I am blessed and chances are if you are reading this you are, too. I will not go to bed hungry tonight – unlike many Americans – adults and children – among us. The holidays only amplify the situation. Together we can make a difference.
Join your good friends at the RV Cooking Show in our First Annual Online Holiday Food Drive. It couldn’t be easier – simply leave a comment anytime between now and December 31, 2008 on this blog entry noting what you are grateful for this holiday season. It can be a single word, an illustrative story or anything in between. For each comment on this RV Cooking Show blog entry – maximum 3 per person/per week – we will donate 1 item of non-perishable food to a local food bank in the area we are traveling through. I will report back as things progress.
So to recap, partner with the RV Cooking Show to fight hunger this holiday season by:
• Leaving a comment about what you are grateful for this holiday season on this blog entry between now and December 31, 2008
• Be prolific – you may comment 3 times per person/per week
• The RV Cooking Show will donate 1 non-perishable food item to a local food bank for each comment received
• Check back for frequent progress reports (and comment again, okay!?!)
And now for some hunger facts that might blow your mind…
The Department of Agriculture recently released their 2007 Food Security Report. “Food security” seems an odd term to me and fortunately 89.9% (104 million) of US households are food secure. But that means that 11.1 (26 million) households were food insecure meaning at times during the year, these households were uncertain of having or unable to acquire, enough food to meet the needs of all their members because they had insufficient money or other resources for food. Food-insecure households include those with low food security and very low food security. That’s 36.2 million people including 12.4 million children. 2008 stats are expected to be greater.
Don't think you, as an individual, can make a dent in those astonishing numbers?
Have you ever heard this parable: One day a man was walking along the seashore. He noticed that during the night many starfish had washed upon the shore. Enjoying the morning sun and sea air, the man strolled along the sand. Far off in the distance he saw a small figure and as he drew closer he noticed that it was a child. The girl was methodically picking up starfish from the shore and tossing them back into the surf. The man paused for a moment, puzzled, and then asked, “Why are you throwing those starfish?”
“If I leave these starfish on the beach,” she replied, “the sun will dry them and they will die.” The man was thoughtful for a moment, but then he motioned up and down the miles and miles of beach. There must be millions of starfish along here!” he said. How can you possibly expect to make a difference?”
The young girl pondered the man’s words for a moment, then she slowly leaned over, reached down and carefully picked up another starfish from the sand. Pulling back, she carefully arched the starfish gently into the surf. She turned to the man and smiled “You may be right,” she said, “but I made a difference to that one!”
(from the movie Holy Man with Eddie Murphy)
Please, take a moment to comment – if we help even one family, one person, one child we will have succeeded.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I am blessed and chances are if you are reading this you are, too. I will not go to bed hungry tonight – unlike many Americans – adults and children – among us. The holidays only amplify the situation. Together we can make a difference.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I happened to be listening to NPR yesterday when one of my favorite shows came on - Fresh Air with Terry Gross. This was a particularly interesting (to me) show with Terry interviewing Michael Pollan - author of The Omnivore's Dilemma. The show is provocatively titled "Food as a National Security Issue" and it was fascinating.
A professor of science and environmental journalism at University of California at Berkeley, Pollan talks about food as it relates to our use of fossil fuel, a "sun-food" agenda, Argentina's excellent crop rotation - why it works and how we can adopt it, U.S. chickens that are shipped to China to be cut up and sent back to our groceries, and the idea of a White House farmer (much along the lines of what Eleanor Roosevelt did to start the Victory Garden movement in 1943).
Like I said, extremely interesting stuff. Listen to the show here and let me know what you think about this subject and this show...I'd love to hear from you.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I can hardly believe it myself but the holidays are just around the corner!
If you are in the market for unique and whimsical RV Christmas cards I can help. Available in Class A motorhome, Class C motorhome and 5th Wheel, these cards are so well loved that it's not unusual to find them displayed on your friend’s refrigerators in the summer...no kidding!
They’re sold in packages of 20 cards/envelopes for $11.95 per package with free shipping on orders over $20. Supplies are limited so please don't hesitate.
If you're interested in having a peek and learning more log on to my RV Christmas card page.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
RV enthusiasts across the land can now take a virtual tour of the Tango travel trailer factory in my newly released ‘How’s That Tango Made?’.
The video, which was filmed at the Pacific Coachworks, Inc. factory in Riverside, California, features a tour of the production line, interviews with key Tango designers and staff, and a peek inside a variety of Tango models.
Go ahead, take an inside look at the design and manufacturing process from the comfort of your home. Join me on the tour by clicking on the arrow in the video screen below. I think you'll enjoy it!
Pacific Coachworks, Inc. gives wonderful Tango factory tours. They are free to the public and can be arranged by contacting Pacific Coachworks’ Sales and Marketing Team directly at 951-686-7294.
Let me know what you think...leave a comment below!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I recently received an email from a future full-time RVer and thought it might be useful to post it here as lots of the information seems relevant to many of us. Hope you get a thing or two out of it.
Subject: Going Full-Timing
I'm looking for a good site about going full time in the winter and summer at any place. Your help would be greatly appreciated.
P.S. Looking for a 5th wheel - what would you think would help me in four-season camping (the biggest I can get) and what would you say the size of truck I would need?
I’d recommend looking at the Escapees Club website for tons of full-time RV info. They are one of largest full-time RVer clubs around and offer plenty of benefits – including a fantastic mail forwarding service. Here’s their website: www.Escapees.com. Typically we full-timers spend winters in the warm sunny south and summers everywhere else.
As for an RV – start by checking out some online sales sites such as www.RVsearch.com or www.RVSales.com. These will give you an idea of what’s out there and the prices you can expect to pay. Once you have an idea of what might work for you head out to a local dealer or RV show and get inside your models of choice. Here’s a listing of upcoming RV shows: www.rvia.org/AM/customsource/INCL_Shows.cfm?section=local_shows&all=1.
If you’ll be anywhere near Yuma, AZ this January plan to spend a few days at the Quartzsite RV Show – a flea market of sorts with everything and anything an RVer might want or need - www.quartzsitervshow.com.
Regarding a truck and trailer combo – always…ALWAYS buy a bigger truck that you think you’ll need. Never…NEVER rely upon the salesmen’s recommendations – they are salesmen not towing specialists. Instead, take a look at Trailer Life’s towing guides here - www.trailerlife.com/output.cfm?id=42175. This site will give you PDFs for 1999 to 2008 model vehicles.
Best to you – very exciting! Let me know how things turn out, okay?
RV Cooking Show
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I was bumming around one of those fancy food and kitchenware shops today and saw a bottle, albeit a beautiful bottle, of herb vinegar selling for nearly 10 bucks. Well, I’ll bet that spendy vinegar has nothing over my RV Cooking Show herb vinegar. It’s simple to make and is a great way to use up those herbs in your garden*. And more good news, the holidays are coming and herb vinegars make fabulous, well-received, and inexpensive gifts.
Here’s how I make my own herb vinegar:
• A bottle of quality vinegar – I like to use a nice white wine vinegar in a pretty bottle (Star Italian Kitchen found in most grocery stores is my favorite) – make sure the vinegar you use has at least 5% acidity. If you prefer a red wine, champagne, sherry or cider vinegar go for it – just try to pair your herbs accordingly.
• A generous handful of fresh herbs from the garden - thyme, oregano, basil, opal basil, rosemary, sage, tarragon, chive flowers, lavender – organic is always best. You can even add peppercorns, peeled garlic, chili peppers, lemon zest, cinnamon sticks, etc. Consider your likes – what you frequently use in your kitchen – and don’t be afraid to pair up tasty sounding combinations. For example, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are excellent together - really!
Snip your herbs early in the day and rinse well. Dry thoroughly using a salad spinner or a paper towel. Open the bottle of vinegar, remove the shaker top (if applicable) and pour a few tablespoons of the vinegar into a non-reactive measuring cup (a glass Pyrex measuring cup with a spout works perfectly) and reserve. Take your herbs and begin feeding them into the bottle – stem and all – gently bruising them as they go in. Pour the reserved vinegar over the herbs to the top of the bottle. Put the cap back on the bottle (I don’t replace the shaker top) and label with date and herbs used. Allow to sit and steep at least a week before using.
Yep, that’s it. Easy, elegant, and delicious. Nope, I don’t heat the vinegar and it turns out just as flavorful nor do I buy decorative bottles to decant it in – the bottle that comes with the vinegar is just right – especially if you are living in an RV and space matters. They still make beautiful gifts.
Use the vinegar in salad dressings, marinades, combined with oil for bread dipping or drizzled over steamed vegetables or broiled fish/meat.
Opal basil turns clear vinegar into a dazzling purple concoction of pure bliss - a real wow. If you have plenty of lavender you can make a white vinegar/lavender mixture and use it to clean your windows or tone your face!
Go ahead, spend an enjoyable 30 minutes making your own herb vinegar. Drop a line letting me know what herbs you used and how it turned out – I’d love to hear.
RV Cooking Show.com
*We full-time RVers don’t have a “garden plot” but many of us travel with a collection of pots overflowing with herbs and flowers. If you don’t have a garden you can still make RV Cooking Show herb vinegar by visiting the produce section of your grocery and purchasing a selection of fresh herbs.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Wondering what to do with those end of season tomatoes? Not me.
I got home late the other night, at least later than usual, and I was starving. Along with a rotisserie chicken and some fresh ciabatta bread, I made this tasty italian side salad (with tomatoes from the local farmer market) - direct from my "direct from Italy" mother-in-law. Maybe it'll become an old standby in your house much like it is in mine.
Italian Tomato Salad Recipe
• 1 medium tomato per diner - chunked
• sweet or red onion - to taste - chopped in bite-sized pieces
• oil - canola or virgin olive oil (nothing too strong)
• a dash of water
• italian spices or simply salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients. Prepare this dish first and let it sit out on the counter for 15 minutes or more - as you make the rest of the meal.
That's it...this salad is that easy...no kidding.
For a tasty treat add crumbled gorgonzola cheese...oh my goodness!! And don't forget to dip your bread in the "juice"...it's heavenly.
As always, I urge you to try it and let me know how it turns out - leave a comment below if you are so inclined...it'll be delicious, is my bet!
RV Cooking Show
Friday, September 12, 2008
When we were in the Florida Keys a cool couple - Glen and Kathy - told us about the wild ponies on Assateague Island (both MD and VA) and that we simply had to see them for ourselves. As you may have read in a recent post, we had an opportunity to stay a mere 4 miles outside the park recently (in Ocean City, MD) and got to have a great visit on the barrier island.
The first stop we made was at the Barrier Island Visitor Center where we learned that we could park our vehicle in the next lot up and bike the island...and that they don't guarantee pony sightings but would be shocked if we came back unhappy.
We parked, unloaded the bikes and took off on a 4 mile (each way) ride - 1 mile to the State Park entrance, 2 miles to the National Seashore entrance and 1 more mile through the park.
There are specific paths - off the roadway - for bicycles and they were smooth going (watch out for the pony scat, tho - they do get around!). The first portion of the path is over the Verrazano Bridge Bikeway...what a view.
As we rode the path we came across several ponies just grazing away. They were close by and in the estuary. Beautiful...
The National Seashore park entrance fee is $15 per vehicle or free if you are bicycling or hiking. You can walk atop the dunes and gaze at the seashore, enjoy an exposed old shipwreck, head to the ferry landing to clam or crab, and more. You can also dry camp in either the state or national park campgrounds.
Visitors can also enter the park in Virginia at Chincoteague and enjoy hiking, swimming and of course, ponies. The last Wednesday and Thursday of July the Chincoteague herd is rounded up for the annual "Pony Swim and Auction".
If you are in the Assateague Island area do stop, take a bike ride and check out the wild ponies!
Upon the prompting of one of my excellent YouTube RV Cooking Show viewers - DanielLamore (who, btw, has a great collection of RVing videos on his YouTube channel) - I've decided to give you an inside look at why I chose a particular campground and how it turned out.
I've had a wonderful, albeit active, RV summer - staying in one location for no more than a few days at a time. Lots of amazing food, fun and friends. But after nearly 5 months I needed someplace to "land" for at least a week.
I took a good look at my needs (full hookups, wi-fi at my site, near Annapolis, MD (to film an RV Cooking Show episode), and in my price range) and wants (near the water, outside of a larger town, free wi-fi). After reviewing options in my Trailer Life Campground Directory and RVParkReviews.com I chose Frontier Town Western Theme Park and Campground in Ocean City, MD.
Okay, stop laughing. Two full-timers with no kids at Frontier Town (take a look at their website and you'll see what I mean)? Well, they made the grade on my needs and wants - their spring and fall discounted camping fees are very attractive - so...I expected it to be a bit, well, hokey, accepted it and made reservations.
As you enter the park you first come across the waterslide and theme parks (closed after Labor Day). We entered the campground registration building and were assisted by a very helpful gal. She got us all checked in and directed us to our site.
It was a bit tricky getting the RV Cooking Show Tango Travel Trailer into the site but my husband is an expert backer-upper and took care of it in short order.
Once we were settled in we took a look around and wow, what a wonderful surprise!!
The park is on Sinepuxent Bay - right on the bay and estuary - with plenty of birds and beauty. We didn't expect such a naturesque setting in Frontier Town but that's exactly what we got. Yippee!!!
The park is clean, well maintained, large enough to take a decent bike ride or walk, has a well-stocked campstore, offers free mini-golf in the off season, has excellent wi-fi at my site, and is just an overall pleasure.
The moral of the story I suppose is...try it...you just might like it! We did and in fact, extended our stay 3 days. They even extended our weekly rate for those days - bonus!!
Frontier Town...we'll be back!!
PS -Assateague Island (home of the wild ponies) is just 4 miles away...more on that later...
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
With Labor Day weekend around the corner and a full season of beautiful, crisp fall camping (and toasty campfires) on the horizon I wanted to share with you a "campfire pinecone recipe" I got from a friend's blog (that she got from another friend's blog). Her blog is called "Life on Penobscot Bay - The world of Searsport Shores Ocean Campground" and it is full of interesting and informative reads. If you love Maine like I do check it out...but caution...it make might make you want to pack up the RV and go camping there immediately!!
Water-based Pinecone Firestarters
These firestarters make colored flames when you burn them in the fireplace or campfire and make a great party trick. They also look cute in a basket until it’s time to do the burning.
A big bucket
A chemical (see below)
Choosing the Chemical:
Each of these chemicals make a different colored flame and different chemicals cost more than others. You should only make one color of cone at one time and should never burn different colors together, so there’s no need to buy every chemical.
Table salt – yellow flame – the grocery store - you can use the same stuff you fill your salt shaker with
Borax (sodium tetraborate) – yellow-green flame – 20 mule team borax in the laundry aisle - 5$ for much more than 1 cup
Salt substitute (potassium) – violet flame – the grocery store
Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) – white flame – a pharmacy
Bright green flame – allum (thallium) – try the pharmacy - it’s for food processing (mostly pickle making) but natural food stores charge a ton for it - 5$ for 8oz/1 cup
Bright red flame – strontium chloride – used in aquarium keeping somehow so check a specialty aquarium store - 10$ for 8oz/1 cup
Boric acid – deep red flame – try the pharmacy - I think it’s used in soap making - 5$ for 8oz/1 cup
Fill the bucket with half of a gallon of hot water. Add a cup of your chemical of choice (ONE chemical ONLY). Soak your pinecones for about 8 hours then fish them out with the tongs and set them aside to dry (some of these chemicals will lightly stain a countertop so be sure to use lots of newspaper). The pinecones need to dry for at least 3 days before they can be burned and will need to dry for at least 1 day before you can stick them in a basket or wrap them.
Enjoy these nifty, colorful pinecones in your campfire as you enjoy one of our delicious RVCookingShow.com recipes (May I suggest a decadent hot fudge sundae. Learn how to make this amazing hot fudge - it's a snap - and pack it along on your camping trip. You won't be sorry - I guarantee it!!)
Happy fall camping,
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Do you love sugar snap peas as much as I do? What I (and probably you, too) don’t love is dealing with the “strings” – I can never seem to get them pulled 100% (is it just me??) and so don’t eat them as often as I’d like to. Turns out some clever scientist came up with a way to grow “stringless” sugar snap peas and they are available in stores right now under the Mann’s brand.
These little green jewels are sweet, crisp and fantastic right out of the bag or gently steamed and eaten as a side veggie or mixed in the RV Cooking Show’s Sesame Pasta recipe (good enough to write home about!!). Look for them in your grocer’s fresh vegetable section and start asking for them at your local farmers market. Talk about a revolution!!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Just a reminder...
If you love to camp and can project where you'd like to stay for a few days sometime before the end of summer of 2009 you can get some fantastic camping bargains at the ARVC Foundation Camping Package Auction. (For more details read an earlier blog posting about the auction.)
There are, at current count, 43 camping vacations available and the deals can't be beat. For example:
- 3 night stay at Anaheim RV Village, Anaheim, CA - 6/10 of a mile from Disneyland, valued at $480 has an opening bid of $160
- 3 nights of camping at any one of 21 Best Parks in America affiliated RV resorts from California to New Hampshire valued at $120 with an opening bid of $40
- 4 nights at Compton Ridge Campground in Branson, MO valued at $195 with a leading bid of only $65!!
Don't wait too long, the auction ends on August 10th - 4 days from now. Serious savings on some camping getaways...what's not to like?!?!
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Portland, Oregon turned me into a beer snob! It's true! Ever since living there I've come to appreciate thick and heavy stouts, chocolaty porters, hoppy IPAs and a good bitter from time to time. As you might imagine, this dovetails perfectly with being a full-timer - moving from place to place in search of...good microbrew?!?!? Well, there's more to it than that but when the opportunity arises I gladly partake.
Case in point. I was in Duluth, MN recently enjoying a breezy walk along Lake Superior when I came upon the old historic Fitger's Brewery building (a long forgotten brand of beer - anyone out there remember it??) housing a brewpub called Fitger's Brewhouse. It had that dark and inviting pub feel, a super menu, only served their beers (kudos) and was calling my name. The beer selection was more than decent and the brews were tasty!
I had an El Nino IPA - hoppy and a bit citrus-y. My husband had a Starfire Pale Ale - again delicious! We also split a very interesting Grilled Turkey Reuben sandwich which went great with the brews.
Here's the recipe for the Grilled Turkey Reuben. As for the beer...you'll have to fend for yourself :>
Grilled Turkey Reuben Sandwich
- hearty bread - cut into thick slices (a sourdough works well) - 2 slices per sandwich
- smoked turkey breast
- cheese (swiss or provolone is great)
- butter for grilling
- cranberry sauce served on the side (may I suggest Mom's Famous Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce?)
Prepare the sandwiches using however much of each ingredient you desire. Heat a skillet on the stovetop or heat up the bbq grill. Butter the outside of one slice of bread and put butter-side down on grill or skillet. Butter the other side while it's toasting. Flip when toasted - brown the other side.
Serve the cranberry sauce on the side - can be eaten alone (yeah, it's that good!) or on the sandwich (or both - why not).
This goes great with chips and your beverage of choice. Enjoy!
RV Cooking Show
PS - I have some friends that love to seek out pubs when they travel and they highly recommend http://www.pubcrawler.com/.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Are you up for saving some cash and having some camping fun? Me, too!
There's a camping vacation package auction online (and other neat stuff to bid on as well)!
From now until August 10th folks can log on to www.arvc.cmarket.com and bid on one or more packages that include camping nights and sometimes other extras. Park locations range from Anaheim, CA (think Disneyland) to Branson, MO to College Park, MD (Washington, DC area) to Maine and more.
And there are deals to be had. The auction site shows a retail value and a much lower opening bid. Poke around and click on any park that interests you and you'll find package and park details. Most of the package certificates don't expire until summer 2009 or later.
There are several other neat items up for bid as well - sports memorabilia, a few limited edition lithographs featuring actual film strip cels (Peter Pan, Snow White and Mickey Mouse), some really cool musical collectibles and more.
All proceeds go to the ARVC Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization established by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) in order to support RV parks and campgrounds through educational opportunities and promotion of the industry.
So don't miss it - take a few minutes and have a look-see. I think you'll be very happy you did. And hey, let me know if you win any of the items.
RV Cooking Show
PS - These folks are on the up and up. I know many of them and they are good people. No worries there.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Camping is just not complete unless you sit around a campfire and make some dessert treats on occasion. Enter doughboys. Have you heard of them?? These little toasted “tubes” can be filled with your choice of fillings - chocolate syrup, jelly, pie filling, whipped cream - you get the picture - and enjoyed on the spot! Here’s how to make your own doughboys:
You’ll need a “stick” about 1 ½ inches in diameter and about 2 feet long (pick up an untreated wooden dowel at your local home improvement store and cut to length). Decorate the holding end with permanent markers – one stick for each camper (this makes a great campsite craft).
At the campfire, butter the doughboy end of the stick and using refrigerated biscuit dough roll a single biscuit into a snake shape. Spiral wrap the dough on the buttered end of the stick making sure the dough is sealed on the sides and end - creating a “tube”. Rotate/toast over the fire for about 5 minutes - until it’s brown and easily slips off the stick (careful - they’re hot). Fill and enjoy!
Do you have a variation on this theme? If so drop a comment below...we're hungry for your recipe!!
RV Cooking Show
PS - I'm certain I found this age old and delish recipe on the internet somewhere quite a long time ago...but it never gets old!!
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Well, it’s been about two months since we moved into our new RV Cooking Show Tango Travel Trailer and I’m happy to report that life is very good. Truth be told, it was an adjustment moving from a 31’ double slide fifth wheel to a 23’ travel trailer – no slides. The great news is that the Tango has plenty of cabinet and storage space. We chose what to bring judiciously and have, for the most part, been happy with what we brought and what we left in the fiver. The kitchen is just as functional and roomy as the one in the fifth wheel and the bathroom/shower is plentiful as well.
Once we got used to where things were and how to navigate inside when we’re both trying to move about we began to really enjoy the nimble-ness of a smaller camper. We’ve noticed that there’s almost always room at the campground for a 23’ unit. We’re traveling smaller roads and stopping along the way at roadside attractions and parks. I am delighted to report we are getting a good 12-15% better fuel mileage pulling a lighter rig.
The smaller camper is a pleasure to drive, a cinch to park (sites seem so much larger now!!), set up is really swift – it takes less than half the time the fiver does, it’s easy to cool and heat and did I mention it’s cozy??
Lots of other campers stop to chat and it’s always such fun! When we tell them we are full-timing in the Tango they are always amused – they point and say “in that!?!”. We are loving traveling, site-seeing, meeting new friends, visiting old friends, trying local taste sensations, and cooking up a storm in our RV Cooking Show camper. We hope to see you on the road. If you happen to spy the RV Cooking Show Tango come on over and say hello…it is a small world!!
Traveling on Idaho's Lewis and Clark Trail - US Highway 12
In the meantime, we just posted another episode of the RV Cooking Show – Oh My Gosh! Steak on the Grill and Beautiful Bend, Oregon. Check it out and let me know what you think!
RV Cooking Show
Sunday, July 6, 2008
If you happen to be traveling on I-90 between Bozeman, MT and Billings, MT and you enjoy fresh, delicious baked goods you absolutely must stop at Wheat Montana - a family run farm and bakery.
Located near the small and interesting town of Three Forks - full of Lewis and Clark history, Wheat Montana is a bakery and deli offering baked-on-premises breads, buns, sweet treats plus sandwiches and beverages to order. The grain used is grown by Wheat Montana, is chemical/pesticide free and, at 5,000 feet, is the highest elevation grown wheat in the US!
There's plenty of RV parking and the folks inside are friendly. I had an opportunity to speak with Steve, the bakery's production manager. During my visit they were baking burger buns and it turns out they produce 25,000 packages of baked goods daily. No slacking there!! Lucky for us, their bakery items are distributed in several states. I'm certainly on the lookout.
I picked up some amazing high fiber, flax and sunflower bread that was out of this world, some delish cinnamon raisin bread and a couple of sweet buns - all incredible.
Not only was it a fantastic stop - right off the highway - along the way but an opportunity to support a small American farm operation and treat my taste buds as well!! It doesn't get much better than this!!
If you've had a chance to visit Wheat Montana or have another fav bakery stop along the way drop a comment here and share your discovery with our readers.
RV Cooking Show
Monday, June 2, 2008
One of the true pleasures of RVing is the ability to prepare and enjoy meals in beautiful settings, with ones we love, at our own pace. Having a well-stocked pantry offers options and ideas – an opportunity to entertain new-found friends, satisfy a craving or create a culinary sensation.
When considering what you should stock in your RV kitchen think about your cooking habits, likes, and dislikes. Chances are if you never use coconut milk at home you probably won’t use it when traveling in your camper. Be space and weight smart – buy and bring what you most likely will use. Think about the spices you cook with, popular condiments, mixes, and canned goods. Plan to bake? Love to grill? Shop accordingly.
The best thing about a pantry is that you can stock it and forget it (except for spices). As long as packages are not opened for the most part they will stay fresh. Prior to hitting the road (or perhaps when you arrive at your destination) you’ll shop for fresh and frozen foods. Your pantry staples will turn a pound of meat or a basket of veggies into a wonderful meal or snack.
Below is my abbreviated RV kitchen pantry list. Copy the list to a working document, add (I’m not a baker – adjust as needed), delete, print and poof!! – your very own, personal RV kitchen shopping list…
Keep in mind that spices last a maximum of one year so stock only what you think you’ll use. Store in a cool, dark, dry location and give them the sniff test prior to using to assure flavor and freshness.
Williams No-Salt Chili spice (dry)
Spice mixes such as the following make great marinades and are excellent to simply sprinkle on. The varieties at the store are endless.
Caribbean Jerk spice (dry)
Montreal Chicken/Steak spice (dry)
Old Bay Seasoning (dry)
beans (of all varieties – even baked)
vegetables (to compliment my frozen assortment)
olives – black and green
roasted red peppers
coconut milk (yep, I love it!)
Cream of Mushroom soup
chicken broth (I like the shelf stable boxes)
olive oil (extra virgin)
canola oil (expeller pressed)
dark roasted sesame oil (FYI - goes rancid quickly)
non-stick cooking spray
vinegars (red wine, rice, apple cider, champagne, etc.)
rice (of all varieties)
whole wheat cous cous
polenta (corn grits)
mac n cheese
corn bread mix (or other breads) in a box
salad dressing mix (dry)
nuts (of all varieties)
sports/nature bars (my personal fav – Lara Bars – amazing!)
sugar (white and brown)
tea bags (several varieties)
And, whatever you do, don’t forget to make copies of your favorite recipes to leave in the RV!! Happy camping!!
RV Cooking Show
PS - Yes, all of this DOES fit in my Tango galley - that was a pre-requisite!! I couldn't live without even one of the mentioned items :>
About two weeks ago my husband and I put our trusty 31' fifth wheel into storage and took off in our new 20' Tango travel trailer. If you had a chance to read my BellaOnline series "Shopping for an RV - Interior RV Quality" and "Shopping for an RV - Exterior RV Quality" you know that I am, shall we say, particular.
The Tango is simply marvelous. With its ease of maneuverability and exceptional tracking we have gone where we would not have in the fifth wheel. We are loving the electric awning and find the setup and break down to be a breeze - even with the weight distribution bars we added (not necessary but we just felt better with them).
The interior is luxurious with rich colors, beautiful cabinetry and an amazing radius countertop that is huge. (You can see it in action in our latest RV Cooking Show - Adirondack Great Camps and Amazing Broccoli Salad.)
I must say that 11' really is a lot of space to give up and truth be told, the downsizing was an adjustment, but by now we are happy as little clams. There's a place for everything and everything is in its place. That urge to buy that "can't live without" souvenir is no longer an issue. Did I mention we are full-time RVers??
We had a chance to tour the factory (Pacific Coachworks, Inc.) in Riverside, CA and shot some video so you can see "How that Tango is Made". I'll make sure to let you know when it's available for your viewing pleasure.
Our travels have taken us through San Francisco - across the Golden Gate Bridge, through the Redwood State and National Parks, up the Oregon Coast and soon a sharp turn east.
Even after 8 years on the road there's still so much more to see - not to mention taste! Our camper's hard to miss. If you see us "on the road" please mosey on over and say hello - I'd love to visit with you!!
Stay tuned for more of our adventures traveling, cooking and eating our way across the USA not to mention RV cooking tips, restaurant reviews and general travel tricks...in our new little Tango, of course!!
RV Cooking Show
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Today is my and my husband's 8 year anniversary "on the road". We began our full-time adventure from Portland, Oregon - eager to escape the cool, rainy weather. Our original intent was to tour about until we found a place we wanted to "settle" in...and go figure, 8 years later we still haven't come across that elusive location. Don't get me wrong, we've fallen in love with many places - Maine, the Florida Keys, Port Aransas, Morro Bay to name some (but not nearly all) - but it always seems that after a couple months the old hitch-itch returns no matter how spectacular the area. We've learned that it's much better to leave a place wanting more rather than use it up and not want to return.
The way we see it we've been in "RV school" all this time - beginning, as any kid does, in kindergarten - learning the basics. After these eventful 8 years we're perhaps in high school - still tons to learn but some great adventures and experience behind us.
Some things have changed while others have remained the same. RVers are still the friendliest bunch...always willing to give a hand, share advice or chat about wonderful things to do, see and (my favorite) eat. We still love the adventure of going somewhere new - that never gets old. We're consistently amazed that in the evenings, when we close our blinds, we could have any number of awe-inspiring views just out the window. Of course, and as to be expected, costs have risen but to us it's still preferable to owning and maintaining a stick home.
Tomorrow we celebrate 8 years and 1 day. Life couldn't be better!
Take a look at the first in a series of "Young Full-time RVers" videos here. You may find it interesting.
Drop a line below if you have any comments, questions or simply observations about full-time RVing. I'll be on the lookout for you!
RV Cooking Show
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Well, it finally happened. I was driving by a station in San Rafael, CA - just north of San Francisco - and there it was in shocking black and white - Diesel #2 - $4.99.9/gallon. Yikes!! I kept on driving.
Perhaps you'll agree - it's much less painful to "fill-up" when you need only a quarter tank. I decided to bite the bullet and pulled into a no-name station serving up diesel at $4.95/gallon intending to top 'er off but they didn't take credit and I certainly don't carry that kind of cash so...I'll move on north and report back from there.
Thoughts or observations?? Leave a comment...
RV Cooking Show
Monday, May 12, 2008
The latest RV Cooking Show is a real treat. We explore some small-town, historic Georgia gems then make one of my favorite side dishes - sweet potato fries...in the SMEV oven!! See the SMEV in action, pick up an RV travel tip or two and enjoy those good and good for you sweet potato fries in this episode.
RV Cooking Show
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
There’s nothing funny about crime but you might not realize this by reading this local small town paper’s police and fire log. Let me share a few entries with you and see if you don’t at least chuckle…
Crash: Police responded to the 2600 block of XXX where a woman, 70, got into a tussle with a chain link fence. No injuries were reported but the fence will no doubt need some rehab.
Cigs: Police cited a juvenile boy or girl in the 1100 block of XXX for possession of tobacco, a hanging offense in these parts.
Theft: Police arrested a juvenile boy or girl for shoplifting in the 900 block of XXX, but at least they weren’t smoking.
Fraud: Someone in the 2700 block of XXX reported fraudulent use of his Vallero gas credit card back on April Fool’s Day, but with the price of gas, who’s the joke really on?
Ah, don’t you love life in a small town??
RV Cooking Show
This year more than ever, American citizens are jazzed to vote – regardless of party or candidate choice. In 2000 a suit was brought against full-time RVers with a Texas domicile claiming that since they did not “reside” in the state they were ineligible to vote. As you may or may not know, Livingston, Texas is home to the largest full-time RVing club in the country – Escapees – and offers an excellent mail-forwarding service – providing a legal address to the thousands of full-timing members. A federal judge sided with over 9,000 RVers upholding their right to vote, thank goodness.
In 2006 the 286 full-timing folks in Bradley County, Tennessee were bumped from the voter rolls. The disenfranchised Americans brought a lawsuit against the county that was dismissed by US District Judge Curtis L. Collier this last February. Apparently the county is delighted to collect licensing (drivers and vehicle) fees, taxes and other government dues and happy that full-timers hard earned money goes to local insurance agents, mail forwarding services and financial institutions but nope, that’s not good enough to participate in our democracy.
According to TN state election officials, residency means more than a mailbox. I’d wager that these full-timers pay their fair share in government fees (and by the county accepting them acknowledging the full-time lifestyle) but minimally tax the services that their fees go towards including roads and maintenance. When in town they purchase products - financial and other - from local businesses, patronize local campgrounds, shop at the local Walmart and are in general excellent, low-maintenance citizens. They hold Tennessee documentation such as driver’s licenses and motor vehicle tags – maybe even library cards and church memberships. Chances are that most of them are retirees that gave the majority of their lives contributing to growing the US economy, were upstanding citizens that raised strong families (that now contribute to the US economy), and may have even fought overseas for our freedoms.
Personally, I think this is an outrage. Every bonafide American should have the right to vote – no matter where or how they choose to live. This just doesn’t seem right to me – how about you??
Leave a comment below…I’d love to hear your take on this issue.
RV Cooking Show
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
After watching the last episode – Port Aransas, TX and Shrimp and Asparagus, several sharp-eyed RV Cooking Show viewers have written me asking if I got a new range. Indeed, it’s true and she’s a beaut!! My SMEV “cooker” – as they call it – is Italian through and through and is the closest thing to a professional appliance as an RV can get. I understand that SMEV is practically the standard in European and Australian “caravans” (RVs to us Americans) and is getting plenty of attention here in the USA. In fact, Airstream uses SMEVs cook tops and sinks.
A single glance at the SMEV and I was in love. My model – a 400 series cooker – is stainless steel, has 4 burners on the cook top, a broiler grill just below the cook top, and a roomy oven on the bottom. The oven has a window on the oven door and a light that can be switched on and off to monitor progress. It fit nicely into the slot where my old Atwood was with only a minimal adjustment and is flush with the countertop. The “lid’ is shiny black glass and the edging all around is stainless.
There are plenty of safety features, too. If, by chance, the flame extinguishes the SMEV will recognize this and shut off the propane supply. A switch prevents the oven from lighting if the door is closed to avoid propane gas buildup. The cooker is quite a bit more fuel efficient than standard RV ranges and who doesn’t like saving “gas money”.
As you can imagine, I couldn’t wait to try it…and I wasn’t disappointed. Interestingly, the oven temps are not identified in temperatures but by numbers 1 through 6 with 1 equaling 266 degrees and 6 equivalent to 464 degrees. There’s ample room on the cook top, it’s easy to light and the performance is fantastic. The broiler grill is a dream for broiled fish, chicken, to crisp the top of a pizza or any other broiler usage. The oven heats up beautifully and maintains its temperature throughout the cooking process by decreasing then resuming the flame instead of turning on and off. Dishes come out moist and tasty.
The oven doesn’t have an unmovable shelf above the propane burner tube but instead is a full box oven. The SMEV oven is roomy enough to cook a Thanksgiving turkey! There are two rack settings and one rack. As a bonus, the broiler pan fits into the oven just like a rack.
Look for the SMEV in my next show – Historic Georgia and Sweet Potato Fries coming out soon. If you haven’t already, subscribe on the RV Cooking Show website so you don’t miss a single episode of the RV Cooking Show. And if you can’t wait to see more SMEV visit their company website at www.SMEV.com or www.SMEVUSA.com for retail information. If you like what you see go wild… live large… ask your dealer for a SMEV…it’s delicious!!
Friday, April 18, 2008
What better art for a foodie than UK photographer Carl Warner's intricate food landscapes. If you haven't been on the receiving end of one of these photo-filled emails prepare to feast your eyes!!!
The official name of this photographic series is called Foodscapes. Warner first sketches the concept then, with his studio team of model makers and food stylists, each composition is created, lit and photographed in layers. It takes about 2-3 days to build and shoot the "set". The resulting images are then compiled via technology in 1-2 days. Please click on the photos for a larger, more detailed image.
1. Coconut Haystacks
© Carl Warner
2. Parmesan Cliffs
© Carl Warner - A sea cliff made of Parmigiano cheese, potatoes and cabbage
3. Cabbage Sea
© Carl Warner - A boat made of watermelon, peas, olives and asparagus plough through a stormy seas made of radicchio salad
4. Carl at work in his studio...
and the result...Salami Road. This shot - 1 in a series of 3 - was used as an advertisement by Negroni, one of the finest italian producers of cold cuts.
© Carl Warner
Watch an interview Warner did on the UK's Richard and Judy show in January 08:
Visit Carl's website (to use this link hover your mouse over the boxes until you find "Fotographics" then click - next hover on the cases clicking on "Foodscapes") to view all of his impressive Foodscapes.
If you happen to be in London you can even visit his studio. I'd call ahead...and definitely have lunch first!!
RV Cooking Show
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Whether you love horses or are just interested in fun, unique events and neat people the Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race Endurance Ride might be something you'd like to attend.
RVers love to explore new territory, relive unique history, take part in events and make new friends along the way. This August 31st, in conjunction with the great states of Kansas and New Mexico, over 50 riders and horses will embark upon a 515 mile, 14 day equestrian endurance event with riders retracing part of the most famous trail in America – the Great Santa Fe Trail – and RVers and campers are invited to follow the race and partake in some or all of the exciting activities.
August 31 – September 13, 2008 will be the 2nd Annual Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race Endurance Ride and is designed to bring interest to this historic horse trail and surrounding communities while developing a world class equine event. 21 states were represented in the 2007 race as well as England, Belgium, and Canada.
Trail’s end each day will find Santa Fe Ride race participants and their teams at the Race Village - communities along the trail where riders and RVers can gather together reliving the day, sharing meals and experiences, and in some cases, making lifelong friends. Race organizers have compiled a unique and interesting itinerary for RVers to enjoy including stops at the historic Fort Union National Monument near Wagon Mound, New Mexico to the New Mexico Ghost Town of Yates to Dodge City, Kansas – Queen of the Cowtowns (longhorns, that is) to the World’s Largest Chuck Wagon Supper and Race Finale Celebration in Council Grove, Kansas on September 13th – all along the historic Santa Fe Trail.
There will be ample room for RVers to dry camp in the race villages with 10 overnight villages throughout the 14 days. Arrangements for water and sewer needs will be made and parks with hook-ups will be available and welcoming nearby. Reservations are appreciated but not required for overnight campsites at the race villages, running $15/night. RVers may purchase a 14-night package for $120 – saving $90 over the individual night fees. Some meals will be available for an additional charge and advance meal reservations must be made. Details, to be determined, will be posted at www.sfthorserace.com in the very near future.
Bring your RV and an appetite for adventure. Come for the fun of it or volunteer to help out as an “in- or out-timer, water distributor, traffic controller” or more. Whether you come along to marvel at the amazing endurance race, get up close and personal with some of today’s finest equestrian athletes, cheer on your favorite rider as they compete for the coveted “Spirit of Comanche Award” and the “Aubry Trophy” or to simply have a good time and make new friends chances are that in all your RVing you have never experienced anything like this before!
Log on to www.sfthorserace.com for further details or email Rob Phillips, Race Organizer, at email@example.com.
Photo of 2007 Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race Endurance Ride courtesy of Maggi Rankin.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
I love magazines! But, being a full-time RVer that uses a mail forwarding service I never subscribe and rarely do I buy an issue at the store. I do, however, rejoice when I stay at a park that has a book and magazine exchange. The better the exchange the higher the park rates in my mind. The other day I found a March 2008 O Magazine in the exchange basket. I brought it home and as I paged through, a photo of Bono caught my eye. Upon further investigation I discovered the article was about a group called TED and it blew me away.
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. They are big into ideas. Big ideas. Each year they hold a conference - by invitation only - where "the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes)," according to the TED website. (You can see video of these talks on their site.)
Very interesting but that's not what encouraged me to read on. Instead, it was the TED Prize - given to three individuals annually. The goal is to take all that amazing inspiration and the vast resources of the attendees to grant the winners a "wish". (Winners also receive $100,000 - pocket change for that group - the wish is where it's at.) Past and current winners include Bono, President Bill Clinton and Dave Eggers. And this is no simple or self serving wish. Their wishes are "big enough to save the world".
Larry Brilliant, a 2006 TED Prize winner's wish:
I wish that you would help build a global system to detect each new disease or disaster as quickly as it emerges or occurs.
2007 winner E.O. Wilson's wish:
I wish that we will work together to help create the key tool that we need to inspire preservation of Earth's biodiversity: the Encyclopedia of Life.
Karen Armstrong, a former nun and 2008 TED Prize winner wishes for The Charter for Compassion:
I wish that you would help with the creation, launch and propagation of a Charter for Compassion, crafted by a group of leading inspirational thinkers from the three Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and based on the fundamental principles of universal justice and respect.
See, I told you they weren't your garden-variety wishes.
The winners are told of their prize quite a bit in advance of the conference and work hard to craft their "wish presentation". During the presentation they tell the audience what is needed to grant their wish. Afterwards, the networking and pledging begins amongst conference goers. TED tells us that "these wishes have led to collaborative initiatives with far-reaching impact."
Well, that got me thinking, what would my wish "big enough to save the world" be? I decided that since my overseas travel was limited but my domestic travel was vast I'd concentrate on the US. I've continued to think long and hard about this wish and the options are so many that it boggles the mind. I'm still mulling it over...and over...and over.
What about you? What would your big wish be? Leave a comment if you are so inclined.
And by the way, did you automatically finish this blog entry's headline - then beggars would ride, right? TED is certainly an organization where action follows wishes...an amazing concept, don't you agree??
RV Cooking Show
PS - Please click on the links in the story. Chances are you'll be as captivated as I am...
Thursday, March 27, 2008
It's been one of those crazy busy weeks for me...in an excellent way...but crazy busy just the same. These circumstances always make me crave "comfort food". When I was a kid one of my favorite comfort foods was creamy, oozy chicken pot pie. I remember buying frozen pot pies for a quarter a piece and loving them...until the day I turned one out of the shiny aluminum pie tin to find they had done away with the bottom crust. Yikes!!! That was cheating...no fair.
Fast forward years later and rarely do I frequent the grocery's frozen pot pie section - and they are certainly more than a quarter nowadays! But pot pie I do prize so I make my own but with a twist - BBQ Chicken Pot Pie - using mostly readymade ingredients. It's quick, easy and comforting.
Here's my recipe for this tasty BBQ Chicken Pot Pie courtesy of your friends at the RV Cooking Show:
BBQ Chicken Pot Pie
Preheat oven to 350-400 degrees
• 2 "deep dish" pie shells (one package) - try to find some made without lard if possible
• Half a bbq flavored rotisserie chicken - skinned, boned and shredded
• Small bag of frozen mixed vegetables - cooked (in microwave)
• Small potato - cubed and cooked (in microwave)
• Bottle of high quality bbq sauce - try to find some without high fructose corn syrup - Trader Joe's brand is excellent
Take pie crust out of the freezer to thaw - separating the two shells.
Combine chicken, vegetables, potato cubes and half a bottle of bbq sauce in a large bowl and mix together. Add more bbq sauce if not moist enough (remember - the sauce will be absorbed so make it wet to start).
Spoon chicken mixture into one pie shell. Top filling with a thin layer of bbq sauce. Carefully turn remaining pie shell out of tin and place atop the filling - making a top crust. Pinch edges together in an eye-pleasing fashion and cut 3 to 4 vent holes in the top of the crust.
Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown*. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
Slice and serve with an easy green salad tossed with Ranch dressing and extra bbq sauce on the side for dipping.
*Tip - My oven doesn't brown so well but if yours does consider using aluminum foil to cover the pie crust edges so they don't burn. Remove the foil about half way through cooking so they can get all brown and crusty...mmmm.
See what I mean - my husband doesn't call me "Shortcut Schmarder" for nothin. Sorry I don't have a photo for you...I guess I was in too much of a hurry to eat! Enjoy this simple recipe and feel free to fuss with it - making it your very own.
RV Cooking Show
Saturday, March 15, 2008
On the ride from my Wisconsin hotel to the airport the driver asked me the typical ice breaking question…where are you from? I get all types of responses when I tell them I’m a full time RVer ranging from “fantastic” to “not me”. This very kind fellow told me he and his wife gave it a go when he retired a few years ago. Turns out during some inclement weather at a stop in Albuquerque, NM at $25+/night, they saw a motel sign advertising $35 rooms. He was loving the travel…she couldn’t bear the close quarters and missed the grandkids. They stayed in the motel a couple nights. When they returned home after 6 months on the road they sold the truck and 5th wheel.
I remember when we began our RVing adventure 8 years ago we averaged $13/night. Back then we wouldn’t even consider a park that was $20 or more unless it was a super special occasion. Nowadays we find we’re paying nearly $30/night and I wonder if our standards have changed or if site fees have risen that much that quickly.
And wow, fuel prices have skyrocketed since then. We were pleased to have a truck that used the less expensive fuel – diesel – at $1.50-ish a gallon. Today I passed a station selling diesel for $4.19 – ouch! Yet we continue to travel at will. In comparison to the cost of home ownership we think we still have it pretty darn good.
What you think about all of this? Leave a comment below. How often do you travel? What do you average per camping night and will high fuel prices change your travel habits?
BTW - the lovely hotel room I stayed in last night ran $78/night. It was clean, had a TV, fridge, microwave, desk and bed…but sure enough, it wasn’t home. I couldn’t imagine most of my travels in that manner. On the plus side, the one item treasured above most for many RVers was present…a bathtub! Gotta love it! All that being said, I’m delighted to be back in my very own personal box on wheels…a.k.a. home.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Strolling my local farmers market last week I came upon a fellow selling potatoes. And not just any potatoes either - purple organic potatoes. He didn't know too much about them except his wife urged him to offer them and they were big sellers.
Always interested in trying new things (I also tried kumquats that week...not for me but our park manager loved them), I bought a half dozen of the small, slick skinned, beautiful potatoes, brought them home, cut them up, ohhed and ahhed at the amazing lavender colored flesh, steamed them in my microwave and mashed them. Not only are they eye candy but they are delicious, too. A bit starchier than normal russets but tasty just the same. Tonight I'm going to cut them lengthwise and make baked french fries to serve with bbq chicken.
Look for these purple potatoes to co-star in my next RV Cooking Show - Morro Bay and California Seafood. Can't wait to share...
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Back in the days of my old life - bRV (before RVing) - I traveled a lot for business. It was nothing for me to whip out the 'ol carry on, fill it up with the standard business attire and find a long term parking spot. I could do it in my sleep (think I did so once or twice).
Fast forward several years later and my preferred mode of travel is the open road. Except this upcoming week I have a business commitment that requires me to fly - yep, the friendly skies - to Wisconsin. Which got me thinking...
RV travel is fantastic. You make your own schedule - leave when you want, stop for lunch when you're hungry, "get there" when you feel like it and sleep in your own bed. Not to mention the packing (shouldn't that be a four letter word?). Inevitably, and even for this two night trip, I pack more than I leave behind...just in case. You know the feeling. It might be "fill in the blank" (warm, cool, wet, pooltime, etc.). Of course, in my RV I'm always prepared for any situation that may arise - from walking the beach to making a snowman.
In our RV we travel with folks we know and love. If they are sick, well, we give 'em a smooch anyways. We are responsible for the route we take and oxygen is plentiful just outside the window. Nothing beats arriving at a campground, getting parked, firing up the bbq, cracking a cold one (be it a beer, pop or sparkling water) and making friends with our temporary neighbors.
Sure, I'll get up at the crack of dawn, empty my pockets and remove my shoes at security, hoist my carry on into the overhead compartment and promptly - after following along with the aircraft safety instructions - take a snooze...dreaming of my next RV adventure. You??
RV Cooking Show
Friday, February 29, 2008
In my neighborhood birds are singing, flowers are blooming and campers are rolling. Spring's just around the corner and I've got hitch-itch!! So why not hook my 5th wheel up to the truck and go? I'm searching for a "summer home" to spend say, 6-9 months in. Yep, one big trailer's just not enough.
The truth is my 31' camper is not a pleasure to haul across the country and back. Sure, it's very livable and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the floor plan and ample windows but what I gain in comfort I lose in ease of movement. There went the roadside fruit stand...boy, that coffee stand looked fun...nope, can't fit in that state park...you get the picture.
I considered a truck camper but a few rainy days cured me of that idea. So now I'm on the hunt for a nimble, agile 20-ish foot travel trailer. I'm on first name basis with several salespeople at every dealership in my area and have narrowed my search down to 2 or 3 campers. The determining factors? Quality and layout. Read my BellaOnline article - Shopping for an RV - Interior RV Quality to see what I'm looking for inside the camper. The next article will talk about what to look for on the outside of a prospective camper.
So who's leading the pack...I have my eye on one brand that seems to be meeting all of my (very particular) criteria...I'll keep you posted.
RV Cooking Show
Sunday, February 24, 2008
I received an email from one of my RV Cooking Show viewers sharing her purchase of a silicone basting brush and what a joy it is to use. In fact, she had just put a pan of focaccia bread - basted with the silicone baster with garlic and olive oil - in the oven. The brush also gets heavy use at the BBQ grill, she reports.
These brushes are heads and tails above the bristle brushes we've used in the past. The main benefit is ease and completeness of cleaning. Simply place the used brush in some warm soapy water, let it soak a few minutes and wash it with a soapy sponge. They go for less than $10 depending on where you shop. Try it...you'll like it.
As a full time RVer I can't fit every single kitchen gadget I desire in my RV kitchen but there are a few I find I turn to again and again. They make life in my galley easy and enjoyable. You can learn about some of my favorites in this episode of the RV Cooking Show - RV Kitchen Gadget Gift Guide and Tasty Tamari Almonds.
By the way, the recipe for Tasty Tamari Almonds is a real winner. Why? A. Almonds are soooooo good for you - healthy little treats. B. These are simple to make by doing so you can save a bundle over purchasing pre-made tamari almonds (and you know exactly what's in them). C. They are delicious! Serve them at parties, take them on hikes or picnics or give them as gifts (if you don't eat them all first).
Well, keep your eyes peeled for kitchen gadgets that have multiple uses and that you'd use often. Wise choices in this area really pay off!
RV Cooking Show
Thursday, February 21, 2008
I have a huge window in the back of my 5th wheel which is sometimes a blessing and sometimes a curse. But for now, it's a blessing. Our rig is backed up to some beautiful privacy-giving trees as well as one stately pine. I enjoy my morning coffee gazing out the window watching the birds, weather, and pine cones. Yep, you read right - pine cones. We've had warm sunny days and more recently cool rainy ones. Did you know pine cones open and close? I didn't...but now I do.
When the sun is shining and the warm dry air is circulating the pine cones on my tree open wide...
On cooler days and especially when it rains my pine cones close right up...
This apparently has much to do with pollination with the tree producing male and female cones. The cones even open and close when they've come off the tree.
All that aside, did you know that pine cones make excellent campfire starters? Pick an armful up next time you go camping in a piney area and see what you think. A much cheaper alternative to the store bought fire starters, you'll agree.
Pine nuts are the edible seeds of the pine tree and can be delicious (get them at your local grocery store...not your backyard pine tree!!). The Italians call them pignoli and they are essential to authentic pesto sauce. Here's a quick and elegant spinach recipe from the RV Cooking Show kitchen:
2-3 large cloves of garlic - coarsly chopped (to taste)
1 bag of prewashed baby spinach
fresh ground salt and pepper
handful of toasted pine nuts
Heat olive oil on low in large saute pan. Add garlic and cook until soft and fragrant - a minute or two. Add spinach, stir well and cook until spinach is wilted. Salt and pepper to taste. Add pine nuts and stir. Serve as a tasty side and provide diners parmesan cheese to sprinkle to taste.
Take a moment to observe all that's around you...and enjoy the spinach pine nut dish...it's delicious!!
RV Cooking Show
Monday, February 18, 2008
Brought into the public limelight with the 2004 Oscar-winning movie "Sideways", Buellton, CA won my heart years ago as home to Andersen's Pea Soup restaurant. I must have been about 8 years old when my folks brought me out to Hollywood to visit my wonderful and eclectic aunt. I don't remember very much about that vacation but I do remember Andersen's Pea Soup - a short drive north of Santa Barbara.
Amazing weather prompted us to take a "road trip" this past weekend that included a stop at - you guessed it - Andersen's Pea Soup. Yippee for me - boy was I excited. And bless my husband's heart - he was looking forward to it, too. What a sweetie! (Aren't we a pair - Hap-pea on the left and Pea-wee on the right...splitting peas, of course!)
One glance at the menu and our mind's were made up. We each ordered a "Traveler's Special" - bottomless bowl of pea soup, a basket of bread and a beverage (we got milkshakes) - $8.95.
The soup was thick - like Central Coast fog - vegetarian and piping hot. If you like pea soup this place is for you! I think I had 3 bowls and it was every bit a delicious as I remember it all those years ago.
Our road trip also took us to a luffa farm (!!) and I'll have some interesting video from there for you soon. I'll let you know when it's ready right here in the blog so stay tuned...
RV Cooking Show
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
With Valentine's Day just a few days away, the local TV network ran a new version of one of my old favorites - Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I had avoided watching this 2005 remake - renamed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp because well, Tim Burton's stuff is usually a little odd and I didn't want to taint my pleasant childhood memories. Instead, I fondly remember the 1971 musical version with Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka.
But there it was and my curiosity was piqued. It turns out it was delightful. Complete with the same characters - Grandpa Joe, Charlie, all the assorted, nasty and misbehaved "gold ticket winners" and of course, the Oompa-Loompas, I was transported to the "most magnificent chocolate factory in the world".
One of my favorite scenes in the new movie was when the visitors entered the first room in the factory - complete with a chocolate river and waterfall (that makes the chocolate light and fluffy, of course). Everything in the room is edible - from the grass to the trees to the stepping stones. The colors of this room could be described as technicolor - bright, vivid and imagination-inducing.
This is a great Valentine's movie for kids and kids at heart...enjoy!!
Monday, February 4, 2008
Have you heard of FreeRice.com? It's a nifty website that provides the visitor with a fun and truly addictive vocabulary game and an opportunity to help those less fortunate. The way it works is a word appears on the screen with four possible definitions. Only one is correct. Choose the correct definition and FreeRice's sponsors donate 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. Yep, 20 grains of rice for each word you get right to a hungry human being somewhere in this small world.
20 grains of rice may not seem like much but according to the site, yesterday alone FreeRice.com sponsors gave over 19 million grains of rice to hungry people the world over. Here's what some of the press is saying about FreeRice.com:
“What if just knowing what a word meant could help feed hungry people around the world? Well, at FreeRice it does . . . the totals have grown exponentially.”
- The Washington Post
“FreeRice.com is an international, viral sensation. Folks from Thailand to Germany and India are just as enthusiastic . . . improving thousands of lives, all with a simple, collective, click of a mouse.”
- CBS Evening News
BTW - the vocabulary game has 55 levels and most folks don't get above 48. According to the site FreeRice "...starts by giving you words at different levels of difficulty and then, based on how you do, assigns you an approximate starting level. You then determine a more exact level for yourself as you play. When you get a word wrong, you go to an easier level. When you get three words in a row right, you go to a harder levels."
Boosting your brainpower and helping end world hunger...everyone's a winner! Please logon to FreeRice.com today and give it a go.
RV Cooking Show
Saturday, February 2, 2008
I love discovering stangely named businesses or coming across signs that make me chuckle. For example...
Yep. It really looks like an interesting place to browse...if only my timing was right.
Good to know the National Park Service is looking ahead for me. Very thoughtful of them.
This was at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Montana.
I just hope the Corporate Identity Team didn't get a bonus for coming up with this name.
Actually, it's a Dutch cooperative banking institution with offices all over the world.
When I think of these signs I get a smile on my face. How about you?
RV Cooking Show
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Okey-doke, I spent part of the day updating the RV Cooking Show website and I think you'll like it. One of the big things I added were links to some of my travel videos - I call them RV Marvels...just for fun. Check out one of my favorite cities of all time - San Francisco, a very cool chalk art festival, and more.
Where have you been? Anyplace exciting lately? Tell me about it...post a comment below.
RV Cooking Show
Thursday, January 24, 2008
It's been very cold and rainy for days here on the Central California Coast and if the Weather Channel's to be believed it will continue doing so until early next week. Not that big of a deal when you live in a stick home but one could be driven to the brink of insanity in a mid-size and not wholly-insulated 5th wheel.
Today I decided to brave the elements and treat myself to an always wonderful Thai lunch at a small (and I do mean small - seats 6 inside but has a lovely outside patio which delights in fine weather) place called Noi's Little Thai Take-out. They get so busy with take-out orders that at peak times they suggest you call your order in 90 minutes in advance.
Their menu is small but delicious. They offer one type of curry each day - Thursdays they serve masaman. Other days they have red (Monday), green (Tuesday), panang (Wednesday), yellow (Friday), and pineapple - particularly good - on Saturday. My honey and I split one curry ($9.75) and they were kind enough to put it on two plates. It was so much food! I had to tell her we only ordered one dish. Turns out that was one - split! Great Thai Iced Tea, too!
Noi's doesn't have there own website so here's a link to a review site - http://www.yelp.com/biz/nois-little-thai-takeout-los-osos .
Later at home the sun decided to poke through...here's what I saw...
A feast for the eyes...and I can't wait to enjoy my Thai leftovers for dinner tonight...
RV Cooking Show
Love to travel? Love to eat? A virtual cooking class on wheels with an RV travel component, the RV Cooking Show takes viewers on adventures to some of the most sought-after or interesting but little-known RV locales in the country and then creates a healthy, easy, delicious destination-related recipe in host Evanne's RV kitchen.
Look for the RV Cooking Show blog - Words From the Road - coming here soon!
Until then, safe and happy travels,