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archive for dessert

spring, is that you?

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

Recipe: passion fruit meringues

I knew it would snow again. How awesome for us that we could backcountry ski fresh snow in our local mountains one day, then go for a trail run in these same mountains the next day. The weather is a spring mix bouquet – it’s got a little bit of everything going on right now. We are rolling with it, because staying indoors is not an option.


sunrise clouds revealing new snow

a fast-moving thunderstorm at sunset



Jeremy and I have been waiting for a window of good weather all month when the snow is still decent in the high country. Active storms, cooler weather, and work obligations finally cleared this weekend. We pounced on the opportunity to get Neva out for her first ski backpack. It was an overnight trip into our local backcountry and we kept it simple for our own sanity as well as Neva’s safety. Unlike summer backpacking, early season backpacking involves more bulk and weight to account for cold nights, camping on snow, potential storms, and ski equipment. Although the forecast thunderstorms never materialized, we camped below treeline to be safe. Of course, Neva had the time of her life romping in the snow, getting extra food and snacks (she burned a lot of calories), catching the scent of a bazillion wild animals, and hogging our sleeping bags all night.

neva cools off in the snow – it was a scorching 70°f

skinning uphill with a heavy pack and a dog that likes to pull every which way is hard work

clouds building on the divide

home for the night



When Jeremy first introduced me to backpacking in March of 1993, he explained that it is “the endeavor of a thousand little discomforts”. But with experience, we learned to minimize, ignore, or accept those discomforts in exchange for the freedom of the hills. Ski backpacking with a one-year old crazy dog definitely adds more complexity and even pain. An outsider might regard this activity as recreation, but Jeremy and I definitely classify it as fun #2. Worth it? Absolutely. Will we take Neva again? We’ll see.

pre-dawn colors in the east

breaking down camp at 6:30 am

hiking the last couple of miles out



As the sun lingers in the sky for a few more minutes each day, my mind turns to tropical flavors. If anything tastes like sunshine, it is passion fruit. I’ve gone to great lengths in the past to procure fresh passion fruit, but sometimes I have to suck it up and buy some at outrageous prices here in Colorado for a shoot. Never let it be said that I have ever allowed a passion fruit to go to waste. Actually, I hate waste in general, which is why I wound up making these passion fruit meringues – because I always have an excess of egg whites in my refrigerator!

eggs, sugar, passion fruit

precious pulp and juice



**Jump for more butter**

the berry essence of spring

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

Recipe: baked strawberry doughnuts

I’m ready for it. Ready for spring. The ski resorts are closing one by one in Colorado as the season winds down. I’m okay with that, because spring means spring skiing in the backcountry. It means climbing glazed ice in the mornings when the temperatures still dip below freezing. It means you have to unzip the vents in your ski pants and strip down to short sleeves because the air is warm and the sun beats down on you as you make your way up the mountains. Talk about earning your turns. But by mid-morning, the snow beneath your skis is heavy with water and feels soft when you glide over it. And there aren’t those horrible winter winds. It’s a great way to gear up for summer trail running, hiking, and backpacking.


neva playing in fresh snow late last week

i nabbed last tracks on a local trail the day before it closed for elk calving season



Jeremy and I are preparing for summer, too. We’ve been updating our summer running and hiking socks (I am a huge fan of Bridgedale socks) as well as some footwear and fuels for endurance training. We are especially excited about taking Neva trail running now that she is a year old. She has been pretty good on our ski tours this winter and we hope that translates well to trail runs. But there is still plenty of snow in the high country with more in the forecast through the end of the month, so we shall ski until we can’t ski. Neva seems fine with that.

neva dug a hole to china looking for her tennis ball

ah, the insanity…



Another reason spring is on my brain is strawberries. You can find strawberries all year in grocery stores, but the winter berries that ship in from the southern hemisphere are flavorless at best. It isn’t until spring when the berries start to look, smell, and taste like actual strawberries. I bought a few pounds of organic strawberries last week to see if they were any good. They weren’t the best, but they weren’t bad! I know in a month or so they will be much better and then I’ll set to work making strawberry jam and strawberry vodka and strawberry syrup for summer entertaining. But for now, these baked strawberry doughnuts are the bombdiggity even if the strawberries aren’t at their peak.

you’ll need to butter your doughnut pans

and flour them



I bought doughnut pans for baking doughnuts a few years ago and liked the results well enough. The doughnuts don’t come out like their fried counterparts, but they are still quite good and take a smaller bite out of your caloric allowance. Plus, there is the added bonus of easier cleanup. Cleaning up after deep-frying is a pain. I didn’t feel enough excitement about the baked doughnuts to make them very often – partly because I stored the pans in a hard to reach cabinet and partly because I could get a really good cake doughnut on the road between Crested Butte and Nederland (Daylight Donuts makes great doughnuts). And then I found a recipe for strawberry doughnuts made with real strawberries.

flour, vegetable oil, salt, baking soda, eggs, butter (for the pans), strawberries, sugar, vanilla, buttermilk

stir the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together

combine the eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla

it might look curdled, but that’s okay



**Jump for more butter**

happy birthday, neva

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

Recipe: doggy birthday cake

This weekend, we celebrated Neva’s first birthday! Can you believe it? She’s now one year old. Such a big girl compared to that silly little puppy pup she once was. Neva has learned so much since we brought her into our home. She still has a lot more to learn, but we’re so proud of how far she’s come.


the little munchkin seeing snow for the first time



Neva has had a lot of time on snow in the ten months we’ve had her, and every single time she acts like it is the very best thing ever. How could I not love this girl? I guess this is why I love dogs in general – they have this undying genuine enthusiasm for living. Jeremy and I decided that we’d take Neva on a nice backcountry ski for her special day. She got lots of snacks on the way up and tons of running on the way down.

neva wagged the whole way up

waiting patiently for more treats

skiing out with a view east toward the flats (great plains)

sufficiently tuckered out that she had fallen asleep on the ski boots



After all of that exercise, we made sure Neva replenished those calories lost and then some. She partook of some raw beef (her favorite) and sampled a couple of strawberries (she likes those) and she had cake. Yes! She had birthday cake! I had done some quick research a few days earlier to make a nice dog-friendly cake for our puppity pup. It is mildly sweet (from applesauce and banana) and tastes like a bland, fluffy quick bread to us humans, but Neva LOVES it! Of course, Neva is a lab, so she loves pretty much anything. The recipe is simple and quick. The best part is that it is pretty well-behaved even at my elevation. Winner.

cream cheese, baking powder, egg, peanut butter, whole wheat flour, coconut oil, applesauce, banana



**Jump for more butter**