YUMMY!

Hi there!  Thanks for stopping by Two Dogs.  It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.  Spring is upon us in a big way and the The Chiweenie Brothers, Burger, and I are all enjoying it. 

The flowering quince is in full bloom

And the bleeding heart is beautiful this year. 

I have a recipe to share with you today — van dwellers don’t leave — that makes the possibility of roasted vegetables a reality in the hot days ahead when you don’t want to heat up your kitchen.  Have been wanting to try  roasting some vegetables in my crock pot and since I had a sack of brussel sprouts in the fridge, I decided it was a good day to try this.  NOTE:  I am not a huge fan of brussel sprouts, but I have to admit the sauce in this recipe makes those little cabbages uber good, not to mention healthy. Those two words usually don’t go very well together!  Throwing in some carrots made the whole thing even better.  YUMMY!

SPICY ROASTED BRUSSEL SPROUTS FOR THE CROCK POT  adapted from PureWow.com

Ingredients
1 1/2 Pounds brussel sprouts
1/2 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 Cup rice-wine vinegar  (I’ve used plain ol’ wine vinegar and it works just as well)
1/4 Cup honey
2 Tablespoons Siracha  (If you don’t like super spicy, cut this back to 1 tablespoon)
Salt and pepper to taste

Use some of the olive oil to coat the bottom of your crock pot. You don’t need a lot, just enough to keep the vegetable(s) from sticking. Turn your pot to high.

Trim the base away from the brussel sprouts and discard.  Cut the sprouts in half.  Put the sprouts in your crock pot and stir them around to lightly coat with the oil. Place a paper towel over your crock pot and place the lid on top.  The paper towel will absorb the extra moisture.  You may need to change it out once.  Cook for about 1/ 1/2  to 2 hours, maybe more.  It all depends on your crock pot and the size of the sprouts you are making. 

Once your brussel sprouts are tender, mix up the remaining oil with the rest of the ingredients and pour over the sprouts, mixing well.  Cook for another half hour or so.  Dig in!!

I made this with fewer brussel sprouts and added carrots (cut in small chunks).  You could use any assortment of vegetables that you normally roast in your oven and it would be wonderful; any of the root vegetables, sweet potatoes, onions, bell peppers, etc.  Use whatever you want, but I’d try it with the brussel sprouts first.  And I gobbled this up so fast I forgot to get a photo…..you will have to be content with the flowers.  Sorry! 

WHY I WANTED THE VAN DWELLERS TO STICK AROUND —–

As many of you van dwellers know — or maybe you don’t — they make a 12 volt crock pot that you can plug into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter.  How cool is that?  It even comes with a cord to secure the lid.  One of these is on my wish list!!  So, if you are planning on changing camps, just going for a drive that may last an hour or two,  or travelling to another destination, make this recipe and let it cook while you are on the road.  And just think of all the other things you will be able to cook while you are driving down the road enjoying the scenery.

Next, I want to try roasting these little gems in a solar oven.  But that’s down the road.  Why?  Because I haven’t put one together yet.  It’s on my To-Do List 🙂 

Hugs to you,
Shawna

 

A Few New Items For Freedom

What do you do in the depths of winter to entertain yourself?  There’s TV, the occasional walk, playing with the dogs, the internet, and FaceBook, reading…  Yes, there’s all that, but most of my spare time has been spent dreaming about the day I get to pack up Freedom for more than just a few days’ stay somewhere.  For that time when the dogs and I pull out of the driveway of our sticks and bricks home that is no longer ours and we head out on the open road to whatever adventures come our way.  The day we make Freedom our permanent home. 

Part of getting ready for that future date is the continuing work on Freedom to make her our comfy-cozy little abode on wheels.  The desk/kitchen table I made is installed, and we have several plastic drawer units in place.  The bed is more comfortable than the one in our house, and I continue working on the little things while saving for getting a few more of the big things (think solar), and some confidence to install it, but that’s another post.

Below is the desk/table installed in Freedom.  In the center is the cooler cube I purchased and the cover I threw together for it.  I definitely need to make another one that is a bit bigger, or more appropriately ‘fuller’, and cover the cube with Reflectix, but for now this works.  It’s not only my ice chest but also the seat for my desk/table.

I have an on-going list of things on my wish list at Amazon and was able to purchase a couple of items earlier this month and got them installed.  It seemed I did not have enough light to my liking, especially something that was handy and something I would be able to turn on when entering the van in the dark.  These LED battery operated stick-on lights from Amazon work perfectly and throw out a good amount of light.  These are on the ceiling, one towards the front right at the side doors and the other is toward the back near the bed.

The other item I purchased was a drink holder.  I loves me some coffee or tea while on the move and Freedom, being an older gal, did not have the kind of cup holders that worked with my to-go cups.  Searching Amazon (I love that store!) I found an adjustable holder that I was able to attach over the top of the console where the integrated holders were.  It works really well and doesn’t look too bad at all. I positioned it so I have a little opening to stash a pen or two and I can put a notepad behind the holder.  Am thinking the holder on the right might be useful for the GPS.  Will try that out during the next short road trip.

Thanks for stopping by Two Dogs today and following along as we get Freedom ready to roll. 
Have a great week!  Hugs, Shawna

 

More Details on Freedom

Hello friends!  Happy New Year!

 Before I decided to combine Two Dogs and a Single Life with my van conversion, I bought the van (Phase One) and began Phase Two (converting her to be livable), so you are going to have to use your imagination on how she looked inside before I got my hands on her and started putting the dreaming and planning into action.  I have this need to journal the process but I got ahead of myself and didn’t take inside photos.

Freedom is a seven passenger vehicle:  Front seats, two middle seats, and a bench seat in the back which also happens to fold down into a bed.  This was very convenient as it meant one less thing to add to her and I could potentially take off on short trips right away since the necessity of a comfortable place to sleep was at the ready, just add bedding.

My oldest son was the one who checked her out for me and took her for a test drive and then called and said “Mom if you are going to do this, this is the one.  It’s mechanically sound and in very nice condition.”  OK!  Let’s get this deal done!  Thank you Scott.

My youngest son helped me get the two middle seats out and they are now in my grandson’s bedroom and he uses them as gaming chairs.  HA!  A dry place to store them and he has a a comfy chair in which to sit while playing his video games.  Thank you Jeremy!

So with the middle seats gone all that was left was to plug the holes where those seats were bolted to the floor and that was easily accomplished with some plastic plugs from the hardware store.  I vacuumed the rug and then began measuring and taking notes and trying to envision what would go where, what I would need, etc.  I have a file folder titled “The Van Plan” which had a few notes in it, but recently it has become stuffed with more notes and lists……the plan is in action!!

I knew I wanted to get some Reflectix for the windows to provide not only some insulation against heat and cold but also for privacy at night when parked.  I had never heard of Reflectix until reading some very good blogs on vandwelling, namely Bob Well’s  www.CheapRVLiving.com and all the wonderful members of this group who contribute and share what they have done in their vehicles (and trailers, camper shells, you name it.)  There is a ton of information there and everyone is so generous with their knowledge.  Also, the VanDwelling group on Facebook started by the lovely Brenda Curtiss. I am honored to be part of her Vanily.  She also has a wonderful blog, www.LordandCurtiss.ws that has a ton of information for vandwellers along with some really good ebooks on the subject.  I devoured all these sites had to offer, sometimes my head spinning with ideas or decisions or with just the shear magnitude of choices. 

So how to finance all these things I needed for living in a van?  At present I am unemployed and there just isn’t any extra cash. The tentative plan is to perhaps one day actually live in Freedom, but even if I just become a Snow Bird, I will have to downsize.  Bob’s suggestion is to start getting rid of things, and I felt that I should start now and not leave something like that to some last-minute-mad dash-going-crazy event, so, I began going through my home finding things that I not longer used, wanted, or needed and I posted them on our local Swap and Trade Facebook group to get some cash to get Freedom fixed up the way I want.

This downsizing isn’t something that just popped in my head.  I have been planning on downsizing and getting rid of a lot of things so that when the time comes my sons don’t have as much to deal with.  I truly want to make it as easy on them as possible.  If I am living in a van with nothing but what’s in Freedom, that should do the trick!  I’m making jokes, but truly it’s a win-win situation for all concerned.  If I don’t become a full time vandweller I have my home pared down to something manageable, and if I do become a full time vandweller, the extraneous “stuff” will be gone and the final dash to freedom in Freedom will be that much easier. 

So that’s enough for today. Once I get past the “beginning” my posts will not be so long and you can join me in the process of making my new travel home a haven of comfort and convenience; please bear with me.    I leave with a couple of photos of the area surrounding the Burney Basin/Intermountain Area. It’s a gorgeous place!

To seek and see and live life, rather than existing.  This is part of the plan. 

 
 
Burney Falls
 


Mt. Lassen



Mt. Shasta


I didn’t take these photos and because they were taken off the Internet and so small, they are a bit fuzzy at the medium setting.  Thanks for stopping by Two Dogs today!  Hugs, Shawna