If the tiara fits…

Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.  ~Hans Christian Andersen

Once upon a time in a land called Suburbia, there lived Queen Emily and King Timothy, a couple of 40-something royals who had grown tired of living in their oversized brick castle.

The royal couple, circa 1996

Their sons, Prince Alden and Prince Dane, had already departed to seek fortune in foreign lands, leaving behind empty bed chambers and a dust-filled game room. The long table in the dining hall, once the scene of ample family feasts, had become a surface used solely for folding linens.

One day, upon recalling a fun-filled family excursion many years past, Queen Emily proposed selling the castle and moving into a modern-day coach-and-four instead — the kind a couple could live in comfortably while making epic journeys throughout the kingdom.

The royal couple in 2006

Not wanting to disappoint his queen (who is wont to become royally feisty when not obeyed), King Timothy quickly procured both chariot and horse team, in the form of a 2008 Heartland Bighorn 5th wheel, and a 2012 Chevy Silverado 3500.

But woe befell the king and queen, as they soon realized that an evil witch must have cast a spell on their 6-year-old coach, turning it into a toad. Among other issues, the royal front welding failed, the royal landing gear met an untimely fate, one of the royal tires came undone during travel, and the royal commode developed leaks.

“Forsooth!” spat King Timothy, upon each occurrence. “What fresh Hell is this?”

(image created at myplates.com)

Valiantly ignoring his desire to park the chariot conveniently in front of a fire breathing dragon, the king instead turned to this Forum of Benevolent Wizards, whose sage advice and helpful spells enabled him to wave multiple magic wands (and swipe multiple magic credit cards) to remove the toad’s warts.

Queen Emily was most pleased.

King Timothy got to keep his head attached to his shoulders, so he too was most pleased.

They continue to travel throughout the kingdom, living their Happily Ever After.

The royal couple in 2016
(Photo credit: Lisa Brown, Always on Liberty)

(Author’s note:  a version of this post appears at Heartland RVs. It is printed here with permission.)

From My RV Kitchen: Challah Bread

We all make choices on how to outfit our RV kitchens, based on our own family’s cooking habits and preferences. For example, my husband and I are not “grill people” or “panini people,” so we don’t carry a portable grill or a sandwich press, but we know other RVers who couldn’t live without either one.

We do, however, prefer homemade bread to store bought, so my trusty old bread machine was one of the appliances that made the cut when we downsized from a suburban household kitchen to a 5th wheel’s galley.

My dinosaur of a bread machine was a wedding gift in 1992, which means we celebrate 25 years of breaded bliss this year.
Thanks, Marcia L., for pressuring me to keep it in the RV!

I use the dough setting only, which mixes all my ingredients and gets them through the first rising, and then I remove the dough and shape it as I please — into a standard loaf, rolls, or maybe even a braid or holiday-appropriate character if I’m feeling particularly crafty — before giving it a final rise and then baking it in either my gas or convection oven.

Tasty any way you shape it! The crab — which I think was my most adorable bread creation ever — was for a friend’s 50th birthday crab boil.

This is my family’s all-time-favorite, make-it-every-holiday, and-don’t-show-up-at-a-potluck-without-it recipe for challah (Jewish egg bread, a nod to my heritage). I printed it from a web site back in 1998, and was delighted to find that it’s still there. Thank you, Dick & Alma Hanson! We just call it “The Bread.”

Braided Challah

3/4 cup warm water

1 egg

4 TBSP sugar

1 1/4 tsp salt

3 TBSP butter, cut into small chunks

3 cups bread flour

2 1/2 tsp yeast

Put all ingredients in the machine, in order recommended by manufacturer. Set to dough cycle.

When done, remove to floured surface and divide into 3 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a long rope (14”-16″) and braid them together on a greased cookie sheet, tucking the ends under. Alternatives: dinner rolls, any shape you see pictured here, or one from your own imagination. The following directions remain the same, regardless.

Cover dough with a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft free location for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

After dough is done rising, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove tea towel and brush dough lightly with mixture of:

1 egg yolk

1 TBSP water

Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds if desired.

Bake uncovered for 12-15 minutes, to desired brownness. Cover lightly with sheet of foil and continue baking for another 8-10 minutes. It should not take more than 25.

Best eaten the day it’s made. If there’s still some the next day, it makes great French toast or bread pudding.

(Author’s note:  a version of this post appears at Heartland RVs. It is printed here with permission.)