When we got this beat-up little trailer, we didn’t know how much work it’d be — or how much fun! Every project seemed to lead to another project, and so on. We had to leave the trailer behind for now, but we’re by no means finished with it.
Here’s a quick roundup of the work we’ve done on it so far:
- Painted interior
- Painted exterior, bondo’d and filled holes and imperfections
- Changed tires
- Repacked / greased bearings
- Replaced screen in door
- Lubricated leaf springs
- Upholstered cushions
- Caulked and sealed exterior seams
- Replaced exterior trim screws
- Changed taillights
- Replaced exterior outlet access
- Installed bottle opener (probably among the more important upgrades)
- Replaced wood under rear skin
- Removed carpeting
- Installed LED interior lights
- Replaced exterior cord housing
- Replaced fresh-water hose
- Replaced drain on water tank
- Replaced supply line on water tank
- Installed flanges on exterior water supply / drain
- Replaced all interior hardware
- Replaced ice box with storage shelves
- Made curtains
- Installed interior trim / moulding
- Shortened bunk bed for storage needs
- Installed Ikea bathroom shelf and toilet paper holder
- Purchased a portable toilet
I know a lot of you all out there are restoring and fixing up your old Play-Mors (and others). How’s it going?
Here she is on one of her very first trips — to Deckers.
And here she is on her final trip, somewhere in Wyoming.
A work in progress. We used Clark & Kensington exterior paint we picked up at Ace Hardware, and despite my reservations about its durability, it went on well and has held up so far.
The interior as it was when we bought it. Dark and panelly.
Cushions fresh from the upholsterer.
After some sprucing up, and with the cushions in place. Much lighter.
Now, with curtains and the bedding. Downright livable!
The best part of any project is napping in the middle of it.
The dining room, complete with chandelier.
In the dark of night, Blair Witch-style.
Getting the bearings out and lubed up.
After pulling up the nasty carpet, we find the original floor in excellent shape. Score.
When I said earlier that the best part of the project is napping in it, I was wrong. The best part is enjoying a beer in it beside the creek.
When it came time for the tedious interior painting, Adrienne got in and worked the tight spots.
Hard to believe this thing ended up looking as good as it did.
Some paint, some shelves, and it’s so much nicer.
Adrienne’s bedroom. Cozy.
This is typical of what the exterior looked like: Skin peeling off the edges, stripped screws, weird wires attached to the seams for no reason at all.
Part of what makes the whole thing work so well are the details, like this candle thing. This is Adrienne’s doing.
New paint, new reflectors, new screen door, and this old gal’s ready for travel.
So we’ve packed her away for a while till we figure out what we’re doing with our lives, and I can’t wait to get back to camping. There is beer to drink and fish to catch.
I’ve been keeping myself very busy taking lots of pictures here in Chicago and will post them all here. I’ll start with Chicago’s beautiful architecture. You can click the images for larger versions. Also, be sure to check out all my photography on flickr.
The Aqua Building.
The Wrigley Building.
The John Hancock Building and Magnificent Mile.
The Chicago River from Michigan Ave.
Chicago skyline from South Loop.
Diversey Harbor with Chicago skyline.
East Lakeview, Chicago.
Diversey Harbor in winter.
Lincoln Park houses.
A view from the L.
Lincoln Park, Chicago
The moon over Lake Michigan.
A street in Lincoln Park.
Tiffany ceiling at The Cultural Center, Chicago.
Garfield Park Conservatory.
Jay Pritzker Pavillion in Millennium Park.
Under a train bridge.
Vintage apartment building in Lincoln Park.
I found this yummy recipe when I was organizing/cleaning out my computer. No pics, sorry!
Super Foods Chili
Heat 2T olive oil in a large pot.
Add 2 medium chooped onions and cook on medium for about 10 minutes.
Add 2 chopped red, yellow or orange bell peppers.
Add 3- 4 minced garlic cloves.
Add 1 1/2 t dried oregano.
Add 1 1/2 t ground cumin.
Cook around 10 minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn or stick.
Take the mixture out of the pan and set it aside.
Put 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey into pan.
Cook till totally browned, making sure to break it all up well.
Stir in 1/4 C chili powder.
Also add 1 T cocoa powder, 2 bay leaves, 1/4 t ground cinnamon, some salt and some pepper.
Add the veggie mixture back in with the turkey.
Add 1 large can diced tomatoes and their juice.
Add 2 T tomato paste.
Add 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth.
Bring to boil, then simmer for 45 minutes or so.
Add 3 cans white beans drained and rinsed.
Cook 10 more minutes or till you are ready to eat it.
Discard bay leaves before serving.
This doesn’t have much of a hot kick to it which I tend to like. If I were in the mood I would have either added some salsa to it when I cooked the veggie portion, or to taste toward the end or even after it is cooked and in the bowl as a topping. Just depends on if you like it to be kicky/hot or not. You can also top it with plain yogurt, cilantro and avocado for even more super foodness.
Super Foods used:
Ok, look, I am into the “craft cocktail” movement as much as the next girl and I had one of the very best Old Fashioneds I’ve ever had in my life, made by my friend Steve at The Morrison in L.A. recently. It was all fancy with a huge ice sphere and expensive bourbon and no cherry. I love getting these mixologist drinks when I’m out, but I’m no mixologist.
An Old Fashioned from The Morrison in L.A.
There is definitely something to this newish craft and I ain’t got it. But I like to drink at home! Without a lot of fanfare and for cheap. Plus I dig a cheesey retro vibe. So here’s how I make Old Fashioneds at home.
Put a spoonful of sugar into a glass. More or less depending on my mood for sweetness. Check it out, I used a stemless wine glass. OMG, no class. Then I put a couple drops of bitters onto the sugar. I followed a recipe once that called for three drops but that was too many for me, so I do two. Then I add one dreaded red dye #2 coated maraschino cherry. Just one! I once thought, hey, I love these horrible things, I’ll put in two. But it was not that good. So now I restrain myself (it’s hard) and only use one. Then a twist of orange peel and I muddle it with a spoon. Then I add an ounce or two of whatever bourbon, rye, or even whiskey I have on hand and some ice cubes. Sometimes I add water or sparkling water to top it off, depending on whether I want to stretch the drink or resign myself to having two (or more).
So there. An inexpensive, no fuss Old Fashioned for your daily drinking.
An everyday Old Fashioned from my house.
I can’t call this “veggie chili” because I used a little worcestershire sauce as well as beef broth. You could easily leave out the worcestershire sauce and use water or vegetable broth if you want veggie chili, though.
Ok, so we’ve established over and over that I don’t follow recipes. I thought you might be interested in how I change recipes so you can get some ideas on how to change them when you cook. I have been to many cooking classes where people ask about changes and if they can sub this or that so I know that it’s a real thing that people do and are sometimes confused by. It’s not all that hard if you think about swapping out ingredients that are similar, or exchanging some herb or spice for one you like better. It also helps to remember other versions of the dish you’re making that you’ve had before and what ingredients they had that were different.
I started with this recipe.
It called for:
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, which I used. I usually don’t bother to measure it, I just swirl it to cover the bottom of the pan.
- 1 cup prechopped onion, I don’t use prechopped things. I had a half a leek on hand and a half a yellow onion I needed to use, so I chooped those up instead. Leeks are in the same family as onions, so it worked fine. You can usually substitute red onions, white onions, yellow onions, any kind of onions, as well as leeks or green onions for each other in things like soups, stews, and chilis. Leeks aren’t good raw, though, so be sure to use them where they need to be cooked.
- 1/2 cup prechopped green bell pepper. Again with the prechopped. Do I look like a millionaire? How hard is it really to chop a pepper anyway? So, ok, I had a whole green pepper that was looking a little sad and I wanted to just use the whole thing, so I did. You could leave it out if you don’t have one or don’t like them. You could also sub red or orange bell peppers. See where we’re going with this?
- 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic. Ugh, bottled garlic is the worst thing in the world. It is so disgusting. Do yourself a favor and use the real thing. I used three cloves of garlic that I pressed in a garlic press. Garlic presses are controversial but I don’t like getting garlic all over my hands so I use one instead of a knife.
- 3/4 cup water. I didn’t bother with this. It didn’t seem to need it. Use your own judgement when recipes call for liquids.
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste. Do you all know the trick of tomato paste? You know how annoying those little cans are? I just scoop it out into a zippered sandwich bag and flatten it, then put it in the freezer. When I need to use some, it’s really easy to just cut off a piece- eyeballing the amount. If you don’t have any, it won’t kill you to leave it out.
- 2 teaspoons chili powder. Had that. You kind of really need chili powder for chili, but I could see sort of making your own with spices you have around.
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin. Had that, too.
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Yep.
- Here’s where I did my own thing. I love smoked paprika. Since this was a meatless chili I thought it could use some of that smokiness. I used 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika. I also thought worcestershire sauce would add some depth so I used 5 or 6 drops of worcestershire sauce, too. Annnnnd I went ahead and used a tiny amount of cinnamon and cocoa- I have had chili before that called for cinnamon and cocoa, but I don’t like it when there’s a lot of either in it, so I took it easy, adding just 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder.
- 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained. I had a can of white beans so I used those instead (rinsed and drained).
- 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained. Had these.
- 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained. Had these.
- 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic). I had a couple of cups of leftover watered down beef broth left over from another project so I used that instead. You can use whatever broth you want, or even water. It won’t be as rich with water. You also don’t have to follow the amount of liquid exactly, use your own judgement about how thin or thick you want your dish to be.
- 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained. I had a large can of whole tomatoes so I used half of it. I didn’t chop them up or anything, they just fell apart nicely while cooking.
- 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal. This is usually my go-to for thickening chili, but mine didn’t need any thickening this time.
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish.
- 6 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream. I rarely use sour cream. I normally sub plain yogurt which works well. This is optional, if you like a creamy thing on top of your chili.
- I also put some shredded cheddar on top.
It’s a pretty straightforward procedure. Swirl the olive oil into the pan and when it’s heated up add the onions, leeks, whatever, and the bell peppers and cook them on medium till they’re soft. Then add the garlic making sure it doesn’t burn. Then the tomato paste, spices, worcestershire sauce, and cocoa, cooking just a minute till it all gets fragrant. Then add the beans, the broth or water, and the canned tomatoes. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook it. You can do it for as little as 10 minutes (everything is basically cooked already), or as long as an hour- or more, I don’t know exactly how long, I did it for like 45 minutes. It’s chili so nothing bad will happen to it if you cook it for a long time, provided you keep adding liquid and stirring so it doesn’t get too thick or burn on the bottom.
I served it topped with the cilantro, yogurt, and cheese and a green salad and some cornbread.
I know there are a million ways to make chili, what are some of your favorite ingredients?