Sunday, June 28, 2009

Still HOT here. . . .

Today, it was 100 degrees in my immediate neighborhood, with temps of 109 in neighborhoods 45 minutes away. Doesn't this just seem too hot for mammalian survival? I know I'm a huge heat-wimp, but come on! Even desert animals bury themselves in that kind of heat. We simply don't have enough basements in my neck of the woods to do that properly
(DARN those fault lines!).
Am considering a move to Alaska. . . .
We did have a fabulous breakfast with family friends who we have not seen in far too long. We then hung out at their house for a couple hours--they have air-conditioning and insisted :) Plus, they fed us watermelon. Awesome. If we can just get through tomorrow, the temps are supposed to drop by a few degrees each day until we have a slightly more bearable 85 or so in a few days. I can't wait.
Meanwhile, we'll go grocery shopping tomorrow, and to the library. I don't "do" malls unless I absolutely have to, so that's not an option. But the book-loaded, climate-controlled library. . . .ahhhh, that sounds fabulous right about now. . . .
So for dinner--always a challenge on days this hot--we had Taco Salad. As long as you have the ingredients on hand, it's simple--with a minimum of cooking. Here's how I do it:
Cook either 1 lb. ground meat or a meat substitute (we use 1 package Quorn crumbles, a soy-free meat alternative), using olive oil if you use a substitute. Sprinkle in a good amount of chili powder and garlic to season it up. Add a little ketchup for a really good "mouth-feel". Mix it up well. When cooked, take off heat and let cool. While it's cooling, place in very large bowl the following: chopped iceberg or Romaine lettuce (since this isn't the most nutritious, I also add lots of dark leafy greens, but you need the "stiffer" lettuce to build the salad), chopped purple or green onions, diced tomatoes and chopped black olives. Toss it around. Fold in diced avocadoes and lots of shredded cheddar cheese. Add the cooled meat/substitute and toss with a sweet, tomatoey French dressing, such as the following (from The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn):
2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste--may use other sweetener)
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
salt to taste
1 - 2 cloves garlic (1-2 tsp. of garlic powder)
2 Tbl. finely minced onion (I used a grater, and it was perfect)
Mix all ingredients by hand, shake in a sealed jar, or whiz briefly in blender (reserving onion to mix in by hand). Refrigerate any leftovers. Makes 2 cups.
Mix everything well, and sprinkle crushed tortilla chips over each serving. Yuuummm. Hits the spot on a day like this!

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