After all, life doesn’t stop during the summer, though it would be nice if it did so we could all sit under a shady tree with an ice cold glass of lemonade. But I digress…
No matter what kind of chores or cooking you do, there are bound to be a few that are easy to do when it’s cool (and perhaps even desirable if it’s really cold and the chore provides momentary warmth), but whose prospects are less desirable than death in the summer heat. Here are a few ideas–by no means an exhaustive list, but rather, just something to give your brain a jump start on how to outsmart that summer heat.
Baking Bread - Mix bread dough in the late afternoon or evening and refrigerate. In the early morning, remove dough from the refrigerator, punch down and let rise until double. Punch down again and shape your bread loaves and allow to rise another 30 minutes, then bake. Your bread should be done before the extreme heat of the day hits and permeates your house (that’s about 2pm here). If your home gets hot early in the day, consider allowing the first rise to occur the night before (the same day you mix the dough), then refrigerate the dough. In the morning, remove dough from fridge and punch down. Allow the dough to warm up a bit to a workable condition, then shape loaves and allow to rise for 30 minutes or so. Bake as usual. If you don’t have a decent recipe for bread, you can use the one I use. It’s a wonderful recipe that can be used with all wheat or half wheat/half white bread.
Housework - If you don’t already get up early, consider doing just that in order to get your chores out of the way before the summer heat permeates your home. Getting your chores done first thing will cause you to feel accomplished, as well as free you up for that tall glass of lemonade outside under your shade tree. *smile*
A couple of ideas:
- Make your bed before you even leave your bedroom.
- Throw in a load of laundry first thing in the morning.
- Wipe down the bathroom counter and toilet before you leave the bathroom after washing up.
Dinner - There are myriad ways to prep for dinner in the morning when it is cool. And while I’m sort of at a loss to make this paragraph sound interesting *grin*, I’m not at a loss for ideas:
- Defrost items you will need for your dinner in the refrigerator the night before. If you forget, you can defrost either in your microwave (if you use one), or by immersing your beef, chicken or whatever meat you are having that night in cold water in the morning. (Safe cold water thawing methods can be found here.)
- Prepare the salad or chop up other veggies that you will be using for dinner if need be.
- Make the salad dressing or sauces hours beforehand so the flavors have time to mesh.
- If you are having a casserole for dinner that evening, assemble it in the morning. If it’s too hot to bake later in the day, you can bake it in the morning and reheat it in the microwave before serving.
- Store all of your dinner items together on the same shelf in the fridge so everything is easy to grab and finish preparing and serving. (Please be mindful not to allow raw meat items to touch other items you will be serving raw, as you will be risking salmonella or other illness if you aren’t careful.)
- Consider cooking your dinners outdoors on the barbecue, or in a dutch oven over coals.
While all of these ideas will help you all year around, using them in the summer will help you beat the heat *and* continue to bless your family all through summer!