There's nothing like being able to walk up to a local taco truck and grab yourself a batch of tasty tacos; however, when made a habit, this can get a bit heavy on the wallet and calorie count.
It's an important to skill to be able to throw something quick and healthy together, especially when you have a demanding schedule, and tacos are so simple it will have you wondering why you've been relying on your food truck guy all these years.
If you've been doing lunch boxes for your kids, making the same boring sandwiches for your own lunch, aspire to eat healthier but don't know how, or are meal prepping for the week on Sundays only, this recipe is perfect for you!
Simple ingredients, fast assembly time, left overs for the next day, etc. Check this out:
Mains (probably already in your fridge or freezer)
Order of Operations: Quick Assembly
Complete this at any point, could be 5 minutes before cooking or two days.
I pulled my halibut out of the freezer and slightly defrosted it for 10 minutes in lukewarm water. Keeping it partially frozen made cutting it into cubes way easy and I would highly recommend this for whatever protein you chose. Put cubes into a Tupperware container, add olive oil, garlic, a handful of cilantro, juice from half a lime, 1 tbsp. of Johnny's, 1 tbsp. of Fajita seasoning, and pepper to taste. Put the top on, shake everything so it coats evenly, and put into the fridge to take out before you cook.
Wash the fish or chicken gunk off your hands while looking in the mirror and telling yourself you are a gourmet chef and this is going to be the best lunch you've made in awhile. You're totally worth it.
Chop your red and green cabbage, and any other veggies you'd like. Bell peppers, onions, or avocado may be nice! I lightly sautéed my cabbage with a little salt and olive oil to add a bit of flavor and cut down on the bitter cabbagey taste. Put these into their own Tupperware.
I love Tortilla Land's Uncooked Flour Tortillas, so I was willing to spend the extra few minutes cooking these, but with whatever you choose, wrap your tortillas up in foil. You don't want to preassemble everything because then it will all be soggy when you go to eat it later.
Make the easiest yet most amazing cilantro lime sauce you've ever had.
An evening summer breeze blew off the sea, making the strands of seaweed stuck to the net from last years salmon season wave back at my uncle as he scanned the horizon at the fleet of boats behind him.
This small marine army off the coast of Alaska's Aleutian Chain were eagerly anticipating a radio broadcast announcing the opening of the commercial salmon season.
It was an early morning, 4:30am, but the sun was just coming up illuminating a beautiful pink glow across the sky.
There was a buzz around the boat of the crew's nervous excitement to set the first net and start making the massive amounts of money that had driven them to leave the comfort of their homes in "civilization" to embark an an Alaskan adventure.
They knew this was just the beginning of the first long day in an even longer summer surrounded by the same other two crew members and a demanding captain, all whom would desperately start needing showers after four or five consecutive 16 hour work days.
What makes us Alaskan
For many Alaskans, fishing is a center-point of the summer. Whether it’s recreational, commercial, running a charter, or for subsistence, the majority of folks get out on the water at some point to try their luck.
My childhood was spent either in the island town of Kodiak or the remote fishing village of Chignik Lagoon. You see, my dad and his side of the family grew up on Kodiak Island and he met my mom when he ventured off "the rock" one summer to fish in Chignik, where my mom and her side of the family lived.
At about 33% Aleut, a type of Alaskan Native indigenous to the southwest Alaska, my uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, parents, and siblings have all cleaned hundreds to thousands of fish during their lifetimes.
In fact, the ability to clean fish well is one of the unspoken criteria my mom checks off on boyfriend approval for yours truly.
Meanwhile, me over here has never cleaned a fish and to be perfectly honest, it gives me the heebie jeebies. Even prepping fish that has already been filleted makes my tummy turn a bit.
I know, it’s ridiculous, especially if you are a Native Alaskan reading this, but don’t judge me! I have strengths in cleaning other things like barbells and dishes.
REasons to eat wild instead of farmed
Hopefully, you are not as ridiculous as I am when it comes to cleaning and cooking fish, as it has the highest omega-3 content of any food.
Salmon in particular contains more than 4,000mg per serving as well as large amounts of magnesium, potassium, selenium, and B-vitamins.
Farm to table movement
Economy & Community: Fishermen are not fans
Nutrition: Wild salmon are superior
Whether you're a sushi or seafood lover, inquire about your next salmon purchase. Feel free to comment questions, experiences, or concerns!
Environmental Impacts. (n.d.). Retrieved September 10, 2017, from http://www.farmedanddangerous.org/salmon-farming-problems/environmental-impacts/
Flatt, C. (2017, August 29). Why Are Atlantic Salmon Being Farmed In The Northwest?
Retrieved September 13, 2017, from http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/08/29/546803147/why-are-atlantic-salmon-being-farmed-in-the-northwest
Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture, Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, May 2007. Final Report, P.1.
Foran, J.A. D.H. Good, D.O. Carpenter, MC Hamilton, BA Knuth, and S.J. Schwager. (2005). Quantitative Analysis of the Benefits and Risks of Consuming Farmed and Wild Salmon. Journal of Nutrition. 135:2639-2643.
It's incredible to think about how our way of life has completely evolved throughout the centuries. Even just half a century ago, a 28 year old unmarried woman (yes, me) without kids would have been considered an outlier in society.
However, now it is common as many women are choosing to pursue a career-driven path where they can stand on their own two feet before joining forces with another human in holy matrimony.
Yet, centuries ago this was an impossibility, as it was a full time job just to get food on the table!
We now see a complete flip in who we would consider as a societal outlier, and those are the people who can provide for themselves through a "subsistence lifestyle".
This way of life is far more common in Alaska than other parts of the country, as we have incredible geographical boundaries that prevent rural villagers from having access to a grocery store.
My mom's side of the family, for example, lives in the remote village of Chignik Lagoon on the Aleutian chain. They order groceries once, sometimes twice a year in a massive, well planned out freight order.
Luckily for the vast majority of the first world population, we have access to supermarkets and other resources to obtain our food. One option that not many people take advantage of, are U-Pick farms or farmer's markets.
There are massive benefits to hitting up one of these including a higher nutrient content in the food, it simply tastes better, it supports local economies and is way better for the environment.
It is also safer for you, as you can directly ask the farmer what type of pesticides or other crop preservatives they use.
Potatoes get a bad rep due to their high starch content and thus dreaded potential for weight gain. Much like the purple potatoe's step sister, the beet, these little guys are packed with healthy awesomeness for your body.
The crazy Barney-like color of the potato is indicative of its high antioxidant content, which is also found in other powerhouse foods like pomegranates and blueberries.
When you read or hear antioxidant, think immunity boosting and cancer fighting properties. The nutrient power in the purple potato also helps to protect the health and integrity of the capillaries – thereby helping to lower blood pressure – and has significant anti-inflammatory properties.
For all you steak and potato guys and gals, this is good news for you as the high saturated fat content in red meat has the opposite affect on your arteries and causes systemic inflammation.
Next time you are hankering for a steak, try pairing it with purple or sweet potatoes instead of your typical Yukon Gold.
Side note for Paleo folks, the purple potatoes are a maybe on whether they are acceptable or not, if you're worried about it then just go with a sweet potato.
Fish & Autumn Veggie Recipe: Keeping it simple
You can pick out any vegetables you'd like. Common seasonal veggies at the moment are squashes, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, kale, beets, and radishes.
Surprising Health Benefits of Purple Potatoes. (2017, August 17). Retrieved September 06, 2017, from https://dailyhealthpost.com/suprising-health-benefits-of-purple-potatoes/
The last few days of our trip came to an end in the village of Point Hope, Alaska where we were fortunate to get a glimpse of the Inupiaq (northern-most Alaskan natives) way of life.
Between salmonberry picking with an elder, a camper showing us a home video of some of the villagers harpooning a whale, walking/driving around the village, and sharing stories with the kids and their parents, we were marveled by their lives.
We frequented the one restaurant in town almost twice a day, as the coolers of food that we had packed and shipped 4 days prior had spoiled due to mishandling by the airline we sent it on.
The average price of a typical meal here repeatedly gave me sticker shock, coming out to about $22 per person.
If we wanted a pizza, that would gouge us for $39 for just a standard size.
The store was no better, where a necessity like ice cream cost nearly $14.
watch TV or play video games, or head to the indoor safety of the school for any activities.
In Point Hope, there was a bit more going on with two recreation centers, three gyms inside the school, and apparently very good caribou hunting and fishing.
The same held true for Kotzebue (3,000 people), where we picked some delicious blueberries with Jade, our awesome host for a night, and had some surprisingly good pizza at Little Louie's.
From my interviews with the kids in Point Lay, it became apparent that when there wasn't anything to do, they would get up to no good (play games with the PSO, i.e. Public Service Officer).
Drugs and alcohol have historically been a problem, which led to the majority of the villages either being dry (no alcohol) or damp (you can bring it in, but it's not sold). In fact, with these types of restrictions, a 6 pack of beer will cost you a whopping $30.
A Kid's Life
Watch out folks, this is the type of player who shows up at a Division I program with an incredible childhood story (think Kamaka Hepa of Barrow or Ruthy Hebard of Fairbanks).
It's amazing to see basketball light up someones day or even change someones life. It gives kids who grow up in a tough, remote part of the world, opportunities they otherwise might not have.
It could be their way into college, and their way out of teen pregnancy, substance abuse, or all the other realities that come with growing up in a small place. #thankful
It's a strange feeling when you climb into an airplane fuselage that's smaller than a suburban.
You start to question whether or not this is a good idea, and imagine a scene similar to Final Destination where the airplane propeller that is an arms length away from you outside, just randomly dislodges and slices through the side of the plane and your body in one fell swoop.
I know, that was a bit graphic so I apologize.
Big & His Small Plane
Our pilot, Big, who I think is about as old as me (but confidently states that he was born and raised flying) picked us up in a single prop coffin, I mean plane, with a little hole in the window.
My skepticism for the safety of our lives continued to grow. The plane engine revved up, while Alysha prayed for our lives in the back, and we took flight.
I was relieved that we didn't immediately crash or the wings of the plane fall off from our weight, and the stress of the trip was slowly replaced by the amazing landscape we were flying over.
The Arctic coast I'm sure has a totally different look about it in the winter, but during the summer it is a beautiful cascade of greens.
We flew so low over some of the mountains I felt like I could reach out and high five a mountain goat, while other mountains looked like ocean waves that had been frozen in time.
The water to our right was endless, and incredible to think that the only thing beyond that was ice.
Once we landed in Point Hope (thank the Lord), we clambered out of the plane like clowns. The gal picking us up immediately laughed, because it looked so unrealistic that 6 oversized people could fit into that small space.
She drove us down a paved road (yes, paved!) and through the village to the house the boys would be staying at.
The place looked like a normal house, with sofas, a TV, plenty of food and other household items. A sweet set up for a village of 692.
She then proceeded to take us girls to our house. When we opened the door, we heard the buzzing sound of 20 flies taking off, smelt a mustiness that indicated the place hadn't been aired out in awhile, and when we flipped on the light saw an empty room with two dusty sofas and dead flies littering the floor.
I immediately let comparison steal my joy and tried very hard to see the positives. Shaina remarked, "Well I haven't been camping yet this year," and we couldn't help but laugh.
Might I mention, I also felt pretty guilty, because the girls were with me in this little, unloved house because of my dog allergies (the "mansion" was also home to a large German Sheppard named Duke). Ugh.
Anyway, living arrangement aside, this little place is so dang cool.
It is its own little world out in the middle of no where, but the people we've encountered have been so kind and hospitable.
An elder and one of the gals who works for ASRC took us on a four-wheeler ride down the coast where we passed two beached whales, a dead fox, and were warned we could pass the body of a young man who capsized in his kayak a year back. The Arctic is cruel.
We eventually arrived to an area where we could pick low bush salmonberries (high bush grow in the southern regions of Alaska).
We all felt very Alaskan in that moment, even Garry who is from Washington D.C. and hesitates to share any of our experience with his fiancé until we've arrived where we are going, safely.
We are all curious to see the turn out of kids in a village that is 3 times the size of the last, and has a reputation for loving basketball. In fact, their girls team came to the UAA Team Camp and there were quite a few ballers on their little squad!