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I'm making a thread here so as to not hijack the what are you doing today thread.


I dated my first husband a year, engaged a year, then married 12 years.   He was very bad with money no matter what I did.  I worked the first 6 years we were together, one of which he was unemployed and I supported us.  Then kid19 came along, was sick in the hospital constantly, so I quit working and stayed home with them--who was never sick again.  Right choice.   Because money was so tight, I had to do everything on a very tiny budget.  If we went to visit family (which we did several times a year) we drove for hours or days (we did a 27 hour straight van trip from Vicksburg to Vegas to see my Mom and steps).  I would pack a picnic for car meals and snacks.  If we needed to get a hotel, we stayed somewhere inexpensive and I was creative with the meal plan and we cooked with what was available.  I'd pack the food and a can opener as well as a few dishes which I'd wash in the bathroom.  


I finally left him because he cheated on me so many times that it was obvious forgiveness had become permission.  I'm lucky that I'm in a much better situation now.   Dated DH 2 years, married 9 years anniversary in less than 2 weeks.  He works hard, I mostly control the finances, and everyone is super happy.  I no longer have to do weird things to get by since we are in a very good place now, but I enjoy the creativity of food preparation and I still do some things for novelty, fun, or learning experiences.  


Things I have that I can cook in currently: (when i say cook, I mean make chicken or rice)

Double oven (stand alone not wall, the top is just 1 rack the bottom 2 racks, but I can heat them at different temperatures)

Gas stove attached to oven


Double coffee pot that makes single cups on one side and a carafe on the other

2 round crock pots

1 oval crock pot

1 mini crockpot (2 cups for dips or appetizers)

1 giant turkey roaster (basically an enormous metal crockpot. )

Instant pot (electric pressure cooker)

Deep Fryer

2 Gas fireplaces

3 showers that run very hot water.  

Dishwasher on high heat

Washing machine on sanitary cycle

Dryer on high heat.  (bread rises great in a dryer that has been run and emptied.  )

portable heater (I'd probably only use this to heat sandwiches or melt cheese, no meat.)

Sterno cans for chafing dishes.  (again I may heat things but I'd start with tinned chicken instead of raw.)

Lots of lighters, matches and fire starters to set things ablaze to cook with.  Perhaps some of those Amazon boxes as fuel.  

1 plastic crockpot for paraffin.  It goes up to 300F.   

Bottle warmer (it will heat water which will poach whatever or put a jar of premade food or soup in it.  )

Mid sized blowtorch (it belongs to the husband)

Extra large gas grill with a side burner for pots.

Metal fire pit for roasting weenies and smores

Metal burn barrel with hole in bottom so it gets HOT.  Just set a grate over the top and it is a rocket stove.  

Around 20 huge trees to provide various types of wood, though I think 2 of them are poisonous and I'd not use them.  

Car engine

Car dashboard (this is basically a solar oven.   Use aluminum foil.  

Standard and usb plugs in van to plug any of the above in.

Car converter to run car battery to a plug that any of the above can plug into.  Works as long as the car is on.  


I could probably come up with more, but I haven't had my caffeine yet.  I have been looking at hot plates vs tabletop grills with hotpots.  I want to have fondue night once a month and do Korean hotpot/ BBQ at home.  With a hot plate, I could just put any of my pots or cast iron griddles on it.  The electric grill are set up for multiple people though.  It is a hard decision and I keep wavering.  I'll probably make a decision by my birthday or Christmas and get one then.  If I get a  hotpot, I was looking at something similar to one of these:


SEAAN Electric Hot Pot Grill Removable Shabu-shabu Pot Grill Detachable Barbecue Grill with Large Capacity Baking Tray Non-Stick BBQ Pan Adjustable Temperature Double Flavor Hot Pot 110V (amazon.com)


Amazon.com: Hot Pot with Grill, 2000W 2 in 1 Electric Hot Pot Grill Cooker with Dual Temperature Control for 1-8 People, Multi-function Smokeless Shabu Korean BBQ Grill for Simmer, Boil, Fry, Roast (Black) : Home & Kitchen


*I forgot to add in the toaster oven.   Its the flat rack type, not the pop up type.    Pop tarts, toast, leftover pizza, etc.  

Edited by euphrasyne
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Excellent post Euphrasyne. I'm taking notes. :thumbs:


Thank you for sharing! I can relate to the 'forgiveness had become permission' part too.


We did a similar thing when we traveled by car from Indiana to Texas. My mom loaded us up with a loaf of bread and some potted type meats and fruit/veggies and snacks. It lasted us until we got to where we were going and then some. But there were only two of us. This was in 1969 so we didn't have any plug-ins or USB anything. Most of the time we were lucky the car even worked. 

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The van I had in the early 2000s didn't have anything fancy like my current one does.   We would remove the right middle seat for more floor space and only had 1 kid for most of that time.  She would go in the left middle and we could take turns sleeping on the back row.   She could play on the floor during stops or the really bad traffic back-up by Hoover dam.  (It took us 3 hours of traffic to go 2 miles).  


We just packed everything into a cooler.  I'd make extra ice for days at the house and put it in old bread bags until I had enough to put in the cooler so we could save on store ice.   PB sandwiches, bananas, and chips didn't require any refrigeration, and lunchmeat, eggs, cheese, and strawberries usually lasted fine in the cooler.  Spaghetti was an easy meal to cook in a coffee pot and the noodles and sauce were shelf stable.   Chicken nuggets were easy to heat on an iron after thawing in the cooler and could be added to the spaghetti to make chicken parmesan or chicken parmesan sandwiches.  


Lots of homemade granola and trail mix to tide us over too.  Those were the days.  

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We had PB sandwiches too. My mom found some new fangled stuff in a jar. It was/is peanut butter mixed with jelly in one jar. It is in stripes. She always came home with the strangest things. We liked it though...we were hungry. Now G-son thinks it is neat. Never mind the gritty taste. It looks purdy. 


When I go to the hills of PA on vacation, I take a cooler with me. I fill it with ice at the hotel and leave for the day. Even though I stay in a hotel, I'm gone all day so I pack my lunch and eat in the car. Sometimes I stop at church parking lots or a cemetery. No one cares at either place. Or sometimes in a touristy parking lot. No one pays attention there either. I only go back to the hotel if I need a 'bio break'. I'm just there to sleep and shower. 


I plan on going over one more time this summer before I leave Ohio. It's too far to drive over there in one day from Indiana. :(

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I remember my and DH's trips to Nagshead. We had both teenagers and allowed them each to take a friend. We had a camper there. I would make fried chicken, spaghetti, potato salad, and a lot of other foods. We were able to get free ice from the market so that wasn't a problem. We would stop at a huge farmers' market halfway to Nags Head and get fresh fruit. The 4 teenagers could use the pool while DH and I went and did our thing and they could walk the beach but could not go in the water till we were with them.  They would be in the water at the beach at least twice a day. DH and I would walk the beach a lot. We all had a wonderful time. I had to cook enough food for 6 people and the day before we were to come home we would go out to eat. So had to get creative with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had a memorable trip to Nags Head when my eldest was a baby.  I traveled a lot for work in those years.  While eating fried pieces of something or other, I don't recall what, I idly drew a portrait with my ball point pen on the back of an envelope of an old man there who was looking out to sea.  Another old man at the next table was doing a water color, and we fell to talking.  I gave him my drawing because he asked for it, and he gave me the little painting he was working on.  He put my baby's name on the boat in his painting.  The painting was destroyed in the fire, of course, but I remember him fondly.

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Ambergris, You didn't hijack the thread. It reminded me of a man in one of the art studios in Nags. Head that drew a painting for me with my name on it. I still have that painting. It was many years ago. Makes me wonder if it was the same man. Very sweet man. 

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I forgot I have an electric waffle maker.   


I also rounded up a few other things I could use in a pinch:

hundreds of candles

heat gun (craft tool for embossing, drying paint, etc.

hair dryer X3

Curling iron x2

straightening iron x2

The instant pot is the name brand one and it also sautés and slow cooks.  

I could easily rig a solar cooker out of cardboard boxes, aluminum foil, and a pane of glass.  I have all those on hand as well as enough tape/glue for an army. 


I'm not the sort of person who ever runs out of tape or glue.  When I get 'low'  (which is plenty by most people's standards,) I order another case.  


I haven't been to Nag's Head, but my MIL loves it and used to go often.  DH and I are pale, freckly read heads and we do not like the sun or sand.   We are more mountain than beach people.   I'll take a forest lake or river any day over salt water.  

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6 hours ago, euphrasyne said:


I could easily rig a solar cooker out of cardboard boxes, aluminum foil, and a pane of glass.  I have all those on hand as well as enough tape/glue for an army. 


I'm not the sort of person who ever runs out of tape or glue.  When I get 'low'  (which is plenty by most people's standards,) I order another case.  



Well, now let me deliberately hijack the thread.  You generally need three solar cookers going at the same time, right?  One for fast-cooking items like rice, one for slow-cooking items like most of the rest of the things you'd want to eat (unless they're already canned) and one to pasteurize water.  


Who can make three solar cookers with materials on hand, not disassembling one to make the next?  Bonus:  who can make Three Different Kinds of solar cookers with materials on hand?  


I have the Fresnel lens to make either a solar frying pan or a solar Dutch oven.  The challenge with it is keeping it from breaking the pot/pan by applying too much heat.  

I don't have the windshield shades I had in the US to make windshield cookers, which were great for pasteurizing water, but I did bring two WAPIs to show when water has reached pasteurization.

I have a printout of the CooKit and keep big flat sheets of cardboard behind my armoire to make it with: https://solarcooking.fandom.com/wiki/CooKit 


For the third kind, I would make a box cooker, but for the glass lid I would need to improvise with an oven bag stretched tight and rubber-banded in place.

Besides the two WAPIs, the framed Fresnel lens, and the cardboard sheets, I have a couple of packages of oven bags and a roll of foil on my bookshelf dedicated to making solar cookers, should the need arise.




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We do have a Fresnel lens, but it is somewhere in DH's ship check bag.  (The MOLLE backpack he carries when he travels for a ship check--measuring the inside of military boats for work.)


I would never have thought about doing multiple solar cookers.  I would just make my meal something simple that cooks as a casserole or at the same pace.  Great idea about the multiple slow cookers!


ex-MIL used to wrap hotdogs in aluminum foil and place them in the front window of the car on long road trips.  They were done by lunch time with no extra stuff needed.  


Your hijack was just the info I was hoping someone would add.  Thanks!

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 I have a Fresnel lens somewhere around here but don't know where it is at. I'm sure it is packed up in a box that I haven't gotten to yet.  Once I start feeling better and can get a better handle on things around here, I want to start practicing using a lot of different methods of solar cooking. 

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