Over the last couple of days I have had to sort through my email folders to clean the out and found a few treasures that I wanted to post here for future reference and wanted to bring them to your attention if you aren't aware of them.

The flour idea I had heard about from a family member but forgot who and was glad to stumble across this idea again.

Keeping Your Cool During a Power Outage

Keep the doors closed- The fewer time the door is opened, the fewer chances the cool has to escape. Most refrigerators/freezers are well insulated. If you keep the door closed, a unit will hold the cold for a long time. A fully stocked freezer with the door closed should keep the food frozen for 2 days, if the freezer is only partially full, the food may keep for only 24 hours.

After two days- If the power outage has lasted 48 hours and there is no sign of power returning, check with the local provider of clear ice to see if they stock dry ice. 25lbs of dry ice will keep on average for 3 days for a 10cubic freezer

After the power return, evaluate – Check all foods once the unit is working again. Don’t re-freeze any frozen item that has completely defrosted, but you can cook and either refrigerate or freeze the cooked dish. Use your nose!

In the end- if you have a lot of spoiled, unusable food, check with your homeowner policy. You may be covered for the lost up to a certain limit… a couple hundred.

Check Oven Temperature without a Thermostat
Turn on your oven, set it to 350 F and let it warm up. Then put a tablespoon of flour on a baking sheet in the oven. After 5 minutes, the color of the flour will tell you the approximate temperature:

Tan = 250-325°

Golden = 325-400°

Dark Brown = 400-450°

Almost Black = 450-525°

7 Free Open Courses from Great Universities

MIT Courses: Receive MIT access without paying the MIT prices. Courses are in text, audio and video formats and translated into a number of different languages.

Open University (UK): I like the 16 hour course they offer on understanding diabetes. Wonderful access to both undergraduate and graduate-level course materials.

Carnegie Mellon Online: These courses are intended to provide an introduction to college courses to learn about a particular subject without formal instruction.

Stanford on iTunes: If you want to take your class with you on the go, these courses, lectures and interviews can be downloaded and played on iPods, PCs, and Macs and can also be burned to CDs

UC Berkeley Webcasts: Berkeley has been offering live and on-demand webcasts of certain courses since 2001; so they have a good archive of archived and current classes.

Utah State Online Courses: You can study everything from anthropology to physics and theater arts. They also have a comprehensive text-based courses can be downloaded as a zip file or viewed directly on the site.

UC Irvine OpenCourseWare: They are new to provide free courses so there are only a handful of options to choose from. Current courses cover topics like financial planning, human resources, capital markets and e-marketing.