And suddenly, its summer. Hot and humid. Lightweight dresses, sandals, large sunnies and wide-brimmed hats everywhere. I love everything about it except for the stickiness of my sunscreen and the fact that I am squeezed into compression stockings.
As such, at the moment I’m greatly enjoying the benefits of air conditioning (and free Wifi) at my local coffee shop. Oh, and that iced lavender latte also helped a lot. I don’t have air conditioning at my home and up until yesterday, I was convinced that I would never need it. Now, my confidence is waning.
It’s got me thinking though. My parents’ generation grew up without air conditioning (or sunscreen for that matter). How did they survive those stifling hot nights or soup-like sunny days? Here are some tips and tricks for making the summer more comfortable to my non-air conditioning owning friends and to my friends who actively choose a more environmentally friendly way of living.
1. Pull the blinds down during the day. This keeps the heat out.
2. Close your windows during the day to keep out the humidity. Open them at night to let in the cooled, fresh air.
3. Take naps, as needed.
4. Go for a swim, as needed (jump in the lake, river or your friend’s pool… stick your feet in your kids pool).
5. Choose natural clothing fibres. The past several years, to be more mindful of my purchases, I started to choose cotton and linen over polyester clothing fibres. These are much cooler to wear and help with comfort at night (that satin cami is going to make you hot!)
6. Drink lots of water during the day. Keep a glass of water by your bed.
7. Have a quick, cool shower before bed.
8. Sleep downstairs. My mother-in-law talked about sleeping in the basement on hot nights as a child. Make it fun for your kids- pretend you are camping!
9. Purchase a fan and have it face a window to blow hot air out of the window at night.
10. Don’t bake on hot days (well, obviously but as a baker, I sometimes need to be reminded). Cook over the BBQ or enjoy a fresh salad (use up the lovely produce in your refrigerator!). Go out for ice cream if you need something sweet. Note, I made these scones last week during a very cold spell. Next week, I guess, I owe you all a refreshing and cooling recipe.
Raspberry White Chocolate Scones
Time: Prep time (25 minutes) + Baking time (24 minutes)
Makes: 8 triangle scones
260 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
20 g (4 tbsp) ground flaxseed*
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
110 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, grated
60 mL (1/4 cup) whole milk
2 tbsp coconut sugar
60 g (1/3 cup) white chocolate chips, roughly chopped
60 g (1/2 cup) frozen raspberries, crush some into smaller pieces
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Whisk flour, ground flaxseed, baking powder and saltin a large bowl until well-combined.
3. Grate cold butter on a cheese grater (a little trick that I just picked up). Place back in the refrigerator.
4. Mix the whole milk with the coconut sugar. Set aside so that the sugar dissolves.
5. Roughly chop white chocolate chips so that they are various sizes. Crush some of the frozen raspberries so they are also various sizes.
6. Working quickly, add the grated butter to the flour mixture. Crumble with your hands. Mix in the white chocolate chips and frozen raspberries with a wooden spoon. Finally, make a well in the middle of your bowl and pour in the dissolved sugar-milk mixture. Stir until just combined. Form the dough into a 1-inch thick round. Cut into 8 pieces (cut in half, then quarters, then eighths). Separate the pieces and place on a baking sheet and bake for 21-24 minutes.
Serve with butter and some of your favourite preserves.
* Grind whole flax seeds in a coffee or spice grinder.