Sunday, December 9, 2012

Rolling With the Punches

As some of you may remember, I recently purchased a house. With that has come the awesome and terrible responsibility for taking care of everything that breaks. Oh boy. And, of course, everything breaks within the first 3 months. Right now my oven is not working. The stove top works, but not the oven. I have the part to fix it, and Trucker has done all of the research. We could easily fix it. Fear of accidentally blowing up the neighborhood has thus far kept us away from what should be a simple fix.

For now, I'm using my stove top, microwave, slow cooker, waffle iron and electric wok to make most of the meals we enjoy. There are some meals that we have always baked in the oven, and for those, we've had to get creative.

Baked potatoes are a great cheap meal. Mum gave me a little cloth pouch that you put the potatoes in, and microwave for 7-10 minutes. It steams the potatoes really well. While not as amazing as baked, it is still great. A bonus is that it uses little electric. We will continue to use this even after we get the oven fixed, as it seems a shame to fire up the oven to bake two potatoes.

Pizza is a favorite in this house. When the oven first crashed, we started ordering out. A lot. While we used coupons, and went with a local pizza joint that offered low prices, it added up quickly. We decided that that had to stop, but giving up pizza just wasn't an option. I have learned to make Stove Top Pizza. I make my usual crust, and roll it into a circle a bit smaller than my saute pan. I add a good amount of shortening, bacon fat, or veggie oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. I place the crust in the pan and cover it. I let the crust get nice and golden, then flip it. I quickly add sauce, toppings and lots of cheese and cover again. I let the other side of the crust get brown and the cheese to melt. It actually turns out pretty good. The crust is very sturdy and crisp. My only complaint is that the cheese doesn't brown, and has a different texture due to the steam, but it is not too big an issue. This summer, I'll still use this on those sweltering days when I'm craving a pizza, but can't stand the idea of turning on the stove. This will save us some gas, and will definitely keep the house cooler.

We hadn't had homemade cookies since before we moved, so tonight I was craving them. Again, I turned to my stove top. I made a regular cookie dough, rolls it into little balls and fried in a pan like pancakes. They taste great. They look weird. And I made the dough balls a little too big, so when the cookies were brown on both sides, the inside was still a little doughy. Next time I'll make smaller cookies and cook over lower heat to allow it time to cook through. However, I got my chocolate chip cookie fix and
used negligible energy.

When I was in high school, living with my parents, we had a crazy ice storm that left us without power for 2 weeks. My parents supplemented their furnace with a wood stove, and so I learned to cook on that. I made rice and veggie stir fry and always had a pot of water on the stove for added moisture and for tea. I also made my first cookie/pancakes during that time. While most families on our street were eating cold canned goods with white bread, we were eating fairly well.

When Trucker and I moved into an apartment once, the gas had been turned off. By the time the gas company came to turn it on, then found that there was a leak, then we fought with the landlord to fix it, then the gas company found another leak, and we fought to have that one fixed, we were without gas for 3 weeks during a very cold October. We refused to take frigid showers and get ourselves sick. We had an electric stove, so we got out our pots and heated water to a boil on the stove top. We would then carry the pots all the way upstairs to dump in the tub. We were able to take lukewarm baths. We also heated water on the stove to use in washing dishes.

It is never pleasant to have an appliance break, or to have an emergency take your utilities away. However, if you foster a bit of scrappiness, you can more easily weather these difficult times. You will get through the difficult time without spending all of your savings, racking up debt or being completely miserable. You can also learn new ways to do things that can be useful later. And you'll definitely have some fun stories to tell.


  1. "And, of course, everything breaks within the first 3 months." Ain't that the truth! I never thought I'd have to go back to my peanut butter and jelly/Ramen noodle days as a *homeowner* 7 years ago. Isn't it supposed to be more luxurious than that??

    Trust me, it gets better. Just take it one project at a time and before you know it, your house will be a Home.
    (Saw you on the Frugal Days party!).

  2. Jill, thanks for the encouragement! I keep trying to remind myself that. :)

  3. If you have one of those electric roasters (like people use for out door parties or holiday cooking) you can bake in it! Our oven went out and we made bread, cookies and pizza in ours. (I subsequently have 2 of them since I am a chef and everyone thinks giving me kitchen gear is a good idea...)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...