Yucca Root Solar Chips Aren’t Yucky

I really miss chips and salsa.  Well it’s really the chips that are the issue. So we went on  a quest to create the perfect non fat veggie chip to go with the salsa I crave daily.

The four veggies we tried were sweet potato, yams, beets and yucca root.   The yucca root raw is, well, yucky so I had my doubts.  Sliced and on trays we left them for about 6 hours to bake in the sun.

Here is what we learned; 1. Slice them as thin as you can.  The thicker ones were chewy.  2.  Lightly coat with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  3.  Place on a rack instead of cookie sheets.  4. Different vegetables dry at different rates.  5. The Yucca Root is Delicious!   Who knew?

Now for the test with Salsa. Each flavor added something unusual & I  can’t decide which one I like best.     I DO know I am making more of these tomorrow.

Note: The goal making this solar oven was to make it with found materials.  Craigslist free BBQ for the stand, A metal box surrounded by styrofoam & wood, glass from a picture frame.   It boils liquid even in the winter but cooking outside in the summer sure helps keep the house cooler.  The solar oven adds another way to do just that.  sola ov (2)Let the sun shine!

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Sand Between My Toes

2017-08-18_06-42-01_454 (1)Two weeks ago we took off for Puerto Penasco Mexico. Selfish with the beach we travel just as school starts and before a major holiday it is a guarantee that we will encounter few other travelers.  2017-08-18_14-14-28_155We set up our RV by 11am and head to town to a favorite restaurant.  The tide is extremely high and we enjoy hours of great food and drink with an unmatched view.

 

2017-08-18_15-06-49_504The ocean’s rhythm washing away months of stress.

Long walks on the beach with the tide out seem to be mandatory as we are drawn to explore tide pools and ever-changing sand.

2017-08-20_13-59-33_518.pngThese parents have found a creative way to keep their children occupied for hours building a spectacular fort.  2017-08-19_07-52-04_000Later squeals of joy as the tide washes their work away.

2017-08-19_08-03-44_000Time moves slowly, effortlessly.

2017-08-18_12-36-30_867Then there is the shopping.   My favorite store is Mercedes Rusticos but it is closed this weekend.  We wander next door to this shop that has been here for as long as I can remember. The owner says 30 years and some of the items seem to have been here just that long.2017-08-20_10-01-42_466.jpegThe view from the 3rd story after climbing a rickety stair/ladder is spectacular.

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Rooftop

 

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Sometimes the shopping comes to you.

Don’t forget to stop and get a fresh coco…

It’s even an adventure at the grocery store with entirely different cuts of meat, giant watermelon, and the biggest bag of Cheetos ever.

Moments later we are back on the beach with our feet up, cool drink in hand watching the beach activities of the day.  The importance of doing nothing to refresh one’s soul. All  I need is this sand between my toes.

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Creature below exhales water and sand leaving beautiful patterns. This one is very semetrical.

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Footprints
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Solar Cooking

Today the great smell of Chili Verde Meat  filled the air as the sun cooked a 4 pound roast to mouthwatering goodness.

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Solar Oven made with found materials:  Wood Box, glass top,  metal box with 1/2″  Styrofoam between metal and wood.The box is  mounted on a  BBQ grill stand. The mirror is hard to see but has 2 black clips on top which hold it.  Mirror can be angled to pinpoint into pot and accelerate cooking.  Being on wheels we can change the angle with the sun.

This is a picture of the first of many solar cookers we made about five years ago all from recycled or found materials. We are still experimenting with design.  For example, I painted the inside of this  metal  box black thinking it would make it hotter. I soon found out that while black does create heat, cooking with the sun does not simply use heat to cook.

sunshine

The science:  The UV light rays enter through the glass and then coverts to infrared light rays.  Infrared radiation makes  molecules vibrate in the food, releasing energy as heat. The glass lid traps the energy and the food cooks. I have to say that the texture of the meat is different than cooked in an oven, crock pot or smoked.  Once we cooked our Chile Verde this way it became our favorite.

Any slow cooker recipe works.  We even throw frozen lasagna in the solar oven and it is cooked perfectly when I get home from work.   I haven’t been able to bring myself to cook raw chicken yet.   The temp gets to be around 250 and even though the science states that UV light rays are doing the cooking, I don’t trust it for chicken.

We have found that a great UV accelerator that works  in our solar oven and actually I think would even work  in a cardboard box. We recently installed a Solatube skylight in our home. The bright reflective tube was too long so we cut off about 18″.  I think this is standard and one might be able to ask around to Solatube installers to ask if they would donate the excess. I am going to try that on my next one. The discarded piece is just large enough to encircle a crock pot insert and works efficiently.

There are a lot of different types of solar ovens out there. You Tube has a lot of how to instructions.    We  had fun trying to round up materials in our yard or off of Craigslist free. We use it year round and things don’t really cook much faster in the summer, but it sure makes a great way to keep the kitchen cool.