Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Recipe for Black Beans

I decided to introduce another element into this blog besides travel and!  I have been a vegetarian for 17 years and consider myself a pretty healthful eater.  And I like to refute the statement that vegetarians don't get enough protein as often as possible, protein is not a problem for us, I promise. Over the past 5 years or so I have started cooking a lot more and exploring the flavors I like.  I like to attempt a new recipe every week and have yet another pinboard of recipes to try here. Much to my surprise people seem to enjoy my cooking (though I do think husband-face tires of tofu). So I think I will share some favorites on this blog every once in awhile.

This first recipe I'm posting is a variation of something my parents have made since I was a little kid.  Before I came vegetarian their version contained ground beef.  Over the years years I have altered it into my own version.  I make it at least once a week for myself and my sister has me make her big batches that she freezes.  Iron is one nutrient I do have trouble with as a vegetarian and one serving of this dish gives me 85% of what I need in the day.  Today it is a hit whenever I make it for friends. I made enchiladas with it one night and my friend Kendall said, "This tastes like it should be bad for you but it's healthy."  The added bonuses are that it is also vegan and a very inexpensive dish to make.

I should state that I like spicy food and most of my recipes are going to be somewhat spicy (though not taste bud burners). And one more disclaimer, food photography is not my strong suit so I apologize for the sub-par photos.

This recipe makes a lot, this will usually last my husband and I about 4 meals.  I usually either make a quesadilla with them or serve them over couscous.

-4 cans black beans, drained & rinsed (rinsing canned black beans gets rid of the excess sodium that is in them)
-4 cups water
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-2 cubes vegetable bullion (I use Knorr)
-1/2 red onion, finely chopped and sauteed (or more if you want)
-2 jalapeños, finely chopped
-1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
-2 cups frozen corn
-2 T chili powder
-1 tsp cumin
-1/2 tsp cayenne
-1/4 tsp thyme

-In a large pot combine the black beans, water, garlic, vegetable bullion, chili powder, cumin, cayenne & thyme.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to medium heat. Stir every few minutes to keep things mixing.

-Saute the onions in a little bit of oil until their cooked down and start to brown, then throw them in the boiling pot. Add the jalapeños and bell pepper to the pot as well.

chopped bell pepper & jalapeños

-Boil for about another 15-20 minutes, stirring every few minutes.  When it's started to cook down and looks like it's about 5 minutes from done (this all depends on how much liquid you want in them, I don't like a lot) add the corn. When they get to the consistency you like serve over rice, make enchiladas or a quesadilla or invent your own dish with them.

5 minutes from done

A yummy, healthy and filling black bean quesadilla (501 calories with a whole wheat tortilla)

Here's your nutrition info, 1 serving is about one cup. Also note that the sodium content is less then this as the black beans are rinsed, there was no way for me to calculate that.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Carlsbad Camping-Scrapped

For Valentines Day husband-face and I got a campsite at the campground near our house, Carlsbad Campgrounds.  As much as I love the beach I have to say that camping at coastal Southern California campgrounds pretty much sucks.  It's loud (the 101 is right behind you, as well as the train tracks) and expensive ($50/night for one of the oceanfront sites). To top that off all the sites are squished next to your neighbors so you have no privacy.  When you get up north it's a bit more serene.  Only shot a couple of photos from that day, here are my faves.

Little Sailboat-My Mind Eye Be Amazing

Camp on the Coast-American Crafts Campy Trails

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dirty 30

This past winter saw the 30th birthdays of two of my dear friends, Kendall & Hillary.  Two different shindigs: bowling and a cocktail party. Here are a couple of layouts from them:

Enjoy Life-Crate Paper Random

Lets Go Bowling-Bo Bunny Ad Lib

Used this sketch:
Dirty 30-Pink Paislee Daily Junque

Page Maps sketch:
My Besties-Basic Grey Little Black Dress

Birthday Girl-Amy Tan Sketchbook

Monday, May 21, 2012

Basic Grey Weekly Challenge-May 18, 2012

This weeks challenge from Basic Grey was to create a multi-photo layout.  I used to do multi-photo layouts a lot when I started scrapbooking in an attempt to fit as many photos as I could on one page. As I progressed I switched to doing mostly one photo to highlight and keep it simpler.  However I recently got a great photo printer so I can photoshop and size down photos to make them smaller.  I have found that this makes a world of a difference when it comes to multi photo layouts.  When I was printing my photos at CVS and all my photos were 4x6 (or cropped from that) and it was very difficult to have more than 1-2 photos in a layout and have it look good.  Now with this printer I have the ease of manipulating my photos into any size, best Christmas gift ever, thanks Mom & Dad!

Here is my layout for the challenge.  My little niece is just learning to talk and one of her words is "bubbles."  There's a bubble machine on their back porch that churns out hundreds of bubbles at a time and she loves to chase them.

Bubbles!-Basic Grey Olivia

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Axe Throwing? Sure, why not

Last weekend husband-face and I took a trip up to our favorite local(ish) camp spot, Observatory Campground on Palomar Mountain.  For $15/night you get a great spot in the forest. At night the stars are amazing and there are plenty of spots to hike around during the day.  We went up with 3 other couples and, as often happens with our group of friends, hijinx ensued.  About 3 beers in husband-face decided he wanted to throw axes at trees, lumberjack style.  It was a boy thing for about half an hour and then the girls joined in.  These photos are going to make for some excellent scrap pages...

A successful throw

Girls getting in on the axe throwing action

Not really sure what's going on here

Husband face, throwing not one but two axes, such a babe

Monday, May 14, 2012


Like most people with an iPhone (and now Android) Instagram is my favorite app.  Most photography purists I've talked to ind the app dumb, but I love being able to capture cool moments in my life, add a filter and upload quickly. It's also really nice (for scrapbooking) to be able to look back at your Instagram library and know exactly what date something happened  My uploads consist of mainly my cat, food, my nieces and nephew or the beach.  These are a couple of my favorite Insta photos that I scrapped.

Used this sketch from Got Sketch for my Insta-Food layout
Insta-Food: Crate Paper Farmhouse

Sunday Funday: My Minds Eye On The Bright Side

Fly High: Basic Grey Plumeria

My Boys: Echo Park For the Record (scraplifted from the BG blog)

Get it Miss B!: Basic Grey Max & Whiskers

Aaand if you are interested I found a really good Instagram cheat sheet here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Montezuma Waterfall

I think the Montezuma Waterfall hike was our favorite outing of our trip. The main waterfall in Montezuma is easy to get to, very scenic and an overall great experience. It's only about a 10 minute hike in from the road and extremely easy, there's great information about all the Montezuma waterfalls here. When we got to the main falls we found it too full of people, a little more crowded than we like things. So, despite my fear of heights (or rather fear of falling from heights) and how shaky I can get we decided to venture up to the 2 waterfalls above. The path to get there is steep and it isn't very clearly marked. If you're looking at the waterfall it's to the right and behind you. You have to climb up a steep hill where you come to a path that goes along a ridge line. Then you have to climb down the hill to get to the 2nd and 3rd waterfalls. There are ropes and roots to help you get down but I would highly recommend wearing sneakers, it would have been difficult to do in flip flops. The very best thing about the climb was our companion.  There was this amazing dog with one paralyzed leg that led us to the top falls.  He couldn't make the climb down but he stayed up above and watched us for half an hour before going back to help other people make the trip.

The third waterfall has a small jump into a 20 foot deep pool, nice easy one for me. The jump off the second waterfall is about a 45 foot drop. Both husband face and my brother did that one and Scott ended up with dual bruised ass cheeks (he would not allow me to take photos, probably because he knew I would post them somewhere). They tried to convince me to make the jump but I did not cave to peer pressure. However I am regretting that a bit now. I definitely would have lost my bikini but it might have been worth it.

The hike along the river up to Montezuma Falls

The main falls

Climbing up

Our fearless leader

The third falls

Jump off the third falls

Our fearless leader watching over us

Husband-face, contemplating the jump off the 2nd falls

The second falls, 45 foot jump

Managed to get a series of Scott jumping, click to enlarge

Montezuma Beach

My biggest regret of the trip is actually that we didn't do more of the waterfalls.  Montezuma is a really cool little town and I think when we go back to Costa Rica we would stay there for a couple days and get more of what that area has to offer.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Basic Grey NSD Challenge-Sketch

The second Basic Grey National Scrapbook Day challenge I decided to take part in (going to try to do all of them, we'll see how that works out) was the sketch one. The sketch was created by Valerie Salmon of Got Sketch who I am a big fan of.  This page is of my Dad's birthday using the Life of the Party collection.

My version:

The sketch:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Basic Grey Challenge-Vintage

May 5 with National Scrapbooking Day.  It was also Cinco de Mayo so my priority was obviously drinking Corona while laying by a pool.  Basic Grey put up a TON of challenges on their blog and thankfully gave people through May 11 to complete them.  One of my favorite challenges was to use a vintage collection in a layout. Basic Grey has long been my favorite brand and the first scrapbooking paper I bought was from them.  Since then I have purchased almost every collection they come out with. Needless to say I have a large cabinet full of older Basic Grey product. I decided to use Urban Prairie for this challenge and a series of photos of my niece.  She took my iPhone when I wasn't looking and took a bunch of pictures of herself making funny faces.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Felt Pinwheel Tutorial

I re-pinned the cutest felt pinwheels on Pinterest the other day, they were cake toppers that you could buy for too much money and I figured I could re-create them.  Then yesterday I sat down to scrap a page of husband-face, chowing down at our local street fair and I thought pinwheels would be perfect on that layout.  So I set out to recreate them.  I used this simple pinwheel tutorial and applied it to felt.

First I cut different size squares out of sheets of felt (super cheap at your local craft store)

Next I cut in from the corners to the center and but let a little bit of space in the middle for gluing.

Next I folded the corners into the center of the square.  I first tried adhering them using glue dots but that didn't work on the felt so I moved onto my glue gun.  While it was kind of messy and stringy with the felt it ended up working well. I apologize for the blurry photos, trying to take them while gluing was a bit challenging.

Once the glue set I did the centers.  I used my Epiphany Crafts round tool for one of the centers and buttons for the other.  The only thing I found is that it was too difficult to sew the button on through the dried glue so I just threaded the button and glued it on. Voila, quick and easy felt pinwheels.

And here is the finished page with them used. It all came together with the My Minds Eye Kraft Funday collection.