26 Oct

3 Easy and Delicious Recipes for RV Tailgating

Food is a pretty important part of the whole tailgating experience. Everyone wants a delicious spread, but RV tailgating experts tell us that you better keep the food pretty simple if you really want to have fun spending time with your family, friends, and fellow fans.

Lucky for us, RVFTA listener Kelli Hall has three favorite tailgating recipes that she was willing to pass along. They all sound completely yummy and ridiculously simple…which is the perfect RV tailgating combination! You can download and print recipe cards by clicking here.

Kelli gathers with a group of 40 of her closest family and friends every year at Ohio State University. As far as we can tell, these folks are pretty dialed in on how to have a great time while rooting for your favorite team.

Go Buckeyes!

To hear more about RV tailgating, make sure you check out RV Family Travel Atlas podcast episode #165: RV Tailgating 101.

Easy Golden Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bag of frozen meatballs
  • 1 can of Golden Mushroom Soup
  • 1.5 ounces of red wine

Directions:

Mix soup and wine together and pour over meatballs in an electric skillet heated to 350 degrees. You can use a crock pot if you prefer. Cook, stirring frequently, until meatballs are hot through the center. Turn down to lowest heat and keep warm for serving.

Mark’s Taco Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce shredded or cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bottle Catalina dressing
  • 1 large bag of Doritos, crushed in bag

Directions:

Cook the ground beef, seasoning with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder, or use a package of taco seasoning if preferred.

Prepare all ingredients before event, but keep separate until ready to serve. Mix all items in a large bowl and toss with the Catalina dressing.

Sweet Sausage and Peppers

Note: this recipe feeds a crowd of 40 tailgaters, so adjust amounts accordingly…

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds Mild Italian Sausage (Kelli buys the Costco package)
  • 24 multi-colored bell peppers (Kelli buys 4 packages at Costco)
  • 4 large onions
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil

Directions:

Bake the sausages in a 350 degree onion for 35 minutes. Cut peppers and onions into long slices. Coat the bottom of a roaster pan with olive oil. Add the balsamic vinegar. Add peppers and onion and cook until they are lightly browned and sweet. You can add the sausages to the peppers and onions, or keep them separate for serving!

A big, huge thanks to Kelli for sharing these three delicious and easy recipes that are perfect for RV tailgating. And even if you’re not tailgating anytime soon, they would taste just as yummy at the campground.

See ya at the tailgate!

29 Jun

RVFTA #148 Smokin’ and Grillin’ 101 With Casita Dean!

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas we are taking you to summer school and diving into the yummy world of smokin’ and grillin’. This is truly one of America’s greatest pastimes, and the way many of us feed our families in the summer both at home and on the road.

So we invited Campground of the Week correspondent (and international egg camping superstar) Casita Dean May onto the show to coach us through the process of smokin’ and grillin’ in the backyard and at the campground. He’ll tell us about ALL of the basic gear and cookbooks we need, the most important steps in the process, and then–most important of all–his favorite recipes.

Gear:

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01 May

Dutch Oven Breakfast Frittata, Courtesy of the Valley Forge Black Pots

Dutch Oven Breakfast Frittata

We had the very tasty privilege of hanging out with the Valley Forge Black Pots at the Hamburg Cabela’s store during last week’s Camping Classic event. We tasted way more than our fair share of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert samples.

These folks are not only great Dutch Oven cooks, they are also super generous about sharing recipes with wannabes like us. I’m going to share a couple of the recipes here on our blog, but you can also head over and follow their Facebook page for lots more inspiration.

The very first sample we tasted was the Dutch Oven Breakfast Frittata, and it is always awesome to see veggies show up in a style of cooking that often skews toward meat stews and desserts. I’m going to try a frittata the next time we are at the campground and cross my fingers it turns out this yummy.

Seasonal Breakfast Frittata

Ingredients:

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30 Mar

RVFTA Episode #135: Ready, Set, Road Food!

RV Family Travel Atlas Podcast Episode #135:

Ready, Set, Road Food!

On this episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas Podcast, we are checking off a bucket list item and interviewing Micheal Stern, co-author of Road Food: An Eater’s Guide to More than 1,000 of the Best Local Hot Spots and Hidden Gems Across America. The 10th edition of this classic book was just released, and we asked Michael to come on the show and talk about his forty years of traveling around the country and reporting on the best road food joints out there.

We have personally traveled with Road Food in each of our campers since day one, and it has led us to some of the best BBQ joints and lobster shacks in America. If you don’t have a copy yet, we don’t know what you are waiting for.

In Segment One, we chat with Michael Stern about the evolution of food writing over the last forty years. He takes us back to the beginning, when they struggled to get publishers to buy into the idea that readers would be interested in ‘regular’ food.

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08 Mar

Make-Ahead Meals for RV Vacations

Folks in the RVFTA community are gearing up for their spring trips, and many have been asking for make-ahead meal options. Sure, we all love cooking over the campfire and on the grill, but it’s also a great idea to bring along some ready-made meals.

Listeners were giving some great meal suggestions over on our RVFTA Facebook group, and it inspired me to share three of my easy-peasy favorites.

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26 Jan

RVFTA #126 The Gift of the RV Kitchen: Traveling with Special Dietary Needs

 

On this episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, The Gift of the RV Kitchen, we are talking about one of the most amazing parts of RV travel…carrying your kitchen with you on the road!

For some of us, this is merely a convenience that we have become attached to, but travelers with special dietary needs, a self-contained kitchen is the only thing that makes travel a viable option.

Addressing allergies or dietary restrictions while traveling in an RV can be an overwhelming and daunting process, but we don’t want anyone to feel like it’s an insurmountable obstacle. So we invited Jenn and Jerome Braga from Our1Chance.com to pass along their advice for living an adventurous life while still staying safe and healthy.

Segment One: Meet the Bragas

The Bragas life took a dramatic turn when their youngest daughter was diagnosed with severe allergies. Although they were scared and overwhelmed, they were also determined to live life to the fullest and learn how to manage this ‘gift’. After purchasing a travel trailer so they could still vacation as a family, Jenn and Jerome discovered that they loved the RV lifestyle. Now they spend months at a time on the road every year in their renovated fifth wheel.

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20 Nov

Thanksgiving at the Campground: Corn Casserole, InstaPot Mashed Potatoes, and Apple Slaw

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In this series of blog posts, I am sharing my family recipes for enjoying Thanksgiving dinner at the campground. There are so many ways to bring festive holiday cheer on the road, and this year I am focusing on dishes that offer those classic Thanksgiving flavors, but can be made mostly in advance and with minimal fuss.

You can also check out my posts on Turkey and Stuffing Sandwiches and Pumpkin Bread Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

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16 Nov

Thanksgiving at the Campground: Turkey Sandwiches with Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce on Brioche Buns

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There are so many ways to make a great Thanksgiving dinner at the campground. This year, my goal was to create a menu that is simple and made mostly in advance, but still features all the tastes of a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

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Turkey Sandwiches with Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce

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For years, I prepared a ‘leftovers’ meal on the Friday after Thanksgiving to bring to my grandmother who lived a few hours away. I piled rolls high with sliced turkey, stuffing, and homemade cranberry sauce. I also added a little horseradish cream to my own sandwich, but that’s just because I like everything to have a little kick. You won’t find my young boys buying into that flavor profile.

So how do you put Thanksgiving dinner on a bun with only about 60 minutes worth of prep time in the kitchen? Here are my steps…

Turkey Breast

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15 Nov

Thanksgiving at the Campground: Pumpkin Bread Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

img_7813 In this series of blog posts, I’m sharing my personal recipes for simple menu items that can be made ahead of a holiday RV trip, but still hit all of the classic holiday tastes that we crave in a Thanksgiving meal.

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Pumpkin Bread Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I first started making these cupcakes when we would visit my grandmother on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Everyone already had their fair share of pie on Thursday, so I wanted to bring something festive but different. So I turned my mother’s classic pumpkin bread into a cupcake and topped it with cream cheese frosting and chopped walnuts. These turned out to be one of my grandmother’s favorite desserts, and I think of her every time I make them.

This recipe traditionally makes 2 loaves of pumpkin bread, which translates into about 2 dozen cupcakes. To be honest, I usually make one loaf of bread and 1 dozen cupcakes. To be even more honest, the bread makes a yummy breakfast option as well…

Pumpkin Bread Cupcakes

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25 Aug

RVFTA #103 Greetings from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Greetings from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, and telling you all about the amazing Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in the great state of Michigan.

Voted one of America’s most beautiful places by Good Morning America, this truly is a magical destination that demonstrates why the National Parks might be our country’s greatest idea ever. We will talk about the best drives, hikes, swims, and even shopping in the Sleeping Bear Dunes park.

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This episode goes along with two different Campground of the Week episodes: #41 about Holiday Park in Traverse City and #42 about the Platte River Campground in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Both are amazing places to stay while visiting the region. We cover completely different activities and food options in the different episodes, so be sure to listen to all three if you are planning a visit of your own in the future!

Subcribe to Campground of the Week here…

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11 Aug

RVFTA #101 Sauces and Marinades with Evanne Schmarder

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***first ever bloopers audio at the end of this episode, folks…Jeremy finally got some bad tape in***

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking to Evanne Schmarder, creator and cohost of the RV Cooking Show. Last time we chatted, Evanne taught us the basics of great campground grilling. Now she’s back to teach us the fancy stuff: sauces and marinades.

Evanne also schools us in stocking our RV pantries and whipping up flavorful dishes that will wow your family and friends. She was kind enough to pass along her own personal pantry checklist. You can download your own copy here. 

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03 Jun

RVFTA #91 Dutch Oven 101 with Mark Hansen

Dutch Oven Cooking 101with Mark Hansen

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03 May

6 Standout Restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina

6 standout restaurants in Charleston SC

We enjoyed one mouth-watering, belly-filling meal after another during our recent trip to Charleston, South Carolina. And we are still in recovery.

I knew before our arrival in the Holy City that we had to taste all the stars of Low Country Cuisine…think shrimp and grits, she-crab soup, and Charleston red rice. What I didn’t know was that this region has experienced a food renaissance over the last 30 years, transforming itself into a world class food destination. Depending on which local you ask, you will get a completely different top 10 restaurant list. And they will probably all be equally delicious.

So here is a run down of 6 Standout Restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina. To hear more about our whirlwind culinary tour of low country cuisine, listen to the upcoming episode of RV Family Travel Atlas (#87), and look for our article in an upcoming issue of Trailer Life Magazine.

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14 Apr

RVFTA #84 Becoming a Weekend Warrior, Part Two with Fireside Provisions

Becoming A Weekend WarriorPart Two-2

On this week’s episode we are giving you even more tools to become a fierce RV Weekend Warrior. Our listeners are constantly telling us that they want to camp more. Last week on Episode #83, we gave you 7 ways you could fit in more camping with as little fuss as possible.

Well, this week we are talking about the food. It can be the most time consuming part of a quick weekend trip, but we have ways you can eat well without slaving over a camp stove. First, we will share our 5 tips for making food prep easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy on quick weekend trips.

listen on iTunes

Then we have a fantastic interview with Kip Clifton, Founder and CEO of Fireside Provisions, a food delivery service for campers like you who want to make a fast getaway on a Friday afternoon and still eat well at the campground. We are in love with this company, and can’t wait to share an awesome resource for Weekend Warriors.

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17 Nov

The Foods of Fall Camping: Dutch Oven Treats and a Classic Casserole

This week our article 3 Classic Campfire Cooking Recipes went live on the Progressive site, and it was perfectly timed for the month of November, when we all want to gather around a table with family and friends enjoying comforting and traditional dishes.

The blog post for Progressive included three of our favorite (and easy!) Dutch oven recipes, so head on over there for the recipes.

We included…

The yummy Breakfast Egg Scramble

The classic Dutch Oven Pizza

And the perennial favorite, Monkey Bread.

Now for another favorite camping dish for our family that isn’t prepared over a fire: All Occasion Chicken, as it used to be called in my house growing up. This casserole is about as old fashioned as it gets, but it is perfect for preparing in advance of a trip for an easy meal when you arrive at the campground.

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Another thing it is perfect for? Using up some of that leftover turkey after Thanksgiving. Swapping out the chicken for turkey is perfectly acceptable this time of year.

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts (I substitute boneless chicken thighs) poached in water and chopped.
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped small
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped small
  • 1 cup frozen corn

Preparation:

  1. Mix all of the above ingredients and spread into a 9×13 pyrex dish.
  2. Then mix an 8 oz. bag of Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing Mix with 3/4 cup melted butter. Spread over the top of the chicken.
  3. Back at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until hot and bubbly.

I serve this over plain rice and accompanied by a salad. This time of year, I love to make an Apple Carrot Cranberry Slaw on the side. Chop up a bunch of apples, use a bag of julienned carrots, and toss in a couple of handfuls of dried cranberries. Whisk together oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.

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Enjoy at a picnic table, preferably surrounded by loved ones and some beautiful scenery.

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30 Oct

RVFTA #60: Fall Rally Roundup!

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about the fun times had by all at the RVFTA 2015 Fall Rally.

We spent last weekend hanging at the Philadelphia/West Chester KOA with an awesome group of podcast listeners.

Hayrides, fishing, canoeing, pumpkin painting, trick or treating…and plenty of yummy food! We will touch on all the highlights and get you excited for the 2016 Spring Rally just around the corner.

You will also hear Stephanie interview three fall rally attendees–Chris, Laura, and Phil–who share a few tricks for making your next camping trip a bit more special.

Plus, we will spend a bit of time discussing a recurring topic in our email from listeners. Should we be aiming for a more secluded campground experience? Is boondocking really better? Watch out folks, we are stepping up on the soapbox and opining away.

You might think you can wait until April to join our rally fun. But we here at RVFTA believe in booking campsites early and often. You are listening to Episode #60: RVFTA Fall Rally Roundup!

 

 

12 Oct

Recipe of the Week: Julie’s Michigan Sauce

Michigan hotdog

We are huge fans of Jane and Michael Stern’s Roadfood book, a wonderful collection of American roadside restaurant recommendations. No matter where we are traveling, we always consult the book before we leave to see if there are any gems in the region to which we are heading.

Before we took off for Lake Placid last month, we cracked open Roadfood and found that every Adirondack entry referenced the “Michigans” on the menu.

A Michigan? What’s a Michigan?

So glad you asked.

First things first. A Michigan is not from Michigan. It is a dish unique to upstate New York although different versions with different names are found all over the country. Legend has it that a couple who owned The Michigan Hot Dog Stand in Plattsburgh, New York were trying to recreate the Coney Dog when they first introduced it to their menu.

This is the kind of recipe where everything get thrown in the big pan and then you cook it down for as long as it takes, or as long as you have. Here are the ingredients for Julie’s Michigan Sauce:

  • 2 pounds ground meat
  • 4 cups ketchup
  • 2 chopped onions (some reserved for toppings)
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 8 tablespoons vinegar
  • 8 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons Worcester sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons brown mustard

After browning and draining the meat, add the remaining ingredients and stir until incorporated. Cook at a simmer until the sauce has the consistency of a chili or sloppy joe.

Serve over a hotdog in a bun. Traditionally the hotdogs would be boiled (dirty water dogs!), but grilled ones work just as well and might be preferred by some. Top with chopped onions and extra mustard if desired.

Eat up and go back for seconds.

Thanks to Julie Grundon, manager of the Lake Placid/Whiteface Mountain for not only making us this yummy dish, but sharing her recipe as well. She was definitely the hostess with the most-ess. 

To learn more about our visit to the Lake Placid/Whiteface Mountain KOA, read our article here or listen to podcast episode #57: Greetings From Lake Placid.

07 Aug

RVFTA #47: Fancy Camping with Kate Dunbar

Fancy Camping with Kate Dunbar

RVFTA Fall Rally Announcement on this episode! October 23rd and 24th at the Philadelphia/West Chester KOA in the Great State of Pennsylvania…Reserve Now!

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about the trend of fancy camping that is all the rage these days. Decked out vintage campers, cushioned outdoor seating, and sequins throw pillows are popping up more and more around campgrounds.

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Plus, campsites with patio furniture, pavers, and decorative landscaping are increasing in popularity.

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We are NOT such fancy campers ourselves, so we invited Kate Dunbar of Kate’s Curious Kitchen to come on the show and give us the rundown on glamping. In addition to owning a vintage trailer and an Airstream, Kate is also a professional chef.

Basically she has more style than we could ever dream of.

airstream glamping

She has also has great tips on dressing up the inside and outside of your trailer, and making fabulous meals on the road. Check out her recommendation for a dutch oven cooking blog, Mark’s Black Pot.

Our fancy camping agenda includes discussion of…

  • easy and stylish RV modifications
  • accessories and decor
  • food and meal preparation
  • deluxe campsites

We may set up a couple of camp chairs and call it a day. But you might want to elevate your campground style.

RV awning chandelier

If so,  you are listening to the right show. This is episode #47: Fancy Camping with Kate Dunbar!

We are delighted to welcome back Go RVing as our RVFTA sponsor. Check out their events page to see what experiential events they have coming up in the next few months.

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29 Jun

Summertime on the Blue Ridge Parkway with the Fancy Gap KOA

It’s been two years since we have travelled on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the National Park Services second most visited “park unit” after the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, but now we’ve finally made it back.  It is easy to see why it is so popular.  It is a magical drive.

DSC_0121The Parkway is 469 miles long.  It starts at the southern end of Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive and it ends near the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The mountain towns that are nestled alongside the parkway, and the parkway itself, provide endless opportunities for sightseeing and family adventure.  For the first leg of our summer trip we decided to camp at the Fancy Gap KOA in Fancy Gap, Virginia.  We have long suspected that this KOA would make a great base camp for a Blue Ridge Parkway adventure.  We were right.

DSC_0166The campground is nestled on a mountainside and is filled with beautiful, shaded back in sites, pull through sites for big rigs, and a mixture of rustic and deluxe cabins.  Many of those sites are surrounded by native flowers and meticulous landscaping. Pride of ownership is evident here.

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We are not dog owners, but we were also impressed with this KOA’s unique and spacious pet friendly sites.  They have a large fenced in area at the rear that easily doubles the overall size of the site.

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We also loved the campground’s club house and its brand new patio area right outside of the camp store. These were great shared spaces for socializing with other campers and relaxing with our boys.  We played checkers there every night.  There was a barbecue dinner Friday night prepared by pitmaster Ben from Blue Ridge BBQ–and it was awesome. The ribs and pulled pork hit the spot after a long day of adventure in the mountains.  There was an ice cream social held in the club house on Saturday night and we did partake of not one, but two scoops each.

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Our evenings at the campground were peaceful and relaxing and allowed us to recharge our batteries for the next day’s adventures.  And with an entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway only 200 yards from the campground, adventure is literally waiting around the corner.  On our first day we headed South on the parkway to the Blue Ridge Music Center.  There is free bluegrass there every day from 12-4 and the quality is amazing.  The Center is educational and inspiring, and the musicians give you a delicious taste of the area’s rich musical heritage.  There are rocking chairs set up on the breezeway for listeners–and a few of them even got up and danced to the livelier tunes. If you love pickin’ then this is your place.

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On day two of our Blue Ridge adventure we headed south to Mabry Mill, the most photographed site on the Parkway.  We did a little exploring around the mill and then headed into the restaurant next door for tasty salads and sandwiches served up at a reasonable price with lots of Southern hospitality. After lunch we went on a nearby hike that skirted the ridge of the mountain and weaved in and out of densely wooded forest with the occasional spectacular vista.  Even though we were close to the parkway the woods were filled with deer who were playful and unafraid of our presence. Even when I pulled the camera out.

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If you stay at the Fancy Gap KOA you will be tempted to spend each day enjoying the seemingly never-ending splendor of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  But then you would miss a day trip to Mount Airy, North Carolina, birthplace of Andy Griffith, and inspiration for the town of Mayberry in the legendary Andy Griffith Show.  Missing Mount Airy would be a crying shame.  We had a complete hootenanny of a day there. We enjoyed the famous pork chop sandwich at Snappy Lunch, where Andy ate as a boy.

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Then we visited the town “courthouse” modeled after the one in the television show.  Even though the boys had been on best behavior all day it still felt mighty good to throw them in the clink!

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Don’t worry. They didn’t stay long.  We had to make our 3 o’clock tour of the town in a vintage Ford police car, just like the one on the show.  Our tour guide was informative and funny.  The highlight came when the 1963 Ford broke down right in front of Andy Griffith’s childhood home.  Another tour guide, Melvin, raced from the “courthouse” to pick us up in another police car.  He was also informative and funny. Luckily he was driving a ’67 Ford.  We made it back okay.

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On our way out of Mount Airy I ran into a gift shop and bought season one of the Andy Griffith show. When we got back to the Fancy Gap KOA it was raining and the day was quickly coming to an end.  We put Wesley to bed and then the boys asked if we could watch a few episodes.  So we cuddled up in bed and were transported back in time to Mayberry in the 1960’s.

The Blue Ridge Parkway and Mount Airy had cast a magical spell over all of us.  We didn’t want to leave the Fancy Gap KOA the next morning, but summer was calling us deeper into its arms.  Time to head further south to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We have heard that it is pretty nice there too.

We have been frequent customers of KOA over the past 5 years, but this was a sponsored trip. Our opinions are always our own.

To hear more about our stay near the Blue Ridge Parkway and our fun adventures in Fancy Gap and Mount Airy, listen to Episode #42 of our podcast: Greetings from the Blue Ridge Parkway! 

You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store, or click on the button below to stream it. Visit the podcast show notes here.

20 Jun

RVFTA #40: Let’s Get Grillin’

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about the fine art of grilling. We love the idea of making delicious campground meals on a great portable grill, but quite frankly we don’t have the tools or the talent.

So we reached out to Evanne Schmarder, cohost of Rollin’ on TV and creator of the RV Cooking Show. She is taking us to school and teaching us Grillin’ 101. Listen for some fantastic grill recommendations as well as some great tips for putting a delicious dinner on your campground picnic table.

Evanne is schooling us on:

  • Preheating the Grill
  • Oiling the food
  • Meat in the middle and veg around the edge
  • Closing the lid
  • Using a timer
  • Using a meat thermometer
  • Letting meat rest
  • Cleaning your grill
  • Grilled Fish Tacos

Plus Stephanie shares an easy way to add some flavor and punch to your meals without packing up your whole spice cabinet. Mixing spice rubs ahead of time is a simple trick to save time and space while traveling in your RV.

And we have a review of Campfire Cuisine by Robin Donovan, a unique and classy camping cookbook that takes you beyond the beef stew and cowboy casserole. We reviewed this cookbook a little over a year ago, and we are still just as infatuated with the great meal planning resources, out of the box meal ideas, and tips for prepping in advance.

All of this and a fun new giveaway on Episode 40 of RV Family Travel Atlas: Let’s Get Grillin’!

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