SETTING OURSELVES FREE WITH THE IDEAL ALLERGY SAFE KITCHEN

When we started RVing it wasn’t for the endless adventure stories, the great outdoors, or even the priceless family time.

 

 

We initially started hitting the road as a way to break free from the shackles of living with severe food allergies. Chains of limited destinations and restrictive accommodations were forever removed once we embarked on our first RV trip. Our youngest daughter Shayla has the “gift” of severe food allergies to the “Top 8” (top 8 allergens: dairy, egg, wheat, soy, tree nut, peanut, fish, and shellfish).

 

 

It is considered a “gift” in our family now, because through our journey we realized that our lives could be more healthy, fulfilling and exciting.

Prior to the “gift” of food allergies, we could go out to eat at restaurants and not worry about who ate at the table before us, travel in airplanes without worrying if someone four rows ahead of us is eating nuts, and we could sit in a coffee shop to send a few emails without worrying about steamed milk vaporizing in the air and the ensuing asthma attack to follow.

Our first RV gave us a taste of what our adventurous family of four really craved.

 

 

We went from feeling a sense of defeat and hopelessness, to living an incredibly fulfilling life of wonder, education, laughter and family time. Our cooking and food storage scenario has evolved tremendously over the past few years as well. From our small-countered, limited-storage RV of three years ago, we have found a little perfection with our expansive storage, side-by-side refrigerator and center island in the RV we currently have. We bought three RVs in as many years, and think we’ve finally found the one with a near perfect kitchen setup for our specific allergy-free foodie lifestyle.

In hindsight, our first RV had nowhere near enough counter space.

 

 

We didn’t realize at first, but after cooking in our first travel trailer, we knew there just wasn’t enough prep, cooking, or storage space for our particular needs. Since we all basically follow our daughter’s diet these days, we need to cook fresh, whole, mostly unprocessed foods for each meal. After 15 months with our first RV, we knew we wanted something more from our RV kitchen and fell in love with a brand new, larger travel trailer.

This model had a gorgeous kitchen island, more counter space and a much larger refrigerator than we were used to.

 

 

A feature that absolutely blew our minds was the included outside kitchen.

 

 

Something we didn’t even know RVs could offer turned out to be our most coveted feature. We learned to liveand die by that outside kitchen over the next year. We began cooking everything that was smoky, messy, and smelly in that outside kitchen. It was also ideal for sneaking some eggs into our diet without having to cook them in the same living space that our daughter played and slept in.

About 2 years into RVing, we had travelled on approximately twenty 3-5 day camping trips, and had some incredible, unforgettable experiences with our girls.

 

 

We knew at this point that we were fairly serious RVers and it was time to consider a more significant and well-equipped travelling kitchen.

After a long search we ended up purchasing a 2014 Evergreen Bay Hill 385BH fifth wheel.

 

 

First on our list for this RV was larger capacity of food storage. From the refrigerator to the cabinets, we knew we needed a smart kitchen space for our allergen free, foodie lifestyle.

 

 

When cooking the way we do, the quantities of raw items we go through on a weekly basis are kind of surprising.

Our Bay Hill came with the largest dual fuel fridge (electric & propane) on the market.

 

 

We specifically wanted a refrigerator that could also run on propane as opposed to a residential style refrigerator, which can only run on 110V AC. And as you can see, we pack it full. Fresh food takes up a lot of room.

 

 

On a recent trip through Texas, we were finding a ton of grass fed farms and consequently tons of butcher shops. We were noticing the regular grocery stores weren’t carrying the same quality of meats, so we opted to buy 25 pounds of assorted beef and pack the freezer with it.

Another important feature we utilize is the large underbelly storage in our RV. We fill two storage bins with backup “dry storage” so that we can purchase quality ingredients in bulk when they are available. One thing we learned while travelling across the United States is not all areas follow the same food standards and quality of products. Often times we are looking to purchase something as simple as organic oatmeal, but learn that not all parts of the country have a demand for that. If they do carry it, it is often processed in a facility that handles nuts or dairy, or the label says “may contain…”. So getting our hands on food when we can and storing it has become most important in our travels and RV needs.

 

 

(Side Note: All of the items on the steps actually fit in one of those black bins.) We regularly buy 5 of the same thing whenever we find it, and carry them with us until we need to dip into our “dry storage” bin at a later date.

One feature our new RV was lacking was an outside kitchen. After having one and adapting to it, we knew we would have to come up with a portable substitute. We found the ideal grill setup in our Camp Chef Big Gas Grill.

 

 

We have the two burner grill box, flat top griddle or open burner for pots and cast iron pans, plus two folding end tables to hold ingredients or finished foods. We do 95% of our cooking outside, rain, snow, or shine, and this portable grill is fast to set up and cooks perfectly for up to 8 people if needed. Another benefit to the portable grill setup is that we are able to move the grill to wherever the smoke doesn’t have an opportunity to enter the RV and trigger another asthma attack on our daughter.

As with any living space scenario, we are always modifying and adapting. The RV is not any different, but we feel that the space and storage, combined with the cooking environment that we have refined, allows us to maximize our life on the road and minimize the chance of any negative reactions or attacks to our daughter and her allergies.

 

 

Jerome Braga is a professional photographer, snowbirding throughout the country with his family in their 2014 Evergreen Bay Hill Fifth Wheel RV. His family travels and future kitchen renovations can be followed at www.ouronechance.com | insta:@jeromebraga

 

MAZIE STRONG

Strong Women

May We Know Them

May We Raise Them

May We Be Them

If children learn what they live, then I wish more children could “live” childhood the way that Maurrie Sussman and Becky Clarke, founders of the Sisters on the Fly, lived their childhoods in the Pacific Northwest. The only two children of Mazie Morrison and her Marine husband Jesse Earl, these close-knit sisters hailed from hearty stock. Mazie was the first generation of her adventurous Canadian family to be born on US soil and grew up in Yakima, Washington.

 

 

Her husband was from a ranching and farming background and grew up in Wapato, Washington. The two met in college and got married in San Diego. The day after their wedding Mazie’s new husband shipped out on active duty leaving her his car. The only problem was that she didn’t know how to drive. The adventurous spirit of Mazie was already kindled though and she did the logical thing. She called her sister in Yakima who took the train down to San Diego. With the help of two Los Angeles cousins, Mazie learned to drive and she and her sister took their first ever “sister” road trip.  The adventures the two sisters had on their way home with “the car” are still being laughed about around campfires fifty years later. This ‘raring to go’ mom would set a course of adventure for her two daughters that would affect the lives of more women than she could ever imagine.

 

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SAVING MONEY ON RV STAYS

One of the largest pieces of a person’s RV budget is usually the amount of money they spend to park their RV somewhere each night.

This makes sense, as it’s a need!

However, that doesn’t mean that you need to break your budget in order to sleep each night. There are many ways to stay affordably.

Here are my tips for saving money on RV stays.

 

Sign up for RV memberships

There are many different memberships that may help you save money on your nightly stays. Memberships are usually very affordable, with an RVer being able to recoup the cost after just a night or two. These include Good Sam, Passport America, Harvest Hosts, Family Motor Coach Association and Thousand Trails.

 

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HERE’S WHY ANTELOPE CANYON IS ONE OF THE MOST AWE-INSPIRING PLACES IN AMERICA

Antelope Canyon is a part of Navajo Nation in Arizona, and has been described as one of the most photogenic places on earth. Although it’s not nearly on the scale of the Grand Canyon, it’s arguably just as beautiful and impressive in its own way. It’s a slot canyon, with walls as high as 4,000 feet, notable for the beautiful “flowing” appearance of the Navajo Sandstone, an impression created by the running rainwater that floods it annually during monsoon season. Many slot canyons are too narrow for the light to really reveal the vibrant colors of the stone, but Antelope Canyon is a very fortunate exception to the rule. The shapes and colors of the canyon, as well as the light, can create some truly stunning photographs. Antelope once roamed freely there, eliciting its name. There are really two canyons, the Upper and the Lower.

 

Image Courtesy of Mark Byzewski

 

Upper Antelope Canyon is also known by its Navajo name, Tsé bighánílíní, meaning “the place where water runs through rocks.” It’s such a photographer’s dream that photography tours are available for professionals and serious amateurs. There are camera requirements for the tour, so don’t think you can just show up with your iPhone. Guides will show you the best angles and how to capture the best light. The play of light, shadow, shape and color all come together here, so be sure to follow guide recommendations on the best time of day to visit.

 

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RV SPRING CHECKS YOU DON’T WANT TO FORGET

When your RV sits in storage for an extended period of time many unexpected things can occur. Batteries that were fully charged when you parked the RV are now discharged, tires that were properly inflated are now under-inflated, seams and sealants crack and separate from the surface, and insects and rodents build nests in and around the RV.

 

 

There are other concerns too, that can come from where the RV was stored, and how it was prepared for storage. If the RV was stored outside, exposed to the elements, the exterior and roof can suffer the brunt of Mother Nature’s harsh winter conditions. And, if you did not properly winterize the RV water system, there could be damage to the plumbing.

 

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