What to do when you’re cooped up for three days?

Being former Californians, we’re used to fairly stable weather and not a lot of surprises. But while traveling in this lifestyle, we’ve had to get used to being prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at us.  For example, we were amazed by the non-stop rain for 3 days at Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and the sustained high winds while at Alamogordo, NM.  Then there was the sand storm we endured at Death Valley National Park, CA.

Here in the southeast, we’ve had to deal with storm systems that triggered severe weather events resulting in numerous thunderstorms and soaking rain.  We’ve learned that it’s what we do during this inclement weather that keeps life from getting too depressing. At these times, we usually catch up on our reading, do blogging or trip planning, or just watch the raging weather outside as we hunker down.  We’re getting pretty good at planning upcoming activities around the forecasted weather.  I mean, if the sun is out and the birds are chirping, who wants to be stuck doing computer work or taking care of inside maintenance stuff?  Not us!

Gulf State Park
Get ready, here it comes!

So, what did we do during the latest big storm?  Lots, considering we live in this tiny house on wheels.  For one thing, Steve was able to expand his culinary interests into Filipino cooking.   As you may know, he not only sits in the captain’s chair, but he also makes his mark in the kitchen.  He likes to experiment and learn new recipes, and I have to laugh because whenever something doesn’t come out just so, he wants to try it again right away until he gets it perfect.

For years since we met, Steve’s been hinting and goading me to teach him how to make Filipino lumpia.  I kept postponing, since it’s tedious and involves frying.  Well, as the storm approached I finally ran out of excuses, since I knew we would be RV-bound for the next couple of days.

“Chef Steve” begins preparing the ingredients for his first batch of lumpia. I wish you could see his smile here, but it was too big to fit into the picture!

Filipino lumpia is the Filipino version of an egg roll or a Chinese spring roll.  It can be a mixture of several veggies (like cabbage and carrots), and meat (usually pork and/or shrimp), rolled into a thin wrapper.  In any Filipino gathering, lumpia is usually the king of appetizers – those of you who have tasted home-made lumpia would probably agree.  It’s that good!

Steve found a good Filipino lumpia recipe (not mine, sad to say) and gathered all the required ingredients.  There are several recipes and styles that are very good, he used this one for his first try.  As usual, he took this project very seriously and even watched Youtube to see several experts rolling lumpia so he would be prepared.

After preparing all of the ingredients, cooking the mixture (we made some pork and some shrimp) and letting it cool down, the fun began as I showed Steve how to roll the lumpia. He caught on quickly and went on to roll the remaining 30 pieces himself.

Hey, this ain’t no thang!

We then fried a few to taste his labor of love, and stored the rest for future happy hours.  We fried ours in a small amount of oil in a pan, rather than deep frying, to make it a bit healthier.

Lumpia is often served with a sweet-chili sauce, but we like it dipped in vinegar with fresh garlic pressed in and some black pepper

Well, that was it for the lumpia experiment.  What else did we do during the imperfect storm?  Read on…

We love fresh bread, no doubt about it.  One issue in our gypsy lifestyle is that finding good, fresh bread can be problematic.  After talking with John and Sharon of On the Road of Retirement about how they bake all their own bread, we were inspired.  I was surprised when Steve suggested we buy a bread making machine to try it ourselves.  Now, John and Sharon make their breads completely by hand, but we decided to be a bit less ambitious and try a highly-recommended machine that would allow us to “set it and forget it”.  That would allow us to have fresh home-made bread whenever we wanted it, without having to be present for every step of the process.

So, as the storm raged on we went to pick up our new Panasonic SD-TD250 Bread Making Machine at the local Walmart.  And what a fun day it turned out to be while we were cooped up!

After our first successful loaf of wheat bread, I decided to go crazy and try for a loaf of honey walnut!

The manual that came with the machine had recipes for many excellent breads.  We started with a loaf of regular whole wheat, and it came out so good that we confidently proceeded to make a loaf of honey wheat.  Then we baked a loaf of french bread that was out of this world!  And I say that as a connoisseur of quality breads from San Francisco. Since most of the “base ingredients” are the same, it’s easy to make many types of breads with this machine, even pizza dough!  All we have to do is whip the ingredients together and then wait a few hours for our next fresh loaf.  We’ve been having a blast with this machine, and we love how our house smells like a bakery when it fires up!

Panasonic Bread Bakery
Fresh from the oven!
Bread Bakery
“Success!” declares the new baker…
Whole Wheat Honey Walnut Bread
This honey walnut bread turned out good, and we’ll keep baking until we find the perfect loaf!

I also got myself busy with some other inside projects.  After showing my hubby how to wrap a lumpia, I rummaged through our closets and started purging clothes.  This has been on my to-do list for quite a while, and it was a good time to do it.  I realized once again that I need even fewer clothes to live this lifestyle.  Going through my closet, I located the “never worn” and “special occasion only” clothes that I never got around to wearing, plus some really old stuff that I must admit I was sentimentally attached to.  After two big bagfuls of give aways, my closet now seems a bit empty.  Perhaps its time to hit the mall and get new clothes?  Oh, I hope Steve doesn’t see this…

In between these in-house activities, we caught up on some reading of our favorite authors.  Between the two of us we finished several books – two Ken Follet’s, two David Baldacci’s and a Jeffrey Archer best seller.

And the aftermath of the big storm?  A nice sunset and the promise of better weather for our upcoming planned activities.

Sunset after storm
Water everywhere after the big storm

Being cooped up can be fun and productive after all, and this time we learned some new cooking skills.  How about you?  What do you do when the dreaded cabin fever hits?



  1. I never new we would become knowledgeable at using web based weather tools. That bread really does look good, I can almost smell it baking.

  2. I think if I lived with Steve, rainy days might be detrimental to my waistline. But, boy does all that cooking look delicious.

    Sounds like you did a bit of spring cleaning, Mona Liza. Remember, when you throw something out, you are allowed to replace it. I see a shopping spree in your future…hehe

    • Ha ha you got that right Marsha, I can feel my waistline expanding a bit despite our daily exercises here. And yes, I was quick in going to Tangers Outlet and got me some new wardrobe appropriate to our lifestyle. Steve was happy too with my spring cleaning, it reduces Betsy’s weight. ha ha

  3. Way to go, Steve!! The lumpia look great. I love egg rolls so I am hoping to try these as soon as we catch up with you:)

    Home baked bread is the best. I had a bread machine when we had a house (looked like yours). It does tend to get your bread eating out of control, however. I use to make pizza since the bread machine makes great crust. Can’t wait til you try pizza dough.

    Isn’t it amazing how many clothing items we carry and never use! For our first few years I would clean out once a year and now I think I have it under control. Of course, I always need new hiking items!! You better hit the outlets to refill that closet, MonaLiza!

    Glad you stayed entertained during your rainy weather.

    • Next time we meet for a happy hour Pam, the lumpia we serve will be a Steve’s product and not store bought.
      And yes we plan to make Pizza dough some rainy day down the road 🙂
      Its funny that every time we opened one corner of the bedroom closet, Steve would often asks, “When are we gonna wear these clothes?” I passed the first round, I think I just have to take a deep breath and let go of more clothes that I keep imagining I will be wearing soon. It has not happened yet. The upside of my purging, I went to Tangers Outlet today and got me some hiking clothes.

      • When we finally decided to let go of things “we might need someday,” it was great. Our thought is if we need an outfit for some reason and we don’t have it, we’ll go buy what we need. Why carry things around “just in case.” I have found that we need very little in the way of clothing. Almost all of our activities are out doors and involve hiking, biking, or kayaking.
        Glad you got to have a shopping day for new hiking clothes:)

  4. That lumpia looks yummy! I may have to look up some recipes and give it a try. As for the bread-making, we have found that eating too much gluten has a negative effect on us so have had to cut way down on bread, one of our all-time favorites. 😦

    Almost our entire Outer Banks experience was a bust, with cold, rainy, blustery days, too windy to walk on the beach or ride bikes even. I tried to go to the Elizabethan Gardens one day, even though it was sprinkling, and once I had paid the admission fee, the skies opened up. Even plastic over my camera did not keep the rain off the lens. We will be glad for some sunnier weather. This, coupled with parent issues recently, has definitely put a bit of a damper on things, but not for long (she says hopefully). 😉

    • Im a little bit worried now that we have this bread machine, our waistlines will surely be impacted 🙂
      Oh, LuAnn I am as disappointed as you are reading about the inclement weather that you had there in the OuterBanks. And I know its a mood killer. Sorry we had to move the rain from here to there 🙂 we have to share you know.
      As for the parent issue, I can just imagine the anxiety and worry. I sure hope you don’t have to drive back to Ohio unexpectedly. Hang in there.

      • Yep, unfortunately the OBX was a bust for us weather-wise. It was so windy most days that we had difficulty walking the beach, much less riding bikes. We took the ferry over to Ocracoke one day when it was a bit nicer, after having to wait nearly 3 hours to get on it, as they were running only one ferry for most of the day.

        The tough part for us in these situations is feeling like we can get into an exercise regiment. Although we are a bit anxious about spending 4 months in the DC area, we know once we get there we can focus on regular exercise and we have a gym available to us that is a perk for volunteers. I’m also going to buy a better bike, one designed more for fitness than my little ole nag. 🙂

        Please be safe as you head into the midwest. We have been hearing about reports of places like OK anticipating some of the worst storms this year, coming up this week. We have had our worst weather during our travels in OK…tornados, earthquakes, hail, flooding. Sounds like the end of time, doesn’t it? 😉

        As to parents, Terry has had to deal with some stress lately, but we are not heading back to OH. Unfortunately, it would accomplish nothing.

        • Right now, we are watching the tornadoes hitting MS and northern Alabama. Luckily we extended a week more here or we would have been in the midst of it. And yes I now have an app for weather that sends us notifications and warnings. Something that we definitely must have as trek north in the midwest could be interesting weather wise.
          4 months in DC in summer? sounds muggy and humid. But I have seen several biking paths in the area so i think regular exercise will be happening.

          • Four months in DC will be muggy and humid for sure, but I suspect you two might get a little of that yourself in the midwest. When we committed to this it was with the intention of staying closer to Ohio should the folks have immediate needs.

  5. What a talented husband you have, make sure to keep him! What a lovely way to while the hours while a storm rages, cozy and delicious.

    I can just smell the fragrance in old Betsy, my mouth is watering! When our son took Suzuki piano lessons, back in the day, his teacher would always have a loaf of bread baking in her machine. It was maddening to concentrate on the music with those heavenly smells filling the house.

    Now we’ll miss happy hour with you guys even more, we’ll miss tasting those beautiful lumpia!

    Enjoy your travels, we’re living vicariously through you for a few months. Thanks for letting us ride along.

  6. I will be looking forward to the lumpia when we are close enough to meet and enjoy a visit! Oh, the yummy smell of baking bread.

    Unlike you, experimenting in the kitchen never works out for us. So if it’s raining, a crockpot dish of soup or chili suits us. Lots of reading time, planning, and computing. We will usually find a RedBox and rent a movie as we rather see them at home than in the theatre.

    Isn’t it a great feeling to have the closet cleaned out? I did that back in Tucson. And like you, had bags full.

    • Gay, this was the first time we were cooking and baking on the rainy days. Like you we just read,blog and vegetate which leads to melancholy. We decided to do something active so to speak to break the walking back and forth in our small house.
      Oh yes, and I will continue to clean up the closet, that was just the first round. The fun part was going to Tanger Outlet today and get a couple of new hiking clothes.

  7. No rain can stop me! 😀 My actuvities inside during rain are not as eventful and experimental as you two. I usually just watch whatever.
    Steve’s lumpia ingredients look more filling than someof the lumpias I had. The thing with lumpia is that it’s like a food you munch. Eating it is addictive as whoa.

      • I can’t sit still when I can go. So when it rains, its my cue to sit back and relax. Then again, its kind of California thing cause when I was in Okinawa it rained continuously for says that I got so itchy.

  8. It’s been snowing and blowing all morning. I cooked a pot roast and I’m going to bake some chocolate chip cookies! Woo hoo! Maybe I’ll make some lumpia as well – that looked delicious! 😀

  9. You put your “cooped up” time to good use. Mui’s always trying some recipe or another … and loves to experiment. I cleaned out my wardrobe a few weeks ago, and went out and bought some new stuff more suitable to this lifestyle … having a ball mixing and matching and wearing my new outfits.

  10. Yum. I’m afraid if I get a bread machine I’ll need a new wardrobe….in bigger sizes lol. I love egg rolls / spring rolls; might need to give making them a try on a rainy day 🙂

  11. Yum, yum…love me some good food. We pretty much do the same as you on nasty days…cook, read, blog and crosswords. Time to clean up our closets too methinks…


  12. I absolutely LOVE lumpia! It was one of my crazy obsessive cravings when I was pregnant. Still crave it! Love you had lots to do during the storms. That bread looks good, I’ll bet your coach smells wonderful. Be careful in the midwest, watch your weather!

  13. I know you’ve stopped by Texas…so you may have heard the saying in these parts “If you don’t like the weather, wait an hour it will change”..so true. Bread looks wonderful, I actually have a bread machine and you’ve inspired me to pull it out of the back of the closet! Steve you can visit my big kitchen any time you want to experiment, I will back off and hand it over to you 🙂 Mona you and I can go shopping!

  14. Well darn, I wish we were still right across the street from you at Gulf Shores so that we could try some of that lumpia! It looks amazing. You two did a great job of entertaining yourselves in creative and fulfilling ways while you were cooped up. We fortunately haven’t had more than one day of rain at a time since we started this journey last June, but I’m sure our time is coming somewhere down the road. Maybe I can get Eric inspired to cook some new recipes when we’re cooped up (hahaha!!!!). He’s a good cook, but pretty much sticks to grilling. Hope you’re going to blog about some of your new wardrobe items — I love cleaning and clearing out and buying cute hiking/biking/kayaking clothes! (And shoes.) 😉

    • Oh yeah, the lumpias are guaranteed good. Next time we meet we will offer some to you and Eric. We tried to be proactive now since that three day non stop rain in Cape Breton . We were depressed for we just sat there after doing all kinds of things to entertain us. Now that we are in the midwest we might be cooking a lot with this weird weather.
      I hope you are already far west, tornadoes is creating havoc from MS to Birmingham AL. Luckily we stayed for another week down here or we would be in the midst of that unpleasant weather.
      I bought new hiking shirts and a new pair of Crocs!

  15. Cooking is my favorite past time during poor weather! Just the other day we were cooped up inside and I had a blast making muffins, granola, cookies, energy bars, lentil soup and a wonderful Indian flavored fish with rice and roasted veggies. Sometimes I wish for more “weather” days than we actually get here in the West!

    The lumpia is making my mouth water!

    • Lisa, this is the first time we went on a cooking/baking spree on a rainy day. It has a downside, there is only the two of us who will eat this good food 🙂
      Next time we meet, lumpia will be served!
      Hope your site has a muffin recipe.

  16. Lumpia looks fabulous and fresh bread is always good – we try to get it at farmers markets, but they aren’t always accessible. We blog, read, and plot our travels on rainy days. And Hector works on his photography – always.

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