Tag Archives: solar cooking

Spaghetti Squash + Sun

Picked up a spaghetti squash from Uncle Ray at the Community Garden stand this morning. Word was, it really does come out like spaghetti noodles. So, I halved it, dug out the seeds, and put it in the solar oven. Three and a half hours later, it seemed done. It was fun to scrape out of the shell, and the noodle-look-a-like stuff is no joke. I found a recipe in the Joy of Cooking book, and tossed the squash with some olive oil, butter, fresh cut herbs and some cracked black pepper.

The verdict? I’d rate it somewhere around 6 on a ten point scale. I added a little brown sugar, just because that and butter were the only things Mom ever put on her squash. It helped a bit. So, not bad, not my favorite squash. I really love a good squash, so it’s tough to rate too high with me. Just nice to eat some squash–reminds me my favorite season is here.


Posted by on September 5, 2009 in Food


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Ten Days

In the last week or so…

Jenna wore a funny hat.

Mesa and Hope raced their classmates.

The twins hung out in Montrose.


I cooked ribs with the sun.


And made barrels to catch rain (more on this later).


We planted a few trees and flowers.

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We failed a baby robin rescue.


And had a bird funeral.

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Learned how a buck doesn’t break his noggin.


And, ate a flag.


See more pics from our last ten days on Flickr.

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Posted by on May 25, 2009 in etc., Family, farming, trees


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All in the Sun: racing, cooking and grocery shopping

Jaim and I hit the road pre-dawn today to volunteer at the 21st annual Avera Race Against Breast Cancer. We’ve worked the registration tent for about a third of those 21 races, and it’s worth busting ass before the sun comes up every year. It’s one of those events where you just feel a really good energy vibe–lots of hope and honor and respect, mixed with happy enthusiasm. This year over 4850 people registered in the race, and we helped raise more than $280,000! Weather was beautiful, and the crowd was big. Here’s Jaimie’s boss firing up the crowd just before the starting gun.

After the race today, we hit the Farmers Market for the first time this year. Bought some flowers, a bunch of tomato and pepper plants, plants for the herb garden, and some radishes, rhubard and free range chickens.

Cooked meal number two in the solar oven this week. Garlic chicken breasts baked to tender perfection, with awesome sweet potatoes, bell peppers and onions in pan number two. Cooked them all day long on a partly cloudy day. Like a tricked out crock pot, with nothing but the sun as fuel. This oven is pretty frickin cool.

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Posted by on May 9, 2009 in farming, Food


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Solar Food and Barrels of Rain

It’s pouring cats and dogs out there, and all the rain is washing away. But not for long.

Grandma Bartmann always had a full barrel of rain water sitting next to the house. I think it was an old wine barrel. She dipped in it to water flowers every day, and it filled up with every new spring and summer shower. I’m going all rain barrel crazy this spring. I picked up two steel drums from a neighbor last weekend–they used to hold ice cream for Dairy Queen, and will soon be storing rain water for my gardens. I also ordered a rain barrel from the Living Green Expo that Jaim and I went to a couple days ago. I was jazzed to pick it up, but was pretty bummed when I picked it up. I thought I was getting a nice big reused barrel converted into a rain catcher. It will catch rain, but it’s brand new plastic. Not a reuse at all. Duped. It was the only thing I can complain about from the whole weekend. I put it together last night, but didn’t get it tapped into the rain spout soon enough to put it into action tonight.  I plan to add one more barrel to my system for the spring, rounding it out at four. Shouldn’t need any pay-for-it water on the gardens all summer.

The bigger news is I bought a solar oven at the expo. Tried it out Monday, and to my surprise, it cooked rice and baked some corn bread in just three hours. I had very low expectations, since it was cloudy and windy, and I was a solar food virgin. I am super excited about this thing.

It’s just a black box with a clear lid, pretty much. And it bakes like a crock pot, at about 200 degrees, with no fuel at all except the sunshine. Brilliant. We got this one from the guys at S.O.S (Solar Oven Society) in Minneapolis. They run a non profit that sells these things in the states and use the profits to take some over to poor countries each year on mission trips. Places where people don’t have clean water (this thing will pasturize the h2o), and a fire in a place where wood is scarce is the only cooking option. Hope you’ll come over and try my next experiment.

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Posted by on May 4, 2009 in Food, gadgets, garden, going green, rants


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Truffles for Breakfast and Human on a Stick

Jaim and I took a weekend trip to the Twin Cities to catch the Living Green Expo at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds. A research trip (I call ’em ‘learning journeys’), with the extra perk of spending a weekend with my wife, while the kids hung with Grandma and Grandpa (mostly being chased around the yard by a bottle calf…).

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We stopped at a snazzy little Food Coop in St. Peter, MN along the way. Bought some “glad corn” and groceries for breakfast. What’s glad corn? I wondered too–lucky for me they were hocking samples. It’s just kernels of organic field corn, roasted until it turns into a cross between corn nuts and those wonderful half-popped kernels in the bottom of the popcorn bowl. The breakfast was super fab–Saturday and Sunday: a loaf of crunchy multi-grain, some strawberries and a block of this legendary gouda with truffles. Legendary, because it’s made in France and shipped to Minnesota to age in the caves near St. Peter. Or so the story goes. Whatever the truth, it’s some damn tasty cheese. My first ever truffle experience. Those three flavors and textures where a heavenly mix. Twice.

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Saturday we hit the fairgrounds for some serious greeny magic. No disappointment. This event rocks the hiz-ouse. I met a new friend who loaded me up with info and ideas about becoming a vegetarian driver (that means I’d burn used vegetable oil in my tank instead of gas), watched as a kid made biodiesel right before my eyes (see the pre-diesel mush above), saw a bunch of ways to compost–with and without worms (saw a dude crazier about worms than me), studied a real green roof, got to know an author of books for kids on the environment, learned how to ‘do it green,’ and so much more.


Oh, and of course I had to get on the Segway Personal Transporter and tootle around like a human on a stick. Wicked cool–you cannot fall off, you just lean a little here or there and that thing reads your mind…

Hawk's solar oven

Hawk's solar oven

I also met ‘Hawk,’ a rough around the edges missionary and peddler of solar ovens, and his sidekick. And now I’m cooking with the sun. (More on that later.) I rode a stationary bike and turned on a bunch of light bulbs with human power (though the hair dryer totally kicked my ass sideways). Met lots of friends–some new, some old.


And met this guy, who laid on the floor the whole time shooting pictures of people. I hope he was getting paid.

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Posted by on May 4, 2009 in etc., Food, going green, Work


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