mendiants porcini salt strawberry vanilla shortbread cookies roasted kabocha squash


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guess the yuki

October 15th, 2018

Last month I finally got around to ordering a Wisdom Panel Canine DNA Test. For Yuki. It’s not that we needed to know our little rescue mutt’s ancestry – we love this adorable goofball no matter what she is! But we thought it would be fun to know because science is AWESOME.


unlocking yuki’s secrets



The results came in a couple of weeks ago and… You’ll have to guess what she is! I’m turning this into a giveaway because I love a good puzzle. Wisdom Panel analyzed Yuki’s ancestry back three generations (great-grandparents). They identified four distinct breeds from her DNA as well as a mishmash of breed groups.

Your task is to guess Yuki’s four main breeds. The closest guess wins! In the event of a tie, Yuki will select the winner. Here is a list of all the breeds that Wisdom Panel tests for. Scroll down through Yuki puppy cuteness to get the rules for entry!


yuki in profile: 20 inches at the shoulders, 42 pounds, 8.5 months old

that face

spots on her paws and belly



***THE RULES***

1) Leave your guess on THIS POST in the comments below by midnight (MDT), Saturday, October 20, 2018.

2) One entry per person. If you submit multiple guesses, only the first will be considered.

3) The winner and Yuki’s results will be announced on Monday, October 22, 2018.

***THE PRIZE(S)***

If the winner is in the U.S.: The prize is a choice of a care package of homemade treats made by me OR an 8×12-inch signed matted archival photo, also made by me (choose from the images below).

If the winner is outside of the U.S.: The prize is a choice of an 8×12-inch signed matted archival photo from the images below.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO ENTER

This contest is open to everyone except for the handful of people who already know Yuki’s results (you know who you are!).

BUT THERE IS MORE! As a thank you to Rezdawg Rescue, the wonderful organization that brought Yuki into our family, I will donate a dollar to Rezdawg Rescue for each valid (not multiple) entry – up to $350.


aspens and snow (crested butte, colorado)

aspen canopy (gunnison national forest, colorado)

snowstorm in yosemite valley (yosemite national park, california)

sandhill cranes at sunset (monte vista, colorado)

summer wildflowers (maroon bells-snowmass wilderness, colorado)



The staff and volunteers at Rezdawg Rescue have the biggest hearts and give so much of their time, energy, and love to save dogs and cats off the Navajo reservation and bring them safely to foster homes in Colorado, and eventually to their forever families. If you follow Rezdawg Rescue on Instagram or Facebook, you will get an idea of how hard these good people work. There is a constant parade of adorable fluffy faces and sometimes these sweet animals have the saddest stories (I cry a lot when I read them). Rezdawg Rescue turns those sad stories into a chance for a happy life through veterinary care, loving foster families, and assessing the best match for each dog or cat.

If interested, you can make a direct contribution to help Rezdawg Rescue continue their important work. They educate the local reservation community and provide mobile spay and neuter services in addition to their rescue efforts. And I recently designated Rezdawg Rescue as my Amazon Smile charitable organization recipient. If you aren’t familiar with Amazon Smile, I encourage you to check it out and help a charitable organization of your choice.


our silly, rompy, lovable little girl



Good luck, everyone! I hope you will find the results as fascinating and puzzling as we did. Yuki’s mix is like an ingredient list and the result is the sweetest little mutt cupcake baby dog we could have wished for.

Full Disclosure: I have not received compensation from Wisdom Panel or Rezdawg Rescue. This giveaway is entirely funded by myself and fully endorsed by Yuki and Neva.


more goodness from the use real butter archives

homemade beef jerky for dogs meet neva apple bacon cheddar dog (abcd) treats kaweah

mushroom madness

October 11th, 2018

Recipe: shroomaki (japanese mushroom roll)

Our cooler weather turned to unsettled weather which turned to glorious cold and snowy weather this past week. While the snow will move on after Sunday and give way to sunshine for a week or more, I’m pretty spanking happy about getting this early dose of winter right now. I baked breads, we got Yuki out for her first romp in the snow, we are running the heat, and ALL of the warm blankies are out for people and canines alike. The transition is always a touch startling as we adjust our internal thermostat to sub-freezing temperatures outside, but we find exercising outside in the cold is the best and most fun way to get your body geared up for winter!


first came the rains and the sunrise rainbows

dusting off my sourdough starter and baking some bread

and cranberry walnut sourdough bâtards

my all-weather pups in the high country

my beloved pack

officemates chilling out while i work



The kitchen has seen more use in the past couple of weeks than it did most of the summer. So far I’ve made chili, posole, pasta bakes, several batches of cookies, breads, and plenty of sushi. The wonderful nature of sushi is that it’s a no-brainer meal for summer, but it is also perfect for cold weather with its accompanying tempura and miso soup and agedashi tofu and warm seasoned sushi rice. As I rummaged through my chest freezer recently, I grabbed a bag of frozen sliced matsutake and decided to season them Japanese-style. And then a vision of mushroom sushi goodness came to me. I knew what I had to do. If you aren’t a mushroom lover, you must now look away and return for the next post. If you even remotely like mushrooms, this roll is for you.

3 kinds of mushrooms: shiitake (left), beech (top), and matsutake (right)



A dedicated mushroom sushi roll sounded like a great idea. Each type of mushroom is prepared a different way. I decided on matsutake mushrooms simmered in a soy sauce base, shiitake mushrooms simply sautéed, and tempura-fried beech mushrooms. What’s great about mushrooms is that you can substitute other varieties if you don’t have, let’s say, matsutake on hand. Shiitake would be great in place of matsutake and you could sauté oyster mushrooms instead of shiitake, and tempura fry enoki or maitake in place of beech. Flexibility is good. Options are good. I will say, if you CAN use matsutake, please do. They have this certain special cinnamon-pine spiciness that is so complementary with the soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. It’s magical. And if you are looking to make this gluten-free, replace the soy sauce with tamari.

water, mirin, hondashi granules, sugar, soy sauce, sliced matsutake

put everything in a small saucepan

bring to a boil, then simmer until liquid is gone

super flavorful mushroom slices



**Jump for more butter**

crank it up

October 1st, 2018

Recipe: cranberry walnut pepita sourdough boule

Autumn feels good. We are starting to see frost patterns on our deck and I don’t have to take my jacket off when we go hiking because it remains nice and cool. Denver Erin and I spotted a majestic bull elk and a handful of elk cows and young bulls on our way to a trailhead one morning. Hiking through dark pine forests dotted with brilliant sunlit golden aspens on a chilly morning and hearing the not-so-distant piercing call of bull elk bugling from every direction is pretty freaking awesome. There are fewer people on the trails now and the woods carry that slightly fermented odor of decomposing leaves. Most leaf peepers stay in their cars or wander no more than 100 feet past the trailhead and I’m fine with that. Yuki is putting in her hiking miles and earning her Colorado mountain dog status.


on our way to some alpine lakes

pausing for a view over the valley

yuki and neva love their hikes

some nice orange aspens to match neva’s harness



It’s finally bread season around here. I haven’t lived with air conditioning since I left for college almost 30 years ago. As someone who is particularly mindful of the heat (I hate it), I’m quite dialed in to the moods of the weather. The oven and my sourdough starter have been more or less neglected since June until this week. As I type, I have a batch of sourdough autolysing in the kitchen to make sourdough baguettes and a bâtard! I’ve also been looking forward to making this cranberry walnut pepita sourdough bread again. It all begins with some sourdough starter. For those who are new to the sourdough game, ripe sourdough starter means your starter has been fed and allowed time (for me, it’s 8 hours on the counter) to produce some lovely gas bubbles. Use this starter to make the levain. My typical schedule is to mix the levain the night before and let it sit overnight, then start on the dough the next morning. The levain should be bubbly.

the levain: water, bread flour, whole wheat flour, ripe sourdough starter

mix it all together so there is no dry flour

the levain the next morning



In the original recipe, Maurizio used a little rye flour in the dough. I did, too. I think in the future, I’ll probably stick to a combination of just bread flour and whole wheat flour, but it’s in the recipe below with the option of substituting whole wheat for the rye (it’s a small amount). I also halved the recipe to make one 1-pound loaf instead of two loaves and added pepitas (pumpkin seeds).

levain, water, pepitas, dried cranberries, walnuts, whole wheat flour, bread flour, rye flour, salt



Stir the levain into most of the water (some has to be reserved for dissolving the salt later). If the levain is nice and bubbly, it should float (because bubbles). Once the levain has mostly dissolved, mix in the flours. You can use a sturdy mixing spatula, spoon, or the handy dandy dough whisk, but be sure that you don’t have any dry pockets of flour. Cover your dough vessel with plastic wrap or a damp cloth. I use plastic wrap because our humidity is quite low. Let that autolyse (absorb the liquid) for 40 minutes.

dissolve the levain in the water

stir in the flours

mix well then autolyse



**Jump for more butter**