a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Simple Tips for Cooling Down a Hot Summer Kitchen. . . and Yourself

I don't know about you, but by mid-point each summer I am dragging and not too enthused about much of anything. My attention span is short and my energy level is even shorter. May I assume your spans and levels are short also? Here are a few quick cooling down (psychologically if not actually) tips--- none that require much effort.

Cook or bake several items at once to save time, dirty dishes and energy (yours as well as the utility company's!)

When grilling, cook more than needed; reheat extra for another meal. 

To quickly bring water to a boil, use high heat and cover the pan.

To hard boil eggs, place them in a pan, cover with water, bring to a boil,  remove from heat, cover  pan and let sit for 25 minutes.

If you are unable to balance each meal, try to balance the day's meals.

Considering that we feast first with our eyes, keep color and texture in mind when preparing a meal. Example: for the same cost and nutritional value you could serve either 1) macaroni and cheese, corn and yellow gelatin or 2) macaroni and cheese, green beans and red gelatin. Which would prefer to sit down to?

When you are running late with dinner preparations, set the table and it will seem like the meal is close to being ready!

For an icy treat, cut bananas into sections, insert a stick in one end, layer on a  waxed-paper lined cookie sheet and freeze. If desired dip frozen bananas in melted chocolate chips or almond bark and return to freezer. Place in zip-lock bag and store in freezer. Eat frozen!

When bananas are getting past their prime (I love it when over-ripe ones go on sale!), slice thinly, package in zip lock bags, smashing to make the package as flat as possible, and freeze. Make a refreshing and healthy blender smoothie by using breaking  the frozen smooshed bananas into pieces and placing them in the blender along with any additional items of your choosing.  Mine (which makes two servings) usually includes a 6-ounce container of  yogurt, some oatmeal (plain or flavored), and a liquid (often a can of a chocolate nutrition/diet drink). Sometimes I add other flavorings, flax meal or wheat germ, malt power, additional frozen fruit pieces, and/or peanut butter. You are limited only by what you are craving or what you have on hand!  

Let's keep our cool----and, before we know it, winter will be here and we will be trying to warm up !

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