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archive for December 2015

for a lifetime

Friday, December 18th, 2015

Recipe: homemade dog paw wax

Today is my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. I’d say that is a pretty impressive accomplishment for any time in history, but especially now. Jeremy and I will be heading out to celebrate with them in the spring since the week before Christmas is a pretty terrible time to travel or do anything for that matter. I scanned a few photos from the early years of their courtship and marriage, because it’s fascinating and touching to look back on those days. Another place, another time. My parents were younger than I am now in all of these photographs. I’m glad they made it to 50 years and I hope they log more years to come. Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad. I love you.


i think this was college – ah, young love

early 70s (i’m the little fat one being held)

a day at the beach (probably winter)



When Jeremy and I agreed to bring Kaweah into our family, all I could think was, “We’re getting a puppy!” She was my first dog and I had no idea what to expect. There were some things we did right and some things we did wrong. We learned as we went and I discovered that loving that dog – my sweet Kaweah – for all of her 15-plus years was one of the best things to have happened to me in my life. Once we decided to make Neva a part of our household, I didn’t dwell too much on her puppyhood (aside from the sleep-deprivation and training), but focused my sights on her doghood. After all, she’s only a puppy for a blink of an eye, but she’ll be a (good?) dog for her lifetime. The puppy stage was the time to introduce her to life as a Colorado mountain dog. We have mapped it all out for her: hiking, trail running, skiing, SUPing, swimming, backpacking, maybe even mountain biking. Kaweah is our reference point and Neva seems to be following right in her footsteps and then some.

But Kaweah learned the Colorado mountain dog life as a strong and athletic adult. Neva is still developing into her adult stage. So when we took her ski touring in a foot of powder a few months back, I was surprised that she experienced some trouble with her paws in the snow. I’m still unclear if it was from ice balling under her paws or if the snow was just too cold for her footies. Whatever it was, this was new for us because Kaweah never had these problems out west. Of course dogs like Banjo with longer hair between their footpads are practically guaranteed to get ice balls forming underfoot on powder days which can be painful. Erin (Banjo’s person) uses a combination of dog booties and Musher’s Secret (dog paw wax) to protect Banjo’s paws. I got Neva a couple sets of dog booties, but stopped short of buying Musher’s Secret because it’s spendy. That’s when I looked into making it myself and you know what? It’s not only cheaper to make it yourself, but it is ridiculously easy. First, you need to find a place that supplies what you’ll need.


rebecca’s herbal apothecary in boulder is awesome



There are plenty of great online stores where you can source the ingredients, but I wanted to keep my business local if possible. Thankfully, Rebecca’s Herbal Apothecary makes that possible. They have a physical shop in Boulder and an online store for orders to ship. The store carries a wide selection of butters, salts, oils, teas, waxes, herbs, and so much more. I went in finding everything I needed as well as getting some great advice on shea butters and making sure the ingredients were safe for ingestion in case Neva decided to lick it off her paws.

all you need: olive oil, shea butter, beeswax, coconut oil

cutting up the beeswax



**Jump for more butter**

everyone needs an easy morning

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

Recipe: green chile bacon egg bake

At last, the cookies are done and gone. If ever I entertain the thought of baking for a living, I need only remember the days of intensive baking in December that make me hate all cookies and chocolate. So why do I keep doing it? Jeremy asked this of me in the car as we drove down the canyon this morning on our way to deliver the cookies. When we started several years ago, it was because buying gifts for his administrative staff wasn’t really in our budget. But each year people loved the homemade cookies and candies so much that it seemed like a cop out to consider buying gifts as opposed to making something from the heart. I suppose I loathe shopping far more than dealing with tempering chocolate. Even now, mere hours after hand delivering the holiday goodies and shipping packages out to some special recipients, the sore back and lack of sleep are but a faded memory. I think as long as I can get outside for a little exercise during the mad frenzy, I can deal with it. After a week with this lingering low-level non-cold, I decided to beat it out of my body by going skate skiing. That felt terrible, but afterward, I felt SO MUCH BETTER.


the start of skate season always hurts so good

don’t forget to shred it on a 9-inch powder day

farewell cookies! go forth and maketh your recipients happy



Now with the cookies out of the way, I can concentrate on what needs to get done in the next couple of weeks. Part of that includes menu planning in Crested Butte because we don’t have access to as many ingredients out there as we do in the Front Range near Boulder/Denver. But honestly, when we are in Crested Butte, I try to avoid involved baking and cooking projects because the whole reason for being in CB is to be outside in all that gorgeousness, not inside in the kitchen. With houseguests coming at the start of the new year, I thought about simple and satisfying things to serve for breakfast. One recipe I settled on was an egg casserole loaded with bacon, green chiles, and cheddar cheese – something quick to whip up before you hit the mountain or the nordic trails!

eggs, milk, salt, roasted green chiles, black pepper, cheddar cheese, bacon

toss the chiles and cheese together

spread the chile-cheese mixture in the bottom of a baking dish



**Jump for more butter**

cookie season is upon you

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

Recipe: cookie butter truffles

My refrigerator is packed to the hilt with cookie doughs, candy fillings, and other ingredients for assorted baked goodies. We are coming down to the wire in the next couple of days and it’s always a miracle when I can send the packages of homemade treats out the door. I’ve cruised through five pounds of butter and it looks like I’m going to have to get some more to finish this year’s deliveries and shipments. Part of the reason for my cookie frenzy is because we got a nice dump of snow (finally!) Saturday, so Jeremy and I got out early to catch some first tracks on the mountain. The other part of the reason for the perceived time pressure is because I had to wait until this non-cold finally passed before I could start making cookies to give to other people… and dogs.


the beautiful view from corona chair at eldora

neva inspects the pumpkin peanut butter treats before they go in the oven



Are you the type to walk into the grocery store and browse before you decide what to buy or do you go in with a grocery list? After a couple of decades of data, I know for a fact that I need to walk in with a grocery list. It saves me both time and money. This is particularly true if I go shopping when I’m hungry. But sometimes, even with a list in hand, not having eaten anything by 3 pm means the likelihood of unauthorized items appearing in my basket will increase. So it happened last week as I wheeled through Trader Joe’s looking for a handful of things jotted on my notepad. And then I saw the cookie butter. Plunk – into the basket it went. Then the speculoos cookies. Plunk. I wasn’t sure what would become of them, but I figured I would hash that out later. And I did come up with something eventually – cookie butter truffles. I just wanted to see if they would be good.

speculoos cookies and speculoos cookie butter

let’s make truffles: cookie butter, salt, chocolate, butter, cookies, confectioner’s sugar



**Jump for more butter**