Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving in a Tin Can

Preparing a traditional thanksgiving meal can be hectic in even the largest of kitchens. Now imagine it in an RV... Yep.  A challenge.

Did I mention it's Hubby's favorite holiday?  No pressure, right?

I debated about doing several different things in regards to our meal:

  1. Prepare a full on meal in the trailer complete with a regular turkey.
  2. Prepare a full on meal but do a turkey breast in the rotisserie that is in our Hamilton Beach convection oven,
  3. Buy the entire precooked meal at the grocery store including sides.
  4. Buy a precooked turkey at the grocery store and fix the sides in the RV.
  5. Stay at a campground that was doing a meal/carry in.
  6. Go to Bob Evans and get a  turkey meal.

If we bought a prepared meal at the grocery store I would still have to do all my own side dishes to ensure they were dairy free(and make sure the turkey was as well). So that didn't save me a whole lots of time plus it was $45 for the meal.  Not to mention that I had to reheat everything including the turkey.  Which meant I would still have to compete with only using one appliance at a time(otherwise with only 30amp we would blow the breaker).

Going to Bob Evans would be too costly for each of us to get a meal and we thought we would lose a little of that Thanksgiving magic for us.

The campground we are at wasn't sure if they were going to have a dinner or not when we booked it but it was a possibility.  After arriving they let us know they had decided not to,  So we crossed that possibility off the list.

That left option 1 and 2.  A full meal in the trailer with a regular turkey or a turkey breast.

After looking at prices (.59lb regular turkey/1.89lb frozen turkey breast) I went with a regular turkey.

The trick was finding one that could feed all of us yet still fit in our oven!

Sissy and I found a 17lb 'young turkey' that we thought looked like it would fit...

until we went to get a foil pan for it in an adjacent aisle.

I knew a 9x13 pan does not fit in our oven so I got the smaller rectangle pan and the 17lb-er would definitely not fit.

So, armed with our smaller rectangle pan we went back to the turkeys, returned the one we had and started tossing turkey into it the new pan!  Turns out a 14lb bird was the biggest that would fit in the tray so we bought it.

Our menu was as follows:
Mashed Potatoes
Creamy Corn(corn and cream cheese)
Deviled Eggs
Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin cupcakes w/cream cheese frosting
Apple Cobbler

*Everything was dairy free.  I used Earth Balance vegan 'butter', Almond Milk, and Tofutti Imitation Cream Cheese.  Sounds scary but even my super picky hubby raved about everything!  

I decided the best way to tackle it was to split  up the dishes so I wouldn't be cooking it all on the same day since I would have the oven going all morning meaning I couldn't use any other appliance during that time.

I assigned the Deviled Eggs to my husband and Snuggle Bug to do on Weds.  I hate deviled eggs.  The smell makes me gag.  If he wanted the dish, he was going to have to make it himself!  And he did- very successfully I hear. I knew he could ;)

I made the Creamy Corn and Stuffing on Weds also and Sissy made her cupcakes that day too.

All I would have going on Thanksgiving day would be the turkey,gravy and potatoes.  I planned on doing the cobbler outside in the cast iron dutch oven over the fire.

Everything went smoothly except that my charcoal would  not light so I just did my cobbler in the oven while we ate our meal.  

I was even able to plug my induction cooktop  directly into our electrical box at the campground and cook my potatoes outside while the turkey was finishing up.  I threw my gravy  on the burner too once my taters were done.  What a luxury to use 2 appliances at once!!

My original plan was for everyone to just put the stuffing and corn on  their plate and pop them in the microwave to reheat them.  Silly me. I forgot that out plates are melamine and can't go in the microwave. Boo.

I just tossed the entire bowl of each of those in the microwave then and it worked fine.

We had a tasty meal that was very stress free!  In a tiny trailer no less.

It surely wasn't a pretty display though!
No fancy dishes here; most things just stayed in the pot it was made in.

And everything was crammed around the sink full of dishes.


I have learned to let go of some expectations while living in the trailer though. 

Sometimes good enough is, well, good enough.

Bubba hates me for posting this picture but hey, that's how we all look while eating.
Especially at Thanksgiving!

Apple Cobbler

Delicious Pumpkin Cupcakes with *cream cheese* frosting

(Confession: I ate 4 of them over a 2 day period and still want more)

I even had time in the morning to pull up some Thanksgiving themed activities for the kids(easy crafts, color pages,etc).

Move over Martha!!

It was a beautiful day(mid 70's and sunny) and we were going to eat outside but the bugs wanted to join us so we ate inside.

I felt so victorious today.  It was our first major holiday in the trailer and we pulled it off!

We have a holiday tradition of putting up our Christmas tree the day after thanksgiving.  We play music, spray the glade pine scent, and eat pizza.  So we were feeling a little bummed not to be doing that this year.

So instead...

We packed a lunch and went to the beach!

I know, you feel so sorry for us.

The Emerald Coast on the panhandle is definitely our fave beach so far!  

This was at Henderson State Park. It was $6 to get in but worth it!  The beach is right by the parking lot and we didn't have to hunt around for parking or a public access site.  Great facilities too.

Beautiful quartz white sand.  It wasn't as sticky as Siesta Key.

The water was pretty chilly though but the clearest we have seen.

Snuggle Bug pointing to the helicopters that were flying by.

77 degrees, sunny with no humidity


Little Miss doing a head stand.

Sissy and Bubba

Hubby's legs. 
 Didn't want anyone thinking I had given up shaving while on our trip!

Little Miss found a princess dress in one of the bags we brought to the beach.

It made for a precious picture

Playing football

We're a sucker for a beautiful sunset!

We went back to the trailer and made frozen pizza and watched a movie
(Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix).

It was a fabulous day despite no tree decorating.

We are heading back home for the holidays so we really relished this last beach excursion.

I keep saying we really screwed this all up.  We should have stayed here in sunny Florida and had the grandparents come to us instead! 

Oh well. Little Miss is wanting to see some snow after listening to Christmas music this week.

So now we are making packing lists and need to do some deep cleaning before we head north next week.

I don't know if I have said yet but we are leaving our trailer down here while we are back home.  We'll be staying with my in laws while we visit.

  It will be so weird to be back in a SB(sticks and bricks) home again!  

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving as well!

Many Blessings,
The Mama

Saturday, November 7, 2015

St Augustine, Bradenton, Turtle and Siesta Key

We are staying near the Sarasota area now and doing some beach hopping. The weather down here the past week  has actually been too warm.  Temps near 90 but with humidity its been around 100. It's been better the last couple days though thank goodness.

Here is the 2nd beach we went to on the Atlantic side: St Augustine. I did love how you can drive right out onto the beach all up and down the St Augustine shoreline.  It makes it so much easier than hauling all of our stuff a few blocks while trying to keep hold of the little ones!

Still a really windy day like the previous one.

See the sand blowing(looks like snow on the ground)??  
This was the point when we called it a day and left!

We were treated to this amazing rainbow right as we were leaving!  I have never seen one where the colors were as vibrant.  The pictures don't fully do it justice. God is an amazing artist!!

Here we are at Siesta Key Beach.  Now I know why it has been voted the best beach in America so many times! The soft,white  sand( though it tends to stick to everything) and the gorgeous waters-wow!  And there is no drop off in the water like there normally is at other beaches.  

We must not have applied as often as needed because we all got a little burnt despite only being there for a few hours.

The sand reminded me of the Moonsand that they sell(like playdough)

That Sissy and Bubba in the water and Snuggle Bug on the shoreline.

Sorry lady whose butt i got int he picture!

crystal clear water

Snuggle Bug got stung on his hand by a jellyfish. We saw like 5 of them in the water(appeared to be dead) previous to the incident. It stung pretty good for about an hour.  Contrary to popular belief you should not put urine on a jellyfish sting(Snuggle Bug was relieved to find this out), rather vinegar. 
 So now I carry some in the car with us just in case.

Daddy is holding Baby Girl while she is sleeping so I could enjoy the water a bit.

We had planned on getting our lunch at the beach because we knew they had a concession stand.  But for some reason the stand was closed.  They had some drink carts open though. What a bummer

 That is one reason we left the beach earlier than planned.

Next up is Bradenton Beach!  We had a great day there and stayed till sunset.  We were a little disappointed in the murky water though.

Little Miss

Photo Bomb

Again with my finger! 
 It was so bright out I couldn't see the screen to know my finger was in the way.

There was a restaurant behind us and one time I looked back and everyone on the beach had their backs turned away from the sunset.  

Have you guessed it?

They were all taking selfies and not even looking at the gorgeous view.

Sign of the times right?

We were going to go to Anna Maria Island yesterday but went towards Siesta Key instead.  Instead of driving another 40 minutes to Anna Maria we decided to head to Turtle Beach.

This beach wasn't as pretty or as big as the others but it was spectacular shelling!!  It would be great for snorkeling too as the kids saw some large striped fish in the water. 

There lots of these little exoskeletons in the water. 

Diving for shells

That is the beach umbrella bag filled with amazing shells!!

The kids asked to go back to this one another time before we leave the area.

Got to go meet another family who is full timing it too!

Many Blessings,
The Mama