CAST IRON CAMPFIRE PIZZA

When I was growing up Friday night was pizza night!  When raising my own family, I followed that tradition, so it’s no surprise that when I arrive at the campground on a Friday night, I want pizza! Two years ago, I made it my mission to perfect cast iron pizza at the campground. I watched videos, tried different methods, and studied the masters of campground cuisine. There was a lot of trial and error; some edible, some not. Here’s what I learned.

 

Read More

DAD’S BEST BROWNIES

One of many fond memories I have of my late dad was his love for cooking and baking. He and I would make these brownies together quite often and they never lasted long. I continue to make this recipe now for my kids, reliving the experience of baking with my dad each and every time. Bon appetit.

Ingredients

  • 1⁄2 cup flour
  • 1⁄3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Blend together and mix oil and sugar
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined
  4. In a separate bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients making sure no lumps remain
  5. Gently stir the dry ingredients into the oil and sugar
  6. Grease a 9 x 9 pan and pour the batter into it smoothing off the top
  7. Bake for around 20 minutes or until the sides of the brownies start to pull away from the pan
  8. Very important – please cool before cutting otherwise it will be a crumbly mess.
  9. Note:  Sometimes when we were feeling ambitious, we’d add walnuts to the batter and would top with homemade chocolate ganache (recipe below)

Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Steps:

  1. Bring the heavy cream and vanilla extract to a boil in a small saucepan on the stovetop.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate chips in a bowl. Stir until the chocolate chips are smooth and melted. Allow mixture to cool slightly (it will thicken) and spread atop brownies.

A Sweet Bon Appetit 🙂 xoxo

RAINY DAY RV ACTIVITIES

It’s early morning and you’re tucked into your warm and comfy RV bed when you begin to hear it . . . *Plink……Plink…………….Plink* — it’s the sound of Mother Nature’s gift of rain showers dancing on the roof of your beloved RV.  Be it a brief passing of rain, or a torrential downpour– you can either embrace the rain, gear up and head on out – or you could cozy up inside your RV and enjoy some rainy day activities that seem to be even more comforting when it’s pouring rain.

Read More

THE STAYING POWER OF OLDER RVS

I can still remember the excitement I felt riding in the back of our gold station wagon (with a 455-cubic engine!) that pulled my family’s 1970 Starcraft travel trailer. It was an older RV but my siblings and I didn’t care. We were off for a weekend of adventure that meant time to roam the woods, explore caves, and roast marshmallows around a campfire. My childhood was filled with road trips and weekends at campgrounds that remain some of my fondest memories. The love of the road is a gene I inherited from my parents.

Like the one belonging to my parents, our own first RV, a 1996 Jayco folding camping trailer, was over a decade old. We had a small budget but big plans to give our kids oodles of childhood memories. Although that RV was 13 years old when we bought it, it gave us years of fun as we camped on the shores of the Pacific Ocean or under a canopy of Redwoods. It required very little aside from general maintenance and was in exceptional shape for its age.

Read More

RV GETAWAY TO YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK PART 2

Yosemite Never Disappoints

I’m a sucker for wilderness anywhere, on any day of the year, but having visited in all four seasons I am now totally sold that autumn is the best time of year to visit Yosemite National Park. Our trip timing bypassed the swell of summer visitors (estimated at over 600,000 in August alone) to less than half of that number in October, just in time for the fall colors that showed up and showed out in waves of yellow, reds, and ochre blanketing the landscape. And there were no winter road closures or snow chains required.

Beautiful Yosemite

We were advised by the resort staff to leave camp for the park around 9am to climb ahead of fall weekend visitors, and help ensure we could find space to park our over-sized vehicle. Rodney did the driving the first day and now it was my turn to drive the motorhome.  With me behind the wheel, Rodney and the kids were able to enjoy the panoramic views out of the big front window. The meandering drive and stunning vistas of the valley approach were breathtaking.

Rue Mapp Driving the RV

Yosemite Views

After paying $30 for our week-long pass at the park gate, we wound easily down into the valley, stopping to take photos at the most iconic views of the Yosemite landscape. Within an hour, we arrived at Half-Dome Village (Curry Village) and parked in the adjacent parking lot, taking up two spots vertically (and legally!) — we then ran into a friend of Outdoor Afro who remembered us from our epic leader training weekend back in 2016.

Reuniting with Old Friends

From there we took the free park bus shuttle that stops at all the major valley destinations and many hiking trails beyond. Our afternoon filled up nicely with a delightful, casual lunch at Degnan’s in the valley, followed by leisurely hiking and time spent in the visitor center to learn more about the formation and history of this important and beloved national treasure.:

One of the Many Hikes

Before we knew it, our Yosemite sun began to set westward. Without quite getting our fill of the park’s trails and stories, we reluctantly decided to get back on the road to allow plenty of time and light to re-connect our RV to camp, enjoy our planned Taco Night  — and of course, more s’mores!

The Perfect Marshmallow

By the time I climbed into bed Saturday night, I could not believe our trip was coming to an end the next day, just as we became accustomed to the rhythm of the RV life.  I knew we could have easily stayed another two nights — or more!

 Our 5 Tips For RVing Weekend Warriors

  • Plan for a long weekend if you can – consider the journey and destination in your RV as a total adventure, and take your time along the way!
  • Choose an RV Resort with amenities for everyone, such as recreation rooms with WI-FI, swimming pools, organized activities and park model cabins – perfect for those who want to try out the RV lifestyle, but aren’t ready to buy.
  • It’s all about preparation. Just like with any camping experience you’ll benefit from advance meal plans, prepping fruits and veggies, marinating meat, etc.  All help to save time, and bring only what portions of dry goods you need from home to reduce waste #Grits
  • RVs have plenty of storage: Grab toys and games from home such as balls, board games, and cards for those down moments, especially before bedtime.
  • Eat lots of s’mores!

What are your must-have tips for weekend getaways in your RV? Let me know in the comments!