January 30, 2011


Sundays are my homebody days. I love staying my jammies and flipping through my cookbooks while sipping coffee and puttering around my house. Today, though, Ellen called and proposed a morning ski. It was another bluebird day and, remembering last weekend's happy ski, I immediately said yes despite the pull of laziness and my sore ass (thanks again, Body Pump). A small group of us went up the same trail I hit last weekend. On the way, we stopped to take photos of ice-covered branches, sparkling like a Neil Lane showroom: 

it was bling-ier in person
We chatted while we skied, and I was sweating and red-faced by the time we got to the top, but cooled off on the fast, icy route back. We all congratulated ourselves on the fact that no one bit it on the way down. It was great.
I still felt like cooking when I got back, so I thumbed through recipes looking for dinner ideas. Every weekend I think, I should cook some meals ahead for the week. Then I can come home from work, pop a dish in the oven, and relax with a glass of wine and a magazine. Doesn't that sound nice? I am sure it would be. I will let you know if it actually ever occurs. 
I did pretty well today, though, and made two main dishes and a dessert. First, The Pioneer Woman's Chicken Pot Pie.  If you haven't yet discovered The Pioneer Woman's website, please go there right now. She's an amazing cook and a gifted photographer, but it was her goofy humor that hooked me. I stumbled across her recipe for cinnamon rolls one time, and had to make them after reading that they'd earned her multiple marriage proposals. They are indeed a powerful weapon. Just looky: 

hello, butter

Her Chicken Pot Pie was equally fabulous. I think this dish, generally speaking, gets a bad rap. Many traditional pot pie recipes are heavy and gluey and not very flavorful. But this one is - let me say it again - FABULOUS. Savory and velvety and comforting, with juicy chicken and tender vegetables in a light thyme-scented gravy. And a homemade buttery crust. Although the recipe didn't call for them, I added some diced potatoes, too, and that was a good choice. Here's the final result: 

Even my picky eight-year-old liked it.  Here he is, entertaining me while I cook:
clearly he gets his fashion sense from his mother
I had opened a bottle of wine while I cooked (WHAT the recipe called for it), and after a little sippy or two figured, well, okay, I can do it! I'm gonna make another meal for this week! So I made PW's Simple, Perfect Enchiladas, too. I left out the cilantro, because it tastes like soap to me, and the black olives, because the child's complaining is just not worth it. And I also used green and red enchilada sauces, just because I like to mix it up. I split the recipe into two pans, and put one in the fridge for this week, AND one in the freezer for a future week. I KNOW. Two extra dinners!

Lastly, and then I'll stop, I just have to share today's last, best, and most thigh-dimpling creation:  Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats from Smitten Kitchen. You are just going to have to trust me when I tell you these are the best rice krispie treats you will ever have in your life. I have made them dozens of times, and have gotten at least one good involuntary groan of pleasure from every person I've served them to. They are sweet and salty and nutty and gooey and the 'salted brown butter' aspect makes you seem like a gourmet foody person despite the fact that they are very easy to make.
 So. All in all, it was a damn good Sunday. I am pretty much bursting with pride. And butter. *burp*

January 27, 2011


I'm a smidge crabby tonight. My back hurts. This morning I went to my regularly scheduled Body Pump class, which I love, and there was a substitute teacher. Which, fine, but she was different, and I like my regular teachers (see: persnickety), and also, despite being Exceedingly Perky, she announced at the beginning of class that we had all better hurry up and get in place and we were getting no breaks because her goal was to do three extra things before class was over. Body Pump usually kicks my ass sufficiently as it is, so I raised my right eyebrow at three extra things.

Thing One was to make us lean up against the wall and hold a squat for like, three minutes - after doing our regular four-minute round of Body Pump squats. Which wouldn't have been so awful, except she made us hold up our arms too, and then do THE WAVE around the room as we held our squat (really?). I mean, it was 6:15 a.m. And we were not at a sporting event.

Thing Two is what I have been holding responsible all day for my sore back. She made us find a partner and do those leg throw thingies where you lay on the floor and your partner stands behind your head and grabs your ankles and pushes your legs to the ground over and over. And if your lower back isn't completely flat to the floor ... well, they can stress your lower back. Needless to say, my form left much to be desired, and my back felt tight and sore all day. I think I also may have implied to my dear friend Ellen, who had the misfortune to be my leg throw partner, that she was too hard on me.

And then I got home tonight, feeling inexplicably murderous and also very hungry, went to pee, and ... oh.

THAT's why my back hurts.

(p.s. I didn't stick around for Thing Three. I always have to leave early on Thursdays because I have to drive my son to school early for Book Club. But today, I was not sad).

January 24, 2011


Today was one of those I'm-so-busy-I-forgot-to-pee kind of days, which, bladder distress aside, I actually don't mind so much because my work day goes by a lot faster. I took a quick time out in the afternoon to complain on Facebook check my personal email, and look what I found in my inbox, from the clever folks at BlueQ:


I mean, come ON. Soup for Sluts? How can I not order that? But I hate to pay for shipping, and to get to that $75 minimum I might have to add another little something.

Or, wait, no. This: 
it's gum!

I'm sorry. I've ruined the surprise. Now you all know what you'll be getting for Christmas next year (ramen keeps that long, right?).

January 23, 2011


It's been snowing here a lot lately. Like, five FEET in the last ten days. This was my front walkway ... a week ago:

I didn't buy a ski pass to our local resorts this year, so I haven't really been excited about all the fresh powder to the degree that my skiing and boarding friends have. Instead I have been grumping a lot about snow removal. And then coaching myself to get over it and appreciate the excellent workout that comes with throwing 5-lb shovelfuls of snow over one's head for hours. And then whining about my baaaack later.

This morning, we woke up to a beautiful, sparkling, blue-sky day and I knew I should take advantage of the break between storms and get outside. But I looked at the thermometer, saw -4, and instead decided to head to the rec center for an hour on the good old reliable stair climber and treadmill. I had my People magazine ready, my water bottle filled, and my running playlist all queued up. And then I drove up and realized I'd arrived an hour before they opened. Exasperated, I pointed my car back toward home, but as I turned toward the mountains, I looked up and suddenly thought, what is the problem here? You live in a place so beautiful and special that people save up all year just to come visit for a week, and you're annoyed that you can't run like a gerbil on an indoor treadmill? Get your ass outside.

So I did. I bundled up, strapped on my cross-country skis, and landed here: 

trail, untouched since yesterday

my old buddy Finnegan, grateful to be included

top of the trail. note the snowpack all the way to the TOP of the fence on the right

I also ran into that guy Travis who was on The Bachelor a few years ago and now has his own TV show and writes diet books. I wanted to take his picture too. But I didn't. Here's one someone else took: 
 I think his boobs are bigger than mine

Anyway, yeah. It was cold. I couldn't feel my toes most of the way, and my nostril hairs got itchy when they froze (who knew?). But I found myself with a huge smile on my face nearly the whole way, marveling at the lightness of the snow and the little tracks from some critter who'd gotten up a lot earlier than me. I felt a rush of strength and confidence as I fell into that perfect swish swish rhythm on my skis. By the time I got back to the car, I was sweaty and breathless. And SO glad I hadn't bothered with the treadmill.

January 18, 2011


If you're reading this, you probably already know me (hi!), because I've been too chicken to tell more than four people I'm starting a blog. If you've arrived here through other channels, welcome. My name's Robyn. I live in Colorado at 10,000 feet elevation and enjoy wearing running shoes and high heels (not at the same time), baking under ridiculously low atmospheric pressure, and shopping at Anthropologie even though I'm at least ten years older than their target demographic.

I've been hemming and hawing about blogging for a long time (do I want to be a food blogger? or a fashion blogger? maybe a fitness/mommy blogger?) and finally settled on who cares just do it already it'll work itself out. Plus, Beth challenged me to post by next week, which was like a red bullfighter's flag to my deadline-driven personality. I want to learn more about blogging for my job (I work in communications), but mostly I just want my own little outlet for documenting recipes, discussing girly stuff like clothes and makeup and exercising (that's girly to me), and practicing taking photos using settings other than auto with the schmancy camera my mom gave me last year. I will probably write about a lot of other random (shallow) stuff as well. As I'm learning, I hope you'll forgive me if I link to the wrong thing or accidentally post white type on a white background or, you know, sound like an asshole from time to time. I do have persnickety (overparticular; fussy) tendencies, but I can be moody and impatient and prone to swearing too. I bet you can't wait for my next post.  

Do you like my last-minute Halloween costume up there on the right? I love that wig. It reminds me of one my drunken girlfriends and I tried on one night at a costume store called The Ritz in Boulder, except that one was brown and had short curly bangs in addition to the braids. We called it the pubic hair wig.

So ... I'm gonna start with something easy. How about a review of my new favorite kitchen gadget? I use my KitchenAid stand mixer all the time, and have discovered that you can't put the standard metal paddle attachment in the dishwasher or the finish will wear off, leaving this weird powdery gray coating that comes off not only on your hands but on your cookie dough. Ewww. They probably tell you that in the directions, but I didn't read them. I kept washing it, hoping the crud would disappear, but it didn't and I felt a little resentful every time I used it. So it was like a little gift when I stumbled upon an article featuring this plastic replacement paddle, the Beater Blade Pro:

See the little wing thingies on the edges? Those scrape the bowl for you as you're mixing, which means you don't have to constantly stop, raise the mixer head, and fiddle with a spoon or spatula as you add ingredients. I was skeptical, because the wing thingies didn't seem very ... sturdy, but I used it while making cookies this weekend and I've gotta say, it works reeeallly well. It fully scrapes not only the sides of the bowl but the bottom as well. As someone who bakes a lot, I greatly enjoy not having to do this myself (see above re: impatient). At $25 (on sale!) it's a little pricey for a kitchen gadget but this 'pro' version is said to be made of sturdier material than their standard version and is specifically designed for high-volume use. Plus, it's dishwasher safe. Cookies for everyone!

Thanks for reading my first post. That didn't hurt, like, at all.