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!

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!

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