Oct 192014

Coal Miners Skillet Apple Pie via J5MM.com

A long, long time ago,

I can still remember how those apple trees used to make me smile.

And I knew if I had my chance, that I could make some apple jam (or pies, cakes and more !)

And maybe they’d be happy for a while . . .

Coal Miners Apple Tree via J5MM.com

Because those poor trees had been so lonely for so long.

I can’t remember if I cried when I read about the history that lived inside . . .

That cabin you see in front of your eyes.

That’s when something touched me deep inside.

The day I vowed to keep the history alive.

Coal Miners Homestead via J5MM.com

I learned a young coal mining family once lived here.

THIS was their homestead.

They planted apple, plum and cherry trees.  They planted red currant bushes and grapes.

These are the bounties of their earth that I am now so proud to call mine.  But not really mine you see — these trees will forever belong to them.  I merely borrow.

And to honor the family that once worked so hard here, I cook with their precious fruits to create delicious meals where hubby, B and I enjoy them.

In their honor.

Also in their honor, I keep their trees and bushes happy.  Because if you know a thing or two about gardening, when you strike up casual conversations with your growing beauties, you are vastly rewarded in the end.

It’s very true.

Don’t believe me?

Well, I have 20 pounds of apples to prove it.

Heirloom Coal Miner Apples via J5MM.com

These apples are glorious I tell you.  Absolutely glorious — but don’t ask me what variety they are because I am completely clueless.  All I know are the plain facts here:  They are crisp and super crunchy.  They taste sweet with an almost rose perfume note.  They also bake up like a Granny Smith apple which I am sure if you’ve ever baked an apple pie before you know that is the “go to” apple, well, most of the time anyways.

So just recently, in honor of  the coal mining family that once lived here, I share with you my Coal Miners Skillet Apple Pie recipe at the end of my post.  Cast iron skillet not necessary, but oh — I don’t know, I tend to think goodies whipped up in one of these beautiful heavy skillets always seem to taste better.

Apple Pie in the Airstream Kitchen via J5MM.com

Sleepy Head Oliver via J5MM.com

Apple Pie in the Airstream Kitchen via J5MM.com

And speaking of pie– I have come to realize that birthday pie is just as equally (if not better) than birthday cake!  But don’t stone me now cake lovers — it’s just something about homemade, good old American pie that gets me every time.

Just look at the nice birthday surprise my boys greeted me with over the summer!  This is literally the sight I saw when I drove onto the coal miner’s homestead.

An Airstream Birthday via J5MM.comBirthday Celebration Airstream Style via J5MM.com

“Honey, where would you like to go on your birthday?” Hubby asks me . . .

This was my answer:

Cooper River in Washington State via J5MM.com

and this . . .

A Walk At Cooper Lake in Washington State via J5MM.com

“Mommy? Can we go back to the Airstream for more birthday pie?” B asks . . .

A Walk Around Cooper Lake via J5MM.com


Coal Miners Cabin via J5MM.com

And now?  I walk these trails behind my house and reminisce about this past summer. Not only this past summer – but all the past summers from a long time ago.  Ever since we started glamping on our coal miners homestead.

I think about the apple harvests and everything I made in my silver kitchen.  I think about sleeping under the stars snug as a bug in a rug in my Airstream bed — each morning I wake up I am greeted with a view of the coal miner’s cabin which immediately takes my mind to the family that lived there.

I think about how I can keep the memories — the spirit of the experiences to the homestead alive as we are no longer there.  At least not until next spring when the snowmelt begins and the tiny little buds start to appear on branches of all sorts.  I think of the apple trees and how they are bare with no leaves (don’t worry, I gave them a nice warm apple tree hugging before saying goodbye — and I will be back every so often to check in on them, they know it – because I told them so and they listen after all).

I think of all of these things when walking through the forest behind my home  . . .

Forest Trail Hike via J5MM.com

And then one day it dawns on me.

I will create.

I will create lasting memories.


Hand me down treasures.

I share with you a piece I made from copper and sterling silver.

This piece goes to my girl — my darling daughter (what?! daughter?!  Yes I say — she is 23 years old, exactly 20 years younger than me!).

It is her birthday and I hope she will cherish them.

I call this series:

// Lasting Legacies //

From the apple trees to their precious leaves and blossoms — to the river that swiftly flows just beyond our property.  To all the fish I caught and released and to the beauty of the surroundings that I let myself become one with.  I am inspired to create pieces reflective of these experiences, observations and journeys.

Airstream Travel Inspired Jewelry via Just5MoreMinutes.com

If you would ever like to have a gander at what I am creating – you can have a peek at my Etsy shop.

The shelves are empty right now — but that is because I am busy creating.

Dreaming . . . reminiscing and taking those thoughts and turning them into beautiful heirloom pieces.  All influenced by our silver travels.

I am working hard on them with my bare hands, open mind and careful eye.

I’ve discovered a new passion that parallels my photography and writer-ship here on J5MM and it all comes together full circle.

So please do stay tuned.  I’m hoping to have a few pieces up in time to order to for the holidays and I’ll be sure to keep you updated here on J5MM.

Just 5 More Minutes // Travel Inspired Jewelry // Etsy Shop

Oh!  And before I forget (most important information here) just LOOK at this handsome little devil I came across upon a turn in the forest on one of my walks!  I snatched him up and and I tried to put him in my pocket to take home.  But he was just a tad too big.  But good news!  He happily followed me home with the cutest little bouncy trot.  How lucky am I ? !!  :)

Spooky Creature via J5MM.comTwilight Glamping via J5MM.comThank you for being here :)

~ Monica xoxo

Coal Miners Skillet Apple Pie


  • 4lb Baking Apples (Seeded and unpeeled (or peeled your preference))
  • 1 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Flour
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 1 Egg White
  • Turbinado Sugar (for sprinkling over the edges of your curst)
  • 1 package Puff Pastry
  • pinch of salt


Step 1
Preheat oven to 350º
Step 2
Peel (or not) apples, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges. In a large bowl, toss apples with the cinnamon, brown sugar, ginger, flour and pinch of salt.
Step 3
Flour your counter and roll out the puff pastry to 1/2 original thickness. Press the pastry into the and work it up the sides of your skillet. The pastry is rectangular so you may need to do a little cutting and replacing . . . it's not supposed to look perfect here -- but taste delicious.
Step 4
Fill your skillet with the apple mixture and dot the top with butter. Wrap the edges of the puff pastry over the sides of your mixture. If you wish -- place the second (rolled out) pastry and cover the top. Pierce the top with a knife to let steam escape.
Step 5
Egg white wash with a pastry brush the edges (or the top) of your pie and sprinkle turbinado sugar for extra crunch -- the amount is to your liking.
Step 6
Bake for 35 minutes keeping an eye on it after that. All RV ovens are different. I highly recommend a temperature gauge to place in your oven.

You're looking for a golden brown pie that is nice and bubbly :)
Step 7
Let cool and serve warm with ice cream !
Step 8
Bon appétit!
Oct 082014

Suddenly Last Summer with our Airstream via J5MM.com

Fall is upon us now and the other day, it suddenly dawned on me, that last summer — a lot of cooking had been done in my silver kitchen which never made it onto J5MM.  Pouring over all my photos I took of my culinary creations made me realize also — what a beautiful, gloriously long summer we had here in Washington.  The warm breezes continue to blow, even now in what should be a chilly October.  We have our funny days where temps reach 80!  But today will be a nice mid 60’s October day according to the weather woman.  I’m ready for warm sweaters in the upcoming season and exhilarating early morning hikes where the frost graces the edges of the creek near my home.

We spent a majority of this past summer in Eastern Washington in the little town of Roslyn.  My heart is still there, that is for sure.  I long for my little sliver of property that is home to fruit trees and families of cute little (and large) critters.  Sitting on my bed and sipping coffee one morning while looking through my Airstream window at the coal miners cabin, I spy a family of quail run like crazy to the pasture beyond.  Mamma and papa were running furiously fast while  their little feathery babes tried hard to keep up — some even flying out of desperation.  I wonder what they were running from?  Then I knew —  a family of deer stand up and stretch from a patch of wild fluffy grass that was their bed for the night and make quite a ruckus (at that moment the mystery of flattened and smooshed grass had been solved).

Airstream with a view via J5MM.com

We spend our days here in a leisurely way.  As it should be.  I cook for my boys.  They are always hungry it seems.  I hone my cooking skills and create new recipes and all the while enjoying myself.  I simply love cooking in my little silver kitchen ❤

Lunching In The Country via J5MM.comOliver the Airstreaming Canine via J5MM.comCountry Glamping via J5MM.com

Every Sunday was the day to visit the farmers market in town.  From fresh veggies from local farms to some of the most beautiful craft, it was always a pleasure to take a walk into town and see everything.  Every time I visited, I came back to my silver kitchen with a bag full of goodies that I then prepared for breakfasts, lunches and dinners.  It was a good feeling to cook with ingredients that I knew were local.

Roslyn Washington Farmers Market via J5MM.comRoslyn, WA Vintage Trailer Rally 2014 via J5MM.com (9 of 9)

Over Father’s Day weekend the annual Vintage Trailer Rally was held in Roslyn and I went with my sweet friend Kim who shares an obsession for trailers both old and new.

I found myself admiring all of the happy little kitchens in these trailers. Such attention to detail was found in the decor and set up that I was inspired completely. If I could, I would have an entire fleet of vintage trailers and in my dreams those trailers would live on a pristine piece of property alongside a crystal clear flowing river.  Their campsites would dot the banks of the river.  I would live there in my Airstream and I would host cooking classes and make friends with everyone who comes to visit.  I would have fly fishing rods on the ready and the river would certainly be full of big beautiful trout.  Everyone can fish — catch and release — to their hearts content.  Now THAT’s a dream I tell myself lol.  But what fun is living without dreams like that?

But until then, I tour the trailers and dream on . . .

Roslyn Washington Vintage Trailer Rally 2014 via J5MM.com

Roslyn, WA Vintage Trailer Rally 2014 via J5MM.com (4 of 9)

Roslyn, WA Vintage Trailer Rally 2014 via J5MM.com (1 of 9)Roslyn, WA Vintage Trailer Rally 2014 via J5MM.com (3 of 9)Roslyn, WA Vintage Trailer Rally 2014 via J5MM.com (2 of 9)Roslyn,-WA-Vintage-Trailer-Rally-2014-via-J5MM.comRoslyn, WA Vintage Trailer Rally 2014 via J5MM.com (6 of 9) Roslyn, WA Vintage Trailer Rally 2014 via J5MM.com (7 of 9)Roslyn, WA Vintage Trailer Rally 2014 via J5MM.com (5 of 9) Roslyn, WA Vintage Trailer Rally 2014 via J5MM.com (8 of 9)

I made a Father’s Day feast to remember and breakfasts that B still continues to ask for.

“Mommy, can you make me that raspberry toast breakfast again tomorrow,” he asks me the night before a super busy corporate America morning.

“Of course,” I tell him smiling.

I set my alarm extra early for the next morning and I make him that gloriously sticky and sweet but yet oh so satisfying breakfast of Apricot and Raspberry Ricotta French Toast.  Because I know, this will make my boy happy.

And it will keep him full until lunchtime . . .

Fathers Day Breakfast via J5MM.comInside Our Airstream Trailer via J5MM.comOprah's Favorite Grilled Cheese via J5MM.comYellow Country Roses via J5MM.comSummertime Tartines In The Country via J5MM.comA Golden Country Sunrise via J5MM.comChocolate Icebox Cake via J5MM.com // Glamping DessertYellow Summer Roses via J5MM.com

I will never forget the summer of 2014 — what a beautiful time it was.  Here’s to new seasons and new adventures . . .

From my happy little silver trailer kitchen to yours — Bon Appetit :)


Airstream Country Kitchen via J5MM.comAirstream Kitchen via J5MM.com

Jun 102014

Anacortes ferry landing via J5MM.com

Sometimes when life gets super busy, it helps me to sit down and take note of everything happening around me.   The last two weekends for us have been spent up on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington State.

The purpose of our first visit was to reconnect with friends and have a party in their honor back at our camp.   I wanted everything to be perfect so I worked very hard on that trip for a couple of months prior.  The party went off without a hitch and so many wonderful things happened that weekend that I really look forward to sharing with you.


Continue reading »

May 082014

When traveling with an RV there are many benefits to be had.  Take for example the fact that you have all the comforts of home with you including a fully equipped kitchen.  Sure it’s probably smaller than your kitchen at home, but with a little organization and planning, you can easily whip up the same healthy meals you do for your family at home, but on the road.

My Travel Trailer Kitchen

What’s better is that you’re actually on the road.  Traveling.  Exploring.  Seeking out new adventures.  Can you imagine a better way to experience the “here and now,” than visiting a local market where you just happen to be seeking out the freshest, in season goodies to cook a meal with?  Take it to the next level and talk to some locals shopping in the market.  Ask them how they like to cook those “in season” ingredients.  More often than not, you’ll make a new friend and come back to your RV inspired, ready to cook. Continue reading »

May 042014

Suncadia and Tumble Creek in the Wenatchee National Forest Setting

When hubby and I first met, one of our very first trips taken together was to the Bennett cabin which is located next to the Wenatchee National Forest.  I’ve heard a lot about this cabin and how it took many, many years for the Bennett family to build, by hand — all themselves.  No machinery here, just pulley systems and lots of muscles to get the logs one on top of the other. Continue reading »

Dec 262013


Ever since bringing home our Airstream in 2010 it has somewhat become a tradition to spend the cozy Thanksgiving holiday in the San Juan Islands – specifically Orcas Island.   Year after year we return with the longing of peace, relaxation and just taking things easy next to the Salish Sea.

There is never a dull moment when spending time in the islands . . . Continue reading »

Nov 032013

Pressure Cooked Beef Short Ribs

From a summer full of adventure to the new season of Fall —  it’s been a lot of fun glamping in the Airstream during this season of change.  I continue to pick apples off my heirloom trees after my early morning walks through the quiet town of Roslyn with Oliver.  It’s a sweet ritual I have come to adore and really look forward to.

While cleaning/organizing the storage in my Airstream last weekend, I happened upon my beloved pressure cooker.  It was good timing too as sitting in my fridge were  some beautiful beef short ribs I was planning on braising away in the Airstream kitchen for a few hours for dinner that evening.  Thankfully with the pressure cooker it not only cut down the timing of braising by more than half, it also produced some of the most deliciously flavored short ribs I have had in a long time.  In less than one hour I was able to serve up those fall-off-the-bone beauties atop a bed of fluffy sweet potatoes. I will admit, I was little upset with myself that I had forgotten about my pressure cooker.  It truly is a time (and propane!)  saver in the silver kitchen. Continue reading »

Oct 232013

A Fall Harvest in Roslyn, Washington with our Airstream trailer

There is something about the Fall season that simply warms my heart and gets me thinking about the cooler weather ahead.

Our Airstream, which currently happily waits for us on our piece of property in Eastern Washington sits amongst heirloom apple and plum trees surrounded by this new season.

And it never fails — with the abundance of those late summer fruits — apples and plums — that I’m continually tempted into my silver kitchen to cook . . .

. . . and to escape the everyday hustle and bustle of corporate America.

For me, this is my refuge. Continue reading »

Jun 192013

Airstream Trailer

When we were driving home from our Memorial Day Weekend Olympic Peninsula Loop – this RV park (called Rest-A-While RV Park) caught my eye and I made a note of it.  It looked really cute and was located right on the water.  Very pretty.  When the following Friday rolled around, we left after I got off work to come and check it out.  We made it in time for sunset.

The following morning was so relaxing as we were in no hurry to do anything but wait for the tide to go out to gather clams and oysters.   I prepared breakfast and coffee while the boys went for a walk.  Oliver decided to stay with me and continue snoozing away :)   Continue reading »