“GLOBAL SUN OVEN,”…. Lemon Chicken

I occasionally post information about equipment I find useful for off-grid living or for life on the road in a small RV!  I have mentioned the “Global Sun Oven,” solar oven before but feel compelled to again talk about this wonderful cooker!  Today I made baked lemon chicken (an entire chicken) with vegetables and once again the “Global Sun Oven” performed like a champ!  I set-up the oven at 10:00 AM and let it cook until about 4:30 PM…. the temps varied between 220 and 250 degrees the entire time.  I moved the oven 4 times throughout the day to better catch the sun’s rays.  The chicken was delicious, very moist and almost fell off the bone!  I think it’s pretty cool being able to cook without using fossil fuel sources!  The initial cost of the “Global Sun Oven” is probably the only negative, a bit high in my opinion!  Today on Amazon, they sell for $259.00.  
All things considered, the “Global Sun Oven” has made a wonderful addition to my off-grid lifestyle!

Above, the un-cooked chicken just squeezes into the cook pan, under the chicken are a healthy helping of fresh vegetables!

Below, the “Global Sun Oven” in action, cooking a whole chicken!

Below, the chicken fully cooked by the “Global Sun Oven” and ready for consumption!






(151)

Pasties, Pickled Eggs and Blue Lakes….

I said in my last post that before my feet took root in Kentucky, I wanted to visit family in Tennessee and  attend my niece’s High School Graduation in Michigan.  I spent just one week in Kentucky and then took to the road again, first to Knoxville, Tennessee and then to the Ann Arbor area of Michigan.  My mother and aunt were in Knoxville to visit my cousin for a week so my brother, his family and I went south for a quick 2 day visit.  We had a great time.  I rode a horse for the first time in over 34 years and watched my cousin perform at Dolly Pardon’s Dixie Stampede.  If you’ve never seen the Dixie Stampede, it’s kinda like Ice-Capades on Horseback!  My cousin has been a horse person his entire life and did some pretty cool riding!  The next day Bertha and I were on our way from Tennessee to Michigan to see the graduation…. I can’t believe my niece, the little girl just a few years ago, is now a beautiful young lady… boy how time races by…. she will be a freshman next Fall at Michigan State University, the same place where I was a freshman 30 years ago!  Talk about time racing by…… Life really is too short…. that’s why I have decided to live frugally now and see as much of the world as I can at a young age.  My father passed away at the relatively young age of 61 and never really had a chance to enjoy his retirement!  Almost anyone can amass a fortune, but I have yet to see anyone take that fortune with them into heaven.  What’s my point, enjoy life everyday!  Spend less time trying to be rich with cash and more time trying to be rich with great experiences!

Above, one of the many beautiful lakes in Northern Michigan.  I parked Bertha next to this lake and had a wonderful view during lunch!

Below, in honor of my father, I decided to skip the healthy salad for lunch and indulge in some of his favorite Michigan foods!  My father loved lots of weird foods.  Stuff like beef tongue, pickled eggs and pickled beets were just a few of the less-than-normal dishes he liked.  Not really a weird food, but definitely a northern Michigan favorite, the “Pasty” was one of my Dad’s favorites too.  Not to be confused with what strippers wear to cover their boobies (pasties)… but rather the meat filled pastry called a “Pasty.”   As you can see below on the Trailer, the plural of Pasty is Pasties?  Hmmm…. interesting!  They are very tasty too… the “Pasty” that is….

Above, the meat-filled pie known as the “Pasty.”

Below, a few more of my father’s favorites… pickled eggs and polish sausages, I too like them!  Might be a Prilosec night!?

   

(171)

Arizona’s Route 66, 2012

Yesterday was an interesting travel day.  I started the day at 5:00 AM in Monterey, California and headed south east with my destination goal being Prescott, Arizona.  After 10 hours of driving in windy, cloudy, wet and snowy weather, I decided to call it a day and overnight in Kingman, Arizona.  Like so many places WanderLusters pass-by for many years without stopping, Kingman was one of those places for me.  I bet I have passed Kingman at least 1/2 a dozen times going either east or west on HWY 40 and never stopped for more than fuel.  Last night the forecast was calling for possible snowfall to the east in Flagstaff.  That sealed the decision for me… Kingman would be a nice place to stop and button up for the night.  I got a great night’s rest as temps only dipped into the mid-40!  I continued my journey to Prescott at 8:00 AM this morning and decided to take HWY 66 as far east as I could until the junction with HWY 89 where I turned south for Prescott.  It was a wonderful day, Rt 66 was really interesting and the Buffalo Burger at the “Roadkill Cafe” was excellent.  I arrived safety at 3:00 PM in Prescott, one of my favorite Arizona towns!

Above, once I crossed the California / Arizona line on HWY 40, I looked north and saw the mighty Colorado River flowing it’s liquid-lifeblood into California!

Below, I stopped by the County Court House in Kingman for a photo-op with Bertha.

Above, the old County Jail in Kingman, built in 1910, sits as a reminder of what was necessary to maintain law and order in the Old West Towns!  After the Church, the Jails were often the first buildings built in the old West!

Below, a brief description of the Jail.

Below, don’t get caught talking to the prisoners!  It might just land you in the hole!

Above and Below, a few colorful murals in Downtown Kingman, Arizona!  Reminders of what put Kingman on the Map…. the Historic Rt 66!

Below, the start of my drive today, Rt 66 from Kingman to Ash Fork.

Above and Below, The “Roadkill Cafe” in Seligman, Arizona was my lunch-break spot.  If you can get past the name, it really is a great place to stop for a meal.  The Buffalo Burger was great and the wacky decor alone is worth a visit!

   

(173)

Solar Cooking with the “Sun Oven” On The Road, 2012

I’ve posted before about my “Sun Oven” solar cooker but this is the first trip I have taken it with me on the road.  Overall, the “Sun Oven” has far exceeded my expectations and is a great addition to the RVer or off grid camper / homesteader.  The oven heats up quickly and cooks evenly.  Yesterday it was in the mid-70s and a bit overcast here in SoCal.  The “Sun Oven” reached 300 degrees within about 30 mins in the sun.  I made a “hobo-dish” consisting of beef, black beans and brown rice.  The contents reached a rolling boil in about 45 mins.  Unlike the conventional oven, the “Sun Oven” does require constant supervision to maximize the power of the sun!  It’s necessary to adjust the direction the oven faces every 10 – 15 mins in order to stay aligned with the sun’s direct rays.  It’s nice to have the option to harness the sun’s power and cook a meal with no additional fuel necessary!  For someone with space in a vehicle or RV the “Sun Oven” is a nice addition to conventional cooking methods and will do the job at no additional fuel costs!  In an emergency situation, the “Sun Oven” could not only be used for cooking but also to purify water.  The only limitation is that yes… the “Sun Oven” requires the “Sun.”

Above, the “Sun Oven” solar cooker sits next to Bertha the truck camper in a parking lot in SoCal.  I posted this picture to give you an idea of the size of the oven.  It’s not “small” but when the reflectors are folded down the cooker is easy to transport with the built-in handle.

Below, the ingredients of my “hobo-meal.”  The benefit of using canned goods is that no refrigeration is necessary.  In a situation where there is no “power” available, like a natural disaster, the “Sun Oven” and shelf stable ingredients make a great combination!

Above, as you can see above, the temperature of the “Sun Oven” when I set it up was just over 50 degrees.  In about 30 mins the cooker reached 300 degrees with a few adjustments in the direction of the cooker.

Below, the “Sun Oven” with cook pan added.

Above, the temperature climbs as the sun does its job!

Below, the finished product, beef, black beans and rice cooked in under an hour with the “Sun Oven” solar cooker!  Only thing left to do is  to “consume.”

   

(139)

As Close to Steak Perfection as Possible…. Doe’s Eat Place.

Sometimes I can’t decide if this Blog should be about,
– Food, or
– Travels, or
– Adventures…..?

I mean I love all three topics….. hmmmmm ….. oh well …..

Until I can decide,  I am just going to keep posting it all together!

Now speaking of Food…..

Tonight I think I ate the perfect steak?  I said “think” because I can only imagine what steak perfection tastes like?  If bacon is man-candy, then the steak I ate tonight was at least a few steps above bacon!

When I travel I always ask locals where the “best place to eat is.”  I always say, “where would you take someone from out of town to eat something unique to this area…” and usually I get great recommendations.  Today I asked the same question while having a coffee at lunch and was given a recommendation to eat at “Doe’s Steakhouse” here in Greenville, Mississippi.  What a great recommendation that turned out to be.  The place is in a rough section of downtown and navigating the narrow and congested streets to find it was a bit of a challenge but the reward was well worth it!  The 10 oz filet I ate had to be the best steak I have ever eaten!  It’s not cheap but boy was it good!  Now if you are the type of person that cares about lovely ambiance then Doe’s is probably not your cup of tea.  Quite honestly the place looks run-down from the outside and once you enter you walk through the kitchen and food prep area to get to the dining room.  Don’t worry, the place is clean and the staff are very professional but it’s the incredible food that keeps people coming back.  If you are anywhere near Greenville, Mississippi on your travels, pay a visit to Doe’s!

    
Above, Bertha parked in front of “Doe’s Steakhouse” in Greenville, Mississippi!

One advantage to having a Truck Camper is that you can take it any place you can take a truck!  Try that with a Class A Motorhome or a travel trailer?  Good Luck!  

(86)

Potato Soup and a Civil War Fort…..

After a cozy night in Bowling Green, Kentucky I continued South on Interstate 65 for about 40 miles and then decided to take a road less traveled… West on Hw 52.  First stop, the quaint little town of Cross Plains, home of Thomas Drugs and some pretty tasty potato soup.  Cross Plains is only about 4 miles West of Interstate 65 so even if you wish to continue traveling South on 65 a short visit to Thomas Drugs would be a simple detour.  The town also hosts a few small gift shops and even one building sporting the name “Otis’ Garage.”  I didn’t see Opie, Andy or Aunt B during my short visit?

Above, Thomas Drugs in Cross Plains, Tennessee offers a nice lunch menu and still serves as a Drug Store.

Below, the Thomas Drugs Soup of the Day, Potato Soup.  It was extraordinarily tasty!

After lunch,  I continued Westward (remember California is West of Kentucky… I hope!) on Hw 49.  Along the way I passed through small towns like, Springfield, Coppertown and Pleasant View (yes there were many pleasant views along the way).  I made it as far as the town of Waverly before I decided to stop in order to visit the County Historical Museum and a Civil War Fort, Fort Waverly.  About 140 miles traveled today… might be time for a stop…. remember WanderLust Adventure 2012 will be slow and steady.

Below, the signs give a brief history of the reason behind Fort Waverly.

Below, Bertha takes a break in front of the Denver Post Office (Denver, Tennessee that is!).

(125)

Real Kentucky Fried Chicken!

After a wonderful week in Florida enjoying a visit with an old buddy and near perfect weather, I made a 15 hour (almost non-stop) drive back to Kentucky with Lil-Bertha in order to prepare for my next adventure…. a Truck Camper trip South and West of Kentucky…. more details in the next few days…. but a little hint…California here I come?
I am currently living (homesteading….) in Central Kentucky only about 50 miles from the birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken in Corbin, Kentucky.  In 1930, the then 40 year old Colonel Harland Sanders was operating a service station and started cooking for hungry travelers who stopped for gas.  More than 80 years later, KFC is one of the largest restaurant chains in the world!  The original service station location in Corbin is now a museum and cafe.  This post really isn’t about KFC but rather real Kentucky Fried Chicken.  I’m talking about home-fried-Kentucky-Chicken.  My friend Ernie, a 64 year old black American claims he can “cook circles around Colonel Sanders…”  Having eaten his fried chicken 1/2 a dozen times before, I must agree with him!  He truly has mastered the art of frying chicken.  Today, Ernie gave me a quick class on how to fry chicken, Kentucky style…. What got me thinking about fried chicken was the scene in the movie “The Help.”  The chicken looked so tasty, I “suggested” that Ernie demonstrate PPP Techniques (Proper Poulet Preparation Techniques).  Lucky for me Ernie agreed and below are a few pictures of the results….. too bad the pictures are not scratch and sniff…..

(165)

Cooking On a “Deadwood Stove” and a “Thermal Cooker.”

Today I put the Deadwood Stove to the test and decided to make one of my favorite dishes, chicken curry.  The only source of fuel I used during the entire cooking process was a lighter, some paper and a bundle of dead sticks.   No gas or electricity was used at all!  Below is a series of pictures that shows the ingredients and cooking equipment.  I used a small enamel pot to cook on the Deadwood Stove.  First,  I cooked the chicken in olive oil for about 5 mins, then I added the rest of the ingredients and brought the entire pot to a boil for about 3 mins.  The food is then poured into the thermal cooker inner pot and then that pot goes into the outer pot.  The ingredients continue to cook in the Thermal Cooker for about 3 – 4 hours!  Remember, after the food is brought to an initial boil for about 3 – 4 mins, it then continues to cook in the Thermal Cooker without any heat source!  The Thermal Cooker maintains the ingredients at a temperature sufficient to continue the cooking process!

Above, the enamel pot, Deadwood Stove and chicken curry ingredients.
Below, close up of the ingredients;

Above, the chicken cooking in olive oil.

Below, the enamel pot, with chicken curry prior to going into the Thermal Cooker.

Can’t wait to taste the Chicken Curry tonight!

(219)

Kentucky Sweet Potato Chicken Curry……..

What is “Kentucky Sweet Potato Chicken Curry” you ask?  I don’t know but I just made it…. I hope it tastes good!  No really, on a serious note, I recently bought a Thermal Cooker and wanted to try a recipe that would not only taste great but also fit into my “Caveman Diet.”

So, I made a Chicken Curry, ala Kentucky Style……

Ingredients;
-1 pound of chicken breast, cut into bit size pieces.

-One large sweet white onion.

-One med size sweet potato.
-Curry Powder.
-Chicken Broth, low fat.
-Plum Sauce.
-Chile Paste with Garlic.
-Salt.
-Olive Oil.

Since a thermal cooker requires no continued heat source after the ingredients are brought to a rolling boil for a few mins, it will be a great addition to eating well on the road!  All I need is to place the Thermal Cooker inner pot on a heat source, like a BBQ grill, a stove, a single burner camp stove or a campfire even and then bring the contents to a boil for a few mins, then place inner pot in the outer pot for 2-4 hours.  The Thermal Cooker maintains the heat above 175 degrees for hours.

I can’t wait to taste it!  While the Kentucky Sweet Potato Chicken Curry is cooking, I had a delicious “Caveman Salad” for today’s lunch.

Above, the ingredients of the world famous, Kentucky Sweet Potato Chicken Curry.

Below, after a few mins on the stove top, I place the Thermal Cooker inner pot into the outer pot and will let stand for about 4 hours.  In the meantime, I had a delicious “Caveman Salad” for lunch!

(120)

Eating Like a Caveman……. Part 1, the Transformation Begins.

I have decided to make a genuine change to my dietary habits!   For the last few years, I have been complaining about weight gain (20+ pounds) and I have decided to do something about it!

Starting today, I am going to eat as healthy as possible…. kinda like a Caveman!
 
Lots of deep green, red, yellow and purple vegetables, fresh fruits and meats and fish!

That’s not to say I won’t eat other tasty things, I will!  But I will try to limit the overall amount of calories I consume and of course reduce the amount of bad stuff as much as possible.

Why?  Because I feel like it and I believe it’s my responsibility to look out for my health.

I know the “Holiday Season” is not the best time to start a new diet (read change of diet) for anyone, but when is a good time?  There is always an excuse for not doing something you know you should do but have been putting off…. so “darn-it, I’m starting NOW!”

Today’s Lunch consisted of a “Caveman Salad.”  (I assume my imaginary Caveman Friend had a garden and a river with salmon next to his cave… ok… just work with me here…lol)

 
Above, a picture of the Caveman Salad, organic greens, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, salmon and italian dressing (my caveman has a sister in Italy).

Below, a picture of me at age 40 in Brazil, a far cry from my current 20 + pound overweight body!  Why is there no current (47 years old) picture?  Because it’s too painful for even me to look at…. lol.  So for now, I just have the before picture…. and when I’m down to a reasonable weight, I’ll post a “now picture.”  Sorry about the “Speedo” but when in Rome…… I was living in Brazil!

(107)