Thursday, February 2, 2012

Is it over yet?

A quick Google search of what the temperature is here in Fairbanks (never truly accurate because of all the crazy microclimates, but a good enough estimation) says that it's only -9 today. -9! It's giving me hope that perhaps this long deep freeze is over, at least for now. I've even heard a rumor that it's supposed to warm up to positive temperatures this weekend!
The reason I'm so happy, oddly, has the most to do with our vehicle. The truck wouldn't start again yesterday so we haven't been able to go to the grocery store all week. This isn't a disaster, but we are out of some key food items. Like fresh fruit. Heck, even canned and dried and frozen fruit! (Except for my blueberries--I still have a little under half a gallon of frozen local blueberries.) Our vegetable situation is looking similar. We're out of wheat flour and getting tenuously low on white flour. We're almost out of dry dog food, completely out of canned dog food (we've been giving her a little bit of leftover halibut--which Shane burned--in her dinners), and nearly out of canned cat food. We're out of cheese, out of frozen peas. Out of sweet potatoes.
It's times like now when I amaze myself with my forethought. I've pulled out some frozen butternut squash soup that I put away in the fall, the last time I made it. But that's gone now too and I was sort of freaking out about what to do for dinner last night. Shane suggested moose steaks and I said, "Alright. With what vegetables? You want just steak and bread?" He would have been fine with it, but I wasn't. So another delve into the freezers revealed...more frozen soup. Chicken noodle, to be specific. I don't know when I did this (maybe last spring? or summer?) but I remember the meal. I'd made a giant pot of chicken noodle soup and before it was done we both got sick of eating it. Well, freezing it for a time we wouldn't be sick of it was a brilliant maneuver! I found it buried under a few things and pulled it out excitedly. Because it was in one of our Pyrex storage containers it was easy enough to pull off the lid and pop it in the oven to heat up. I added the very last of our frozen peas toward the end of the heating (it already had carrots in it), and we paired it with yummy toast to make it a little more filling. Dinner with only a few minutes of searching and maybe 5 minutes of actual effort. Whew!
I also realized that I still have my acorn squash from last summer that I need to use up. Shane's on the hook for coming up with dinner tonight (probably noodles and marinara sauce) since I have to work late, but I get to go home early tomorrow so I know exactly what I'll make. We'll have those moose steaks and some acorn squash dumplings on the side. (Yes, I'll have to rework the recipe a bit to accommodate a lack of eggs.)
I guess the point of me saying all of this is that you really never know what life is going to bring you. Having some stored food on hand so that you don't have to resort to fast food (there's both a McDonald's and a Pizza Hut within walking distance of us, but I refuse to eat what is essentially garbage food) and so that something like not being able to get to the store isn't a disaster is so helpful. Plan in advance and you'll save yourself many headaches later. Food storage isn't so much about the major future disasters (floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, and such) as it is about the minor, day-to-day disasters in life. There's always something unexpected waiting around the corner. Being prepared for at least some of these things is the least we can do for ourselves.

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