Thursday, July 18, 2019

Back Home in Silent Valley

It's always good to get back here.  It may be hot, but it's always cooler than down in the desert locations, like Banning.  We got here on July 8th, and were able to get into a site right across the road from our dear friends Diane & Jim.  We like being close to them, and it made it a little easier for them as they looked after our furry kids when we had two doctor's visits to make last week.  It has gotten up to the low 90s here, but with our two air conditioners working perfectly, we have kept it nice and cool inside the motorhome.  
I ordered  Jim an upgrade for his birthday.  It arrived last week, and as you can see, he IS enjoying the daylights out of his birthday gift.
Millie likes it too, but he gets it when he wants to sit in it.

I also got an early birthday gift.  It's called a Thermal Cooker.  Now I must admit that we have already got almost any kind of cookware we could want, but I had to add this one.  Our dear friend Almita told us about this, and showed me hers.  Mine has a large AND a small pot inside the outer pot.  You can put food inside the large pot, like stew meat, or chicken, etc. and vegetables with a little oil, and brown them off.  Then you add water, or gravy, or sauce to cover.  Bring the food to a rolling boil on the stove (or on an induction cook top) and boil for 15 to 30 minutes.  Now here's the unique part of the process.  You take the large pot OFF the stove, with the cover on it, and put it inside the outer, thermal pot, close the lid and leave it alone....with no more heat source required!  It keeps cooking for about 2 more hours.  Then it will keep the food warm for up to 6 more hours!  You can take hot food to a pot luck or just leave it sitting on the counter until you are ready to eat your dinner!  And there's can also use the Thermal cooker to keep COLD foods cold for up to 6 or 8 hours.  Say you made a nice potato salad to take to a pot luck later.  You can put it in either the large OR the small pot (depending on how much you made) then fill the other pot with ice.  Close the lid and keep your salad cold and safe from germs growing in it.  But wait, there's even MORE to tell you about the Thermal Cooker.  I made a yummy Hawaiian chicken dinner with vegetables in the large pot.  I cooked it on the stove for about twenty minutes.  At the same time, I put two cups of rice and three cups of water in the smaller pot.  I cooked that on top of the stove for about 5 minutes.  Then I put the BIG pot of chicken into the outer pot, and quickly added the covered pot of rice and closed the lid and left it on the counter.  About five hours later we enjoyed a most delicious dinner.  And believe it or not, there is even more for me to share with you about my wonderful Thermal Cooker.  Last week I filled the large pot with water and brought it to a boil.  At the same time, I half filled the small pot and brought it to a boil.  I made a small cake (I bought what is called Perfect Size cake mix kit) and I had bought a 6" Wilton cake pan.  I put the cake batter into the 6" pan, covered it with aluminum foil and secured the foil with a rubber band (to keep water out) and put the cake pan inside the small pot of water.  I covered it and boiled it for 25 minutes (directions said 20 to 30 minutes).  Then I put the large pan inside the outer Thermal pot, and put the small, covered pot inside the big pot and closed the lid.  We left it in there for two hours.  When I took it out, the cake was perfectly baked.  I let it cool on a rack for 15 or 20 minutes, then turned it out on a plate.  When it was cooled, I frosted it, and it was delightful.  You might think this was more work than baking a cake in the oven, but it wasn't bad, AND it didn't heat the motorhome up as much as having the oven on for 45 minutes or more.  Also, it was nice making just a perfect size (6") cake instead of a bigger one.  The most important thing about using the big pot is that it needs to be 75 to 80% full to maximize the cooking and keeping warm part of it.  Also, you need liquid to cover the food.  But you can make soups, stews, etc with only a short time on the stove or induction cooker, so you save energy, and after you put the meal into the Thermal Cooker, you don't have to do anything more, so you save time since you can be doing anything else that you want while the Thermal Cooker does the work!  Now here's the rest of the story.  Almita bought the Thermos Shuttle Chef.  I think she got it on  Her cooker is called a 4.5L size, but that refers to the outer pot, which you must NEVER put food in or put on your heat source.  Her inside pot probably holds 3 quarts of food and liquid, which is perfect for two people.  I bought mine on my favorite site:  Mine is called the Sonya 6L cooker.  The inner large pot holds about 4.5 quarts, and the smaller pot holds 2 quarts of food and liquid.  I know I may sound like a paid spokesperson, but I assure you I am not.  I am simply a very happy customer.  Now the one drawback with both of these cookers is that they do NOT come with a cookbook or instructions IN ENGLISH.  There is a page of information, with pictures you can follow fairly well, but the words are in Japanese, I think.  I went back to and found a nice and easy to use Thermal Cooker cookbook.  If anyone is interested, you can go online and compare the various models available, and see the sizes offered and the prices.  

This past Monday we had been told that Edison electric would be turning the power off all day while they did some work around here.  So we planned on going up to Oak Glen for a picnic where it would be cooler.  We called and invited George (my brother-in-law) to come too,

and also invited Diane & Jim to go with us.  We took ham and cheese sandwich makings, deviled eggs, potato chips, salad, home baked brownies, lots of water and other drinks.  Diane also brought potato salad which was delish!  It was very comfortable up there, except for the bugs that tried to eat us up.  I'll bring a can of Yard Guard next time to see if that helps.   I wanted to invite my brother Tony and his dog Woody too, but it was really too far to ask him to drive up there.  He sent me some really nice pictures of Woody recently.  The one here was taken about ten days ago.  Woody is soooo handsome, and my brother ain't bad looking either.  

This past Tuesday was quite a day.  Diane's Jim had an early morning doctor's appointment, and they had a lot to do that day, so we offered to puppy-sit.  Jim brought the girls (Lucy and Daisy) over Monday night.  They were delightful house guests, as always.

  All the dogs had gotten pretty dirty while we were up at Oak Glen, as they liked to dig in the soft dirt, so Tuesday was bath day.  First I took Millie into the shower with me.  Then after she was towel dried, Jim bathed Willie in the shower.  After Jim got his shower, I bathed Daisy then Lucy in the kitchen sink.  By the time all the dogs were dried, we were pretty well exhausted!  Lucy and Daisy had to be blow-dried because we saw that they were shivering, and we didn't want them to catch a cold.  In the picture above, Millie is trying to show off her new magnetic necklace.  LOL.  Daisy and Lucy got new necklaces too, but they really didn't much care!  

Wednesday was Diane & Jim's 43rd anniversary.  They have been so busy these last few weeks, that they both forgot!  I called and invited them for dinner here last night to celebrate the occasion.  Since they are vegans, and we are not, I wanted to provide them with a vegan dinner.  I found that Wal-Mart sells frozen vegan dinners, and also a vegan ice cream made with coconut milk.  We had a few other things we needed to get, so we got frozen dinners for all of us, and the coconut milk ice cream for them.  It turned out to be a very nice night.  Diane took a selfie of all of us, but she forgot to send it to me, so I can't include it here, as I had planned.  Maybe on the next blog posting.  

I don't want to go into the whole story, but this past weekend I was very sad about a situation that I have no control over.  The probable outcome of the situation will most likely cause much more sadness.  However, on Sunday we went to church here at Silent Valley with Pastor James.  I couldn't ask for prayers because I would have cried if I tried to talk about it.  Pastor James always asks if there was anyone who had any unspoken prayers they needed addressed.  I raised my hand.  He said God always knows what we need or want.  After he prayed for all who asked for prayers (spoken and unspoken) the he said "Give your problems to God and just let them go."  He went on to say we don't need to worry about anything when we give our cares to God.  He said a lot more that was important, but that was what I needed to hear.  I'm still sad about the situation, but I am also comforted because I know that He will take care of it.  I know I can't make it better, but He knows what needs to be done and He will do it.  The outcome may NOT be what we would like it to be, but we know that God will comfort us in our sadness, and we know that He has a reason for everything that happens.  We may think that we are in control of our lives, but God has always had a plan for us, and if we allow Him to take control, it will always be better than what we thought we wanted to do.  
I can only suggest that when you have a problem or concern, give it to God.  He wants us to ask for His help, but He won't force it on us.  Just KNOW that God loves you and wants to help you, and comfort you in times of stress, pain orf heartbreak.  Be a FROG!

Have a good week and a wonderful life my dear friends.

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