Vinnie Vlog #2 Another NEW BUS?!

It’s true, we bought another bus! We happened upon another one that we liked better because it’s longer, therefore it will be a more spacious home for us.  Plus, it’s also in great shape mechanically, and in even better shape cosmetically.  Yep, we’ve got a bus for sale!  lol!

Thomas Jefferson's tiny HouseOur new (older) bus used to be a shuttle bus at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.  This is fitting because one of my favorite folks in the tiny house movement is Thomas Jefferson!  lol!  I’ll bet you didn’t know he was one of us tiny house folks, did you?!  He bought land, and built a tiny one-room house that was 18 x 18 feet, and moved right in.  This little home became known as “The Honeymoon Cottage” when Jefferson married Martha Wayles Skelton. They lived so happily there that they soon welcomed their daughter Martha to the family.  Enjoying the perks of tiny house life, they worked on another house on the property – Monticello – a project that would be in progress for the rest of Jefferson’s life.

Stay tuned!  We’ve got the ceiling hatches sealed and we’ll be getting those seats out and putting down a new floor soon, it’ll be great!  I’ll bring you all the gritty details, so stick around!

I’m Carmen Shenk reminding you that we can go tiny, embrace simplicity, and still eat really well.  Thanks for watching, I appreciate it! 29c45-1a2bcarmen

 

The Fundamental Question of Downsizing.

This video includes a birthday message for my friend Bekki that is an excerpt from chapter four of my new book, Kitchen Simplicity.  In the video I mention visiting a lovely yarn shop, Baa Baa Sheep in Norfolk, Virginia… and I mention a skein of Embrace yarn from Raywa Fibers which is 100% yak down and is amazing – for a number of reasons.

If you’ve read “The Life Changing Magic of Tiding Up” by Marie Kondo, you already know that she recommends that as you hold each item in your hands, you ask yourself the question – does it bring me joy?  I understand her approach, but I think there is a deeper question than “Does it bring me joy?” can reach, and that question is “Does it fit my life purpose?”  When we know the answer to that question, stocking our life to fit our Purpose becomes much simpler and there is less uncertainty and frustrating ambiguity in the process… making those decisions much easier.

I’m Carmen Shenk reminding you that we can live tiny, embrace simplicity, and still eat really well.  Thanks so much for watching, I really appreciate it!29c45-1a2bcarmen

Vinnie Vlog #1: Introducing Vinnie #3, our new Bus that wants to be a Skoolie!

1 Van Dwelling

Interior of Vinnie 1

I’m starting a video log for our Skoolie project so here is an introduction to Vinnie 3.  Vinnie #1 was a van that I made into an RV back in 2010 or 2011 or so.  I fully intended to be a van-dweller and quietly live in plain sight but along came a handsome gentlemen and that was that.  I named that van “Vincent, my Van that Goghs” because I thought it was funny and artsy, but in time he became simply “Vinnie”.  Vinnie and I had many wonderful adventures together and I was sad to sell him, but he went to a traveling band of young musicians in spandex and big colorful hair.  So I know he is happy with his new family.

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A cup of tea in Vinnie 2

Our tiny house of 125 square feet became Vinnie #2, and we’ve been enjoying that one since the fall of 2014. We’ve been parked in various places around the area and have really loved our little haven home.  We’ve been though a lot in the last three years, but no matter what happened in a day, when we turned our car toward home, we were always glad to be back together in our haven home.

Thursday I decided I really wanted to consider the idea of a Skoolie a little more, so I took a look around Craigslist.  I texted a guy and made a plan to visit him the following morning.  I mentioned it to Xaver and away we went the next morning to meet Vinnie #3.  It was love at first sight for me, but Xaver walked around it complaining that it needed new tires and it was going to cost a fortune to put six good new tires on it.  The gentlemen lowered the price.  Xaver complained some more, and the price went down some more.  It was all I could do to keep from squeeling “SOLD!” but I kept my mouth shut tight with heroic effort.  Naturally we bought it.

IMG_20180118_171653038_HDR (2)I’ll keep a video blog of the process so be sure to swing by YouTube and subscribe so that you don’t miss a single episode.  Thousands of ideas, two artists, and one bus.  It’s going to be a real adventure!

I’m Carmen Shenk, the Tiny House Foodie, reminding you that we can live tiny, embrace simplicity, and still eat really well.  And we’re building a Skoolie where we can do just that.  Stick around, it’ll be fun.29c45-1a2bcarmen

Christmas Layered Mints

I make a number of Christmas treats each year, and this one is so simple and fun, and it’s always so fun to see how people respond.  This year I really stepped it up a notch using a transfer sheet to leave a design on the chocolate, and I’ve also upgraded to Young Living’s Vitality line of essential oils – spearmint and peppermint – and the flavor is fresh, complex, and wonderful.  This is such a fun quick project for the holidays and I hope you try it and let me know how it goes for you.  And as always, thanks for watching, I really appreciate it!29c45-1a2bcarmen

Refrigeration in a Tiny House

I’m back with a video on refrigeration in a tiny house – or in any dwelling that happens to have wheels.  Any time you can unplug your house, that includes unplugging your fridge.  So it may require just a little extra consideration when moving your tiny haven-home around the county or the country.

There’s a little sneak peek of me and the Tiny House Foodie kitchen a few months back before we removed the big monster energy-suck fridge and gave the place a much needed makeover.  It looks better now, don’t you agree?  And the color of my hair is always changing, so you will always be able to tell when I mix up new and old footage!  lol!

fdcd503e4785febee7dee3a6e1bc3d95Keeping foods out of the danger zone in your tiny house is really important so that you don’t get sick.  This applies to cooked foods and proteins such as meat, eggs, and dairy products.  Most other things (aside from a thousand and one plastic salad dressing bottles) don’t require refrigeration – aside from beer and white wine, obvs.

Have you noticed how many tiny house folks are vegan or vegetarian?  I have.  It really is so much easier when traveling especially, to keep those things to a minimum so that you don’t end up throwing away expensive products when you don’t know how long they’ve been in the danger zone, and also so that your health isn’t at risk.  Have you ever looked at a piece of meat and wondered if it is ok or not?  Chances are, it’s fine.  But nobody wants to be wrong about that!

And when you are… that’s when my little friend Digize comes to the rescue!  There have been a number of times when I could tell I was eating something that was not cooked properly, but I didn’t want to offend the host and hostess.  Sometimes you can tell when you bite into a nut or seed that they’ve gone off and the oils are rancid – stop eating immediately!  I’ve even been served some fish that had an ever-so-slight smell… you know the one.  And again… I knew it wasn’t going to sit well, but I did what you do when you love the cook and his or her good intentions.  Sometimes the food doesn’t have to be off for my stomach to freak out over it, just a different cook in a different kitchen with a different set of bacteria.  So I keep a bottle of Digize with me, ESPECIALLY when I’m traveling!  It’s a blend of essential oils formulated for digestive support for those moments when something you ate just wasn’t… right.  More info on the Digize blend of essential oils at Anoint-Ed.com.

In addition, while we are on the topic of cold storage and happy digestion, here’s a handy little chart for cooking various proteins so you get it “done” without turning it into something slightly more flavorful than the neighbor’s driveway. Meat-Temperature-GuideAs always – rules are made to be broken.  Sushi is our very favorite thing and there is a place we love to visit where the Sushi chef has become a friend of ours and he always makes something special and sends it over to our table.  I never know exactly what every component is, I just know the colors, flavors, and textures are divine!  It’s so much fun to see someone who enjoys making food for the flavor and the art of it.IMG_20170312_123415130 I hope you learned something today that will help you as you transition into tiny house living.  Thanks for visiting my blog, I appreciate it.  Stay safe out there and know which risks are worth taking, and keep a bottle of Digize close wherever you roam. 29c45-1a2bcarmen

 

Creativity & Adaptability in Tiny House Living

larger cake photoWelcome to this week’s video on creating great food in small kitchens, I’m delighted that you’ve joined me again!  This week I faced an interesting challenge.  I wanted to make a wedding cake as I have so many times in the past… only I downsized my cake pans and no longer have the professional kitchen to work in!  So how do I make a great cake without all the stuff I think I “NEED!”?  The truth is, what we think we need is often determined by what we are used to having – not on some authentic understanding of NEED.  As soon as you change what you’re used to, that will change what you need.  So going tiny is one of the best ways to find the liberation of not needing so much stuff!

IMG_20171105_122533692Then you get in the middle of a potentially frustrating situation when you no longer have the STUFF… what then?  I no longer have cake pans, so I could either borrow some (which I did) or rent some (it’s an option for some things) or I could find a different and creative approach.  In this case, I baked thin layers of cake on large sheet pans and then trimmed them to the sizes I wanted.  It was lots easier and there are no big pans to store in my Tiny House Foodie kitchen (or my actual 125 square foot tiny house for that matter).  This is just an example of how you can find creative solutions to whatever situations come up in your tiny haven home.  Simply get intentional about being creative and adaptable, and you’ll be fine.

Where there’s a will… there’s a way.

I promise.

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Oh, did you happen to notice in the video where I used Lemon Vitality Essential Oil from Young Living to flavor the icing?  Seriously, that lemon buttercream was the BEST PART of the cake!  If you’re interested in learning more about that and the other Young Living products I use in my tiny home and in the Tiny House Foodie kitchen check out one of my other projects: Anoint-Ed.com.  Good things are happening over there and if you love simplicity, wellness, and value like I do… then you should pop on over and have a look around!  XOXO

Tiny House & Simple Living Jamboree

I’m back from the Tiny House & Simple Living Jamboree in Arlington, Texas, and I had a great time!  I met so many interesting people and I think my speech went ok.  It was such a great adventure and now I want to go to ALL the tiny house festivals!  lol!  Ok, maybe not all of them (yes, all of them).  I am very happy to be back home and do a little introverting!  lol!

Derek DiedricksenI made it to the hotel without any problems and got on the elevator and there was Derek Diedricksen standing there, and he was very charming and funny.  He’s the author of Microshelters: 59 Creative Cabins, Tiny Houses, Tree Houses, and other small structures and I’m sure it’s as witty as he is.

Later I met Jay Shafer, and that was pretty amazing.Jay Shafer  He’s a gentle soul and is the father of the Tiny House movement.  His book, The Small House Book really rocked my world when I read it back in 2011 (it came out in 2010) and I loved his focus on beauty, simplicity, and quality.  All of that totally resonated with me and clearly it resonated with a lot of other folks as well – because look around – the tiny house movement is HERE!  (And it rocks!)

Then I stumbled across Susan Schaefer Bernardo (poet) and Courtney Fletcher (artist) who created The Big Adventures of Tiny House which is the most charming children’s book ever created (except for the other ones they’ve created) and these women were also just as lovely as you’d expect them to be given all the wonder and charm of the books they create.  PLUS they introduced me to the couple who own the tiny haven-home that the tiny house in the book is based on (visually).  What a pleasure it was to meet all of them!  And why didn’t I get a photo?!

Dee Williams

Don’t you love the face she made?  Hilarious!

I was getting pretty bummed by Sunday when it appeared that I was going to catch my flight home without meeting Dee Williams.  I read her book The Big Tiny: A Built-it-Myself Memoir and let me tell you, this woman is fierce!  I reviewed her book on my other blog a while back.  Let’s just say I am a fan!  (I am!)  I knew I would be at the airport when she and Jay Shafer were on the main stage, but that morning when I was wondering around hoping to soak up the last bit of tiny house goodness, I stumbled into her session in one of the smaller side rooms and let me tell you… and that quickly became one of the highlights of the event for me.  Hearing her speak and watching her engage with the audience was such a respectful and life affirming time, I HATED having to scoot out early to go catch my plane.  Still, I was so glad I had been there to catch some of it.  She asked the questions: 1) who/what do you love? 2) how do you want to spend your time? 3) what do you want to have in your hands as you die? (People/stuff) and then I watched as the audience participated with her by telling their own stories.  There was sacred space in that room.

It was also great fun to visit the tiny houses, skoolies, vans, and other creative dwellings around the property, especially the DIY homes, and ask the home owners how their food habits have changed since they started to live tiny.  It was fun to hear that their answers are the same as ours so I think my book is very much on target to help other folks walk through this transition.

If there is going to be a tiny house festival near you – GO! Even if you have to make a real trip out of it.  It was so much fun and I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

Is the Food Processor really a Time Saving Device?

Good morning Tiny House people, thanks for joining me today.  I want to share with you my epic battle with the Food Processor.  I was curious – is a Food Processor really a time saving device?  The process of finding that answer was pretty interesting, and I drew some conclusions from the experience (that are at the end of this video).  Let me know what you think.  I was surprised to find that many of my friends were already on team #knifeandcuttingboard.  Maybe fewer folks use these space-hogging machines than I realized.  Are you going tiny?  Will you take your food processor with you to your tiny home?  Why or why not?  Let me know in the comments.

IMG_2487What did I do with all those chopped carrots, celery, and onion?  I bought a great big organic chicken and made chicken soup with all of it.  Yum!

Adapting Shrimp & Grits for a Tiny House

How do you adapt a complex recipe that requires lots of space and dishes to one that can be made simply in a tiny house?  This video shows how I take a complex dish and make it a very simple one.  To adapt a recipe for use in a tiny house, plan out how you can use less dishes, use less power, and avoid putting a lot of moisture into the air that could create a mold problem in your home.  You can create great food in a tiny house kitchen, and these strategies will help!29c45-1a2bcarmen

Traveling Foodie

We are having a fantastic time in California and are looking forward to the event on the RMS Queen Mary where my recipe will be demonstrated before a crowd by the Chef of the Queen Mary, along from a recipe from her sailing days.  This is part of a book event featuring my dear friend, Patricia V. Davis.The fun is the 6th but we are already here soaking in sunshine, delicious California produce, and unwinding a bit.

We are enjoying the hospitality of a lovely AirBNB host.  We walked to the market this morning for a few groceries and walked back.  We asked our host if it would be ok to cook in her kitchen and she readily agreed.  My Austrian cracked open a beautiful fresh coconut and we drank the refreshing juice and munched on coconut as I whipped up some yummy omlettes.  We have plenty for a few meals even though we will eat out and enjoy the local cuisine.  We had a delicious Mexican meal yesterday along with some seafood, and we haven’t been hungry enough today to budge from our comfy spot here on the porch.


We are having a lovely time!  Yum!!  Enjoy the journey!  -Carmen