Herb Arrangement The Prudent Homemaker

I’ve had a lot of questions about what we eat when it’s hot. 

We have 5 months of above 90º (32ºC) temperatures. Hot is normal for here. Right now temperatures have cooled a bit, and weather.com predicts an average of 105º for the next 10 days.

We don’t like to barbeque in the summer. That works well in cooler climates, but we’re not a fan of standing outside in the sun, where it’s 110º, just so that we don’t heat up the kitchen. We find it better to stay in the kitchen, in the air conditioning, under the fan (I have a ceiling fan above the kitchen sink that my husband installed before we moved in).

Some of things we’ve been having a lot lately are pasta salad using whatever vegetables we have on hand, including cucumbers and New Zealand spinach, quesadillas, chicken cooked outside in the solar oven (just a quick walk in and out, no need to stand outside). I am also using the oven inside; putting something in the oven (like bean enchiladas) allows me to get some other things done while dinner is cooking. 

I’ve made lots of popsicles. We saw a few unusually low sales on strawberries, and I made a few batches of strawberry popsicles last month, as well as peach pie popsicles with peaches from our trees. We’ve been enjoying lots of smoothies with our garden fruit.

Ice cream has been on sale often, which is always refreshing, so I’ve been buying it more often (currently on sale here for $3.99 for a one-gallon (3.78 liter) pail. I think 114º calls for ice cream, don’t you? (Yes, it was that hot here last week).

Already this month I’ve purchased ice cream ($3.99 a gallon) and strawberries ($0.75 a pound) on sale. I also bought milk ($2.49 a gallon) and some whipping cream (for making strawberry shortcake).

Bartlett Pears in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

I’ve harvested 2 cucumbers and 1 zucchini so far this month. This time of year, the heat turns the zucchini skin hard like that of a winter squash. I peeled it off before cooking, as it is too hard to eat).  We still have a few figs. We’re only getting a few tiny tomatoes from our tomato plants.  I have green onions, Swiss chard, basil, oregano, mint, parsley, and more herbs ripe in the garden. The Bartlett pears are ripe now, too. I’m cutting the last of the grapes to make grape juice as well.

I plan on making cucumbers in vinegar this week: paper-thin sliced cucumbers in vinegar and water, with a few slices of onion (I’ll probably use green onions from the garden) left to soak in the fridge for a few hours. I love this refreshing side dish from my childhood.


I’ll make a trip to Sam’s Club this month to pick up a few things:


Mozzarella cheese

Cheddar cheese

POM toilet paper

Feta cheese



And Winco:


Potatoes (they’ve been holding all year around $0.25 a pound)





Vegetable Oil (they were out when I went last month)


Yes, I’ll be buying lettuce and tomatoes this month. My tomatoes are not producing much in this heat (it’s too hot for flowers), and it’s too hot here for lettuce. I’d like to have some salads this month. I’ll make some balsamic vinaigrette for our salads.


I have no plans other than that for anything specific. I’ll watch the sales and see if there’s anything great (perhaps some chicken) on sale. If not, we’ll continue to eat from the pantry, freezer, and garden.

And I may just head back to Smith’s for more ice cream on Tuesday for the last day of the sale. 


If you need some summer recipe ideas, check out my summer menu here.


What are you planning to buy this month? What’s ripe in your garden? And what are your favorite meals to make in the summer?



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  1. Here in TX the weather has been super hot too. Not as hot as Las Vegas, but hotter than is comfortable and safe to be in. The heat is actually around 100 everyday with an heat index of 106 to 108 most days. We stay inside with the drapes closed to keep the cool air in.

    That said, this is TX and my husband would scream without his BBQ meat. So we came up with a way to make it work. On Saturday morning early (before 7:00am) he cooks on his grill some meat for the week. Usually a couple of chickens and some brisket or ribs. Then I put them into bags and freeze them to use later in the week.

    Last night we got 2 chickens at HEB (local grocery store) that were being sold cheap because they were shutting down the deli dept. I paid just $ 3.00 each for 2 fully cooked chickens. We will have one for supper tonight and make a soup with the rest and the other I froze for later.

    I am buying from the local farmer’s market tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers. Our garden is just burned up. There is a big farmer’s market open on Sat. that sells from a green house. The prices are a bit higher than in the grocery store, but 2 things make me feel good about buying from the market. One, I help support a local farmer make a living. Two, the produce is organic.

    I need to buy milk and cream to make some more ice cream. I make most of the ice cream in our house to control the sugar content. My husband is diabetic and I learned to make a lot of ‘treats’ for him. The boys eat it too and think it is normal to eat grandma ice cream. I have made many popsicles too.

    I have been making infused water too with the produce and fruit. It makes plain water taste better.

  2. We had homegrown tomatoes, bacon and toasted homemade bread last night. I also had a few new potatoes that boiled and put butter on them. It was so yummy. I personally prefer salads. The others here adore ice cream in any form and popsicles.

  3. When it gets hot here in the Pacific Northwest, my house heats up quickly. Most homes here do not have air conditioning and tend to hold onto the heat, making it uncomfortably warm in the early evenings. Using the kitchen makes it hotter! One solution I came up with is to use my crock pot and rice cooker outside. We have a nice shady spot on the patio that is right next to an outlet. On those hot August evenings, it is nice to sit outside in the shade and enjoy pulled pork or chicken tacos.

  4. I think I’d live off of ice cream, milkshakes and smoothies if it were that hot here and it was that cheap.

  5. I’ve been cleaning out the freezer to make room for meat this fall. There is still a lot of fruit from even two years ago, so we will probably be doing a lot of fruit “ice cream” or smoothies. Last night we had reduced-price guacamole and chips for dinner, followed a few hours later by ice cream. I’m glad to know we aren’t the only ones who eat a lot of ice cream in the hot weather!

    The garden is currently producing green beans, broccoli, summer squash and just a few tomatoes, along with gladioli, delphinium and sunflowers.

  6. We eat a lot of ice cream here, too. We’ve been in the 90’s the past several days. Today, it’s back to 70’s and i’m loving it!
    I didn’t plant much so i don’t have much of a garden. I harvested the last of the shallots and started picking the gooseberries. I’m done with the wild blueberries for another year. I had to drive by the spot where all the berries are and there were several cars lined up for picking. I bought 10 quarts of local raspberries. I mixed some with blueberries for jam, froze some and made three jars of just plain raspberry jam. I also put some crushed raspberries in the fridge with sugar so it’s all ready to go over ice cream.
    My husband’s feet have been bothering him for several years. (He refuses to see a Dr.) So, this week i’ve bought him new socks and two different shoe inserts to see if any of it helps. I had a Dr. appointment an hour away this AM, so i stopped to see abut thick cut boneless chops at 1.79 lb. I did buy one package that had a 2.00 sticker on it. The chops weren’t as thick as my husband likes but they’ll do. I’m not feeling too inspired these days. We’re just keeping on keeping on…

  7. In the garden, some tomatoes, a couple heads of lettuce that will be gone in a couple days (way to hot and dry) Green onions are gone, zucchini gone due to bugs. Got eggplants coming on so probably some eggplant parm and ratatouille even with buying cheap zucchini. I have garlic,bell peppers and oregano (lots of herbs and mints being dehydrated) from the gardens.

    We had BLTs bacon was on sale and I had coupons so I bought as much as I could. We eat pasta (hot or cold), frittata, or quiche. I use the microwave more. I should be using the all in one pressure cooker I got. I don’t do much in the crock pot. Not fond of the texture of the food.About once a week we have ice cream for supper or popcorn. I grew up with popcorn, apples and grape juice for Sunday supper or mashed potato cakes with applesauce and grape juice. My favorite meal…roasted corn on the cob, sliced cucumbers and sliced tomatoes. Dad always fried potatoes with it.

  8. Our garden has just started to produce. We manage to gather six pear tomatoes yesterday, some of the tomatoes should be ready in a day or so. We had two cucumbers and two small bowls of yellow beans. Our raspberries did extremely well this year. We managed to freeze nine bags, made tons of desserts with the extra that we didn’t eat right away, gave some to some friends and made eighteen jars of jam to last us until next year. In the summer we tend to eat more salads, sandwiches, cold pasta salad and meals made in the slow cooker. We try to buy as much as we can of the vegetables that are on sale and freeze them. This week the green peppers are the lows I’ve seen in nine months. We will buy lots and freeze them for sauces, chilies, and styr fries. Thank you for sharing with us. I look forward to all your post. They encourage me so much.

  9. The one thing that I look forward to having in the summer is fresh corn on the cob! It just doesn’t taste the same frozen. We tend to eat a lot of BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs in the summer, as we live in Canada, so no BBQ anything all winter long. Maybe once or twice a summer, we convince my husband (who is a cook) to make us nice BBQ steaks. Yes, this is a luxurious meal, but so very rare that we thoroughly enjoy it when we have it!:D

  10. Today here in Scotland it hit a high of 18 degrees C (which is 64 degrees F!!) and it rained heavily for a time. It’s been a wet cool summer and yesterday I actually made a big pot of soup!!

    I love reading about how much your garden produces (and am just a wee bit jealous!)

    Ali 🙂

  11. Here in Virginia we not only have the heat, but the oppressive humidity that just takes your breath away. We survive on tomato sandwiches with mayonnaise all summer – only Duke’s brand mayonnaise, which most southern women use. I like mine with American cheese, but my husband prefers salt and pepper on his. All of our neighbors eat the same thing – it’s truly a tradition where I live.

  12. My garden has so many tomatoes I wish I could send you some! Last night for dinner I had a tomato and a cucumber. When I could eat gluten I loved fresh tomatoes and mayo on toast.

  13. When the heat wave hits I definitely like to pre-cooks things which is easy since since are only the two of us.
    I found an easy meatloaf recipe that came or great so for the last three weeks I would make a meatloaf and that would be out meal base for at least 3 dinners. Adding some steamed veggies or a quick salad and voila. I still need to turn the oven on in the kitchen to make all of it but once the main dish is done it is not a big deal to prepare the rest 🙂

  14. momsav,
    Foot Smart is a great site that has wonderful foot inserts that I use for RA. They have really helped my feet!

  15. I love grilled hamburgers with fresh garden vegetables as side dishes. Unfortunately, a hail storm completely destroyed my garden. We have chickens, so I frequently make my husband deviled eggs and leave them in the fridge at our milk parlor. They are cold, and filling and a great protein. He can just eat one or two as he comes and goes. I also keep melon cut up in the fridge to try and keep him hydrated and provide some calories, even if he isn’t very hungry.

  16. I tried your combination for lunch today. It was so delicious! BBT will be a regular item on our menu. Thank you for this great idea, Brandy!

  17. I know you will think we are wusses, but we generally have 3- 90 degree days a YEAR and this year we have had many more than that. It is also humid here and I don’t function well in heat. Our summer meals consist of a lot of “something in a bun” with corn on the cob or tossed salad as the side dish. Cut up cantaloupe is another frequent side–refreshing with a spicy sausage. This week we had meatloaf, a sausage quiche, pizza (tonight and there is half left), chicken fingers (homemade) one night. We had lunch out with friends yesterday, so I heated up the leftover quiche and had cantaloupe on the side for a light supper later last night. I have AC so don’t mind turning the oven on for BRIEF periods–pizza only cooks 22 minutes in my oven.

    I cut way down on garden this year and decided to buy tomatoes. The farmers always have them ready earlier (indoor starts) than I do when I plant my own, and then there is no barrage of tomatoes when I least feel like dealing with them. I also stocked up on 50 cent (15 oz) cans of diced tomatoes with no salt earlier this year. Last year they did poorly and while we had plenty to eat, there were few to make sauce from. At 73, I’m looking to cut down on some things. I planted peppers which aren’t setting fruit because of the night time temperatures. Beets are finally doing ok after a very slow start. I planted Romaine in a pot and it’s ready to use any day now, and I will hopefully plant another batch of seeds for a fall crops too. I have herbs as well but have not dried any yet—I did a LOT of parsley last year and will probably do more because it’s there. Chives I prefer to use fresh. Sage–have enough for a lifetime already; tarragon, could dry more of that. I will probably end up buying some farm stand produce to freeze, especially peppers, beets if I don’t get enough, and butternut squash if needed–there is still some left from last year so will count those up first.

    I do use the pressure cooker and microwave to cook some things, and I like to poach chicken breasts in water sometimes as they come out tender and juicy and take just a few minutes. Shortcuts are my answer to lots of things! I preheat milk and broth in the microwave to make sauces cook faster–reducing MY standing time. Back problems keep me from being on my feet more than 15-20 minutes at a time.

    Ice cream is a favorite here too–a regional brand is 3/$10 this week–those are the not-quite-half gallon cartons that used to be half gallons. That is our favorite brand because they keep changing flavors and most are fabulous. This week I bought key lime pie, butter pecan, and “All American”–which blends dark cherries and maraschino cherries into vanilla ice cream. With luck, they will last until the next time it’s on sale at that price. Regular price is $5.99 a carton, which I almost never pay.

    We are looking forward to a “cool” weekend, with highs of only 80. We want to go to one of the many fairs and festivals around the area just for fun! And hopefully there will be time to pull weeds also–that always needs doing!

  18. We live in Phoenix so the weather has been hot and humid too. It may sound odd but last week we were eating quite a bit of soup for lunch. I view it a bit like the English who would drink tea in India, it makes you perspire and so there is a bit of evaporative cooling going on while we eat our soup 🙂 It is also easy since I make large batches and freeze in meal size portions, so the days we eat soup, all I use is the microwave to heat things up. I baked a turkey earlier in the week, that unfortunately did generate a lot of kitchen heat, but then was able to freeze so much turkey that I have another at least six meals all accounted for plus I froze the carcass in a big bag so can make soup once it gets to be a bit cooler (or we run out of soup in our freezer).

    Grocery shopping this week will be light, eating lots of fresh produce (peaches right now from the grocery stores are wonderful).

  19. Zucchinni is in abundance here in Northwest PA. We like it dipped in eggs, milk, then rolled in seasoned flour or breadcrumbs and deep fried. Tonight we had corn on the cob. I am freezing shredded zucchinni as it comes on to enjoy this winter in breads and bars. We were so blessed to have a neighbor family share their blueberries with us today. They even helped us pick. We will get several quarts to freeze. We also like fresh green beans, ham, and potatoes cooked together. So yummy and a good way to use up ham from the holidays. My green beans are producing good this year allowing me to get some in the freezer. Our temperatures have been around 85 to 90. The humidity is crazy high. We drink lots of ice water and lemonade to cool off!

  20. It’s been hot & humid here in MN. We use the grill alot, ours happens to be in the shade in the evening. I just run out, turn on the propane and go back inside until it’s hot. Then put the meat on, go back in and set a timer, flip it and set the timer again. Saves on heating up the house and dishes! I think I had yogurt with fruit and granola for lunch everyday last week, yum! Sometimes sandwiches for dinner. And of course lots of ice cream or frozen yogurt for dessert!

  21. I would also send you tomatoes if I could! We have 6 plants–2 cherry 3 Roma and a big boy and I have 4 gallon bags of them in the freezer already and have made 2 batches of spaghetti sauce in my crock pot that we have already eaten and now I am going to make enchilada sauce and there are still more out there! I would also send zucchini! I picked my 17th one today! The zucchini are about done though because I saw squash bugs today so I pulled a lot of the plants up.
    I try to get all of my meats cooked at one time if they need to go in the oven and then repeat in the crockpot or on the stove. We also do zucchini bread with different variations and I bake the recipe as muffins for portion control and less mess for my grandchildren. We have also eaten a lot of macaroni salad plus watermelon cantaloupe and peaches!!

  22. I was lucky enough to be invited to pick from my mother in law’s huge, amazing garden this week. They have a farm and the garden itself is twice the size of my entire lot in town. She plants way more than the two of them can eat, so she often shares with us. Before I had children I used to help put the garden in, weed and harvest, but for last 4 years I’ve found it too difficult with little ones to make that commitment. This year my youngest is 2, so they can play with grandma and grandpa while I pick! I think next year I will do the planting and weeding again, and involve the kids as they will be old enough to “help”!

    I picked strawberries, new potatoes, green beans, peas, zucchini, cucumber, swiss chard, kale, and carrots. I spent 3 hours I the garden, and filled my car with food. This didn’t make a dent in how much is left there. We normally blanche and freeze a lot of produce from the garden and then eat it all year. I haven’t bought potatoes since I married my husband 10 years ago. I mentioned this to my father in law, who said that when he was growing up his mother used to plant at least the entire plot they have now in potatoes (as she was feeding a family of 7). I’m so lucky to have my in laws, they are so good to us.

    Here in northern Canada our growing season is short, and we have snow 7 months a year. We try to store as much garden produce as possible for the winter months, when all fresh produce must be imported from warmer climates. Soon there will be corn, beets, tomatoes, pumpkins, squash and cabbage in the garden as well.

    I’ll be making this recipe for crustless zucchini quiche this week. I don’t buy bisquick, I make my own “mix” at home (much cheaper). There are several recipes online for homemade bisquick mix. I will make some and freeze them for a quick meal later on. I like using zucchini this way, as I find it doesn’t freeze well on its own.

  23. Hello Brandy and all from Australia 🙂 , where we are in winter with frosts and ample icy blowing winds on our mountain tabletop where we live.

    In the 188 square metre organic vegetable gardens we are fortunate enough to have growing and or harvesting or harvested cherry tomatoes, carrots , capsicum, broad beans, sweet potatoes, spring onions, strawberries, pumpkins, snow peas, massey winter peas, silver beet, spinach, turnips, parsley, thyme, rosemary and oregano. We have traditionally dried an advanced supply of parsley, thyme, and rosemary to use in cooking.

    In our freezer that we have blanched and frozen supplies of green and butter beans sadly now low on, spring onion bulbs and leaves, spinach, silver beet, pumpkin, capsicum and sweet potatoes.

    About to get our first harvest of turnips and more capsicums, and are continuing to blanch and freeze the rest of our some 50 – 60 kg of cured sweet potatoes under the kitchen table with only a third of a box left to go 🙂 , and pumpkins stored under the house which we have now 1/3 of our massive crop of 40 left to blanch and freeze.

    We are now getting ready and amending the soil in most of our garden beds to prepare for spring planting next month and in October. The lawns we are weeding as we get sand burs and bindi over the winter months which we are trying to extract before spring hits and then we shall seed any bare areas with grass seed and manure them as well.

    We have been eating a lot of stir fries, carrot and sweet potato soup, pumpkin soup, apple pies made from ingredients in our pantries and stockpiles, and stir fries and pasta and vegetable bakes with fresh or blanched and frozen vegetables from our gardens and both . We have also been fortunate to have a good crop of strawberries and have had strawberries and cream for dessert a few nights as well 🙂 . For breakfasts we have been making lots of batches of Brandy’s lovely granola and substituting sultanas for cranberries and adding desiccated coconut with more oil as per recipe and it is yummy.

    For house groceries we shall need –

    – only a few tinned goods in fruit such as tinned pie apples, tinned mangoes, and tinned lychees.

    – Tinned vegetables such as tinned corn, green beans, baby carrots and tinned champignons.

    – The usual grocery stockpile top ups of pantry raw ingredients used of flour, sugar, cocoa powder for hot chocolate drinks 🙂 , powdered milk and tins of evaporated milk.

    – Dairy will be topping up our usual used supplies of butter, full cream milk, sour cream, cream and cheese.

    – Meat we are fairly good on as we stocked up on that previously but if the budget allows we may stock up on some more sausages for an advanced supply.

    – Personal care topping up on any body wash, shampoo and conditioners used and maybe look for some shave cream to purchase if on special to top up our grocery stockpile on.

    We stocked up recently on a lot of meat, a years supply of toothpaste, and last month stocked back up on shampoo and conditioners as well as stocked a years supply of all our vitamins, minerals and some over the counter medications.

    Our next house grocery shop will be on the 23rd of August as we shop only monthly due to us having 2 large freezers and a fridge in the home.

  24. North Carolina isn’t as hot temperature wise. We are having upper 90’s, but my goodness the humidity is horrible.
    I try to do my baking early morning and like you I don’t grill out anywhere near as much this time of year. For some reason spring, fall and winter I do far more.

    I love cucumbers fixed the way you describe. In fact, we had a friend give us a large amount of cucumbers and we had them every night this week prepared that way.

    My goal for August — unless we have a majorly great sale on something — is to only buy soy milk and eggs. I want us to work on eating what we have in the pantry and freezer. I did at the beginning of this week pick up applesauce, soy milk and 6 dozen eggs. The apple prices aren’t the best right now and buying applesauce seemed more prudent. 6 dozen eggs was the stores maximum allowed at $1 a dozen.

  25. April, we love tomato sandwiches in my area, too. Just a little below you in NC. I am a salt and pepper fan, too. Yes, the humidity has been horrible.

  26. I am in the Pacific NW also and just did pork tacos this week. I sauteed fresh veggies (peppers, corn, etc.) to fill the tortillas with along with the pork (done in crockpot, seasoned like tacos and then pulled apart). Top with toppings. My kids like refried beans in them also. Really good!

  27. I hear tomatoes are having a tough time here. I never got around to planting my own, but I hear I’m not missing much. Everyone tells me they aren’t getting any. Our church has a wonderful garden and it’s the same there.

    I will be starting some lettuce next week. If we plant deep, it should be okay.

  28. During summer, we have tuna sandwiches once a week. We also have at least 2 salads and one more kind of sandwich. We buy the Sam’s rotisserie chicken, tear it apart, and use that as a starter for many meals. Chicken tacos, salads, and the breast makes a delicious sandwich with pepper jack cheese, mayo, lettuce, and tomato. Pasta salad is a regular meal, as well.

    My ideal summer meal would be grilled teriyaki chicken kabobs with cherry tomatoes and pineapple, sliced cukes in Balsamic, & watermelon for dessert. With someone else cooking and cleaning up, of course!!!

  29. Susan Thank you – I’m going to check out the website. I have PsA (psoriatic arthritis) and it really affects my feet.

  30. If anyone has a Dollar Tree locally, you shoukd check the eggs. They used to carry 1/2 dozens, bht this week they were 18 ct cartons, which is great for $1!

  31. Debbie, where in KS are you? I am Norheast and all our neighbor’s tomato plants are super productive. My aunt’s an hour south and they have nothing though.

  32. I thought I saw sage too, and I grow it so should know what it looks like. What is the herb that is lowest on the right side of the photo,then?

  33. 114 sounds like ice cream weather to me! I agree with Shara… the humidity in NC has been horrible. Though it was only 91 here today, because of the humidity, it felt like 100. Though we hadn’t planned to, we’re growing red noodle beans this year. Brandy, am I remembering correctly that you grow them? I haven’t found anything in your recipes so far, so perhaps it was a commenter here?

  34. My hubby and I love meatloaf. I bake it in muffin tins because it only takes about 20 minutes in the oven.

  35. I have learned last week that Coconut sugar is a good sugar substitute for diabetics, I wonder if that would taste good in ice cream? Just thought I’d share that, maybe worth reading up on. I also saw coconut sugar sold at Sam’s Club. I need to taste it, I really don’t like the flavor of coconut milk, or flakes, but if the sugar doesn’t have the aftertaste it would be worth it.

  36. We’ve been buying ice cream sandwiches. I can usually get 6-8 of them for under $2, it helps control portion sizes and gives everyone some variety, as I can get 2or 3 different kinds.

  37. Electricity costs must be high or do you use solar to power your house? Electricity costs in Australia are prohibitive to run airconditioners for longer than a couple hours a day.

  38. French Lavender. It’s silvery looking, like sage is, but the leaves are different. Sage leaves are wider and more round. Of course, there are different types of sage and some have longer leaves, but the lavender leaves are still narrower than those. I should take a picture of the two side by side so it’s easier to tell 🙂

  39. I wish I had a garden like so many posters here; they all sound fabulous and so verdant, and I’m so impressed with everyone! I’m still trying to grow flowers on my condo balcony, and slowly they’re adjusting to the heat and random downpours of rain from the condo roof gutters. My plan is to learn more about balcony gardening this year, and what works best in this environment, what enriches the soil the most, how often to water, and then next year to start planting edibles.

    The DH and I visited with my parents today and they sent us back with some fresh basil and mint from their garden (the baby tomatoes were eaten by us before we even arrived home, yum!), so I plan to make some yummy dishes like lemon minty peas. This works as a beat the heat dish too, as I stick a bowl full of frozen peas in the microwave, stir in some butter, lemon juice, and fresh mint. I often sprinkle it with some seasoned breadcrumbs I’ve made in a big batch and stuck in the fridge. Great side dish, and no need to turn on the oven!

    The DH also requested some pasta salad today, so I’ll be making some in the weeks to come. I also tend to make smoothies for breakfast (my fave: http://approachingfood.com/foodie-trends-hemp-seed-antioxidant-smoothie-bowl/) and then pour it into a travel container and eat it slowly as I walk to work. It keeps me cool enough so that I don’t arrive to start my work day soaked in sweat. I also make a bunch of soups in the summer, despite the heat. I make big batches and then heat up single bowls in the microwave for the DH and I after work. I don’t serve it super-hot in the summer, so it’s actually not that hot, and with a big glass of iced tea alongside it. No heating up the kitchen each evening = summer win!

    Regarding grocery plans, I’m keeping an eye out for potatoes, carrots, and onions on sale, as we finally ate through our stash of root vegetables. That, and whatever produce is seasonal and on sale. When I find a sale on apples, I’ll dehydrate a whole bunch, and make apple scrap jelly with the cores. I’m also keeping an eye out for fruit in general on sale, as I love to make jam to eat with my yoghurt for breakfast, and even often for dinner. I think my absolute favourite recipe is your Vanilla Apricot Jam, Brandy! Thanks soooo much for posting it! I gave some to my dad and it reminds him of the jam his mother used to make in the Middle East 3/4 of a century ago. Speaking of summer fruits, has anyone tried making watermelon jerky? And if so, any tips?

  40. Stacy, near El Dorado, which is north of Wichita. The weather goes from sweltering to humid and sweltering! Last year I only had one plant and we were sharing cuz there were so many. Big difference. Even the little stands are bringing them in from other areas.

  41. Darlene, I hear zucchini are always plentiful in your area. When my friend relocated to NH some years ago, she left the market and discovered that someone had left a large bag of zucchini on her front passenger seat. Surprised, she asked a man nearby i f he had seen anything and told him about her *gift*. He chuckled and told her that if she didn’t lock her car doors in town, she’d get more!

  42. Brandy I have a very simple salsa substitution recipe for you. When canned goods go on case sale this makes a very good and cost effective salsa.


    1 can of stewed tomatoes or fire roasted diced tomatoes
    1 one can of diced tomatoes with green chilies

    Add canned jalapeno a for a hotter salsa

    Strain both cans and save the juice. Mix the tomatoes and add back the juice to the consistency. If you prefer a smoother salsa then use a (immersion) blender for the desired chunkiness. I have used tomato paste to thicken this or added hot sauce and/or jalapenos to up the heat.


  43. I have a table outside under my carport that I use for my crockpots in the summer!! One has a meat and the other a bean. A few fresh garden veggies and its a summer meal at our house.

  44. As for the paper thin cucumbers in vinager, there is a Japanese side dish that I can’t remember the name that is as you’ve described plus a pinch of sugar. When serving, add some sesame seeds slight roasted on a dry pan. It’s a nice thing to eat when the temperatures are high. By the way, we are in the winter here in Sao Paulo and today it’s been 28 degrees Celsius (82 Fahrenheit) 😀 Have a great week, everyone!

  45. I’m not quite sure what I will be buying this month. We have a ton of stuff in the freezer and our garden is pumping out vegetables, plus, our melons are finally starting to become ripe. I will probably buy milk, cheese and eggs….maybe I’ll jump on this ice cream bandwagon.

  46. Thanks for sharing this! I’d love to start living off a pantry/freezer, but it’s admittedly pretty hard in an apartment for the time being. I can’t wait to close on our home!

    I love the idea of a solar oven. We live in Texas, where we get plenty of sunshine and heat, so I think it could work pretty well and save money. I have no idea how people grill outside when it’s so dang hot, either! We’re considering building a wood-burning stove in our backyard at the house, too. There’s nothing like a fire-roasted pizza. Mmmm.

    We still have our modest patio garden for the time being. We get green onions, basil, thyme, and oregano from them. It’s nothing fancy, but the herbs make our meals taste amazing and help us save on grocery costs. We hope to set up raised beds at our house in the fall to harvest next spring.

  47. Hello! When it is hot we eat a lot of salads. I still have lettuce in my garden so we use that. Favorites here include hummus, tabbouli, taco corn salad, PA Dutch cucumber salad with sour cream and onions (it’s a sweet and sour salad), texas caviar, cantaloupe with tomatoes, ricotta salata and olives and of course, fruit salad. I also really like chilled soups. We eat a cucumber one with dill and buttermilk (which we fake with soured milk), a Swedish fruit soup, gazpacho. I love tomato sandwiches and also find it is worth turning my oven on for tomato pie (with Duke’s mayo or homemade). I keep chickens so we have an arugula salad (if we have it in the garden) tossed with lemon and olive oil with a fried egg on top. We also eat mock crab cakes made from shredded zucchini a lot although I do turn my oven on for those.

  48. The cucumbers salad we do, is oil and vinegar, onion, with the onion and cucumber very thinly sliced. Best when it sits a day or two in the fridge. YUM….

  49. Hi Brandy,

    I have a big garden with lots of produce and love ever minute of it. Tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos, corn, zucchini, yellow squash, patty pan squash, bush beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, herbs, watermelon, strawberries and butternut squash:) I am trying to grow enough to not have to go to the store. We doubled our garden this year and have plans to double it again next year.

    This month I will be buying a 1/2-1 cow for the freezer. A whole cow runs about $1200 and last a full year and it’s all organic. So that’s $100 a month out of my food budget which is great.

    Grilled chicken, spinach, strawberries, toasted nuts or candies nuts and a vinaigrette.

    Have a wonderful day.

  50. Gabrielle, how do you season your mock crab cakes? I make them too but just kind of improvise. I have Old Bay seasoning and I add some of that, minced celery and onion. Anything else?

    We probably make the same cucumber salad you do.

  51. I just spent the weekend in Texas with my daughter, son-in-law, and toddler grandchild. My thoughts are with my Texas family and friends as you all cope with the heat.

  52. Pasta and taco-style salads are go-to meals for us in hot weather – they’re cool, easy, delicious, and sustaining, plus I can get creative with what I have on hand. Smoothies are also great when the heat is oppressive.

    We drink a lot of “infused water” – a trendy term for throwing a few raspberries or a sliced strawberry in a glass of ice water, but it tastes good and helps us stay hydrated. (I like to squeeze some lemon in as well, and tell myself it’s berry lemonade…) A chunk of frozen pineapple, or some mint, or both or all the above, can be tasty too. I make sun tea several times a week – regular for mornings, herbal for evenings when we want something refreshing but don’t want the caffeine.

  53. Sue I do the very same thing! I live in Maryland it is awful here as well. Although I tend to buy more propane this summer last year I did early in the morning and I did like 5 lbs of chicken at once and 12 lbs of hamburger at one time. I might go back to that however it seemed that my family tried to waste the food or ate more of it when I did this so either more in food cost or more in propane cost.

    We lived in TX for 8 years my children started saying two things in life are certain Death IN TEXAS! Instead of Death and Taxes.

  54. I do the same thing only I do it at night. Before bed I take a large boston butt and dry rub it and put it in the slow cooker on low. When I get up in the morning, I turn it off and let it cook for a bit then shred the meat. We use it for carnitas tacos or nachos, pulled pork sandwiches or BBQ pizza, even pork fried rice. I can get several meals out of one piece of meat, when that meat is being served along other ingredients as a stretcher. It doesn’t heat up the house. I’ve even been known to use it in the garage. And Ham or leg quarters.. I love to throw hams in the slowcooker. There have been times when I’ve have three cookers going at night in the garage with meat, oatmeal for breakfast the next am and beans in another. When eggs are cheap like they are now…65 cents a doz. I also like to boil several dozen and use throughout the week for snacks and salads like ham, chicken, egg etc. or my families favorite deviled egg dip.

  55. I use blue plate..Louisiana girl. They are the only brand that uses the whole egg, and I like my bread toasted, sriracha salt and cracked pepper. My kids like their tomato sandwiches with ranch dressing. I will also add basil to mine sometimes.

  56. Meg that zucchini quiche recipe is almost exactly the same as the one I’ve used for over 30 years . A coworker gave it to me. We make our own bisquik mix also. I use mozzarella and parmesan as the cheese. My husband likes to put spaghetti sauce on his serving.

  57. We grill a ton in the summer because we’re on the Maine coast where there’s not much humidity and 85 is pretty much the hottest it gets and not for very long. I grill multiple meats–like ribs and burgers for three or four dinners as well as chicken, which I freeze to make into quesadillas or nachos later in the week. Or grilled chicken sandwiches.

  58. Brandy, your herb bouquet is lovely. There is a lavender festival here (in the state, not right where I am)…was last weekend I think.

    We cook out a lot in the summer, well all year actually, snow, rain, cold, heat…my husband doesn’t care. We either use a charcoal grill or the firepit in the back yard. We call it grilling…I was confused at all the mentions of BBQ and barbequeing…I thought wow that’s a lot of things to put BBQ sauce on. Then I realized it is others term for grilling 🙂 .

    We like to grill kabobs with chicken or beef or ham chunks…what ever is handy and then whatever vegetable is in supply. We always serve those over rice cooked in the rice cooker and seasoned with chopped parsley, lemon juice and butter. We probably do that once a week in warm weather. My husband fishes a lot on his lunch time and the weekend so he’ll grill fresh fish often with various sides like angel hair and pesto, or onion fried potatoes.

    We keep several salads in the refrigerator at a time…coleslaw, cucumbers, tuna macaroni, seafood macaroni, mixed vegetable, cut vegetables and dill dip, waldorf salad, broccoli slaw, broccoli salad, 7 layer salad, jellos to name a few. Plus sandwich fillings like tuna, mock tuna, egg; or sliced ham, turkey or corned beef depending on what I took out of the freezer. We eat a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or cheese sandwiches too, and BLTs. When radishes are available I like radish sandwiches.

    I never make soup in the summer and I seldom make heavy casserole type dishes. There are 8 other months of the year for those. Now we just eat all the fresh vegetables and fruit we can while, oftentimes we just skip the meat.

    I still bake a lot in the summer as we still need breads and desserts. We make ice cream more often in the summer. We enjoy spending time outside in the evening, eating on the shaded patio, sitting out and watching the stars. The meteor shower is on now and they say there will be double the number of meteors this year…up to 200 an hour, so you should have a good chance of catching sight of at least a few.

  59. We might be able to see a few; thanks for the reminder to look tonight. I keep reading about it but forgetting at night! Our light pollution is so strong here that I can see in my living room at night (and on the rare cloudy nights, the sky looks like it is glowing). The Luxor hotel has a strong light that shines from the pyramid straight into the sky. It is so strong that they had to turn it down a few years ago because it was interfering with the airplanes landing. I can see the light from my living room window, and it is the first thing you notice in the desert driving to Las Vegas from California at night; you can see it from miles away.

    But I have seen a few in the past. We will have to try tonight! I’m so glad you said something!

  60. Oh my that is a lot of light pollution. We’re rural and with the yard light off its perfect for star gazing. We just came in now as the stars were disappearing due to clouds, but between us we saw 5. They come and go so fast…half a second. Maybe when it’s at its peak you could take a drive outside aways from the city.

  61. So of course I forgot again but then I saw your comment so I went out 😀

    My husband came out with me. He said it was a good thing we didn’t tell the children and get their hopes up.

    I could probably count the number of stars I can see because of the light pollution. We just can’t see that many. And no shooting stars 🙁

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