This Christmas morning will be a sweet one for the Dixon family.
“We are going to make a festive Christmas breakfast so our sweet potato cinnamon rolls will be part of our breakfast,” said chef Kirsten Dixon, who has published the recipe in "The Winterlake Lodge Cookbook."
On Wednesday morning, Dixon, along with her daughter Mandy, prepared sweet potato cinnamon rolls, along with a few other recipes to showcase on their blog.
“If you can't find sweet potatoes you can use yams,” said Dixon, as her daughter, who’s also a chef, mixed ingredients.
A cookbook is just one of the achievements of the Dixon family: They also own and operate two remote lodges in Southcentral Alaska.
Winterlake Lodge is located an hours flight from Anchorage at mile 198 of the Iditarod Trail. In fact, the Dixon family and their staff feed the mushers as they come through the Finger Lake checkpoint.
Kirsten Dixon said her path to success began more than 30 years ago.
“We had the flash of an idea that we could do something different with our lives,” said Dixon.
She and her husband decided to take a risk, leaving their medical jobs in Anchorage to build a hospitality business in the backcountry.
“My husband Carl is a great outdoorsman and he really wanted to craft a life for our family that was as life lived close to nature,” she said.
That dream was realized -- Winterlake Lodge is 200 miles from the nearest road. And even though that means all groceries are flown in, Dixon said it’s part of the experience.
Using local ingredients is important to the family and Dixon said she also finds inspiration in Alaska Native, Russian and Asian cuisines.
“We are constantly reinventing the cuisine that we serve to our guests,” she said.
Three years ago, the Dixons opened Tutka Bay Lodge, a 30-minute boat ride from Homer.
More recently, the family started a cooking school at the Tutka Bay Lodge property. The kitchen is located on an old crabbing boat.
"I’m proud that my family and I have been able to carve a life style and a living on our own, on our own terms, and I think that’s something that Alaska still offers," said Dixon.