green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies roasted carrots


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Friday, May 20th, 2022

Recipe: green chile chicken enchiladas


peony tulips for kris on may 1


While it might seem quiet around here, it has been anything but. Three months ago, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and began medication that sent my GI system on a 6-week roller coaster ride. I changed my diet, increased my exercise, and researched how to get my health and blood sugar under control. There were lots of bonks while navigating energy needs with more intense workouts and GI distress from the meds. But after weaning myself off of certain foods (the carbs, I do love them), consulting a nutritionist who specializes in diabetes, and converting some of my favorite recipes to healthier versions, I am meeting my health goals and feeling so much better.


last year: mother’s day, may 2021

last week: may 2022


In January 2022, I began planning a trip for my parents that should have happened in 2020 when my dad turned 80. Yosemite National Park was on my parents’ bucket list. Jeremy and I have camped, hiked, backpacked, ski toured, and photographed in Yosemite over the past 30 years. We knew enough to find a comfortable window for my parents to see the main sights without too much risk of snow or wildfires outside of the insanely crowded peak season. And because I had no way of knowing what the pandemic would be doing in May, I booked stand-alone luxury lodging with en suite dining space (for take out meals).


mother’s day on the lovely deck of our cabin

kicking off happy hour with mother’s day champagne

upper yosemite falls and the merced river

mom and dad at tunnel view


Mom and Dad enjoyed exploring Yosemite Valley, taking in waterfalls full of spring runoff (Bridalveil, Horsetail, Ribbon, Upper and Lower Yosemite), the giant sequoias, the great granite monoliths of El Capitan and Half Dome, the dogwood blossoms, and learning about the geologic history of the region. But the second half of the trip was what Dad was looking forward to the most: wine country. Jeremy tasted wines with my dad and I was the designated driver. All of the tastings were outdoors or open to the outdoors and all of our meals were either outside or carry out. Ultimately the whole adventure was a success because my parents were happy.


wine tasting at joseph phelps winery

the stunning entrance at joseph phelps

in the opus one courtyard

the garden outside our cottage in st. helena


I made sure to have healthy snacks on hand, ordered wisely at restaurants, and got out for hikes or trail runs most days, but it did involve a great deal of effort and planning to pull it all off and cater to my parents’ wishes while making sure the itinerary never went sideways. It was exhausting and I could not have done it without Jeremy’s support (logistical, moral, and otherwise). It’s good to be home with the pups, getting back to my exercise routine, living a simpler life, and eating my own food again.


these two have no idea how much we missed them


Knowing how to cook is probably the most important skill I bring to my dietary pivot. It gives me the ability to turn a generally unhealthy dish into something more nutritious, but still tasty and satisfying. Sometimes I make the indulgent recipe for Jeremy and create a diabetic-friendly mini version with substitutions for myself (because portion control). Other times we both eat the same healthier adaptation. And there are days when we eat completely different meals. It’s all fine.

We have been loving these green chile chicken enchiladas since last year. I’m happy to report that it is still a meal I eat – simply with less cheese, chicken, and oil – in a smaller portion. The original recipe uses flour tortillas which Jeremy can vouch for because I ran out of corn tortillas once. But we both prefer the taste of corn tortillas which are better for me than the refined carbohydrates in a traditional flour tortilla.

There are many shortcuts you can take to make this an easy weeknight meal like shredding the meat from a rotisserie chicken. [I buy an organic rotisserie chicken and use the meat for various soups, salads, sandwiches, nachos, and then use the carcass to make broth.] Fresh or jarred salsa verde works great here. And while I draw from my stash of roasted green chiles from my freezer, feel free to use canned green chiles.


cheese, cilantro, chicken, salsa verde, onions, corn tortillas, green chiles, oregano, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper (not pictured: canola oil)

add oregano, cumin, and garlic to the sautéed onions

stir in the green chiles

mix the cilantro, chicken, half the cheese, and some of the salsa into the filling



**Jump for more butter**

solving mysteries

Thursday, March 17th, 2022

Recipe: chow mein

How can so much time have passed so quickly? Jeremy and I puzzled over this on our 25th wedding anniversary earlier this month. We celebrated with a low-key home-cooked meal. My parents congratulated us. The pups were business as usual.

The past several weeks have been busy and roller coaster-y (and that’s without considering the insanity of the world). I switched to a new primary care physician who helped me untangle some nuisance ailments. I’ve changed my diet and exercise patterns to fast track myself to a healthier me in the last month. It’s a lot of work, but I’m here for it.


chinese new year’s eve dinner: potstickers, mochi rice, stem and leaf mandarin oranges, cellophane noodles soup, lucky ten vegetables

chinese new year breakfast: sweet red bean rice balls, sesame balls, oranges, steamed barbecue pork buns, moon cakes, peanuts

neva and yuki couldn’t be happier

a tired dog is a good dog

the powder, it is fun

yuki test drives her warm coat on a frigid day



At the end of last year, I finally tackled my decades-long mystery of how to make chow mein. I know there are many interpretations of chow mein out there because I have ordered them at various restaurants throughout my adult years. The soft, barely seasoned noodles or crunchy pre-fried crisps from a bag tossed with gloppy sauce were not what I had in mind. I wanted that plate piled high with savory thin noodles lightly adorned with slivers of green onion and stray bean sprouts, trundling past on a dim sum cart.

dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, chow mein (hong kong style noodles)



Turns out, chow mein is rather simple to make once you procure the right noodles. And look, chow mein literally translates to fried noodles, so it could be and sometimes is, ANY noodle that is stir fried, deep fried, or pan fried. If you are like me, you’ve scrutinized the dozens of packaged fresh noodles in the refrigerated section of the Asian market, scanning for recognizable English words on the labels while remaining skeptical of the original translator’s qualifications, and wound up making your best guess. A little time spent on the internets guided me to the right noodles. In this case, Hong Kong-style or chow mein is what you seek, but take care because I’ve seen chow mein labels on all manner of noodles. We want thin egg noodles (thin like angel hair pasta). You can also purchase them dried, but I have yet to try those.

And while you are at the Asian market to get your Hong Kong-style noodles, you might as well pick up a bottle of dark soy sauce and a bottle of light soy sauce. Dark soy sauce is thicker with more soy flavor and deep caramel color. Light soy sauce is thinner and closer to regular soy sauce. Does combining light and dark soy sauce equal regular soy sauce? No. If you had to sub regular soy sauce for light soy sauce, okay – but the dark soy sauce is what gives the noodles that special umaminess.


sesame oil, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, vegetable oil, mung bean sprouts, chow mein, green onions, chinese broccoli (gai lan), shiitake mushrooms

always prep your ingredients before you start cooking

mix the soy sauces and sesame oil together



**Jump for more butter**

sandwiched, dipped, and sprinkled

Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

Recipe: bakery-style butter cookies

I hope you all had a restful holiday and were able to recharge as needed. After all of the cookies were baked and distributed, we holed up in Crested Butte as 100 inches of desperately needed snow fell on us during Twixmas week. That kind of snow is the stuff of dreams. It was both magical and an enormous amount of work to clear by hand as our snow thrower was at the snow thrower doctor until the last day of the storm cycle. We did manage to crank out another year-in-photos digital card here: Jen and Jeremy’s Year in Photos.


welcome to 2022!

skating through a winter wonderland on the nordic trails

high avalanche danger meant low-angle backcountry fun



The plan was to resume documenting my latest favorite recipes in the new year, but I came down with Bell’s Palsy a couple of weeks ago. It was alarming at first as we tried to determine if it was a stroke (it was not). Despite having a thankfully mild case of facial palsy, my daily functionality was limited for a couple of weeks, mostly by my leaky left eye. Now I’m finally feeling nearly normal after finishing the mega dose of steroids and antiviral medications. Normal is a good thing. Even almost normal feels supremely wonderful right now.

uphill skiing = human-powered fun

we are getting lots of miles with the pups



A few years ago Deb had posted a photo and link for some cheerful golden nubs that were sandwiched, dipped in chocolate, and rolled in sprinkles. My memory leans photographic and her cookies tickled my brain: a pink cardboard box filled with a variety of cookies, some of which conveyed a similarly happy vibe as Deb’s.

Shortly after my sister turned 18, we road tripped from Virginia through Syracuse, New York, her birthplace, to Michigan where she would start her freshman year of college. Snowflake Bakery was on the “must visit” itinerary in Syracuse. Mom said they used to stand in long lines out the door at the bakery when Kris was an adorable toddler, and that the staff would sneak outside and hand Kris a cookie. It was my first time trying them in my 12 year old life. Delicate, delicious, not too sweet. Sharing cookies with Kris in the backseat of the Chevy as we sped west to Niagara Falls then onward to Ann Arbor, I tried to relish the time I had with my big sister and my best friend, dreading the trip home without her. Fast forward 38 years and I’m making these butter cookies from scratch and with all the feels.


flour, sugar, salt, butter, eggs, chocolate, vanilla extract, almond extract, sprinkles, raspberry and apricot jams



I can’t tell you if these bakery-style butter cookies are the same as Snowflake’s cookies because I don’t remember. Snowflake Bakery is now permanently closed, but I plan to send some cookies to Mom because she has excellent taste memory and gives unflinching feedback. I can tell you that I love this version for so many reasons. It’s got fruity jam, and I love fruity things. It’s a sandwich, one of my favorite food forms. The hints of almond, lemon, vanilla, and butter create pure magic. There is just enough chocolate to be enjoyable without regret. And finally – sprinkles. That said, the dough can be fiddly.

adding eggs and extracts to the creamed butter and sugar

mix in the flour

load the piping bag with dough



**Jump for more butter**