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don’t fritter the day away

Monday, December 26th, 2016

Recipe: apple fritter bread

It’s my last post of the year, so before I continue with a visual recap of our holiday shenanigans, I hope you all have a fun and safe time ringing in the New Year this coming weekend. However you may feel about 2016, each day is a chance to turn things around. Maybe you want to start right now or perhaps it helps you mentally to start on the first day of 2017 or after a week of getting familiar with writing or typing 2017 instead of 2016. Whatever works for you! Just promise me you won’t go into the new year already defeated. It might be exercise, better eating habits, volunteer work, activism, professional goals, learning something new, getting organized, finances, taking care of things you’ve been putting off, reconnecting with someone, spending more quality time with people. Many of the more challenging objectives in life require baby steps, patience, and perseverance. So be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself. You will get there.

It’s been a wonderfully snowy week in Crested Butte with sunshine in between powder days, allowing us to rotate through several flavors of skiing. I’m talking quads of steel! Neva has been enjoying snowy romps around the neighborhood and a few ski tours (we have to ease her back into it because… she’s crazy). When she isn’t losing her marbles in deep snow, our girl likes to curl up on a plush blanket on her bench by the window – watching people and dogs walk by while she soaks up the sunshine, dozing off on occasion. I never said she wasn’t spoiled.


neva’s impersonation of a traumatized reindeer

neva’s christmas goodie plate – she is totally spoiled

jeremy drops in on a gorgeous powder day

sliding off the ice throne

working up a sweat skate skiing on a single digit day

ripping skins after an uphill ski, ready to ski down

another delicious powder day

christmas morning on the lift – fresh tracks and free refills!



I debated punting on a recipe this week since we are between holidays, but I am also a creature of habit. Besides, I like sharing recipes with folks since I can’t easily make something and serve it to most of you. This happens to be the perfect kind of breakfast/brunch/tea/snack/dessert cake for this time of year without involving pumpkin spice, peppermint, or eggnog. Don’t get me wrong, I like all three of those flavors (not together, though), but enough is enough is enough. Let’s make some apple fritter bread.

cinnamon, cornstarch, brown sugar, sugar, sour cream, butter, vanilla, apples, flour, confectioners sugar, eggs, nutmeg, salt, milk, baking powder

dice the apples

toss the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch



**Jump for more butter**

oh joy!

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

Recipe: homemade almond joy candy

The first full week of December has more than made up for the dismal snowfall of November. Not only have we received decent snowfall, but snow is slated to continue for another week! This is good news for snow lovers as well as our snowpack, which provides our water all year and is responsible for the beautiful streams and wildflowers in summer.


neva’s nose was wiggling all over as she sniffed the snow in the air

it was quite chilly for a few days – neva got bundled into a snuggy blanket

the view from indian peaks chair at our local hill



Our backcountry has a nice layer of snow, but our ski poles hit rocks and dirt at the bottom because we’ve had no base. Hopefully this series of storms will build a good base for the rest of the season. I haven’t been willing to get my skis waxed and tuned until I stopped hitting rocks! Better late than never.

our skin tracks

i spy a baby moose peeking from behind the tree

crazy little neva sports her orange booties and orange ball

happy girl with a stylish snowbeard



I am in full candy making and cookie baking mode over here. It’s a good thing the holidays coincide with the shortest days or I’d be ditching all of my gift-making duties in favor of skiing. As it is, our evenings have been filled with lots of chocolate, sugar, butter, nuts, flour, candied ginger, lemon zest, more chocolate, and piles of dirty dishes. The main recipients of my annual kitchen frenzy are Jeremy’s administrative staff. I’ve been giving them an assortment of homemade treats for almost a decade. Over the years I’ve received feedback on certain cookies such that they have become regulars in the gift bags. But I do try to mix things up a little and introduce a new cookie or confection each year. This year’s newest addition is a homemade Almond Joy, which should really be called a Coconut Joy because the almond is just a small part of it. Anyway, these are easy and delicious and I had to make a second batch because Jeremy looked so sad when I said I had just enough to distribute to recipients.

vanilla extract, chocolate, flaked coconut, powdered sugar, almonds, salt, sweetened condensed milk



There is no cooking involved in these treats except for the toasting of almonds and melting of chocolate. Stir stuff together, mold it into a desired shape, pop a nut on top and dip it in chocolate. That’s how simple it is. Joy‘s version called for unsweetened flaked coconut, but I grabbed sweetened flaked coconut instead. You know what? It worked great. I mean, it’s candy – it’s going to be sweet and you will just have to climb an extra thousand feet of elevation in your skis to burn it off. No big deal.

adding vanilla to the sweetened condensed milk, sugar, and salt

stir in the coconut



**Jump for more butter**

keep giving

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

Recipe: bourbon vanilla bean paste

I’m slurping on a spicy, hot bowl of posole right now while snow goes hurtling past our house on some pretty enthusiastic winds. It is my hope that the soup will do battle with this cold that has settled into my throat and chest. I guess my logic is to burn the heck out of the cold before it progresses. Our Thanksgiving week was free of turkey and pumpkin, but full of long walks and fetch sessions with Neva. Our Crested Butte neighborhood was quiet as many people were traveling for the holiday, which further allowed us to pursue our plans for introversion. Of course, I had to run out to meet my friends’ new puppies – a brother and sister – 15 week old Australian shepherds.


neva waits to indulge in her thanksgiving plate of beef and bacon

meet little abbey exploring the snow (sorry, i didn’t get a photo of blue boy – but he’s cute!)



Snow did arrive mid-week and we were able to get out and reacquaint ourselves with our various skis. That gliding motion is akin to flying – it’s addictive. But timing is everything and sometimes you have to hit the trail or the mountain before the snow gets skied up and/or melted away. We managed to skin uphill on the mountain, skate on the nordic trails, and get a nice ski tour at Lily Lake. A decent jumpstart to our ski season.

after skinning up, jeremy skied out ahead of the first chair on opening day

getting our skate legs (and arms and everything) back into the groove

ski touring the beautiful backcountry

no tinsel here – our icicles are the real deal



Now that Thanksgiving has passed, everything pumpkin is now becoming everything peppermint. Christmas trees are going up and gift shopping has kicked into high gear. If you are looking for a simple, but extra awesome homemade gift for a baker in your life, might I suggest some bourbon vanilla bean paste? I first laid eyes on a bottle of this luxurious wonderfulness at the King Arthur Flour store in Vermont over three years ago while on a press junket but opted to leave it on the shelf when I wondered if the TSA would confiscate it. Then my mother-in-law gave me a bottle during a visit last New Year. She loves the stuff and wanted to spread the gospel. I used it for special recipes and found the vanilla bean paste to be easier than a vanilla bean and a bigger flavor boost than vanilla extract. When I (sadly) ran out last month, I went online looking for more and even contemplated purchasing a gallon of it to get a better price per unit volume.

this stuff… the stuff of vanilla dreams

my last spoonful



But you know me… the wheels turned another 360 degrees and I wondered how hard could it possibly be to make your own? Turns out, it’s not hard at all. This magical potion consists of three ingredients: vanilla beans, sugar (in some form), and booze (optional, but good). That’s it. And there isn’t any waiting around or crazy kitchen ninja stuff going on with the recipe. It’s quite straightforward, which is why it makes such a great gift for the bakers in your life, and for yourself as well!

bourbon, agave nectar, vanilla beans



**Jump for more butter**