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.

In Segment Two, we put Micheal Stern in the hot seat, and make him answer some tough questions about his favorite American food region, and some of his most memorable discoveries.

We wrap it up in Segment Three with our own personal list of 10 amazing Road Food joints where we have eaten over the course of our RV travels. Pairing a campground with great road food is just about the perfect match in our world. Listen to hear our top picks from the last 7 years.

White Cottage Snack Bar

You might think every meal has to be cooked over a campfire if you are a true RV enthusiast. But we know that finding a great road food joint turns an ordinary trip into an epic adventure. Take a listen to episode #135: Ready, Set, Road Food!

A big thanks to our fabulous sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV fools:

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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…

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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!

 

 

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12 Oct

Recipe of the Week: Julie’s Michigan Sauce

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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12 Jun

RV Breakfast: Smoothie Stock Up List

smoothies at the campground

Sometime during our second year of RVing, we realized that we had been sucked into the vortex of unhealthy breakfast habits. Too many pancakes, too many bagels.

This was truly a puzzle because at home we ate very healthy breakfasts on a daily basis. Yogurt, oatmeal, and eggs were in regular rotation and popular with both kids and adults.

We knew we had to take back breakfast. One of the benefits of having an RV is that it is your home on wheels and you can bring your healthy habits with you on the road. No excuses. We could do quick, easy, AND healthy while we traveled.

I’ve shared some of our favorite healthy RV breakfasts before. But my favorite favorite? My favoritest of the favorites?

The smoothie.

The number one reason the smoothie is such a great option for families with young children is that you can jam it full of fruits, veggies, calcium, and protein and know your kids got a blast of nutrition early in the day.

Then you get to chill out a little on the food front.

So I decided to share my smoothie shopping list with our readers. I generally don’t follow recipes, but instead I stock a bunch of basics that can be combined in different ways to keep things tasty and interesting. I always follow the same basic formula: base liquid, fruits and veggies, something tart to balance the sweet, and a healthy protein or fat.

Smoothie Stock Up List:

The Base:

  • Quarts of Yogurt (plain or vanilla)
  • Almond Milk
  • Coconut water

Fruits and Veggies:

  • bananas
  • apples
  • cucumbers
  • spinach
  • frozen mixed berries (strawberries, cherries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • frozen pineapple/ mango

A bit of tartness:

  • 100% cranberry juice
  • lemons
  • limes
  • oranges

Protein/Healthy Fats:

  • Almond butter
  • Peanut butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Avocados

It might sound like a lot, but the list is easily tailored to the length of your RV trip and your own personal taste. It also includes items stored in the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer so you should definitely have room for everything.

Here’s your Smoothie Stock-Up Cheat Sheet for Pinning:

Smoothie Stock Up List

 

18 May

Road Food Gone Wrong: An Almost Perfect Day in Awendaw, South Carolina

Our last day in the Myrtle Beach area was perfectly planned. In fact, it was shaping up to be the quintessential RV Family Travel Atlas kind of day, including our favorite types of activities paired with the promise of amazing, local food.

We have a bit of a formula for travel. We start with the great outdoors because our family is always a heck of a lot happier when we have a little room to roam. Then we look for an activity that is truly engaging and interesting to both kids and adults. Finally, we shamelessly beg the locals to recommend the most amazing food joint they know of with outdoor seating. See? There’s the whole outside thing again.

So I had followed these steps precisely and ended up with a pretty exciting day trip itinerary. We were headed south of Myrtle Beach to the Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw, South Carolina. This Avian Conservation Center does amazing work both in rehabilitating injured birds and in educating the public about native bird populations. They also use a vintage Airstream as an office.  Pretty cool, right?

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I was scheduled to get a private tour of the medical clinic (normally closed to the public) and then we were going to tour the grounds with the director of the facility. The icing on the cake? Our plans for an early dinner at SeeWee Restaurant. The staff at the Center for Birds of Prey told us this was their top pick for local eats. Then, to our delight, we also found it recommended in our travel bible, Jane and Michael Stern’s culinary classic Roadfood. Yup, pretty awesome itinerary.

But then, right after we parked the truck, we encountered the fire ants. More specifically, Max and Wes encountered the fire ants. We told the boys not to go near them then made the mistake of turning our backs for five seconds.  It was our first introduction to this southern phenomenon and there was a lot of screaming and wailing and water bottle dumping. There was outfit changing and a couple of more rounds of general freaking out. Suffice it to say that by the time it was over we had missed out on our window for off-book tour opportunities.

We joined in with the next available tour and it was still nothing short of amazing. Our tour guide, Stephen, had the ability to convince this girl that the vulture is the noblest animal on Earth. He also did a whole lot of owl hooting and gave us more information about Bald Eagles than I have ever heard before. The tour was long, at least an hour, and our six year olds were engaged the entire time.

Then came the real spectacle. The flight demonstration featured falcons, hawks, and vultures and demonstrated the birds’ unique hunting and flying techniques. The six year olds were still enraptured. It was stunning, educational, and inspiring. Wes, our two year old, was the only one not wildly excited.

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We left the Center for Birds of Prey impressed by their facility and praising our boys for their behavior during the two hour program. We had overcome the fire ant hiccup and still had an amazing experience.

Onward to food.

The SeeWee Restaurant should have been the perfect spot for our family to enjoy an early dinner before heading back to Myrtle Beach. The hush puppies arrived immediately, and shortly afterwards a parade of southern standards filled our table with smells and tastes almost too perfect to believe.

Jeremy and I started with oysters and fried green tomatoes, which were among the best we have ever tasted. Then we just had to sample the chicken fried steak for our main course. The macaroni and cheese, butter beans, sweet potatoes, and collard greens were everything you would want from the perfect southern roadside joint.

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Our children, however, were not so perfect. It was one of those meals. The toddler had to be taken outside. There were mid-meal bathroom breaks and under-the-table wrestling events. Food got cold and beer got warm. At a certain point, we cried uncle. Pack everything up, we said. Check please.

The Center for Birds of Prey was perfect. The SeeWee Restaurant was perfect. Our kids? Not so perfect. But that’s okay. They are just little kids, and we take them to a lot of new places to see a lot of new things. Sometimes you can follow all the rules and still lose the match.

Lucky for us, the food tasted just as good later on that night by the campfire. The collard greens were hot, the beer was cold, and the kids were in bed.

Campground heaven.

 

 

08 May

RVFTA #34: The Happy and Healthy RV

Healthy RV

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are discussing easy ways to develop a healthy RV lifestyle. We’ve developed some rules over the years for eating on the road, making breakfast at the campground, and managing sleeping schedules. These guidelines have served us well, and maybe they could work for you.

We start off by talking about our time on the road before we even get to the campground. This is where the bad habits start, and it is so easy to slip into a fast food and snack routine. We have written about some of our road trip tricks before, and in this episode we will share how eating lunch in your RV at a rest stop can actually be a really enjoyable experience.

Then it’s on to breakfast. We wrote a piece on the Camp Jellystone Blog this week on some of our favorite alternatives to the pancake breakfast. For our favorite smoothie, oatmeal bar, and breakfast burrito recipes, check it out.

And the allusive sleep. It is so easy to end up overtired on a vacation. We find that late nights, missed naps, and jam-packed days can lead to cranky kids (and adults!). We will talk about some of the rules we have developed to keep everyone from experiencing the dreaded vacation overload.

We are thrilled to welcome Stef and James from The Fit RV as guests on the show this week. They are helping us set some new goals for fitness and work towards being even healthier while we travel this season. They made some great recommendations for small, lightweight gear to bring with you in the RV such as Bodylastics. Our set is on its way to the camper as we drop this episode!

Make sure you check out their YouTube channel which is full of simple RV fitness routines. They also have a healthy dose of black tank videos and campground reviews, all done with a great sense of humor that we love.

Who won the best flashlight in the whole wide world? You will have to listen to find out! And we also announce this week’s giveaway from the Spring Gear Guide 2015: The MyMayu Toddler Play Boots, one of our favorite kid gear finds of the year. You can watch an Unboxing Review on our YouTube Channel.

All of this and so much more on Episode 34 of RV Family Travel Atlas: The Happy and Heathy RV!

 

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