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August 2009 Archives

Red Velvet Cake Balls. Full Stop.

August 30, 2009

I had a really busy and productive weekend: a going away dinner, coordinated a fantastic bake sale, interviewed by the local news, Flickr meetup, covered my body in paint.

Also tons and tons of baking.

Red velvet cake batter

Red velvet cake ball swimming in chocolate

Red velvet cake ball dipped in chocolate

302:365 Red velvet cake balls

Red velvet cake ball

The recipe can be found here and here.


August 21, 2009

I had a model shoot with Emilee on Thursday night. There was a bit of a drama disruption in the middle of the shoot, but after a few minutes we were able to regroup and continue.

293:365 I can watch a sunset on my own


Tasty Tweets Bake Sale

August 14, 2009


So. One off-handed tweet and I'm now coordinating a bake sale and interviewed for the Alaska Journal of Commerce (!). I love the internet.

It started not long after my last work trip to Juneau. My off-work time there was slow; I didn't have much to do and didn't know anyone to entertain me. So I started following a bunch of Juneau Twits, including Ryan Stanley. Then in the beginning of June, Ryan stood and watched his house burn down. In his shock, he tweeted about watching his 100-year-old pink house burn.

Bella Boutique has graciously provided space for the bake sale along with tables and tents. Kaladi Brothers Coffee will be parking their Event Trailer at the sale and donating all proceeds to the Stanley family. And there are a set of donors who will be matching all donations made in the first 90 minutes of the sale.

I'm really overwhelmed at the generosity of this community that rarely sees each other in person.

Saturday, August 29, from 1-4pm-ish at Bella Boutique (2601 Spenard Rd)

If you're in Anchorage that weekend, stop by and say hi! Buy a cookie or ten, get a mocha. I'd love to see you.

Etsy Shinin' Day and Night

August 11, 2009

8-Ball Zucchini

August 9, 2009

I spotted these 8-ball zucchini at the Downtown Market yesterday and knew what I would be having for dinner. Steve wanted nothing to do with them, so I halved the recipe and let him make his own dinner. Then I had to shoo him out of the kitchen three times for being in my way. Men.

8 ball zucchini 1

2 large ball zucchini
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 t olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 t vegetable seasoning
1 t chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. ground fennel seed
1 c cooked rice
1/2 c finely chopped fresh parsley
3/4 c grated parmesan
1/4 c white wine/chicken stock/tomato juice

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the ends off the zucchini. Either cut the top deep to stuff whole, or cut it in half to stuff the separate halves. I like the stuffing-to-zucchini ratio when cutting it in half.

8 ball zucchini 2

Use a spoon to coop out most of the seeds and flesh, leaving 1/2 inch attached to the skin. Microwave for 3-4 minutes, until just soft.

Heat oil in a frying pan and saute the onions and peppers until they begin to soften. Remove to a mixing bowl, then add the ground beef. Season with the chopped garlic and some veggie seasoning (I used a mix I got from our Downtown Market, includes garlic, basil, oregano, thyme... a little of everything).

8 ball zucchini 3

Drain the browned beef and add it to the bowl. Add in the cooked rice (I used white because I thought I didn't have brown), chopped parsley, parmesan cheese, and wine. Look all over for the white wine, or some cooking wine, some kind of wine. Fail. Use home made stock instead. Stir to combine.

Add in some mozzarella cheese because you have some in the refrigerator.

Lightly spray a roasting pan with oil. If you're only roasting one ball zucchini, a pyrex bread pan works great. Stuff the zucchini until it's mounded so high it threatens to burst. Sprinkle with more mozzarella because you can, no one will stop you.

8 ball zucchini 4

Pop it in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes. Eye the leftover stuffing and the half of a red bell pepper, and decide to stuff that too. Throw it in a small Pyrex bowl, double-checking its oven-safeness, and toss it in the oven with the ball zucchini.

Give the hamsters the pepper center and laugh over their excitement.

Stuffed 8 ball zucchini

Thursday Evening

August 7, 2009

Pizza stone

279:365 Microcosm

Thursday evening

I've watched my world slip through my fingers, and all I did was let it slide

Whitney Smith Pottery

August 5, 2009

I just fell in love with a pottery company.

How to resist this cupcake stand

and this bird cake stand

and this cream and sugar set? Even though I would never use it?

Camping Sucks, Amirite?

August 3, 2009

Steve's aunt was in town this past weekend; it was her first time in Alaska, and we and Steve's brother's family wanted to treat her to a Very Alaskan Experience. Which included eating a ton of seafood, catching a bigger fish than her hosts on the Kenai River, and camping in the rain.

But had it been just the rain, it wouldn't have been such a problem. No, it was a whole host of little things that made me wish something would knock me over the head and take me out of my misery.

In other words, I am a pleasure to take camping.


She and Olive napped in the back seat while Steve and I chattered on the drive to Cooper Landing. We pulled into our campground spot and started unpacking the trunk only to discover one of the beers had broken and spilled all over the trunk and a few select food items.

Then we started noticing the number of things we forgot to pack. Like the air mattress. The air mattress that I thought Steve put in the car. The air mattress that Steve thought I put in the car. The air mattress that pulls camping from Insufferable Torture to Bearable Uncomfort.

Also forgotten: enough rope to string up our tarp. And a good attitude.

Then it started raining as we were putting the tent up. Raining hard and raining cold. And the string in one of the main tent poles broke, so we had to fight keeping that together to get the tent up. But get the tent up we did, and lo there was much rejoicing.


Steve pulled out the long runner for Olive, and while he was wrapping one end around a spruce tree, the spruce tree reached out and poked him in the eye. And I mean the eyeball. Over the next 24 hours his eye swelled up and drooped and leaked and turned red and angry and almost fell out.

The rain drenched the fire pits, but Steve's brother was able to get his going with almost a full bottle of lighter fluid. We decided sharing would be a better idea than trying to fight ours into lighting.

We had some good food, warmed up by the good fire, burned some good marshmallows, played some good games of poker (I won, so of course they were good), and made good conversation. Then it was time for bed.

273:365 Campfire

Did I mention we forgot to pack an air mattress? Right. Because we did. This is a critical bit of information.

I pulled on a layer of thermals, long socks, a sweater, and a jacket and climbed into my sleeping bag. I had forgotten my glasses at home, so I didn't even try to read. Steve managed to fall asleep rather quickly, but Olive and I had difficulties. The ground was hard and getting colder. Olive nosed her leash into her bowl of food and walked laps around the tent.

Around 1am I had had enough of the ground and the cold and the dog, so I scooped her up along with my pillow and my sleeping bag and headed for the car. Sleeping in the car is a whole other kind of uncomfort, but it was softer and warmer and better. And I slept. Three or four hours, which is more than anything I would have gotten on the cold hard ground.

Olive got a bit of sleep as well, but started waking around 5 to growl at every little thing that moved. Others were getting up at 6, so we got up too. It was 45 degrees. I started the car for some warmth, and Steve crawled in and promptly fell asleep, his eye looking worse than the night previous.

I had a decision to make: attempt starting a fire for eggs and bacon, knowing that the fire and the food would feel so very good, or break camp and head home as soon as I could.

I broke camp.

The tent came down easily, but I couldn't fit it back into its little carrying bag despite refolding it three times. I knew it would need to dry out at home anyway, so into the trunk it went. I took down Olive's lead line and nearly missed having my eye poked out by that stupid tree.

I fit as much as I could into the trunk and the rest went on the back seat. It wasn't as neatly packed as when Steve did it for the drive down, but I didn't care. I started the car, waking Steve, and left.

Goodbye, freezing campground.

I grabbed a burnt, bitter mocha and a stale muffin on the way out of Cooper Landing. Within 20 miles the sun had come out and the temperature had risen 20 degrees.

I hear that camping isn't always like what I have experienced. A coworker had taken our campsite the next evening, and he reported it was beautiful and warm. So clearly there is something in my karma preventing me from a nice and relaxing camping experience.

Maybe it's called The Outdoors.

Additional Content

Hi, I'm Valette

I'm a photographer based out of Anchorage, Alaska. I've recently become a wife, a stepmother, and a homeowner. Life is pretty awesome. You can email me anytime. Learn more...

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