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Cooking in a tiny home – food diary of a vanlifer

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Vanlife Eatshttps://vanlifeeats.com
Two passionate Vanlife cooks and the creators of Vanlife Eats.

Cooking in a tiny home can come with some challenges, and tiny homes do not come much smaller than a van! In this food diary from one of our trips over the summer, we highlight the challenges presented by cooking and travelling in a tiny home in one day.

6.30am

The sunshine trickles in through the windows awakening us from our sleep. I can hear the birds on the roof excitedly calling to their friends in the nearby trees. I roll over, open the curtain and take in the views before me. Finding park-ups like these make vanlife the best way to travel. Today we have woken up on a campsite that limits pitches to make it feel like you are in the wild. As luck would have it we are the ONLY ones here. We got here a little later than we would have liked to yesterday so we’re looking forward to exploring today.

6.45am

I fill up the kettle and put it on the stove to boil. Mark checks the water tank to make sure we have enough for later and don’t need to fill up – all good! The whistle of the kettle tells us it’s time for our morning cup of tea. The best way to start the day!

7.15am

We decide to head out and explore before having breakfast. The sunshine shines down on us as we walk hand in hand taking in the expanse of green before us. The grass is damp from the downpours of the day before and the smell of wet grass fills our senses. There is a small lake in the next field and we wander over to it. Canadian geese are gracefully gliding across the water, away from us, these strange creatures that have emerged from a van.

On the way back to the van we stop and pick some blackberries from the hedgerows. There doesn’t seem to be a great amount of ripe ones, and there is a little competition from some persistent wasps. We head back to the van with the goodies in our hands.

8.20am

When we arrive back at the van with wet shoes, Mark has wet socks too. We put everything in the sunshine in an attempt to dry it. We don’t want the van to smell damp.

Vanlifer breakfast

On the menu this morning is a breakfast wrap. We love making this because we can make it all in one pan, so there’s less washing up! This means less work and less water use! By washing up as soon as we eat it means food doesn’t dry onto the plates. We can clean them easily while using less water and energy (from our water pump)

We feel it’s important to try and create the least amount of waste we can. One because we want to work towards a more sustainable lifestyle and two because we only have a small bin! Breakfast wraps are great for using up whatever leftovers you have!

We get the leftover veg from last night, potato and some spring onions, from our cool box. Not having a large fridge can be a bit of a pain and means we have to shop for fresh produce more regularly. We don’t have a freezer either so plan our meals carefully to minimise waste. Our 3 way coolbox has done us well so far though.

Once the veg has been chopped we add them to our pan with some olive oil. Mark starts slicing the bacon and we add that too. Once nice and crispy, we push it all over to one side of the pan and crack in 2 fresh eggs. We managed to buy some on the drive down from a driveway with a little honesty box outside, so they are super fresh. We stir them round til we get some perfect scrambled eggs. Then for the fun part – the assembly! We place cheese in the tortillas into and load them up with the scrumminess from the pan. Add a squirt of ketchup and wrap them up!

9am

I do love a smoothie with breakfast. I feel like I can get in lots of nutrients and it leaves me feeling revitalised and full of energy. We are lucky enough to have a blender in our van but it does use a lot of energy. There isn’t a hook up at this campsite, we need to be careful with our battery use as we want to use our oven later. Luckily we have a Xyliss too. This is our favourite van kitchen gadget. We use it to chop veg, make sauces, we have even used it for mashed potato before. It’s a definite game changer. We’re lucky it creates a lovely smoothie too! Here’s a link to our favourite one.

10am

After letting our breakfast go down we head out again. There are lots of walking routes round here with absolutely stunning views. It’s so amazing to see little bunnies dashing in and out of the bushes, the birds flitting about singing to each other. The British countryside has so much to offer.

Tiny home lunch

1pm

We’re back at the van in time for a brew and some lunch. While spending some time off-grid is amazing, it means we have to be mindful of the amount of power we are using and the water we use. Our van has a small water tank and so we have to fill it up quite regularly. We decide we will fill it up after we have eaten.

There are some wraps left from breakfast so we decide to make some tortilla pizzas. We have a tin of tomatoes which we are using for our dinner later. Mark opens it and takes what we need to make the sauce for our lunch, putting the rest aside for later.

The toppings today are some mozzarella and goats cheese. We fry some onions in a little brown sugar to go on the top. They won’t take long to cook in our oven, about 5 minutes each. This is just as well as the oven uses a fair bit of power. Being as we have been parked up since last night the batteries won’t have had a recharge. We cook our pizzas and sit down to enjoy them. Van pizzas are the best, so many different ways of making them! We usually make these with a flatbread but they work well with so many different types of bread.

https://www.vanlifeeats.com/recipes/simple-flat-bread-pizza/

As we finish eating we hear the all too familiar pitter patter sound of raindrops on the roof. Looking outside we see the heavens have decided to open – as is usually the case with British weather. The water will have to wait.

A cosy afternoon hankering down in the van is needed. We always come prepared with books and games, and we do have a tv we can watch. We decide to raid our games cupboard. Mark pulls out a game he clearly thinks I am destined to lose called ‘Bucket of doom’. Upon reading the instructions it becomes clear that you need at least 3 players for this game. It will have to wait for another adventure – what a shame!

Instead we decide on a game of bears vs babies. This game can sometimes lead to an intense debate as we are both adamant we won the first time we played this game. (Obviously I won, but Mark said it was a practice round). This time it is uneventful apart from Mark continuing his reign as current champion. The rain seems to have eased off and we contact the campsite owner to ask about water and he kindly tells us where we can fill up. We start up the van and travel across the campsite to fill up. We want to make sure we have enough to wash up later and brush our teeth. A thorough wash at the sink (with cold water!) is required later, as we have no shower. By topping up we know we will be able to remain squeaky clean.

4pm

When we get back to the pitch the rain still hasn’t made a reappearance so we decide to light a fire. We use our bbq to build it in. We are really cautious as the ground has been extremely dry prior to the rain. The last thing we want is to scorch the ground or cause a wildfire.

We get our camping chairs out and enjoy sitting around the fire and chatting. There’s something quite mesmerising about a fire and the time passes by quite quickly.

Dinner of a vanlifer
6.30pm

We decide we should start making some dinner. Mark’s cooking this evening, which means I can keep my feet up and read my book. He’s making a vegetable curry with butternut squash as the main ingredient. A butternut is hard enough to chop in a large fully equipped kitchen, let alone in a van kitchen so I take my hat off to him there. If we are going to have a lot of peelings we use them for vegetable stock, otherwise I take them home to put in my food waste bin.

7.30pm

The smells coming from the van are divine. We have the door open plus an extractor fan above our kitchen so there will be no curry smells on our bedding when we climb into bed later. We’ve got an article on our website with tips and tricks for keeping cooking smells out the camper, so we consider ourselves experts now 😉

That curry has to be one of the best I have ever eaten, we will definitely need to make it again.

https://www.vanlifeeats.com/recipes/masala-veggie-curry-with-spiced-pumpkin-seeds-and-mint-riata/
8.45pm

The fire has died down now, we are just waiting for nature to put on it’s very own light show and have an evening stargazing. I slip in and put the kettle on the stove and sort us out a cup of tea each. A cup of tea wouldn’t be the same without a biscuit or two! We wrap up in blankets and wait to see the stars.

10.30pm

As we head into the van to get ready for bed, we check the power and see we have enough to watch a bit of tv before dozing off in our super cosy tiny home!

Candle

Cooking in a tiny home can present some challenges, limited space, appliances, power and water just to name some. We love the challenge of cooking in a tiny kitchen and we feel it makes us more creative with our food. We have found some really cool gadgets to help make life easier and we really enjoy it. Be sure to add your favourite recipes to the site to inspire others.

Sophie x

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