Mt. Redoubt

27 03 2009

A volcano erupting, wow!

webcam image

picture from the Alaska Volcano Observatory webcam



Can’t really think of anything else to say. Not sure how I’d react to an “Ashfall Advisoryin my neighborhood! 

What I think is especially interesting is that you can follow the latest seismic activity at Redoubt on Twitter. Ah, the uses of modern technology!

Un-stuffed Peppers

24 03 2009

I’ve recently rediscovered how much I like stuffed peppers  but they’re too much work to eat regularly. When I found this recipe for stuffed peppers in the crock pot, I was skeptical, especially since it doesn’t require whole peppers.
Nevertheless, I gave it a try and it turned out very tasty. Sure, it’s not as pretty as regular stuffed peppers (the picture is before it’s cooked). Still, I’ll trade the simplicity of the dish in for the lack of visual appeal!

I did change a few things from the original recipe:

    --Used 2 red, one green bell pepper.
    --Reduced the amount of meat by at least 1/3
    --Didn't have enough tomato sauce, so I cut back the rice
    --Forgot to add the cheese. Didn't miss it!

Time saver tip: I chopped the peppers earlier in the week and used some of them in another meal. I put the ones for this recipe in the freezer until needed. Just be sure they’re defrosted before adding to the slow cooker. Next time I might even try using a bag of frozen chopped peppers from Trader Joe’s.

For lots more slowcooker recipes, visit the “WHAT’S IN YOUR CROCKPOT?” party at Smockity Frocks. Yum, yum!

Menu Planning Monday- AK (Mar 23)

23 03 2009


 This week hubby is going to be out of town, so dinners are going to be really simple.  I made up a plan to put a few meals in the freezer again too, since our stock was depleted except for salmon meals.  I’m going to pull a lot of moose burger out of the freezer, make a few meatloaves, meatballs (which were great the last time I made them- so easy to defrost a few for a quick lunch or snack).  And then cook a bunch up (with onions and garlic) for lasagna, stroganoff, taco meat and plain ground beef.  The plain ground beef will be good to have pre-cooked to add to pizza, spaghetti, etc. Here are a few links to some freezer meal plans… (be sure to check out the links page here)

I’m also going to try out pinto bean muffins.  Sounds gross, but so does zucchini bread (and I know that tastes good!).  A good way to sneak in veggies and protein!  See my post here for more links and ideas on using pinto beans. 

Monday– pasta with meat sauce, green beans (pasta- I’ll use up the leftover bits of pasta in the pantry- ones that won’t make a whole meal by themselves)

Tuesday– ham and lentil soup (funny tidbit- I found this web page after I cooked mine the same way!)

Wednesday– breakfast for dinner- eggs and pancakes

Thursday– leftovers

Friday– salmon alfredo (from the freezer)

Saturday– rolled steak with spinach, baked potatoes (recipe for steak from Cooking Light cookbook)

Sunday– grouse, rice, grilled peppers (grouse from the freezer)

Be sure to check out I’m an Org Junkie every week for hundreds of meal plans.

Have a great week!


What to do with 25# of pinto beans

20 03 2009

I have been running into facts about the benefits of beans a lot lately so I decided to pick up a big bag of pinto beans at the discount store the other day. Mind you, I didn’t have a clue of what I was going to do with them. I only knew that it was a good deal price-wise (25# for less than $15) and that they will last a long time so I don’t have to use them right away.

I decided to do a little research and come up with a variety of ways to use these beans. This will hopefully help us avoid getting sick of them after the first 3 pounds! Some of the recipes call for beans other than pinto beans, but I’m going to substitute since that’s what I have. I’m sure it will work the opposite way if you happen to have some other type of bean on hand…

In my reading I came across a number of interesting things I didn’t know about beans. For example, I didn’t realize they actually count as a vegetable. I guess I always assumed they counted as a meat. Also, you can add them to desserts to make a healthier treat (kind of like substituting applesauce for oil).

I am looking forward to trying some new recipes! This list is mostly just for ideas so I didn’t include links for any recipes. I’ll post specific links when I make them (if they turn out well!).  A majority of recipes for the items on this list can be found on the following sites:
US Dry Bean Council (USDBC)
Ontario Beans: The Bean Blog (OB)
Robbyn’s Friendly Freezer (RFF)

Appetizers, Side Dishes, Breakfasts:
Bean and Spinach Pizza
Baja Quesadillas (USDBC)
Spicy Breakfast Burrito
Refried Beans
Bean salad
Soup (ie minestrone)

Main Dishes:
White Bean and Chicken Chili (OB)
Chicken Chili Verde (RFF)
Beef and Bean Burritos
Chicken and Bean Baked Tortillas (OB)
Beans and Rice
Southwest Steak and Pinto Beans (USDBC)
Vegetable Stew with Parmesan Biscuits (OB)
Southwest Lasagna (USDBC)
South of the Border Bean Bake(RFF)

Snackin’ Bean Cake (OB)
Fudge (RFF)
Pinto Bean Muffins (OB and RFF)

Crafts and Other:
Maracas or tamborines (put some in between two paper plates stapled together- let kids decorate the paper plates)
Gluing beans to make pictures, shapes, letters (names or the “letter of the day/week”)
Counting/math games
Give some to a friend

Here are a few other sites to visit for more recipes using dried beans:,1-0,pinto_beans,FF.html,2615,0,Pinto-Beans-Recipes.html

Please let me know if you have any other ideas for me!  I’ll update this list if I discover anything new.  In the meantime, better get cooking!!


Holy Baby! DVD Giveaway

18 03 2009

Modern Catholic Mom has a great giveaway currently running- three chances to win a Holy Baby DVD. I’ve seen these before (probably from the last giveaway) and think it’s would be a great DVD to get for my boys.

Check out these DVDs at The Rosary Project site and visit Modern Catholic Mom to leave a comment for a chance to win…


Meal Plan Monday- AK (Mar 16)

16 03 2009


 Happy St Patty’s Day!!!  One of my favorite holidays!  I do have a little Irish in me.  And I married an Irishman (red hair and all!) so we will definitely be celebrating this week.  I talked to Colleen and be both agreed that cooking the corned beef in the crockpot was the best way for both of us this year (sorry mom- I’ll try the pressure cooker next year).

It looks like this Thursday will be a great leftover day.  Last week we ended up making a homemade pizza since we didn’t have much left after making use of the steak for fajitas and devouring the chicken I cooked Wed.  I didn’t realize how easy it was to make my own pizza dough.  I forsee a lot more homemade pizzas now!

So, without further ado here is my plan for the week :

Monday– beans and rice or something of that nature- the black bean soup I tried to make yesterday wasn’t ready for dinner. I accidentally left it in the crockpot on high all night but it tastes OK so I am going to try to make something out of that.
Tuesday– corned beef (of course), cabbage, potatoes, irish soda bread
Wednesday– salmon enchiladas using a variation of this recipe
Thursday– leftovers
Fridaycrab flake toss, garlic bread
Saturday– meat ball sandwiches
Sunday– bbq meatloaf in schlemmertopf (I’m giving one more try before I totally write it off in favor of just using my crockpot)

Stop by later this week for a post on ways to use up 25# of pinto beans.  I promise I will get that up soon.  It’s mostly written!!  (And the check is in the mail!)

And as always, check out I’m an Org Junkie every week for hundreds of meal plans!

Have a great week!


A bit of bitty braille

12 03 2009

Back in October, I won a bitty braille t-shirt for Bean. Not only do I think it’s a neat shirt, but the idea behind it is very cool too. From the bitty braille website:

The concept is to introduce Braille to the young in addition to offering a unique, hip and trendy collection of tees. They are custom handcrafted by the owner/designer in her central NY home studio on 100% cotton American Apparel tees.


Julie is the talented wahm behind bitty braille. It looks like she is moving to Etsy…so go check her cool items out there too. (Hint: add the shop to your Etsy favorites so you can find it later!)

Wearing baby

10 03 2009

I am so excited that Jennifer made me a beautiful ring sling to carry the little one around in! He is just a peanut, but my arms are getting tired. (Hopefully my muscles are getting bigger too!) There are also so many benefits to baby wearing.
I love my new sling, but I have to admit I saw this other baby carrier today that made me drool: the ERGObaby. It would be lovely to have as the babe grows bigger. As the name implies, it is ergonomically correct and can be worn in the front, on the hip, or on the back. Cool! I think this Hawaiian print is a lot of fun too!

As part of Wear Your Baby Week, you can enter to win an ERGObaby at the GiveThemRoots blog. The contest link is here.

Menu Plan Monday- AK (Mar 9)

9 03 2009





 Welcome to spring!  It’s March, we’ve sprung our clocks, it stays light until almost 8… but it’s been snowing all day so it’s not all the ways spring yet.  Soon, my friends, soon.  At least I can start buying seeds and plan out my garden!  I am debating about what to plant.  I know tomatoes are extremely hard to grow here without a greenhouse, but my deck gets really warm on sunny days and I found a website that sells Siberian tomatoes.  If they can grow tomatoes in Siberia I have a chance!!  

I’m blaming the time change for why I’m so tired, but in reality it’s a late night Saturday (we went to the Aces hockey game) and the fact that I’ve been taking Sudafed so I’m not so stuffed up at night – I never sleep well when I’ve taken that stuff.  Thankfully I planned most of my menu last week.  We didn’t eat Mimi’s chicken on Sunday.  And since the chicken is still in the freezer I’m going to make it Wednesday.   Of  course, the steak is still in the freezer too… hmm… gotta go pull stuff out!

Mondaymarinated flank steak, corn on the cob, salad
Tuesday– fajitas with leftover steak, grilled peppers and onions, homemade tortillas (I leave out the baking powder, they seem better to me without)
Wednesday– Mimi’s sticky chicken
Thursday– leftovers and/or pizza
Friday– friend’s birthday party
Saturday– hot dogs, baked beans, au gratin potatoes
Sundayblack bean soup (I made a very easy black bean soup a while back, but I don’t have any cans of beans, only dried beans, so I thought I’d try a new recipe. It doesn’t sound too hard either.)

Speaking of dried beans, I bought a HUGE bag of pinto beans at the discount center yesterday.  So watch in the upcoming weeks for recipes using those!!

For more meal planning ideas please visit I’m an Org Junkie… there are hundreds of meal plans and great ideas! Laura’s menu sounds especially yummy this week!

Have a great day!


Maternity Leave

9 03 2009

I’ve taken a break from just about everything to recover from enjoy the birth of our son. And good thing too…the continuous lack of sleep has made me very crazy and not always a happy person. I’m hoping that will turn around soon! I was shocked when I realized a month has already flown by. We must have been in a time warp too. So now it’s time to gradually get back to the big world; back to work, blogging, and stuff. Well, maybe I’ll leave out a lot of the stuff…we seem to be doing just fine without it. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!