Dutch Oven Cooking

I love the idea of baking with a Lodge cast iron dutch oven.  I must admit I’m intimidated by them, though. Just the thought of cleaning the darn thing put me off. So I eased into learning everything I could about them. Have I put any research into action yet?  NO – but I have big plans.  So far I have baked potatoes and made appetizers in ours.  There were decisions to be made before beginning this “idea”.

First – what size should I get?  DO’s range from 8 inches to 24 inches. 12 inches is a good choice if you plan to feed 8 to 10 people. I chose a 10 inch because, like I said, I was easing in and we aren’t usually feeding a small army.  Why spend the extra money for a larger one if I decided not to master the art and give up anyway?

Next – all my research told me what was most important:  1). a rimmed lid. You don’t want ashes and dirt sneaking into the oven.  Most of the coals are placed on the top which must be turned consistently for even cooking by avoiding hot spots. All the pesky things you don’t want in there are dying to get in, 2). a tight-fitting lid to keep steam in and prevent burning. Finally,  3). a must – three legs to keep oven above the coals.

The brand and type is a personal preference.  I found my Lodge to be of good quality. They must know something after all these years too.

I must admit – I’m still in the testing stages, but I have to tell you –  I am looking forward to getting really good at it.  I even found a way to make the process less scary:41ulpnlrklDutch Oven Liners

Click on the above link to check them out.  They are inexpensive enough to be so worth it.

The below chart makes it so easy to see how much charcoal is needed for your recipe. It works, as long as you turn the lid every 15 minutes.  If you’re sitting around doing nothing anyway, it’s not a big deal – kinda ceremonial and feels like camping to me. Sure I could throw some potatoes in the oven, but what if propane is running low, or what if I don’t want to affect the temperature in the RV?

dutch-oven-temp-chart

This whole blog post is actually putting in black and white what I want to master. I’ll be posting recipes later on, but for now, my husband is aware of what’s ahead. He thinks our oven has become a heavy, useless tool sucking up valuable storage space. I’ll show him! HA!

Feel free to share some of your tips and recipes here.  I’d love to see them!

 

 

Do you decorate your RV for Christmas?

We can only dream of having Christmas on the road yet.  So I would like some participation from all of you RV enthusiasts!  I could have stolen – AHEM – borrowed so many pictures of interior and exterior shots of holiday designs, but I thought it would be more fun to see yours. There are some great, festive ideas out there.  Will you please share yours?

I have found some RV decorations useful for us now since we have already sized down (Phase I) for retirement. We already live in a smaller space with very little storage.  I can never figure out how to display our Christmas cards. The picture below is one of the ideas I can use now AND later:

card-holders

image source: tipjunkie.com

We have already downsized our Christmas tree as well. Hubby already knows it will be coming on the road with us!

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Our tree this year (4 ft. tall)

This little tree will look perfect in the following scenario:

slide-decs

image source: pinenearpark.blogspot.com

I can’t wait to decorate like this. But while I’m dreaming, this is what I’d like the outside to look like (I wish I had designed it):

palm-trees-and-flamingos

image source: calamresortsblog.com

Our RV is different – and the one we will choose to go on the road with will be different as well, but that part doesn’t matter.  I just think this festive look will be great when we become “Snowbirds”!  We plan to be in warm weather when it’s cold in California. My husband will probably hate it, but I think it fits our personalities just fine.

SO LET’S SEE WHAT YOU GOT!!! Ready…Set…Go!  Please like and share and visit our blog.

Merry Christmas!

A winter adventure I’d love to have…

polar-express-400x150

December Writing Prompts

December 3, 2016

Write about a winter adventure you would love to have…

My mother always wanted to take Michelle and me on a winter train ride to Reno.  She talked about it every year, but never felt well enough to make the trip.  I remember thinking a holiday train excursion sounded magical; especially a scenic trip through the Sierra Nevada.  Certainly, the Christmas spirit would be in the air as well as beautiful photo opportunities.  I wanted to take this trip with MyChelle as one of our mother and daughter times, but we never got around to it. I don’t even know if I have ever mentioned it to her either.

Now everything has changed – for the better I might add. Reno, Nevada is not one of my favorite places.  I’d like to take my mother’s wish a step further, or carry it out in a different way at least.  How can I not take my grandchildren on the journey of THE POLAR EXPRESS?  I can’t imagine anything more festive.  Even my favorite actor, Tom Hanks, played six different roles in the 2004 film based on a children’s book.

The magical train ride to the “North Pole” is only an hour long.  I suppose one would have to see the movie before understanding the meaning behind it.  I’d like to be there to enjoy the story with our little LauraSue. The event comes complete with hot chocolate, cookies and characters from the movie riding along with passengers.  Santa Claus even shows up on board giving each passenger a silver sleigh bell as the “first gift of Christmas”.

The train departs and ends at the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento.  Holiday songs are sung by all on the way back to the station where photos can also be taken with Santa Claus.  Tickets sell out fast every year – it’s quite a popular event.  This year would have been too early for our six month old, but it’s on my bucket list when she’s old enough to appreciate the whole celebration.

I can’t WAIT!!!

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One thing I love about December is…

I thought I would add another story since we have been on vacation in Cabo San Lucas. We weren’t in the RVing mode, but I’ll get back on the horse with wheels this week. Until then…enjoy!

December Writing Prompts (a new challenge)

December 1, 2016

One thing I love about December is…

I feel like I’m beginning this challenge with the most difficult prompt – including topics written during the 500 word per day challenge. There is only one thing I don’t like about December:  The obvious – my mother died on the first of December. I could have written a LOT about that subject. I suppose the silver lining is there are 30 more days in the month to be grateful for or simply enjoy.

I guess the festive feeling of December is what I love the most.  Many things contribute to this celebratory month. I’ll start with my first memories; not the one my family remembers. No one blames the little girl, the first grandchild, sitting by the Christmas tree next to a stack of presents taller than herself. I’m glad I have no memory of opening each gift, hardly looking at each one and casting it to the side as if to say, “NEXT!”  Just playing that tape in my head shames me even though I’ve never seen it.

All my childhood Christmases are a blur of scattered memories like clips from different movies on a reel of film – yet they are all so much alike. We had certain traditions every year beginning with the change of weather.  As the fog and colder air moved into the valley, it seemed to be the cue to begin Christmas shopping.  We never started early because our Christmas savings account awaited that last deposit. Meanwhile, the decorations started going up.  We couldn’t wrap presents until we had a tree to place them under. Looking back I think my mother must have spent a fortune on decorations and ornaments because our house looked different every year. The gatherings and celebrations were the same, but never the design. One year a flocked tree, the next year a red themed tree, another year blue.  Of course, this was after our old tin foil tree with the color wheel finally ran its course. Or died. I’m not sure what happened to that funny looking icon that I loved so much.

One thing I’m sure of.  Although Christmas will never be the same or as beautiful as my mother made it for our whole family, I still love the festive feel of the holidays.  There’s a homey, cozy and comfortable feeling my memories have given me. Somehow it has changed from what was and how much I missed it to wonderful memories I get to have now and how happy they make me. I just wish I would have paid more attention to my mother’s recipe for our traditional crab cioppino dinner every Christmas Eve!

The best thing about this December, however, is the very first one for our grandbaby, LauraSue.

OF COURSE!!!!

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