May 25, 2011


Eklutna is a native village in the midst of the Chugach Mountains, within the municipality of Anchorage. There are about 70 members of the tribal community; however, most of these individuals live in surrounding communities. Settled more than 800 years ago, Eklutna is the oldest inhabited area in the Anchorage area.

Eklutna Lake is a seven-mile lake that was formed from glacial and freshwater streams - filling a formed by the retreating Eklutna Glacier.  Interestingly, Eklutna Lake feeds a power plant and provides drinking water for the Anchorage area (thank you Eklutna Lake).

Matt and I ventured to Eklunta Lake on Sunday to mountain bike. With trails for biking, hiking and four-wheeling and campsites and public use cabins in various locations around the lake, recreation in the Eklutna Lake Valley is endless.

We stopped half-way for a snack and to enjoy the view.

Our lovely mountain bikes...

It started sprinkling so we turned around after about 8 miles.

At the end of the ride, we were filthy.

The day was well spent and it felt great to get on our mountain bikes. It was the first long ride of the season and I cannot wait for more rides soon.

May 24, 2011

Two week hiatus.

It has been a busy couple of weeks...

Matt and I went back to the Midwest for "vacation." 

I saw my wonderful grandparents...

...played disc golf at Call State Park in beautiful Algona, Iowa...

in almost 90 degree weather. AWESOME.

We went to a Minnesota Twins game...

...where we ate walleye on a stick...

and hot dogs.

At first, we were slightly disappointed our seats were under the hangover...

but then it rained...and hailed...

...and after an hour and a half delay, we stayed to watch the rest of the game. 

Surprise. The Twins lost.

The next day Matt and I headed for Omaha to see his parents.

We did some site seeing on the way.

Must love Pocahontas...

...and Iowa's beautiful wind turbines...

Matt thought it was funny that Wendy's was promoting healthy french fries...

After a wonderful night in Omaha with Matt's parents, we headed for Lawrence, KS...the location of Matt's sister's wedding.

My mom packed a tasty bottle of 947 in our bags for us to enjoy during the rest of our vacation.

We opened the bottle of wine after arriving to the hotel in Lawrence...

Matt gave me a tour of Lawrence...

...before we met my great friend Kala and her boyfriend Derek for lunch at Quinton's. Delicious. 

We also drove around the University of Kansas.

Prior to the wedding on Saturday morning, I headed to the Lawrence farmer's market and picked up some thank you gifts for our dog sitters.

Matt's sister, Crystal, had an outdoor wedding at South Park.

It was lovely.

...and I caught part of the bouquet of flowers...

When we arrived home Sunday night, Rio enjoyed her pig ear from Iowa.

...and Matt and I enjoyed asparagus from the garden of Matt's grandpa, Jim.

Our other souvenir...

koozies from Kum & Go.

May 03, 2011

Cashew butter

I ran out of nut butter today and decided to make new. This time = cashew butter. Tasty, smooth and creamy. I can not wait to have it with my oatmeal in the morning.

Load raw cashews into the food processor.

Process until a clump forms. Scrape down the sides and process again. 

Every time I complete this step, I am reminded of how much I love my new Cuisinart food processor. SO worth the investment.

Continue to scrape down the sides. 

I love it when the nut butter is on the verge of becoming creamy. Sometimes I think about stopping the process at this point just because of the rich texture.

After about 5 minutes, the nut butter will become creamy. Yum!!

Scrape the nut butter into a glass jar. 

I made too much nut butter this time so I ate a banana with A LOT of cashew butter on top. It was soooo creamy and smooth.

Easy clean-up. Only three items to clean!

Cashew Butter
2 c. raw cashews

Place raw cashews in food processor. Process until creamy, scraping down the sides of the food processor as nut butter begins to clump together. When nut butter becomes creamy, pour and scrape into a glass jar.

On a side note...Leah purchased these flowers for Easter last weekend and they are still making our kitchen table beautiful.

Happy spring!

May 01, 2011

I'm Karen...She's Leah.

At REI yesterday, a man came up to me and said "Hey! How are you?" 

I had no idea who this man was.

He continued " is me...Preston."

Still, clueless.

" know, I helped you with Daffodil?" 
(Luckily, I knew that Daffodil was a dog Leah dog sat for a few months ago that became very sick while the parents were out of town.)

I interrupted slightly and told him that I was actually Karen and that Leah is my twin sister. Embarrassment streaked his face. He apologized and I continued to say that it was not a big deal. He laughed it off and later came up to both Leah and me and said that he had to see us together. He couldn't believe how two people could look "exactly alike."

The funny thing about this story? Only minutes before did the same situation Leah. A nurse from the Alaska Native Medical Center thought she was talking to me, not Leah. I noticed the situation and quickly joined their "conversation" only to watch the nurse's jaw drop when she realized we were twins.

Often times people ask me if I enjoy being a twin. Really, I find it difficult to respond to this question. Sometimes I want to ask right back if they enjoy not being a twin. How do I know any different?

Leah has been right by my side my entire life. She is a sister, friend, companion, sole mate...all rolled into one person. Leah knows me better than anyone. She knows what I think and I am pretty sure she can read my mind.

I think that is pretty special.

So, do I "like" being an identical twin? 

Heck yes!