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Survive without an oven

By on December 26, 2010

solar oven


What do you do if you don’t have your oven? For the past two weeks, I have not had an oven, and my mind has ventured onto other options. The computer board of my oven went out, but the stove is still operable. Fortunately, and hopefully, it is getting fixed today (praying here). Over the past couple of years, I have been studying about adobe ovens and other bread ovens. I am hoping to build one someday, especially as we make a transition onto some long-hoped-for land/property. But I have wondered what the options are if we actually lost our oven and couldn’t bake. — C.K., e-mail


I lived without an oven for a while when I was first married. I managed quite well with a gas grill, wok, toaster oven, microwave, electric skillet, Nesco roaster oven and slow cooker. You can use a bread machine for baking bread. You can make a solar oven (, use a dutch oven over fire, bake bread in a crockpot ( or use a Coleman oven as alternatives to more expensive clay and bread ovens, too.


What are some uses for almost ripe tomatoes? I have six to eight medium/large tomatoes that are too soft to be eaten in a salad or sandwich, but I don’t want to toss them either. Should I dice them up and use them in soup? Care to share your other uses for almost spoiled tomatoes? — Libby, Canada


Soup is a great idea. Add them to stew, lasagna or spaghetti sauce, macaroni and cheese, pizza, quesadillas, tacos, fajitas, omelet, chili, chicken cacciatore, meat loaf or casseroles. Or serve the tomatoes chopped and cooked with a pot roast or make salsa, dips or homemade ketchup. You have a ton of options. Use them in most any hot dish you’d normally use tomatoes in.


How do you get grape juice out of cotton? My daughter spilled grape juice on our skirts at Communion last night. I have washed them in the washer with cold water. Now they just look like a dark shadow. They’re no longer purple, but there’s still a visible stain, so I didn’t put them in the dryer. Any ideas on how I can finish getting the stain out? — J. Moffitt, e-mail


Pour a kettle of boiling water over the clothing. Then use a vinegar soak. Let soak for about half an hour. Keep the vinegar. Don’t discard it. Rinse the clothing. If the stain still remains, apply rubbing alcohol. Then flush with water again. Each stain removal attempt should lighten it more. If it’s still visible, apply lemon juice and soak in water with a couple of squirts of dish liquid (such as Dawn) and your reserved vinegar added. Let soak for 15 minutes. Rinse and wash in your washing machine with laundry detergent. After washing, if you can still see traces of the stain, apply Barbasol shaving cream. Brush it into the fabric with a toothbrush. It works wonders on stains. Finally, if that stain is still there, try applying a small amount (capful) of hydrogen peroxide. Then wash.

photo by abri beluga

One Comment

  1. Sabrasue Miller

    12/28/2010 at 8:49 pm

    Dear CK, I have been without an oven for several years and have to admit that I haven’t missed it. With only my husband and me home, replacing the oven has not become a priority. I do have a toaster oven, a crockpot and a microwave. Like you my stove top still works as well. I have not found anything that will not cook nicely in one of the appliances. One year we had the butcher cut the turkey in half and baked it half at a time in the crockpot. I have discovered for smaller things that were too small for the crockpot on its own, I have discovered that glass baking dishes that fit in the crockpot will bake meatloaf perfectly set inside with the temperature on high for the first half and low to finish. Since the substitutes work so well, we may not replace the oven. Be creative and find an alternative.

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