A mistake we made in our first year on the road was buying designated camping gear for our kitchen. We learned our lesson, living in an RV doesn’t mean camping. And you don’t have to compromise.
This is your home, and you can have all the amenities of any kitchen.
There’s nothing that necessarily makes a kitchen appliance or gadget ‘RV friendly’ other than it fits, can be powered by your available energy sources and doesn’t easily break while in motion.
In the past few months we’ve added a few items to our kitchen that we thought we’d share today.
Dometic Ice Maker
To my sweetie Chris, there are precisely four food groups – Salsa, Guacamole, Tortilla Chips and Ice.
While we keep several ice trays in our freezer, they’re not always enough to keep up.
Some time ago we inherited a portable ice maker. To our surprise, when stopped for more than a few days, it was quite a nice addition. We set it up outside under an awning and it requires no plumbing.
Just pour some fresh water in, provide a little power and inside of 15 minutes we have little soft ice pellets.
I actually prefer soft ice, given my sensitive teeth and tendency to want to smush ice in my mouth (I avoid it otherwise). I also appreciate the reduced sounds of ‘crunch crunch crunch’ all the time as my sweetie devours the softer version.
Plus, when we’re entertaining – we have ice constantly making to keep up with the party. Great for those happy hour cocktails!
Our older model was showing its age and wearing down. We mentioned this to our friends and Dometic reps at the recent Escapade Rally we attended. To our surprise, we found a new Dometic Portable Ice Maker sitting on our doorstep at the end of the rally! Thanks guys!
So far, the Dometic has been performing well as compared to our older Emerson. It’s efficient and quiet, and keeps harmony in the house. It also looks more styling!
Silicone Baking Liners
Around the holidays, we put together our wish list so that we get stuff we’ll actually use as gifts. I took notice of our friends Nina & Paul pulling one of these out many times when we converged on meals together.
These silicon baking liners take the place of parchment paper, and can turn any pan into a non-stick surface that evenly distributes heat.
The Dometic convection/microwave combo we picked up last year (which we’re still very happy with) came with a raised metal baking platform. Combined with a round Sil-Eco version it makes for a perfect makeshift pizza ‘stone’ as well as a cookie sheet (all gluten free, of course.)
The Sil-Eco cleans up incredibly easily, never sticks and we’ve been super impressed with it. Easy to store either flat or rolled up, making it especially small space friendly.
And they come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
New Bartending Fun
I was on the verge of investing in a decent bar set for mixing cocktails, and had a boston shaker and tools all set to click buy.
Then I discovered two items that might make more sense.
First, is the new Tervis Tumbler Shaker lid which includes a jigger cap and strainer.
I’ve had Tervis Tumblers since I was a kid, and we’ve carried them onboard all our RVs. They’re great insulated cups that stand up well to a traveling lifestyle. This new lid snaps on to any 16 oz Tervis cup, turning it into a cocktail shaker!
Does it work as well as a real set? Perhaps not. But we love re-purposing things we already have and not adding breakable glass to our kitchen.
Next, some fellow NuRVers posted about the Bar10der and we were intrigued. It’s like a Swiss-Army knife with all those bartending tools you might only use occasionally anyway.
A muddler, reamer, knife, jigger, zester, strainer and more. Besides being functionally useful, they come in a variety of colors – and what a clever name for a 10-in-1 tool!
So, instead of buying a full on bar set, we decided to give this combo a try first. Since we don’t mix cocktails all that often (most know our preference for wine anyway), it’s been a great compromise for functionality and storage space.
Smart Instant Pot
They had us at ‘Bluetooth’.
We kept hearing about these Instant Pot things – some sort of combo slow cooker, rice cooker and pressure cooker (which has always been a scary word to me!). When some fellow RVers posted about a pre-order deal for the new IP-Smart Instant Pot, we couldn’t resist.
I’ve gotta quit hanging out on RV groups!
We’ve used a dedicated rice cooker for years – and frequently whip up a batch of black beans, Rotel and rice as a quick meal. (Topped with Lizano salsa, cheese and avocados… yum!). If we could have a device that replaced the rice cooker AND added functionality, well.. score!
We’ve had ours in since February, and I have to admit – I’m not quite in love with it yet.
While we have made some great chilis, vegetable side dishes, curries and soups.. we know we’re not yet tapping into the potential.
Here are the things I’m having trouble adjusting to:
1) This thing is HUGE! Much larger than we were anticipating.
2) The learning curve and lifestyle adjustment has been daunting for us. We have to know up front what we’re putting in the pot – once it’s sealed, adding something isn’t feasible. I generally cook on a whim and hardly know what I’m making even halfway through cooking (hmmm… will this turn into a soup, a curry, a Tex-Mex stir fry?). I generally just get a few ingredients out and improvise the rest of the way.
3) It hasn’t yet replaced our rice cooker. I haven’t figured out how to make our rice dishes in it without burning things and we’re often needing to make up a pot of rice anyway to compliment curry dishes.
4) The Bluetooth feature is more of a gimmick and not worth the added cost in our opinion. Sure, it’s fun and entertaining to show off to friends. But it takes longer to pull up the app on our iPhone, make a connection and adjust settings – than it takes to just press the buttons on the device itself. If you’re considering such a unit, save the bucks and get a non-Smart version (unless you need some geek points).
All and all though, we don’t regret the whimsical addition to our kitchen – and intend to continue to get acquainted. We just need to spend some more time on Pinterest to find recipes and experiment. Do you have any favorite gluten free and vegetarian recipes to share?
It does come in quite handy when attending crowdsourced meals (aka ‘pot lucks’) allowing us to create dishes that serve more than a couple people, and is supposed to be energy saving so potentially ideal for boondocking. We’ll see if this one keeps its (large) place in our kitchen.
Update – Recall Notice: Instant Pot has contacted us about a recall on our Smart Instant Pot, and a new one is inbound to us.
Some other Kitchen Gadgets we Love:
Here’s some of our other RVing Gear Posts:
- You Light Up My Life (5 Favorite RVing Lighting Solutions)
- Tried & True RVing Travel Gear We Love
- RVing Gear that keeps us Hot and Not Bothered
- All of our favorite RVing Gear (computers, cooking, household, toys, safety and more)