The Art of Camper Cooking

We headed to the Florida panhandle a few days ago. To Big Lagoon State Park, to be exact. So far it’s turned out to be a great little park in what’s technically Pensacola. But not really. I think if we wanted to drive into “town” it would take us over 30 minutes.

I will admit there have been many “touch and goes” in different categories since we’ve started out. Triathlon training has proven difficult but we’ve started to find our way. We did our first open water swim in wetsuits in Louisiana and then hit up a YMCA pool, taking advantage of the AWAY program, in Mobile, Alabama on our way to Florida. While here in the FL park we’ve run and done a brick workout! (bike ride, transitioning straight into a run). I kinda feel like we’re starting to hit our groove!

Feeding ourselves has also been, I hesitate to say “sore spot”. Oh we’ve fed ourselves alright. But with boring sandwiches. Michael has recently started hitting the griddle for breakfast!

EVERY MORNING!

While I love this special treatment, we cannot go on like this on a regular basis for two reasons.

  1. Regardless of relentless camper venting techniques, it smells like grandmas greasy house.
  2. Our waistlines and arteries cannot withstand the onslaught of eggs and potatoes fried in sausage grease. (although I’ve been requesting bacon for a while now with no luck. I’m going to complain to the head of the kitchen.)

What I haven’t explicitly acknowledged here is that Mike has commandeered breakfast while I’m in charge of dinner. Lunch is assumed to be leftovers or whatever we can scrounge.  We started planning meals a week out so we’re not trying to run to the grocery store several times a week. I was convinced a weeks worth of groceries wouldn’t fit in our tiny fridge. Mike proved me wrong.

This week we went to Winn Dixie down the road. I think we bought them out of food. Or at least produce. I’m sure it was the highest bill ever for two people. That’s obviously something we need to work on… but we’ll get there. We haven’t eaten out in I don’t know how long, so we’re still spending less overall in the “Food” department. But I’m also cooking dinner recipes IN A CAMPER from Gourmet magazine. SO THERE!!! Small dog sticking out its tongue to the camera

Tandoori Shrimp with Mango Salad

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Chilaquiles with Fried Eggs

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Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos with Cilantro Coleslaw

Ok, I’m making this for dinner tomorrow, so there is no picture yet… stay tuned!!!

I did “whip up” some homemade Tzatziki at lunch today… and I may have added a little too much garlic…. which is saying a lot because I LOVE GHAAALIC!!!! I really couldn’t tell you a recipe where there could possibly be too much garlic. Except maybe this batch of tzatziki. Mike and I have been garlic dragons all day, breathing out the green and yellow flames that are garlic fumes. RAW GARLIC fumes. And then we went on a run. And continued huffing and puffing the exhaust of demons.

But better both of us than one of us, I guess….  Can’t wait until sleepy time tonight. hardy har….

As I’m writing this Michael is outside lighting the grill that dad got us so he can grill us up some ribs! And to balance out that healthy meat I’m going to saute us up some spinach and, you guessed it! GARLIC!!

If you don’t hear from me again you know we died of garlic overdose….

 

Fontainebleau… or Fountain Blue??

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I took German in high school and college, not Spanish or French. So my pronunciation of all things in southern Louisiana probably sounds like nails on a chalkboard to the locals. I just try and NOT pronounce anything questionable outloud. It saves us all the humiliation.

Last night we pulled into Fontainebleau State Park on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain. That lake may sound familiar to you. It’s the one where the dams broke during Katrina and flooded New Orleans, which lies to the south of the lake.

Online the park looked pretty nice. It had everything we wanted: RV sites with hook ups, trails, availability, warm weather…. (we don’t ask for much). When we pulled in after dark we thought we’d made a wrong turn into a subdivision! The entrance was brickwork on either side of the road with “FOUNTAINEBLEAU” in script letters on one side. Hmmm, fancy!

We found a good pull through spot, parked, made dinner and settled in for the night. This morning we were greeted to a moderate fog that snaked through the trees that dripped with Spanish moss. It was ethereal. We took Indy on a long walk to experience what we hadn’t seen in the dark of the previous night.

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As we were exploring the park we saw huge trailers and tents set up in a far off parking lot so we headed over to check it out. Turns out there was a live movie shoot going on right there at the park!!!! A cop told us it was for “Man Down”, a military movie. My google search found this about it. Somewhere in that parking lot was Shia LaBeouf for certain! Maybe even Gary Oldman!! Although, we didn’t see them.

Although we did meet some of the people working on the set. Guys just hanging around until their portion of the movie was ready for them to work. How do you meet people on a movie set? By walking a huge dog that everyone wants to pet and ask questions about, that’s how!

That’s how we met Smitty. And how, after telling him we’re full-timers, got an invite to stay at his farm outside Tampa, Florida next time we’re in that area. This was after a conversation about Indy, and getting a full walk through of pictures of the large mouth bass caught out at his place. A picture show and tell wouldn’t be complete without a doting grandpa showing us a picture of his 4 year old grandson and the 9 pounder he landed (almost all by himself).

Smitty, we just may take you up on that offer!!!

Austin Part Two

I really couldn’t put everything about Austin into one post. Even though it’s been a few weeks now since we left there is more I must share! It’s quite an awesome town especially if you have friends like The Nouveaux Honkies to show you around!

Tim and Rebecca, being musicians, are obviously part of the country music scene. And they were about to show Mike and I some Austin favorites. The biggest experience for me was going to the Broken Spoke, a true honky tonk and dance hall that’s been around for 50 years. As a matter of fact, the weekend we were there was their 50th “birthday” celebration.

It was packed! Two-steppin’ lessons, which they have normally, caused the dance floor to be so crowded there was no way could do anything but watch. But you should have seen when the lessons were over! The dancers!! Unbelievable! There were dancers as serious as the competitors from when I took ballroom dancing lessons years ago!

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What struck me most about the place was the low, tiled ceiling. We could have been at grandma’s house. The ceiling sloped so far down to the back, where the band played, that the drummer, while seated, almost hit his head on the dingy tiles hanging above him.

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Rebecca and Tim were introducing us to their friends, song writers, producers… I have a feeling I was surrounded my music royalty but I was too dumb to know it! So I just stayed to the side of the stage and watched some amazing people play!

To pay Rebecca and Tim back for their hospitality we introduced them to a part of Austin they had never been – the food trucks on Rainey Street. While Michael and I were hashing earlier in the week in Austin, a gorilla in a pink tutu told us this was the place to go for truck food. Now I understand that most people wouldn’t trust the word of a gorilla in a pink tutu, but if you’re a hasher, that’s what you do!

We hit the trucks and then the greatest bar I have probably ever been to – The Half Step. Fresh squeezed juices, solid ice blocks in drinks, all drinks mixed with a flair and attention to the smallest detail, decor that was Old West Apothecary with a modern twist. Live bluesy-jazz. Perfect.

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Austin, we WILL be back!