Life in Alaska at 60° below zero

With the world’s current fascination with life in Alaska, I thought it would be fun to give you a REAL life account of a day in the life. (As opposed to the over-dramatized versions you see on TV.)

Funny story, we have actually been contacted by a TV channel scout to be a part of a new Alaska show and had to laugh and say “No thanks.” Not only do I have no interest in a bunch of cameras following me around, I’m pretty sure everyone in our little community here would send us packing.

However, for the sake of giving the people what they want….

Here are three different perspectives of a day in Alaska at 60 degrees below zero from myself and my two good friends here who all live within about a 5 mile radius we have homeschool COOP together, take care of each other’s places and chores when someone is out of town and generally “do life” together.

So, do you ever wonder what life might be like during an Alaskan cold snap?

Here’s a glimpse:

Friday, January 10th, 2020

Eastern Interior Alaska

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Jodi’s Journal –

12:00 AM – I realize what time it is and that I need to go to bed. I’ve been up late writing & tending the fire. I stoke the fire and choke it back so that it will keep us warm without burning all the wood up before I check it again. Next, I pour hot water down the downstairs shower drain to melt any ice build up in the pipe that would cause a freeze. This is the only drain in the house that we seem to have issues with (and the coldest room in the house.)

3:30 AM – Get up to check the fire again and melt/clear the shower drain again.

6:30 AM – Get up to get hubby out the door for work. The weather app on my phone says -53 but it’s all lies, the analog thermometer outside says -60 (maybe even -62.)

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We put most of our time and construction budget this summer to build an attached garage. The heat from the log wall of our house keeps the garage warm enough that the car starts up with no trouble. Matt leaves for work and I, once again, stoke the fire and clear shower drain. There is a thin layer of ice on the bottom of the shower from the last time I poured hot water down the drain.
7:00 – I wrap up in my favorite, fuzzy shawl and curl back up like a lazy bum because I had choked the fire back too far last time and the house is now 56°; also, because I was up until 1 AM with my late night writing session and I’m not 20 years old anymore.

8:00 – AM – I wake kids up and start running a hot bath. Unlike my friends Sara and Charity, we aren’t actually “off grid.” We have electricity to the house for lights, appliances etc. but our Kitchen Queen wood cook stove “Bessie” is our only source of heat, our only stove/oven and in the winter, our hot water heater.  Water is super heated by cycling it through our woodstove and back into the hot water heater saving big $ on electricity. But if we are running the fire too hot for a long period of time without using the excess hot water, the hot water heater will blow off. We have a hose which is supposed to send the excess hot water down the drain but occasionally the hose decides to cut loose and fly out of it’s drain… flooding the upstairs bathroom with boiling hot water. Yesterday, this very thing happened and drained directly onto the downstairs ceiling fan causing a sprinkler effect and sending water flying in all directions.  Thankfully my computer wasn’t sitting at the kitchen table where it normally resides.

8:30 AM – Get the kids started on morning chores and hop in the hot bath with a good book. (You know, because I can’t waste all that hot water… it’s a rough life.)

9:00 AM – We should be starting school right about now but there’s something about life in Alaska that makes time more of a relative thing… when you have almost all sun or all dark… the whole “burning daylight” thing isn’t really a thing.

I go out to feed and water the useless chickens that have taken up residence in the garage. We didn’t have time to build a warm chicken house for them before winter because we were building the garage. I swap their frozen water out for fresh warm water and feed them. I bring in a frozen pot of moose stew in from the garage and put it on the wood stove to thaw for lunch.

Each kid takes a turn in the bath while the other one does school work. Reading time can be either in the bath or snuggled up behind the wood stove. (Hey if we don’t get to take a day off for cold weather, at least there can be a few perks. Interesting fact- even public schools in Alaska aren’t canceled due to weather because of the risk that children might be dropped off at the bus stop waiting for a bus that never comes.)

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12:00 PM – Last night’s wood supply is all used up so I bundle up and make a few trips bringing in firewood.  It’s kind of like carrying in ALL the grocery bags at once, super human strength kicks in when you don’t want to make more than 2 trips outside.

I once again… stoke the fire & clear shower drain. Matt comes home for lunch. This has been major perk here in Alaska, the girls have so much more quality time with us here at home. After lunch we have our read aloud time (we are reading Heidi right now) while Daddy rests his eyes for a few minutes before going back to work.

After the hubby leaves, I realize that the oven in the wood stove is hot enough to bake and I really should’ve been taking advantage of the constant oven today and had a baking day.  That reminds me that I have the first stage of sourdough “resting” in it’s refrigerated state (on the bathroom floor where it’s nice and cold) and pull out my cloche, working more flour into the dough so I can bake bread this evening.

I remember that I forgot to pull some meat from deep freeze in the shed outside so I bundle back up to go get what I need for supper. While the meat is in the deep freeze, it doesn’t really need to be. The compressor on the freezer hasn’t run since late October.  There are boxes of groceries from our last Costco run just sitting out in the shed which has now become a walk-in freezer.

1:30 PM – The girls are finished with school. We normally have about an hour and a half of quiet time (sanity time for Mama) in the afternoon but today I put on some music and they have a “dance cleaning party” instead. We try to change up our afternoon routine once in a while so the kids don’t get too stir crazy.

2:30 PM – Bandit, our one year old pup is bouncing off the walls by this point. He is 2 breeds of hunting dog and a third part cow dog, so to say he’s high energy is an understatement. He seems to be taking it personal that he has nothing to do and is on the (playful) attack. I give him a caribou bone to keep him busy.  Not helpful.  He runs around the house with his bone whining for the next 45 minutes because he wants to go outside and bury it.

3:00 PM – The girls are done cleaning so they get to put on a movie now. I realize that the dog has gone quiet and is missing.  After a brief search I find him hiding in our bedroom devouring the bone in blissful privacy.

I shape my sourdough loaves and set them on a chair in front of Bessie, the wood stove, to rise.

5:00 PM – I stoke the wood stove again and open it up wide now to get the oven hot enough to bake bread and start prepping supper to be cooked on the wood stove.  There is only one “burner” on my stove top but I’m running it hot enough tonight that the entire surface will be hot enough to keep things simmering.

The hubby comes home and tells me I need to go see the moon outside.  It’s bright, full and looks close enough to almost touch.

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7:00 PM – I get the sourdough loaves into the oven and finish supper. After supper we watch a movie and then the rest of the family goes to bed.  I, in my night usual, night-owl fashion, stay up late doing dishes and writing.

12:00 AM – Stoke fire, clear drain, go to bed

Sara’s Journal –

A Day in the Life at 50 Below
3:00 – My husband Stretch woke up to start the generator and plugged in his truck so he can get into work by 6:30. He had started his truck and let it run for about 45 minutes around 11:45 before going to bed. He also started the wood boiler. Of course, I slept through all of this.
9:20 – I let the three dogs out to go potty. Within a minute the puppy and retired sled dog are rushing back and forth between the two outside doors. One of the kids let them in and yells that Nation, our 18-year-old blue heeler isn’t at the door. I rush outside to find her stuck, her muscles no longer working, hallway to the opposite door. I gently pick her up and carry her inside. Her leg muscles cramp as she tries to walk when I put her down inside. This is probably the hardest part of the intense cold for me, watching Nation suffer in the simple act of relieving herself. We never imagined she’d have to live through another winter, but she’s still here, plugging along.
10:15 – The voltage on the inverter is reading 23.3, so it’s time to fire up the generator again. We are actually planning on running it more often today than normal so it doesn’t go too long between starting. I go out the door, quickly lift up the rigid foam box Stretch built to keep the heat from the heating pads stuck on the generator in, turn the key, and push the start button. The engine sputters then roars with a loud knowing sound as all the parts and pieces get moving. Time to do a load of laundry (a never-ending chore in a family of seven).
11:48 – Batteries are charged, and the generator is turned off. I had to stay outside a bit longer than turning the generator on since I needed to wrap the box that houses the generator in the comforter. By the time I was done, maybe 30 seconds, my boogers had frozen in my nose. Gross, I know, but that’s one way to judge if it’s really cold … how quickly it takes your boogers to freeze. I made the mistake on the way inside of taking a deep breath through my mouth. Instant pain in the chest. No wonder the weather app says the air quality is unhealthy.
12:40 – Homeschool science experiment time. Titus wanted to find out if a myth about 50 below was true. If you opened a can of soda, would it turn into a slushy instantly? So me and him geared up in our coats, hats, and gloves and headed outside. We were thoroughly disappointed when the soda simply fuzzed up with no slush.

1:45 – Maddox checked his tap water and finds that it is frozen. Pretty amazing that an inch or so of water will freeze solid in half and hour. The boiling water was still liquid, so another myth busted today.
2:36 – Battery levels are low, so it’s time to start the generator again. As it struggles to get going, I was reminded of the Little Engine That Could. “I think I can. I think I can … Wahoo! I did it!!” Sadie checked her water again, and it was finally frozen.
3:30 – Pup, the high-strung Wire-haired Pointing Griffon, has decided that today is the day she’s used to us and would like us to learn all about her energy. Finding ways to exercise a 5-month-old puppy that has spent her entire life in a kennel with other dogs and can’t really go outside due to the insane cold makes for an interesting afternoon. Her new favorite thing to do is terrorize the kids, especially the Titus, the10-year-old. Probably because he’s the one that has taken her running the most. Her attempt to play is not very fun for Titus since Pup becomes completely focused on jumping and grabbing at his arms and clothes. Out came the RC car and we had her chase that for a while. Now that she has calmed a bit, the children are watching videos on training overactive, aggressive puppies. Not that she’s mean or anything, she’s just bored and has finally decided to let us know.
4:15 – Batteries are full, so generator is off. The sun is gone and dusk is over. About half an hour more and it will be completely dark outside. Makes the evening long with the short days. I laugh at myself when I look at the clock thinking “I’m ready for bed and it’s only 6:30!”
4:45 – I get a text from a friend who told me earlier in the week she was going to visit. Did I remember? No. Was I still in my sweats and hadn’t brushed my hair? Yep. Was the house a disaster? It’s a good thing she comes from a large family.

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7:30 – Boiler is done running, so the generator gets turned off again. We aren’t the most efficient with the generator when it’s this cold. At this temperature, we have to run the boiler twice a day. It’s actually one of the benefits of the Garn boiler we installed. Our boiler works differently than other systems. We fill it full, fire it up, then two hours later, we have a tank full of hot water that we use for our domestic and heat. It’s great. One less thing that has to watched constantly.9:00 – Stretch turns on his truck and lets it run for about an hour and a half.
10:00 – I’m off to bed. The full moon is shining so bright my entire room is illuminated. Gorgeous.
When I woke up the next morning at 6, the generator decided it was upset with us for letting it get t cold. I pushed the button and all it’d do is click. Good thing we have a spare!

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The door has beautiful ice formations on it!

Charity’s Journal –

Ever wonder what life might be like during an Alaskan cold snap? Here’s a glimpse:
4:30 am: I get up to put wood in the woodstove. There are plenty of coals, but at the temperatures we’ve been having, maintaining a comfortable temp in the house requires constant burning at maximum load. I will feed the fire every 3-4 hours all day long. I lay back down in bed but Savannah wants to eat and Luke’s alarm goes off at 5. I guess I’m awake for the day.
5:45 am: Luke leaves for work. The outside thermometer reads 60 below. Inside it’s 63 above.

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6:30 am: I go out to the garage to get the fire going out there and feed the chickens. There are a few coals left and it doesn’t take long to reignite. Chicken water is frozen but I’m able to switch it with a bucket that’s still unfrozen by the stove. Also bring in a wheelbarrow full of wood from the outside. If I don’t keep the fire going in the garage, not only will the (worthless) chickens freeze, but I won’t be able to start my diesel vehicle or the diesel generator, from which we get most of our power during this dark time of year.
7 am: One benefit of having to run the woodstove wide open all the time is an endless supply of hot water. Most of the year we use propane to heat at least part of our domestic hot water, but right now the woodstove heats all of it. I take a nice long shower. After that I heat up leftover oatmeal in the oven for breakfast. The heat from the oven brings the inside temp up to 65.
8:30 am: All the kids are up by now. Stryder discovers his fish is in a bad way from getting too cold. We move it to a warmer spot and Stryder works all day at trying to gradually warm it up and bring it around. Unfortunately the next night it expires.
10 am: Finally fully light out. We have begun school, which keeps the kids occupied for the morning.
Noon: Lunch is leftovers today and a chance to run the oven again and add some more heat to the house (we don’t have a microwave). It is perfectly clear out and the sun hits the solar panels for about an hour and a half. We have about 45 minutes more daylight than at winter solstice 3 weeks ago, for a total of 5.25 hours from sunrise to sunset. We’re still getting less than 1 kwh solar power a day and I’ll have to run the generator to charge our batteries tomorrow. I will also run the well pump to replenish our 500 gallon water storage tank and do two loads of laundry to hang in the basement while the generator is running. After lunch we clean up and finish school for the day. I take another trip to the garage to feed the fire.

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2 pm: Looks like the high for the day is 52 below. I make everyone take a mandatory rest time in their beds, though they can read a book if they’re not tired. When everyone is cooped up inside all day, I need a break from the constant noise. I lay down to nurse Savannah to sleep. I don’t intend to fall asleep, but end up taking a 20 minute nap.
3 pm: Everyone but Savannah is up. The kids play and I do a little cleaning and start supper prep. The sun sets and the temperature starts to drop back downward.
4:30 pm: Luke arrives home from work. It is mostly dark by now.
6:30 pm: After supper I need to go to the store for some supplies. Wrangell goes with me to help and I have to tell him how he needs layers, boots, etc….does he not realize it’s 55 below?! I take Luke’s little Honda and the clutch gets stiff before the 5 mile drive is over. Visibility in town is very poor because of the ice fog. We are only in the store for about 20 minutes and I leave the car running. The clutch thaws out but the tires get a little square even in that short time. When we get home I park close to the basement door to unload all the groceries and get them inside before they freeze. I’m even successful at bringing home the lettuce without it freezing! When I put the car in the garage I stock the fire out there up for the night. It’s not above freezing, but considerably warmer than outside.
8 pm: Bedtime. The temperature in the root cellar has dropped to 32 degrees, despite the little muffin fan blowing air from the basement into there constantly. I bring the potatoes and carrots inside and Luke brings me a tarp to hang around the parsnips and beets next to the muffin fan opening in the root cellar. Hopefully this will keep them warm enough until it warms up.
We have a full moon tonight. It’s so bright out you can easily get around without artificial lighting of any kind. If you step outside the cars on the highway half a mile away sound like they are in the driveway. The temperature is 56 below when we head to bed, but we have hope that it will warm up in 2-3 days.

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So there it is folks, the REAL life below zero.

*Special Note: Sara Blackard, my friend who wrote the 2nd journal here, is a fellow writer and published author. If you like good historical fiction with some romance and adventure thrown in, you really need to check her out!

Facebook

Instagram

and on her blog .

This is her most recent book, the first in a fantastic series.

 

 

 

What the heck is a “Homestead State of Mind” anyway?

Today I celebrate the fact that we now have actual internet at our house! After a year and a half of only being able to get some partial use from the internet on a smart phone (with very little phone service) or by going to the library to use the computer, I am giddy with excitement at the idea of being able to start offering some new blog posts and newsletter updates again.  So as I sat down this morning with my cup of coffee I was faced with the question? What on earth do I write about first?

That is when it dawned on me that I started this blog, Homestead State of Mind over 3 years ago, and I never really have explained myself or my choice of title.

SO, “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…” (if you didn’t just sing that in your head, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore.

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The term homesteading originally referred to the Homestead Act, of 1862 of which granted 160 acres to any US citizen willing to settle on, and farm the land for at least 5 years.  Side Note: My own great grandparents homesteaded land in eastern New Mexico that our family is still blessed to own and it is one of my favorite parts of my heritage.  Now-a-days, obviously there is nowhere in the US that you can actually “homestead” by those terms (yes, even here in Alaska.)

So why is there this large movement of people claiming to be homesteaders?  I’ve actually heard people criticize those of us who use the term “homesteaders” for not living off only of twigs and berries, just as I have heard people criticize  those who use the term “off grid” for having electricity and internet in their home.  

It comes down to this, Homesteading IS a state of mind.  It is the desire for a more self sufficient lifestyle & a simpler way of life. 

Here’s what it means (and doesn’t mean) for our family:

  • It doesn’t mean that we live only off of the land, with no outside income.  My husband works a regular job, and provides for our welfare because that is what God has called him, as a husband to do.  However, he has intentionally chosen work that doesn’t consume him or take him away from his family for large periods of time.  Once upon a time, he was a supervisor in the oil and gas industry in charge of multi-million dollar projects and was on track to just keep moving up the career ladder, but for the sake of his sanity and our family’s welfare, he stepped away from that career path and never looked back.  We have absolutely no desire to chase a dollar or “keep up with the Jones” in any way shape or form.  Our vehicles are functional, not fancy & our home is comfortable and cozy, but maybe not exactly chic.

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  • It does mean we have a subsistence lifestyle which means we try to live as self-sufficiently as possible.  Subsistence is defined as the means of maintaining or supporting oneself.  We hunt, fish, forage, farm and garden for as much of our food supply as we are able.  We preserve food for winter by canning, freezing or dehydrating the food that we raise, grow, or hunt.  Our yard is our garden, we don’t have a carefully manicured lawn for the neighbors to compete with, we have vegetables to feed our family with.  The reason we love going to all this extra effort rather than just buying what we need is that it is important to us to not be completely dependent on others for our survival.  We want to be producers, not consumers, as much as possible.  

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  • It means we worked hard to become debt free and we do things as affordably as we can so that we keep it that way.  If hard work can save us some money, that is what we are going to do.  This past week, my dear hubby cut and peeled logs, milled them as needed (with a chainsaw) and that ended up saving us hundreds of dollars in lumber for our current project of building a bigger shop before winter.  

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  •  It can also mean living a more remote or even somewhat isolated life in order to achieve that simpler way of life.  For our family, that meant moving 3,000+ miles away to the Alaskan interior where subsistence and a simpler way of life is more attainable.  But that doesn’t mean that you can’t live a homesteading lifestyle where you currently are; it is all about making the choice to separate yourself from the rat-race of commercialism and keeping up appearances, and just live your life.

This is just an overview of what a Homesteading State of Mind really means.  Later on I’ll share some small, tangible ways that you can change your state of mind too.  (That is, IF you want to…)

 

Taco Night!

Being raised in Southwest Colorado (with Eastern New Mexico roots) I am a bit spoiled when it comes to Authentic Mexican cuisine.  Having known for quite some time that we were going to take on this crazy adventure and move to Alaska, I made the determination that moving to Alaska certainly wasn’t going to keep us from our favorite foods.

One of our family favorites is, of course, the beloved Taco.

This week I whipped up some Tacos and thought I’d share some SUPER easy recipes that will ensure you can have Taco night ANY night (not only when you’ve been to the store to buy Taco Seasoning and Taco Sauce.)

If you want to get the scoop on how enjoy Taco Tuesday (or any day) without packaged, processed ingredients look no further than these 3 links.

Easy Taco Sauce from Scratch

DIY Taco Seasoning Blend

Homemade, Traditional Refried Beans

The Truth About Chicken Poo

I’ve decided to name this photo “The Truth About Chicken Poo”
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You see, I’ve been trying my hand at photography (at a very amateur level, mind you) while starting out on this blogging journey and I’ve found that it’s not always so easy. 
Last summer when I first took this picture I really loved it, really, really, loved it.
And then I saw it..
That speck (or two) of chicken poo, sticking out there like a sore thumb, ruining my beautiful picture of summer bounty. 
This was how my thought process went that day:
“I can’t use this picture!  There’s chicken poo on my eggs!”
“But it’s so pretty…”
“If it isn’t perfect it CANNOT be posted on my blog page.”
“But.. maybe I can learn to use photo shop!”
“I don’t have time for that.”
“But it’s seems like such a waste to not use it, the light was just right that day…”
And so on and so forth.  You see, unfortunately good photos really do matter when it comes to the blogging world.  If your pictures are crappy, well people aren’t going to read your blog.  It’s just a fact of life.  However, I was so caught up trying to make things “social media perfect” that I was refusing to let the reality of homestead life, be shown on my page.
This is the problem with social media in our society today.  We are so careful to only put our absolute best pictures up, only our perfect selfies taken at the most flattering angle, only our Pinterest worthy successes and never our failures.
We are creating an image for ourselves that, frankly, is chicken poo. 
A false image that in turn, makes others feel bad about themselves.
“I’ll never be able to look that good”
“My kid’s birthday cake never looks like that”
“She ALWAYS cooks gourmet food for her family, I don’t have time for that!”

Comparison is the thief of joy.

— Theodore Roosevelt
It’s a wicked cycle.  And while I do need to strive to have pretty pictures for my blog, and it’s fine to post a successes that we are celebrating or the things we love about our lives, we need to remember to put the REAL us out there, drop some truth bombs, funny pictures and failures.
Let’s stop this epidemic of comparison that is plaguing our culture and put truth back in the picture.
We all have some chicken poo in our lives, don’t photo shop the truth from your pictures.
Everybody’s chickens poop.

Coconut, Almond & Flax Energy Bites

If you haven’t yet discovered the world of “energy bites” AKA “healthy cookie dough bites” you have been missing out.  Energy bites can be made with a variety of ingredients and fit a variety of needs.

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#1  FEED THE TINY HUMANS

Let’s face it folks, it ain’t easy keeping the tiny humans fed.  They are ALWAYS hungry or… “snacky” I should say.  (Is snacky a word?  I guess I just invented a new word.)

Snacky = the insatiable need to continually put things in your mouth.

My girls are snacky kids and I’ll admit, it isn’t always easy to find something that satisfies their hunger for longer than 20 minutes.  It is also not easy to find kid friendly snacks that are either not processed crap food (I’m looking at you cheese puffs) or foods that are disguised as being healthy and will therefore break the bank (yep, that’s you “Bunny snacks”…)

On that note, energy bites are the perfect snack to actually satisfy a hungry cookie monster.

#2  Hangry Mama

I am one of those people who tend to be queasy in the morning if I don’t get SOMETHING in my tummy when I first get up in the morning.  And I’m not very clear headed in the morning so my decision making skills are not always the best.  I tend to reach for ANY snack food within reach especially if it is carbs.  I also tend (as does my 7 year old daughter) to get a bit “hangry” when I have not eaten well.

These energy bites are the perfect quick snack to take the edge off.

#3 “On The Go Jo”

Who isn’t in some kind of rush these days?  It seems like we all, if not every day, then most days are in a rush to get out the door for one reason or another.  For our family it tends to be Church on Sunday and CC Community day (our homeschooling group) on Tuesdays.  As I’ve confessed before, I am not quite on top of my game in the mornings so I tend to realize last minute that I haven’t made enough time for breakfast.

Once again, these babies are an easy grab and go option.

However, as is usually the case, there is often one downfall to these delicious bites… when you search the interwebs for a recipe, you will be invariably bombarded with about 200 recipes which may look delicious but aren’t exactly on the healthy side, or they claim to be… but contain oats or other grains.  That may be fine and dandy for some, but if you are Paleo, Whole Food, Keto, THM or anything else that either cuts grains or separates carbs from fats, then all of these recipes are taboo.

This recipe is gluten-free, grain free, sugar free & delicious.   And that, in my book, is a beautiful thing.

As I have made it a self-sufficiency goal to reclaim my health through healthy foods and essential oils, I have learned that one facet to keeping my hypothyroidism in check, is by starting the day with a Breakfast incorporating Protein/Fat/Fiber.  These little gems are just that.  If the total amount of protein doesn’t meet your needs you can always add some Collagen to your tea or coffee and you will be good to go.

So after all that talk, the process is really very simple.

Mix Coconut oil & almond butter until fairly smooth.

Add in unsweetened coconut flakes, ground flax, cocoa nibs, vanilla, salt and pure stevia extract powder.IMG_3093

Mix well and place the bowl in the refrigerator for a few hours to harden.

After a few hours the mixture will be a nice scoop-able texture.

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You can then roll into balls and place on a lined cookie sheet.  (I prefer to use non-stick silicone mats to eliminate waste and unnecessary trips to the store, but parchment paper will also work fine.)

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Return the cookie sheet to the fridge and let them harden again before putting into a bowl or dish for storage.

 

Coconut, Almond & Flax Energy Bites

  • Servings: 18-24
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

3/4 cup coconut oil

*3/4 cup almond butter (other nut butters are a fine option)

1 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

**1 1/2 cup ground Golden Flax Meal

1/2 cup cocoa nibs or Lily’s brand, stevia sweetened chocolate chips

2 tsp  vanilla extract

1/2 tsp mineral salt

***1 “doonk” (1/32 tsp) pure stevia extract powder or a few drops of  liquid stevia (a “doonk” is a tiny scoop that is 1/32 of a teaspoon.)

  1. Mix coconut oil & almond butter 
  2. Add in unsweetened coconut flakes, ground flax and cocoa nibs 
  3. Add in vanilla, mineral salt and pure stevia extract powder.
  4. Mix well and place the bowl in the refrigerator to harden.
  5. Roll into balls and place on a lined cookie sheet
  6. Return the cookie sheet to the fridge and let them harden again before putting into a bowl or dish for storage.

Store in the refrigerator in order to avoid the mixture melting again.

A few notes:

*Natural peanut butter is okay too, I have just found that with a low thyroid condition, it is best to avoid over-doing it with peanuts/peanut butte

**For best results using Flax meal, grind your own Golden Flax seeds rather than buying “flax meal” as it loses it’s benefits shortly after being ground and who know how long the store bought meal has been sitting around.

***Pure stevia extract is NOT to be confused with store bought stevia blends like Truvia which are highly processed and contain fillers.  Blends such as Truvia will measure entirely differently and also have a completely different flavor as the chemical fillers leave a bitter after taste that pure stevia will not.  (I like THM brand’s pure stevia powder) – You can also add liquid stevia (but I have not tested a measurement for or a little raw honey rather than the stevia powder, just be aware that if you use honey they will no longer be sugar free or low carb.

Other notes:

You can also spread the mixture into a cake pan (well greased or preferably lined with parchment paper) and the cut into squares rather than rolling into balls.

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How to NOT boil an egg and get beautiful results (for Instant Pot OR Stove Top)

There aren’t many things more awkward than buying an 18 pack of store bought eggs when you have 25 chickens at home and several dozen eggs sitting on your kitchen counter.

Eggs

Why on earth would I be buying store bought eggs you ask?  Well if you have your own chickens, you already know; but if you don’t, let me clue you in.

Boiled fresh eggs DO NOT PEEL.  That stubborn egg white clings to its shell like we small town folk cling to our guns and religion.  😉

By the time you’re done clawing that egg out of the shell it is not a pretty sight.

peeled egg_ugly
Not exactly Easter brunch, deviled egg material is it?

Even store bought eggs can have this issue, around the holidays when egg suppliers have a harder time keeping up with demand and the eggs on store shelves are much fresher than normal.

The only way I’ve known to combat this issue is to keep an egg carton aside for 3 weeks or so.  The longer those eggs have had to sit, the more easily it will be to separate that pesky membrane between the shell and white.  The problem is… it’s no easy task to keep aside my precious “to be boiled” egg carton.  Inevitably the hubby will sell them, or they get mixed up with other cartons and used for breakfast… it just never seems to work out.  Plus, we go through a LOT of boiled eggs.  They are a healthy, inexpensive snack for our family and having to wait around for 3 weeks to get another batch ready just isn’t always feasible.

So there I find myself, sheepishly tucking the egg carton in my shopping cart and hoping that no one notices that I am shamefully PAYING for eggs at the store.

Enter Pinterest.

I love Pinterest, seriously, there are SO many great recipes and great ideas out there right at our finger tips.  ANYWAY, I came across a Pin one day about STEAMING eggs instead of boiling them.  Say what?

It works folks.  It works REALLY well.

Now the thing to remember, as with all cooking, there can always be variables.

Altitude, the temperature of your eggs, whether they are in a single layer or double layer in your pan, all of these things might vary your results.  It is okay if something doesn’t work out perfectly the first time.  Don’t throw the idea out all together, it just means that your method needs to be adjusted next time.

It can be done on the regular ole stove top OR in everyone’s new favorite Instant Pot type pressure cooker.

Here’s how it’s done on the stove top.

  1. Place eggs in the steamer basket above a pan of water.
  2. Turn your stove to medium high heat and wait until you see condensation form the steam begin to form on the lid.  Set your timer for 25 minutes.  (This is the time that I typically use with my eggs double stacked in the steamer basket, 22 minutes seems to be just right if there is only a single layer.)
  3. When your timer goes off, immediately transfer the eggs to an cold water bath.  Cooling the eggs off quickly prevents your eggs from over cooking and causing that not so pretty green tint to the yolk.

And here’s the Instant Pot version:
  1. Pour 1 cup of water in the bottom of your pan.
  2. Place your trivet or steam rack in the bottom of the pan over the water.
  3. Add eggs on top of the trivet/steam rack and close lid.
  4. Turn your pressure relief valve to “sealing” & set manual timer for 6 minutes.
  5. When your timer goes off, use a quick release to relieve  the pressure and quickly transfer the eggs to an cold water bath.  Cooling the eggs off quickly prevents your eggs from over cooking and causing that not so pretty green tint to the yolk.
Now, when it comes to peeling the eggs, I have another fun trick that makes peeling them a breeze.  This handy little method is really the key to pulling this whole thing all together and get beautifully smooth, peeled eggs.
  1. Place boiled (or steamed in this case) eggs in a tumbler with approximately 1/2 inch of water.
  2. Seal the open end of the glass with your hand and shake vigorously back and forth for 10 seconds.
  3. Take the egg out and the skin will easily slip off.You can see how it’s done here:  The FASTEST way to peel a hard cooked egg!

 

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