Frugal, Frugal, Frugal Friday! Good morning! Since it is still too hot to finish my fun camping project, today is Frugal Friday! In fact, it is Frugal Friday ‘Keeping the Kitchen Cool’!
Unfortunately, my kitchen is the worst room in our house. Not just because I need to work on cleaning the kitchen sink: it is the coldest room in winter and the hottest room in summer!
I know why, most of the room is an addition to our 120 year old house. It sits over an unheated crawlspace and doesn’t have much wall insulation. But knowing does not help change the problem. I am not crawling through the spider webs to insulate the floor; I cannot even ask the husband to do it.
It also does not help, that on every 100 degree day, I want to bake. Cookies, bread, granola even meatloaf. If it is really hot, the only recipes that I can think off involve the oven. Maybe because I know I should not use the oven, I really, really want too. It is just like trying to eat healthier and still wanting chocolate.
Thankfully, there are a few different ways to keep the kitchen cool and still feed the family- even this week with temperatures in the upper 90’s and high humidity.
Cooking outside keeps the kitchen cool, but the husband gets tired of grilling and smoking so often. Even though I don’t grill, I try to cook outside as much as I can to keep the heat out of the kitchen.
I cook outside with the slow cooker, the rice cooker and the bread machine!
These are great kitchen helpers, I can get a start on lunch/supper, while working outside. Unfortunately, while they are great helpers, they also are great at producing heat!
I didn’t realize how much heat they produce until I used the slow cooker in the camper. It was great to start baked potatoes for supper and leave for a hike. When we came back, the camper had heated up from the slow cooker- not good in the summer!
During the summer, now I try to use the slow cooker, rice cooker and bread machine outside.
I am very lucky to have a screen porch on 1/2 of the deck, so I can cook outside with out worrying about bugs. An enclosed porch, garage or shed would also work well.
A Few Food Ideas
In addition to large batches of rice, hard boiled eggs, cooked in the rice cooker works great outside in the screen porch. I set them for 15 minutes of steam and they turn out perfectly. They are great for a salad, snack, deviled eggs or an egg salad sandwich.
The family doesn’t like many slow cooker recipes, but I love to make baked potatoes in the slow cooker. I wash the potatoes, pierce the skins and cook them on high (with out foil) for 4-5 hours outside. The potatoes are so versatile. They made a great side dish or even a light lunch when topped with sauteed vegetables. After they cool overnight, they are also easy to shred into hash browns.
This week, I cooked a 5 pound bag of baked potatoes. It was on sale for $1.49 and made great frugal meals and side dishes all week.
Large batches of re-fried beans or granola are also nice to make outside in the slow cooker, instead of heating the kitchen with the oven.
When I do use the oven, I open the kitchen window and set a fan to (hopefully) blow the heat outside and not heat up the house.
Cooking outside and not using the oven can help keep the kitchen cool in the summer. Using the rice cooker, slow cooker and bread machine outside is a great frugal way to save energy and keep the house cool.
Even when the husband gets tired of grilling or smoking, we can still feed the family while keeping the kitchen cool. Maybe someday, I’ll try solar cooking, but until then I’m happy to cook outside in the screen porch.
Happy Camping (and staying cool!)