Search results for: 'solar oven'

  • Resolve to Eat Better

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    I know. I know. You’re groaning, “I make this resolution every year and never keep it.” So let’s broaden the scope. Better doesn't have to mean that you cut calories. What if your resolution to “eat better” combines nutrient-rich food with flavorful food AND uses items in your food storage?  Wouldn't that count as way better? Here are three suggestions for eating better in 2013.


    1.     Sprouts

    Sprouts are awesome. In fact, sprouts are really awesome. Sprouts can grow without dirt or light*, in a very small space, in a few days, without a lot of equipment or time. They can be your fresh vegetable source during an emergency. Sprout seeds can be stored long-term. Most sprouts are packed with nutrients. Some scientists believe that sprouts are powerful cancer fighters, help minimize the symptoms of menopause, and may prevent heart disease.C




    If you’re new to sprouting check out the Kitchen Seed Sprouter (on sale for $10.99). This kit has everything  you need: it comes with draining trays, two sprouting trays, a crisper lid, instructions, and one ounce of certified organic Alfalfa seeds.


    You might also be interested in our new  4-Tray Seed Sprouter. It’s made out of reusable, PBA-free plastic. Your purchase comes with a pack of Alfalfa seeds but look into the Organic Sprouting Seed Combo (radish sprouts are zesty and delicious!). With the 4-Tray Seed Sprouter you can sprout multiple varieties at the same time on separate trays.



    2. Vanilla Powder

    Buy a can of MyChoice™Vanilla Powder and eat better tasting foods. (Imitation vanilla costs $8.49 and pure vanilla costs $19.99.) Use vanilla powder exactly as you would use liquid vanilla (so 1 tsp of powdered vanilla equals 1 tsp of liquid vanilla).

    You can add this to so many things – cobblers, cakes, muffins, sweet bread, smoothies, etc. One benefit of vanilla powder is that it’s less expensive. If you buy liquid vanilla in a grocery store you’ll pay about .22$ per teaspoon. When you use MyChoice™ Vanilla Powder it costs you .06$ per teaspoon. That’s a big savings!


    3.    Pearled Barley and Ground Beef Soup

    Here’s a great recipe that we came up with based on Diana Rattray’s recipe. We used only food storage items and some of the ingredients (beef and barley) are on sale now. Check out our website for pricing.

    Makes approximately ten servings.



    2/3 – 1 cup Provident Pantry freeze-dried chopped onion (I really like onions so I put 1 cup)

    1-2 cups Provident Pantry freeze-dried tomatoes  (depending on how much you like tomatoes)

    Salt and pepper to taste

    16-18 cups of water (depends on how brothy you want to make it, add more if 18 isn’t enough!)



    ¼-1/2 tsp lemon pepper or

    Pinch of cinnamon or

     1 bay leaf

    ¼ cup minced parsley to garnish


    Put water in the slow cooker, solar oven, or whatever cooking equipment you’ll use.  We used a slow cooker. Let the water heat while you’re gathering ingredients. (If you need to add water during cooking, boil the water first if possible; adding cold water will slow down your cooking time.)  Sort and rinse barley; add to cooker. In a large bowl mix the remaining ingredients. Add to cooker and stir.


    Note: Because you’re making a soup you don’t need to rehydrate the ingredients before use. (That’s why this recipe has so much water. ) The ingredients will float until hydrated – so don’t worry if they’re bobbing around. They’ll settle down and turn into a delicious, hearty soup.


    Cook time for slow cooker: Cook on high for 2.5 hours, or until barley is tender.

    Conventional (on the stove):  Bring to a boil then let simmer for 1 hour or until barley is tender.


    You can easily make this a vegetarian recipe. Just substitute lentils for the beef and vegetable broth for the beef broth. (Note:  Our beef broth is vegetarian broth with beef flavor, so technically you can keep this ingredient.)




    * If you grow your sprouts in indirect light, or darkness, expose them to sunlight to develop the chlorophyll. That will pack your spouts with even more nutrition. Check out The Sprouting Book for more information.


    The International Sprout Growers Association cites The Annual Review of Nutrition, Cancer Research, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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  • This week, we are testing out our new SOS Sport Solar Oven. Check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 in our Blog series, where we give you all the details about how this oven works.

    Solar Pot Roast

    Having successfully made a number of great bread-related dishes with the SOS Sport Solar Oven, we decided to try something a little more difficult: A full pot roast, with potatoes and carrots.

    For this one, we really didn't have a recipe. But it went something like this:

    One 3lb roast, un-browned (although you really could brown it on the stove before putting it in the oven if you wanted).

    10 small red potatoes

    3 cups baby carrots

    1 heaping tablespoon Clarified Butter, melted, to grease pans

    1 heaping teaspoon Clarified Butter, melted, drizzled over vegetables

    Garlic Salt, to taste

    Generous dash, Provident Pantry Italian Seasoning

    You can never have too much butter

    We used to Clarified Butter to coat the pans so our food wouldn't stick. We decided to cook the vegetables and the roast in separate pots. The roast got a gentle dusting of garlic salt and herbs, and then went into the pot. The vegetables received the same, but we also decided to drizzle them with a little more butter, because butter is delicious.

    Much like a crock pot, the idea with cooking in a solar oven is to get the food out in the sun and then leave it be. We preheated the oven to about 350 degrees, then threw the roast and vegetables in at about 10:30 AM. And then we went back inside and tried to wait patiently...

    we're not very good at waiting...

    When we put the roast in, without browning it, we caused the temperature to drop by almost 200 degrees. It took a solid hour for it to climb back up to just 250 degrees, where it stayed for the rest of the day.

    We let it all cook for about 6 hours. We did this in part because we wanted to make sure that the roast was completely done. But we also wanted to push the whole "you can't burn things in the solar oven" to its limit. Vegetables don't take nearly as much time to cook as the roast does, and we wanted to see what would happen to them if left in "too long". So around 5:00pm, we went outside to see what happened.

    This happened

    We noticed a buildup of moisture on the inside of the lid. This isn't a huge problem, but it can block sunlight, making it more difficult for the oven to heat up. Luckily we were finished cooking. It is recommended that you simply let the moisture dry on  its own, either by putting the lid back on the oven without any food in it, or leaning the lid against the wall to drip dry. Anyways, back to the food.

    The smell was incredible. The roast was fork tender and delicious. The vegetables were very soft, buttery and delicious. Perhaps they cooked a hair too long (I do prefer them to be a little firmer, personally) but they were not overcooked or burned.

    What we learned today:

    -While not impossible, it certainly is very difficult to burn things in the SOS Sport Solar Oven.

    -Moisture can collect on the lid on cooler days, and needs to be watched for as it can affect cooking.

    -In general, butter really can only make things better.

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  • This week, we are testing out our new SOS Sport Solar Oven. Check out Part 1 and >Part 2 in our Blog series, where we give you all the details about how this oven works.

    Its Pizza time!

    Coming off of our successful experiment in Dinner Rolls, we decided to up the stakes and make a food storage pizza.

    Now, when I say food storage, most peoples think of something like this:

    Pictured: Gruel

    But earlier this year we posted our delicious recipe for a pizza, made with nothing but food storage items. This recipe was so popular we decided to see how it would fare in the SOS Sport Solar Oven.

    We prepared the dough and other ingredients as described in this post. And as you can see, it looked pretty great.

    Like we discussed last time, its important to preheat the oven as hot as you can get it. Its pretty amazing how much heat you lose every time you open the lid.

    I won't go into a lot of details in the preparation. But I will share with you the results!

    Delicious. Not perfect, but pretty dang good. Since the oven cooks at lower temperatures, the pizza dough will rise more before it cooks. We made the mistake of putting the whole thing, toppings and all, into the oven all at once. So the dough rose a bit too much for a traditional pizza. But it was very tasty.

    We also discovered that while you can't really burn things in the SOS Sport Solar Oven, you CAN overcook things. The toppings (specifically the cheese) were in the oven for the same amount of time as the dough, so it became a bit too crispy.

    Overall though, a pretty successful day of solar cooking, using all food storage, and no electricity.

    Things we learned today:

    When you open the oven the first time, you need to add 30 minutes to your cook time. Every time you open the lid after that, add 10-15 minutes.

    When making pizza, pre-bake the dough for about 40 minutes, and then add your toppings for the last 20-30 minutes. This will help you get a more traditional pizza crust.

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    This week, we are testing out our new SOS Sport Solar Oven. Check out Part 1 in our Blog series, where we give you all the details about how this oven works.

    First Attempt: Dinner Rolls

    We keep hearing a lot of contradictory reports about bread and solar ovens: some people say it makes bread perfectly, and other people say that it will make bread, but it wont brown the tops. Opinions vary, and we decided to not take anyone's word for it. So I grabbed a bag of frozen rolls from the freezer (I know, its cheating. Especially when we have a delicious Honey White and Wheat bread mix right next door in the warehouse).

    We preheated the SOS Sport Solar oven by... setting it out in the sun, of all things. After about 30 minutes, we noticed that it wasn't heating up much. We realized this was because we were trying to heat it up without the panels. The panels detach, and are only supposed to be used in the winter or cold days. Since it wasn't very cold outside we didn't think we needed them. So our oven went from this:

    to this:

    With the panels on, we had the oven preheated to about 300 degrees in about 30 minutes. Not bad for just sitting outside on the lawn.

    We greased one of the included pans with our Clarified Butter, and then put the rolls in. It is recommended that you cook everything in black or dark colored pots, as they help absorb the heat better. Even when baking bread, you need to have the lid on the pot so it will trap the heat and moisture.

    We then set them in the oven, re-closing the lid as fast as we could to preserve as much heat as possible. We then made sure the oven was pointed toward the sun, and went back to work.

    We checked the temperature every 30 minutes or so. We discovered that when you put cold food into the oven (such as bread dough that was in the freezer the night before) you can lose as much as 150 degrees in the oven, which will then take longer to regain. After about 45 minutes the oven was back up to about 250, and we let it be for a total of 2 hours and 11 minutes. Feeling slightly nervous, we pulled the bread out and...

    Delicious, golden brown bread. The tops were browned, the bottoms were fluffy. All-in-all, not a bad first attempt at cooking in the SOS Sport Solar Oven.

    What we learned today:

    1. It IS possible to bake bread that browns on top and is delicious in the solar oven.

    2. Preheat the oven as hot as you can (within safety limits), because you will loose a lot of heat when you put your food in.

    3. Use the reflectors in autumn and winter.

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    You may have noticed in this month's catalog a new product: The SOS Sport Solar Oven. We are all really excited about this product over here and can't wait to try it out. So stay tuned this week as we post about all of the tasty things we will make in the new SOS Sport Solar Oven.

    The SOS Sport Solar Oven uses the power of sunlight to heat up and cook food.

    • Use the power of the sun to cook in an emergency
    • Large capacity - holds 2 - 3.4 qt. Pots
    • Long-lasting and efficient
    • Highly weather resistant
    • Complete kit: oven, 2 pots, thermometer, manual, recipe booklet, WAPI (water pasteurization indicator) and solar reflector
    • Lightweight - 10 pounds

    The oven is so easy to use: just put the food in a dark colored pot

    (it comes with two), point it towards the sun, and then walk away. While slight readjustments through out the day will speed up cooking time, they are not necessary. And since the SOS Sport cooks at lower temperatures, you don't have to worry about food burning. Its like cooking in your crock pot on low.

    Another thing I like about this oven is that it only has 3 pieces. The oven, the lid, and the reflector panels. The included pots are a bonus, but not a necessity, as any dark colored cookware with a lid will work. The detachable panels are really only necessary in the winter, to help direct more sunlight into the oven.

    There really isn't anything this oven can't cook. From roasts, fish, chicken and pork, to bread and other baked goods, this oven does it all. The oven uses and traps the natural moisture in the food you are cooking, meaning you don't have to add extra water. This allows food to retain its natural vitamins, minerals and flavor. Since none of the moisture is lost, and it cooks at low temperatures, it is really difficult to burn food in this oven. Usually you run out of sunlight before food gets to the point where it would burn.

    Because it only weighs 10 lbs and is wind and weather resistant, the SOS Sport is the perfect addition to camping trips, beach parties, fishing trips, back yard barbecues and everyday cooking. You no longer have to pack heavy and messy charcoal or flammable fluids. And cooking outside means the house doesn't get hot! You usually end up using more energy to cool down your house than you do to cook your food. Now take the heat outside where it belongs.

    This week, we will be trying a variety of recipes and ideas in the SOS Sport. So stay tuned, and in the meantime, make some suggestions here of things you would like to see us try and cook.


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