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1  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Tonight I cooked dinner using the sun! (Super easy and cheap solar oven) on: July 17, 2008 07:31:56 PM
can you bake in this? it would be fun to make sun cupcakes

There are people who do.  As long as you can get up to the temperature you need, you should be able to.  You may have to tweak this design to get up to temps that high...there are other designs that would probably work better for baking. 
2  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Tonight I cooked dinner using the sun! (Super easy and cheap solar oven) on: June 27, 2008 02:12:00 PM
I was wondering, what is your recipe for your chicken & vegetables?  It looks super yummy!

My "recipe" was just one of these Parampara Indian spice packets (http://www.ishopindian.com/shop/parampara-brand-c-86.html) and 2 tomatoes, 1/2 an onion, a bell pepper, a carrot and one chicken breast all chopped and tossed in the pot with 1 cup of water.  I used the Jaipuri packet, even though it is usually served only with veggies.  The packets are more expensive than making up the spice mixes yourself, but they are convenient and easier if you don't have an Indian grocery around to get some of the more rare spices.

That is amazing! 

Is the pan in the oven bag? At first I just thought it was laying over it. Can't tell from the picture.  Embarrassed

Yes, when I cooked the curry, I put the pot in a Reynolds oven bag and sealed it with a twist tie.  This helps get the temperature up quicker and higher, and keep it there if it's breezy, etc.  The bags can be reused many times (some say up to 30 times).  They eventually will deteriorate from UV ray exposure.  Some people use glass bowls to surround the pot and this seems to work even better (and  needs no replacement).
3  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Tonight I cooked dinner using the sun! (Super easy and cheap solar oven) on: June 26, 2008 07:27:40 PM
As a microbiologist, this oven worries me a little bit.... any food that gets warm and stays warm without getting really hot is a potential pathogen grower... food borne illness is no fun!  Tongue

The reports from solar cooker aficionados say that food gets to boiling temperature, but can this be true? If it actually gets to boiling and maintains that kind of heat it would be a lot safer.

I am a molecular biologist, and I too shared your concerns, although a temperature of only 160F for 30 seconds is required for pasteurization, which is well below the boiling point of water at 212F.  With that in mind it appears that solar ovens are reasonably safe for cooking meat, as long as you can be assured that all the contents of the pot reach a uniform 160F or higher within two hours at room temperature or one hour at temperatures above 90F.  (See: http://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheets/HGIC3580.htm)

And as AlternaWidget pointed out, many people in the world do use solar cookers to pasteurize drinking water on a regular basis.

I just made a compost bin from scraps and planted a veggie garden that's doing well. Now I need a solar oven!

That so funny that you mention the veggies and composting....I just planted a bunch of tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper, strawberries, etc. in our small garden after reading about edible landscaping and urban homesteading.  Now I'd like to get into vermicomposting too...when I get the chance.

For some real inspiration, you HAVE to check out this family in Pasadena who live off what they can grow on their 1/5 of an acre house in town.  http://www.pathtofreedom.com/about/urbanhomestead.shtml They call it "urban homesteading," and it's one of the most inspiring sites I've seen in some time.  They produce enough to even sell some of their produce to local restaurants.
4  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Stuffed Dates w/ Pecans on: June 26, 2008 08:24:14 AM
These are really good....we have a family friend who makes these for Thanksgiving, etc.  She uses cream cheese with a bit of powdered sugar mixed in and stuffs the dates with or without nuts (pecans or walnuts...we have some nut allergies in the family). They are so addictive! I pretty much love anything with dates and cheese involved.
5  COOKING / Dessert / Re: Iced Coffee because it's summer! on: June 25, 2008 11:27:08 PM
Yum!  That looks so good!
6  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Tonight I cooked dinner using the sun! (Super easy and cheap solar oven) on: June 25, 2008 11:24:35 PM
Great Idea!! I was wondering where in SoCal you found 73 degree's then I realized this was posted a while ago. Bet it works even better this week. I live in the SF Valley, and it has really been hot. Can't wait to try it. Thanks

Actually this was today in San Diego...I know, especially compared to you up there, I really can't complain about the heat at under 80F..but I am near the coast, and between the humidity and the fun that is pregnancy hormones, I still like to   Cheesy

I got back a few weeks from volunteering in India and I so wish I had read this sooner.  Although I'm in moderately warm NY right now, I would like to give this a try.

Thanks for the link!

From what I've read, hot or even warm weather really isn't required to cook with a solar oven if your set-up is efficient enough....many people cook this way year round in the bottom half of the US (although maybe not in NY).  Good Luck!

Wow! Must try this! Hope YOU feel cooler soon!

Thanks ScotSkipper402!  Grin
7  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Tonight I cooked dinner using the sun! (Super easy and cheap solar oven) on: June 25, 2008 10:20:08 PM
I'm 8 months pregnant and it's been hot (at least for me) here in soCal, so I was looking for a way to cook a meal without heating my house up...I came upon this awesome site on building your own solar ovens: http://www.solarcooking.org/plans/  Solar ovens also have the awesome benefit of requiring no energy input other than the sun and no pollutants, etc....very earth-friendly!

I was inspired to try out the simple plan for making a funnel-style solar cooker with a windshield sun shade that people use to keep their cars cool.  I didn't want to spend a lot of time or money on the thing...I bought a jumbo size (think for a big truck windshield) sunshade at Walmart for $3.50, and some Reynolds Oven Bags for $2.  I already had a black anodized aluminum pot with a glass lid, a cake rack and some clothespins lying around, so this was a very cheap experiment.

After some fiddling with the shade and several different clothespin constructed designs, I finally got the shape I thought I'd need, and tried it out today with just 2 inches of water in the pot:

The shade was a bit floppy, so I used my kiddo's chair to prop the thing up.

After an hour on a 73F day, the water was steaming, bubbles were forming on the bottom and sides of the pot and the pot itself was too hot to touch.  Convinced I could get the pot hot, I tried making an indian style curry for dinner in the thing...raw chicken and all even though I wasn't sure it would be hot enough to cook something.

Dinner ala Solar Oven:

I used the oven bag this time, hoping that would keep the heat in.
After 2.5 hours in the sun, here's how it looked:

Chicken and veggies cooked perfectly! My own solar crock pot!

Anyway, I'm pretty thrilled at how cheap and easy it was...so I thought I'd share.  The best part of this design is that I can take it apart and fold up the shade for storage....it'd be great for camping or  for a picnic too.
This site has some great info on solar cooking, including recipes, etc if you'd like more info:

8  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Chili Stuffed Poblanos on: May 22, 2008 07:28:22 PM
 Shocked YUM!  I love poblanos!  Those look really good.  Thanks for the recipe!
9  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Re: Two glass pearl and copper necklaces on: May 12, 2008 08:26:08 PM
The pearls and copper are a very nice combo.  Beautiful with the ribbon you used.
10  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Re: Summer shirt for little girls on: May 11, 2008 08:32:15 PM
What a great idea!  She is adorable.
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