It’s not so completely selfless of me, the staying in New Orleans this summer. I was really looking forward to being in Cordova, but to be perfectly honest, I was not enjoying the part where we have to move our family again, second time in one year. I was packing boxes with a restrained grimace. Looking for subletters here, after a winter of dealing with tenants in our Cordova house was not exactly blowing my skirt up. So, although I will miss a summer of wilderness out the back door, and good friends gathered round, I’m not as heartbroken as you (or I) might have thought.
What I’m perhaps most disappointed about is missing the opportunity to share the parenting duties. It’s just not very realistic to think that My Man might find a part time job fighting the good fight. Not at this point. There is surely an explosion of stuff to be done, and I have no doubt he will work as hard this summer as he did during the school year.
But, of course as the Babe gets older, he gets easier. So hopefully I’ll survive, as many many mamas have before me, a seemingly endless spell of full time mothering.
After that, my main concern is the heat. We arrived here last August, so we did get a chance to see quite a heavy dose of it (August is usually the worst month of all, so we hear. And it really didn’t cool off till late October!) but now we have a full six months of uncomfortable to unbearable heat stretching before us.
Yes, starting now. We’ve been running the AC every afternoon for awhile now. It has been getting hot for months, but it just now got to where it doesn’t cool off at night. That’s when it starts to bug me. I don’t mind hiding in the house during the hot afternoons, but when it’s just a relentless press of hot non-stop hot, I wilt.
Of course, it’s not the heat alone that’s doing me in. It’s the wet too. Yesterday was only 84 degrees, but the air was thick. It was like swimming through warm chocolate pudding. Without the benefit of the occasional slurps. Yu-uck. I don’t want to do a damn thing when it’s like that. Sit on my ass, and maybe read some blogs. I hardly want to snuggle my sticky babies. I certainly don’t want to get up, go into the kitchen and turn on the stove to cook my family dinner!!!
So, planner-girl has been busy making some lists. I do love me a list.
How to Cook Dinner with as Little Actual Cooking as Possible
(This is a work in progress, and I would appreciate help. That means you, you hot Ozzie housewives!)
cook in big batches for freezer:
- rice, plain beans of all kinds, dahl, refried black beans, hummus
salads, big batches to eat throughout the week for lunches:
- potato, pasta, rice, quinoa
- chick pea, lentil, 5 bean
- grated carrot, coleslaw, beet
spreads for sandwiches:
- hummus, eggplant, walnut
other cool goodies:
- Vietnamese summer rolls
- gazpacho and other cold soups
Of course, you may notice that most of these things do require cooking. Well, the strategy for whatever cooking can’t be avoided is my new toy– the Fagor 3-In-One Electric Cooker. Slow cooker, pressure cooker and rice cooker in one convenient appliance! I have so much to say about this fancy pants appliance, that I’m gonna save it for the next post.
One of the sadnesses of the heat for me is not being able to bake. I love baking, and love eating yummy home baked treats. I am in the process of figuring out solar baking, but apparently I’ve got a lot left to learn. I actually did make a cardboard box solar oven, but the two times I’ve tried it were pretty unimpressive (read: failures). The first time I tried brown rice. That is so typically me. Way to start out with failure!
Then just the other day I was inspired by one of y’alls frabjuous blogs (sorry, can’t remember who, please feel free to pipe up in the comments) to try baking cookies. Not having been smart enough to make my box sized to a cookie sheet, I had to make “bars” in a smaller baking dish instead. After quite some time they had puffed, and looked half done, but then the sun was gone from our yard and I had to finish them off in the toaster oven.
Surely I can figure this out. The sun here gets hot! Like the back yard is completely uninhabitable mid-day. The sidewalks can burn bare feet. Whoever’s lovely blog just reinspired me was baking her cookies on a cold day, and they cooked! WTF?
I have moved the toaster oven out to the laundry shed, which is good. It’s perched atop the unused dryer. If I hadn’t just blown my wad on the fancy Fagor cooker, I would spring for a fancy new toaster oven. Instead I’ll have to make do with my really crappy thrifted dinosaur. Too bad for me.
Many things that are traditionally baked can actually be steam “baked” in the slow cooker. The results are not the same, but substitutable. You can bake bread in it, I did last week! It doesn’t brown, and there’s no crust to speak of, but it’s still bread. It’s a little on the moist/soft side for my taste right off, but then after a few days it’s great! Not dry at all like my homemade wheat bread usually is after two days. Perfect for sandwiches. More on this subject to come!
Lastly, I need to get a gas grill. We have used the resident charcoal grill a few times over the winter, and of course charcoal does produce far superior results, but it’s just not easy, and certainly not a cooling experience. I would use a gas grill lots more I think. I’m about to really be in the squash (just like I’ve always read about! So exciting for my Alaskan gardener spirit!) and I could get used to grilled squash as a regular part of my diet. Mmmmm….
Plus I could get creative, grilled pizza anyone? Barbecued peach pie?
I wish I could just come around to eating plain raw fruits and vegetables all the time. But although I enjoy a raw midday meal in the heat of the day, dinner to me needs to be cooked. Let alone My Man who honestly doesn’t understand why people waste their energy eating salad.
How do you all keep your families fed and happy in the heat of summer?