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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS - *K* Kitchen Cabinet Fixes and Storage Improvements

I am going to start off the new year with posting some of our motorhome modifications, a few 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 K now!


Kitchen Stuff:
Ahhhhhh My motorhome kitchen! This is the biggest kitchen I have ever owned in an RV. In the past, I have had:

  • a Coachmen Santara with a very small kitchen and almost no counter space with 3 tiny drawers.
  • a Sierra pull behind travel trailer that had a lot of kitchen cabinets but not a lot of counter space, 
  • and my big old beast of a Winnebago had an absolute tiny little kitchen with virtually no counter space at all. 

So I really really appreciate the kitchen in this Safari motorhome. We do a lot of cooking when we are in the RV, and rarely eat out at restaurants.  Not only do I have lots of counter space, I have plenty of cabinets in the kitchen area and more cabinets over the table and in the living area to utilize.

The cabinets in our motorhome are made of Western Alder wood from the Oregon coast. They are all solid wood and I love the glow of the rich grain. Even our side by side Dometic fridge has matching wooden panels on the doors. I wipe them down yearly with a coat of Liquid Gold to keep them looking nice. Especially if we spend any time out in the desert, I like to wipe them down again when we get home because of the dryness to the wood.

This kitchen is pretty well planned out... but you know us, we are always thinking of ways to IMPROVE it!  LOL

Soooo improve it we sure did!  This is exactly what Steve found! For TEN DOLLARS!!!!  The special sawblade he had to buy to cut the corian type countertop was $30, most than the stove!  Hahahahahaha 

Last summer Steveio came across a used propane stove/oven combo for an RV.   We have been limited with only the micro/convection oven.  That means I can only bake IF we are running the generator or plugged into shore power.  Not very handy for us.....  

We wanted the 21" deep oven, not the 17". There are more shelf rack positions and I can bake two trays at a time. (like cookies or pizzas for the grandkids)  Also we keep a pizza stone on the bottom base above the burner to help distribute the heat evenly. As soon as we got the oven, I ordered an extra chrome rack from a seller on Ebay.  We had the same oven in our Sierra travel trailer, and I had ordered an extra rack for that one too. 

 I was willing to sacrifice three drawers to allow the oven to take it's place.  Plus the top has four burners instead of only two.  I love having a propane oven now and it completes my kitchen. 

The counter tops in our motorhome are a Corian like substance called Fountainhead. They wear like iron and never need anything more than a quick wipe. We also have two inserts that go over the kitchen sink that lay flat, made of the same countertop material. You almost cannot tell that they are that there is a sink underneath when they are set in place. But because I have such a large amount of countertop space I really don't need to set them in the recessed sink holes. The covers ride for years on end, stored underneath the sink, never being used.

The one cabinet I do not care for in my kitchen is this goofy corner cabinet on the bottom. It has a Lazy Susan in it, which can goods fall off the backside and get trapped. I can't even reach into the back corner and have to use a big BBQ tongs to get anything that falls behind. AARGGHHH

My big problem cropped up when we were downsizing to live in our motorhome full-time, I have these two wonderful cast aluminum roasters. My dilemma was that neither one would even fit in that cabinet, and I love using them both.  I really like the larger one better, but I know I could have stored the smaller one, or even both of them, in an outside compartment. But as any cook knows, you like to have your kettles inside and clean and ready to go when you are cooking.

We removed the Lazy Suzan and now absolutely everything I need fits inside of that cabinet. In the photo below the smaller of the two roasters is not in there, but believe me, it does fit.  I had taken it into the house at the time of taking this picture. We now have room for everything, including Steve's popcorn popper.

I love those big roasters. I coat the outside surface with Dawn dish soap on a paper towel and I can use it outside on the tripod over the campfire. It's very easy to clean up again from the soot and flame marks on the outside because of the layer of soap.

Because my blog is about modifications to our motorhome, this was one that may seem small to some people, but it made a big difference to me.

In our kitchen there is one spot that COULD hold a drawer if the sink had been moved over just a few inches during the planning period. Because the rest of the drawers underneath are a little wider, the recessed sink is too wide to allow a drawer of the same size in the top spot.  Soooo???  The designers left the top spot as a blank space. They just put a fake front on it. They didn't even bother to put a handle on it to make it match the rest of the cabinetry? That was strange---

(P.S. this is an old pic with the original couches, 
the sink covers are in place and
 the salesman's runner rugs are laid all over the place.)

Steve agreed that it was crazy to waste all that space that could potentially be another kitchen drawer. So what did he do? He built another drawer box only a little narrower on the one side to clear the recessed sink. He put the fake front on and added drawer slides.

We could not find an exact matching handle so we found one close enough and put it on a back bottom cabinet in the bedroom where you really don't see it. We took that original handle and brought it forward to the kitchen and put it on the drawer. Voila!

So now I have a whole 'nother drawer in my kitchen!

Storage is important in our RV kitchen because there are certain things we like to take along for cooking. Steve has this favorite item, which takes up a lot of space. But he absolutely loves it. He makes his own popcorn over the stove and has worn through a number of these over the years. 

I think this newest popper he got from the kids one year for his birthday. He turns the little crank and there is a wire bar inside that rotates the popcorn so it doesn't burn. When done, you lift off the top lid and the bottom portion of the kettle becomes the popcorn bowl, once it cools off a little bit.

This next one is my favorite! A glass Pyrex coffee pot! I believe the original name was called "The Flamethrower".  Nothing can beat the smell of perking coffee in the morning when camping in the woods.  I have fond memories of watching a pyrex pot cook in the dark early morning hours in my childhood home on the gas stove. Flickering blue flames around the bottom, bubbles coming up the glass stem a bit higher each time until they pop out the top and into the lid and down into the grounds.  Even the basket is clear glass. I remember watching for the first carmely colored swirls sinking down into the clear water underneath.

Because we have a propane stove and often boondock without hookups, we don't like using an electric coffeemaker too often. I grind my Blue Mountain Jamaican coffee beans and perk them in this glass Pyrex pot. Once the coffee is done perking, we each pour a cup and the rest of the pot is dumped into this carafe that my daughter Erin gave me. It keeps coffee hot for the rest of the morning. This solves the problem of having to go back in and reheat the glass Pyrex coffee pot on the stove just to have a hot cup later. Of course both items take up a lot of room so that is the reason why I need extra space in my kitchen.

We must keep a space in the cabinet for this pressure cooker that sets on the stovetop, because we do really enjoy pressure cooked foods.

I have now moved the stovetop pressure cooker to a back cabinet since I brought my electric one into the motorhome. We bought a larger 11 qt. one for in the house this year, so the 8 qt. one is now designated specifically for the motorhome.

What I like best is I can throw the food in and set it and not have to watch and hover over it like the stovetop one. After experimenting with recipes for a while I know exactly what to set it for what types of foods and everything comes out perfect.

I know there are a lot of electric pressure cookers out on the market now. We chose this one because of it's stainless steel inside cooking surface, preferable to a Teflon non-stick surface.

We use the pressure cooker to make soups, stews, and casseroles. Everything that comes out is just super wonderful and delicious because you add your seasonings in the beginning. The pressure cooker than infuses the flavors and seasoning into the food rather than just floating on top or in a sauce

Savory stews or wholesome casseroles (Steve's Goulash)

Some of our favorite things to make are pot roasts or turkey breasts. We toss the whole thing in while still frozen and set it for about three quarters of an hour. I release the pressure, open it up, add in other items such as carrots, potatoes, onions, mushrooms etcetera. Close it back up and cook it another 15 minutes and everything is usually done --- absolutely perfect and tender.

Pot Roast or Boneless Turkey Breast

Since I absolutely must make room for this large pressure cooker in my cabinets, so again, I rearranged everything to get it to fit. Of course we can only use the electric pressure cooker when we are either hooked up to electric power, or while running the generator. I have not used it yet just from the power via the inverter and batteries, but I will try it this summer. We can see how much power it draws by hooking up our kilowatt diagnostic tool to check the amperage draw and watts when in use.

Now to the other wall in the kitchen, we have more countertop space and a glass cabinet overhead. Underneath is another drawer plus a Uline Ice Maker. This only runs off electric and not propane litke fridge.  We only run it when we are plugged into power, but it works really fast to make cubes. Once we get a bin full, we switch them to a large zip lock bag and put them in the freezer by the fridge and turn the icemaker off again.  

It can also double as extra freezer space when plugged into power by simply lifting the bail and using the interior space for supplementary freezer area when setting somewhere for a while. 

On the other side of the kitchen are the table and chairs. When we bought our motorhome there were two wicker backed wide chairs that were kind of rickety. We passed them on to our son for his first apartment.  Stored in the basement compartment underneath there were these two folding chairs that had padded seats and wicker backs that matched. These fold up and store away for extra seating. They were okay, but again, kind of lightweight and rickety.

While Steve was working at the University of Green Bay, every month they would hold auctions of surplus supplies. Steve managed to snag these two wonderful solid waiting room type chairs that were perfect color match of the wood. We really like them for seating and they tuck under the table perfectly. We can bungee cord the legs to the center leg of the table when in transit.

Our table pulls out from the wall cabinet enough to add two extra leaves for seating space.  (or for when I'm sewing large projects).   Then we bring out the extra chairs that unfold and set next to the new green ones we bought ... now we can have dinner for four.

Remember that saying?
 Our motorhome has room for 
cocktails for 6,
dinner for 4, 
sleeping for 2!


Most of the ice from yesterday has melted off, and we have some dim sunshine today.  I am hoping to finish the binding on my quilt so I can take photos of it outdoors on the clothesline. It's cold enough that the yard won't be too muddy.  I hope.

Steve just got back home in between transport runs, in time to have a second cup of coffee with me.  He has a few more runs to do later this morning and into the afternoon.  But for now, he is here so I am gonna go have a cup of java with my sweetie!

1 comment:

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