Marti’s Corner – 72

June 29, 2022

Marti's Corner at City PreppingHi Everyone,


*  So one of my summer goals was to learn to cook with my Sun Oven.  Sun OvenI’ve had it for years and never taken it out of the box.  Well………. I cooked my Sunday dinner in it last week.  Roast, potatoes, and carrots.  It turned out really well – delicious.  Craig even ate the leftovers last night.  

Think of it as a giant crock pot.  I had my dinner there for about 6-7 hours.  Still, the power was free.  Of course, if you factor in the cost of the oven, it will be a few years before I break even.  

On Monday, we had nachos for dinner.  I mixed some canned ground beef and tomato sauce and set it in the sun oven to warm.  It worked perfectly.  

Next project:  Pinto beans and kielbasa sausage, with cornbread — see recipe below.

** Have you ever made your own laundry detergent?  Sometimes I wonder if it really IS cheaper?  Other times I just go for the easy and get it already made for me in a box.  LOL  Anyway, this recipe looks like it might be a good thing to try.  How To Make Homemade Laundry Soap For Just Pennies A Load – GB’s Kitchen  AND, if you’ve never used Fels-Naptha soap— It works GREAT on getting grass stains out of those white T-Ball pants!  Just rub the bar on the stain before you toss them in the washing machine.  She says you only need 2 TB per load.  Hmmm.  Still not sure I want to do this.  If you can’t get regular detergent, you’re certainly NOT going to be able to get all the ingredients.  But, if you are just doing it for cost-effectiveness, then is it really cost-effective?


First the bad…These are the aphids that love broccoli.  I’m having to spray with Safer Soap for aphids twice a week now.  I’maphids in broccoli also spraying Captain Jack to kill any worms twice a week as well.

These holes are in the winter squash leaves.  No clue what’s causing them.  Garden pestsFlea beetles maybe? Spider mites?   Whatever it is, I’m hoping the twice-a-week spraying will help.

This poor potato plant is very unhappy.  The leaves continue to get worse and worse.  When they are totally dead, I cut them off.  Poor thing.  dry tomato leaf fungus

Now the good:  

healthy tomato leavesRight next door (literally touching the dying potato) is this———

THIS potato plant is green and healthy.  AND, it is getting flowers!  Last year, none of my potatoes got flowers.  I did NOT get a good harvest.  I think this is a good sign.  

Look what I found! baby cauliflower 


Yes, I know, we did beans last week.  But, I think this one is important.  Beans and rice make a complete protein.  If you feel like you just don’t need to buy any more beans, then make it a point this week to cook some beans.  From scratch!  Also, you should get some diversity in your beans.  Again, if you bought beans last week, get more –  only get different types.

And I found this cool chart:Bean Chart


When was the last time you bought powdered milk?  How long does powdered milk last?  Today’s powdered milk is NOT like your mother’s powdered milk.  It actually tastes much better.  They had #10 cans of milk at Winco last week for $15.  One can give you 39 servings at $.38 per serving (1 cup).  I looked up on the Church website to see if they had milk available and it looks like they are out of stock.  IF, IF, IF they restock, you can get 12 pouches for $64.80.  Each pouch makes 2 gallons which total 384 servings for a box of milk at about $.16 per serving.  Less than 1/2 the price at the store.  BUT, since you they are out of stock, you might be better off grabbing some at your local grocery store.  Often you can find milk in the baby food section.  It’s the same thing, just marketed for children.  Emergency Essentials has milk in #10 cans for $25, so $15 is a good deal compared to that.

BTW, the Church website says that milk is good for 20 years.  Just be sure to keep it in a cool, dark, place.  If you can’t do cool, do dark.  LOL.


Pinto Beans and Kielbasa
This comes from Solar Oven Cooking: Recipes and Answers To Life’s Solar Cooking Questions by Merry Bevill

My goal this summer is to get better at using my solar oven, which shouldn’t be hard because it’s never been out of the box!  This recipe looked easy, so I’m going to give it a try.

The directions are for a solar cooker, but I’m sure cooking it on the stove top will work just fine.

Preheat the solar oven.

3 c. pinto beans, cooked and drained.  (Not sure if that means 3 cups dry, then cooked – which will make about 9 cups of beans – which seems like a lot!  OR 1 c. dry beans, cooked to make about 3 cups beans – which is plenty for two of us but doesn’t seem like enough for a family.  Ugh, I hate it when directions are not specific!!)( On second thought, at the end it says it feeds 3-4 people, so I’m guessing it is NOT the 9 cups of beans we’re talking about)

So…….. to rephrase:

1 c. dry beans, cooked and drained to equal about 3 c. (How’s that?)
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 14.5-oz can stewed tomatoes
1 10-oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
Salt to taste
1 – 1 1/2 pounds kielbasa, cut into 1 inch rounds

    Combine everything into a solar safe pot (black pots and lids work best because they absorb the heat).  Stir well.  Simmer in the solar oven for 1 1/2 – 2 hours to let the flavors blend.  Serves 3-4  (I’ll bet you could add more beans depending on the size of your family)  (I’m also thinking this is a good recipe to vary:  add onions, substitute canned beef, etc.)

Serve with cornbread????

AND, it looks like you can cook corn on the cob in your sun oven as well.  No husking or peeling of silk.  Just toss the corn in the oven.  Bake for 2 hours.  You can do this while the beans and sausage are cooking.  Without peeling off the husks, you can cut off the bottom 2 inches or so of corn.  Then when the corn is done, grab the top and the silk with a dish towel or oven mitt.  Give it a shake, and the corn will slip right out.  We cook our corn in the microwave this way.  Two ears, on high for about 5 minutes.  No muss, no fuss.

Play Dough
I love homemade play-dough.  The store-bought stuff dries out so fast.  I used to make this recipe, put different colored balls of dough in several different sandwich baggies, then put the whole thing in an empty #10 can and give it for gifts.  It is soft and pliable.  If you have young kiddos, show them how to make snakes with the dough, and then make letters or numbers.  

2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. salt – mix these together
1 3/4 c. boiling water
1 TB alum
2 TB cooking oil

   Mix together.  It will firm up quickly, and become hard to stir.  Divide the dough, poke a finger in the dough to make a hole, and put just a drop or two of food coloring in it.  Then knead the color in.  

Two Zucchini Recipes

I’m starting to get an abundance of zucchini in the garden.  I wanted to learn how to make zucchini noodles and did NOT have a good first experience.  Try, try, try.  

But, I saw two recipes that looked promising.

Roasted Zucchini
This one suggests cookie racks or baking racks placed on a cookie sheet.  This way, the heat can cook the zucchini all around.

4 zucchini, ends trimmed, quartered lengthwise.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Coat with a mix of spices:
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Roast 400˚ for 12-15 min until tender.  Then pop the zucchini under the broiler so that the Parmesan becomes nice and crisp.  

Recipe #2 for Roasted Zucchini
Trim ends and cut small zucchini in 1/4th, lengthwise.

Pat dry.  Dip in beaten egg or beaten egg white mix.

Crumb topping:
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Dip zucchini in egg mix, then crumb mix.  Spread on an oiled cookie sheet.  Do not let them touch.  Do not use parchment.  Bake 15 at 425˚.  Rotate cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 min longer until golden and crisp.


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6 months ago

Thanks for the reminder about milk!! It reminds me also to look into where the food banks are. Food stamps don’t last as long as they used to! 😉

Those zucchini recipes sound delicious! And now I want a sun oven!

11 months ago

Gently shake your tomato plants every couple of days, starting when flowers are just starting; otherwise, they will shrivel up. It’s a good alternative to bees. It’s working for me.

Susan B
Susan B
11 months ago
Reply to  Jean

We are doing this too. Until we started shaking the tomatoes, we were getting a lot of flowers but no tomatoes. Since we started shaking them, we are getting tomatoes. Now we need to keep the birds away from them when they start to turn red.

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