Sweepstakes Winner Shares Electricity-free Recipe

Ever wonder who actually wins an online contest? Meet Stephanie Thurow of Richfield, Minnesota, the winner of the Kohler Generators “Dine in the Dark” sweepstakes, part of last fall’s Great Hurricane Blowout, an emergency preparedness campaign by the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH®).

Kohler Generators asked participants to submit their best electricity-free recipe – a dish that can be prepared during an outage because it doesn’t require a powered cooking source.

The grand prize was a trip for two to The American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin, a Forbes Five-Star resort hotel and the Midwest’s only AAA Five Diamond Resort Hotel. Plus, a spa treatment at Kohler Waters Spa, recently awarded the 2013 Five-Star Award by Forbes Travel Guide, the first five-star spa in Wisconsin and one of only 35 worldwide. We talked to Stephanie after she and her husband returned from Kohler.


Q: Congratulations on winning! How was your visit to Kohler?

Stephanie: Pretty incredible! We had a couple’s spa treatment on Saturday, dinner at our choice of Kohler restaurants on Saturday night — we went to this great place at Blackwolf Run golf course — and an absolutely fabulous room at The American Club.

It was nice that everything was taken care of, but it was so much fun we’re thinking of making it an annual anniversary trip. With the spa and the wonderful food and the small community, it’s all right there — like it’s your own resort!

Q: How did you come up with your recipe for a Cannellini Bean Dip? [see recipe below]

Stephanie: The day before I learned about the contest my daughter — she’s three — and I had made a quesadilla with beans and flavored it with cumin and garlic powder. We like Mexican food. So I thought I could make that into a creamy bean dip by adding olive oil.

It’s so simple: I let my daughter mash up the beans, and then we added the salt and spices and that’s it, we’re done! It’s a delicious nutty flavor, nutritious and nothing needs refrigeration — perfect for a power outage.

Q: Do you experience power outages?

Stephanie: We have a lot of storms go through here and they knock out power pretty regularly, though most of them don’t last more than a half-day or so. But when I was in Minneapolis 15 years ago we lost power for about a week — straight-line winds, trees down everywhere, power was out in the whole neighborhood for almost a week. Luckily, we had a generator and that experience has always made a big impression on me. Made a world of difference.

But we don’t have a generator in our new house, and I worry for my little daughter when the power goes out. As an adult, I find that losing power is inconvenient and even unsettling. The last time we had an outage my daughter had just turned two and she didn’t understand.

The whole house gets very quiet and eerie — there’s no refrigerator or air conditioner or furnace running. And it was starting to get dark and she just couldn’t articulate what was wrong.  I think you feel more secure when you have lights, when you can put the yard light on. It’s almost like you turn on the outside light to protect the house.

I don’t really think anyone is going to break into our house just because there’s no power, but it’s a loss of control — it’s unnerving.

Q: Do you have an emergency pantry?

Stephanie: We do now! I think the whole Great Hurricane Blowout campaign and the Dine in the Dark contest has made us much more aware of what we need to stock in our pantry so we’re ready for the next outage.

We already have a pretty deep pantry because I do a lot of canning and preserving. And we always have beans on hand. I also found the “48 Hours Without Power” post on the Kohler Home Generators Blog post to be a really good guide of what you need for an emergency pantry.

Q: Any tips for the recipe?

Stephanie: Does your emergency pantry have a manual can opener?



Brad - Dine in the Dark Recipe Logo

Bean and Garlic Spiced Dip

Preparation time: about 5 minutes.


  • Cannellini beans (white kidney beans — or substitute with black beans or pinto beans), one can
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Minced garlic or garlic power
  • Spices


Drain the beans. Mash up beans with potato masher or fork. Stir in olive oil until you have a creamy consistency. Add a tablespoon of water if you prefer a thinner dip. Add salt to taste. Add whatever spices you like: perhaps onion powder, cumin, paprika, chili power or cayenne pepper.


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