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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS *C* Cooking Stuff and Torque Multiplier Tool

I am going to start off the new year with posting some of our motorhome modifications at a time. I will post repairs, modifications, or neato things we have found for RVing.  I have lots of pics in my files so I will do them in alphabetical order.

Underneath that stuff, I will post my regular daily stuff..... kinda sorta fun, eh?

So here it goes, we are up to the letter C now!


Camping Cooking Stuff:
Yesterday's blog post dealt with the big campfire or grill cooking stuff. Now here are some smaller utensils we found handy or fun. 

If you want more outdoorsy food, 
there is always ''over the fire'' Pudgy Pies! 
These are a camping "staple" food. 

Hint:  We buy only the Minnetonka Toaster cast iron ones (not the aluminum ones, those stick)  I pick them up whenever I see them at rummage sales or thrift shops.  We supply our kids (who all camp as well) and our friends with them as needed.  Once people try a Pudgy Pie, they want a toaster of their own.  Square or round, it's your choice.


We use non-stick cooking spray, and also butter the bread. We found if only using real butter, it burns. If you are a margarine person, then it's more oily and can get good results. Using cheap white bread gives the best results, it kinda squishes down and gives a crust-like texture. 

The Pudgy Pies are good for canned apple, blueberry or cherry pie filling, or a jar of pizza sauce with shredded mozzarella cheese and pepperoni, or a ham and cheese sandwich, etc. The sky's the limit! 

Doesn't this apple pie make your mouth water? 

Every camper of course needs some campfire roasting sticks. Great for hot dogs and yes, "Some Mores"! We buy the telescoping ones with wooden handles for the grandkids to use. But we make sure the tips of the metal cool off and nobody is allowed to eat it right off the metal roasting stick.

My sister and her husband bought this for us...  can you believe it? It is a waffle iron for over the campfire!! It works wonderfully, but be sure to spray with non-stick cooking spray between each batch.

Yes, we picked fresh wild Michigan Blueberries. 
What a treat!!!

This next one is a camp cooking item we tried 
and it does NOT work well. 

Do not get me wrong, I love Coleman products. But this one is a flop.  I bought it, and was excited to use it. This is a slow cooker that runs on propane. Touted to be great for picnics, camping or tailgating. Neato, eh?  Well, even on the lowest low, it is still bubbling and boiling too high.  It burns chili, it scalds soup, and it boils over anything else you put in it.
I wrote to the company with my complaint, and they thought perhaps it was defective. They sent me a new burner control knob.  Nope, same thing. They suggested peeling back the little sticker on the control knob and adjusting the built-in regulator set screw. Nope, same thing.  It just cooks too hot.  I gave up and returned it for a refund. 

I will stick with my old $8 Proctor Silex crock pot.  If we are not in an area with an electric hookups, I run the inverter on our solar and battery setup to use it on household 120vAC current.

I know I mentioned cast iron yesterday. I keep a small 6 inch skillet in my cabinets. I whip up a little blue box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. This is used a baking pan in the oven, not on the stove top burner.  Follow package recipe and soon you will have mouthwatering golden Johnny Cake. The cast iron creates crispy edges and then top it with a dab of butter.

We recently updated our motorhome to include a propane oven, in addition to the original convection microwave.  Here are two links if you would like to read more about the big project: 
Propane RV Oven part one
Propane RV Oven part two

I LOVE LOVE LOVE having a propane oven and 4 burners now! 

I should mention Steve's favorite cooking utensil.  Bet you have seen these in the old days, eh? He loves his popcorn and makes it over the propane stove. The local Fleet Farm store still sells these.  He has worn a few out over the years. I think one of our kids gave him this current red one for his birthday. Good thinking.

My favorite utensil inside is my vintage Pyrex Flamethrower Coffee Pot! 

It brings back fond memories of my childhood. We always had this perking every morning when I was a kid. I fondly recall early mornings in the darkened kitchen when my mom would start this up. 
...The blue flames of the propane stove licking up around the edges of the glass pot
...The first few burps of water bubbles up the clear glass stem as it came to a boil
...The caramel colored swirls that come drifting down into the clear water underneath the basket.  ahhhhhhh!

We perk the coffee in the glass pot and then transfer it to an insulated carafe to bring coffee out under the awning and sip a morning cup outdoors. I can start up a second pot on the stove while still sharing this carafe with coffee-klatsching neighbors. I bring out a basket of fresh baked muffins. They all wander over to our campsite, noses sniffing the air, with an empty coffee cup in hand. LOL! 

I am also a pressure cooker using person.  We have a vintage metal stove top one we keep in the rig for making quick meals, tender ribs, or wonderful beef roasts.  It is a great way to cook on the stove top with propane. It sure is handy.

But in keeping up with modern times. we just recently started using an electric pressure cooker in the house. We liked it so much we bought a bigger electric one for the house, an 11 quart size, and we moved the 8 quart electric one to the motorhome.  We like this brand the best, because the inside cooking liner is stainless steel, not a teflon-like non-stick surface that can peel or chip.  We got it on Amazon and it's called Go-Wise USA.  You can get it in various sizes, but remember, electric pressure cookers should only be filled up about 1/2 to 2/3 full, not to the top or it can boil up and clog the relief valve or make a mess. So bigger is better. 

We use it when we are on electric hookups or if we are boodocking and running the generator for short periods of time. It does consume about 1000watts, so we don't run it off our solar. The meals are prepared quickly in the pressure cooker, so in 15 or 20 minutes the meal can be completely done. I won't post any recipes, because you can google for a zillion of them.  Here is a luscious pot roast that makes my mouth water. 

This motorhome item is listed out of alphabetical order 
because it just happened.
Here is a NEW TOY Steve just got in the mail yesterday!!!

I would never deny him the joy of getting more tools. For all of the great work he does on our motorhome and around the house, the more tools the better as far as I am concerned. Look at that happy man!

It's called a Torque Multiplier Tool.  This is used to remove really tight lug nuts that are difficult to remove by road-side efforts in an emergency. Fellow Safari owner Joe Burch suggested Steve get one to keep on board. He also suggested to get the one with an additional Budd Wheel known as a "nut buddy" for removing a specific square nut for dual wheels on our Magnum Chassis built by Safari. Your dual wheel configuration may be different.

Here are close up shots of the box
Price was $97.99 on clearance for $49.98
w/ free shipping from Stark Tools via Walmart online

We are dark and gloomy here all morning, but then these soft light fluffy snowflakes started to fall!  It is so pretty!!!  Too bad we are going to only get less than an inch.  

We could use a fresh coat of snow to cover up the all the brown and grey winter dreariness!

I was upstairs sewing when suddenly Steveio came back home. I heard him unlock the door and come in as the dogs raced downstairs to attack the "intruder".  What great alarms, eh? It gives them some excitement for the day?

His unexpected return was because one of his transport patients cancelled their appointment today, (without calling the ARDC county office to let Steve know) so it was a waste of driving, gas and employee time to go to their nursing home. That really throws off the schedule.  But with Steve living close to the courthouse base station, he can just clock out and come back home until his next pickup time this afternoon.  Sure wish these nursing homes would call back if there is a cancellation, instead of wasting county resources and time.  ARGGHHHH

But the silver lining is that he cooked up a nice omelet brunch for us, and we enjoyed the rest of the morning together before he has to leave again.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS *C* Camping Outdoor Cooking and Grilling Stuff

I am going to start off the new year with posting three of our motorhome modifications at a time. I will post repairs, modifications, or neato things we have found for RVing.  I have lots of pics in my files so I will do them in alphabetical order.

Underneath that stuff, I will post my regular daily stuff..... kinda sorta fun, eh?

So here it goes, we are up to the letter C now!


Camping Outdoor Cooking and Grilling Stuff:
A big part of the camping experience is cooking outdoors. Food always seems to taste better when cooked outside, whether it is on an open fire or on a grill.  Steve is usually the outdoor cooking guy. I shop for the items, plan the meals, take out all the stuff to get ready to make the meal, do all the side things, and the extras, and set the table and bring it all to him.... so he can toss it on the fire or grill and say *I COOKED SUPPER*    hahahahahaha

Most of the campgrounds we go to have some kind of fire ring.  Many of the national forests and state parks have some type of grid or grill space for cooking on.  We make due with what is there, and often it resembles these: 

If there isn't any type of grate, Steve made up this device to use over the fire....  it is a single post that he pounds into the ground.  The grate is adjustable by sliding up and down the length of the post. The weight of the handle helps offset the weight of the food thus locking it into place.  Even a heavy cast iron pot of chili holds up to the device.

Best of all is using a tripod. I own a wonderful tripod welded by my ex husband for camping. I got custody of it in the divorce! LOL!  I do not like to haul it around in our motorhome, as it gets quite sooty and grubby.  So my sister and her husband haul it along in the back of their pickup truck for family camping weekends. 

The welded notches in one leg allow it to be raised and lowered 
 by a cable to different cooking heights. 
We even use it with pots or roasters on the grill surface.

When cooking ribs or chicken, we learned to cover the meal with tin foil 
and it traps the heat down by the meat
 and cooks more evenly, more like an oven!

One of our favorite cooking sauces is from O'Fallon Missouri called Andria's Steak Sauce.  Our friends Jim and Dee of http://tumbleweed-jimdee.blogspot.com/  introduced us to it when they came to visit. We stock up whenever we drive near St. Louis.  It can be ordered via Walmart or Amazon, but is much pricier.  You can order it directly from the company too: http://www.andrias.com/our-sauce.html    It is a brush on steak sauce to put on while things are cooking.  We put it on steaks, chicken, pork chops, ribs etc. I even add a dollop to stir fry!

One of our favorite things to cook over the campfire is roasted sweet corn.  Yummmm If you soak the corn in salt water the day before, or even for a few hours, then the husk is less apt to burn.  The added moisture steams the corn in the husk.  Then keep rotating it while it is cooking. Poking the grid with a stick is a fun past time while sitting around the fire to keep it moving. A new hint we have recently tried is after the corn is cooked, toss it in an old cooler to keep the husks hot until serving.  This is especially helpful when you are cooking a double batch for lots of hungry folks. It keeps it warm for a long long time.

My family also owns this HUGE cast iron fry pan to cook over the fire...
it is used for the summer for camping, 
then they take it to hunting camp in the fall. 
 we do breakfast sometimes called
 Heart Attack Breakfast (because of all the grease!) 

This is the smaller cast iron one we use too...
nothing can beat cooking on good old cast iron! 

We also have a big thick cast aluminum griddle to set on the tripod. this is good for pancakes, french toast or a pile of grill cheese sandwhichs.

this is kept up at Hunting Camp...


(it is made from a swing set and has a boat winch to raise and lower the grill)

Aside from all the campfire cooking, we do cook on a propane grill most of the time. Steve has found this little red one from Coleman to be his favorite to take along.  We have tried a whole bunch of different kinds over the years.  For now, this is the one he keeps in the camper, and at home we have the famous Weber Baby Q.  Grilling is a man's social thing....  here he and fellow Safari owner John Clevenger from Texas brought up his BBQ wings and took over the cooking reins on Steve's little red grill. 

Besides all of the rough and rugged manly foods, we also cook healthy foods too.  Here is a wire grid we found in a grilling dept. of a hardware store. It is perfect for big slabs of Salmon!  We brush on a bit of Andria's sauce and shake on some spices.  Yummmmmm  and keeps the fishy smell out of the motorhome to cook it outside on the grill. We can flip it right over so the little bit of fat falls off into the grill and the meat is virtually fat free and healthy. 

We have little circular grill from Coleman called a Party Grill.  
It is a good backup grill and very lightweight.  
It collapses down a circle of about 4 inches thick. 
Good to take to a beach or a picnic. Runs on propane.

  • The Pro is that is also has a burner surface that you can boil a pot of water or soup on.
  • The Con is that there isn't a lid like a regular grill so you have to use tinfoil to help with some cooking tasks. 

Now... we do not just GRILL our foods when camping. Sometimes we take along a turkey fryer!  Wheee that is a big family thing. This is my brotherinlaw Fuzz doing the honors. He has it down to a science and makes the best juicy perfect turkeys.

We use the base of our own turkey fryer for other things.. mostly steaming SNOW CRAB LEGS! Yummmm that is my favorite most of all!   It keeps the mess and stink out of the motorhome.  

And we use it at home 
for cooking crab legs outdoors too,
 even in the winter! 

 Oh Myyyyyyyyyy

We have also used the base (I kid you not) for canning vegetable and pickles... while camping!  Because my sister and I like to do canning, but we live 180 miles apart.  We bring all of our supplies and set them up and use the bases from our turkey fryers for our canning kettles and brine pot. We do pickles, or tomatoes, or  blueberry jam, or whatever happens to be in season.

 We do get a lot of funny looks in the campgrounds, I must admit. 

Mom even pitches in when she camps with us. 

The next blog post will be on the indoor cooking utensils and equipment that we found to be most useful when camping.   I will not bore you with recipes, because you can google for just about anything to cook outside.  But I think some of the stuff we use to do the cooking is interesting.


Well, our warm weather stretch has ended and we are back to normal Wisconsin temps for the middle of the winter. Now to get some snow back on the ground would be nice. Brown and grey terrain are not what we are used to this time of year.  The weatherman just said we will get down below zero by the weekend, and maybe have some snow on the ground by then as well.

Remember the lace I blogged about yesterday? Well, I hung a portion of it in my sewing room last night, with the help of my Mr. Tall Man Steveio.  I can't reach over the quilting frame table to get to the window.

See my collection of leaded glass suncatchers?  
Just one more thing I enjoy looking out at 
when I am up there sewing. 

The sunshine is coming in strong and warm this morning in the guest room that faces south. I snapped this pic when I watered all of my coleus, jade and ivy plants. I winter over this coleus indoors and plant it back out in the flowerbeds in the spring, once the danger of frosts has passed.  Then in fall I dig up some of the plants, and reroot others to start new plants.  I have been keeping this strain going since my friend Connie gave it to me back in the early 1990's.

They grow long and rangey and messy this time of year,
seeking as much sun as possible.

Steve is gone driving this afternoon for his handicapped old fart party bus. I am going to hit the sewing room and get some borders on that coffee quilt I talked about the other day.  See ya later!