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Category Archives: Recipes

Add to a cup of strong black coffee, one heaping TBSP of drinking chocolate, 2-3 drops of peppermint extract, a TBSP of heavy cream. Stir well. Top with whip. Enjoy!

Today is my Grandpa’s birthday. I was always excited to celebrate with him. It meant there would be chocolate cake with pecans and black walnut ice cream or, if Grandma was being especially nice, raisin pecan pie. It was his favorite. I’m pretty sure he’s the reason I love pecans so much.

CEW, 1997

Grandpa’s birthday also meant that Thanksgiving was coming as well as another couple birthdays… It was party time!

Now, back to the raisin pecan pie.

It wasn’t like a pecan pie (my favorite pie) with raisins. No, it was like a funeral pie with pecans. I remember watching Grandma boil the raisins to plump them up. Prepare a double pie crust. Assembling and baking it in her cool old electric range with double upper ovens and a cook top that retracted when not in use.

Grandpa sure loved that pie. I haven’t made one in ages. Actually I’ve only ever made it once IIRC. It’s a lot of work and we’ll, if you’re not a raisin lover, I mean really love raisins, it’s gonna take a while to eat that whole pie by yourself. I don’t have Grandma’s recipe anymore, but here’s a close approximation. Just add a whole bunch of chopped (or halved) pecans.

So I’ll not be making his favorite pie today. Just reminiscing about The Old Codger and being thankful for having experienced life with him.

Rest peacefully Nicky Baby.

I scored a big box of mixed citrus at the local IGA today so I thought I’d try out my new fermentation weights I got for my birthday!

Thanks Mo, best gift ever!

The box had lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit. We’ll eat the oranges and grapefruit fresh but I have way too many lemons and limes to use up in time. So what better way to preserve them but to ferment them! Fermented lemons are so delicious! But I haven’t tried limes yet. No time like the present!

I used this recipe as my guide/inspiration.

I sterilized my quart jars and weights and started prepping my lemons & limes. I washed them thoroughly and quartered them not cutting all the way through. I kept them attached at the base, like little blooming citrus flowers.

I packed them tightly in a jar layering salt liberally in-between the fruit. I used about a half a cup of pickling salt per jar. I filled in gaps with quarter slices and topped off the jar with fresh squeezed juice.

Weight in place, submerged in the salty lime juice.

I had some jalapeno peppers in the fridge that needed attention so I threw those together with some sliced onions, garlic and sliced lime, covered with saltwater brine. I’ll leave my jays on the counter for about a month then move to the fridge.

Now the hard part, waiting until they are ready. Fermented lemons are so good and have such intense flavor. Perfect in recipes calling for lemon juice, rind or flavoring. Once fermented, the rinds are edible. Chop them up in tiny dices and add to any dish calling for lemon something or other. Add the juice as well. It’s all good. I hear that fermented limes make a killer margarita. I’ll be trying that out sometime this summer I’m sure!

They’re so pretty!

Living in the far North is not only a beautiful and majestic experience but it’s a lesson in working with what you have, especially with food.

Our climate here in South Central is mild compared to other parts of Alaska. With our long daylight hours in summer we can grow a vast array of vegetables. Some of which can get quite large, huge cabbage anyone? Cruciferous vegetables do very well here as do potatoes, carrots, rhubarb and others. What doesn’t do well here are long season and heat loving growers like pumpkins, eggplant, tomatoes and okra.

We can grow tomatoes, in greenhouses, and I have friends who do successfully each year. Usually there’s a sample of tomatoes and cucumbers from our friends Jane & Marion each summer. The taste of those fresh veggies just does something magical to my soul. There’s just no comparison with grocery store veg.

The one thing I haven’t been able to grow, and I haven’t found anyone else who is either, is okra. I tried one year, got some blooms. But just as the blooms were falling off and baby okra buds were appearing we had a hard frost and I lost everything in the greenhouse. A real bummer.

Locally okra is available two ways: pickled and frozen. The pickled okra is $5 for a small jar which is reserved for special occasions and not regularly purchased. I do buy the frozen quite often though. I make do. Sometimes I bread it frozen and fry it but usually it just goes into a gumbo or my “good & plenty” southern casserole.

The price has gone up!

I once saw fresh okra at a local store about 7-8 years ago, and I got excited! But as soon as I got close enough to examine it all hope was lost. It was already too far gone to eat. Boo!

So I’ll continue to make do with my frozen okra and whenever I’m outside at the right season I’ll gorge myself on fresh okra and tomatoes!

Here’s a great resource about okra and some recipes to try. Not only is it tasty but it’s really good for you. And I’ll walk you through my hot dish recipe.

Good & Plenty Southern Casserole

You will need 2 cans of black eyed peas, or equivalent of home-cooked, 1 can Rotel or similar style tomatoes with chilies, I pkg frozen okra (or fresh if you’re so lucky), Cajun seasoning, 1 lb sausage, (I use chicken, turkey or homemade moose) and a batch of cornbread batter. You can use a box mix or make it from scratch.

Fry the sausage until cooked through. Add the cans of veg, Cajun seasoning to taste and frozen okra. Mix well. Pour into a large casserole dish (13×9) then top with the cornbread batter.

Mixture before the cornbread.

Bake in a 350° oven until the cornbread is golden and filling is bubbling hot.

To serve: cut into portions and serve it upside down, cornbread on bottom and filling piled on top. A little hot sauce on top and enjoy! It’s great as a main course or as a side.

Use pre-cooked sausage for a super fast and easy casserole.

After a busy day of craft showing and lots of high energy kids I need a super easy dish! Let me know if you try it!

Here’s how I make them. Warning: I do most of my cooking without recipes so if you’re one of those types who likes a well thought out plan for cooking then skip this for your own sanity. 🤪

Wash one large apple and four small-med potatoes (I leave skins on) and shred in food processor. You can add a squirt of lemon juice if your worried about them browning.

Mix shreds with one egg, gf flour, apx 1/3 cup. + about 1/2 tsp baking powder & large spoonful of sugar-1 Tbsp or so and some cinnamon to taste.

Fry in a hot skillet with veg oil until golden brown. Place on a cooling rack over a catch pan to allow excess oil to drop off. Place in a low oven to keep warm until ready to serve.

To serve, dust with powdered sugar and cinnamon, and top with some whipped cream. Yum!

Pumpkin parfait
Snickers salad

It’s Sukkot and that means lots of gathering together to eat all those special things we don’t normally eat. Like these two dishes.

I loosely based my pumpkin parfait on this recipe. I substituted granola for the Graham crackers and dark Mexican style caramel sauce for the Torani’s. It was a smashing success and no leftovers.

For the Snickers salad I used this recipe. I know, I know, you can’t believe I made a dish with candy bars in it. What can I say, Alaska changes you. I portioned this one out so everyone got a little, so we actually had a bit of leftovers. I hid them in the fridge so the kids don’t know.

Tonight we’re having a Mexican themed taco night. I’m off the hook for dessert but I’m making a few savoury dishes like halibut mango ceviche and cilantro lime slaw.

Happy Sukkot!

Wildcrafting. Verb. The practice of harvesting plants from their natural, or ‘wild’ habitat, primarily for food or medicinal purposes. Also called foraging.

Wild crafting has been a way of life for me but since moving to Alaska it has gained significance. Foraging is a cultural practice here as Native Alaskans have been doing for eons. Plus there are simply so many edible things here in the wild. From spruce needles to mushrooms (multiple edible species), flowers and teas and berries. Oh the berries.

It’s autumn here and that means lingonberries, or as the locals refer to them, low bush cranberries are ready. says this about the Lingonberry, (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), also called cowberry, foxberry, or rock cranberry, small creeping plant of the heath family (Ericaceae), related to the blueberry and cranberry.  And they are delicious.

I’ve been checking them since moose hunting to see if they were ready and finally they are. We’ve had a few good hard frosts and that always makes them sweeter!

A cluster of cranberries.

My berry buddy, Lil Mister, came along and we went exploring. He’s a good berry picker and with his lower-to-the-ground perspective, finds many that I miss!

Little hands picking little berries.

My favorite parts of berry picking are the conversations which span the entirety of the 6 year old imagination, and that little hand slipping into mine and strolling hand in hand with my littlest one. It just melts my heart.

With this batch we’re going to try our first attempt at cranberry cordial. I’m using this recipe as my guide, but I reduced the sugar by half.

Now the hard part, waiting for it to macerate!



Yesterday we were preparing for our Rosh Hashanah service, and having all these fresh local apples, we decided to make some apple prints!

Painted apples

It was chaotic, messy fun. In other words, normal arts and crafts time around here.

All the things.

Each kiddo, and me too of course, printed two cards. We had fun being creative. And it’s always fun to see how each of the kids has a different interpretation on the assignment.

One masterpiece.

For my student taking botany (Lil Bit) this is her instruction on how to do specimen prints (with ink instead). I’m sure she’ll have an entire notebook filled with leaf prints by the end of the school year.

We went on to create some delicious salads to share at our service. I made this one because I love quinoa salads and this salad with kale instead of spinach (because that’s what I had!). Both were delicious and will be added to our regular menu.

Our service was lovely, adorned with beautiful sunflower bouquets! And delicious food of course. And we begin another year! L’Shana Tova!

Mo’s homegrown sunflower bouquets.

Seeing this picture circulate on Facebook made me hungry…

Included with the photo was a recipe for making this scrumptious looking dish, which included a wheat based fry bread. So I decided to try something made with cornmeal for more of an authentic south of the border flavor (not sure where this concoction originated to be honest).

I found this recipe for fried cornmeal bread which I tried out for my wheat-free version. It was okay, needs a bit of tweaking, but everyone loved them! A nice change of pace from Taco Salad!