May 042015

Meal Planning for RV Trips via // #AirstreamLifestyle

Back when I was a stay at home mom with B, I would carefully plan out our monthly menus.  Every first Sunday of the new month I would seek out my recipe books looking for new culinary adventures I could introduce to B.  Some recipes were a success and others, well, not so much.  Live and learn.  Cook and learn.  Either way you had it, I really had my act together as far as organization and getting things done around the house.

Since returning back to corporate America, I have found that my days are no longer leisurely on those Sundays.  Each minute I have off from work I take advantage of and try to keep the house, Airstream, etc. organized, but sometimes I fail and run out of precious time.

I still do take the time to plan our menus but instead of the entire month, I take it week by week now which has really worked out well.  I designed a spreadsheet that I could fill out weekly (and quickly).  My sheet has the days of the week at the top and beneath each day lives:  breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  In each block I write what we will be having for that particular meal and the block under that goes ingredients I don’t have on hand that I need to shop for.

I modified this spreadsheet for our Airstream trips to include a place at the bottom where I can list the ingredients that I do have on hand, in my brick and mortar fridge.  This method, for me, ensures I won’t forget a single item — or should I rather say, it ensures that I don’t bring the entire contents of my fridge with me.

If you would like to give my method of menu planning madness a try, you can download my spreadsheet below by clicking on the image of it.

Meal Planning for RV Trips via // #AirstreamLifestyle

Free Download // Weekly Menu Planner via // #AirstreamLifeStyle

Click Here To Download a PDF

In addition to my freebie spreadsheet, may I also share this most perfect and delicious fudgy brownie recipe with you.  I have been making this for years.  My dad learned how to make them from one of Julia Child’s recipe books and it is the best.  Of course I am partial because my dad taught me how to make them and I have a vivid memory of him telling me, “Monica, the trick with these brownies are to not over bake them.”

Be warned, there is a fine line between these brownies being perfectly baked and over baked so make sure to have toothpicks on hand when you cut into the center to test their “doneness” out.  But if you do miss that mark, they are still pretty darn good :)

I hope you enjoy :) xoxo

Fudgy Brownies via // #AirstreamKitchen Thank you for being here,

Monica xoxo

Dads Best Brownies — adapted from Julia Child 


  • 1 1⁄4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate – coarsely chopped
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate – coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon  pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat your oven to 325°
  2. With a whisk, whisk the flour and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate together in a medium saucepan making sure to stir often and keeping an eagle eye out to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn.  Add 1 cup of the sugar to the mixture and stir for half a minute, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  4. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
  5. Put the remaining 1 cup sugar and eggs into a bowl mixing just to combine.
  6. Temper the sugar and egg mixture into the chocolate mixture by adding only half of the mixture and adding it slowly, stirring gently with a rubber spatula so that the eggs don’t set from the heat.  Add the rest of the mixture and mix well.
  7. With a hand held mixer, whip the remaining sugar and eggs until they are thick and doubled in volume which is around three minutes.
  8. Delicately fold the whipped eggs into the chocolate mixture using the same rubber spatula.
  9. When the eggs are almost completely incorporated, it’s time to gently fold in the dry ingredients and the walnuts.
  10. Pour and scrape the batter in to an unbuttered 9 inch square pan.
  11. Cut into the center at about the 22-minute mark to see how the brownies are progressing. They are done if they are just barely set and still pretty gooey.
  12. Cool the brownies in the pan on a rack.  They will continue to cook for a little bit while entering their cooling phase.
  13. Once cooled, spread the top with a chocolate ganache if you would like (my dad and I liked, very much).

Chocolate Ganache


  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Bring the heavy cream and vanilla extract to a boil in a small saucepan on the stovetop.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate chips in a bowl. Stir until the chocolate chips are smooth and melted. Allow mixture to cool slightly (it will thicken) and spread atop brownies.

A Sweet Bon Appetit :) xoxo

Apr 282015

Chocolate Waffles via J5MM.comLast summer in Rolsyn, Washington I visited the farmer’s market quite often.  Just a short walk from where my silver girl was camped, I felt very spoiled and so lucky to have it so close.  From the farm fresh veggies to culinary artisanal delights such as a totally indulgent cheddar cheese spread and fresh baked baguettes, the market was Heaven on earth for any foodie for sure.  In addition there was a darling waffle stand with the sweetest lady making waffles.  I will never forget her summery pink dress, long silver hair braided into a bun on top of her head and her infectious smile that she gave me when my curious self went over to check things out.  There was a small group of young children before me, watching with big eyes as she poured the batter into the waffle iron.

She offered up endless toppings from Nutella to raspberry jam for the sweet varieties and cheddar,  sausage or bacon stuffed waffles for the savory.  When it was our turn, B ordered his with Nutella that we took to enjoy while sitting at a picnic table under a maple tree.

This memory for me is fresh in my mind — as if it just happened.  As summer draws near, we will be taking our silver girl back to Roslyn to enjoy the mountain country life and that special farmers market.  I’m excited to share with you our outdoor adventures that we experience from fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking and swimming in cool mountain lakes.  I also look forward to sharing with you new recipes with ingredients sourced from the market.  I am so looking forward.

Here are two waffle recipes that I would like to share with you  — kind of a homage to the sweet waffle lady I met last summer.  I hope she will be at the market again this year so I can snap a picture of her beautiful self and share with you :)

Sweet-Spring-Strawberries via // #AirstreamDark Chocolate Waffles via // #AirstreamKitchenDark Chocolate Waffles via // #AirstreamKitchenCornmeal & Sausage Waffles via // #AirstreamKitchenCornmeal & Sausage Waffles via // #AirstreamCornmeal & Sausage Waffles via // #Airstream

My waffle iron by Oster deserves front and center seating under my kitchen sink.  It has performed so well all while keeping incredibly clean.  This to me, is a dream quality for a waffle iron as all my irons in the past have resulted in stuck on waffles and were a pain to clean.  This one is excellent — bought him at Target for $20.00.

Under Sink Storage in an Airstream via J5MM.comOster Waffle Iron via // #Airstream KitchenCornmeal & Sausage Waffles via // #AirstreamGood Times Keep On Rollin' via // #Airstream

Hope you are having a lovely Tuesday — thank you for being here :)


PS I have no affiliation with Oster.  I just happen to think this particular Belgain waffle maker is great :)

happy little stars

Dark Chocolate Waffles


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • pinch of salt


  1. Combine with a whisk, flour, salt, cocoa, and baking powder into a bowl.
  2. Add the eggs, milk, vanilla, oil and sour cream and mix until just combined.  Mix until there are no longer large lumps (small lumps are okay).
  3. Preheat your waffle iron and meanwhile . . .
  4. Set aside the batter for about 10 minutes (while your iron is preheating) allowing the mixture to absorb the wet ingredients — this creates a thick, spoonable batter.
  5. Using a silicone basting brush (I use this one), brush both sides of your waffle iron with butter and spoon enough batter onto the iron leaving a 1/2″ between batter and edge of iron.
  6. Close the lid and cook until the steam stops escaping from the iron.  Give the waffles a slight tap with a fork and if they feel “soft,” continue cooking until they become “crispy” to the touch with a fork.
  7. Serve with hot maple syrup and a generous dusting of powdered sugar and sweet strawberries.  These waffles reminded me of brownies with a crisp top and a soft center.
  8. Like my dad always said before every meal, “Bon Appetit” :)

Cornmeal & Sausage Waffles


  • 3/4 cup coarse cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large turkey sausage patties, fully cooked and chopped up into super small dice
  • 1- 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • cup buttermilk
  • 1egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • tablespoons of honey


  1. Combine with a whisk, cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and crumbled sausage into a bowl.
  2. Add the eggs, buttermilk, honey, melted butter and mix until just combined.  Mix until there are no longer large lumps (small lumps are okay).
  3. Preheat your waffle iron
  4. Set aside the batter for about 10 minutes (while your iron is preheating) allowing the mixture to absorb the wet ingredients — this creates a thick, spoonable batter.
  5. Using a silicone basting brush (I use this one), brush both sides of your waffle iron with butter and spoon enough batter onto the iron leaving a 1/2″ between batter and edge of iron.
  6. Close the lid and cook until the steam stops escaping from the iron.  When the steam stops, check your waffles and if they are not browned enough, close the lid and continue to cook until they become golden brown.  But keep your eye on them at this point — depending on your waffle iron, they make get golden quickly — or not so quickly.
  7. Serve with a fried egg on top and a few dashes (or more) of Sriracha hot sauce and a sprinkling of chives.  B suggested I add some hot maple syrup and to my surprise — it was really delicious!  Savory and sweet at the same time :)
  8. Bon Appetit :)

happy little stars

Roslyn Summer Memories:

Fishing the Cle Elum River in Washington State via J5MM.comCatch and Release Baby Rainbow Trout via J5MM.comA Walk At Cooper Lake in Washington State via J5MM.comBennett Cabin in Eastern WashingtonAn Airstream Birthday via J5MM.comHeirloom Coal Miner Apples via Twilight Glamping via

Feb 062013

If you are a regular reader of J5MM you may have heard me mention that wintertime is my favorite time to be with my Airstream. Spending our days outdoors in the snow to retreat into our warm and cozy trailer at the end of the day is something hubby, B and I enjoy.   Once we get settled in, the boys either read or play games while I’m whipping up our apres-ski dinner menu.  Then after dinner we typically pull down the shades and watch a movie together.  This time it was especially enjoyable since we had our little pup Oliver with us.  He fits into our “wolf pack” Airstreaming family just perfectly!

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Mar 082011

After a chilly day of skiing up at Alpental, this Mexican hot chocolate warmed hubby and I right up and took no time to make.

I’ve never made hot chocolate this way before using a solid block of chocolate, but I can tell you, once you make it this way, you will always want to make it this way.  It was really rich and delicious! The added amaretto and dark rum weren’t too bad of an addition either, lol. I did find it to be on the sweet side but since I did not sweeten the whipped cream, it really balanced out very well. Even hubby approved (and he’s not a big sweet tooth kinda guy).