Here We Go Again!

Preparing for this trip–our third–has been easier than for the first two, since we are more familiar now with what we need or don’t need for this vanlife, in addition to us having a better understanding of some efficiencies.

For instance, I have cooked more dinner foods at home this time, as well as having created a meal plan of sorts to keep my shopping/van prep on track.

On the left is mirepoix, a staple at home that is not a tedious task to make but in Vanda, it becomes a challenge. Mirepoix is simply a blend of veggies roasted in fat, to be used as a foundational element in a soup, stew, or casserole. My version is caramelized onions, to which I add garlic, carrots, and celery. I could chop then cook those veggies in the van each time I make a soup or casserole, but it’s more efficient to cook a large batch to later pull from the fridge for whatever dinner I am making. (shout out to the dear Brian Bennet who owns restaurants in the Sacramento area, from whom I learned this trick! xo). The food on the right is one of John’s faves for dinner–cheese enchiladas. Easy to make at home, anything can go inside the tortillas. Not pictured is the quart of tomato soup I whipped up the day before we left.

It’s the calzone that I love; this is a repeat dinner idea from the last trip–I will reheat this on a low heat in a dry nonstick pan to warm the inside while preserving the crispy crust then top them with a flavorful red sauce. Inside the calzone is sautéed greens, sun-dried tomatoes, plenty of garlic and onion, mixed into a ricotta/mozzarella/parm blend. YUM!

There is a huge bag of fresh greens and another of chopped salad veggies (all of the crunchies!) in the fridge. I’ve roasted a fresh batch of mixed nuts for a salad topper and for snacking, roasted sweet peppers, steeped iced tea for John, refilled condiment and spice jars, packed ample homemade cookies and other snacks, assured a supply of gin & mixer and wine, and double-triple checked my lists. We will be well-fed!

The 3 weeks we’ve been at home between trips have been glorious, and busy. We have visited with friends, sought out and found lots of spring wildflowers, gone on two overnights in Vanda, had HVAC maintenance done at the house (ouch), and accomplished a significant amount of spring cleanup in the yard. It was hard to leave with so many new blooms popping up, including foraged seeds from years past that are finally busting forth into small plants, some of which may flower this year. I’m hoping that a landscaping friend who will be keeping an eye on the yard will send photo of the blooms so we don’t miss them altogether…

If you look closely, you can see new Green Dragons and Jack-in-the-Pulpit plants. ❤️

This trip to Florida, via stops in Tennessee and Georgia, will offer mass viewing of nesting and recently hatched Roseate Spoonbills, Storks, Egrets, and Herons, and if we’re lucky, we should also see some migrating warblers. How exciting! How fortunate we are!



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