pre-spring walk

Getting a little warmer. We're walking in a few nearby Swiss towns, fields, and vineyards.

It won't be too long now before things start growing. The work in the vineyards has really picked up lately- a big pruning and mowing this week- smells so good. Everything is a brownish-about-to-be-green color and the days are getting longer and warmer...I'm so excited for spring to come.


stuffed peppers

  • 1 cup of lentils (I used orange)
  • 4 Bell Peppers
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots , cut into small pieces
  • 1 can of tomatoes
  • 2 cups or more spinach
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bullion cube
  • 1 lemon
  • oregano, thyme, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375F/190C.

1  Cook lentils with water (1:2) and bullion. Drain any extra water when finished.
2  Cut 4 bell peppers in half and remove seeds. If you have a gas stove, roast each half over the open flame, placing directly on the burner. Scratch off blacked spots. 
3  Saute in olive oil- onions and carrots for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Add tomatoes and seasoning. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Stir in the lentils and cook a more few minutes. 
4  Stuff them with the lentil mixture and place in a lightly oiled dish. Top with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast and bake for 45 minutes.
5  Serve with lemon squeezed over the top.



It's been so nice to open the windows for a little bit and let in some early spring sun. I finally got around to sewing and stamping a couple linnen sacs and filling them with the lavender I cut last fall. This afternoon, the house was filled with lavender and sunshine. It smelled amazing. I can't help but daydream about heading to Provence to skip through the lavender fields and picnic on the hillsides.


lazy sunday

We woke with a few sore spots...worked a little harder in the deep powder than we thought. So, a few cups of cocoa with Irish cream to keep warm inside while it's dark and damp on the other side of the windows. Around four in the afternoon, the day shifted, clouds scattered, and the sun came out in time to set. We decided to get out for a short walk in the vineyard to enjoy the brief, warm light and dramatic clouds.

I'm looking forward to spending warm spring days in the vineyard and watching the rows of small, gnarled stumps sprout green leaves and plump bunches of grapes. 

With shyly emerging skin- chins and hands...for now- it isn't too hard to imagine warmer weather coming soon, longer days, and the return of color. Next week may bring our first few hints of the changing season, a few sunny days nearing fifty degrees, and even an occasional green thing poking through the muddy ground beween the lingering snow patches. Here we go, slowly starting the thaw, for now at least.


ski: les contamines ii

We are anticipating pretty-perfect ski conditions today. After cold temperatures, gray skies, long work days at the lab, and a weekend off from skiing, we are really excited for the warm-up, fresh powder, and bright sunshine. Today is absolutely a perfect ski Saturday...and we are ready.

Going up.

Surprisingly, the slopes were quiet...with school holiday in swing such and great conditions, we were prepared for a crazy day, but at times we felt all alone up on the mountain top.

Having some fun off-piste.

Nap, or, lunch/cafe break. (Ski pole doubling as a tripod).

We skied a full day, from open to close, and finally encountered the crowds on the last low runs back down to the parking lot. Since we'd passed through some of these ski towns several times in the past few seasons, and never stopped, we thought it would be a good evening to take an hour to walk around Saint Gervais while traffic plodded through to the highway.

I've been dying to walk up to see the carousel instead of just whizzing past. And Derek has wanted to stop in the church.

We made our way through town peeking into shop windows at ski gear, sweets, and apres ski goodies.

I heart cows. (Random). Sun kissed and pleasantly exhausted, we headed for home and home-made vegan Bailey's to top-off our mostest-funnest ski day ever of all time. Bon ski, and bon-weekend!


my fuzzy valentine

After she finished trying to chew the face off the stuffed cat, Pinot was my V-day buddy...a little bit crazy cat lady. I know.


sugar high

Still eating truffles this week...and will be for a while.

Flavor sampler. I like the caramel with sea salt best...those are almost gone.



This weekend's snow report is coming from a bit more local, La Vattay in the Jura. Based on the cold temperatures and strong winds, we decided to keep warm this weekend with nordic skiing nearby.

About 20 miles away, just over to the other side of the Jura, the area around La Vattay has over 140 kilometers of groomed trails for classic and skate nordic skiing.  We brought our classic skis on the move over, and have finally gotten out to use them. Today was the first time either of us had skied groomed trails...should be an adventure.  

We made two 8k blue loops and spent some time practicing on green runs. I was really surprised by the variety of the terrain...and the amount of uphill climbing...it kept us warm. 

Up at 1300 meters there was strong wind in the open, but our second loop was mostly wooded. In low pine branches, I spotted a sweet little crested tit and a creeper (these are cute little birds, and the crested tit is a new species for the life-list). 

My arms were exhausted by the end of the afternoon...I think we'll have a few sore spots this week, both from use and a couple not-so-graceful spills. Vin chaud in the sun to top off our winter fun, and back down the mountain to potpies waiting to warm our bellies. Next weekend's forecast: new snow and warmer temperatures, so back to downhill, perhaps. Bon ski! 



Today I finished up baking and making, to have a little afternoon treat with a few friends.

Mini crème brûlée.

Sugar cookies.


Tartes, blueberry and apple.

A non-vegan torte...it used to be my favorite.

And truffles. I love making truffles around Valentine's Day. This year's  flavors: caramel with sea salt, cayenne, cocoa mint, fleur du sel, and coconut rum.


in the kitchen

My rolling pin has been busy lately- pot pies, tartes, and these vegan sugar cookies for a little party I'm having tomorrow. Today I've been in the kitchen making a variety of sweet treats, trying to keep warm between the heater and the oven. Vegan sugar cookie recipe here. I only made a quarter of the amount of frosting and it went really far.


jura snowshoe

This afternoon we took a snowshoe hike in the Jura above Crozet.  It might have been another beautiful day to ski in the Alps, but we needed a relaxing morning. From the ski station at Crozet (just a ten minute drive), you can buy a pedestrian pass for the telecabine for 6

Once above the thin cloud layer, the views across the valley to the Alps were stunning.

As we started, it wasn't nearly as cold or windy as we had expected, partly because we were climbing, but mostly being on the south face of the Jura provided a windblock- until we reached the ridge.


Derek, where he belongs, in the snow:

Spending time up on the ridge, we got the full experience of the bise wind. This northern wind has been tearing through the region for the past week, responsible for dropping temperatures, plastering the sides of trees in white, freezing the banks of Lake Leman, and leaving irregular drifts all over the valley.

In the wind.

Snow blowing upward across the mountain.

Blown .

Brrrr. Don't these next two photos look cold?

Part of the hike, we followed tracks frozen into the crusted snow.

Looping back at the end of the afternoon, we scooted down a steep section and made our way back to the telecabine to head home for a warming meal.

Hope you had an adventurous, blue sky, weekend.