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Sure, we all enjoy the warmth and joy that Summer often brings us. But, for many of us here in Pennsylvania, Autumn is the signal for the upcoming hunting season. Not everyone is headed out into the woods for game, so this is dedicated to those who like a short hike, or maybe do some camping on an “Indian Summer” day or weekend. Breaking out the solar oven to make some stew is a fun goal.

solarvore stew, Fall solar cooking, solar stew, solar beef stew

Stewpots into the Solavore Sport

In our area, campfires will be aglow many nights in the near future, and even in many residential backyards. Lots of folks will attempt to cook food over these smokey fires without even considering the multitudes across the globe that do that daily to feed their families. “Preppers” usually have a better grasp of that whole concept. That’s why solar cooking can help everyone.

With lots of sunny Fall days ahead, this time of year is wonderful for solar cooking. Today we’re showing you our recipe for solar beef stew. More care is needed to refocus the oven and usually a little more cooking time, since the sun’s rays are longer and the angle lower. But, rest assured, your solar oven will still work very well without using wood or any fossil fuels to cook a great meal.

solar beefstew, solavore beef stew, solavore stew

Solavore Beef Stew Ready to Serve.

So, here’s our recipe for a simple and delicious solar beef stew:

Just thoroughly mix this altogether in the 3 quart stoneware pot: 1, 2-2 1/2 lb pkg of stew meat, 1 chopped medium onion, 1-1 celery stalks, 1-2 carrots, 2 cubed small potatoes, 1/4 cup of beef broth,1 tbsp Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp red pepper (or black), 1 tsp paprika, 2 tbsp olive oil (or cooking oil), 1 tsp worcestershire sauce, 1 small can of cream of mushroom soup. Let stand alone in good sunshine for about 6 hours. Refocus the oven periodically to keep temperature up and cooking time shorter.

And, don’t forget the goodies & go-alongs! Fall is a great time to make various breads, muffins and cakes in your oven.

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September 26, 2016 7:30 am

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

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

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

We have mentioned this in prior posts, but since a member of our solar cooking group recently brought it to our attention, it’s a good topic to revisit.

THE WEATHER. Certainly you’ve heard the one about the weatherman having the best job in the world since he never has to worry about getting the forecast right. Well, those of us who have done all the prep work to get our solar meal ready often find ourselves at odds with him, right? Sure, a “partly cloudy” day can mean 20% cloud cover, or 60%, so your cooking time for a box cooker can vary a great deal under those “predictions”. Sometimes storm clouds appear much faster than anyone anticipates.

weather problems, solar cooking and weather

Quick, grab the solar oven, it’s gonna rain!

So, what’s the solar chef to do? Well, do your best. Make it a habit to watch your local nightly weather report. Want something even better? If you have a smart phone, try downloading a free app. Yes, like most things, some are better than others. PCMag.com recently did a great review of weather apps, and is a worthwhile read. No phone ? If you have access to a computer and the Internet, of course you can check out the apps and numerous sites in that way. We use a few and can recommend them: “weather underground”,” the weather channel”, and “weatherbug”. Each site has its various attributes, advantages and disadvantages. Some, and we’re not just including the 3 sites mentioned, are large and more technical sites. This affects download times and your device, and ultimately, your time.

storm and solar cooking, rain and solar cooking

Yikes! Today’s solar cooking is finished:(

In any case, whatever site you decide to use, we suggest getting one with a clear local radar picture. Why, you ask? Well, depending on how much time you have to contribute to your solar cooking, on a particular day, having some idea of how close a rain, snow or windstorm might be to your cooking site, is a good thing to know. Essentially, a weather radar picture will affect your planning /cooking schedule.

If you are hiking and camping, or are the survivalist type, you may already be prepared for oncoming bad weather. A good emergency kit or backpack should always contain a decent weather radio. This tool,  will help keep you out of danger, and may allow for your uninterrupted solar cooking on the trail. Of course, the weather radio will still be a handy item wherever you do your solar cooking; the beach, backyard, or patio.

weather and solar cooking

Not every day is the perfect solar cooking day…

Some folks sometimes forget that, although the elements of rain, snow, wind & hail can affect your cooking, the seasons do not usually matter. Only a sunny day is needed for solar cooking. Check out this video from January.

Just remember to include the weather in your thoughts, before you set up your solar oven for the day. Weather it’s just passing clouds, a few raindrops or a tornado, it can affect your solar cooking fun 😉

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July 28, 2016 7:00 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

The GoSun Solar Stove is a versatile and fast solar oven, especially when sunshine is in great supply. Since it reaches temperatures well over 450 degrees F under such conditions, it takes no time at all to prepare many dishes, like chicken wings. Simply clean and lightly prep the wings and place them into the GoSun tray. Slide it in and let it go! In good sunshine, you will want to check them in about a half hour to see how they’re coming along. At that time also, you may want to add in the particular flavor you are aiming for, like butter garlic.

GoSun chicken wings

Apply the flavor of your choice to this solar cuisine

Hey, and speaking of flying away, while the wings are “grounded” and the GoSun transforms them into your delicious meal, just go fly a kite! No kidding! Here’s where you can get an excellent starter kite that will allow you, children or friends to have a blast while the GoSun Solar Stove does its thing.

Rainbow Kite

Easy to use in the slightest breeze

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May 24, 2016 4:59 pm