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a little love

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

Recipe: huckleberry pate de fruit

I’m glad the week is over. In addition to prepping our Chinese New Year foods and cleaning the house (because of superstitions), I managed to simultaneously come down with an infection which has left me feeling less than 100%. Next year, I just may allow myself greater leeway when it comes to purchasing rather than making all of the food from scratch.


photo courtesy of jimmy gekas

single digits at devil’s thumb ranch nordic center



But the Lunar New Year and my infection aside, it was politics that made for a pretty craptastic week. It takes an enormous amount of energy to filter out the garbage (both on the left and the right) in order to focus on facts and prioritize actions. I don’t get political in this space because politics are very personal for me, just like I don’t talk about religion here because that, too, is very personal. I discuss these issues with people I respect and care about – reasonable, level-headed, critical thinkers. I have had a handful of people ask me to elaborate on my plan of action. That’s hard to spell out as we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of upheaval, not to mention we all have different pressing local matters. However, at the national level, I feel these organizations are effective in supporting the issues and causes of importance to me:

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Common Cause
Nature Conservancy
Planned Parenthood
ProPublica
Southern Poverty Law Center
The Trust for Public Land (TPL)
Union of Concerned Scientists (USA)

I also found this guide to be helpful on how to concentrate my energies when communicating with my elected representatives: Indivisible Guide: Former congressional staffers reveal best practices for making Congress listen.


chinese new year’s eve dinner

chinese new year’s breakfast: potstickers, scallion pancakes, azuki sweet rice cake, satsuma mandarin oranges

a brilliant sunset



Now on to a happier topic… like huckleberries. Despite the fact that we are merely a month into winter, it already feels like spring to me with the ever-so-slightly longer days. Of course, spring in our mountains amounts to generous helpings of snow and that signature Colorado sunshine. I won’t be replenishing my huckleberry stash until late summer (if I’m lucky!), but it’s time to stop hoarding the precious berries in the freezer and start using some in recipes. I’ve made blueberry-pear pâte de fruit in the past, but always had the intention to try a huckleberry pâte de fruit. You can use fresh or frozen huckleberries here, and if you don’t have huckleberries, you can swap in blueberries. If you want to order frozen hucks, google around, there are a number of suppliers who sell them online from the Pacific Northwest. If you forage your own hucks, then you and I are kindred spirits.

sugar, huckleberries, applesauce, lemon, liquid pectin

add two tablespoons lemon juice to the berries

boil for 5 minutes



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hey rooster

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

Recipe: chinese sesame balls jian diu

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s been nice to have a full week that wasn’t dictated by powder skiing. Not that I would mind doing that again… and again. Still, there was much to be done work-wise, workout-wise, around the house, and socially. The sunny and calm weather made that especially pleasant. Jeremy and I love to get an early morning skate ski to jumpstart the particularly busy days. On the less intense work days, we’ll take Neva with us for a little backcountry touring and to change up the exercise. We invited our neighbors over for wine and appetizers and to chat with their graduating senior about career and school options. We worked through the weekend, taking a break to ski and think in the backcountry and come up with a plan of action for things that are important to us (climate, science, public lands, the environment, social justice, education, equal rights, diversity, to name a few) and meeting up with some old and new friends.


a lovely sun-dappled nordic trail

warm enough to leave the deck door open (which neva loved)

my pack

neva derp face



Chinese New Year is this coming Saturday, which means I have less than a week to clean the house, make tons of traditional Chinese foods, and freak myself out over the superstitions that I know aren’t really real. It’s going to be the Year of the Rooster. My Grandma was a rooster. She would have turned 96 this year. I don’t have anything profound to say. I simply miss her kind and gentle soul, and her wisdom. It feels that we could use all the kindness and wisdom we can muster.

Today’s recipe is another Chinese favorite from my childhood. But it wasn’t my favorite, it was my sister, Kris’, favorite. Whenever we went to dim sum, the sesame balls (jian diu) would catch her eye as the ladies wheeled the carts past. These fried mochi dough balls covered in sesame seeds and filled with a sweet center were crispy outside and chewy and warm inside (when fresh). If I had to choose a filling, it would always be sweet red bean (azuki), but they were filled with sweet date, lotus seed, sesame seed paste, peanut, mung bean. I thought it was time to tackle this recipe – not for me so much as to honor my memory of Kris.


glutinous rice flour, sweet red bean paste, chocolate, sesame seeds, brown sugar, water

dissolve the brown sugar in the water

stir the sugar water into the rice flour



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all that frozen white stuff

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

Recipe: coconut sorbet

We just wrapped up a very snowy and then very frigid week here in Crested Butte. Four feet of snow kissed this beautiful land and turned the town into a snow globe. Once the storm moved out, the skies cleared and what little heat was hanging around radiated into space. We went into a bit of a deep freeze and had to wait until midday before it was tolerable enough for a skate ski or to walk Neva. She would, of course, be willing to run about in -20°F temperatures – but this is why Neva needs humans to make some (most) decisions for her.


skis like fluffy puffy fluff

wind-sculpted features on a 2°f skate ski

we got as low as -29°f, but waited until noon to get above zero

neva wants to know when she can go out to play in the snow



Because it’s so easy to feel warm and comfortable all bundled up inside when it’s cold outside, we make a concerted effort to get out and be active. It’s simply good for the body, the mind, and the dog. Back on the Front Range in Nederland, the winds can get pretty strong. They had 100 mph gusts on Christmas Day in town and we wondered if our home had blown away (it had not). When you endure days like that, it makes any excuse to not get outside in Crested Butte – where winter is so much nicer – pretty weak. Sometimes you have to understand how bad things can get to appreciate how good they are, right?

it warmed up to 4 degrees!

the crested butte sled dogs truck drove past us in town

a morning uphill ski before the big storm arrives

snow is starting to pile up (jeremy and neva for scale)



I know some of my friends on the Eastern Seaboard are crying foul over the recent presence of frozen water in their yards, their roads, their hair… Believe it or not, there are people in Colorado who freak out over snowfall, too. Most of those individuals live in the eastern half of the state and you have to wonder if they understand that they live IN COLORADO. But I am aware that winter is not a popular season among people in general. I’m actually cool with that, because it means fewer people tracking up the freshies. I hereby offer something else that is white and frozen and guaranteed to be far more pleasant than shoveling snow off your driveway. Ever tried coconut sorbet?

coconut milk, coconut water, sugar, salt, lime, shredded coconut

measured out and ready to begin



Making this frozen treat is really simple. Super simple! Zap the ingredients in a blender, then churn it in your ice cream maker, and pop it into the freezer. That’s pretty much it! If you start with chilled coconut milk and coconut water, the mixture can go straight from the blender to the ice cream maker. If you didn’t read that part of the recipe (we’ve all done that), then pop the mixture into the refrigerator to chill for a couple of hours before churning it.

pour everything into the blender

churn the mixture in your ice cream maker



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