Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Black Beans

Today I am going to share with you a couple of my favorite things....black bean flakes and instant black beans.  We LOVE these!!!  Especially for backpacking!  We took these with us when we hiked to Havasupai(you can read more about that here, here and here) and ate them everyday.  Black beans are SO healthy....you can read more about their health benefits here.
 
 
I love these because they are light for backpacking and SO easy to prepare!!  To prepare the flake, you simply add 1/3 cup boiling water to 1/3 cup of the bean flakes....stir and let sit for 5 minutes! 
 
For the instant beans you boil them in water until they are tender....the amount of water depends on how 'soupy' you enjoy your beans.  If you add too much water, you can boil them until the extra evaporates.
 
We love these for backpacking, but I also love to cook up the flakes at home.  I spread them on a tortilla(after preparing the beans), add cheese and make quesadillas.  My boys love them!!

 
We order ours online at Barry Farm Foods.  They have all kinds of other dried, dehydrated, etc. foods.  We have tried their beans and also some of their dried peppers.
Pin It!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Chocolate Coconut Bars

I found this recipe in a Lion House cookbook that my Mom gave me awhile ago.  I love coconut SO much!!  These bars are simple and delicious!! 
 
Chocolate Coconut Bars
Ingredients:
2 cups crushed graham crackers
1/2 cup margarine, melted...I used butter
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 cups flaked coconut.....I used sweetened, but I'm sure they would still be great with unsweetened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
 
Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.
 
Mix graham crackers, margarine or butter, and sugar together and press into prepared baking pan.  Bake for 7 minutes.  Sprinkle the coconut on top of the crust and then pour the condensed milk over the coconut.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips on top.  When the chips are soft, spread evenly over the coconut.  Allow the chocolate to set up and cut into pieces.  It can be refrigerated to help the chocolate set up.
Pin It!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Utah Summer Games

About a month ago we signed our oldest son up to compete in the Utah Summer Games.  It was such a fun time and a great opportunity for him to compete.  Jake competed in the 400M run, high jump, triple jump and long jump.  While he was there he met a couple of brothers, that he was competing against in the high jump, who invited him to join their 4x100 relay team.  Jake hasn't competed or actually even tried the 400M or the long jump since junior high school and has never competed in the triple jump of the relay. 
 
He had a great time and did awesome!!
 
It was HOT, but beautiful!!  
 
Jake, Hunter and Ryder hanging out in the shade....trying to stay cool
 
The first day, Friday....Jake was supposed to start high jump in the morning, then start triple jump an hour or two later and then run the 400.  Everything was running so far behind...except for the 400.  SO, he ended up running the 400, ran over to the triple jump did his first 2 jumps, ran over to the high jump and did that, then straight back to finish up at the triple jump.  It was crazy and he was exhausted.
Jake running prelims of the 400M.  He qualified for finals and took 5th overall.  He didn't like running that event very much :)  I tried to get a picture of him in the finals, but just as I was taking pictures a guy walked right in front of the camera.
 
Triple Jump

High Jump
 
He ended up first place GOLD in the high jump.  They gave medals to kids as they had time to come get them, so the medal stand rarely had all 3 places on the stand at the same time.
 
2nd place SILVER in the Triple Jump.
 
Jake with his cheer squad!!

Jake is totally taller than me now....bittersweet!
 
Day 2 went much more quickly than day one.  Jake had long jump, 400M finals and the 4x100 relay.
Long Jump
 
The first place GOLD 4x100M relay team...missing one member that had to go home before they could get their medal.
 
We had such a great time watching Jake compete and hope to get all of the boys signed up for next year.  The other boys didn't want to sign up to compete....until we got there, then they all wished they were running or jumping.
 
It was also really fun to see a few friends from my home town.
Pin It!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

My favorite summer dinner

I ♥ a good salad!!  I especially love salads in the summer!!  There is always so much delicious produce in the garden or on sale at the grocery store!!  I use whatever is in my refrigerator needing to be used up....I especially love strawberries, but they weren't on sale this week.
 
Summer Salad
 
Pictured above....sunflower seeds, pecans, feta cheese, cucumbers, diced peaches, blueberries, carrots, avocado.  We also love to add strawberries, craisens, mandarin oranges, bell peppers....really you could add anything you have sitting in your fridge.  Just add dressing(I prefer a squeeze of fresh lemon juice..some salt and pepper).  Serve with some grilled chicken, steak, or pork chops and there you go....a delicious, quick and healthy meal that won't heat up your house :)
 
What is your favorite go-to summer dinner?
Pin It!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Dresser Drawers turned Under-bed Storage

When I first started this blog....I meant for it to be a place for my sister and I to 'dish' about our favorite things, projects, recipes and other miscellaneous things :) ....somewhere along the way it turned into mostly a food blog, so I started a separate blog for projects.  Now I have decided to combine the two and share some of my projects from the other blog here.

This is a project that I shared on the other blog in September of 2009 and is still one of my favorite projects :)......ENJOY :)

We have been in need of a dresser for awhile now! We had an old one that was falling apart. Part of the drawers wouldn't come out and part would not go in. Since we can't afford a new dresser now and I haven't been having much luck finding one at a yard sale....I decided to re-purpose the one that we had. I pulled out the four drawers and went to work on two of them(I am going to do something a little different with the other two for another room).




Before
I started out by going to a local hardware store and purchasing some inexpensive trim and some new knobs. I already had one knob and needed to find three more to match. I used my husband's miter-saw(my first time) and cut 45 degree angles on the trim so that I could form a 'box' around the knobs. I'll tell ya....the miter-saw really scared me at first, but once I got started...it was not too bad! To measure the pieces, I cut my first long side and first short side and then just put those up to the molding and drew a pencil line to measure the next pieces.

Next, I just used some wood glue and glued the molding into place. I'm NOT much of a perfectionist, so don't look too close! If my husband was doing this project, he would have the trim cut PERFECT and glued Perfectly centered on the drawer.
Drawer with molding glued
 
Then...I sprayed the drawers with some primer and went to town painting them. Lastly....I added the knobs. I thought about adding casters, but it would have cost me about $4-6 more per drawer...so for now they are caster-less. They seem to slide in and out pretty easily though. I will add felt pads to the bottom, if they are ever used on the wood floor. Like I said..I'm NOT a perfectionist...at all!!....BUT I LOVE the end result! So much better than the blue drawers in the dresser and now we have more floor space.
Finished drawers under bunk beds.
 
Update:  Here is a picture of one of the other two drawers....I ended up adding trim and use them for storage in another room.
 
Sorry about the picture quality...This drawer is in my bedroom and I love it!!  I use it to store all of my charging cords....books and magazines that I am reading and other misc...stuff :)
 
Pin It!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Biscuits

Mmmm....homemade biscuits!!  Love ♥♥♥  These biscuits are seriously THE BEST!!  My family devoured them.  This is a recipe from Paula Deen.  I found the recipe here.  I love most Paula Deen and this one may be my favorite!

 
Mostly because.....I love anything and everything that is cooked in a skillet :)  Is it just me...or doesn't everything look better in a skillet?

Biscuits
Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, cubed
3/4 cup milk, (more or less if needed)

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 425°F.  In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, I like to whisk my dry ingredients together. Cut butter into mixture.  Slowly add and mix in milk.  Knead dough with your fingers and add more milk if necessary. Roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to desired thickness. Cut with small biscuit cutter, I use a drinking glass to cut my biscuits....since I don't have a biscuit cutter.  Butter bottom of skillet and place biscuits in pan. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.
Pin It!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Havasupai - Day 3

Ryan and I got the hammocks last night and the boys got the ground :)  I slept SO great in the hammock!! .....even though we saw a mouse running around in the tree above us right before we laid down to go to sleep.  I just covered myself with my sheet and pretended it wasn't even there. 

While we were in  Havasupai it was very warm at night.  I am thankful to our friends who suggested taking sheets to sleep with instead of sleeping bags.  The last night Ryan didn't even use his sheet it was so warm.  That saved us some weight in our backpacks for more important things like more peach cobbler ingredients :)

We set our alarm for 2 am AGAIN...!!  By the time we got our bedding and a few other odds and ends packed up...and stopped for a drink at the spring, we ended up leaving the campgrounds at ~3:30am. 

Hunter set us a goal to make it to the trailhead by 8:30 am.  We thought that was a pretty achievable goal...we only needed to hike 2 miles per hour....SO we set out.

We hiked the two miles into the village and stopped at the last point to get water.  We refilled a couple of water bottles(our water bladders in our packs were still full) and Ryan filled an extra bladder to add to his pack in case we needed it.  Then we set out again.....still in the dark.

The hike out was great!!   

Jake and Hunter taking a break on the trail.

On the trail with a mouthful of granola bar and my 'rapper' hand going on.
 
One day at camp Ryan asked Jake to take a picture of the two of us.  Jake kept taking picture after picture for awhile(seriously probably 15-20 pictures).  SO after awhile I told him to stop and put the camera down.  I was moving my hand as I was telling him this and he was still taking pictures.  When we were looking the pictures later he kept going back and forth between two and told me I looked like a rapper with my hand movements.  So when Ryan was taking a picture of me on the trail, he told me to show him my rapper hands....haha.
 
AND....my SPF 70 sunscreen worked so well....I might be even more pale after this trip than before!!  Also, once I changed into my swimsuit and running clothes when we got to camp....I pretty much didn't change again until we to back to the trailhead. 

Me and Ryan.  I brushed my hair on Saturday and not again until we got home Tuesday afternoon....can you tell?  I don't think Ryan brushed his hair the entire trip either.
 
AND.....we made it!!  Check out all of those bags we packed out!!  haha...just kidding.  Those are peoples packs waiting to be packed down by the mules.
 
We ended up making it out just before 7:30am....so we crushed our goal of 8:30 by an hour!!  Since we started hiking out so early in the morning, we were in the shade the entire time.  We also had a nice little breeze most of the time.  I wish I would have taken a picture of the switchbacks on the way up.  They looked quite intimidating, but they were not bad at all!! 
 
I had so many favorite things about this trip!!  Everything was SO beautiful, but my favorite thing was who I got to share the experience with.  Also....probably my favorite thing was just listening to our boys talking and enjoying each others company!!  They talked to each other and to us SO much.  In fact the last night, while they were sleeping on the ground they were talking, making up stories and laughing so much....Ryan finally had to tell them to be quiet and go to sleep.  During the hike in and out they talked, laughed, made up songs....it really was SO great!!
 
The boys did SO great on the hike they both carried in their own packs...packed full!!  In fact, Jake wanted more weight(for some additional strength training :)), so he carried my pack on the front of him of a couple miles on the hike in.  Ryan's pack was pretty heavy on the way out with all of the extra water he packed out(at least 1 gallon, maybe 2) just in case we would need it.  We didn't end up needing the extra water....thanks to the shade and the breeze.  At least he only had to carry the extra weight 8 miles and not 10, since we waited until we got to the village to fill up the extra water.
 
This was an AMAZING trip and I can't wait to do it again and bring our other boys with us.
 
Click to read....Day One and Day Two
 
A little gear info.  My husband has the BEST backpacking gear!!  He loves to backpack and buys good gear....so that he can enjoy it even more :) 
 
**These are the hammocks we bought and loved!!  They had others that were cheaper, but heavier.  When you are packing all of your supplies in, every ounce counts :)  We LOVE REI.  They are expensive, but we have found everything that we buy there to be great quality and their customer service is AWESOME!!  They don't pay me to say that.  REI has no idea who I am, even though we spend too much money there every year :)    When we got to our campsite at Havasupai, we found a tiny hole in one of the hammocks that we bought.  We used it for the two nights we were there because we needed to.  We stopped at REI in Flagstaff on our way home to see if we could exchange it.  They said of course.  No questions!  We told them that we used it the two nights we were down there and she said that was fine and exchanged it for a new one.
 
Two of our favorite backpacking meals are:  Mountain House Breakfast Skillet with tortillas and Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy

Pin It!