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Sled Dog Skippy

Sled Dog Skippy

Sep 28 2010

Hearth and Soul: My attempt at sharing my awesomeness

Filed under: Hearth and Soul, food

Okay, so my amazing and insightful friend, TMC of Return to Rural said that I should take up the foodie flag (that I already shoulder, proudly) and wave it around a bit more for others to see. Hence, a magical category for Tuesdays is born: Hearth and Soul. I wish I could be so clever as to come up with this idea, but (new to me) super food blogger, Girlichef and some other amazing peeps can claim the fame on this one.

Here is their brief manifesto:

“Food from your hearth, to feed your soul. Food that follows your intuition. Preparing food from scratch to nourish your family…body, mind AND soul! Food made with your own hands…infused with energy and passion and intent. Real food made by real people to feed real families (big and small, in blood or spirit). Ingredients from scratch, be it something grown in your garden or raised on your land…food foraged in the field or woods…food from local farms, farmers, or farmers markets…or even ingredients chosen by you from your local market that will be turned into something that feeds your soul. Tapping the food memory that each of us has stored inside; letting it guide and influence our own time in the kitchen.

We hope to embrace not only the “expected” areas of real food, but also those who want to incorporate healthier choices without sacrificing their love of food…how it tastes, the memories it conjures up, the comfort it brings. Yes, we’re trying to steer clear of packaged, processed, and boxed foods in favor of real foods….without absolutely excluding the sometimes frowned upon white sugar or flour (because the body craves what it craves…and sometimes things just don’t taste the same when you replace these). Making conscious choices and being present in the now with what your body needs…and taking steps towards exploring and enjoying healthier choices. If you take the time to listen, your body will tell you what it needs.

The warm comfort of the home hearth…stories, anecdotes, lessons, adventures, journeys, recipes, meals, beverages…we want to share the “why” of how food feeds more than just our bodies…how it also feeds our souls. After all, aren’t these the essential ingredients in defining real food? Please share links from your Hearth ‘n Soul with us each week.”

The reason I wanted to share the quiche is because I associate it with a really difficult but happy time. And also because it is the ONE THING in life that I am absolutely positive that I am really good at. Everyone has that one thing–I know this is mine. The happy but difficult time I speak of was when Ryan and I were working with sled dogs and living in the dog shack–a 19′ X 15′ cabin with no running water fifteen miles outside of town. We had an electric burner (hotplate), a nice big toaster oven and a fridge. And I made some magic happen in the little Toaster Oven that Could by making my first ever quiche in the dead of winter, mostly from local ingredients (all but the dairy) and all organic. We were often tired and hungry but damn, did we eat well during that winter. Eating out and convenience foods were non-existant (poor and far away from town). We also had the same schedule (unlike our current situation) and we were able to cook together and relish being done with the hard outdoor labor for the day. We were often dirty, covered in mud and dog hair and smelling of the outdoors but there we were, whipping up concoctions of French cuisine in that tiny kitchen.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again–I am a Quiche Queen. Like, as in, orgasmic gourmet quiche. I am not normally *this* much of a braggart, but I found the magical place where quiche can be truly amazing and awesome EVERY time…and that place happens to be in my kitchen. Here is my recipe for both the easiest crust in the world and the quiche. Yes, I am sharing and I can’t believe I am doing this because I always want to wow you, but dammit, I’m feeling generous today. I hope you become your own Quiche Queen or King.

Pie Crust

1 and 1/2 c flour (any kind)
1/2 c veggie/olive oil
3 T milk (any kind, soy, almond, etc)
2 T sugar
1 t salt

Mix all items directly in your pie pan with your hands. Seriously. Smooth out with fingers–you will not have a lot of dough, but for quiche, this is not imperative. This is the crust I use for everything in my life. Poke some holes in the base with a fork. Wah-la. No need to pre-bake. This crust is very rustic but awesome.

Quiche

1/4 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, smooshed and chopped
2-3 pieces of kale, chopped
5 large eggs (duck is best)
3/4 c grated parmesan
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c other cheese of your choice (I love mixing smoked gouda and gorgonzola)
heavy pinch of fresh grated pepper
heavy pinch of salt

–Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
–Saute the onion and garlic until golden, in a little oil of your choice. Add the kale and saute until bright green, just a few minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
–Lightly beat the 5 eggs. Slowly add the remaining ingredients to the eggs, mixing, but not too much. Add the kale/onion/garlic to mixture.
–Pour into prepared pie crust/pie pan.
–Bake at 450 for 15 minutes. Then lower oven temp to 350 and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the center is just barely set. You should see a puffed, golden crown. It will collapse after you take it out; don’t be disappointed.
–Allow to cool slightly and set for AT LEAST 20 minutes. This is the hardest part, but I assure you, is necessary to prevent runny magma quiche.
–Allow to cool completely before placing leftovers into fridge. Don’t freeze–it will be watery and gross when thawed.
–Prepare to be wowed by richness. The next day leftovers are even better, truly.

Jul 29 2010

Wherein I declare Alaska can suck it, Part II

Filed under: Uncategorized

It is becoming increasingly apparent that I am not allowed to leave this state unless there is an emergency and/or death.

I’ve been planning on going to my 10 year high school reunion for over half a year, ever since it was planned/announced. I fretted over clothes, got excited to think of all the friends I was going to see, and was happy knowing I would see my parents and spend some time in Bloomington.

But alas, Alaska has taken another crap on my head. Here I present the evidence:

1) Three days before I am to leave I get knocked on my ass by a virus the size of Alaska. It takes its victim out quick, hard and leaves in its wake a quivering, feverish mass of human flesh that is useless. I am not able to go to work for 3 days 5 days and people have to cover for me (because we are perpetually short handed. I miss the days of having a job where the world didn’t stop or someone wasn’t burdened if I didn’t come to the office. Not with The Company). I am told, by a very good and compassionate doctor, that there is nothing I can do other than let the Super Virus run its course. Through MY BRAIN. I then contemplated having Ryan take me out back and put me down Ol Yeller style. Utter misery. I can count the things I have consumed in the past 3 days on less than 4 fingers.

2) I spent many hours preparing paperwork, checking flights, buying standby tickets (yes, even when an employee flies standby the employee still has to buy a ticket) and dealing with a very helpful, if not harried, travel person from The Company who helped arrange the flights. I went to work today, coked out on ibuprofen, gatorade, and mucinex and apparently looked so bad that people told me to my face in the first 5 seconds I was at The Company. I asked my boss to please check on the flights and how full they were, for both today and tomorrow and WHAM. Overbooked. So there it was. My last chance to get outta dodge was crushed because airlines just LOVE LOVE LOVE to screw people and their employees. When a flight is already overbooked, the chances of making said flight as a standby employee passenger are non-existant. So I clocked out and went home to rest.

So here I am. Again. Sick. Stuck.

So hear me, Alaska. Suck it.

Jul 01 2010

Day 73. Why?

Filed under: Uncategorized

Today is the 73rd day of the Gulf Oil Spill, now the largest oil spill on record in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why is oil still leaking?

We can create technology to extract this oil.

We can create technology to explore space.

We can create technology to turn computers from room-filling behemoths to palm-sized mutli-tools.

We can create technology that saves lives, prevents diseases, and extends life beyond our expectations.

And we can’t plug this leak? Really? Why?

Apr 29 2010

Thursday Short Letters

Filed under: Short Letters

Dear Macgee,

Please stop slamming your cheese-wedge-shaped head into my laptop. It’s very cute but very irritating and it makes me want to make the couch off limits to pooches.

Dear Men who work with Women,

I know there are a lot of you out there who totally respect women as equals (okay, respect us as the superior gender we are). You are proper, are not crass or rude and do a great job at work being pleasant and helpful. Thank you.

For all you OTHER motherfuckers: BITCH IS PISSSSSSSSED. Don’t make me cut you. Why do you think it is okay to talk about ANY of the following in front of me (and you’ve known me, oh 4 weeks in a PROFESSIONAL environment): breasts, oral sex, oggling women, pick up lines you used on women when you were a bartender in California, how “gay” something is, how Lowe’s is a “woman’s store” because it doesn’t sell manly things like chainsaws. WHAT. THE. BLOODY. HELL. What is wrong with you? Clearly you’re not embarrassed by your weird and sexist topics of conversation (and I say conversation in the most lenient of grammar ways because YOU are the only one talking. EVER.). However, I’m not part of your boy’s club that is comprised of 40-50 year-old men who like to act like 14 year-olds. I don’t take myself seriously but I do take my job seriously. We’re there to work, work with passengers, planes, cargo and baggage. Not your personal weirdo sex baggage. Passenger suitcases. There really isn’t room for much else, let alone idle chatter from your increasingly annoying maw. So please–shut the fuck up already.

And when you apologize for making me mad and and uncomfortable (so much so that I have to tell you that I am going to walk away and then I go the restroom and I CRY because I am so embarrassed, grossed out, and angry) but you say “I’m sorry. *I* (strong emphasis) didn’t think it was rude…..” Well, it kind of negates your apology to say that you weren’t wrong. So learn how to be a respectful human being. You don’t work in a bar anymore. You work in an airport. With women. You wouldn’t have said any of those things in front of your female boss, so what makes it okay to say in front of me?

I’m not part of your club. I don’t want to be.

Dear meat,

Um, yeah, sorry I haven’t called in a while. You see, I’m um, not really interested anymore.

Go back to being dead.

Dear sauna,

Where have you been all my life?! How is it that I’ve lived in the Town O’Saunas and have not taken one? oh, sweet sweet sweaty sauna. You make me hot.

Apr 08 2010

Thursday Short Letters

Filed under: Short Letters

Dear 2200-gallon oil tanker truck at the airport,

Thanks for being a rickety, finicky, huge old thing. It makes me freak out less to drive you than a new(ish) turbo charged 5 speed car with a delicate clutch.

Dear propane-powered forklift at the airport,

You are pretty fun to drive– kind of like the cross between a boat and a go-kart.

Dear Douchebag Passenger who yelled at another station agent,

You know, just because Era operates at a small airport here in Homer DOES NOT mean we don’t follow FAA & TSA rules. Don’t get pissed just because you are old and wrinkly. Everyone gets old. That doesn’t mean rules don’t apply to you. And if you want to scream that the rules “stupid” and be rude and abusive to my co-workers, then try that immature behavior out at a big airport and see where it gets you. At least we don’t tase you here (yet).

Dear Reese’s Peanut Butter Easter Eggs,

Can. Not. Resist. YOU.

Dear Running Shoes,

I miss you.

Dear Crazies,

You need not apply to the rental ad we have. Please.

Mar 25 2010

Transition Primer

Filed under: Peak Oil

For those of you who don’t want to read the entire Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins, here is a primer of of what Transition Towns mean in terms of Peak Oil and Climate Change. And yes, I am capitalizing those Events because, well, they are majah!

http://www.alternet.org/vision/146168/stop_hand-wringing_about_peak_oil_and_climate_change_and_do_something?page=1

Without a doubt, Alternet.org is a progressive propaganda site–but I do like the change from excessively-hate-strewn-conservative-media and/or beat-my-head-against-the-wall-liberal-whining.

Mar 12 2010

TYoR check-in and some more goals

Filed under: Independence Days, The Compact, The Plastic Project, The Year of Responsibility, Voltron, food

Let’s take a trip in the way-back machine…in December I made some resolutions and had some ideas that I wanted to implement. Now it’s check in time. More appropriately, confessional time.

–less plastic.
I would say that I buy less items that are packaged in plastic. And I certainly have curbed my purchases of items made of plastic–I stopped buying pet toys that are made of plastic/rubber, for example. I am also getting to the point where I want to make A LOT more of my own basic food and bath items because I am sick of plastic packaging. See below for more.

–make my own yogurt
Check and partial fail. I’ve bought a few containers (plastic. AHHHH!) while we have been moving around…rather than just go without, I caved to the plastic monster.

–try to find local milk for said yogurt
FAIL. Have not even attempted. Will now attempt.

–eat local eggs only
I think I do this maybe only 10% of the time, sadly. I at least buy organic free-range eggs, but they never taste as good, cost more, and I’m not supporting local friends and neighbors with that purchase.

–try to get away from packaging and waste in general. More bulk
I need to work harder at this one, especially organic greens. It’s much cheaper to buy a couple of heads of different greens than a plastic-packaged container that spoils quickly. Also, if I can’t find it in bulk or make it myself, well, maybe I shouldn’t have it? I don’t want to seem like a martyr, but I think this item needs more examination.

–save back a certain percentage of income for emergency and regular savings
Ha. Hahahahaha. FAIL o rama. We did the envelope system for one month and then everything went to hell. Gotta get back on the horse, stat, because that damn horse is running away.

–donate a certain percentage of income to a different organization every other week
Mega fail. That makes me sad. The first thing I need to do is investigate which organizations I want to donate to this year. Then I will put them on a calendar so it’s a no-brainer.

–join Amnesty International. Volunteer with local chapter
Haven’t done this yet, either. Wow, this list is getting a little pathetic.

–volunteer at the animal shelter
Sadly, I have not done this either.

–get involved with Sustainable Homer. On what level, I am unsure
Does it count if I read their emails?

–advertise, advertise, advertise TBTB and Skippeh Snacks (and Bigwoofs)
I did this! Business was excellent at TBTB (yesterday was my last day) and I garnered about 15 new clients for the owner. Bigwoofs is exploding, no thanks to me; but I do talk Ryan up a lot and pass out his cards when people as. Skippeh Snacks is on the back-burner but I do tell people that I have my own company when they ask “What do you do?”

–make our own bread
Another fail. At the very least, I got Ryan to each local bread for a few weeks. I realized that if I didn’t buy it for him, well, he’d go back to the plastic-wrapped store stuff. Bleh. We just need to get into a schedule of when to buy or when to make it so that it will always be on hand for his PB & J sandwiches.

So here are some new goals:

–make my own laundry detergent

–no double sided sponges–if a scrubby is needed, buy a loofah for the kitchen!

–make my own shampoo/conditioner. If I absolutely hate it, at least use locally made shampoo bars (which I have used before and really like from Alpenglow [I am not endorsing their product for pay or samples]). And I encourage you to peruse their site but please, buy local in YOUR area or DIY!

–use a clothesline this summer and put up and indoor one over the woodstove (if we have a woodstove…..ah, limbo. Le sigh)

–set up a safe & contained compost. Safe & contained sounds weird but most animals, and especially garbage eating dogs, can get REALLY sick from the bacteria in compost. Having a contained compost will likely mean that most critters are deterred.

–grow at least 3 edible things, even if they are in containers on a deck. Sounds like such a tiny goal, but I am unsure if we will be able to garden in a rental. If not, I want to get a row with the community garden!

–make dog treats to save money

–pay $XX towards debt this year (nope, I’m not going to reveal the amount)

–stick to the budget. If it seems to harsh, reevaluate and reallocate

–continue with The Compact (so far, so good!)

–borrow or buy (used) my wish list of books about Peak Oil

–make my own cream cheese. It actually sounds really easy once I get my hands on some starter and vegetarian rennet. Wheeee!

–foray into soap making & lip balm making

–never ever buy tortillas AGAIN! I made my own twice last week and I am a complete convert. It’s so easy and deeeeelicious!

–really spend time reevaluating vegetarianism and veganism. I was vegan for 8 years and veggie before and after that for a combination of 2 years. I certainly don’t think I deserve a medal for that or anything–I’m just saying that it was a significant part of my life and I enjoyed it. I want to weigh the sustainability factor of eating those ways HERE. There are a lot of things to take into consideration and being totally veggie or vegan may not make sense here. I know that sounds insane, but you are not me, and you are probably not thinking about shipping costs of tofu (or even raw soybeans to make tofu) and how said shipping of tofu relates to peak oil and climate change. So don’t judge. I don’t care how you eat. Don’t care how I eat. Whew. Just nipping that in the bud before it starts.

–I would really really really like to take a class on canning food

That sounds like a lot, but many of the goals are just small life-changes. Some things are bigger and may require a lot of time, money or new equipment–in which case, for frugality’s sake and for The Compact’s sake, the goal may be aborted.

How are your goals coming? Any resolution confessions you want to make? I like to keep it public so that you can keep me accountable!

Mar 10 2010

What *should* be the mantra of anyone hoping to live sustainably:

Filed under: Uncategorized

“Individual actions we take to reduce our impact help us find the flaws in our system that need to be changed.” –Annie Leonard author & creator of The Story of Stuff

Mar 10 2010

Wherein I declare that Alaska can suck it

Filed under: Uncategorized

We couldn’t buy a house.

I thought going to Puerto Rico with our best friend would be a nice consolation prize.

Then a massive blizzard came to Homer for 4 DAYS and destroyed any chance of us making our flights. Since we used travelocity to save money on the tickets, we can’t move the dates of the flights without paying the difference in price (of the tickets that are now sky high). So, we are stuck here, totally fucked, and not having a vacation that we so rightly deserved and needed.

Remember all that stuff where I said that Alaska is awesome and I love it here? Well, sorry, but I take it back. I am sick of this. I am tired of this very trying, tiring, and hard life. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know–everything happens for a reason. Trust me, I’ve been saying that to myself since I got here two years ago. And it’s true, some good things have happened. Very few compared to the not-so-good, but I’ll try to ignore that math because it only makes me more depressed.

Last night, after our one chance of getting to Anchorage was squashed, Ryan and I went to the grocery store and loaded up on junk food and liquor. You know, eat and drink to cope. That’s how we roll. So I got some nutella for some croissants. I haven’t had this combo in oh, I don’t know, well over a year. I wanted something special for breakfast when I woke up and realized I wasn’t in Chicago with my best friend on the way to Puerto Rico. I got up pretty early and was toasting the croissants when I opened the nutella and realized it had already been opened and the freshness/safety seal was totally smashed. That, right there, my friends, sent me over the edge. I can’t even have a freaking nutella-filled croissant as a consolation.

So hear me, Alaska. SUCK IT.