The 7 Day Challenge: DAY 5 (SUNDAY)

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Welcome to the 7 Day Challenge. For 7 days, we are testing our Emergency Preparedness and Food Storage Plans. Each day will bring a NEW mock emergency, or situation that will test at least one of the reasons “WHY” we strive to be prepared! REMEMBER: No going to a store, or spending any money for the entire 7 days! And please feel free to adapt the scenarios to fit your own family and situation.

A drunk driver struck a power line near your house today. Power is out in your entire neighborhood all day long. You must cook meals for your family using no electricity, and make a NICE Sunday dinner! You must also entertain yourself (and your family members) without electronics (the HORROR).
Goal: Practice living without electricity

Today’s Tasks:

  • Cook all three meals without electricity
  • Make a NICE Sunday dinner from scratch (no opening up a can of ravioli)
  • Do something FUN that doesn’t involve power
  • Do an inventory of your fuel storage, how many meals can you cook with the fuel you have stored?
  • Review one of our powerless cooking classes (online class or recorded live class)
  • SHARING TIME: What tools/fuel did you use to cook without power today? Share a picture or description on our Facebook page or on the blog comments!

Today’s Limitations:

  • For this day, and ALL days of the challenge: no spending money, no going to stores, and no restaurants
  • DO NOT USE POWER AT ALL TODAY (with the exception of posting your comments about today’s challenge, hehe)

Advanced Tasks:

  • There is a big storm going on outside and you can only cook indoors
  • Your pipes froze during the night so you have to use stored water as well


Make sure your fill out today’s Report Card to see how well you did, to keep track of areas you can improve, to remember things you need to do, and things you need to buy. Use the data to make a game plan to take you to the next level of preparedness, whatever that may be.

  • Louise Gainor

    Kerosene lamps, propane cookstove with plenty of canisters and gas grill with only half a tank of propane (gotta fix that), plenty of books and a few decks of cards. I have no way to bake (gotta fix that, too!).

  • Dusty

    Another easy one, we are in a very rural county in the back ridges, narrow roads, and power lines going thru the state & national forests surrounding us. Power is usually out about 4 days a month, sometimes a week or so at a time.

    I have a GasOne butane stove, single burner, Amazon about $25. This is used indoors by many people who do tabletop cooking, caterers, etc. I use it on my glass top stove with cross ventilation. It uses 8 oz butane cans available at most Asian groceries, 4 pk for about $5-$6. GasOne is considered about the safest of all the Butane stoves I’ve found. We have 2 battery monoxide alarms (ok, it’s an all electric house, I’m still paranoid). I can get 4-5 tea kettles boiled and 3-8 stir fry’s cooked with 1 can more or less, depending. My woks (all 9) fit on it perfectly. I occasionally use it even when power is on for some of my cooking.

    A stir fry is one of the fastest cooking methods. It’s a high heat, fast cooking method invented for areas with very little fuel. The food doesn’t have to be Asian, just the cooking method. I cut the foods much smaller and thinner than usual, so they cook faster, 2-6 min total for veggies, add 4-7 min for very thin sliced raw meats, no extra time for already cooked meats like sliced ham, precooked chicken, etc.

    We have a repro 1700’s brazier and a Lodge Sportsman’s Grill, plus a
    small fire pit in the backyard, for the Dutch Ovens, cast iron pots & skillets, and wok

    We have 2 propane single mantle lanterns $18 about (Ozark Trail, Walmart brand), 1 single burner propane stove that sits flat on the ground (the ones that sit on top of a propane bottle are too unstable to be safe), and 12 – 16oz Coleman propane bottles for them. The propane stove is OUTSIDE use only, the lanterns indoors only for a short period and with serious cross ventilation, as an emergency light.

    For lighting, our 7 oil lamps, 5 with 7/8″ wicks, 2 with 5/8″ wicks and carry loops work fine & much safer than open candles. Wider wicks are brighter. We also have an Aladdin kerosene lamp, much brighter than the oil lamps. If we have serious storms and winds over about 60 mph, we just use the LED lanterns, so no open flames in case.

    Our LED lanterns are 2 Energizer Weather Ready LED lanterns, $20, 4 D cells, and great light. They say up to 245 hours, I think we get that easily. Plus smaller LED lanterns (Sylvania) and flashlights.

    We have a solar charger for batteries and Kindles, and a crank radio that will also charge cell phone & Kindles.

    For any free time, we both enjoy reading, and have board games. I play several instruments, mostly various types of flutes, and just started learning bagpipes. My husband is engaged in battle with his tinwhistle – I think it’s winning. He also paints.

    So for us, power out means reset to the 1800’s and carry on.

  • We could only do part of this today. Don’t have any non electric cooling yet since we are in an apartment. I plan on building some alcohol stoves out of cans soon. They are not very efficient but they are small so they are pretty handy.

    This tends to be my favorite since its the most stable and produces a good amount of heat and are super easy to make.

    I eventually want to make 5-6 of these though. They seem to be the most durable while still being easy to make.

  • Since we don’t really eat breakfast it was just coffee. I used our butane single burner stove on our covered back patio and heated the water in the teakettle. Then used the French Press to make coffee. I keep a tin of ground coffee so didn’t need to worry about that. If you use one of these burners make sure to use it outside just like you would a propane stove as the fumes can be fatal.
    We then had to leave to pick up our new dairy goats when we returned and got them settled in lunch was salami sandwiches. Dinner is grilled teryaki marinated chicken thighs, steamed zucchini and grilled corn on our barbeque.
    Because we live in the country power outages are very common, especially in the winter when ice, winds and drivers who have skidded into power poles occur. We have kerosine lamps and our family loves board games so we just light a few candles and lamps and sit around the dining table playing Aggrevation.

  • NeomaDenise

    So breakfast was cold cereal and milk (gotta use it before it spoils with no power to the fridge). Dinner – roast, potatoes, carrots, onions in the solar cooker. Supper – soup from dehydrated soup mix I make from my garden veggies, and naan bread on the grill. We also opened a jar of canned peaches for dessert.

    Entertainment is easy – I sat on the porch and knitted, Dh and dd read books, went fishing for a couple hours. We all went for a bike ride , late afternoon. We have LED battery lanterns if we need them for later tonight, but usually when our power goes out (and it does frequently) we light the oil hurricane lamp, get around the piano and sing songs for a bit and head to bed early.

  • Idahocntryboy!

    I have three methods for cooking because I like a back up to support my back-up for the back-up. I only use my generator for pumping water out of my well and conserve it for that use only. I have Lodge Cast Iron cookware for outside cooking but we are under extreme fire condtions so I went to the old faithful the three burner propane stove and keep 75 gallons of propane on hand for such an emergency. At night we use lanterns with Ultra-pure parrafin lamp oil so oder is not a problem. I also use my propane three burner for canning as well. Where I live power outages are as frequent as colds and in the winter when heavy snows come power goes out but we have wood burning furnace as well as fire place. Improvise, Adapt and Overcome!

  • NancyB

    We were without power 15 days after Hurricane Ike in Houston, but we had a generator, so we still were able to cook meals using an electric skillet and the microwave, as well as the gas grill outside. You made the challenge more difficult this time with the restriction of NO POWER. I feel lucky to have a gas stovetop at our new house.

  • spitchtara

    Luckily, my husband is smoking/grilling yummy pulled pork for dinner. Just last week, my kids and I practiced cooking on our propane 2burner camp stove and sterno. If this was a real situation, I am sure we would be inconvienenced but ready. We have several cooking options and many, many food options. And if we couldn’t cook in the house or outside, we have the option of cooking in our unattached shed. I feel very confident in our ability to feed our family. Besides water, this has been my #1 focus in preparing for the worst.

  • Melissa

    Again? I just did this for real back a few months ago. We had our power out for 8 days. I immediately thought about you ladies here at FSME. I still have some work to do.

  • mlizza

    Made family go and get many rocks, I put them in our camp fire so when I need to boil water I throw the rocks in the water to boil quickly, works well.

  • shawna Redmann

    board games here.

  • Agrien

    Grill… party…

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