Tuesday, September 29, 2009

And the award goes to...Jody Hall!

Photo taken with my iPhone.

This morning at the Swedish Cultural Center on Dexter, some of the city's best gathered to acknowledge the progress our community has made over the past year to make this state, and this country, a better place for everyone. Washington CAN! hosted its Annual Social Justice Breakfast bright and early for those who could crawl outta bed on this all too autumnal morning, and boy are we glad we did. Our very own Jody Hall was honored with the Deana Knutsen Grassroots Leadership Award! Along with three other amazing, community-minded individuals who've been doin' it up big for the people over the past year, Jody was recognized for her hard work on health care reform. We could not be more proud, nor more honored to share the room with such an incredible group of folks.

Big thanks to Washington CAN's Joshua Welter, for all of his hard work and coaching over the last year and a half. Jody couldn't have done it without him!

And a huge shout out to superfriend Molly Moon! Thanks to her for all of her work for health care reform for small businesses, and for sponsoring this wonderful event.

Sure does our little cupcake hearts a WHOLE lotta good to start the day out in company like that.

Go Jody go!

Don't stop now, people. This is a fight we can win, as long as we keep fighting. Health care for ALL!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Amber waves of LOCAL grain

You know we love to keep it local here at Cupcake Royale, and we're always tryin' to find ways to make our business even more local-er. We're members of our neighborhood chambers and local business owners groups, we donate to all sorts of local organizations and schools, and we always support our fellow neighborhood business owners whenever they are in need of a little sugar and caffeine. We've been baking our cupcakes with local dairy and eggs for some time now, and we feature seasonal, local produce in our delicious Cupcake of the Month. Sugar, cocoa, and vanilla are a wee bit tough to come by north of the equator, but we knew we could still do better.

So, we got in touch with the good folks of Shepherd's Grain.

There's grain in them there silos.

We've known about Shepherd's Grain forever, but they just didn't have the right type of flour to make our cupcakes truly Royale. Turns out, when you bake as many cupcakes as we do each morning, the kind of flour you use is a pretty, pretty big deal. Fred & Co over at Shepherd's Grain were excited to work with us, and totally up for the challenge of milling a cake flour that was truly Royale. We handed them our flour spec sheet, and voila! The perfect cake flour, milled just for us, from the grains they grow on their no-till farm in Eastern Washington. That's right. They are milling a local flour made specifically for us.

Jody learns a thing or two from our man Fred.

What's so great about that? A LOT.

First of all, we are just wholeheartedly thrilled to be working with such a fine bunch of people. They care about their community, their product, and the earth. A no-till farm is just what it sounds like - they do not till the earth after a crop has been harvested. The field is left as-is, and the remaining plant matter is left to decompose, resulting in a type of soil called humus. This nutrient rich, highly absorbent soil holds water even in the desert climate of Eastern Washington. Plus the non-invasive processing of the fields results in less erosion and overall topsoil loss. It's a sustainable farming practice that preserves the field for future generations, and makes us feel REAL good about using their flour.

The Royale inspection.

Second, we all pretty much know by now the benefits of participating in the locavore movement. Support local agriculture, an integral part of the local economy. Cut down on fuel usage and transportation needs. Encourage sustainable farming practices. And of course, you get the absolute freshest, premium ingredients.

100 years of local, sustainable farming! We HEART Shepherd's Grain.

So now that we have an amazing local grain producer making flour just for us, our cupcakes are all at least 66% local. For a sweet little product that relies so heavily on so many equatorial crops (vanilla, cocoa, sugar,) we think we're doing pretty darn good!

And now, more fun photos from Melanie & Jody's trip to the farm! Melanie is behind the camera, so you will see her only in spirit. The two ended their trip with a harvest meal at an outdoor table with the whole farming family. Seriously. These people are just that good. For more info on Shepherd's Grain, click HERE. To read the recent Seattle Times article about all this goodness, click HERE.

Bosslady loves to take the wheel.

The deed to the farm. Yup. That says Grover Cleveland, President of the United States of America.

That Fred is just a wealth of wheaty knowledge!

Machines of the trade.

Bosslady loves a goody bag!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bridge Talks Back. Join the Convo.

Hold onto one of these, and it can be yours forever. (Image lifted from the Bridge Report.)

Yeah. We said convo. Because sometimes there just isn't time to write out an entire word. And then sometimes, there's time to write out all kinds of words. On signs. And then parade them around the Fremont Bridge. Who wants in?!

In case you haven't heard, Bridge Talks Back is the result of artist Kristen Ramirez's summer long residency at the Fremont Bridge. Thanks to the City of Seattle's Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, along with SDOT's 1% for the Arts Fund, Ramirez has spent the summer in the Northeast Tower collecting sounds, ideas, memories, thoughts, and associations that will all come together as a 6 month sound installation piece, and will launch with a public art happening on Saturday, September 26th.

That's where you come in.

Ramirez is looking for volunteers to hold hand-painted signs, colored with the collected phrases and ideas that define the bridge, as part of the celebration from 1-4 on September 26th. Show up at noon to check in, and then spend the next few hours of your life as part of a super awesome piece of public art. You. A piece of art. And if that weren't enough, (Seriously? How could that not be enough?) you get to keep your one-of-a-kind, hand-painted, Fremont Bridge-inspired sign, PLUS you get a really rad tee shirt that will probably make people insanely jealous of you and your accomplishments for years to come.

So, here's what you do: Email Kristen Ramirez (ktramirez@hotmail.com) with your name and contact info, and let her know you wanna be a part of something big, namely, Bridge Talks Back on September 26th. Then show up for the orientation tomorrow at 6 pm in the meeting room at the Fremont branch of the Seattle Public Library. If you can't make the orientation but still want to be a part of the arty funtimes, email her anyway.

For more info on the project, click HERE.

And stay tuned for Ramirez's October show at superfriend & neighbor Grey Gallery and Lounge over on Ye Olde Capitol Hill.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back to work!

Back in session.

You're not the only one who's back on the job after a long Labor Day weekend. Congress is back in session after their August recess, and that means it's time to kick it into gear and get this whole health care reform thing done and DONE!

There has been a lot of weirdness on the airwaves over the past few weeks. The media has jumped up and down and all over the place to give you images again and again of town hall meetings gone bonkers. We are not about to let a few silly sound bites ruin the fun for everyone...anyone else having a Howard Dean flashback here? Sound bites? Ruins? No? Ech. Sad memories of Iowa '03.

Anyhoo, we know the American people want reform. We put Obama in office to bring us the change we desperately need and truly want. It's crunch time, and we need to keep working together to bring quality, affordable health care to EVERYONE in this country, not just to the privileged few. So, give your lawmakers a call to make sure they're representing your best interests and working hard for the real reform you deserve.

Here's how you can do your part today and tomorrow:

Message for Senator Murray: Support the Kennedy HELP Bill, and tell your colleagues like Senators Reid and Durbin to do the same
Message for Senator Cantwell: Move a Health care bill forward in the Finance Committee by Sept 15, and tell your colleagues like Senators Reid and Durbin to get health care done

1-877-264-HCAN (4226) -- options for connecting to Senator, Representative, or signing up for text message updates
1-888-436-8427 -- direct to the Congressional switchboard

This is why we vote, people! We get to send the people into office that we think will represent our best interests in Washington. So, give em a call, and make sure they do!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Huckleberry 101

So you all know by now that our September Cupcake of the Month is the Blue Mountain Huckleberry. You should also know by now that it is ridiculously delicious. If you cannot speak firsthand on that second point, it's time to get serious, and click HERE.

Here is a photo of our Blue Mountain Huckleberry cupcake.

Here is a photo of it in babycake form.

Here is a photo of it with a tiny deer to emphasize the woodsiness of these wild berries.

Here is an image of Huckleberry Pie, Strawberry Shortcake's assumed boyfriend, with his dog, Pupcake, possible inter-breed love interest of her cat, Custard. Very progressive.

Here is a drawing of Huckleberry Hound, looking relaxed and happy, like maybe he just ate a delicious Blue Mountain Huckleberry Cupcake. (Note, Huckleberry Hound is just a cartoon. Please do not feed your real dog a cupcake. It may seem like a good idea, but it is not.)

Here is one artist's rendition of Huckleberry Finn, timeless boy-icon of American literature. You've probably read this book. If not, you're in luck, because the libraries open back up tomorrow, and you can go borrow a copy for free. We suggest you read it with a hot cup of Vérité Coffee...and of course, a Blue Mountain Huckleberry Cupcake.

Here is a photo of that cupcake again.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dan Savage is Just Plain Wonderful

It's been a busy week around here, and we've been neglecting the blog. Unfortunately, that's not gonna change today. Luckily, we've got 10+ minutes of Dan Savage being awesome on Countdown With Keith Olberman for you to watch while we do other things. It's amazing, (and in some ways very, very sad,) how refreshing it is to hear someone speak intelligently and truthfully about health care reform.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Art for September

It's September and that means new art in the cafes. Check out your neighborhood store and see great art by these folks.

Indian Creek by Eddy Radar

In Ballard, Eddy Radar is showing six stunning Manmade Landscapes. Eddy says,
"What I see in these landscapes is the hidden beauty of industry and formatted space. The minimalist essence, the geometric order, and the quiet presence of these huge structures all reflect the same timeless grandeur, whether the expanse is of concrete or of grass."
In the Clouds by Javier S. Ortega

In Madrona, the talented Javier S. Ortega presents Blue Dreams. Javier hails from Seville, Spain where he studied art before completing his education in Florence. He's showing a new series of portraits.

When I grow up by Lina Raymond is now hanging in West Seattle. In this whimsical series, Lina looks back on childhood and ruminates on how she thought things would be when she grew up.