Veggie Balls for Pasta and More.

Lentil Balls

Serve these over spaghetti with your favorite tomato sauce or use them in meatless ball sandwiches. Double the recipe and freeze half (before baking) for future use.

Mini Lentil Balls

(adapted for the Sun Oven from The Meatball Shop)

Ingredients

1 cup dry lentils, picked over and rinsed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon salt

4 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 t0 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Spray two mini-muffin pans with cooking spray, set aside.

Put the lentils in a pot with enough water to cover them by an inch (use very hot water for faster cooking) cover and cook in the Sun Oven until soft but not mushy, 35 to 45 minutes. Drain and let cool. Leave the Sun Oven out.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, and salt. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and continue cooking for about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened and the all the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and let cool. When the vegetables are cool add the lentils followed by the egg, cheese, 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs, parsley, and walnuts. If the mixture is too moist add more bread crumbs as needed. Use your hands to mix until all the ingredients are well combined. Refrigerate the mixture for 25 minutes.

Roll the mixture into balls and place them in the prepared mini-muffin pans. Use a rack to separate the two pans and stack them in the Sun Oven. Bake until firm, about 45 minutes. Let rest in pans before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

Good Sun Oven Habits

Old habits can be hard to break.

After I’d had my Sun Oven for a few months I realized that I wasn’t using it as much as I could. I’d find myself serving my conventionally prepared dinner and thinking, “I could have made this in the Sun Oven”. I needed to retrain myself. That’s when, weather permitting, I started setting up the Sun Oven first thing in the morning; even on days when I had no idea what I’d be cooking. I could see the oven from my kitchen window and that visual cue was enough to remind me to use it.

With my oven always ready to go I can take advantage of deals like the one I found today at my local supermarket. This pre-cut beet, sweet potato, and butternut squash combo was %70 percent off. For less than a dollar, a little sunshine, a drizzle of olive oil, and zero peeling or chopping I had a colorful, solar cooked side dish to go with our lunch.

Beet Combo

Solar Oatmeal Cookies

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Applesauce is often used to lighten up cookie recipes. This one uses a grated apple instead. I like the resulting texture and I’m more likely to have an apple on hand than a jar of applesauce.

Cranberry-Oatmeal Cookies

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook)

Ingredients

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

4 tablespoons butter, softened

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 apple, peeled, cored, and grated

1 large egg, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Line 2 baking racks or rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir in the oats.

In a separate large bowl, use and electric mixer on medium speed to beat together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the apple, egg, and vanilla until well combined. On low speed, gradually beat in the oat mixture until blended. Stir in the cranberries.

Drop half of the dough by tablespoonfuls, about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking racks, about 6 cookies per rack. Use the back of a spoon to slightly flatten each cookie. Stack the baking racks in the Sun Oven and bake until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Top rack will bake slightly faster. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Amish Friendship Bread

Amish Friendship Bread

You’ll need to wait until a friend gives you some starter to make this sweet bread. That same friend will give you a copy of the recipe with instructions on how to feed the starter for 10 days. And rest assured, the bread comes out great when baked in the Sun Oven.

Amish Friendship Bread

Do not use any metal spoons or bowls. Do not refrigerate the bag.

Day 1 – Do nothing. This is the day you receive the stater, the bag is dated

Day 2 – Mash the bag – squeeze several times. Let the air out of the bag.

Day 3 – Mash the bag. Let air out of bag.

Day 4 – Mash the bag. Let air out of bag.

Day 5 – Mash the bag. Let air out of bag.

Day 6 – Add to the contents of the bag 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk. Mash the bag. Let air out of bag.

Day 7 – Mash the bag. Let air out of bag.

Day 8 – Mash the bag. Let air out of bag.

Day 9 – Mash the bag. Let air out of bag.

Day 10 – Do the following:

1 – Pour the contents of the bag into a large non metal bowl. Use a wood or plastic spoon to mix in 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups milk.

2 – Label 4 0ne-gallon ziplock bags with the date. Give the bags along with a copy of these instructions to 4 friends.

3 – To the remaining batter in the bowl, add:

3 eggs

1 cup canola oil

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1 large box (or two small) instant vanilla pudding (other flavors are o.k. I used butterscotch)

Divide the batter evenly into two well greased loaf pans. Bake in the preheated Sun Oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours.

Remember: Do not refrigerate the starter. Do not use metal spoons, whisks or bowls. If air form in the bag, let it out.

 

 

Dulce de Leche in the Sun

Dulce de Leche

This is a slow cooker classic that I’ve adapted for the Sun Oven. In the slow cooker the jars need to be submerged to ensure even cooking, but even cooking is what the Sun Oven is all about so I didn’t worry about finding a pot big enough pot to do so. In fact, next time I might even try with no water at all. It works for hard boiled eggs, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work for this. However, in the meantime I have three jars of dulce de leche on my hands so it might be a while.

Sun Oven Dulce de Leche

Ingredients

2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Divide the milk evenly among 3 1/2 pint mason jars. Put the lids on the jars and close tightly. Place the jars in a large pot. Add enough hot water to reach the rims, it is not necessary to submerge the jars. Place a lid on the pot and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the milk is golden brown and thick, about 6 hours. Remove the jars from the water and let cool. Refrigerate at least two hours before using; it will continue to thicken as it cools. Store jars in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks.

 

Who Will Provide Education If There Are No Schools?

         Todd Sepulveda, minister and educator, has created an e-book, “Education After the Collapse” available as a free download at EdThatMatters which informs us that the education community rarely thinks about education after a disaster. “We have seen examples of this across the country. Schools pride themselves with the coordination of conducting one fire-drill a month, but what is the plan in case of a “big one?” Who will be responsible for teaching our children? Will this be on anyone’s mind?” Todd asks.
If you and your family survive a disaster that takes away government provided services, the responsibility for education of the younger generations will fall on you. Not an educator? Never fear. Common sense will kick in here. There are three techniques for learning. Some people learn by listening, others by seeing demonstrations and still others by doing. In a collapse situation, to determine how best to work with your children, you will need to know how they learn. This will take some observation and experiments.
Do you actually perform what you were formally educated to do on a daily basis? Probably not. So what is the most important part of education? Learning to think critically. Problem solving techniques often involve taking knowledge gained in one area and applying it to another. Flexibility in learning will be a critical factor.

          There are three basic parts to all education: reading, math and science. Reading is the most important. Once you learn to read, you can learn anything. Do you remember the slow process you went through? Phonics is the basis for learning to read. Letter recognition, sounds and image association all fit together. There is a complete process building on these base letters, advancing to sight words and then on to putting words together to make sentences.
Math starts with basic arithmetic of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. From there it advances to measurements and on to problem solving. Todd takes you through the steps of problem solving using the Window Pane technique. If you think about it, this simple approach for problem solving can be applied to all kinds of life challenges. We will all need to return to knowledge base strategies like this to overcome problems in a societal breakdown.

Education

Photo: Education_After_The_Collapse

In a collapse scenario, science will be your friend. The knowledge of which plants are safe to eat, which animals should be hunted for the most nutrition, gardening, all come under science. Moon phases [link] and cloud identification to recognize upcoming weather conditions are basics of survival, too. Do not wait to download this ebook. It is filled with explanations and even flash cards you can use. Here’s what another expert in the survival arena said about this book:

In Education After the Collapse, you will be reminded that different children – and people for that matter – have different capacities and styles of learning. That said, within the scope of those differences, teaching children to solve problems and think critically is probably the most important lesson of all……But even more important, if you care about our world and you care about society, you will want to read the rest of Education After the Collapse. And after reading it? You just might – like me – want to stock up on some textbooks, paper, writing materials and flash cards so that you will have them for the children of the unprepared – if and when the time comes.
Gaye @ www.backdoorsurvival.com

Billie Nicholson, Editor
February 2015

The Many Uses of Powdered Milk

   What is Powdered Milk?

Wikipedia defines powdered milk as a manufactured dairy product made by evaporating milk to dryness.This technique gives milk a much longer shelf life than liquid milk; it doesn’t need to be refrigerated; and in this evaporated state, it is easier to transport.
Marco Polo wrote of sun-dried skim milk during the days of Kublai Kahn, whose troops carried it in the form of a paste. The first form of modern production was invented by a Russian physician. Today powdered milk is usually made by spray drying milk products. The milk is concentrated to about 50% milk solids, which is then sprayed into a heated chamber where the water evaporates instantly, leaving powdered milk solids. Another process is freeze drying which preserves more nutrients that heat drying. The drying method may alter the solubility in cold water and the flavor.1

Powdered Milk is Nutritious

Most of us have had a less than pleasing experience with powdered milk. Improvements in the processing techniques has resulted in a much more agreeable product. It is a prepper staple that we should all add to our supplies. One cup of dry milk provides you with a good source of protein, vitamins A and D, calcium, magnesium and essential fats.2

Powdered Milk Facts

Here are some things you should know about powdered milk:
•  There is a big difference between Regular Nonfat Dry Milk and Instant Nonfat Dry Milk. Regular can be turned into a variety of milk products; Instant can only be drinkable milk.
•  There are almost twice as many servings in Regular Nonfat Dry Milk as in Instant.
•  There is more protein per serving in Regular Nonfat Dry Milk.
•  Instant Nonfat Dry Milk tastes better.
•  Instant dissolves easier than Regular Nonfat Dry Milk.
• Instant can be found in most grocery stores; Regular is available online in emergency preparedness stores.

Regular Nonfat Dried Milk can be used to make:
Sour Cream – by mixing 1/3 c dry milk with 3/4 cup plain yogurt. Makes a great low fat dip.4
Regular Milk – just substitute 1/3 cup dry milk and 1 cup cold water. Best chilled.
White Sauce – mix 1/3 cup dry milk, 3tsp melted butter and 3 TBS flour to form a paste. Slowly ad 1 cup water and whisk until smooth.
Yogurt – can be made using 1 cup Regular Nonfat Dried Milk mixed with 2 cups warm water (110ºF) and 2 TBS plain yogurt as a starter. Keep at 110º about 8 hours to thicken. This technique can also be used to make Yogurt Sour Cream and Cream Cheese. These can be used in pancake mixes and Stroganoff recipes3 as well as hot cocoa, instant oatmeal and pudding mixes.2

References
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powdered_milk#
2. http://readynutrition.com/resources/the-skinny-6-everyday-uses-for-dry-milk_28122012/
3. http://www.prepperssurvive.com/preppers-powdered-milk/
4. http://andreadekker.com/uses-for-dry-milk/ 

Billie Nicholson, Editor
February 2015

Solar Baked Curried Chicken and Rice

Chicken Curry Pilaf

This tasty one dish meal is a good way to make use of left over chicken.

Sun Oven Curried Chicken Pilaf

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Weight Watchers In One Pot)

Ingredients

1 1/3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup light coconut milk

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons minced, peeled fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup brown rice

2 cups previously cooked chicken, skin removed and shredded

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat

In a sauce pan, combine the chicken broth and coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Keep warm.

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring often, until the onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger, garlic, curry powder, garam masala, and salt. Stir in the rice until evenly coated. Stir in the chicken and tomatoes. Stir in the warm broth mixture, cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Stir in the peas and leave in the Sun Oven another 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro just before serving.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Upside-Down Solar Baked Cupcakes

Muffin Pan Stack

I’m not much of a baker, no matter what kind of oven I use. However, I’ve learned from experience that as far as cakes go the best results, at least aesthetically speaking, are obtained with cupcakes and upside-down cakes. So why not combine the two?

Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Weight Watchers Comfort Classics)

Ingredients

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger*

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunk, drained

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup 1% milk

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Spray two 6-cup muffin pans with cooking spray or arrange 12 cupcake sized silicone baking molds two baking pans and spray with cooking spray.

Combine the brown sugar, ginger, and butter in a small sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the pineapple. Spoon the pineapple mixture evenly among the muffin tins or baking molds; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, milk, coconut oil, egg, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir until just blended. Fill the muffin pans or baking molds evenly with the batter. Bake side by side or cross stacked (top layer will cook slightly faster) until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool the cupcakes it the pans on a rack for 10 minutes. To loosen run a knife around the side of the muffin cups or simply pop out of the silicone molds. Remove the cupcakes from the pans or molds and cool upside down (pineapple side up) on racks. Drizzle and extra syrup in the pans or molds over the cupcakes.

*spray your knife with cooking spray to keep the ginger from sticking.

Muffin Tins 1

Garlic-Potato Soup

Garlic Soup

We’ve been fighting off colds this week and got tired of the usual chicken soup. I’d heard garlic is another good way to keep a cold at bay and decided to put it to the test with this recipe.

Garlicky Solar Soup

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

24 cloves garlic, peeled

2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

salt to taste

Fresh thyme and sage for garnish

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking and stirring until the onion is softened and the garlic cloves are just beginning to brown, about 5 more minutes. Stir in the potatoes. Pour the broth over the potatoes. Cover and cook in the Sun Oven until the potatoes are very tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Use a handheld immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Garnish with thyme and thinly sliced sage.

Makes 4 servings.

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