Ice fishing

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Ice fishing

One of my most favorite things to do is ice fish!  The best days to do it when it’s warm enough outside and all you need is a pair of sunglasses and a hoodie.  Each spring we fish for a white flaky fish that we call “shee-fish”.  I’ve never eaten tarpon, but some have said it’s similar.  We use the traditional hook and line that we call a Nik-sik.  There is nothing like the feeling of having a big fish bite on to your line and fighting as you pull it up.

James loves to fish with Mama!

James has been fishing with me since he could walk, one of the best parts about being his mom is passing down this tradition of subsistence.  There are many ways to eat shee-fish, some like it baked, pan seared, battered and deep fried.  One of my favorite ways to eat it is “sashimi” style.  A lot of our native food we eat raw.  Raw and frozen meat in my language is called “quaq” (start sounding “qua” as in saying the word quarter).  When speaking in reference to any of our traditional food, we call it Niqapaiq (ni-qa-pack).  There are so many variations to our food, in my grandparents and great-grandparents day when the “westerners” came to our land, we adapted a lot of their food into our diet.  My grandparents grew root vegetables when I was a kid, so we ate potatatoes,  turnips, carrots and radishes with our seal oil (which is a different post).

My biggest fish I’ve caught! 53.5 lbs!

 

I’m 5 months pregnant here, I love fishing!

 

I love it when the fish are so big they’re hard to hold up

 

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Young Living Oils

“Kick your butt in the cold” blend

 

I started using YL oils a couple of years ago and this has been my “go to” blend more often than not.  When you have kids, you never want them to get sick.  Living in the Arctic, the colds and coughs always make their way into our lives.  Below is my favorite roller ball recipe for a cold.

  • 4 drops Thieves
  • 4 drops Purification
  • 4 drops Lavender
  • 4 drops Lemon
  • 3 drops Frankincense
  • 3 drops Peppermint
  • 30 drops fractionated coconut oil in 15ml roller bottle.

Apply to feet, wrist, behind ears and chest 4 times a day.

To order your Young Living oils, please click  here.

 

“Mosquito bite relief” blend

– Instant mosquito bite relief!  I diluted 10 drops Purificatin to 30 drops fractionated coconut oil in a roller ball, which is just right for my 6 year olds mosquito bites.

To order your Young Living oils, please click here.

Who wants to get rid of food smells?

It’s been brought to my attention (from time to time) that my native food doesn’t always have the most pleasant of smells.  I am a full blooded Inupiaq Eskimo from Northwest Alaska.  I was raised by my grandparents who fed me everything they ate.  They were born in 1911 and 1915, so most of what they ate were my traditional foods which we call niqapaiq.  A lot of our food that we hunted and fished, had to be preserved and the most common way we did that was to dry it.  I eat a lot of dried caribou (some say it’s similar to venison) and a lot of dried fish.  We eat smoked salmon strips, as well as marine mammals (that’s another post).

My super cute mister who grew up in Idaho, has trained himself to keep most opinions inside his head and can control most of his facial expressions when he walks into the house not knowing I am in complete pig out mode with my native food.  (I took offense to his opinion once and let him have it.  Something along the lines of “I will not apologize for the way I was raised and the food that I eat.  I eat your beef, I eat your chicken eggs, I eat your pork etc…….”)  After my little moment, we both came up with a compromise.  Now I am more considerate and shoot him a text…… “Hi Babe, don’t come home right now.  I’m eating my food.”

Since I have started with Young Living, I have diffused the Purification blend every single time I eat niqapaiq and Rob cannot tell when I eat it!  I also put 15 drops in an 8 oz spray bottle and spray down the table.  I like to think that I’m a clean freak, but after cleaning the house with my Thieves cleaning spray I can’t believe that I used harsh chemicals in my kitchen before this. I never really cared before I had my toddler.  I seriously thought that clean was clean and so what if I used chemicals.  Just this past weekend I whipped up a batch of body butter using just coconut oil and oils.  I will post the recipe another time.  I am looking forward to trying out new things for my family using my Young Living oils.  I encourage you to give Young Living oils a try because they have changed my life.  Believe me, I was the LAST person I thought would be using oils, until I gave them a try for the health of my family.  If you have questions about oils or even curious about the day in the life of an Eskimo…… Please email me, even to say hi =)

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Modest moose and gravy dinner

One of my favorite parts of my entire childhood is having a ton of cousins in and out of my grandparents house.  Since there were so many kids (my grandparents had 12 kids, hence the MANY grandkids), they always had white rice and potatoes by the gallons.

One of the staples in our diet is caribou.  It’s in the deer family and DELICIOUS!!  Not quite as big as a moose, but bigger than your average deer.  Today I am out fresh out of caribou in my freezer, so I am making a childhood favorite meal using moose.  We call it “rice and gravy”.

Traditionally my grandmother cut the meat into cubes much smaller than chunks of beef stew meat.  In an earlier post I mentioned that my grandparents had a very salt and pepper palette.  This recipe is my own spin on my grandmothers rice and gravy.  I am using ground moose meat today.

I start with my rice.  I figured out my grandmother didn’t “rinse” her rice, so it was always soft and mushy.  Now that I’m older, I prefer a firmer rice, so I rinse mine, since I make a lot of rice for my son.  I start by measuring out 2 cups of white rice (I use the Niko calrose rice) in a medium sauce pan, add water and run my hands through it removing a lot of the starch.  I do this process twice and then drain.

Then I add 4 cups of water and salt (salt to taste).  Bring it to a boil for a minute, cover with a lid partially and cook on medium low for 25 minutes.

Then I start browning my moose meat.  I heat the pan to medium, add about a tablespoon of vegetable oil then add the meat.  My grandmother would add diced onions, but my picky son prefers no onion.  I season with salt and pepper.

Next step depends on how well you can make a gravy with flour added to the pan then adding water.  I haven’t mastered the “unclumpy” gravy, so I usually opt to use the cheater way.  I add 3 tablespoons of white flour and a cup of COLD water, mix well and add to pan.  I cook the flour mixture for about 3 minutes and add cold water until I get the consistency I want.

At this point the rice is done.  A scoop of rice and a healthy serving of gravy over the rice makes an AMAZING meal.  My son often tells me this is his favorite.  Best words EVER from your child!

You can try this with venison or elk if you have.  Let me know your favorite way you’ve made it!

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My favorite salmon recipe

One of my favorite things about my childhood is helping my grandfather with our salmon net on the river.  My childhood home is in a small village of 350 people.  My house is literally in front of the river, so we didn’t have to venture far to fill our freezers.  My grandmother prepared our salmon in various ways, which include dried or smoked.  But that’s another post.  The recipe below is not what I grew up on.  My grandparents had a very salt and pepper palette, so I had to experiment a little to brighten up my salmon.

Recipe –

  • 1 salmon fillet
  • 3/4 cup of mayonnaise (not miracle whip)
  • lemon pepper
  • fresh dill (dried will work too)
  • lemon slices
  • salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking oil, salt the fish skin side down also using lemon pepper to taste.  Spread mayonnaise evenly on the salmon then sprinkle with dill.  Lastly, top with lemon slices which adds flavor and makes it pretty.

Place in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes depending on the size of the fillet.  The mayonnaise locks in the moisture of the fish while allowing it cook evenly.  Once the fish is done cooking (your kitchen will smell amazing at this point) take the baking sheet out and allow to cool for a few minutes.  One of my favorite sides to this is plain white rice with a little bit of salt.  Sometimes I break up the fish into big flakes and mix it in with the rice.  Enjoy!

 

 

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Just a girl…… In the Arctic Cirle

 

Have you ever read or heard the word “Eskimo” and automatically think “Igloo”?  The first question that I’m asked when people find out that I’m an Eskimo  is “do you live in igloos?”  The answer…. no.  Once about 15 years ago I was in Puerto Rico (I have black hair and everyone there assumed I could understand Spanish when it was spoken to me) I told the employee in the place that I was at I don’t speak Spanish, he asked “so what are you?”.  Eskimo, I said I was an Eskimo.  His response surprised me, he half shouted “Eskimos aren’t real!!” in disbelief.  This was my first experience meeting someone who thought I was a mythical person.  I wasn’t offended as much as I was unnerved at his response,  I too am human.

I do however, live 33 miles above the Arctic Circle in Northwest Alaska.  As I write this post, the temperature is -22 degrees below zero, with a wind chill of -49.  I love that my 1st grader doesn’t think anything of this weather, because it’s all he knows.  It’s all I knew growing up here.  I am proud of who I am, this blog is meant to give a little insight to a modern day eskimo woman.

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