Nanna’s Hay Box Veggie Soup

Nanna’s Hay Box Veggie Soup Recipe

This vegetable soup recipe is easy to make – you’ll be finished prepping and cooking in about 30 minutes and enjoying vegetable soup by supper time.
This recipe uses the Hay Box (Thermal Cooking) method.  Great for camping or when you don’t want to get the slow cooker out of the cabinet.
For this recipe I used what vegetables I had on hand.  Some were fresh and other were from a can.
Thermal cooking saves money by using heat stored in the food to cook.  Great for camping or when you don’t want to leave the slow cooker plugged in all day while everyone is at work or school.  I’ve used this method while camping and the recipes are endless!  Pick your favorite recipe and use the thermal method to cook it.  The only catch is there must be liquid and the container needs to be at least 3/4 full.  Keeping the vessel full allows the heat to be retained log enough to cook the food properly.
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  • 2 medium onions – diced
  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease (or olive oil)
  • 3 large carrots chopped in rounds
  • 12 small new potatoes – skin on and diced
  • 1 can Butter Peas
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes and the juice
  • 1 can whole kernel corn – drained
  • 32 oz. chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Penzey’s Krakow Nights seasoning
  • 1 Teaspoon Penzey’s Foxpoint Seasoning
  • 1/4 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Saute the onions in the bacon grease until tender and almost starting to brown.  I saute mine in the pot that goes into my thermal cooker.
  2. Add all the other ingredients and bring back to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat a little and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.  Make sure the pot is boiling and the bubbles can’t be stirred down.  The vegetables need to be heated all the way through.
  4. Remove from heat.  Place lid on the thermal cooker pot and place into the thermal cooker.
  5. Leave the food in the cooker for 4-5 hours.  Do not check the food since that will release the heat.  Keeping the heat in the pot is needed for thermal cooking.
  6. After 4-5 hours the soup will be ready.  Carefully remove the cooking pot from the cooker and enjoy!

Nanna’s Hay Box Vegetable Soup

Hay Box Cooking – Thermal Cooker

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Thermal Cooking – Broccoli Cauliflower Soup

What do you do when you live in an area that rarely gets snow and all the roads are closed? I always go outside to listen to how quiet it it.  I love the silence of the morning before everyone wakes up.

Silence – Wetumpka Alabama Snow

Well for one we don’t go to work since the roads are all closed.  Yeah, mother nature forced leave from work.  Ugh, nothing like using up 8 hours of vacation time today and 4 more tomorrow since I don’t have to report in until noon due to ice on the roads.  Talk about messing up a days work.  So after making sure both the chicken coops had fresh water, fee and getting the eggs in I decided to make some soup.  What kind of soup will I make?  Lately I’ve been trying to only cook from what we have in the pantry or the freezer.  In the freezer I had a large bag of stir fry vegetables (store brand labeled California Blend and I’m not sure why) and decided to try to make an Alder Grove version of BBroccoli Cauliflower Soup+.  To make it interesting I made it in my Thermal Cooker. 

Here is my recipe:

Broccoli Cauliflower Soup

  • 28 oz bag of frozen Stir Fry Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrot)
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 4 medium size potatoes diced (I left the skin on so that’s a +)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes drained
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 6 cups water (or broth)
  • 7 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons (heaping) tomato bouillon powder
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (add more to suit your taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In the thermal cooker pot I dissolved the bouillon cubes in the water.  Once dissolved I added all the ingredients and brought everything to a boil.  I simmered on high heat for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.  After the time was up I placed the lid on the pot and put it into the Thermal Cooker.

Wait 3-4 hours and it’s done.  Remove the pot from the cooker and enjoy.  If you want your soup thicker add a little cornstarch in water and stir into the soup.  Return back to the stove top and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Top with cheese!  Enjoy!

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Thermal Cooking

What is thermal cooking? Well it’s like a slow cooker, but it does not use electricity at all. The short and sweet of it is that food is heated to boiling for a period of time 5, 10, 15 minutes and then put into an insulated structure. The covered pot will retain all the heat and the food will slowly continue cooking for several hours.This cooking concept is not new. While doing some research I found a newspaper article from the late 1890’s describing the same method. I also found a drawing in the book Experiment Station Work, XLI from 1907. If interested in reading the article it can be found over on the Internet Archive.

Well my cooker is not made from wood but the concept is the same. I was able to duplicate the method using a lidded pot and a cooler. Considering the cooler took up so much counter space and the hot pot warped the plastic on the inside of the cooler I finally decided to purchase a small crockpot sized thermal cooker.

It’s very simple to use and there is no worry from leaving an electric appliance plugged in all day. Continue reading