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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Recipe: chocolate caramel ice cream

If you are looking for a great all-body workout, backcountry skiing may be your answer. It is one of my favorite activities in spring when the winds are a little less antagonistic than in winter, the temperatures are comfortable enough that your pack isn’t bursting with tons of high-loft layers, and the snow feels good when you sit in it. Unlike resort skiing, in backcountry skiing YOU ARE THE SKI LIFT. That means you earn your turns and then some. But the solitude and beauty of our beautiful mountains are worth it. Jeremy and I skin up for hours, talking with one another, sometimes just listening to all of the different bird calls, inhaling that glorious forest smell, and noting any natural slides on the high peaks. We usually break for a late snack at the high point. That’s where we rip (climbing) skins, get some turns, and then ski back (which is super fast!).


gearing up in the parking lot

this frozen alpine lake has lots of beautiful wildflowers in summer

jeremy admires the indian peaks as he skins up

bacon in the backcountry – does it get much better than this?!

hoofing it to take a few more laps



It’s like hiking, but on skis and in the snow. Backcountry skiing is a lot more exertion than hiking, but I just love it so much. We bring snacks with us – nothing heavy. Neither of us likes to eat much food while skinning up – just enough to keep the stomach from getting gurgly and grumpy. Typically we’ll devour half of our snacks in the car on the drive home. As soon as we get home we somehow manage to simultaneously address the dog’s pee/poop clock, unpack our gear to dry, and cobble together a meal that is supposed to make up for the three we haven’t eaten yet. But this time, there was homemade ice cream in the freezer for dessert. Jeremy was excited for the new experimental flavor because it combines two of his favorites: chocolate and caramel.

chocolate, vanilla, milk, cream (divided), eggs, sugar (divided), flake sea salt

chop the chocolate

heat cream and sugar in separate pans



**Jump for more butter**

weekend jollies

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Recipe: strawberry cinnamon rolls

Jeremy and I usually spend our weekends working because that’s when all of our favorite places tend to be the busiest. But after a long day of shooting (for me) and editing a scientific paper (Jeremy), we needed to get out for a break. My idea of a break is exercise in the great outdoors. And they really were great that evening, touting some of the finest spring conditions I’ve enjoyed in a long while.


there were clouds all around except for one giant blue sucker hole above us

excellent snow (fast, yet good grip for climbing)

skiing back to the car, we ran into a few thin spots



And then we got 8 inches of snow on Sunday. I’m not complaining! We usually get a big dump of snow the day AFTER our local ski hill closes for the season. At least this time it was on closing day. My friend, Sarah, asked me on Friday what I was going to do now that ski season (she meant resort ski season) was drawing to a close. I smiled and said, “BACKCOUNTRY skiing!” That’s part of the reason I wasn’t freaking out about skipping closing day. I wasn’t skiing it because of that whole weekend-crowds-bad-timing-of-the-powder thing AND because I was busy making a mess at home. But what a delicious mess it was…

dough: flour, vanilla, milk, eggs, butter, sugar, salt, yeast

pour the yeast over the warmed milk

mix in the sugar, butter, eggs, salt, and vanilla



**Jump for more butter**

go go greens

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

Recipe: spanakopita

March has not forsaken us! Four inches of snow preserved by overnight lows to -10°F made for some solid spring skiing this weekend in Crested Butte. Aaaand there’s more to come – yippee!!! But the season is definitely on the move. Despite the appearance of winter on the ground here, the sun and skies tell a different story. Clouds and weather are more dynamic with the increased warming of the atmosphere thanks to our sun that wants to hang out more and more each day. In the backcountry, you can smell streams and plants even though you may not see them under all of that snow. And flying insects! We’ve seen several lazily buzzing through the air as if they were trying to recover from the drunken stupor that was winter. It’s all good. It really is.


skiing toward an approaching storm

tracking up the fresh stuff

sunset on mount whetstone



Spring cleaning applies to everything for me – from closets to pantries to hard-to-recycle items to gear to computer files… I’ve been in a slow motion spring cleaning mode since October and I finally got around to culling and sorting my gabillion computer files (mostly photos) last week. I am not even close to being done as it takes a while to sift through terabytes of data. But I did unearth a recipe for spanakopita (Greek spinach pie) I have been meaning to post since I shot it a few years ago. It seems rather fitting for this time of year. Or maybe I’m just really hungry after all that skiing.

feta, spinach, eggs, farina, butter, more butter, parsley, dill, green onions (not pictured: phyllo dough, salt)



The hardest part of making spanakopita is handling the phyllo dough, but it’s not that hard. I’ve been using it since fourth grade (we learned to make baklava in 4-H) and have dealt with a lot of store-bought phyllo dough. The tricks are to: 1) thaw the frozen dough in the refrigerator for 24 hours 2) keep a damp (not wet!) towel over the sheets of dough to prevent drying out and 3) buy a reliable brand. I tried using an organic phyllo dough from Whole Foods and it made me cuss like a sailor. It stuck together, tore, and was really difficult to work with, despite following all of the instructions to thaw it properly. I’ve had mixed results with some national brands like Athens. The main thing is that you don’t want the sheets to stick together. The best one I’ve dealt with? Safeway’s brand. The point is that you’ll need to determine what works best for you.

beat the eggs, chop the green onions, mince the herbs

adding sautéed green onions to the feta, spinach, herbs, and farina

pour in the beaten eggs

mix it all together



**Jump for more butter**