10 April 2007

Beating the summer heat on a shoestring budget

WITH MY mother-in-law cooling her heels in Oas, with six boisterous kids constantly complaining how hot it is in Pacol, and a daughter looking for excuse to go swimming again -- with her Grandview friends across the street -- what's a harassed father to do?

Improvise, aside from maintaining a Jobian patience and a cheerful disposition in the toughest of situations. Just today, I tried the following with great success:

1. Cool melon-flavored milk. I hated milk when I was a kid. I think it was because my mother put in a little too much water during those difficult days of my childhood, diluting the milky flavor in the process. My kids too don't like it plain, except of course my last three who consume about a liter between them every night.

But put in ripe orange melon -- known as cantaloupe elsewhere -- and the situation changes. My standard mix, which I did again for breakfast, consists of one-half can of 370 ml evap, a quarter of diced melon, and enough water to fill to the brim the one-liter Nestea shaker. Add sugar and sweeten to taste, and voila! -- a milk drink everybody loves!

Always make sure there's a bowl of cracked ice on standby; they can push up the resulting glasses above six, just like how it is done in Jollibee or McDo, allowing older, bigger kids another serving.

2. Good old iced tea. For our lunch, I used that shaker this time to prepare iced tea, using a third of the 200-gram Lipton Honeymansi instead of Nestea. The trick is to add calamansi juice to the mix (squeezed from between 5-7 fruits), and enough sugar sweetener.

Together with the bowl of cracked ice (a must! to give justice to the name), I figure this concoction costed me less than P20, half of what I would have spent on a 1.5-liter Pepsi.

3. Mango-flavored milk. When I was preparing dinner, I was hoping to do another serving of what we had for breakfast, remembering quite clearly that there was still a quarter of the fruit left in the fridge. Unfortunately, Pep -- my melon-loving daughter -- already finished it for snack during the day. What I had was a kilo of ripe mangoes I bought at the corner of Penafrancia and Magsaysay on the way home, six pieces for P38.50.

So what the heck! Why don't I try a mango-flavored milk this time around? And you know what? I'm happy I did because the result was quite beyond expectation: a delicious mangoes-and-cream milk drink. The procedure was same as No. 1, except you use one-and-a-half of diced mangoes instead of one-quarter melon.

Together with bathing twice, one in the morning and another before bedtime, these affordable quenchers make the super-hot summer in Pacol much more tolerable.


grace said...

i loved this one :)