Saturday, January 7, 2017

Then There Was Light With A LuminAID

Every Saturday morning, when I can, I watch a show called Xploration Station. (  It is a science show mostly geared to and featuring young people. It discusses all aspects of science and inventions using science to make the world a better place.  It is presented in a way I can understand.  I learn so much.  I am amazed at all the brilliant people in the world who think outside the box. 

On a recent show I saw a piece about a solar lantern. There is a need for inexpensive lighting in underdeveloped countries.  Kerosene lanterns have a lot of disadvantages, so they took the concept of solar panels and created a lantern using only the power of the sun. It is good for the environment and is more practical for sunny areas which have less wind and water.

It is inexpensive to make and has changed life in these countries.  Imagine what it would be like to go from no electric lights to having an easy way to light the way.

I thought to myself if this would work for underdeveloped countries, it would surely work for me during a power outage or walking out to the garage when it is dark.  I have an awesome beanie hat with a light on it, but the LuminAID solar lantern would add even more light.

I went online and found a company from Wisconsin that sells this solar lantern.  I ordered it and was surprised how it was packaged.  It came in a flat package about 4" by 4" by 1".  The information on the package said this technology was developed by two architecture students after the Haiti Earthquake in 2010.

When you open the package it unfolds into a lantern.  This is a smaller size but they do come in a variety of sizes.  This would be a perfect size to hang in a tent or just have available in the house.

All you do to charge it is put it in direct sunlight and let it gather the sun's rays.  Then whenever a lantern is needed, light is available.  It will stay charged in storage for over a year.  It's battery lasts 12 hours on the low beam.  It is very lightweight and could be collapsed to carry in a backpack or a car.  It's waterproof and it floats.  There is no worry about finding a flashlight with fresh batteries or finding the matches for a candle.  It has an extra bright beam, a high beam, a low beam and a flashing light.  We haven't needed it for a nighttime power outage, but I do take it outside in the dark.  It sheds a lot of light to scare off any creatures lurking in our woods.  I'm happy to have it, but for people in areas without electric lights, it must be a game changer.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Ceramic Frying Pan

I have a little update on the cookware blog I wrote a couple years ago.

I still love my cast iron cookware, but for some reason my husband always uses the old teflon type coated frying pan for his eggs.  It is all that is left of my old Cuisinart set and is pretty scratched.  I don't know why he doesn't use the cast iron for eggs, but old habits die hard.  During the holidays I was out shopping.  I had a coupon for $10 off of $30, but I thought it was $10 off of $50.  I had purchased a few things, but I thought I needed to spend a few more dollars to save the $10.  I came across a sale on cookware.  I found a nice frying pan on sale from $35 to $15.  It was the new ceramic coated pan.  Now real purists don't believe that ceramic coatings are any better than the toxic teflon.  They say it gets scratched, and wears off in a year giving off chemicals or lead.  That might be true, but most reviews say it is very safe.  I decided to take a chance.  The price was right and time will tell how well it holds up and how safe it is.  It is two months old and looks brand new.

This pan is amazing.  Nothing sticks and it just needs to be wiped out with a damp towel.  Sometimes it may need a little more water, but it cleans up with no scrubbing.  I have never had a pan which browns food so nicely and cleans up so quickly.  No oil is necessary unless you like it for flavor.

This was his breakfast.  He fried potatoes, onions and eggs.  All of this just slid off onto the plate without a dirty pan.  I hope they don't find out this surface is really really toxic, because for now I even like cooking in it.