Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Making Whipped Cream

making whipped cream

Whipped Cream

2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 tablespoon honey

Mix cream with a mixer, slowly adding vanilla and honey.

Whip until the right consistency for whipped cream (being careful not to over whip).

Variation: Add 1/8 teaspoon of almond extract.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cooking in Sun Oven: Rhubarb Pie

Using the Global Sun Oven - Solar Cookerhas been the highlight of the summer. We have baked everything from cookies, pies and breads to casseroles and roasts. Here is a pie we did earlier this summer.

Cheatin' Rhubarb Pie Recipe

cheatin' rhubarb pie in sun oven

cheatin rhubarb pie

The biggest thing we have learned about using the sun oven is patience, some things cook as fast as a recipe calls for, some faster, and some a lot slower. Remember, the sun is in control, not you!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Easy Baking Recipes, Breakfast: Basic Muffin

basic muffin

We love this muffin as a simple, easy to make muffin. We sometimes dip them into a bowl of maple syrup, or serve them with home-made jam.

Basic Muffin

½ cup milk
1 egg
1 ½ cup flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon honey

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a muffin tin.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well moistened. Fill muffin cups almost full.

Bake about 15 to 18 minutes.

Remove from pan and cool on a cooling rack.

Yeild: 5 muffins

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Baking Bread In A Solar Oven

Bread Cooked in Sun Oven

Baking Bread In A Solar Oven

I have had to "sneak" in using my solar oven, between the rain, clouds and my schedule. I did, however, make a wonderful loaf of bread last week.

I used the recipe for our "One Rise Bread"

There were some clouds that day, so the oven temp. wasn't as consistent as when I cooked the chicken. The temperature stayed around 325 degrees Fahrenheit, so I just let the bread cook about 15 minutes longer than usual.

Bread Cooking In Sun Oven

I was very happy with the results!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Making Vanilla Ice Cream

There are some technologies I love, and my ice cream freezer is one. It doesn't use much electricity or take very much time to make wonderful (organic), wholesome ice cream.

home made vanilla ice cream

Vanilla Ice Cream


3 cups cream
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla


Warm one cup of cream enough to dissolve honey. Allow to cool.

Combine honey/cream with the rest of the cream and vanilla, mix well.

Be sure the mixture is cold before adding to ice cream freezer.
pouring ingredients into the ice cream freezer, vanilla ice cream

Freeze according to manufactures instructions.

vanilla ice cream, in the freezer

vanilla ice cream, ready to come out of freezer

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cooking Chicken In A Solar Oven

Chicken in the Sun Oven

A few weeks ago was the first chance I got to use our newGlobal Sun Oven® and I cooked a chicken. It came out great, only problem was that I forgot to take photos. So, last weekend I did another one.

Cooking a whole chicken in the Sun Oven was so easy....I put the chicken in a covered glass dish, put some seasoning (paprika and oregano and garlic) on top, put on the cover and set the dish in the oven.

I did preheat the oven up to 350 degrees, but not sure if this step was really necessary. Every 30 minutes or so I went out to be sure the oven was facing the sun all right and made adjustments when necessary.

The first chicken I let cook for about 4 hours. The baking dish was full of wonderful juices and the chicken was falling off the bone. The second time I let it cook about 3 hours. We had more clouds on the second try, but the meat was still falling off the bones and just as tender as you could want.

Chicken in Sun Oven

Today I have a leg of lamb in the Sun Oven. We have more clouds than sun, so I am not sure how long it will take to cook. I have a thermometer in the meat, so I will keep my eye on that.

Lamb in the Sun Oven

Can't wait to try cookies and breads! I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Easy Baking Recipes, Desserts: Carob Cookies

Carob Cookies

A friend of mine tried these cookies....she told me,"They aren't very pretty, but they are the best carob cookies I have ever had." Quite a complement, and I was very pleased. I hope you will enjoy as much as she did.

Carob Cookies:

¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup honey
2 eggs
2/3 cup brown rice flour or www flour; see note
¼ cup carob powder
1 tablespoon instant coffee or coffee substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake approximately. 8 minutes.

Yield: 16 cookies

NOTE: White whole wheat flour or all purpose flour can be used.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Easy Baking Recipes, Desserts: Brownies



½ cup butter (1 stick); melted
½ cup honey
2 eggs
½ cup flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup walnuts; chopped, (Optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease an 8 x 8 pan.

Combine melted butter, honey and eggs in a bowl and mix well.

Combine the rest of the ingredients and stir until blended.

Pour batter into pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

Killer Brownies

Thursday, March 3, 2011

New Life For an Old Floor; A Chemical Free Way Using Olive Oil.

When we built our house we used pine boards for the flooring, and they looked beautiful. But, over the years they have gotten worn, stained and scratched.

I have a strong sensitivity to chemicals, so I have been trying to figure out what to use on them. I looked into low/zero voc finishes and discovered that they were just too expensive for the amount of floor space I had to cover, so I decided to give olive oil a try.

I read quite a while ago about making a furniture polish from vegetable oil and lemon juice (the lemon juice smells good and is supposed to help keep the oil from going rancid). I didn't want to use vegetable oil because most (unless they are organic) are made from GMO corn or soy beans, and I don't want to support that industry. That is why I decided to try the olive oil (plus I had some here and didn't have to drive to the store).

I poured some oil into a used yogurt container and added a few drops of lemon essential oil (again, because I had some here) and got started. I used a rag and applied the oil on my hands and knees, but I think a sponge mop would work fine. The night before I had done a small spot to see how it would be after sitting over night. It looked great.

It took me about a week to do most of the house (I still have a little more to do) because I did just an area at a time. I didn't want to have to move large pieces of furniture (huge cupboard in the kitchen), so I just went around them. If I move them at a later date I can do the floor then. That's the beauty of using oil, you can patch places here and there and it will blend in.

I am not sure how long the finish will last, I may have to do it every 6 months or so, but it will be worth it. The floors look beautiful. They have the look of an old cutting board with wonderful patina.

Before and After:
before and after, olive oil

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

American Chop Suey

American Chop Suey

Such a simple dish, yet so delicious! We make it with our roasted tomato sauce, but any sauce will do.

American Chop Suey

1 pound ground beef
4 cups uncooked pasta, your choice
1 quart roasted tomato sauce

Cook ground beef.

Cook pasta according to the package instructions.

Combine cooked ground beef and cooked pasta, add the roasted tomato sauce.

Heat and serve

Yield: 4 servings

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tortilla Bread

This is an almost exact recipe we use for making tortillas.....hence the name "Tortilla Bread"

Tortilla Bread

1 cup whole wheat flour
2 - 2.5 cups white bread flour
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water

Add yeast to the water and set aside.

Mix the flour and oil together with a pastry blender until the mixture is course.

Mix in the salt and yeast mixture until you can gather it into a ball.

Place on a floured board and kneed until smooth, about 10 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled.

Punch down place in loaf pan and let rise again.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bake for 40 minutes or until done.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Maple Carrots

maple carrots

Maple Carrots

1 cup carrots (about 4 medium); sliced thin
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
dash pepper

Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat.

Add carrots and sauté for 1 minute.

Add milk, honey and pepper. Cover and lower heat to low.

Simmer for 3 minutes, uncover and simmer for 5 minutes longer, until carrots are tender.

2 Servings

Carrot on FoodistaCarrot

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Our Version of Scalloped Potatoes

3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion; sliced thin
pepper; freshly ground
1 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper; optional
pinch sea salt
4 medium potatoes; sliced in 1/4 inch slices
oil; for frying potatoes
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place butter in pan and place in oven to melt.

Add onion, pepper, mustard seeds, red pepper (if using) and sea salt. Roast for about 10 minutes. Set aside

Sauté potato sliced in oil in a large frying pan until slightly golden, turning as necessary.

Combine milk and mustard powder in a bowl. whisk in cornmeal.

Put potato slices on top of onions.

Pour milk mixture over potatoes, stir while pouring to distribute the corn meal.

Top with cheese.

Bake 20 minutes.

Serves 4

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The “Must Haves?”

The other night we watched the movie No Impact Man,and what an impact it had on us. Even though we do so much towards self sufficiency, the movie made me realize we could still do more.

Sometimes I forget that it's not just about us as individuals, but people as a whole. Not only what we do effects us, but the world at large. We are just little guys, but together we can outsmart the big guys.

We are already aware of saving energy (our house is powered by the sun) etc, but after watching the movie I wondered what else we could change. When I think of ourselves as accomplishing milestones I realize they are only “footstones.” There is more to be done.

Today we went to the grocery store with plastic packaging in mind. The over use of plastic has been bothering us for many years – we don't use plastic containers, only glass (although they do have plastic covers) and we don't drink bottled water or sodas or use plastic wrap or baggies, however we still end up with a lot of plastic in our plastic trash bags.

Armed with good intentions, we hit the shelves. This was going to be a lot harder than we thought, now that we were paying more attention. A simple list- cheese, butter (we really do need to make our own), olive oil, pasta, walnuts, sweet potatoes, pretzels and dish soap. Out of that short list the only things not in plastic were the butter, olive oil and sweet potatoes. At least the dish soap bottle can be recycled, not that I think recycling is the answer. I think reducing is a better solution. But how to reduce, without becoming overly fanatical. Maybe that's the answer, to become overly fanatical. Sometimes that is the only way changes are made.

So now my family will have to put up with my constant “plastic complaining”.....the toothpaste comes in plastic (time to switch to baking soda enhanced with peppermint oil?), the toilet paper is wrapped in it, it's touching our food and heaven forbid I forget to take my reusable bag to the store.

We certainly don't have all the answers yet, but we are more aware of our usage and are trying to come up with alternatives one step at a time. The plastic may never be gone from this house, but it will be dramatically reduced.

Each of us can make changes that will impact the earth as a whole. I mentioned to someone a while back that we no longer buy paper towels, we use regular towels or rags. I said how it wasn't much, but made us feel better. He said to me, “But imagine if everyone did that.” Yeah, that would be huge. Sure, at first it was a bit inconvenient, but 3 years later I don't miss paper towels at all and even hate to use them at other peoples' houses; it feels so wasteful.

Since watching No Impact Man, I have been looking at a few things differently. Do I need to buy QTips? Will a towel dry my ears just as well? Cotton balls....don't need 'em. So many items have become a way of life that we don't even question them, just use them and throw them away, not even thinking about what happens when they leave the house. Out of site, out of mind, but not out of the earth.

With baby steps we can make some changes (and save some money) that will, as a whole, make a difference. We can turn the “footstones” to milestones with just a little creative thinking and rethinking. I now take the time to question our purchases and the impact they have, from the manufacturing to the the disposal and I am surprised at how many “necessities” really aren't that important any more.