What to do when your boiler breaks

The sad face was a nice touch –

If by chance you return to your apartment in the midst of a cold snap and the boiler is broken (a.k.a. no heat or hot water for you!), I have a few tips.

1) Assuming your stove still works, keep a constant supply of soup and hot tea flowing into your belly. (As an aside, I somehow went 26 years without knowing the wonderfulness that is ramen?!?)  I mean, yeah, it’s kind of high in sodium, but it takes 3 minutes to make and it only costs 27 cents! To make it a little healthier, I only use 3/4 of the seasoning packet (to reduce sodium) and I add in a mix of frozen veggies and edamame. I’m no longer in college, but I’m still on a budget. NYC is expensive, yo. And the JCrew sales beckon.

2) After I had my fill of hot soup and tea, I cranked up the oven to bake some cookies! These cookies were probably some of the tastiest that I’ve ever made, although that could be the hypothermia talking.

Candy Cane Cookies (makes about 2 dozen)


  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup crushed candy canes (about 5-6)
  • extra sugar to roll the cookies in


  • Preheat oven to 350 F, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  • Put unwrapped candy canes in a plastic baggie and crush with a rolling pin (bonus: I was able to work out some of the aggression I was harboring towards my landlord!)
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with a stand mixer or hand mixer, add egg and vanilla
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt and slowly mix in to the butter mixture
  • Mix in 1/2 of the crushed candy canes
  • In a small bowl combine the remaining candy cane pieces and about 1/4 cup sugar
  • Roll dough into walnut sized balls and roll in candy cane – sugar mixture, place on baking sheet and flatten slightly
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned, and then cool on a wire rack.

3) Another perk of having no heat or hot water is that I’ve really been utilizing my gym membership. I’ve run on the treadmill, taken a spinning class, used the elliptical, and lifted weights in the past 3 days. Huzzah for cross-training and being a well-balanced runner! Plus, my gym has hairdryers – say goodbye to icicle hair.

4) When it’s time to hit the sheets, I recommend finding a really hot bed partner. Specifically one that can last for hours (TWSS). Hehehe. But in all seriousness, I really did sleep with hand warmers under my pillow and by my feet.

If all else fails, you can go hang out at your neighborhood bar – may the drinks be cheap and your bartender be cute.

Happy Running!

  • THIS HAPPENED TO ME IN COLLEGE. But – big but(t) – we had hot water. Major difference. I can’t believe this happened at your apartment, though…what a nightmare. I don’t care how many ramen packets you boil.

  • this happened to me two weeks ago. luckily our hot water runs on gas because hot showers saved my life. and yes i did spend lots of time at the bars 😉

  • this sounds like the WORST thing ever…minus the candy cane cookies of course 🙂

  • Kristan

    This just happened to be in November. Our landlords were re-doing their house upstairs and the thermostat cord was cut. And then the hot water heater went. It was not a fun 5 days, for me or anyone else when I decided to skip showers. I hope you get heat and hot water back soon!!

  • Ramen is a staple of WaHe residents. We pay $.25 each, but sometimes it’s on sale 8/$1.00!

    Way to get the most out of your Equinox membership, thanks for introducing me to spinning! Even though Rihanna music was promised and not played, it was still a really fun time!

  • Those Ramen packs used to be one of my favorite meals. I agree, they are excellent!

    Hope your heat it back on now! Holy crap, what a pain.

  • This summer our boiler went out and we didn’t have hot water for a few days–it was pretty gross as I was in the middle of marathon training! Hhah. But I hope you get your heat back soon 🙂

  • Aww man that sucks. So true about the J.Crew sales…they are AWESOME right now! Dangeroussss.

  • OH NO! I hope it’s back on by now. Did you call 311 to complain? I’ve heard that actually helps…

    I lived on Ramen in college. ooh, those were the days..

  • I hate when that happens! but at least you have a gym membership. And the way they crank the heat up in there + self generated heat = the trusty NYT says after working out, your internal body temp stays elevated for hours later, you’ll be organically toasty lol


    dunno how you managed to go so long without ramen. it was definitely a college staple! And your comment about being budget conscious in NYC is doubly true when you’re a college student in NYC!

  • I so want to make those cookies!! I have been all over all things peppermint this past month 🙂

    You may want to see if you can get something off your rent for the days you’re without heat/hot water-I remember in my first NYC apt both were off for 2-3 days and we got money taken off the next month. Thankfully it was in April and I had a NYSC a half block away so I raided the shower there…

    Oh man, I lived on Cup of Noodles the first coupla years in college since I couldn’t stand the food…now I can’t even look at the stuff. Regular ramen is not bad in moderation tho…

  • quick question about this recipe (im making the cookies for a get-together this week!) Is it 3/4 cup sugar for the dough and 1/4 cup to mix with the candy canes, or 1/2 for the dough + 1/4 for candy canes=3/4 total?

  • @nyflygirl – i used 3/4 cup of sugar for the dough and approximately 1/4 cup extra sugar to roll the dough balls in. So I would say you need about 1 cup total!