“The Big Book of Small Foods”

CoverSmallNot a lot of new recipes in December. First of all we’ve published most of the holiday recipes and secondly we’ve been working hard to complete the new book. We’ve been working away on the next version of “Small Foods”and here it is. Right now it’s only the Kindle version but soon it will be a beautiful printed book as well. Kindle has some limitations as far as books with lots of photos and artistic layout are concerned, but they do adapt to any tablet or phone so I guess there is some value to it. I would think for RVers it would be great as it removes the need to carry around a cookbook in a limited space. Homes, apartments, RVs, boats with ovens, there are tons of places you can use a small foods cook book. (In a boat you might want to use a large muffin pan as ceramic ramekins could roll around due to the boat rocking). I myself prefer a hard copy book, but I’m sure there are some who prefer to get their recipes digitally.

The new book has the original 17 recipes and 33 more, including desserts! Many of these dishes have been featured here and some have not. Just $3.95 (U.S.).

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In the meantime, we have reduced the Kindle price of the “Small Foods” book to $2.99. We feel that this is a good introduction to the small foods process and we’d like everyone to try it.

 

Kissimmee Prairie SP Oct. 30, 2015

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This is our view, it’s a prairie. It was about the end of October, so we decided to go out to Kissimmee Prairie State Park for a look see. It’s way off in the middle of the state, down an eight mile shell road, about 2.5 hrs from Tampa. More like Okeechobee, not Kissimmee, the K river just runs thru it.  Not the best choice as it has been raining a lot lately and it is the full moon. K state Park is noted for its great night sky and trails. The trails were flooded out and we didn’t even see the moon until the last night, let alone the stars, too cloudy. Better to come here in the winter when it is clear and a new moon. This is the first time we’ve been in a state park that was basically deserted. I think there were only four other campers in the whole place. Very quiet needless to say. So we went looking for wildlife.

DSCN4034DSCN3967We did see a deer, there’s no hunting here so they walk unafraid thru the campgrounds. We saw wild turkeys, giant spiders, gopher tortoise, an otter, and the white throated Caracara. I roamed all over the trails looking for the Caracara and it appeared on the picnic table in the camp next to ours. Definitely a strange looking bird. Lots of flies here, not biting but a nuisance (this is a popular horse camping place) bring lots of bug spray. More photos on my site http://www.fishbourne.shutterfly.com

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We are definitely going to come back in the winter when there is no moon and the trails are dry. It’s a 7 mile hike to the river down the military trail, might be do-able on a bike and I think you’d see a lot of interesting stuff. They do run a swamp buggy tour on weekends in the winter and holidays. Next Trip Oscar Scherer SP Nov.

The New Season Begins – Ft. Desoto 9/2015

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It’s finally beginning to cool down. Still in the high 80s with high humidity but it is no longer sweltering at night. Yes we have AC and it works very well but we don’t go camping to hang out in the tent all day.

Monday
One of those Invest storms was coming (area of interest to the weather people) so instead of staying home for a day we rushed to the campground and got set up before it could break. Big mistake, it poured buckets all night, luckily no wind, we didn’t get any sleep. But the camper was perfectly dry and our site didn’t flood so we were fine. Hamburgers in the fry pan for dinner, Lynda had a veggie burger.

Tuesday
One of Lynda’s graphic design clients was having trouble with her files and Lynda didn’t ‘ bring her computer along, so we had to run home (only 45 min.) and get it. In the meantime they worked out their problems, but we probably needed to have it along any way. The rule now is to always take the computer when there is an active job in the office. We did get to walk around the park a little and see some of the flooded campsites. Lots of people went home, this place is only about 1/4 full. Left over pepper, onion, feta, filo dough pizza from home.

Wednesday
Hurrah! Sunny at last with a dry northwest wind. A beach day – on the beach by ten off by three. The wind finally blew our beach umbrellas down so we left.

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I haven’t mentioned it yet but we added an outdoor table and electric outlet to the camper. Great for cooking on with the electric fry pan and it has a sink for washing up! Much better than trying to wash pots in the teeny area that is the sink inside. It just folds up and goes on top of the “dining room table” when we fold up everything. Dinner tonight – left over ramekin vegetarian chili from home with Doritos. So much for being healthy!

 

Thursday
A bright beautiful day with only a low chance of showers. The wind is down this morning so Lynda has gone kayaking. It’s low tide so she had to hike thru the mud flats a bit to get out. After lunch Lynda went kayaking all the way to the point. Then we went to north beach just to see how it looked without the big Australian pines. It’s washing out a mile a minute. At high tide the beach is maybe 25 feet wide. Went back to the camp and ate left over chicken Marbella which we froze and brought with us. It was great but the smell of it seemed to attract one of the feral cats that live here. There wasn’t any left by the time he showed up so no dinner for him.

Friday
Time to pack up and go home. We’re already planning the next trip!

 

A Road Trip To The Great North August 2015

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We sold the big yellow trailer. It was just getting too big to haul around and we wanted the option of being able to take a tent site if we needed too.  So from now on Minnie will be the little pop-up, much easier to haul, cheaper on gas, easy to park.

So good bye Minnie, hello Minnie.

We decided to take a road trip in the Ford , no trailer this time, staying in hotels and with friends. Double click on photos to see them larger.

IMG_0330 IMG_1379We went to to Atlanta to visit Patty,  to Asheville NC, to Lynda’s sister’s in WV and the Kings in VA.  Patty took us out to the High Museum in downtown Atlanta and to Anticos Pizza, where we had the best pizza ever. Dinner at her daughter’s Emily’s house and on to Asheville, NC

A long but enjoyable drive thru the Blueridge Mountains and we were in Asheville, NC. Downtown isn’t much unless you love shopping malls. But Asheville has a huge River Art District and it’s right in the mountains. Much cooler in the mountains unlike Tampa.
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We stayed at the Asia Spa and B&B. It’s a 1920’s house totally rebuilt as a 6 bedroom spa with a steam room and sauna. Asia motif through out the building. Our room also had a gas fireplace and a whirlpool bathtub.After a hard day of gallery hopping, Lynda had to try out the tub.

IMG_1391They serve breakfast at the Asia and the first day they served French Toast in a ramekin! I gave them a copy of my ramekin cookbook “Small Foods” and they said I could use their idea in my next book, coming soon.

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The River Arts District was great. Tons of old warehouses along the river, converted into artists studios/galleries. There was a circle labyrinth built after one of the art buildings burned down. Unfortunately, they are building a huge brewery just across the river so I’m sure it will smell up the area. The brewery is supposed to attract 1/2 million visitors a year. Anyway you can visit the galleries and talk to the artists as they work and maybe buy some artwork. We really needed a few more days in Asheville but we were off to West Virginia to visit Lynda’s sister. The visit there was great, we tried to talk them out of their cat Bovver who was black and brown soft log hair. They wouldn’t hear of it.

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So we were off for Virginia. Our friends own a condo with a slip just off Chesapeake Bay. We had a great visit and actually made French Toast in a Ramekin there. It was great. A days drive from there we stopped for the night in Savannah and then home.

June at Fort Desoso

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June is usually a little hot for camping and this June is very hot, more like August. I know, the camper has A/C but we didn’t come here to hide out in the camper all day. I managed to get a water front slot for a few days so we went. Arrived on Monday, set up the pop up camper. We sat down by the water as there was a cooling breeze. The campsite has a charcoal grill. It’s further from the trailer than most, but I filled it up with charcoal and started heating it up. We were going to have something simple, hamburgers on the grill. I put the burgers on the grill, watched them for a few minutes, then went to the trailer to get plates. When I got back out there were a ton of seagulls all mobbed around the grill, obviously trying to figure out how to get those burgers off that red hot grill. There were so many we had to chase them off with a broom! They were determined, I think one even burned his foot trying to land on the grill. Every time you sat down to eat they would flock around you. We had to eat by the trailer that way one side was protected from the flying marauders. Some one has been feeding them as they are very aggressive. At around midnight on Monday there was a terrific electric storm. Gobs of close lightning and rain, very scary when you’re in a tent on wheels.

On Tuesday, Lynda went kayaking in the morning. I went fishing off the seawall behind the trailer and caught a little pin fish. We went to the beach in the afternoon so we could float around in the water. It was a little cooler but not by much. Back at the trailer to clean up at four and thunderstorms by five or six. Normal summer weather for Florida, hot, hot ,hot, then a thunderstorm and little cooling off. We had left over Chicken Marbella for dinner. We had cooked and froze at home and brought along. We added a very small refrigerator/freezer to the camper as the 3-way one in it is just a cooler. It will only do about 40 degrees below air temp, so it will get down to 50 if it’s 90 out. Not good for frozen food, meat or dairy. So we put the veggies, etc. in the cooler and the rest in the electric fridge. When we travel we put everything in coolers on ice. When we get there we load up the fridge and cooler.

Wednesday, we went to the beach early to beat the heat a little. We went to the North beach . We were surprised to see that they have cut down all of the huge trees (oaks?) that were out close to the beach. They provided a ton of shade and families would set up and picnic under them. Additionally they held the sand there for a very long time, some of them were three feet in diameter. Supposedly they were an invasive species, Australian Pine. They looked like southern oak to me, the campgrounds are full of them. Are they going to cut all of those down too? Anyway, Lynda enjoyed the beach and I caught and released a very small flounder. No rainstorms tonight for a change.

Getting a little hot for camping so we took the trailer to the storage yard and put the cover on it. Probably won’t go out again till September. See you then.

A May Trip To Ft. Desoto 5/25/2015

We needed to test out the A/C system on the pop up trailer. We now call her Minnie and the big trailer Maxi. So we took it to Ft. Desoto, that way we could just go home if it didn’t work, only 45 min. away. It worked fine, cools the trailer way down even in the heat of the day.

The refrigerator is another matter. It’s one of those ammonia type that will cool on A/C, DC or propane. Cool is the main word though as it will only go down to about 50. I have the feeling that I will have to replace this with an AC unit. We basically go to places with AC anyway so we would just freeze down the unit every night. I can get a very small AC unit that will fit in the space ( 2 cubic foot with a very small freezer ). First I thought I’d ask the dealer about recharging the ammonia one.

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Any way we are at Ft. Desoto again. We bought a small cheap light weight kayak so we could cruise around the inside bay here. We have big sea kayaks, I made but they are wood and epoxy, but I’m afraid when they are on the roof of the truck the sun will cook them.

With the mini trailer we can be down in the tent area of the park, no RVs allowed here. So you don’t have some huge bus next to you running his two loud ACs all night long, even when it is cool outside. I’m also somewhat concerned by these huge TV screens outside in their own bay. What are they thinking? That they will blast the big game or the news or just run it all day? Why don’t they just stay home if they need a 5 foot TV. Luckily there are mosquitos to drive them back in.

Other than rain the first night the weather has been gorgeous. Hot days and cool nights, other than to test it we haven’t run the AC at all. Off kayaking a number of times, to the beach, roaming around, etc. the sunset last night was very cool and you could see the planets in a line with the moon, no city light, if you look out to sea, so you see a lot more of the stars. It does make me wonder what it would be like hundreds of miles off at sea on a perfect clear night.

We did see a lot of birds here, Osprey, Heron, Cardinals, etc. An Osprey on the beach seemed to be sick (his photo below), he kept sitting on the beach panting. He’d fly away if approached but he would just come back to the beach. There are also some feral cats in the park. Lynda saw one with her three kittens by the ladies room and I saw the mom cat a couple of times. They are truly wild as they just slink away if you come up to them, not even trusting you for food.Osprey2

Heron

 

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Annistasia State Park St. Augustine, FL 4/12/15

DSCN3007I’ve wanted to go to Annistatsia State Park since we started camping. So we made the 200 mile trip from Tampa to St. Augustine. The park is located out on the beaches just ten minutes or so from downtown. Lynda wanted to go by the back roads rather than I-4 and I-95. I-4 can be a total disaster on weekends around Orlando. DSCN3016The camp grounds are very nice. We’re off in the tent, pop up and camper area. Big RVs are off in their own section. The sites all appear to be heavily wooded here. You’d appreciate that in the summer. Here in Florida you’re always looking for shade. We went for a walk around in the RV area, we do still have a big trailer although it is up for sale. Some of the RV sites are a little short, so you would need to check the length and width before you would reserve your site. It’s a beach park so you may have to take what you get as sites are always in demand. Bath houses are relatively clean but old. There is a beach cafe and a camp store. Wood, water, ice, hamburgers, even ice cream! Last night on my trip to the bath house I saw a lightning bug. I haven’t seen one of those in decades. When I was a kid in Philadelphia we used to see and catch bunches of them in glass jars. I guess all of the insecticides and development killed them off. Maybe we just caught too many in glass jars. DSCN2977DSCN2975We went to the old town in St Augustine today. I remember it as one or two short streets of old buildings with wrought iron porches like New Orleans. Now it is half a dozen long streets of buildings made up to look old, many with wrought iron porches, nothing but storefront after store front. At least they are not Gaps, Macy’s, Nordstroms,etc. they are all independents. One sold only Tervis plastic cups and such. We tried to go to the Kingfish Grill, a nice water front place we went to the last time we were here, but it no longer is open for lunch. Went back to the campground and went to a walk on the beach before it could start raining again. Cooked a cut up Cornish game hen in the electric skillet and had cole slaw with it. I took the trash to the dumpster in the dark and saw a lot more lightning bugs, probably a dozen. It began to rain again tonight so we wrapped it up and we’re sitting in trailer reading and writing. DSCN3010Up at seven and wow it’s not raining! Egg McMuffins made in the trusty electric fry pan then off to the beach. The weather is predicted good all day, until five or six anyway, so we’re going to take advantage of it. We had a great day on the beach, sunny with a good breeze. Left about two, we wanted to search for some special art glue the wife needed. W didn’t find it so we went back and roamed the camp ground. Some of the sites are very close to A1A and the St. Augustine Amphitheater. When they have a rock concert I’m sure they blast everyone away. Supposedly they shut down by 10:30 but what about loudness, encores and general craziness? We went to Kingfish grill for dinner. It was about the same as we remembered it. Good sea food, a little pricey, but it is right on the water. While we were eating it poured rain but it stopped by the time we were done. DSCN3024

It poured buckets of rain last night. Luckily for us the pop up does not leak. It’s our last day here so we went for a long walk down the beach this morning. Just sitting around after lunch, Lynda’s doing art and I’m typing on the iPad. We went to the old coquina quarries where they mined the stone to build the fort and a lot of the town. Not much there now. Just looks like concrete but close up you can see the shells. Lynda thinks Annistasia is second to fort Desoto but she loves the Beach and we haven’t been to many of the campgrounds yet.