Owning a solar powered tiny house, or a home powered by standard utility, comes with many challenges--properly utilizing space, being eco-friendly, not having guests over--the list goes on. Luckily the Solavore Sport, a solar oven, offers a lot of different ways to make your tiny house lifestyle just that much more comfortable--not to mention take you one step closer to having an awesome, off-the-grid solar powered tiny house.
Saying you need to save space in a tiny house is a platitude, but truly it’s important! When you’re working with 200 square feet, or less, there is nothing worse than wasted space, bulky appliances and the ensuing claustrophobia.
The key here is mobility, because in a tiny house a modular space you can change up from time to time can make all the difference in the world in terms of comfort.
Here’s where the Solavore Sport solar oven comes in: your standard, run-of-the-mill oven is not exactly mobile, nor is it intended to be as such, but with the Solavore Sport you have the pleasure of being able to “take this fight outside,” as it were.
A beautiful sunny day, a hankering for fresh air and an oven you can cook outside with are the key ingredients in this recipe for comfortable cooking.
Energy Can Be Hard To Come By: Don’t Waste It On Cooking
Whether you have a solar powered tiny house or one running off standard utility, being mobile can be very important.
Having a solar powered tiny house makes a big difference, for those using standard utility for the tiny house, a utility hookup can sometimes be hard to come by--especially if you are the outdoorsy type who is parking your tiny house in a wooded area.
To quote the Beatles, “when you find yourself in times of trouble, Solavore cooks for free.” OK that’s not how it goes but you get the picture.
The Solavore Sport solar oven allows you to worry only about the ingredients, and let mother nature take care of the rest.
Bring Aunt Linda and Uncle Jack Back: Guests at the Tiny House
Being in a tiny house is very much about minimalism, you give up things you don’t need and hang on to the items most dear. What many don’t want to give up, however, is the opportunity to have family over for the proverbial breaking of bread.
Eating together as a family is very important when it comes to maintaining connections and bonding. So...don’t have to give up that important bonding time.
While you are cooking inside with your traditional oven, you can have additional food cooking outside in your solar oven.
With the oven’s two 3-quart pots you can feed 8-10 people--which means you will have no problem making all the eats necessary for your numerous hungry visitors.
Save The Earth One Solar Meal At A Time
Read the tiny house message boards and you’ll see many individuals installing:
- water catchments systems
- solar panels
- composting installations
Let’s say you take advantage of all those eco-friendly utilities, why stop there by including a traditional gas stove? Going solar lets you to take one more baby step towards being totally green by cooking naturally, without the fossil fuels.
This Oven is Pretty Sweet--But How Does it Work?
Light from the sun, we now know, is packed with energy—about 1,000 watts for every square meter.
Just as a solar powered tiny house takes energy from the sun and converts it to electricity, the Solavore Sport draws on a simple but profound principle, converting this light energy to heat energy.
Everything under the sun (pun intended) is made of atoms.
The Solavore Sport uses this powerful energy to make concentrated heat.
When sunlight strikes a brick wall—or car hood or food in the solar oven—the radiation excites the atoms, causing them to vibrate faster and get hotter.
The Smaller Details: Other Ways To Go Solar With Your Tiny House
Going full solar comes with a multitude of benefits. You can take your solar powered tiny house almost anywhere and not have to concern yourself with finding a utility hookup, and you can rest easy at night knowing you are relying on the tested and proven capabilities of mother nature rather than some random utility company.
Here are a few tips to making your standard utility tiny house into a solar powered tiny house:
- Solar outdoor lighting: These are inexpensive (around 10 dollars) and can light up your walk path on the exterior of your solar powered tiny house or outdoor picnic table.
- Solar powered chargers: This is a great way to charge small electronic devices such as cell phones, plug-in flashlights and much more. These items can be either pricey or inexpensive so make sure you do your research and purchase wisely.
- Solar powered attic fan: While this item would require a little more effort to install, it would bring much to your solar powered tiny house in terms of keeping the interior cool. Heat rises, as you may know, so moving that air around the interior of the tiny house helps keep the hot air from collecting in the upper portion where sleeping quarters are often placed.
- Solar powered interior lights: Just like the exterior solar powered lights, these can also be inexpensive and keep your solar powered tiny house well-lit after the sun goes down.
Solar Cooking Recipes
Let’s get real--you can cook a lot of food in this thing. Anything you can cook in a standard oven can be prepared in the Solavore Sport. Not only can you cook a lot of food at one time, you can also cook a wide variety of food which makes this the most versatile tool in your tiny house kitchen. In the Sport you can even bake, or pasteurize water for drinking.
Once in awhile you find a recipe that works so much better in a solar oven than it ever could on a stovetop. This is one of those recipes, the slow cooked flavor is truly delicious. If you can find canned roasted tomatoes, it adds even deeper flavor. Be sure to get it started early if you're making it in the winter. This side dish needs about four hours to cook.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups raw white rice, such as jasmine
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups low-sodium broth or stock (chicken or vegetable), or water
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, medium dice
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, medium dice
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Like our solar cooked brown rice recipe, we begin by sautéing the rice in the olive oil on the conventional stovetop until it starts to brown just slightly. If you are cooking solar-only, stir the rice and olive oil in your Graniteware pot and let it cook in a preheated oven for 20 minutes before adding the additional ingredients.
Place the rice in your Graniteware pot, then add all additional ingredients. Stir everything together and cover. Place in the preheated Solavore Sport and let it cook undisturbed for approximately four hours.
When you’re up to here with turkey leftovers, your Solavore Sport comes to the rescue with an unexpected variation--cheesy, spicy enchiladas that your family will love.
In your solar powered tiny house, you need food that gives you plenty of return in a small package and enchiladas match that description perfectly.
A 7 ½” wide oblong Pyrex baking pan fits perfectly in the bottom of the Solavore Sport--just right for 6” tortillas.
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 c. cottage cheese
- 1 t. salt
- 1 t. cumin
- 1 small can diced green chiles
- 2 c cooked turkey, shredded or diced
- 2 c cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 can red enchilada sauce
- 8 - 6” tortillas, corn or flour
Brown onion and garlic in a sauté pan. In a bowl add to cottage cheese. Stir in salt, cumin, and green chiles.
Heat 1-2 T. oil in sauté pan. One at a time, lightly brown tortillas, stacking between paper towels.
Wipe out the sauté pan and use it to warm the enchilada sauce. Shred turkey and grate cheese.
Spray desired baking dish with cooking spray, or lightly oil by hand. A clean dinner plate will be your assembly station.
For each enchilada, dip the tortilla into the enchilada sauce, coating both sides of the tortilla. Lay flat on dinner plate.
Across the center of the tortilla, spread the turkey, cottage cheese mixture, and grated cheese, approximately 2-3 tablespoons of each. (Reserve ½ of cheese for the top.)
When the baking pan is full, pour remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas, and top with any remaining cheddar cheese.
Place in your Solavore Sport. Covering with a dark cookie sheet (as opposed to aluminum foil) will accelerate the cooking process. Bake for 2-3 hours at 225º-250º.
Serve with sour cream and chopped cilantro or scallions.
- 2 dried ancho chili peppers
- water to cover chili peppers
- 1½ pound mushrooms, chopped (about 4 cups)
- ½ cup chili cooking water (see instructions)
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
- ¼ cup blanched almonds
- 1.5 T unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1½ teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- salt, to taste
Prepare the ancho chilies:
Toast the chiles in a dry skillet over medium heat. You don't want to overcook or burn them, just to dry them out a bit and cook until they become fragrant.
Let cool, then remove the seeds, stem and ribs and discard. Place the flesh of the pepper in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes to reconstitute.
Use tongs or a slotted spoon to carefully remove the reconstituted peppers and put them in your blender with all of the sauce ingredients except for the salt. Blend until smooth, taste, add salt and taste again.
Add the mushrooms and the sauce to your graniteware pot. Stir well, cover and place in your Solavore Sport. Let this solar oven recipe slow cook in your solar oven (no reflectors needed) for 3-4 hours.
Serve in a warm tortilla and top with lettuce, queso fresco, avocado, sour cream, etc.
This recipe was adapted for solar baking from one found on The Splendid Table. We were curious about solar baking with olive oil, and are very happy with the result. In addition to the health benefits (no saturated fat compared to butter) the subtle herbal flavor of the olive oil is just right to balance the citrus in this recipe.
- Light olive oil and flour for prepping the pan
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup orange juice, ideally freshly squeezed
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
- 2/3 cup light olive oil
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- How many oranges will you need? We used about ten small mandarins. If you are using large oranges, juicing 2 or 3 you should be enough to get 2⁄3 cup of juice. Grate enough of the zest from 1 or 2 oranges to make 2 teaspoons.
Prepare your Graniteware pan by lightly coating it with olive oil and dusting with flour. Preheat your Solavore Sport by placing it in the sun.
Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Crack the eggs into the bowl and stir to break the yolks, then add the orange juice, zest, and olive oil. Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined, 60 to 70 strokes.
Turn the batter into the prepared pan, and cover with the lid. Place the pan in the Solavore Sport. Bake until the cake is done in the middle, approximately 3 hours.
Quick breads are great in the solar oven, most recipes just need a longer baking time and come out incredibly moist. With the right pans, you can bake two loaves at once. 12 x 4 inch loaf pans from Ikea fit perfectly in the Solavore Sport and bake faster than a traditional loaf pan.
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
- 1 cup raisins (optional)
Preheat solar oven by placing in the sun. Grease and flour two loaf pans, making sure you have two loaf pans that will fit in the oven together. See note above.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in oil and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla. Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, as well as nuts, and/or raisins if using. Stir this into the egg mixture. Divide the batter into prepared pans.
Place in Solavore Sport and bake loaves for approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. The bread is done when a toothpick comes out clean.
Being part of the tiny house movement has many challenges as well as many benefits. With a solar powered tiny house you could find yourself off the grid, thinking more on the simpler things in life and paying less for the energy you get. Going solar is best done one step at a time, and the Solavore Sport is a great first step in the right direction. You are sustained by your food after all--so why not make the food you eat sustainable too?
Click here to learn more about why going solar is so important and get some great first hand experience details about the Solavore Sport from Marissa Mommaerts, a real life tiny house owner.
We also love Tiny House Giant Journey's blog. Check out Jenna and her tiny adventures! Below you see her Tiny Home, and she's cooking with the Solavore Sport!