roasted kabocha squash chewy amaretti lentil chicken soup giveaway: guess the yuki


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the season of the peach

Monday, August 13th, 2018

Recipe: bourbon peach cobbler

If it feels like my posts are all about the puppy of late, you are not wrong. Even before we brought Yuki home, anyone could tell that our dogs play a large part in our lives. Now with two dogs, it is oddly more work and less work, simultaneously. But we learn what activities are manageable with this two-dog dynamic and what things we should probably rethink. SUPing with Yuki and Neva amounted to a Chinese fire drill, but the important thing is that they had a good time and no one was traumatized… much. Because Yuki is over 6 months old, we thought we would introduce her to running. It varies based on breed, size, and other factors, but dogs shouldn’t start running distance until they are a year old or 18 months old for large dogs, so that it doesn’t impede their joint and structural development. Jeremy leashed up both pups and went for a short half-mile run around the neighborhood (stopping to check mail and pick up poops) and Yuki LOVED it. We think she’ll get a kick out of skate skiing, backcountry skiing, and uphill skiing this winter! It’s fun to observe the difference between Neva’s elegant, efficient stride and Yuki’s floppy, bouncy, puppy romp.


a rare moment of neva sitting still on the standup paddleboards

yuki having a blast running with her pack



We were in Crested Butte last week and were careful not to embark on long or strenuous hikes due to the terrible air quality. The smoke from those big California wildfires kept streaming into our beautiful mountain air thanks to the atmosphere. But we still got out each day for training and adventures with our two goofballs.

yuki’s first interpretation of the command “hop up!”

sitting nicely so she can jump down from the car and start hiking

sharing wild strawberries with my two girls (they love them)



We have experienced more smoky days than clear days on the Front Range and in Crested Butte this summer. It’s depressing on so many levels as it reduces a lot of our outdoor activities like big mountain hikes, long trail runs, or mountain bike rides. You can’t help but feel empathy and sadness for the folks devastated by the wildfires in other western states as well as Colorado. Early mornings tend to have slightly better air quality, so that’s when we are active. By mid morning, the smoke usually creeps in – obscuring the surrounding peaks and injecting an off odor into the air. It doesn’t smell like campfires. It smells like destruction.

I’ve been keeping indoors most afternoons to get work done. That means I have Colorado Public Radio (CPR) streaming over the speakers while I work. I am a public radio news junkie. One day I heard a little plug for the best peach cobbler recipe on CPR and went online in search of said recipe. It looked promising because it called for 12.5 ounces of bourbon. That’s my kind of cobbler. It’s peach season here in Colorado – our Palisade peaches are the best I’ve ever tasted. I figured peach cobbler would be a great way to take my mind off of the lousy smoke-filled air.


for the filling: bourbon, sugar, vanilla bean pod, peaches, lemon, cornstarch, salt



I don’t know very much about bourbon, but I do know enough not to use fancy drinking bourbon for most of my cooking endeavors. I buy large quantities of affordable bourbon for baking, marinades, and grilling. Since this bourbon gets simmered down with peaches and a lot of sugar, save your good bourbon for other occasions. Also, I used a 3-quart saucepan in the photos to cook my peaches, but in the future I will upgrade to a larger pot to avoid sloshing of syrupy peachy bourbony goodness on the stove.

sliced and pitted peaches, split and scraped vanilla pod, zested and juiced lemon

adding the peaches to the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla

pouring the bourbon



**Jump for more butter**

we got this

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

Recipe: sour cherry pie

Slowly, but surely, Yuki and Neva have sorted out who is the boss (Yuki is the boss) in the four weeks since we brought our puppy home. Don’t worry, Neva has never wanted to be the boss of anyone and she seems to enjoy having someone in charge. It’s most evident on the field after Neva has chased the tennis ball a bazillion times and is ready for a big drink of water. We pour the water and Yuki, who only gave chase 2.5 times and isn’t all that thirsty, saunters over and sticks her little face into the water dish, pushing Neva’s face out. Neva will sit back, panting like crazy, patiently waiting for her little sister to finish before she even considers getting near the water dish. But more than that, Yuki and Neva have become pals. I’ve caught them hanging out together with greater frequency and sometimes in the mornings, they both hop up onto the bed with us and it feels… peaceful. It feels right.


band album cover?

chilling out after an evening fetch/chase session



This past week the girls went out for several hikes and Yuki practiced overcoming her fear of strangers and other dogs. When Yuki is uncertain, she backs up and growls or even barks. But instead of letting her cower and be antisocial, we ask the approaching hikers if it is okay for Yuki to say hi to their dogs or to them. Once she sees that these people and/or pups are friendly and not so scary, she perks right up. She’s building her confidence, which is great. We also got Yuki out on the standup paddleboard to see how comfortable she felt on the water. Yuki is a little champ with lots of hidden talents.

we think yuki is growing taller

somehow walking these two is easier than walking just neva

sitting nicely on the paddleboard

yuki is so calm that jeremy could actually paddle while standing



We are now just over a month into summer and it is starting to taste like true summer with all of the berries, peaches, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, melons, and cherries in the markets. It’s a good time for fruit pies. Now I love me a good pie, but for the longest time I didn’t make pies because I couldn’t get the pie crust right. A few years ago, my friend gave me a big bag of frozen pitted sour cherries. She said, “Make a pie or something!” I kept those cherries in the freezer until last year when I finally found a great pie crust recipe that is consistent, easy, flaky, and delicious. It’s great because I haven’t managed to screw it up yet!

butter, salt, water, sugar, flour

scatter the butter over some of the flour, sugar, and salt

sprinkle the rest of the flour over the dough

drizzle cold water over the dough mixture

fold the water into the dough

wrap and refrigerate the two disks of dough



**Jump for more butter**

very awesome

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

Recipe: huckleberry crème brûlée

In the 12 days since Yuki joined our pack we’ve procured an extra baby gate, an extra dog crate, an extra dog bed, a Nylabone chew toy, another Nylabone chew toy (because… Neva), a puppy harness, and other things that make pups and humans happy. In some ways, Yuki transports us back to the puppy training days and in many ways she is like no puppy we have ever encountered. Yuki is a little dream girl. I’m openly glad that the few people who inquired about her flaked out, because she’s our girl now and we are so in love with her.

Of course, any dog in our household undergoes Butter Boot Camp so they are ready to hit the high country, swim in alpine lakes, and have fun in the snow! We’ve been hiking Yuki to build up her miles and strengthen her paw pads so we can take her on longer, more exciting hikes. This morning, she had her first ever swim! And we found some snow for her to romp on. Such progress. You can follow daily updates on my personal Instagram account.


this little one is gonna get used to a camera/phone

the pups resting in shade

we hike in the mornings while it is still cool out

my hike with banjo (and erin) on yuki’s and neva’s rest day

yuki, neva, and jeremy enjoying the wildflowers

splashing and playing in the water



On the days we don’t hike, we walk (it’s still a hike – everything around here is trails) the girls to the soccer field and let Neva fetch while Yuki gets training. It’s great because Neva is so focused on her tennis ball that she ignores Yuki, and Yuki is so focused on either me or Jeremy that she mostly ignores Neva with the occasional chase. Over the weekend we had some folks over for dinner and both pups behaved better than we could have dreamed! We are easing Yuki into crate training because we don’t want to traumatize her, but we also need her to be safe when we aren’t home. As of now she is handling 1-2 hour stints without much issue and we will gradually work up to longer periods. We leave the door open when we are home and she likes to wander in there for naps or to ask for food. Feeding her in the crate makes it a happy association and also keeps food-obsessed Neva from trying to eat puppy kibble. I think Yuki will get the hang of it quickly like she has everything else. I imagine she’ll transition to sweet sweet freedom in the house sooner than Neva did.

these two are getting along just fine



The pups are playing tug as I type and I have one eye on the computer monitor and one eye on them as they weave a little path of destruction around the great room. Managing puppy and everything else (i.e. life) is quite the exercise. Jeremy and I trade off who gets to leave the house for extended periods of time and who gets to work (actually work) during the active hours. When they both fall asleep, we get a few hours of quiet and concentration.

When my pal, Erin, and I went for a hike recently, we checked in on several huckleberry locations. The plants were heavy with lots of berries in the green pea stage. We used to get super excited about the green peas, anticipating a good huckleberry crop. We didn’t realize that not all green peas become purple huckleberries for various reasons (drought being one of them). Now we know better. Life in the mountains is tough. The diminutive mountain huckleberry endures much hardship to eventually ripen into the very best berry on the planet. They are precious. You only need a few spoonfuls of the purple berries to elevate something like crème brûlée into a dreamier version of itself.


eggs, cream, sugar, sugar, vanilla bean, huckleberries

heat the cream

scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod

steep the vanilla seeds and the pod in the hot cream



**Jump for more butter**