Monday, January 28, 2013

Photos from Sandy Beach

This weekend I spent a little time out at Sandy Beach, which is located in Douglas, AK.  The beach is only about six miles from our house (this is very close considering we live about four miles out into North Douglas).  When I am feeling lazy but still need to get Specks out on a good, energy burning walk we venture to the beach and hike a few of the trails as we meander along the shore.  Enjoy these awesome pictures.  They were a joy to take as Specks and I wandered around in the woods.  
Ready and anxious for a walk! 

View entering Sandy Beach. 

Abandoned buildings on the trail. 

Graffiti-outside of the building. 
Graffiti and makeshift beds.  
Graffiti and an old heating unit. 

Abandoned mine.  

View through the trees. 

The sun beginning to go down over the mountains. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Convenient Meals

This weekend I tried out some new dishes and retried some old favorites.  For all of my fellow wannabe chefs out there, these are some tasty and EASY recipes.  All of these recipes are things you can make on the fly (especially if you keep most of the indigents in your house already).  Here is a food diary of some of my favorite (and easiest) meals from the last three days.  Enjoy :)

Coconut & Rice Pudding
1 can of coconut milk
1 1/2 cup almond milk (unsweetened or vanilla)
1 cup of rice**
3tbs of organic sugar
Dash of vanilla extract
Dash of salt
Dash of brown sugar (for topping)

Combine all ingredients (except brown sugar) in a mixing bowl and stir well.  Pour into sauce pan.  Simmer on medium heat for 45-60 minutes.  The sauce will be very thick and the rice will be very tender.  Serve hot.  Top with brown sugar.

Bean Thread Stir Fry
1/2 package of bean thread noodles (pre-soaked for 20 minutes)
Broccoli (as much as needed)
Carrots (chopped- as much as needed)
Peas (as much as needed)
Garlic (as much as needed)
1tbs Organic Soy Sauce
Dash of Red Pepper
Dash of Salt
Dash of Pepper
**Additional spices can be added to add more heat to the dish.

Noodles: Cut noodles into slightly smaller strands after soaking. Boil noodles in water until they become clear and tender (5-10 minutes).  Drain noodles and put in a large mixing bowl.  Add soy sauce and spices.  Mix well.
Veggies: Add a dash of olive oil to a skillet and sauté vegetables until they begin to become tender.  Add garlic.  Continue sautéing until garlic becomes lightly browned.  Add to the noodles and mix together.

Cheese, Rice, & Broccoli Casserole (Vegan)
1 cup uncooked rice** (I used jasmine, but any will work)
2 cups soy milk
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1tsp olive oil
2tsp garlic
1 1/2 cup broccoli (fresh or frozen)
Dash of onion powder
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
Breadcrumbs (optional)

Directions:  Preheat oven to 375F.  Put all ingredients in a casserole dish.  Stir well.  Stick casserole dish in the oven for 45-50minutes (or until rice is tender).  Top with breadcrumbs.  Serve. (This is a super easy dish!!  Prep time is only about five minutes)

**I have been using white rice for most of my dishes lately.  There has been a lot of information come out lately about arsenic in brown rice (all rice really, but brown has higher levels).  So, I have been kicking it old school with the white rice.  Obviously, this is a personal choice.  Any type will work for these meals.

Hope you enjoyed the recipes!!  All three of these meals are SUPER easy and fast to make.  I figured we could all use a little convienece this time of the year.  Happy Sunday!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Weekday Hiking

One way to stay in shape during the chilly winter months: HIKING!

Yes, it is cold.  Yes, it is wet.  But, bundle up and get yourself some durable gear.  There is nothing better than hiking to get a little exercise.  It burns calories, builds muscle, develops stamina, and you are doing some serious sight seeing.

I decided to do a little weekday hiking this week.  I don't get to do this very often because I am a slave to the man M-F from 9am to 5pm.  Usually, I save the hiking for the weekends, I like to think of myself as a Weekend Warrior.  Monday was MLK's Birthday though so I enjoyed a weekday out and about in the wilderness.

Lemon Creek Trail starts right behind Cody's work so I took him some lunch and the hiked on up.  I didn't hike very far (approx. 30 minutes one way) because I am still recovering from an illness.  It was also a difficult day to hike alone because the fog in Juneau was so heavy and the ice was so thick on the trail.  I did manage to slip and slide around for awhile though. Specks had a particularly wonderful time pulling me along on the ice.  Enjoy some pictures from our trek!

Entering Lemon Creek Trail. 

Fallen trees in the icy woods. 

Icy pathways. 

Waterfalls and dangerous crossings. 

View exiting the trail. 

What are your favorite winter activities??

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wishful Thinking

Surprise, surprise….I am sick again! The kiddos at my school are officially germ monsters who are covering me with diseases at every turn (ok, that may be a wee bit dramatic).  But, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I am pumping myself with good foods and beverages at every turn in hopes of getting my health back. However, I am beginning to think that being healthy is just wishful thinking.

In the throws of illness.  Tucked in my house with a warm cup of tea. 

This weekends meals were BORING.  I was pretty much on a soup/soft food diet because my throat was lined with razor blades (at least it felt like it). So, here are my food choices this weekend.  Soup, soup, tea, soup, and soup (check out Pacific Organic Soup here)  Oh, and I had some oatmeal…thrilling.

Pacific & Imagine brand soups = perfection.
Celestial Teas are my lifesaver. 

I decided to be nice and cook Cody some meat dishes this weekend since I so rarely cook us anything non-vegetarian.  I will occasionally cook him some fish or chicken to be nice.  This obviously is against my veg-belifs, but Cody makes sacrifices for me so I do the same for him occasionally.  I make sure he only buys organic and nicely treated animals (i.e. local).  So, here is one of the dishes I made him this weekend.
Fresh Tilapia, seasoned with cilantro, salt, pepper, and lemon. Side of rice & organic Soy Sauce. 

On Sunday I was finally feeling a little bit more energetic so Specks and I took a stroll.  Normally, we take one long (60+ minute) stroll/hike a day when I am off work.  Poor puppy has been mostly confined to the house with me while I have been sick though.  I couldn't manage much more than a thirty minute walk today.  Especially with the chilly weather and hilly terrain.  But, I managed to snap a few cute pictures a long the way and get the puppy some exercise.

Treacherous waters that Specks and I waded through.  

Beautiful heart-shaped bird seed.  These were hanging all along the trail. 

In other random news, I finally got my new bedspread in!!  I have been dying to get a new bedspread.  Our old one was dark, which made Specks's hair show all the time.  Literally, five minutes after washing it, it became covered in dog hair.  I also wanted to invest in a warmer bedspread.  So, I got a flannel duvet cover and a down alternative comforter to go inside.  Now, all we have left to do is find a cute headboard to match the bedroom furniture.  Check out the bedspread, I am in love with it!

If you look closely you can see that the stripes form Birch Trees. 
Specks- banished to the floor so he doesn't ruin the new bedspread. 

Last, but certainly not least, Cody has a ride-along with Juneau PD this week to determine if he gets the job.  I am soooo excited and proud of him for pursuing this career.  It will be a big change for us and will definitely give us the bank account boost to let him start taking some college classes.  Fingers crossed that it all works out!

I leave you with this funny picture I happened upon.  Cody and I took a PhotoBooth photo shoot on Christmas and this was one of the bloopers.

Outtake 1 of 50! 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuits

I woke up waaay before Cody did this morning so I decided to whip up a tasty treat for us to eat for  breakfast.  I made my vegetarian version of the Bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit.  Enjoy the recipe :)

Egg Whites (or egg substitute)
Soy Milk or Organic 2% Milk
Biscuits, English Muffins, or Bread
Green Peppers
Cheese or Cheese Substitute
Hot Sauce (Optional)

1 1/2 cup egg whites
1/4 cup soy milk
Dash of Salt
Dash of Pepper

Whisk all "egg" ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.  Then, choose one of two ways to prepare.  Prep 1: Pour egg mixture into an already warmed skillet.  Cook into a basic omelet.  Prep 2:  Pour egg mixture into a muffin tin.  Fill each individual hole about 3/4 of the way to the top.  Bake at 350F for 15 minutes.

**Prep2 makes perfectly round eggs while Prep1 requires you to cut them into pieces to fit on to the biscuits.

Then,  place the eggs on the biscuits. Add some chopped veggies, some tasty cheese, and spicy hot sauce. Finish off this meal by topping it with some Fakin' Bacon and TA-DA!! You now have a delicious and extremely quick morning meal.  This meal can be adjusted to be even healthier VERY easily (leave off the cheese, serve without the biscuits or on english muffins, and etc).

When served with some Holiday Cheer (Coconut, Tropical Fruit, & Dark Rum Flavored) Kona Coffee your morning will be assuredly more wonderful.  Check out Kona Coffee here, It can be a little tricky to get your hands on.  Luckily, I get it shipped to me from my lovely sister in Hawaii :)

Delicious breakfast treats (pardon the crummy picture quality!)
Leave me a comment and let me know what you enjoyed for breakfast this weekend…. or what you think about my new layout :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sick Days

***This post is from last week.  I attempted to post it but my computer has suddenly decided not to upload pictures.  Ugh.  I apologize for the lack of photographic evidence.

Ok, so I didn't actually take any sick time from work.  But, I did leave an hour early on Friday because I was running a toasty 101F.  Ugh.  I despise being sick and I so rarely have to deal with colds, flu's, etc. because my immune system tends to rule.  This time I did not get so lucky.  Thursday-Saturday were pretty much spent feeling like an achy mess.  Thank goodness for Celestial Seasonings Tea (check out their wellness teas here.)

Thankfully, this afternoon I started to get my stride back (I traded the aches and temperature for a sore throat).  I took Specks out for a walk to the beach just before dark to get some fresh air.  He loved it and I managed to only fall in a few snowdrifts (typical).  It was beautiful out today though.  Warm temperatures and a beautiful amount of snow.

In the evening, Cody made it home just in time for supper.  We enjoyed some wonderful dinner treats.  We made pasta with mushroom sauce, steamed green beans (just a hint of salt and pepper to keep it healthy), and some cheesy rolls.  It was heavenly.  Check out my recipe for mushroom sauce :)

Mushroom Sauce
2 cups of No-Chicken Broth (I prefer the low-sodium choice)
1/4 cup of flour (I used whole wheat but any kind works)
3 large mushrooms (chopped)
1 tbs of minced garlic
Onions, cilantro, green peppers, and any other veggies can be added to spice it up
Dash of salt & pepper
Dash of onion powder

Directions: Heat broth and flour in a large pan on medium heat.  Whisk while heating.  When sauce begins to form a smooth consistency add additional ingredients.  Reduce heat to low and stir frequently.  When sauce thickens, remove from heat.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013 Resolutions

In 2013 my goals are…

1.) Re-start the Couch to 5k running program and complete my first 5k!
  • Back in Illinois I had started the Couch to 5K program (follow the link to check it out).  Then, we moved to Alaska and I totally ignored the progress I had made.  This year my goal is to start running again and hopefully make it to a 5k.  
2.) Recycle! 
  • Again, in Illinois we had a beautiful drive-in recycling center.  Here, the recycling place is open at odd days and at odd hours.  I have been VERY lazy about recycling so I need to regain my love of giving back to the planet. 
3.) Plant a garden! 
  • When spring rolls around you will find me planting veggies, herbs, etc.  So happy to finally have an apartment where we can garden :) 
4.)  Give back to the community! 
  • Find a local volunteer program and volunteer at least once per month.  Currently, I am looking into Big Brothers Big Sisters. 
5.) Plan my wedding! 
  • Date is tentatively set for June 2014.  We haven't gotten much farther than that yet but we are trying (kind of, ha ha.) 
6.)  Spend more quality time with Cody! 
  • Coordinating time together with our crazy work schedules is tough.  Heres to hoping we can find more time for one another this year. 
7.) Write letters to my family! 
  • Calls are great, but who doesn't love getting awesome mail?? Plus, I miss all of my wonderful family back home. 
There you have it folks! These are my plans for 2013.  In 2012, I graduated college, got engaged, adopted a puppy, and moved to Alaska. Let's face it, I was SPOILED in 2012.  I hope I can keep the wonderful-ness going in the upcoming year.  What are your resolutions for 2013??

As a parting gift for reading my blog today, here are some lovely pictures.  Last weekend Cody, myself, and our neighbors hiked out to the beach in North Douglas.  There was fantastic sea lion and whale watching as well as fantastic scenery.  Enjoy the pictures! 

Cody at the beach in North Douglas. 

Winter waves. 

Views on the beach. 

Me & Specks, posing before trekking over the rocks. 

Beautiful rock formation. 

Spending the day chasing birds and running in the ocean. 

Driving back home.