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!

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 ├ęclairs 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!


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