Welcome to Colorado!

For those of you who followed our journey across the United States, we appreciate your support! If you've not seen The Zen of Ken and Jen click on that link to read all about the Just BeCauses TerraTrike Tour we just completed. 4500 miles of pedaling to raise awareness for Organ Donation!

We now live in beautiful South Fork, Colorado where we do a lot of skiing. We work at Foothills Lodge and Cabins so if you want to come see the stunning San Luis Valley for yourself, just let us know because we know of a great place to stay!

If you are looking for the archives or if you want to become a follower, just scroll down the bottom of the page and you will see the links.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Our New Solar Dehydrator

Well, we've been Raw Vegans for two months today.  And we've been Clean and Sober for two YEARS today!! :)  Looks like the lifestyle changes we've been working so hard on are really going to stick.  Yeah!!

Anyway, today was an exciting day for us food-wise because instead of buying a dehydrator we made our own!  Using scraps we found lying around we were able to put together a solar dehydrator that will allow us to make things such as sundried tomatoes, crackers, pizza, garden burgers, and so much more.  Today I made crackers using flax, carrots, tomatoes, onion, garlic, celery, and herbal seasonings.  And I made my first batch sundried tomatoes.  Put together they taste like pizza!  :)

In case you are interested in making your own dehydrator, I've taken pictures and included basic instructions that I think may be helpful.  If you have any questions, please just ask.  I would be glad to help.  And THANK YOU to Toni Allen for the inspiration and for the instructions. I appreciate it!

First thing you do is find some scrap junk lying around.  What you are looking for is wood to make a box with (2x4s or something like that), a piece of glass, and some wire mesh or strong screen.
If you don't have lots of tools, the size of your dehy will probably be somewhat determined by the size of the materials you find.  Ken sawed off the boards so they would be the same size as the wire mesh.  Then he used big staples (fencing nails would work too) to attach the mesh to the wood.  No need to nail or screw the boards together since the mesh holds it all in place.
I used a paint made for high heat so it wouldn't come off and get onto my food.  Still toxic, I know, but I had to get the mesh cleaned up and painted, so I just made sure I let it dry really good before using it.
The glass I used is actually an antique window from the old train depot in Alamosa.  How cool is that?  Thank you to Scott and Karen for letting me have such a cool window.  :)
Ken takes a look at the final product.  We let it dry for two days and nights.  And then, today, WE TRIED IT!  Here's what we made:
This is what it looks like under the glass.  When I take the glass off you can see better.
You can put hinges on yours if you want to, but I just lift the window off when I want to put something in or take something out.  It's heavy but that's good.  It's really windy here.
In this pic you can get a better idea of the size.  I also set it up on two boards to get more breeze underneath. Later I might build it up one more board but for now it feels solid so it's good enough, I think.
Can't you just taste em?  Mmmm....

Being on a Raw diet means no foods cooked above 118 degrees.  So for things that would normally be cooked we can heat them with the sun and dry them with the wind.  The possibilities are endless!


  1. Is there a reason you don't have foil in the first pic and then have foil? I've found foil in my solar oven heats things up way faster.

  2. Hmmm.. I don't have foil in any of the pics, but I did use wax paper. Perhaps that is what you are seeing? When I am making crackers I spread the goop on the wax paper and when they dry, I turn them over and take off the paper and let them dry on the other side. I never thought of using foil, though. Good idea! Thanks!

    What kind of solar oven do you have?

  3. This is super simple and great! Thanks so much for sharing...I'm going to raid my husband's tool shed >:)