Week 1, My Pick, Our Results


My pick for our Week 1 challenge was to replace oil with black bean puree (Crystal Godfrey style) and fresh eggs with powdered eggs in a boxed chocolate cake mix. Other than the replacement items, we followed the exact directions on the package.

Getting the black beans to puree in my electric mini chopper was a bit of a challenge and not very successful. At first, I poured the entire contents of the can into the chopper. I had a feeling that it was too much and might not work. I was right. The beans didn’t really “puree”. I think if I use the mini chopper again, I should process half the beans at a time and then mix in the juice. Or I could have used my manual chopper and done the whole can at once, or used my larger processor. My shoulder was hurting and I didn’t want to lift the big processor or try to run the manual one with my left hand. Next time I’ll have hubby bring it out before he goes to work.

Here is what SIL had to say about the bean puree, “I used a magic bullet to puree my beans, it worked great. Since I only needed half of the can I put the other half in a little ziplock container and froze it for next time.” Great idea SIL! I froze my remainder bean puree too. I put it into two little containers to freeze, then I popped them out and vacuum sealed them.

I also had an issue with the powdered eggs. I added 2-1/2 tablespoons of  powder for each of the three eggs called for in the directions. It seemed like a lot of egg powder to me, but that’s what the directions stated on the can of egg powder. I guess it worked okay because the mixed looked good and not too dry.

As a side note, it was interesting to me that the amount of water I needed to add was almost a full 12 oz bottle of water. That was the total for the mix and the water needed for the powdered eggs. Nice to remember in an emergency situation, one bottle of water for each package of cake mix. LOL! Like my brother says, “We’ll be the only fat people in a huge disaster” because we’ll be eating cake!!!

Okay, so I decided to make this a little bit more challenging by baking the cake in my solar oven. I’m noticing something about my oven that I need to figure out. When I used it in Montana in summer, it had no problem reaching 375+ degrees. When I used it Utah in early spring, it also reached almost 375 degrees when it was facing directly towards the sun. But in Nevada, in the middle of summer, I can never get it above about 310 degrees. If I use the leg in the back and prop it up a bit I can sometimes get it to 325 degrees. I found that very strange…and then I started thinking that maybe it’s the “cool-deck” covering on our cement patio. I’m thinking that it might be “sucking” the heat from the bottom of the oven. So I’m going to test and see if I can get a higher temperature if I put it somewhere other than the patio. I’ll let you know the results in a future post. It will be interesting to see what happens.

So after wrestling with the leg on the solar oven and trying to get the heat up on the oven, I was finally able to get the cakes completely cooked in about an hour. And they didn’t dry out even after all that time cooking. As you can see from the picture on the right, there was plenty of moisture in the oven. I’ve also heard that’s how you can tell when something is done cooking… by the fog on the window.

And the results are in…

My results (two loaf cakes) are pictured on the left. And SIL’s results (a bundt cake) are pictured on the right. As you can see “life isn’t perfect” in either of our worlds….LOL! On mine, I guess I forgot to check to make sure that the leveling tray was really level in the solar oven. And on SIL’s I think she missed a spot of cooking spray in the pan. It doesn’t matter though, because both were delicious…according to our family members and even the bathroom tile guys working at my house wolfed down their pieces! 🙂

Here are some additional comments from SIL:

  • I used cooking spray, oh wait, I remember now, I let my 8-year-old spray the pan….that’s right blame it on your kids.
  • I waited until my 8-year-old ate two BIG slices and said it was the best cake she ever had eaten. Then I told her it had beans in it, and black beans for that matter.
  • I think the cake tasted great and I couldn’t taste the beans. The only thing I noticed different is that it was a little more crumbly, not dry, just crumbly…….it didn’t bother anybody here to finish it off. Now I must add that “crumbly” may have nothing to do with the beans part, it could just be my cooking skills 🙂 Mine was a little crumbly too, but that didn’t bother us either.

So did you try our challenge this week? Leave a comment below and let us know how it worked out for you! Was your’s crumbly? Did you cook it in a solar oven? Did you make cupcakes or a cake? How much egg powder did you use?

><>~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~<><
And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs and two clusters of raisins. So when he had eaten, his strength came back to him; for he had eaten no bread nor drunk water for three days and three nights.
1 Samuel 30:12 NKJV

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5 Responses to Week 1, My Pick, Our Results

  1. Mom says:

    Very interesting. They both look delicious. Did SIL use a solar oven also?

  2. Mom says:

    PS: I’ve been trying to figure out how to vacuum seal liquids. How simple it is to freeze first and then vacuum seal. Duh! Thanks for the tip. 🙂

    • GrammyTammi says:

      Yeah, I have a set of plastic storage containers that I use to freeze wet things in before I vacuum seal them. I have two sizes that I use the most and that way they can stack neatly in the freezer. It’s pretty easy to pop the contents out of the containers as long as it’s not too deep. I also freeze them over night before vacuum sealing. I do the same thing with rolls, muffins, cakes, blintzes… freeze them overnight first in a ziploc bag, then vacuum seal the next day.

  3. Mom says:

    I tried vacuum sealing a loaf of bread once. It was hilarious!! No thought went into that process. 🙂

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