Tampa, FL: Hallie and Chris

Hallie and Chris are newlyweds…and are as sweet as can be. We had such a fun time with them…even though our visit was short. They are so full of life and energy! I initially met Hallie when she sent me this photo and told me the cool “God story” about her wedding dress. It was a thrift store find…perfect size…perfect price! And look at her fabulous hair! It matched the flowers in their wedding…now that just makes me HAPPY! A few weeks later, she offered to trade their Champion Juicer when we passed through Tampa, and of course, I was quite excited about that! We had been wanting a Champion…so that was such a blessing!

When we arrived from Sarasota…we met Hallie at their church and we got settled back into a nice, quiet corner. The church had a HUGE lot with a playground, so it was a blessing to have our very own “front yard” with room to run and play and be free. That evening, we went to their apartment to have supper (a HUGE yummy salad with all the fixins!). Bella loved watching their turtles and geckos…and we had a great time chatting. Both Hallie and Chris work from home…in the comic book/art industry. We had fun looking at the different comics they have done!

The next day, we met for lunch at The Grass Root, an organic vegan/vegetarian/raw restaurant. From the moment we walked in, I knew it would be a wonderful experience! It’s so deliciously earthy in there…with a deep orange color on all the walls that just radiates warmth! The owner, Spencer, was our server…and his wife, Sabrina, was on hand as well. The food was AMAZING…so flavorful, with options for everyone. They do more than just raw food, and have an extensive menu for the entire family.

Here is a little blurb from their website:

Grass Root is not only a destination for the health conscious, but also a cultural hub in Tampa. We have customers from all walks of life. Our restaurant has provided us with the opportunity to connect and feed a large array of people. We feel blessed to be of service to all of you.

Grass Root is truly an expression of who we are as people and collectively as a family. We have great respect for the Earth itself and accept responsibility for its well being. We know that eating an organic vegetarian diet is a major contribution. For those striving for an optimum existence , the RAW/LIVING foods lifestyle is the way to go. It has profoundly positive effects on your overall health, the environment and those around you.

They have won several awards, including one from VegNews for being one of the best restaurants for “every day dining” in the entire country! They also have a large raw meetup each month. I am so happy that we found this little gem…I really, really wanted to go back for another meal…but we had to leave for Atlanta! Someday…I’ll be back and will enjoy their food once again. If you’re ever in Tampa, don’t miss it.

Thanks to Hallie and Chris for being such great hosts!

Photo album here.

Composting on the Road…Help!

One of the best things about staying at the farm was their giant compost pile! Whenever I have access to a compost pile, I am absolutely giddy. You can imagine how many scraps and peels we produce while eating raw…it’s amazing. I try to keep it, so we can dump it strategically, but not everywhere we are staying has a compost pile. We’ve been very blessed that FOUR families have had compost piles this month…it’s been great being able to dump it.

However, this isn’t always the case. We are currently searching for a composting solution that is RV friendly! We found the NatureMill…and that is my DREAM composter! I saw one in person at Dwell Smart in Charleston, and oooooh how I loved it! I want one desperately…but alas, they are a little too spendy for our little budget. If you are looking for a composting solution for a small space, do check it out!

I have also looked into vermicomposting, but found that the temps need to stay in a range that probably isn’t do-able in the heat of the summer. I have even tried collecting it in bags and bringing it to coops, etc. who compost, but most will not take it unless it’s their own scraps.

We need your help! If you have solutions for us, we’d love to hear them. We need a way to store the scraps until we find a compost pile…or, preferably a way to compost it ourselves. C’mon all you green thinkin’ people…I know you have ideas!

Farmer’s Market Fun


One of my favorite things in Des Moines is the Downtown Farmer’s Market. It’s a family tradition to go every week…so I definitely missed it when we moved! We met our friends, John Henry and Denise there…along with their kids, Isaiah and Annora. We actually met them 3 years ago AT the Farmer’s Market, so it was the perfect place to reunite. We had fun hitting our normal stops and some new ones as well. One of our favorites is Blue Gate Farm. Jill and Sean are fabulous people and we got to know them a little better last year when we purchased a CSA share from their farm. They are so genuine and kind…and it’s really encouraging to see people so committed to sustainability. We devoured their delicious organic veggies every week of the summer.

This week, we were heading there to buy a jar of their amazing herb syrup. It’s the best stuff I’ve ever tasted. It’s the base to their lemonade…and it’s spiked with rosemary and other herbs from their farm. It can also be used to sweeten tea or fruit. As Jill and I greeted each other, she handed me a jar of the syrup and said it was on the house…Blue Gate Farms little addition to the Live Lightly Tour. You can imagine my excitement :) John Henry captured a photo of me accepting this wonderful gift (see photo above). I still haven’t made it yet…I’m saving it for a special occasion!

For photos of last week and also all of the photos I’ve taken of the Farmer’s Market, click here.

Food on the Road


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.

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!