A virtual cooking class on wheels, the RV Cooking Show takes viewers on adventures to some of the most sought-after or interesting but little known RV locales then creates a healthy, easy destination-related RV recipe in host Evanne Schmarder's RV kitchen. Tune in to our RV TV...it's always delicious!

Friday, February 29, 2008

I've got hitch-itch!!!

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.

Gone shopping...

RV Cooking Show

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tools Make the Job Easier, More Enjoyable

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

Pine Cone Ponderings and a Tasty Spinach Pine Nut Recipe

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:

olive oil
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
parmesan cheese

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

Perfect Pea Soup

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...

Pea-wee (Evanne)
RV Cooking Show

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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

Free Rice Helps You Feed the World

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

Show Me a Sign

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

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