Saturday, March 30, 2013

Here comes the Sun......

This is Paul Munsen, the President of "Sun Oven".  He recently taught a class on the new "All American Sun Oven" at the Honeyville Store in SLC.  I went just to learn about this new product only as I already have a Solar Oven that I really love.

However, once I heard about all the upgrades and things that it could do...yes I really did it.....I bought one for myself.  I think that both of my solar ovens have distinct uses and I look forward to using them both!

Well, I got it a very big box.  This deal through Honeyville includes several extra's.  (Please know that this deal ends today).  The unit itself weighs 22 lbs and is easy to carry.

These items came with this purchase.  Upgrades to the unit are as follows:

  • A "T" leg with 2 stakes are included to ensure the unit stays stable in windy conditions.
  • Three racks are included to be used for Dehydration or from layered cooking (like cookie sheets).  Also a roll of Parchment paper is provided for dehydrating.
  • 2 Dark Round Enamel Pans that stack if you wish. Each pan has a different lid, one dark and one clear. 
  • 2 Bread pans
  • One Multi-Fuel Water Pasteurizing Indicator (WAPI).  More about this cool little device later.

Well, I just opened the device.  See the 'self-leveling' grill inside?  I love this as your food will always be level no matter what angle you are tilting your oven.  In addition, this new All American 's rack can handle a 9x13 pan means the inside of this unit is larger than the previous model.

I love these.  They are called "E-Z Sun-track indicators".  Essentially, you line up the light coming through the top hole with the hole on the bottom to indicate that you unit is in the best position for direct sunlight.  Every thirty minutes, you may have to adjust you unit as the sun travels. These indicators make it a snap.

This is a "T leg" that is used to adjust the angle of the unit.  The previous unit reportedly only had a single leg. This "T" shape helps the unit be more stable and is adjustable.

Here is the leg being used.

At the bottom of the "T" are holes that allow you to stake the unit to the ground to keep it from being blown over by the wind. You reportedly can also insert the ends of Bungee cords into each hole. This way you can run the Bungee cord under the table and secure it from wind as well. 

You need to remove the protective coating off the reflective surfaces.

The unit also comes with a built-in thermostat.  This one raised 100 degrees in under 5 minutes while we were pulling off the protective covering of the reflective surfaces.

Here, Rooster Senior is getting the last little bit of coating off, and the unit is ready to use.

These are the stacking pots.  Since the the unit cooks evenly instead of just getting heat from the bottom, stacking is efficient.  The reason that we have to stir our food when cooking on the stove is that we are transferring heat from the burner to the bottom of the pot.  In order to keep the food from burning, we stir. With Solar Cooking, as long as the pans/containers are raised up off the floor of the device, heat circulates evening around everything inside and the food and containers are all the same temperature.

Experimenting on the word....

It is hard to see, but we have lined up the sunlight between the two circular openings.

In honor of Easter, I decided to 'hard boil' 2 eggs (without water). Mr. Munsen stated that this works really well with fresh eggs as the heat separates the shell and the lining and makes them easy to peel when they are cool.  I decided to try this.  It takes 50 minutes for one egg, and about 55 for 2.  He said up to an hour or more to do more.

I place the eggs on the self-leveling rack.

I left the unit to cook while I did other tasks inside the house.

When I came back out about 55 minutes later, the temperature in the unit was over 300 degrees.  

I opened the unit and took the egg was hot.

To check to see if the egg is cooked, spin it.  If it wobbles, the yolk most likely is not cooked.  If it spins, you should be good.  That was the case with these eggs....this one is actually spinning...but you can't tell in this still shot!.

After it cooled, I sliced it....see, it is cooked all the way through.

I learned a great deal from Mr. Munsen.  I look forward to using this device more fully.  I can't wait to try it on a Sunday.....for dinner!

BTW, Honeyville is selling this combination through the end of the month.  It should be available through other suppliers in April.

Consider it!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Constancy amid Change.......again

(I am leaving this photo in its original size so that you can read the fine print....)

The Students of our ward woke up to this notice yesterday morning.  Why might you ask?  Because of this breaking news story:

Church Secures Use of Additional Buildings for Missionary Training


To better accommodate the recent increase in new missionaries, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is expanding its missionary training operations by securing the use of additional buildings near the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC).
MTC classroom
Missionaries will occupy the Raintree Commons apartments at 1849 North 200 West, and portions of the BYU-owned Wyview Park apartments at 146 West 1940 North in Provo, Utah. This temporary arrangement is one of the many ways the Church is accommodating more missionaries entering into missionary service around the world. 
“We are grateful for all those who have chosen missionary service,” said Elder David F. Evans, executive director of the Church’s Missionary Department. “Regardless of where they are trained, missionaries will have a rich and inspiring experience that prepares them for their labors in their assigned missions.”
Approximately 2,000 missionaries will occupy the facilities as early as May 2013. English-language missionaries and those learning foreign languages will be trained there.
Missionaries housed at the Raintree Commons and the Wyview Park apartments will eat, exercise and attend classes and worship services on-site. Additional temporary structures will be installed nearby to provide services to missionaries. All missionaries being trained in Provo will still have opportunities to attend the Provo Temple.

Updated Missionary FAQ
  • How many missionaries does the Church have serving currently?
  • What is the average number of missionaries being called per week now?
    1,400 per week since 1 January 2013
  • What is the current percentage of Elders/Sisters being called?
    For calls made since 1 January 2013, 57% are elders, 36% are sisters, and 7% are seniors.
  • What are the plans currently for expansion of the Provo MTC?
    We are currently reviewing options with the city and neighbors that would approximately double the capacity of the Provo MTC. These plans are not yet finalized.
  • Are there plans to expand the Provo Temple to accommodate increased numbers of missionaries?

Soooooo, what do the students think?  Well, with social media it's easy to see and very quickly. Comments such as these are being posted:
  • One student wrote that she is looking for a big box to live out of since she is being forced to move and will soon be homeless.
  • Others are saying that they should still have use of the pool and hot tub because the missionaries won't need them.
  • Another suggested that the ward blow the budget on an end-of-the-year party within the next month.
  • Most are saying how very, very sad they are that they will all be moving.  Essentially, they are loosing their sense of 'family' in our little ward.  

For me personally (at the moment), I am mourning this change as well because I love, love, love these young people.  It has been my privilege and honor to serve with them. What a tender mercy this calling has been for me.

On the flip side, after thinking about this for a few hours, I can see the divine wisdom in this inspired choice.  The campus' of both of these apartment buildings are rather isolated. Raintree itself really does have a central commons area and the  apartment buildings surround it keeping all the occupants close together. The missionaries could quickly and easily move from one building to the other despite the weather.  Geographically, the roads, river, and business buildings keep this area uniquely isolated to itself.  The parking for Raintree only has 2 entrances and could easily be taken down to one to keep the campus isolated from well wishers or interested parties.

I remember when President Spencer W Kimball coined the phrase "Constancy amid Change".  This announcement is perfectly suited for this phrase.  In the last days, the missionary work really must expand and fill the whole earth.  Since the announcement was made by President Monson during the October General Conference, we have had nearly 17 young sisters either receive their mission call, leave for the MTC (one left yesterday), or are in the process of putting their papers in. Imagine this expanded missionary activity in every YSA ward in our valley and the worldwide impact it is having.  My husband and I joked that perhaps one of our own Young Single Adults  might end up right back in the apartment they just left, however they would been transformed into  a missionary this time.  For me personally, I just get to see this change up close and personally.

I will miss my Young Single Adults.....May the Lord Bless them all.....until we meet again.  


PS:  There is now an official site for those who are displaced. If you know of openings in the Provo area, please feel free to post them here:

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Eggs...from your Food Storage...a sweet Easter Treat!!

I look forward to Easter every year for many reasons.  Certainly the Resurrection is the primary reason.  The treats are secondary.  However, I find that I look for the Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs each year....they just are a favorite of mine!  

I came across several recipes to make your own copy-cat version....and I just had to try it.  Here is the "play-by-play" account.

I love this recipe because it is made from Food Storage Staples that I would think anyone would have on hand. For the filling, you need unsalted butter, Brown Sugar, Creamy Peanut Butter, and Powdered Sugar.

Put the above ingredients into a pan and combine on Medium Heat.  Take off the heat when the mixture begins to bubble.  

Place the pan on a a hot pad and get a 1/4 Cup measure for the Powdered Sugar.

Pour in 1/4 Cup of Powdered Sugar into the mixture.

Continue combining 1/4 Cup of powdered sugar until 1 and 1/4 Cups have been incorporated.

This is what it will look like when all the Powdered Sugar is incorporated.  Cool the mixture (I put mine in the Refrigerator).  When it is firm enough, roll out the dough on wax or parchment paper.

Use Powdered Sugar to dust the rolling pin if needed.  I used an Egg Cookie Cutter to cut the shapes out.s

I placed the 'eggs' on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  I then put them into the Freezer while I made the chocolate mixture. This allows the peanut butter centers to become very hard.

Put the Chocolate chips and Shortening in a microwave bowl.  Place into the Microwave for 30 seconds at a time and stir.  Continue this until a smooth liquid chocolate is made.

Dip the frozen eggs into the chocolate.  Lift out of the chocolate with a fork.  Shake off the excess chocolate.  Push the egg off the fork on to Parchment paper with a spoon.

If the eggs soften, place the cookie sheet back into freezer for a few minutes and then continue the task.

How did they taste?  I had some of my adult children visiting.  Let's just say not all of them remained at our house.

Take-away points:

  • This is a delightful treat that is very simple to make.
  • I used Food Storage Staples exclusively to make these treats.
  • I think that the next time I make these,  I will take a little more time with the chocolate.   I may even use the microwave to melt it again intermittently as the Peanut Butter centers are so cold that the chocolate set up quickly in the bowl.

  • 1 Cup Creamy peanut Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 Cup light Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/4 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Cups milk Chocolate Chips (or 12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Shortening.

  1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper, set aside.
  2. IN a medium saucepan, combine the peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar over medium heat.  Heat until completely melted and starting to bubble a little, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat.  add the powdered sugar and 1/4 cup at a time, stirring until completely combined with the peanut butter mixture after each addition.  Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Using a medium cookie scoop or a heaping tablespoon, scoop out peanut butter mixture and shape into eggs. (I used a cookie cutter).  Refrigerate to allow the peanut butter eggs to set, about 30 minutes.  
  4. Once the peanut butter eggs are set, melt the chocolate chips and shortening together in the microwave on 50% power in 30-seconds increments, stirring after each, until completely melted.  One at a time, dip a peanut butter egg into the chocolate and using a fork, flip it over so it is completely covered.  Remove it from the bowl, letting any excess chocolate drip off.  Return it to the baking sheet, and repeat with all of the peanut butter eggs.  Sprinkle with decorations, if desired.  Return the chocolate covered peanut butter eggs to the refrigerator to allow the chocolate to set, about 30 minutes   Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to serve.  

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Food Processing....powerless!

I am still on my "Powerless kick" and I purchased this  recently.  I love my traditional (electric) Food Processor, but got to thinking about powerless cooking.  Just because there is no power doesn't mean that you won't be chopping of cutting items for meals.  I thought back on my youth and the hand-pump type of chopper that we used to chop onions and nuts. I recall having a bruised palm and didn't really want to use that device.  So......I went looking (aka shopping!!).

This is a Chef'n Veggie Chop.  I love it for several reasons:

It comes with a bowl, a lid (with a pull-string) an insert with very, very sharp blades, and a lid to put on the bowl if you wish.

I decided to give it a 'test-run'.  I cut a medium-sized onion into quarters.  I place one quarter in the device.

The device works with a pull-string (think the pulling rope on a lawn-mower).  Here is that quarter onion after only 3 pulls.

I decided to put in the entire onion.  This is what it looked like after 10 pulls.  Not bad huh?

This ring slips over the top of the 'white knob'.  But, when you are ready to chop, secure the lid to the base and grasp the ring.

You would keep one hand on the base and the second hand would be used to pull the string and spin the blades inside the device.  (I needed Rooster Senior to help me because I couldn't hold, pull, and shoot pictures at the same time!)

Since the Onion was such as success, I decided to try a Green Pepper.

This was the result of just over 10 string-pulls.

The base has a rubber ring to grasp to the surface you are using.

It also comes with a snap-on lid to keep the contents in a bowl if you wish.

I would strongly recommend this device.  I am not going to wait until I have no power. This is so easy to take out and use instead of lugging out my big electric one, plugging it in, and then repacking it to put away.  I think I will uses this for most chopping needs that I may have.  It's easy to clean as well. Just toss everything but the lid in the dishwasher.  The lid must be cleaned by hand and not submerged (think of the string, it would hold water and expand).

Take Home Points:
  • Light weight:  You could take it camping with you
  • Easy to clean
  • Very sharp very careful when cleaning them.
  • Does not take big 'muscles' to operate
  • Small enough to fit in a drawer.

So, consider it!

01 09 10