Sun Oven Cinnamon Rolls

Last month we challenged our readers to do some powerless cooking. Summer is a great time to practice your powerless cooking skills. A couple weeks ago it was seriously hot around here (it still is actually). We were out of bread in the house and I couldn’t face turning on the oven. I decided to pull out my Sun Oven and skip the heat in the house. Half way through making the bread I decided to take a loaf of the dough and make cinnamon rolls in the oven. Why not? Well they turned out great and it’s probably something I’ll be doing again. My regular oven has been kind of quirky lately and dries things out. The Sun Oven however made these rolls turn out amazing! So moist and delicious.

Sun Oven Cinnamon Rolls - Perfect treat for a hot day!

Before starting your dough get your Sun Oven out in the sun and pre-heating. It won’t matter if it keeps heating for longer than it needs because the energy you are using is free and plentiful. If you are lining your Sun Oven up correctly your oven should get to 350 degrees within 20-30 minutes.

Dough Recipe

For the dough I use my regular bread recipe. Since this recipe makes 6 loaves I usually make a couple pizzas, some bread, and this time some cinnamon rolls.

Emilie’s Whole Wheat Bread

(From Deals to Meals blog, directions are modified for Julie’s methods)

7 c. whole wheat flour (grind your own with your Wondermill)
2/3 c. vital wheat gluten (buy at Honeyville)
2 1/2 T. instant yeast (we like the SAF brand)

5 c. hot water (120-130 F)

2 T. salt
2/3 c. oil
2/3 c. honey or 1 c. sugar (we like honey the best!)
2 1/2 T. bottled lemon juice

5 c. whole wheat flour

Mix together the first three ingredients in your mixer with a dough hook (we both use and love our Bosch for this). Add water all at once and mix for 1 minute; cover and let rest for 10 minutes (this is called sponging). Add salt, oil, honey or sugar, and lemon juice and beat for 1 minute. Add last flour, 1 cup at a time, beating between each cup. Beat for about 6-10 minutes until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. This makes very soft dough.

Spray counter with pam and take dough out of the bowl. Do NOT flour your counter, this will add dryness you don’t want in the bread. You basically want your dough to feel a “little” sticky. Separate dough into bread pans, and let rise until double in size. For conventional ovens bake at 350 for 22-30 mins or until browned. This depends on your oven, just watch it a little and cover with foil if it looks like it’s getting brown too fast.

Cinnamon Roll Modification

This recipe will make 6 loaves of bread. Take about 1/6 of the dough to make a medium size pan of cinnamon rolls.

Cinnamon Roll Filling
1 c. packed brown sugar
1-2 T. cinnamon
1/3 c. butter

Cream ingredients together and spread over rolled out dough.

ingredients rolled out

After you have the butter and sugar rolled out on dough, roll dough into a ball. A trick to getting evenly cut (not smashed rolls) is to use dental floss to cut the rolls. Take a long piece of floss and place it under the dough. Pull the floss up and cross it to make the cut.

1 2

Place in Sun Oven and cook for 30-40 mins if the oven is at 340 degrees or above. If your oven isn’t getting that hot (due to time of day or cloudiness) let them cook a little longer. The beauty of cooking them in the Sun Oven is that they won’t burn and they stay moist!

3 4

ENJOY!

PREPAREDNESS SPRING CLEANING ZONES

Spring is in the air… and with that comes spring cleaning. I admit I buy into the spring cleaning frenzy. I love clearing things out of my house. Recycling, de-cluttering, donating things, and throwing things out makes me happy. Today I wanted to talk about Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness Spring cleaning!

A few Saturdays ago something happened in our schedule that never happens. We had NOTHING scheduled. Well I got giddy with excitement, pulled out some post-it- notes, and started on a rampage. I wrote down every project I wanted done. I got started working through the projects on my post-it-notes one by one. I placed all of them on my fridge and as I completed a task I pulled the note off. I still have a few more post-it-notes to get to, but I feel awesome. These areas weren’t related to my food storage and eprep specifically but the concepts apply.

FSZONES

I realized all the post-it-notes were certain areas, closets, or piles. Of course this is applicable in eprep and food storage. Why not spring clean your eprep and food storage areas using this method. Let’s talk about the areas or ZONES of preparedness that you can tackle this spring. You may not have the same physical zones as these, but they are universal concepts and areas.

PANTRYANDCUP

  • Throw away any expired foods
  • Donate any foods you aren’t going to end up eating after all
  • Move foods you know you should get around to eating to the front
  • Make foods you use more frequently more accessible
  • Install cansolidator rotating shelves to make rotation easier
  • Combine like foods that you may have more than 1 bag open for (pastas, cereals, etc)
  • Sweep out the bottom of the floors and wipe shelves down
  • Keep smaller containers of grains you use less frequently in your pantry to save space
  • Store multiples of the same foods on your food storage shelves if you have a separate area to save space in your pantry
  • Check to see if some of your containers are empty and just taking up space
  • Create granola or trail mixes with foods you have just a little bit left of
  • Clear out old tupperwares with missing lids and old dishes you no longer use
  • Go through baking cupboard and consolidate foods and combine like items

FOODSTORAGE

  • Combine like foods on shelves (fats, grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes etc)
  • Date foods with a sharpie so you know when you bought them if they don’t have expiration dates on them
  • Move older foods to the front, and newer foods to the back
  • Inventory what you have on your shelf for your Three Month Supply and for your Long Term Food Storage
  • Make a purchasing plan for what you need
  • Assess your non-food items (this one is easy to forget)
  • Wipe down any shelves that may need it (dust,spills, dirt)
  • Move foods close to expiring to your pantry to encourage and remind you to eat them
  • Have your kids help

EPRPEKIT

  • Review your 72 hour kits (part 1) (part 2)

  • Rotate 72 hour kit foods by using them for a camping trip or snacks
  • Swap out clothes for kids that have become too small
  • Check batteries in flashlights etc
  • Look over our Emergency Prep Guide to see if you are missing anything
  • Review your emergency protocols with your family
  • Update eprep plan with new phone numbers for family members etc
  • Update your evacuation list with any items that may be new or obsolete
  • Rotate water in your kits
  • Assess and update your Emergency Binder

GARDEN

  • Clean out weeds or old plants from garden beds
  • Make your 2014 garden plan
  • Refill gardens with new compost if needed
  • Prune fruit trees and bushes as necessary
  • Plant vegetables (check out this guide to when you can plant each type of vegetable specific to your area)
  • Rotate water storage by watering your gardens
  • Check water filters

SUPLIES

  • Inventory your fuel supplies
  • Make sure your fuel is still good for powerless cooking
  • Test your powerless cooking tools to ensure they are in good working order
  • Store extra or old dishes cleared out of your kitchen with your supplies instead of buying new ones

KNOWLEDGE

ADDD
We would love to see this list grow. Please leave a comment with any other ideas of things you do when spring cleaning your food storage. We will add them to the main post and make this list as comprehensive as possible!

Just Getting Started


Welcome to our Blog. We’re Jodi and Julie, two busy moms who love blogging, and love Food Storage. We have a lot of new visitors this week from our 7 DAY CHALLENGE. If you’re new and intimidated by building a food storage, MAKE SURE you check out our checklists. They are FREE checklists that help you figure out what to do, and when.

We’re happy to have you, and come visit us on our FACEBOOK PAGE to ask questions, and see what all our readers are up to.

When life gives you lemons….

You know that saying… “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Well let me tell you about my front porch. It is quite possibly the hottest place in the state at about 5pm each night. We also have a lot of windows on that side of the house, which allow way too much heat into the house but that is a different story. Last summer I was always using my sun oven in our side yard and getting decent results, but never could get it quite up to 350 degrees. It never even dawned on me to use it on my front porch.

Yesterday was one of those days. My kids were kind of wild, it was way too hot to even play outside, and I didn’t feel like cooking. Knowing that the family still needed to eat and the kids needed to be occupied I had to come up with something. Why not do a cooking challenge with my kids and pull out the Sun Oven. So we set the oven on the front porch this time instead of the side yard. Then we went inside to make some bread dough. If you read my post a couple weeks ago about involving kids in the kitchen, you’ll know my son is into cooking “classes”. I told my boys for the challenge we had to come up with THREE things to make out of the bread dough.

The recipe we used was our “Best Wheat Bread” recipe found here.. I told the boys we had to cook whatever we made in the Sun Oven. Kids are so fascinated with how things work, and with being involved. Well before we were even done making the dough, we went to check on the Sun Oven and it had gotten to 350 degrees in NO time out there. I have the Global Sun Oven, but I’d be curious if the new and improved All American Sun Oven would get hotter. I was so excited! In case you want proof, here it is:

oven

The boys decided on bread, pizza, and pizza hot pockets (more on hot pockets here). We got the pizza and bread cooked in the Sun Oven, but by the time we were ready to cook the hot pockets it was getting too late. Even though we fell a little short on the challenge of cooking the whole thing in the Sun Oven, I think I’ve found a new place to cook this summer. Tomorrow I think I’ll cook some quinoa out there.

So YES my porch is scorching hot, but I got a GREAT place to cook this summer and practice my powerless cooking skills! How’s that for lemonade?


Homemade Ranch Dip or Dressing

As I’m getting ready to write this post today, I realized I’ve been on a kick to share my friend’s recipes lately. Here are a few of them:

Our regular readers know I’m not the type to follow a recipe, so sharing my recipes has been really hard for me. I always get anxiety trying to come up with the exact measurements I use. Well the beauty behind sharing my friends’ recipes is that I can share real measurements and I’ve tasted them so I know they are good.

ranch

So this recipe is for a homemade ranch-like dip. This dip tasted so fresh and delicious. I’m a big fan of the recipe for a lot of reasons:

  1. It is homemade and free of preservatives and ingredients I can’t pronounce
  2. It uses ingredients I often have on hand (thanks to freeze dried spices, and powdered sour cream)
  3. I can make it as thick or thin as I would like depending on how much liquid I add
  4. The fresh (or freeze dried) instead of dehydrated spices made it delicious!

photo 3 (5)

Ingredients:
1 c plain greek yogurt (full fat)
1/2 c. sour cream (or sour cream powder)
1 t. onion powder
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. dill (I used freeze dried cilantro instead)
1/4 t. pepper
3 T. minced fresh parsley (or freeze dried parsley)
2 T. minced fresh chives (or freeze dried chives)
salt to taste

Since I couldn’t help but put a food storage spin on the recipe, I’ll explain what I did. For the sour cream, I used sour cream powder and I put the same amount, and then just added water until I got the texture I wanted. I was using this for a salad dressing, so I went a little on the runnier side than a dip would be. I also added a teeny bit of lime juice, since I opted to use cilantro instead of dill. I like this because sour cream is something I never have on hand.

You’ll also notice I used freeze dried spices… which are currently my favorite! If you haven’t tried them, you really need to. They act like fresh spices instead of dehydrated. The flavor is amazing, and I don’t have to worry about rotting parsley and cilantro in my fridge anymore! You can buy them at discounted prices at our Thrive Life store here.

Capture


Sourdough 101: Part 2 of 2 (Bread)

Last week, I shared with you the beginning of my sourdough journey. In that post, I talked about the basics of sourdough and how to make or get a sourdough starter. Today I am going to give you the recipe I have been using for the sourdough bread I have been making. It’s been a couple weeks now since I have been experimenting, and I really love it. I am finding out I have so much more to learn about sourdough and all the amazing things you can do with it, and how healthy it is for you. I promise to keep sharing as I go. The good news, is that I have an expert on this stuff as my neighbor and she is teaching me a lot.

I’ll start by giving you the recipe. Then I’ll do a little picture sequence to show you the steps. Hopefully this works for you!

Sourdough Artisan Bread:

Ingredients:
3 Cups Water
1 1/2 Tbs. Salt
1 1/2 Cup Starter
About 6 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour (ground in your wheat grinder)

Instructions:
Mix ingredients together, until the dough forms a ball. You will want it to be sticky.
Put ball of dough in a bowl with lid lightly covering for 12-24 hours
Pull half of the dough out of the bowl, place on pizza stone
Sprinkle with Sesame, Sunflower seeds and Flax (optional)

Bake on pizza stone at 400 for 40-45 min

1ingredients Gather all your ingredients and put the water, salt and starter in first. Then add the flour little by little so you can get the right consistency. You’ll want to mix and scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl as you add the flour.
1ball The consistency you are going to want is rather sticky. If you’re used to making yeast breads, I would say it’s quite a bit stickier than a yeast bread. You’ll want it to have enough flour that the dough can sit in somewhat of a ball, but it doesn’t have to HOLD the ball shape for long. Mix it in a bowl that you can cover. Once it is done mixing, cover for 12-24 hours in your fridge before baking.
1starter Once you are done with your dough, and its in the fridge, make sure you feed your starter so you can use it again. Mix even amounts wheat flour and water. Leave it out until it’s bubbled and grown about double in size, then keep it in your fridge with a lid on it.
1finished When baking your bread, you will want to bake it long enough. I made the mistake of not really believing it needed 45 minutes and there was a doughy ball in the middle of it. This recipe makes 2 fair sized loaves. My friend made the mistake of making one loaf out of the whole thing and let’s just say her doughy ball was BIGGER than mine.

So there you have it. Please make sure you give yourself a few tries with this. I felt really nervous the whole time and I had a friend holding my hand the whole way. The worst thing that could happen is it could be a big flop. I’m really proud of myself for getting the hang of this sourdough stuff. It’s an incredible tool for emergency preparedness since the starter is just wheat flour and water, and the bread is wheat flour, water, and salt. Talk about living on few ingredients and the bread is GOOD! I’ve also been making pizza and pancakes with my starter… and I must admit… it sits better in my stomach than regular yeast breads. There are reasons for it I guess. More on that later!

ReadyFuel Overview

Description:
ReadyFuel is a gel that can be used indoors or outdoors, and won’t freeze, evaporate, or melt. It’s very light and each packet contains a little metal sheet that can be turned into a holder for your pot. It’s a great little fuel for camping or small cooking needs like boiling water.

Benefits:
- Safe to use indoors
- Stores inside and outside
- Convenient storage
- Includes a stand for use without a separate stove

Drawbacks:
- Not as cost effective as other options
- Not easy to use for extended cook times (can’t easily add more gel)

Burn Time:
One gel pack burns for approximately 20 minutes (boils 4 cups of water)

30 Day Supply:
One box (120 packets) will boil 30 gallons of water

ReadyFuel 120 Packet Box
Retail Price: $239.95
Our Regular Price: $200.00
CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW OR LEARN MORE

Jodi’s ReadyFuel Experiment

Jodi first experimented with ReadyFuel during our 7 Day Challenge last September. See what she thought below!

CLICK TO VISIT THE MAIN FUEL OVERVIEW PAGE

12 Days of Christmas – Food Storage Style!

In the month of November we covered some important emergency topics such as 50 Last Minute Ways to Prepare For an Emergency and How to Create an Emergency Binder. We have heard feedback from a lot of readers who are anxious about how they can get their family and friends to feel the importance of being prepared. This is a great time of year to do just that! We posted about this with our “Don’t Say I Told You So” post, but doing this fun activity can be a much easier way to nudge people into thinking about it.

12DAYS

Share your love of food storage and the peace that comes with being self-reliant by doing our 12 Days of Christmas for a loved one this year. This has been a favorite feature of our blog for a few years now and we continue to update it with other ideas each year. There are tons of gift ideas you can do for FREE or very inexpensively to help people get started on their journey.

IDEAS FOR EVERYONE

You can chose to do all 12 days (you’ll have to start asap or you won’t be done before Christmas) or just choose a gift that you think would help make this a special preparedness Christmas for someone important to you. The point is to share your love of food storage, and the peace that comes with being self-reliant. Each “day” will have a theme, and have 3 gift ideas for you:

  • An option that’s FREE or under $1
  • An option that costs $5-30
  • A more expensive option…

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Day 1: Emergency Preparedness
Day 2: Shelves
Day 3: Water
Day 4: 3 Month Supply
Day 5: Long Term Education
Day 6: Grains
Day 7: Legumes
Day 8: Baking Goods
Day 9: Fruits and Vegetables
Day 10: Comfort Foods
Day 11: Non-Food Items
Day 12: Checklists

LABELS AND ACCESSORIES

We also have this pdf for you to print out that has tags for each day, name tags, and images you can print, and attach to the gifts. Feel free to use these whether you are doing all 12 days or just doing a gift or two.

We wanted to say thanks to all our readers for being so awesome, and hope you are getting ready for a wonderful holiday season. We’re so fortunate to be able to share what we learn with you all.

card

Thanksgiving Food Storage Recap

Well we hope you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend! We had some great family time, and Jodi and I even took a couple hours on Friday to go shopping together for house decorations and we didn’t even talk about Food Storage (ok we did). Jodi found a cute Christmas rug for her new house, and I found a cute picture frame that I’ll be using as an inspiration piece to decorate my kitchen. Yes it’s been a year since I moved and I haven’t faced decorating yet!

Alright, so what would Thanksgiving be without Food Storage? I bet you always think that. Here’s how we roll at Thanskgiving.

The Original Thanksgiving Great Cake Debate

A couple of years ago we tried fooling Jodi’s family (dad) with the Great Cake Debate. Jodi made one of their family favorite pumpkin cake recipes with whole wheat flour instead of white. The results were fantastic and the cake delicious. You can see the full post here.


Jodi’s Thanksgiving Double Layer Pumpkin Pie

This year Jodi celebrated with her in-laws and didn’t have a chance to make one of her other favorite recipes, but made sure to make it a few days later. You probably saw the picture and recipe over here on our Facebook page here.

The Great Bean Casserole Debate

This year Julie decided to try something sneaky with the green bean casserole. She broke every rule in the book on this recipe. Her original plan was the follow the recipe, but then just couldn’t help herself. Come back later this week for the full recipe, and a few tips on what NOT to do when trying to fool someone.

7 DAY CHALLENGE 2012

Well, we did it. We completed another 7 Day Challenge. The Seven Day Challenge is our way of celebrating National Emergency Preparedness Month in September. The Challenge was a week long series of mock emergencies with daily limitations and tasks to help assess your level of preparedness. On a surprise day in September, participants were notified that the Challenge had begum. Most of the learning and fun occurs as we shared our experiences through comments, surveys, and facebook.

This year we thought we could do something a little fun for our readers who either missed the Challenge, or wanted to share it with their friends. We compiled each day’s challenges and report cards and put together a document you could share with your friends, and encourage them to be more prepared as well. You can either forward this document along to them, share this post on facebook, or pin this post on your pinterest account.

Here’s a summary of the 7 Day Challenge this year. Thanks again for playing :)

Day 1: Economic Crisis – “Global Food Shortage”

Day 2: Natural Disaster – “Water Service Interruption”

Day 3: Health Benefits- “Medical Issues and Concerns”

Day 4: Economic Crisis – “Helping Those In Need”

Day 5: Everyday Emergency – “Power Loss”

Day 6: Natural Disaster – “Evacuation and 72 Hour Kits”

Day 7: Everyday Emergency – “Day of Service”

Sign up to join

While the fun doesn’t start again until NEXT September, you can sign up at anytime to be included on our 7 Day Challenge email list.