Tofu Scramble

The first time I tried tofu scramble was at a restaurant, and I fell in love with the idea.  I could finally enjoy something close to scrambled eggs for breakfast.  It was tasty, full of of veggies, and made me want to learn to cook it myself.  I started looking around the internet for recipes, and found a few good ones on my favorite site Pinterest.  I tried a couple different ones until I came up with my own recipe.

Since I tried so many recipes, I realized there was no right or wrong way to make it.  I figured out how easy it was to change it up depending on the ingredients I have on hand.  I can also easily adapt when I am serving people who don’t necessarily enjoy all the veggies or spices that I do.  This is working out really well on the road trip, because I can’t always find the “normal” ingredients that I use.  Typically, I like to throw in onions, garlic, asparagus, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. This is no big deal in a full size kitchen where storage isn’t an issue, but the RV kitchen isn’t all that large.

What I have realized, however, is storing a lot of veggies in a very small space isn’t so easy.  Both the refrigerator and the “pantry” in the RV are less than half the size I was used to at home.  So, I started looking for other options.  I now buy very small packages or pre-cut veggies when I can.  I also keep my eye out for interesting veggie mixes that I can throw into my scramble.

I found a mix at a grocery store, and immediately knew it would work great for a scramble.  It had eight different veggies and the colors were gorgeous! I also found out that Nasoya has new package that splits the usual block of tofu in half.  I was so very happy to find that!  I rarely use an entire block at once, but half or a quarter block is perfect for me.  Now, I don’t have to worry that the part I didn’t use will get weird before I have time to get to it.

One thing I hate to go without are onions and garlic… ever.  I will use powders in an absolute pinch, and I do keep them on hand just in case, but I keep onions and garlic in my kitchen at (almost) all times.  They are good for ones health, but the truth is I just love the flavor they bring to a dish.  Those two are a must for tofu scramble,  if you don’t have those, you will need them.  You will also need the following spices Turmeric, Cumin, Coriander, and Paprika.  I used Garlic Powder, because I couldn’t find my tube of Garlic in the fridge.  It may be is a little messy in there at the moment.

I usually add Curry as well, but I ran out and it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have it.  Also, if you absolutely hate one of theses spices feel free to leave it out.  It’s fine.  I really recommend the turmeric and paprika.  They add a lovely flavor and a nice color to the dish. You will also need to add Salt and Pepper to taste.  First chop up your onions and brown them in your pan.  Then add your garlic (if you have it on hand).  Cook one more minute, then add a cup of your veggie mixture.  (I used the one above, but you can choose any mix you like, just make sure they are all chopped about the same size so they cook at the same time.)

Cook until your vegetables are crisp, tender.  About 3-5 minutes.  Aren’t the colors so pretty? After that you will crumble half of a block of firm (or extra firm) tofu into the center of the pan and shake your spices over the tofu.  I will admit that I no longer measure much of anything.  I am going to guess that I put around a half teaspoon of each spice on top.  You can start there and add more if you like deeper flavors.  The first recipe I ever tried said to put a TABLESPOON of each for one block of tofu.  I almost couldn’t eat it, but to each their own.

Let that cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  It will begin to look like scrambled eggs with veggies, but it will taste even better.  I usually start preparing whatever I am having on the side around this time.  Throw your toast in the toaster and prep your side salad, etc.

This morning, I was in the mood for some pea shoots on my salad.  They are so sweet and delicious.  I added some Earth Balance butter to my toast and balsamic vinaigrette to my salad, and breakfast was served.

 

 


Leaving Out

So the time finally arrived.  The house is up for sale and we are actually on our Road Trip!  (Actually, we have been on the road for over a week now, stopping on our way out to visit family and friends here and there.)

Getting ready wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies, but between the two of us, we managed it.  I was in charge of packing and organizing food and clothing while Bruce worked on the interior.  In the front of the unit, he changed out the old TV for a flat screen.  He even made sure to match the stain to the wood already in the RV.  He knows I am a little OCD about things like that.  Gotta love a man who cares.

 

In the back, he pulled the old TV and made a cabinet.  It added so much storage space in the back room.  We don’t watch TV in the bedroom anyway, so it was a good trade for me.  I was able to fit extra blankets, movies, and other odds and ends in there.

My favorite upgrade is the new larger, rectangular table.  There was a smaller circular table in the space that was fine for eating, but would not work as office space.  Since I work from my laptop, I wanted a “desk” for the days when I have several hours of serious work to put in.  I love that I can earn money from a beach chair, but sometimes, you just need a solid surface to spread out on.  He found and ordered the table top and installed it on the original base.  I just love my new “office”.  🙂

Before we started loading, we pulled everything out and cleaned thoroughly.   I added contact paper in the drawers.  I think it looks beautiful.   Once, that was finished we put things back exactly where we wanted them.  This way we know what is in the rig and where it is.  My grandmother always said, “a place for everything and everything in its place”.  I figured it was a good way to go about organizing.

We used a lot of bins and storage containers to keep things organized in the overhead and undercarriage compartments.  I found a solutions to my shoe “problem” (not a problem for me…I need shoes, people).

Overall, I am happy with everything.  I am sure we will make adjustments throughout our travels, but at least we are starting out organized and tidy.  I like things that way.  🙂

 


Long Range Fuel Tank Jeep Commander

It’s getting close to go-time, so we are getting the last little bits finished up on our tow vehicle.  We used to tow a Jeep Wrangler, but with the length and breadth of our upcoming trip, we wanted something a little more user friendly in all weather.  Also, we want to spend some time away from the RV at remote campsites.  The Commander is enclosed, so we can crash in the back if the weather gets bad.  It also carries more than the Wrangler did, especially since we installed a rack on top.

We also purchased the black bra you see on the hood in this photo, but after a run up I95 to St. Augustine last week, I pulled it back off and sent it back for a refund.  Despite being tied down at multiple points, it flapped terribly and I don’t want the paint destroyed while we are on the road. We found a tow blanket instead that I think will be a much better solution for paint protection while towing.  Tow vehicles get really dirty if they aren’t protected.  I’ll post an update when the new blanket comes in.  For now, we’re back to nothing on the front hood.

There are two reasons for installing the roof rack.  First, we will need the extra storage for remote camping, especially if we set the back up for sleeping.  Second, Bruce had a long-range fuel tank installed underneath the Commander where the spare tire used to sit, so we needed a place to put the spare.

The choice to install the extra tank has been such a good one in so many ways.  The factory tank on a Jeep Commander holds 20 gallons.  At 14-18 mpg, that gave us a 350 mile range at best, less when I am in the drivers seat…ijs. When we were pulling a trailer behind the Jeep, we were only getting 7mpg.  This dropped our range to 140 miles, which means we were pulling over all the time to refuel.

We couldn’t find a solution to the problem at first.  Then Bruce found an Australian company that makes custom long range fuel tanks.  The tank we ordered for the Jeep Commander added 30 gallons for a total fuel capacity of 50 gallons.  This means our new range usually runs around 750 miles before we need fuel.  When we are pulling a trailer, we get about half of that…a huge improvement!  That is Bruce’s favorite part of the new tank.  For me, the biggest bonus is knowing we can head out to any remote site and have plenty of fuel to get back.

You can order one for your vehicle here =====> Long Range Automotive  (I am not an affiliate for the company, I just wanted to make it easy to find for those of you looking for a similar solution.)

All we had to do was order the tank and accessories specific to our make, model and year, and wait for it to be shipped.  Once we got our kit, our mechanic installed the system for us in a day.  The tank sits under the vehicle, so no one even knows it exists and our mechanic said the instructions were straightforward and easy to follow.  *One quick note, the fuel hose that comes with the tank got soft after about 4 months in the FL heat, so we changed it out for a braided fuel line a few weeks ago.  Now we are no longer having an issue with the fuel line collapsing as the fuel transfers.  This is why we had the new tank installed well in advance of the trip.  We wanted to work out all the kinks before we got on the road.

It is easy to fill the tanks using the dual fuel port, which can be locked to prevent unwanted siphoning.  As you are driving and the main tank starts dropping, you just push a small button and a transfer pump moves the fuel from the auxiliary tank into the main tank at a rate of one gallon every two minutes.  I can always tell it’s running properly because when the pump first comes on it is somewhat loud.  Within a minute it drops to a level that can’t be heard over normal road noise unless you listen carefully.

When the auxiliary tank gets low the gauge next to the E goes red and you need to make sure to turn off the pump so you don’t run it dry/burn it out.  The only thing I would change about the system is WHERE we put the button for running the tank.  From the drivers seat you cannot see the gauge, so it is hard to know when the back up tank is getting low. I recommend placing it somewhere you can easily see it while driving.

More about Jeep prep next post….

 

 

 

 


Packing for the Road

It’s finally time!  I am so excited to be back in Port St. Lucie, FL, because it means that we are actually getting ready for our road trip.  On top of packing the RV for the trip, I am staging my home for sale.  This is making the process a little harder.  When the house sells, I don’t want to have to come back for any length of time.  This means that I have to have everything out of the house except the furniture.  At first this felt like a huge problem to figure out, but then I decided to tackle packing for the road trip first.  This way I can see what I have left over, then decide what to sell and/or donate.  I started with clothes.

Bruce and I each have a cold weather bin that will go in the storage under the RV and are sharing a third bin for clothes we don’t wear all the time, but want to take with us.  I considered a capsule wardrobe, but it’s just not me.  I need variety with my clothes as well as my food, so I didn’t cut down as much as I probably should have.  In my defense, I did give away a lot of my clothes that I know I will not be able to wear while on the road.  I cut my hanging clothes down until I felt they would fit into half of the closet in the RV.  I have to be fair and let Bruce have the other half.  Both of us are also keeping clothes we wear often in a bin in the bottom of the closet, so they are easy to access.

The rest of my clothes/underthings will be in bins in the storage area above the couch.  I already cut everything down until it would fit into my four bins, so I can get used to the idea over the next week or two.  This way I can still wear them in the meantime, and when it’s time to go, I just have to move the bins from the dresser to the RV.  I feel happy with the clothes I kept.  They are my favorite pieces out of my wardrobe.  They are easily mixed and matched, and also comfortable to wear.  Now, I just have to figure out which shoes I am taking and which I am getting rid of.  I don’t even want to talk about that right now.  I know you other girls feel my pain on the subject!

I don’t keep a lot of food in my pantry.  I prefer fresh ingredients, and don’t mind running to the grocery store or market often.  However, I know we will be camping in areas away from grocery stores while we are traveling.  In order to make sure we always have something to eat, I grabbed rice, pasta, sauce, canned and dried beans, quinoa, and dried cereal.  These will stay in the bin until we need them.  On thing I couldn’t leave behind is my spice collection.  I use a TON of spices when I cook, and I didn’t want to leave any behind.  I may regret my decision later, but for now, I am going with it.  After the food was packed, we tackled the garage, but not without Angel’s supervision.  She insisted on hanging in her stroller while we organized the garage and packed up the trailer.  I offered her a blanket and pillow.  She was having none of it.

We have taken long road trips in the RV before.  When Skylar was in 7th grade, we spent months at a time on the road.  I home-schooled her for the year while we explored 3/4 of the lower 48 states.  We visited New England, the Midwest, and even spent some time in California before heading back across the bottom of the country.  We only missed the Northwest states that year.  The difference is that we left the house as it was, and didn’t have to figure out what to do with everything while we were traveling.  If you are thinking of selling your home to live on the road for several years, there is definitely a lot more to think about than there is when you head out on a simple road trip, even if it is a long one.  We are still in the process, so I will update again before we leave.  If you are a full-time RVer, and have any tips or hints, please leave a comment.  🙂


Easter in Saint Augustine

Bruce came up to see us for Easter Weekend.  He has been taking care of things in Port St. Lucie while I take care of things in Saint Augustine.  The house is still being prepped for the market, and it’s nice to have him to rely on for that.  It was nice to see him and spend some family time over the weekend.  Rather than bring the car up, he decided to bring the RV, so the dogs could come with him.  Sadly, the boxer thinks that all cats are chew toys, so we have to keep them separated.  The dogs are always excited when they get to ride in the RV, so they certainly didn’t mind.  Dakota jumped right up into the passenger seat and made herself at home.

Bruce text me this adorable photo on the ride up.  She’s too cute for words.  Look at that tongue fold.  The first night he pulled into the Walmart on U.S. 1 in Saint Augustine and boon-docked.  It isn’t far from Sky’s apartment, so it worked well for the most part.  There are signs in the parking lot that say no overnight parking, but we stayed there all night and half of Saturday with no issues at all.  There was another Class-A rig, and several Class-B’s in the lot overnight, so I guess they don’t really enforce the policy.

We parked all the way out at the end of the lot closest to the road, so we weren’t interfering with other customers.  We kept the slides in so we didn’t look like we were setting up camp overnight.  The pro of this Walmart is the close proximity to many businesses and restaurants.  It’s also not far from downtown or the beaches.  The major con is the road noise.  Perhaps the traffic was heavier than usual because it was Friday night over Easter Weekend, but it was close to 3am before the noise quieted down.  We decided we had to move the unit for the second night.

 

We found a St. John’s RV Park near Exit 311 off of I95, which has lots of trees and plenty of space for the dogs to walk.  They had a spot left with water and 50amp power that worked, since we really don’t need a full hook up for a 24 hour stay.  It is minutes from Sky’s apartment, and since it is surrounded by trees, much quieter than the Walmart parking lot. We slept with the windows open all night, and didn’t hear the traffic from the highway at all.  They have dated laundry facilities, but the women’s bathroom is in the process of a remodel so it’s not too bad.

We will definitely stay at this park again.  It was super convenient, and quiet.  If you have dogs, the dog walking area is just huge.

 


Content coming soon.

I’ll be posting about the RV, packing, organizing, and more in this category just as soon as that process starts.  I am traveling in the Caribbean right now, so while I am making plans, the packing won’t actually start until April 15, 2017.  In the meantime, I am scouring Pinterest for ideas.  I love Pinterest.  If you want to see what I am pinning, my username is GirlGoneVegan.