Thursday, May 31, 2012

Badlands National Park

Last fall we took a massive road trip from Utah to Minnesota. Happily, there are a ton of things to do and see along the way. Badlands National Park was on our list of MUST SEES for that trip, and it didn't disappoint.


When we were there the weather wasn't fantastic (read as: REALLY REALLY COLD AND DREARY), so we mainly drove through and stopped at the interest points along the way to take pictures. According to the park website, there are several hiking trails and I think if the weather had been better it would've been lovely to do a couple of those.


The scenery was amazing and I thought it was really interesting to see all of the exposed layers in all of their different colors. A bit like a history map through the ages.



We learned a few interesting tidbits from reading the info-boards along the way. The grasslands used to look black, covered with enormous herds of buffalo. These days, the black patches you see in the grasslands are the results of controlled burns. Early settlers to the area didn't think the native grasses to be very "pretty" and planted a lot of non-native species which threaten to take over the native ones. The park does controlled burns in an effort to get rid of some of the invading species. The native species are more "fireproof," meaning their root systems go a lot deeper and they can survive the grass fires better than the invaders.



The visitors guide (links to the site to download a PDF guide) for the park suggests you only need an hour to drive through but if you only budget an hour you won't have time to stop and get out. It took us closer to 3 hours to drive through and that was with us not staying out of the car for extended periods of time (generally 5-10 minutes at each pull off through the park).

The entry fee was $15 for our car and worth every penny if you ask me. You can check out the park opening hours and other "things to know" here on the Plan Your Visit link to the park.


I'm linking this B is for Badlands post up to Mrs. Matlock's AlphabeThursday. Go have a snoop around over there are find out what other fun B's people wrote about!

Jenny Matlock


In other exciting news, I get to check another thing off of my 101 list! Visit the Badlands is DONE!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - May 28, 2012

Last week was a bit of a mixed bag.

The Sweet Potato Falafels I was so excited about were... not good. When you first put it in your mouth it started to be okay but then when you begin to chew something goes horribly wrong. This is a DO NOT REPEAT. It's a pity too, I was really looking forward to it.

We both liked the Sweet Chili Bangers. I sprinkled in some cayenne to give it a little more of a kick. I think this would be good on regular hotdogs too.

I cheated on the Sticky Salmon. It's been SO hot the past few days I just couldn't make myself turn the oven on so I spread the honey and oyster sauce on the salmon and just tossed it on the grill. And then I steamed some veggies in the microwave. So I can't rightly say this is a wonderful recipe because I didn't really make it. What I can say is that I liked the salmon with the honey and oyster sauce and I'd do that again!

This week:

I spent a day in the heat of doom from last week baking for Martijn's birthday so this week I decided I'm NOT turning on the oven. It's supposed to cool down later in the week but unless it falls below freezing (which it won't), the oven is on vacation... sorta. I'm going to use the microwave and since we have a combi unit the oven will be used, just not on the oven setting!

Speedy Salmon and Leek One-Pot

Microwave Meatloaf

Seafood Macaroni Salad

Polenta Pizza- I'm not going to bake the "crust." I think it will be plenty good just with a heap of polenta with the spinach and bacon on top!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ask Me Anything... Again!

Ask Me Anything

Trying to get the bloggy juices flowing again and I had fun when I did "Ask Me Anything" last time so I'm going to do it AGAIN!

It's simple. Leave me a question you'd like me to answer in the comments. It can be about anything but keep it clean please!


Mrs. Matlock is starting a new round of Alphabe-Thursday so I'm linking up. Go check it out, there are always oodles of fun posts and I almost always learn a couple of new things!

Jenny Matlock

Monday, May 21, 2012

Menu Plan Monday- May 21, 2012

Ugh, sometimes I feel like I seriously fail at life. I have good intentions of getting back on track with my blog and then I don't do anything with those intentions but stick them back under the desk again where they've been for the past 6 months.

Now though, I really need to get the grocery budget back on track. I KNOW I do better when I menu plan so I'm going to try to sit down every Sunday evening and look at the ads and plan my menus. Even if I really don't want to, I know I can extract 15 minutes from my "not doing anything whatsoever" time budget and do it!

This week I am going to dig through the freezer to make room for the ice cream machine clear out some of the older things that need to be used.

Stir-fry with leftovers and noodles from the cupboard

Sweet Potato Falafels- How handy that I have a sweet potato just languishing on the counter and a bag of chickpea flour hanging out waiting to be tested!

Sweet Chilli Bangers- I have some sausage in the freezer and I think I'll fry up some onions and serve them in buns with whatever sort of vegetable is on sale this week.

Sticky Salmon with Chinese Greens- There is some salmon in the freezer and I think I have everything else in the pantry aside from the greens! I might be a rebel and add red bell pepper because I have quite a lot of that in the freezer too.
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