Cooking in the RV with Smart Cookware

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Avocado Bruschetta made with the Hestan Cue cookware.

August 9, 2018

Yesterday we took Coco back to Jason.  She is a very sweet little dog.  We had a nice dinner with Jason and Dan last evening and got to see their pictures from their recent trip to Iceland, Sweden, and Norway.  Beautiful!  These locations are now on my bucket list.

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Coco
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Dart, who doesn’t like to cuddle, is cuddling with Dan.

We are spending our last day west of the Cascades.  Tomorrow we start heading east again.  We have 3,690 miles to get back home in St. Augustine, Florida.  We will take a month to do it.

Regis found some blackberry bushes near our current campground, so we have been well supplied with fresh blackberries the last few days.  Yum!

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Fresh blackberries right off the vine!

I wanted to mention how we’ve been cooking while in the motor home.  It can be hard to keep the motor home cooled down in hot weather, so we have adopted a cooking routine that helps ensure we don’t heat up the motor home and allows us to eat the most fabulous meals.

A little over a month ago, we started cooking exclusively with our Hestan Cue cookware.  We even bought a second burner and pan so we can both cook if we want to cook multiple things (for example a protein and a side dish).  Hestan Cue is smart cookware that includes an induction burner and pan or pot.   By using Hestan’s video guided recipes, Hestan Cue automatically controls the temperature and time of the food.  That means everything is always cooked to perfection.  Since I tend to overcook, especially eggs and fish, I love this system.   We have better tasting meals by preparing meals in the motor home than if we go out to eat.

Regis has cooked outside on the picnic table using the Cue when it is too hot to cook.  We’ve also become more comfortable using the manual mode when we want to cook something on our own but the Hestan Cue still maintains the temperature of the pan.

We have not used our oven at all on this trip and we stopped using the stove over a month ago.  We still use the microwave to heat up food or cook corn on the cob.

The other night I made Roasted Peach Salad w/Warm Hazlenut Vinaigrette.  One of our favorite recipes is the Honey Chipotle Chicken Wings.  Words cannot describe how delicious they are!

We need cell phone service to use the cookware which is usually not a problem.  Regis has a cell phone booster he puts up if the service is weak.  We primarily need that because we use the cell phones for internet service.  We have only been without cell phone service a few times.  If that happens, we can’t use the Hestan Cue recipes but we can still cook using manual mode.  I am so committed to this cookware now, I donated all of our pots and pans a few days ago.  It has freed up some space in the cabinets!

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Pan Roasted Halibut w/Bacon Emulsion prepared on the Hestan Cue with fresh corn on the cob prepared in the microwave.
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Chicken Alfredo prepared on the Hestan Cue.
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Roasted Peach Salad w/Warm Hazlenut Vinaigrette prepared on the Hestan Cue.
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Brioche Custard French Toast prepared on the Hestan Cue.

Bee Sting and Wicked Wind

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View across the Columbia River from our campsite.

August 1, 2018

Yesterday, we had to take Dart to the vet.  The nearest vet is 34 miles away.  Dart’s been having digestive issues and yesterday was going on day 3.  We’ve been down this path many times, so I knew he needed some professional help.  Dart was diagnosed with colitis and the vet prescribed Metronidazole which always helps.  Dart has been having bouts of colitis for the last 2 1/2 years.

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View across the Columbia River from our campground.

It went up to 104 degrees yesterday, so we didn’t spend much time outside.  We decided in the early evening to set up the screened canopy which we purchased on last year’s trip to Canada.  We purchased it for the Canadian trip to give us relief from the mosquitoes.  By the time we bought it, we didn’t have to use it.  We wanted to set it up here to give relief from the bees.  While I was focused on helping Regis put up the canopy, a dag gone bee stung me.  Ouch! It hurt, but at least not as bad as a yellow jacket sting.

The canopy was VERY HARD to set up.  I had a canopy that I used for dog agility trials that I had no problem putting up and down by myself.  This screened canopy was extremely difficult for two people to put up.

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Dart, Coco, and Regis in the screened canopy we set up to give us relief from the bees.

Once we sat inside, we realized that what little breeze was outside was blocked by the screen.  As hot as it was outside, it was intolerable to sit under the canopy.  We gave up and went inside the motor home and fed the dogs and ourselves.  Around the time we finished dinner, the wind picked up so much we had to take down the canopy or it would have blown down the hill into the Columbia River.  So, all that effort and it was only up for two hours and we couldn’t use it.

The wind picked up considerably as the evening wore on and by the time we went to bed, it was howling out there.  That is the most wind we have experienced in the motor home.  In fact, it is probably the windiest situation I have been in outside of Hurricane Irma and perhaps a few tropical storms.  While I was laying there trying to get to sleep, the feeling I had was like when you are in an airplane taking off on the runway and the wheels haven’t lifted off the ground yet.  The plane is shaking and rumbling until the plane gets into the air.  The motor home was shaking and rumbling and I was hoping that it wasn’t going to take off.  Without wings, it wouldn’t have worked well.

A significant portion of the land around us for many miles has been burned not long ago.  I wonder if you tinted the land red, if this is what it would look like to be on Mars.

 

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This is what the land looks like around us for miles and miles and miles.

Cashmere

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Cashmere, Washington the day before the wildfires created smoky skies. 

July 28, 2018

Yesterday, we went to Lake Chelan to explore which is about 30 miles from where we are staying.  The sky was smoky the whole way and by the time we got back, it was also smoky back at the campground.  A local told me there were 7 wildfires currently in the area.

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Smoke over Lake Chelan.
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Smoke over Lake Chelan. The paddle board on the right side has a dog on the front of the paddle board.

We went to the Lake Chelan State Park and Coco found two mice soon after starting our short walk.  Count on a Bedlington Terrier to find the rodents.  Dart found a squirrel taunting him from a tree.  Once Coco smelled the squirrel, she got excited and tried to climb the tree.  It was amusing to watch.  She was very determined.

The drive getting here was so miserable on the first day and it was very hot when we got here, so Regis and I went to a local Mexican restaurant the Agave Azul to get food and drink.  We loved it.  After our return from the smoky trip to Lake Chelan, Regis suggested going to the Agave Azul for happy hour.  It didn’t take me a nanosecond to agree!  We love their chips and dip.  So, we got magaritas and enough bar food to serve as dinner.

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Happy hour margaritas in Azul Agave.

After we got back and later that evening, I realized that I left my shirt at the bar.  I just realized how strange that sounds.  I was wearing a short sleeve shirt and took a long sleeve shirt to wear over it in case the air conditioning was too cold.  It wasn’t, so I left my shirt on the chair and forgot about it.  When I went back to retrieve it, it gave me an opportunity to purchase more chips and dip.  The dip they serve with the chips is amazing.

We found a local bakery that makes the absolutely best baked goods.  The Bavarian creme donuts have just enough donut covering the creme to allow you to pick it up and eat it.  We also tried the glazed donuts.  Both types of donuts are the best donuts we have ever had.  They also make cookies and the shortbread cookies are the best.  I will be buying a bag of them before we leave the area.

The bakery and Mexican restaurant are in the local town of Cashmere.  It was named after the Kashmir area in India because apparently the landscape looks similar.  It’s a nice little town.  It has important stuff like good restaurants, grocery stores, old fashioned soda fountain, etc. without being too touristy and crowded.

Octopus

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Agnus, the Giant Pacific Octopus at the Seattle Aquarium.

July 26, 2018

On our final day on Bainbridge Island, I went to Seattle to have my stitches removed.  The wound looks better than I expected, so I don’t look like Frankenstein.  It will take six months to completely heal, but it’s off to a good start.

I went to the Seattle Aquarium before heading back on the ferry.  It was very crowded, so it was sometimes hard to look in some of the tanks.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed seeing the life that lives under the water hidden from sight.  It is amazing how many different kinds of fish there are.  My favorite animal was Agnus the Giant Pacific Octopus.  She showed off how she could change colors and move all her lovely arms.

I ate dinner in a nearby restaurant on the water.  Although it was good, it was way too expensive.  This is the tourist area.  At this point, I had already walked across town to the doctor’s appointment and back down to the waterfront and it was warm.  I wasn’t interested in walking to restaurant outside the area because I would have to walk back up the hill.  Some of the hills in Seattle are very steep.  If you go to Seattle, don’t just hang out on the waterfront.  Go see the other wonderful restaurants in town.

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Seattle

As we sat in the campsite on our final evening, a squirrel showed up to strip bark off the nearest tree.  Perhaps he/she was building a nest.  Dart was fascinated (so was Regis).  Coco was more interested in the Robin that hung around.

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Squirrel
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Dart watching squirrel
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Regis watching squirrel
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Coco watching a bird

We left Bainbridge Island yesterday to head out to a campground by the Wenatchee River.  The drive was miserable.  There was a lot of traffic and it was very bumpy for some reason.  Many things in the RV got rearranged along the way.  I kept doing cleanup and trying to make sure more things didn’t fall.  I reset the cappuccino maker on the counter but it wound up crashing on the floor anyway.  This is the first time this happened.  When we heard the crash, I looked back and saw all these things on the floor that looked like kibble but I could see the dog food container was still on the counter, so that wasn’t it.  Then, the smell of coffee beans filled the motor home and we knew.  Fortunately, although a few pieces of plastic broke, the cappuccino maker still works.  Thank goodness!

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Dart and Coco riding in the motor home.

It was 104 degrees when we arrived.  The camper next to us was assessing a problem they had.  The jack apparently got wedged into the asphalt as it melted in the heat.  The camper moved forward and the bottom of the jack was stuck in the asphalt and broke off.  That will be expensive to fix.  Having seen that, Regis was sure to put blocks under all of our jacks.

Regis and I went to a local Mexican restaurant for dinner and it was so good.  I’m definitely going back again before we leave.

After dinner we took the dogs down to the river to take a look.  Regis waded into the water and a snake swam by and hit him in the leg.  Regis grabbed the snake when it got to the shore to show me.  It was a little guy.

Regis picked up some tubes (for floating) while we were in Omak.  I plan to take him up the river and drop him off with a tube and go sit at the campground with Dart and Coco and wait for him to float back.  He’s not sure he wants to do it.  If he doesn’t, I will.  The water is very inviting in this heat.  (Jason:  I should have borrowed your paddle board).  Someone on a paddle board floated by with a dog on the front.

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Too bad we won’t be here to watch this.

Back to Bainbridge Island

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Seattle

July 22, 2018

When we left Omak, Washington, the temperature was expected to exceed 100 degrees.  While we were there, we got great views of Mars and the moon.

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Mars and the moon in Omak, Washington.

Because I was scheduled to have surgery in Seattle to remove some skin cancer, we headed back to camp on Bainbridge Island.  When we got to our campsite, the temperature was in the 70’s.  It has been lovely here.  A few times, we have had to turn the heat on at night since it drops into the 50’s.

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Mount Ranier as the sun sets. The sun is behind me and the rays are making the top of the mountain pink.

We’re going to be in Washington for another 3 weeks and I wish we could spend all that time near the Puget Sound because the weather is so nice.  I have not been able to find a way to stay.  All the campgrounds are booked.  I spent hours trying to work something out and we can’t do it.  After my follow-up doctor appointment on Tuesday, we will head back to the east side of the Cascades.  Although lovely, it will likely be hot.

Coco will be staying with us over the next couple weeks.  We went into Seattle yesterday to pick her up and spend time with Jason and Dan.  Jason, Dan, and I went to Nordstrom for the half yearly sale.  The Nordstrom in Seattle is incredible.  I think there is a shoe department on every floor.  While we were gone, Regis kept the dogs company and took pictures of flies.  He was supposed to take pictures of birds, but I only found a couple bird pictures of a gull flying high up in the sky.

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Fly

Jason made an incredible dinner for us.  We had a lovely time and headed back to Bainbridge on the ferry late in the evening.  The city view is beautiful at night from the ferry, but it is impossible to take a good picture at night on a moving ferry.  

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Blurry picture of Seattle at night from the ferry.

Vashon Island

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Nashi Orchards Perry and Cider. Yum!!

July 5

We joined Jason, Dan, and Coco on Vashon Island for July 4th.  We left the motor home in Burlington and stayed in a lodge on the Island.  We planned to do some “beach” things like sit in the sun, kayak, and paddle board.  We brought the beach umbrella for Dart and Coco to sit in the shade.  It was windy and cold, so we walked the beach in our jackets and enjoyed the views of Mount Ranier.  Dan found us something else to do for the afternoon.

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It may have been too cold to do beach things, but at least we got a great view of Mount Ranier.
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The shorelines around here have LOTS of driftwood. 
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Hmmm. Looks like someone didn’t read the sign.
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While we were enjoying the view, we saw this Osprey plunge into the water and catch this fish. It was windy, so this Osprey was having a lot of difficulty bringing this fish back. Also, the Osprey was only using one talon the whole time it was transporting the fish.

Dan hit the jackpot for us and found a place to do a cider tasting.  We went to Nashi Orchards which accommodated the six of us (4 adults and 2 dogs) for a cider tasting and tour of the orchard.  Nashi is a word for pear.

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Fuzzy pear growing in the Nashi Orchard waiting for it’s chance to be transformed into a Perry.

It was amazing.  I had no idea that cider could taste that good.  Some of the ciders have pears.  The orchards use a lot of their own fruit but will sometimes add fruits from other local farms.  The ciders were more like a fine wine.  After getting a taste of about six different ciders, all good, we toured the orchard.  The gardens were beautiful and we got to see the fruits beginning to grow on the trees.  We met the sheep that do a lot of the maintenance around the trees.  It was so beautiful, I was ready to move in.   The owners were very enthusiastic about what they do and were happy to share lots of information with us.  (I obviously didn’t absorb it all so I have to go back for another tour.) It was a great experience and we all felt that maybe we lucked out that we didn’t want to kayak in the cold.  It just goes to show there is always something interesting to do.  We, of course, purchased some cider to take with us.

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Apples growing in the Nashi Orchard.
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Sheep that helps keep the orchard “trimmed”.

We ate a a farm to table restaurant called the Bramble House. They offered cider from Nashi Orchards and well as other local options.  The dinner was amazing and the deserts were even better.  It’s probably a good thing I don’t live next to this restaurant.

We went to the area where the official fireworks were being set off for the Island.  We took the dogs so that we didn’t leave them in strange lodgings with all the booms.  It was crazy.  We were warned it would be crazy and it was.  There were so many “unofficial” fireworks going off that we weren’t sure we would know when the official ones started.  Good fireworks like that are not cheap, so I was amazed at how many people were shooting off big fireworks.

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Waiting to watch fireworks while the neighbors were setting off their own fireworks. Crazy!!

Coco was okay as long as they weren’t going off over her head.  When we were in the thick of things, the fireworks were going off around us, so we had to back off to give the Coco some space.  Dart wasn’t happy from the start and Regis took him around the neighborhood.  That gave Regis an opportunity to see just how many fireworks were going off all around Puget Sound.  And, most of those were probably not “official”.

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“Unofficial” fireworks.

We were able to tell when the official fireworks started.  They were a little bigger and better.  As soon as they started, all the “unofficial” fireworks stopped.  As soon as the last official firework finished, all the “unofficial” fireworks started up again.  We could hear them long into the night, much to Dart’s dismay.  I’ve never seen 4th of July fireworks on the West Coast before and it is the wild, wild west out here.

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Official fireworks.
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Official fireworks.

Under the Salish Sea

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Sea anemone at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center.

June 19

The weather warmed up quite a bit yesterday.  I woke up yesterday morning at 4:30 to watch the sunrise.  Dart joined me.  The water was calm and the sky was clear.  I saw a sea lion swim by and a few seals.

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Sunrise over Puget Sound June 18.
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Sunrise over Puget Sound June 18.

Later, we rode our bikes a couple miles to visit the Port Townsend Marine Science Center to get a look at the animals you can find under the Salish Sea.  They had microscopes set up so you could view the life in the drops of water taken from the Puget Sound.  I could have spent hours watching the zooplankton swimming around.

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Sea anemone at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center.
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Sea life at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center.

We almost died riding our bikes.  We had to ride up a long hill to get to the Center and I couldn’t do it.  I was very proud to get up the first part of the hill.  When I rounded the corner and saw that I was no where near done, I gave up and walked.  It was exhausting.   There is a big difference riding in flat Florida compared to riding these steep hills.

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Ferry crossing Puget Sound on June 17.

Last night we got quite a thrill.  There were over a dozen river otters moving through the water together.  They may have been feeding.  They were lots of fun to watch.  They hung out together in a tight group.  I am happy to have a good pair of binoculars that work well in low light conditions.  We could hear the otters making noises.  Sometimes they would all pop up their heads at the same time, chitter to each other, then go under the water at the same time.  We watched them for at least 20 minutes before they got too far away.

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Dart and Coco. Dart is a Shetland Sheepdog and Coco is a Bedlington Terrier.

I tried some sunrise pictures this morning and the sky was not as clear.  There is some cloud cover coming in.  The sunrise lacked some of the warm colors I saw yesterday.  (The best colors are always before the sun rises.  The best sunset colors show up after the sun sets.)

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Sunrise over Puget Sound June 19.
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I believe this is an immature White-Crowned sparrow.