Food on the Road

cilantro-lime-soba-noodles.jpg

We have had MANY people ask about our eating habits now that we are in the RV full-time. And because I LOVE food more than the average person…I thought I would go into detail about it :)

Going Smaller
The fridge is small. It’s 6 cu. sq. ft. as opposed to our apt. fridge which was 18. However, I really enjoy it. It forces me to only buy what we need, and because we’re buying less at one time, not as many things go bad before we can eat them. I am able to fit a lot of things in there. The freezer is just enough for some frozen fruit, ice cream, and chocolate…but not big enough for a large frozen pizza.

My pantry is actually larger than I’ve had before. I love it. I have it organized and labeled so we can find things easily. We have sufficient cupboard space for plates, cups, etc. and also for the pots, pans, food processor, blender, toaster, etc. I was amazed at how much we could fit in there. We downsized our kitchen gadgets considerably, but when you only keep what you use everyday, it’s quite easy.

I love that everything is within reaching distance. I would go crazy in a large kitchen where I actually had to walk several steps to put something in the sink! It makes cleanup easier as well.

What Do You Eat?
Our meals have not changed a great deal. I still have a fully functional kitchen. I’m not cooking over a campfire every night :) Bella and I are vegetarians and Matt is a meat-eater. I try to keep some sliced turkey on hand for his sandwiches…but other than that, he eats vegetarian at home. We make a lot of sandwiches because they are quick and easy. Some favorites are hummus and avocado, almond butter and jelly, and grilled cheese. Salads are always nice and refreshing. I love making big, meal-sized salads with all the fixins so it fills you up. Soba noodles are also a common meal…either with red sauce or my favorite cilantro lime sauce (see photo above). When we want something fast and cheap…eggs are great! As is scrambled tofu and toast. We do occasionally have some boxed meals…organic mac and cheese or cous cous with fresh veggies…but I try to stick to whole foods whenever possible. When it cools off a bit, I will start making soups again. I love making curries, bean soups, potato soups, etc and pairing it with some crusty bread and good salad. Yum! The crock pot is my friend.

Staples
Here are some of the staples that I have on hand right now:

  • Whole wheat bread
  • Cheese
  • Earth Balance
  • Homemade Hummus (see recipe below)
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes (heirloom…from the Farmer’s Market, yum!)
  • Vanilla Soy Coffee Creamer
  • Almond Milk
  • Almond Butter
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Blue Corn Chips
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Black Beans
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Watermelon
  • Popcorn (we pop it on the stove)
  • Other condiments, raw baking supplies, canned goods, etc.

We eat hummus nearly everyday…for sandwiches, dip, you name it. Here is the BEST hummus recipe I’ve ever found:

Creamy Hummus
Vive Le Vegan by Dreena Burton

2 cups cooked chickpeas (canned is ok, soaking your own is best)
3.5 – 5 T freshly squeezed lemon juice (adjust to taste)
2-3 T tahini (optional)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 small to medium garlic clove
1/2 t toasted sesame oil (important…so tasty!)
1/2 t sea salt
3-4 T water (or less/more as desired)
Freshly ground pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients and puree until smooth, adding a little water at first, then more if desired to thin it. Scrape down sides of bowl several times throughout and puree again until very smooth. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice. Serve in a large bowl, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil.

More Things I LOVE
The gas stove. I really, really love gas stoves. They cook things so much better and the heat is instant on and off.
My cast iron cookware. It’s really old and it works great. Perfect for on the stove, in the oven, or over a campfire.
Our table. Booth seating works great for a toddler. Comfy too.
Cooking/preparing meals while driving. So convenient!

New Challenges
Getting coffee grounds out of the french press is a little harder than usual. We don’t have a sprayer and obviously don’t have a food disposal. I have just been going outside and using the outdoor sprayer to clean it out. In the apt, I would just clean it out in the sink, and the drain screen would catch it. In the RV, my drain screen is smaller, so it fills up and then the grounds just float around the sink in the water. If anyone has a great solution, let me know!

Another challenge…it’s hard to change the mentality of wanting to dine out whenever you’re traveling. We do have it in the budget to go out once in awhile, but I think it might have to be increased as we pass through all of these amazing cities with amazing food! :) As I said above, being able to have your entire kitchen wherever you go is so convenient and can save so much money…but experiencing local culture and food is fun too!

If you want to read more about my food obsessions…check out my food blog here. I haven’t updated it for awhile, as I haven’t been trying many new dishes lately, but there are some great recipes on there! I have a separate Flickr set for food now as well. Check it out here.

I really enjoy preparing food in the RV. I love a challenge…I don’t ever want to say “Oh, I could never….”. That holds you back from so many new things that you might love if you tried them (like having a 6 cubic sq. ft fridge!).

If you have any great “on the road” or campfire recipes, let me know!

20 Comments »

  1. You are such a cutie! I love the new pic on your food blog as well as flickr and wherever else you put it. Love the hair tie thing…what is the word? LOL

    Comment by Kristin Mayo — August 14, 2007 @ 6:47 pm

  2. Hey Sara!

    I’m positively enthralled with you guys! Praying God’s love and sustenance on you and your family for your journey – it’s very inspiring, and your chronicles of both it and green living are a ministry in itself. :)

    Since ya asked (and because I’m a HUGE foodie!) ;) , here’s a fun, easy campfire dessert:

    BANANA BOATS:
    Using a whole banana (do not peel), slice it horizontally (not fully through, though). Open it up and fill with chocolate and marshmallows. Wrap in tinfoil and heat over the fire. Mmm! Oops, was that me drooling on the keyboard? Haha!

    Comment by Kelly — August 14, 2007 @ 6:57 pm

  3. Enjoying reading your blog…enjoyed the one in the apt too…but this is even more interesting. Thanks for all the ideas…and of course, recipes are always a good idea!!

    Comment by Elizabeth — August 14, 2007 @ 7:50 pm

  4. About the coffee grounds:

    I use a “thingie” that sits on top of a cup with a reusable hemp filter for making coffee and I have a similiar problem getting the grounds out, not because my sink can’t take it but because I’m trying to get it in my compost container.

    I found what works best is waiting until later in the day when they are dry. It may not work for you, I can imagine that just leaving the coffee maker out makes it look like everything is out of place but perhaps you could find a holding place for it, while waiting for the grounds to dry. Just make sure there is no water accumulation or it’ll take ages to dry.

    Comment by Malva — August 15, 2007 @ 4:34 am

  5. Sara, I’m impressed with your ability to cook such good stuff while travleing. I know when we travel we often fall victim to fast food restaurants ) :

    Comment by nikki — August 15, 2007 @ 8:29 am

  6. I am fascinated by your life right now. I can’t remember how I found your blogs afew weeks ago, but I’m so glad I did. I’m very uneducated about green living and have learned so much from you.

    This post was great. I was also wondering more about your food preparation, etc on the RV. I think we would waste a lot less food if we had a smaller fridge and made more use out of what we had on hand.

    Very cool! I look forward to your future adventures. And PS, you have GREAT taste!

    Comment by Miriam — August 15, 2007 @ 10:39 am

  7. Okay, so I finally sat in front of the computer and looked! Its great, I love it! If I like computers I’d make one like it! About your coffee dilema, since we too live in a trailer, but not on the move yet?! We use a reusable cloth filter, I actually bought it in Brazil, but I’m sure you can find them around here. I grind my beans put them in the filter, boil my water. I only make enough for one or two cups, if I know I want more I fill a thermos with the coffee. I leave the coffee grounds in the filter and hang them above my sink to dry and through out or use again. Disposal of coffee beans is easy- just add them to any passing plant or garden near by. The dry cloth filter is easy to rinse, sometimes a little coffee might stick but now near as much as cleaning out your press. I’ll for sure pick one up for you in December when we fly south. I need to get myself a back up anyway. yummy coffee, i think i’ll go make some!!

    Comment by Rebecca — August 15, 2007 @ 1:43 pm

  8. O the drool!

    I too eat hummus frequently- I think that we use the same recipe. I like to add cayenne and if I have other things on hand (a scallion, a handful of toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on top) I’ll do that too. I also like humus with white beans instead of chickpeas, or peanut butter instead of tahini (though only if there’s no tahini to be had- people think that hummus is a chickpea-based dish, but it’s really the sesame products that are its essence!).

    Other favorite simple road & summer foods of mine are:
    - cold bean salads made with whatever’s available (black beans with fresh/frozen corn, diced red onion (or sweet onion if your little gal doesn’t like the strong red flavor), scallions, cilantro, EV olive oil & your favorite vinegar & other herbs is my Mr.’s favorite)
    - open-faced sandwiches with whole-grain bread, whole-grain mustard, swiss cheese & sliced avocado (I craved this during my pregnancy!)
    - for campfires, roast potatoes with “leftover whatever soup” is nice- that and pancakes with whatever berries are available, drizzled with honey or syrup, YUM

    My latest favorite is making weekly batches of pasta sauce using tomatoes (so many right now!) with whatever veggies are left over for the week- and leftover meat if the Mr. made any. I throw in a few frozen cubes of whatever veggie puree baby food I made, too, for the added flavor & nutrition (pureed carrots make for an especially great addition to pasta sauce, I think). Then I freeze a batch or two to use in the coming week or two- tonight I’ll use some frozen sauce and leftover bread & cheese to help make eggplant parmigiana, for example.

    Your sweet little RV looks like so much fun! If you ever swing it down Tucson way, forewarn us on your blog and I would love to meet you! I found you through a mention on Eyes of Wonder and was delighted to discover another Christian, eco-geeky babymama. I think you & Matt’d love our town, too… ;)

    Comment by Samara — August 15, 2007 @ 2:34 pm

  9. Samara…I was actually born in Tucson, at Davis Monthon Air Force Base! Haven’t been back since then though! :) We’ve spent lots of time in the Scottsdale for business. Arizona is HOT! :)

    Thanks for all the great food ideas!

    Comment by livelightly — August 15, 2007 @ 3:18 pm

  10. I recently discovered your blog when my Doggie Days of Summer contest winner suggested I check it out. I’m really enjoying it. Here is a red pepper dip that I came up with. It is easy to make, pretty and tasty. More importantly, it is EASY. Especially good to make with fresh farmer’s market peppers.

    Roasted Red Pepper Dip

    4 whole red peppers, washed
    2 bulbs garlic
    kosher sea salt to taste
    cracked black pepper to taste
    1 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil

    Preheat oven to 400˚. Trim tops off the garlic bulbs and wrap in foil. Bake for about an hour until garlic is golden brown and caramelized. Let garlic cool.
    Under broiler, on grill or over gas flame, char the peppers well on all sides. Let cool until comfortable to touch. Trim off tops and bottoms, slit and spread flat. Peel away charred skin on outside; use knife to remove seeds and membranes inside. (This step is a little messy and best done on a cutting board over the sink.)
    Place all prepared peppers in food processor. Squeeze baked garlic out of the bulb directly into the food processor. Add olive oil and seasonings. Pulse until just blended for a chunkier dip or until smooth for a more sauce-like consistency.

    Comment by Tara — August 15, 2007 @ 4:57 pm

  11. I have been reading your blog for a couple of months now and just love it. I find it so interesting when you talk about Minnesota. Our family lives in Minnesota – a hour or so north of the Twin Cities.
    You have been such an inspiration in so many ways.
    Would you be willing to share your recipe for red sauce and your cilantro lime sauce. They sound so yummy!
    Thanks much.

    Comment by Kristy — August 15, 2007 @ 6:35 pm

  12. Sara-I noticed on one of your blogs or flickr that Matt is a meat eater. Does Bella not care for it or do you prefer she not eat it? BTW her interview on her blog with your brother was priceless. Especially the part about soy milk. I took it she uses the “I want a drink “to keep from going to bed? With your love of food have you ever considered doing “how to cook vegetarian” type cooking classes to your service list?

    Comment by melissa — August 15, 2007 @ 8:57 pm

  13. I’m not sure about this, but I’ve heard that plants love coffee grounds. I swish mine around with a little water and while it’s still swirling pour it into the base of a plant. The grounds are caught in the swirling water and get poured away–you have the keep the water moving, though or they sink again! You many know more than I do about the compatibility of coffee grounds, soil, and plants. Anyway, when the swirled water/grounds are poured out it’s clean and only needs a rinse. By the way…I saw the mention about Tucson…that’s where I’m originally from. Small world!

    Comment by Mariah — August 16, 2007 @ 1:28 pm

  14. Hi – I just discovered your blog – fun!

    I too love cooking in our trailer and have been intending to post more recipes on “trailer food” to our blog… For now, you might like this recipe for grilled vegetable fajitas on nights when you want to break out the grill (and not make a mess in the kitchen):

    http://www.63flyingcloud.com/2007/06/camp_food_grilled_vegtable_faj.htm

    Comment by Lynn — August 22, 2007 @ 6:28 am

  15. I’m assuming that the RV doesn’t have an oven – If you have a BBQ with a top, you can make a great pizza. Here’s a shot of our pizza in Homer, AK. http://www.visionmetrics.com/excellentadventure/images/kenai-page/pages/IMG_2585.htm

    We put rocks on the top of the grill (a make-shift pizza stone) to hold the heat and cooked the pizza in a pan set on that.

    It’ll work for anything baked – we made things like brownies on serveral occasions too.

    Comment by Diane — August 22, 2007 @ 10:58 am

  16. Melissa…Bella does not eat meat because I don’t want her to for the same reasons as I don’t eat it (mostly health…hormones and other nastiness…and ethical and environmental reasons too).

    Diane…we actually do have nice stove. Thanks for the ideas! I love to grill too.

    Comment by livelightly — August 23, 2007 @ 9:34 am

  17. Your fridge and pantry could be ours, we have almost identical stuff in our RV (except for almond butter…what do you use it for?).

    We gave up on reusable coffee filters. Sad but true. Now we use a Melita one-cup (Jim drinks it, I only occasionally). If you don’t want to give up the press, try rinsing the grounds in a bowl of water, then dump the water in your fire pit. It’s eco OK as far as I’m concerned.

    One idea; get a jar of hoisin sauce, mix with soy sauce and brush it on veggies for grilling, serve over noodles. Yum!

    One other compromise I’ve made in the kitchen; I use Bisquick. I never used this at home, but it’s much easier and lighter than carrying flour, soda, powder, etc. around, and it works at any altitude w/out adjusting. Very versatile.

    As a vegetarian, cooking in an RV is MUCH easier than if you were all meat eaters. Jim’s content with the occasional slab of flesh but cooking it outside only on the RVQ. Otherwise it would stink up the interior, which would drive me nuts.

    Comment by Rene — August 24, 2007 @ 8:44 am

  18. Rene…we use almond butter just like anyone else would use peanut butter. Bella is allergic to peanuts, so we use it as a substitute. It’s healthier too…it’s raw almond butter as opposed to roasted peanut butter (raw = good) :)

    With the Bisquick…I’m avoid partially hydrogenated oils like the plague, so it’s no go for us. Last time I checked…Bisquick still had it in there. You’re right about it being easier though!

    Yes…veggie cooking is easy! I love it. Your recipe idea sounds delicious!

    Comment by livelightly — August 25, 2007 @ 5:04 pm

  19. Hi Sara, I was recently introduced to your blog & website from Serenity, and am so very stoked to see you guys living deliberatley and doing it in such a fun and adventuous way!! My husband (also names Matt – great minds marry alike LOL) and I are on a similar mission, scheduled to take place in 2010, so I will be following your tour closely and looking forward to your visit to Portland OR should you make it here. I do have a question for you… In regards to a budget for your trip, how exactly did you go about creating one?

    Comment by Jen — September 8, 2007 @ 9:53 pm

  20. iron water filters…

    I got a lot of good information from reading what you posted. Thanks….

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