Saturday, November 30, 2013

Photography Friday!

Welcome to the Photography Friday Blog hop! This is a blog linkup that focuses on Photography, at any skill level or experience. Each week we want to encourage you to get out and take some photos! It doesn't matter what Camera you have - an iPhone, a DSLR, a film camera, an instax - Just get out and press that shutter! Blog about your photographic awesomeness and link up here to share it every friday. If you'd like feedback on something, leave a comment asking what you'd like to know and your host will be happy to provide you with some.

I'm stepping up my game this week since I'm co-hosting and all!  Last weekend we were blessed with a blanket of white, so I got my dslr butt out in the freezing temps and took so pretty fun pics!  Still no editing software so these are au natural!  I hope you enjoy the beauty of the Last Frontier as much as I do!
Ok, so this one was edited with my iphone... sue me!  But don't- k?

I hope you enjoyed my photos!  Don't forget to check out the links below and follow along!
Until next time...
** Don't forget these gems aka pictures are mine, please do not use them or take them without proper citation.  Thanks!!**

Each week we will choose a new Photographer to be featured! To be considered for next week, please link up your photography post below and make sure you are following your hosts & co-hosts. These two things will qualify you for being a featured photographer!

Lisa from Ameliorer la vie shared her three-day trip to Jo'burg last week, and she had some incredible photographs! Look at those beautiful Lions! Stunning. Thanks so much for sharing, Lisa!

001. Please follow your host/co-hosts and featured photographer!
002. Link up your blog post instead of your main blog URL.
003. Please link back to this link-up in your post, either with a text link or a button. The more people who link up each week means more people see your work, so please help us out any way you can :)
004. Visit and check out as many blogs as you can! Leave comments and love. This link-up is about community, so make some friends!

Click Here to grab a different button!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving from scratch!

It seems only fitting that this is my 100th post AND I get to check something off my 35x35 list!

Just call me Julia because I pulled off quite the amazing feat!  Except for one snaffou with the turkey not being defrosted because I forgot *oops* and having ham instead, everything went off without a hitch for my Thanksgiving from scratch!!

All of the recipes have been linked to their own little bloggy post for your delight!  Here is the menu that graced my kitchen table and left all of us stuffed to the gills.  Prepare your fat pants people, it's going to be a filling ride!

Annalee's Smoked Salmon Dip
Veggie Tray! (if you need instructions, you should just buy everything)

Our Menu:
Ham w/homemade gravy
Fresh Green Beans (steam & add s/p, butter!)
Jackie Ladd's World Famous Rolls
Creamy mashed red potatoes
Sausage and Cornbread Stuffing
Brown Sugar & Marshmallow Yams

For Dessert: (These ended up being semi-homemade)
Pumpkin Cookies w/Cinnamon Frosting
Pumpkin Cheesecake

Feel free to make these at your next holiday gathering!  These recipes are sure to please even the hungriest of crowds!  

What an amazing time we all had together eating our fill and going into food coma's!  I know I say this a lot on here, but I am so thankful I married in to an amazing family!  My only wish is that my side of the family could be here to join us.  Next year! 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  

Until next time... 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

From Yams to Yums!

Ok, it's corny but I couldn't think of anything else!

I am not a huge fan of yams unless they are covered in brown sugar, butter and marshmallows!  Can I get a witness?!  This, like all of my recipes, it very good and very easy!  My FIL (father-in-law) and I are the only real yam lovers in the house, so this year I decided to make smaller, individual servings!  Plus- any excuse to use my super cute ramekins and I'm in!!

Brown Sugar & Marshmallow Yams
Yams- duh!
Brown Sugar
Salted Butter
Jet Puffed Marshmallows

1.  Peel & Cut Yams into 1/2in or smaller cubes.  Boil in salted water until you can easily put a fork through them, about 10 min.  Drain.
2.   Place yams in a bowl with 2-3 tbs butter and mash until creamy.
3.  In ramekin, layer yam/sliver of butter/brown sugar twice and top with marshmallows.  Try to make sure no yams are poking out.  You may have to get a bit physical with them :) Sprinkle w/brown sugar.
4.  Bake @ 350 until marshmallows are a bit melted and golden brown.
5.  Let cool a smidge, yes that's a technical term, and serve!

You can also find this on Not Just a Housewife's and Bizzy Bakes  blog!

Until next time...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Go Stuff It!

This may be my favorite thing I made from my homemade Thanksgiving.  This recipe is simple and SO delicious.  I'm not a huge fan, ok I'm not a fan at all, of sweet/savory stuffing.  This baffles my mind since I love sweet/savory anything else but when it comes to Thanksgiving I need to keep it traditional.  Some might say, keepin' it classy.

Sausage and Cornbread Stuffing
2lbs pounds bulk Italian sausage (hot or mild)
2 onions chopped
7 large celery stalks, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups day-old French bread, cut into 1/2 cubes
3 cups crumbled cornbread
1 1/2 tbs rubbed dried sage
1 1/2 tbs poultry seasoning
1 tsp salt
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 butter
2 tbs chopped fresh sage (optional)
1 oz shaved parmesan cheese (optional)

1.  Preheat an oven to 375 and grease a deep 9x13 baking dish.

2.  Heat a large skillet over medium- high heat and stir in sausage.  Cook and stir until the sausage is crumbly, evenly browned.  Add in onions, garlic and celery and cook until the onion softens and meat is no longer pink.  Drain and discard any excess grease.  Please in seriously gigantic mixing bowl.  No, really.

3.  Add the French bread, cornbread, dried sage, poultry seasoning and salt; stir well.  Pour in the chicken broth and mozzarella cheese; stir until the chicken stock has been absorbed by the bread and the stuffing is mixed well.  Pour the mixture into the baking dish and dot with butter.  Cover with aluminum foil.

4.  Bake in preheated over for 45 min, then remove foil and continue baking until the top has turned a golden brown.  This should take about 15 min. 

Sprinkle with fresh sage and shaved parmesan cheese and serve. 
You can also find this on Not Just a Housewife's blog!

Until next time...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Homemade Gravy

I'll admit, we've all had yucky gravy.  You know the kind... lumpy, under seasoned or from a package/can.  I was pretty open to whatever topping my mashed taters were going to be graced with before making this and now, I can confidently tell you I am a convert.  Never again will a pre-packaged gravy ever touch these lips... unless I'm at someone's house for dinner, I mean I'm not rude!
I digress...

This gravy is so simple you're going to wonder why you haven't done it before! 

First let's start with the base- potatoes!  Now everyone has their own way of making mashed potatoes and what I'm about to say will shock and possibly gross you out a bit!  Just bear with me, these are freaking delicious!

Potatoes ala Annalee

Red potatoes- boiled to perfection
3-4 tbs salted butter (or more Paula!)
1/2 cup olive oil mayo
Garlic Salt/Pepper to taste

Mix while still piping hot and taste!  I've also been known to throw an egg in the mixture but that freaks some people out.  My Belgian host mom did it and it was AMAZING.  You think you know creamy, but you don't until you add an egg! 

Ok, on to the toppings!

Homemade Gravy
1 cup ham (or other meat) drippings**
3-4 tablespoons flour
COLD water
1/8- 1/4 teaspoon salt

1.  Bring ham drippings to a boil.
2.  Mix flour and water to make a runny paste.
3.  Pour flour/water mixture in boiling ham drippings a little at a time making sure to be whisking at the same time.  Whisk until thickened.
4.  Add salt (if needed) to taste! 

I found it worked best with a flat whisk to really get all the clumps off the bottom.  With my ham glaze it worked like a charm!  So delicious. 

**I used pineapple slices & cloves on my ham with a glaze of 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 brown sugar and a cup of cranberry juice.  Finger licken good!

You're ready to slather your hearts desire in gravy!  You can also find this on Not Just a Housewife's blog!
Until next time...

Jackie Ladd's World Famous Rolls

I'm pretty sure my MIL's name should be St. Jackie.  She is seriously amazing!  When I told her about my ambitious plans to make Thanksgiving from scratch, she instantly asked if there was something I needed and if I wanted her help.  Of course, I gladly accepted!  I have to admit, I had an alterior motive, I wanted to learn how to make the recipe below.  These rolls are SO good!  They break apart at just the right places to give you buttery goodness in every bite.  Y_U_M!

I love learning all of the different things my in-laws can teach me.  They are completely different from my parents and I appreciate that because it affords me the chance to diversify myself and learn so much more!  Now, if I could only get my butt over there so she could teach me to sew- oy vey!

Jackie Ladd's World Famous Rolls

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg

In mixing bowl combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the yeast.  Heat milk, sugar, shortening and salt just until warm (115-120) stirring constantly until shortening almost melts.  Add to dry mixture; add eggs.  Beat on low with an electric mixer for 1/2 minutes, scraping bowl.  Beat 3 minutes at high speed. 

By hand, stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Shape into ball. 

Place in lightly greased bowl; turn once to grease surface.  Cover; let rise in warm place until the dough doubles.  This will take between 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Punch down and turn out on floured surface.  Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. 

Shape into desired rolls.** Cover, let rise in warm place until double (30-45min).  Bake on greased baking sheets or in greased muffin tins at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Voila, heaven.  Or as close we we're getting here on earth! 

** St. Jackie rolls up three small balls to each muffin tin to get the desired effect shown above!  You can also find this on Not Just a Housewife's  and Bizzy Bakes' blog!

Until next time...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sobriety Festival

There is an amazing festival put on by the Native Village of Eyak each year called Sobriety.  It focuses on the joys and gifts sobriety gives us all.  It's amazing time when native dance troops from all over come and celebrate.  There are crafts galore and can we just talk about the FOOD for a second?!  OMG it's amazing.  There are local vendors that make delicious treats and a huge potluck at the end of the celebration for everyone, for free!

*Proud wife moment* My husband and his father went out and actually got the moose for the village and this celebration.  D has never been so sexy as when I received this picture:

I mean seriously people, how could you NOT swoon?  Hunter, provider- yes, please!  The moose was first divided up amoungst the elders with the liver, heart and kidneys.  Then, the moose was butchered for this celebration for the whole village to enjoy.  Every part of this animal was used!  It. was. amazing!  Huge kudos to the cooks!

While I tend to focus on food because, well I love food, there is so much more to this celebration.  There were vendors selling native fur art, native jewlery and so much more.  It's a shoppers paradise and this deprived shopper took full advantage.


The dance troops and other preforming groups that came in did not disappoint.  There were groups from all over the came to strut their stuff and celebrate sobriety.  All of the details on the clothing are beyond amazing.  The dances preformed took my breath away at their beauty and storytelling.  The Kodiak Drummers that preformed (all kids mind you) were seriously inspirational! 

I am so blessed to live in a place so cultrally rich!
Until next time...