Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cool Treats For Summer Heat ...

A couple of days ago a friend at work said that I looked like I was walking slowly and with a limp. This was about 10 days after popping my knee out of place, and re-popping it back into place. Yes it hurt. Both when it happened and a few minutes latter as I reset it right. Then I put a knee brace on to hold it together and kept on working in the yard. It hurts still and is slowing me down a bit, on the things that I want to get done in a days time. Anyhow as he made that remark about my walk and limp, he added "It's hell to get old ain't it". I countered with "I'm not old, I'm a P. Y. T.". To which he asked what was a P. Y. T.?" I said "Pretty Young Thing (and added that) that should give us both nightmares". We both chuckled. Of course the summer heat and humidity are not helping either.

Speaking of the heat let's get to the Summer treats ...
Let's start with a good breakfast:
  • 1 cup of quick oats (oatmeal)
  • 1 cup puffed millet
  • 1 - 2 tablespoon of raw honey (best from local bees)
  • 1 cup whole milk - not pasteurized homogenized is ok but raw whole milk is best
 ~ Combine everything in a bowl and microwave about 2 minutes, stir it all together while hot and enjoy.

Speaking of a good breakfast, in last weeks post I alluded to the old proverb about "The Hour Of The Wolf". Again I'm not sure which country it originated in, I had thought Russia. Am now leaning more toward one of the Scandinavian countries. At any rate since our summer rains have finally started here in Florida, another vicious predator has awoken. No not the gators, a little smaller and these seem to hunt in packs. As they seek out their prey in the wee hours of early dawn. I know this for a fact as my alarm clocks are set for 5AM and 5:15AM. By which time I am already semi awake and fending off a rather vicious assault. Of what could best be described as the predator hour, but to name that said hour ... I would have to call it "The Hour Of The Mosquito". They seem to think of me as a good breakfast.

OK, back to the cool treats. Remember that you should drink before you are thirsty. Not just any drink, but a drink that will refresh and rejuvenate while you rehydrate. Sweat is salty. So salt needs to be in your food and drinks ~ sea salt is best. Sea salt also has other trace amounts of minerals that our bodies need. I first ran across this recipe for homemade "Gatorade" a few months ago.
When I tried it I found it very refreshing ... here it is to my tastes:
"Homemade Gatorade"
  • 2 whole lemons - juiced (I pureed pulp and all except the outer skin)
  • 1 whole lime - juiced (I pureed pulp and all except outer skin)
  • 1 whole orange (optional) - juiced (I pureed pulp and all except outer skin)
  • 1/2 cup local raw honey (contains trace minerals and natural electrolytes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (contains trace minerals and natural electrolytes) Could be replaced with Morton's Lite Salt that contains less iodine and sodium but has more potassium in it.
  • 1 teaspoon dolomite powder (powdered calcium - found in health food stores)
 ~ If you do not have good well water or access to a natural free flowing spring, then by all means use filtered water, about a quart. In a big jug mix all ingredients together and shake well. Pour into 1 quart glass or plastic bottles and chill. When hot and sweaty shake one up and enjoy the response your body gives ...

Now this next one is called switchel, a drink that has been used for several 100 years for various reasons. We used to make up several gallons of this when working in the fields, back home on the farm. Baling hay is a lot of hot and sweaty work, hence this drink is also known as ...
Hay maker's Switchel
  • 3 1/2 quarts of good well water or natural spring water or filtered water
  • 1 cup black strap molasses
  • 1/2 cup local raw honey
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (homemade is best)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon dolomite powder (powdered calcium from a health food store)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
 ~ In a big jug shake everything together and chill ~ makes about 1 gallon. Back on the farm we would mix up about 6 gallons at a time. Then freeze 1 of those 6 gallons in those old ice cube trays to maintain the chill factor on the other 5 gallons all day long. When this hits your system, first is a cooling refreshing feeling. Then what a rush as we all went back to work, our bodies seemed to kick into over drive.

Now for a good evening meal after the day's farm chores were done, that included milking the cows (we had 80 milking head) and tending to the young stock (about 250 head from day old's to two years of age). The chicken and pigs tended to as well, and the final day's feeding for the cows. Then it was time to relax, with a quick dip in the swimming hole ~ an old gravel bed stocked with large mouth bass, boy were they good eating when we could catch them. Anyhow as the sun set, the BBQ was lit with a real wood fire. As the fire burned down to coals, for the Bratwursts to cook over, the potato salad was made. With real farm fresh eggs and homemade mayonnaise. Back on the farm we ate good and hearty because we worked and played hard. However just recently I ran across a potato salad recipe that had no eggs or mayonnaise in it. I was surprised just how good it was, also without eggs and mayo in it, it could set out longer without refrigeration being needed. It is called ... 
Bulgarian Potato Salad
  • 8 - 10 medium sized potatoes - red or white, I use both and leave the skins on
  • 1 medium small red onion - finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sweet apple cider
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • about 1 tablespoon each of fresh Dill, Cilantro,Sweet Basil, Chive, all chopped coarsely then bruised together in a mortar and pestle
  • hard Ramona Cheese - to be grated as needed
  • salt and pepper to taste
 ~ Wash and dice the potatoes into bite sized pieces boil til tender, drain, then cool in a refrigerator. Now mix the fresh herbs coarsely chopped in your mortar and bruise them with your pestle, then drop them into a large bowl. Add everything else and toss to blend the flavors together. When potatoes are cold, add them to your herb dressing bowl. Gently toss it all together, then grate about 1/2 cup of the hard Ramona Cheese over all and gently toss again, then grate some more Ramona Cheese on top as a garnish and a light sprinkle of Spanish Paprika over all. Enjoy. This recipe also works great as a macaroni salad, but I use bow ties for that one. Remember my friends recipes are versatile and loved to be reworked, to accommodate personal tastes. 

Now for a couple of desert ideas ...
Orangesicle Cake
  • 1 (18.25oz) package of orange cake mix
  • 1 (3oz) package of orange flavored gelatin mix
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 (3.4oz) package of instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 (8oz) container of frozen whipped topping - thawed
 ~ Prepare cake mix according to package directions and bake in a 9"x13" pan. When done remove from oven and poke holes in the cake while still hot, with a round handle of a wooden spoon. Now in a medium mixing bowl, make the orange gelatin with only 1 cup of boiling water, then pour over the cake while both are still hot ~ cool cake completely. 
 ~ In a medium mixing bowl make the vanilla instant pudding with only 1 cup of milk. Stir in vanilla and orange extracts. Fold in thawed whipped topping. Spread evenly over cooled cake. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Enjoy not only the taste, but also the oohs and aahs.

Creamsicle Cheesecake
  • 16 oz cream cheese - softened
  • 1/2 cup granular sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 2 drops yellow food coloring
  • 1 drop red food coloring
  • 9" graham cracker pie crust
 ~ In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Add sour cream and vanilla extract, beat again. Save out 1 cup of mixture. Pour remaining mixture into the graham cracker pie crust and level out.
 ~ Now take that saved 1 cup of filling mixture and add the orange extract and red and yellow food colorings and beat together. Then take a spoonful at a time and randomly drop into the pie. Use a knife to swirl everything into a marble effect.
 ~ Bake for 30 -35 minutes or until firm around the edges - the center will be slightly loose. allow to cool for 1 hour in oven with the door open partway. Then chill for at least 8 hours before serving.
 ~ For a finishing touch, top each serving with a dollop of whipped cream, a orange slice twisted and draped through the whipped cream, then grate fresh orange zest over the whole of each serving. Enjoy.

As I come down to the last of the Summer treats I was planning on using for this post,
I think I'll go raid the fridge to see if my sweet tooth can be abated yet again;
Or if my house mates were instead watching my waist for me,
Meaning the treats are all gone ... at least as far as they may know.
Oh look at that, they didn't find where I hid that last piece ... 
Enjoy my friends.

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