13 Jul

It’s been HOT lately, no?  So hot, that 92 degrees feels cool.  No, really ~ after a few days of 100+ degree heat, I was walking around outside and thought “wow, it feels pretty good out here; wonder what the temp is?”  I went and looked at the thermometer.  Yup.  92.  Nice.  So, we’ve been trying to find ways to stay cool, and to keep the house cool, without running the air conditioner 24/7.  Here are a few quick tips:
1. Keep the curtains/shades closed ~ this one is hard for me, b/c I can’t stand a dark house.  I love to be able to see out, and when the shades are closed, I feel somewhat trapped.  But, it really does make a difference in the temperature of the house.  Especially for us, with most of our windows on a southern exposure.  This time of year, the heat beats in.  Keeping them closed keeps a lot of the heat out.

2.  Cook outside as much as possible ~ barbecue, slow cooker, toaster oven, dutch oven, whatever meets your fancy.  I have my crock pot and toaster oven out on the deck.  Call me a redneck, but it keeps a ton of heat out of the house when I don’t have to turn the stove on.  The other day I did bread in the crock pot – turned out great.  I’ve also done it in the dutch oven over coals.  I did lasagna and calzones in the toaster oven.  There’s a lot you can do, you just have to be a bit creative.

3.  Open the windows when it’s cool, close ’em when it’s hot ~ duh. 😉  The last week or so, it hasn’t really cooled off enough to have the house open.  And if it has, it’s not been until close to midnight.  So, we go to bed, wake up around midnight (or sometime overnight) and open windows up to let the cool(er) night air in.  Come morning, around 6:30-7am, it gets closed back up. 

4.  Line dry your clothes ~ I started doing this a month or two ago, and I love, love, love it.  Really.  I’ve had people give me funny looks and say “is your dryer broken?”  or, “are you trying to see what it’s like to live ‘off the grid?'”  Nope.  Saving money, saving heat in the house.  Make fun of me all you want, my house is cool, and my power bill is less. 😉  And actually, when it’s nice out, my laundry dries faster on the line then it does in the dryer.  And bonus: no wrinkles!

So there are just a couple of simple ideas.  And I know, you’re wondering why in the world this post is called “Banana…Ba-nah-na?”  What does that have to do with staying cool?  Well, here’s the deal – most of the time, in the heat, no one really wants to eat.  But, you need to have nourishment.  Enter the beloved smoothie.  (and, enter the banana reference…wait for it….).  We love smoothies at our house.  We make them differently every time.  The one thing that stays the same is that they typically have either kefir or greek yogurt and a banana.  So.  The other day I was at Fred Meyer, and they had overly ripe bananas on clearance.  So I bought a bunch (HA!  I’m so clever), and came home and did this:

I peeled the bananas and put them on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.  I did this for two reasons: 1) I’ve frozen them in their peels before, and they are a pain in the patooty to peel, unless you let them thaw completely first, which makes them quite watery/mushy.  2) I put the parchment paper down first, so they wouldn’t freeze to the cookie sheet.  This made them much easier to remove when frozen.  Note that this picture is after they have been in the freezer for a couple of days – no nasty brown bananas!
Once they were completely frozen, I popped them off of the sheet and put them into a gallon size freezer bag:
When I want to make a smoothie (which I did for dinner tonight – hubby was gone, smoothie and popcorn for dinner, woohoo! 🙂 ), I just pull out a couple chunks and blend it up.  The beauty of this is that you don’t have to add ice – the frozen banana makes it nice and cold/thick without adding ice, which waters it down.
And here’s one more tip – I also add spinach to our smoothies, for added nutrients.  The problem is, I typically by the large Costco-size pack of spinach, and it generally goes bad before we can use it all.  Then I got this idea from a fellow blogger ~ wash the spinach, and pack it by handfuls into sandwich size freezer bags.  Freeze until use.  To add to a smoothie, just drop the baggie on the counter a couple of times – the spinach will break up and you can add it right in.  It works great!  No more wasted spinach!  And again, it makes the smoothie ice-cold w/out the ice.

So that’s that.  Hope you all are staying cool in this beautiful July weather.  All too soon it will be getting chilly again.  If you have any ideas on how to be the heat, or anything you’d like to add, leave me a comment – I love hearing from you!

Closing with a picture I love: This one was from one of our beloved trips up lake on Lake Chelan.  Can’t beat the beauty, serenity, or the wonder of God’s creation.

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2 responses to “Banana…Ba-nah-na

  1. Deb Stennes

    July 14, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Love it! We just got home from the Twisp Farmers’ Market and Keith asked if I could freeze the beet greets…I was afraid I’d have to blanch them and have a frozen glob. YAY!! Will do it right now! I also freeze overripe pineapple chunks on parchment/cookie sheet. Your blog is awesome, Barb…enjoy it very much. 🙂 deb


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