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Marlene

Camping, Princess Style

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17 hours ago, Smithy said:

On we went, through a larger display of TABASCOTM in popular culture.  They had recipes from celebrity chefs, and a large mural of chefs who've been involved in the promotion of the sauce. I'd intended to include a picture of it to see how well the rest of you did at identifying them, but the picture didn't come out.  We got a kick out of this poster:

 

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By this time we'd completed the tour and worked up a powerful appetite.  Of course there was a restaurant to help us with that problem.  

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The menu inside:

 

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We had had a preview of the menu from this chicken-wire menu outside the door.  So many! I've included closeups of our final dish choices.


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Pirogue sampler for me, red beans and sausage for him.  Note the sampler of the bottled products at every table.  We had a fine time sampling and comparing them.

 

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Of course there's a gift shop.  OF COURSE I had to add to my condiment creep and trailer overload.  Thanks to the lunch sampler, I knew what I wanted.  To my surprise, he didn't even want a bottle of those that he'd preferred. That's all right.  I bought these, my favorites, and a package of seeds for a gardening friend:

 

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The special reserve sauce is fermented 8 years instead of 3.  I thought it had a more complex and slightly mellower flavor.

 

As I paid, the checkout clerk announced that folks who make a purchase get a lagniappe, and she added to our bag. 20161117_193811-1600x900.jpg

 

:D

 

We rolled home by a route almost as circuitous as the original, stopping to buy more shrimp at a place I spotted along the way,

 

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and stopping at a grocery store for a few things.  We admired far more groceries than we bought. 

 

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This is the first time I've seen rabbit for sale at a grocery store.  I didn't buy any.  There was still no room in the refrigerator.

 

 

 

Smithy, this is so awesome.  I took a break yesterday afternoon to peruse EG and got enthralled with your tabasco plant tour.  I loved every second of it.  Thank you for taking time.  I feel like I was there with you!

 

Also, you have more will-power than I do.  I don't think I could have passed up some goodies from that Cajun store.

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29 minutes ago, snowangel said:

 

Yes, the cabin is still part of our lives, and although we won't be up again until next spring, I will start reporting again.  Of note this past season, was a fairly comfortable swim on October 2, if you can believe it!  You'll also see a report from me next year from Madagascar!  I am able to take summers off from my newish job.

Count me as one that LOVED your cabin reports.  I'm so happy to see back here :).  

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And now I have learned a new word - "lagniappe". Had to look that one up!

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If you get anywhere close to Manchac, LA, do not miss Middendorf's. Known for their "thinfish," catfish fillets sliced thin, breaded and flash-fried -- hard to describe but just excellent. 

 

I'm supposed to be down that way this week; don't think I'll make it, as I am down with what is giving a fair imitation of bronchitis. Doctor-bound tomorrow.

 

 

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2 hours ago, kayb said:

If you get anywhere close to Manchac, LA, do not miss Middendorf's. Known for their "thinfish," catfish fillets sliced thin, breaded and flash-fried -- hard to describe but just excellent. 

 

I'm supposed to be down that way this week; don't think I'll make it, as I am down with what is giving a fair imitation of bronchitis. Doctor-bound tomorrow.

 

 

 

Thanks for that recommendation, kayb.  We didn't get that way this time around, but we have taken 55 in the past.  I'll add Middendorf's to our stop list.

 

I hope you recover soon! 

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13 hours ago, JohnT said:

And now I have learned a new word - "lagniappe". Had to look that one up!

 

Yes "lagniappe" is a great word and great thing. Sadly, it's disappearing from our American world.

 

@Smithy,

 

I so enjoyed your account of the the Tabasco production facilities and restaurant! There is always a small bottle of the Original in my fridge. It's essential in quiche for me, but a little goes a long way. Thanks for letting us tag along.

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Thanks for posting your tour of the Tabasco works. Interesting mix of traditional and modern technology.

I'd be very curious to taste their reserve sauce.

 

 

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How many people intersperse reading this thread with googling RVs? Or is it just me? My only dilemma is that while dogs can be packed up and come along for the ride, horses are not so portable and I'd always hoped to have a horse and more time to ride in retirement. Though the way my joints are going I may not have the option, I suppose. :(

 

Do the critters stay at the camper while you are adventuring at shops? How do you make sure the temperature stays good for them if it is warm out, can you leave AC running? That's one of the big drawbacks of traveling with dogs for us, the 'can the dog stay in the car or is someone staying at the hotel with the dog?' dance because most pet friendly hotels don't want you to leave animals unsupervised.

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My MIL has no issue leaving her little dog in her trailer for short instances, with the AC running. (The noise of the AC also helps keep the dog from barking at everything.)

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2 hours ago, kayb said:

Get a horse trailer wiith living quarters.

 

Horses still need to get out and move around a lot more than a dog does and don't really take as well to life on the road. But leaving a horse behind half the year to go snowbirding seems a waste of money on the horse. That said if I won the lottery I want one of those million dollar plus motor coaches that combine horse stalls and luxury living quarters. :D

 

Dunno, problems for the future since I don't have an rv or a horse. :) We have actually been thinking about the rv, though, for vacation traveling. Not something as nice as we'd get for being on the road weeks at a time. Though so far from poking around online I'm kind of unimpressed by most of the available kitchen layouts. It's like there is a kitchen just to say there is one there, not to do anything with ever. (We don't have a vehicle that could pull a trailer so I've been looking specifically at rvs, not trailers.)

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You'd be surprised at what can be produced in a small RV kitchen. My little kitchen forces me to pay attention to sequencing--first do this thing before you do the other things. My husband is constantly amazed at the food I can make, with only almost non-existent counter space, a 2-burner propane cooktop, and if we're plugged in, a microwave/convection oven. People in New York City make do with kitchens only a little larger than a coat closet, which amazed me before we bought the RV--a 20 foot Pleasure-Way Class B van.

 

In short, it can be done. So don't worry about the size of the kitchen-- go for it, either full time or for vacations. It's a lot of fun. Our van is in storage most of the year, but when we go back to Colorado to visit friends and family we always build in 3 or 4 weeks of just bumming around in the van. Every year we talk about selling it, but it only takes a couple of days for us to say, "Nah--let's keep it!"

 

In many ways a trailer makes more sense than an RV, but like you we don't have a vehicle to pull it. The prices of trailers are very attractive until you factor in the cost of a tow vehicle. But with a trailer you can go into town without having to drive the entire RV, which makes for more flexibility.

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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16 minutes ago, Nancy in Pátzcuaro said:

You'd be surprised at what can be produced in a small RV kitchen. My little kitchen forces me to pay attention to sequencing--first do this thing before you do the other things. My husband is constantly amazed at the food I can make, with only almost non-existent counter space, a 2-burner propane cooktop, and if we're plugged in, a microwave/convection oven. People in New York City make do with kitchens only a little larger than a coat closet, which amazed me before we bought the RV--a 20 foot Pleasure-Way Class B van.

 

In short, it can be done. So don't worry about the size of the kitchen-- go for it, either full time or for vacations. It's a lot of fun. Our van is in storage most of the year, but when we go back to Colorado to visit friends and family we always build in 3 or 4 weeks of just bumming around in the van. Every year we talk about selling it, but it only takes a couple of days for us to say, "Nah--let's keep it!"

 

In many ways a trailer makes more sense than an RV, but like you we don't have a vehicle to pull it. The prices of trailers are very attractive until you factor in the cost of a tow vehicle. But with a trailer you can go into town without having to drive the entire RV, which makes for more flexibility.

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

 

I feel like I want a tiny bit of counter space. But there is a show coming up in Jan that we are planning to go to so I can actually poke at different models in person and see what I think. The show will hopefully be very handy since we are also trying to consider how well my mother could get around in one - some look quite tight and she has mobility issues so I'm worried she'd have trouble. (We are already anticipating doing something to the toilet if need be to bring it up to a knee-friendly height. It looks like some models install the toilet on a platform, but I know there is also an ADA-height toilet now which doesn't seem to cost a huge amount, so we have options. My knees will also appreciate it. :) ) She doesn't need a wheelchair but she can't really squeeze through spaces well, or crawl into a bed.

 

We did discuss the vehicle at location issue, but a good tow vehicle is not cheap and right now no existing vehicles need to be replaced so it just doesn't seem worth it. We are thinking for short trips nearby (2-3 hours by car) we could just take the RV and a car since there are multiple drivers available. For longer trips we think we'd either be in places where the whole point is camping, not being a tourist, so we'd just have to plan to have supplies before setting up camp, or if we did go somewhere we wanted to be touristy, either taxis or rent a car for a few days. (Like if we went to visit my family in MN we'd probably want to rent a car once we were there.) I suppose in some cases you can also tow a car, I've seen people doing that on the highway, but that seems much more complicated.

 

I am a tiny bit nervous about driving such a large vehicle, but I keep reminding myself I drove a 4 ton ~20ft van that maneuvered like a boat when I lived in England, and if I could do it there, by gosh I can manage here! :D

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17 hours ago, quiet1 said:

 

Horses still need to get out and move around a lot more than a dog does and don't really take as well to life on the road. But leaving a horse behind half the year to go snowbirding seems a waste of money on the horse. That said if I won the lottery I want one of those million dollar plus motor coaches that combine horse stalls and luxury living quarters. :D

 

Dunno, problems for the future since I don't have an rv or a horse. :) We have actually been thinking about the rv, though, for vacation traveling. Not something as nice as we'd get for being on the road weeks at a time. Though so far from poking around online I'm kind of unimpressed by most of the available kitchen layouts. It's like there is a kitchen just to say there is one there, not to do anything with ever. (We don't have a vehicle that could pull a trailer so I've been looking specifically at rvs, not trailers.)

I have a number of friends who "horse camp" frequently. There are, apparently, a nationwide network of campgrounds that cater to that demographic, with facilities for horses as well as trail-riding facilities. Many state and national parks also have stable and paddock facilities.

 

I suspect it would depend on how much riding one wanted to do, as to whether that would be practical. Obviously, for my friends, the riding is primary. If other forms of tourism are your priority, a straight RV or trailer would likely be better.

 

I know there are devotees of both the RV and the trailer styles. As for the tiny kitchens, I agree it's an issue of changing your style of cooking. My friends tend to cook more outdoors, as in grilling entrees, etc., while preparing sides and desserts indoors. 

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On 12/6/2016 at 9:47 AM, quiet1 said:

How many people intersperse reading this thread with googling RVs? Or is it just me?

 

I have to say that one of the reasons I find this thread so enjoyable is that it's a glimpse into a way of travel, a lifestyle that I am unlikely to ever pursue.  I've watched the occasional TV show about what's new in RVs and find them ingenious in their use of space and function but I thus far, I have never googled RVs nor given a thought to actually owning one.  My RV experience is limited to a couple of family vacations that had us at each others throats, back when I was a teenager.

But I absolutely delight in reading about the on-the-road culinary adventures that I get to sample vicariously in this thread.

Drive on!  And do report on your adventures if you decide to pursue this!

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6 hours ago, kayb said:

I have a number of friends who "horse camp" frequently. There are, apparently, a nationwide network of campgrounds that cater to that demographic, with facilities for horses as well as trail-riding facilities. Many state and national parks also have stable and paddock facilities.

 

I suspect it would depend on how much riding one wanted to do, as to whether that would be practical. Obviously, for my friends, the riding is primary. If other forms of tourism are your priority, a straight RV or trailer would likely be better.

 

I know there are devotees of both the RV and the trailer styles. As for the tiny kitchens, I agree it's an issue of changing your style of cooking. My friends tend to cook more outdoors, as in grilling entrees, etc., while preparing sides and desserts indoors. 

 

I would like to horse camp at some point, but I don't know how much of that we would do versus tourist stuff. I need to try horse camping and see how I feel about it. (I suspect I will like it quite a lot - the world looks better to me from horseback. But I wouldn't likely be traveling by myself and darn other people do get opinions. :D ) The ideal would be to win the lottery and get a custom equine motor coach so you'd have the luxury living quarters and nice horse stalls all in one. Supposedly that is a great ride for the horses, too. I should probably start buying lottery tickets if that is my plan... Or a smaller horse van with a travel trailer, but that isn't really that much cheaper, just a different configuration of vehicles. :D

 

Short term, since I don't have a horse to worry about at the moment, we will possibly get a regular rv of some type for tourist stuff. My issue with a lot of the kitchens is simply that many have no counter space at all unless the sink or stove is covered, and I'd really prefer a little bit of counter always available as a safe 'landing' spot if I'm holding or carrying anything and need to put it down suddenly. Some of them do seem to have a little pull out counter top area (so a tiny galley turns into an L shape sort of) that seems like it would solve the problem without taking up space all the time. So that is something I hope to check out at the show. I like that there is a show, and hope that it has good variety - being able to see stuff in person seems much better than trying to guess based on pictures and floorplans when it comes to figuring out what you could live with versus what is a deal breaker.

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I had to drop out for a bit and deal with Life issues - those things that happen whether you're traveling or not, but can be even more inconvenient when you're away from normal Home Turf.  I am thrilled to see the questions and interest!  Most of the questions have been aptly addressed already, but I can add a few comments.

 

As @kayb noted, there is an extensive network of horse-trailering campers.  We spent time last spring camped next to such a rig.  I hadn't realized before then that horse trailers could also have living facilities, but this one did.  We saw our neighbors in the evening, either attending to their horses or sitting outside after dinner, but during a week's stay we saw them only once during the day when they were giving the horses a rest. We have seen many campgrounds with special camping areas for horse folks...but as kayb notes: 

Quote

...for my friends, the riding is primary. If other forms of tourism are your priority, a straight RV or trailer would likely be better.

We have both ridden and enjoyed it, but are not horse owners ourselves.  I'm happy with the idea of finding a riding stable occasionally.

 

Regarding the issue of rig configuration and kitchen size, let me tell the evolution of our setup.  (This story may already have been told, but it was many posts ago.) A year or two before my husband retired, he bought a used camper that rode on the back of our pickup. The camper had a small kitchen, a bed over the cab, a dinette table that could convert to another bed, and a small bathroom with a toilet and sink and a shower head. We camped in that and I cooked well in that kitchen, but as often as not I set up an outdoor kitchen with the venerable Coleman stove I'd inherited from my family, a small barbecue grill and a lantern. That arrangement worked quite well for our summer camping trips that lasted a week or three.  It was especially good for letting us go along backwoods dirt roads and get close to good fishing lakes.  After our first trek across the US (Los Angeles to Duluth in 7 fun-filled days and 6 dark nights!) we agreed that we liked the travel well enough to pursue it for longer stretches when possible, but we wanted more room.  We began the search.  We already had a good tow vehicle, so the question of RV (van/motorhome) vs. trailer didn't come up at the time.  By the time we found something with a kitchen that I considered suitable for weeks or months on the road, we were up to a 37' used 5th-wheel trailer.  (That's 3 trailers ago now.)  I admit it freely: I don't seem to be as willing as @Nancy in Pátzcuaro to put up with very limited space.  The price we pay is that our larger rigs won't go places that the smaller ones will.  Nancy, I do hope you'll post about your adventures next time you bring out the RV - and @quiet1, if you join the club I hope you'll post about it too!

 

We have looked over the years at RV's.  An advantage that hasn't been mentioned is that if one person takes a hankering for a sandwich or a nap while on the road, most RV's allow access to a kitchen or couch without having to stop the vehicle.  (Not all do, however; you have to look at how they're set up when their glides are pulled in.) Most larger RV's that we see are towing a small vehicle for easy mobility while camped.  We think our current arrangement has more space and mobility for less money overall, but the equation may change with the size of the motorhome or van, so that a small RV would involve less capital outlay than a small tow vehicle and trailer.  @quiet1, mobility can be an issue.  My mother, in her final years, was barely able to get up the steps of our last trailer.  The steps of this one would defeat her utterly.

 

We do have to consider the weather when we decide to leave for the day.  If we're someplace with electricity we can leave the air conditioner running for the comfort of our 4-footed family.  Right now we aren't, but it isn't terribly hot.  A trailer doesn't heat up (or cool down) as quickly as a car, so our gang stays comfortable with the right combination of vents and shades.

 

One of the nice things about travel is seeing how the country changes.  Consider the lush greenery of Avery Island, above.  Now consider the transition from east to west, as we moved through Texas and New Mexico, and into Tucson, Arizona:

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We pulled into a favorite park for a couple of days.  Tucson is a good place to restock on groceries, and we always love to visit the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum.  So far we've learned something new at every visit.  Consider this item:

 

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We ate lunch at their Ironwood Grill.  The restaurants have been remodeled and are under new management.  I thought they were good last year, but there seems to be more emphasis on local and sustainable food sources than before.  I discovered, too late, that they offered tamales and interesting salads featuring local foods.  I might have gone for one of those, but I'd already opted for my favorite: a green chili burger.  

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My darling had a brisket sandwich. Brisket was a surprise in that country.  The meat was very tender and juicy, but we weren't crazy about the too-sweet sauce that bathed the brisket.

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(That yellow stuff is mustard for his fries.)

 

We met a couple of park volunteers who were great fun, and invited them over for dinner and a thoroughly enjoyable evening of conversation.  I don't have pictures of that dinner, but in this kitchen - using great care sequencing, and using a lot of time - I concocted oven-roasted pork steaks, pan-grilled potatoes, a salad with a variety of dressings (everyone chose the Caesar dressing from this recipe) and fresh bread.  They brought beer and wine: a sampler of Alaska Brewery beers, Ghost Pines Red Blend, and a Bota Box blend titled RedVolution.  Here's the after-the-fact evidence, for reference for others of you who enjoy complex, dryish, inexpensive red wines.

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 The wine bottle had a very cool a wiggle-picture advert on a loop around its neck.

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A good time was had by all.

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@Smithy

I've enjoyed following your travels and, although this is a food focused discussion site, appreciate including discussions regarding the logistics of RV travel.

I'm unsure whether it's been mentioned but a good strategy is going the rental route and seeing whether it's for you and narrowing down what you want if you do so.

 

 

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I suspect if money were not an object, I'd look very carefully at a horse van with travel trailer set up, as that seems a good combination for most things - the stalls on the horse van could be used for storage when not taking horses along, or even very rough camping (basically like being in a tent without the tent set up) for a short trip. I know some people pull a horse trailer with an rv, but I don't like the idea of the horses being so far away from me as driver or passenger, all the way at the back. (I know cameras, etc. it just doesn't feel right.) And you'd have the horse van as a vehicle (albeit an odd one) for touristy stuff on horse-free trips. It'd probably be a little annoying in a city, but mangable for getting groceries or going anywhere with a decent parking lot, not much worse than some big pick up trucks. Drawbacks would be passenger space (you'd only have however many seats in the cab of the van) and also it seems like most travel trailers don't do that well in colder temperatures, so that would be something to consider to do something like a ski trip. (I don't know if anyone horse camps in the winter, most of the people I know don't really but they're also busy in the winter so they don't have the time for it anyway. But I could see a trail ride in the snowy quiet woods being quite nice.)

 

We probably will rent something to try it out first. Part of the benefit of the show will also be to see who does rentals in the area and get a good idea of what size we would want to rent to start with - mobility is an issue for my mom but also for me, although less so. But I can't see myself wanting to have to climb up into an over-cab bed every night, for example, my joints just wouldn't appreciate it, and that has some size implications. My housemate likes to look at the super tiny and clever off-road camper conversion things (like an off-roading SUV that has been modified, those sorts of things) and when I look at them my joints just go 'hahah, no.'

 

To bring this back to food - how much do you plan out what your meals will be in advance? It looks like the pantry is very well stocked so you can just do whatever seems right on the fly, but I'd guess a smaller kitchen requires more careful planning since you just don't have the space to store lots of supplies?

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@Smithy, did I miss it back upthread, or have you posted pictures of your camper kitchen? If not, would you mind doing so?

 

The "tiny house" shows on HGTV have shown some pretty nifty ideas for space-saving kitchens.

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1 hour ago, quiet1 said:

We probably will rent something to try it out first. Part of the benefit of the show will also be to see who does rentals in the area and get a good idea of what size we would want to rent to start with - mobility is an issue for my mom but also for me, although less so. But I can't see myself wanting to have to climb up into an over-cab bed every night, for example, my joints just wouldn't appreciate it, and that has some size implications. My housemate likes to look at the super tiny and clever off-road camper conversion things (like an off-roading SUV that has been modified, those sorts of things) and when I look at them my joints just go 'hahah, no.'

 

To bring this back to food - how much do you plan out what your meals will be in advance? It looks like the pantry is very well stocked so you can just do whatever seems right on the fly, but I'd guess a smaller kitchen requires more careful planning since you just don't have the space to store lots of supplies?

I think rental is an excellent idea.  There are least two RV rental companies whose rentals I see frequently on the road. I've never investigated their pricing, though.

 

I am terrible at planning for meals more than a day in advance.  The pantry and refrigerator are well-stocked to the point of being overstocked, but that doesn't stop us from picking up new odds and ends anyway.  We like testing out the local specialty foods (fresh seafood on the Gulf, locally produced sausages in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, 'cue in Texas) and almost always overbuy.  I still have scallops, catfish and shrimp in the freezer even though we left the Gulf behind before Thanksgiving.

 

We may manage to stick to meal plans about half the time.  On travel days we plan in the morning what to cook that night, and let it thaw during the day.  Those are always easy meals, because by the time we're set up I'm not likely to want to do anything fancy.  A package of Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice, with one of the cherished sausages chopped up into it, is an example.  When we're stationary and the weather behaves as forecast I'm more likely to be able to plan: if we know it's going to be cool and windy then I can plan for a cozy warm-oven or warm-stove meal. We've had a lot of those lately, and it's given me the opportunity to use up odds and ends.  On a recent cool, windy day I decided on stuffed baked squash. We still had a couple of carnival squash that needed to be cooked before they died.  We had chorizo and corn in the freezer.  I had leftover red pepper sauce from making crawfish (shrimp) samosas from Acorns & Cattails, @gfron1's book.  There was cheese. 

 

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We traded 4 containers of bits-and-pieces for 2 containers of leftovers. This was more or less planned, although of my own design.

 

On another windy, cool day I set out to try a book I picked up last spring.  The Border Cookbookir?t=egulletcom-20&l=am2&o=1&a=B002POEQN is an interesting read and has lovely-looking recipes, but for some reason I haven't actually tried to cook from it.  I picked a recipe that would use some chicken and peppers, and another for Mexican red rice.  First check: all I had was carnaroli rice!  I've used up all my basmati, and I only packed 2 types of rice.  My careful plans quickly turned into a very loose riff - following the recipe the way, say, a cross-country ATV ride would compare to a AAA planned route.

 

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The Jamisons probably wouldn't recognize their instructions.  Still, it was good - and emptied some more cupboard stock.  I still can't find any extra space.  It must be around here somewhere.

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1 hour ago, kayb said:

@Smithy, did I miss it back upthread, or have you posted pictures of your camper kitchen? If not, would you mind doing so?

 

The "tiny house" shows on HGTV have shown some pretty nifty ideas for space-saving kitchens.

 

This is basically it. We have a cutting board rigged to act as extra counter space, but it extends the peninsula so much (over the trash bin at the lower right) that I've taken it down for the nonce to give us more room.  I'll cheerfully show other shots (even of open drawers and cupboards) if anyone's interested.  I don't think I've shown the 'dining room' (also known as a spare bedroom, or a garage, depending on how it's set up at the time) but the light's too bad right now. 

 

20160731_130854.jpg

 

I'll have to look around online and see what "Tiny House" ideas I might be able to steal.  Thanks for that.

 

 

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That is really not a bad looking little kitchen at all. I like that potentially more than one person could work, though it might be a bit awkward, since one person could be on the other side of the sink counter to chop or arrange without having to move stuff around to other areas (like to the dinette) for workspace. Or someone can hang out on the 'wrong' side of the sink counter and give instructions to the cook. (I realize some chefs don't appreciate that much, but the crowd I hang out with will not infrequently ask for help/suggestions.) But that is something I'd want for long trips moreso than a short jaunt where a lot of stuff might be prepped in advance anyway.

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Much nicer and probably bigger than the apartment my wife and I lived in when we were first married.

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On 12/4/2016 at 6:33 AM, snowangel said:

 

Yes, the cabin is still part of our lives, and although we won't be up again until next spring, I will start reporting again.  Of note this past season, was a fairly comfortable swim on October 2, if you can believe it!  You'll also see a report from me next year from Madagascar!  I am able to take summers off from my newish job.

Susan, it is good to see you again. I I'll  be looking forward to new reports next spring.

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