Here’s an easy vegetarian dish bursting with exotic flavors, but without a long list of difficult-to-find ingredients.
Back in the day when my mom was the one doing the family’s cooking, it may have taken some persistent shopping to find things like curry powder, coconut milk, basmati rice, and fresh cilantro, but now it’s common to see more than one brand or variety of each on the shelves of even small-town grocery stores.
The best part is that this meal is prepared in a slow cooker, so it can simmer while you’re out exploring your latest camping destination.
I like to serve this dish with a garden salad and fresh fruit slices on the side.
Chickpeas in Curried Coconut Broth
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 stalks celery, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (19-ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeño pepper
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups hot cooked basmati rice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, celery, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender.
Place onion mixture, chickpeas, and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a 3 1/2-quart electric slow cooker; stir well. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
Serve over rice, and sprinkle each serving with cilantro.
Author’s note: A version of this post appears at Heartland RVs. It is printed here with permission.
You may recall that I had less than charitable things to say about our visit to Yosemite last July. The park is spectacular; it’s our timing that was all wrong.
But with summer travel planning season upon us, I thought it might be a good idea to offer up some information that campers might find a little more helpful than my pissy rant of 2016. So here ya go:
If you’ve got your RV pointed toward California this summer for a swing through Yosemite National Park, be aware of three things:
You’ll never forget the scenery,
Unless you’re a photography genius, you won’t be able to capture all that majesty in pixels, and
It’s gonna be crowded — really, really distressingly and disproportionately crowded, to DisneyWorld-esque levels. 1200 square miles is not big enough for all the people, because every single one of them spent significant time, effort, and money to spend part of their summer vacation there, and they are going to have their Experience of a Lifetime, visiting the same top 5 park attractions as you are.
For information on RV camping at Yosemite, click on Visiting Yosemite With an RV, but be aware that even the folks in charge recommend staying outside the park, and shuttling in using public transportation.
From the NPS web site, “Since parking for RVs and trailers is limited in Yosemite, we strongly encourage you to park your RV outside Yosemite and use YARTS to travel into the park if you’re not staying the night in Yosemite.”
If you do want to try to stay in the park, first make sure your RV will fit, and that you can survive without hookups for the duration of your visit. There aren’t any. However, dump stations with fresh water are available at 3 of the 10 RV-accessible campgrounds, and generator use is allowed, but only at posted hours.
When we visited Yosemite last year, we set up The Toad in a private RV park in Lee Vining, CA, which is about 12 miles east of the westernmost entrance at Tioga Pass, and a nearly 2-hour drive to the main visitor’s center in Yosemite Valley. (Be aware that Tioga Pass/Hwy 120 closes from October-May due to snow, so using Lee Vining as your home base is not always a good option.)
We had to visit in the summer because my husband and our younger son were hiking the John Muir Trail, and that’s something you want to accomplish when there’s little or no snow. And if you’re hiking the whole 211-mile thing, like my husband did, you have to go through Yosemite.
But now that we know what the Yosemite crowds are like in the summertime, we will never do that again. Our schedule is no longer bound by school calendars, and we will use that to our advantage by visiting the more popular national parks at off-peak times in the spring and fall.
How bad was it? Imagine crowds of tourists from all over the planet, hollering to each other in umpteen different languages, trying to enjoy the exact same spot you are, stopping to consult their maps right in your path, posing for selfies in front of everything, dealing with children who have obviously just had it, and/or driving slowly with one arm out the window to shoot video that nobody will ever want to view.
By about 2:00 p.m., I was eyeballing the bear lockers in the parking lot. You’re supposed to put your food items in there, rather than leaving them in your car for bears to tear apart while you’re off exploring. But by mid-afternoon, I was ready to take all the food out, and put half the tourists in.
That said, I found the park to be most enjoyable in the early morning hours. If you can get in and get some sight-seeing and hiking done before what seems to be the Witching Hour of 10:00 a.m., you’ll have a lot more space and breathing room to take in and truly appreciate some of the most eye-popping scenery in the country.
And hey, if you’ve only got one day to spend in the park, try this itinerary from Oh, Ranger!, one of my favorite resources. Be warned: everyone with one day to spend is going to be trying to see the same list of attractions as you are.
There will be crowds.
You will need patience.
Author’s note: Portions of this article appeared previously at OwnLessDoMore, and a version of this post is published at Heartland RVs. It is printed here with permission.