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I’m not a bad cook. Just an uninspired one. Especially when it comes to cooking in the RV. James and I are like Energizer Bunnies on the road…packing so much into our days that there’s simply not enough time for creativity in the kitchen. Besides, getting creative with Das Bus’ hobbit-sized kitchen is tricky. So, I tend to settle for the same old boring recipes I could whip up in my sleep. “Grilled chicken again, honey?” Snore. “Oh look, more salmon.” Double snore.
But all that’s changed! We just got back from the South Texas RV Supersale…which is an annual huge RV extravanganza complete with seminars, exhibitors, and loads of RVs at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio. It was at one of the seminars I got to meet my new RVing kitchen idol…Lady E!
Lady E, whose real name is Evada Cooper, travels around the nation with her husband Terry Cooper, the Texas RV Professor, in their Redwood 5th wheel, and they do seminars training newbies like me on their respective topics. After her session, I got the chance to sit down with Lady E and pick her brain on a few things she touched on in her seminar that interested me. Here’s how our conversation went:
Me: You gave some interesting information in your seminar about dehydrating foods as a smart RVing technique, since it cuts down on weight and space. Our RV is about the size of a Matchbox car, so this idea is especially great for us! Plus, we already have a dehydrator that we love. Since James and I are both big smoothie lovers, I’d love to know your thoughts on how we could use dehydrated foods to make smoothies on the road.
Lady E: Great idea! I use a Magic Bullet…which is a small blender for things like this in our RV. It uses less space than a full sized blender and is very powerful. Start with dehydrated spinach. Two cups of raw spinach will pack down to about a ½ cup of dehydrated spinach. Put your spinach in the blender with about 12-16 oz of water, around two cups of dehydrated fruit of your choosing, and two tablespoons of Bragg’s organic apple cider vinegar. I don’t use any juice in my smoothies, just the apple cider vinegar, which has tons of health benefits. Let it sit awhile before blending so the dehydrated ingredients reconstitute a little. I like to use freeze-dried honey to sweeten it as well. Try a tablespoon or two.
Lady E: Also, when dehydrating citrus fruits, try leaving the skins on. There are so many nutrients in the skin. Using dehydrated citrus fruits with the peels on works nicely for making smoothies on the road.
Me: Any other tips I can use, especially considering how I don’t like to spend a lot of time cooking when we’re on the road?
Lady E: Before you set off on your trip, plan ahead. I can’t stress enough how important it is to make your meal plans ahead of time. You can make entire dehydrated meal kits before you leave on your trips to cut your prep time down to almost nothing when you’re on the road. For example, you can make your own soup mix. Dehydrate the veggies, potatoes, and throw them in a baggie with the spices and seasonings. This way, you won’t be using up your precious fridge space with bulky raw vegetables. It’s a lot of work up front, but you’ll really appreciate it when you’re on the road.
Me: You touch on induction cooking in your seminar, and James is pretty excited about purchasing an induction cooktop for Das Bus because he really wants to go all electric. Do you prepare recipes any differently when using induction cooking? Do you have to use more or less oil or butter? And are cooking times different?
Lady E: The best piece of advice I can give you is this: do not multi-task when using induction. Remember it’s only the pan getting hot, not the burner. But, it gets so hot, even at 50%, that everything gets done extremely quickly. Stay close, stir frequently, and don’t leave things unattended. It is an excellent way to cook, especially since it doesn’t heat up the RV, so I highly recommend it. But there is some getting used to the speed and intensity of it, as with any new appliance.
If you’re interested in more from Lady E, you can check out her website here: www.myrvkitchen.com. It definitely gave me some renewed RV kitchen inspiration. I’ve dusted off my dehydrator and I can’t wait to start prepping for our next RV trip. Dehydrated smoothies and meal kits, here I come!