I live in a warm climate & air conditioning can be expensive, so I minimize inside heating during the summer. So ... when I have to cook something, it's nice to only have to fire up whatever cooker I'm using once and for a short time ... and create several meals at the same time.
Some of you may not have heard of Thermos bottle cooking ... but it's functional for grains, beans, rice, vegetables ... that need to be heated, and maybe need time in the heat to rehydrate, soften and cook. Lentils, oatmeal, split peas, falafel, quinoa, groats, couscous, pasta, pilaf, etc work great. For bigger beans, dried limas or favas ... you might have to first partially cook them on the stove ... and let them cook the last 1/2 in the thermos.
First ... you need a steel thermos ... you might succeed w/ a cheap glass flask thermos to test this out ... but for frequent dependable use, you need a steel thermos, Stanley or similar. I recommend a wide-mouth version for easier cleaning. I've gotten some good (& moderately priced) ones in the sporting goods area of WalMart (I cringe to recommend them ... am sure you can find as good elsewhere). I've bought several ... pint & quart sized & larger w/ interchangeable caps for easier use.
Next ... when you are cooking things up ... just pre-heat the thermos w/ boiling water ... this gets dumped out before filling w/ food.
Then ... depending upon what you are making ... you either put it raw into the thermos ... and add boiling water or broth or whatever
OR ... you get your food to a simmer ... and then dump it into the thermos to keep at a that temperature for hours without wasting any more energy.
IF you put your old-fashioned oatmeal (not instant) into the thermos & add hot water the evening before ... it'll be ready to eat and hot for breakfast.
For an experiment ... a friend & I kept 1 batch of oatmeal warm & edible for 3 days ... well ... the 3d morning it was getting pretty tepid ... but that was testing the limits.
You can spice it up ... cinnamon, etc when you make it.
It also lets you make tomorrow's hot lunch, the evening before.
IF you are using this method for beans, rice etc that will swell enormously when hydrated ... you have to leave room for the expansion.
ALSO ... it's a great way of cooking ahead & keeping foods warm for later ... such as dinner vegetables, rice, etc.
Lots more info online if you google "Thermos Cooking" ... a lot of sites will pop up ... including the obvious one: www.thermoscooking.com
Combining this technique w/ using a solar cooker for long-simmering foods (esp large beans, stews, etc) ... and using the Adobe oven outside for 1-2 loaves of bread / week & then a meat dish (poultry, cabrito, etc) as it cools down should allow me to minimize any inside cooking during the hot months (and decrease the amount of air conditioning I'll need).
I suppose it also adds a safety factor if you have small kids in the house ... this can help eliminate the pot handle on the stove that they might pull over on their heads!
Hmmm ... come to think of it ... it might be a great way of making yogurt ... just get the milk to the right temp, add culture ... and put it into the thermos for a day?
I'm always on the lookout for a good recipe that uses thermos cooking. If anyone has a good recipe to share, please post it in the comments (esp if you've improved upon one posted elsewhere :-)