braised chicken with forty cloves of garlic roasted broccoli and farro salad with feta sparkling champagne margaritas cranberry hazelnut seed crisps


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that extra sparkle

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Recipe: sparkling champagne margaritas

The sight of snow on the Rocky Mountains represents “normal” in my mind. The months of brilliant snow-covered peaks outnumber those months of naked rock. So when I climbed to the high point of my trail run the other day and caught a glimpse of Glacier Ridge in full white, I couldn’t help but smile and mutter “beautiful” aloud. Sun, blue skies, and warm days have returned (again), but our mountain home gets nice and chilly at night. Our favorite neighbors are home from running their summer camp deep in the Canadian wilderness. This evening I welcomed their walking carpet of a dog back with hugs and ear rubs (she’s a Great Pyrenees-Bernese Mountain Dog mix). The older we get, the more Jeremy and I cherish having good neighbors. We look out for one another, I like to dessert-bomb them, and it’s great when we can get together over a glass of wine or dinner.


kicking off a dinner party in crested butte with eileen’s margaritas



When Jeremy and I hosted a New Mexican food-themed party at our place in Crested Butte last month, it was a team effort. Wendy made Spanish rice, spicy refritos, and brought fresh tortillas. Eileen brought a corn and avocado salad, wine, and champagne margaritas. Neither Jeremy nor I are huge fans of margaritas. I’m just not a drinker and Jeremy thinks they are too caustic. But when Eileen offered Jeremy a champagne margarita, he accepted – because… champagne (actually, it was a lovely sparkling wine). He liked it. A LOT. Eileen told me it was a Rick Bayless recipe and a nice change up from the standard margarita. I took a sip from Jeremy’s glass and had to agree. Very nice. VERY drinkable. Way to class up the old marg!

tequila, cointreau, bubbles, limes, kosher salt, sugar

zest the limes

lime juice, cointreau, tequila, lime zest, sugar



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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



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plum delicious

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Recipe: spiced plum jam

I’m rained out at the moment, trying to get work done and taking periodic peeks out the window for a break in the weather. The giant mountains that typically tower over town are completely obscured by thick layers of clouds, but they can move out as quickly as they move in. Stormy weather can be a blessing and a curse. Photographers love when snow and fall colors mingle – it adds new dimensions and moods. But to get that secret ingredient, you need to endure the rain and cold and zero visibility and deep mud and fallen trees. Tap tap tap tap. Tappity tappity tappity tap tap tap! That’s the rain on the roof of the motel. I traveled south for a couple of days to catch this very storm when it lifts.


we got snow in crested butte a few nights ago

then we got more snow

snow!!!!



You can never hit all of the great places for fall colors at just the right time, but with today’s connectivity, you can get color reports from your network of photography pals as they scout across the western half of Colorado from late September to early October. Text messages, Facebook comments and posts, emails, forums, and face to face. There is a lot of flipping through mobile photos. Of course, when you meet in person, it’s practically a requirement that you grab a meal together.

jimmy and mike ready for pizza after camping in the pouring rain

stash pizza (pinhead pesto)

jimmy is very happy



On my drive south, I listened to a David Sedaris audio book and laughed my way up and down the back roads, pausing to gauge colors or take photos or to slowly make my way through cattle congregating on the road. The skies were a little moody, a little mixed, a little rainy. And even if the aspens were still green or completely stripped bare, the smell of the forests and soil after the rains was invigorating.

every so often the sun would poke through the clouds

i love the white trunks of aspens

spotlight on the aspens

stormy sunset



It’s been less than two weeks, but I’m feeling just a little burned out. Not so much burned out on the fall colors – I don’t think I would ever tire of autumn’s glory – but burned out on not cooking in my kitchen and not eating fresh, seasonal, and delicious food. And because sunrise and sunset are always dedicated to shooting, it really derails my trail running schedule. As the weather cools, I want to cook and bake! I did get a little of that action before the fall shoot, because the end of summer offers so much in the way of late season fruits.

italian plums

let’s jam: plums, lemon, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pectin



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