About LaDonna Rose

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Small Space Cooking

The hardest part about transitioning to living aboard has been learning to cook in a small space, and with a diesel burning oven. Really, I should show you my space. Maybe once I get it all clean! But the upside is, it’s so small that even when it’s dirty, it cleans up really quick.

So how do I manage to cook in my boat’s tiny galley and turn out meals that I’m accustomed to eating?

Let’s start with telling you what my galley kitchen space is like on the boat.


The boat is 32 feet long and 14 feet wide, but my galley measures 4 feet long by 5 feet wide. My counter space measures a total of 3 square feet. My galley is sorta triangle shape.

It includes a small foot and a half wide by 2 1/2 foot tall fridge and a freezer that is 5 inches tall by 11 inches wide and 1 foot deep. It maybe small, but boy can it pack and sure beats storing condiments in an ice chest.

I cook all our meals on a diesel burning oil stove that uses the same fuel as our main engine. The top of the stove measures 18 inches by 21 inches. It has an oven with a side opening windowed door. It measures 11 inches wide by 12 inches deep. An 11 x 7 pan fits perfect in my easy bake oven. I have a sink that measures 9 1/2 inches deep by 14 long and 10 inches wide. It comes complete with hot water as long as the engine is running.

Cooking in a small space takes thought and planning.

Good food and desserts is a fun and essential part of boating. Whether you are going out on your boat for a weekend, a week, a month or a year, someone has to plan what you are going to eat, shop for it, store it, fix it, serve it, and then figure out what to do with the trash.


One of my favorite things has always been cooking, and I thought I’d go nuts on board with my normal style, so I have adjusted to a more relaxed style: Less things on the plate, higher-quality ingredients (when available), and great flavors. We eat as healthy as possible and most always from scratch. With basic ingredients onboard, you can make anything you want and with a couple of cookbooks that use everyday ingredients, can give you a lot of confidence.

One of the challenges with small space cooking is to learn to have multi-function items including basic food ingredients. A can opener that also has a bottle opener on it, I’ve used a wine bottle many a time for a rolling pin.

Basic ingredients that can be used for a lot of different recipes is what inspired my first cookbook Alaskan Rock’n Galley. 200 recipes that give simple ways to keep your grip in the galley. Catch, prepare and present from a tiny space, real food that would not be ashamed to have come from a gourmet kitchen many times the size. If you can cook these delicious recipes in a galley, you can cook them anywhere. They are simple and gourmet, a perfect combination for the homemaker.

Cooking real food from scratch also leads us to eating better and we feel better.

On hot days, I try and use the stove as little as possible. In fact, some days we just turn it off. I then turn to the grill, eat up our leftovers and make quick cold foods. When it is cold and raining out as long as the weather is cooperating, I make soups, stews and bake up a storm. We eat good when it’s cold out while staying warm!

I do however believe in a few good kitchen tools, because it makes a huge difference how I feel cooking on the boat all summer. I recently bought a raspberry colored mini food processor. Just looking at it makes me smile! I have a couple of good knives that are the workhorses in my galley kitchen.

I also don’t give space to things that take up too much room. As the groceries are going on board, I throw away all the cereal boxes. I use a permanent marker and mark what is in the package. I use small and large zip bags to store leftovers in my refrigerator. Containers take up too much room.

Yes there are many challenges cooking in a Rock’n Galley, but without the challenges there is no adventure.

It’s really not all that bad once you get the hang of it.

Here’s a scrumptious recipe from Alaskan Rock’n Galley cookbook you are sure to enjoy!

Chicken with Caramelized Apples

4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/4 c. butter
3 apples, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch thick wedges
1 Tbl. lemon juice
3 Tbl. pancake syrup

Place chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap; with flat side of a meat mallet, pound to flatten chicken to 1/2 inch. Place flour on a small plate, add salt and pepper.

Dip chicken in flour, shaking off excess.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 5-6 minutes or until no longer pink, turning once. Place on platter; cover loosely with foil.

Add the apples to the same skillet; cook 2-3 minutes without stirring or until lightly caramelized. Stir the apples; cook one more minute. Stir in lemon juice. Add pancake syrup; stir to combine. Serve sauce and apples over chicken.

Serves 4.

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F/V Emily Nicole


The Fishing Vessel Emily Nicole is a beauty! Named after Kenny and Lynora Eichner’s daughter.

The boat is rigged and currently seining in Southeast Alaska.

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Seafood Freshness


WHILE TOP CHEFS INSIST ON USING FISH THE SAME DAY IT’S PURCHASED, that standard is sometimes unrealistic for mere mortals without a daily fishing boat service.

A good rule of thumb for the rest of us: Keep offerings from the ocean for no more than three days refrigerated.

They key to keeping seafood fresh is to buy it at the end of your shopping trip, so you can get it home quickly. Then put it in the coolest part of your fridge. If you’re really zealous, store it in a pan of crushed ice (put waxed paper between the fish and the ice). Some experts even advise giving the fish a rinse in salty water if you’ll be storing it for more than a day.

The more intact the fish, the fresher it will stay, so if you can find whole fish and are up for the deboning challenge, you’re better off buying that than precut. Larger fish, such as tuna and salmon, keep better than small fish, even if they are cut into steaks. Shrimp, scallops and crab deteriorate the fastest of all. The chefs are right on the money, don’t plan on keeping these for more than a day.

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Keeping it Real


Hard at it!


Hummm…wonder what’s for dinner?


As the 2012 salmon season quickly approaches, the list of things that needs to be done is HUGE!
Because once we leave the dock, I’m not going to be able to run to the store if I suddenly realize I’m missing something — or to the Internet if I need to find out something. Whether it’s provisions, pans, tools or recipes, you have to make do with what you have until next time you are in town.

To some, this is scary…what if I forget something? I have learned through the years to see it as a chance for innovation…what can I do with what I have? I’ve developed some of my “best recipes” simply because I was making do.

I have two basic strategies for dealing with the challenges of being away from town.

#1. Planning and List making. This makes it less likely that I will forget something. It usually takes a few weeks to go through the entire list.

#2. Creativity. If I have to substitute or go without, it’s not the end of the world.

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Longline Sculpture


This line could be responsible for thousands of pounds of fresh Alaska seafood. But today it looks innocent and dare I say, pretty.

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What Do Alaska Commercial Fishermen and Hollywood Celebs Have in Common?


It’s Bag Balm!

Although originally made for cows, Bag Balm has garnered the attention of celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Shania Twain and received mentions in The New York Times and Glamour Magazine. The dry-skin salve has been around since 1899 with the original purpose of soothing chapped cow udders, but the lanolin-rich balm-in-a-box now has found a home in parched hands and on parched faces of people.

The substance with the mild medicinal odor has evolved into a medicine chest must-have.
According to Bag Balm lore, the stuff went from barns to bedrooms when dairy farmers’ wives noticed how smooth their spouses’ fingers were after using it on cows’ udders.

If you haven’t heard of bag balm, it’s a veternary product. It’s sold for use on animals and particularly on cows. And, it says so on the side of the green can with pink flowers and lettering. “After each milking, apply thoroughly and allow coating to remain on surface . . .”

If you have a cow, and your cow has teat problems, then you go buy some Bag Balm. Cow owners have been treating dry and cracked cow udder and teats with Bag Balm for a long time… Bull owners might use Bag Balm for barbwire cuts and such, but bulls do not have teats. And I won’t even explain that one.


When you live on a farm, you often make do. It’s not unusual for farm folk to try out the animal meds. When you live on a commercial fishing boat and find out what this stuff can do for dry chapped hands that have been in rubber gloves all day, you give it a try.

Bag Balm was in the bathroom cabinet at my husbands folks along with iodine, Pepto Bismal, and Bayer aspirin. It was considered a staple item and certainly more pleasant than the iodine.

Bag Balm is pretty much like Petroleum jelly but with a mild analgesic. It helps block the pain after application and then stays on and protects the cuts on weathered hands. We use it like Neosporin and it is much cheaper than Neosporin. Another alternative was Buckly’s from Race Ave Drugs which is no longer available.

Bag Balm is not a NEWS FLASH for most rural families, but it is unusual to begin seeing Bag Balm in department stores and at the drugstore. I wondered what was up with all that. Then I read that Shania Twain mentioned that she used Bag Balm as a moisturizer on her face and hair.


I’ve used Bag Balm since I started commercial fishing 25 years ago on my chapped lips as well as wind-burned cheeks and hands. When I tell people I’ve used it all over my face especially my eyes, no one believes me. It’s true! I have tried every expensive skin care product under the sun and none compare to the anti inflammatory benefits of Bag Balm. It sorta works like Preparation H. under the eyes. I will also tell you that this makes an awesome wintertime night cream for your whole face (as long as you are not prone to breakouts…lanolin is a notorious pore-clogger). Fortunately, I am not prone to breakouts, so I use Bag Balm on my face religiously during the winter months. It smells medicinal and it’s greasy as can be…but it works! Probably because it also contains beta-hydroxy acids which is great for regenerating aging or damaged skin. If I were trapped on a deserted island, Bag Balm would be on my list of requested supplies. (Hey wait! I do live on an island!)

My husband Ole has been using Bag Balm on the boat for many years. Anytime he gets a fish cut on his finger he uses Bag Balm, it seems to reduce the healing time by half.

How to Use Bag Balm:

Things You’ll Need
Bag Balm


1. Swipe your hand across the surface of the salve. Bag Balm is stored in a small tin and has the feel of a thick petroleum jelly. Swiping your hand lightly across the surface will allow your fingers to pick up a small amount at a time.

2. Apply to areas needing healing.

3. Smooth out the ointment over your skin’s surface. Bag Balm will not absorb immediately, but blend the ointment as best you can.

Tips & Warnings
Consider applying Bag Balm at night. Some people claim that Bag Balm restores troubled skin overnight. Sleeping with Bag Balm on your face gives the product time to absorb. My tip would be, pull your hair back and put a towel on your pillow case.

Bag Balm was designed to heal chapping, abrasions and minor cuts. Many people use Bag Balm on rough areas such as hands and feet that are very dry and cracked. Don’t use this product if you have acquired a deep cut.

While my bathroom always has a small refillable jar of it on my sink and a big tin under the sink as back-up, my bag is also never without a mini-Bag Balm for all of life’s little skin-related issues. It really is one of the greatest skin remedies out there whether it be for yourself, or the udders of all those cows you have in your backyard.

If you’ve been living a Bag Balm free life, I implore you to give it a try. Your skin will thank you.
I promise. It’s also extremely cheap considering how long it lasts.

One bonus with Bag Balm is that you have a nice tin when you are done. It does take a heap of scrubbing to get the last of the balm out. Once clean, you can use it for your screws and nails or other small items.

To purchase Bag Balm

Google Bag Balm or visit www.bagbalm.com

Do you have a Bag Balm success story? I would love to hear about it.

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Viking Maid Abstract


The Ketchikan waterfront is bustling this time of year. Cruise ships coming in, float planes buzzing by, and fishing boats gearing up for the upcoming season.

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Church, Steeple and a Lot of Cruise Ship People


Everyday during the summer the cruise ships become the largest buildings in town. Occasionally, as many as five will be tied up along the waterfront in Ketchikan, Alaska. The skyline changes and sometimes they even block out the sun.

Have you ever been on a cruise?

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Commercial Fishing Lifestyle


There is no need to convince the thousands of Alaskans and avid outdoor men and women, who get excited by reeling in a 30-pound King Salmon or seeing a beautiful Coho rise to a brightly colored lure, why they need to start making plans to head outside.
But for some reason, after the long winter off I need a little convincing. As the 2012 salmon season approaches, I try to remember all the reason why I love to fish, because surely it’s not the sleepless nights, the isolation and all the aches and pains it causes.

As I try to remember, I’ve compiled a list of 10 good reasons that might just offer you an excuse to call in sick for the summer and go commercial fishing.


1- Freedom: Ask most Commercial Fishermen why they enjoy spending time on the water and you’re likely to hear the word “freedom.” Spending a summer fishing for salmon helps to release us from our highly stressful, everyday environment. Nothing brings on the sense of being alive and aware to help rebuild our personal reserves like a day spent interacting with nature. You are aware of each minute, what is happening right now, and what is ahead. Your free in that you’ve just done something all day long and then you’re done…When you wake up you’re on the water and in one of the most beautiful places on earth.


2- Not Ruled by the Clock: Having a bad day of fishing still beats a day in the office or tending to house chores. When fishing for salmon, your day is ruled by the tide. Watching the kelp with the tide is pretty neat. You’re not on a clock, your run by the wind, waves, and the tide. In this way you develop confidence in yourself and in your ability to handle unexpected situations.


3- The Thrill: Fishing has a way of fulfilling an age-old need of pursuing and catching. The thrill lies in the challenges, such as finding where the fish are and keeping your boat afloat. But there are many who will be quick to profess that it’s not the catching of fish that’s important, but the immeasurable life lessons that you will experience along the way. This gives me joy because my entire spirit is elevated and this makes me happy.


4- Health Benefits: More than fifty percent of Americans are overweight. Being outside and being active helps to make you feel better and encourages a healthier way of life. Driving to your local grocery store and fast food restaurant might be convenient, but fishing can also help you burn those unwanted calories, increase the quality of your lifestyle, and add years to your life.

5- Physical and Mental Strength: Mental strength sometimes can be more important than physical strength. The summers give you the opportunity to sharpen both. But no doubt, fishing is exercise. Every muscle works on a boat. Even when you are just sitting at anchor your body is working as the boat rocks and rolls, you’re getting lots of fresh air and plenty of sunshine. Fishing really comes down to mental toughness and being physically strong to make it to the end.


6- Fishing for Food: Wild fish are low in fat and cholesterol and high in protein. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends a regular diet of fish. Besides it’s a lot more challenging to catch that plate of fresh fish than to stroll endlessly down a supermarket aisle. We dine on fresh fish seven days a week loving every minute of it. Eating this much fresh fish is the perfect opportunity to lighten up my diet and loose a few extra pounds.


7- Boost to the Economy: The fishing industry is Alaska’s largest private employer and employs over 65,000 people for the summer, seasonal and year round employment. The states fisheries average over $11.2 billion in revenue per year and account for 38% of the dollar value of fish landed in the United States. This gives an economic boost that any state government would be pleased with. I love being a part of this.


8- Self Fulfillment: Fishing offers you the chance to improve your self-esteem through respect for the environment, mastering outdoor skills and achieving personal goals. There is never a day when I do not learn something new or sharpen a skill such as, tying knots, piloting the boat, chart reading, how to anchor and how to read the wind and the weather.


9- Empowerment: There is nothing better than coming back to town after the season, knowing you have just pushed yourself to the limits way beyond what most people could only imagine, and you had an experience of a lifetime.


10-Lifestyle: The industry, the people, the lifestyle. It’s all a part of who I am and I love it. At the end of every season I walk away with a better understanding of who I am and tons of great stories to tell for years to come. After all, fishing in Alaska is an adventure of a lifetime. I love the lifestyle it provides. We fish 15 weeks a year and get to do what we want to for the winter which is traveling, taking pictures and writing cookbooks.

After writing this and reviewing all my pictures, HOW COULD I NOT WANT TO GET BACK ON THE BOAT AND GO FISHING! After all, my bunk does come complete with a feather bed and an electric blanket. 🙂

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Dandelions in Alaska


I know, I know a dandelion is only a weed… but the joy that they bring to our lives should never be taken for granted.

I am pretty sure Ketchikan has the award on the biggest and brightest dandelions anywhere!

I remember the first time I was presented with a huge bouquet of dandelions and and the joy I felt. I dried a few, pressed a few and made a dandelion necklace.

Once I learned how to make a chain, I would sit for hours with friends making them in a field of dandelions.

They are bright and cheerful and remind us that summer is on the way!

Have you ever made a dandelion necklace?


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