Sunday, November 3, 2013

Moose + Curry

curry mooseballs


I know, sounds fairly yuck. But they aren't really "moose balls" per se, and TH swears they are delicious.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ready or Not...

On the cusp of winter, one senses a feeling of hurried preparation in the northern air. As the fog drifts in and gray clouds bring the prospect of snow, all of Alaska's inhabitants are busily preparing for seven months of dark, cold, and white.

foggy cabin


While shrews and squirrels stash tiny tidbits, humans harvest the last of the garden, pick the cranberries, process the moose, and smoke the salmon. Summer toys are stored, winter gear is retrieved, tires are swapped. But most importantly, the majority of rural Alaska is collecting and preparing wood.

stacked birch

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Roasted Beet Hummus

farm box challenge

Confession: sometimes when beets show up in my Full Circle delivery, I shove them in my crisper and forget about them. This week, when I discovered the magenta root veggies in my box I was determined to eat them before they grew mold and I had an excuse to compost them. I LOVE the color of beets, but sometimes it sounds like a hassle to prepare them.

This week I also had two giant bunches of cilantro to deal with, so I knew they had to be combined in some way with the beets. What did I come up with? An unconventional, but delicious, hummus recipe.


roasted beet hummus

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Gluten Free Salmon Burgers

Alaskan Red Salmon Patties


I know I am fortunate. TH and I are able to fish amazing salmon runs each summer, filling our freezer with wild Alaskan Reds to feast on throughout the year. Once a week we grill a fish, usually after marinating in a bit of Bragg's amino acids, garlic, pepper, and a touch of pure maple syrup. (When the fish is fresh/not frozen we typically use just lemon, salt and pepper.)

*On a side note: farmed salmon is scary! Please don't eat it. Visit this site for more information.*

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Buti Fitness

Earlier this summer I stumbled upon Buti Fitness workouts when I was looking for portable, but challenging, exercise for traveling. I was hooked after my first workout. After trying all of the free online videos I bought the $35.99 "30 Day Slimdown", as I soon wanted more.  Upon purchase I received a link and password to: 

1. Thirty days of meal plans. Bizzie advocates a grain and dairy free diet (I like that), but it's a plan that would leave my tummy rumbling. While I tried some of the recipes, I'm not interested in following her diet plan right now, mostly because the word "diet" makes me all panicky. 

2. Twenty video workouts. The video production is not that amazing, and you can only stream (not download) but I LOVE them. Although they are tough (shoulder/ab/butt/thigh burners) they are so much fun that it doesn't feel like working out. I prefer the "Tone" workouts, but the "Sculpt" videos are nice for when you don't have much time and want a quick cardio burst. 

Below I've embedded the free workouts that are available on line.

Sample Tone Workouts:


Sample BUTI Tone Workout from Bizzie Gold on Vimeo.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Nootka Rose Vinaigrette


Kodiak Nootka Rose


While visiting my amazing friend Andrea (who, BTW, spent the month of July traveling through Mongolia!) in Fairbanks this summer I was intrigued by a hot pink liquid in her window sill. She was soaking wild rose petals in vinegar for future use in salad dressing.  As I headed to work at Saltery Lake Lodge in Kodiak, I knew I would have to do the same, as the entire front lawn of the lodge is covered in blooming pink roses at the end of July.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

La Ruta del Vino



hosteria valle de concepcion


"El que vino a Tarija y no tomó vino, a que vino?"  

A common saying in Tarija; roughly translated:  If one comes to Tarija and doesn't drink wine, why did he come?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wine Country, Bolivia



casa viejo, tarija


TH and I rarely do foreign travel repeats.  There are just too many interesting places on the planet, and not a one that I wouldn't consider visiting.  That said, I am already planning my trip back to Tarija.

Friday, June 21, 2013

La Paz, Bolivia


La Paz church

La Paz took my breath away, both physically and visually. Arriving into El Alto airport (at 13,500 feet), I felt lightheaded, but invigorated by the crisp mountain air and the vibrant colors and energy that pulsed through the city.  As a dedicated people watcher, I barely made it out of La Paz alive, between a severe case of whiplash and numerous close calls with speeding vehicles as I stopped to gawk in the middle of the street.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Coroico, Bolivia



coroico bolivia

Although the infamous "Death Road" on which you must travel from La Paz to Coroico is now much safer (due to paving and widening), we still found out journey to be a nail biter.  To begin with, our driver could barely keep his eyes open, visibly nodding off at several points during the 2 1/2 hour ride.  Secondly, the winding road twists down the sides of rugged mountain cliffs, and passing on blind corners is the norm.

Death Road Yungas Road


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Amazon Basin, Bolivia



Parque Nacional Madidi


TH has dreamed of exploring the Amazon since childhood.  As I was interested in  visiting Bolivia, we decided to check out the Amazon Basin via the Parque Nacional Madidi accessed through Rurrenabaque, a 40 minute flight from La Paz.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cocktail Infusions



infusion mint gin cocktail


My wonderful friend, Kelci, gifted me with a box of Teaforte cocktail infusions. After trying them out I immediately ordered five more boxes from Amazon to pass on to others.  They are so much fun!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Cottonwood Salve (or Balm of Gilead)



cottonwood bud salve


My friend Shauna invited me over the other night for wine and cottonwood salve production.  She'd recently stumbled upon a felled cottowood tree with gigantic buds, ripe for picking. (Tip: pick buds before the green leaves appear.)  Why should you collect cottonwood buds? Because they can be used to make a healing balm to treat abrasions, inflammation, soreness, and dry skin.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Nicaragua Part 1 (Little Corn Island)



Little Corn Island mosaic Nicaragua


TH and I were eagerly anticipating a week long stay on Little Corn during a month long trip of indulgence to Nicaragua.  The island presented the possibility of both fishing and pristine beaching.  We'd heard rumors that the voyage out might be rough, but we'd had pretty sweet weather in Nicaragua, considering it was rainy season, which suggested a more mellow jaunt.  Here is an excerpt from TH's journal:


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

An Excellent Use of Coconut Butter





Sweety's Raw's site is seriously dessert insanity.  When I last visited she had posted a recipe for Superfood Cups, which utilized coconut butter.  I ADORE coconut butter, made from whole coconut pulp.  A couple of spoonfuls usually serve as my pre-yoga snack.  I was stoked to try Heathy's Superfood Cups, which also incorporate all of those powders that I've purchased and forgotten to use: maca, lucuma, mesquite.  I added goji berries, hemp seeds, and dehydrated buckwheat as my mix-ins.  Visit her site to access this tasty, healthy dessert recipe!


sweetly raw's superfood cups


Question: Do you use superfood powders?  If so, how? 


Monday, May 20, 2013

Thai Basil Eggplant Stirfry



Full Circle Farm


Sometimes items show up in my Full Circle Farm Box and I'm not sure what to do with them.  Take eggplant, for example.  I did not eat this growing up; perhaps because it looks like something Snuffleupagus might have laid.  Luckily I had some other more familiar items to work with in this week's box:  red pepper, onion, Thai sweet basil, and garlic. A Google search of "Thai basil eggplant" led me to this recipe at Vegetarian Times, which I adapted based on the ingredients I had in the cupboard.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Costa Rica (Santa Teresa and Samara)



costa rica seashells


Continuing on from Costa Rica Part 1....

We took our new Tico friend, Marco, up on his offer to pick us up in Montezuma and drive us to Santa Teresa (where he managed the beautiful Esencia Hotel and Villas ).  We spent the day enjoying the hotel's pool, walking along the lengthy beach, admiring the fit surfers and paddle boarders, and eating a deliciously fresh ceviche and fruit juice lunch.  Marco took us to a fabulous place for sunset: The Papaya Lounge in Mal Pais (about 3 km from Santa Teresa).

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I Like Sake. I Like Strawberries.



strawberry sake shake


It's getting to be porch-sitting season here.  Porch-sitting usually requires a beverage.  As it is also strawberry season, I felt that a frothy pink cocktail would be the perfect companion to an evening of reading on the deck.   For some reason sake (rice wine) just sounds healthier than vodka, so I blended some up with a few ingredients to produce a grown-up...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Kale Meets Red Curry Paste



red curry kale chips


My friend Andrea recently commented on the recent popularization of kale.  Yes, it's everywhere, but for good reason. Often called a superfood for it's nutritional density, kale can be added to smoothies, massaged in olive oil and vinegar for salad, sauteed in stir-fries, and (my favorite) manipulated into chip form.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Spring in Interior Alaska

We may still have bare trees and snow on the ground, but we Alaskans are busily making note of indicators that spring has, in fact, arrived.


swallows in Alaska


Both have returned.  A couple of years ago, TH built several swallow houses and distributed them around our property.  I always thought bird watching was for old people, but I will happily get a crick in my neck, gazing at these little cuties for hours (and I am decidedly not old).  During their breeding season (right now) swallows eat a lot of animal matter in the form of insects, particularly mosquitoes, which is why TH built the boxes in the first place.  This is the plan he used: 



Saturday, May 11, 2013

Southern Yucatan Peninsula



xcalak sunset


One of our favorite things to do in Quintana Roo, Mexico is to fly into Cancun with our camping gear, rent a car, and start driving south.  Two our most beloved areas, situated south of Tulum, are Punta Allen and Xcalak.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Squirrel Balls



meatless spaghetti and meatballs


Inspired by this recipe from Slender Kitchen, I set about to make a meatless replacement for spaghetti and meatballs. TH has no problem with the occasional meat dish, but we are out of moose meat (we rely on our hunter relatives for our annual moose supply),  and we choose not to buy beef.  This recipe may seem labor intensive, but it is really tasty and makes a huge batch of meatless balls, which I call squirrel balls (after a naughty tree rat who devoured a tray I left on the porch to cool).

Monday, May 6, 2013

Impossible to Spell, Fun to Visit



zihuatanejo

Our wonderful travel friends, Stacy and Keri, first introduced us to Zihua (Zee-wah), sister city to busy Ixtapa.  While Ixtapa's beach sports high rises and time-share salesman, Zihua manages to maintain some of it's small fishing village charm, even with an increasing number of tourists. Sitting on a bay surrounded by hills, Zihuatanejo is a scenic and friendly destination. During Christmas the town explodes with beach goers, but most of the visitors are Mexican tourists. You will still be able to practice Spanish and eat local food; you won't feel like you are on the beach in Florida.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Costa Rica (Caribbean Coast and Montezuma)


Montezuma Costa Rica


As former backpackers, turning into aging flashpackers, we still retain a bit of travel snobbery.  For many years we had held off on visiting Costa Rica, thinking it was too expensive, too touristy, too trendy.  Finally, having vacationed in all of the surrounding countries, we figured we couldn't snub CR without first hand experience.

Now, on our first day in San Jose, as TH chased down a man we'd witnessed swiping a gringo's bag, "Uh-huh, I knew it," thoughts bubbled in my head.  I admit it: I was jaded.  I was going to have to move past my preconceived notions to enjoy this month long exploration of the land of pura vida.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Lara Bars with a Twist



homemade lara bars

I normally buy Lara bars by the box when I am in Wasilla or Anchorage.  Having not been in either place for quite some time, my supply was depleted and I was in need of an energizing afternoon snack. I figured raw bars couldn't be too hard to make, based on the minimalist ingredient list (and the numerous blog posts bouncing around the internet).  I challenged myself to incorporate three ingredients that had been lying dormant in my cupboard:  dried yacon, goji berries, and Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Save Alaskan Salmon: Eat Pike



baked Alaskan pike


Pike are an invasive, predatory species where we live. They were introduced to lakes illegally, and now they hide in shallow swamps, preying on trout and salmon babies.  Back when TH thought the world was heading towards an apocalyptic demise, he fine-tuned his pike catching skills, to make sure we could self-sufficiently meet our protein needs.  Advantageously, pike can be caught year round (through holes in the ice during winter), there are no limits, and ridding the water of these creatures is encouraged by Fish and Game.  The meat is white and fairly mild, but many people are turned off by the boniness of pike. However, they  can be filleted in a unique manner to remove the y-bones.  View this YouTube video for a great demonstration.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Budget Belize

Glover's atoll fishing


A few things about TH:

  • he has a fishing problem
  • his natural element is the outdoors
  • his perfect vacation plan involves a tent, a fishing rod, rum, and very few people
Considering these factors, I knew we were going to Belize when he discovered Glover's Atoll, located on a coral reef two hours by boat from Sittee River Village.  Here we would have a chance to pitch our tent on the beach, and then fish, kayak (to a fishing hole), or snorkel (to a fishing hole), every day.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Slow Cooker Sundays

Every Sunday I make a big batch of something tasty for our week's lunches. I am a huge slow cooker fan; meal prep can't get much easier. My concoctions usually involve my favorite ingredient: Thai red curry paste. I can almost eat it by the spoonful.

slow cooker thai red curry

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Stitch Fix #3

A few weeks ago TH and I were doing a bit of cocktailing and our conversation somehow turned to Stitch Fix.

Me:  "It's been a while since I ordered a box."
TH:  "You should schedule a delivery."
Me:  "What?" (quickly refilling his drink)
TH:  "I don't think you spend enough money on clothes."
Me:  Is he being sarcastic? Is this some kind of reverse psychology? [refilling his cocktail] How should I play this? "You're saying you think I should set up a Stitch Fix shipment?"
TH: "Yes, you should spend more money on clothes."

When I reminded him about our conversation the next morning, by yelling, "Tap tap no takebacks!", he simply repeated the notion that I should spend more money.  Something strange is going on here, but I guess for now, I win....?

stitch fix

Saturday, April 20, 2013

An Enchanting Read



the snow child
source

I was overjoyed to hear that Eowyn Ivey's novel about homesteading in Alaska was a finalist for a Pulitzer.  After devouring this book last spring, I contacted Eowyn about visiting my school (just over 100 miles from her home in Chickaloon).  Eowyn eagerly offered her time and generously spent the afternoon sharing her writing experiences with excited high school students.  She is such a lovely, down-to-earth woman, and I am so grateful that her beautiful writing represents our state so accurately. (I really wanted to ask her if she would be my friend, but I felt sheepish as I knew this book was taking her to the big time.)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Random Restaurant Review: Austin, Texas



highball bowling austin

Whoah, we weren't in Alaska anymore.  Gold plated walls.  Red leather bar.  Servers with sassily ironic mustaches. Cheese plates in a BOWLING ALLEY.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

HIking on Alaska's Big Island

Kodiak Alaska


Last summer our lodge-owning friend, Dave, hired us for five weeks to work at Saltery Lake Lodge, on Kodiak Island.  TH was the head fishing guide and my duties included grocery shopping in town,  picking up/dropping off guests at the airport, and other odd jobs at the lodge.  At least twice a week I had the opportunity to fly between Kodiak City and the lodge on Dave's Cessna 185 floatplane.  The flight was so stunning, it made my heart hurt.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Where's My Spring?

alpacka rafts Alaska



...is late this year.  For the past two weeks we've had snow or below zero temperatures every day.

This has many potential repercussions (short summer, late salmon, ice jams in the rivers which lead to floods), but right now I am most worried about the Alaskan lottery.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Not Just for Abraham

curried


I've had a bit of a lentil fetish of late; I think I've eaten them in some form every day for the past two months.  I feel like a biblical character; I just can't get enough.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Perks of Downsizing

In 2007 we built a teensy cabin about 1.5 hours north of Wasilla (of Sarah Palin fame) for recreational purposes.  In 2009 we sold or gave away all of our belongings (except for clothes, vehicles and outdoor gear), rented out our 1600 sq ft house in Wasilla, and moved into the 384 sq ft cabin full time.  Getting rid of our possessions was quite possibly the grandest high I've ever experienced.  As each item found a new home I enjoyed a freeing lightness that made me feel like my future was wide open.  Apply for a teaching job in Saudi Arabia?  Why not?  Spend the summer learning Spanish in Nicaragua?  I'll buy tickets tomorrow!

small cabin alaska


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Venezuela

los roques



About seven years ago, my sister, our friend Shannon and I were in need of a girlfriend trip.  Venezuela sounded fun, and the round trip required only 35,000 Alaska Airlines miles.  Our three week vacation included zip-lining in Merida (following a treacherous bus trip through the mountains from Caracas), an expedition to Angel Falls (sleeping in jungle hammocks surrounded by giant black spiderwebs) and R&R on Isla Margarita (where we first experienced the magic of the caipirinha). Contrary to the naysayers at home, we felt safe and looked-after our entire trip.  We repeatedly ran into locals who went out of their way to help us with our travels.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Raw Desserts

raw vanilla moonie pie

Oh my.  If you ever want to impress company, download Sweetly Raw's Raw Chocolate Dream eBook and get busy in the kitchen! 

Sweetly Raw was one of the first websites that piqued my interest in raw foods.  While I no longer eat raw all the time, I still enjoy the occasional raw dessert (made of nuts and plant ingredients), as opposed to a processed junk food dessert (like those Samoas TH bought, which I had to hide deep in the freezer, underneath last season's freezer burned salmon).

Monday, March 25, 2013

Random Restaurant Review: Yelapa, Mexico

If you want to try Christina's upriver vegetarian restaurant, the best option is to  order on your way to the waterfall, and then come back to eat on the return trip.  Christina is a lovely lady, but she seems to get flustered if you decide to order and wait at the restaurant for your meal.  That said, Christina's locale is beautiful. The tables sit on the riverfront, and you can sun yourself on the warm rocks while you wait patiently for your food.  Or you can visit the interesting outdoor bathroom, grab the bar soap, and receive a spider?/ant? bite that will rock your world.  Either way, the refreshing river water will cool you off/ease your pain.


christina's restaurant yelapa


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sprouted Lentils

Sprouts make me happy.  I love waking up in the morning and skipping over to the colander to see how they've grown.  TH makes fun of me for conversing with my sprout babies, but I like to tell them how beautiful they are, complementing their expanding tails.

Ever since my friend Shannon sent me a Curried Lentil Sprout Salad and a bag of lentils I have been obsessed with lentil sprouts.  They are so easy to sprout and incredibly fresh and delicious.  Simply soak dry lentils in a large amount of water overnight.  The next day, rinse lentils and place in a sprouter, colander, or mason jar with cheesecloth over the top.  (I personally think a colander is the easiest.)  Rinse and gently toss three times daily.  By day four you should have delightful, crunchy sprouts.

lentil sprouts


Here is the delicious curry recipe from Shannon, with a few tweaks to make it raw:

Ingredients
1 cup lentil sprouts
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup raw mayo*
2 Tbs. raw ketchup (from RAWvolution by Matt Amsden)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 tsp dill week
1/2 red onion, diced
1 Tbs. curry powder
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1 tomato, diced
handful green onions, diced

Chop the veggies.  Mix all of the ingredients (except tomato and green onion) together by tossing gently.  Sprinkle tomato and green onions on top.

lentil curry salad



*Raw Mayo Ingredients (adapted from RAWvolution by Matt Amsden):
1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts 
1/4 cup + 2 Tbs. coconut water
juice of one lemon
2 Tbs. stone ground mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. onion powder
dash apple cider vinegar

Blend all ingredients in high speed blender. 

Do you have any fabulous lentil recipes to share?







Monday, March 4, 2013

Yogaglo

For the past three years my yoga practice has consisted of my DVD collection and the occasional class while vacationing.  After moving to our small town from Wasilla I missed my regular yoga classes, but I gradually learned to adore Shiva Rea. However,  when I could recite her cues on every DVD , word for word, I realized it was time for a change.

Coincidentally, right about that time my dear Texan friend, Bonnie, recommended Yogaglo.



Yogaglo is a subscription website that offers over one thousand yoga classes from a variety of instructors and in a wide range of styles and levels.  You can try Yogalo free for fifteen days.  If you decide you would like a subscription the cost is only $18 a month.  That is often the price of one Bikhram class!  What a I love about Yogaglo:

  • The amazing instructors.  My current fave is Kathryn Budig (I pretend we are BFFs), but I've learned something from every yogi whose class I've taken. 
  • There are classes ranging from five minutes to two hours.
  • The highest level I can do semi-successfully is 2/3.  That means I have so much to learn before I can even delve into the level 3 classes.  Very exciting. 
  • The site offers tutorials on several poses, a beginner center, a section specifically geared towards teens, and the ability to track your practice. 
I used to think about yoga as an obligation, something I needed to do to make my body feel better each evening.  Now I eagerly anticipate my practice every day.  I love every minute of it, especially when it is challenging. I am obsessed!

Anyone else tried Yogaglo?