Beat the Heat


 It is not even officially summer yet and much of the United States, and even the world is dealing with sweltering heat and humidity.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac says to will be this way for my part of the world off and on all summer, at least through July. If you want to check for part of the U.S. click this link: OFA Long Range Weather Forecast.

Then go the left hand side of your computer screen.  You will see a Menu under “Weather.” The first item is, “Free 2-month Long Range Weather Forecast.” Click that and it will take you to a screen that you can personalize fro your area.

I have been using this site for over seven years now and it is generally remarkably accurate most periods; summer and winter.

It is a great site and has lots of information from gardening tips, information on the sun and moon, and astrology. They also have a cooking and recipe link. Great site.

They use sun spot activity to predict the weather and have a reputation of being one of the best and most accurate.

By the way, did you see or hear about the huge sun flare up this week, on Tuesday, June 7, 2011. If you missed it, you can click the following link to watch it: Solar Flareup

To see the most action in this particular video, look at the right side of the sun around the 12-18 seconds mark. Absolutely amazing! Both the action of the sun as well as the fact that we have film of these occurrences.

How To Beat the Heat
Following are the best tips I could find for keeping cool during this hot spell.

I love lists like these. They always start off with the obvious. Stay in air conditioning. Duh!!!!

Onwards fellow travelers……………

If you do not have AC, spend at least part of the day some place that does, such as a library, store, mall, or movie theater.

Use a fan if it is not too hot outside. Fans are best used at night.

This next one is new to me. Only use a fan if the air conditioner is on or the windows are open.

Drink plenty of water and other liquids, even if you do not feel thirsty.

Limit outdoor physical activity, especially during the hottest parts of the day.

Head to the pool when you can. Don’t forget to take sunscreen. 

I especially love this suggestion from E-How:

Set up a sprinkler, play with squirt guns or purchase a sprinkler and set it up in the yard.

My brothers and I and the other kids in the neighborhood used to do that all the time. It was great fun. Some times we just hosed each other too.

Eat small meals and eat more often.

Wear light-weight clothing in light colors. Cotton fabrics are a good choice on hot days.

And last but not least: NEVER EVER leave a pet or anyone in a locked, closed car.  

You would think that everyone knows that last one. But every year I hear on TV or radio, or learn about on the internet, some pet or baby that dies in a locked car on a hot day. There are not words…………I can use in my blog!!!!!

Most of the info for this post came from these three sites:

The Queen’s Courier

Chicago Sun Times


Featured Recipe           Fruit Salad with Vanilla Syrup

In addition to eating smaller meals in hot and humid weather another simple way of staying cool is to fix no-cook meals.

Fruit salads meet this criteria in spades.

One simple cool and delicious fruit salad is to simply slice various fruits (leave cherries whole) and arrange them on a bed of Romaine lettuce on a round plate. Then place a scoop or two of your favorite flavor of sherbet in the middle of the fruit. So cool and delish!!!!

Today I share a lovely fruit salad that can be used at any time of year or for any meal, breakfast, luch, or dinner. It can also be used as a dessert. Talk about versatile!

The syrup recipe I use with this fruit salad comes from the cookbook, Pure Flavor, Kurt Beecher Dammeier and Laura Holmes Haddad.

Only 6 Tablespoons of Sugar

There are a lot of fruit syrup recipes out there. But this is my favorite for several reasons. One, most syrup recipes use a cup or more of sugar. This one only uses 6 tablespoons. So if sugar is an issue for you, this recipe is wonderful. Also, this recipe uses cinnamon. I have never seen another syrup recipe that does.

But the crowning glory of this recipe is the vanilla. I adore vanilla. Just smelling vanilla is pure pleasure for me. Is there any scent more heavenly than vanilla? Excluding chocolate that is.

I have even made this syrup omitting the cinnamon and adding more vanilla. Oh my!!! So good.

For the Syrup
This is what you will need:

6 tablespoons sugar

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (less than ½ lemon)

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup water 

This is what you do:

Combine the water with the sugar, cinnamon, and pepper in a small sauce pan.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Then lower the heat, and simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes.

Remove the syrup from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and vanilla.

Let cool to room temperature before using.

NOTE: it goes without saying you can do this the night before or on the weekend and keep it in the fridge for week nights. The recipe book said the syrup can be stored in a covered container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

For the Salad
This is what you will need:

Assorted fruits of your choice.

I went to the store wit the idea I would get Bing cherries and Queen Anne cherries today. Alas, no Queen Anne’s. But I came home with some really good fruit. I was surprised at how good and sweet every thing I bought today was. After the bad winter, and the cold spring I was not sure what fruits to get. But everything was wonderful. The cherries were more expensive than last year. But nothing I can do about that. Just got less of them

I got Plumcots (a cross between plums and apricots, click the link if you want more information), peaches, apricots, and Bing cherries.

After washing……………..

I simply cut them up, placed in a large bowl, and gently mixed them together.

Then I transferred them to individual fruit cups and poured some of the cooled Vanilla Syrup over them. You could also use flat salad plates with or without lettuce to serve the fruit salad.


For Dessert

You can also bake, or buy from the store, a pound cake.  Simply place some of the fruit over a slice or two of the cake and pour on some of the syrup. If so desired, you could also add a dollop of whipped cream.

Nothing could be finer than these two recipes on a hot summer’s day.

Bon Appetit!!!

Cost of Syrup

6 tablespoons sugar                          $0.12

¼ teaspoon cinnamon                       $0.14

Pinch black pepper                            $0.03 (best guesstimate)

1 tablespoon lemon juice                   $0.13

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract              $0.52

1 cup water

Total cost Syrup = $0.94

Cost of Fruit 

Cost for the fruit will vary considerably depending on what kind of fruit you use.

The cost of the fruit I used today = $2.81

Total cost of all = $3.75
Cost per person (3) = $1.25

Quote of the Day

A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?  
Albert Einstein
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2 comments to Beat the Heat

  • Great tips and I need them all, it’s sooo hot here! I love no bake desserts, specially healthy fruity ones! You could probably also make the syrup with agave or maple syrup and make it even better for you! My cool down kitchen tip: wet a new kitchen towel and place in freezer. Remove after an hour or two and place around neck. Seriously, this is like heaven on a hot day! Thanks for your tips and recipe!

  • I have Evian mist bottles that u spray on ur face to hydrate and freshen up 🙂 these type of sprays are very popular in Japan. Also my a/c is gonna give up one of these days… now that I’m sick at home its been ON all the time! Love the fruit salad, I usually just add some lime juice and chill the whole thing before I eat it 🙂