Ruly Ruth: If you can’t stand the heat, GET OUT of the kitchen! Hot weather snacks.

The heat this week in Virginia.

Since most of the country is experiencing a heat wave, as Ruly Ruth and I are, we’ve decided to tackle hot-weather snacks!

When the weather is this hot, the last place you want to be is in the kitchen!  Before the twentieth century, kitchens were put in separate buildings from the main house because they got so extraordinarily hot in the summertime (as well as the fire risk they posed).  I can’t imagine what that must have been like in Virginia pre-air-conditioning.  So below are some tips on how to “not cook” in hot weather.

This week, I discovered the simple and delicious pleasure that is the chilled banana.  To make: chill a banana (peel on) in the fridge overnight.  In the morning, eat it for breakfast.   It’s creamy and sweet like ice cream.  Yum!

A chilled banana makes a wonderful summer breakfast!

Read on for more suggestions from the ever-creative Ruly Ruth!

Ruly Ruth’s Stay Cool Summer Snacks

1) Chilled Fruit – Chilled watermelon/cantaloupe/honedew/other melons—ARE LOVELY! We recently had a brief gathering at a park and I brought a cooler packed with watermelon slices–HUGE HIT!!

(Note from Anne: Starting in June, I clear a shelf in my fridge for watermelon.  The whole watermelon goes right into the fridge from the store to chill.  It’s a necessity to get through the humidity of a Virginia summer.)

Chilled watermelon - a summer staple!

2) Frozen Water Bottles – Store some bottled water in the freezer for outdoor hydration on hot days.  Caution–they will spill over a bit when opening them–but it will quickly cool you down! It’s lovely!
3) Frozen Yogurts/Gogurt Tubes – (esp. for kids)—put them in the freezer–it’s like a healthy ice cream popsicle–lovely!
4) Ice Cream —sorry–healthy or not–that is a lovely treat when it’s blazing hot outside! Cold, creamy–love it!
5) Salty Snacks – Be it crackers, nuts or chips and salsa–that’s always a wonderful combination in hot weather–the salt helps replenish the electrolytes that can so quickly dehydrate you in the hot sun.
6) Toast & Tomatoes – An Australian friend makes this for breakfast–you make toast, butter it, top with a slice of tomato and salt and pepper. It’s a wonderful, fresh and yummy! Add a protein like some cheese and it’s a perfect breakfast–even when hot outside!
7) Pizza – Either make your own or we love our Little Caesars–when counting calories go light on the cheese. It’s piping hot, yummy, salty–if you top it with everything you can get your veggies in too–perfect for a hot day!
8 ) Chilled Veggies – Crisp carrots, celery, peppers–with a super creamy bleu cheese or ranch or caesar dressing—yum!
9) Iced Coffee – For those of us that drink coffee, iced coffee is a lovely treat! From McDonald’s or your own kitchen–my girlfriend from Albania makes a frapee that is to die for!!
10) Lemonade – Hands down–the citrus helps replenish electrolytes, the lemon flavor is so refreshing on hot days! (Note from Anne: A glass of water with half a lemon’s worth of juice is great too if you are watching sugar.)
11) Italian Ices/Snow Cones – Italian ices are so popular around here–kind of like frozen slushees in a variety of flavors. And snow cones–enough said!
12) Hamburgers/Hot Dogs/Sausages – If you’re looking for a quick meal with some good protein–obviously leaner varieties be it turkey or low fat are better—but again, hot, salty, meat on a bun! Yum!
13) Salads – Crisp, cool–kind of like the veggies–but add on cheese or meats and eggs to make it a meal–like the chef salad or chinese chicken salads with wontons and mandarin oranges–DELISH!
14) Hard Boiled Eggs – The stuff of long-time picnickers–be it regular hard boiled or deviled–yum! Even for breakfast–quick protein–cold from the fridge–make a bunch and keep restocking them! The kids love to crack and peel the shells–so it adds an activity for them too!
15) Gatorade/Energy Drinks/Capri Suns – These along with water are really good–straight water will dehydrate you on a super hot day–it’s a great base, but it’s not filled naturally with electrolytes. Hydration is key here people!
16) Iced Tea/Sweet Tea – Here in the South–it’s all about sweet tea! Now I like mine half and half since all of my tooth decay issues are coming to light–but iced tea on a hot day is a sweet treat!
17) Gumbo – Okay–spicy soup on a hot day works! I don’t know why–it just does! Adding shrimp and sausage and onions and peppers in a roux-based spicy chicken broth– just FABULOUS!!
18) Juice-cicles/Popsicles – Of course the normal summertime treat of ages gone by is STILL a hot (cold!) commodity! 🙂 And we love to make our own juice or lemonade frozen pops in the freezer–the kids love to help–and the frozen treat on a hot day outside is wonderful!
19) Fried Chicken Tenders/Nuggets/Wings – Fried chicken in the hot heat—bring it on! Whatever form….again, salty, tender, wonderful!!
20) Coleslaw/Potato/Macaroni Salads – If soups need to be spicy broth-based, in summer especially–side dishes or quick snacks need to be covered in creamy yumminess!

I hope these ideas are helpful–please feel free to add on! I’d love it! And most importantly–Stay cool, everyone!

Have a favorite cold or easy summer dish?  What do you crave when the weather is 100+?  Please share in the comments.