Squash Chips

  Squash ChipsWhen they were in abundance at our farmer’s market, I bought a bunch of summer squash. They are not one of my favorite frozen foods. In an attempt to find an alternative way to preserve them, I dehydrated them in our Sun Oven®.  They were sliced in a uniform thickness of 1/4”, spread on parchment paper and sprinkled with seasoned salt and dried oregano. Placed in the Sun Oven® and kept at a temperature of less than 100ºF. by leaving the door propped open, they were dehydrated in 24 hours.

The plan was to store them in glass canning jars, add an oxygen absorber and pull a vacuum seal. That happened on the second batch. The first batch never made it that far. We sampled them and the next thing we knew, we had eaten them all. What a treat! They were better than potato chips and no cooking required. I may never cook summer squash again. Try this and let us know you seasoning recipe.

Squash Chips

Squash Chips

Billie Nicholson, editor
November, 2014

This month’s article includes:

Thanksgiving Day – An American Tradition  a change of economic systems led to this holiday for expressing gratitude  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12222

A Winter “To Do” List  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12232  Don’t let cold weather catch you unprepared.

Use household items to make your own Gel packs for sprains and swollen joints.  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12238

Inviting pests to leave your home this winter, naturally. http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12260

Commit these ground to air emergency codes to memory. You may need them this winter. http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12243

 

Super size your rain water storage  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12265

French style Stew   http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12032

French Style Stew

 

Beef Stew

There’s nothing like a hearty stew on a cold night. And like most stews, this one is even better the next day.

Provençal Beef Stew

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces salt pork or thick cut bacon, diced

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into chunks, patted dry with paper towels

1 large onion, chopped

2 carrots, sliced

2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped

2 teaspoons tomato paste

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup dry red wine

2/3 cup beef broth or stock

1 bouquet garni, (sage, thyme, basil or herbs of choice)

1 small onion, peeled and studded with 2 cloves

grated zest and juice of 1/2 orange

1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the salt pork and cook, stirring often, until browned, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pork to a large pot. In the same skillet, working in batches, brown the meat on all sides, transferring it to the pot as it browns. Add oil as needed. Add the chopped onion to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the carrot and continue cooking until just softened, about 4 more minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and the garlic. Pour the wine and broth over the meat in the pot. Add the onion studded with the cloves and the bouquet garni. Add the vegetable mixture from the skillet. Cover and transfer the pot to the Sun Oven. Cook until the beef is very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove and discard the bouquet garni and the whole onion. Stir in the orange zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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

Ingredients

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

Preparation

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?

Dehydrating

Billie Nicholson, editor
August 2014
DehydrateDehydrate

Other articles in the August 2014 Newsletter include:

Are You Water Competent?

Ebola Update by Dr. Bones

Fasting

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

Meatless Monday Pasta Sauce

Lentil Sauce

This easy to prepare vegetarian pasta topping is a good alternative to traditional meat sauce. Unlike most pasta sauces, it tastes better when served over whole wheat pasta than white.

Easy Sun Oven Lentil Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup dried green lentils, picked over and rinsed

2 1/2 cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional topping

freshly grated Parmesan cheese

chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

In a large pot, combine the lentils and water. Cover and cook in the Sun Oven until the lentils are tender but not falling apart, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the lentils from the Sun Oven and drain. In the same pot, combine the oil, garlic, and tomato sauce. Stir in the cooked lentils. Cover and return the pot to the Sun Oven. Continue cooking until heated through and the flavors have blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over whole wheat pasta or brown rice.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

 

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 editor@sunoven.com. We look forward to reading your mail.

The Cloudy Day Cube Stove

An Inexpensive Back Up For Your Sun OvenIMG_8271

We are often asked for suggestions about preparedness cooking on overcast days and would like to introduce you to the Cloudy Day Cube Stove, a simple, low-cost-solution. The Cloudy Day Cube Stove can cook your food with a wide variety of different fuels and weighs less than one pound.

Sun Ovens International has made a bulk purchase of the last of the American made Cube Stoves.  They are now available at a reduced cost as a backup for your SUN OVEN®.

On days when rain or overcast weather hide the sun, the Cloudy Day Cube Stove is a great solution. The stove is designed for quick, convenient setup and use, and in addition to preparedness cooking, is ideal for camping or hiking. It has been engineered to maximize burning an assortment of different fuels including twigs sticks or wood, charcoal briquettes, Sterno cans, alcohol, solid fuel tablets or QuickStove Fuel Disks.

The Cloudy Day Cube Stove is made of durable aluminized steel. It can be used in 7 different positions to accommodate different needs, such as cooking fast or slow, or cooking in a large pot or small cup.

A Cloudy Day Cube Stove can be used in conjunction with your SUN OVEN®.  A meal can be started on the Cube Stove and when it is half way through cooking, put into your SUN OVEN® to complete the cooking process as it would in a Wonder Box or retained heat cooker.

For a limited time, while supplies last, you can purchase a Cloudy Day Cube Stove Kit with two QuickStove Fuel Disks for less than $30.

To learn more:Cube Stove

CloudyDayCubeStove

Blackberries, Bain or Blessing?

BlackberriesFighting the Briars

For several years we have been fighting with wild blackberry runners growing in our “landscaped bed” of Louisiana Iris and Philodendron. They’d raise their briar covered runners and I’d cut them off. My work did little except keep them pruned. This past winter was an especially cold one. So cold it killed the Philodendron and the Louisiana Iris. With no competition for nutrients, water and sunlight, the blackberries flourished! A few days ago I noticed they were covered in red berries. That got my attention. Figuring I’d have to fight the birds for them, I checked their ripening every few days. Yesterday, I saw they had turned blue-black. They were ready for picking and I was counting my blessings.

Protection from the Briars

My favorite purchase at the Fletcher, NC, Mother Earth News Fair was a pair of Mud Gauntlets. I had originally bought them as defense against the vicious stinging ants we have in Pensacola. Now I had another use for them – retrieving blackberries from the briary blackberry vines.  They worked great, no scratches or snags on my hands and arms. If you are planning to go into wild spaces foraging for berries, be sure to wear leather boots and long trousers.Blackberries

Making Berry Crisps

Soon I had enough berries to do more than get a few seeds in the grooves of my teeth. I could make a berry crisp using a recipe, Individual Solar Oatmeal Berry Crisps, posted by our Solar Chef.

One of the things I really love about solar cooking is you can be creative without fear of making a total flop. I modified Gabrielle’s recipe by using oat flour instead of wheat and substituting chopped pecans for the walnuts. I used a graniteware pan without the lid and baked it in the Sun Oven® at 250ºF for 1.5 hr under partly cloudy skies. We saved a few berries to use as garnish. Try it, you’ll like it. Oh, berry stains on the gloves? No problem, they’re washable.

Blackberries

Photos by: RustyBuggyEnterprises, Inc.

Additional Articles in this month’s issue:

Billie Nicholson, Editor
May 2014

Mother Earth News Fair

Mother Earth News FairCooking with the Sun

The aroma of sweet rolls, loaves of bread and red beans and rice baking in Sun Ovens® attracted many fair attendees to the SUN OVENS® booth at the Mother Earth News Fair. Traveling to Fletcher, NC. in April, Paul and Chris Munsen, of Sun Ovens® International, talked all day for two days. The truck load of ovens we took all found new homes and we took additional orders to ship. Some families bought more than one. Mark your calendars, we’ll be at the MEN fair in Topeka, Kansas  Oct.25 & 26, 2014.

There were over 150 workshops, ranging from livestock butchering to sugar detoxification at the Mother Earth News Fair. With so much to learn, it was necessary to review the schedule and plan our time carefully. In between classes, we visited the myriad of booths, all with things we wanted to take home. My favorite purchase: Mud Gauntlets!

In this month’s issue, we’ll report on some of the classes we attended.

Additional Articles in this month’s issue:

Billie Nicholson, Editor
May 2014

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