A weekly blog, by author Leslie K. Howard, filled with spiritual, uplifting thoughts to help you get through your week

Posts tagged ‘Food’


Surviving The Storm

SandyFive years ago the east coast of the United States was attacked by Super Storm Sandy. Millions of people were without power for over a week.  Thousands had to evacuate and many lost their homes to the storm surge. According to the CDC (Center of Disease Control) there were 117 death associated with Sandy.  Parts of the New Jersey coast were devastated and some have yet to fully recover.

The Howard household had its share of damage; A very tall Pine tree fell and pulled up most of our back patio while simultaneously destroying our fence.  We suffered roof damage too but all in all, it was minimal and could have been costly had we not good insurance.

So here we are March 14, 2017 on the precipice of another storm.  This time we are getting a blizzard with snow expected to reach up to 2 feet with high winds and bone chilling cold.  And again the Howard’s have to get ready. So I thought this would be a good time to share with you how we got through Hurricane Sandy and how we plan to get through this monster snow storm.

Preparation:  In the book of Matthew the bible tells the Parable of The Ten Virgins who were waiting for the Bride Groom to arrive. Five were ready and five were not.  While the first five prepared themselves by filling their oil lamps, the other five, didn’t. The ones who had oil told those who didn’t to go and purchase some from the market.  While they went shopping the Bride Groom arrived and took the prepared virgins into the banquet. The unprepared virgins were not allowed in. Moral of the parable….  Always be prepared.

Before you send me letters, I know the story is about preparing for the second coming of Jesus and not for a storm.  However, we can apply the story to our everyday lives.  With that in mind, let me share with you how my husband and I prepared for Sandy.

I used to run the food pantry at our church.  I’d shop and stock our shelves with food  for people in need.  I tried to get items that were easy to prepare and would hold them over for a few days.  So as I went to the market to get provisions for our home, I shopped for many of the same items.  Because of the intensity of the storm we wanted to be prepared for a week without power. Later I’ll share my recipes with you. Here’s what we purchased.

  • Cash (we didn’t purchase cash. LOL)
  • Locate nearest shelter
  • 7 Gallons of Water (drink 1 gallon per day)
  • Instant oatmeal (individual packages)
  • Canned chili with no beans
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Tomato sauce
  • Instant Rice (The boil in bag kind)
  • Chunky Beef Soup
  • Progresso Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Progresso Chicken and Rice Soup
  • Canned vegetables (Green Beans, Carrots, Corn)
  • Canned beans
  • Canned tuna
  • Canned Corned Beef Hash
  • Canned Chicken
  • Instant Mashed Potatoes
  • Crackers
  • Tea
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Canned peaches
  • Rasins
  • 24 Sternos
  • Sterno Chafing Racks
  • Aluminum Pans
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Paper Plates
  • Plastic Utensils
  • Disposable Cups
  • Toilet Paper
  • Napkins
  • Garbage Bags
  • Refill any prescribed medicine
  • Tylenol (or OTC pain medicine of your choice)
  • Cold or Allergy Meds
  • Toothpaste
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Baby Wipes ( Do Not Flush Down Toilet)
  • Blankets
  • Comforters
  • Battery Operated Radio
  • Flash lights
  • Old Brooklyn Lantern
  • Candles
  • Lighter/Matches
  • Batteries
  • Manual powered Can Opener
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Fill Bathtub with water (have an additional bucket or two filled with water)
  • 1 Brick

Hurricaine Sandy hit New Jersey October 29th  around 8pm.  Our power went out during the night but we were able to sleep in our bedroom for two nights. Our children were grown and living with their mates so it was just Hubby and me.  After the second night we could no longer sleep upstairs so we moved our living quarters downstairs.

We bundled and snuggled together laughing, talking and enjoying  our candle light.  We put our sterno racks on the dining room table filled the aluminum trays with water and lit the sternos.  This was our source of cooking and heat.  When we finished cooking we poured the hot water into the bathroom sink so we could wash our bodies. We refilled the trays with water for heat and hot beverages.

After a day or so our home was getting too cold.  Before the storm hit, we sat down and discussed our survival plans. We made our grocery list, went shopping for anything we didn’t have in the house.  We located our local shelter just in case we had to evacuate.  It was then that I suggested to my husband that we block off one room for our living space.  As the child of a single mother, (with little money) there were a few times when we had no power because the electric bill wasn’t paid. We had to huddle in one room using heavy comforters to cover the doorway, and lit the gas oven for heat.  My husband wasn’t seeing it my way and our discussion got, should I say, “rather heated”.  For some reason he just didn’t agree.  His main concern was if we didn’t allow the heat to move through the house that the pipes might burst.  I understood that but I also knew we had to stay warm.  It’s at times like that a girl has to really pray… Hard!

Well, all I can say is by day two, Girlfriend was much too cold;  and so I got the ladder, hammer and nails and proceeded to secure the comforters over the stairway leading upstairs and the area separating the living room from the dining room.  (after a few heated words, Hubby began to help)  We moved our heating source to the coffee table and we got comfortable and cozy on our living room sofa.  To ease his concerns about the pipes, we allowed the basement and the upstairs bathroom faucets to drip.  Problem solved.

Going to the bathroom was an ad-ven-ture.  Boy was it cold….  I own two pairs of adult footie pajamas and how I wish they had those old-fashioned “Trapped Doors” on the backside.  Needless to say our bathroom activities were as brief as possible.

We filled the tub (and a few extra buckets) with water, just in case our water stopped running. We’d need water to flush the toilet.  We had extra garbage bags just in case we ran out of water and we had to use them for … Ahem… body waste.  Thank God it didn’t come to that.

In the mornings we had instant oatmeal, fruit and tea or corned beef hash.  For lunch we had soup or tuna and crackers. We snacked on peanut butter, crackers, raisins or fruit. And dinner was a gourmet delight.  I prepared spaghetti dinners using Ramen Noodles and the Chili mixed with tomato sauce.  Add a can of string beans and you’ve got a meal.

Another favorite was the Chunky Beef Stew over Instant Rice with Canned Carrots on the side.  Yum!  As a rule, we stay away from canned food and instant noodles but these were desperate times.  We did not use the flavor pack, just the noodles.  When preparing canned veggies, pour off the pre-packaged water and rinse with clean water.  That will eliminate much of the salt.  We drank plenty of water to keep our bodies flushed.  But that meant more trips to bathroom… Brrrrr….

We lived like this for seven whole days.  We’d take turns sleeping so one of us was awake to keep an eye on the fire. Safety First!  When not cooking and not having to be concerned about heat we could relax, read, play cards, sing and act silly. We reminisced about our family when our children were small.  We imagined what our grandchildren would grow up to be. We talked about our future and thanked God for our present.

Everyday my husband would suggest I go to the shelter while he’d stay in the house just in case there was a problem with the pipes. I refused.  I just couldn’t leave him.  I did go to the shelter twice to charge my phone and computer but came back home.  I saw a few neighbors there.  It was very crowded but the community volunteers did a great job keeping the people comfortable.  They had a generator so they could cook meals, show movies and of course allow all us tech hounds recharge our devices.  I really appreciate my community.

Cash came in handy.  Because of the power outage, the ATMs were not working.  Everything was on a cash bases.  At one point the car needed gasoline.  Because the refineries could not process the oil into gasoline New Jersey instituted a gas ration.  Cars with license plates in odd or even numbers could only get fuel on certain days. People not only needed gas for cars but also for generators. As you can guess, the gas lines were long.

On the seventh evening we decided if the power wasn’t restored by the next day, we’d go to the shelter.  Praise God for day eight…. “Then There Was Light”!  We survived!  By the His grace, we survived!  I think Frank and I grew closer as a couple.  Our love was tested but we worked together and with faith in Jesus, we survived the storm.

So now, as I type this blog, the snow has begun fall.  We are expecting another storm. This time up to 2 feet of snow with blizzard conditions are predicted.  We are well prepared with food water and the Word.  My husband is slouched on the other end of sofa, asleep.  I couldn’t help but laugh when I stepped out on to the sun porch to check the weather, and he growled “Close The Door.  It’s Cold!”…. And so, it’s begun.

I hope my little story helped.  Next time a storm comes and your power goes out use some of my tips.  Let me know how you do.

Oh before I go, aren’t you curious about the brick?  Well, let me share.  One night I got sick of sleeping on the sofa and was determined to sleep in my own bed.  I went to the backyard over by the garage and picked up a nice red brick.  I washed off the mud, wrapped it in foil and let it sit in the sterno heated hot water.  I let that brick get good and hot.  I then wrapped it in a few towels and placed it in my bed.  While I washed up and brushed my teeth my bed was getting toasty warm.  When I got under the covers I felt like Goldie Locks.  Ahhhh… Just Right.  I put the brick at the bottom of the bed to keep my feet warm and I was toasty all night long.

Like, Post, Share.  Be Blessed!

Leslie’s World Famous Real Fruit Pops

2013-05-30_20-40-20_254Yesterday it was so hot here in the North Eastern United States.  My poor husband Frank, like so many others had to commute from New Jersey to New York and back again.  For commuters that can mean a lot of walking in the hot sun as well as being stuffed on trains and buses like sardines.  Having done that commute at one time in my life, I know what it’s like in the summer heat. Misery!   With that in mind I decided to make a cool treat for my over heated Honey.  At first I was going to make a sorbet but quickly changed my mind to make a cool delicious iced pops and named them “Leslie’s World Famous Real Fruit Pops.”  I posed them on Facebook and they seemed to be a hit  so I thought to share the recipe with the world.

So you say you want the recipe for Leslie’s World Famous Real Fruit Pops?  Well  here it is:  I don’t have exact measurements. Just eyeball it. 🙂 At Trader Joe’s, I picked up 1 bag of frozen Mango cubes and 1 bag of frozen mixed Strawberries and Blueberries. I also used fresh cubed Watermelon. The  Pop Molds were purchased at TJ Max (I was in a loooong check-out line where they try to tempt you to buy snacks and things.  Well I did impulse shop by picking up these molds and some Jellybellys.  Don’t Judge.) You’ll also need real Vanilla Extract, Honey and a bit of water.

First Mango/Melon:  In blender smooth fruit and a little Vanilla Extract together.  Once smooth add a hit of Honey and smooth again. No Water Needed due to high water content of melon. 2013-05-30_20-42-47_801

Berry-Berry: Pour a little water in blender. Add mixed Berries and a little Vanilla Extract.  If mixture is too thick add a little more water. Then add a hint of Honey. 2013-05-30_20-41-29_37

Both fruit mixtures should be between a smoothie and a sorbet.  But it could be any consistency you like.  Pour into POP Molds.  Freeze and Enjoy! It’s a refreshing healthy treat on a hot summer day.  Your family & friends will love you for it.   Try it with your favorite fruit.  Let me know how yours come out.  Follow me on Facebook and post your picks.

Enjoy Your Summer!

Visit my site lesliehowardministries.com or Nevisioncoach.com

Riding With Ms. Rosie

Blue CarI Don’t Drive.  I admit it.  I don’t drive, don’t judge me.  I am born, bred and  raised  in Newark NJ.  I am a city girl.  I take the 25 and 70 busses.  I ride the city subway (okay that makes it sound bigger than it is.  It’s really The Lite Rail.) I enjoy it.  I like to people watch. I like talking to folks. It’s my thing and I love it. But this day a stranger just wouldn’t do.  I didn’t realize that what I needed was a friendly face and as God would have it, He provided just the right one for me.  Let me explain.

I was called to duty. Jury duty that is.  YaY!  Don’t get me wrong I’m one of those people who really doesn’t mind serving Jury Duty…. if I have to.  Just not right now.  I thought I could do it.  I had all intentions of doing it, but once I got into the courtroom I found I just couldn’t handle it.

My first cousin was in a domestic violent relationship and two years ago around Valentine’s Day, she was murdered.  I’m not at liberty to share details nor am I ready to do so right now.  I along with her brother am representing the family.  We are at the very beginning of court proceedings, and lately I’ve been to that court house more than I care to say.  After being excused from jury duty, I headed home.  I decided to go to Newark Penn Station to grab a slice of pizza (I know, I know. Don’t tell me how fattening it is.  If you felt the way I did you’d have had pizza and a whole lot more.)  So here I am in Penn and who do I run into but the effervescent Ms. Rosie.  It was 2:30 pm….

I met Ms. Rosie some 14 years ago through a mutual friend.  We aren’t real close but I consider her very, very special. She’s one of those people who knows everybody.  She is extremely knowledgeable but not a know it all.  Ever willing to lend a helping hand, if she can’t assist you she certainly knows someone who can.  As always she was a wealth of information about the good things happening in the community.  We talked about health and hot flashes.  (By the time we finished that part I felt real guilty about my pizza- jones.)   After connecting me with a sister who teaches health and wellness, she offered to take me home. I accepted and that’s where our adventure began.

We picked up her vehicle from the parking lot and headed up Market Street. “I’ve got to drop off some mail.” She said.  Parking at the Springfield Avenue Post Office she said “I’ll be right back” I waited in the car wondering what was taking her so long. I had seen the envelope and it was ready to mail. My thought was broken when I saw her walk out the door.  Although she went in the post office alone she returned  with another passenger.  Ms. Rosie ran into another weary traveler and decided to give him a ride home.  It just so happens he lives in a senior building where her mom used to live on Irving Turner Boulevard.  “Come on” she said, waiving me toward the building entrance. She took me on a tour of the beautiful lobby and the deck where the seniors like to barbecue during the summer months.   The building was clean and very welcoming.

Back in the car, we continued our drive and wound up on West Kenny and Howard Streets.  I hadn’t been in that area of the city in some time and it had improved greatly.  Once laden with projects, pimps and prostitutes, this part of the city has experienced some true revitalization.   We stopped at Vonda’s Kitchen located at 183 West Kenny Street on the first floor of a building complex.  Vonda’s Kitchen is a delight in the city. It is a Soul Food lover’s dream with traditionaResturantl dishes such as fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and greens.  She serves up delicious seafood dishes, baked and barbecued chicken, fresh vegetables, salads, traditional burgers as well as a selection of vegetarian burgers. But Vonda’ s Kitchen is not a neighborhood greasy spoon. The pristine brightly colored decor is only out shined by her friendly staff.  Vonda has nothing to hide either.  I just love the window where the customer can look directly into the kitchen to watch the chef and staff at work.    I’ll have more to say about Vonda’s kitchen in the near future.

Back in the car again: Ms. Rosie chatted on about how blessed she and her husband were by ministering at a local nursing home. She bubbled with delight as shared stories of her weekly visits; how she truly enjoys sharing the word of God with them.  We talked about vision, goals and her desire to open up a business that would really serve the needs of Senior Citizens and their families.  She shared her newest passion, coin collecting and selling them on Ebay.  All I can say to you is this, by the time we arrived at my house, my whole mood had changed. Earlier In the day I was on the brink of tears now I was filed with laughter and joy. I realized I had been coddled and comforted by a very special angel.  By the way it was close to 5:30 when I got home.  So a 15 minute ride turned into two hours.  Thanks for the ride Ms. Rosie.  It was a trip well spent.

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Feel free to comment.  Be sure to visit my site http://www.Lesliehowardministries.com

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