Copyright © 2007-2015 Foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cooking Outside! In A Sun Oven

Anise hyssop (this one is from the mint family) growing in one of our raised beds.

I have wanted a Sun Oven for years and finally got one last month.  Goodman is fond of homestyle meals complete with a meat and 2 vegetables so I cook A LOT, and that heats up the house A LOT. I like the idea of cooking without the heat from the stove competing with the air-conditioning in the summertime so it just makes sense to use a sun oven (or/and an outdoor grill.)  And it's really handy when the power is off.   It can even be used in winter - as long as the sun shines you can cook in it.
Since I bought mine I've been surprised to find out how many people have never heard of them.  
Here it's cooking a pot of beans on our deck.  (Imagine li'l red beans cookin' away in there.)
 mine, mine, mine.  ;)
The pot sits on a leveling tray so you can position the oven so the glass lid on top of the oven directly faces the sun.

It can reach 400° inside when placed in direct line with the sun.  Here I made sun tea - next time I'm going to make it in a jar as the pans that came with it don't pour without spilling it everywhere.  o.O 
Cookin' Green Sun Tea
I usually boil pork short ribs (makes them super tender and chases away that awful piggy odor) for an hour on the stove then drain and slather them with sauce on the grill for 10 mins.  Here I cooked them in the oven for a couple hours then drain them, added sauce and grilled them the usual 10 minutes for added flavor.  Delicious. 
Short Ribs going into the sun oven
It took the sun oven about 2 hours to cook beef tips for supper last evening.  Just a few minutes of preparation on my part beforehand then the oven did the rest. Cool.  And that's exactly what happened since I cooked outside...the house stayed cool.   In the summertime I try to fry squash and such on our outdoor grill to help keep the house cool.  
Beef Tips with gravy & noodles, Fried Zucchini, and Mashed Cauliflower 

I've also tried a whole baked chicken, and it's great cooked in the oven, too.   If you have any questions about the oven or are interested in buying one click here to watch a video at the sun oven site.   No affiliation, just a happy customer.

You can read about them here >  Source  <<   Btw, part of the proceeds from sales help to place huge community sun ovens in third world countries.
The growing season will soon end so don't forget to gather mullein for your herbal cabinet.  :)
Mullein


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

CucumberTrellis

Did you know there are burgundy stella d'oro daylilies?  It's true.  o.o

I'm growing calendula this year for the first time. 

 Several months ago I read a most intriguing account of wonderful results as to it's medicinal properties and couldn't wait to grow my own.  Click here to read the same article, and you'll also discover one of the best home-making blogs in cyberland.  Seriously. 

 I enjoy growing cucumbers, but I do not like that they ramble and roam everywhere within 30 feet of where they are planted so....

Goodman and I visited the bamboo patch along our fence line...

And extracted several poles so I could make a trellis for the cucumber vines.

We cut and tied them together with twine.

 The hollow core of the bamboo poles allows for sliding the poles onto skinny pieces of rebar so I pounded 1/4 in. pieces of rebar into the raised bed where I wanted the trellis, then I "hung" it onto the rebar posts.  It's very sturdy and has withstood several storms, and when fall arrives I can simply lift it off the rebar posts and store it for the winter.

In case you are interested in making your own nifty garden trellis here is a link to some very cool and useful lashing methods.
Clove hitch step 1



How does your garden grow this year?  Do tell.
Shared at The Art of Home-Making Mondays, The Maple Hill Hop, Roses of Inspiration, Wildcrafting Wednesday

Monday, July 6, 2015

Good Ol' Summertime


Greetings from the hills.

Goodman has a new work schedule, a completely crazy one and it has us wondering what day it is every. single. day. so my posts and visits to other blogs may be sporadic until his schedule changes.

We've picked a couple gallons of blackberries so far.  They're plump and sweet.


 Our favorite way to enjoy them is in a cobbler.

I pile them high and add butter..

Then sprinkle on flour and sugar.

Make a crust ...

Pop it on top the berries and bake...

Now this, this is summer.

I hope some foraged blackberries find their way into your summer, too.

Shared at Roses of Inspiration and The Art of Home-Making Mondays, The Maple Hill Hop, Wildcrafting Wednesday