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!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas with Mama's Macaroons

Ask my friends and they'll tell you - dinner at my RV is delicious...but bring the dessert. I consider baking an exact science and myself a mad-scientist. A handful of this, a drop or two of that, why not toss in (fill in the blank). Works great in 'cooking' but baking, no. So I try to keep it simple but still tasty. Enter my mama's coconut macaroons. The perfect mix of moist and chewy inside, crispy-crusty around the edges, sweet but not too sweet, and beautifully brown on top, these RV Cooking Show Mama's Macaroons might just make your "best-baked" list.

These cookies make a fast and delicious gift...if you can resist eating them first!!


2 egg whites (save the yolks for cesar salad dressing, perhaps?)
3/4 c sugar - I use extra fine granulated sugar - measures the same but dissolves better than regular sugar
salt - just a pinch
1 t of real vanilla extract (you can substitute almond extract in place of the vanilla or mix the two to equal a teaspoon)
1/4 c flour
2 1/2 heaping cups of coconut

Optional: high-quality chocolate - about one bar


Preheat the oven to 325. Line a cookie sheet with foil or use an unlined pizza stone. In a medium bowl whip egg whites, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add flour and mix well. Blend in coconut with a spatula. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet or stone - about an inch apart - being careful to not make them too big - just about a silver-dollar size.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until the top is toasty brown and the edges look crispy.

Remove from the oven and immediately remove the macaroons from the cookie sheet or stone and cool on a wire rack.

Optional: Melt the chocolate in your microwave or in a small saucepan on low. Drizzle over completely cooled macaroons.

Additional tips??

Visit the RV Cooking Show macaroon recipe page here.

Stop by the RV Cooking Show website for more delish holiday treats...including my amazing RV Cooking Show homemade hot fudge.

Merry Christmas,


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Greetings RVers - Desiderata

If you are a wordy sort like me you may have a few poems or stories that inspire you, cause you to reflect, remind you of what's important. Used in author Max Ehrmann's 1933 Christmas greeting and intended for use in Adlai Stevenson's 1965 holiday message, Desiderata is especially relevant in today's world.

It's noted in the book "Desiderata: a survival guide for life" that Ehrmann wrote this prose for himself 'because it counsels those virtues I felt myself most in need of'...it was his guide for striving for simplicity, sincerity, and serenity.

I keep a copy near my desk and once in a while choose a snippet to ponder. I think there's a little something for everyone in this poem.

If you are familiar with Desiderata perhaps you'll enjoy seeing it again. If it's new to you take some time to explore it and consider how it relates to your life.


written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Learn more on these websites:
Desiderata Rises from the Grave
Desiderata...a survival guide for life

Here's to the kickoff of a fabulous holiday season,


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

RV Thanksgiving Recipes

Holiday greetings, friends!

Poof! All of a sudden we’re coming into the busy, busy winter holiday season so I'll make this brief. Do the words "RVing" and "turkey" in the same sentence have you shaking your head, thinking "can't happen"? Well think again!

In this episode of the RV Cooking Show I'm sharing my little turkey secret...the crockpot. Moist, tender, and easy. Take a look at Crockpot Turkey Breast for Thanksgiving, we think you'll agree...it's delicious!! Print the recipe here...I have a feeling you'll be including this in your RV kitchen repertoire for years to come.

We’ve also got some other Thanksgiving goodies in the archives:

Try Mom’s Famous Cranberry Sauce…folks in 18 countries over five continents did and gave it a thumbs up.

I’d always been on the lookout for an easy and elegant sweet potato recipe…well, here it is. No video – just a text recipe – but worthy just the same.

Go a bit "rouge" yourself this year with one of our wacky but delish recipes...Trash Can Turkey for the adventurous or double the sauce recipe, use turkey breast instead of chicken, and crockpot a Trailblazer Turkey.

Question: do you track your RV travels? I’ll share my method in this RV Cooking Show episode and have blogged about it around the RV Cooking Show virtual campfire – our blog. Check it out here.

May I take a moment to say that I’ll be counting YOU, our loyal viewers and readers, among my many blessings this year.

Happy thanksgiving to you and yours.

Most sincerely,

Evanne and the RV Cooking Show family

Thursday, November 19, 2009

RV Campsite Party Light

ALERT: This would make a terrific holiday gift for your favorite RV, garden, or outdoor lover!!

Whether you’re out there camping, have a reservation for your next RV trip on the books or are simply dreaming about going RVing it’s always a pleasure to create a useful, unique camping craft to take along. If you’ve ever taken a walk around a campground at night chances are you’ve seen what I like to call “RV party lights”. They come large and small – hanging on a plant hook, off a rig or strung together on an awning.

I was first introduced to this kitschy must-have camp item at my very first RV rally – the Trailblazers. Upon winning a raffle I was offered a choice of prizes. My eyes immediately locked on to the colorful – and practical – RV party light. From then on my husband and I were hooked. We made them for ourselves, we made them for our neighbors, we made them for visiting friends. Fun stuff!! Based on a request from an RV Cooking Show fan, I’d like to share with you the how-to’s of making a cheery RV party light.

The RV party light will be a colorful, low-light source. Imagine an embossed planter turned upside down and embellished with see-through colorful beads in an eye-pleasing design. If desired, theme your RV party light. I’ve seen USA, Christmas, flower garden, and seashore themes to name a few. Let your imagination run wild and hey, send us a photo of your completed party light, okay?!?!

Supplies Needed

• Hard Plastic Embossed Planter with saucer (drip catcher) – light color – size of your choice (Walmart usually stocks a selection)
• Acrylic Beads – a variety of sizes, shapes and colors (I like multi-colored but you can certainly go with a color theme matching your RV, a holiday, etc.)
Starburst 12-25mm
Tri-beads 11mm
Faceted Rounds 8mm
Faceted Rondelles 6mm
• 4 1 ½ x 8 brass drywall screws
• Medium base, keyless lamp socket with 6-foot power cord
• 60 watt light bulb

Other Items Needed

• Drill with 1/8, 3/16 and 3/8 inch drill bits
• Hot glue gun and glue sticks

Here’s What You Do

Step 1 – Create a bead design on the outside of the planter. Mark with small dots.

Step 2 – Remove the saucer (drip catcher) and using your 3/8 inch bit, drill a hole for the socket threads in the center of the bottom of the planter. Drill 3 evenly spaced vent holes an inch or more out (depending on the size of your planter) from the socket hole for heat ventilation.

Step 3 – Using the 3/16 inch bit, drill holes on the outside of the planter corresponding with your marked bead design.

Step 4 – Using the 1/8 inch bit, drill 4 evenly spaced holes around the top outside edge of pot (which will be the bottom of the light) approximately a ½ inch down from the edge. Drill 4 matching holes (must line up with planter holes) in the saucer (drip catcher) piece – sitting right side up.

Steps 5 – Using your hot glue gun attach the beads on the outside of the planter over the drilled bead design holes (so light can sparkle through).

Step 6 – Install the lamp socket inside the planter. Screw in the light bulb. Test to make sure it works.

Step 7 – Assemble the saucer (drip catcher) “base” with the 4 drywall screws. The saucer (drip catcher) piece should be smaller and fit inside the mouth of the planter – which is now upside down - the saucer (drip catcher) is right side up.

Step 8 – Hang your RV party light, plug-in and enjoy!!

Some safety notes: Never leave the party light unattended – always unplug it when you go inside or away for the evening. Don’t leave it out in the rain – the lamp socket is not weatherproof. Keep it clean and free of cobwebs, fallen leaves or anything else that may be combustible. Use common sense safety rules.

Feel free to send me a message or post a note on the blog if you need help, suggestions or have a comment.

Follow these easy and simple directions and you, too, will become an RV party light lover!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Serve up a spooky “Monster Buffet” for squeamish Halloween party pleasure

Are you having a Halloween party and looking for something a bit out of the ordinary to entertain your guests of all ages? How about hosting a “monster buffet”…sure to satisfy monsters of all shapes and sizes. This buffet isn’t to dine on, though. Instead, it’s creepy, crawly, touchy, feely scrumptious party fun. Your guests will walk down the “buffet” line, getting a good feel of “eyeballs”, “guts”, “a shrunken head”, “snot”, and more…your imagination is the limit.

Here’s how it works:

Prepare a station of six or seven ghoulish experiences along a rectangular table or countertop. Visit the dollar store and purchase plastic pumpkin candy totes – like children use for trick or treat – one for each station. Each pumpkin will contain one “buffet” item. Consider:

Black olives = eyeballs
Cooked spaghetti coated generously with oil = guts
Small, hairy coconut = shrunken head
Cornstarch slime = snot (here's how to make snot - use green food coloring)
Baby carrots (leave out and allow to dry a bit) = fingers
Ripe mango = heart
Corn meal = ground bones
Ears = dried apricots
Large pickle end = nose
Popcorn kernels = teeth
Wet yarn = hair

Cover the top of each container so guests cannot see inside. Label each station with what’s inside (guts, eyeballs, snot, etc.). Have a few “crypt keepers” behind the table to help guests and discourage peeking.

Invite guests to walk the line, reaching into each pumpkin container and getting a good feel of the contents. Be sure to provide plenty of napkins or paper towels (and perhaps even a bucket of clean water) for guests to use to clean up at the end of the “buffet” line.

Tip: Avoid using any type of meat product or other item that may be unsanitary.

Enjoy this good clean fun…guaranteed to gross out even the most wicked monsters among us! Delish!!

Let me know how it goes...what you used...party goer reactions...right here on the RV Cooking Show blog...


Thursday, October 15, 2009

RV Green?

Today, October 15th, is Blog Action Day – this year focusing on climate change. Pondering the topic got me wondering, how green are we RVers? It’s something I’ve rolled around in my head for a while.

As I lumbered down the highway the other day in my F-350 a Prius zipped past me and for a moment I felt a bit sheepish about my “less than green” machine. Then I began thinking…just the sheer fact that I live in my (less than 300 square foot) RV makes me pretty environmentally friendly.

Like many full-time RVers I enjoy spending “seasons” - anywhere from two to six months – in one location. I choose temperate places where the only climate control required is an open window. Showers are short, I’ve gotten into the habit of turning off the water when brushing my teeth, and RV toilets are designed to be water-use savvy. If there’s a water leak somewhere in our lines I know it and it’s repaired on the double.

Once settled in I drive less – reducing the use of fuel, needing fewer oil and fluid changes, and lessening the tire wear both on the truck and trailer. I generally use one tank of fuel per month when I’m at a seasonal location.

Living in a small space means living with less stuff. Book exchanges are welcome sights. And after all, RVing is about experiences not things. Frankly, I’d rather spend my money on parks and picnics than tschokes and trinkets. The practical nature of our being models the three R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle.

Many other full-time RVers write me saying they find they are eating and living healthier – biking, hiking, swimming, strolling the farmers market and buying local. We grill a lot –fast, fresh, and fabulous meals.

When it comes to cleaning an RV we have to be careful. Harsh chemicals can harm our plumbing systems, and destroy our sinks and counter tops. Vinegar, baking soda, and lemon are an RV housekeepers’ friend.

I’ve yet to meet a full-time RVer that told me the reason they hit the road was to be more eco-friendly…it just happens to turn out that way. And if that has any effect on global climate change then so be it – everyone wins!

What are your views on being green and being an RVer? Leave a comment below...we want to know...

RV Cooking Show

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Time for many to winterize their RV - tips and video

At the pool the other day I was chatting with a fellow from Michigan that told me his son was lamenting winterizing the RV. Sadly, that time has come. Here's an article by a friend of mine from the Dow Chemical Company on how to winterize your RV - Evanne

How to Winterize Potable Water Systems for RVs and Seasonal Equipment
Guest contributor Nicole Gorsuch

Taking a few steps now could save you big bucks next spring on your RV, boat, pool, vacation home or any other seasonal equipment or dwellings—especially when it comes to water system maintenance and avoiding burst or damaged pipes.

Here’s how to prepare your potable water system for freezing temperatures safely, effectively and with the lowest environmental impact:

Thoroughly flush and drain pipes and fixtures: Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, so leave as little in your system as possible.

Use a water heater bypass: Many RV water heaters come equipped with a bypass valve system. If yours does not have one, you may want to install bypass valves to protect only the parts of the system vulnerable to freeze damage. By using a bypass loop with valves at each end, you isolate the water lines from the heater tank. This allows winterization fluid to be pumped into the system without first filling the tank with fluid.

Use specially formulated propylene glycol winterization fluid: Choosing the right winterization fluid product is important to ensure the safety of people or pets that might come in contact with and swallow spilled or stored liquid. The right type of winterization fluid also can prevent harmful pollution of ground and surface water in the event of a spill. A high quality propylene glycol winterization fluid can provide freeze and burst protection as low as -50° F, and is generally safe for people and the environment.

DOWFROST™ RVR, available at Wal-Mart, AutoZone, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Advanced Auto Parts, Pep Boys and other retailers, is specially formulated for use in RVs and other seasonal equipment, and is readily biodegradable to help protect the environment. It is safe for incidental contact by people or animals and is practically non-toxic to aquatic life. It also has the added benefit of reducing our dependence on petroleum-based chemicals, because it supplements the propylene glycol with renewable plant based ingredients.

Don’t use automotive antifreeze for water system winterization: Most auto antifreeze is made from ethylene glycol, which is more toxic than propylene glycol and can be more harmful to the environment. And don’t use windshield washer fluid either, as it can freeze solid at subzero temperatures.

Flush your system thoroughly in the spring: When winter is over, drain and then flush all of the winterization fluid from your water system, using plenty of clean water. Capture the winterization fluid and any contaminated water used to flush the system and dispose of the waste liquid properly.

Consult the instruction manual: To avoid any unnecessary surprises, be aware of and follow any specific instructions provided by the equipment manufacturer.

For more information, visit http://www.dowfrostrvr.com/

Well, RV Cooking Show blog readers, I hope this was helpful. You might also want to check out this in-depth video - Evanne

PS - This blog is for informational purposes only - the RV Cooking Show assumes no responsibilty for success or failure. If you have questions or are unsure about winterizing your RV contact a professional.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Six Words About Your RV Life

Calling all wordsmiths, writers, witty individuals or families…can you condense your RV and camping experiences and expectations into six words? I double dog dare ya to share Six Words About Your RV Life!!

Have you heard of the six word memoirs project from SMITH Magazine? In 2006 the fine minds behind SMITH Magazine offered aspiring writers, poets, those with something to say, and plain ole witty folk an opportunity to tell their story in six words. It’s said that Hemingway did just that when challenged to write a six word story. He came up with this: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Thousands of others from the famous to the neighbor-next-door have submitted their six word story in several SMITH Magazine projects including a series on Love & Heartbreak.

And this got me thinking about my own six word memoirs…stories about my life on the road, as an RVer. My motto and the RV Cooking Show’s tag line is a mere six words – “Love to travel. Love to eat.” I quickly realized we all have a story to tell, a short ditty to share – especially when it comes to our RV and camping travels.

So, with much anticipation and excitement I am delighted to introduce a special six word series – Six Words About Your RV Life. Think about your adventures and see if you can craft a six word memoir about your RV vacation, lifestyle, camping experiences. Leave your six words on this RVCookingShow blog page – Six Words About Your RV Life. Sign in or don’t. Leave your name or not. Contribute as many single six word comments as you’d like and check back often to see what others have contributed.

I’ll start the project out with a couple of mine in the comments below. Give it a go. I think you’ll find it addictive and a blast! As the SMITH folks say…Everyone has a story. What’s yours?

RV Cooking Show

Monday, September 21, 2009

RV Park and Campground Libraries

One of the first things that I do when I get my camper setup in an RV park or campground is scout out the clubhouse. I’m interested in the restrooms, pool area and laundry but my real mission is to find the library. Library??? Yes, indeed. RVers often have a voracious reading habit and minimal storage space. Agree?

Find the library (sometimes in the laundry room) and you may find magazines, books, videos, games, puzzles, newspapers and more. It works like this – take one, leave one or borrow and return one. At the very least, book and magazine exchanges can be found at almost every park. The titles you’ll find in the camp’s library are as varietous as a big city library – magazines from Oprah to Popular Mechanics to Smithsonian to Highways, both fiction and non-fiction books - medical, travel, suspense, romance, etc. and often puzzles of every challenge level.

Occasionally you’ll run across an RV park or campground library that offers videos and/or DVDs. You may be asked to sign them out – after all, RVers work on the honor system – but chances are you’ll find an interesting selection for your enjoyment. Videos are usually not for exchange but donations to the collection are always welcome. Borrow them for a day or two – free - but please remember to return them. Games follow the same procedure and are for everyone’s enjoyment.

Perhaps you are an RVer and a reader interested in an exchange. Before you leave home gather up the magazines, books, videos, games, etc. you’ve already enjoyed and plan to visit camp libraries everywhere you stop. Don’t worry if they aren’t the latest and greatest. Not always are the magazines current but the content is as valuable as the day it came out. Recipes are still tasty, motivational advice still gets me revved, touching family stories still move me.

I always try to have a few good books on hand in the rig to exchange. You don’t have to exchange in the same genre, either. As I entered Idaho on my way to the Olympic Peninsula I was in search of a fairly recent (within 3 years) AAA Pacific Northwest Travel Guide. I found not only one but three for exchange and traded a novel for the AAA book that was in the best condition. Sometimes I find a cookbook or simple living guide that I think is too good to pass up. It’s those moments that I’m glad I have exchanges on hand.

Some of the very best RV park libraries I’ve run across are those in the Escapees parks or other seasonal or residential parks. Please respect their rules and requests when it comes to “reference” items. Believe it or not, they may have a “reference only” section – not for exchange. Who knew??

So, when packing up your fine home-away-from-home, bring along your “used” books, magazines or other entertainment items and know that more often than not interesting material is at hand – add or exchange as you see fit!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

RV Cooking Show's Top 5 Ways with Tomatoes

It’s September and in most areas of the country we are nearing the end of the tomato growing season. Sure you can get tomatoes at the grocery store year-round but, with the exception of a few sweet imports, they rarely live up to our summertime tomato memories. Sweet, juicy, fragrant, huge, misshapen, petite, rosy red, striped green, yellow or orange I love fresh from the vine tomatoes (and I’ll bet that you do, too)!

As a tribute to the beloved and fleeting summer tomato I’ve compiled five of my favorite ways I use tomatoes in my RV kitchen – in no particular order...and there are a million more. Take a stroll through my tomato repertoire and please add your own comments, recipes, ideas, and any other tomato trivia below.

Caprese Salad – This delicious Italian salad is beautiful and elegant. Perfect as a starter for an alfresco meal and good enough to enjoy as a small meal with some fresh baked ciabatta bread, it’s as easy and welcome as a summer breeze. Here’s a how-to – you’ll need fresh ripe tomatoes – sliced thick, mozzarella cheese (best if you can find buffalo milk mozzarella – if not use fresh cow’s milk mozzarella) – sliced in thick rounds, several fresh basil leaves – torn, salt/pepper, and a good quality extra virgin olive oil. Arrange the tomatoes, cheese, and basil in a circle overlapping one another. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Pure heaven.

BLT – When we first began our fulltime RV adventure we stopped at my sister-in-laws – a great gardener. While there are a lot of wonderful memories from that visit the one that plays again and again is the BLT sandwiches she brought over to our camper (parked on her property) and we enjoyed in my little RV kitchen. Thick slices of fresh, grainy bread toasted and spread with a touch of mayonnaise, ample crispy, salty bacon (don’t skimp on the bacon, okay!), iceberg lettuce, and thick, dripping slices of red, ripe tomatoes from her garden. Like avocado? ‘Tis the season – add some creamy slices of the green goodness to your BLT and make it a BLTA!

Stuffed and Grilled – I’m grabbing every moment of grilling time left and have had more than my share of ooey-gooey, blue cheese stuffed, bread crumb-topped grilled tomatoes this summer. Visit this RV Cooking Show episode page and watch the grilled blue cheese tomato video, print the recipe or do both!

Pico de Gallo – No kidding, a neophyte in the RV kitchen I was in a South Padre Island grocery and struck up a conversation about peppers with an employee – a Mexican fellow - who proudly shared his wife’s pico de gallo recipe. What a treat – easy and delicious! This no-cook salsa-like dip has a fresh flavor that is perfect for potlucks or happy hours (served with tortilla chips) or served beside any Mexican dish. I love this dish so much that I included it as one of my trio of salsas in this RV Cooking Show episode. Watch, print, or both – it’s all good!

Roasted – This is my favorite method for saving and savoring summer’s tomato bounty well into winter. While it’s a challenge to roast tomatoes in my RV oven I jump at the opportunity (and share, too) to prepare these tasty tidbits when visiting a friend with a home kitchen. Here’s a how-to: Preheat the oven to 250. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Brush or spray lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Thickly slice as many tomatoes as will fit on the sheet (don’t be shy – use all types of tomatoes – even cherries halved). Roughly chop several cloves of garlic (or leave clumps of cloves whole in their “paper” to roast and use later). Arrange the tomatoes on the cookie sheet, sprinkle with the garlic, top with more extra virgin olive oil and a generous dusting of salt and pepper. Bake 2-4 hours until roasted and rather dry on the outside but still a little moist inside. Allow to cool (go ahead, pop a few in your mouth and be prepared to be swept away!), gather them up into a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze for later use.

And hey, a little trivia…the jelly-like substance around the seeds contains the highest concentration of vitamin C…or so they say… And it’s been proven that our bodies absorb lycopene – thought to be a strong cancer-fighter - found in high concentrations in tomatoes – when eaten with a bit of fat – say olive oil.

To tomatoes!!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Good Time with Slime - Camping Fun for Kids

There’s nothing kids love more than camping out, roasting marshmallows, making s’mores, and enjoying the great outdoors…except having silly, messy fun that wouldn’t be permitted at home. Here’s a kids camping activity that will keep them occupied, interested and looked forward to the next trip. Slime.

Yep, I said slime – gooey, oozing slime. Don’t panic parents – it’s easy, environmentally- friendly and you might even like to get a piece of the action. Slime is a simple mixture of cornstarch, water and food coloring. Here’s how to do it – you’ll need:

* a large plastic bowl
* a large, strong spoon
* a Frisbee (for each kid) to use as a slime platter
* 1 box of store brand cornstarch
* water
* liquid food coloring (a multi-color 4-pack is a good choice)

Cover your picnic table with a plastic table cloth to protect the tabletop.

Begin by pouring half the box of cornstarch into the plastic bowl. Add a little bit of water – maybe a fast count of 5 under a faucet – and stir. At first it’ll be difficult to get the spoon through but with a little elbow grease the mixture will become rather loose. If it’s too soupy add more cornstarch and keep in mind, you’re looking for a mixed consistency a bit looser than glue.

Give each kid a Frisbee and divide the mixture up between the kids by spooning it into upside-down Frisbees. Next up is the color. Allow each participant to choose a color or a mixture of colors. A few drops should do it. This can be an excellent teaching tool – showing and experimenting on how combinations of colors make other colors. A word to the wise – keep the food coloring in your possession – kids tend to get very carried away with it.

Now it’s time to slime. Let the kids use their hands to scoop, ball, or simply slither around in the slime. Amazingly, the more it is handled the harder it becomes. Make a ball and it holds together. Open your hand and it turns back to goopy liquid.

When the fun is done you can pour the slime down the drain or in a trash can without any environmental guilt or concern. After all, every ingredient in slime is edible!

FYI - Hands may temporarily turn the color of the slime but will come off with washing within a day.

Here's to a terrific Labor Day weekend!



PS - Make this with green food coloring for Halloween and call it "snot"! He! He! More on that later.

PPS - Filming the Labor Day RV Cooking Show episode today - Lovely Lake Tahoe and Lucious Grilled Fruit. I'll post the link here when it's out...it's sooo delicious!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How to Prepare for a Fulltime RV Lifestyle

I recently received this email from an RV Cooking Show viewer and thought many of you may have the same or similar questions. Have a look and see what you think. If you are a fulltimer and have some wisdom to share please do so by commenting below.

My wife and I are 35 and we want to fulltime it. We realize that we don't need much, our job has together 24/7, and we've been married for 13yrs. What advice can you give us - we are trying get prep for a three to four year exit, staring from scratch.

How exciting! Fulltiming is a special lifestyle and it sounds like it may be a good fit for you and your wife – there’s a lot of “together time”. Three to four years will give you plenty of time to prepare. Have you camped or RV’d before? If not, it may be a good idea to give it a try. You can rent an RV for not too much money and visit a close by campground. If you live near a campground or RV park (or when doing your trial run) you might spend some time chatting with other RVers – especially the fulltimers. Pick their brains – they’ll be more than delighted to share.

Here are some other tidbits for you to consider:

· Start saving as much money as you can right away. Having cash in the bank will provide you a unique freedom that’s worth every scrimp.

· Start paying down your debts with the goal of being debt-free when you begin your adventure. Again, that’s very liberating.

· Stop buying/accumulating “things” unless they have a critical purpose to your life (helps with the above two tips as well as the next one).

· Now’s the time to begin culling your “stuff”. Be ruthless in identifying what you do and do not need. Give what you don’t need to a worthy charity.

· Attend RV shows and look at as many RVs as possible. Collect brochures for the RV models that interest you. Chances are you’ll purchase a pre-owned RV that’s a few years old. Save those brochures to review when it comes time to make a purchasing decision.

· Review your income sources and talents. Will you work on the road (probably so at your ages)? What marketable skills will you bring with you? Do you need some formal education prior to hitting the road – now’s the time to look into this option.

· Begin researching what state you’ll want to be your “domicile”. Think about insurance – rig/vehicle/health, tax situations, vehicle and drivers licensing, mail – even jury duty calls. Some of the more popular RV states are Texas, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, and Montana. Be thorough and take care to gather all the facts before choosing your state of domicile.

· Develop an exit strategy in writing. Put together a long-term plan – say your four year plan – and when you are three to six months out develop a weekly then daily plan.

· Visit my Young Fulltime RVers page on my website. There you’ll find short videos on a variety of topics on fulltime RVing.

· Log on to www.Escapees.com. Though they are not focused on young fulltime RVers they are the preeminent fulltime RV club.

Best to you. Let me know how things progress,

RV Cooking Show

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

RV Tailgating: The Ultimate Parking Lot Party

Contributed by guest blogger Kristina at Excel Distributors

Football season is a great time to pack the burgers, beer, fire up the RV and head for the game… but, football season isn’t the only time for the perfect tailgate party. NASCAR races, BBQ competitions, concert festivals, and rodeo competitions are a few other season-spanning events at which to host a grand tailgate party – RV style.

Sometimes the best seats aren’t even necessarily “in” the house. These days the party begins in the parking lot with the ultimate tailgater. Delicious and easy food spreads, beverages of your choice, brewing excitement, and the joy of never having to stand in a public restroom line have inspired more and more RVers to turn their RV into the parking lot’s next party stop. Other than a weekend getaway, this is the next best way to enjoy your RV without traveling too far.

A few pointers for throwing the ultimate parking lot party, RV style:

Think Food First – All you really need is a barbecue or smoker. That is what tailgating is all about, after all. Adjust the menu to compliment the event you will be attending. Hot dogs and hamburgers can work just fine for some events or add some excitement to the menu by barbecuing ribs or steak with corn on the cob for night games or a treat before the big race. The microwave, stovetop, and fridge inside the RV make side dishes, appetizers, and proper food storage a cinch.

If you’ll be in the sun all day at an outdoor concert festival be sure to keep lots of water on hand and snacks, such as watermelon and shrimp cocktail, around the RV to stay fueled throughout the day and night.

Jazz up your spread by serving food and drinks on plates and cups in your team’s colors, style with a cowboy theme for rodeos or support your driver with his or her color and number on display at the party!

Scope Out Your Spot – The best parking lot parties happen in the best parking spots! Many professional and college football team stadiums have pre-assigned parking spaces but if you can help it, get there early and snag a spot up front to attract more high-fives from passersby and closer access to the entrance gate so you can spend as long as possible pre-partying before the big event.

Entertain In Style – Be sure to decorate your RV and surrounding area appropriately; wouldn’t want any confusion about which team you’re rooting for or which driver you support! Colorful balloons, banners, posters, flags and face paint showcase your spirit well.

Tailgate Before, During and After – The party doesn’t have to end just because the game/rodeo/concert begins! For those without tickets or those having too much fun to want to go in to the stadium, keep the party going during the event with the television (featuring the event, if possible) on and the food and drinks still plentiful. After the big show, watch highlights or postgame interviews on the TV or listen to an event recap on the radio while continuing the tailgating fun.

Leave Your Parking Area Clean – Be sure to clean up any debris, pack up all your equipment, say good-bye to tailgating neighbors, and make plans for the next event of ultimate RV parking lot partying!

About Excel Distributors

Excel Distributors is the nation’s leading supplier of truck cab accessories, also specializing in RV products. Excel offers RV mattresses , bedding, accessories, and more. At Excel, we are dedicated to providing products that make the miles traveled more enjoyable and the nights more restful.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Best Shopping Option for RVers

I’ll admit it up front - I’m a lousy shopper. In fact, unless it’s grocery shopping (and I love padding up and down those aisles spying and trying new and regional products) I’m pretty much a robot. I know what I’m looking for and make a beeline there and back. Good thing, too, since an RV only has so much room and a definite weight carrying limitation.

While I’m a big supporter of small independent businesses (especially restaurants), in my travels across this great big country as a roaming RVer, I’ve found it beneficial to shop national chains for certain types of products and services. If there’s a problem or I’ve picked up an incorrect size/model (in my haste to get in and out) and have moved on to another great RV locale I can search out the chain store and almost always remedy the concern. Believe it or not, this often times trumps price. Let me give you some examples:

I needed new glasses, shopped for the best bargain, made an appointment, and got new glasses. A month later the arms began to wobble, the small screws fell out and there I was, appreciating paper clip technology. Since they were still under warranty I called the store and discovered that I could get partial remedy (I’d pay shipping both ways and a small fee) if I sent them back and would have to wait four to six weeks for a replacement. Who knows where I’d be in four to six weeks and how was I supposed to see during that period of time? Moral of the story: I’ll be visiting Sears or Lens Crafters for my next eyeglasses excursion – even if they are a bit pricier.

When we got our new little Tango travel trailer we thought we needed a different size socket to torque our wheels so we stopped at Wal-Mart and picked one up. Turns out the Tango uses the same size we already had. Wal-Mart – in another state – gladly allowed us to return the socket. Moral of the story: Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Wal-Mart is just about everywhere and easy to work with. Let’s just say this isn’t their first picnic.

We always buy our truck and RV tires at America’s Tire or Discount Tire (same company). They really know what they’re doing and are competitively priced. As we travel we stop at one of their many locations for rotations/balances. If we have a problem (like the blowout we had near Detroit last summer) we simply visit a local branch and we’re in the system. They take care of us quickly and professionally. Moral of the story: Even as a traveler you can establish relationships. Doing so might even elevate you to a preferred VIP status.

Be a wise RV consumer…shop if you must; just keep in mind where you’ll be down the road in case you have to make a purchase adjustment. In the end it pays.

To great purchases (and uneventful returns),


Sunday, July 26, 2009

RV Cooking Show Recipe - Watermelon Feta Salad

Hello RVers,

You know its summer when you see watermelons – every size and shape – for sale at every grocery store and farmers market you visit. With a small RV refrigerator I’m usually a candidate for the pre-cut melons but almost always eat them up before the sweet red melon even makes it to the fridge. I recently heard that the Japanese were growing square watermelons for a better fridge fit. Check out these pictures - go figure!

Many folks think that this fruit (but some consider it a vegetable – another surprise!) is lacking nutrients but alas, the watermelon is rich in vitamins C, B6, beta carotene (vitamin A), and lycopene (in the red melons – the riper the better). It’s low in calories and sodium but high in sugar. A recent study says watermelon may be a natural Viagra – here’s the article – read it for yourself and see what you think.

A while back I came across this intriguing watermelon salad recipe and had to give it a go. I’m crazy about it and have been saving the recipe to use on an RV Cooking Show episode but shoot, if I wait too long watermelon season will be over. So, if I can use it in a show I’ll do so but just in case, I’m going to share it with you now…while the melon is good!

Don’t be discouraged by the ingredients…my husband’s in the kitchen right now gobbling it up…I better get in there before it’s gone.

Watermelon Feta Salad

Cubed seedless watermelon
Crumbled feta cheese
Toasted pine nuts
Roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
Fresh ground black pepper

3 parts canola oil to 1 part fresh squeezed lemon juice (maybe a little less oil)

Mix oil and lemon juice to make dressing.

Toss watermelon, feta, pine nuts, parsley, and pepper in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss well.

Serve and enjoy!

Any other terrific watermelon recipes? Share them here.

Happy travels,


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

RV Tire Safety

Do you remember that iconic tire commercial that extolled the virtues of their product – “because you’ve got a lot riding on your tires” – with an image of the cutest baby sitting in a tire? It was true then and it’s true now – your tires are literally where the rubber meets the road. Making a good purchasing decision and maintaining your RV’s tires can mean the difference between a pleasant trip and an unpleasant, unplanned stop. Just ask my full-time RVing friends traveling from California to Massachusetts - three 5th wheel tire blow-outs in a row - yikes!! In this article we’ll discuss the specifics of trailer tires but several points pertain to motorhomes as well.

Purchasing Trailer Tires

Look for special trailer tires – denoted with an ST in front of the string of numbers on the sidewall. These are designed with trailering in mind – they have stiffer sidewalls than a P (passenger) or LT (light truck) tire, are more flexible cornering and backing, and are designed for long duty cycles to name a few differentiating factors.

When choosing trailer tires you’ll need to know the weight of your fully-loaded trailer. It’s a great idea to actually weigh it – the manufacturer’s numbers are almost always low. This information is critical in determining the load range (weight capacity of each tire) you’ll need. Trailer tire load ranges are identified by a letter – usually B-D – the higher the letter the more the tire can carry. Remember that your tires work in conjunction with the axles and other suspension components – a high load range tire doesn’t mean you can exceed the axle ratings, etc.

Believe it or not, trailer tires are designed to last 3-5 years or 5,000-12,000 miles and are not designed to wear out. After a mere 3 years – traveling or garaged – approximately one-third of your tire’s strength is gone. Without question, it’s extremely difficult to purchase new tires when yours look perfectly good but it’s essential to your safety. Using sidewall data you can see how “fresh” your tires are. Look for a four digit number following the DOT serial number – typically on the back of the tire. The date code will be stamped rather than molded in an oval shape. The first two digits are the week of the year in which the tire was manufactured (01 thru 52) followed by the final two digits denoting the year it was manufactured. A tire stamped "1208" was manufactured in the 12th week of 2008.

Safe Travels

The number one factor in tire failure is improper inflation. It’s recommended to inflate your tires to the maximum PSI stamped on the sidewall. The trick however, is to be aware of how the elements affect tire pressure. Higher elevations increase tire pressure as does warmer temperatures. When traveling you should check your tires prior to setting out on the trip and each day before hitting the road – always when they are “cold” and that means before moving the vehicle. Take this opportunity to do a visual inspection, keeping an eye out for unusual tire wear, bulging, cracking, etc.

Another interesting and important fact is that ST tires have a maximum speed rating of 65 MPH. Drive faster than that and risk tire failure. That’s because as heat builds up the tire's structure starts to disintegrate and weaken. The load carrying capacity gradually decreases as the heat and stresses generated by higher speed increases. Plan enough time to get there without a tire mishap.

Bring and use tire covers for stays longer than a weekend – UV rays accelerate tire disintegration. Use only soap and water to clean your tires. Never – and I mean never – use a product with petroleum distillates on your tires. Again, this will degrade your tires.

Before leaving on your trip check your spare (when checking your other tires) and properly inflate it. Make sure you have all the pieces of your jack system and know how to use it.

Precious Cargo

Do yourself and those you share the road with a favor – make your tires your number one priority. Be slow, be prepared, be safe. The simple fact is that each one of us does have a lot riding on our tires. See you on the road…hopefully not on the side of the road.

Safe travels...okay?!?!!


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sensational Santa Cruz (and a secret RV park)

We’ve spent plenty of time in San Luis Obispo/Morro Bay and the San Francisco Bay areas of the California coast but simply hadn’t made it to Santa Cruz. In fact, last summer we tried to stay in one of a few state parks in the area and there was no room at the, well...parks.

This year we planned ahead and did some research which led us to a 12 site, hidden gem of an RV park – the Santa Cruz North Port District (or North Harbor) RV park. All 12 sites offer w/s/e, RVs must be self contained, and tents are not permitted. While not cheap (okay, maybe by CA standards it is) at $40/night it is worth every penny. The sites backup to a treed hill and are directly across from the boat moorage.

A breezy day partners with the sailboats to make the most soothing music. Grab a beverage of your choice, have a seat on one of the many benches and soak it all in. Check out this video and imagine yourself there:

A short half mile walk along the harbor (on either side) delivers you to beautiful beaches with crashing waves and volleyball courts, a jetty and lighthouse, a tony neighborhood perfect for an early evening stroll, and restaurants galore. On Wednesday nights from April to October Santa Cruz hosts sailboat “races” just outside the harbor mouth. You can sit on the beach and watch, take part on a boat cruise or do like we did and find a table on the upstairs outdoor patio at the Crow’s Nest and enjoy a little happy hour (runs all night on Wednesday’s) with your sailboat racing. Terrific!!

A trip into this town is hip! We chose to venture in on a Wednesday (yeah, a very fun-filled day that Wednesday was!!) so we could visit the Farmers Market. It was the BEST market I think I’ve ever been to…anywhere. The produce was displayed beautifully, the variety outstanding (even for the bounty of summer), and the multitude of ethnic food stands tempted even a full shopper.

But the very best thing about the Santa Cruz Farmers Market was the beet lemon sorbet at Scream Sorbet. Yep, I said beet lemon and it was a taste sensation enough to make a girl swoon. Noah was offering tastes of the 6 varieties on the scooping menu that day and they were all fabulous but when I saw the amazing color of this sorbet I was sold. Oh! My! Gosh! Scream scoops at several Bay Area markets so if you happen to have the chance to visit them I highly recommend it! Check out the markets they participate in, the current flavors they’re scooping, and where they are sourcing the ingredients from…it just might be the organic fruit stand right next to them at the market.

Capitola – a bit down the road – is a surfer’s paradise and offers a little “tourist village” with shops, restaurants, and beachfront benches. Looking for some handmade boutique soap, bath scrub, body butter or lip balm? Don’t miss the great products and really nice folks at Lavroma. Along the village circle is Pizza-My-Heart…the perpetually long line is justified – after you get your slice (or 2 if you know what's good for ya) head to a beachside bench and enjoy. A bit up the hill is Gayle’s Bakery known for their yummy chocolate √©clairs and other such baked delights. We sat outside soaking up the sun with our coffee and treats – paradise!

Some lucky soul was scheduled in our site and, well, we had to move along anyway. Even though we just left I can’t wait to go back…and that’s saying something coming from a jaded 9+year full-timer like me.

Happy summer camping from your well-fed friends at the RV Cooking Show!


Monday, June 22, 2009

RV Cooking Show Memorial Day Online Holiday Food Drive a Success

The RV Cooking Show and food drive partner Best Parks in America recently wrapped up the Memorial Day Online Food Drive with a whopping 200 items donated to the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County in California.

Campers and RVers from all walks of life were asked to fight hunger by leaving a comment on the RV Cooking Show Online Memorial Day Food Drive blog entry memorializing someone that made a difference to their lives. 50 RV Cooking Show blog readers participated - read their comments here.

The RV Cooking Show and Best Parks in America each pledged one non-perishable food item for each comment left on the blog. The Albertsons Supermarket in Morro Bay, California matched the 100 item purchase bringing the total number of food items to donate to 200.

“The number of food insecure Americans has skyrocketed in recent months. Thanks to the generosity of those that participated in the RV Cooking Show Online Food Drive a child, a senior, a parent, a veteran will go to bed full tonight. That’s a tremendous accomplishment that once again proves each one of us can make a difference,” remarked Evanne Schmarder, producer and host of the RV Cooking Show.

About the RV Cooking Show

A virtual cooking class on wheels with an RV travel twist, 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 dish in host Evanne Schmarder’s RV kitchen. The RV Cooking Show is currently seeking sponsors. Evanne may be contacted at Evanne@RVCookingShow.com You may also log on to www.RVCookingShow.com for more details.

About Best Parks in America

Amenity rich facilities, unsurpassed resort locations, superb service, and trademark warm hospitality with a smile – Best Parks in America’s 22 partners deliver upscale camping experiences. Best Guests in America members – a complimentary RVer and camper club – enjoy extra perks such as a free site upgrade at check-in (based on availability) and a points program redeemable for free camping. Explore www.BestParksinAmerica.com for further details. Exceeding expectations. Every time. Every location.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Buying an RV? Inspect it prior to taking delivery.

Summer is just about upon us and, in this economy especially, buying an RV is a very attractive prospect. You've searched, shopped, compared, and finally chosen the perfect camper for you - be it new or "new to you". Congratulations...it's very exciting! But before you sign on the dotted line it's critical that you, in partnership with your sales person or their techs, conduct a PDI - pre-delivery inspection.

Typically the dealer will do a PDI on your RV before you arrive to pick it up but you know how it is...no one cares about your camper like you do. You must take the time to do a thorough walk-through - your own PDI. Ask any RV owner - it's important to make sure everything is in full and complete working order before you sign the papers and take delivery of your “new baby”.

Your PDI will be lengthy and may take more time than the dealer will want to spend but again, it’s up to you to make sure everything is in tip-top shape. It’s never a bad idea to forward your checklist to the dealer in advance so they know what you will be looking for. This is advantageous to both parties.

Arrive equipped with that checklist, a pen and pad of paper, and a keen eye for detail. You should present a list of the items you’ve noted as "not acceptable" to your sales person and require the dealer to repair any items prior to finalizing the purchase if at all possible. If the noted items cannot be fixed that day get an agreement of when and exactly what will be attended to in writing.

You’ll find that every area of the RV needs to be looked at. Some (but certainly not all) items for your consideration:


  • Inspect the outside of the coach including all doors, locks, latches, and slide outs. Look for flaws in the siding such as delamination. The caulk around windows, doors, edges, etc. should be fresh and without breaks.
  • If necessary, be sure the technician explains – and you fully understand – how to operate the connections – water, sewer, cable, telephone, etc.
  • Understand how the propane tanks work and check for proper ventilation. Make sure a leak test has been performed.
  • Inspect the roof – this is vital – for proper caulking around the edges and all rooftop components. Look for bubbles that indicate loose rubber roofing.
  • Look closely at the tires – are they all the same? Check the tire pressure and tread wear. Make sure the luguts are torqued to the proper specs.


  • Open every closet, cupboard and drawer, make sure the finish is acceptable (not marred or gouged), inspect the furniture and fabric, open and close the window shades and windows.
  • Look for any spotting or staining on the ceiling or walls (even inside cupboards and closets) that might indicate a leak.


  • Operate and inspect all systems including the A/C, furnace, slide outs, TV antenna, stove and oven, etc.
  • If your new RV is motorized you’ll want to fully inspect the cockpit, start and run the engine, check the brakes, etc.

If you are purchasing from a private owner it’s still a good idea to complete a PDI. What’s that saying? Buyer beware. Even if you find a few flaws and decide to go ahead with the sale you’ll go into it with your eyes wide open.

There are several great websites that offer checklists for your use - here's an in-depth checklist for your perusal.

If this is your first RV purchase this may seem over the top. If it’s not your first, you know what I mean. Your diligence will pay off in the end – it always does. Making sure your “new” RV is in tip-top shape, a thorough PDI will help you avoid pesky – and potentially expensive – problems down the road.

RVing is one of the greatest ways to vacation...choose your camper wisely and inspect it well. It will provide you fabulous experiences and lifelong memories for years to come.

Maybe I'll see you on the road?


RV Cooking Show

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Training Cats and Kittens for a Walk in the RV Park

...plus a great recipe for your hungry RVing feline!!

Contributed by guest blogger Dr. Amy Cousino, DMV

“Ginger” is a 9-year-old green-eyed calico cat who wandered onto her owner Jim’s farm in Ohio as a kitten. When viewed from the backside it appears as though she has on caramel colored shorts because the color is evenly distributed on either side of her tail.

Jim is retired and visits Florida in his motorhome every winter to escape the cold up north. In April and May Ginger visits Florida with Jim.

Ginger was a lucky kitten to have found Jim – he has provided her with a comfortable home and a good life over the last several years. Jim and Ginger take long walks in Whispering Palms Resort. She wears a blue harness and Jim keeps her on a leash. Jim always wears a smile on their daily walks.

Using a comfortable harness and leash to take your pet cat for a walk is a great tip when traveling in your RV. Your cat can get fresh air every day and can enjoy the great RV parks with you. To train your cat to walk on a leash first get a harness, the kind with two rings, not the figure 8 type – the figure 8 type is easy for a cat to slip out of. Get a six foot leash as well.

Put the harness on your cat daily, gradually increasing the time your cat wears it. At first most cats will just fall over on their side when you put the harness on, but once they get used to it they will stand up again. After your cat is used to the harness attach the leash and allow them to wander about your home dragging the leash. Watch carefully to avoid hang-ups, though.

Finally, take your cat outside with the harness and leash on, gradually increasing the time outside. Stay away from dogs, they scare cats. Take a few steps, when your cat lags behind give a gentle tug on the leash and some words of encouragement. Keep a good grip on the leash as some cats will start running for fun. If you see a lady running across a meadow behind a big Maine Coon cat on a leash it’s probably me!

Here is a recipe this lady makes, made with the parts of a chicken that are not often used, but are well loved by cats on farms (and RV parks) everywhere:

Chicken Giblets for Cats and Kittens Dr. Amy Cousino, DMV

Chicken giblets (from a roasting chicken)
Chicken broth to cover, homemade, without onion, garlic or seasonings
Celery, ¼ of the stalks, chopped

Place the giblets including the gizzard, liver, neck, and heart in a small saucepan.

Cover with the broth, add the celery. Bring to a boil, immediately turn to simmer and cover, cooking very slowly for 30 minutes.

Take off heat and leave covered for one hour. Remove giblets, reserving the broth and chop fine before serving. Add broth to moisten the giblets.

Remove the meat from the neck, discarding the bones and mix with the other giblets.

Feeding Guide: adult cat 4 T, twice daily; kitten 1-2 T, 3-4 times daily (T=Tablespoon)

Until next time,

Dr. Amy Cousino, DMV
Author, How to Cook for Your Pet

PS - I have a new pet book coming out in the very near future! Stay tuned...I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

9 Years as a Full-Time RV er - Early RVing Lessons

I can remember my last day at my corporate office like it was yesterday. What a feeling, we we’re going to be full-time RV ers and the adventure was beginning. It took us two months of planning, yard sales, tying up loose ends, etc. but the day finally arrived. We picked up our first RV – a “pre-owned” Trailmanor 3326 – in Surprise, AZ and headed up the road. My husband drove and never having been RV ers the towing sensation was, let's just say odd. We found our park in Cottonwood, somehow got parked, leveled, set up then went out to dinner. Many new and valuable lessons were to follow in the first month (and on and on) and I’m tickled to share some of the first of them with you:

* Even though it was May, it was HOT in Arizona. We turned on the fridge the evening we arrived and the next day we headed to the store for our first batch of groceries. Turns out the electric hookups at the park were not adequate for the hot weather RV load and, as can be expected, an overload tripped our row’s breaker. We got home with plenty to feast upon – even ice cream! – to a warm fridge. Had to eat all of the ice cream right then and there and renamed the town “Hottenwood” as we packed up to leave.

* We had the wherewithal to head to cooler climes – Flagstaff – and a beautiful shaded site. It was there that we learned two absolute RV life lessons. At the end of my rope, unable to get my manual lighting water heater to light, the park manager pulled up in his golf cart and gently helped me understand that I was attempting to light the wrong spot. He gave me a quick Water Heater 101 and I’ve never forgotten him or his lovely park – Greer’s Pine Shadows.

* It was also there that we realized what special, friendly, and unique people RV er’s are. Enter our neighbor Lucy. She had recently retired and had always dreamed of learning to tap dance. She now had the time to follow this dream and she was pretty good. How do I know? She kept a large piece of plywood under her camper and would pull it out, strap on her tap shoes, and give the neighbors a performance upon request.

* And then there’s this…our dream was (and still is) to follow the sun and travel only warm and sunny locales. That’s why we gave away all – yep, go figure, all – of our warm clothes including our sweatshirts and pants. In theory, it’s a great plan. In reality, thank goodness Walmart still had a selection of sweats.

* We found our way to Arizona’s Canyon de Chelly (pronounced Chay) National Monument and parked in the last site available – a bright and sunny (read: hot as the dickens) site, I might add. The next morning, excited to be on this adventure, we prepared the RV for a day away. This included making sure the windows were closed and the awning was open. White House Ruins were spectacular as promised. In the campground, as we approached our new RV, we oohed and ahhed at the thing of beauty. But a second, closer look showed something not quite right. Not right indeed – a strong wind wrapped the awning atop our camper – popping one arm right off the RV and bending the other backwards to help the blasted thing achieve “pretzel” status. We bent it back and made it usable again but, geez!!

* About two weeks into the life we couldn’t shake the feeling that it was nearly time to get back “home” and “back to work”. You know what I mean? The two week vacation time was nearly up but alas, we were home and there was no job or place to go back to...we'd really done it!

And as it does, life zoomed by and poof, nine years have passed. We’ve been a zillion places (but there are a zillion more to visit), made many great friends along the way – some younger than us – most older – all amazing, pursued our passions, are thrilled and delighted to still be living and loving this life, and are honored that you’ve allowed us – in the form of this blog and the RV Cooking Show – to be part of your RVing life. Thank you.

Some RV lessons learned, plenty more ahead, I’m sure; we’ll continue our life in the box on wheels and look for you out on the RV road!

Feel free to share your RV lessons learned around this virtual campfire - comment below.

Happy camping,


RVCookingShow's Facebook Fanpage


PS - Read my missive from 8 years as a full-time RV er

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

RV Cooking Show Online Food Drive – Memorial Day Edition - Comment NOW

Hold your hand up if you or someone you care about has not, I repeat, has not been affected by today’s economy. Chances are you didn’t raise your hand. Neither did I. And while recent news reports tell us that our economic troubles may be waning they also tell us that more than 36.2 million Americans currently live in food insecure households. These are often hard-working adults, children and seniors who simply cannot make ends meet and are forced to go without food for several meals or even days. Most of us simply have no idea – I know I go to bed full every night. Across the country local food banks are seeing a 20%-40% increase in demand and food donations are dangerously lean - in some cases down 50+%. It’s time to do something about America’s hunger problem.

Maybe you’ve volunteered at a food bank or maybe not. Maybe you participated in the “Stamp Out Hunger” postal service food drive or maybe not. Maybe your own household is food insecure or maybe not. A lot of maybes but one thing I bet is true – you want to help if you can. The RV Cooking Show is delighted to give you a no-cost opportunity to help feed a child, a grandma or grandpa, a hungry American. Sponsored in part by our friends at Best Parks in America, our second food drive will help you help out and honor those that have made a difference in your life.

Here’s how it works:

In honor of Memorial Day, simply leave a comment on this blog recognizing someone living or passed on that has made a difference in your life. Comments will be accepted between now and Memorial Day – Monday, May 25, 2009. 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 – the RV Cooking Show, in partnership with Best Parks in America, will donate 1 item of non-perishable food to a local food bank in the area we are traveling through.

So, just to review, you can help fight hunger this Memorial Day by:

** Leaving a comment about someone that made a difference to your life on this blog entry between now and May 25, 2009. Bookmark this site and return often.

** Be prolific – you may comment 3 times per person/per week. Here’s a tip…each comment gets 1 food item donated so, if you’re going to comment about your mother’s empathy and kindness, rave about one way she made a difference to you per comment up to 3 per week. For example, comment 1 - “she was kind and helped me see the best in other”, comment 2 – “she could see where others needed encouragement, brightened more than one life and helped me realize everyone is doing their best to make it through life”, comment 3 – “she made me see the importance of connecting with other human beings – even through a smile in passing”. That will garner 3 food items – 1 per comment posted.

** The RV Cooking Show, in partnership with Best Parks in America, will donate 1 non-perishable food item to a local food bank for each comment received (see the above tip!!)

** Check back and comment again

I came across this poem just in time for the late spring runoff and fast flowing rivers and streams. I think it sums up this RV Cooking Show online food drive perfectly...

The Bridge Builder

An old man going a lone highway,

came at the evening cold and gray,

to a chasm vast and deep and wide.

The old man crossed in the twilight dim,

The sullen stream had no fear for him;

but he turned when safe on the other side

and built a bridge to span the tide.

Old man", said a fellow pilgrim near,
"You are wasting your strength with
building here;
your journey will end

with the ending day. You never again

will pass this way. You’ve crossed the

chasm, deep and wide, why build a

bridge at evening tide?

"The builder lifted his old gray head
"Good friend in the path I have come",

he said, "there followed after me today

a youth whose feet must pass this way.

This chasm that has been as naught to me,

to that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.

He, too, must cross in the twilight dim.

Good friend I am building this bridge for him!"

Will Allen Dromgoole (1860-1934), Writer

Will you help me build a bridge?? Comment below and spread the word…we’ve got some bellies to fill!!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Top 11 Free (or Almost Free) and Fun Things to Do When RVing (or even at home)

Hi RV Cooking Show blog readers,

I'll bet you'd agree...we RVers are a fun loving bunch that relish doing, seeing, and experiencing while saving. After all, there's so much going on and much of it's free (or costs very little). Below I'm delighted to offer my Top 10 - make that 11 - Free and Fun Things to Do When RVing.

1. Take a walk in nature – breathe deep, walk softly, and observe your surroundings.

2. Take lots of digital photographs (works best as a freebie if you already own a digital camera) and share with friends and family.

3. Visit museums on their free days – most have at least one a month.

4. Visit state capitals and take in the grandeur, occasional tours, art exhibits and history lessons.

5. Take a factory tour – sometimes you’ll even enjoy bonus samples.

6. Visit wine country and sample some of your favorite – or new – varietals (but assign a designated driver – those “sips” can really add up!).

7. Pack a picnic and spend an afternoon at a local park relaxing, eating, talking, reading, exploring, daydreaming…did I mention relaxing?

8. Window shop a fancy part of town. End the afternoon with a cup of coffee, tea or other refreshing beverage in said “fancy part of town”.

9. Check the local paper for free community events including concerts in the park, lectures, plays, etc.

10. Shop a local farmer’s market and chat with the folks selling the fruits and veggies. Pick up something “new to you” and ask them how to prepare it – then go home and try it.

11. Visit your local library and check out a few movies, make some popcorn, set up the TV outside the camper and have a date night or family gathering under the stars.

What else free and fun can you think of? Please do share!! Leave a comment below for everyone to enjoy!


Saturday, May 2, 2009

RV Pet Tips and Pet Food Recipe

Hello from Dr. Amy, DMV, currently in fabulous Florida,

It’s a wonderful warm weather month here with cool nights and days reaching into the 80’s, and it is also the time most Canadian snowbirds return to Canada for the summer. Some of my Canadian friends are getting ready to head home to enjoy a beautiful woodland resort with log cabins in Canada, north of Minnesota.

Their Oscar is a white Shih Tzu who is a friendly dog and loves to visit the campers at the resort all summer long. He runs cabin to cabin visiting with the people a few minutes each day. Campers love his visits as much as he does!!

Before leaving for the long RV trip home his owners payed me a visit. Oscar had some allergies and I prescribed some antihistamines to reduce his sneezing. Here's a couple useful tips for traveling with your pet:

Go to your nearby vet for an exam and for any necessary medication refills before embarking on your trip.

It is a very good idea to have copies of your pet’s medical records with you - for a number of reasons.

In Oscar's honor here's a recipe for a beef casserole, perfect for cool woodland summer nights up north:

Beef Casserole for Dogs
by Dr. Amy Cousino

2 T olive oil
1 lb ground beef, lean
1 medium tomato, skin removed, fine dice
1½ c beef gravy (made with homemade stock - no onions, garlic or seasonings)

Beef gravy: 3 T olive oil, 3 T flour - cook together for 2 minutes, add 1½ c
unseasoned beef stock or broth - cook until thickened

4 oz noodles (prior to cooking), cooked (do not add salt to the cooking water)

Sauté the beef in the oil until brown. In a buttered casserole combine the
beef, noodles, tomatoes, and gravy. Bake at 325 degrees 30 minutes
or until bubbly. Allow to cool before serving.

Serving Guide: toy ¼ c, small ½ c, medium 1 c, large 1½ c, giant 2 c

Happy travels - where ever they may take you!

Dr. Amy Cousino, DVM
Author, How to Cook for Your Pet

PS - You can find a pet food cookbook full of good and good for your pet recipes on my website...check it out!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Connect with the RV Cooking Show

Isn’t technology amazing? Today, from the comfort of our RVs we can watch what I call “RV TV” – learning about everything RV from how to maintain your rubber roof to delicious RV recipe ideas, research places we’d like to go, meet other RVers, and share our experiences from life on the road. In my eyes, the internet has brought about a virtual campfire – where we can all enjoy the warmth and camaraderie of a fireside chat with new and established friends alike without actually being there (though we do want to get there "live and in person" eventually).

Over the years I’ve made so many great RVing friends that even when we’re on opposite coasts we still connect, chat, and share in meaningful ways. Which brings me to my post subject – I want to connect with you!! In order to do so I’ve developed a variety of channels that each offer something different – something for every new RVing friend. I’m on Twitter and Facebook, then there’s the RV Cooking Show blog, and of course the RV Cooking Show website. Here’s what each one’s about:

Twitter is a neat “micro-blogging” site that asks the simple question “What are you doing right now?” and allows the answer in 140 characters or less. It’s free to sign up and easy to use. Once you’re on you have an opportunity to “follow” other users to see what’s happening in their worlds as well as “tweet” about your adventures. I use my 140 characters to share with you the best of RVing on the web via links to interesting websites and tweeple and to interact with followers. Log on to my Twitter page to read my tweets and if you like what you see please sign up and follow me.

There are over 200 million Facebook users around the world (!!) and the fastest growing demographic are those 35 and older (that would be me). Again, it’s free to use with a simple sign up and can provide you insight into your favorite company or business as well as help you maintain friendship connections (like with me at the RV Cooking Show). The RV Cooking Show has what’s known as a fan page. There I post photos, cool events (got any suggestions?), other Facebook pages I enjoy, and updates from my world. Check it out and please consider becoming a fan.

The RV Cooking Show blog is a place where I and some of my RVing friends post more in-depth (more than 140 characters) information on RVing, camping with pets, RV recipe ideas, food drives (one’s coming up soon), and general ramblings that have to do with RV travel. I appreciate your being here, reading this right now. Subscribe to blog alerts by simply clicking on the subscribe button at the top right of the page. If you have anything to add to the discussion I encourage you to leave a comment below. You can do so anonymously or sign up/in and use your “handle”. Either way, your voice matters to me and other readers, too.

Then there’s the RV Cooking Show website. Recently revamped (do you like what you see?) it’s there that you can view the entire collection of RV Cooking Show episodes, print out RV recipes and checklists, get more information on Young Fulltime RVing, tell me what you think by participating in a poll, or simply click on a button to send me an email directly. I read each and every one of them and do my best to respond. You can sign up for my newsletter (I do not share email addresses with anyone - ever!!!) and I’ll send you a newsy notification when a new show is posted.

I’ll bet we’re a lot alike…the more friends the better life is. I find your stories – where you came from, what you are doing, RV recipes that you love, how RVing fits into your lifestyle, and your hopes and dreams – an inspiration. Your friendship is an honor and I thank you for being so generous with it and kind to me.

See you online, pal o’mine…and maybe in the camp – who knows – we RVers get around!!

RV Cooking Show

Sunday, April 19, 2009

RV Travel Clothes Packing - Light not Tight

Because I am a full time RVer and my mail must be forwarded to my current location (wherever that may be) I don’t subscribe to magazines or catalogs. But when I received my mail last week I was tickled to see a Tilley Endurables catalog that snuck in amongst the envelopes. Have you heard of Tilley hats? I’m quite a fan and enjoy the travel ramblings and resources provided by Canadian Alex Tilley.

My husband got his Tilley as a well-earned reward at the end of a very busy summer season. He’d been looking for a versatile, good looking, high-quality hat and found the perfect solution in a small hat shop in Provincetown on Cape Cod. It’s been a great hat but didn’t fare so well when, as a recommended option, was washed in the washing machine. Fortunately for him, the Tilley is guaranteed for life. A productive call to Tilley resulted in the service rep asking him to roll it up, pop it into an envelope and mail it back. In less than a week he had a brand new replacement. It’s a real winner…but I digress…

As I thumbed through the catalog I came across a concept that is by no means new or a Tilley invention but intriguing just the same…they call it Travel Light, Travel Happy – 10 pieces will take you there. The idea is to coordinate 10 all-around, mix and match pieces of clothing that will make a myriad of outfits to serve all your travel fashion needs. Yes, I know, as a fulltimer I always have everything with me…except when I take off for the summer in my little RV Cooking Show Tango Travel Trailer (Wanna see how they make Tangos? Click here for a virtual factory tour!). In that instance I have to scale down from 31’ to 20’ – much easier and more enjoyable to poke around the country with but, well, space is limited.

I think I’m going to give the 10 piece thing a go but perhaps double it due to the length of time I’ll be away from the mother ship – my fifth wheel – and add a dressier piece or two just in case.

So, here’s what they recommend (and I think it would work just terrific for a two week vacation or adjusted for a business trip):

1 pair of pants
1 pair of shorts
1 pair of capris or all around skirt (can serve as dressy)

2 T-shirts
2 short sleeve button down tops

1 long sleeve button down top
1 cardigan
1 jacket

To that I think I’ll add:

Another pair of shorts and another pair of capris (2 pcs), an easy to dress up or down dress (1 pc), three tank tops (3 pcs), three long sleeve T-shirts (3 pcs), and a sweatshirt (1 pc).

I’m really excited to see how this goes. Last summer I jammed the little camper full and was absolutely shocked when I transferred my clothing back to the big one – there were several items – several – that never saw the light of day. Heck, that could have been more room for my cooking utensils, specialties items, and general goodies. Live and learn.

Do you have a packing tip or trick? Leave a comment so we can all travel a little more lightly – saving fuel, space, and peace of mind.

Happy camping - Evanne
Follow me on Twitter - www.Twitter.com/RVCookingShow
Be an RV Cooking Show fan at Facebook

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easy Strawberry Pie - RV Recipe

A terrific Easter dessert or an everyday sweet treat...

With spring comes luscious, juicy strawberries. One of my favorite ways to celebrate strawberry season is to make a tasty strawberry pie. If you haven't had this easy dessert (I know it's easy because me...a non-baker can even make it!) I strongly suggest you get yourself to the local farmers market, find some just picked strawberries and make this easy no-bake pie recipe...complements of your friends at the RV Cooking Show.

Here's the Easy Strawberry Pie recipe:

2 cups water
1 large package of strawberry jello
31/2 -4 T cornstarch
1 cup sugar

2 pints of strawberries - sliced (green caps removed, of course)

6 or 7 stunning strawberries for garnish

baked pie crust (holds together like a real pie)
Oreo Cookie crust from the grocery baking aisle (slices of pie more like a crumble but oh so good!)

whipped cream (make your own with my recipe below)

Combine first 4 ingredients (water through sugar) in a medium sauce pan and heat over medium high heat. Stir well to dissolve. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened - no more than 5 minutes. Remove from stovetop and cool (in sauce pan).

When gel mix is cool to the touch add sliced strawberries. Mix well and fill pie crust. Allow pie to cool completely.

Whipped Cream recipe:

1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream
1 t real vanilla extract
1-2 T powdered sugar - to taste

Place all ingredients in a small cool metal mixing bowl (if you have - if not any small mixing bowl will do). Using your electric beater beat on high or using a hand whip beat vigorously until the cream forms medium to stiff peaks.

Serve the pie with a side of whipped cream topped with a strawberry to garnish.

Give this a try and let me know what you think. I already know what my neighbor Kenny thinks!! It's delicious!!

Happy springtime,


Friday, April 3, 2009

Top 10 RV Kitchen Storage Solutions

Guest contributor Kay Hasty

As a longtime fulltime RVer (12 years), I’ve found that organization in the RV kitchen is key to easy meal preparation as well as very helpful in keeping everything in its place and a snap to find. It also makes RV cooking fun! Over the years I’ve collected a wide variety of plastic containers – mostly rectangular – to store pasta, rice, sugar – even cereal. In my experience, the rectangular containers store in cabinets more efficiently than round containers do.

In this RV Cooking Show blog entry I thought I’d share with you my “top 10” RV kitchen storage solutions, tips and tricks:

1. Sugar and flour stores really well in plastic rectangular containers. I like the Tucker brand found at The Container Store.

2. My spaghetti is kept in a round Rubbermaid container with a lid that actually measures servings. I keep it in the pull-out rack of my pantry.

3. Tupperware comes in many shapes and sizes and seems to last forever. I’m still using some very old Tupperware containers for dry food storage.

4. Wal-Mart sells containers that are specifically designed for storing dry cereal. Having had ants sneak into cereal boxes prompted this choice. Have you had THAT RV experience yet?

5. Another Container Store find was a multi-sectioned plastic box. I keep various types of crackers in this box. This container, accompanied by a dip, transports nicely to an outdoor neighborhood “happy hour”.

6. While I have several spice racks I just don’t seem to have enough spice rack storage space. I use plastic baskets (rectangular, of course!) for storing additional spices. The height of the basket sides helps me quickly identify and locate what I’m looking for.

7. One basket that I use is just the right size for storing all my kitchen wraps and bags. Love that!

8. Many RV kitchen cabinets are tall inside and there is so much wasted space. I use rubber-covered metal shelves with legs and secure them inside the cabinets to provide extra, usable shelving for pots and pans, dishware, etc.

9. When I put a food product into a container I snip the directions off the box and tape it to the top of the container.

10. I label the visible front of my containers according to its contents using a piece of masking tape and a black Sharpie marker.

I’m amazed at how many utensils, gadgets, staples, herbs and spices, etc. I have found space for in my 5th wheel kitchen. Kitchen organization has been an on-going, fun project.

No matter how long I’ve been on the road I’m always on the lookout for new RV kitchen ideas. What do you do to take advantage of your galley space or to organize your cupboards? Share a comment below so everyone sitting around this “virtual campfire” can benefit from your experience!

See you on the road,


PS - Check out the RV Pots & Pans & Warm Tortellini Salad RV Cooking Show episode and peek inside Evanne's RV kitchen! She even has an RV Pots & Pans Checklist for you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...