We are three weeks into our Grand RV Adventure, and I’m starting to carve out time to create. This week, I set up my mobile studio on the picnic table in our site and started using some of the colored clay I brought to make beads that I’ll fire and tumble once I return home. It felt good to touch clay again, and even better to sit in the sunshine while I worked. Also, I’m multi-tasking, as I’m working on my tan!
While I worked this week, my aforementioned new camp friend, Amy, popped over to learn a little about my colored clay work. I shared three of my favorite books on Polymer Clay techniques with her to help inspire her own creative work. On Wednesday, I shared studio time with my good friend and a wonderful potter from back home, Jane. Even across the miles and with a technological interface, the energy of shared creative experiences is impactful and invigorating!
Technology has also proven helpful in keeping in touch with my mom and our kiddos while we travel. Every night, I upload photos of the day to my mom’s Alexa Show device, and every few days I “drop in” on her so I can get eyes on her. I also upload photos to a shared album that our kids enjoy following, which often includes photos of our meals. Kaity, our youngest daughter, told us that we are eating better on the road than she does at home!
That was certainly true on Tuesday night, when we enjoyed a shared meal with Amy, her husband Sean and her brother JJ. In celebration of Mardi Gras, we had shrimp and pork boudin - a Louisiana specialty of seasoned rice and meat protein in a sausage-like casing - along with andouille sausage, a quinoa and spinach salad, roasted veggies, seasoned rice, and an authentic Louisiana bakery king cake for dessert!
We brought an (over?) abundance of dry staples with us, but I’ve found that planning is essential if we’re going to have fresh food meal components and enough space to preserve them to last through these long stretches. This is our longest campground stay on this trip at 12 nights. And since we park and sit without a tow vehicle, we need to pick up whatever we need in terms of fresh ingredients between campground stops on our journey.
Our new Bodega Portable 12v flexible refrigerator / freezer has earned its keep on this trip! Because we can use the Bodega as a refrigerator / freezer or as a refrigerator only, it’s perfect for our small space. And since it runs on electric or 12v, we can keep our food at the desired temperatures whether we’re travelling, boondocking or at a campground.
Bringing frozen prepared foods from home? No problem, because we’ve got that extra freezer space. Need lots of fresh produce and two gallons of milk for a 12-night stay? (Yes, TWO - Steve loves his milk!) No problem, because we’ve enjoyed most of the frozen meals from home at this point, and we can easily reconfigure the Bodega to a larger refrigerator. On our next travel day, we hope to stock up on fresh frozen seafood, and we’ll re-claim the freezer space since we’ve depleted the milk and fresh produce and our next stop is only 8 nights.
Flexibility is key, because planning for meals for folks who enjoy good, wholesome cooking while living the RV life is a bit like a floating jenga puzzle. With careful menu planning, purposeful grocery purchasing, and imaginative re-purposing when required, we have found that we do, indeed, eat rather well on the road!
My day starts with catching up on the news, our daily Wordle, and a nice cup of tea perfectly brewed for me by my wonderful hubby, while Steve enjoys his coffee. The view may be different, but the mugs are always the same. This is mine (handmade, of course!), and it holds the perfect amount of tea to get me moving in the morning.
At home, I love to cook simple, aromatic meals with fresh food (homegrown or from my local organic CSA whenever possible), so we brought the remaining storage crops from our backyard garden with us. They live in Irving’s basement where it‘s marginally cooler, but our potatoes are starting to sprout in the warmer climate so we’ve been eating a lot of them!
We also brought two of my favorite kitchen appliances - our Ninja Foodi Grill and our Ninja Pressure Cooker, and they have earned their prime real estate in our little RV as well. As you will see, they have served us well!
Early on in our trip, we enjoyed some wonderful, fresh, air-fried Louisiana Shrimp and french fries (hand cut from our bumper crop of homegrown organic potatoes), all made on the Ninja Foodi Grill. Admittedly, I overcooked the asparagus a bit, but we both agree that we have never, ever had shrimp that tasted so good!
We made homemade pizza dough using my sourdough starter, topped with red peppers, some excellent Italian sausage from Mandeville Seafood, lots of fresh mozzarella cheese, and Campari tomatoes stuffed with feta and basil (thanks to my friend Cathi for the inspiration on that). This cooked up beautifully in our Ninja Foodi Grill. We wound up with only half the pizza dough originally intended because my experiment with proofing the dough in our Ninja Pressure Cooker resulted in partially cooked dough that necessitated some creative repurposing (see below).
We made perfect brown rice in our Ninja Pressure Cooker to go with our Turkey Tikka Masala and an impromptu naan salvaged from the failed pizza dough rise experiment (see above).
We had baked (homegrown) potatoes with a big salad, and shared the best blackened tuna steak we’ve ever had (also from Mandeville Seafood). It was so mouthwateringly delicious that I almost forgot to take a photo!
I used the insides of the campari tomatoes that I had stuffed for the pizza to make a small serving of bruschetta (with contributions from the live basil plant that travels with us). I served the bruschetta atop a grilled Beyond Burger drizzled with balsamic glaze, and more air fried french fried potatoes, all prepared in our Ninja Foodi Grill.
And what camping foodie post would be complete without a s’more? No grill or pressure cooker needed here! I roasted two marshmallows to ooey, gooey, golden perfection over our first campfire this week and sandwiched them between two of my mom’s famous Chocolate Chip Cookies. I was so glad I hadn’t given into temptation and eaten the frozen cookies earlier in our trip!
Yesterday, I helped my new friend Amy make her very first loaf of sourdough bread. We adapted a rosemary parmesan recipe off the internet for wild yeast, and I had plenty of refrigerator space to let it slow rise overnight. I‘ll bake it up later today baked in my Ninja Foodi Grill. We’ll pair it with another shared meal of spaghetti using homemade tomato sauce from my garden, a big salad, and leftover king cake, and then enjoy a campfire with our new friends, where I’m guessing traditional s’mores will also come into play.
All of this great food is fueling us for long walks on the park trails as we enjoy the much warmer weather that finally arrived this week. It’s been absolutely gorgeous, with daytime highs in the 70’s and 80’s and nighttime temps just perfect for sleeping.
We’re still at Bogue Chitto State Park, so no update on the map this week. But we’ll be on the move again early next week. Our destination? The sunny gulf coast of Florida (with a stop at Mandeville Seafood for another shrimp po-boy and some more shrimp and frozen tuna for the road). I‘ll have a full review of Bogue Chitto State Park in my next blog post, along with plenty of mouthwatering photos of the park.
Thanks for following us on our journey! It’s great to have you along for the ride!