Aug 252015

Birthday Flowers via // #GoRVing #Airstream

It’s official.  I am 44 years old.  And for the record, I am very much enjoying my 40s.  Living, loving, working, exploring, cooking, laughing, learning (always learning), being . . .  it all seems to just get better with time.  I am also much smarter than I was in my 30s, 20s, etc.  Thank goodness.

My boys are good to me on my birthday, always have.

“Honey, what would you like to do for your birthday?” hubby asks . . .

“I’d like to go and visit our Airstream and spend the weekend with her,” I replied.

I say, “visit,” because my silver girl is at a lovely RV repair shop in Cle Elum, Washington which just happens to be right next door to an even lovelier campground called the Whispering Pines RV park.  Sadly, she suffered some mishaps during our recent trip through Idaho and Montana like losing power (our 30 amp plug-in failed miserably and couldn’t provide us any power for an entire day!  That is, until the light bulbs went off over our heads and we realized we had another 30-amp plug in towards the front of the Airstream, oiy doi !  Sometimes we are truly geniuses I tell you – ha ha).  In addition to that, there were other minor issues such as the electrical wall outlets being pull out from the wall (impatient little boys pulling out chargers with no regard to the delicate nature of how the wall outlets are installed, lesson learned) and my beloved microwave has lost her lovely feet and now likes to slide and dance all over the inside cabinet while under tow . . . when hubby complains about these minor infractions I remind him like this, “Well honey, this is all much less money than owning a boat.  Do you remember?” and I poke him in the side to remind him and he laughs.  Case dismissed.

“What about dinner?  Shall we take you out?” he asks some more . . .

“You know what honey?  I would really like to cook YOU a delicious dinner, for my birthday,” I tell him . . .

Why do I pass on a glorious evening out at a fancy restaurant?  Well this is why.  Cooking for my boys is what I love to do when visiting my silver girl.  During the week at home I am rushed every day.  Rush, rush, rush.  I come home from work, the boys are “oh so hungry!” and I am whipping together this and that.  Poor Oliver sits at my feet hoping I will drop something to the floor (which always does happen) I slave at the stove, we sit down to eat and in 10 minutes, the meal is gone.  Oh how things are different when I actually have the time to cook.  Typically I am in a beautiful setting with my Silver Girl with the birds singing just outside my sunshine filled screen door, the radio is pouring out sweet melody’s that sooth my soul and finally, I am relaxed.  I cook with goodies from the local market, butcher, and/or fish monger.  Whatever the ingredient is, it is fresh and it is local.

Needless to say, I was very much looking forward to my birthday weekend with my Silver Girl.

Here is how it went:

Airstream Birthday Celebrations via J5MM.comAirstream Trailer Birthday Celebrations via

During our fly fishing outings, the skies were very smokey from the wildfires . . .

Smoke Filled Sky J5MM.comThe Yakima River via J5MM.comSmokey River and Forest via J5MM.comYakima River Day Outing via // #Airstream #GoRVingLichen decorated cedar via J5MM.commoonrise via

Dinner compliments of my home garden and Owen’s Meat Market in Cle Elum . . .

Birthday Steak Dinner via J5MM.comAluminum Glow via // #Airstream #GoRVingRosemary & Thyme Skillet Steak via J5MM.comGuiding Light via // #Airstream #GoRVingHappy New Day via

That’s my Vitamix.  It is a commercial model that I found on Craigslist for $150.  I decided to fancy it up with stickers (because it really isn’t the prettiest thing to look at).  This is the first sticker of many to come, I’m sure . . .

Smoothie Powerhouse via // #AirstreamKitchen #GoRVingPineapple & Cherry Cream Smoothie via J5MM.comHeirloom Tomatoes via J5MM.comFoolproof Pie Crust recipe via

An incredible pie crust that I stumbled upon over at Food52.  Recipe to follow with a few minor exceptions:

Vodka Pie Crust via J5MM.comFelt Ball Necklace via // #AirstreamFoolproof Pie Crust via // #Airstream #GoRVingCooling Vodka Pie Crust via J5MM.comOutdoor Hike along the Yakima River via J5MM.comOutdoor Hike along the Yakima River via J5MM.comTomato Summer Pie in the Making via J5MM.comTomato Summer Pie via J5MM.comTomato Summer Pie via J5MM.comHeirloom Tomato Summer Pie via J5MM.comA Good Place To Be via // #AirstreamHappy Birthday Airstream Style via This was a birthday celebration for the books — and one that I will remember for a very long time.

Thank you to all of the sweet birthday wishes — means so much!
Here is the recipe for the Heirloom Tomato Summer Pie.  Please note, you only bake the crust and layer the fresh fillings on top.
Prepare pie crust:

Found on Food52, I used Chris Kimball’s recipe from Cook’s Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen (Click here for pie crust recipe) with a few exceptions:


  1. You will see the recipe calls for 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening. I don’t really use that ingredient so I just replaced it with butter.
  2. I did not use any sugar.
  3. I added ground black pepper into the dough — I just eyeballed how much I think I would have liked.
  4. I put the water and vodka, together in a mason jar in the freezer to chill it up vs. keeping them separate. It turned into a slush before I added it.  I think that helped and was a good thing.
  5. I did have dough left over that is now in the freezer for later use.
  6. Once the dough was chilled, I rolled it out (adding a sprinkling of flour to prevent from sticking — this is a tacky dough), placed it into the tart pan, pricked it with a fork and put the tart pan into the freezer for 30-40 minutes to freeze it up to avoid shrinkage in the oven.  It still did shrink a little, I imagine if I skipped this step it wouldn’t have turned out so well.
  7. I then baked it for about 20 minutes at 375 until it turned a slight golden color.  I allowed the crust to cool. If you like your crust a darker golden brown color, keep your eye on it and bake it a bit longer.

Meanwhile I mixed 1/2 block of cream cheese with 1 cup of whole milk ricotta, a pinch of salt and whole heck of a lot of freshly ground black pepper until it was nice and smooth.  There were some lumps but I didn’t mind.  I spread this onto the pie crust once it was fully cooled, topped with sliced tomatoes, torn basil, crunchy salt and a sprinkle of black sesame seeds.

A drizzle of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil before serving is quite nice.

Happy August to you !

~ Monica xoxo

  7 Responses to “Birthday Wishes”

  1. Happy Birthday Monica. We are close in age although I will always be trailing you by a couple of years. I understand the rigors of life at home. It is tough balancing a busy job with family activities. Escaping to the Airstream is one of my favorite ways to simplify and unwind with my family. The aluminum cocoon forces you to slow everything down and enjoy the simple things. Since my little ones are back in school, we have already planned a few escapes. I am spending my birthday in the Airstream as well. We are heading north to Ludington, Michigan for a long weekend in September. It is one of our tried and true destinations. As for the mechanical issues, they will exist as long as you own the Airstream. Repairs and improvements are just part of your annual maintenance regiment. It is amazing to me how durable the product is given the abuse it takes. Finally, I am glad you had a peaceful birthday with your family. My last family Airstream outing resulted in some heated conflicts with the campground hosts. My latest post resulted in a lengthy retort from one of the hosts. Here’s hoping for peace in the future.

    P.S. That looks like a mean ribeye and summer pie.

    • Thanks for the birthday wishes Doug. So sweet. “Aluminum cocoon,” love that reference and yes, it does force you to slow down and enjoy the simple things. Which is why I love being out there and exploring. Sorry to hear about your heated discussion with the hosts. Can imagine what it could have been about ! Going to head over to your blog now and have myself a read — thanks for always being here. I hope you are all doing well. B started school too. These kids – they grow up too fast ! PS Oh and thanks about the reality check with the Airstream and maintenance. I guess you are right — there will always be things to maintain.

  2. Happy BELATED birthday my dear! This definitely looks like another great trip – but even more a great birthday. I also loved the Montana link – thank you for that – found some great options for Christmas presents for the boyfriend (and okay, a few for me as well) – duh! LOL

    I always look forward to your posts and instagrams. Gorgeous lady!


  3. Love your website! we are about to take our maiden voyage in our first ever airstream – actually, it will be our first ever trailer camping trip! Could you share some tips on cooking steak in a cast iron skillet like that – I’ve never cooked one in a cast iron skillet and it looks amazing!

    • Well a big congratulations to you on your upcoming maiden voyage! How so very exciting :)

      I have learned over the years that the best cookware, for me at least, is to use cast iron as it is so versatile from using inside ontop of the stove, to the oven to outside over the campfire. It distributes heat evenly and is just the best. When I make steaks, I make sure to take them out about an hour before I cook them allowing them to come to room temperature. I also salt them with coarse sea salt as they sit for that hour (a trick I learned from a Japanese cookbook) to tenderize them. Then I get a dry cast iron round griddle really hot and add a tiny pat of butter to the pan and immediately place the steak ontop of that pat of butter allowing the juices and the butter to come together and caramelize. I then repeat that process when it’s time to flip (based on how well done you like your steaks) and then I allow them to rest for 10 minutes under a tin foil tent. And well, that’s it ! Oh and don’t forget to finish the steaks (before they go under the tent to rest) with another little pat of butter :) Here is to your first maiden voyage and wishing you happy shiny silver travels ♥

  4. Do you have the Thyme and Rosemary Steak recipe? That looks delicious! We just came back from a camping trip and I made your Heirloom Tomato tart with the Herbed crust and your Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich. All got 5 stars from my husband. Thanks for posting delicious camping food!

    Happy Birthday!


 Leave a Reply


Your Email (required)

CommentLuv badge