Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Link I Love

A quick post since I ought to be sleeping already....

Rythm of the Home

I've just begun to dig through it. Lots of interesting stuff there!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The secret to perfect coffee

It still eludes me but I think I'm getting closer.  My local favorite place in the whole world to go for coffee is The Red Beet, newly opened on the Palmer-Wasilla Highway. Everything there is based on the philosophy of FLOSS cuisine: Fresh, local, organic, seasonal, and sustainable. I haven't had anything that wasn't great but the cafe chocolat is my addiction. It is so amazingly smooth - no cigarette butt aftertaste! - and strong and just wonderful.

Its so good that my husband- who does not flirt- was even flirting with the waitress for tips on how to get our French Press coffee to taste like their french press coffee. The three big take-away tips were:

1. Use more grounds. A lot more grounds
2. After you put your grounds and water in, stir before you put the lid on
3. Throw a little bit of fresh beet in with the grounds before you add water.

Then wait 4 minutes and press. Wow.

Our home coffee has gotten so much better. I think I need a different bean to achieve perfection - not to mention the recipe for that lovely cinnamon-laced chocolate sauce also served with the cafe chocolat. Breakfast there tomorrow with a friend before a trip into Anchorage for the Lands End Sale and some thrifting and maybe a new french press.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mr Bento Giveaway

I've been lusting after one of these for a while and now my friend Laura at Hey What's For Dinner Mom is giving one away. Check it out here. You can even enter. If you have to. I guess.

Friday, January 7, 2011

House Goals from the Peak Oil Princess

I read Nesting Place  (she's having a linky party about home goals for the new year) periodically because I enjoy reading about projects on the cheap that actually look good.  My own home is just not so 'together' . I'd like it to be but I have some different interests and priorities than 'normal' people. I get excited about wood cook stoves and grain bins, pull down drying racks and compost containers. Of course I want my house to be lovely but I'm really wanting it to 'work'- even when the power is out or the power is just too expensive. My taste runs less to Architectural Digest and more towards Backwoods Home.  I drool over the kitchen at Granny Miller (but my trim would be painted a nice deep delft blue. Or maybe turquoise...

That said, I now need to turn my house into a lovely, polished, decidedly upscale showplace in the next 90 days on virtually no budget so that it is ready to list and sell quickly at a good price.

We need to:

Replace the flooring through the main dining area
Re-do and paint all the trim and doors upstairs
Finish painting all the trim and doors downstairs
Replace the downstairs/ on stairs carpet
Replace the kitchen counters and sink/faucet
Rehab the cabinets
Put fresh paint on the walls
update some of the world's ugliest light fixtures
Do something about the sad, sad upstairs powder room
replace the front door
pressure wash the outside and re-seal the deck
Declutter ruthlessly
Stage and decorate

That last one is the one that worries me most. I am generally plagued with indecision. Hopefully I'll get it right so that we can sell out quickly to more genteel folks and get our little cabin built quickly!

The idea is that 2011 will become the year that sees us really, totally debt free. Praying that its so!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back on the Lunch Wagon

Christmas break was lovely. At least until the 1st. Then T1 and T2 apparently decided that they had had entirely enough of this being home silliness and declared war on their mother's sanity. Tomorrow I get to send them off to school again and I think it's safe to say that we are ALL delighted. There are just two things I haven't missed about school: 7 AM wakeups and lunches. I'd gotten lazy about lunches anyway, using a lot more processed and packaged food than I wanted because it's just so easy.

Fortunately, one of the kids' Christmas gifts was a tiffin and custom made tiffin carrier. Not only do these little beauties allow me to pack lunch with not a single scrap of plastic or tin foil, they are so cute that they inspire me to come up with new things for lunch. So for the inaugural tiffin packing I sent:

In the top layer:
Homemade blackberry yogurt in the little mini cup
sea salt kettle chips
a sprinkling of sundrops (aka hippie M & Ms)

In the center:
mini sandwiches of greek seasoned pork meatballs on 9 grain rolls with cheater's tzatziki, orange pepper strips and red leaf lettuce

On the bottom:
an orange, cut into 8ths
tropical carrot salad

all in all, I think it's a decent lunch. I get them to eat the things that are important to me (raw local dairy, organic local meat, whole grain bread, fruit, lacto fermented veggies) and they get the foods they think are cool and/or yummy (chips, mini sandwiches, chocolate). Do I know what I'm packing the rest of the week? Uh. No.

There are no pictures of my gorgeous packed tiffins because my camera is dead and I've been hoarding my coin to pay to have the roof repaired after the wind storm. There are pictures of the carriers though! The were made for me by a friend who does this for a living and would gladly make one for you too. Rachel does beautiful work so check out her etsy store if you're in need of a wonderful, one of a kind bag or tiffin carrier of your very own.

My kids love them. They were REALLY excited about them. T1's (top) thrilled him because it was Fish! and the water bottle holder was FISH EGGS! Just like the ones we caught and processed this summer!! Only a little Alaskan boy would be excited about this.  T2 loves his little hedgehogs (he also got a tiny stuffed hedgehog in his stocking)  and SCS was clearly pleased in her quiet way with her not-kiddy bag. When I initially told Rachel what I wanted, I  was planning to purchase the tiffins from Happy Tiffin and was going with a bigger size. When I got to check out, the combination of the higher price and spendy shipping sent me looking again. I found a price I was happy with at Natural Abode but the size was 1/2" smaller in diameter. It turns out that the extra space is actually great- it gives me room to pack them a small plate, utensils, and a napkin. I wish now that I had ordered the bamboo utensil set. Maybe later.

What's going in your kids' lunches this month?

Tropical Carrot Salad

serves 3 kids for lunch with a little leftover for a mom snack

1 cup shredded lacto fermented carrots (or regular shredded/grated carrots)
1/3 cup mayonaise
1 T dried currants (my children are raisin-hating freaks- normal folks use raisins)
about 1/4 cup pineapple bits with a little juice
if you didn't use the lacto fermented gingered carrots, add a little ginger and some salt. if you did, add a dab of honey.

Mix it all up and serve.