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Joshua tree national park

joshua tree

It seems everybody wants to go to Joshua tree national park. Why? It’s practically an obligation these days, the Studio 54 of national parks. The place to see and be seen. The mere mention of this location will return a “yeah, i was just there” or an ” it’s on my bucket list” response. It’s become a right of passage. But, is it really that great? What’s the fuss all about?

click here to read more about joshua tree!…
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amazing vegetables! Vegan chicken base

better than bouillon – no chicken base

If you’re a vegan or vegetarian and you’ve never put a spoonful of this secret flavor weapon into a sauce or soup, drop what your doing. Go out, get a jar + immediately add some to your next savory recipe.

if this is your first experience, make an initial sipping broth just to see the potential contained within this powerful jar. Imagine adding it to rice. Saffron rice, Spanish rice, paellas, stir fry rice. Don’t stop there, send it in to back up a curry, a gravy, almost any soup. This stuff is truly amazing and adding it to the simplest of recipes will reap rewards and accolades. Even a tiny bit. Almost anything that contains water at any point during a cooking process. Experiment, and others will tell you how much your skills have improved. Trust me on this!

Better than bouillon vegan no chicken base
So freaking good
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essential camping gear – moonshade canopy

create shade wherever you go!

One of the two game changing additions to my camp set-up besides the cgear sand-free mat.

in previous years, camping around various desert locations, i could spend hours looking for the perfect rare shady spot. Usually, always occupied, mid-day was a time i dreaded. Not anymore, and if i see a shady spot, I’ll still jump on. but, as the sun arcs across the sky, a little supplemental shade to fill in the gap is completely welcome.

the moonshade is for all of us without roof racks or any other anchoring system. We are the bare-roofed ones. The ones left out in the sun. But alas! The innovative folks at moonshade, were paying attention and came up with the perfect solution.

it’s an easy one person set-up, with a variety of super strong anchoring magnets and suction cups to get attachment points in place. Clip the corners of the canopy in place, and then one by one quickly add the cross supports and upright poles. Finally, secure the moonshade canopy down with tent stakes and guy lines. İ like to back up the magnetic anchors with the included heavy duty suction cups, and an extra set of tent stakes along the backside of my van.

Quality and Craftsmanship seems great. İt’s been through some pretty high winds, and as long as i wasn’t lazy about securing it correctly, it’s stayed in place and kept me dry and shady.

set-up and teardown are easy, fast and I’ve never needed any assistance doing so.

About the author: stelae travels the US, camping, cooking and van living, while working as a silversmith and lapidary artist. You can view his creations here

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essential Camping gear – sand free mat

campsite

cgear original sand mat

want to transform your camping, picnicking, beach, yoga experience, or any outdoor adventure? If your into almost any outdoor based activity, a cgear sand-free mat can eradicate many of the subtle annoyances that can plague an excursion. You can create a 10 x 10 instant clean zone outside your tent, van or RV. Bring it to the beach, or on a hike. Take it canoeing or kayaking and and bust it out on the riverbank for an immediate welcome mat. I ordered mine from Backcountry.

its basically two separate + durable woven polypropylene fabrics, sewn together and including grommets for staking if needed. The unique weave allows particles of sand and smaller debris to fall through and not come back up. Anything else that happens to show up, simply can get swept off easily. I’ve used it all over the country for a year now, and I’m convinced of it’s durability and longevity. it’s polypropylene, so avoid placing it where campfire embers may pop onto.

ive found it enormously useful for keeping outdoor litter and debris from getting into tents and vehicles when placed next to them. It’s been great to pull out and do yoga on, fix a flat bike tire on and general hanging out. Fixing the flat tire was really nice to be able to set small parts and tools on without losing them in the sand and gravel. It also creates a sort of living room feel inviting you to chill out.

it does not work well for fine mud or in puddles. But, site selection is an art, and you really should try for a sandy, gravely spot anyways. However, it still cleans off easily and dries Fairly quick. One more thing to always avoid or anticipate is pine sap. I’ve put the mat on pine needles and reduced the amount of sap i would be tracking in everywhere. It can get on the mat as it would get on anything. That is the nature of tree sap after all. But, it cleaned off easily later washing it with pine oil based cleaner. It’s machine washable, packs up about the size of a sleeping bag and comes in a few sizes.

About the author: stelae travels the US, camping, cooking and van living, while working as a silversmith and lapidary artist. You can view his creations here

cgear sand free mat, perfect for a clean campsite
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vegan soy pâté

soy based spread from Romania!

I’m mainly writing about this because unless you’re from the land of Vlad the impaler, you might not know this exists. I didn’t until recently perusing the aisles of lee Lee international market in Phoenix, az. It’s available at both Lee Lee locations in Phoenix, but i was unable to find it in a couple Eastern European groceries in Portland, Oregon this summer. Various websites list it, but at least half were out of stock. So, unless you live near PHX, it may be a little effort to obtain. here’s one link that had it in stock at time of writing.

However, if your a fan of snacks and sandwiches, it’s worth wrangling up some. Having tried animal based pâté in the past only a few times, i can say it’s a pretty decent stand in. Here’s an example: in new Orleans, it’s standard to get pâté on a Vietnamese bahn-mi. If this soy based pâté was used instead, i would never know the difference. That said, it would be a amazing addition to a vegan bahn-mi that would add a background flavor and texture difficult to reproduce any other way. Really, this would make a vegan bahn-mi come together in a way that actually would be appropriately called one. Otherwise, it’s just an attempt; a vegan sandwich that tries to remind you of a bahn-mi at best. The other mistake would be bread selection, and hopefully you have access to a Vietnamese bakery. But, if all you can get are hoagie rolls in your area, don’t. Just make a different type of sandwich at that point. But i digress, this isn’t supposed to be a bahn mi article. however, here is my vegan bahn mi recipe anyway.

other types of sandwiches are good too, and this soy pâté can be there to help. So far I’ve used it on toasted bread with avacado and tomato, a typical type sandwich with field roast or Yves deli slices and Chao creamy original vegan cheese slices and as a snack on crackers with Roma tomatoes. İt’s been a welcome addition every time, and brings protein and extra tastiness into the situation.

if you do not live an an area where this is available, try an internet search for ‘scandia Sibiu soy pâté’ there are varieties with mushroom, paprika and plain. They’re all good, but the mushroom is my favorite followed by paprika. Prices seem to range on the internet and it’s out of stock on a few sites, so look around, you shouldn’t have to pay more than 1.99 a 4.2 oz / 120g can.

no animal ingredients are listed, but doesn’t particularly say vegan on the can. There is msg (I’m a fan) and gluten, if these are concerns.

Vitalia and scandia Sibiu brand soy pate’
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Van life build out: turn an Astro / Safari into a tiny cottage on wheels

Interested in van life? Read about the van build out of a 2003 GMC Safari, complete with kitchen, bed, work studio, and a system for water storage, electricity, refrigeration and shaded patio.

click here to read MORE!…