Friday, December 12, 2014

Sometimes, You Just Get Dumped On in an RV

 I did cook a Thanksgiving dinner this year. I'll be completely honest in saying that I wasn't really into all that much.
If you know me on Facebook, you'll already have heard of what I'm about to post.

 On October 24th, Bob walked into his mom's home and found her dead, on her kitchen floor, in a pool of blood. Bob is a disabled Vietnam veteran. Bob went into a flashback because he has been diagnosed with and has VA rated PTSD. Bob was NOT combative or anything, but, because a sergeant wouldn't listen to me when I tried to tell him what was going on and went on a bit of, in my opinion, a power trip, Bob was arrested for obstruction of a law enforcement officer. We are still in limbo and awaiting the official outcome of this charge. But, suffice it to say that my husband's last moments, other than the funeral home, with his mother, were of finding her like that and watching the coroner bring her out of her home while in the back of a squad car in handcuffs.
She was laid to rest on October 31st. Ann is sorely missed by everyone. She was such an amazing lady who lived a rather fascinating and amazing life. I really, truly miss her.
Not long after that, just after I started cooking for the Kelso Senior Center, I got a call that my father was taken by ambulance and put in ICU. Then, I got a call from ICU letting me know that he did not have much longer. My father passed away on November 30th.
May he rest in peace. I'll miss knowing that my father is not here.

 I'm finding it so hard to get motivated for anything this Christmas. I haven't made any of my usual Christmas goodies. I'm pretty spun around here right at the moment.
Bob and I will celebrate 9 years of marriage on Sunday. It seems like a lifetime of events that the two of us have gone through.
I'll be my own time...and I appreciate all the thoughts that you've all sent my way. I know I'm not the best at expressing my thanks. I'm not into all that mushy stuff. I will be ok, though.
Bob and I started a new Christmas tradition. This year, we sent "Junior's" nephew home to his dad and stepmom where he will be loved and wanted and not, in my opinion, abused by some twisted people. That is our Christmas present to this young man, his family back east and for Bob and I. It's enough. I'm happy with my Christmas this year, even if I don't bake those tedious, damn cookies!
Merry Christmas! Peace!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hong Kong in an RV

Diced up leftover grilled bacon-wrapped filet mignon and jerk seasoned chicken breast
 Tonight was the night for Hong Kong. This blog post was WAY too long in the making, let me tell you! I am back online. Bob and I have ordered our own private internet service and I can get back to doing what it is that I love to do...cook and write about it!
On the menu:
Egg Ribbon Soup (my original recipe)
Filet Mignon/Jerk Chicken Fried Rice (another original creation)
Salt & Pepper Shrimp & Scallops (and, yet...even another original recipe!)

I cooked dinner for a young man that helped Bob to build a shed for the deaf couple that live near us. The couple have become very good friends and are teaching us sign language. Anyhow, on September 6th, Bob was helping the guy pack his kayak up from the river (incidentally, it was the same day we had the big park wide potluck dinner...we smoked a 15-pound prime rib, 15 pounds of kalbi marinated chicken and I made a huge bowl of  Shrimp Salsa and 2 different types of no-bake cheesecakes) when he slipped, fell down the bank about 20 feet, landed on his hand and severely broke the third metacarpal in the back of his hand. He's been casted for over a month now and the second cast gets cut off next week. We'll know more then, but we were told that he'll be going to physical therapy. Anyhow, I got off track with that...the young man helped Bob with the shed because of the whole hand thing and I made him a filet mignon dinner as a thank you. I had a left over filet that I decided to use for the fried rice. I also had a half of a chicken breast that was seasoned with jerk seasoning, so I decided to add that in, as well.
 I diced up this huge freaking carrot I found. I mean this sucker was HUGE! That one damn carrot was enough to use in 2 different recipes!
 This celery was for the Salt & Pepper recipe...I cut it more fancy schmancy than I did for the soup and fried rice.
 The supermarket had some really nice looking mushrooms today. I picked some up for tonight and for the stew I'm making tomorrow.
 These little pouches are handy-dandy! If you live in a travel trailer full-time, you'll completely understand the need to conserve space. I don't have room to store cans and cans of different broth. I just don't. I love these little pouches because if I need a cup of broth, I add a pouch to a cup of water and there it is...if I need two cups (which is what a can measures out to be), I add 2 pouches to 2 cups of water. You get the idea! I have these on hand at all times and they come 8 in a package and they are under $2....great things to have!
 My Egg Ribbon Soup:

5 cups chicken broth
1/2 pound diced chicken breast (I use from a raw state)
1/4 cup EACH diced celery, carrot and onion
1 clove garlic, minced
4 ounces julienned water chestnuts
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 eggs, well beaten
1/4 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons cornstarch made into a slurry with 2 tablespoons water

Put all ingredients except frozen peas, eggs and cornstarch slurry in a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer about 35 minutes or until everything is cooked through. Add cornstarch slurry, raise heat, bring to a slow boil until soup thickens. Add beaten egg in a steady stream to form the "ribbons". Add frozen peas. Remove from heat. Serve.
I don't know how many people this will serve. I've never been good at figuring all that out. I'd guess about 6 people generously...8 if it is one of those little soup cups that you get at a restaurant.
 This is the start to my fried rice. I did a blog post giving the base recipe on Baked Lava a few years ago. I called it Pretentious Fried Rice. Click on the recipe name to be magically transported back in time so that you can see the recipe.
 Fried rice is awesome because you can use whatever you have on hand. I used onions, celery, carrots, garlic, mushrooms, water chestnuts, filet mignon (would this be more pretentious than the original Pretentious Fried Rice???), jerk chicken, the bacon that was around  the filet mignon...anyhow, this stuff was GOOD! My fried rice is always good. I'm not bragging. It just is.
 This is the start of the Salt & Pepper Shrimp & Scallops...fancy-schmancy cut celery. It's not hard to do. You just need a sharp knife.
 Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. It is located on the southern coast of China and geographically enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and the South China Sea.  It is located on China's south coast, 37 miles east of Macau on the opposite side of the Pearl River Delta. It is surrounded by the South China Sea on east, south and west and it borders the Guangdong city of Shenzhen to the north over the Shenzhen River.
Hong Kong consists of the Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories plus over 200 offshore islands, of which, the largest one is Lantau Island.
The highest point in Hong Kong is Tai Mo Shan at 3140 feet.
The land mass of Hong Kong is 426 square miles. The population, as off 2011, was over 7 million people, making it one of the most densely populated areas of the world.
The political and judicial operate independently from mainland China. The official languages are Chinese and English.
Less than 25% of Hong Kong is developed and about 40% of the remaining land is reserved as country parks and nature reserves. Most of the urban development exists on the Kowloon Peninsula, along the northern edge of Hong Kong Island and in scattered settlements throughout the New Territories.
 Salt & Pepper Shrimp & Scallops

(I can't give you measurements because, well, honestly...I didn't measure anything)
Shrimp (1 pound 21-25 count)
Scallops (1/3 pound)
Green Onions
Red and Green Bell Peppers
Stir fry everything over very high heat in a skillet. I add in the celery, peppers and onions first because they take the longest.
At the end, I sprinkled heavily with Penzey's Schezuan Salt & Pepper seasoning blend. Then, I made a slurry of cornstarch and some vegetable broth (using one of those handy-dandy packets) and used that for a sauce to bind everything together.
 It was freaking fantastic! Bob was in Hong Kong in 1975 (I was only 6 years old) and he said what I created tonight was pretty spot on.
That's the thing about Chinese cuisine. They use fresh ingredients. They do not waste anything. I really love their way of cooking. A little of this and a little of that can go a long way and taste phenomenal!
My Egg Ribbon Soup

 So...another look at the egg ribbon soup...that stuff was so good. I used a bit of soy sauce and a bare drizzle of sesame oil to finish it off.
Filet Mignon Fried Rice

You gotta have a fortune cookie...and I thought this fortune was cool!

Dinner tonight!
I'm not keeping track of how much groceries run me anymore. It's too hard to do that. I know between the shrimp and scallops, I blew the budget, anyhow. I don't care. It was worth it.
You all voted months and months ago. There was a tie. Bob broke the tie. Country #98 shall be Paraguay.
Please make sure to vote for the 99th country or territory, by scrolling up to the top, right under the volcano picture, on the left hand side and cast your vote.
 So, until we meet up in Paraguay...keep cookin! Peace!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Advice From Full-Timer in an RV

I haven't blogged in a while. It's not because I haven't wanted to or I haven't had anything to blog about...there's been plenty of things. It's because I'm fighting a losing battle with trying to load photos and so forth. We ordered our own private WiFi. It's just now became available to us. We are the first ones, or the guinea pigs, so to speak.
Life in an RV hasn't been all hunky-dory as of late. There have been plenty of issues. I guess I'm known as the bitch around here because I don't let people walk all over me or use me. I tend to put my foot down about things and rather hard. People who choose this lifestyle, rather it's because it is a necessity or by choice, all of us have a different story. We all come from different walks of life. We come from everywhere.
I think that anyone who gets into this lifestyle should be aware of things that can and, most likely, will happen. Disputes will happen. There is always going to be those one or two spots in every RV park that allows long-term full-timers to reside there. We've lived in two parks like this and it's happened in each one...dealing with ridiculous people who create ridiculous situations out of nothing.
I've posted blogs about my garden. I've put in over 40 heirloom tomato plants. They weren't cheap. Bob and have I bought each and every single one of them, so I know how much they cost. We bought all the soil. We did all the work to put that garden in. Along comes these people who moved in and we, at first, thought they were really cool. Turns out that no matter many decals you put on a turd, it's still just a turd. I do not begrudge anyone having a drink or two. I'm totally cool with it. But, when a dude cops an attitude with me because I do not want my husband to turn into a raging alcoholic and drink from sun-up to sun-down every single day, well, I would say "we" have a problem. Only, "we" don't have a problem, that dude has the problem. I'm not sure what, exactly, his problem is, but it's his.
Let's fast forward to just a few days ago. I was in the middle of a conversation with someone else who lives in here about doesn't matter...and dude stumbles up my driveway, drunk. He had to lean on my little outside shelving unit because he couldn't stand up straight. He just jumps in the conversation and takes it over. Well, I do have an issue with lack of respect like that toward me, in my own yard. I let him know that I didn't appreciate whoever has been out back because my plants are being broken off. That guy has no idea of what my plans were with those. I've been told by his wife more than once that if I don't pick the tomatoes out there, she was going to do it. Before anyone jumps to any conclusions of me making a big deal out of nothing, let me explain. One of the tomatoes was a Red Zebra. They are not easy to find around these parts. I got this particular starter plant up in Longview. The nursery up in Longview is just over 25 miles away. So, in essence, I made a 50 mile round trip to pick up that particular tomato plant. I had growing, it was tall, it had nice green tomatoes on it. I went out back a few weeks ago and my Red Zebra was broken off. I do not know who did this. I can assume, but that's all it assumption. The Red Zebra that I sat and babied along is gone. The tomatoes were pulled off while still green. I had plans of saving the seeds from those tomatoes to grow starter plants to sell at the farmers market next year. I could have gotten anywhere from $3 to $5 each for the starters, depending on size. I needed 4 tomatoes to get around 300-500 seeds, those seeds would have grown, say, 100 starter plants. Scratch that income.
Then it happened with another tomato plant...
And, then another.
Houston, we have a problem.
Now, I know that drunk neighbor dude thinks it is all a big joke. But, to me, it is not a joke when someone takes money that I could have generated. I tend to get a tad upset. I don't know of many people who wouldn't.
Now, the last job that Bob was on, I was standing in the kitchen one day, while he was at work and I saw drunk neighbor dude walk through my yard and stand and stare out back. I don't know what he was looking at nor do I care what he was looking at. He was out there. When drunk neighbor dude inserted himself into my conversation with someone else, he proceeds to tell me that he's never been in my yard. Really? I'm not even about to argue that point because, from experience, you can't argue with that sort of mentality. You just can't. I'm a bitch. Ok, we've established that...I am a bitch. Whatever he wants to think. I do not care.
Our other neighbors, the cool neighbors that have let me use their yard to garden in live right next to these people. Like I said, from about 11 am until they decide to call it a night, they have their radio playing. It disturbs our other neighbors. I've gotten to where I shut my back kitchen window because, and as much as I do like music, it's a bit much. It's a bit much because several times, the drunken neighbors have simply passed out and forgotten to shut off their radio. I wonder if they think that everyone wants to try to listen to a movie over that or what? I just saw drunk neighbor dude act very confrontational toward our cool neighbor, a man of 74 years of age. I was sitting out here at the picnic table when this transpired. He asked the cool neighbor if he went over and turned off the radio. The cool neighbor informed the drunk neighbor dude that he did not. The drunk neighbor dude looked at me and said, "Now I know who did it. I will handle this."
I'm not sure what he intends to handle, but I do not go over into their yard and mess with their junk. It's called respect. I will complain about the music to management if it bugged me, but it is not my place to turn anything off that doesn't belong to me. Now, I have to sit here and wonder what this idiot thinks he's going "handle" my opinion, he desperately needs to get a handle on his drinking! They have a teenage son living with them. Way to be a role model! NOT!
I used to listen to them tell me that they were evicted from the prior RV park and I couldn't believe it. I thought they were cool people. The last few weeks have proven to me otherwise. I guess where it all started to go downhill is when drunk neighbor dude got a new job and didn't have the gas in his vehicle to make it to work. Bob loaned him $20. He promptly took half of that and bought beer because we all know that one mustn't be without is a staple food group...and he wound up running out of gas on his first day of work. When Bob told me what he had done, I have to say that Bob's heart was in the right place, but you just cannot help people who have no intentions of helping themselves and want to portray themselves as always being the victim of bad luck or circumstance. Well, there is such a thing as bad luck, don't get me wrong...but there's also a thing called accountability. There is also that word "insanity" that belongs in there with the whole accountability thing. Insanity is when you do something over and over and expect different results even though you know damn good and well that it's not going to happen. Accountability is when you man-up and say, "You know, I screwed up and I'm going to take whatever consequences I may have coming for my behavior." Well, you either man-up or you woman-up, depending on which gender you are. When people are in their mid-to-late 40s, it's just something that responsible people tend to do. We screw up, we're human and it happens.
 But, as for me, I'll be go to hell if I'm going to continue to buy some sad-sack story time after time of how life deals them a bad hand and they have run out of money for this or that. I'll be go to hell if I let someone borrow me and Bob right out of house and home just to support an alcohol habit. So, if that all makes me a bitch, so be it. If taking a stand against my personal property being damaged and telling someone that I prefer that nobody goes out back in my garden constitutes me being a bitch, so be it. I'll be the best bitch I can be...and I, most certainly, am going to go through my life quite happy with my choices or I will woman-up and pay the consequences of my actions. One thing I will never do is stumble into someone's yard, interrupt their conversation with someone, disrespect them in their own yard, look them right in the eye and lie to them and then turn around and bad-mouth them to anyone who will listen...and there are a lot of people who will listen for a free beer...LOL. OY. Dealing with stupidity is not one of my strong points, I have to admit. I just hate it. I will not coddle it nor will I pretend that it is anything other than stupidity. To do so is not being true to myself.
So, in conclusion to this long rambling rant (thank you for taking the time to read it), just know that if you are thinking of full-timing it in a park for long-term, you'll most likely run into garbage like this...I think it's going to be in any park you choose.