There were several things that I was interested in "being" when I reached Adulthood. The pre-requisite mother/housewife, a nurse, school teacher, singer...
I failed miserably at anything that I tried; but the person that I most wanted to be like was my Grandma Truitt. She was awesome!
Her favorite Saint was Mary, of course.
She was the picture of love and patience. She was also the most FUN person that I had ever met, as a child. I still miss her greatly even now as an adult. Whenever she was alive, I would think of her and she would call me on the telephone. If she was thinking of me, I would ring her. Without fail.
Tonight I made three pizzas. Two on home-made crusts, and one on *Bob*oli*.
I sent one with K., and made the other two for a friend who might arrive tonight or tomorrow night. Traveling from Delta, AK., I felt she deserved an adjusted ETA. I'll save her some, most definitely! We have a much anticipated "Girl's Night In!" waiting for us, mmm-hmmm!
I took this opportunity to test my photo skillz (which are sadly lacking!) and try to convey the awesome deliciousness of the dinner that will be available; even though it will have to be re-warmed.
It's time for chicken soup! If I were to make it like good ol' Mom; I'd just open up a can, but you all know--that's so not me! Even my intention to just assemble a simple soup mushroomed into something a bit more complex. What can I say; cooking is my therapy. I made some biscuits using a recipe from Diane's Place. MMMMMM-MMMMM!
I don't know about you; but when it's doing this outside,
it's a good day to make a mess of the kitchen!
First, I boil up a whole chicken. Then I cut up the available veggies, and saute and season them in my dutch oven.
Next, I strain the stock and add it to the veggies.
It turns out different everytime, but this method gets the job done!
So, I returned to Alaska on Friday after a convoluted flight with delays and an extended lay-over with an unexpected hotel stay in Phoenix. Nice room; no clean undies or female sundry thingies. I know; TMI!!! Anyway; needless to say in addition to being sick the last four days of my trip with a chest cold, I can't think of a more crappy way to cap my visit home. I made it alive (barely) and in relatively one piece.
I have some pics from my trip and a few videos to share. I'll post those in the coming days.
It's great to see K. and very strange to find that Joey is truly gone. Knowing something in your mind and realising it in the heart are two different matters indeed. I've been a bit marney the last few days; still expect to see him sneaking up onto the bed, or practicing his "not begging" routine beside the dining room table; drooling all the while, not making eye-contact. There will never be another Joey.
As for seeing the kids and Judy-bug; I had a great visit! My, how quickly time flashes by. I'm getting so old. I still think that I'm in my late thirties, but my body is letting me know that I'm definitely nearing fifty. I am really going to start an exercise regimen this week. No waiting until the New Year. I want to be around for my great-grandkids! Can't do that without taking care of myself; besides I don't think that I'll survive the a**-chewing I will receive from my kids if I don't! ;)
The old "That's the way things go" hits you SMACK in the face. Or rips your heart right out of your stupid, unsuspecting, happy-on-vacation little chest.
Yesterday evening, a week to the day that I left Alaska for a much anticipated visit home; Joey passed from this world. The thing that makes it hard for me is that he was all alone. Sometime between the time K. left for work at 5:00 P.M. and midnight he died in his sleep. K.'s cousin found him on the floor in front of the fireplace when he stopped by to check on the dogs on his lunch-break.
Joey has been with us for the entire time that K. and I have been together. I remember K. building a kennel for him before we were an official couple. I met K. and acquired Joey in the same month.
He would have been 10 years old in January.
I know he has a super deluxe doggie condo with the most awesome Frisbee supply and the best in-house harmonica player.
Have you ever wondered why you don't seem to accomplish anything?
Lately, everything I attempt turns to crap! I can't get a handle on any sort of a routine. I can't even find my arse with both hands; let alone any one else's! I just feel worthless and minuscule, and totally ineffective.
I know there are many folks with much worse matters to attend to than I; but I haven't even been enjoying cooking. That is usually the one thing that relaxes me, and where I can let the creative juices fly! Sorry for that stupid, lame metaphor; but as I pointed out earlier, I kinda suck right now. I don't even seem to even have time to lurk at my favorite blogs, so I can't blame teh innertubes for distracting me from my duties. I feel tired and stressed, and I have an annoying rash on my hips and shoulders that is about to drive me over the edge! I'm even going to have to wedge a doctor appointment in there somehow. Have I mentioned that I hate doctors?
Wel; thanks for letting me bend your ear. It's good to be able to vent once in a while!
Now, if you'll excuse me; I think I left my shoes in the freezer!
Our accommodations were not nearly as rustic as the past roadhouses of this location. We stayed one night and enjoyed the hospitality of the hosts and splendor of the area.
The dining room is the perfect place to experience the Northern Lights. We weren't so lucky as to catch them this trip as they were dormant that night. Darn it!
We had a lovely dinner of baked beans and smoked ribs with salad and a peach torte. Afterward, we admired all of the various iron work and art though out the Lodge. A number of local artists and craftsmen (and craftswomen-not sure what the proper PC terminology is these days!) have donated their skill and works of art to make this a truly special and spiritual space.
We slept on great beds and departed the next day after a relaxed breakfast.
Some of the locals come by for coffee and a bit of conversation. If you call ahead, you can join the guests for dinner. The proprietors love to have a roomful of folks at the table and you needn't stay the night to enjoy the lovely view from the awesome deck.
There are plenty of nooks and crannies for reading or meditation;
and lovely views from every window. The fireplaces alone are works of art, and I can totally see myself parking my tuk-us in front of one to nap; err, I mean read the paper some long winter's evening.
We left by 10:00 A.M. on the hunt for the Wild Alaskan Blueberry. I think that we found about a half a gallon; certainly enough for some Blueberry Vinaigrette. We need to find much more, for hotcakes!
Let me just say, wild blueberries are the best thing for vinaigrette! Yum!!!
Anyway, if you're ever in the neighborhood and want to visit a beautiful place just stop into The Lodge At Black Rapids Glacier. Tell 'em Vikki sent you!
Here's a cute meme that Diane started. Just let her know if you use it so that she can post the results on her blog and throw some linky-linx love her way. She has a sweet blog! Dive in!
1.] How come I can never find: ANYTHING in my purse except when I'm on to looking for the next item??! I suffer the same dilemma when searching for stuff in my fridge. I must streamline!
2.] I wish I'd never started: Not working. I haven't had a job in the three+ years that I have lived in Alaska. I've now become worried that I'm past the age of a "desirable hire." Hey--I hear that the governor's job is available... JK!!! ;)
3.] I wonder why: Murphy's Law is so prevalent in my life? If something can go wrong, it will. You can take that one to the bank!
4.] Mama always told me: That she only had kids in order to avoid having to do any household chores: inside or out. Not in so many words, she just let me know from her loving example.
5.] There's this one thing in my closet that I just can't seem to get rid of: The Mickey Mouse T-Shirt from my youngest daughter that she picked for me on a trip to Disneyland that the kids took with their Dad and step-family years ago.
6.] My favorite guilty pleasure is: Actually getting a whole six hours of sleep! It's usually the first three hours, then up every hour on the hour or worse; aaarrrruugh!!! No wonder I feel like a train wreck! You all thought that I'd say recipe research, right? Right?? I never feel guilty about that(although it is like food porn!)
7.] I always forget to: Check the toasting bread in the broiler. Ask my kids about "The Famous Bruchetta Incident!"
8.] I have never: Been overseas. I would loveLOVELOVE to go to Pompeii and Dublin.
9.] I'm obsessed with: Any new and awesome kitchen gadget! I just wish I could come up with the perfect one that everyone must have in order to make one. million. DOLLARS!!!! And to seem so smart that everyone would be amazed by my brilliance! Snork!
10.] One of my favorite memories is: Times that were shared with all the loved ones at Mom-Mom's house. She always made the best pot roast and about ten side dishes with four or five flavors of ice cream(because she could never make up her mind what her fav was!) Good times. Literally. =}
I never really realized how territorial I am in the kitchen. I found out when K's relatives were here for a couple of weeks.
Now; I can appreciate that everyone has their own way of doing things, as well as their own tastesAND even quirks. I'll bend over back-wards for medical needs and special diets. That is a given.
There isone thing that you can do to absolutely piss me off and that's question my tried and true in my own kuchina!
I'll spare you the details (mostly because I've blocked the memory as I was so white-hot mad that I still can't see straight.) I know that I'm a bit OCD. That goes without saying; however, I just know that a certain order of preparing the various dishes to a meal ensures the freshness of the salad; the creaminess of the sauce and the juiciness of the meat entree. I also think bread should be re-crusted in foil; in the oven-NEVER re-heated in the microwave(unless you like them rubber biscuits) and you don't dilly-dally when I hail, "Soup's On!!!!
It's hard to appear hospitable when your head is spinning ala Exorcist-style when people have crossed the boundary of what is proper in your home-court. I hope to get a handle on that for the next round of summer visitors. Funny; I never had that problem in my kitchen before. Maybe I should hone my delegating skillz.
I think I'm gonna get a sign that says, "No Entry Under Penalty Of Cast Iron Skillet Injury To all Who Presume To Order Resident Cook Around In Her Own One-Butt Kitchen!"
Or some such thing. If anyone has a better, abbreviated version of this same message, I'm open!
1. Link to the person or persons who tagged you. 2. Post the rules on your blog. 3. Copy these questions but add your own answers to them 4. Add one question to the last one, don’t forget to answer your own question 4. Tag as many as you feel like but you have to a least tag one 5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog 6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up. 7. If anyone catches this out in blog world is welcome to jump on board
1. Has the Economy effected you? Yes, we were thinking of buying a car, but now we'd rather think of savings. We are also trying to find more creative ways to do any home improvements around the house.
2. What flowers are blooming in our garden? Petunias, sweet peas and snap dragons. None of my perennials from last year wintered over. I'll just have to try again!
3. What are clouds like your area now? There's a grey and dreary blanket of clouds over Anchorage today and has been for the last three days. Yuck!
4. Do you ware glasses? I just started wearing glasses to read last year; but I noticed a rapid decline in my eyesight about three years ago.
5. Do you have a Target where you live? There is a Target on Muldoon. They also have one in Wasilla which we refer to as "The Deliverance Target."
6. Have you read 10 10 10? No, now I'll have to look that one up!
7. How many letters in your middle name? Three.
8. What is a good motto? "No thanks; I just had a bar of soap!"
9. What was the last movie you saw and rate it. "Benjamin Button." We just watched it with K's cousins. I thought it was lovely and would reccomend it at about a 9. Of course I'm a big sap!
10. What are you having/did you have for breakfast? Fried eggs and bacon with potatoes and wheat toast. Can't go wrong with a classic!
Sorry I've been an absent blogger as of late. We welcomed some unexpected company into our home last week. They will be with us for awhile, and it gives me the oppotunity to be a mother hen once again. I'll have to start staying up a little later so I can catch up with the internets! ;)
This rings true when the various fleets of street sweepers begin marching through the neighborhoods and buroughs. The dirt and dust from months of sanding to allow for traction now casts an unwanted cloud over the greater Anchorage area. The arrival of the sweepers is so celebrated that this event is usually the lead story on the evening news! I have to admit that I'm glad to see them this year too. The usual spring/summer Alaskan scurrying about is a sight for sore eyes.
I too, am ready for sunshine and gardening and relatives.
Well; I'm ready to make those preparations now. For all seven of them, at once!
One of the things I've always been most fearful of is being alone. I never thought that would be an issue in an urban situation. I live in Alaska, yet I also live in a neighborhood that is situated along a very busy road. The fact that we are also located at the intersection of this busy road and one of two entrances to an "exclusive" community complete with a neighborhood association is a subject that causes much thought for me.
There are RULES! Great!
You can't park you vehicle on the side of the street; your motorcycle in the drive-way unless it's summer,(what's that in Alaska; about two months?!)or your RV/travel trailer. If your fence blows down due to 80+ mile an hour winds; they expect you to at least remove the frozen to-the-ground-debris and stack inside your remaining fence-line so as not to offend the other home-owners. If you don't, the neighborhood hooligans will toss them unceremoniously into aforementioned busy road for shits-n-giggles. Having no fence on the corner of this corner lot means less privacy and more traffic noise from the much traveled road and a considerable increase in traffic noise. Have I mentioned that everyone who uses this road seems to have a four wheel drive TRUCK with a HEMI, that sounds like a semi with a souped-up exhaust system, a boom-bass stereo, and an amplified jake-brake system? Kinda brings a whole new light to that "Life is a Hi-way" thang! Yet; you can very well host a moose in your side-yard, and there have been bears sighted in the walking path just below our house. Those things are cool, and what one might expect in this neck of the woods.
Did I mention that I spend a lot of time alone? Right! All of this traffic noise bugs the crap out of me! Not what I would have thought Alaska would hold for an Outside Greenhorn like me! (Outside=Not in/from Alaska)
Living in an urban environment such as Anchorage/Eagle River, I never would have imagined the difficulty in forming friendships. Not so. I know virtually no-one on my street. Great! I still get the "Where are youfrum" query when going about my everyday activities. I've lived here over a year; after residing in Valdez, Alaska for two years. I actually loved living in Valdez; Anchorage-not so much. I may as well live off Copper and Wyoming in Albuquerque!
In all of my life, I've never felt so isolated. My kids are far away; my friends are far away; K. works shift work: I think my pets are growing tired of my constant prater.
As most of you know, that little volcano about a hundred miles from here has been having a bit of a temper-tantrum lately. If you'd like to see a live web cam view, you can check it out here. I mean; had I known this bit of information, I might have been a little more reluctant (i.e vocal) about moving here. Tsunamis and earthquakes are one thing, but multi-orgasmic, pyroclastic mounds this numerous in near proximity of home is too close for comfort; IMO. The ash fall has passed us by so far, so we're fine; but if it will ease your worried minds, just make checks payable to:
Kkryno's Volcano Relief Fund I'm-So-Happy-Ville, AK. 99577*
I'm sure it's tax-deductible, and you'll be helping me maintain my mind*numbing supply of martinis and onion dip; batteries, filter masks, and panti-hose too! You can also purchase for your very own for a limitedtime (spoken in Billy Mays-ease!!!) this AMAZING JAR OF GENUINE ALASKAN VOLCANO DUST! Share in a bit of Authentic Alaskana, all for three easy payments of $19.95!!! Supplies are endless, so buy NOW! Of course I'd have to drive to Talkeetna to get it, but I'd do it for you; and I'll wave hello to Sarah on my way through Wasilla. Unless she's out on a speaking engagement in the Lower 48 (again!)
(Ever notice that Billy Mays' initials are B.M.???!!!11) EEEEWWWW!
Alaska Airlines is flying again, so if I get nervous about Redoubt again; I'm sure for a phenomenal fee, they will be happy to cart my generous butt out of here.
All is well, so far. :)
*I am just kidding; ya know!
(I found the photo of this lovely little meltdown here.)
I've been in the kitchen again (go figure!) and have had a craving that started weeks and weeks ago. I've decided to attempt my version of these little (okay BIG) bites of Heaven. My goodness! Inspired by Linda, and Greg; I finally had to give in!
So, unfortunately; this apparatus was really designed for jalapenos. I had a major hankerin' for some Hatch green chiles, but the only thing available were some very mild Anaheims; must make due with what's around! No matter; the smell while these were roasting was teh awesome! Anything with cheese and bacon has my number!
The list of ingredients I used are as follows:
Bacon--2 strips; chopped. Red Onion--2 or 3 slices; diced. Garlic--1 or 2 cloves; minced. 1 lb. Cream Cheese--room temperature. White and Yellow Sharp Cheddar--1 Cup, heaping; grated. (guard carefully, for some reason, this ingredient seems to disappear into thin air around here!) Plain yogurt--4 Tablespoons. Salt and Pepper to taste. Green Chiles--6 large and firm; seeded. More Bacon (yeah!)--6 slices.
Saute the chopped bacon, onions, garlic and a couple of sprinkles each of salt and pepper until bacon is crisp and the onions are transparent. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and dab off excess grease. Set aside until a bit later (Keep a look-out for cheese stealer; he likes bacon, too! A quick smack on the offending hand usually sends him packing, but be diligent!)
In a medium sized bowl, moosh-up the cream cheese fairly well; then add the cheddars, saute mix, and more salt and pepper. Moosh some more (moosh being the best word I can come up with to describe what to do to this stuff!) Remove to a pastry bag or a zipping sandwich bag with an 1/8 corner trimmed off to allow you to squirt the mixture into the chiles until full. Fun, huh?!
Wrap in bacon, securing the slices with a toothpick and place in the chile stand. If you don't have one, you can improvise with some heavy-duty aluminum foil and a large bread pan.
Bake at 350* F. until cheese is toasted on top, and the bacon is done to your liking.(my bacon could have used some crisping. K. suggests nucro-waving the strips a bit before wrapping them around the chiles and then popping them in the oven. I say good idea!)
You know that little volcano that K. has alluded to on his blog
The one pictured here:
Well--the view out side my window at sunset tonight showed a plume a bit bigger than that! Oh. My. Goodness!!!!!
Needless to say; I'm a bit anxious...
I'm wondering how well two dogs, (one 64lbs. one 7 lbs.) a cat, a bird; along with a large kennel AND a heavy-duty bird cage will fit into an older (late 1990's) Jeep Cherokee. Is there even a possiblity of luggage?
Just a bit of an update. We aren't in the path of lava flow as there is ocean beetween that gurgling mass of rock. I'm more concerned with ash. The volcano is about 90 miles as the crow flies and the watch level has been raised to ORANGE. OOO-ooo!
Gardening, sunshine, herbs, animals, the outdoors, friendship, music. There are some other things; but this can sum it up pretty much.
If you've followed this blog much, you can surmise that I lurve to cook. A lot.
There have been some major fails of late. Ask my kids about bruschetta, and you'll hear some massive chuckles and some outright guffaws (ingrates!) Inquire about my recent attempt at making red chile sauce, (a miserable fail at something I cut my teeth on growing up in the Southwest) and you'll see a grown woman cry almost hysterically! K. could probably do a fine post about scooping my groveling, sorry ass off of the kitchen floor; but I digress...
My confidence has been rocked to the core with these recent short-falls; but there has been one shining beacon to raise my foodie heart from this culinary chasm: the 6 quart enamelled, cast iron dutch oven!
OOOOAHHHOOOOHHHHHAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!(sung in multi-layered celestial voices straight from Heaven Above; with blinding sunbeams all around!)
We found this little beauty at Costco for $45.00! I know; $45.00!!! I had been watching all of the stores in this area for months and months. I couldn't believe my eyes when I spotted this gem on the shelf at the dreaded big-box store extraordinaire. I latched onto it; mumbling, "mmmmhh; my Precious!!!" I know if someone had spied me in that private, personal moment; they saw a glazed-over, almost junkie look in my eyes. I spied K. coming up the aisle, and tempered my naked abandon, but it did not go unnoticed! I mumbled something about a great bargain, and waiting forever; he knew I would not be denied. He acquiesced.
A whole chicken with quartered onions, baby carrots, bell pepper, local red potatoes and criminis with fresh basil, roasted garlic and a few sprigs of fresh thyme sprinkled with some marjoram, salt and pepper. Magnifique!!! A lovely loaf of fresh, rustic (HOME-MADE!) basil and asiago bread and; OHHH!
As my friend C.R. has been known to say, "T'was guuud!"
Now if I could just figure out that bruschetta and red chile thang...(not together, of course!)
(I must add that K. is totally the one to have credit for teh lovely pic! If I was the responsible party, there would be thumbs and fingers blocking the frame fer sure!)
What a difference a few months (okay; about six months) make! This summer when the kids were here, one of our day trips included a journey to Portage Lake. It doesn't take long to get there. I think navigating traffic through Anchorage from Eagle River is more of a hassle than any other part of the ride. We rode along the Seward Highway as it paralleled the shoreline at Turnagain Arm (how it looked the year I was born) and The Alaska Railroad in early February 2009.
That's frozen ocean water, folks!
A foreboding yet awesome view along Turnagain on one of our recent forays early this month.(Captured by K., of course!)
I have to say that the scenery on this route is breathtaking; any time of year. To be able to see something this wild and majestic within an hour and fifteen minutes from your back door is most wonderful.
Anyway, here's Portage Lake in June or July of 2008. Notice the piece of glacier ice. I swear it never changed through the season. I think it's plastic and it's tethered there during the summer season! JK!!!
This is a shot of us near the visitor's center.
The visitor's center: February 2009. BRRRRR!!!
Here are a few more from our time with the kids in "summer" of 2008; and K. and my trip a few weeks ago. Enjoy!
Three of my favorite people! (there's that camera-hogging hunk of ice again!)
As most of you know, I'm a little obsessed with food. Okay; maybe alot! Food preparation and conjuring up my own unique twist on recipes has become a creative outlet for me. I'm really enjoying this (even if my waistline isn't!)
I absolutely LURVE pasta of any sort, so I'm always searching for new and different kinds. The other day, I grabbed these little lovlies on impulse. De Cecco Perciatelli are a thicker, heartier type of noodle with a higher gluten content that ensures firmness while cooking. Kneaded with cold water to give the macaroni sweetness, and coarse bronze drawn to impart a sort of rough surface that grabs any sauce you like!
But the best part is; these noodles pack a surprise! They have a tiny hole running the length of the pasta; like a little cocktail straw!
Now Mama can't say not to play with your food! ;o)