Beet Juice Quinoa

This recipe is so simple I probably can’t call it a recipe, but thought it was worth a share. I had some beet juice and water chestnut liquid left from another food preparation, so instead of throwing them out I used them to replace half the water for my quinoa.  It not only gave the quinoa a nice tinted color for an interesting plating, but also was a nice twist on the taste buds.  Also if you live in a dry cabin like me, it’s an easy way to use a little less water and utilize available liquids instead of them going to waste.  This experience has made me more open to trying this again with some other veg. juices.

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Thankful at 13 degrees

While shoveling I felt weirdly peaceful knowing I no longer have anything in this cabin worth stealing. The most valuable thing was the security equipment that was stolen… I think this is a great lesson in both how real life is in Alaska sometimes and how freeing minimalism can be.

170222  Today was a day of days.  I taught 2nd grade all day in Fairbanks, then I threw a bunch of stuff in my car trying to catch every microsecond of light I could for the 2 hour drive ahead of me in snow flurry filled conditions.  I have no idea where to begin the thanksfuls for this day, so I’m just going to begin at the start of my car trip.  Thankful that the library in Fairbanks opts not to fine people for late books, they will simply charge you for it if it’s a month or two past due, and if you bring it back you get your money back. So I didn’t have to detour to the other side of town to return my items due today.  I was also thankful that the flurries subsided around the same time the traffic died down about 1/3rd of the way to my cabin.  I arrived just as the darkness began to overtake the sky and didn’t have to decipher the road or ditches so hard for those tanks we call moose.

I arrived to my cabin in late Feb for the first time since just after Christmas, and I had that knowing feeling when I saw the drive buried in over a foot of snow and a set of tracks from the end of the driveway to the house.  Without walking on them I followed them all around the house, leaving me to wade through foot and a half deep snow and find my back door broken open.  I went in and found the only thing that appeared missing was the game cam that was for tracking intruders…apparently not well hidden enough.  I gathered myself and went back to the car the only spot of warmth around where I could collect my thoughts for a moment and quit moving.  Thankful that the weather was over 10 degrees and the car was still warm now that my jeans were soaked and cold.  This one is so big I can’t even say.  If the weather had been even -20 which is an easy possibility any winter day here, then every thing after this point would be 3 times harder with 4 times more stress factor.  You can’t mess around with your core warmth when you are arriving to a cold cabin.  I was so thankful for my trusty Blaze King stove and kindling that was quick to light.

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Though it would be a few hours before I couldn’t see my breath inside, it went right to work.  Then I changed into my reliable underarmour fleece pants.  Thankful.  Also thankful for the few minutes left of energy in my phone that make a quick call to let someone know my situation before it died and would not charge for a few hours until everything warmed up.  Thankful for the long snow shovel in the shed left by the previous owners so I could carve a parking space for my car in the driveway.  And thankful for years growing up in Minnesota winters so I can competently use a snow shovel.  And thankful for the know how to break up the work.  Stop shoveling, get some bags from the car, haul them to the house.  Check that the wood stove is still keeping fire.  Go back out and shovel some more.

Thankful that Taylor and I had chainsawed and stacked wood over the summer to prepare for winter warmth. Thankful to have the woodstove at all since the back up propane fueled Toyo won’t start.  And so thankful that this summer we moved the power pole got the electricity reactivated so I can turn on lights and see, and even have outdoor light for my shoveling.

While shoveling I felt weirdly peaceful knowing I no longer have anything in this cabin worth stealing.  The most valuable thing was the security equipment that was stolen…   I think this is a great lesson in both how real life is in Alaska sometimes and how freeing minimalism can be.  There were still some totes upturned, and crates rifled through, but I think the thief quickly realized there wasn’t much (s)he could gain from this house except bedding, kitchenware and home repair.  I am also really grateful that the person did not do needless damage to my things.  This is the fourth time my place has been broken into, and I feel like I learn a little bit more every time, and I let go a little bit more every time.  And weirdly have a little more faith in humanity.

(Side note: Today I also realized it’s hard to be creative when your time is consumed by basic need fulfillment.  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in action!)

170121: Dry Cabin Minimalism Marriage

We each get one bowl, one plate, one knife, one spoon, one fork, two cups….So last week we took all the other serving dishes and put them up on a shelf, off limits except for guests.

Yes, we live in a dry cabin, and it is the dry cabin and minimalism which are married here, not my beau and I.  I never intentionally set out to be a minimalist, (and trust me I have a long way to go), but sometimes it’s just the natural answer.  I have lived in a dry cabin on and off since 2009.  But I have never lived with anyone else in a dry cabin until mid Nov. 2016. So it’s just been a few months and we were fortunate to get a sweet little place.

But time to time we have still struggled with “the dish mountain”.  First it’s just a dish or two and you think, “oh that’s nothing, I’ll get it next time around”.  Then you get sick for a few days and feel elated if you can muster the energy to make tea. Before you know it “the dish mountain” has appeared.  We try to take turns and stay on top of it, but like all things, sometimes we fail.  Not liking to fail the same way twice our newest solution is one that we tried on when we were first living together down in Montana in September.  We each get one bowl, one plate, one knife, one spoon, one fork, two cups.  We cheat a little because we have 2 extra bowls.  One is extra large for salads and one is a mini for sauces/ snacks etc.  So last week we took all the other serving dishes and put them up on a shelf, off limits except for guests.

So far it’s going well.  I love having a clean counter, more space to prepare food and more ease finding the cooking implements I need most. The bowls and plates we use I made in college using an oven safe glaze, so I can warm and bake directly in them if the container warms up with the oven.

I also reduced some of the cooking utensils we don’t seem to use.  Now we are easily accountable for clean up.  We have to if we want to use our bowl, fork etc again! ;).

UPDATE 1/28/17 I’ve never been so excited before when all my dishes are dirty!  I’m not excited to wash them, but was so excited to see how small the pile is, when we even have our favorite pans and utensils all dirty.  Wish I had a before picture, but just compare it to your own load when you have a lot of dishes.

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So here is a a picture I took yesterday of all of our dishes being dirty and the empty shelf where they would be if clean.  (The white coffee cup and everything behind it are usually on the counter, not part of dishes.) It feels great that it doesn’t seem daunting.  Actually, it was so undaunting that my boyfriend did them all last night of his own volition, beat that?!

If you are curious about dry cabin living, or minimalism feel free to ask questions.  I’ll post more in the future on these subjects, I’m sure.img_6271