Baking and cooking projects, of course! 😊 I love to be in the kitchen, and being on the road has not changed that desire. I brought a limited but reasonable arsenal with me to continue my love for cooking and baking on the road, and Matt even bought me some mini baking sheet pans, racks and silpats that fit in our tiny oven. ❤️
Because we picked all of those delicious blueberries at Riley Creek Blueberry Farm, I needed to find some ways to use them up. The easy lift was making blueberry pancakes, but of course I had more ambitious plans and decided to make a blueberry lemon bread. I bought a container of yeast that I keep in the freezer and have a nicely stocked pantry full of spices and other baking and cooking necessities. I decided to use bins to help keep things more organized and prevent things from going everywhere when we are moving the trailer, and so far that has worked pretty darn well!
Though time consuming, the blueberry bread project came together fairly well. The recipe called for creme fraiche, but I couldn’t find any in the markets nearby, so I substituted sour cream instead. I like things a little more tangy anyway, so didn’t mind this swap. However, the filling was a bit too runny for this project, so I increased the volume of sour cream and stuck the filling in the freezer to thicken it up slightly before spreading it out on the dough.
The biggest challenge with baking is dealing with the gas oven, because it is SOOO temperamental. The temperature will shoot up initially, and when you try to back off the heat, then it drops way down, so it takes a good 30 minutes just to get it in the right range. The second biggest challenge aside from the obvious (space), is keeping up with the dishes. Five rounds of dishes later and the kitchen is ready for my next project: three bean chili.
Given the day has been filled with intermittent storms and it has cooled off significantly, we decided to enjoy a nice bowl of chili tonight. Matt was insistent that we bring the instant pot on the road, and surprisingly we managed to find room to store it in our cupboards, and have been using it more than I initially anticipated for cooking rice, beans, and the like…those items that take longer and are easier to cook in the instant pot than on the stove.
I doctored up a recipe and presoaked a trio of beans overnight. The recipe called for ground beef, which I swapped with ground chicken, and it didn’t call for any beans. ⁉️ I prefer my chili with beans, so am excited to see how my combination of scarlet runners, vaquero, and pinto beans taste. I have quite an array of toppings…I like all of the green stuff: avocado, cilantro, green onions, and a squeeze of lime. Add a little bit of shredded Colby and sharp cheddar cheese and I’m a happy woman. 😋 Matt likes to add in sour cream and Fritos as well.
When storing leftover ingredients, our avocado saver works pretty well, little storage containers are my friend for things like limes and lemons, and a tall, lidded container works great for storing herbs. I love pulling a bundle of cilantro or parsley apart and picking out all of the shorter stalks that you don’t want in the water at the bottom of your storage container and using those for garnish. I hate wasting anything, and this maximizes the life of my herbs.
What else did we do with our day in the trailer? Laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping, fixing electrical shorts in the wall…you know, your normal chores. Doing laundry in shared facilities is not something I have had to do for a while. Every place is in a different state of cleanliness, and the number of machines available ranges widely at each location. But, the costs are typically about $2 per washer and $2 per dryer load. Aside from snagging a machine when you want one, the biggest drawback (in my opinion) is the fact that even if you use fragrance-free laundry detergent, the machines soak up scent from everyone else’s laundry detergent, so your clothes will pick it up scent whether you like it or not!
Regardless, life seems fairly balanced right now between having some days to go explore and other days when maintenance, organizing, cleaning, and other adulting tasks need to be done. We have learned that your stress doesn’t go away with this sort of change in lifestyle…it just shifts the focus of your stress. Are there concerns about the truck or the trailer? What needs to be done to prepare for the next travel day (always stressful) or destination? Did we reserve well enough in advance or will we be scrambling to find availability? Are there any issues with our house back in Oregon? Hopefully, as we get better at this, these concerns become more routine and manageable. Only time will tell.