These are the Dog Days of Summer & Cucumber-Mint Agua Fresca

swimming_Pleasant_Lake_02Just when I thought it would be one of those cooler, dryer than normal summers, the heavy humidity hit and the mercury soared. The Romans called these the dog days of summer. During ancient times, Sirius, the Dog Star, rose at dawn during the hottest part of the summer. The Romans blamed the star for the sultry weather. I’m sure there is a better metrological explanation but I don’t know it.

Last week as the temperature headed into the stratosphere, my mood turned grumpy and my brain stalled. There was no denying it; it was time to break down and break out the air conditioners. My tall, strapping nephews would be here in a few days but, alas, it was too hot to wait. I wrestled two of the cumbersome machines off the shelf in the garage and into a bedroom and den window. Did I mention that I’ve finally added a little strength training to my fitness regime? Well, little is the operative word. Whatever I’ve accomplished, it is far from enough.

In my defense, I do have short arms. I know that because it is becoming close to impossible to read caller ID without my glasses. Anyway, it was no easy feat to wrap my arms around those big boxes, lift them off the shelf and on to a hand truck to wheel into the house. Wheeling was easy; picking them up again and hoisting them into the windows was not.

The rising heat bolstered my determination. By the time I finished the installation, it was even hotter. Naturally, I stood in front of one and then the other for a good half hour to admire my handiwork. It’s important to recognize these little accomplishments, don’t you agree?

What are you doing to keep your cool during these hotter than hot, dog days of summer? Need help? Here are ten tips to help you stay cool:

1. If you don’t have an air conditioner, hang out in frozen food aisle at the supermarket.

2. Hydrate; drink lots and lots of ice water. Or try some agua fresca – Spanish for cool waters.

3. Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing. While you are at it, stick to natural fibers.

4. Stick to the shade. Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun.

5. Think cool thoughts. Take a nap and dream of icebergs and glaciers.

6. If you walk, run, hike or bike, move your exercise routine to the early morning. Better yet, take up swimming for the duration.

7. Find an old inner tube and spend the afternoon on the lake.

8. Keep the stove turned off. It will only heat up the kitchen. Same goes for the dishwasher; wait until you are ready to go to bed before you turn it on.

9. Take a cool shower. And another and another and another …

10. And finally, two words … ice cream, lots of ice cream.

Stay cool and bon appétit!

Cucumber-Mint Agua Fresca
You’ll stay cool as a cucumber with this refreshing drink from south of the border. Enjoy!
Serves 6-8

5-6 medium cucumbers, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup or to taste fresh lime juice
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup or to taste sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Garnish: fresh mint and/or thin slices of cucumber and/or lime

Put the cucumber, lime juice, mint, sugar and salt in a food processor or blender and

process until very smooth. Add 3 cups water and process until smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes

Strain the agua fresca into a pitcher and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve: fill glasses with ice, add agua fresca and garnish with mint, cucumber and/or lime.

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One Year Ago – Double Corn & Cheddar Muffins
Two Years Ago – Blueberry Clafouti
Three Years Ago – Blackberry Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt
Four Years Ago – Brown Sugar Yogurt Gelato
Five Years Ago – Red Pepper Dip
Six Years Ago – Grilled Chicken, Shallots & New Potatoes
Seven Years Ago – Barbecue Chicken

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

How are you keeping cool during this hot weather. Feel free to share. Let’s start a conversation.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2015

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