roasted broccoli and farro salad with feta sparkling champagne margaritas cranberry hazelnut seed crisps cioppino


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sharing the wonderful things

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Recipe: cranberry hazelnut seed crisps

I could have very easily slipped on some yoga pants and settled down to work on the computer that grey, chilly morning last week. Instead, I went about gathering my running vest, water bladder, some fuel bloks, a ziploc for my phone, my dirty girl gaiters, trail runners… I had no idea how far I’d run, if I would get caught in the rain, if it would suck or if it would be great. The run was a little bit of everything. I did get caught in the rain for the last 6 miles and my muscles did get tight in the cold. But I managed a half marathon (a distance I haven’t run in almost 2 months) and I also caught the remainder of our local fall colors, which is both thrilling and beautiful. It was my first trail run with my upgraded iphone, so I took a few detours to test drive the camera.


a lone aspen with red fringe

the grasses are turning lovely shades of red and gold

the browse line marks the extent of where the elk and moose feed on the aspen bark (thanks, twila!)



Is it terrible that my favorite part of trail running is when I’m done with the trail run? Oh, but a close second is when I get into that groove and find a nice pace that feels like I’m not even there. And I like feeling the soreness in my muscles the following day. I could feel the mild pull on my quads as I hustled through the fog the next morning. I was lugging that 500mm lens around trying to position myself to shoot the elk rut in Rocky Mountain National Park once again. This time, Jeremy joined me after I convinced him to forgo 3 hours of sleep. My shooting the elk rut does not require Jeremy’s presence nor his assistance. I just knew that he would absolutely love seeing them so close as he had never witnessed the rut before. Of course, it was an extra bonus that he shot a little video with his phone that captured a bull elk bugling.



In contrast to the sunny morning earlier in the week (when I photographed the rut), this morning was cold and thick with mist and fog. Clouds clung to the mountains and drifted in and out of the valleys like slow-motion waves. If you watched closely, you could see the antlers of a bull elk emerge in the distance. If you watched really closely, you would notice the pack of coyotes trying to sneak past him or the rafter of wild turkeys picking their way into the woods. As we drove around with our windows down to listen for the bugling, Jeremy reached for my icy cold hand and gave it a squeeze. He thanked me for talking him into seeing the elk rut and said it was incredibly special to share the experience.

lone tree in the valley

coyotes on the move

wild turkey foraging

bugling into the fog

beautiful creature

this fellow was yawning, not bugling



It is both exhilarating and a bummer when I am running alone and encounter a giant moose, or see a huge bird of prey take off from a branch just above me, or watch an ermine bring down a chipmunk and carry it away. The mini-safari aspect is pretty awesome, but then I find myself standing there looking around for someone I can yell “Did you see that?!” to. Food blogging is a little less dramatic than that, but it can be just as exciting when you find a recipe that is extra delicious, super easy, or saves you a ton of money. That’s why I still food blog after all these years. I like finding great recipes and sharing them. It just so happens that one of my lovely readers pointed me to this recipe. Have you ever tried raincoast crisps? They are a slightly sweet cracker/crisp made with dried fruits and nuts and seeds. I picked up a packet for a party and quite liked them, but they are stupid expensive.

whole wheat flour, buttermilk, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, baking soda, maple syrup, brown sugar, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, sesame seeds, salt, cranberries, hazelnuts



**Jump for more butter**

before the freeze

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Recipe: grilled brie porcini and caramelized onion sandwich

There is the possibility of a freeze and light snow down on the flats Thursday night. Everyone down there is freaking out at the potential for snow. That’s what they do. They freak out. I’m kind of excited about the snow. You knew that. But I also realize that up high in the mountains where my the huckleberries grow, it’s not only going to snow, but it’s going to be a hard freeze. Those little guys are tough, but everyone has their kryptonite. Ever since I got home this week, I’ve been squeezing hikes in to look for more huckleberries. The season wanes, but the high country still calls regardless of heavy rains, angry winds, and cold numb fingers that pluck at precious purple berries.


sun in the east and rain overhead

hiking into the wall of clouds

visiting with my high country neighbors (marmots)



Cool weather and loads of late summer rains have kept the mountain mushrooms chugging along well past their usual bedtime. I don’t go out of my way to find porcini these days because huckleberries are my priority. As my friend, Jay, said to Erin (regarding our obsession with huckleberries), “You two have a sickness.” But porcini and hucks tend to like some of the same environments and they even hang out together. When I find porcini cozily nestled among the lush huckleberry plants, it fries my brain – because there’s a porcini! But wait, are there huckleberries? But, a porcini! And I have to do a quick mental calculation as to how much time it takes to harvest and clean a porcini and then convert that to potential huckleberry volume. However, if the porcini are particularly perfect or the huckleberries are particularly absent, then I’ll pick the mushroom.

i love that signature color of our rocky mountain porcini



If I pick the mushroom, I have to be absolutely sure that I’m going to do something with it or give it to someone who is going to do something with it and who will also appreciate what they have received. So I did something with a few of the porcini – I made a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s a grilled brie, buttery pan-seared porcini, and caramelized onion sandwich. I think I went momentarily blind when I took a bite of it. Jeremy, who burns a thousand calories just checking his email, ate the rest of the sandwich with a glass of chardonnay and a big honking smile on his face. This is DECADENT comfort food.

fresh porcini, olive oil, butter, brie, bread, onions (not pictured: sea salt)

slice the onions

start sautéing the onions



**Jump for more butter**

triple pass lollipop unicorn

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Recipe: brie fig apple prosciutto sandwich

It’s not like anyone needs a reason to come to Crested Butte, Colorado, but this past week was marked on our calendar months ago. It all began when Jeremy ran into our friend in line at a coffee shop last fall. Brad has a remarkable talent for conveying massive amounts of information in a ridiculously short amount of time with boundless enthusiasm. In the three minutes he chatted with Jeremy, Brad convinced him to take up ultra running (and he also discussed about a dozen other topics). The Summer GT (Grand Traverse) was held on Saturday starting in Crested Butte and ending in Aspen – the same 40-mile overland route that the Winter GT Ski Mountaineering race follows, but this time on foot or mountain bike. I asked Brad if he was planning to run the Summer GT, but that crazy man ran the Fat Dog 120 this weekend in British Columbia (120 miles, 29,000 feet of climb).

We’ve both been training since the local trails began melting out in April (although we continued backcountry skiing into late May – yeehaw!). Jeremy was training for the Grand Traverse, and I was just training for the heck of it. A few weeks before the GT, Jeremy developed runner’s knee. He discovered the hard way that running 20 miles on runner’s knee makes for much worse runner’s knee. He rested, iced, got a PT band, and tried to recover. Ultimately, he (correctly) determined that it would be unwise to run the GT this year. Instead, we took a week off from training and have been enjoying our time in wonderful Crested Butte.


i made chocolate mousse for our neighbors’ dinner party

great food, great wines, great friends



We’re not just wining and dining though. Summer is that magnificent ephemeral time in the mountains that should not be passed over if you can help it. The other day we went for a 17-mile hike to explore parts of the high country that were new to us. I call it the triple pass lollipop unicorn hike because it gains three mountain passes and the route in map view looks like a lollipop with a unicorn horn. Plus, the hike is worthy of a title like triple pass lollipop unicorn hike, because it’s full of All The Good Things. The views and terrain were absolutely stunning – even the parts where the trail disappeared. The wildflowers are full-on incredible above 12,000 feet right now.

climbing up out of copper creek valley

pass #1: triangle pass (12,800 ft.) with conundrum basin in the background (leading to aspen)

pass #2: copper pass (12,400 ft.)

alpine wildflowers and the maroon bells in the distance (also leading to aspen)

elephant heads standing out among the blooms

the wider view of the high country

pass #3: east maroon pass (11,800 ft.)

copper lake basin



After hours upon hours of beauty, adventure, and exertion, we arrive at the trailhead and begin the drive home. The start of the hike feels like it was yesterday. In the car, I’ll notice a mixture of dirt, sweat, and sunblock is plastered on my skin. We are thirsty, hungry, tired, dirty. We smell awful, too. Once home, the trail runners get the hose and deck treatment. Our filthy, stinky clothes go straight into the laundry basket by the door to avoid tracking dirt around the house. Then we each drink a biiiiiiiig glass of water (or two) to rehydrate ourselves and our joints. If we are gross beyond what we can tolerate, a shower is in order, otherwise I head straight to the refrigerator to make something to eat. Pretty much anything will taste fantastic after a big hike, but this sandwich is guaranteed to be taste ultra-fantastic.

prosciutto, arugula, ciabatta rolls, brie, fig jam, green apple



**Jump for more butter**