One of my favorite parts of summer living is the quick availability to fresh garden herbs!
Minty basil and pungent rosemary, growing in my kitchen garden.
Ask any Pinterest enthusiast about Vintage Trailers and their eyes will immediately light up! Hot trending vintage combined with the Tiny Home trend equals a passionate following for the 1940’s, ‘50’s and 60’s ‘canned ham’ travel trailers. This was an era when America was prospering, the National Park movement was growing, and highways were going more places. American’s responded heartily by making family recreation a priority. Travel trailer manufacturers—literally hundreds of them–met the need by producing hundreds of thousands of camping trailers.
Collected by men and women alike, these relics of the past are most commonly found in an overgrown weed patch out behind the barn. Unfortunately, most are ruined beyond repair short of a complete rebuild.
Here’s a quick primer on what to look for if you’re in the market;
I found my little jewel in WA State, while on vacation. It had been under a carport, somewhat protected from the elements, but still had a few leaks from the brittle seams coming apart as it swayed, bumped, and rattled down the road. Lets face it—anything built primarily of 60-50-even 40 year old wood, is going to have some rot. What you don’t want is something that is falling apart and will literally separate from the chassis while you’re hauling it home. The only way to tell is to look carefully at all seams.
A huge rebuild project was not in my budget or interest level. So I settled on doing all I could to stop further rot damage, repair all the seals, and paint with a good mold inhibitor, stain cover, and primer.
My 1967 Aristocrat Lo-Liner has a small potty room, closet, and all the luxuries available in the mere 13’ interior. Her name is La Belle Vie (The Beautiful Life) and reflects my love of French Country décor. She’s ideal for me, but would be a tight squeeze for the smallest of families. These canned hams come in all prices, sizes, and conditions. Be sensible about what will work for you, be patient, and you, like me, may just find a new passion!
There are 50/50 odds that you will be either in the backyard barbequing or in the woods camping for the Fourth of July celebration. We’ve chosen an easy and satisfying menu for creating your own mouth-watering fireworks on a skewer!
I was camping with friends in Glacier National Park in NW Montana. Such a stunning setting that encourages first-class dining, even over a campfire and picnic table!
Kabobs are always a tasty and pleasing meal idea. The key is choosing ingredients, which will cook for approximately the same length of time, and that list is virtually endless. Use fresh, in-season and family favorite vegetables and fruits.
When using meat (steak, chicken, sausage) on my kabobs, I will always use a pre-cooked variety so it will char and heat the same as my vegetables. Marinating your meat for an hour or so before cooking gives you a tastier flavor. Cut the meat into approximate 1” long pieces.
If you’re cooking over a campfire, make sure you’ve got your fire going at least an hour before you need to cook, to utilize those red-hot coals. Grilling over a hot, low-flame fire is a must to keep your kabob from burning.
Start by preparing your vegetables in advance so you’ll have a quick and easy time of skewering your kabobs. Wash and cut into approx 1” size. If you will be using wooden skewers, be sure you soak these in water for at least an hour before placing them on the hot grill.
Skewer your ingredients, but don’t squeeze together too tightly because you want all sides to be exposed to the heat. Some people like to use one ingredient per skewer, which does allow you to cook specific to that food. (I.e. a skewer of peppers, a skewer of meat)
Here I’ve used cooked, spiced polish sausages, green bell peppers, sweet onions, fresh pineapple chunks, and small button mushrooms. Alternating each piece on a skewer, I placed on the grill without any seasoning. I rotate each skewer four times for good equal time grilling.
During the last minute or so of grilling, I like to drizzle a sauce, such as my mango-jalapeño salsa, down each skewer. (I also place a bowl of the sauce on the table for anyone who wants more)
Using a hot pad, carefully remove each skewer to a baking pan or platter before serving. This allows the hot ends to start cooling down before they come near your guest’s fingers or mouths. It’s always dramatic to serve the kabobs while still skewered, but you can opt to remove the contents into a serving bowl too. Use the tongs of a fork to easily remove the cooked food from the skewer by sliding the fork down the kabob.
Of course you’ll want some yummy side dishes to round out your menu! Watermelon is always appropriate! I’ve done some camping tradition foil packets of coal-baked potatoes to accompany my kabobs. Using Yukon Gold potatoes, I’ve washed and cut them in fourths. On a heavy 12” square of tin foil, I place the cut potato with some cut onion pieces, then drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkled with some salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary sprigs, I wrap the foil tightly and carefully place down in the ash and coals of my fire pit. (Be sure to use long BBQ tongs and a hot pad glove to avoid burning yourself) Make one foil packet of potatoes for each guest.
These need to cook while you’re making your skewers. (Approximately 15 minutes on each side) Remove with great care as not to puncture the foil or have the packet unwrap in the process. Place on a platter and serve immediately.
Nicely seasoned, beautiful to look at, and ever so satisfying this is true fire cooked, BBQ works at its finest!
I am a social media buff. Albeit, I spend less than one hour per day because I have developed a speed reading system of staying on top of these various websites. As a writer, photographer, and grief counselor my interests are on others. But I admit to the vanity of wanting attention. Today it became clear to me that I place far too much emphasis on the feelings I have as I interact with my friends on social media sites. And I felt ashamed of myself.
My posts are both intimate and civilizational at the same time as I write so correctly about my thoughts and feelings, as I post photos that show my correct life. I wish I could say I post to inspire others, but perhaps if I were truthfully introspective, I would recognise that I post to validate me.
Thinking, feeling, and acting before men in order to be attentively viewed by them as a spectacular performer in life.
I want to be liked and loved by everyone. I think that means I’m insecure. Or am I just being human?
My world is abundant with beauty. I like to think I’m a woman of courage and grace. I’m aware of a growing aspiration to inspire, with all the tools I have at hand, to the human influence that makes social change possible. In my tiny world of internet friends, I want to make a difference. The social media opportunities we each have access to, represent a new wild west experience in so many ways, which is on some basic level simply another screen on which we project the excesses and possibilities of life in flesh and blood.
These medias are a form of power for softening the gap between who we are and who we want to be, as individuals and as a species. Across social sites, we are gathering a radical new understanding of the nature of human vitality and wholeness. But we also are gathering an inadequate and weak basis for who we really are. For who we are and who we portray to be, are often entirely different.
My travels northward usually pass along the amazingly grand Mission Mountain range. On this cloudy, dripping day, the low clouds over the snow covered peaks, combined with the lush spring greenery, required a stop. At Allentown Restaurant, near the Nine Pipes Wildlife Preserve, on Highway 93 North.
I want to go outside and play! My yard needs some serious attention, and I’ve got a Pinterest worthy garden shed screaming to be built. But I don’t like being cold and wet and trying to work in the rain. Dance in it, yes! Not work.
Are you like me in seriously disliking the cleaning and trimming of cold, slimy, chicken parts? When I buy a big package of skinless, boneless chicken breasts from Costco, I feel compelled to process all the breasts at the same time just to get it over with, and to only have to sterilize my kitchen surfaces once, rather than each time I use a breast in cooking.
So today was that day. This time I kicked it up a notch by putting 3 heavy-bottomed skillets on the stove top, designating one Mexican, one Italian, and one Oriental. Peanut oil into the Mexican, Canola/Coconut/Butter into the Italian, and a combination of Peanut and Sesame Oil’s into the Oriental. Into each pan went two evenly proportioned chicken breast pieces. While those started cooking, I grabbed my bleach to clean my knife, my cutting mat, my countertop, and my hands. Oh, the remaining prepped raw breasts went into baggies for the freezer, to be barbequed later.
Into my Mexican pan with the browning chicken breasts, I added chili powder, garlic flakes, salt, cumin, and cayenne. Along with some slices of onion, fresh cut tomatoes, and jalapeno slices I finished the seasonings and flavors off with some fresh cut cilantro from my spring kitchen garden. Leaving that to brown thoroughly as those breasts swam merrily in those fiery flavors, I turned my attention to the Italian pan.
To this browning chicken, I added, of course, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Smile. (Thank you Simon & Garfunkel) Some oregano, fresh basil, salt, pepper, sliced onion, garlic, a little more butter, and once browned, some nice white wine. With the Savory Tuscan dish simmering along I moved on to the Oriental pan.
As these pieces began browning, I added a handful of Simply Asia “premium natural” sweet ginger garlic seasoning. Generously coating all sides of each piece with these sesame-seed-packed-spices, I added cut onion slices. Once nicely cooked, Mr. Yoshida’s sweet & savory cooking sauce was poured over the top, then stirred in to coat the meat and vegetables. This adds flavor as well as a nice caramelized finish to the meat.
Dinner prep for three meals is accomplished! The house smells great but with no distinguishable odor other than that of cooking delights.
With the Mexican chicken, I’ll add some fresh peppers & avocado for a wonderful Tex-Mex meal. To the Italian, a fresh buttered pasta. And for the Oriental chicken, some coconut infused Jasmine rice will do.
What a wonderful way to spend an hour or so on this drizzling rainy day. Now, I’m thinking about desserts …
Smoothies satisfy! Whether for snack, dessert, or to soothe digestion, there are plenty of options for these kid-friendly drinks. And there’s really no bad way to make a smoothie, so let your good taste imagination run wild!
If you’ve got typical kids who need more greens in their diets, adding a handful to their smoothie recipe and mixing well is an excellent option, and one that is typically undetectable.
Basically, the foundation of all smoothies is liquid, yogurt, and flavor. And there are dozens of flavor combinations to choose from. I like to use unflavored Greek Yogurt with honey as the base for all my smoothie recipes. Ripe bananas usually provide enough sweet so we don’t usually need any additional sweetener.
Here are the general rule of thumb measurements for each 8 oz. serving:
½ c fruit (berries, melon, banana, mango)
1 c. liquid (milk, coconut milk, soy, juice, tea)
¼ c. creamy (Greek yogurt, fresh avocado, coconut oil, ice cream, peanut butter)
Optional: 1 t. sweet (honey, real maple syrup) if additional sweetener is needed
¼ t. savory (cinnamon, ginger, chia seed, protein powder, hemp seed)
½ c. cooked vegetables (beets, carrots) or fresh (kale, spinach, romaine lettuce)
My favorite three smoothie recipes are:
Classic Berry / Banana Blast
And for a boost of protein, I like my Peanut Butter Power Smoothie
Start with a good blender. As pictured here, I use a 16 oz. beverage model that allows me to make and drink from the same container.
For all of these recipes, start by adding any frozen fruit first with a little added milk to the blender and mix well. When that’s pureed, add the remaining milk, the yogurt and any additional ingredients. Blend until smooth and serve.
Quick, easy, nutritious, and tasty! A winning combination for hungry, active kids and their hungry, active parents!