Cook solar: California employees get sun-cooked snacks

Solar cooker

Administrative Assistant Kelly Rider under the Miracorp contract adjusts a "solar panel" on her homemade solar cooker while cooking beans to share with her coworkers in Folsom, Calif., May 1. Solar cooking is an easy, cheap, environmentally friendly and fun way to cook food and snacks using only the sun for power.

As part of the Sierra Nevada Earth Day celebration in California, Western employees partook in a scrumptious snack prepared entirely by the sun and a few common household supplies.

Miracorp contractor Kelly Rider used only solar energy, recycled paper boxes, clear plastic packing tape, aluminum foil and glue sticks to whip up some nanchos, beans and chocolate chip cookies for employees. 

“Sacramento boasts about 200 days of sun each year, so why not use the sun to cook your food? It doesn’t heat up the house or use any cooking fuel. And the best part is it’s free!” said Rider.

Solar cooking works like a slow cooker set on low, so it doesn’t let food get dry or burned, and there’s no need to constantly stir or watch the food. “Using the sunshine is a great way to prepare and serve meals that are environmentally friendly and reduce your carbon footprint,” Rider added.

In case you’re wondering if solar cooking is only good for small snacks, Rider created a chicken and wild rice dinner the week before Earth Day as a trial run.

Do you have experience with solar cooking? Is it possible where you live? What other types of environmentally friendly cooking have you seen or done? If you want to learn more about solar cooking and its capabilities, visit Solar Cookers International at www.solarcookers.org

Honoring through service

Shopping in a local do-it-yourself store on Monday, I realized that most Americans who get the extra day off from work use it to get yard work done, plant gardens or flowers and have family barbeques. It made me won

George McAlister, in his jungle uniform, and Scotty Brown, in his desert digitals, stand at attention in front of the Memorial Wall.

der how many of those shoppers surrounding me even knew the true meaning of the holiday we all know as Memorial Day.

Serving our country is what Western’s employees do as civilian employees, but many don’t even realize that is what they are doing. Some employees who also served in our armed forces better understand what it means to serve and choose to volunteer their time and skills in an effort to remember those that served with and before them. 

The week before Memorial Day, four Sierra Nevada employees answered a call to serve again. Western employees, who are also Vietnam era veterans, Scotty Brown and Matt Monroe (Marines), Don Clifton (Army), George McAlister (Air Force and Army), along with retired Western employee Mike Ryan (Air Force) paid special tribute to our fallen soldiers by volunteering to construct, guard and dismantle the Dignity Memorial Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall ®. The Wall was on display for the week leading up to Memorial Day.

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