Sunday, July 1, 2012

Surviving the Heat Wave


Has it been unusually and unbearably hot where you are this weekend?  It definitely has here.  The air conditioner stopped keeping up on Friday afternoon.  It was set at 71 and stayed at 79 through most of the night.  We thought that was probably at least due in part to me turning on the stove to make dinner; according to the thermometer on the refrigerator it was 85 degrees in the kitchen.

After that I decided I wouldn’t be turning the stove on for the rest of the weekend.   It’s very tempting just to go out for dinner, especially if that means an hour or two in a place where the air conditioning works better than ours, but that’s just not in the budget, especially in thinking what the power bill will be like after the air conditioner’s struggle to keep up.  Instead I’ve been using some of my summer slow cooker recipes.  Here’s one for a wonderful chicken salad:

Summer Chicken Salad

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley for cooking)

½ cup seedless green grapes

½ cup seedless red grapes

1 medium apple, chopped

¼ cup honey mustard

2/3 cup Miracle Whip

Place chicken breasts in slow cooker with spices and cover with water.  Cover and cook on Low for 3 – 5 hours.  When chicken is fully cooked remove from water and shred with a fork.  Allow chicken to cool to room temperature. Combine chicken with remaining ingredients, mixing well. 

We had this on croissant rolls, along with salad and fruit last night.  It was a nice light dinner in the heat.  Despite not using the stove the house stayed at 81 degrees for most of last night.  We told ourselves it would have been worse if I had turned on the stove and/or oven.

I also made sure to hang up all of the laundry outside to dry yesterday instead of running the dryer.  I’ve been making more of an effort to do that this summer.  It just makes sense; it’s more earth friendly, it saves money, and we’re hoping that by not heating up the house as much with the dryer we can help our air conditioning unit (which our Realtor joked was probably brought over on the Mayflower) hobble along for another couple of years. 

The only problem in hanging up the laundry outside is that we don’t actually have a clothesline yet, so it involves some creativity in hanging the clothes on the porch and a little accordion clotheslines meant for drying delicates inside.  I am proud to say, though, that I managed to dry four loads of laundry outside this weekend.   

We’re pretty sure we need to go with an umbrella clothesline (my husband calls them collapsible clotheslines; we think possibly umbrella might be the common southern term and collapsible the common Yankee term) due to the size of our backyard, the location of the trees, and where the sunny parts are.  I’ve looked at some online, and most of them aren’t reviewed very well.  The consensus seems to be that they’re fine if you only hang one load of relatively light-weight laundry on them, but most seem to bend or break if you hang towels, comforters, or jeans on them.  So I’m still on a mission to find an umbrella clothesline that’s reviewed well, or at least not terribly.  Does anyone have one they’re happy with and would recommend?  Or a suggestion for finding a good one?

It also looks like the temperatures will be going back down to the high 80s here starting Tuesday.  They’ll be in the low 90s tomorrow, instead of the high 90s or 100, so that’s definitely an improvement.  The air conditioner seems to be able to keep up as long as stays below about 94 degrees, so we’re pretty excited about the drop.

So what about you, how have you been faring in the heat?  What tricks have you been using to keep cool?


22 comments:

  1. It has been crazy hot!! 108 readings in places around here! Fortunately, I think it is going to begin to abate in a day or so more.

    Love chicken salad! It's a staple when it's too hot to cook or eat big, heavy meals. I love it with grapes and pecans or cranberries and pecans.

    That is a royal bummer about the a/c too. What timing!

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  2. 108, that's awful! Maybe I shouldn't complain so much about or 99/100.

    I've never added pecans to the chicken salad, but that sounds really good.

    I think the a/c will be alright once it cools down some. The air blowing out does feel cold. I think the really high temperatures just overwhelm the unit.

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  3. don't hate me..........but it was pleasant here this weekend......mid 70s........nice breeze......but I live really close to the ocean so we get the ocean breeze and I live in a really expensive part of the country with lots of people, crowded freeways, high realty prices.......actually our weather is very pleasant, but I have lived where it has been hot before, hottest was 116 when we lived in Medford Oregon years ago or 111 in Billings Montana or 111 in Temecula California. So I know hot.

    It is hard when the air conditioner doesn't keep up; but when you think it has to battle at least 20-30 degrees that it is hotter outside to where you want it to be inside, I'm sure that is a daunting task for any appliance, no matter how old it may be.

    Good idea to use the crock pot. We rarely used our ovens when we lived n hot temperatures. We barbequed or cooked on the stove.

    Every couple weeks I'll make chicken like this in the crockpot, usually for chef salad or burritos, but I make double what we will use and then for the next few days we have it available to use for sandwiches, etc. So convenient!

    Glad to hear there will be a break in the heat coming soon!

    betty

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    1. Your weekend weather sounds wonderful! I'm glad we hovered right around 100 and never got into the 100s. That just sounds awful.

      Most people that I've talked to said their air conditioners didn't keep up over the weekend. That makes me feel a little better about ours. Maybe it's in better shape than we thought.

      I love cooking up a batch of something, especially in the crock pot, and then having it for a few days, or freezing it for one of those days when you just don't feel like making anything.

      Definitely looking forward to the break in the heat. :-)

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  4. I love hanging clothes on the line! There is a picture of mine in my latest post. It's the square kind. Takes up less room in the yard than a line. I think the pole slides off the part that is in the cement. We take it down then weather is bad. I would recommend placing the line in cement, b/c windy days (which are GREAT for clothes-hanging) can knock a non-cemented line over. You are so right about using the Florida sun to dry clothes. It's silly to run the dryer with such a great resource just outside. I do laundry about every other day, but usually only one load. I stay on top of it that way. You must wash when the days are hot and dry, b/c there will be days when it rains, and if you're caught up, you're good. :-) Go for it! It's our little part to help the planet. :-)

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    1. Yours is exactly the kind we're talking about getting. May I ask where you bought it? It makes sense to cement it in. I've noticed that the wind will easily topple the little stand up one I have. I love how the clothes smell when they come off the line too.

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  5. We call them umbrella dyers here too.

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    1. I like the name umbrella clothesline better. It just sounds more interesting.

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  6. First off, you ladies are really making me think I need a clothes line. I hate wasting energy and not being as green as I can be, and while I've always dried comforters outside, I do not have a line either. Let us know what you find out in the way of the umbrella ones. Now. for kittens - yes, you always need another one! Cats need friends. I will go ahead and ship you one of them overnight Fed-X - with air holes in the box, of course - today. Do you prefer white with calico or gray stripes? ;-)

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    1. I am hoping that we'll find one to buy soon. I'm sure I'll post about that whenever it happens.

      Can I have both patterns?!? I LOVE cats and kittens. But since we have four, I'm pretty sure my husband might not be very happy if I bought home another one. Though is it REALLY bringing them home if they arrive by Fed-Ex??? Enjoy your kitties!

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    2. No, if you get them by Fed-X it is a gift and it's rude to deny a gift. And really, what's the difference between 4 and 6 cats anyway??? It's just more happiness. And fur. And poop.

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    3. I think we have figured out how I'm getting my next cat! :-)

      You should have stopped at the happiness part, it's the fur and poop part that make four seem like the limit.

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  7. yep, it's been some scorchers here too--i don't have any tricks though---your chicken salad looks delicious!

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    1. It seems to be hot almost everywhere right now.

      Thanks! We like it. :-)

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  8. It was in the 70s here but has since dipped down to at least low 60s if not high 50s. No advice on the clothesline other than once you do have something up, don't wait until your clothes are hard to take down from the line. Also, using a clothesline often causes fading. I have shirts as does the hubs that are different shades dependent on which side of the shirt faced the sun.

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    1. Being in the 70s sounds nice, though I think lower than that in July would be very weird for me.

      I've been trying to make sure I hang things out inside out because I had wondered if they would fade. Thanks for letting me know they do.

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    2. I grew up with having my clothes line dried. Then when I moved back home, that was when I realized that my shirts were fading (only because when I would fold them, you could see the two different colors!). Good thinking to dry them inside out!

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  9. Your chicken salad looks delicious! Hope you get a chance to stop by and say Hi sometime. :)

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  10. Danielle,
    Thanks for your great comment on my blog. You are already one up on me if you can cook! I don't know what the buzz is on clotheslines these days but your post sure brought me back to my youth. I hated hanging and taking down but loved how the clothes smelled and how they dried so stiff- so much less ironing, but mostly that great smell of the outdoors!

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    1. Thank you. I just really enjoy cooking, and for the most part it seems to come naturally. I also love the way clothes smell when they've been dried outside, it's just such a fresh, clean smell.

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