Tried & True Holiday Recipes

I made all these for our friends and family Thanksgiving dinner… (I planned ahead, big time!) But I’d highly recommend them if you’re making Christmas dinner! They can all be made in a tiny camper kitchen (like ours) also! Enjoy and please let me know what you think if you try them!  Continue reading

Thanksgiving Dinner in an RV 

Thanksgiving dinner was a success! When we went shopping, we were planning on it only being Allen and I for dinner.  Obviously we bought WAY too much food because we wound up feeding 4 adults & 4 kids… with leftovers!

Continue reading

Planning a Thanksgiving Dinner in an RV

I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for myself and Allen last year in our camper (in North Dakota) and I plan to do it even better this year! 

We didn’t do too bad! 

The main challenge lies in the planning stage. Continue reading

Slow Cooker Baked ZITI

Now that fall is here and the weather is getting cooler, I’m using my slow cooker a lot more.

The slow cooker is also great when I can use one of those slow cooker disposable liners. Especially when we are traveling and don’t necessarily have time to do lots of dishes (or when we don’t have a full hook up site for the camper!) Not to mention, anything you can make in one pot saves a ton of time and space, and space is ALWAYS at a premium in RVs…

This is a first for me though, making pasta in the crock pot, but it came out great! Continue reading

Quick, Easy & Cheesy Dinner Idea!

Allen put this on the “make again” list, so I know it’s not too bad!

Whenever I know, or think, we will be traveling, I try to plan meals that are quick to make, and quick to clean up. The last thing I want when we are on the move is a sink full of dirty dishes to worry about on top of everything else! Continue reading

Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner in an RV

This will be my first year making Thanksgiving dinner in a camper!  Last year we got a few days to go home to see family. We were in Oklahoma City at Abe’s RV Park, so it wasn’t too far to Cincinnati… The year before Allen was in India working and I was staying at my mom’s house.

I’ve made Easter dinner (I attempted to cook a very large ham in my slow cooker…All I’ll say about that is: At least we had fun!… And I burnt my finger really bad! And, yes, I made those bunny ears and forced Allen to put them on. That’s it. That’s all I’m saying.)Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 5.53.12 PM.png

I’ve also made St. Patrick’s Day dinner, Shepard’s pie to be precise…

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We made fast friends with the neighbors and didn’t eat until REALLY late! This was at Poche Plantation in Convent, Louisiana… 

And I cook dinner almost every day in our RV. So I’m no rookie in the kitchen. But Thanksgiving is always more challenging no matter how much space you have! To top things off, I’m not THE best at time management. For example, I make a lot of Rachael Ray’s recipes, her 30-minute meals, and they typically take me around 90 minutes!!! No lie, ask Allen, usually he’s starving by the time dinner is ready.  I can’t help it, I’m just slow… But perfection takes time. Right??

Anyhow, in a camper, space is limited, as is counter space, and cooking space.

Luckily for me, I have the advantage of a new fifth wheel with far more space than the travel trailer we had prior to this. My stove has 3 burners whereas the average stove in a “normal” home has 4. My oven is small. And this one is slightly larger than the oven in our travel trailer was. My saving grace (I think) will be the convection microwave. I absolutely love the thing! I mostly use the conventional oven for storage now because the convection microwave just cooks so much better. Our fridge is huge compared to the one we had in the travel trailer also, so that helps a ton!

I was willing to cook for all the guys on the crew, provided they had some opinions or ideas on what they wanted and where we could all eat. Three of them are staying in the motel a block away and one is next door in the campground. But they are men, and nobody would speak up and say what they wanted to do. So it’s just me and Allen (and Charlie), which makes everything a little easier for me!

We went shopping today and got everything we needed. (I also got a new coat because my old one stopped zipping and we can’t have a non-zipping coat in “Little Canada”!

I measured my convection microwave from top to bottom and decided I could fit 7″ of turkey in there without shoving and squishing! So I was armed with my tape measure… But then we spotted a roasting oven for $25. Boom. Sold! Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 6.01.42 PM.png

Now (hopefully) I will have a super delicious, juicy, flavorful turkey and have room for other stuff in the convection oven and maybe, just maybe, fingers crossed, I can get by without using the “real oven”, because that thing just stresses me out! Always has.

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Thanksgiving is for food and football… And family… And friends… But definitely not for stress! 

So my TENTATIVE plan is to have a turkey in the roasting oven (unstuffed because I don’t want to risk that… ); a small ham, green bean casserole, and stuffing in the convection oven; then gravy, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce (for me only-Allen’s not a fan) on the stove, with deviled eggs (strictly for me also) and cheesecake in the fridge and freezer, respectively. And let’s not forget the mimosas in the morning…Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 6.23.32 PM.png

Followed by Wild Turkey later in the day!

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Image: Donald M. Jones  

Not that kind of wild turkey…

This kind!Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 6.28.09 PM.png

Yum! It’s kind of a tradition of mine that I started when I was in college in San Francisco with no mom to cook for me and no cooking abilities of my own!

I currently have the 15lb turkey Allen insisted we get in a bucket of cold water in the garage where it stays pretty cold (like, we’ve been keeping our beer back there cold, it has one vent and we are using it as a mudroom cold, Charlie shivers upon entering cold… So I think it’ll be okay until Thursday).

I want to make the green bean casserole tomorrow and toss it in the fridge so it’ll just need warming. I don’t want to do the stuffing ahead of time because I love the smell of the trio of onions, celery and garlic all simmering on Thanksgiving morning, so I’ll wait to do that. Then I’ll just have mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberry sauce  to make (super easy-just cranberries, some water, sugar, lemon juice and salt and pepper makes it delicious!)

I’m pretty excited!  I think my planning (albeit tentative) is going to help things go smoothly… Wish me luck!  On the plus side, Allen’s pretty used to waiting for hours to eat, so it should be fine! Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 6.03.02 PM.png

Fantastic Chili Bread!

I think I want this bread with a big bowl of chili for my last meal! It is SO good!

I made this chili bread yesterday with my Hillbilly Chili for dinner and Allen and I ate almost the whole loaf! We didn’t even bother to take the kneading paddle out, we just tore off chunks at a time…

I found the recipe on this website. It’s full of recipes for the bread machine. I’ve tried a few of them, and most work out, while some are complete failures (i.e.: Lemonade Bread!)

I was a little worried because it doesn’t call for any sugar, but beer has sugar in it… I modified the recipe a little bit to fit what I had available… Here’s what I did:

  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbs Budweiser (any beer would probably work, I actually think a darker hoppier beer would probably be delicious) *I used warm, room temp beer.
  • 1 tsp instant chicken bouillon (or, 1 cube crushed up very finely)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp hot chili oil (I usually find this in the Asian section with sesame oil)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin (I eyeballed this because I don’t have a measuring spoon that tiny)
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 2 tsp yeast

This makes a 1lb loaf. I set my machine to the french bread setting and a medium crust color. The basic/white bread setting would probably work also.

It’s perfect to munch on by itself, it’s spicy and delicious, but even better dipped in chili. If you’re in the market to try a new chili recipe, mine is pretty fantastic! You can find that recipe here. It would actually probably be good served with gumbo too… Maybe I’ll put that on the list for next week!

I’ve been compiling my favorite bread recipes in one spot, if you want to check them out and maybe try one this weekend.

Happy Friday!

Almost an ENTIRE week of bad dinners!

Occasionally, well, more than occasionally, I get on a kick where I want to try lots of new recipes.  I go off of what’s on sale at the store then Google things to make.  I use a lot of Rachael Ray recipes (I too am a garlic fanatic!) but I also get them from all over the web. I usually jot them down on scraps of notebook paper then when it comes time to make them I have to go searching for the little scribbled recipe.

This past week there was a sale on bone-in skin-on chicken thighs.  I hardly ever cook with bone-in chicken, but I thought what the heck, it’s on sale! Here was my menu:

Allen joked on Thursday night that I was 0 for 4 for the week. But I pulled a win out on Friday with the Bacony Egg Noodles! I knew he would like bacon. And I didn’t think everything else was THAT bad…

But tonight we are meeting a guy I went to school with for dinner at The Old Clam House. So that should be delicious and I won’t have to cook it! First we have to take Charlie to get a much needed mani-pedi and go grocery shopping. Since tomorrow will be tied up with football! Go Bengals! Who Dey!

A Few Random Friday Thoughts… 

My neighbor Carmen recently got us (and by that I mean me, because really, Allen will never touch the thing…) a bread machine! I love it! I’ve been wanting to get one since we were in Florida this last time. Our neighbors Lyne and Terry had one and it smelled so good. They bring down their own flour every year from Canada because they don’t like the way American bread tastes. Anyway, I’ve been comparing models, and Carmen said she really wanted to get us something for sort of a housewarming gift, so, I’m the proud new owner of an Oster 2LB. Expressbake Breadmaker.

my very first loaf… i was excited and couldnt wait to try it.

I started with the traditional white bread in a 1.5LB loaf and it came out delicious. Then I moved on to the flavors… I’ve mostly used the recipes that came with the breadmaker but I’ve also ventured into Google territory for some yummy ideas.

I made a super scrumptious cheddar/garlic/herb type loaf that we ate one day then the next day sliced and drizzled with EVOO and stuck on the grill for a few minutes – SO good! We had the bread with a bacon-wrapped pork loin…yum!

Cheesy, garlicky, herby goodness… Please excuse the bites off the top, i couldnt help myself…

I tried Honey Wheat because that’s the kind of bread we like on a daily basis, but the recipe was a 2LB loaf, which is just too big for sandwiches. And I had not mastered the art of slicing by then. The next day we took off for Tahoe so it was moldy by the time we got back.

 The latest was a 1LB Italian garlic and herb loaf which came out perfect! It’s the perfect size for sandwiches. (Allen’s taken two to work already.) And I let it cool longer this time before slicing. I also didn’t use my fancy bread knife and bamboo bread slicer that I bought.

 I just used a non-serrated knife I got from the Dollar Tree a LONG time ago, and it worked great… Surprising, but true… So we have decided that the 1LB loaves are the way to go… My goal is to never buy grocery store bread again.

On another note, I felt my very first earthquake ever!!! I went to school (this super expensive one) out here in San Francisco for 4yrs and never felt one (I think I was on a barstool for most of them…) and then last year we were out here for about 5 months and I didn’t feel one then either. This one was crazy! I was laying in bed with Charlie, probably blogging or Pinteresting, and it felt like someone hit the camper. It actually felt like Allen backed up and hitched up to the camper, but I knew he was at work. So I thought A) someone was trying to steal our house with me and the dog inside! or B) one of these tourists driving a rental RV must’ve clipped our nose… Charlie and I both ran outside but nobody was out. All was quiet. I texted Allen and he then informed me it was an earthquake, that they felt it by the tower too. Yikes! But it was a smaller one, nobody was hurt, so that was good.

Begin Rant:

I’ve also been on the phone trying to order parts for the camper from Grand Design. We have a 2015 Grand Design Momentum 385TH. We just bought it at the end of March. It’s still brand new.  You’d think it would be fairly easy to get simple parts for it. Almost two weeks after sending the first “inquiry form” to Grand Design, we finally have parts on the way! (I honestly thought they would have excellent customer service being that they are still a new and fairly small company…)

While I was back at my mom’s house for my brother’s funeral and Allen and Charlie drove from Texas to San Francisco alone, a yellow pole at a tiny gas station jumped up and grabbed onto the ladder on the side of the camper, yanked it a little and busted the red light that’s back there.  So we need a light, and the bottom brackets that hold the ladder onto the camper.

We wound up having to get the part numbers from Grand Design then call a dealer to order them because Grand Design is not set up to sell directly to actual people.  I find this silly.  Luckily, Shelly at Lazydays RV in Florida was super nice and helped us out.  I probably should’ve called Palm Beach RV since that’s where we bought the camper, but oh well.

Anyway, while I was on the phone with Amanda at Grand Design I had her switch me over to Jerry in warranty (yes, I’m on a first name basis with these people). I spoke with Jerry multiple times when we were in Louisiana trying to take care of the radio/tv situation. Grand Design had the bright idea to put some Furrion products, and some Haier products in here. (To save money I presume..)  But they don’t communicate well with one another.  The radio in the living room is also a DVD player and that wasn’t working so Jerry sent us a new HDMI cord.  It worked then, but in hindsight I don’t think the cord was the issue.  We still have the same problem with having sound and no picture when we play a DVD but now we just unplug the TV then plug it back in.  It’s the cheap Haier TV.  In the garage (toy hauler) there is a car stereo that also plays DVDs.  But it constantly sounds like it is skipping around a CD in there or trying to spit one out.  Jerry also sent us a new radio that we swapped out.  That worked for a while.  I noticed Monday that it started making noise again.  So he is supposedly sending us ANOTHER radio to swap out and says if we have more issues we will have to take it in to have it looked at.  I’m trying to avoid that because we live in here full time and I’d rather not live at a dealership for days. Also, the closest Grand Design dealer is in Sacramento. And Allen will not be commuting to from Sacramento to San Francisco to work! Anyway, last time, Jerry took forever to send anything out, I mean he said he sent it then a week later I called to see where it was and he still hadn’t sent it. So fingers crossed he actually put it in the mail yesterday!

End Rant. 

Before we left for Tahoe, Allen’s buddy was flying home for the weekend and gave us a 10LB bag of potatoes. (He lives alone. Why he would buy a 10LB bag of potatoes eludes me. I’ll have to talk to him about that.) Anyhow, I’ve been looking at this bag all week. Then I decided that instead of letting them go bad, maybe I could freeze them. So I Googled… Then I made some frozen hashbrowns (you just dice them, drop them in boiling water for about 2min, drain and cool them, bag them and freeze them) and some frozen fries (same as above but you also fry them in oil for about 3min after blanching and drying, then cool, bag and freeze). Easy peasy. I still have over 5LBs of potatoes left but at least I got rid of some of them!

skinny fries

potato wedges (I sprinkled them with season salt when I took them out of the oil.

Last night I made 3-ways for dinner. Technically, 4-ways.  If you don’t know what that is, it’s because it’s a Cincinnati thing… We are weird like that. It doesn’t matter where we move to, where our domicile is, Allen will always love 3-ways and goetta. (I on the other hand despise goetta… The taste, texture, cooking it, yuck!)

Every time we go back to Cincy we have to pick up a couple packs of chili mix…

I like 5-ways. Allen likes 4-ways. Everyone likes a good 3-way. 😉

The night before last, I came up with a new concoction that was pretty tasty… Rum and Kool-Aid! My brother loved Kool-Aid so I named this “Ode to Adam”

I promise, Charlie didn’t drink with us!

Oh! And I almost forgot, I started growing my own green onions a couple weeks back. It is super easy. You just stick them in a glass of water after you use most of the green parts, change the water every couple days, and they grow on their own. Love it. This is my second round. After a while they get weaker and can’t stand up on their own, so you do have to start fresh after a couple of uses.




They grow fast!
And just for fun, here are a couple shots of Charlie hanging out with her buddy Samantha in the old parking lot that is our “yard” here at Candlestick RV Park