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Posts Tagged ‘Sun Oven’

I’m back!!  Vacation was great, my brain is now worthless, and I have ten gazillion things to do before I can even think about catching up.  Instead of tackling those ten gazillion things, however, I have decided to make brownies.  First things first, people!

I’me calling this a semi-review because I did not try these brownies as written.  (If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, this should come as no surprise!  I like to do things my own way.)  Here’s what I did:

  • 40 Deglet Noor dates, processed in food processor with
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut flour

This was how I chose to make my own date sugar.  Dehydrating dates and then grinding them to a powder as suggested in the original recipe blog comments was waaaaaaaay more work than I was interested in.  My method did not produce a fine powder, but the date pieces were small enough that I was content.  I also hoped that retaining the moisture content of the dates by processing them this way might result in a more moist and chewy brownie.  After the dates and coconut flour were processed, I whipped together:

  • 1 cup soft coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup soft butter
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 8 eggs
  • 3/4 cup kefir
  • 2 Tblsp honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt

Then I blended in the date mixture and whipped well in my stand mixer.  I greased an 8″ x 8″ pan and spread the thick batter evenly in the pan (the batter nearly filled the pan, by the way).  Then I put the pan in my Sun Oven, which was preheated to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and let it cook while I did other things for 90 minutes.

I did not choose to make these brownies dairy-free.  I also added more eggs, some honey for uniform sweetness and extra moisture, and increased the cocoa a bit.  Since I subbed my own date sugar, the date pieces were large enough to notice texturally but I didn’t feel that they were unappetizing.  Cooking in a solar oven *is* different than cooking in a regular oven, so I’m not sure how a conventional cooking method would treat these brownies yet but they were very moist even after a long time in the Sun Oven.  I think there was far too much batter for an 8″ x 8″ pan, however – I will halve the recipe next time.  This batch seemed more like cake – a very dense cake – which is fine, but I wanted a brownie.  :)

Verdict:  I would make these again, halving the recipe and reducing the cook time though.  I think a cold glass of some sort of milk is a must with this recipe!

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So I’ve been playing around a bit with my topping for apple crisp and I am definitely getting closer.  It’s still so stinkin’ hot here that I have only used the oven 4 times since May, which means I rely on my solar oven to do most of the baking…and that often means crispy baked goods are not happening.  I’ll be trying this out in the oven once it finally cools off for good, but in the meantime, here’s a pretty good version:

  • 10-12 apples, sliced and drizzled with coconut oil (about 1 Tblsp) and sprinkled with cinnamon.  You could also drizzle with honey if you like your apples in a syrupy sauce.  Toss these ingredients together and put them in the dish you plan to bake them in; set aside.  In a mixing bowl, whip together:
  • 1/4 cup butter (can sub coconut oil for dairy-free)
  • 1/4 cup softened or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tblsp coconut flour
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 2 cups walnut pieces
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (optional)

Simply beat well in the order given, then dollop spoonfuls of the mixture over the apples in the baking pan (this recipe would be good for a 9″x13″ pan; I used a round 2-quart pan and it was full to the top).  I baked this in my solar oven at about 300 degrees for a little over an hour; with the honey in this recipe I think I’d be careful not to heat your oven above 350 degrees.  I’ll probably try this at 325 degrees when I make this inside.  As soon as the apples are soft and the topping is browned to your liking, the apple crisp is done!  Serve with homemade ice cream, fresh milk or cream, or coconut milk.  Or just eat it right out of the pan, like I did.  You can always have the ice cream later.

 

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I squandered my menu-planning hour today and so I’m going to toss this one together super-quick before bed.  This means our actual meals may vary considerably from this plan, but at least I will feel like I accomplished something before I sleep.  :)

Monday

  • bananas w/cream and walnuts; broth
  • leftover chicken soup and paleo toast
  • slow-cooked round roast with carrots, onions, and raw sauerkraut

Tuesday

  • peaches w/kefir; broth
  • “spaghetti” (make meatballs)
  • stir-fry with leftover roast, broccoli, etc

Wednesday

  • tuna quiche; oranges; broth
  • leftover stir-fry
  • brown bag – turkey sandwiches; apples; dilly carrots

Thursday

  • eggs; oranges; broth
  • leftover stir-fry
  • chicken something

Friday

Saturday

  • No. Idea.
  • leftover stew
  • stuffed peppers if I have enough garden peppers

Sunday

  • ???
  • leftover stew
  • pizza?

Yeah, the last part of the week looks pretty flaky.  And since we might go camping, it is even flakier than it looks.

Snacks: Mom gave me a cantaloupe from her garden, so that will definitely be a snack item this week.  Milk will probably be my go-to emergency snack ration, though.  We are pretty much out of Larabars so I’ll have to make my own soon.

Budget:  A quick glance at these meals looks like it should fall well under my $75 budget; I’d put it at around $60 including all meals and snacks.  I bought $17-worth of veggies and eggs and $3.50 in milk this week, so only about $20 out-of-pocket.  That should get us through the week.  I’ll make my Azure Standard order tomorrow and that will probably be over $50 but it will be one month’s worth.

Things I need to make: Mayonnaise.  I’ve been saying that for weeks now, and to be honest I probably won’t get it done this week either.  Other things:  Granola.  Meatballs.  Pie of some sort.  Maybe cherry.  Mmm…

I got a SCOBY this week so I’ll have my kombucha up and running again soon!!  I’m thinking of putting a weekly “Weird Stuff in J’s Kitchen” photo up on my Facebook soon, and this will be one of my entries for sure.  :)

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Gasp!  A weekly menu plan!  Yeppers, folks…now that the kids are back, we’re returning to real life….which means work, school, and extracurriculars to keep up with.  If I’m going to cook, I’ll need a plan.

Monday

  • leftover kefir pudding with peaches; broth
  • leftover lasagna (not GAPS – I made a big batch w/rice noodles to celebrate homecoming last week)
  • chicken soup; muffins

Tuesday

  • leftover kefir pudding with peaches; broth
  • leftover lasagna
  • meatloaf; broccoli; red potatoes

Wednesday

  • omelets with garden veggies; water kefir
  • leftover meatloaf
  • brown bag – turkey sandwiches; apples; dilly carrots

Thursday

  • omelets; peaches; broth
  • leftover soup
  • pizza?

Friday

  • ?
  • leftover something
  • steak; butternut squash fries; sautéed kale or broccoli greens

Saturday & Sunday

  • leftovers (just me)

 

With a dress rehearsal and show this week, I may have to do some juggling.  Depending on how early we have to go for the show, Friday’s supper may not happen at all.  At least this is a start.

I had a long list of things to do for prep for this week, including making dilly carrots (which I did), salsa, tomato sauce, meatballs, and mayo (all of which I did not).  Then I realized that after making the dilly carrots, I had exactly one carrot left.  I’ll be putting that in the chicken soup instead of making these carrot muffins, I guess.  :P

School!  Starting tomorrow!!  And yes, I realize these are not complete sentences.  This teacher might need a longer break.  Or just a break, period. hehehe

So.  Budget.  My out-of-pocket expenses this week were around $20 at the co-op, $10.50 for milk, and $20 at the farmer’s market.  That took care of both last week and the coming week, so we’re doing pretty good.  Most of our meals will be relying on pantry staples for the next bit.  I am hoping to keep weekly costs below $40 and we’ll see if I can save a bit for some bulk purchases.  One benefit of the GAPS diet is that I’ve finally gained some weight – I weigh more now than I did when I graduated from high school!  Gaining weight does have consequences, however (as I discovered last week when I squeezed into a pair of size 0 jeans that had plenty of extra room last fall!  I looked like a hoochie mama, or perhaps a gargantuan sausage with arms, and unfortunately I did not have time to rummage around and find pants that DID fit!!) and I ended up buying some size 2 pants this week.  I got three pairs on sale for $45 total, so not bad…but not in my budget, either.  Anywhere I can save to make up for it will help, and I’m happy that our grocery and electric bills should both be smaller next month.

I’d really like to try some new recipes soon but I have a feeling we need to get past this show and through the first couple weeks of school before I can climb that mountain.  I’ve done some long-put-off organizing with much more to go, and once that is done I’ll feel ready to tackle anything!  Especially snacks.  I may post a list of might-try recipes later today.

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My internet was down last night and I didn’t get to post this week’s menu.  My kids are leaving Thursday so it’s not much to plan for, and I probably won’t post menus while they are gone so I don’t get too depressed about eating leftovers and not cooking for myself.  ;)

Monday

  • apple cobbler and kefir; broth
  • tuna salad with lacto-fermented pickles
  • slow-cooked roast with cabbage, carrots, onions, and a couple of potatoes

Tuesday

  • eggs and fresh pork side; oranges; broth
  • leftover tuna salad
  • beef liver and I don’t know what.  I have a little broccoli and some cauliflower I’d like to finish up, as well as garden squash…

Wednesday

  • pancakes?; broth
  • leftover beef roast
  • holiday meal w/my parents (probably brisket & veggies)

Thursday

  • ? peach shortcakes? leftover pancakes?  We’ll probably be too sad to have much of an appetite this morning.

Beef delivery is tomorrow.  I freaked out about them coming a couple of weeks earlier than I had planned, but they say I can pay my balance after delivery.  Whew!  We only have a couple of steaks, 2 lbs hamburger, a tongue, some jerky meat, and a pack of liver left.  I can’t believe it!  I think our last half-beef lasted us about 18 months, so here’s hoping we can stretch this one as long.  With a pre-teen boy, I’m not sure we can do it.  heehee  The good thing about cleaning the freezer to make room for the load of beef is that I discovered I had a lot more chicken on hand than I thought.  We shouldn’t need to purchase meat for quite some time.  The bad news is I still had a ton of grains on hand and I need to decide what to do with them – save them and begin using them again or give them away?  Such a huge investment…

On another note, I missed my GAPS anniversary!  Anniversary post coming up after the kids leave, I promise.

 

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Monday

  • banana muffins; broth
  • quiche (in sun oven)? with smoked salmon and oranges
  • ground beef/banana squash/garden peppers/potatoes/onions/turnip greens hash; fresh cucumbers

Tuesday

  • shortcakes with baked peaches; broth
  • leftover quiche?
  • leftover ribs; cauliflower; garden veggies of some sort

Wednesday

  • leftover shortcakes; broth
  • leftover turnip hash
  • brown bag – tuna salad w/Bubbie’s pickles; fuji apples; salad from garden; dilly carrots

Thursday

  • eggs; oranges; broth
  • leftover tuna salad w/pickles; apples; salad
  • meatloaf; potatoes; green beans

Friday

  • ?
  • leftover meatloaf
  • ?

Saturday

  • ?

Sunday

  • ?

As you can see, I wasn’t very motivated to finish this menu plan.  Lately I’ve been veering from the plan by the end of the week, so I don’t feel like the effort is worth it.   Plus, I’ve not been able to predict what fresh produce we’ll have on any given day.  That makes planning harder.  Then there’s that Thing About Opening The Freezer In Warm Weather that keeps me from digging around to see what I could work with during the week.  And we are waiting to turn on our air conditioning until after July 4th, so pretty much all thought processes cease once it gets that sticky humidity in here.  Those are my excuses, which look pretty convincing when they are all typed out like that.

No budget this week because I’m tired.

I MUST make mayo this week  Tomorrow.  I must do it tomorrow.

I picked our first ripe tomato today, which is a miracle considering the amount of shade over the garden.  The summer squashes are finally starting to do something, too.  I hope the green beans will do better before it gets too hot!

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Monday

Tuesday

  • cheesy eggs and toast; milk; fresh blueberries and peaches or quartered oranges
  • leftover chicken & veggies
  • slow-cooked ribs with apples from our backyard; garden cucumbers and green beans; cauliflower

Wednesday

  • granola; broth
  • beef steak and garden veggies; sauerkraut
  • brown bag – tuna salad w/Bubbie’s pickles; fuji apples; salad from garden; dilly carrots

Thursday

  • steak and eggs; oranges; broth
  • leftover tuna salad w/pickles; apples; salad
  • bbq chicken? with garden veggies

Friday

  • baked peaches (maybe with shortcakes?)
  • chicken salad (make mayo and use up chicken breast from Monday)
  • leftover ribs?

Saturday and Sunday

  • leftovers (just me)

My son will be having his best friend over Monday and part of Tuesday, so I tried to plan GAPS food that he would like to eat.  I’ll probably use regular bread for his grilled cheese and toast, since I have it in the freezer and he might get a little freaked out by the GAPS stuff.  But everything else I think he will be cool with!  I need to think of a yummy dessert that is easy to make since we’ll be running around a lot that day.  I though about ice cream, but if we pick up milk that day the cream won’t rise to the top quickly enough.  Hmm.  Maybe popsicles?  Except I think my mom took all my popsicle molds.  Hmm.

The weather has gotten hot quickly.  That means no more inside cooking if I can help it.  We won’t turn on the air conditioning until after July 4th and every little bit of extra heat is felt in here!  I’ll be relying on the slow cooker, the Sun Oven if it’s not too cloudy outside, and the toaster oven (set out on the back porch) if necessary.  I’m not sure how much propane is left in our grill tank, but we might attempt the bbq chicken on the grill this time as well.

Budgetwise, our meals and snacks should cost around $70 this week, which is close to budget.  I’m starting to freak out a little about the amount of money I’ll need to pay for our half-beef but I know it will save us a lot in the long run.  I’m going to skip our monthly Azure Standard order this time, since the kids will probably not be here later in the month to help me eat the fresh fruits & veggies I normally buy.  I just don’t have the refrigerator space to store extras!  I’ve been thinking about getting a freezerless refrigerator instead of our little standard refrigerator but I’m not sure I could find a used one that I could afford.  I’ll put that on my prayer list and see what turns up.

Out-of pocket expenses this week were about $30 at the health food store, $10 at the farmer’s market, $13 for a half-bushel of local peaches, and I might spend $15 for milk and eggs.  We are getting enough veggies from our garden and from friends’ gardens that I doubt I’ll be heading to the store much over the next couple of months.  I need to start socking away about $30/week for my meat fund so I’ll be ready for my next bulk purchase; if I can drop out-of-pocket costs to less than $40/week I shouldn’t feel it too much when I take it out of my account.

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