Grocery Shopping Convenience

We are loving our RV adventure, traveling around and exploring the United States. Along the way we have discovered a few things about the mobile lifestyle that we didn’t expect. Here’s one of them, a perk that we hadn’t anticipated.

There’s something wonderful about grocery shopping from your RV.

The process is almost the same as from a stationary home:

  • Get grocery list
  • Go to store
  • Buy groceries
  • Load groceries into vehicle
  • Drive home
  • Unload groceries from vehicle
  • Put them away

But those missing steps are truly a delight to skip over:

  • Drive to store – We just park our home there in the parking lot, it’s not a separate trip but a stop on our way.
  • Drive home – The shopping cart is wheeled right to our front door.
  • Transfer groceries from car to house – This was done when unloading the shopping cart..

It seems like such a simple thing but the ability to go directly from cart to cabinet is an unanticipated benefit that we are thoroughly enjoying.

Picnic Lunches

My wife and I have been thoroughly enjoying picnics recently. Good food, great locations, fabulous company – what’s not to like?
This is not the first time I’ve mentioned going on picnics. So you can say that I’m a fan.

It’s easy to overlook a picnic as an enjoyable activity, however. Maybe the weather isn’t ideal, you think that you need a particular type of food, or it just doesn’t cross your mind.

We have been going on picnics during our travels out of convenience. Out on the road on the motorcycle for most of the day, we just don’t have the room to pack a lot of food. So we have been putting sausage, cheese, fresh vegetables, and our water bottles in the saddle bags. When we get hungry then it’s time to find a picnic table and stop for a bite.

Picnics don’t have to be fancy. We have been using lunch meat as the outside of a wrap, with cheese or avacado and slices of cucumber inside, plus fresh vegetables on the side. Or slices of summer sausage as a base to put the other ingredients on top of. We use the ziplock bags as a workstation and a couple of paper towels/napkins to clean up with. Quick, simple, compact – and we can slice everything with the pocket knife that I carry.

Of course, we also take the oportunity for something a bit fancer when the chance presents itself. We take along the grill or backpacking stove and grill some chicken to accompany a salad. It would be easy to throw these into the trunk of your car and head out in search of adventure!

We have discovered waterfalls, creeks, and rivers to eat beside. Beautiful scenery where we can enjoy our meals.


You don’t have to be on the road to enjoy the pleasures of a simple picnic.

If you slice everything before leaving, the only set-up is hand washing and opening of containers. It doesn’t take any time! You can meet up on a quick lunch break and enjoy company with a loved one to help break up a work day. Or you can take the opportunity to go and explore your neighborhood, seeking out those hidden treasures that are so easy to over-look.

Have you been on a picnic lately?

Not living up to expectations

Have you experienced this? You hear about some new thing and everyone seems to love it. It will make you smarter, faster, and richer, all while helping you lose weight.

Then you try it. And it just doesn’t suit you. For whatever reason you aren’t overwhelmed, even after trying it a few times. Finally, no matter how much you want to, you just decide not to keep this new thing in your life.

This has happened to me more than once. Most recently, with Bulletproof Coffee. High quality coffee with grass-fed unsalted butter and coconut oil blended in.

I first read about Bulletproof Coffee (BPC) a few years ago and was intrigued. Supposedly it will result in the “creamiest, most satisfying cup of coffee you’ve ever had.” And “it will keep you satisfied with level energy for 6 hours”. Every review I read was positive, talking about how much more energy they had and how much more mentally focused they find themselves. Those sound like good things to me! So I tried it.

I made some BPC before heading out to work one morning to replace breakfast. My first sip? Tasted oily/buttery. Maybe I just needed to give it more time. I drank the rest of my mug.

The rest of the morning I felt… almost queasy. And hungry. I normally ate breakfast every morning, and my stomach was waiting for it.

Perhaps I didn’t make it right. Maybe I used the wrong measurements, or didn’t pick out the best ingredients. I decided to wait until I could get one that was “professionally made” instead of making my own again.

I didn’t actively search out a coffee shop that made Bulletproof Coffee, so quite some time passed before I had another one. My interest remained on a warm simmer as I read about others whose lives had been changed by drinking BPC.


Finally, three years later I visited a new coffee shop where they offered BPC. I had already eaten breakfast before visiting so the coffee would not have to be a meal replacement. I’ve been drinking my coffee black for some time now and a “creamy, rich” coffee sounded good.

Order up!
Coffee in hand I tentatively took a sip. My wife could tell from the look on my face, I wasn’t convinced yet. She tried it, and I had few more swallows. I just don’t like it.

At lunch time, I was hungry again. It might have delayed my appetite but by no means did it make me want to skip my next meal. I don’t need its help to become a fat-burning machine, another of its claims, I have already lost 45 lbs over about 5 months.

Maybe I built it up too much in my mind and unless I have a coffee-flavored milk shake it just can’t live up to my imagination. Perhaps I’m too accustomed to drinking black coffee and would have to grow to like the milder flavor (other than a sip or two I don’t enjoy lattes because of the milkiness).

Whatever the reason, as much as I want to, I just don’t like Bulletproof Coffee.

But maybe you will. Buy or make some for yourself and see if it works for you.

  • Brew 1 cup of coffee.
  • In a blender, add in 1 tsp. of MCT Oil (or coconut oil)
  • and 1-2 Tbs. of grass-fed, unsalted butter or ghee.
  • Mix it all for 20-30 seconds until it is frothy like a foamy latte.
  • Bottoms up!

Simple Recipes

Do you ever wonder at what you eat? What’s in it, where it came from, etc? I do. Even more frequently I wonder Why did this cost so much? I could make it at home.

After reading Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual I’ve been giving these questions some more thought than normal. Even though it can be hard to find the time to cook from scratch, I enjoy it. More than just enjoying the process, I enjoy the food more. Not only because I know what’s in it, but so often it just plain tastes better.

As I searched for recipes the other day, I ran across the StoneSoup blog. Jules, the author, has committed to cooking with no more than 5 ingredients (not including oil, salt or pepper). Furthermore, she has written a couple of ecookbooks, including one that only requires 5 ingredients and 10 minutes! What a lovely principle!

It often takes more than 10 minutes to place an order for delivery. It definitely takes longer to go and pick something up. For less time, you can have a simple, delicious home-cooked meal. What’s not to like? With so few ingredients, it’s easy to have what you need on-hand for many of the recipes.

Real food

Not only are these quick recipes, but they’re also made of real food. Just like Michael Pollan recommends.

Cook more

What about you? Would you cook more often if only the recipes weren’t so complicated? If you didn’t have to go and buy ingredients that would only be used once or twice? Not to mention how much time you’ll save. I would, and that’s part of why I like this cookbook so much. I’ve already made a couple of the meals out of it, and will be trying more out in the near future.

Give it a shot. Explore StoneSoup, and check out her free ecookbook.

Food Rules – book review

Food rules

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual
by Michael Pollan

I first ran across Michael Pollan at a friend’s house. He was reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma and offered to let me borrow it. I was intrigued and read through it quite quickly. I found Michael’s conversational writing style to be quite enjoyable and it helped me to better appreciate the information that he was sharing while he told his stories.

Having enjoyed The Omnivore’s Dilemma so much, there was no hesitation about picking up Food Rules when I saw it on the store shelf. It’s a small book, and I actually managed to read about 1/3 of the book while waiting for my wife. (So as to not pick on anyone, we weren’t shopping. I was waiting for her to get off from work.)

This book could be the answer to all of the various diets out there. The ones that say you can’t eat meat, the ones that say you should predominately eat meat, or the no carbs, or mostly carbs… It all gets so confusing.

In Food Rules Michael presents seven words that sum up what we should eat. That’s refreshingly straight-forward. A meal-planning guide that I can understand and follow.

Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.

He then goes on to provide “rules” that help to further define these three sentences, giving more details that will help you stick to those seven words whether you’re shopping, cooking, or eating. 64 simple rules that are easy to remember, easy to follow, and great for your health. No rule takes more than two pages, most less than one.

The rules are simple. It’s easier than you think. The good news? You don’t even have to cut out things like chips, cakes, ice cream, pies, or other goodies (see rule 60).

Check out Food Rules for yourself.

No Soap or Poo

When I announced the 100 Thing Challenge, Rebecca commented about the lack of soap or shampoo on my list. (Toothpaste I share with my wife.) Instead of responding in a comment, I thought that this topic deserved its own post.

Some time ago, I ran across this article about not using soap or shampoo. That made me think. And so I dug a little deeper. After reading numerous articles about the subject, including this one, I decided to try out this experiment for myself.

The Experiment

Since the end of June, I haven’t been using soap or shampoo. I shower daily, but simply don’t add man-made chemicals to the process. I have continued to use deodorant. Washing of hands with soap occurs after using the restroom and before any food preparation.

Getting Started

My first reaction after reading about the concept was that it would end with me feeling dirty, and those around me agreeing. However, this was never the case. My wife didn’t even realize that I had started the experiment (though I’d told her about it) for at least three weeks. I feel just as clean, if not more-so, than before.

The articles above both mentioned a normalization period of about two weeks (a time for your body to adjust to the lack of chemicals that attack it). I think it took me about three days. My hair felt greasy for couple of days, dry for one, then felt better than normal. Nice, soft and almost never greasy.


This experiment was not conducted while working in an office, then spending the remainder of my day in my apartment. Instead, I spent the month of July living and working outside at a summer camp. 28 of those days saw record-setting highs. We swam in pools and lakes, went rock climbing, spent a night a week in a tent, and generally had a great time. I sweated, a lot.

I noticed only three times when I needed to use something extra in the shower, each time on my hair. I skipped a shower one day, and the next day I only felt better after washing twice, using shampoo the second time. After spending an absurd amount of time in a chlorinated pool each day for nearly a week, I noticed my hair drying out and threw some conditioner in there for two days.

The Results

After having avoided showering with soap and shampoo for over three months now, I doubt that I will return to using it. Not only have I saved money, but I can now shower faster. More importantly, I actually feel cleaner. My hair stays clean-feeling throughout the day, and doesn’t scream for attention after only a few hours. My skin has become less oily (which was always an issue before). I am generally cleaner-feeling over all.

This simple experiment has shown me not to blindly follow life rules just “because I always have” or “because you should” or any other reason that is not meant to be questioned. Make your own decisions and test things out. See what works for you, and do that. See what doesn’t work for you, and stop doing that. For me, soap and poo don’t work.

Progressive Dinner – Restaurant Version

Who says you must eat your entire meal in one restaurant? Only the restaurant, who wants more of your money. Well, it’s time to break that “rule”. Sure, you might get some funny (or annoyed) looks when you order only a dessert. However, if that’s what the restaurant is best at, why not go just for that?

So, what’s a progressive dinner?

A progressive dinner is one where you eat each individual course in a different location. Head to one restaurant for appetizers, off to a second for entrees, and a third for dessert. It’s a traveling meal!

This type of adventure provides the opportunity to go to favorite restaurants and have what they are best at making. While my favorite steak house makes fabulous entrees, I have to go to a local Italian restaurant to get the best desserts in town. It also combats the tendency that we often have to rush through the meal; the travel time in between courses affords extra opportunities to chat with friends.

Some hints

  • If you have a large group, it may be most convenient to divide into a smaller parties and head to different places, rejoining for dessert.
  • You don’t have to head to the next course immediately. My wife and I recently went on a progressive dinner date, and were too full for dessert. So we headed to the movies, and stopped for dessert afterward.
  • Plan your meal so that the restaurants aren’t too far away from each other. You don’t want to deal with traffic any more than you have to, so back and forth across the city in between courses might not be the best idea.
  • I don’t make reservations, so that I don’t have to be concerned about a time-frame.

Progressive dinners don’t have to be planned out before hand. As long as you are somewhere that has a few restaurants close to each other, you can pick one to start at and work your way through the courses as you go. So what are you waiting for? Grab some friends, or your date, and go explore the local cuisine!

Travel The World From Your Kitchen

One of my favorite parts of traveling is getting to try out new foods. It doesn’t matter if I take an afternoon spin on the motorcycle to the next town over, or spend a semester studying in another country, I’m going to seek out somewhere new to eat. When I was in Ireland for a semester, I checked out some cookbooks of traditional Irish food. Using these as a starting point, my wife and I were able to sample some “real” Irish food and discover what we liked, and what we didn’t.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go anywhere to get recipes to try out. No flying to another country necessary. The internet provides recipes for just about anything that you can think of, and most ingredients can be found in local grocery stores, though you might have to search a bit harder to find some.

If you’ve been in the mood for something different, or perhaps you just want to try your hand at cooking your own “foreign” meals, look something up and see what you can find. My wife and I just had Jambalaya, from a recipe I found online. It tasted great, and was really easy to make. Next on the list: Chicken Curry. Big jump from Louisiana to India, I know. But it’s entirely possible when you’re a kitchen explorer!

Where will you travel to? To get you started, head on down to Cajun country for some Jambalaya.

Quick and Easy Jambalaya

(originally from here)

20 Mins prep time
30 Mins cook time
Makes about 6 servings


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 8 ounces kielbasa, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups uncooked white rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce


  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Saute chicken and kielbasa until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Season with cayenne, onion powder, salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes, or until onion is tender and translucent.
  • Add rice, then stir in chicken stock and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, or until rice is tender.
  • Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and hot pepper sauce.

    I made the recipe as stated. These suggestions come from comments on the original page, some that I will most likely try next go-around.

  • add tomato sauce/diced tomatoes/Ro-tel
  • add more garlic
  • use half green onion / half white onion
  • use cajun/creole seasoning in place of salt & pepper
  • add a can of drained red beans and a can of diced tomatoes w/green chiles

Primal Strips Meatless Jerky – Review

I’ve grown up enjoying beef jerky. It was frequently a snack for road trips, we would often take it on camping trips, and once a year my granddad would make a homemade batch. The different flavors and textures have always been a delight to try and compare. Imagine my surprise when I was offered a chance to review some meatless jerky (which I never even knew existed).

I was contacted by a representative of Primal Spirit Foods with a chance to sample their Primal Strips, Meatless Vegan Jerky. They were kind enough to send two strips of each flavor so that I could have friends and family help me taste them.

About the Jerky

  • It is made from either soy, seitan, or shiitake mushroom.
  • All natural, non-GMO, no cholesterol, no preservatives, no artificial colors.
  • Vegan / Kosher
  • I enjoyed the fact that there are relatively few ingredients in each of the flavors. In many cases, I am even able to recognize them!
  • The Flavors

    (This is the order in which I tried the Primal Strips, what they’re made of, and what I thought about them.)

  • Mesquite Lime – Seitan – This is not dry like beef jerkey, after holding the food in my fingers it left a residue. This might be a drawback on the trail, having “dirty” wrappers to carry. I find its texture to be more like pulled pork than dried jerkey, it’s not quite as chewy as jerkey. My wife likes this softer texture, since she finds “regular” jerky too chewy. I prefer chewing on jerky for awhile, so I like the tougher texture. Over-all, we liked this flavoring.
  • Hickory Smoked – Soy – Gluten Free – I tried this jerky with my sister-in-law, who also loves jerky. Like the Mesquite Lime, the texture is more like pulled pork, and is quite moist. We both enjoyed the flavor and would eat it again. This is probably my favorite flavor.
  • Teriyaki – Seitan – This one I tried with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. The texture is the same as the above two. None of the three of us liked the after-taste that this left.
  • Texas BBQ – Soy – Gluten Free – Tried this after a meal (probably shouldn’t test this right after a steak dinner) with my family: my wife, Mom, her husband, my sister, g-mom, and g-dad. Being jerky lovers, we didn’t care much for the texture (same as above) and weren’t fans of the flavoring. Since we had opened both packs, we fed the leftovers to the dog, who didn’t hesitate to eat it.
  • Hot & Spicy – Shiitake Mushrooms – I thought that this would be perfect for my brother-in-law, who loves spicy foods. However, he’s allergic to mushrooms, so he was unable to test it. I was able to test this with a friend, who was not quite a fan of the flavoring. As for the spiciness, she would be able to eat it one-half at a session.
    This would have to be my third favorite, flavor-wise. In regard to spiciness, I thought that it had just enough spice to be worth eating, but not so much as it was painful for my tongue. It has a drier texture, more like a slim-jim, so I enjoyed this more. I also liked that it didn’t leave as much of a residue on my fingers after eating it. I think that this would make a great addition to a meal once it was chopped into smaller pieces. As such, it would be a great food take backpacking.
  • Thai Peanut – Seitan – I tried this with my wife and our friend. This had a similar texture to all of the others (except the Hot & Spicy), and left a bit of flavor on one’s fingers. I liked this one fairly well, while my friend didn’t care for it. My wife didn’t like it at all, claiming it to possibly be her least favorite.
  • Overall Opinion

    I’ve read a couple of reviews for these guys and there seem to be mixed feelings. Vegetarians and vegans seem to love them and meat-eaters can’t stand them. I’m right in the middle. There are a couple whose flavor I enjoyed, and a couple more that I couldn’t tolerate. My wife and I first tasted the Mesquite Lime and greatly enjoyed it. We’ll definitely be taking it, the Hickory Smoked, and the Hot & Spicy on the trail with us. The rest, I won’t be eating again.

    What You Should Do

    My review might be mixed (some I love, some I don’t), but my tastes aren’t the same as yours. I quickly noticed that as I shared them with my friends. Some of the ones that I liked, no one else did. Some of the ones that I couldn’t stand others raved about. Primal Strips are certainly worth trying for yourself. It’s not beef jerky, so don’t try to compare them directly. Try and enjoy them for what they are, a treat unto themselves!

    Simple Food

    Since beginning the Minimalist Experiment I have been wondering how I can simplify my food. Do I eat less, limit the number of ingredients that I use to cook with, or should I switch to only organic foods?

    The simplest (and best) answer I’ve come up with is to eat consciously. I am guilty of eating quickly, then realizing that I didn’t taste a bite of what I just ate. I have to make myself slow down and pay attention to my food so that I can enjoy it.

    Having started doing this, I have begun to notice more about my food; its flavors, textures, and aromas. Since I’m paying more attention to the flavor, I’ve discovered that I need less seasonings to make food enjoyable. Simpler foods have also begun to catch my attention. Before, I preferred foods that were spicy or included lots of ingredients, because I wasn’t paying enough attention enough to really appreciate the less-complex flavors.

    Just a few days ago I finally tried a local restaurant that I’ve been hearing about for some time. The meal sounded simple enough on the menu but was surprisingly delicious! The Hoppin’ John included 6 ingredients: black-eyed peas, brown rice, Creole tomato sauce – topped with diced onions, green peppers, and cheddar cheese. The meal came with a wonderful slice of home-made bread and a heavenly bowl of soup (tomato bisque!)

    Those six ingredients combined to create a wonderful, filling meal. (In fact, there was enough that I was able to get two meals out of it.) What truly helped to set the meal apart, however, is that I made myself slow down and eat consciously.

    Pay attention to what you’re eating, and you’ll be surprised what you discover!