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Date: 22 August 2018. Book of Labels (refried beans recipe)


As described in the A Day of Reckoning (the diet) article, I've been on a getting healthier kick. Part of that is tracking what I eat. I want easy access to the nutrition information found on the labels of my food stuffs. Here is how I accomplished that for just a dollar.

At the Dollar Tree store I found a 4" x 6" photo album. I call it my Book of Labels.

This item tucks away easily in my bookcase. I remove food labels, cutting out the
nutrition information. Next I insert them in the clear pockets of the photo album.

I have been growing sprouts aboard Seaweed. Before learning how to do the broccoli
I would refer to the Book of Labels for said information. It's easy, and therefore I use it.

Do not think I only eat healthy foods. I also have information on the treats too:

Brach's Candy Corn, Pumpkins and Autumn Mix by Brach's  are particular favorites. So too is the Aldi brand of soup crackers.
Lately however Aldi stopped stocking the soup crackers. I should have bought more. They really are good.

I also enjoy Aldi's Never Any Chicken Sausages.

When Edwin came to visit he and I shared many chicken sausage tortilla wraps.

This is Edwin:


Because of my health kick I have been trying to eat better.

Cans of refried beans have become an item on my grocery shopping list. Of course I could make them myself for less money however the cans are easy. Frankly, easy has become an important criteria for me of late.

I would rather spend my time on enjoyable aspects of life
rather than the mundane. Thus, I look for convenience items.

To prepare dried beans requires first soaking overnight, then boiling. Hours of simmering over medium heat later, the beans must then be drained. Next comes mashing the beans.

All this is labor intensive. It also requires
a lot of power, be it propane or electricity.

Opening a can is a better alternative for me. I do understand the back-to-nature folks, and those who do all cooking from scratch. I've been there myself. At present however I am splurging with more prepared food items.


Foodstuffs do need to be healthy. Recently I began buying refried beans. They are an economical addition to meals. Refried beans come in two varieties. Traditional and Fat Free. One would think that Fat Free would be the healthier version.


Traditional Refried Beans by Casa Mamita
has lower sodium than the Low Fat version.


At Walmart, the Great Value brand had even lower sodium so I bought it.

I am not certain my choice makes any real difference.

I am after the taste and health benefits. Frankly I cannot tell the difference between low fat and regular. Each can of refried beans costs about 75 cents. I get three servings per can, so it's a good choice for budget conscience folks like me.


Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini are my preference.
Refried beans are an alternative choice when I have run out of fresh produce.


My friend Tom spreads refried beans on toast. For me that is too bland. I prefer beans in combination with other flavors. For texture I will sometimes add a chopped Roma tomato to my dish. When I do not have any fresh tomatoes on hand, I open a can of Diced Tomatoes.

I removed the label from my can of tomatoes and added it to the Book of Labels.

Having the  nutrition information in a handy format assists me in making good food choices.

This is my 700 watt microwave oven, made by Rival.

The article Securing the Microwave describes how I mounted the unit on an open counter.

First of all, I love my 700 watt microwave. It is convenient. Now that I have one I cannot imagine life without it. I am fully aware that lots of boaters do not have the power generating abilities I have now. Neither did I, until last summer!

It took me nearly nine years to have this level of decadence.

Life is wonderful aboard Seaweed.

Now I am blessed. I have a reefer that runs 24/7 keeping items cold. That has opened a whole new world for me. Having ice for my tea is wonderful. Additionally with plenty of batteries I can use my microwave. Except for the air-conditioner that must run on shore power or a generator, my life is exactly the same at anchor.

Actually it is better at anchor. There I am in my own world. I do not have to listen to the guy next door berating his wife, nor the other side where LOUD music is played every Friday and Saturday night. Of course those things happen at anchor too.

When the din exceeds my tolerance, I move to a new place.

Probably the worst place to be anchored is near a karaoke bar late at night.

Then the sun rises and life is again great. Photo taken by Irene.

That said, I am fortunate to have been able to share a dock this summer. Having the Haier 5000btu air-conditioner running has been wonderful. A gal could definitely get used to the cooler temperatures offered by a Haier a/c unit.

Update circa 2023: Though the Haier is no longer available on Amazon, the Rovsun 5000BTU ac with mechanical controls is similar. The part that is important is that this unit has a mechanical versus having a digital controller. That means that an inexpensive standard (not pure sine wave) inverter will power it, at least until the batteries die.

Realistically speaking however, running an ac at
anchor without a generator is the stuff we dream about...

Slaving over a hot burner has gone by the wayside. I find myself doing minimal cooking, preferring cold items from the reefer. When I am in the mood for something more substantial the microwave does my cooking/reheating.

Hot from the microwave in a few minutes:



The other day I wanted something that was easy, filling and could be made without effort. The ingredients:


  • 1/3rd can of Refried Beans

  • 2T diced tomatoes from the can

  • One jalapeno turkey smoked sausage, sliced. A hotdog is fine. I prefer spicy ones.

  • Fresh scallions, chopped

First heat the refried beans in a bowl. That takes about 1 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and nuke for 30 seconds more. Finally add the hotdog around the edge. Heat for one minute more.

It's ready, except for adding the fresh scallions.

Note: When cooking items in a microwave, pile the food along the perimeter of your container. It will heat  more evenly.


This refried beans conglomeration takes me less than five minutes to put together. Sometimes that is about as long as I wish to spend on meal preparations. The best part is that clean-up is a breeze. More on that tomorrow.

Thank you for reading.

I'd love to hear what criteria you use when fixing a meal?
Do you have something that is particularly easy to put together?

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2018, 2023

Categories: Characters, Galley, Organizing, Recipes,

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