Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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RV Cooking Hack Plus Recipe: Garlic Rosemary Potatoes and Meatballs

What some of you might not know is that RV ovens have one rack.

At least our RV oven has one rack. And it’s not a large one either. A half-pan cookie sheet fits inside, with just barely enough room around it for air flow. A Dutch oven does not fit (it’s too heavy, and I fear it would bend/break the rack). A low casserole dish fits, but some lids might bump the top. And once you turn off the oven, you have to let it cool completely before restarting it. The gas pilot light is under the bottom tray at the back of the oven, right where you will burn your arm if you try lighting it while it’s hot. Personal experience speaking here.

And something to watch out for, a lesson I learned just this week with the future scars to match my experience, is the spring loaded oven door is very spring loaded. Very. Using a similar trick as shown in the above photo, a foil wrapped pan, I attempted to put the pan in the oven, the foil stuck, I somehow lost control of the door, and it swung shut on my arm. Did I mention the oven was preheated? I threw the pan in as I jerked my arm out, bouncing the hot stove door edge along my arm. Yikes! I am thankful for fast reflexes. Yes, yes I am.

Oh, but our RV DOES have an oven. We love using it in the winter to heat the RV. We avoid it in the summer, preferring to cook on the BBQ and keep the heat outside.

I’ve often been frustrated by meal plans that need two dishes to be in the tiny oven. And then I started experimenting. See the above photo.

As with all experiments, you figure out new things to try or ways to improve an idea. Now, with the above meatballs and garlic rosemary potatoes, I wouldn’t bother with the foil dam in the middle. Just let the juices mix. Yum! But some things I might not want to touch while baking, like juicy salmon and sweet potato fries. Or something like that.

Either way, combining a main dish and side or two is the perfect way to utilize a small RV oven. I always try to cook too much, because leftovers make perfect lunches for the next day or two.

Garlic Rosemary Potatoes

5-6 small red potatoes, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces

5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 6-8″ sprig of rosemary, washed, dried, and chopped (leaves only, not stem)

olive oil

sea salt

fresh ground pepper

Optional: fresh grated Parmesan cheese, Tabasco sauce

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix potatoes, garlic, rosemary, and enough olive oil to coat it all. Spread on one half of a foil-covered cookie sheet (I like to spray my foil with vegetable spray to keep food from sticking). Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Fill the other half with meatballs. No recipe here for these. I love the Costco frozen meatballs.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through. We like crispy sides, so we cook them longer. If you want to cook yours until just done, aim for 25-30 minutes. Stir halfway through cooking and test potatoes along the way.

Serve potatoes and meatballs with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and a few splashes of Tabasco. We always add broccoli, salad, or green beans. Gotta have those veg!


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Haiku Moment: twinning

double take – sisters!

who is who? swoosh here, stripe there

one box, twice the fun

twinning by Angie Quantrell

Mabel and Monet, 2017

(before a dog pack got Mabel)


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The Things We Do for Cats

Eh-hem. Cats. Once you have one, I mean a cat has decided you are worthy of serving its needs, you will realize the lengths one goes to to make sure said cat is happy and has all her Highness requires.

Cat patio? Check. Multiple concrete cat patios? Why, yes. Strategically placed throughout garden areas, including under the RV deck, where, incidentally, the Great Hunter loves to gnosh on freshly caught mice and voles. And birds. One never knows when she will gift us with a leftover foot, skull, liver, or fluff of feathers. For certain there are stains we cannot get out.

Cat shelter/cute house to hang out in when the weather is inclement? The Favorite Lap Guy just built her a new pad over Christmas break.

Cat tree? Yes (and quite a furniture saver it is). New cat tree which turned out to be sized for kittens? Returned.

Replacement sisal rope added to decimated anchor leg of favorite cat tree? Just completed. Has she used it yet? Nope.

We are testing one leg at a time to see if it holds up.

Fuzzy blankets galore? Check.

Heated blanket for cold days? I mean for the people (but the cat claims it)? Plug it in and let’s get this show on the road.

Favorite cat food (both dry and canned), cat treats, and a special cat toy basket? Stashed in proper cat food basket.

Strategically placed light-weight items on top of the printer to keep the solid-weight cat from sitting there and breaking it? Done. Not you? Well. Princess Monet deems that location perfect for gazing west through the RV window.

Wire fencing placed across winterized garden beds? (You KNOW why.) All set.

Roof added to top of TARDIS garden shed so cat can shelter out of hot sun? Done and done.

Vet on speed dial to order anti-“straw” meds? Definitely. (We prefer to call tapeworms “straw.” Oh, look? Is that straw? Time for more meds. It sounds nicer than the actual term. And. They do look like bits of straw.)

Evening chores are rushed through so the Cat can have her lap of choice for her evening resting pleasure? Certainly. And, BTW, said lap is not mine. She is a Daddy’s girl through and through. Unless food is involved. Then whomever has it is favorite.

Pillows poised to be pulled to the bed edges so the Princess can sleep smack in between Mom and Dad’s heads? Ugh. Yes. Nothing like waking up with someone’s tail-end right up against your chin. Or open one’s eyes to see two alert ready-to-get-up ears pointed right at you. Sleep in? What’s that?

But. Cats. We do it all because we love our kitties. What “special” things do you do for your royal felines? Perhaps Monet needs just one or two more human habits to make her life truly happy, and you know just the right thing. Do share. Her Highness is waiting.

Do you see the cat? She’s there.


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Angie’s Spaghetti Salsa

Reblogged from my former blog, Quantrell Quips: https://angiequantrell.blogspot.com/2010/05/spaghetti-salsa.html

Note from the chef: I miss my big stove and giant pot! Alas, this pan is in storage as it’s too big for the RV stove top. LOL. The name for this spicy red sauce came from my mother-in-love, Carole. Craving spaghetti one day, she asked that I make my spaghetti salsa, giving a nod to the heat I pack into my cooking. It’s been called Spaghetti Salsa ever since. My daughter recently asked for the recipe, and the only place I could find it written down was on my blog.

Here’s the original post from 2010.

Last weekend, I made my “Spaghetti Salsa,” famous in Taylor’s mind. Maybe Chelsie’s (our children). Several were interested in the recipe. The trick is crushed peppers and lots of patience. Just remember, if there ain’t no heat, there ain’t no spaghetti salsa!

Angie’s Spaghetti Salsa

Ingredients:
finely chopped garlic (close to one head – lots!)
one large onion, finely diced (more if you like onions)
olive oil
Saute’ the garlic and onion in olive oil until onions are translucent and garlic is a little crispy.

Add:
6-15 oz. cans of tomato sauce
3-15 oz. cans of Italian stewed tomatoes
2-3 small cans of tomato paste
Add sauce first. Pour stewed tomatoes into your hand and crush them as you add them to the sauce. Add paste and use a whisk to break up lumps. Stir well.

Add:

3 T. Mrs. Dash (regular flavor)
1 tsp. onion salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper (preferably fresh ground)
4-5 bay leaves, whole
3 T. crushed basil
2 T. dried parsley
2 T. dried oregano
1 tsp. crushed pepper (I like to add 1 T. when my parents are not eating with us)

Optional: sliced black olives; You can also add browned and crumbled ground turkey
Sides: hot garlic bread, green salad with vinagrette dressing

Stir all ingredients together. Cover and simmer on low to medium for a minimum of two hours, stirring often. When it is time for dinner, make whole wheat pasta noodles following package directions. Do not dump noodles into the pan of sauce. Instead, place a serving of pasta on a plate, and top with sauce and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Cool and store leftover sauce and noodles (separate containers) in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, heat some sauce in a frying pan, add some noodles, toss, and reheat.

Freeze leftover sauce. This sauce is nice to have on hand for chicken Parmesan, last minute spaghetti, lasagna, or whatever else needs an extra spicy sauce.

Bon appetit!


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Haiku Moment: tasty treats

sunflower forest

winter’s fat, avian feast

loud feathered hot spot

beware, tasty treats

understory stalker waits,

cat infestation

tasty treats by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell


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Make It Monday: Rustic (very) Apricot Galette

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This lovely treat was an experiment from the get-go, but worth every creative independent choice I made in the process.

First, the recipe said 6-8 apricots. I stopped at Barrett Orchards (Washington Fruit Place)  to purchase apricots. A HUGE bag, with possibly 20 apricots. And cherries. 2 pounds, Rainier and a different red cherry. I can’t remember the name. The recipe does not call for cherries, but I’ve been craving them.

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Then. The recipe says refrigerator pie crust. Nope. First. It’s not whole wheat. So I searched for a simple whole wheat pie crust recipe. Quite simple, but did not make very much. Or roll too thin.

Mixed the cream cheese mixture to put on the crust and realized this is more like an apricot cheesecake, but with less filling. I also reduced the sugar. Added it to the too small crust. So beautiful!

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And then apricots. It only took 3 to cover the top. I still have way too many for 2 people to eat before they are overripe.

Brush the crust with egg white. What crust??? There was barely enough to fold over. Ok. There wasn’t even enough to fold over. But I did my best to brush the crust edges. Sprinkled a little raw sugar on it like the recipe said. Barely any.

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So now I have a lovely rustic apricot galette! We can’t wait to have it after lunch. Or for lunch.

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I’m sorry, but I don’t know which magazine I tore this recipe out of…usually the pages have the name at the bottom. Thanks to Trinity Fruit Company for sharing this recipe!

Next time, I will search for a different crust recipe. And try to make a larger, more rectangular galette, due to the size of our cookie sheet and RV oven. One doesn’t bake big items in an RV. And use more apricots.

Bon appétit!
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RV Living: Day (approximately) 1,339

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Creating fairy gardens

People.

This experimental RV living situation is really hanging on. At (approximately) day 1,339 of tiny living, far longer than we expected, life revolves around creativity, tiny-ness, storage woes, lost or in storage items, and a general lack of wardrobe.

For instance, last weekend we rearranged the furniture.

Don’t get excited. That only means we moved a rug, the cat tree, our box (end table), the couch, and chair. Those are basically the ONLY things that can be moved. Though Donavyn came in to see and suggested we move the stove over there and the table over there…(they are all built-ins). He was trying!

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The cat is discombobulated by the move. She is not comfortable. Her cat tree is not by daddy’s chair. She can’t figure out where to sleep. The scratching options have moved. But she does love being the in the slide and having 3 open windows at her beck and call.

The grands appreciate the long line of seating. Enough that the both boys fell asleep, tangled on the couch.

I love the evenings sitting on the one end of the couch in the slide, windows open, listening to the fountain right outside dripping and splashing. TV is off, book in hand. It’s quite like camping in the forest, but for the sounds of distant civilization.

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Hmmm. One of my computer keys is making a squeaking noise. That is not normal. Nor is it good.

We have baby goats next door! 4 adorable smaller-than-my-cat stiff-legged bundles of energy and cuteness.

Our neighbors pass on cool items. We take advantage!

Our medicine cabinet is a gallon ziplock bag.

The parking shelter is perfect for outdoor homeschool activities, especially those involving water and/or messes.

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The pasture. Swimming, biking, ball games, gardening, wildlife, throwing innumerable balls for the dog. That’s all summer (but winter? Sledding rules.).

We have nesting fly catchers! I’m excited about this. FLY catchers. Just imagine how many the mommy and daddy will catch for their hungry babies. Two adult males in my immediate vicinity can only imagine the bird droppings all over. Where is their sense of nature and adventure?
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The cat has been warned off of fly catchers, finches, and quail. She does not listen, but one can hope.

The hawks are nesting. I can hear them peeping and calling to each other. Soon it will be time for them to teach the young ones to fly. And then hunt.

The rabbits who nibbled off most of my spring flowers have moved on. We HOPE. (As opposed to ‘became someone’s lunch’). One wonders how 7 fluffy bunnies suddenly went missing.

Despite it being day (approximately) 1,339 of bumps and bruises from forgetting to look where one moves (we should learn, one would think), life is good in our RV tiny home.

As you can tell, we spent most of our time outdoors. The patio has become our evening resting place, sitting in camp chairs, watching the wildlife antics, calling the cat down from not-our-property, laughing at quail fighting over each other.

Here’s to day (approximately) 1,340.

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Pasture Pets

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The pets we have. Let’s call them pasture pets.

Foo-Foo. Not technically our rabbit. Though I have recently informed my honey that this is my rabbit. Not rabbit soup. (No guarantees for others in the bunny market, as it were…coyotes, hawks, eagles, and other larger predators who roam freely. Like the playground cougar sighting at the school where 3 of my grands attend.)

Poor bunny Foo-Foo. Someone released him. Or he escaped. He is quite the digger, as evidenced by the ditch beneath our Mabel Gate. Or she. I feel like it is a he though.

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Charcoal. Again, not our pet. I can’t even claim him, because he really belongs to the neighbors on the east side of the pasture. They would know if we adopted this funny guy. Also thought he was a she and hoped for a random egg now and then. But she began crowing all hours of the day. This daily visitor will either help our garden grow (by eating pests and fertilizing) or keep it from growing (by nibbling greens and digging up tender shoots). Either way, not our chicken.

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Speaking of…just as I was finishing this post, who trots in from the pasture with a fresh snack?

Monet. This one is really our pet. She adores pasture life and voraciously hunts other pasture pets of the rodent and avian varieties. By our pet, I mean she sleeps in at night (to avoid cat/dog/coyote fights in the wee hours), we feed her on a regular basis, and pay her worming and vet bills. We used to have her twin sister, Mabel, until a pack of dogs decided she was snack worthy. Those dogs were definitely NOT our pets. And they are the reason we now have a Mabel Gate.

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Ginger. Not our pet. Though we are doggy grandparents. She loves visiting us in the pasture. More for chasing the ball and occasional cat (Monet) or jumping in the ditch filled with mud and water. But still. If we would let her, she would visit inside the RV. What fun that would be! So. Though she is not our pet, technically, we have adopted her as a family member. Neighbor. Just over the fence.

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Other “not our pets” include (but not restricted to) hawks, eagles, coyotes, skunks, goats, ducks, quail, geese, voles, mice, rats, woodpeckers, blue jays, magpies, doves, cats, dogs, frogs, snakes, water rats (I really don’t know what they are…but they are big and swim in the irrigation ditch), crows, worms, slugs, song birds, and lots and lots of insects.

Need a trip to the pasture zoo? Come spring, we will be open for business. I mean, the hibernators will be out and about, the frozen will thaw, eggs and litters will hatch, and who knows what else will spring to life. Bring a lawn chair and a camera. We’ll treat you to the habitats and adventures of Pasture Pets.

Our human pasture guests. (not pets)

 

 

 


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Throwback Thursday: Wedding Gift Still at Work Nearly 35 Years Later

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2020 is the year of Kevin and Angie. At least that’s what my honey says. He wants to celebrate our 35th anniversary all year long. I can live with that.

Our actual wedding anniversary date is June 22, 1985. Happy anniversary to us!

I realize that many of you may not even have been born yet. Wow.

I’ve also lately realized that many of the gifts we received on that sunny Saturday so many years ago we still have, use, and enjoy. If it ain’t broke, keep it and use it. Sentimental value makes these gifts even more special.

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Like my casserole dish. I have really come into my own in using this versatile beauty over the last couple of years. For one, the size is perfect for the tiny RV stove. And the lid is an added bonus which allows me to cook covered dishes or uncovered foods. Perfect! An added bonus is how easy this is to clean. Nonstick without the Teflon.

This casserole and lid were originally part of a set. There was a smaller casserole dish and matching lid. I’m pretty sure the smaller dish did not make it to the 35th anniversary year. Unless (let’s all hope so) it has been in storage so long I can’t remember what happened to it.

I’ve cooked everything from quiche to apple crisp to salmon to tater tot casserole in the larger casserole. One of my favorite recipes is a no/low carb bacon cheeseburger casserole. You serve it with relish and diced red onions! The next time I make that I’ll try and remember to take some photos. But photos will not do it justice. One must taste it, relish, dill, and all.

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Featured in this casserole dish (again, the pictures are not great) is a no crust apple crisp. Sliced apples (unpeeled), oatmeal, cinnamon, and grated cheese. I sometimes add a tiny bit of water for moisture. Bake until apples are softened and cheese is melted. My stamping and eating buddy somehow came up with the recipe. Super easy and tasty. Thanks, Alyson.

Back to my casserole dish. I love the French words and images on the side. Many memories have been made when sharing foods baked in this wedding gift. Thank you, to the thoughtful giver. Who knew I would still have it so many years later?

If I could find my “wedding stuff” box, I bet I could even figure out who gave us this set. Now that would be fun. New goal before the actual anniversary date: FIND the wedding box.

How about you? Do you have any wedding gifts or sentimental items that you’ve kept over the years? I’d love to hear about them.
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Haiku Moment: ice knife

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frosty shimmers glow

tips of ice knife through frigid,

growing icicles

 

ice knife by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell