white russian ice cream tuna melt bourbon bacon cacao nib brittle miso peanut butter dip


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the continuing adventures of neva

June 30th, 2015

Recipe: white russian ice cream

Wildflower season is exploding here in Crested Butte, and it’s not even peak yet! I know this because 1) I hike a couple times a day through fields of gorgeous wildflowers and 2) I’m sneezing constantly and my eyes are red and itchy. It’s not even the sheer quantity of the wildflowers, but the impressive variety that Crested Butte boasts. Right now we’re seeing larkspur, dwarf lupine, blue and crimson columbines, prairie smoke, cinquefoil, arnica, wild rose, sticky geranium, mule’s ear, wild iris, scarlet gilia, and so many more.


mammata overhead, scarlet gilia and lupine on the slopes of crested butte mountain

prairie smoke (pink) in fuzz mode



I’ve resigned myself to not shooting the wildflowers this summer and just enjoying our hikes with Neva with occasional snaps of the iphone. Neva has been on a regimen of hiking and swimming – kinda like puppy summer camp – to get her beans out each day (one of her nicknames is Nevabean). Not only do we have to socialize her with other dogs, people, and children around the neighborhood, but she needs to become familiar with dogs, wildlife, hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers on the trails.

her checkup at the vet last week (she was super well-behaved)

she got up on this bench by herself and sat down to rest in the shade

discovering new trails together

keeping hydrated after a long walk



Shortly before leaving for Crested Butte, we hung a bell on the doorknob of our front door. We rang it before taking Neva outside to potty a couple of times, and then we taught her to ring it and sit down at the door when she wanted to go potty. She picked it up right away. When we got to Crested Butte, we hung a bell on the front door and she rang that to ask to be let out to potty. We were overjoyed! And then she started to ring the bell minutes after she had just gone outside to potty… because she just wanted to go outside. She still rings it to go out to potty, but she ALSO rings it when she’s bored and wants to hang out in the yard. Hrmmmm.

i wanna go outside, i wanna go outside, outside, outside, outside…

smelling of lavender after her (much needed) bath



It’s a gradual progression, the parts of our lives that we are able to reclaim after the shock of puppy’s arrival. Instead of waiting for her to fall asleep before we can even think of making dinner, I can now cook while she’s hanging out in the kitchen or happily playing with her toys in the living room. Best of all, Neva has been exposed to a lot of thunderstorms and they don’t faze her one bit. In fact, I was out shooting a storm as it lit up the mountains all around us the other evening and she was right there with me, playing with some neighborhood doggy friends and then calmly sitting next to Jeremy. We just want to raise her to have the happiest life possible. So far, so good.

mammata at sunset in nederland

my unicorn: sunset + rainbow + lightning (in crested butte)

lightning bolt over crested butte mountain



And for the past two weeks, Jeremy and I have been able to take shifts in the mornings so one of us can trail run while the other hikes the puppy. I had been on a 6 week hiatus because of the pup and my upper respiratory infection, so the first run felt awful, but in that good awful way. I felt free. And now I can enjoy the summer mountain views, watch deer bounding across the hillsides, make note of mushroom flushes, monitor the progress of the mountain huckleberries, and dream of the days when these slopes will be buried under feet of beautiful, skiable snow. I so love the mountains.

my morning trail run – who needs coffee? (jeremy does)



After all of that rambling, I do have a recipe. It’s appropriate for the summer season, too! Before Neva joined our ranks, I had the luxury to think of new recipes I wanted to try. I ran them past Jeremy and one in particular piqued his interest – White Russian ice cream. I did some research and immediately found White Russian ice cream floats which combine vanilla ice cream with booze. That’s not what I wanted. A little more digging brought me to the wonderful world of boozy ice creams and their paradoxical existence. You see, boozy ice creams require booze. I’m not talking about a tablespoon of liquor, but a cup or more. The problem is that alcohol doesn’t freeze, and yet ice cream is frozen. The solution is gelatin.

eggs, gelatin, kahlua, vodka, cream, sugar, milk, water, salt



**Jump for more butter**

let the summer of puppy commence

June 24th, 2015

Recipe: tuna melt

Oh man. Summer is REAL, people. The furnace blast arrived with a vengeance last week and like the true heat wimps that we are – we retreated to higher elevations and sunrise/sunset activities. Neva is now almost 20 pounds and has been with us for a month. Recalling the first 24 hours with her (and wondering what we had gotten ourselves into), she has come a long way in her training and development – and so have we! Part of her progress is simply growing up and gaining more coordination, strength, and speed. She no longer has to sniff and put every new plant, rock, stick, pine cone, or speck of dirt in her mouth. Neva is learning silly tricks now on top of the important commands. She let’s us know when she needs to go out to potty, she’s really good in her crate, and she is sleeping through the night (HALLELUJAH!). That last one was a serious game changer for the humans.


tossing her toy in the air and (sort of) catching it

moar swimming in icy cold lakes!!

neva gets at least one hike a day

she’s so mellow she sometimes falls asleep like this

running down the stairs with a toy



Neva is becoming a free range puppy, by which I mean, she roams parts of the house while we’re around and we don’t have to chase after her for fear of accidents or drive-by chewings on inappropriate things (like furniture, power cords, the compost bucket). She overcame her fear of the stairs in a matter of days – up was easy, down took a little coaxing. I can trim and file her nails while she sleeps (amazing!). We have her hiking up to 3 miles now and just this morning she did the rockiest, steepest hike yet – all on leash and behaving like a good dog should. Best of all, she likes to lie nearby while we are working and just nap or happily chew her toys. We still have plenty of work to do, but the stage of feeling hopeless was quite short-lived for us. I think Neva is becoming a Good Dog.

thimbleberry blossoms

the rare neva bloom amidst a potpourri of wildflowers

that’s my pack

shooting stars in a sea of summer green



Neva’s hiking progress has been of particular interest to me because I’d like to bring her with us when Erin, Banjo, and I hike and forage huckleberries. All signs point to Neva becoming a strong hiker and I think with some good long hikes together, she’ll learn to be a good companion to Banjo instead of a total pill (she seems to jump on his head less these days – that’s improvement).

As you can imagine, with all of the effort we’re putting into puppy training, I haven’t cooked anything elaborate in a while. In fact, I lost 8 pounds in the first 2 weeks of getting Neva because I was too tired to eat, let alone cook. We’ve been keeping things pretty simple out of necessity – mostly salads and sandwiches with the occasional ghetto pizza bread. One of those sandwiches is a tuna melt, which Jeremy loves and I like to pair with a bowl of tomato soup. I think of the tuna melt as an upgraded version of a tuna fish sandwich. If you really want to get 1970s throwback with it, stuff some jalapeƱo potato chips into the sandwich before eating (mmmm – so good!).


tuna fish, bread, lemon, mayonnaise, butter, pickles, salt, cheese, celery (not pictured: black pepper)

chop the pickles and celery

ready to roll



**Jump for more butter**

from one year to the next

June 16th, 2015

Recipe: bourbon bacon cacao nib brittle

It’s taken me well over a week to try and get this post together and I’m still not certain it will publish in a timely manner. All the while, Neva continues to grow and improve and discover more ways to get into trouble. But at last, as of two nights ago she is now sleeping through the night for just over 7 hours. We are ecstatic, elated, and emerging from our zombie state. If you want more than a weekly update on the pup, your best bet is to follow my instagram feed (@jenyuphoto) which typically has daily pupdates.

We spent the last week in Crested Butte, as it is a much easier environment for Neva to train and learn and have some doggy fun. It’s also important for her to get used to the long car rides. So far so good. She tends to sleep in her crate or chew on her toys when she’s awake. And she only cries when she really needs to get out and potty. Bumpy dirt roads or windy mountain roads don’t seem to bother her much. The plan is to have her graduate from her crate to a dog bed in the car – maybe in a few months.


on the way, we spotted a mama bear and her two cubs

enjoying the snow on a pit stop

sunset in crested butte



Neva has been over a week without accidents, mostly because we have learned to read her behaviors better and schedule her activities when her energy is high. We’ve been able to get her on several trails multiple times and even started playing fetch. She has also met many of the neighborhood dogs who are mostly much larger than her, but incredibly sweet and patient. Neva is growing quickly – mostly legs and body – her head is still hilariously little. Kaweah was the same way as a puppy.

she loves her hikes

neva with wyatt, the giant walking carpet (she loooooves wyatt)



We had a string of cool, rainy days before we finally got a sunny and warm one. Personally, I could enjoy cool and rainy for a long, long time, but we wanted a sunny day so Neva could learn to swim. And she did! At first she ran into the water after her toy and then the bottom dropped from under her feet. Like a trooper, she went from running to swimming. It definitely surprised her (and the water was pretty cold), but she swam a lap and came back to shore. She went in a few more times before we toweled her down and let her warm up in the sun. The second time, she didn’t want to go in on her own, so we stood in the water coaxing her over to us. Luckily, Neva is pretty attached to her humans, so despite not wanting to get cold again, she dove in and paddled out to us. She’s earning her Colorado Mountain Dog stripes!

swimming in the shadow of crested butte mountain

swimming neva!

day 2 of swimming – it wasn’t a fluke



Only after we brought the sleeping, damp puppy back into the house did I realize that it was a year ago when we took Kaweah out for her last swim in Crested Butte. Looking at the photos, I marveled at how big she looked compared to little Neva. Of course, Kaweah is never far from our thoughts and hearts. Half the time when we scold Neva it comes out as “Ka-puppy!” And there are the inevitable comparisons. Neva is better about some things and worse about others. All I can think is how lucky we are to be able to love both of these sweet girls in our lifetime.

When evening runs into night and Neva succumbs to the inevitable drowse that comes from being a puppy, she steps into the nest of my crossed-legged position and curls up affectionately in my lap. Stroking her soft downy head, I notice that her fur is coarser along her back – those signature Labrador guard hairs coming in to protect her fine undercoat. I cannot wait for her to become a dog, and yet there are moments when her puppiness is the best thing ever.


covered in dew from her morning hike



Father’s Day is coming up and my parents arrive in Boulder this week. Between preparing for their arrival and dealing with the puppy, this is my only shot at getting a recipe to you before the weekend. It’s a good one and I even messed it up the first time to be able to bring you the best version. I’ve field tested it with various friends in order to fine tune certain elements. We are talking about brittle, but not just any brittle… I figure anything with bacon, bourbon, and cacao nibs can’t really go wrong.

bourbon, corn syrup, water, bacon, cacao nibs, sugar, butter, flake sea salt, baking soda

crumble the bacon



**Jump for more butter**