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life on the front range

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Recipe: kimchi meatloaf

It was one of those weekends here on the Front Range, much like other winter weekends on the Front Range. For starters, we were treated to stunning sunrises.


fiery sunrise looking east toward boulder

sunlit snowy peaks



And then in true Front Range fashion, we bounced from a high of 11°F this past week to near 60°F tomorrow. You know what that means. Well, maybe you don’t know… but we do. It means wind. That kind of temperature shift around here brings the winds. I checked the forecast Friday night before going to bed and NOAA was predicting gusts up to 33 mph. That’s nothing for the Front Range – a breezy day. By morning, NOAA had “updated” the winds to 50 mph, which is considerably less pleasant for ski touring in the mountains. This happens so often that I have developed trust issues with NOAA. But as I said to Jeremy Saturday morning, “If I let the wind dictate when I go outside to ski, I’d never get to ski.”

putting climbing skins away and getting blasted by a ground blizzard

twila with the mountain we opted not to summit in the distance



The character of our winter winds is antagonistic, but also unpredictable. I know NOAA isn’t trying to intentionally lie to me, it just feels that way because they haven’t been great at predicting the wind around here. I don’t know that anyone is good at it. Living in the mountains, you learn to roll with what comes because moving away from the mountains isn’t an option. Mountain living is just that good. We worked Sunday until there was a lull in the winds in the late afternoon – our cue to grab the skis and drive to a trailhead. The trail starts at the local ski resort where throngs of families from the flats were up for their weekend fix. We left the commotion behind and quickly made our way up the trail. Once over the ridge, the hum of the ski lifts and the screams of happy (or terrified?) children gave way to the soft scratching of skis on snow. Tall conifers closed in around us as we moved deeper into the national forest.

it’s like a sunday stroll, but better



By the time we skied out to the top of the bunny hill, the resort had closed and three lonely cars remained in the parking lot below. There’s something fun about skiing down the bunny hill whether on my teles, my skate skis, or my touring skis. Once at the base, we high-fived, carried our skis to the car, and asked each other, “What do you want for dinner?” It’s always a good idea to have plans for feeding after skiing, otherwise we wind up eating out. This time, I had meatloaf already made – kimchi meatloaf.

ground beef, fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, cornstarch, black pepper, kimchi, panko crumbs, milk, onion, egg, garlic, ginger

mince the garlic and chop the kimchi

grate half the onion

grate the ginger



**Jump for more butter**

yo ho, blow the (wo)man down

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Recipe: chinese lemon chicken

Welcome to 2015! What’s new? Most of you already know that little changes for me with the new year (although I keep writing 2014 instead of 2015 on checks, waiver forms, and consent forms). But, it just so happens that I got a new hat. That might not be a big deal to you, but it is for me. When I find something that works for me, I use it until it is dead, threadbare, broken, kaput. The part I loathe is shopping around for a replacement. My trusty Patagonia fleece hat has kept my noggin warm and itch-free (because I’m allergic to wool) for 19 years. I’ve sewn it up over 11 times. I’ll continue to bring it with me into the backcountry, but the new hat will take over noggin-duty in town.


my sauce headware tulip hat



I found the brand in Crested Butte when I was in search of a good thin breathable toque for skate skiing in cold weather (I heat up very easily, even in single digit temperatures). There was a bigger selection online at Sauce Headwear and then of course, I went looking at other styles and fell in love with the tulip hat. My favorite feature of my toque is the ponytail hole (optional) – because I have a ponytail and most winter sports hats are made for dudes. So if you’re active outside in winter and you need a functional, yet fun hat, you might want to check these out. Sauce doesn’t know I’m telling you about their hats, I just really dig how well they work for me. I test drove the toque on a backcountry ski tour Sunday morning in 50 mph winds and it was great (the hat, not the winds). I also got to spend some quality time with my pals, Erin and Banjo, despite ground snow rudely blowing into my ears and mouth as well as winds literally knocking us over. What’s up with that, Front Range?!?!

banjo kisses

the best selfie we could manage

banjo leads us out



It was so nice to get some puppy time. I’ve been in withdrawal ever since Kaweah left us. It’s gotten to the point where I pet each and every dog I encounter on trails, sidewalks, in yards, stores… I was like this for years before we got Kaweah. Back then, it was just an obsession of mine to have a dog, but now I actually know what is missing from my life. Kaweah left a big hole in my heart and I’m trying to fill it by loving on fifty different dogs in passing, which is like eating a bag of Skittles in place of dinner.

Jeremy’s out of town at a meeting and he texted me after his talk to let me know he was heading to dinner with a colleague. I texted back: I want a puppy.

We are not impulsive people, so I know it will take time and a lot of deliberate thought before we bring a dog into our home – before we bring our dog into our lives. Jeremy isn’t ready yet, but he’s getting there. Eventually, we’ll find our Colorado mountain dog, and you’ll meet her too.

In the meantime, it’s back to business as usual. We kept our holiday meal planning simple in Crested Butte because we didn’t want to spend our time in the kitchen if we could be out skiing. It was a good break. And now I’m regarding recipes with anticipation rather than dread, like this lemon chicken.


flour, cornstarch (3 times), sugar, salt, sesame seeds, water, soy sauce, shoaxing cooking wine, lemons, chicken thighs

cut the chicken into pieces and juice the lemons



**Jump for more butter**

not a snob

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Recipe: chinese fried pork meatballs

After enjoying superb snow conditions in Crested Butte last week, the atmosphere has gone on holiday here on the Front Range. I complained to my mom on the phone that it has been warm and sunny and windy. She laughed because she finds my obsession with snow amusing. Even though there hasn’t been any new snow this week, I haven’t allowed myself to fall into the snob trap – where you tell yourself that it isn’t worth getting out unless conditions are perfect. No, I’m getting out every day for the fresh air, the exercise, the scenery, the joy of gliding over snow.


hoping this little storm front brings some snow



Keeping active is important to me or else I start to feel down and get the blahs. It also allows me to indulge around the holidays without feeling debauched. I mean, the end of the year is when all of the yummy morsels get marched out at the parties! Among my favorite little foods are meatballs. I pretty much love them all, but I have a soft spot in my heart for these Chinese-style pork meatballs because my mom makes them and they’re delicious.

the filling: soy sauce, sesame oil, bamboo shoots, ground pork, cornstarch, dried black mushrooms, fresh ginger, green onions, napa cabbage (not pictured: salt)

mince the vegetables

mix the ingredients in a bowl



**Jump for more butter**