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    The History of Halloween

    Celtic Origins We Celebrate Today

    Note my facts here come from The History of Halloween from History.com

    As an adult I look back on so many fond memories of my 1960’s and 70’s childhood, including Halloween. As soon as school began in September we began thinking about and planning for that big day. We always made our own costumes just from found things around the house…never sewing anything elaborate and NEVER purchasing anything from a store.

    Halloween When I Was a Kid

    Unfortunately my parents were not big photo takers so I have only one photo I know of, of me with my siblings on Halloween. That was the year my sister proclaimed she was going to be the Fairy Godmother and I was going to be Cinderella in rags. Okay fine. My brother was a “hippie” and my littlest brother was a cowboy. It was a time in life when it didn’t take a lot ot make us happy.

    With my siblings, maybe around 1970

    In highschool and even college we celebrated the holiday with homemade costumes but the trick or treating gave way to parties. Here I’m sharing a few photos I pulled up from those days.

    1979 College
    1975 High School
    At my job 2005
    1983 Newlyweds

    Halloween When My Kids Were Little

    When my kids were little I made their costumes most years and we had a lot of fun with Halloween as a family. In the 1990’s when my kids were young, trick or treating was still safe and the school always had a special event with costumes.

    1988
    1994
    1987
    1995

    Today fewer kids wander the neighborhoods, but with Covid it’s hard to imagine that communities and malls will be holding their annual gatherings. I feel so sad for the little kids of 2020.

    The History of Holidays

    I’ve always been fascinated with our our holidays evolved into what we accept today as normal, ever since I discovered that Santa Claus is a fairly new invention. So I have over the years gathered lots of fun information about holiday rituals and their evoloution.

    Halloween Began 2000 Years Ago

    The origin of Halloween can be traced 2000 years years ago to the Celtic festival called Samhain. This festival was a celebration to ward off ghosts and included costumes and bon fires.

    Ghosts were responsible for death and havoc

    In the 8th Century Pope Gregory III declared that November 1st would be All Saints Day to remember all Catholic Saints and the Samhain festival the day before became known as All Hallows Eve.

    November 1st was also considered the New Year to the Celts and was marked as the end of the harvest and bounty and the beginning of the dark days of winter, a time of hunger and death.

    People believed black cats were witches in disguise

    The Druids (Celtic Priests) gave the Celtic people guidance during this time, when all believed the ghosts were responsible for failed crops, poor health and bad weather. The Druids built bon fires and everyone dressed in costumes to scare away the ghosts. Crops and animals were sacrificed.

    Rome, Of Course, Intervened

    When the Romans conquered this region, the Samhain festival merged with Feralia, a Roman festival similar to Day of the Dead; and Pomona, a celebration of the apple harvest (assumed to be where bobbing for apples comes from).

    Christianity

    By the 9th century the Celtic lands had become Christian and the November 2nd Christian holiday All Souls Day merged with All Hallows Even (Alholowmesse) and the costume tradition expanded.

    Ritual bonfires helped ward off evil

    Welcome to America

    Colonial America celebrated this holiday, despite the New England Protestant objection due to the pagan origins. As immigrants from many nations came together, the American version of the holiday emerged.

    Early Jack-o-lanterns were carved from turnips

    Outdoor parties, bon fires, scary stories, fortune telling, pranks, games, music and dancing were all part of the early American celebration. By the early 1800’s most communities celebrated an Autumn festival but Halloween as we know it was still a ways away.

    Irish Americans Bring the Tradition

    As Irish immigrants flooded America in the late 19th century, with them came many of the traditions we today associate with Halloween in the USA. This included costumes, Trick-or-Treat for food or money, and the focus of the holiday became more about children.

    Bobbing for apples is an ancient game still practiced today

    But in the 1920’s and 30’s vandals hijacked the holiday with pranks and sometimes drunken violence and many gatherings stopped. By the 1950’s local towns redirected the holiday back to family-focused and encouraged family gatherings. Trick-or-Treating was revived.

    Today’s Halloween

    Small homemade treats gave way to store bought candy in the 1960’s when parents feared for their children eating anything they didn’t know the source of. Today 6 billion dollars are spent annually on Halloween and it is the biggest candy buying time of the year in the USA.

    Halloween candy

    Both children and adults dress up annually, with many adults wearing costumes to their jobs. Halloween parties for kids and adults happen in the weeks ahead of the actual Halloween night.

    Halloween is the second biggest commercial holiday after Christmas in the USA.

    And now you know – the history of Halloween.

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    At Home

    DIY Bathroom Remodel – A 1993 Bath Becomes a 2020 Showpiece

    Last summer we did a “remodel” of our new villa in the USA. It was actually less of a remodel and more of a refresh, updating the 1990’s villa with fresh paint, tile, floors, countertop, appliances and design. We did this without any large construction or massive structural changes. We were able to do it all in 8 weeks for around $20K. We did everything last summer EXCEPT the master bathroom. We saved that for this summer – DIY Bathroom Remodel.

    DIY Bathroom Remodel
    Before with carpet

    Arriving home from our world tour two months earlier than planned due to Covid, we launched almost immediately into our project of completely demolishing the old bathroom and beginning a DIY bathroom remodel – a 1993 bath becomes a 2020 showpiece.

    DIY Bathroom Remodel

    Given we were in no hurry and we wanted to save money, my husband tackled the entire job himself. We both were raised in do-it-yourself families, and we have had a lot of experience in this area. We have built two homes from the ground up and gutted and remodeled a third before taking on this Villa last summer. We kinda know what we are doing. So, here is what we did over a four month period to create the bathroom of our dreams.

    Before

    I’m sure in the early 1990’s this bathroom was pretty swanky. But nearly thirty years later it was out of date and worn out. Yes that is carpet you see in that photo. It was a thing in the 80’s and 90’s to put carpet in a bathroom. Not something I want anymore. So a complete demolition of this bathroom took place, creating a total clean slate to work with. We found someone on Facebook who came and took all the cabinets and sinks. The rest went to the dump.

    Before tiny shower and pocketdoor
    Before old cabinet

    Before phone booth shower
    Before toilet cubby

    Inspiration

    Thank you Pinterest for all these inspiring ideas for my DIY Bathroom Remodel…while we were still traveling I began to save lots of pins to my Home and Garden file in Pinterest of the kind of bathroom I imagined for this space. The bathroom is not huge, about 8 x 15 feet, but big enough for just the two of us. Here are some of my most inspiring photos from Pinterest that I used as we laid out the design for this bathroom. (Follow me on Pinterest!)

    Framing, Plumbing and Electrical

    Once demolition was complete my husband Arne began moving the plumbing. We moved the toilet about three feet, expanded the shower about four feet, moved the sink and changed the layout of the tub. Next a lot of time was spent framing the new shower and toilet cubby area where we had removed a wall and pocket door. He then did all the electrical adding some recessed lighting, chandelier and several new outlets.

    Clean slate
    Shower is gone
    Framing of new shower area

    Meanwhile Countertop Art

    While Arne is doing all of this I am working with my friend and local concrete artist Laurie, as we begin to design a showpiece of a countertop as part of the DIY Bathroom Remodel. This is the second countertop Laurie has done for us. We worked closely together for three months on getting this beauty just right with the color and the texture that I wanted.

    See Laurie’s work at Advanced Concrete and Design here.

    Goregeous concrete art

    Sheetrock and Paint

    Once the plumbing and electrical was complete time to repair the sheet rock and paint. We used the same color paint we have used through out the rest of the house, a soft linen color by Behr called Authentic Tan.

    Sheet rock repair
    Shower frame in complete

    Time to Start the Tile

    Hands down the most time consuming and difficult task of all the bathroom remodel tasks the huge amount of tile in this bathroom was daunting. We purchased all the wall tile at Home Depot but made a special order for the magnificent floor tile from a local store called Advanced Flooring. We splurged a bit on the floor tile but the impact was worth it and we made up for it by using less expensive tile on the wall. By the way the wall tile is a larger style of subway tile that measures 12″.

    Professional Tile Cutter
    Shower floor goes in

    Arne borrowed his brother’s professional-grade tile cutter and got to work on this big job. Once again, taking his time was paramount in the success of this project. When we had other things to do, we did them. We took days off to hike, golf and play. We took two weeks off to do our Road Trip (see it all here). And pretty much every other minute he was placing tile. Occasionally when I would be working in other parts of the house a few choice words would burst from the project…but my husband persevered. He even built the pan for the new shower floor.

    Wall tile with detail
    Giant project
    I love the floor tile by Daltile
    Celebrating the final piece of tile being placed

    It Comes Together

    Once the tile and grout were complete the beautiful tub was placed, and the vanity and toilet put in. All the plumbing fixtures in oil rubbed bronze came from Signature Hardware. The chandelier and light over the sink also went in. By the way, we ordered ALL OF THESE online to avoid going into the stores as much as possible due to the virus.

    Finishing touches

    Finally Laurie arrived for the placement of the work-of-art countertop…after lots of work on her part and consultation on my part, the size, fit and color were absolutely perfect. The countertop weighs about 150 pounds and she was really nervous as we got it into place…but it went smoothly and we could not have been happier.

    Countertop arrives

    With the counter in place Arne finished the final tile pieces to finish off around the counter, and installed the faucet. Next we placed our beautiful mirror and added two small cabinets for more storage next to the tub and over the toilet.

    Beautiful mirror from reclaimed barn wood

    One good scrub down of everything and then I began to decorate. Nearly every decorative item you see here I already owned, but I also added a few new and “new to me” pieces I had collected in the months coming up to this moment. I purchased all new towels and bath rugs and some storage bins. Finally, everything was complete exactly four months to the day from when we began the tear-out in May.

    Pros and Cons

    Doing a major DIY like this is NOT for everyone. Don’t tackle it unless you know what you are doing. But I know having a contractor come in and do all of this work would have cost us at least $50K. We did it for $14K.

    So bright and beautiful

    The biggest con for me was the dust the project created throughout the house and the reaction I had to the dust in my allergies and sinuses. I am so grateful that part is over.

    I absolutely love everything about this beautiful space now and how it flows both in color and function with the rest of our new home.

    Although we have every intention of continuing to travel as soon as we can, knowing we have this space to call home when we are in the USA has been such a relief for us. So thankful we made the decision to buy this property and turn it into the retreat of our dreams. No regrets.

    Some Final Before and After Shots and Decorative Touches. Enjoy.

    DIY Bathroom Remodel
    Before with carpet
    After
    After
    Before
    Shower detail
    Concrete Counter
    LIttle touches
    Shelves from Wayfair
    I even love the toilet
    Counter decor
    Decore
    Pretty and functional
    So pretty

    Thanks for following along on this DIY Bathroom Remodel journey with us. We plan to relax for awhile now.

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    At Home  --  North America Travel

    Road Tripping Idaho USA

    Part One of a Three Part Road Tripping Series

    Location: McCall & Sun Valley Idaho, USA

    Inspired to explore environs closer to home, meaning in the United States, we set out on a road trip in August. Road tripping Idaho USA began in Washington State. We traveled 3375 miles through 5 states over 13 days. Our goal was only to sate a wee bit of our wanderlust and see a few towns and regions we had never visited. This is the first installment of three part series of our road trip adventures.

    Hiking in Idaho
    Hiking was at the top of our list for our road trip activities

    Road Warriors

    I should start by telling those of you who don’t know, that we have visited all fifty states. Yes, in addition to the 110 countries we have visited we can also claim to have visited all fifty states. Admittedly I am a bit of an overachiever (insert eye roll).

    But point of clarification – the way we accomplished this momentous task is by…wait for it…ROAD TRIPPING! Yep, it’s really the only way to visit all 50 states, and over the past twenty-eight years we have traversed the entire country on six separate road trips. Our first road trip was in 1992 when we drove from Washington State to Washington DC. So our Road tripping Idaho USA begins our sixth USA road trip.

    Idaho Deer
    Rural Idaho offers a lot of wildlife viewing opportunities

    Road Tripping in the Time of The “C” Word

    That inconvenient virus has made every aspect of our lives a struggle, including a summer road trip. We planned a socially distanced itinerary and were able to pull it off by planning ahead, traveling with cleaning supplies and wearing our masks. We spent multiple days in Idaho, Colorado and Oregon.

    Way to go Idaho

    Given that Idaho is the neighbor to my home state of Washington you’d think I would have spent more time there. But not so much. I’ve visited the panhandle multiple times, and the city of Boise, but on this trip I really wanted to see more of the mountains in the south so that’s what we set out to do.

    Reflexion in Lake
    Beautiful Twin Lakes, a four mile easy round trip hike in McCall

    We drove our first day to Spokane, still in Washington State but right on the border with Idaho. We spent a fun evening with my husband’s brother and his wife, before making an early morning escape under the cover of darkness. Today’s drive was about six hours to McCall Idaho (crossing into Mountain time zone), home to Payette Lake, Brundage Mountain and beautiful scenery.

    We spent our first day in McCall enjoying the company of dear old friends who have retired to this gorgeous area. It’s not hard to see why they would choose it. Everything you might want is here; hot dry summers, cold dry winters, hiking, biking, boating, skiing, great dining and beer. Wow.

    Wildflowers in Idaho
    Abundant wildflowers at Twin Lakes

    Day two in McCall we did two easy hikes. First we hiked to Twin Lakes, an easy four mile round trip suitable for just about anyone. It was one of the most peaceful places I have ever been. We had gotten an early start and found the trail and the lake deserted, except for a lone fisherman…perfect. The views were like a postcard…actually better!

    Next we went to the Brundage Ski Area very popular in the summer for mountain bikers. We had a delicious lunch (socially distanced outdoors) on the deck of the lodge before riding the chair lift ($15) up to the top of the mountain. Here we could see all the way back to McCall and Payette Lake and well beyond. The chair lift ticket includes a round trip, but we hiked the 4 mile cat track back down to the lodge, enjoying a wide variety of wildflowers and bird life, and only a handful of other people.

    Chair lift at Brundage
    Masked up for the chairlift ride at Brundage Ski Area

    We spent our two nights in McCall in a tiny little cabin a block from the lake. Teeny kitchen and bath, a comfy bed and a fireplace make this place cozy and perfect for a few days winter or summer. We also enjoyed sitting around the campfire in the evening. See it here.

    Payette Lake
    Payette Lake is a dream for boating and water sports

    Day four we exited early, heading south to the famous Sun Valley region. We had never visited Sun Valley and it had been on my list for a long time. Sun Valley is made up of several towns, and several ski areas. The best known town is Ketchum. We stayed in Hailey, about five miles outside of Ketchum (another peaceful and exceptionally well kept Airbnb. See it here).

    Sun Valley Ski Resort view
    You can see forever from the top of Sun Valley Ski Resort

    Our first day in the valley we took the gondola at Sun Valley Ski Resort up to the top of the mountain ($25). The weather was clear and warm and you could see for a hundred miles. We had an outdoor socially distanced meal at Warfield Distillery in Ketchum and explored some of the local microbrews.

    Ketchum Idaho
    A great view from the outdoor patio at Warfield Distillery in Ketchum

    Day two in the valley I enjoyed a long morning run on the Wood River trail that runs for 15+ miles all along the valley. Next we took a short hike on a nature trail near our Airbnb along the Wood River. We finished our day playing nine holes of golf at the beautiful Elk Horn Golf Course. Sun Valley is peppered with golf courses…wish we had been able to check out a few more – next time!

    Elk Horn Golf
    A beautiful golf course, Elk Horn in Sun Valley

    Feeling Safe in Idaho

    Idaho has a population of 1.75 million and ranks 35th in the USA for virus infections with just over 28,000 (Source Statista as of August 19th). In both McCall and the Sun Valley area we found people wearing masks in all stores and restaurants and many people wearing masks on the sidewalks in town. Idaho was dead last in the USA for cases until mid-June when virus cases began to rise.

    Sawtooth Mountains
    Mountains Majesty – the Sawtooth Mountains

    We made a point to keep distanced, choose activities where we could easily stay away from crowds, and we enjoyed our road trip in Idaho. It really is an underrated gem in the United States. Now I want to go back in the winter. Road tripping Idaho USA filled our goals.

    Join us next week for our Colorado installment of Road Tripping USA.

    See our road trip to Montana from Summer 2019.

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    At Home  --  Food & Drink

    Wild Caught Alaska White Fish Recipes

    Our summer of healthy eating continues and we have been swimming in delicious wild caught fish from Alaska, thanks to our monthly membership with Wild Alaskan Company. And today I am sharing with a few of my favorite wild caught Alaska white fish recipes

    Wild Alaskan Seafood

    Hopefully you saw my blog from a couple weeks ago, ranting about the amazing wild caught Alaska salmon we have been enjoying. Check out the salmon recipes I shared in the link.

    Meanwhile, salmon isn’t the only fish in the sea, and in fact I often prefer a firm white fish when in a restaurant or cooking at home. I am a big fan of halibut, and we order cod in restaurants around the world. Cod has many different names depending where you are including haddock, plaice, scrod, pollock and Gadus. Gadus is the actual name of the genus of this fish.

    Recently I discovered that one of my favorite fish, Black Cod, is not cod at all. Black Cod is actually Sable Fish, sometimes called Butterfish.

    Confused? Well rest assured these fish, no matter what they are called, can all be delicious as long as you are buying and serving wild caught and not farmed. There is also a difference in taste between Atlantic Cod and Pacific Cod (in my opinion), another reason I am such a fan of fish from Alaska.

    Get Your $15 Off Today and Free Recipes Too

    As I have enjoyed my monthly delivery from Wild Alaskan Company I have been experimenting with white fish and have five wild caught Alaska white fish recipes to share with you today. I continue my experimenting in my kitchen, so I hope to have more recipes (both white fish and salmon) in the months ahead.

    Meanwhile, Wild Alaskan Company has given me an affiliate relationship, which means, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and become a member AND you will receive $15 off your first order. Go ahead. Click and start enjoying this healthy option delivered direct to your door.

    And then start cooking with the wild caught Alaska white fish recipe’s below.

    Air Fryer Cod

    Wild Caught Alaska White Fish
    Air Fryer Cod

    Serves Two

    Two 6 oz Cod fillets

    Two Tablespoons Panko, mixed with salt, pepper, garlic powder and a pinch of red chili flakes

    After thawing your cod fillets dry them really well with a paper towell and then let them sit out and air dry a bit more. Mix your breading ingredients together and toss the fillets in the panko mix. Preheat your air fryer for about 5 minutes to 375 degrees. Place your fillets in your air fryer basket and cook for ten minutes, turn over and cook another 6-8 minutes until done.

    Easy, healthy, delicious.

    Cod Tacos

    Wild Caught Alaska White Fish
    Fish Tacos

    Serves Two

    Two 6 oz Cod fillets

    I used Air Fryer Cod (above) for our tacos, but you could also fry the breaded cod fillets in oil on the stove top until crispy.

    Break the cod apart and make street taco size tacos using four inch round flour or corn tortillas. Offer homemade coleslaw, guacamole, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese and salsa for a make your own taco feast.

    Butter Cod or Halibut

    Wild Caught Alaska White Fish
    Butter Cod

    Serves Two

    You can use either halibut or cod for this recipe. Thaw two 6 oz pieces of your choice

    In cast iron skillet (or other skillet that is ovenproof), brown 4 oz of butter. Place fillets in butter and fry two minutes on each side. Remove from heat and spoon brown butter over fillets, then add juice of one lemon.

    Put in pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes to finish. Spoon sauce over fish once during cooking.

    Baked or BBQ Orange Halibut

    Wild Caught Alaska White Fish
    Orange Halibut

    Servess Two

    Two 6oz Halibut Fillets

    2 Tablespoons butter

    Zest of one orange

    1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

    Place Halibut on foil. Smear one tablespoon of butter on each fillet. Sprinkle orange zest on each fillet. Salt and pepper to taste.

    Place on cookie sheet for oven (375 preheated) or roll-up side of foil for BBQ leaving top open. Pour half cup of OJ over fillets. Bake or BBQ till flaky.

    Miso Glazed Sable Fish

    Wild Caught Alaska White Fish
    Miso Glazed Sable Fish

    This is possibly my favorite recipe of all time. I had a dish similar to this in a restaurant years ago, and it took me a long time to find a recipe that works. This one definitely works. Sable Fish is da bomb.

    Serves 6

    Six Sable Fish fillets thawed

    Marinade: 1/3 cup white miso (usually in the refridgerated specialty foods section of your market)

    1/3 sake

    1/3 rice vinegar

    1/4 cup brown sugar

    Heat the marinade ingredients on the stove top until sugar melts, about five minutes. Let cool. Hold out about a half cup of marinade and pour the rest into a gallon size freezer bag and add your fish fillets. Place in fridge for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours turning bag occasionally.

    Grease a cookie sheet really well and place your fillets on the cookie sheet. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake fish for about 10 minutes. Switch the oven to broil and finish the fish under the broiler another 2-3 minutes. Watch it closely.

    Meanwhile in microwave reheat the marinade you held aside.

    To serve the Sable Fish place a little bit of the marinade on top, sprinkle with fresh, chopped green onions.

    Delicious and beautiful served with black rice and stir fried bok choy.

    Chinese Halibut with Noodles

    This is a recipe I created based on a dish I had when I was in China. I don’t think the fish I was eating in China was Halibut, but I enjoyed the dish so much I came home and came up with this recipe. Chinese Halibut with Noodles was presented on my YouTube channel as part of our weekly Tasty Tuesday series. See it here. We invite you to follow us on YouTube.

    Get Cooking

    As you can see there are so many ways to cook delicious wild caught Alaska white fish recipes at home…don’t be afraid! Give it a try and start enjoying healthy, delicious, easy wild caught Alaska seafood this summer. I’d love to hear from you if you try any of my recipes. I promise one more blog in a few weeks with more great recipes. Meanwhile, get cooking!

    Be safe my friends.

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    See our blog with recipes for Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon here.

    See this week’s best performing pin here.

    At Home  --  Food & Drink

    Wild Caught Alaska Salmon

    Fresh, Delicious and Delivered Right to Your Door! Salmon Recipes Included.

    Location: Washington State USA

    Back in the day…

    I grew up in the Pacific Northwest in the 1960’s and 70’s.  Back in the day, salmon was cheap, local, abundant and taken for granted.  Today, salmon is not as abundant in the waters of the Puget Sound.  In fact, growing up with fresh salmon, oysters, clams, Dungeness crab and many other stars of the sea right in my backyard, I know now, we took it all for granted. This is how I have falling in love with wild caught Alaska salmon.

    Fast forward forty years and as I travel around the world in my nomad life (currently on pause due to that inconvenient little virus), from Malaysia to Spain, I’ve run across some truly remarkable, unique and delicious fish I was never familiar with before.  And I’ve also learned that most people around the world are eating farm raised salmon…that disgusting excuse of a fish.  It’s why I never order salmon in a restaurant anymore unless it says wild caught Alaska salmon. 

    salmom
    It’s like Christmas in July!

    Back home in Washington State I don’t buy fish in my grocery store much either, because it is either Atlantic farm raised or thawed from previously frozen – and I’m unclear of how long ago that might have been.   Did you know approximately 91% of the seafood that the United States consumes is imported from overseas? A significant portion of that fish is un-sustainably farmed. It is harmful to the environment and unhealthy for humans. Gross.  

    There used to be a woman in my hometown of Gig Harbor who had a small business selling wild Alaska salmon her husband caught in the summer.  But she is no longer operating which led me to go searching for other options.

    And boom.  There it is.  I discovered the Wild Alaskan Company.  Best Google search ever!

    Wild Alaskan Company

    What a great story this company has.  A family run, sustainably fished, environmentally conscious business with an amazing product you can have delivered right to your door.  What you say?  No joke.  And, the customer service is remarkable.

    Wild Alaskan Company
    So much yummy goodness in my box

    I’ve been a member now for two months and we are eating so healthy having this beautiful fish in my freezer.  Wild Alaskan offers monthly membership (cancel anytime), with door to door delivery of your choice of a box of salmon, or white fish, or mixed.  I am currently enjoying the mixed which includes coho, sockeye, cod and halibut.  I did a special order too of sable fish (often called Black Cod).  Wild Alaskan salmon is always frozen soon after it’s caught to lock in that fresh taste.  You want it frozen – that’s what makes it taste fresh. Seems weird but it works.

    Wild Alaskan has given me an affiliate relationship, which means at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and join the fish club.  AND if you use this link you will get $15 off your first order! So please check out the recipes I am providing to you below and place your order for your first box, and get cooking and enjoying unique and sustainable wild caught Alaskan fish – the best in all the world.

    Watch for a blog in a couple weeks all about recipes for white fish. Meanwhile enjoy these;

    Simply Salmon

    Simply salmon
    Simply Salmon ready for the BBQ
    simply salmon
    Simply Salmon on top of a delicious salad

    Frankly when the fish is this fresh, it really doesn’t need much done to it, and that is why Simply Salmon is one of my favorite preparations, especially in the summer.  Easy and delicious  

    Serves Two

    Two 6 oz Fillets Wild Alaskan Salmon thawed and placed on foil

    Smear one teaspoon of butter on each

    Squeeze juice of one lemon over all

    Salt and pepper to taste.

    Wrap salmon up in the foil leaving a vent at the top and place on hot BBQ for about five – seven minutes, test it for doneness it may need a few more minutes but be sure not to overcook.

    Enjoy.

    Smothered Salmon

    Salmon recipes
    Smothered salmon going into the oven
    Baked salmon
    Smothered salmon over a bed of barley salad with warm vinegaret

    This recipe works both for the BBQ or the oven and we have served this both summer and winter.

    Serves Two

    Two 6 oz fillets Wild Alaskan Salmon thawed

    Place salmon skin side down on a foil covered cookie sheet if using the oven, or on a large enough piece of foil to put on the BBQ

    In a separate bowl mix two tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of coarse ground dijon mustard and 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese

    Smear each piece of salmon with mixture and bake at 350 degrees or BBQ until done.

    Squeeze of lemon before serving

    Salmon Lox

    salmon lox
    Salmon Lox with weights ready to go in the fridge
    Salmon Lox
    My favorite breakfast, lox and bagles with fresh made lox

    One of my favorite breakfasts in the world is lox and bagels with cream cheese, until recently when I learned that much of the lox I have been eating is farm raised.  So I made up this recipe for my own.

    Two 6 oz fillets Wild Alaskan Salmon thawed

    Set the salmon on your cutting board and let air-dry for about 20 minutes.  Then pour one teaspoon of good gin over each fillet.  Let sit for another ten minutes.

    Meanwhile in small bowl mix 1.5 tablespoons sugar

    1 tablespoon kosher salt

    1-2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper, preferably a mix of black, white and red peppercorns (I use my mortar and pestle for this)

    1/3 cup fresh chopped dill fronds

    Place one salmon fillet skin side down on large piece of cellophane.  Top with sugar mixture.  Place second piece of salmon on top of it – skin side up – to make a salmon sandwich.  Wrap tightly in cellophane, use another piece of cellophane if necessary to seal it.

    Place the salmon in a shallow dish such as a pie plate then top with another dish big enough to hold several cans of beans or tomatoes or whatever you have.   These will serve as a weight.  Place in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, turning once or twice a day and draining the liquid that collects in the dish.

    Slice then and Eat!

    Salmon Pie

    salmon pie
    Beautiful and cheesy salmon pie
    salmon pie for dinner
    Salmon Pie is delicious both hot or cold

    Well, having salmon leftovers is really unusual, but if you find yourself in such a situation, this is an old family recipe from my husband’s side of the family.  It was one of my kid’s favorite things when they were growing up.  

    Serves Four

    In the bottom of a deep dish nine inch pie shell layer one cup of cheddar cheese.  Take about 2 cups of cooked salmon broken into pieces and toss with 1 tablespoon of flour.  Layer the mixture on top of the cheddar cheese.

    Chop one bunch of green onions including tops and sauté in two tablespoons of butter.  To this mixture and on medium heat add one can cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup, 3/4 cup sour cream, 1 teaspoon dry dill and 1/8 teaspoon white pepper.  Cook until combined and bubbly.  Remove from heat and stir in two eggs.  Pour mixture over the top of the salmon and cheese in the pie shell.  Place the pie on a cookie sheet then bake for 30 min in a 325 degree oven.  Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.  Good both hot or cold.

    Smoked Salmon

    As part of my weekly TASTY TUESDAY on YouTube, our final recipe is a video, with instructions on how simple and delicious it can be to smoke your own Alaska salmon.  You only need salmon, water, salt and brown sugar to create a delicious smoked salmon.

    And there you go – my top five salmon preparations, each one made better with wild caught Alaska salmon.  I’d love to hear from you if you try any of these recipes!  And watch for more great fish recipes coming your way soon.

    Healthy, delicious and fun.  Use this link and save with Wild Alaskan Company. What could be better?

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    At Home  --  Inspire  --  North America Travel

    Sanity Staycation

    Location: Whidbey Island Washington USA

    Not everyone is up for a staycation right now. But for me, getting away even for a day, or two, or three, is a great boost to mental health during pandemic paralysis. Since it looks like it might be awhile until we can fly off to the Alps, or the Cote d’Azure or the Azores…a little sanity staycation is a perfect pandemic prescription.

    Whidbey Island Staycation
    Our Cottage at Quintessa

    We’ve decided to do several sanity staycations in the weeks and months ahead, visiting places within a few hours or a few days from home. Places reachable by car with low impact as far as crowds or contact with humans. Our first sanity staycation was to the beautiful Whidbey Island less than two hours from my home in Washington State where we have been on travel pause for two months.

    Whidbey Island

    Whidbey Island Staycation
    The Quintessa

    First, traveling mid-week is a great way to avoid crowds. On Whidbey we felt like we were the only visitors, and that was okay with us. We rented a cottage on the grounds of the Quintessa, a wedding and events location. But on a Tuesday, we were the only guests and it felt really special to have it all to ourselves.

    Whidbey Island Staycation
    Langley Washington

    Whidbey is easy to get around by car. We’ve been here before so didn’t need to see everything, but if you haven’t visited before the cute shops especially in Langley and Coupeville are my favorites. If you are game there are also wine tasting rooms, distilleries and taprooms. Greenbank Farms will serve you wine and cheese and send you off with a delicious berry pie to take home – giving you a chance to savor your sanity staycation for a day or two more. Or pick up some world famous Penn Cove Oysters while here…the tiny sweet delicious mollusks are the best.

    Whidbey Island Staycation
    Joe’s Wood Fired Pizza

    If you are an experienced cyclists it’s a great place to ride, but we left our bikes at home this time and opted for some easy hiking. We chose to do a really fun day hike in the Fort Ebey State Park, perfect for any fitness level and offering some really beautiful views. Exactly what my mental health was craving.

    Whidbey Island Staycation
    Fort Ebey State Parl

    Although we didn’t have a reservation (highly recommended) we were able to slide in for an early dinner at the highly rated Prima Bistro in Langley. Both indoor and outdoor dining and a really great menu makes the Prima Bistro a top choice. If you want to social distance try to get a reservation off peak, although the restaurant was following all State of Washington distancing rules. On our second night we got take-out at the highly rated Joe’s Wood Fired Pizza. Excellent New York style pizza, in the Bayview area halfway between Langley and Freeland. We also made a quick stop for a treat at Coupeville’s Red Hen Bakery – killer cinnamon rolls, take out only.

    Whidbey Island Staycation
    The historic building in Langley,home to Prima Bistro

    Plan Ahead

    A sanity staycation takes a bit of planning…don’t assume everything is open and running regular hours. For instance Joe’s is only open for take-out currently (July 2020).

    Also very important is that you check the current schedule for the Washington State Ferries (unless you plan to arrive from the North over the Deception Pass Bridge). Currently due to reduced staffing Washington State Ferries are running at half capacity (July 2020). The Mukilteo to Clinton Ferry (closest from Seattle and King and Snohomish County and all points east) is usually a 2-3 boat wait unless you can travel during non-peak. Another option is the Port Townsend to Coupeville Ferry. If you are coming from points west and south ( Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, Mason or Jefferson Counties) this is definitely the way to go. The great thing about this boat is you can make a reservation and be secured a spot on whatever sailing you want.

    Ebey Landing

    But that’s all part of the “fun” (she says tongue in cheek) during the time of Covid. Learning to live with new rules and guidelines will serve us all in the long run…and taking a mental health sanity staycation is a highly recommended way to feel better and wash away the blues – but only if you are comfortable being out. We plan to choose safe, quiet and unpopulated places to visit on upcoming sanity staycations.

    Not a soul around. Enjoying a cinnamon roll outside Red Hen Bakery

    Be safe. Be smart. And above all else, please be kind.

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    At Home  --  Inspire

    Skin Care at Sixty

    My Six- Week TimeWise Repair Journey

    Location: At Home, USA

    Being in lockdown, and returning so abruptly from our world travels back to the USA, put me in a position with free time to step back and take a look at myself. Everything that had fully occupied my time over the last four years had come to a complete and unexpected stop.

    But this provided an unexpected blessing – an opportunity for me to focus on self care. Something I have been wholly unable to do most of my life; to no one’s fault but my own.

    Me no make up on
    Me last week no makeup.

    When we arrived in the USA I found I had a lot of free time on my hands. I began to realize I could use this stay-at-home time to accomplish some self-care things I had so often put on the back burner before. I immediately started a running training program, joined NOOM weight loss (to date have dropped 20 pounds and will be blogging on this later) and set out to focus on revitalizing my aging and neglected skin and focusing on skin care at sixty.

    I’ve never been someone to spend a lot of money on beauty. I get my hair and nails done, but shop for myself infrequently and never too extravagantly. Most of my skincare products and makeup generally come from Target. When we travel I go months without wearing makeup and most days only use cleanser and moisturizer with SPF 15.

    But here I am with all this free time…free time to get healthy both inside and out. Free time to finally focus on skin care at sixty. Better late than never? Well, you be the judge.

    On arriving back home I contacted my friend Susi who is a Mary Kay consultant, because I had heard some good reviews about the MK line called TimeWise Repair. This line of skincare products is specifically designed for women like me, who are looking to repair damage from sun and sea, age and neglect.

    I began using these products in early May. I did a video on YouTube at that time, to share the start of my journey. You can see that first video below. In the video I share all the products I began using; 1) TimeWise Repair Foaming Cleanser 2) Indulge Soothing Eye Gel 3) Eye Renewal Cream 4) Vitamin C 5) Lifting Serum 6) TimeWise Repair Retinol Night Cream and TimeWise Repair SPF 30 Day Cream 7) Deep Wrinkle Filler

    Here is the first video…and by the way you will notice the 20 pounds heavier in this first video as compared to today…that alone makes my face look healthier.

    May 8th video

    I spent the next three weeks religiously following the night and day program for Mary Kay’s TimeWise Repair products and I immediately began to feel my skin was moister and generally all-around healthier. Once a week I used two more products in the evening; 8) TimeWise Repair Facial Peel and 9) TimeWise Repair Moisture Renewing Gel Mask.

    Here is the second video I did at week three. I REALLY notice in this video the bags under my eyes. At the time of this video I had not yet been diagnosed with a sinus infection…but clearly it was raging and causing me trouble. I kept hoping the Mary Kay eye cream would take care of the bags, not realizing it was something more. Here is the second video.

    May 30

    So today at week six I am pretty happy about how my skin FEELS as much as how it looks. I also feel like by focusing on this for six weeks I have developed good skin care habits for both morning and night, something I never had before. I would say that the products I feel have been the best for me would be the TimeWise Repair Foaming Cleanser, the Indulge Soothing Eye Gel, the Day Cream, the Night Cream, the Facial Peel and the Gel Mask.

    My consultant Susi feels strongly that the serum is one of the best things I can do for my skin. And I feel like the night cream with retinal has contributed greatly to the diminished wrinkles. It’s been nice having Susi at my fingertips for questions…something I can’t get from sales people at Target or the mall. Worth it for me in my busy life.

    It’s not pretty, but I’m sharing with you my before shot that was done on the Mary Kay Skin Analyzer App the first week of May, and my After Shot taken this week. Note I’m purposefully not smiling…to really be able to see my problem areas. The skin analyzer is the tool we used to both determine the products that would be best for my skin issues, and to see the results. Here it is. Oi. Embarrassing.

    Mary Kay Skin Analyzer picture week one
    Week one early May
    Mary Kay Skin Analyzer picture week six
    Week Six Mid June

    However, I see much improvement in the wrinkles, and am hopeful with continued use it will get better still. Although some of my most prominent wrinkles, like the “11” between my brows haven’t really improved at all, I’m happy to accept those as part of my sixty year journey. I think those are just here to stay.

    My final video, posted yesterday, shares a fun time lapse look at my routine to finish off the experiment. Here it is.

    So, again realizing I have dropped 20 lbs in six weeks, and started running every day combined with this skin care routine I feel really healthy overall. I see a difference in my skin, especially how it feels and even how my makeup feels on my skin. Here is another before and after shot with my make up on.

    March in Israel make up on
    BEFORE this is me early March in Israel, make up on
    Last week with makeup on
    AFTER Me mid June with makeup at home

    AND since I am making all this effort, I bought a new hat with a wider brim to protect my skin more than any hat I’ve owned before. Sassy. I am feeling so much healthier over all, I hope all these new habits will stick, and I can continue to improve my skin, weight and activity level in the months and years ahead. Because, you know, I’m fabulous!

    My new hat, make up on
    Protecting my skin with my new hat

    I would love to hear about your self care journey. Comment below or message me anytime.

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