were able to do, even with all the power out - so many good meals and tasty creations!
:) Amey

Anonymous said...

Oh wow! Our power was out for a day down here in Washington State and I wasn't nearly so creative!

Just stumbled across your blog (how have I missed it since I'm such a fan?) and it's great!

Anonymous said...

i dont think i will be as creative as you in a power outage ! you are amazing!

Anonymous said...

i forgot to add:
amazing photos!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Bryanna, I so agree with SIV !
I want you right by my side if I have to go without power for so long ! LOL I came to see you over here when you left your comments on my blog but at the time, we were having a snow storm ourselves and the lights were flickering. Ice pellets were smashing against the windows and the wind was unbelievable. We took candles and flashlights out and filled the bathtub (thanks to you for mentionning it !). Would you believe that we also saw lightnings and heard the thunder ?!? It was beyond strange for December.

What amazing, amazing pictures ! The first one should be a mural :)

I laughed so much at the idea of "Boiled Dinner" ! I think it sounds more appetizing in French actually LOL You are talking about a Bouillie, right ?

And I will definitely try the candies ! mmmmmmm !

If I was going to offer one of your cookbooks as a Christmas gift, which one would be sure to be a hit with omnis and vegans alike ? I'm thinking about 20 Minutes to Dinner for my mom :)

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Thanks, Gaia! Actually, the ones omnis like the best are "Fiber for Life", :Nonna's italian Kitchen", and "Authentic Chinese".

funwithyourfood said...

ek! I'm glad to see you guys are getting by without power. I have family in upstate NY and they're being hit pretty bad by snow right now too.


Anonymous said...

I can't even imagine being without power for 3 days! You are so well prepared. I would gladly suffer through a power outage with you!! The first picture of you walking down your driveway is award winning. Seriously. You should enter it somewhere.

Anonymous said...

I hope all of this inspires you to write a power outage / emergency / camping cookbook!

You got very creative; your dishes look so yummy.


Alex said...

I'm glad you managed so nicely in the power outage, those can be dangerous especially in the winter.
As a side note I thought was interesting, I'm in southern Michigan, not Canada but we have 'boiled dinners' too. They don't seem to be quite the same though. Around here restaurants (for example) only sell boiled dinners on St. Patrick's day and it consists of potatoes, cabbage, corned beef, and sometimes carrots and celery all cooked together.
(You don't happen to have a corned beef recipe do you?)