Saturday, August 29, 2015

Cookin’ Up Some Great Stuff

The colorful flowers are receding and a light chill is in the evening air in these final few days on the prairie.


Most of the kids in Illinois have now headed back to school, and the campgrounds are starting to thin out from their summer peaks.  All fine with me….more quiet prairie to enjoy!


I’ve been finishing up my doctor and dental appointments.  My Gyn Oncologist (as well as my Radiation Oncologist) have now given me their official sign-offs to go start living my life again. I’ll plan a routine follow-up with a doctor in New Mexico in December, and then return to Chicago in May to start seeing my Onc team annually. 

Of course, these still all feel like full-time RVer plans (set in Jello) at this point— I’m to call them with any new minor symptom that might develop, as one of those might possibly be cancer rearing its ugly head again.  But, so far, so good.  One day at a time!

I’ve been having fun with a few new boondocker-friendly kitchen gadgets lately.  This little Chef’n hand-powered food processor arrived a couple weeks ago--

Just put some quartered veggies in the cup,


pull the ring and string attached to the lid a couple times (as if starting a lawn mower),


and voila! Chopped veggies!


The Chef’n comes with a storage lid too so the jar can do double duty to store items in the fridge. Simple and easy-- no electric required!

My Iowa T@B camping friends were buzzing about their campfire pie irons at their June rally.  I was still recovering from surgery and was sad to miss out on all the action…until I found this short-handled indoor pie iron (perfectly sized for an RV or camp stove, or gas range).


It’s a lovingly reproduced gadget from the 1950’s called a Toas-Tite and it makes the cutest little panini sandwiches, hot pocket pizzas, or even a single-serving apple or fruit pie!

You can use any kind of bread, tortillas, or pastry dough to make your creation, but I’ve discovered that sandwich thins fit the Toas-Tite perfectly with no excess waste.  Here’s my setup for creating a little veggie pizza pocket:


I first take a sandwich thin and press it into both sides of the Toas-Tite,


Then add my ingredients to one side.  Here, I’m using tiny amounts of red & green peppers, mushrooms, red onions, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, mozzarella cheese, and pizza sauce. 


I then lock the handle closed and put it on the stove over medium heat for a few minutes each side.


The Toas-Tite crimps the edges closed and produces a cute little 4” flying saucer-shaped sandwich.  Pair it up with a salad or soup and it’s a great meal!

I’ve updated my RV Gadget Favs page to include these new items and many more.  Check it out!


Finally, my biggest creation of all has been getting cooked up for the last few weeks now.  With the help of social media managers from the N.E.D. Band and the Foundation for Women’s Cancer, I launched a new website & Facebook page to bring survivors, friends, family and medical professionals together to make some noise & raise some research funds during September’s Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month.

The new movement (currently, around 300 strong!) is called GynCAN (the Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Network), and features 2 new campaigns during September:


The GynCAN Challenge has participants post to their blogs & social media sites daily in September about GYN cancer topics using the common hashtag #GynCAN .  It might take a few years, but our goal is to ultimately one day have enough people buzzing each September about #GynCAN that the general public becomes as aware of all these other female cancers as they are about breast cancer today.  Earlier detection (& increased research funding) are critical to saving more lives!


The GynCAN100 has participants walk/run 100 miles during September (3.3 miles a day), and asks friends/followers to donate to the Foundation for Women’s Cancer (mentioning the participant & GynCAN100 when they do).  It’s a great way to get participants adopting a daily physical fitness habit, while also helping raise funds for a great cause!

I’ve added links to the above on my homepage as well as a nifty thermometer that will track my daily mileage progress towards reaching my 100 mile goal.

So, by now, I think you know what’s coming next….brace yourselves for more WinnieViews blog posts in September!

I’ll share some of my funny (and not so funny) personal stories from this past summer’s journey, some interesting quick factoids and eye-opening statistics I’ve learned, and some truly inspirational new women & causes I’ve come to know.

I’ll still throw in some RV and travel topics into the mix as well (I’ll be leaving Chicago next week for Colorado, and then on to New Mexico)!  But, even if your life has not yet been touched directly by a GYN cancer, I hope you will read and share these GynCAN posts with the women you care about—it may end up saving their life one day!


  1. Bravo for your involvement with GynCAN. Amen to saving lives. It ALL helps so very much. Thank you on behalf of all my women friends as well.

    The pie iron brings back fond memories - we had one when I was a child and would make "apple pies" by buttering bread, spooning in a little applesauce, sprinkling it with a bit of cinnamon, and toasting it. So yummy. Also we'd do peanut butter and strawberry jam, sliced tomatoes and cheese, and tuna salad with cheese. Oh how fun. Now I want one again!

    1. Ooh, some of those pie iron recipes sound terrific--I'll have to try them!

      I learned my apple pie recipe from my Baja traveling friend (and excellent cook) Ursula-- peel & cut a small apple and microwave it a minute or two in water to pre-soften. Take 2 small pieces of Pillsbury crescent roll dough (from the little tubes) and press them thin to line the pie iron (without going beyond the edges). Fill with the some of the softened apples, cinnamon, and a few raisins. Cook over med/low heat flipping often. Opening the pie iron after a few minutes to check often until dough is cooked. Transfer the cooked pie to a plate and sprinkle with a bit of confectioners sugar and some of the leftover apple bits and raisins. Delicious!

  2. I'm very happy to hear you've been given the all-clear! Looking forward to your Seot travels and posts!

    1. Thanks Nina. Help me spread the word about #GynCAN ! The more women reached, the more who can be helped!

  3. You sure are a fighter, Kiddo. I love your knew cooking items and the tiny personal pizza looks yummy. Shoot, I have a pie iron and never even used it have my wheels turning now :) thank you for ideas.

    1. Create away! There are some amazing pudgy/pie iron recipes out there-- mexican, thai, you name it! This should keep me entertained this Fall without having to build a campfire to use it!

  4. Congratulations on being cleared by your doctors! I forget I've had cancer - I hope someday it will be so far in your past you will forget too.

    Love you new gadgets! Your little pie/sandwich iron looks like a winner! Grilled tuna/cheese/onion - Yum! And grilled tomato and cheese, too. I'll bet you get a lot of use with that! Happy travels next week. :)

    1. Hallelujah to that Barb-- being cancer-free so long you forget how long it's been!

  5. I am so happy to hear you have been given the green light to return to your normal life. We are in the final stages of getting ready to full time, so I know I won't be doing 3.3 miles a day in September, but will contribute.
    We will be in Bosque for two weeks in November, might be Abe to catch one of my favorite bloggers at the visitor center!
    Like the new tools.

    1. Oh how exciting (for your new full-time transition as well as your Bosque visit!). Yes, absolutely come look me up! Me and about 30,000 of my feathered friends will be happy to welcome you!

  6. Great news on all systems go. Nice to see you moving on with your life.

    Love those gadgets, will have to get both.

    1. Yes, even though I hate to leave Illinois family & friends, I'll soon see Colorado family & friends, so life is good! Hope you get some smoke-free days soon. It's been a glorious summer here-- hmm...would Colin like to shoot some Chicago architecture & aerials one summer? I'd gladly be his assistant!

  7. Glad to hear your are clear to go on with your life. Great News!! Those are a couple of nice cooking accessories.

    1. Thanks Steve. Yes, life is good in and out of the kitchen!

  8. I remember those little round pie thingys. I don't remember what we ever used them for and since I never went camping with my parents, I can't for the life of me imagine where I used one. Suffice to say, you are the gadget guru.
    Glad to see you're "all clear" to go forward and..........conquer.

  9. Great medical news:) They can do wonders, I have been cancer free for 13 years.

  10. Great News!
    Going to look into your FB 100 Mile Club.

    Love these neat gadgets for the kitchen or camping out.


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