Archive for July, 2011

Fun Food Friday: Panko Steaks

I have recently become acquainted with the wonderful ingredient of panko. Panko is Japanese bread crumbs. This is a recipe that The Queen Mother found (somewhere) that has become one of my go-to staples for a quick dinner.


  • Cube steaks
  • Panko (I use Kikkoman brand)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Vegetable oil

I serve two cube steaks per person since the steaks are very thin. Coat each side of the cube steak liberally with Dijon mustard. Make sure you get the mustard all the way to the edge of the steak.

Mustard on the steaks

Roll in the panko bread crumbs until fully coated on both sides.

Rolled in panko

In a skillet, heat the vegetable oil. I don’t measure, just pour in enough to cover the bottom of the skillet. When it’s hot, reduce heat to medium-high and put in the steaks. (I cook two at a time!)


Fry 2 minutes per side on medium-high heat. And trust me on the two minutes!

Finished cooking

Yeah, so I tend to cook everything on HIGH so they're a little darker than if you cook it on medium-high... Still tasty!

Set Your Hook: Aquatic Hitchhikers

Hitchhikers Guide to Boating

ESP Boss & The Queen Mother got back (today!) from their “big adventure” through Yellowstone, Glacier, and the Grand Tetons. While they had planned to kayak they said there wasn’t enough time.

Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers

One thing they told me though was that a lot of the areas were cracking down on aquatic hitchhikers. There were even checkpoints where water craft were examined for critters that shouldn’t be transported.

Knowing which waters contain nuisance hitchhikers is not as important as following these steps every time you leave any lake, stream or coastal area.

Before leaving any body of water, it is important to examine all your equipment, boats, trailers, clothing, boots, buckets etc and remove all visible mud, plants, fish or animals. Remove and leave them at the site you visited. The larvae (immature form) of an animal can be so tiny that you cannot see it. However, it can live in mud, dirt, sand, and on plant fragments. Do not transport any potential hitchhiker, even back to your home.

Eliminate water from all equipment before transporting anywhere. Much of the recreational equipment used in water contains many spots where water can collect and potentially harbor these aquatic hitchhikers. Then clean and dry anything that came in contact with the water, including boats, trailers, equipment, dogs, boots, clothing, etc. Plus, dry your equipment. If possible, allow for 5 days of drying time before entering new waters.

Do not release or put plants, fish or animals into a body of water unless they came out of that body of water. This includes live bait, if you’re permitted to fish with it in the area. (Check your state’s regulations; many lakes in Arizona prohibit the use of live baitfish.)

Also, do not release plants, fish or animals into storm drains, because most storm drains lead to water bodies or wetlands. This is an important prevention step, because many plants and animals can survive even when they appear to be dead.

For more information, visit

Readers Weigh In:

  • Do you have any issues with aquatic hitchhikers in your area?
  • What steps do you take to keep your equipment clean?

Pitch Your Tent: RV Shows

Going to an RV Show

Back when the “Royal” family got re-started with RVing, we attended a TON of big RV shows. Why? Because RV shows gave us the chance to see many makes and models of RVs – at one time and at one place.

(Not familiar with types of RVs? Check out the article from 2 weeks ago!)

For that reason, I think that everybody who’s even remotely considering getting an RV should find a show near them and check it out! Plus, there’s an RV show every year, in every region of the country!

What do you want to look for at the show?
If you’re just beginning, take a look at ALL the types of RVs and imagine your family using them. If you know what type of RV you want, then look at all the different sizes and models. You need to actually THINK about what camping in them would be like.

For example, in our first hybrid, we knew that we didn’t want to climb over the table to get to a bed. It ruins the seat cushions of the table and who ever was sitting at the table would need to get up. We also knew, from experience, that an external shower was a must. We also wanted an internal bathroom with a shower, an oven for orange rolls, and a good freezer. Our unit came with a microwave that we took out for extra storage.

But, if he hadn’t spent all that time exploring our options we wouldn’t have known exactly what we were looking for.

RV salesmen, like all salesmen, will make you big deals at the show. But, it’s only a deal if you get a rig that fits your needs!

Oh, and be sure to check out the million dollar rigs — just to look at all the crazy things that are possible! A hot tub in a trailer, anybody?

Find Your Geocache: Centennial Event

100 Years of Statehood: Arizona’s Centennial Event

I finally have my geocaching event, “100 Years of Statehood: Arizona’s Centennial Event” published on You can find it at GC30K47

Centennial Logo

I’m still working out a few details like what type of geocaching games we’ll play, but I was at a point where I could post it to and start getting registrations!

The event is being held in Memory Park in Chino Valley. In fact, I’m off to the Town Council meeting in just a few minutes to ask the council to refund the fees we paid to rent the park for the three days. Chino Valley Parks & Rec have been hugely helpful in planning this. They’re letting us camp (not something they usually do) and are arranging so the restrooms at the park will be available throughout the weekend for cachers.

Next on my agenda, besides event promotion is to get a TON of caches ready to go out. We’ll be placing about 30 new caches for the event so I need swag and goodies to fill all those containers. I’ve contacted a local business owner who does promotional items to see if she has any “left-overs” that I could put into the caches for swag.

But, I have some questions for you guys about the caches:

  • Do you see any issues with hiding a variety of cache sizes?
  • What would be good FTF prizes? Do you think that gift cards (donated!) are too hokey?
  • Has anybody had any luck getting people to donate cache containers?
  • How much “seed” swag do you place in a container? I try to fill it up but with 30 new caches to place, I don’t know if that’s feasible!
Um, getting a bit nervous! Any help or advice is appreciated!

Mystery Monday: Funny Campfire Story

This story and 15 others appear in the eGuide “Campfire Stories: From the Chill to the Giggle” Volume 2 available now at Shop and coming soon to’s Kindle.

Exchange Rate

(A very old joke)

When America was just a new country, an Englishman went into a saloon and got to talking to a cowboy there. The Englishman offered to buy the cowboy a drink and when he pulled out his money, he showed a coin to the cowboy.

“See this likeness?” he said, pointing to the King’s head on the coin.

“Yep,” said the cowboy.

“That is His Majesty the King. He made my grandfather an Earl.”

At this, the cowboy looked at the coin and then reached into his pocket and pulled out a penny. He pointed to the Indian’s face on the coin and said, “You see this likeness?”

Indian Head Penny

“Yes,” said the Englishman.

“That, friend, is an Indian and he made my grandfather an angel.”

Fun Food Friday: Barbeque Plums

If you follow me on Facebook at all, you’ll have seen my mentions all summer long about how I think barbequed plums should be a food group. I read about putting stone fruit (like plums or peaches) on a barbeque in a magazine. But when I went to find the recipe (or the how-to) I couldn’t remember where I’d found the information.

So, I just figured it out with trial and error!


  • 2-3 Stone-fruit like plums (or peaches) per person

Cut in half plums
Cut the plum in half and remove the pit. Make sure you’ve removed and stickers! If you wash it first (I don’t bother) make sure that it is fully dried.

Pre-heat your propane or gas grill and use a wire brush to knock off any dirt, grit or other crusty items.

Plums on BBQ

Once the grill is hot, place the plum fruit side down. Now, this is really important: the fruit should sizzle when you put it on the grill. If not, the grill isn’t hot enough and you should remove the plum half and wait for the grill to get hotter.

Here’s the other important thing I found through trial and error: Don’t fuss with the plums! Just leave it there. Close the lid. Walk away. Leave it alone! I go for at LEAST two minutes, but maybe a bit longer depending on the size of the fruit.

After a couple of minutes, carefully flip the plum over to the skin side. I use tongs since my plums always fall off my spatula. (Can you tell I’ve been making this for lunch all summer?)
Cooked Plum

Again, leave that plum alone. The skin will start to slide off — that’s fine. Once the plum is hot all the way through and the skin begins to get crispy or burnt, you’re all done. Again, from experience, I turn off the grill so I can get my plate REALLY close to the plums; at this point they tend to nearly fall apart when you grab them with the tongs.

I serve this with a beef kielbasa sausage (fully-cooked so I’m just heating it on the grill). I start the sausage and plums at the same time but the plums take longer to cook so I put THEM on my grill hotspot and the sausage somewhere cooler.

A note about peaches:

Canned peaches DO NOT WORK. (I’ve tried) And if it’s between plums and peaches: take the plums. The peaches have a fuzzy skin not a waxy skin like a plum and the fuzz burns and the skin blackens and it’s just not as good.

Now STAWBERRIES on the other hand… Strawberries aren’t bad!

Paddle Your Kayak: Getting Started

I’ve been working on setting up a new blog,, for a while now.  As much as I love fishing, at the moment I’m more interested in kayaking. I’ve seen a trend in my area where you can hardly go to the grocery store without seeing two, three, or more vehicles with kayaks strapped to the roof.

And since I live far from any SERIOUS kayaking waters, that’s really saying a lot. It seems to me that kayaking is a sport that’s easy to get into, has a pretty quick initial learning curve, won’t break the bank, and can be enjoyed by all ages of people.

So welcome. Expect that kayaking will be my Thursday posts — but I’ll still post about fishing now and then as well!

Pitch Your Tent: Keeping RVs Clean

4 Tips to Keeping Your RV Cleaner

You know I’m in love with my new-to-me tent trailer Skippy. Skippy is a 1998 Coleman Taos that had been used a grand total of three times before I bought it. Because of the low usage, the interior AND the exterior are in pristine condition.

And I want to keep it that way!

One of the things that I do is the second I open up the trailer, before I put ANYTHING on the beds, I put a sheet over the mattresses. On both beds — not just the one I sleep on! It’s nothing special, just a cheap flat sheet from a twin bed. But then, I know that the dust that blows in the open windows all day won’t get into the mattresses as quickly. And when I toss my dirty duffle bag and shoes onto the bed, the mattress won’t get torn, snagged, or damaged.

Sheet on bed

Once the sheet is on the bed and tucked in, I feel free to pile all my gear on top.

When I get home, all I have to do is throw the sheets in the wash and they’re ready to go for the next trip. And if they DO become worn beyond repair — Hey! They were like $3 a piece.

Then, get a bunch of little non-slip rugs to lay down inside. Basically, the goal is to put down wall-to-wall carpet in the trailer. But by using small no-slip rugs, it’s easy to take them outside and shake them out.

If at all possible, I don’t wear my shoes into the trailer. In stead, I keep a plastic tub (with a lid) just outside the trailer door. I slip off my shoes, tuck them in the tub, and then put the lid on. I know that no critters can get in there and if it rains (or the dew falls) my shoes will still be dry.

I was really lucky with Skippy because I don’t have to climb OVER the seats at the dinette to get to the back bed. But in the tent trailers my family has owned in the past, we haven’t always been that lucky. In that case, I’m always super careful to NEVER put my shoe on the dinette seat cushion. Either use your knee as a booster or take off your shoe.


I bring the table, but leave it folded flat and put it on the bed. You can see it under my duffle bag. Next to my dirty boots and green Crocs.

Readers Weigh In:

  • What tips do you have to keep your RV clean? (Or cleaner?)

Find Your Geocache: Container Maintenance

Geocaching Maintenance

It’s that time of year again. Time for my annual trip to Flagstaff to check on the geocaches I placed there.

Some new geocachers get started, get a few finds under their belt and then decide to HIDE a geocache without ever realizing that there is on-going work associated with it. simply says:

  • Owner is responsible for geocache page upkeep.
  • Owner is responsible for visits to the physical location.

Geocache containers waiting to be hidden


But what does that MEAN? That means that as the cache placer you need to be ready to go check on your cache if you get notes saying that it needs maintenance. Notes might be that the log is wet or full. Or the cache seemed to be either too hard to too easy to located.

In the case of The Quiet Zone GC1X2F5 two years ago a BEAR made off with the cache. Or at least the cache disappeared over the winter. Since I live 200 miles away, I temporarily archived the cache and send a note into the review letting him know that I had a trip planned to check on the cache. "Royal" Family

The "Royal" Family placing The Quiet Zone in 2009

When I went, I went prepared to replace the cache if I couldn’t find it. I replaced the container and updated the coordinates and it was good to go!

As a cache placer, I am responsible for occasional (but regular) visits to make sure everything is a-okay. In the case of caches that are far away from me (like my Flagstaff caches) I have a few caching buddies that I can always call upon to take a quick look if I’m too busy.

And those occasional visits are why requests that caches are not placed while you’re traveling on vacation or for business. If you live a 4 hour plane ride away, how is it feasible for you to check on a cache every time you get a report of a wet log? But, it is possible to place a cache and then have it adopted by a local cacher or to even have a non-geocaching friend maintain it.

If a cache is not being maintained, or has been “temporarily” disabled for an unreasonable length of time, we may archive the listing.

When I’m placing a new cache, I always ask myself these three questions:

  1. How often can I visit?
  2. How easy is it for me to visit?
  3. Do I have time to maintain another cache?

Readers Weigh In:

  • How many geocaches have you placed?
  • How often do you check on them?

Mystery Monday: Payson Recreation Guide & Camp Cooking

If there’s one thing I love, it’s adding new products to the Shop. And this week I’m not just promoting one new product but TWO!


Payson Recreation Guide

Payson Recreation Guide
The first is Payson Recreation Guide. This guide is another of the free eGuides that focuses on outdoor recreation for an Arizona city. Payson is the “Heart of Arizona.” Visitors who arrive at this north-central Arizona town during any of the area’s four distinct seasons will find a multitude of choices for outdoor recreation from hiking, fishing, hunting, and camping to exploring wilderness areas

Payson, Arizona also offers a wide variety of trails for hiking, mountain biking or riding horses.  Plus, Payson is surrounded by THREE National Forests for endless outdoor recreation fun.

Get the Payson Recreation Guide today! Free!


Camp Cooking with Joanne Fitterer

Camp Cooking with Joanne Fitterer

Mrs. Fitterer is a personal friend of mine and I’ve known her for nearly 20 years. (Not sure if that makes me old or not!)

She is a retired culinary arts teacher from Chino Valley High School and we’ve teamed up to bring you an exclusive cookbook filled with great outdoor cooking recipes.

“Camp Cooking with Joanne Fitterer” has great recipes like Campfire Pepperoni Pizza, Hotdog Kabobs with Sweet and Sour Sauce, Cinnamon French Toast, Easy Cheese Drop Biscuits, and more! Sections include Breckfast, Main Meals, Side Dishes, Desserts, and 4 great Extras.

Download Camp Cooking with Joanne Fitterer today. Only $1.99.

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