Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Banana bread

Bananas bread.... maybe I should be baking cookies or making chocolates, but I had mushy bananas staring at me on my kitchen counter. i made the linked recipe from, but i added a teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon each of cloves and nutmeg. yum! try it!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My Willow House Adventure

I was perusing Pinterest a couple months ago (before my work blocked the site, which I am sure had nothing to do with me...). I came across these large glass vases.

I clicked on the picture to find them, because I haaave to get them. I end up on the Willow House store site. Curiosity set in and I wanted to know what Willow House was. Willow House was Southern Living at Home.


How do I host a party? Because I want those vases, but I could get them for a host discount or even free. I searched my zip code and the closest consultant was in the state of Washington...what?!

Anyway, after thinking about the opportunity of bringing this Simply Good Design to Alaska and the possibility of bringing in extra income, I signed up!

I love all the designs of Willow House and more recently added the jewelry line by Sara Blaine! Please check out my site, sign up for the monthly newsletter, and let me know if you would like to host a party (it is all about those host credits!)!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Would it make you completely jealous if I told you this was about 30 minutes from my front door?

Sadly, summer is quickly winding to an end here in Alaska. The trees have already turned shade of yellow since the weekend and leaves are starting to fall . BUT, we had a gorgeous day last Sunday! Perfect day for a drive south from Anchorage. The views from the highway never ever get old. The mountains just come up right out of the inlet. At the tops of the mountains, you can see bits of bright icy blue glaciers. It's incredible!

Hope you all have a safe Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Scrumptious Salmon Cakes

I think I forgot to mention before that my husband went on a fishing charter recently and came home with a ton of fish! Well, not literally a ton...but you get my exaggeration. We even shared with our families and still have about 20 pounds of fish in our freezer! I am not complaining. This is the reason I am posting yet another salmon recipe. :)

I've searched for good, creative salmon recipes online, but I haven't found much that doesn't involve a sweet glaze of some sort (not a huge fan of sweet glazes on my salmon). I have made salmon cakes in the past but couldn't find the recipe I used. Searching the other day, I did find a couple online. None of them look perfect so I've compiled parts of each one to come up with my own. I think it's a keeper.

Here is what I did:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

I took a small baking sheet and lined with foil. After rinsing the salmon and removing all bones, I placed on the ungreased foil (skin side down).

Generously salt and pepper the salmon fillet (to your liking).

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until salmon is pale in color and flaky when forked. (yeah, forked should be a verb)

Allow that to cool a bit. Then, flake the salmon (watching for any bones in case you missed any) and put in bowl to cool.

This picture is less than appetizing, but you don't have to waste any of the fish. The skin sticks to the foil and all the salmon is eaten. :)

While the cooked, flaked salmon is cooling, dice your onion and celery (about a cup of each). Cook on medium heat with butter, Tabasco, parsley, Worcestershire, and seasoning(s) until tender.

Allow the onion mixture to cool a bit before adding to the flaked salmon.

Add bread crumbs, mayo, mustard, and eggs. Mix until combined.

Shape into patties. I used my ice cream scoop for uniform size and shaped like you would a hamburger patty. Refrigerate the shaped patties for 15 - 20 minutes. Heat skillet or saute pan with two tablespoons each, butter and oil. When heated put cakes into hot oil mixture.

Cook about 4 minutes on each side until browning.

Remove and place on plate lined with paper towels.

Here's what you'll need to make your own salmon cakes:

1 pound salmon fillet
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
3 tablespoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (I use Tony's)
1 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 eggs slightly beaten

To fry in:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil

If you make them, let me know what you think or what you did different! I think there is so much more that you could do with this recipe.


Friday, August 26, 2011


Oh my goodness...

Here is how my day started:

I arrived at work 15 minutes early (yay me!). That means I get to make the first pot of communal coffee!
This is a strange, small victory for me. Someone around here makes what I refer to as "coffee-water" aka "the most watered down coffee ever".

I start a nice (strong) pot of coffee, and walk away to do other morning tasks. I go back to the break room about 10 minutes later to fill my giant coffee mug, and lo and behold there is only about a cup left in the pot!

How does this even happen? I was only away for 10 minutes...

So, here is the "Monday" part of my Friday:
I fill my cup and start a new pot for the next person.
Nice of me, right?
But when I go to put the grounds in the filter...

I scoop the coffee grounds into my poured cup of coffee!!

Let's just start today over. I will leave, go purchase a coffee with no grounds in it and come back to the office.

Hope everyone has a great Friday! :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thankful Thursday

A few things I am thankful for...

my husband - our awesome high fives and fist bumps

my nieces & nephews - they all make me smile

sunshine in Alaska after so much rain

the comforting smell of cinnamon

hot glue guns

my large washer and dryer :) I procrastinate

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week!


PS. if you want to receive emails of new posts, you can sign up now. :)

These pictures were taken about an hour from my house. Amazing scenery surrounds me.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

The other day, I was strolling through Walmart. I was in the baking isle when I came across Andes Mint Baking Chips. I thought what a great idea! Mint chocolate chip cookies sound delish and my husband always loves the little Andes Mints at restaurants! I will make him the best cookies he has ever had.

So here's what I did:

I like to make things as simple as possible when baking. So, I get all my ingredients ready before I start mixing.
(AKA Mise en Place = everything in place) 

I mix my dry ingredients in one bowl and set to the side.
Then I cream the butter and sugar together until there are no lumps of butter in the mixture.
"lumps of butter" sounds super appetizing, right?

Start adding your liquids (eggs and vanilla), beat until blended and smooth.

Add your dry ingredients until almost all the way blended.
The reason I do this is because you still have the chips to add and you'll be mixing those in. This will help to not over mix.

over mixing = tough cookies

Add the chips.
I added the whole bag of Andes Mint chips and about a cup of semi sweet chocolate chips.

I'm sure everyone knows this little tidbit of information, but just in case you do not:
You want to make perfectly round cookies?
Come know you do....I can't possibly be the only one that wants them to be all uniform. Maybe I am though...
Anyway, use a metal cookie scoop! Like an ice cream scoop but smaller. Use the side of the bowl to scrape off extra.
You could definitely use an actual ice cream scoop buuut I wouldn't recommend it.  
Scoop onto lightly greased pan.

Perfectly shaped, evenly sized cookie dough balls...
what else would you call them? They aren't officially cookies yet, until they are baked.

Bake for 9-11 minutes depending on your oven.

Now, I do not looove adding food coloring where not needed. I could have added green to this dough with the liquids to make them look like mint cookies. I chose not to this time, but might in the future. :)


Here is the actual recipe:

1 cup butter (softened)
1 granulated white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour (all purpose)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 (10 oz) bag of Andes Mint Chips
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars
Mix in egg and vanilla mixture
Add dry ingredients till almost mixed
Add chips
Scoop on to lightly greased cookie sheet
Bake @ 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes (till the bottoms are browning lightly)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Getting into the groove again...

I've been a bad blogger. I have lots to share, but so little time to write it lately. Here's to hoping I use my time wisely and catch up on this blogging thing. :) With the trees changing already here, I will start back into my "routines".

I made a Patagonia cake a couple weeks ago for a friends birthday. I wasn't sure what to do with that so I just did the logo:
Not too bad for a hand painted logo....

Have a great Monday!

Monday, June 27, 2011

looks what else I did...

So, following the same methods I used on the dresser, I have refinished my night stands.

Here they are before:

I used a darker brown paint as my base color rather than the blue from the dresser. Then painted the same white. and distressed. I am so pleased with the way they turned out.

Friday, June 17, 2011

quick bbq chicken "pizzas"

We were in a hurry the other night and I wanted to make pizza. I didn't have time to make the dough for the crust, and I didn't have one of the pre-made ones on hand.


I did have flour tortilla shells....sort of like a thin crispy crust? Well we tried it. I liked it.

First bake off two chicken breasts (or more depending on how many you'd like to make). Ideally I would have brushed some bbq sauce on these before baking, but there is always next time.

Next lay out three small flour tortilla shells and spread a little bbq sauce on them. I sliced about 1/4 of a sweet onion super thin and spread on top of the tortillas.

Next chop the cooked chicken and evenly disperse on the tortillas.

Bake in 400 degree oven till cheese is melty.

Chop some fresh cilantro while this is baking.


Not bad...will perfect over time. :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thankful Thursday

my mushy day....
There is so much going on around me that I forget to stop and be thankful for everything I do have. We, so often, focus on things we need, think we need, or just want and we fail to notice how much we do have. 

I am thankful...

...for the beauty that surrounds me. {I take for granted how beautiful Alaska is, one quick hike and I'm reminded}

...for my husband {who is also doubling as my taste-tester for experimental meals lately}

...getting to see my dad randomly in traffic {it makes my day}

...sunshine first thing in the morning {wearing sunglasses just puts me in a good mood}

...the smell of anything cinnamon baking in the oven

Monday, June 13, 2011

Look what I did...

Let me start by saying, I am known for starting projects and either not finishing them OR waiting a very, very long time to finish them... (I always start with the best intentions or a grand idea but these quickly turn to a closet full of crafting materials stacked as high as the ceiling just waiting to be used.)


I have confessed it.

This makes it more acceptable, right?

Well, a few years ago my mom was cleaning out a room at her house and asked if I wanted a couple dressers and nightstands. They were a honey colored oak and not my style, but nicer than nothing, right? One of the dressers was really tall but breaking apart in the middle. We took them all the way apart and had David's granddad put a new top on the bottom piece.

So here is what I have finally done with this...

This is before.
(The top is raw oak because David's granddad put it on there and I told him I was going to stain it right away.....I honestly didn't think it would be years....)

After dusting it off, I started sanding...

Then the first layer of paint was this blue from Lowes:

I painted.

I let that dry. Then I painted some white (two coats).

When that dried, the fun started. I took the sander to it and started exposing the color underneath. (I forgot to take pictures of this process). The parts that I sanded all the way to the wood, I used a brown stamp pad and "stained" it.

I also didn't want to spend the money on new hardware right now. So, I taped around the "ivory-ish" part of the handles and spray painted the gold/brass parts black.

TaDa! (I can refinish a dresser and actually like the end product!)

I plan on using the same techniques with my golden oak nightstands too! Check back for improvements! :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

summer salmon with strawberries

In Alaska, we are so spoiled with some of the best seafood ever. When the Copper River red salmons start coming in fresh, I am always excited (true sign of summer season here).

The other night, we went to the store for chicken to throw on the grill....until we saw the fresh salmon. David said to me "lets do something new and exciting". Alright....a summer inspired salmon dish...mmm fresh strawberries....I had an idea! (I was experimenting so I have no exact measurements, but you should still try it)

Here is what I did: First I sprayed a large piece of aluminum foil and placed the clean salmon fillet on it skin side down. Seasoned the fish with salt and pepper. Then, I diced about a quarter of a sweet onion and a handful of those tiny strawberries. Spread those over the top of the salmon along with a splash of apple cider vinegar, a few dashes of balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.

Roll the foil up around the salmon to create a small pouch. Put this on the low preheated grill.

About 15 minutes later I went to check on it, it smelled soooo good already, but I left it on there for about 10 more minutes (keep checking it though).

When the salmon starts to flake like the picture above, it is done. (I know the strawberries lost most their color to the steaming liquid, but they still tasted amazing!)

I served it with rice pilaf and a fresh salad with balsamic dressing. David said it was exactly what he meant by "new and exciting" and couldn't have even suggested anything to make it better. :)