Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lunar Eclipse, Mendenhall Glacier, and Blue Mussle Cabin

Juneau, Alaska is truly a unique place.  Growing up it seemed normal that a glacier was within walking distance.  My family never paid for seafood or game meat- but we ate it often.  There were never any road trips or amusement parks- but there were always endless hikes and more woods and beach than you could dream up.

It took me a few years to really get the hang of going back home after I moved to Seattle.  I left Juneau with a broken heart and a deeply rooted frustration.  At first it was something that I didn't want to let go of- and then I just wasn't quite sure how.  I had to allow "home" to be what I needed, and stop myself from dwelling on how things used to be.  I love it there now, and I'm nothing short of happy when I visit.  While this past trip home was mainly all about family- I managed to sneak in a a couple of really fantastic adventures as well.

The lunar eclipse happened on my second night home.  I trekked down to aptly named Sandy Beach with my mom, her partner John, and two of my favorite aunts (they all are!) with two thermoses of hot cocoa and a water bottle filled with Baileys.  We got more than a little silly, and when the moon was fully covered the entire little island of Douglas erupted in cheers and howls!  I realize that you can't see diddly-squat in these pictures- but I just love how spooky they turned out.

The next afternoon my friend Amy and acquaintance Tyler dragged my over-dressed butt out onto the frozen Mendenhall Lake and right smack up against the face of the Mendenhall Glacier.  I will just state right now that frozen lakes, and insanely huge moving masses of ice made me a little bit jumpy.  No one fell in or froze to death, so I'd say it was a pretty solid success.

The night before Christmas Eve my brothers girlfriend Liz had gone out at the Blue Mussle cabin with some friends.  My friend Morgan had decided not to hike out with them then- but instead invited Amy and I to go along with her the next morning to surprise them.  It's a 3.5 mile hike each way, and the second part spit us right out onto the beach, with some incredible wind and very, very low temperatures.  They were surprised!  We all hiked back together and had near perfect timing, as it had just started to snow again before we reached the trail head.

What is home like for you?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Snow Soup

Hi loves! 

On Wednesday I got a little crazy in the kitchen with the gorgeous and talented Patrice of The Fantastic Mr. Feedbag.  I am normally not the easiest person to share a kitchen with- but we did great together, and turned out a killer meal.  Patrice may or may not have tried to kill me with an immersion blender and hot soup.  I'm not one to say.  Check out our recipes with gorgeous photos for Potato Leek Soup, Kale with White Beans and Bleu Cheese, and Pink Grapefruit in Agave/Ginger/White Wine.  Make them all together.  You won't regret it for a second.

I was supposed to be meeting friends for a beer tonight, but instead I'm draped across the couch watching Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and gorging myself on snickerdoodles.  We went on a bit of an epic adventure this morning out to Blue Mussle Cabin, and all I've wanted to do since is move as little as possible.  Lazy bones! 

There is going to be some major photo uploading happening when I'm back in Seattle.  For now I'm off to bed!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Frozen Toes

Hi!  Hello!  Remember me?  I remember you! 

I'm at home in Juneau for the week, and have been too busy visiting family and freezing my butt off to spend any time at all online!  I'll be back in Seattle on Sunday, and have some serious intentions once I'm back in my routine.  You'll see.  I promise.

As someone who lives daily by my Google Calendar and plans most activities via e-mail - it's been really refreshing to take a few days off.  

I have tons of photos from our walk to the Mendenhall Glacier and I took some good spooky (horribly lit) photos during the eclipse.  I'll share them once I'm back in Seattle!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Eat Your Love

Just a quick roundup of some edible gift ideas!  I'll be making a number of these today and the rest of the week, as I get ready to head home to Alaska for Christmas.

- DIY Salt Caramels from The Kitchn are ridiculous and amazing. I know this because I made them last weekend to bring in to work.  My co-workers flipped, and the few that I had left at home have been devoured since. 

- Candied Ginger from Put Up With Me uses three ingredients and a few basic steps.  It would look lovely piled into a canning jar.

- Cranberry Liqueur from Sidewalk Shoes needs about three weeks to sit and really come together- but I can still imagine gifting this with the cranberry bits inside the bottle.

- Cranberry Marmalade with Dried Apricots from Food In Jars is just one of her gorgeous gift ideas.  Homemade Vanilla Extract (I made this last year!), Little Loaves of Cranberry Bread, and Rosy Quince Jelly would all be much loved.

- I happen to think that this is the coolest thing ever.  The gorgeous Patrice of The Fantastic Mr. Feedbag made Patchop's Red Hot Saveur Sauce and blew me away.  The spicy food lovers in my life (myself) would go crazy over this.

- Lastly- iVillage has a roundup of 23 Homemade Gift Ideas from Your Kitchen featuring some really creative recipes from food bloggers. 

What are you making this year?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Work It

YOU GUYS!  This past Sunday I ran the Seattle Half Marathon and didn't die!  The pictures were just posted today and despite the fact that I look like a sweaty monster beast with a fanny pack- I am so happy to have them.  I started running four months ago- and I never, ever, ever would have believed that I could have done this.  Even the week before I still didn't really believe it.  My amazing aunt Fran dragged my ass out the door for a long run every single Sunday after my first 5k- and despite the brutal cold that knocked me out for two weeks, my knees that seem to have come from an 80 year old's body, and my asthma that only seems to flare up when I'm already having a bad run- WE DID IT!  It was truly one of the best experiences of my life, and I can not wait to do another.

Here we are (Fran, Heather, me) still in the first few miles.  Look at our shiny happy faces!  So full of optimism and breakfast.

And here I am- about the cross the finish line.  I was so full of adrenaline and about to burst into tears.  What a goober.

 Have you ever done something you never thought you'd be able to?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I realized tonight that I've never posted about the bike bags that I used to make under the name FESSup!  I say used to, because although I still make them now from time to time- it's not anything like it once was.

I started working on a bag tonight that I'm donating as an auction item for CARW's Duwamish Fundraiser this coming weekend, and it got me feeling a little nostalgic and inspired.  I've toyed with the idea of regularly making bags again, but haven't quite sold myself on it.  If I do start up again I won't be taking custom work, and will only being selling items as-is.  I've never done it for the money- so when all I was doing anymore was custom work- it took all of the creativity out of it for me as well.

I'll try to get some pictures of the bag up on my Flickr page before I send it off to its new home.  Here are some of my old favorites:

This was the first bag I ever put up for sale!  I ended up trading my friend Kyle for a bike wheel.

This bag is still spotted around Seattle from time to time.  If you know Ponch- you'll recognize it.  It's got to be at least three years old by now, and I can't believe it's still in one piece!

I actually cried while making this bag.  And they weren't tears of joy.  I was sick, and running out of time, and I realized right as I finished the last stitch that I had sewn one of the straps on the wrong way.  I love this bag now- but I hated it then!

Super giant custom bag for my friend Dustin- made to match his bike.

Custom bag for my friend Walker.  The checkered pocket in the front is made out material with titanium threads woven into it.  Super functional!  

Have you ever stopped doing something that you loved, only to pick it back up again years later?  Any words of wisdom? 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tart & Lovely

I love the inside of my freezer.  It's full of wild berries picked mid-summer, cubes of stinging nettles, freezer bags full of fair trade chocolate pieces, and bulk packages of udon noodles.  I am constantly shuffling them around amongst the packages of coffee and assortment of fish and game meat that I've horded away.

I also stash bags of cranberries in my freezer as if November only comes once every three years.  Right now cranberries are all that I care about.

While homemade cranberry sauce is an absolute requirement for me come Thanksgiving- I am never one to say no to cranberries in most any other form.  For whatever reason the internets have been exploding with beautiful cranberry dessert recipes this year, and I am not one to resist.  I still haven't decided which I'll be making for our actual Thanksgiving dinner- but with a "practice" dinner tomorrow night, and Wednesday just hanging out doing nothing- I think I'll be able to fit more than one into my week.

- Cranberry Shortbread Cake from The Way the Cookie Crumbles is November's answer to out-of-season strawberries.  It sounds like such a fantastic combination and comes out looking rustic and lovely.

- Persimmon Cranberry Sauce is my sauce of choice this year.  I usually just stick with a basic cranberry/citrus/spices combo- but I'm exited to mix things up a little with star anise and the texture of persimmon.  

- Smitten Kitchen gets me every single time.  No matter what.  Deb is talented beyond words, and even when she isn't overly in love with a recipe it still turns out beautifully.  Upside-Down Cranberry Cake is no exception.

- Nantucket Cranberry Pie from the very well known Pioneer Woman is not a pie.  It's cake on top of cranberries.  And I really, really don't care.  Apparently it's a pie when you're in Nantucket.  I can live with that. 

- Cranberry Liqueur from Vino Luci would make a great gift for your host/ess or your own guests.  Just make sure you spell it right.

- Lastly- because a straight-forward simple cranberry sauce is still so good to have- The Delicious Life has a great recipe for Basic Cranberry Sauce which also includes notes on using the leftovers to make cranberry sorbet.  So damn witty.

How do you feel about cranberries?  What are your favorite ways to eat them?
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