Two years ago, we joined other RVers and migrated to Yuma, Arizona, for the winter months when the average temperature high is 24° Celsius or 75° Fahrenheit.
We settled into the Shangri-La RV Resort, one of over 60 RV resorts in the area. With swimming pool and spa, exercise room, laundry room, shuffleboard, horseshoes, putting greens, pet walk areas, cable TV, wireless internet, and recreation hall for social events, the resort became our community. There were grocery stores, post office, restaurants, and golf courses nearby.
In addition to the warm, dry weather, and the proximity to the margaritas, music, and shopping in Mexico, there was lots to do in downtown Yuma. We stepped into Arizona’s history by discovering the Yuma Quartermaster Depot that supplied forts in five states, by mule train. We walked the walls, felt the isolation, saw the guns and personal items of the men and women who had been incarcerated in the Yuma Territorial Prison, known in its day as the “Country Club on the Colorado.” At City Hall, we stood under an airplane that in 1949 flew 1,124 hours, non-stop, fueled by people traveling in a convertible at 80 miles per hour beneath the plane. At the Historic Coronado Motor Hotel, in the unit designated as the Casa de la Coronado Museum we reminisced over the artifacts of the early days of family motoring and staying overnight in motels across North America.
Yuma’s location provides never-ending opportunity for outdoor activities. There are bike and walking trails along the banks of the Colorado River where Burrowing Owls, hummingbirds and numerous endangered and threatened species are sighted. We finally photographed an elusive Roadrunner after several humorous episodes of trying to follow him through the desert dust. We spent quiet afternoons at the beach along the river. Dams on the area’s water system have created limitless backwater channels and lakes for world-class fishing. For a fee, we drove the swirling Algodones Dunes of the Sonoran Desert in a Hummer, not at the wheel but belted, white-knuckled, into our seats. We joined other RVers in their four-wheelers to explore nearby mountains and after a date farm tour we enjoyed date shakes, the perfect cool down on a hot winter day.
Our restaurant experience in Yuma was eclectic. At La Fonda Restaurant & Corn Tortilla Factory we not only indulged in homemade tortillas and tamales but thick tortilla soup served with tortilla strips, avocado, cheese, and sour cream. A breakfast, at a table nestled in an oasis under trees and vines at The Garden Café, was Sonoran Scramble and Oatmeal Pancakes. Lutes Casino is a fun place with piano playing, clinking glasses, and a room full of memorabilia. Bob, the owner, introduced us to his signature dish, a cheese burger hot dog combination. At the Farmhouse, the kale lemonade was fresh, sweet, yet slightly tart. The Brussels sprouts, tiny lamb chops, and scallops were seared on the grill. The Yuma Landing Restaurant and Lounge sits on the spot where the first airplane, rented from the Wright brothers, landed in Yuma in 1911.
Ninety percent of leafy vegetables produced in the United States in the winter months are grown in Yuma. We learned that the laser leveled fields of the Colorado River valley generate two million pounds of bagged lettuce and salad mix every day. In January, February, and early March, the Yuma Visitors Bureau celebrates the area’s fresh-from-the-fields bounty by providing tours. On the Savor Yuma tour we dined on a progressive dinner, enjoying each course at a different restaurant.
The Field to Feast tour took us directly to the food source, the farmer’s field, where after our group pulled, cut, and dug broccoli, cauliflower, and parsnips, the vegetables were taken away and prepared for our lunch.
In the spring, as Yuma’s comfortable winter temperatures began to rise into the 30s, Celsius, and 80s, Fahrenheit, we and thousands of other Winter Yumans, started our engines and headed north.
This refreshing, all vegetable recipe reminds us of Yuma, Arizona, the ultimate vegetable patch.
(Makes 2 to 4 servings)
Thinly slice the zucchini using a vegetable peeler. Trim the ends then run the peeler down the length of the zucchini until reaching the seeds. Rotate the zucchini and slice the ribbons until only the seeds remain. Discard the seeds.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and garlic. Stir and cook until the garlic has softened but not browned. Remove the garlic slices from the oil.
Add the zucchini ribbons, salt, and pepper to the frying pan. Toss and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until the vegetable ribbons are tender but not soft.
James: Cool! Everyone will LOVE my muesli recipe!
Me: Yeah, but, uh, our favorite RV breakfast is my
homemade three-ingredient-pancakes recipe.
I wrote about those.
James: Why would you do that? They have BANANAS
in them. The world hates bananas.
Me: The only world that hates bananas is Planet James.
It’s a good thing opposites attract.
If you asked me to describe James in a few words, I’d probably use: mind-numbingly organized, tenaciously meticulous, highly-intelligent…all which are nice ways to say he’s an obsessive geek. I mean, really? Building a clear blank tank to run RV dump experiments?! Who would do that?
If you asked me to describe myself the same way, I’d say I’m: affable, occasionally erratic (come on, I’m female), and significantly less systematic than him. I’m okay with a little disorder and my floor being slightly crunchy (because apparently the RV floor is “crunchy” whenever one of us [not me] feels a speck of dirt). Luckily my go-with-the-flow nature counterbalances James’ need for rules & strong opinions. So it works. MOST days. But as I sat there listening to him criticize our favorite RV breakfast, and it dawning on me I’d have to completely rewrite the article just because he was unable to understand that my pancakes were his favorite breakfast, I realized this wasn’t one of those days.
I guess they say compromise is the key to a happy marriage, right? So now, you get two healthy RV breakfast recipes. His favorite: Muesli. My favorite: Banana Pancakes. And, okay, I’ll be honest; I really do love his muesli recipe. I just don’t plan to ever admit that to James.
I adore these so much. First, they are so simple it’s ridiculous. And simplicity is a requirement of mine whenever cooking during our RV trips. Second, the texture, sort of like a crustless French toast, is dreamy. I love the creamy spongy way they sort of melt in the mouth. And lastly, the taste…oh so enjoyable. When eaten plain, you can definitely pick up on the mild banana flavor, which I love. I’ve never been a big fan of traditional pancakes. The taste is a little too bland. Perhaps that’s why I love these so much. There’s actually something happening in there.
|2 Tablespoons quick oats|
Mash the banana up with a fork VERY thoroughly. This step is important, folks. If you leave chunks, it’ll be more like eating scrambled eggs mixed with banana pieces. Not pleasant. Next, add the eggs and whisk everything thoroughly.
Once you’ve got yourself a lumpless batter, stir in the oats. Spray or grease your griddle however you prefer, and then just cook them like you would regular pancakes. Easy breezy!
In the picture, I topped them with my healthy homemade caramel sauce and some crushed walnuts. The caramel recipe’s a super simple healthed-up version of regular caramel sauce. I make the caramel sauce ahead of time and take it with us on our RV trips. It’s also a great dip for apples and mixes well with Greek yogurt. If interested, you can see the recipe here. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with good old maple syrup, strawberries, or whatever your preferred pancake toppers might be. (I’d actually love some topper suggestions for these, so leave me some comments!)
James eats this muesli recipe before any cycling competition. Not only that, it has come to be a popular breakfast whenever we are RVing and have a big day of activity ahead of us…hiking, exploring, sky-diving, what have you. Well, okay we’ve never actually sky-dived. But if we did! You can be sure we’d eat our muesli first. This muesli recipe has a great ratio of protein, fat, and fiber…which works to slow how fast the carbs are absorbed. Its carbohydrates are low on the glycemic index, which can help prevent blood sugar spikes. So, a breakfast like this will give you long-lasting energy. This is why James uses it as his fuel of choice for bike races. Plus, I love that we make it before bed. No food prep in the morning, bonus!
|1 cup oats|
|1 cup milk|
|1/3 cup of non-fat vanilla yogurt (or just use 1/2 the yogurt cup)|
|1 apple, diced|
|3 TBS chopped walnuts|
|2 TBS honey|
|2 TBS raisins|
Combine all ingredients THE NIGHT BEFORE, and store in the fridge overnight.
Eat it cold right out of the fridge; do not heat it up!
So there you have it! His and Hers favorite breakfast recipes. Healthy, yummy, and packed full of nutrients to start your day’s adventures. But which should you make tomorrow morning for breakfast? My advice? Keep peace in the RV. Make both.