Friday, August 29, 2008

So what does the Obama camp say?

Barack Obama is Superman
In response to McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as running mate, the Barack Obama camp had this to say:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign on Friday blasted his Republican rival's choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a running-mate, highlighting her "zero" foreign policy experience.

"Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement.

Burton also criticized Palin as a vice presidential pick for her support of oil drilling in the Alaskan wilderness and her anti-abortion stance, referring to the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in the United States.

"Governor Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies. That's not the change we need, it's just more of the same," he said.

Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin named McCain running mate

Sarah Palin McCain VP
This is starting to get interesting, huh?

Today McCain announced that 44-year-old Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will be his running mate.

This is seriously big news up here, reporters probably don’t know what do to with themselves. Top news stories usually involve giant pumpkin competitions and Senator Ted Stevens’ new gas grill.

I haven’t been a resident of Alaska long enough to have a solid opinion on Palin’s strength in government, but I like her and I think most Alaskans do too.

She’s a great role model and one strong woman; the mother of five became the first female and youngest elected governor of Alaska.

By the way, I’m just saying I like her. It’s not like I’m going to go and do something crazy like vote for her in November or anything. Now that would be nuts. :D

Thursday, August 28, 2008

She topped the scales at 907 pounds …

Biggest pumpkin in Alaska

… the pumpkin, that is.

Today the biggest pumpkins in Alaska weighed-in at the State Fair, all two of them. Neither beat the current state record of 1,019 pounds from 2006.

The obvious winner was a 907-pounder, triple the size of the second-place pumpkin at 328 pounds. Growers blame the cool temperatures this summer for their pumpkins stunted growth.

Even though the pumpkins didn’t pull through, at least the radishes managed to break some records. Farmer Ron Castor now holds the top record for the biggest white radish ever grown at 15.985 pounds.

I’m biting my nails waiting to find out who’s going to win the giant cabbage competition tomorrow night.

We haven’t made it up to the Alaska State Fair yet, but I’m happy the news is covering every pound of pumpkin, radish and cabbage that comes through. Alaska, you gotta love it …

Thursday, August 14, 2008

News flash: Julia Child, international spy

Julia Child = world renown chef, author, TV personality and WWII SPY?

Sure, she makes a mean Lobster Thermidor, but it’s the Tommy Gun under her apron you’ve really got to watch out for.

Crazy, but true. Read it on today.

Julia Child, along with Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg and Chicago White Sox catcher Moe Berg, served in an international spy ring under the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), an early version of the CIA created during WWII by President Roosevelt.

This week the U.S. government is releasing the names of almost 24,000 spies who were part of the first centralized intelligence effort.

“They were soldiers, actors, historians, lawyers, athletes, professors, reporters. But for several years during World War II, they were known simply as the OSS. They studied military plans, created propaganda, infiltrated enemy ranks and stirred resistance among foreign troops.”

Best quote of the story:

"I was told to keep my mouth shut," said 93-year-old Walter Mess, who handled covert OSS operations in Poland and North Africa.

Mess kept the secret for over 50 years, but is now finally able to tell his wife of 62 years everything he’s been up to all this time.

Sweet potato burrito recipe: Another good one

Those crazy vegetarians, what will they come up with next?

I found this recipe for “Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos” on AllRecipes (my favorite recipe site) and made a batch last night. They were a total hit - filling, tasty, and easy to make. Plus, they make great leftovers.

Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups canned kidney beans, drained (or black beans)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
  • 12 (10 inch) flour tortillas, warmed
  • 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  2. Heat oil in a medium skillet, and saute onion and garlic until soft. Stir in beans, and mash. (Note: Mashing before adding to skillet is easier) Gradually stir in water, and heat until warm. Remove from heat, and stir in the chili powder, cumin, mustard, cayenne pepper and soy sauce.

  3. Divide bean mixture and mashed sweet potatoes evenly between the warm flour tortillas. Top with cheese. Fold up tortillas burrito style, and place on a baking sheet.

  4. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven, and serve.

Super, super awesome and other than the physical labor involved in mashing, they’re super easy. If you think they sound incomplete without meat, go ahead and add some, they’d probably taste even better.

The recipe is for 12 servings, so I had to cut it down a bit for Andrew and I. Don’t be afraid to make too much, they’re great the next day and can be frozen.

I took the advice of some of the commenters on the recipe and used black beans instead of kidney beans, only because that’s what I had and forgot to put kidney beans on my shopping list.

Another piece of advice - mash beans before putting them in the skillet, makes life much easier. I also left the potatoes just a little under cooked after reading a negative comment about how “mushy” they were. Turned out to be great, gave the filling more texture than mush.

Added bonus - they’re really good the next day. I heated one up for breakfast this morning, with a little side of eggs. As Rachael Ray would say: “Yum-o!”

Personal lesson learned - Mashed sweet potatoes are easier to clean off the wall than I thought. Just kidding, but I need to get myself a potato masher. I managed to do pretty good with a hand mixer (thanks Martha!), but I think I may like the old fashioned hand masher better. We’ll see next time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Termination dust? Is someone dying?

Termination dust ... excuse me, what? ... Is someone dying?

To me it sounds like the plot of a new horror film - "...vicious death fairy sprinkles 'termination dust' on unsuspecting citizens of remote farming village..."

But don’t worry, there isn't another bad scary movie coming out and nobody’s dying. It’s just an exaggerated way to describe the first signs of snow on the mountains, signaling the last days of summer.

Kind of like Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow, but unfortunately in our case it's the beginning of the winter, not the end. The verdict isn't out yet as to whether anyone has seen termination dust yet, or the official rules determining who can call it and where (apparently a touchy subject).

So, despite the fact that it’s 55 degrees outside ... I’ll keep telling myself it’s summer.

In the words of another terminator: "Hasta la vista, baby." :P

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fish quiche?!?!?!

So, last night we made a big piece of salmon and had a lot of leftovers which I decided to make a quiche with the following night.

I know quiche may sound like a random meal to put together on a whim, but strangely enough it’s one of my favorite things to eat. And, I recently saw a recipe on AllRecipes that gave me the idea for including salmon.

Back to the other night ... Upon telling Andrew my plans for the next night’s dinner, I got a reaction any wife would love to hear -

“FISH QUICHE!?!?! Uggghhh, that sounds absolutely disgusting!”

In the face of adversity, I made the quiche using mom’s basic 2-2-2 recipe (2 cups meat, 2 cups veggies, 2 cups cheese, 3 eggs and a cup of milk), with a little bit of goat cheese on top.

And guess what? Andrew had seconds.


Leave a comment or send me an email if you want the full recipe. You can have everyone at your house yelling “FISH QUICHE” too.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Another successful Alaskan adventure

Sadly, we just said goodbye to Martha on Sunday after her week-long Alaskan adventure. The three of us had tons of fun exploring all that Southcentral Alaska has to offer.

First we went down to Homer, a cute little fishing/artsy retirement village about four hours south of Anchorage. Then we headed up to Seward and jumped on a wildlife and glacier cruise. We got to see some humpback whales, puffin, seals and other crazy Alaskan critters. Check out Andrew’s pictures for a complete tour.

After Seward, we made our way back to Anchorage. Andrew brought Martha up Flattop Mountain and explored our little downtown area. We all spent another day out in Girdwood, where we discovered Virgin Falls, a very cool waterfall you’ll have to check out in the pictures below.

In all, it was a wonderful visit and we were sad to see her go. Gladly, Andrew and I only have a few months left until the holidays and an escape from the arctic to enjoy some much needed Florida heat, family, fun and (of course) shopping.

P.S. I'm having issues with Picassa taking FOREVER to upload images. So, if you don't see all 192, either write a really nasty letter to Google or just check back later ...

Martha's Alaskan Adventure