Category Food Photography

Gimme S’more

I heard today is National S’more Day. I sorta love that there is a day for everything, don’t you? Around here, we love to go camping partly for the sleeping under the stars and fresh air thing, and partly so we have an excuse to melt chocolate and catch things on fire thing… And as a result, I have a good collection of s’more-licious photos.
Here’s how we do things around here.

Step one, get a campfire going.
she's a camper FIP (24 of 31)Bonus points if people are playing guitar and singing together around said campfire.around the campfireStep two, gather your ingredients.mmmmmmStep three, make sure everyone has a good seat.189:366, getting dryStep four, get your pre-melt on. 168:365, smoresStep five, roast.roastingStep six, stack and squish. saturday night sweetsStep seven, EAT. 20120609-_MG_285220120609-_MG_285520120609-_MG_2853Keep chasing that light and your sweet-tooth!

Hello Cupcake | Tacoma, Washington

A couple of weeks ago, I was having a rough day. I tossed my camera was in my purse and tossed told my coworker to get in the car- We were going to get cupcakes. When you are the intern, you do what you are told. When you are an intern and there are cupcakes involved, you most definitely do what you are told. Thank you to Alexa for being my hand model, a listening ear, and for taking me to the juice bar down the street for the much healthier lunch option of kale-cucumber-apple- ginger juice so we could wash down our salted caramel chocolate cupcake with some sanity. It’s all a balancing act, don’t judge me. And besides, life is uncertain, you should probably eat dessert first..2015-11-19_0003FIP_HelloCupcake (12 of 37)2015-11-19_00022015-11-19_0001FIP_HelloCupcake (4 of 37)Oh, and if you keep an eye out on the new site, Tacoma Local’s Guide, you might just see some familiar work… check it out!

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

Sweet Stuff | Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

I heard it’s national “leave zucchini on your neighbor’s porch day” next week. In preparation for a possible influx of the garden fresh, “one that go away”, I am re-posting this recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Brownies that I had originally shared back  in August of 2010.  I was about a month away from bringing my sweet Fifi into the world. The girl loved chocolate when she was inside, and she loves it now almost 5 years later. I hope you all like these as much as we do here at Casa de Simpson.
zucc brownie
So I can’t possibly put all that savory, yummy food in the freezer without doing a little bit of time with chocolate and butter and vanilla, can I? Since I put an APB (all points bulletin) out on the Facebook for some local zucchini I had to test out Krista’s recipe for her zucc brownies. So that is exactly what I did this weekend… I shredded and mixed and made oooie-gooie yum brownies with that hint of healthy. It was good. really good.
Here is the recipe for the Zuc Brownies… um, yeah. Don’t say I didn’t warn you once you pull these bad boys out of the oven you will find them hard to resist. Oh, and I made these on Saturday morning and today, Wednesday, they continue to be ‘just taken out of the oven’ moist and chewy. I love. (um, I sort of can’t believe they lasted thru Wednesday!) I never quite got to making the frosting for these, and though it probably makes them that much more ‘over the top’, I really like them without it! So if you just can’t wait, don’t worry about the frosting.
Inspired Zucchini Brownies
(thanks to Krista for the original recipe)
chocolate and milk

1/2 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups shredded zucchini

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional, I kept these out)


6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup butter

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini. At this point, it is going to seem like you forgot something- but you didn’t just stir until everything is mixed and moist. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched.

oven ready brownies

To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and butter; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture.  Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.

Lolo + Bear | Seattle Portrait Photography

LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (200 of 200)Remember this spring when I put out a call for small businesses and creatives in the Pacific Northwest? I asked, and you all are amazing and set me off with some really fantastic leads for Environmental Portrait (EP) candidates. If I could do EP sessions every day, I would be thrilled. I love the photographic mix of portraits and the details of the “making” (and in this particular case, the eating of the end product). Plus, I get to make some amazing new friends in the process.  When my dear friend connected me with the lovely crew of Lolo & Bear, I was thrilled. I mean these four are darn good looking, hysterical, and they make a mean snack. LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (19 of 200)Lolo & Bear rolls out some amazing goodies. To quote directly from their website,

“In our family, we’re big fans of snack breaks. We love second breakfast, happy hour, and all the other in-between times. But we wanted a snack we could feel good about eating, one without weird ingredients. That’s why our clusters are made with heritage grains, authentic flavors, and only whole real stuff.”

They set the goal to create a unique, specialty snack and they are winning. I really liked all four flavors of their clusters, but my favorite has to be the Blueberry, Vanilla, Thyme.
LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (38 of 200)Meet Rosie. She doesn’t help in the kitchen, but she did try to herd me while I was photographing her humans. It was almost as endearing as her Elvis impersonation.
LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (42 of 200) LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (55 of 200) LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (70 of 200)
LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (119 of 200)LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (125 of 200)And now, a little bit of the editable goodness that goes into Lolo & Bear…
LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (153 of 200) LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (155 of 200) LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (157 of 200) LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (179 of 200) LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (185 of 200)Before I close this post, I need to give a huge thank you to not only the L&B crew for spending an afternoon with me, but to the beautiful and generous Deb Achak (go see her work, it’s stunning) for welcoming us ALL into her amazing West Seattle home for these photos. Words can’t express how grateful I am for new friendships and solidifying existing ones via my photography.

Do you have a creative business? Do you need images for your social media campaign or real stock images of you, your work, and your workspace? That is what Environmental Portraiture is all about.  Drop me a note and let’s get you and your business photographed!

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

The Food of the Fourth (and Drink)

This is a repost from two years ago. We are once again in Greagle, with the exact same menu. The only thing that has changed is the kids- how did they get so big?!

I am sharing today to inspire your 4th of July menus! Enjoy

There is just something about summer time food.
Things you don’t usually eat unless the temps and the fun are running high.
Here is our Fourth (or the weekend before, in this year’s case) of July Menu.
We enjoyed “Mundo’s Ribs” also know as “Andy-que
This is the basic idea/recipe that was used this year for the ribs.
Start with 6 racks of ribs.
For the Rub:
4tbls brown sugar
2tbls paprika
2tbls essence of emeral
2tbls garlic powder
2tbls black pepper
2tbls kosher salt
2tsp cayenne pepper
Mix the rub ingredients well and rub thoroughly on the racks of ribs.
Wrap the ribs and put in the refrigerator over night.
Grill all day long (about 6 hrs) on a Weber grill 200-250 degrees. Start with ribs, bone side down. The first hour of cooking, smoke with apple and cherry wood briquets.
Rotate the rack of ribs from back to front about half way through the total cooking process.
Grilled corn on the cob and garlic bread. The gang likes to wrap the bread and corn in foil and grill until done. The bread gets unwrapped and grill marks are ‘applied’. We fancy it up that way. tee hee.
Grilled zucchini
I wasn’t in on this recipe, but slicing the zucchinis into ‘steaks’ and then marinating in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, smashed garlic, salt and pepper and some lemon juice usually does the trick.
Grandma’s Mac Salad
This recipe will  yield about 6 servings
2 cups dry elbow macaroni, cooked, rinsed, and drained
1/3 cup diced celery
1/4 cup minced red onion, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes, drained (I have left this out when I made it while pregnant/nursing, because onions and Fifi weren’t agreeing, and it still came out really good)
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup prepared mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/3 cup sweet pickle relish
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl combine the macaroni, celery, onion, and parsley. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, 2 mustards, Worcestershire sauce, relish, sugar, vinegar, sour cream and salt. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to combine, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold (it just doesn’t taste right unless it has chilled, so plan ahead for this one, it’s worth it).
Store covered in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. I promise, it won’t last that long though.
Also enjoyed before dinner, Garden Party Cocktails.
Garden cocktails in the making #weekend #greagle #latergram

SnapseedAfter dinner?Root-beer floats, of course.

I hope your Fourth of July is filled with good food, good friends and FUN.Happy Birthday AMERICA!!!

I’d a Baked Cake | Tacoma Food Photography

One of the things I really enjoy about my work as a photographer is that I get to meet other creatives. They might be photographers, or they might be an artist in a totally different medium, like Emily. She is an amazing baker. Mixing flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and butter to make the most delicious edible work of art. What a treat! I had so much fun with this lifestyle session. If you are one of my Environmental Portrait clients, this is another example of how I can help tell your story. By the way, I have one more of these sessions up for grabs, hurry though, you have to schedule your session by Wednesday, April 1st! For my brides out there, Emily makes amazing treats and also has a few gluten free recipes up her sleeve, the smaller of these two cakes was GF and DELISH! To find out more about Emily’s business and treats, go to

For my brides and event clients, Emily makes amazing treats and also has a few gluten free recipes up her sleeve, the smaller of these two cakes was GF and DELISH! To find out more about her business and offerings, go to Sweet Things by EH.

Ready to get a sugar rush? Okay, go!

2015-03-28_0009FIP_SweetThings (5 of 65)FIP_SweetThings (8 of 65)2015-03-28_0005

If I knew you were comin’ I’d’ve baked a cake
baked a cake, baked a cake
If I knew you were comin’ I’d’ve baked a cake
Howd-ya do, howd-ya do, howd-ya do FIP_SweetThings (18 of 65)FIP_SweetThings (30 of 65)FIP_SweetThings (20 of 65)FIP_SweetThings (22 of 65)2015-03-28_0004

Had you dropped me a letter
I’d a-hired a band
Grandest band in the land
Had you dropped me a letter
I’d a-hired a band
Spread the welcome mat for youFIP_SweetThings (14 of 65)FIP_SweetThings (28 of 65)2015-03-28_0010FIP_SweetThings (29 of 65)Oh, I don’t know where you came from
‘Cause I don’t know where you’ve been
But it really doesn’t matter
Grab a chair and fill your platter
And dig, dig, dig right in
2015-03-28_0003FIP_SweetThings (41 of 65)2015-03-28_0002If I knew you were comin’ I’d’ve baked a cake
Hired a band, goodness sake

2015-03-28_0007If I knew you were comin’ I’d’ve baked a cake
Howd-ya do, howd-ya do, howd-ya do2015-03-28_0006

Howd-ya do, howd-ya do, howd-ya do
Howd-ya do-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-oohFIP_SweetThings (55 of 65)2015-03-28_0008Emily, let’s get together again soon, you bake & I can shoot!

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

Food Friday | Lemon Pasta

It appears I am on a bit of a food photography kick lately. Two recipe/food related posts in a row?! Again, I am pulling this one from the archives per a recent request to share it again. This is such a perfect dish to make for the summer. The addition of lemon wakes up the pasta, making it less heavy and more heavenly.  I hope you enjoy it as much as my crew does.

Lemon Pasta


  • 3 tbls butter
  • 2 tlbs olive oil
  • 1-2 lemons (zest and juice)
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 1/2-1 cup panchetta
  • 1/4 fresh or dried parsley
  • box of spaghetti or other pasta


  • Cook pasta
  • in a saute pan melt butter and heat oil.
  • add garlic and saute
  • add in zest of one lemon and juice of that same lemon
  • great cheese
  • great additional lemon’s zest and juice
  • chop parsley and basil
  • Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl ans serve with extra lemon juice/zest and parm on the side.


294:366, delish

quick and easy soup for a week night meal…
Cook the bacon, drain the grease but don’t clean the pan
add the kale (I just hand tore it up into the pan) and saute. 
I forgot to add garlic or onions, but those would be good. 
Let the kale saute for a about 5-10 and then de-glaze the pan with a little broth (or white wine). 
Cook another 5 or so and add in the rest of the broth (I had an almost full box of broth). 
Bring to a boil and add the beans (I normally would have used cannellini, but the pintos were pretty darn tasty and all I had in the cupboard).
Fry up an egg (I like the yolk to be runny) and add it to the bowl of soup with some bacon and call it dinner!

in the kitchen

Some weeks my 366 project takes on it’s own theme without me even realizing it.
This week, it was all about food and happenings in the kitchen.
232:366: purple
pretty purple left in the bowl after eating my salad with beets.
232:366, ripe
bananas in desprate need of being transformed into muffins.
basil, making my house smell good and the pasta taste awesome.
radish tails and avocado shells.
197:366, week night dinner
What’s been on your plate?