Thursday, December 23, 2010


No, there is still no snow in Boulder, but the mountains are getting hammered. 2.5 feet in Crested Butte. In one day. How is that possible? We were up for an epic weekend at Vail and ABasin. Previous trips to Vail have been pretty frumpy, but we paid to park in the garage to avoid waiting and hour for the stupid bus, and were glad that we did. The back bowls were big, epic, and very fluffy. I think a day like that on my birthday excuses us from not having snow this Christmas. Matt and I both forgot our alpines at home, so we got a serious thigh workout (on my new fat teles!) Looks to be a good season ahead.

Even though the weather hasn't been festive down here, we're been having a lovely time making ornaments, baking cookies, and being with friends. I had a group of ladies over for a cookie baking party, and was pretty impressed with our output. Cornflake wreaths were the most photogenic, though the mint-frosted red velvets were lovely too. We've recently become enamored of a four-person board game called Blokus, which consistently challenges our spatial skills and our friendships. Somehow, we got the hairbrained idea that we should try to fit all the pieces on the board following the game rules. The boys were enthralled for about an hour until we got this final result:

Pooped from exertion

I'll admit, I'm not really into Christmas. I love spending time with family, but the materialism really gets to me, and the religious appeal blows right by me. It does usually mean empty slopes. We've been trying our hardest to get people to NOT get us presents because our 700 sq. ft. apartment has about reached is carrying capacity. Our tree (which lives in a box of rocks because we don't have a tree stand) adds to the festivity, but it will be alone for Christmas. Off to Australia tonight! We're hitting Tasmania for some backpacking, Cairns for some diving, and Sydney for city culture. And food. Packing camping equipment into two small backpacks has eluded us, so we'll be taking the huge ones. We're bringing 10 pounds of dried foods (hooray for the bulk aisle), as we'll be arriving on Christmas and are not confident that we'll find fuel before we hit the trail.

I've been sending family delicious things in lieu of more formal gifts this year. I've always thought fruitcake was kind of gross, but my sister and dad think its heavenly, so I made a batch to send Amanda for finals week. Even though I'm not usually a fan, I found this recipe pretty delicious (maybe because I accidentally doubled the sugar. . .). Have a lovely holiday.

  • 1 (8 oz) tub candied cherries
  • 1 (8 oz) tub candied citron
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup delicious booze of your choice (brandy, rum, etc.)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup almond meal (or grind your own almonds)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 5 cups pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 275F
  2. Grease two 9x5 loaf pans and line with parchment paper. Grease the paper too.
  3. Soaks fruits in your booze and let sit overnight or longer.
  4. Mix together flour, almond meal, powder, salt, and spices. Pour onto fruit and mix in until coated.
  5. Beat eggs until frothy and beat in the sugar and molasses. Add to the dry mixture and stir until incorporated.
  6. Stir in the pecans.
  7. Spoon into the prepared pans and bake for 1.5 hours.
Finally the season for our plates,
though we use them all year round.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dreaming of a White Christmas

The snow has been a little disappointing down here this year. We've only had snow on the ground for a couple of days so far, and this week has been pushing 60 degrees. Unfazed, we took a trip into the woods this weekend to search for the perfect Christmas tree. Matt and I hadn't planned on getting one, but once we got there, all the trees were so charming, we couldn't resist. And thankfully, there was snow. Getting our picture taken with Smokey was a highlight. Amelia is in Uganda, so we had to add her in later.

Our tree is little.

It is a little odd having only two classes, as everyone else is scrambling to get things done and I'm lazing around as usual. We're looking forward to 2 weeks in Australia over Christmas and New Years. Which means no White Christmas again this year. We had a good time at home over Thanksgiving, and visited a lot of family. Amanda is living on the same dorm floor that I lived on my freshman year, so we paid her a visit and enjoyed nostalgic Middlebrook cuisine.

My parents vacationed in Istanbul last month and brought me back some saffron. I haven't used saffron much, but it's pretty and smells good, so I figured I'd better find something to use it in.

I'm not big into raw vegetables. Maybe it's my Chinese side coming out. Unless it's a very well-made salad, I avoid raw vegetables as often as possible. I like my veggies soggy, salty, and warm. So in honor of that sentiment, I made this dish. I served mine with sauteed spinach and a little mushroom sauce. Mmmmm, comfort food.

Creamy Saffron Polenta
adapted from Bon Appetit

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dry polenta (or cornmeal)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Saute the onions until golden.
  2. Add the broth, saffron, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and stir in polenta and whisk constantly until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Simmer for 10 minutes (5 if using cornmeal), whisking occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, process the corn in a food processor until chunky. Stir into polenta after 5 minutes. Serve warm.