Cooking Without Fire

cooking without fireFire and fuel for cooking are critical needs during an emergency situation. If you are in a location  where you cannot get fuel for fire, what are your alternatives? Why not use the sun!

There are four components needed for solar cooking:
1.  A fire proof container to hold your cooking vessel
2.  Reflective material to capture the sun’s energy and direct it
3.  A black cooking vessel
4.  A stabilizing base

Armed with this concept, Milwaukee retired restauranteur, Tom Burns designed his first solar oven in 1986 and the SUN OVEN® was born. Tom, a world traveling Rotarian, recognized the ever growing need for cooking fuel in developing countries and introduced his SUN OVEN® to the world to help reduce the ever-growing problem of deforestation. He took this centuries old idea and engineered it using cutting edge technologies to produce the world’s most efficient and effective solar cooking devices.

For the past 28 years, SUN OVENS® have been proudly made in the USA using virtually all American made components. We believe in free enterprise and seek to take a private sector approach to helping solve problems, many of which have often been left to governments. Millions of families around the world are benefiting every day from SUN OVEN®  products. We strive to assist entrepreneurs to make and market SUN OVENS® in the country in which they will be used. In addition, we assist in implementing projects to help organizations to gain self-sufficiency through the sale of bakery goods sun-baked in the VILLAGER SUN OVEN®.

The reason we are so passionate about our work in Third World nations is that it saves lives:
•  2.4 billion people still depend on wood, charcoal or dung for cooking fuel.
•  Women who cook with wood or charcoal inhale the equivalent of smoking 3 packs of cigarettes each day.
•  Each year, on the continent of Africa alone, over one million children under the age of 5 die from respiratory related disease. The leading cause of respiratory infections is the indoor air pollution of cooking fires.
•  Up to 85% of the smoke can be eliminated with the use of SUN OVENS®.

When you buy a SUN OVEN® you are helping us with this work. We think it is the ultimate win-win situation when we can help more people in the U.S. discover the joys of cooking with the sun as they help us expand the use of SUN OVENS® around the world.


Be Prepared! Tips & Tools for Cooking with the Sun

National Preparedness MonthA free interactive online class

Who Should Participate? Anyone who wants to learn more about how to harness the power of the sun to cook, dehydrate, purify water and be better prepared for emergencies.

Date: Monday August 31, 2015

Time: 7 pm CDT (Replays on Demand through September 12)

Duration: 60 minutes plus live Q&A

Overview: Paul Munsen, of SUN OVENS International, will cover everything you need to know about using a SUN OVEN.  He will show how practical and easy it is to cook in a SUN OVEN and discuss the many economic, health and environmental benefits of cooking with the sun.

Learn how to never have to worry about burning dinner again. Discover how to use a SUN OVEN to naturally dehydrate fruits and vegetables. Find out how to reduce your utility bills while helping families in developing countries around the world.

Title: Be Prepared! Tips & Tools for Cooking with the Sun

Time: Monday, August 31st at 7 pm Central Time

Listening Method: Web Simulcast

Space is limited reservations on first come first basis

To Reserve: CLICK HERE

Young Women’s Group Gets Sun Oven® Cooking Lesson

Solar Cooking LessonsOur Young Women’s group planned a “Tea” for their moms. Solar cooking was one of the lessons required for their preparations for Girls Camp coming up later this summer. So they decided they could learn how to bake the cookies planned for dessert in a solar oven. Robert and I set up the Sun Oven® to pre heat while the girls mixed the cookie dough  and took turns spooning it onto the parchment paper covered baking racks. By the time everyone had eaten finger sandwiches and yummy potato salad, the cookies were ready to serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. “It gets a lot hotter than I expected,” said one of the young ladies. There were no leftovers.

Billie Nicholson, editor
May 2015

Sun Oven Pea Soup with Ham

New Sun Oven

This simple yet tasty soup is a good way to use up any leftover ham.

Easy Pea and Potato Soup


1 (16-ounce) bag frozen peas, thawed

1 (14-0unce) can chicken broth

1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 (6-ounce) ham steak or leftover ham, diced

Salt and pepper to taste


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Add enough water to the broth to measure 3 cups total. Puree the peas with 1 1/2 cups of the broth mixture in a blender. Pour the pureed peas into a large pot. Add the potatoes, carrot, and ham. Cover and transfer the pot to the Sun Oven. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. Season to tastes with salt and pepper.

Prepper Camp™ Recap

Prepper Camp

In the foothills of western North Carolina, over 600 serious preparedness citizens gathered for a 3-day, total immersion experience in survival at Prepper Camp™. Attendees had opportunities to learn from the best in the business about topics ranging from alternative power solutions, cheese making, first aid, herbal medicine, how to grow a camouflaged food forest, solar cooking and water filtration. In addition, they had time to talk to vendors and practice some of the skills they learned during evening activities as they camped on the meeting site.

Prepper Camp™


Billie  Nicholson, editor

October 2014

Additional articles in this month’s issue:

What’s in Your Every Day Carry Kit?
Emergency Medical Assessment  
How’s Your Battery Health?  
10 things You’ll Regret Not Having Enough of When the SHTF by Elise Xavier, 
Waste Not … Want Not… Making Apple Cider Vinegar
Escaping a Riot

Our solar Chef presents Solar Apple Soup



Solar Meatball Stew

Meatball Stew

The spices in this stew are reminiscent of  Northern African cuisine and go best with couscous, but it could also be served with a good, crusty bread or pasta.

Solar Moroccan Style Meatballs


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound ground lean ground beef

2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

1 cup diced tomatoes

1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

In a large pot, combine the oil, onion, and garlic. Cover and cook in the Sun Oven until the onion is soft, 15 to 20 minutes.

Prepare the meatballs while the onion mixture is cooking. In a large bowl, mix together the beef, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Using damp hands, shape the beef mixture into 24 meatballs; set aside.

Bring the pot with the onions in and leave Sun Oven out. Add the tomatoes, water, and tomato paste. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add the meatballs. Cover and return the pot to the Sun Oven. Cook until the meatballs are cooked through, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the pot from the Sun Oven. Stir in the lemon juice and mint. Serve over couscous.


Are You Losing 40%

Today I was listening to a video by Healthy Prepper in which she shared the concept of Dehydratingdehydrating fruit and vegetables at their prime ripeness. She had just purchased many bags of price-reduced items. The groceries were beautiful, just really, really ripe. Studies reveal that 40% of food we purchase goes to waste. You can dehydrate almost any fruit or veggie, so there is no reason food should go to waste.

The SUNOVEN® is perfect for dehydrating produce. Green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, grapes and figs are in abundance in my refrigerator. Rather than hope that we’ll get around to eating them all before they spoil, I decided to begin a dehydrating project.

When dehydrating with the SUN OVEN®, focusing the  oven into the sun is not necessary. The goal is to have a consistent temperature that ranges from 110º – 155º F. Keep the latches open for moisture and excess heat to escape. A higher temperature will effectively cook the produce rather than dry it. Use parchment paper and the racks provided with the oven. Drying time will vary depending on thickness. Try to be consistent so the pieces will dry at about the same rate. Check the oven from time to time to see how things are going. If your fruit or vegetables have not dried by the end of the day, simply leave them inside the SUN OVEN® over night. Collapse the reflectors and latch the door. The next day, resume drying with the door unlatched. For more details, watch our video on Dehydrating with the Sun Oven®.

After the produce has dried, there are a variety of ways to store them. The figs were packed in FoodSaver® bags and vacuum sealed. The Bay Laurel leaves, were stored in a plastic container. The tomatoes were stored in a glass jar with an oxygen absorber and vacuum sealed. What a great way to increase your food storage, reduce waste, and use the sun’s energy. What are you drying?


Billie Nicholson, editor
August 2014

Other articles in the August 2014 Newsletter include:

Are You Water Competent?

Ebola Update by Dr. Bones


The Fascinating Fig

Sun Oven Demonstrations coming to a location near you

Survival Skills for Teens

Meatless Monday Pasta Sauce

Sun Oven® Demonstrations Coming to a Location Near You

Check your calendar and make your reservations to attend one or more of these upcoming emergency preparedness training expos. We will be there with lectures and demonstrations using the Sun Oven®. Plan to take one home along with lots of other preparedness ideas.

Mid-Atlantic Emergency Preparedness and Survival Expo  August 16-17 Boonsboro MD 

Sun Oven Demonstrations


Prepper Camp™  September 12, 13 & 14, Orchard Lake Campground, Saluda, NC

Sun Oven Demonstrations


Mother Earth News Fair October 25-26, Topeka, KS

Sun Oven Demonstrations

SUN OVENS®, Stored or Used?

Sun Oven storedAre you the proud owner of a SUN OVEN®? We hope you are prepared for emergencies when the power to your cooking appliances is interrupted. There are many situations when we may need an alternative to our ovens and cooktops. The SUN OVEN® is an efficient option in disaster situations and in everyday use, too.

So, having purchased one, have you opened the box to examine and prepare it for use? The All American Sun Oven® ships with a

set of pot and pans that are lightweight graniteware that heat up quickly. The baking pans are non-stick. What did you get? Have you washed them and started using them?  They can be used on a conventional stove or campfire as well. When you first open the package, set it up outside and preheat some soapy water. Steaming this inside the oven will prepare it for use. Once you’ve prepped the oven, why not go ahead and cook something? Our website is jammed with recipes to use. The three drying racks make wonderful supports with parchment paper to hold cookies while they bake.

Are you planning a trip this summer? Will you be cooking? Take your SUN OVEN® with you. It can be used to keep food cool until you’re ready to cook and works great if you’re camping in a no burn area, where campfires are prohibited because of drought.

Look at using your SUN OVEN® as a challenge. How many times can you use it in a week? Take the time to listen to the videos on our website and become familiar with it’s set up and use. Remember familiarity will save you hours of guesswork during stressful times. With the longer sunlight hours of summer and lots of fresh foods available to cook, save some electricity in your home by cooking with solar energy. SUN OVENS® are not just for emergencies. They can be used every day. What is the most unusual thing you’ve cooked in your oven? Send your week’s list to We look forward to reading your mail.

Cheese Production – Made Simple

One of the classes we attended at the Mother Earth News Fair was taught by Gianaclis Caldwell on making quick and simple cheese. We took careful notes and went home to make cottage cheese. We learned the importance of making sure everything is very clean. The longer you plan to cure cheese the more sterile your working conditions need to be. Listeria contamination can a big problem. We assembled a clean steel pan, thermometer, colander and cheese cloth. Ingredients were milk and lemon juice, although you may use any edible acid.

Cheese making

We gently heated 1/2 gallon of milk while stirring until it reached a temperature between 175 -185º F. We removed the heat and added 8 ounces of fresh lemon juice, stirring as the protein clumped together into “curds.” The milk was covered and allowed to cool; then it was strained through several layers of cheese cloth to separate the protein “curds” from the remaining liquid whey. Curds were rinsed in non-chlorinated water, squeezed dry and refrigerated until chilled. Season with salt or add herbs to taste.

Cheese Making

We were amazed at the amount of cheese we recovered. As we examined it, we said, “This looks like more ricotta or farmer’s cheese than cottage cheese.” We immediately knew what to do with it – make lasagna! Alternate layers of homemade sauce, noodles and cheese, ending with cheese. Bake at 350º F in any available oven until hot thorough and cheese melts (about 1 hour). Try not to eat it all in one meal.Lasagna

Photos by: RustyBuggyEnterprises, Inc.

References: Gianaclis Caldwell and Jack Schmidling


Additional Articles in this month’s issue:

Billie Nicholson, Editor
May 2014

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