Friday, December 30, 2022

10 Things You Should Never Do When The Power Goes Out

10 Things You Should Never Do When The Power Goes Out

There are many reasons why we may find ourselves in the midst of a power outage. It could be a planned blackout, severe storm, natural disaster, EMP, or accident.

Regardless of the cause, we need to take the appropriate actions to ensure that disruption to our access to electrical power has as little effect on our lives as possible.

While we all know what to do when the lights go out, it is worth mentioning a few things that we should definitely not do.

Open The Fridge Or Freezer Unnecessarily

The food in our refrigerator will stay cold for at least four hours, and your freezer should stay frozen for a day or so.

These estimates will only remain true as long as we limit the number of times we open the doors to our fridge and freezer.

Each time we crack the seal, cold air is allowed to escape, and without electricity, there is no way to cool it back down.

Think carefully each time you open the door and do everything possible to limit the amount of time it is left open.

Drive Around Unnecessarily

If the power outage is widespread, the gas stations will not be able to pump fuel out of the underground tanks.

Like battery power, you are going to have to conserve the gas in your vehicle as well. Any trips you plan to take out of the home must be carefully considered and be absolutely necessary.

Waste Battery Power

A power outage is not the time to try to get a high score on Candy Crush.

Limit the time devices that run off batteries are turned on and do not use them for any frivolous purpose.

Smartphones, tablets, flashlights, lanterns, and radios should only be used when necessary and for the least amount of time possible.

Smartphones should be turned off when not needed or at least switched to airplane mode to save battery power.

Even if you have battery backups or off-grid power solutions, do not waste battery power on anything that is not essential.

Use Candles

It seems that a power outage would be a perfect time to light the home with candles. Using candles is a good way to light a room without batteries, but it can be dangerous. All it takes is a moment of clumsiness to turn a candle into a house fire. If you choose to use candles, use proper holders that will not tip over.

Leave All The Lights On

We do not want to leave all our interior and exterior lights turned on when the lights go out. Like with electronics, a power surge could result in these lights being overloaded and burned out.

You should, however, keep one exterior and one interior light turned on so that power crews can see your home has restored power, and you can also tell that power is restored from the inside.

Run A Generator In The Garage

Leaving an expensive generator outside is something that none of us particularly want to do.

It is very tempting to move our generators inside the garage to keep them safe from tampering or theft.

Although it is true that the door which leads from the inside of the house to the garage is designed to keep carbon monoxide and other fumes from entering the home, you should never run a generator inside a garage. The fumes will build up inside the garage and find their way into the house.

The problem with carbon monoxide is that it has no taste, color, or smell and causes illness that will lead to death if left untreated.

Use A Barbeque In the House

For the same reason as running a generator in the garage is a bad idea, you should never use a barbeque indoors.

It can be tempting to do, especially in the dead of winter, but the resulting carbon monoxide that will flood the house is deadly.

The same goes for camp stoves or any other stove that burns fuel. The same goes for using a barbeque or fuel-burning stoves in a garage.

Even if the door is open, there is no guarantee that the resulting carbon monoxide build-up will be exhausted from the space.

Leave Electronics Plugged In

If the outage is temporary, the power will eventually be restored. However, when this happens, there will be a momentary surge.

Some electronics are sensitive to surges in power and can be damaged.

Unplug electronics after the power goes out and only plug them back in when the power has been fully restored.

Alternatively, you could use surge protectors for any sensitive electronics, which should insulate them against any power surges resulting from the restored electrical grid.

Touch Downed Wires

It does not matter if the power is out; never touch a downed wire.

Removing fallen power lines from your property can be tempting, but your home being without power does not mean that the fallen power lines are not still live.

Therefore, give all fallen power lines a wide berth and assume that all downed power lines are still live.

Forget About Your Plumbing

During a power outage, it is not intuitive to think about your plumbing.

However, if the outage occurs during the winter and you lose heating, your pipes become susceptible to freezing and need to be insulated, so they do not freeze and burst.

It is best to do this before an outage, but if the power goes out in the dead of winter, you should assess which pipes may freeze and do your best to insulate them.

Concluding Thoughts

The ever-increasing fragility of our electrical grid will lead to more power disruptions in the near future.

There is also the constant threat of EMP, CME, or even terrorist attacks, which could take down the electrical grid on a grand scale.

Therefore, it is essential that we always take the correct actions each time the power fails to remain safe.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

COCOA Health Benefits & Recipes

Cocoa Recipes and Health Benefits

At my table, I am serving up recipes made from cocoa powder and teaching you about cocoa powder’s health benefits and nutrition facts. Oh, how I love chocolate recipes such as chocolate pudding and homemade healthy hot cocoa. Read on for cocoa recipes and health benefits.

How Cocoa Powder is Made

Cocoa powder is made after cocoa beans are roasted and ground into a liquid state. The cocoa butter (fat) is removed to make chocolate and the excess is made into cocoa powder.   I thought they made the chocolate from the powder by adding fat.   Cocoa is what is left after Cocoa butter is extracted from Cocoa beans. If you would like more information on how chocolate is made from bean to bar see my blog Link.

Two Types of Cocoa Powder   

Cocoa powder:  Hershey’s, Nestle, Generic Baking Cocoa are the brands. This cocoa powder is lighter in color and is naturally acidic or bitter with a PH of 5 or 6.

Dutch Chocolate powder:  Darker in color, this cocoa powder is used for baking, and has a mild taste. They make it by washing the cocoa with potassium carbonate and an alkalizing agent. This neutralizes the cocoa and is why it is called the Dutch process. This makes this cocoa not as healthy as regular cocoa. It loses some antioxidants in the wash.

According to the UDA, 1 Tbsp of cocoa has 12 Calories, 82 mg potassium, 1 gram of protein, 12 mg caffeine, and some iron.

Health Benefits of Cocoa

Cocoa is rich in polyphenol and flavanols which are antioxidants.   These are also found in tea, fruits, vegetables, and chocolate.   Polyphenols lower inflammation in the body, lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol and blood sugars, and improve nitric oxide levels in the blood. 

Remember -when cocoa is processed to make it more palatable fats and sugar are added which decrease some of these good effects on the body.

I love chocolate and joked with another coworker who also enjoyed it. We would say, “if we die of a heart attack it would most likely be from Chocolate”.   Thankfully I have gotten wiser in my chocolate choices.  Such as, eating only Dark Chocolate which is less sugary than milk chocolate.

Cocoa also lowers your risk of heart attacks and strokes and improves blood flow to the brain. This improves your mood and some symptoms of depression.  The tryptophan in Chocolate turns to serotonin and the caffeine makes you feel good.  

No wonder cocoa or chocolate makes you feel better.  

Believe it or not Cocoa may help with weight control.   It helps regulate your energy, reduces your appetite and inflammation, and helps you feel full.   Some studies found that people who consumed chocolate had a lower BMI than those who ate it less often.  Cocoa is also noted for Cancer prevention from its antioxidants.

Healthier Ways to Eat Cocoa/Chocolate

If you buy Chocolate buy dark chocolate with 70% cocoa or higher to give you satiety and health benefits.   A little square of dark chocolate goes a long way. Cocoa powder and dark chocolate are wise choices.

Cocoa Powder – Healthy Hot Cocoa Recipe

Here is a Recipe I figured out last winter and love.  

  • 1 cup skim milk or Almond Milk
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa powder- I like the Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup- antioxidant benefits in this
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp Turmeric
  • Pinch of black pepper- (needed to absorb the turmeric)

Mix with wire whip and heat in microwave 1.5-2 minutes. Whip again.  You may have sludge at the bottom of the cup after drinking it- but it is so yummy.  

Homemade Chocolate Microwave Pudding Recipe

I love this when I am in a chocolate mood. Low sugar, no fat, and high in calcium. Add sliced banana to the top of the warm pudding and add some whipped cream.  

  • 2 ¾ cup skim milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. Cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup Cornstarch- use 3 TBSP if you like it less thick
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Whip and cook in microwave for 3 minutes and whip and cook another 3 minutes. Stir in 1 tsp vanilla when done. Ladle into small bowls and top with whipped cream and or sliced bananas. I like my pudding hot, but you can cool it and it will be thicker.

Ways to Use Cocoa Powder with Less Fat and Sugar

  • Add cocoa powder to smoothies and protein powder with a banana to add nutritional benefits.  
  • Make homemade hot cocoa and pudding as in the recipes above.
  • Add a small amount of cocoa powder to your oatmeal with honey or maple syrup.

At last, Enjoy some chocolate treats, knowing you are getting your calcium and cocoa.   Yum! Cocoa Recipes and Health Benefits. Do you have any great ways you like to use cocoa powder? Comment below.