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!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Green RVers Encouraged to Participate in Earth Hour 2009

On Saturday, March 28th at 8:30pm (your local time) individuals, businesses, and major landmarks in 2,500 cities in 82 countries will turn off non-essential lighting in what will be the largest climate event in history - a global event calling for action on climate change.

During Earth Hour in Las Vegas, the iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign will go dark and exterior lights will turned off at many popular on- and off-strip hotels and casinos. New York City's Broadway will dim their lights and the Empire State Building will go dark. In California, the sets of CSI, Dancing with the Stars, The Price is Right, and Entertainment Tonight will turn off their lights as will the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Washington, DC's National Cathedral and Judiciary Square will participate. From Chicago to St. Louis to Atlanta to Miami and more, these cities support climate change legislation.

8:30pm local across the globe Earth Hour 2009 iconic participants will include Paris' Eiffel Tower, Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, the Canadian Niagara Falls, Hong Kong’s Symphony of Lights, the Great Pyramids of Giza, and the Opera House in Sydney, Australia - the city that started it all in 2007. Even China and India are getting in on the action.

So what can we, the average citizen do? To begin, make a conscious decision to turn off all non-essential lighting for one hour - from 8:30-9:30pm your local time on Saturday, March 28th. Next join the World Wildlife Fund's (Earth Hour 2009 sponsor) Conservation Action Network and send a message to your state and federal representatives asking them to address climate change at a legislative and global level.

Several cities will be hosting star-gazing parties, drinks and dinner by candle light, and more. If that's interesting to you call around and find the "lights out party" that fits you. If you want a more nature-esque experience, after you extinguish your lights Saturday night go outside and look up into the sky, stare at the stars and reinvigorate your sense of wonder.

Go green RVers and drop a comment below letting us know how you celebrated Earth Hour 2009.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

RV Travel Journal - Track Your RV Trips

If you’re like me you can hardly remember what you had for dinner last night much less the details of your last RV or camping trip. But no worries, there are a number of ways that you can remember your RV trips and they can be as general or detailed as you desire. Let me point out four ways that campers I know record their RV travel memories (and one new thought – at least on my part). Perhaps one of these will work for you or perhaps their ideas will be a springboard for your own unique manner of RV trip tracking.

· The Calendar Method: I’ve been full timing since 2000 and can tell you where I was on any given day during my RV travels. The way I maintain my RV memories is in a general manner with a 12 month calendar. When I’m in traveling mode I make sure to record the name of the campground, the town, and state that I stayed at the night before using the ever-handy sitemap I received at check-in. (You might even consider rating the park for future reference.) If I’m in a location more than one night I wait until I leave to record my stay just in case I remain longer or leave early. I also note any visitors I have – whether for dinner or overnight, any cool places I’ve visited including National Parks, museums or city spots, events I’ve attended, rig and road anniversaries and more.

· The Photo Log: Some new friends, Kevin and Cheryl, use their digital camera and computer to keep track of and serve up plentiful memories of their RV travels. They bring their camera along most everywhere they go and upon returning home they download the pictures. Their photo program automatically records the date in the file information and they give the photos descriptive names. When they leave a location they create a folder named after the place visited and store all of the pictures taken while there. They then arrange them in month folders (March 09) which are eventually moved to annual folders (2009). Very organized and a wonderful trip down memory lane at the click of a mouse.

· The Cost Tracking Planner: Bill and Susan are smart, love to travel, and are methodic in all they do. When they take an RV trip they record many details in a small monthly planner. They are known to return to several favorite locations so the data they track is not only a memory jogger but a way to budget their trip. Some of the items they record are each day's starting and ending mileage, mpg, campground, town and state, cost of camping, meals out, and fill ups. Their handy-dandy planner stays in the glove box for ease of use.

· Blogging: You might consider a blog (short for web log) an electronic diary – except it’s often shared with friends and family. Connie and Larry have a super RV blog – Happy-Wanderers.com – that details where they’ve camped and observations along the way. They even blog about their non-RV trips. Folks that are interested in hearing their stories from the road can sign up for alerts whenever a new blog entry is posted. They include photos, stories and “articles” about their RV and any modifications they’ve made, and even have a live “RV cam” that’s turned on whenever they are parked. This type of RV travel journaling really lives the “world wide” part of the web.

· The Artist’s Way: I recently came across a class being offered at a local college titled “Miniature Watercolors” and a light went on. I’m no artist but for those of you that are how about creating an RV travel journal using an art pad and recording your journey in miniature watercolors? These nifty little pictures are considered a unique souvenir for European travelers and seem to be a perfect way to express a perfect day. Not only will it help you track your travels but these mini watercolors of your RV adventures will provide you and your family with a visual keepsake to share and perhaps even pass along to your kids and grandkids.

Whether you choose to keep track of your RV travel memories using one of the above methods, good old fashioned handwritten journals or modern-day podcasting, do make sure to keep some type of journal. Next week, next year or a decade from now you’ll be delighted you did!

Do you have a RV travel journaling method that works for you? Leave a comment below so we can all benefit from your experiences.

Take note...happy travels,


Saturday, March 14, 2009

RV Pet Food Recipe

Guest Contributor Dr. Amy Cousino, DMV

Hello everybody. I am a new contributor to the RV Cooking Show blog.
My name is Dr. Amy Cousino and I am a veterinarian – a graduate of Michigan State University, the College of Veterinary Medicine. Currently I’m living in Sebastian, FL with my husband Pete and our two cats Angel and Star.

In addition to being a vet, I am a professional cook, a pet nutrition expert, and an RV traveler. I’m also the author of numerous articles on pet nutrition and have a new pet food cookbook – How to Cook for Your Pet – out.

I will be writing occasional articles for the RV Cooking Show blog
about traveling with pets and will be including recipes for homemade
pet food you can prepare right in your RV.

Today I am in a beautiful palm tree filled RV park in Sebastian, FL.
Sebastian is a very well known fishing area on the Indian River Lagoon. Here in Sebastian the Indian River is quite wide and is a fish estuary, a place where fish from the Atlantic Ocean come to spawn and make more
little fishes. Cobia can be fished here and is likened to lobster
in flavor. Grouper is also being caught and it is a delicious white fleshed
fish with a mild flavor similar to halibut. Grouper can be giant at 80 lbs
or more but local fishermen tell me that the smaller grouper are the most
prized for eating. The Indian River lagoon contains part of the Intracoastal
Waterway so we can see sailboats, trawlers, and other boats traveling
south at this time of year in preparation for continuing on to the islands in the Caribbean this winter.

Winter in Florida is also time to harvest citrus fruits such as oranges and
lemons and Hale is the big name here, shipping fruit all over the U.S.A.
But, to my knowledge, most dogs and cats do not like to eat citrus. However, they do like fish. The following is a recipe for dogs that you can make with fresh fish filet.

Fish Patties Recipe for Dogs
by Dr. Amy Cousino

1 lb fish
3 slices bread
1 egg, beaten
Olive oil

Soak the bread in enough water to cover. Squeeze the bread to remove the
liquid and place in a mixing bowl. Poach the fish, remove skin and bones,
then mince fine and add to bowl. Add the egg and mix. Form into four
patties. Heat oil in sauté pan over medium heat, add patties to the pan and
brown lightly on one side. Flip over and brown the second side.
Cool before feeding.

Feeding guide:

Toy Dog - ¼ to ½ patty
Small/Medium Dog - ½ to 2 patties
Large/Extra Large Dog - 4 patties

For more homemade pet food recipes go to http://www.amiespetcuisine.com/shop/to order my pet food cookbook.

Until next time,

Dr. Amy
Author, How to Cook for Your Pet

Saturday, March 7, 2009

RV Memory Foam Mattress Review

One of my favorite things about RVing is that no matter where you are you’re always sleeping in your own bed. Whether you’re on a well-earned vacation exploring America’s National Parks or full-timing, a great night’s sleep is important to quality waking time! Unfortunately, a typical RV mattress may provide a less than satisfactory night’s sleep…and that’s never conducive to good times.

I finally came to terms with this fact about a year ago and decided a new mattress for my 5th wheel was in order. Now, my bed is a princess queen. The princess queen is a mattress the same width – but 5 inches shorter – than a regular “off the shelf” queen – a mere 75 inches long – and is also referred to as an RV queen.

I wasn’t interested in a standard RV-style mattress so set about to explore other mattress options. Princess queens are tough to come by and the best option seemed to be a mattress that was flexible enough to roll a bit when the bedroom slide was closed for traveling. I shopped Ikea and liked the latex mattresses ($999). I shopped traditional mattress stores and discovered Tempur-Pedic Memory Foam – nice but pricey ($2,000+). They couldn’t accommodate the length I needed but the salesman offered to cut one down for me – at no extra charge, bless his heart!! Novaform, Costco’s memory foam mattress didn’t come in our size so we didn’t even price them.

I began searching the internet and came across two websites worthy of further investigation – Dormia and BedinaBox. Dormia’s website touted a review in a leading RV magazine but offered no pricing, etc. online – only a directory of dealers. I called the local Dormia dealer and the salesgirl had no idea what a princess queen was. She called the factory and got back to me later the next day with pricing for this “custom” mattress ($1,799 + $200 for shipping) and availability (3-4 weeks). Additionally, factory shipping was available to the store only, we’d have to drive over and pick it up.

I kept going back to BedinaBox. Their website is fantastic and answered nearly every question I had. The downside, however, is that their mattresses are only available online so no pre-purchase testing is possible. I Googled them and found very little about their product – but what I did find was positive. BedinaBox offers a 120-day no questions asked return policy, free shipping (to my front door) via UPS or FedX, a 10-year warranty and princess queens ready to ship the next day. Their prices were amazing – plus they are American-made – manufactured in North Carolina. Upon further research I learned that they had partnered with the well-known chemical company BASF – you know, “we don’t make the products, we make the products better”.

After much deliberation we decided to take a leap of faith and order the BedinaBox 9” Pac-Down memory foam mattress ($599) – their standard Pac-Bed with an added down mattress pad. You order online and pay with a credit card or PayPal – very convenient. The mattress shipped via FedX the very next day. BedinaBox has a special shipping method that removes the air from the mattress allowing it to roll up, fitting in a reasonably sized box – approximately 3½ feet high, 2 feet square that weighed in at around 70 pounds. Also in the box was a waterproof, super absorbent, anti-microbial terrycloth cover. The vacuum packed mattress was easy to get through the RV and into the bedroom. As soon as we cut open the plastic bag it began to expand. I expected it to take a few days to completely fill out but I was wrong – it fully expanded immediately. The mattress emitted a very slight odor that dissipated quickly upon venting the room.

We are delighted with our mattress. I must say, memory foam is a whole different feel than a standard mattress. We expected it to be quite soft and to sink down into it with the foam forming a cocoon around us – perhaps creating a slight challenge when getting out of the bed. In reality, it’s firm but gives soothing support to the whole body. When one of us rolls over or changes positions it can hardly be felt by the other. It seems like the memory foam mirrors your body heat and that’s really comforting on cool evenings. Warmer nights and light blankets have not been a problem.

The down cover is very nice but if you get one be prepared for small feathers to escape. It’s only bothersome when you are changing the sheets.

So, if you are in the market for a new RV queen mattress and are interested in memory foam consider BedinaBox – we’re happy campers.


PS – This is not a paid or requested review – just my humble opinion….I’m simply happy with my mattress and thought it might help another RVer looking for a real-user review. Drop me an email if you have other questions.

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