As you might know, I am participating in the Learn and Conserve Challenge friendly competition with several other local bloggers. My first post for this series was on winterizing the home to save energy – and cash – over the winter months. Thanks to NRG Residential Solutions, I’ve learned that winterizing the home doesn’t have to be difficult or cost a lot of money! Now that NRG’s Ambassadors are on our second challenge, we have the task of cooking without our ovens and microwaves as much as we can for the next two weeks. This is a tough challenge, as it falls right in the holiday baking season!
Conserve Energy While Baking
If you do use the oven to bake your holiday treats this season, there are simple things you can do to cut down on your energy use. You can turn the oven temperature down 25 degrees if you use glass or ceramic pans (your food will bake just as quickly) and if you check your food by looking through the oven window (instead of by opening the oven door), you can save energy and reduce cooking time, too.
Skip the Oven
This is the time of year when I notice my family’s energy bills getting higher, so I don’t want to up our expenses by heating up the oven any more than we need to. Luckily, I do a lot of my baking in my new Black & Decker – Slice Toaster Oven and in my microwave! My kids, who are on their first day of winter vacation today, are getting a little bored while I work, so I popped some Pillsbury Ready to Bake Sugar Cookies in my toaster oven. Since my Black & Decker toaster oven is a convection oven, the cookies will only take 8 minutes to bake! I will then break out some vanilla icing and sprinkles and let my kids have fun decorating the cookies! (Juggling kids and work can be tough on school vacation days!)
Another quick and easy way to bake without heating up the oven is by using the microwave. One recipe I love is for the Pampered Chef Molten Lava Cake. I bake my molten lava cake in the Pampered Chef covered baker, but any covered baking dish that can be used in the microwave will work, too. (I have baked this recipe in my CorningWare baking dish, too.) All you need for this recipe (check out my molten lava cake recipe here) is a boxed baking mix, boxed icing, eggs, oil and water). I microwave the batter, and in just 10 minutes, I have a gooey chocolate dessert that my kids love!
Do you have any great no-bake holiday treat recipes? I’d love to hear them! If you have any smart ways to keep your oven use to a minimum over the holidays, I’d love to hear those tips, too!
Disclosure: I wrote this post as an ambassador for NRG Residential Solutions. All opinions I’ve expressed on ways to cut down energy use and keeping energy bills down are my own.