Friday, August 31, 2012

Pumpkin Cake

Really now, is there anything better than Pumpkin Cake?  I don't know.  When it's windy and rainy and ugly all over, one of the best things we have found to do...is to bake.  Pumpkin Cake.  Bundt cake to be exact.  (By the way, when you say "Bundt" you HAVE to say it like the momma on My Big Fat Greek Wedding!!!  "Buuuunnndt")

cake 1

I love baking in Bundt pans.  They always come out so pretty and warm and the better they look, the better they taste.  Don't try to change my mind.  It's true.  Belieeee dat. (That was my attempt at saying Believe That...yes?  no?  ok we won't go there)

One of the EVEN better things about bundt cakes is that you can always mix it up in about 15 minutes, bake it for 45 minutes and an hour later, you have this awesome smelling, great looking cake.  And if you have a kitchen in your office, ahem...like WE do, you can take a break to mix it up.  Go back to your office to work for 45 min and tease everyone while it bakes then sneak it off into your office like I did!

cake 3

Then you send an email to the people you like.... or nevermind.  I shared with everyone who stopped by! (for real, I did) On another note, this is also a way to make friends.  "What!?  You don't like me!?  Have some cake...  See, now you're my friend."  Oh, maybe it doesn't work that way, but the world would be better if we could just forgive and forget over some good coffee and a slice of pumpkin cake.

Do you need friends?  Do you want to make one too?  Good news.  I'm going to share the recipe.  Cause you're my friend.

cake 4

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake
*adapted from Whipped Pumpkin Buttermilk Bundt Cake

2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/4 C sugar
3 eggs
2 1/4 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 C solid pack pumpkin
3/4 C carnation milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla

For Glaze:
2 TBS butter, softened
2 TBS cream cheese, room temperature
1-2 TBS carnation milk
1 C powdered sugar (or more for thicker consistency)

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour your bundt pan.

Beat butter and sugar in mixer until light and fluffy, add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. 

In another bowl mix together pumpkin, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla.

(*CONFESSION:  I do not waste three bowls by doing this.  I mix it all into my kitchenaide mixer and it turns out great.  I did, however, mix it this way for the first couple times I made the cake.  Then I got lazy.  And didn't want to do dishes.  So there.)

With the mixer on low, alternate flour mix, pumpkin mix, flour mix, pumpkin mix and end with flour mix until smooth. 

Carefully spoon batter into bundt pan, smooth top and bake for 45-50 minutes or until wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean.  Cool for at least 15 minutes in pan, then remove and cool to the touch.

While cooling cake make glaze:  Mix butter, cream cheese and milk together.  Add powdered sugar until glaze like consistency.  Pour or Ribbon over top of cake.

cake 2

Make this and you'll have plenty of friends.  Have a great three day weekend!  "Someone" special is having a big birthday on the 4th!  Stay tuned to see what fun we have in store.  (Or well as fun as an avid hunter can have on a three day weekend!!!)



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Good Things

It's a Good Thing.  Quick, who said that?  Me.  No, actually it was Martha Stewart.  But, whatever.

Plenty of good things happening up here.  Aside from the torrential rain that caused a little bit of flooding in town, (Go check out the facebook photos, if you want) we have had a great week.

Temperatures hovering around 45, NO rain, sunny and did I mention, NO rain!? 

Here are my top 5 Good Things that have conspired this week: (In no particular order)

Belly Painting

peackock belly

My pal is nice and ripe with a baby in her belly.  Since she is being sent to the "City" to give birth, give life?  Have birth?  I don't know.  She's gonna have the baby in Anchorage.  Anyway, I had a chance to paint some peacocks on that preggo belly.  Apparently only male peacocks have awesome feathers, so we decided it was A-OK to paint two gay peacocks in love.  Or whatever, you know what I mean.  Pretty belly.  Big baby.  Good luck with that!

Drinking Wine

wine on the boat

One of my friends came up to Kotz to visit for the weekend and we consumed a boatload of wine while discussing world politics and the perpetuation of the Inupiaq culture.  Either that or we watched movies, sewed and didn't talk about work, all while consuming good wine.  Either way it was awesome.  Since we took NO photos of ourselves, here is a photo of me drinking wine from my Kuksa while on the boat.  Hey, I wasn't driving...I was cold...and Kuksa's are meant to be used for drinks.  :) Oh yeah, my mom came up to visit last week too, but she left because it was rainy and ugly.

Fabric Presents

spider fabric

A Facebook Friend of mine messaged me and said, "I have a stash of fabric and junk, I need to make room, you want it?"  Of COURSE, being the sound reduce-reuse-recycler I said YES.  And I swear it was like Christmas in two boxes!  My daughter is in LOVE with the blue glittery spiderweb fabric and has already decided what she will be for Halloween.  "A person with blue glittery spiderweb fabric dress AND cape... with a hood... and black gloves."  Really authentic if you ask me.  So that was an awesome day.  Any day you get free fabric is great, right?  Thanks Britt!

Duck Season

ducks in a boat

It's subsistence waterfowl season up here.  This means, in my house, that every morning my husband is awake, checking weather and greasing his shotgun.  And then every night, I get fresh smoked Duck Breasts, or Duck Sausage, or Duck wrapped in Bacon.  :)  Life is good when you're married to a duck hunter.

New Table for Sewing

thread

I usually keep my sewing stash downstairs in the Guest-Room/Bed-and-Breakfast, but during the month of September my husband lets a bunch of hunters stay there so I have to clean it out.  So, basically once a year I actually go down there and either sew or re-organize my horrendous fabric pile.  THIS year, I inherited a great desk from my mom when she moved and it now houses my pretty rainbow of thread.  Among other things.  But I still have about seventeen totes of fabric to go through by Thursday.  Ugh.  At least I have pretty thread.

Hope you guys had a great week too.  And I just noticed how little I have posted this year.  Holy Cow, I'll try to change that!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Last time I checked the climate and rainfall up here made us a desert.  What's with all this stupid rain!?  If I wanted to live in my rubber boots, we would move to Sitka. 

I don't want to live in them.  They stink.  Like rotten feet.  They're there only to pick berries and get in and out of the boat!  Dumb rain.

deano

On another note, Dean LOVES to live in his boots.  He's from Ketchikan, so living in Xtra-tuffs is normal for him.  He wears them as dress shoes up here.  

We need it to go away so we can get back to boating, and picking berries, and camping, and hunting.  Duck season opened and it's been raining and windy ever since.

ducks

We found the motherload of blueberries and it's rained ever since.  We played softball in the rain, we go to work in the rain, we fish in the rain.  Seriously, whatever made Mother Nature cry this much needs to stop being an ass and make up already. 

kids

So the kids can get back in the boat and explore the outdoors.  So they can roast grapes (Yes, they roasted their grapes) and find caterpillars and get stuck in the mud.

 kids stuck

We want to pick blues, blacks and crans.  We want to go hunting for Geese.  We need the tundra to dry up so our villages stop being flooded.  Flood season isn't until October.

OK, just so we are clear on this.  Summer and Fall are the only benefit to living up here.  We look forward to the three months of nice weather and Momma Nature is taking this away from us.  Winter is brutal.  At least give us Fall.  Crisp fall days where you wake up and see your breath, adjust your long johns and make a fire to warm up.

roasting sticks

And please, by any means necessary...  NO MORE RAIN!  Oh yeah, and World Peace.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Food and Sewing

Sewing and Food.

Story of my life.  First we make food, then we sew.  Or first we sew, then we make food.  Whatever the case may be that's what's going on around here.

Case in point...

This Thursday I made three atikluks.  Then on Friday, I made 21 pies.  :)

Here, I'll show you, on Instagram! 

I'm "finnskimo" if you want to see how much food I post.  Mostly Eskimo food, but some other kind too.  Like Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Yum.

more food

Clockwise from top left...
*Caribou Patiq bones boiling in broth.  Patiq soup is the BEST soup.  You get to suck the marrow out.
*Berries.  Aqpiks (Cloudberries), Blackberries (Crowberries) and Blueberries (Alpine blueberries) a;; mixed together in a huge bowl, ready for us to eat.
*Tail on Smoked Salmon.  Dean smoked about 8 fish and this tail was super cool all hot and smoked!
*Suvaks.  Salmon Eggs, boiled with the heads.  Super yummy.

sewing

*Two of the three atikluks I made.  Cute colors, awesome trim.
*Kaisa, wearing her atikluk, eating muktuk.  Lots of it.
*Figuring out which way to sew the ric rac on the atiluks.
*My current stash of unopened ric rac and bias tape.

food

*Boiled Ingalauqs (Seal intestines) with Blackmeat in seal oil.  Super good.
*A whole bunch of the softest muktuk I've ever eaten. 
*Tundra Blueberry - Apple pie.  Part of the 9 baked pies I made.
*Eskimo salad.  Cabbage, cauliflower, peas, broccoli, turnips, apples, salmon eggs, black meat, white muktuk, black muktuk, dried pike, with a seal oil vinaigrette.  :)

Soul Food for sure.  We had a community celebration to honor the late Senator Al Adams, who passed away with his family last week.  He was a hometown guy and most of Kotzebue showed up. 

We like to get together and eat.  Maybe that's why I'm overweight.  Either that or the food I make is so good that I can't help myself...  hahaha. 

Oh yeah, and today was the first day of school for the kids.  Max and Maddie in 8th grade in Palmer.  Koy is a Junior at Kotzebue High School and Kaisa is in the 4th grade.  My how time flies around here.

Happy eating.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

We have the Blues

Blues.  Muddy, foggy, rainy blues.  Softball has been a mess playing in the rain on a dirt field.  Man, I wish we had grass in this town!  But, after the men's and women's seasons are over, we all kind of just slump into fall with a sigh.

blueberries

Luckily, though, my husband likes to get outta town on a daily basis.  We take the boat, or the 4 wheeler with the kids and just go.  This past weekend we attempted to go camping on the river in tents.

Two boats overflowing with children and food to feed said endless-stomached kids.  And, oops, just one tent!  The men dropped the women off at the mudflats between some willows and the river where we were told by them, "We will be right back.  There are no bullets in the chamber..." 

Wheres coltrane

So, I put my trust .357 side holster on and loaded it with some bear slugs while telling the kids that if I tell them, they need to run into the boat they left for us.  They agreed.  Morgan and I started to unhaul the Arctic Oven (kids tent!) when this most god-awful smell happened across our noses.  Fresh crap.

dean and girls

Bear crap.  Uh oh...  So, I took my gun and walked around a bit to check things out, and found the bears sleeping quarters, a trail to the willows and some fresh crap, still steaming.  So, I did what any other Eskimo would do.  I walked on the trail toward the willows.  Oh, and I texted my husband and said there was a bear and maybe they should hurry up!

kuksa blues

The guys came back fifteen or twenty minutes later and walked into the food supply, watched the willows rustle and shot in the air a couple times to scare it off while we packed everything up and the kids cried.  We headed home to sleep in our bear-proof houses ready for the next day.

The other boat was acting up so Sunday, just Dean the three middle kids and I went scouting for moose, geese, berries and caribou.  And we found the motherload of all motherloads of blueberries.

Huge, grape sized, sweet tundra blueberries!  (Also known as Alpine Blues) So, I endured 18 mosquito bites to the hand while we picked and picked and picked that afternoon. 

coltranes berries

We stopped by the regular "picnic" ground we've dubbed the "Joule-Lukin Picnic Grounds" because we always find the Joules there eating or sitting relaxing.  Dean dragged a huge driftwood log to the area and cut it up for other people because it had looked like people were down to burning willows, due to the lack of driftwood on that side of the river. 

blues

Aside from all the rain we've been having (and are not enjoying again this week), it has been a great year for both Aqpiks and blueberries, so I am beginning to feel OK with the rain if it gives us grape sized berries. 

kaisa eating

Hopefully we get 10-15 gallons of blues this year.

Monday, August 6, 2012

PLAY ball!

Our village kids had their annual softball tournament this past weekend.  Luckily the rain that we've been experiencing let up a bit and allowed the teams to play without fear of catching a cold.

Noatak boated in a team from up river to compete in the Majors, and Nome flew their all-star team in as well.

 kaisa throwing 12

Plenty of us had kids in both leagues so we ran around all weekend between fields screaming like crazy.  (Or we sat between the two and yelled from the outfield to both!)

kaisa batting 12

Kaisa's team, the Drake Dragons, ended up winning the tournament in probably the BEST game of the season.  These kids (ages 7-11) did spectacular!  One of Kaisa's friends caught the ball in right field to force the game into "overtime" of sorts.  Maybe you had to be there, but between the sunshine, the kids having a blast, great coaches and the crowd yelling for both teams, it was awesome.

frank pitching

I won't say that Kaisa is good but she has tons of fun, smiles the entire time, usually plays with the dirt and runs when she's told to run.  So, I don't mind!  She likes to stand at home though, and watch strikes go by.  Gotta work on that, I guess.

 drake dragons

Another parent and I spent the evening after the first game putting the kids names on their shirts using the  Freezer Paper Stenciling  method of painting.   The kids loved their names and numbers. 

shirts backs 12

Koy's team, OTZ Telephone,  battled the losers bracket and forced a double elimination game with Nome Saturday afternoon.  He hit three homeruns during the first championship game, then petered out and hit only one during the true championship.  They lost by a few runs, but again, they had fun as well. 

kiasa team won

In all, the only thing I was disappointed in was the fact that it was windy on Sunday.  The aqpiks are ready to be picked, so we are waiting for the wind to die down and the water to recede so we can get out and pick a few gallons for winter.

koy hitting 12

Other than that, thankfully it wasn't raining.  This stupid summer has been nothing but rain.  We don't usually get more than two or three inches a YEAR, and it's been raining a few inches a week.  Horrible.