Archive for the ‘Green Lifestyle’ Category

Have you ever started solar cooking on what was supposed to be a sunny day, and then the clouds suddenly rolled in? Sometimes those clouds can dramatically drop the chamber temperature and extend your cooking time by many hours. Possibly, your hungry family members and friends that may be patiently standing by to witness great solar cuisine in the making, may decide to “walk” on you; captive audience or not!

A wonderful solar oven exists that will take care of the problem. Widely proclaimed as a Hybrid  Solar Oven,  the SunFocus Solar Electric oven, is really something! What else is great about this oven? It’s made in the USA!

cloudy day solar oven, cloudy day solar cooker

SunFocus’ large cooking chamber bakes loads of food

This interesting solar oven design includes a low power consumption electric heating element hidden in its base. If clouds appear and hinder the normal solar powered oven design, a simple flick of a switch begins the electric cooking to start, and enables the thorough cooking of the meal. Who likes cold food, right? This is an ingenious design and prevents any uncooked solar meal. Watch the following video judge for yourself how well this solar powered oven works!

There is no question that having an electric backup system can be a true solar cooking advantage. Having the 3-in-1 switch to electrify the oven and help you finish cooking is quite handy.  Or, maybe just have it on a short while until the clouds pass bye. What an ingenious feature!

 

thermostatic switch controls solar electric oven

Use the 3in1 switch to power up SunFocus when clouds arrive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, we solar chefs love our sunshine. Unfortunately, it sometimes unexpectedly lets us down. That’s where the SunFocus Solar Electric Oven comes through. Of course, at times, even our electric power grid fails us. If that happens, whether at your camp, on the road, or on your back patio, a portable generator is a lifesaver.

Enjoy your next sunny solar cooking day!

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September 5, 2016 8:30 am

What can’t you cook with your solar stove? Maybe you’ve found yourself “lost” with where to go with your solar cooking. You have tried this dish or that one, baked breads and some soup. So , what’s next?

After all, there are so many ways to use one. Also, you should consider the different  solar cooker designs. Is it  parabolic, evacuated tube, box cooker or panel cooker? If you have several models, then the fun really begins with your solar powered ovens. Maybe you use several and prepare a great solar feast for family and friends. Of course, that’s another relevant concern; the number of folks that need fed on that bright sunny solar cooking day.

2 solar cookers, duel solar ovens

Two solar ovens make double the food

Use your solar cookers in different ways. You can bake, boil, steam and dehydrate many kinds of food with them. Perhaps you have concerns over healthy food choices, or want to prepare vegetarian meals. You can do this with a solar oven. Most double box solar ovens work similarly to a slow cooker (crock pot). It may take hours to to prepare solar cuisine in them, but usually, it’s well worth the wait, because the foods cook in their own juices. The result is great flavor!

With a parabolic cooker, your soup or meal may take only a few minutes! You will need to be a wary solar chef and keep your eye on the meal as the sun rapidly cooks the food. The evacuated tube model cookers are wonderful. Your meal usually doesn’t take more than an hour to prepare in good sunshine. Hotdogs, vegetables, and other light foods may only need a 30 minutes or less. You can easily warm up leftovers in these very efficient models. The really great thing about your outdoor solar oven, is that it becomes your way of being “green”, without much effort.

Portability is another important factor in using your solar cookers. Some box cookers weigh many times as much as a few evacuated tube cookers and panel cookers. So, if you are hiking or camping, weight may become an issue. Maybe you are a survivalist; a “prepper”. So many of these folks are using solar cookers and solar ovens because they realize how practical they are in an emergency situation.

Oh yes, it’s easy to get confused about the direction you want to take with solar cooking. Why? Because there are just so many wonderful choices! Follow your own path to making some great solar dishes. If you really get “lost” out there, maybe you only need a better compass.

Find the right direction to take in whatever you're doing.

Find the right direction to take in whatever you’re doing.

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August 17, 2016 7:30 pm

Yes, we forgot again! We got carried away with our solar cooking and missed our favorite TV show. Well, that’s easy  to do when you have a passion for getting out your large solar oven much earlier in the day to prepare a delicious meal. While the sunshine helps cook the meal in your outdoor solar oven, you become distracted by doing chores around the house; perhaps a little trimming, mowing the lawn, picking up some groceries, or even taking out the trash.

When it’s done, simply take the cooking pot comes out of the solar cooker with your ready made meal. You’ll only need to serve it up to waiting family and friends.  If you think “sharing” is such fun on social media, just wait until your dinner guests enjoy the food from the solar powered oven!

Sun Focus Solar Electric Oven

The Sun Focus’ large chamber cooks large meals.

Solar Cooking is just an easy way to help create a Green Lifestyle and help save the planet. Remember, no fossil fuels are being used; simply sun/solar power. It’s so fun that it’s no wonder you can catch us doing it about anytime there’s a sunny day.

However, if you are a survivalist/hunter, and you’re trying to catch something (snare) here’s a place to find a great little snare.

 

 

 

 

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August 14, 2016 7:54 am

Maybe you are not the type to build your solar oven. Want to get one that eats sunshine like a carnivore eats meat, and that is inexpensive, as well as very reliable? If so, take a look at the Solavore Sport. It comes as a kit with about all you need to get started except the food. Thousands of people across the world are enjoying the benefits of using it as an outdoor solar oven. It is a very portable solar oven, so survivalists and campers/backpackers love it. It has helped countless third world inhabitants remain safe from the hazards of smoke inhalation while cooking meals over an open fire.

This large solar oven is really a wonderful solar oven design. It has a large cooking chamber and allows for much food to be prepared on the given sunny day. Temperature in the chamber can easily reach 300 degrees F, without the use of reflector! It is a very well insulated double box solar oven. The Solavore can be your solar oven AND grill. So much food can be made in it!

Meat dishes, desserts, breads, soups and loads of other great meals can come out of the Solavore.

solavore baked apples, solavore soup

Beans & Wiener Soup with Solavore baked apples

With a Solavore Sport Solar Oven, it’s an easy way to enter and win in the Green Lifestyle.

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August 9, 2016 7:30 am

With the large cooking chamber and rapidly climbing interior temperature, the All American Sun Oven only needs a little good sunshine to make a superb meal.

We have been wanting to try a recipe we adapted from the Solar Cooking Adventures book by Jackass Jill, for Layered Enchiladas. So, with care and a few minor changes to the recipe to suit our tastes, it all came together great. Some passing clouds extended our cooking time to 5 1/2 hours, but it was well worth it. You’ll have to ask our friends that shared the meal with us.

So, here’s the recipe: 1 lb hamburg (less fat is better=less grease), 1tbsp minced garlic, 1 tsp crushed red pepper, 1 small can of tomato paste, 1 onion chopped (as finely as you wish), 1 large can of diced tomatoes with green chilies, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp salt (optional), 9 corn tortillas (multi-grain works too, we’ve tried them), 1/2 tsp oregano (Mexican is good), small handful of chopped cilantro or parsley, 2 cups of shredded cheese ( we used “fiesta” mix, but cheddar works well).  First, mix the diced tomatoes, onion and garlic together in a large bowl. Next, add in the other ingredients EXCEPT the hamburg & cheese. This done will be the sauce. In your 3-quart pan, spread a tbsp of cooking oil, then put down the first layer of 3 tortillas. Next, put on 1/3 of the hamburg, 1/3 of the sauce over it, then 1/3 of the shredded cheese. Just repeat for the final 2 layers. We sprinkled a little additional cheese on the top layer. Cover with the lid and place into your solar oven. In decent sunshine, your tasty meal should be removed in 4 – 6 hours.

Yes, it all came out hot, spicy and delicious!

enchiladas from sun oven

Delicious enchiladas from the Sun Oven

 

 

 

If you like your food picante; that is, a leetal spicy, you probably like your water that way too. When you need hot water and you enjoy the green lifestyle, solar water heaters can come to your rescue. Surprisingly, with the correct parts, they are easy to assemble and use.

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August 7, 2016 7:30 pm

For some, cheese is the world. Others can take it or leave it. Others want to move others cheese around…so they say. We find using cheese in solar cooking to be very useful. The dish you may be preparing in your solar cooker, has some cheese in it. And, just as in a conventional oven, allows it to melt its wonderful flavor into the other ingredients.

Whatever the main dish is, so many do better by adding cheese. You know, it’s as simple as cheese dogs vs. hotdogs. If it is quesadilla, chili con carne, baked lasagna or tuna casserole, the cheese sometimes just makes the dish. All these cheese masterpieces can be as easily prepared in a solar oven, as in a conventional oven. Cheese is really great for the vegetarian meals as well; think broccoli and cheese soup. This time of year, the real benefit of using your outdoor solar oven is just that. It’s outside cooking the meal and there’s no need to fire up the conventional oven and turn your kitchen and maybe house up several more uncomfortable degrees! And, need we mention it, you are doing your part of living a greener lifestyle, since the solar oven is a solar powered oven; no fossil fuels are being consumed.

 

monterrey jack for solar cooking

Monterrey Jack Cheese enhanced these Solavore Sport Mexican Stuffed Peppers

What egg dish isn’t improved with a little cheddar or your favorite cheese?

eggs and cheese solar cooking

Eggs, mozzarella, spinach & pork sausages by GoSun

 

 

 

 

 

What about you survivalists? Add some cheese to the dehydrated food mix and make the meal a bit more palatable. The solar cooker won’t mind at all.

cheese solar cooking

Chili & Maduros con queso from the solar cookers

Here’s a few other great cheesy dishes you can prepare in your solar oven: Chili Mac & Cheese, Layered Enchiladas, Hot Bean Dip, Bean Nachos, Baked Florentine, Mexican Rice, Cheesy Rice & Veggies….and the list goes on. For more specific information and recipes look these books up. For you survivalists that might think this is tough, please find this cheese as satisfactory.

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August 4, 2016 7:31 am

What a great old song! It makes you feel like dancing! Oops, (another great oldie) another unintended pun. But, these feelings arise when you are in your element and busy solar cooking. What is better than having all your ingredients together and setting up the solar cooker(s) on a beautiful sunny day? Sure, it can be Winter and cold outside, a bit breezy or maybe even a little cloudy, but the serious solar chef is dauntless under these conditions. The solar meal must be made!  The Solar Flare parabolic style solar cooker is a great little solar cooker design. Very light and extremely simple to set up, the Solar Flares (recommend you use 2) can make a decent amount of food for a few people. You can use it camping or hiking, and be able to enjoy warm food, maybe some soup and veggies, when you stop to eat. The Solar Flare heats up very quickly in good sunshine.

solar baked potatoes, solar flare baking

Solar Flare busy on a lovely day baking potatoes

 

Yes, no matter the season, as long as it is a sunny day, it is the right season for solar cooking. Just Fall into the fun!

all season solar cooking, solar autumn baking

The Solavore bakes in the Fall

 

 

 

 

 

These commercial solar cookers make the solar chef happier, since they are often easy to set up and transport by backpack, RV, camper or donkey! The Solavore only weighs about 10 pounds and can easily be strapped on a backpack. It makes a lot of food and, like the other solar cookers, can be used year round.

So, get out there and start solar cooking to do your part to save our earth! Anytime there’s sunshine will do!

And, by the way, in case you are somewhere and you really do feel the Earth Moving Under Your Feet, you may want to check this out: Surviving an Earthquake

 

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August 2, 2016 7:27 am

Oh the variety and solar oven designs out there these days! You can get a parabolic that will have your ham & cheese sandwich done in seconds, or burnt to ashes if you don’t watch it. The wonderful evacuated tube models can sometimes cause food to suffer similarly, if you don’t mind them. For some panel cookers, especially depending on your latitude, you may be waiting awhile for thorough cooking.  Don’t get me wrong, all these models serve their purpose very well!

Three solar cookers making the evening meal

Three solar cookers making the evening meal

With a double box solar oven, it is very difficult, to impossible, to burn any food. The other advantage of a big solar oven, like a box style cooker, is the generally large cooking chamber. If properly focused, and with plentiful sunshine, the box cooker usually only requires a few hours to prepare a typical meal. Depending upon the model, you can usually get a couple pots of food cooking simultaneously. This allows for bigger portions and servings for family and guests. This is an advantage not always used, especially if you may be hiking on a trail alone, on the beach with friends, or simply your back patio.

Stacking in solar ovens, solar cooking stacking

The Solavore Solar Oven goes anywhere and cooks a lot!

 

The other great advantage of a solar box oven, is that often the pots or baking pans can be stacked in the cooking chamber. For example, you may have a 3 quart pot of stew in there, but can also set a 9 inch baking pan, or cookie sheet into the chamber. It’s great! You can have your main course as well as dessert!

With some big solar ovens, like the Solavore Sport, three items, sometimes four, can be cooking: two, 3-quart pots plus the aforementioned cookie tray, baking pan, bread pan, etc. It’s easier than you may think to accomplish this.

 

Here’s how it can look in the Solavore Sport Oven:

In this oven, it’s easy to stack up the trays, plates, pots and pans. While remaining a light-weight and very portable solar oven, this model has a large chamber to cook loads of food simultaneously. Here’s how it all turned out:

So, if you have a large, double box solar oven, give stacking a fair try. Sometimes it takes more than one chance to be successful. But the rewards of cooking several meals at the same time are really enjoyable.

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July 26, 2016 7:23 am

 

For those of us who just love rolling out our solar cooker on a sunny day, it’s a feeling tough to beat. If you have more than one solar oven, whether it’s a parabolic, box cooker, electric hybrid, or the newest evacuated tube model, you are set to have a fun day.

If you’ve done things right, you already had most of your supplies and ingredients handy; the mixing bowls, spices, and all the vegetables, meats, etc. Next, comes putting it all together and placing it into the appropriate solar oven/cooker. Yes…it’s now time to let it ROCK!

Thinking of getting your own solar cooker? Don’t want to make the leap before further research? Try getting a book with simple plans to build your own here. Try it…you’ll like it, especially when it’s a hot and humid day and cooking outside with your solar cooker allows you to keep your house cooler. And, you’ll be doing your part for developing a “greener” lifestyle.

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July 22, 2016 8:15 am

It is a great sunny day, so let’s cook up a batch of food to last a few days. In the All American Solar Oven, we’ve prepared another South of the Border favorite, Mexican Rice. Since the Sun Oven’s chamber is large enough, and it reaches 300 degree temperatures in a short time, rice of any kind is always a good option.

Sun Oven Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice going into the Sun Oven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mexican Rice recipe: Adapted from “Adventures in Solar Cooking”, by Jackass Jill (Spanish Rice)

Mix all in a bowl: 1/2 cup water, 1 Tbsp chili flakes, 1 bell pepper diced, 1/2 onion diced, 1 cup of long grain white rice, 2 small celery stalks diced, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp salt (optional), 1 large Tbsp chili powder, 1 small can of diced tomatoes with green chiles , 1 can tomato sauce (16 oz) 1 tsp oregano, 1 Tbsp minced garlic, 1 lb of extra lean ground beef.  Once thoroughly mixed, put into the 3-quart dutch oven and place into solar oven.

In good sunshine, this will be ready in 4 hours. The day we prepared it, we had some passing clouds and it took about       5 1/2 hours. To make this really tasty, we sprinkled some “fiesta cheese” on top of the rice about 1/2 hour before removing it from the oven. However, you can use the cheese of your choice, or just eliminate it altogether. We do recommend getting the best extra lean ground beef for the dish to make it less greasy.

Mexican Rice

Ole! Mexican Rice from the All American Sun Oven

 

 

 

 

 

 

This meal came out great for us. We were able to share some with friends and family and are already being asked to make another batch. If you are skeptical of solar cooking, or don’t want to spend money for a commercially available solar cooker, without more information, try picking up a book about it. There are several inexpensive and good ones available here.

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July 20, 2016 8:15 am