Showing posts from July, 2013

Family Time

This morning I am just checking into the blogging world briefly because….

I have visitors! My dad(Ross) and my step-mom(Jen) flew into Juneau on Friday and I have been having non-stop amazing family time since then.  They are leaving on Thursday so I plan to spend as much time as possible this week showing them all that Alaska has to offer.

We've already had bonfires and cookouts, explored the glacier, swam in the pacific ocean, and climbed rocky beaches at the end of Juneau's civilization.

Still on the agenda this week: climbing Mt. Roberts, exploring Juneau's downtown-area, hiking a few glorious trails, and relaxing on the beach.  I will have tons of pictures to post at the end of the week.  It is so wonderful to see family and get to show them the wonder of the 49th state!  Life is pretty darn good :)

Fireweed Jelly: The Intro

It's that time of the year! Time to start collecting berries, plants, and other goodies so that we can store some food for the winter.  Now, this is my first year doing any storing/canning/harvesting myself.  I've always been interested in gardening and the homesteading lifestyle, but I haven't ever done anything about it.  So, the move to Alaska seemed like the perfect time to start.  I grew a garden (a pathetic one as it was still snowing in May), collected berries, and began making as much of my own stuff (shampoo, detergent, etc) that I could.  Now, I hope to do a longer post about this lifestyle in the future but today's is going to focus on making... Fireweed Jelly!

Fireweed is a purple, flowering plant that grows in Alaska and many other places in the United States.  It is an incredibly durable plant and typically will be the first plant to return to an area after a forest fire (namesake).  If you are more interested in learning about the plant itself, you can c…

How To: Have Fun in Alaska (Despite the Weather)

I think we can all agree that Alaska is an amazing place.  But, one BIG change that Cody and I had to get used to when moving to the Last Frontier was spending time outside, no matter the weather.  During the winter it may snow (every day) for six weeks and then the wind will blow 60mph for another week.  So, do you just stay inside for months at a time??

Not a chance.  The picture above is of Cody hiking out at Eaglecrest Ski Area during the winter.  The snow was deep, the winds were nasty, but we just couldn't bring ourselves to spend all of our time cooped up indoors. Thankfully, it is summer now and we have been blessed with some truly beautiful weather. 
But, it is still Alaska (specifically SE) and the norm that we are experiencing for summer weather is temperatures in the 50's and rainy. This may not be perfect summer weather but I have found that we appreciate it 100x more than we ever appreciated it living in the Lower 48.  So, here are a few of our favorite activitie…

Adventures in Bread Making

This week I decided to try homemaking bread for the first time! I have always been interested in baking my own bread from both a frugality standpoint and a sustainability standpoint .  While browsing the internet this weekend I checked out a TON of bread recipes for the crock-pot and it seemed like something fun to try, you can check out a few of the recipes here and here.  I finally decided to test out this recipe, courtesy of the Chicken in the Road blog.

The process was super simple! I just made the dough, plopped it into the crock-pot, and set the pot to low.  I turned it over at the one-hour mark and then continued baking for another hour. After two hours I checked it and it still seemed fairly doughy (recipe deviation) so I repeated the process for another hour. Also, I pulled it out at the end and stuck it under the broiler for 5-6 minutes in order to achieve my desired color. Check out the finished product!

So, it did turn out as bread, which I was concerned about (hah!).  I&#…

Our Journey in Minimalist Living

Q: Why be a minimalist?
A: It’s a way to escape the excesses of the world around us — the excesses of consumerism, material possessions, clutter, having too much to do, too much debt, too many distractions, too much noise. But too little meaning. Minimalism is a way of eschewing the non-essential in order to focus on what’s truly important, what gives our lives meaning, what gives us joy and value. Minimalism is something that I posted about here a few weeks ago.  It is a lifestyle that Cody and I became very interested in, specifically after moving to Alaska.  We had WAY too many things in our lives and not enough adventure.  As all things in life though, it is a work in progress.

We are still in the process of de-cluttering our lives and it has been difficult at times. There are books, furniture, movies, and frankly just lots of stuff that we have accumulated. Personally, getting rid of clothes has been a difficulty.  I gave away three entire trash-bags of summer clothes when we move…

Veggie Pizza

Pizza is one of my favorite foods of all time.  It has veggies, cheese, bread, and basically everything I could ever want in a meal.  Sometimes though, you gotta spice up your pizza a bit! This pizza recipe is one of my favorites to make for parties/cookouts/weekly lunches.  It is perfect for parties and cookouts because it is fingerfood-ish and quick to make.  I also like it for lunch because it keeps me feeling full for a long time!

So, for this pizza you just bake a pizza crust to the package directions (without anything on it) and let it cool for 10-15minutes.  Meanwhile, whip up a package of ranch dip (the powdered kind, and they DO make vegan/organic) and mix it with your favorite dairy or non-dairy sour cream, I prefer Tofutti.  Spread the mix on the cooled pizza crust and add the toppings of your choice! I usually add peppers, carrots, onions, and broccoli.  I haven't tried it with spinach (yet) but I really want to at some point! I also recommend loading it up with veggie…

Perseverance Trail

This weekend we went hiking! Ok, so that may not be very surprising since we go hiking EVERY weekend.  But, we have been meaning to make it out to Perseverance Trail in Juneau for weeks and keep getting distracted by other activities.  Check out the links here and here if you are interested in hiking this trail/ learning more about it.  The trail is well maintained, although fairly rocky at places and moderately steep (especially the first 1/4mile).  It is three miles long (or six miles roundtrip), so if you hike the whole thing you can really make an afternoon out of it.  The trail also branches off into a ton of other trails.  So, halfway through you can choose to head out farther into the wilderness on Granite Creek Trail or head up Mt. Juneau for some breathtaking views.  It really is a great trail! 
The trail started and we were immediately greeted by two signs.  One of them was simply warning us of the steep cliffs on the trail (it is in the mountains) but the other one was lett…

Smoked Salmon Pizza

Today I thought that I would post a very "Alaska-ish" recipe that will appease my meat-eating friends and family.  While I do not eat meat, Cody does (only organic and mostly local).  I came home from work on Wednesday night to find him cooking this tasty-looking pizza.  It isn't necessarily the most healthy (unless you count the fish) because of the gobs of cheese but it was apparently VERY tasty.  So, here is the recipe for Smoked Salmon Pizza.

1 smoked salmon fillet
1 pizza crust (pre-made, homemade, any kind works)
Marinara or Tomato Sauce
Alfredo Sauce
Mozzarella Medallions (natural, old-school mozzarella chunks)
Any additional cheese (Cody used a mix of cheddar and parmesan)
Spices (of your choosing)

Directions: Pre-heat oven per crust directions.  Shred the salmon fillet.  Mix the two sauces together and spread on the crust.  Top with shredded salmon, spices, and cheeses.  Cook per crust directions (ours took about 15minutes). Enjoy!

Cody gave the pizza…

Summer Ice

I know that I have posted pictures of the Mendenhall Glacier a few times in this blog.  However, I intend to keep posting them because, I mean, it's a GLACIER.  How many of you have seen a glacier? Probably not very many (ha ha).  I know I hadn't seen one before moving to Alaska.  So, I will continue to share the awesome-ness of the wild and random hunks of ice in my state.

As you can see in the picture above, that was the glacier in the middle of winter (January or February I think). Cody and I hadn't been out there in a couple of months so we loaded up the car and headed out to the Tongass National Forest.  When we first arrived we were a bit overwhelmed…tour buses and tourists EVERYWHERE.  We had to park quite a ways away (we normally park right at the entrance). Then, we had to fight through hundreds (possibly thousands) of people just to get to the trailhead.  It took longer than usual to do the 30-minute walk to Nugget Falls because of the sheer volume of people on …

Do Vegetarians Go Fishing?

Today's post is about my adventures fishing in Alaska.  Before I start though, I thought I should address that fact that I AM a vegetarian.  Let's rewind…my veggie beliefs began at an early age.  I began refusing meat when my parents first tried giving it to me in my toddler years.  They were supportive of the no-meat attitude I had somehow developed by the age of two.  So, I just never ate meat and I was always actively against it.  As I grew older I was mainly against factory farming and big business controlling our food (I hate Monsanto too but that's a conversation for another day). I marched in parades to support vegetarian/vegan lifestyles, I handed out pamphlets, and generally supported my fellow veg-lovers and animals!

Then, I moved to Alaska in 2010 and saw the lack of resources.  It was impossible for me to be a vegetarian living in the Bush.  There was no milk of any kind (powdered-only), no vegetables, no fruit, and generally not a whole lot to choose from.  It…

Accidental Trails

Cody and I went exploring last weekend and stumbled upon some truly wonderful trails.  We intended to hike Perseverance Trail but got distracted by Mt. Roberts, Flume Trail, and about 100 other little off-shoot trails that the area had to offer.  Whoops!  Oh well, we ended up having an amazing time and spending some much needed one-on-one time together :)

It was a pretty toasty day for SE Alaska (75ish) so we even kicked off our shoes and took a dip (legs only) in the freezing waters. The water temperature was probably in the 40's where we stuck our legs in.  It was so invigorating!  We splashed around a bit in the water, gave directions to various tourists (they were out like flies last weekend), and then sunned ourselves for a bit on some old tree stumps. Relaxation at its finest.

There were so many amazing  views to see on the trails, I wish I could capture them better to share with everyone.  Cody and I spent a lot of time talking about our love for Juneau and the entire state…

Rainy Day Yoga

We are finally getting back our "typical" SE Alaskan weather….

In other words,  it is in the 60's and raining.  The super awesome summer weather lasted for almost a month though so the rain is a nice little break.  The views from my house are back to normal.

Since it has been raining so much the last few days I have been re-discovering my love for Jillian Michaels.  I love all of her workout DVD's. But, her yoga DVD is my current favorite.  I highly recommend trying it out, especially if you are interested in body-weight strength training (using your body weight to build up muscle).  I really enjoy body weight training so I am digging the workouts.  And, clearly Specks is enjoying her workouts too ;)

As far as a workout schedule goes, my days are ruled a little bit by the weather.  I am feeling a pretty lazy about running in the rain lately.  But, if I actually manage to stick to my weekly workout routine (and I am going to REALLY try) it will look like this…