Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Can Can

As a young child, I was extremely lucky to have the all natural, hippie sort of parents. I think that's why I love activities that focus on making it instead of buying it.

Last year, I tried my hand at homemade blueberry jam (from berries picked by Aggie B. and myself). After several attempts and lots of online research, I was able to can efficiently (and effectively) and developed a great spicy blueberry jam recipe.

This year, my research led me to find the best canned fish recipe. Now, canning fish is a whole different ball game than canning jam. Jam requires a hot water bath. Fish requires a pressure canner - something my dad doesn't own. Originally, I was set to borrow a friend's; however, when finding the exact location of the canner became a problem, the town of Nome came together to help me with my project.

I can't say the fish turned out super well, but it was an excellent first attempt. What did turn out super well was the community support for my project. Thank you Lee Ann for the recipes and the smoker. Thank you Cheryl for loaning me a canner. Thank you everyone for offering the use of yours! Nome rocks!

P.S. Did I mention I plan on bringing some of this homemade goodness with me to my Staging in September? Can't wait to share a piece of Nome with my PC homies.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Handmade & Handsome

A truly evil friend of mine recently introduced me to a money disappearing type of website: Etsy

Etsy offers a whole host of products handmade by the "little guy". Similar to a Cafe Press, artists use Etsy to sell their products online from the comforts of their own home.

Once introduced, I realized I would be spending a lot of money on Etsy. Interestingly enough, the artist who designed the recipe cards in the picture I featured on my Yum Yum post sells her art on Etsy. I was ecstatic to find her products and just had the wonderful pleasure of having post cards, note cards and recipe cards designed specifically for my upcoming Peace Corps adventure! Check out her gorgeous prints on her online Etsy shop Pink Bathtub Designs.

Thank you Noelle for the beautiful cards! I cannot wait to write home to my friends and family.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Why I Joined the Peace Corps

A current PCV (that’s short for Peace Corps Volunteer) suggested I jot down my reasons for joining the Peace Corps, just in case I have a bad day (or several attack me at once) and I forget why I am where I am at.

After listing my reasons, I realized I should tell someone else just in case Number 1 spontaneously explodes and I cannot retrieve my list. So, here you go - why I joined the Peace Corps.

  • I joined to make a difference. I am not naive enough to think I am going to change the world - or even the small community I am in - but I do hope to impact at least one person, even if that person is me.
  • I joined to help other people. I love to volunteer. There is something about serving others that is fun, exciting, and satisfying (similar to the feeling I get after a really hard workout).
  • I joined to earn college credit. From my rough calculations, my service will bring me 12 credits closer to earning my MA degree. That’s pretty neat.
  • I joined for the challenge. This reason comes with a whole host of sub-reasons. I know this experience will be a challenge for me personally. My beliefs, perceptions, opinions, ideals, values, culture, etc will be challenged. I can’t wait to be told I am wrong (and then proved wrong). I can’t wait to get frustrated. I can’t wait to grow throughout it all.
  • And finally, I joined to become a better person.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dane! I Can Cook

So far, I have a pretty good collection of recipes going. I am really excited about trying out many of the recipes before I leave, so last week, I broke out my cousin's pesto recipe.

I know what you are thinking, pine nuts are disgusting, but wait! My Jesse's recipe actually uses pecans. It also uses 1 can of sardines (again, she's pregnant, so you have to give her a bit of leeway in the weird food additive category). I did have to omit an ingredient or two because Nome has its own fresh herb limitations, but after a few minutes of pulsing in my dad's ancient Cuisinart, I ended up with a heap of pesto. I cooked up some vercimilli and presto! This pesto was delicious!

Next up on my Try-It List, marinated tofu and sweet and sour chicken!

Presto Pesto
  • 3 stalks of green garlic (green onions can be substituted, along with 3 cloves of garlic)
  • one large handful of Parsley
  • One large handful of other herbs... could be basil, cilantro, or a mixture of other things.
  • One can of anchovies, oil and all
  • 3/4 cup of Pecans, walnuts, or Pine nuts
  • One can artichoke hearts
  • Enough Olive oil to make the whole mixture creamy and smooth
  • 2 TBS Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste
Jesse's Directions:
The fun part is that once you've got all these things in one place, you just throw them into the food processor and let it rip! I usually chop them up coarsely, just so that they fit in. Add a bit of the olive oil and the can of anchovies first to lube up the process, but after that, the order does not matter. When you are done you have the most freaking awesome pesto you've ever had... and it doesn't even have cheese (or liver) in it!

You can use it on sandwiches to liven things up, or on any kind of starch.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Burnin' Up

Last weekend I had an extra special treat: Todd Hindman's House.

If you have to ask why Todd Hindman's House is so special, check out the picture on the left.

I spent the entirety of Sunday afternoon ripping music and copying super soup recipes (Todd is a very nice version of the Soup Nazi - he has great recipes!)

Plus, Marsha made me dinner (woo-hoo) and I got to hang out with someone other than my dad for a change (not that hanging out with my dad day in and day out is a bad thing - we just run out of things to argue about).

All in all - it was a great way to spend a Sunday.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hairdate #1

Oh no! What's that? It's huge! It's...it's...it's Löki's hair!

As most of you know, I am trying the o'natural thing with my hair. So far, I am at 5 months sans relaxer (think: reverse perm) and the kink and curls are coming in nicely. I took a picture because it's worth a thousand words and I don't feel like typing.

While I am in transition (|tranˈzi sh ən; -ˈsi sh ən|
noun, Black term for the period of time when one stops relaxing their hair and before they cut off all the old relaxer/ texturaizer/ etc), I have decided to take the "No Heat" challenge and will not be applying direct heat to my hair after September 21, 2008.

In addition, I have been trying out organic shampoos and conditioners (among other things) to find the best Löki Hair Care Regime (gotta pamper my stressed out tresses). So far, this is what I have found:
  1. Best clarifying rinse: 1 part Apple Cider Vinegar to 2 parts water (add about a tablespoon of honey)
  2. Best shampoo: Alpenglow Shampoo Bar
  3. Best conditioner: Alba Coconut Milk Extra-Rich Hair Conditioner
  4. Best shampoo & conditioner set: Avalon Organics Lavender Nourishing Shampoo & Conditioner
  5. Best Leave-In Treatment: Giovonni Leave-In Treatment
  6. Best Anit-Frizz Treatment: CHI Silk Infusion & Giovonni Frizz Be Gone

Monday, July 14, 2008

Live Long and Prosper

It's time to say good-bye to Enterprise.

On Friday, July 11, 2008, Löki Gale Tobin said one last good-bye to Enterprise.

She was a good ship that got Löki through a tough time or two (and probably got her in to a couple of scraps come to think of it). May she live long and prosper in the hands of a Mr. Charles Lewis Tobin. May she serve her new captain well and be the best darn ship she can be.


(For those who don't get it, I sold my truck to my dad on Friday. I am now truck-less).

Friday, July 11, 2008

Peace Corps Gives Homework

I received another email from the Peace Corps. This one was a 4 parter.

The first part was a word quiz, asking me to view 15 words (one second per word) and then write down as many of the words as I could remember. I remembered 8 (I almost remembered 9, but I did not want my guilty conscious to eat at me for the next 29 months because I wrote down an almost exaggerated number).

I wrote down my total remembered words on the second part of the email, a two page questionnaire about my preferences regarding a host family. My only real limitation, my inability to digest lactose.

The third part was a list of current Peace Corps AZ Volunteers who do not mind receiving an email from a frantic prospective Volunteer. Luckily, I have been in contact with one current AZ Volunteer and have learned quite a bit from Vy.

The final piece was directions on how to download the language lessons I am supposed to be reviewing. I will get to that, soon. Right after I finish practicing the new song Mark taught me on my guitar!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Seriously In Preparation

Note: Just because I thought it was important enough to lug half way around the world does not mean you will. Good luck packing. 

Long underwear (light & medium weights)
Socks (7)
Light Tights & Heavy weight tights (2-3)
Pants (2)
Skirts (2)
Jeans (1)
Exercise pants (2 - one for summer and one for winter)
Long sleeve t-shirts (2)
Short sleeve t-shirts (4)
Cardigans (2)
Rain jacket
Polar fleece (windproof)
Wicked sweet and warm jacket
Dress/ casual shoes (2)
Rubber boots
Running shoes
Scarf (can convert to wrap)

Toiletries (enough for 3 months)
Face Wash
Toothbrush and organic toothpaste (Sonicare - present from friend)
Body lotion
Shampoo & conditioner

Electronics (make sure everything is 240v)
Number 1 (my MacBook)
Thumb Drives (2)
Universal Adapter
Pilates bodyband (melted in year 2)
Exercise DVDs

Misc. (* items were sent to me)
Glasses (2)
Guitar strings (2)
Reusable shopping bag
Capo & Tuner
*Sleeping bag & pad
Duct tape
Laundry bag
*External speakers
Hard copy photos of home, family, friends and my truck
Sigg water bottle
Quick dry towel
*Plastic bags
Travel Sheets (great for use in summer)
Gifts (bring extra)
Rise Up Singing and 2 Guitar Scale Posters
Orange apron
Titanium cup & spork
*Silicone muffin tin (this died too)
*Water filter
*Fleece blanket
Office supplies (note cards, envelopes, file folders, pens, markers)
*Spatula, whisk, muffin cups

Wish I had for summer
Conservative tank tops
Spritzer water bottle

List updated 08/09/2010

Monday, July 7, 2008

J to the U to the Nzo...

Last week, I took a vacation.

I know, I know. It sounds a little silly. The idea of "taking a break" when I am about to embark on what could be construed as a long vacation from the reality of big city living, but I did and it was fantabulous.

I spent five great days basking in the bay at Beardsley (otherwise known as Beardsley's Bay). I didn't have to cook (extra thanks to Rochelle for her delicious culinary masterpieces and all around awesomeness), bait my own fishing hook (super thank yous to Mark - he took care of all the canoe paddling too) or mix my own margies (thank you Mahoneys for taking care of me!).

I had a great time over the 4th of July. What did you do?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Power Shopping

On a recent Peace Corps In Preparation: Power Shopping Trip to Anchorage, I bought:

2 quick dry pants (can pass for trousers or slacks)
2 quick dry knee length skirts (can pass for business wear)
2 tunics (one size too large to accommodate long underwear)
2 sets of long underwear (silk & medium weight)
1 swim suit (my suit just started sporting weak spots)
1 black polar fleece (wind proof & water repellent)
1 black rain jacket (it has orange trim)
1 pair jeans
1 long sleeve gray shirt
2 black tank tops
1 Sea to Summit Silk Travel Sheet (non-mummy)
2 Eagle Creek Ear Plug
cosmetics for 1 year

For me personally, I bought:
2 trashy romance novels
1 Vitamin Water
Lunch at Middle Way Cafe

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Yum Yums?

I am still jonesing for a good recipe or two.

So far, the only recipe I have received is one for chicken livers (thanks to my preggo cousin). I don't know about you, but chicken livers (albeit wrapped in bacon) don't sound deliciously like home to me.

So, here's my desperate plea: Email me your favorite recipes and if you don't have one, fake it!