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Friday, August 22, 2014

Welcome to the arsenal, you beauty.

You guys.  Most awesome addition to my kitchen EVER happened last week.

So, I've been trying to save money by using rice flour in all of my gluten free recipes. I've been grinding my own rice using a coffee grinder that I received as a gift a couple years ago. It was working. But it was a painstaking process.  I'd grind, then sift, then grind, then sift, then.....well, you get it.  It took me 20 minutes or so to grind a cup of rice flour, and it was far from finely ground.  BUT it was working, so I went with it.

However, I've been eyeing a grain mill on Amazon for about 4 months now. I recently had the 1st anniversary of my 29th birthday, and with gift money, along with a couple of gift cards, I took the plunge!

Welcome to my kitchen, you beauty. 



Check out the evidence of this machine's awesomeness:

The pile of rice flour on the left is as find as I could get it with the coffee grinder.  The pile on the right is with 1 pass through the mill grinder - on the regular setting, not even the fine setting!



This 1 pound bag of rice flour was ground in approximately 5 minutes.


Can you understand why I'm so happy???


I think my new toy and I will be BFF's for a long time to come.

Now, since the very BEST time of year is quickly approaching, I better get to the store to stock up on rice for flour, as well as cans of pumpkin and snacks for football games!!!

Whoopee!

Have a fab weekend, friends.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Black Hills Bucket List: Camping Custer

It's been over a month since my last post.  I'm a bad blogger, I'm sorry.
 
So I probably forgot to mention that we purchased THIS!

 
We had a pop-up camper back in Ohio, but sold it before we moved to South Dakota, due to not having anywhere to store it here.  We had been wanting to purchase another for a while, and finally just did it.  We took it out on our maiden voyage this past weekend!
 
We took a giant chance, googled campgrounds, and decided on Big Pine Campground in Custer. Our chance turned out pretty stinking awesome, I must say.  We've camped a handful of times, so I can't say we have all the camping/campground experience in the world, but I think we have enough to know that this campground is AWESOME.  It's not huge, it's not fancy, but our site was spacious, gorgeous, and so relaxing.

 

 
I always forget how darn cold it gets around here once the sun sets behind the hills!
 
 
There were two small playground areas for the kids, one of which (pictured) was right across the gravel road from our campsite, which worked out beautifully.  The kids could play while we were at the site and we could still see them perfectly the whole time.

 
Saturday morning started out nice and slow-paced with pancakes and sausage, and some coffee under the pine trees.  Perfection.
 
 
After breakfast, we went to nearby Jewel Cave National Monument and toured 2 of the 171.6 explored miles of this awesome underground wonder. The pictures aren't great, as light was clearly limited inside the cave.  At one point, we entered a room, and after we were warned/advised, the guide killed all the lights.  He told us that if we waved our hand in front of our faces and thought that we could see our hands moving, that our minds were playing tricks on us.  It was a really crazy experience!
 
 
 
After the cave, we headed back to the campground, took a short nap, then just relaxed at the site.  Our plan for the weekend was some serious R&R, and we definitely accomplished that!  The boys played at the playground and climbed on the rocks lining the permiter of our site.  We made sauteed chicken and veggies (red and green bell peppers with yellow squash) for dinner, along with some fresh cherries.  It was so delicious.  Camping doesn't have to equal hot dogs!
 
 
Camping wouldn't be complete without roasting a marshmallow or two over the fire, of course.
 


 

 

 
We purchased ice cream at the camp store, and that, paired with my Bellini wine drink and a campfire made for a perfect Saturday evening.

 
The picture doesn't do this beautiful sunset any justice.  It was breathtaking.

 
And of course, what fun activity would be complete without a little interruption from our good pal, Diabetes. 

 
Sacked out after a fun-filled day at the campground!

 
Sunday morning, we made scrambled eggs with bacon, then leisurely packed things up and were back in Rapid City by 10:15 am.  These pictures show the view driving back home.  These Black Hills really are spectacular.


 
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would easily give Big Pine Campground a 9.  It was so relaxing, extremely clean, and the staff/owners were so friendly.  The next time we choose to camp in Custer, we'll definitely be staying here again!
 
This coming weekend, barring lots of rain, we are planning to camp at Sheridan Lake.  I can't wait!
 
Have a super week, everyone!