Category Archives: Off The Grid

How To Make Toast In A Cast Iron Skillet

Skillet Toast with Nut Butter

Make Your Morning Toast Without Electricity

If you’ve lost power, and have a gas range, you can prepare breakfast toast in a cast iron skillet.

The texture of skillet toast is crisp, and the taste is identical to toasting in an electric toaster, or oven.

Toasting Bread In A Cast Iron Skillet

I recommend cast iron for pan toasting, because it beats all other metals.  It’s durable, heats up fast, and stays hot longer.

Cast iron cooking comes in handy during an electric power failure, on camping trips, and backyard off-the-grid cooking.  Skillets can be stored on wall racks, for anyone living in small quarters.

Skillet Toast vs. Electric Toaster

The difference between skillet toast, and an electric toaster, is that you have to watch the toasting process, so that your bread doesn’t burn, especially if you’re adding seed toppings to the bread.

Cooking Instructions For Plain Toast

Cast Iron Skillets

A 6.5 inch cast iron skillet is perfect for a single slice of bread.

  • Prepare a slice of bread by lightly coating both sides with cooking oil.
  • Line skillet with cooking oil, to prevent bread from burning.
  • Place slice of bread in skillet.
  • Heat up the skillet over a medium-low flame.
  • Turn bread over, after one side is toasted.
  • When both sides are toasted, remove toast from skillet.  Place in dish.  Add favorite toppings.

Cooking Instructions For Seed Toppings

Transform a slice of plain bread,  into rye, or sesame toast.

  • Prepare slice of bread by coating both sides with cooking oil.
  • Line skillet with cooking oil to prevent toast from burning.
  • Heat skillett over a medium-low flame.
  • Place slice of bread in skillet.
  • Sprinkle caraway or sesame seeds onto the oiled bread.  Turn bread onto skillet to toast.
  • When one side is toasted, flip bread over to toast opposite side.
  • When both sides are toasted, remove from skillet.

NOTE: Some of the seeds will fall off into the skillet, but many will stick to the oiled bread.  For this process you might want to use a low flame.  This gives the seeds a chance to soften during toasting.  If they don’t soften, you will have a mouthful of uncooked seeds.  Unless you enjoy chewing on raw caraway seeds, be patient, and allow the seeds to cook before removing the toast from the skillet.

Interested in buying high quality cast iron cookware?  Visit the Lodge Cast Iron website, and buy it right there.  Lodge cookware is made in America. They manufacture the 6.5 inch skillet, and larger skillets as well.

Irene Pastore is a native New Yorker, health and fitness blogger, and personal trainer.  Irene owns this website, and writes all the blog posts.  For her complete bio, visit the About Page.

Copyright 2016 Irene Pastore, and


Off The Grid: Vegetable Spiralizer

By Paderno

No Power – No Worries – You can still eat healthy!

A manually powered kitchen tool that spiralizes vegetables.  It comes with three blades. It’s easy to clean, and to store.  Inexpensive.  No batteries required, completely manual.  Fun to use.  Fast preparation.

If you’re in a power outage – no worries.  You can still have fresh spaghetti, provided you have zucchini.

A Noodle Experience Without Grains

Aside from power outages, this clever kitchen tool comes in handy when you’re in a hurry.  Just put a zucchini through the spiralizer.  Within seconds you’ll have a large serving of fresh zucchini spaghetti.

Cover your zucchini pasta with your favorite sauce.  Break open a jar of Rao’s, Trader Joe’s, or Whole Foods Four Cheese tomato sauce.  Since the cheese is already in the sauce, you don’t have to grate parmesan, or romano onto your veggie pasta.

If you have time, you can add sautéed mushrooms, garlic or onions to this pasta dish.  Zucchini is a bland vegetable, so don’t hesitate spicing things up with cayenne, black pepper, or chile pepper.

Zucchini pasta, is grain-free, so it’s good for anyone who wants to avoid grains.

A Fun Way To Eat Your Veggies

If you don’t like eating raw carrot sticks, spiralize a carrot stick instead.  A sprialized carrot is thin and crunchy. Drizzle your favorite dressing over the raw carrots. Experiment with other raw veggies, mix them together in a salad bowl, add dressing, and enjoy.

The spiralizer is not a toy.  The blades are very sharp, so don’t let your children use it.

Copyright 2013 Irene Pastore and Blue Moon Personal Training

Off The Grid: Quick Holiday Cappuccino

English: Classic cappuccino


Off The Grid means no electricity.  If you really want to get down to basics, it means no batteries either.  Your muscles do all the work.  When preparing a quick holiday cappuccino, you’ll be taking short-cuts.  So this method isn’t traditional.

Traditional Cappuccino is an espresso coffee drink.  Black coffee is poured into a cup, to which hot milk is added, and then another layer of hot milk foam is placed on the very top.  To enhance flavor, powdered cinnamon, chocolate chips, chocolate powder, or carob powder might be used to top the foamed milk.

Froth, or foam are the bubbles formed at the top of milk after processing.

Veering away from tradition, and for the sake of  saving time, here are three ways to make your Quick Holiday Cappuccino.  


Equipment: A glass jar with a snug lid.  Hand powered shake method.

Pour milk into a glass jar, leaving space for bubbles to form.  Shake vigorously for about one minute.  Open lid, and spoon some of the foamed milk into coffee.  If the milk foam isn’t sufficient, shake some more, or use a different type of milk.

Equipment: Hand-powered milk frother.

Purchase a hand-powered milk frother.  Follow directions that come with your frother.  There are various models, from low to high priced.  Some are made from stainless steel, others from glass.  Here’s a link to Amazon, where you can browse hand-powered milk frothers.

Equipment: Battery- powered milk frother.

Battery-powered frothers are off grid, but you’ll need to keep batteries on hand to use your frother.  Here’s a link to Amazon, where you can browse battery-powered frothers.


Not all milk will foam.  Some types of milk will foam, but won’t have much body.  Experiment with your favorite milk, to see what you like.

  • Cold evaporated milk will produce foam, and body.
  • Cold rice, hemp, or almond milk will not foam well, or have body.
  • Cold skim milk will foam, but won’t have much body.
  • Cold heavy cream will foam, and have body.
  • Cold soy milk will foam, but won’t have much body.


1 Cup unflavored soymilk
2 Teaspoons maple syrup, brown sugar or honey
2 Teaspoons grain beverage powder or unsweetened cocoa
1/4 Teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch ground cinnamon
Optional garnish: Chocolate shavings, Cinnamon, Chocolate Powder, Carob Powder.


Heat soy milk in saucepan until just below boiling. Remove from heat.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Beat with egg beater until frothy.  Garnish with chocolate shavings, cinnamon, chocolate powder, or carob powder.

Copyright 2012 Irene Pastore and Blue Moon Personal Training

Off The Grid Vegetable Juicer


When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, in late October 2012, a lot of us lost power.  So I decided to start an Off The Grid category for anyone interested in learning more about household appliances that are either battery, or manually operated.

In addition, Off The Grid posts will help you find out where to buy these products, without too much searching. Read the rest of this entry

Hand Powered Appliances: Get Off The Grid And Get Some Exercise

Instead of using a noisy leaf blower, rake leaves manually. You’ll feel better getting exercise.

Power outages are not much fun.  Keeping body and soul alive during a time when you have no lights, no fridge, no phone, no heat or hot water, takes it toll on your emotional and physical well-being.

During Hurricane Sandy, there were parts of New York City that had no cell phone service.

For sure, there will be a next time when the power goes out. You can start getting off the grid, by making lifestyle changes in the everyday products you use.

In addition to saving you money, manually powered appliances give you more exercise.  Read the rest of this entry