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chillin’ my way

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Recipe: strawberry vodka

Our oppressive heat of the last several weeks seems to be abating so that Kaweah can resume her jolly evening walks without overheating. While we adjust to summer temperatures, it’s much harder on the pup. So 80Β°F might be tolerable for us, but it will have her gasping for air on the baby trails.

kaweah was so very happy to be out after a rain

trail markers in our town

This cooling trend was just in time for the Fourth of July holiday too. It was lovely getting our legs outside and back on the trails. The wildflowers are going nuts in the high country too. For our holiday, we went for an early morning local hike.

big views

little critters (can you spot the pika?)

final ascent

token summit shot on mount audubon (haze is smoke from wildfires in wyoming)

wonderful blue columbines (colorado state flower)

blessed rains on the descent

Fireworks were cancelled in our mountain town for obvious reasons (two words: Colorado wildfires). If you’re hankering for sparklies, you can see fireworks photos from 2011 and 2010. Instead of scoping out a location from which to shoot the fireworks like previous July 4ths, I got to chill out at home and make a simple, but elegant dinner.

pan-seared scallops on fresh vegetables

My beverage of choice is water. I love it. But when I want to offer something special to friends, it’s usually fruity and usually homemade. In summer, the quintessential beverage is lemonade. I like to play with fancy lemonade like lavender lemonade or in this case, a strawberry lemonade. Except this is an adult strawberry lemonade made with homemade strawberry vodka.

get yer hands on some proper strawberries

red to the core

**Jump for more butter**

passion fruit iced tea

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Recipe: passion fruit iced tea

Flowers are EVERYWHERE. At first, I had a few lying around the house after a shoot (they were props). That’s about the only time we have flowers in the house. Our guests typically bring hostess gifts of food or wine, and Jeremy knows I’d rather we spend money on skis or outdoor gear over cut flowers any day. But if flowers are around, I love to study them: their structure, colors, shapes, flesh of the petals and leaves, the pollen, the geometries… Flowers are fascinating to me. And they’re lovely.

pink and yellow

reminds me of cotton candy

bolder colors are more my preference

So I was smiling to myself that I have spring going on in my mountain home, and then I drive into Boulder to see that the pink and white flowering trees are going gangbusters. GANGBUSTERS! That telltale yellow-green haze on the bare branches means we can look forward to trees leafing out in the next few weeks. That makes sense considering the unseasonable warmth, but it doesn’t end there. On a trail run last Friday, I nearly tripped over my own feet when I noticed a pasque flower blooming. It’s the first flower to make an appearance each spring in the mountains, but we typically see them in early May – NOT late March. Here is one from May 2, 2009:


Of course, it’s snowing this morning and I feel like someone has put the world back on the right track. That’s a short-lived burst of joy for me as we are reverting back to warm (hot) and sunny weather within 48 hours. I’m obsessing a bit over how to combat the heat and recalled how I cooled off when I was last on the Big Island of Hawai’i: liliko’i iced tea.

passion fruit pulp, black tea, sugar

make the simple syrup first to give it time to cool

Liliko’i is passion fruit and it is one of my favorite fruits on the planet. My mouth waters just thinking of the tart and fragrant pulp. Now, I’m not talking about making iced tea with Tazo’s passion tea (which I think is disgusting and tastes nothing of passion fruit). No, this liliko’i iced tea is like an Arnold Palmer (my default summer beverage). Rather than half iced tea and half lemonade, it is half iced tea and half passion fruit juice. Yes, and yes again.

measure out your tea


**Jump for more butter**

love and zombies

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Recipe: pear ginger beer cocktail

Did you go to a Halloween party this weekend? It looked like everyone I know did! Driving through Boulder Saturday night on our way home, we saw a lot of zombies and other characters walking to their presumed social lives. I really love Halloween, but I don’t dress up for it anymore. In fact, the last time I dressed up was in college and I was a (very tipsy) white rabbit. Then the following year I went to a U2 concert at Dodger Stadium on Halloween night and made it back to campus in time for the pumpkin drop (see under annual events). I didn’t see a green flash, but I *did* run into a particular freshman I had been thinking about all day. We went to movie night in the dorm, made sure my housemate got home safely, walked around campus in the dark holding hands, and had our first kiss under the olive trees. Ah youth. Jeremy and I were so young nineteen years ago…

That’s one of the many reasons why I love Halloween.

As promised from my post cards over the weekend, I have some Yosemite photos…

sunset on half dome

fern springs

sunrise from gates of the valley

The whole set is on the photo blog. The snowstorm I missed while I was in California delivered a good 15 inches of snow to our house. This is the snow that will not melt away in the high country, setting up a base for us to play on through the winter and spring. We went to check it out this weekend and Kaweah wanted to come along. Some days she’s slow and stiff, but getting out into the snow always puts a spring in her step. It’s the same for me.

frozen lake and snowy peaks

sunshine, snow, and puppy dog

Winter is coming and my parents are heading back to Virginia soon. We had dinner with them Saturday, but they always want to do happy hour before dinner with us. Their definition of happy hour is wine and cheese, but I brought fixings for a new cocktail we really wanted to share with them. I’ve tried it on a few friends who have all given it a big thumbs up. It’s Jeremy’s new favorite cocktail which is saying a lot if it can unseat the Buddha’s hand citron lemon drop martini.

pear liqueur, a bundy, and lime wedges

Yes, it starts with pear liqueur and ginger beer. Beer not ale. It isn’t alcoholic, but it has a far stronger ginger taste than ginger ale. There are a few brands out there and some taste like cough syrup. My favorite mass produced ginger beer is Bundaberg, which comes from Australia. They call it a Bundy. Aussies are great, aren’t they? I get mine from Cost Plus World Market. They aren’t cheap. My favorite small batch ginger beer comes from Seattle and it is Rachel’s Ginger Beer. I met Rachel and sampled her ginger beer at Delancey when it was taking off. Her ginger beer is in huge demand for good reason – it’s the best.

fill a high ball with ice

pour in the pear liqueur

**Jump for more butter**