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corn dog diggity

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Recipe: mini beer corn dogs

The weekend, she is here. Almost like clockwork, once foraging huckleberries is over for me, it’s time to move on to canning tomatoes. Over the past few years, I have discovered that the one thing I absolutely must can each summer is tomatoes. I won’t lose sleep if I don’t make peach, fig, or strawberry jam, but diced tomatoes are a must. At first I started with organic heirlooms and red slicers from Cure Organic Farm (a local Boulder farm – so great), but this year I’ve migrated over to the organic San Marzanos and Romas. They have a bumper crop of tomatoes right now and the seconds are $1.50 a pound. I picked up 19 pounds to can last weekend, and then I picked up another 25 pounds to can Thursday.

these hardly look like seconds, they’re gorgeous

thinking of all the soups and stews and sauces this winter and spring

enjoying all of the late summer goodies like wild coho salmon

The sun is getting up later each morning, which I like. I like it a lot. It means fewer hours of that giant fiery ball of thermal radiation in the sky. Waking up before sunrise without feeling like puking is a wonderful feeling. And having night for more than a couple of hours before bed is good for greater productivity. The sky has been offering up some beautiful moments of late.

crescent moon setting

looking west as the sun rises in the east

a low rainbow over the mountains

In Neva news, we used the halti collar for several days before i noticed the fur on her muzzle was thinning right where the halti rested. This made me very sad. Jeremy did some research and we decided to try a chest harness (a reader and some friends recommended them). Unlike the halti, the chest harness didn’t seem to bother Neva at all. We put it on her in the living room and she went about her business as usual. We walked her the next morning and she was so good (except with the squirrels – she cries and whines and barks when she sees squirrels). No struggling, no irritation. We were elated.

every morning when i brush my teeth

walking through golden aspens

such a good pup

happy dog

Lately I’ve seen mention of the Broncos in my Facebook feed. The Broncos are football, so that must mean it’s football season… Sportsball. Since we don’t have television, I wouldn’t know about any of the sporting seasons aside from the token sports discussions on NPR and those friends on Facebook who are sports fanatics. Even then, it’s quite easy for me to overlook it all because I’ve always found it far more desirable to play rather than watch. But I know that some people are far more enthusiastic about the football parties and party food than the football. So here’s a great appetizer for those sportsball gatherings if you’re looking for fun and quick recipes: the mini beer corn dog.

cornmeal, honey, sugar, eggs, baking powder, salt, hot dogs, flour, beer, skewers

cut the hot dogs into 2-inch pieces

pierce the mini dogs on the cut side

**Jump for more butter**

the continuing adventures of neva

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Recipe: white russian ice cream

Wildflower season is exploding here in Crested Butte, and it’s not even peak yet! I know this because 1) I hike a couple times a day through fields of gorgeous wildflowers and 2) I’m sneezing constantly and my eyes are red and itchy. It’s not even the sheer quantity of the wildflowers, but the impressive variety that Crested Butte boasts. Right now we’re seeing larkspur, dwarf lupine, blue and crimson columbines, prairie smoke, cinquefoil, arnica, wild rose, sticky geranium, mule’s ear, wild iris, scarlet gilia, and so many more.

mammata overhead, scarlet gilia and lupine on the slopes of crested butte mountain

prairie smoke (pink) in fuzz mode

I’ve resigned myself to not shooting the wildflowers this summer and just enjoying our hikes with Neva with occasional snaps of the iphone. Neva has been on a regimen of hiking and swimming – kinda like puppy summer camp – to get her beans out each day (one of her nicknames is Nevabean). Not only do we have to socialize her with other dogs, people, and children around the neighborhood, but she needs to become familiar with dogs, wildlife, hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers on the trails.

her checkup at the vet last week (she was super well-behaved)

she got up on this bench by herself and sat down to rest in the shade

discovering new trails together

keeping hydrated after a long walk

Shortly before leaving for Crested Butte, we hung a bell on the doorknob of our front door. We rang it before taking Neva outside to potty a couple of times, and then we taught her to ring it and sit down at the door when she wanted to go potty. She picked it up right away. When we got to Crested Butte, we hung a bell on the front door and she rang that to ask to be let out to potty. We were overjoyed! And then she started to ring the bell minutes after she had just gone outside to potty… because she just wanted to go outside. She still rings it to go out to potty, but she ALSO rings it when she’s bored and wants to hang out in the yard. Hrmmmm.

i wanna go outside, i wanna go outside, outside, outside, outside…

smelling of lavender after her (much needed) bath

It’s a gradual progression, the parts of our lives that we are able to reclaim after the shock of puppy’s arrival. Instead of waiting for her to fall asleep before we can even think of making dinner, I can now cook while she’s hanging out in the kitchen or happily playing with her toys in the living room. Best of all, Neva has been exposed to a lot of thunderstorms and they don’t faze her one bit. In fact, I was out shooting a storm as it lit up the mountains all around us the other evening and she was right there with me, playing with some neighborhood doggy friends and then calmly sitting next to Jeremy. We just want to raise her to have the happiest life possible. So far, so good.

mammata at sunset in nederland

my unicorn: sunset + rainbow + lightning (in crested butte)

lightning bolt over crested butte mountain

And for the past two weeks, Jeremy and I have been able to take shifts in the mornings so one of us can trail run while the other hikes the puppy. I had been on a 6 week hiatus because of the pup and my upper respiratory infection, so the first run felt awful, but in that good awful way. I felt free. And now I can enjoy the summer mountain views, watch deer bounding across the hillsides, make note of mushroom flushes, monitor the progress of the mountain huckleberries, and dream of the days when these slopes will be buried under feet of beautiful, skiable snow. I so love the mountains.

my morning trail run – who needs coffee? (jeremy does)

After all of that rambling, I do have a recipe. It’s appropriate for the summer season, too! Before Neva joined our ranks, I had the luxury to think of new recipes I wanted to try. I ran them past Jeremy and one in particular piqued his interest – White Russian ice cream. I did some research and immediately found White Russian ice cream floats which combine vanilla ice cream with booze. That’s not what I wanted. A little more digging brought me to the wonderful world of boozy ice creams and their paradoxical existence. You see, boozy ice creams require booze. I’m not talking about a tablespoon of liquor, but a cup or more. The problem is that alcohol doesn’t freeze, and yet ice cream is frozen. The solution is gelatin.

eggs, gelatin, kahlua, vodka, cream, sugar, milk, water, salt

**Jump for more butter**

best-laid plans

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Recipe: grand marnier soufflé

Several weeks before Neva came home with us, we began getting the whole house in order, reading our puppy and dog training books (different methods than when we trained Kaweah), and trying to get a jump on our workloads. Let me tell you – since she came home: the entire house looks like a giant puppy playpen, we feel as if we’ve forgotten everything we read in the training books, and it seems that we are already falling well behind in work. It’s no doubt that part of the existence of Puppy Vortex is because I’m still sick – with bronchitis and no voice. Clearly, recovery is but a pipe dream on four hours of sleep a night.

Neva was getting plenty of sleep and plenty of playtime. However, Wednesday morning she had an episode of trembling and lethargy that was sudden and extremely uncharacteristic. Even worse? She refused food. My stomach dropped. There was only one time ever that Kaweah refused food, and that was the morning we said good-bye to her. I fought back tears and asked Jeremy to call the vet for an appointment. Neva was running a low fever and our vet prescribed some meds and asked us to call him in the morning for a status report. Almost as quickly as she had gone downhill, she bounced back within hours to her normal puppy self – biting everything in sight, romping around clumsily, and wanting to explore the whole world.

Despite the setback, we’ve been introducing Neva to new things. She loves the vet’s office as well as my neighbor’s daughter. She completely goes bananas for plain yogurt and peanut butter. And she loves snow. Since we still have lots of snow in the high country, we took her for her first introduction this week.

sitting for her treat from jeremy

happily munching on said treat

fearless bounding across the slushy slopes

having a blast digging pits in the snow

my sweet baby girl

Despite feeling truly crappy right now, I don’t want to get into the habit of punting each post by tossing up a bunch of puppy pics and calling it good. You good people deserve a recipe, and this one is awesome. It comes from my friend, John of Food Wishes, and I was inspired to make it after ordering a Grand Marnier soufflé at a French restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia. I served mine with a Grand Marnier crème anglaise (also from John’s site). I just don’t see how it can get any better! If you decide to serve the soufflés with a side of crème anglaise sauce, you should start the sauce a few hours earlier than the soufflés to give it time to cool.

the crème anglaise: cream, vanilla extract, grand marnier, sugar, salt, eggs (yolks)

heat the cream, sugar, and salt

whisk some of the hot cream into the egg yolks

cook and then strain the custard

stir in the grand marnier and vanilla extract

**Jump for more butter**