I think my refrigerator and freezer may finally have recovered from the power outage, three weeks later.
Given the lack of ice in the entire city, as well as my own skepticism of the ability of a cooler to keep anything safe, I had to clear the decks completely. Thankfully, we aren't yet one of those families that buys a side of beef, or relies on J's hunting prowess to keep us in deer and fish all year, so what we had at the time of the blackout was not TOO much. A stack of Lean Cuisines, some ground beef and chicken, Popsicles and a lot of miscellaneous who knows what.
In many ways, this loss was a good thing. No more pawing through bags of half empty frozen broccoli and mixed veggies to find the Crispy Crowns, and no guilt at not using up the green puree from my Sneaky Chef endeavor. Still, it has left me with a little more than a grocery budget deficit to recover from. Many of my go-to stockpiles are gone, and I've been having a harder time pulling meals out of my butt. I think I had become a little lazy with the frozen pizzas and fries of late.
Chicken was on sale right after the lights came back on, so it's been a lot of -- do you want chicken, chicken or chicken tonight? I have to admit, I've pulled off a couple of really nice meals even without relying on the grill. One was this berry/chutney sauced chicken, and the other was chicken with a basil/garlic/white wine sauce. I'll never be able to recreate them, because they were based on what we had around the house at that very moment. This is one of the drawbacks of improvisational cooking, I must admit.
On my recent trips to the grocery store, I kept forgetting to buy the things that just seem to reside in the freezer unbidden. The mini pancakes both kids love to eat straight out of the freezer, bags of frozen vegetables, calcium fortified orange juice concentrate, Popsicles.
As of my trip on Sunday, I think we're finally back. We have bacon, hot dogs, a stack of chicken, three kinds of vegetables, two kinds of beef and a pork tenderloin waiting for meal magic. So far, it's still organized, though I realize we're only a few lumpen foil leftovers away from a treasure hunt in there again. O. and N. were nibbling on mini pancakes once again as I tried to prepare dinner last night, and it felt like normal life again.