Daily Solar Cooking Recipe Blog


Nutty Shroom Burgers

Want a veggie burger that “bleeds”? Enjoy these burgers protein style.


2 cups walnuts, pieces and halves
2 cups chopped mushrooms
1 cup shredded red beet
2 cloves garlic, peeled or ¼ tsp garlic powder
½ cup chopped red onion or 2 TBS dried minced
1 tsp paprika, Hungarian
1 TBS dried parsley of ¼ cup fresh
Iodized sea salt
Cracked black pepper
½ cup finely chopped fresh basil or sage
2 TBS cassava or tapioca flour
Spritzes of avocado oil for pan and hands for mixing

8 romaine leaves
Avocado mayonnaise optional
1 avocado peeled, pit removed and sliced


Put walnuts, mushrooms, beet, garlic, ¼ cup onion, paprika, parsley ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper in a food processor fitted with S-blade. Pulse and blend until blended but still chunky.

Transfer mixture to mixing bowl, stir in basil, remaining onion and flour. Grease hands with oil and knead mixture to fully combine ingredients. Form into 4 inch patties about 1 inch thick.

Spritz inside of pan with oil place burgers and cover with glass lid.

Bake in Sun Oven about 1 hour, adjusting position to maintain temperature. 

Serve each patty on lettuce leaf (protein style), add a dollop of avocado mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste, top with slices of avocado, and cover with second lettuce leaf.

Meat version: Add ½ pound grass-fed ground meat to mixing bowl before forming patties.

  • Modified from The Plant Paradox
      by Steven R. Gundry, MD

Billie Nicholson, Editor
June 2019


Botanical Name: Artemisia dracunculus L.

Common Name: Tarragon

Family: Compositae

Parts Used: Leaves and stems

Native Region:
European continent

Geographic Distribution:
Arrived in England in 1500’s and transported to the Dutch settlements in the New World. Currently found in most of Northern Hemisphere including Europe, Asia, India, western North America and parts of northern Mexico. Written records of Tarragon cultivation date back to 500 B.C. [1]

Botanical Description: Tarragon is a perennial herb cultivated for the use of its aromatic leaves in seasoning, salads, etc., and in the preparation of Tarragon vinegar. It grows to a height of about 2 feet and has long, narrow leaves, which are undivided, alternate, either oblong or lance-shaped. They grow ¾ – 3 ½ inches long. It blossoms in August, the small flowers, in round heads, being yellow mingled with black, and rarely fully open. The roots are long and fibrous, spreading by runners. The fresh leaves have an anise like odor when crushed. [2] Charlemagne, king of the Franks and Holy Roman Empire, liked it so much that he ordered it planted on all his estates. 

Cultivation: Tarragon rarely produces fertile flowers so it is more readily cultivated by division of roots in early spring, or by cuttings. A few young plants should be raids annually to keep up a supply. It loves warmth and sunshine and succeeds best in warm, rather dry situations. Protect the rots during winter to reduce damage due to freezing.[2]

Harvesting Guidelines: Leaves can be picked from mid summer until the end of September. The foliage can be cut and dried in early autumn for use in a dry state later. Beds should be entirely cut down and top dressed to protect from frost. If you need green leaves during winter, dig up a few roots and move them inside. Dry in a well ventilated room and pack away as soon as dry to avoid reabsorption of moisture.

Constituents: Fresh leaves possess an essential volatile oil, which if used extensively, has been shown in animal experiments to carcinogenic. The main essential oils in tarragon are estragole (methyl chavicol), cineol, ocimene and phellandrene. [6] It is a rich source of the B-complex vitamins, and contains a large amount of niacin and thiamin, vitamins A and C. [3] And an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper potassium and zinc. [6]

Culinary Uses: Leaves should be washed under running water to remove dirt, other impurities, or pesticides. Add it in small amounts to dishes at the last minute to retain the most flavor and taste. It can be used as an ingredient in green salads. It pairs well with eggs and doesn’t mix well with other flavors besides lemon. [4] The dried leaves can be used to marinate meat, poultry, fish and lamb dishes; also to flavor sauces and soups. [3]

Tarragon Vinegar – Pick just before flowering on a dry day. Remove the leaves from the stalks, and allow them to dry a little. Then place in a wide mouthed jar, cover with best quality white vinegar, and allow to stand some hours. Strain and cork the bottles. [2]


Classic Bernaise Sauce [7]

Seared Chicken Breasts with Quick Pan Sauce [7]

Creamy Tarragon Salad Dressing [7]

Herbs de Provence [8]

Tarragon and Spice Deviled Eggs [8]

Medicinal Uses:

  • Improved Digestion – the oils in Tarragon trigger the body’s natural digestive juices, sparking the appetite, and assisting in the digestive process with the production of gastric juices and stimulating peristaltic motion in the intestine. [4]
  • Better Sleep – some herbalists recommend tarragon tea before bed to calm the nervous system and encourage a restful sleep. Use 1 teaspoon of fresh leaves to one cup of hot water. [4]
  • Spring Blood Thinner – Tarragon’s aroma relaxes and dilates blood vessels, improving circulation. It also reduces platelet adhesion and the clogging of blood vessels. [5]
  • Encourages Menstruation – Herbalists recommend using tarragon to encourage menstruation and help maintain overall health of the female reproductive tract. There is no scientific research to back up this claim, so to be on the safe side, don’t overdo it or take it as a supplement if you’re pregnant or nursing. [4]
  • Toothache Remedy –  Traditional herbal medicine has utilized fresh tarragon leaves as a hoe remedy for toothache relief throughout history. The high levels of eugenol, a naturally occurring anesthetic chemical,  provide this pain-relieving effect. [4]
  • Fights Bacteria – The essential oil of tarragon has proven antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. [4]

Disclaimer – Sun Ovens International, Inc. provides this information for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. For personal medical advice, please consult your physician.

One last note, there are many other plants with a tarragon name: Russian, Texas, Mexican. These plants can be used as a tarragon substitute but they are not the same as French Tarragon.


  1. https://ayurvedamedicare.com/herbs/tarragon/

2.  https://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/t/tarrag07.html

3.   https://brightwhiz.com/tarragon/

4.   https://draxe.com/tarragon/

5.   https://www.joyfulbelly.com/Ayurveda/ingredient/Tarragon/37

6.   https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/tarragon-herb.html

7.   https://www.thespruceeats.com/tarragon-recipes-and-cooking-tips-1807991 

8.   https://www.allrecipes.com/recipes/1075/ingredients/herbs-and-spices/herbs/tarragon/

Billie Nicholson, Editor
April 2019


10 Healthy Herbs to Grow and Cook with at Home

Azure standard.com

Cooking with the seasons and eating at home is a huge money saver and an excellent way to get all the nutrients your body needs from a seasonally varied diet. To make their cooking even more exciting and healthful, and to save even more money, many Azure customers are growing their own herbs and adding them to their family’s meal plan. Herbs are some of the most rewarding plants to grow in a garden, and many grow well in pots as indoor house plants, so there is no reason to be intimidated by the thought.

People have been growing herbs since ancient times, prizing them for their powerful healing properties, and many culinary, medicinal, aromatic and ornamental applications. Today, modern nutrition science is validating their many beneficial properties, and discerning chefs are adding specialty herbs and edible flowers to their signature dishes. We know that herbs are full of crucial phytochemicals that support good health and provide protection against many diseases. And because herbs are a low-calorie food, they are, calorie for calorie, some of the most nutrient-dense superfoods available.

Herbs are a wise addition to anyone’s diet rotation. It’s fun and easy to add herbs to your diet by generously “herbing” common dishes such as frittatas and omelets, rice, sauces, and beverages.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the 10 best, and easiest, herbs to grow at home.


Basil is a fragrant annual bushy herb that is very easy to grow in a sunny spot in your garden or in a large pot. It likes well-drained, moist, loamy soil, but will grown in less ideal conditions if watered regularly and fertilized with compost about once a month. It loves heat and full sun, and will grow fast once the temperatures reach 80-90 degrees.

There are many different varieties of basil — more than 150! — such as sweet basil, Thai basil, holy basil, lemon basil, cinnamon basil and purple basil to name but a few. If your pot is large enough, you can plant a few varieties together and enjoy a selection of flavors at your fingertips.

Basil contains many crucial phytonutrients that promote health. Its flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that provide protection against radiation and oxygen-based damage. Its fragrant volatile oils have antibacterial properties, and have been shown to restrict the growth of numerous bacteria in lab studies. It can also provide anti-inflammatory benefits including symptomatic relief for rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel conditions. It is a good source of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that prevents free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol. It is also a good source of magnesium, which promotes relaxation of muscles and blood cells, thereby improving circulation and lessening the risk of irregular heart rhythms. Basil also contains vitamin K and C, manganese, copper, calcium, iron, folate and omega-3 fatty acids.

Use it to make pesto (freeze some to have all winter), in pasta sauces and on pizzas. Basil is also an excellent addition to summer smoothies and lemonades.Chives

Chives are a mild member of the onion family. It is tough, forgiving and an-easy-to-grow herb. For the best growth, plant it in rich, well-drained soil in a sunny spot in the garden or flower bed, or in a pot. It is hardy, however, and will withstand poor soil, though this will slow its growth. Water chives regularly until it has become well-rooted, then fertilize with 20-20-20 or fish emulsion (GP561) once a month. Both the leaves and the striking purple flowers are edible. Snipping the flower buds off will yield more stalks, but the flowers are so attractive that many gardeners, home cooks and professional chefs enjoy letting the chives bloom.

Chives are high in flavonoids that help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It also helps prevent plaque buildup in arteries. Its antioxidants have properties that help provide cancer protection. It contains potassium, iron and calcium, vitamins K, A and C, folate, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin. Thanks to its high vitamin C content, chives may be an effective cold remedy and can also relieve a stuffy nose. In addition, traditional folk remedies use chives to ease upset stomachs, relieve gas, stimulate digestion and treat anemia.

Chives can be added to numerous dishes that benefit from a mild onion flavor. It is of course a classic topping for baked potatoes but can be added to salads, omelets, seafood and other favorite recipes.


Cilantro is a perennial herb that is grown as an annual. It likes full sun, and fast draining, fertile, moist soil. It grows fast as the weather warms up, so it has a short harvest season and has to be succession planted if you want to enjoy a longer season. Cilantro likes the cooler weather of spring and fall, while summer heat will make it go to seed. This is totally fine as cilantro seeds are edible (the seeds are called coriander) and delicious!

If planted in its own corner of the garden, you can simply use the “harvest and ignore” method.

“You should be aware that cilantro that is allowed to go to seed spreads quite easily and may pop up all over the garden,” said Signore.

Harvest no more than two-thirds of the plant at once when it is about 9 to 15 inches tall, cutting the stems close to the ground. Ignore the remaining one-third of the plant, so it can go to seed. It will keep growing and can become 5 to 7 feet tall. This allows the plant to self sow. When the seeds have dropped, you can cut away the tall stems to make room for new tender growth. Or, you can harvest some of the seeds, too, and have green coriander for your cooking. Signore said green coriander is quite in demand among her chef clientele. In mild climates, cilantro may continue producing as it tolerates mild frost and makes a beautiful backdrop in the garden with its umbels of small white or pink flowers.

Cilantro has numerous health benefits thanks to its superfood phytonutrient profile. It contains many volatile oil compounds, antioxidant polyphenolic flavonoids, vitamins and minerals. 100 g of cilantro only provides 23 calories, but provides appx 225% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, essential for healthy skin, mucosa and vision, and 258% of vitamin K, which promotes bone mass building. It also contains dietary fiber thought to be good for reducing LDL or “bad cholesterol.”

Cilantro is used to enhance salsas, guacamole, and as a garnish, but if you really want to up your cilantro intake, you can make cilantro pesto or chimichurri to enjoy over seafood, meat or vegetable dishes.


Dill grows best from seeds, so plant your dill in a spot in the garden that receives direct sun and has rich, well-drained soil. Dill stems can get quite tall, and its delicate whips leaves make a beautiful backdrop against a fence with lower plants in front. It does best in mild temperatures, so plant it in spring and fall to avoid peak summer heat. It is an annual plant that dies once the first frost arrives, so if you allow some of your last plants to go to seed,  it will often regrow from the fallen seeds the next spring again. Like cilantro, dill seeds are also commonly used as a seasoning, so you can harvest some of the seeds too.

Like many other herbs, dill is packed with phytochemicals that offer protection against free radicals and carcinogens. Its volatile oils make it a “chemoprotective” food that helps neutralize some carcinogens. It is also anti-bacterial and can prevent bacterial overgrowth. Dill is also a good source of calcium, dietary fiber, manganese, iron and magnesium.

Add dill to potato salads, green salads, egg salads, and herbed veggie dips. Enjoy dill on gravlax along with new potatoes.


Marjoram is an easy-to-grow, drought-tolerant, low-maintenance kitchen herb. It requires very little care, watering or fertilizing. It is a perennial, but because it is quite tender it will not withstand a frost, so it is typically grown outdoors as an annual. It makes for attractive edging or even ground cover in the garden. You can also easily grow it indoors like a house plant. Because it is quite slow growing, it is best to grow it from starts rather than seed, and to trim off its knot-like flower buds as they appear so the plant continues to grow.

Marjoram has been prized for its numerous health benefits since ancient times. It is packed with phytonutrients like antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It has antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties that can fight against a variety of common infections. It is also anti-inflammatory and thought to relieve several digestive complaints such as nausea and flatulence.

When harvesting marjoram, pick shoots right before the flower buds begin to open or the herb’s flavor will turn bitter. Bundle the cuttings and hang them to dry for 7 to 10 days in a dark place. When dried, remove the leaves from the stems and store in an airtight spice jar.

Its flavor is similar to oregano, but sweeter and milder, and can be used fresh to flavor various dishes like soups, meats, salads, pasta and vegetable dishes. Use it to make dressings, sauces and marinades. It can also be steeped and brewed into a healthy tea.


Mint is another herb that is very easy to grow — sometimes too easy as it sends out runners both beneath and above the ground and spreads very fast. Because of this, it is best grown contained in a pot or in a location that keeps it from spreading too far and choking out other plants. It is wonderful planted along pathways where it can release its cool uplifting scent when you walk by. Mint likes full or partial sun and will grow vigorously on its own in most soil types. If you harvest sprigs frequently, it benefits from being fertilized every few weeks.

There are many different varieties of mint. Two of the most popular varieties are peppermint and spearmint, which both provide a cool refreshing taste that is appreciated on hot summer days.

Mint is knows for its many soothing digestive benefits. It is often taken as a tea to relieve GI upset, such as IBS, indigestion and reduce nausea. It is also known for opening up airways and making breathing easier, which can benefit asthmatics. Mint has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties as well, and contains many essential nutrients.

Fresh mint is a traditional complement to lamb dishes, and delicious in a minty melon salad and many beverages such as lemonade, punch and tea.


Oregano is a hardy, drought-tolerant herb that is very easy to care for. It likes full sun and well-drained soil, and will tolerate drought well. It does not need much fertilizing either, and will happily grow in poor soil. It is perennial and can overwinter — just cut it down and mulch it, or bring it indoors if grown in a pot to enjoy it year round.

The leaves can be harvested as soon as the plant is about 6 inches tall. For best flavor, harvest the leaves as soon as you see the flower buds form. Like marjoram, you can easily dry oregano and store its leaves long-term for cooking.

Oregano is frequently used to spice up various Italian dishes and meats. The Sarah’s Starts variety imparts a mellower flavor than its intense cousin, Greek oregano. Fresh leaves have more intense flavor than dried, so you may want to harvest and dry your oregano.


Parsley is easy to grow in a window indoors with morning sun or in a sunny or partially sunny spot in the garden. It is a  hardy herb that tolerates poor soil and drainage, but it is always a good idea to give it well draining soil rich in organic matter. Once established, it requires very little maintenance other than occasional watering — and weeding if grown in the garden. Mulching reduces the need for both of these tasks. Parsley is a biennial herb in mild climates and an annual in colder climates, so it will need to be replanted or allowed to go to seed so it can self sow if you want to keep enjoying it.

There are two common varieties of parsley: flat leaf parsley, and curly (common) parsley, which is more commonly used as a garnish.

Both kinds of parsley are powerhouses of nutrition, full of antioxidant polyphenolic flavonoids, vitamins, minerals and volatile oil compounds that boost health and prevent disease. It helps flush out excess fluid from the body and supports kidney function.* It can help control blood pressure, relieve joint pain, relax stiff muscles and ease digestion. Like dill, it is also considered to be “chemoprotective.”

Keep parsley on hand, chopped and frozen to use as a garnish on all your food. Use its stems to make broth from kitchen scraps. To increase your intake of parsley, consider making parsley pesto, chimichurri, and adding it to green salads, such as this Mediterranean lentil salad.


Another hardy perennial herb that is so easy to grow in mild climates is sage. In hotter, more humid climates it is usually grown as an annual in fall and winter since it does not tolerate heat and humidity very well. It likes full sun, and well-drained, loamy, sandy soil, but will tolerate poorer conditions. It is wonderful in pots and in the garden as it produces abundant fragrant leaves and attractive purple flowers that are alluring to bees.

Sage has several health benefits and a long history of being used to treat ailments from GI discomfort to mental health disorders. It improves brain function and memory, and has been studied as a treatment for Alzheimer’s. It has also been shown to lower blood sugar in patients with diabetes, and can also help lower LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and increase HDL (the good cholesterol). Like other herbs, sage is packed with antioxidants that help protect the body against damage by free radicals, which can cause impaired immunity, cell death and chronic diseases.

Sage is a classic culinary herb used in stuffings, sauces, sausages and as poultry seasoning. Its fragrant leaves can be used fresh or dried for winter seasonings. If using the leaves fresh, it is nice to sauté them first in butter, to bring out their flavor. Sage can also be preserved in butter and frozen for later use.


Thyme is a very popular perennial culinary herb that has more than 400 subspecies. It has been used since ancient times both as a powerful medicine and as a culinary herb. Thyme grows well in a garden, along walkways and fences, and in pots. It does best in full sun, in well drained soil, and is easy to grow because it needs very little maintenance other than some light pruning after the first year. It is a low-growing, evergreen landscape plant with pink flowers that attract bees.

Thyme is a real powerhouse of nutrition. One of its many volatile oils, thymol, is well known for its powerful antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral properties. (The ancient Egyptians even used thyme for embalming!) Thyme has several phenolic antioxidants and is one of the richest sources of many vitamins and minerals, such as B-complex vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamins A, K, E and C, folate, potassium, iron, calcium, selenium and magnesium. All these phytonutrients combine to make thyme very effective at boosting immunity, stopping coughing fits, lowering blood pressure, treating acne, repelling mosquitoes and pests, and disinfecting mold spores. Thyme is also a feel good herb and can help elevate your mood thanks to its vitamin B6 content, which directly affects neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for stress levels.

Harvest thyme sprigs as you need them, and strip the leaves from the stems before using in soups, sauces, stews, and slow-cooker meals.

Herbs are a must-have for any kitchen gardener or home chef, and add both flavor and nutrition to meals.

They are fun and easy to grow, and require minimal maintenance other than watering, fertilizing, and clipping once established. Many herbs are perennial, and come back year after year, so they are an extremely cost effective way to have access to fresh herbs that grace the dishes of discerning restaurant chefs. We hope we have inspired you to try growing your own herbs at home and enriching your family’s home cooked meals.

*Parsley is high in oxalates, so it can exacerbate kidney problems for those with pre-existing kidney conditions. Consult your doctor or health care provider before increasing your intake of parsley.

Editor’s Note: The recommendations listed here do not replace a care provider’s advice. Consult your care provider if you are pregnant or nursing before consuming any of the above plants. The statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. 


Millet / Butternut Squash with Kale & Chard

Sun Oven Recipe

Photo: RustyBuggy.com

For a satisfying gluten-free meal, enjoy this dinner without meat or sauté some chicken in avocado oil and coco-amines.


1 cup Millet – toasted in a dry skillet
1 tsp chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups hot water
1 tsp iodized sea salt
1 tsp summer savory

4 cups torn and de-stemmed kale/Swiss chard mix

1 peeled butternut squash cut into 1” slices and de-seeded
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp fenugreek
1 Tbs cinnamon
1 tsp iodized sea salt


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

After toasting millet, add 1 tsp chicken or vegetable stock in 2 cups hot water. Season and place in Sun Oven.

In second pan, top torn greens with sliced butternut squash. Cover with coconut milk and season.

Stack pots in Sun Oven and bake for ~2 hours. Stir millet midway. Test squash with fork for doneness.

Serve veggies over millet and spoon coconut cream over all.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Billie Nicholson, Editor
March 2019

Situational Awareness – Local Iconography


Photo by Billie Nicholson

Have you ever given any thought to the symbols, graffiti or the clothing worn by people around you? These items are considered icons and are used to communicate beliefs and affiliations. Gangs, insurgents, terrorist groups, and individuals use iconography as a symbol of group unity, for rapid recognition by other members, and to communicate their beliefs to the larger populace. Observing the presence or absence of icons can be a key to situational awareness.[1]

In their book, Left of Bang, Patrick Van Horne and Jason Riley define an icon as any symbol used to convey a person’s or group’s presence, beliefs or affiliations. These are used to draw allies, get new converts, intimidate or repel enemies and to further an agenda. They often communicate complex messages with simple images in an environment. Citizens can use iconography to understand what things are important in an area to individuals and groups.[2]

Iconography can be divided into two parts: icons that appear on people and in the environment. Geographically, iconography can tell us the intent or beliefs of those who imprinted it, whether the groups in the area are in conflict and the relationship between the people living there and the people who left the iconography. There is a significant difference between allowing these icons to remain in place and taking action to remove them. Is there tolerance and acceptance or one of resistance or dissociation from the “artists?” The iconography on an individual provides important information – their beliefs, associations, and their perceived status. Icons are important to the individual, but even more so to the criminal.[3]

There are three main categories of iconography to be aware of: graffiti, tattoos, and clothing and other artifacts.

  • Graffiti-any writing or drawing on a public space without permission of the owner. There are three types of graffiti 
    • Territorial-tagging done by groups to define a territory 
    • Political and ideological-expressing some political or belief statement
    • Threatening-menacing or intimidating[4]
    • Flags and colors have meaning and send messages
  • Tattoos-are permanent and often possess significant meaning to the wearer. They are meant to gain attention and send a message.[5]
  • Clothing and other artifacts-branding for group identity, providing a sense of unity and solidarity and are used to communicate messages.[6]

Spend a little time as you walk or ride around a community studying the iconography. You will learn some interesting things.


  1. Van Horne, Patrick and Riley, Jason A., Left of Bang. New York: Black Irish Entertainment LLC, 2014, 68
  2. Ibid., 131
  3. Ibid., 132
  4. Ibid., 133
  5. Ibid., 134
  6. Ibid., 136

Billie Nicholson,Editor
August 2018

Sun Oven® Demonstrated During Sacred Heart Hospital “Earth Week”

As part of the Ascension Medical Systems, Sacred Heart Hospital celebrated Earth Week to promote caring for our planet. Sun Oven® shared energy saving solutions using the sun to provide free energy for cooking. The fragrance of black beans and rice cooking in the hospital courtyard drew the attention of hospital visitors and staff. Folks can order and save here: Earth Week

Earth WeekEarth Week







Billie Nicholson, Editor
June 2018

Solar Roasted Beets – the Start to Pickled Ones


Solar roasted beets


 7-8 freshly harvested beets, washed


Pickling solution

1 cup vinegar (white or cider)

½ cup sugar

1 ½ tsp whole clovers

1 ½ tsp whole allspice

1 tsp crushed bay leaves

½ tsp salt


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Cut off green tops except for 1” of stems from beets; wash thoroughly.

Place in preheated SunOven® and bake until glass is steam covered (maintain temperature of 325º F by rotation), about two hours.

Allow to cool, then peel and cut into ½” slices.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar and spices. Bring to a boil and maintain boiling for 5 minutes.

Put sliced beets into a glass jar, pour pickling solution over them. Place a rigid plastic form over beets to keep them submerged. Refrigerate for several days before tasting.

Keep stored in refrigerator.

solar roasted beetsNote:

Sandwich pictured is SunOven® baked meatloaf, served cold with lettuce and mayonnaise on your choice of bread.

Photos by RustyBuggy.com



Billie Nicholson, Editor
June 2018

Solar Cooking – Zucchini Lasagna – Off Grid with Doug & Stacy


WOW, another GREAT MEAL in the ALL AMERICAN SUN OVEN. This lasagna made with zucchini was THE BOMB. It’s Gluten-free! We love cooking with the All American Sun oven on the off grid homestead and you will love it at your home too!


2 large zucchini sliced lengthwise (~ 1/2 “ thick)

1 tbs coconut oil

1 cup tomato sauce or paste

2 Tbs dried herb mix (like herbs d’ Provence – oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme)

1 lb ground beef – browned in skilled with 1 large onion

1 cup sour cream

1 egg

1 cup mozzarella cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

5 slices Gouda cheese



Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Pre-grease pan with coconut oil. Then spread some tomato paste/sauce in bottom of pan. Add herbs and blend. Then layer zucchini in tightly. Top with ground beef and onion sautè. Add egg and blend with sour cream. Layer this in next. Add mozzarella  cheese. Then repeat layers to use all ingredients. Top with Gouda slices. Cook 1 hour covered, uncover and continue another hour, or until zucchini is tender and most moisture has been evaporated/absorbed. Let sit for a few minutes before slicing. 

Serves 4


For Stacy’s detailed instructions listen here

Apple Kraut

Fermenting Apples and Cabbage

Ingredients:apple kraut

2 small green cabbages, or 1 very large
1 small red cabbage
4-5 apples
1 jicama (optional)
2 Tbsp sea or Kosher salt


  1. Peel off the outer leaves of the cabbages. Quarter the cabbage and remove the core. Slice or chop the cabbage. (If using a food processor, set on the largest slice setting.) Many recipes call for finely slicing or chopping the cabbage, but I prefer larger pieces.
  2. Transfer the shredded cabbage to a large bowl with plenty of space for you to get your hands in and mix it around. Salt the chopped cabbage. Massage the salt into the cabbage to draw the water out. A great shortcut to doing this is to massage your cabbage for a few minutes, walkaway for 30 minutes, have lunch, come back and voila – most of this work will be done for you. What you are looking for is for all the water to be drawn out of the cabbage by the salt and to start seeing a salt-water brine starting to form at the bottom of the bowl. You will need enough brine to cover your sauerkraut in the vessel you will be using to ferment it.
  3. Grate, julienne, or chop the apples and jicama. Keep the apple/jicama and cabbage separate.
  4. Once you’ve got your cabbage massaged, gently mix in your grated apple until it is combined evenly. Now its ready to go into a container. Jam it in tightly using a wooden spoon or a mortar.
  5. Add filtered water to cover. Add something heavy and inert to keep the pieces under the salt solution.
  6. Check the vegetables every day to make sure they are fully submerged in the brine. If they have risen above the brine, simply push them down so they are fully covered by the brine.

Benefits of Sauerkraut’s Pro-biotics

First and foremost, sauerkraut’s live and active pro-biotics have beneficial effects on the health of your digestive tract — and therefore the rest of your body, too. That’s because a very large portion of your immune system actually lives within your gut and is run by bacterial organisms, what you can think of as “your gut’s bugs” that live within your intestinal flora.
After eating foods like sauerkraut that provide pro-biotics, these gut bugs take up residence on the lining and folds of your intestinal walls. They also act like your first line of defense against various harmful bacteria or toxins that enter your body. Some beneficial pro-biotic bacteria found in sauerkraut and other cultured veggies are more or less permanent residents because they form long-lasting colonies. Others come and go more quickly but still have important anti-inflammatory effects.
The good bacteria living in someone’s healthy gut-environment have been proved to be crucial for lowering the risk of just about every form of acute or chronic illness there is. This is due to pro-biotics’ direct and indirect influences on various organs and systems, especially the rate at which your body produces inflammation and controls hormone production. The “good bacteria” and other organisms living within your gut might as well be considered an organ in their own right, because they’re critically important to the health of your brain, hormones, heart, lungs, liver and digestive organs. The latest science tells us that pro-biotic-rich foods can help:

  • Improve immune function, since they create a barrier against potential invaders including “bad bacteria” like pathogens, viruses, fungi and parasites
  • Aid in digestion and the absorption of various nutrients
  • Detoxify the body, since pro-biotics help prevent infections and combat toxins living within your digestive tract
  • Support brain function and cognitive health, even helping to prevent dementia, treat Alzheimer’s disease. and stave off memory loss
  • Handle stress through the “gut-brain” connection, your microflora’s effects on your endocrine (hormonal) system
  • Control inflammation that is at the root of most diseases

Billie Nicholson, Editor
November 2016

Powdered Milk Recipes

Here are a variety of ways to use powdered milk from your food storage. We’ve also included instructions on how to make some basic mixes that can be stored for quick use. Check out Magic Mix.

To download: Powdered Milk Recipes

Magic Mix*
2 1/3 cup powdered milk
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temperature

Take out your mixer with beaters. Combine dry milk, flour and butter into a large bowl. Mix well. Store tightly covered in refrigerator. Use this mix to make creamy white sauces, gravy, condensed soups, pudding and even fudgesicles.

White Sauce
2/3 cup Magic Mix
1 cup water

In saucepan combine Magic Mix and water. Stir rapidly with a wire whisk over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Use in any recipe calling for a white or cream sauce.

Magic Mix Pudding
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup Magic Mix
2-3 Tbs Cocoa (optional)
2 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine Magic Mix, sugar and cocoa in saucepan and mix well. Add water, stir over medium heat until pudding bubbles. Add vanilla and beat. Cover and cool.

Cheeseburger Mac ‘n Cheese
2 cup white sauce from Magic Mix
2 cup uncooked macaroni
2 cup cheese
1-2 tsp salt or garlic salt (optional)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 Tbs yellow mustard
1 lb. cooked ground beef
1/4 cup dehydrated onions (re-hydrate in 1/2 cup warm water, then drain)
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
Cook macaroni in boiling water until tender. Cook hamburger while macaroni cooks. Drain macaroni and make white sauce in empty pot. Combine all ingredients and heat through. Garnish with fresh tomatoes.

* Thanks to Crystal Godfrey for these ideas

Hot or Cold Chocolate Mix
5 cups instant powdered milk
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
Optional: 1/2 cup non dairy creamer

Mix ingredients together and store in air tight container

To use: Mix 1/2 cup of mix to 1 cup hot water. Stir until dissolved. Add more water to taste. Chill milk if you want it cold.

2 cups 115ºF water
3 T. heaping, plain yogurt or yogurt starter**
1 1/2 cup dry milk powder or 3 cup instant (instant makes a sweeter yogurt)

Put water in blender. Add powdered milk slowly until smooth. Add yogurt and blend. Pour into yogurt maker. Let yogurt sit over night in fridge to thicken before adding sweetners.
** Always use pure cultured plain yogurt as a starter. Save a portion of your culture to start the next batch.

Cream of Chicken Soup Mix***
2 cups non-fat dry milk powder
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup instant reduced sodium chicken or beef bouillon granules
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1/4 tsp white pepper

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. Add or adjust spices as desired. To prepare, combine 1/3 cup mix and 1 1/4 cup water together in sauce pan. Whisk until smooth and slowly heat until thickened. One recipe replaces one can cream of chicken soup.

*** Thanks to Linda Larsen

Peanut Butter Energy Balls****
1 cup old-fashioned oats, gluten-free
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbs non-fat dry milk powder
1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips (optional)
For rolling: sweetened coconut flakes

In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients, except those for rolling, until throughly mixed. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for about 1 hour to make it easier to roll. Roll into approximaely 18 balls. Eat them as is or roll in coconut flakes. Store in refrigerator for up to one week.

****Thanks to Linda Warren

Homemade Pancake Mix^
Dry Mix
7 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (scoop and level)
1 3/4 cups dry non-fat milk powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup baking powder
1 1/2 Tbs salt

Ingredients to prepare pancakes
1 1/3 cups water
3 Tbs butter (or vegetable oil)
1 large egg

To make mix – in a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, dry milk, sugar, baking powder and salt for 1 1/2 minutes to evenly distribute everything. Store in an airtight container and keep up to 8 months if you can.

To make pancakes – Preheat griddle to 400ºF In a large mixing bowl whisk together water, oil, and egg until well blended (premelt butter). Add in 2 cups pancake mix and whisk until combined (may still be slightly lumpy). Pour batter 1/3 cup at a time onto griddle. Cook until bottom is golden brown, flip and cook other side. Serve with butter and maple syrup or powdered sugar and fresh fruit.

^ Thanks to Jaclyn at Cooking Classy

Billie Nicholson, editor
July 2016
Every Needful Thing Newsletter
Sun Ovens International, Inc.

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