Archive for the ‘Green Lifestyle’ Category
Outdoor cooking, which largely entails solar cooking efforts, often attracts unwanted visitors in the form of pests. No, I’m not talking about the overly curious neighbor who still doesn’t believe that solar ovens really work, no matter how many times you have shown him.
Of course, what we’re referring to, are those creepy-crawly, little critters that always seem to find their way into the human outdoor cooking scenario. Yes, ants, beetles, and flying and crawling insects of all species, just seem to automatically arrive when you set out your solar oven, or open up the grill. That anthill might be off the side of the patio somewhere, but those little guys know where the party is at!
Don’t let pest ruin your next outdoor solar cooking experience. A number of environmentally safe cures are now available to help keep the solar chef free from an insect invasion, and concentrating on the day’s solar cuisine. New, green pest control products can be kept nearby, or, may be used prior to setting up the solar cooker for the day. Yes, happily, a plethora of “green” bug repellent are there to help you.
Take a look at how you can rid your solar cooking experience of pests without the risk of hurting yourself and others.
Oh, so there are so many reasons people do not get started solar cooking. They get cold feet. Yes, there are always plenty of excuses. The question is, do the benefits outweigh the disadvantages? Of course, we think so!
“I don’t have time“, “It’s easier to use the gas grill“, “It’s always cloudy when I want to cook“, “Solar ovens are so expensive“, and the perennial, “solar ovens don’t work“. Yep, plenty of reasons are given by naysayers regarding solar cooking. REALLY!?
Well, we think there are lots of reasons to take up solar cooking. First, it’s great for the environment and a “big step” in helping reduce your personal carbon footprint. It’s also fun! Just chat with a few solar chefs and you will find out very quickly how solar cooking can become a passion.
As far as being expensive, you can build your own first oven with free plans and a few simple, inexpensive household items. As you progress, opt for a panel cooker that is very reasonable in price, but effective in its design and portability. If you have $100-$400, you can buy a very decent solar cooker and use it for many years (the Solavore Sport, GoSun Stove, and All American Sun Oven come to mind).
Also, many of the commercial solar oven manufacturers have programs based on their sales, whereby they donate ovens and, or, aid to the Third World countries. This is especially important in Africa and South America, where using solar ovens has the potential to save lives. Women, who largely search for firewood and put themselves at risk or rape or capture, will be able to remain in villages and safely use sunshine instead of unhealthy smokey fires to cook their meals.
And as far as solar ovens not working? Well, let’s see:
So, we know that colder weather is on its way back to our hemisphere very soon. So, don’t get cold feet over solar cooking. As long as there is good sunshine, even the snow won’t hold you back from making a solar-cooked meal.
There is also no good reason to have cold feet inside. The advances in electric radiant heating make retrofitting your abode much easier than in the past. Look at this:
If you are lucky enough to belong to a solar cooking group, then you know the fun that arises when one, a few, or many of you get together and break out your various solar cookers and solar ovens. The fun really ensues when a crowd of onlookers and non-members shows up and begins to ask the predictable questions. Does it only work if it’s sunny? How hot does it get? Can I fry a hamburger? Will it burn your food? Of course, a gathering of solar chefs themselves is always a “hoot”. It can get interesting and, at times downright competitive if two people are preparing the same solar cuisine. Then again, we have heard of chili cook-offs being held most notably in the southwest USA.
Other solar cooking assemblies take the other form of teaching others how to use and benefit from their use.
Many of the manufacturers have wonderful instructional you tube videos that will help the new solar chef every step of the way. Check out this one by Paul Munsen of Sun Oven International, as he shows you the great features of the All American Sun Oven:
So much for the solar oven floor show. Now, if you want to continue following a green lifestyle, and own your home. Consider using electric or other (hot water) radiant floor heating. Its very efficient and gives a great all around warmth to most homes. Yes, it is still August, but, before you know it, the heating system will be on and your energy bill will be on the increase. Researching radiant floor heating and adapting it to your situation, is work a look. There is money to be saved, as well as the planet.
Wow, there is so much information and interest in Paleo dieting! It’s a subject frequently visited by health and weight loss sites and blogs. There is a good reason for it. So many of us eat processed foods to the max. Much of that is not so good for us anymore, so the experts tell us. And, so many of us have autoimmune disorders.
A brief search and read of Paleo diet information reveals that loads of dishes and their recipes, use crock pots or slow cookers for their preparation. That’s where your solar cooker comes in. So many solar ovens and solar cookers take the slow and even approach to cooking the food. So with Paleo, you might be interested in baking some gluten-free bread or cake. A typical solar oven, like the All American Sun Oven, is the perfect choice for this, since its temperatures easily reach 300 degrees F and provide a slower baking process. The results are always astounding. Food cooked with nothing but sunshine as the fuel.
Here is some valuable information about Paleo Dieting:
An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from some form of autoimmune disease. If you are among them, you may know all too well how little modern medicine can do to alleviate your condition. But that is just no reason to surrender hope. In her groundbreaking book, Sarah D. Ballantyne, Ph.D., draws upon current medical research and her own battle with an autoimmune disorder to show you how possible it is for you to turn this situation around and become symptom-free…the natural way.
The GoSun Solar Stove has a fantastic design. With its combination of evacuated tube technology and reflectors, it obtains 500 degree Fahrenheit temperatures quite frequently. With this solar cooker, also due to its design, high temperatures are still possible on cloudy days! Your choice, bake sweet potatoes in less than an hour, or hotdogs in 28 minutes! They were a bit toasty, so 23 minutes would have been about right. Its performance will truly astound you.
See how much fun you can have with your GoSun. See it below in action.
The unit only weighs about 6 pounds and can easily be strapped to a backpack. The reflectors and tube are easy to clean up and keep at the ready.
So, go solar cook with the GoSun and have some fun. While the food is cooking, and if you have some youngsters around, educational kits for WindPower are a great way to pass the time and actually teach/learn something.
If you do not have a solar oven or solar cooker in your “bug out” bag yet, it is a worthwhile consideration. Many solar ovens and cookers, especially the compact, portable panel models, can be a reasonable purchase (some for less than $100). There are many plans also available if you want to try constructing your own.
As far as that goes, many great survival kits and packages are now available at fair prices. In an emergency, catastrophe, or survival situation, there may not time to locate that “needle and thread kit” that you took out of your bag to fix torn trousers, etc. Get a commercial kit, keep it in a known place, don’t move it around, and you will be better prepared for whatever happens, even if it is just a short power outage. And that’s why it’s called “prepping”.
Some of us really love solar cooking, don’t we? Yes, whether you are a newcomer, or an old hat that’s been cooking with sunshine for decades, each one includes it in their own, hopefully, “green lifestyle”. We search for new recipes like we’re hunting bear, try out new ingredients in old dishes, and, if we’re not too meek, invite friends, family and neighbors over to be the latest “guinea pigs” for our newest solar cuisine.
We have become passionate about our solar cookers. We seek out new methods to use them. Some use them to dehydrate their food for long term storage in case of food shortages. Some of us teach others how to use them in survival scenarios.
For many in the Third World and other nations across the globe stricken by war and catastrophe, the solar oven is a life saver. Getting more panel style and box style cookers into the hands of the poor across the world is actually a mission of several of the commercial solar oven manufacturers. Much less dangerous, and certainly healthier, than smokey wood fires, solar ovens help provide the cooked meals and nourishment needed for so many living in impoverished countries.
So, why not make solar cooking your passion? It’s relatively inexpensive to get started and their are loads of resources, groups and blogs (like this one) that can help you get educated and launched into solar cooking. You’ll find how easily you can get “hung up” on sun cooking.
And, speaking of getting “hung up”, here is another way to live your green lifestyle. There are an amazing number of low-cost and clever clothesline/dryer racks out there. They make it easy for you to maintain a green lifestyle in just one more way. While your solar oven bakes the meal, you hang up your wash and let the solar powered “dryer” do the rest! Take a look at this:
Sometimes using your solar cooker on a windy day can be a real challenge. Of course, that mostly depends on the style or model of solar oven that you are using. Certainly, some are more stable in the wind than others. Many box style solar ovens, like the SunFocus, All American Sun Oven and the Solavore Sport Oven, do very well in light to moderate wind conditions. These models feature sturdy aluminum reflectors attached to the “box”, and can usually handle the wind.
And speaking of windy conditions, many homeowners are discovering the benefits of a home wind generator. As of this writing, the 30% tax credit is still in place for alternate energy improvements. If you are sure you live in a windy region, a wind generator makes perfect sense as an addition to your home power system. In case you are doubtful about your local wind, you can find out how eligible your area might be for wind generation by visiting the government’s website: https://nationalwind.org/, or www.dsireusa.org. Many kits are surprisingly affordable, and may supplement your current electric and reduce, and in some instances, eliminate your electric bill. Look at this one by Aleko:
Many small wind generators, like the one in the video, qualify for the tax credit. If you are interested, it “pays” to do the research. Also, many wind generator kits only require common tools for assembly. Don’t let this blow by you, if you think you are a wind generation candidate.
Don’t forget to bring in that solar oven if the wind speed gets too high!
Solar ovens are meant to be used. So, plan ahead for the next sunny day that comes along. Have your recipe and ingredients ready for preparation. Get your solar oven out to “play” with it. Make sure it is clean and ready for service. Different styles and models of solar ovens require different cleaning methods. However, most manufacturers usually recommend cleaning the solar cooker with hot soap and water. No harsh chemicals are needed.
Cleaning the oven outdoors is usually easier with the help of a plastic basin, a sponge and some towels. In no time at all, your sun oven will be “at the ready” and able to serve you when the sun comes out.
Oh sure, we understand, many people will set their solar oven on a stand. That way, they do not have to stoop down to refocus, or stir the pot, etc. For those of us who like to take our solar cooker camping and hiking however, it is sometimes a bit much to bring along the whole patio and a stand.
Best of all, should you really not want to let the grass grow under your solar cooker, just make sure you mow the lawn! To be “green” about it, try taking out your new reel mower to cut the grass. You’ll get a good workout, get the chore done, all while your favorite solar oven is preparing some tasty food.
If you have been watching, or subscribed to this blog for any time at all, you have witnessed the power of sunshine cooking food in a variety of solar ovens and solar cookers.
It is important to remember that, while solar energy is sun-cooking your newest culinary experiment, other ventures in solar power can be applied to your lifestyle and, in particular, your dwelling. Solar thermal is one of the greatest ways to utilize solar power.
On or near your house, the solar hot water equipment can be set up to let the sun heat your home water supply. Different designs and models exist and are available at a surprisingly low cost. One of the more popular and efficient designs are units composed of evacuated tubes, the same technology used by a popular model solar cooker, the GoSun Solar Stove. The vacuum tubes trap a majority of the sun’s heat and transfer it to water lines and onto the storage tank. Many designs include piping the system into the existing home hot water heater.
Be sure to check on this yourself, but the US Government also can help you afford these items, just as if you were installing solar pv panels. A 30% tax credit was still available at this writing. Take a look at how simple and effective these systems are and how you may benefit economically and have most of your home hot water heated by the sun.
What a great combination! Using the sun’s free energy to cook you food AND heat your home’s hot water.