Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Busy Bee

As mentioned yesterday, I participated in a food blogging workshop this past Saturday.  It was a lot of fun and inspiring learning from Christina Peters and Amy Paliwoda.  We learned about lighting, lensing, composition, and food styling/propping tricks.  Not to mention, Christina gave us some helpful PhotoShop tricks on color correction, optimizing images for the web and my new favorite filter - the unsharpen tool.  I sort of forgot about this tool but it really helps to add some crispness to your images.  

Christina and Amy provided us with a selection of food items and props to choose from which was great - I think it helped me focus a lot more on the photography aspect instead of worrying about where to find my next recipe!  So many cookbooks, so little time.  :-)  The products ranged from lovely French macaroons, rustic breads, jams, vegetables, cheese, etc. 

My love for peanut butter and honey sandwiches rivals that of Elvis (I like it with bananas too but didn't include them in the shot) and thought it would be a fun challenge - especially since I wanted to capture the honey pouring onto the bread. 

Thanks again to Christina and Amy for making this such a wonderful class.  I'm hoping to sign up for another one and highly recommend it for anyone looking to gain more experience shooting food.

Here's another link to the class information:  http://www.mdrphotographyclasses.com/

Monday, January 30, 2012

MDR Photography Food Blogging Class!

Hope you all had a great weekend!  On Saturday, I participated in a food blogging class in Marina Del Rey, CA hosted by commercial photographer Christina Peters.  It was amazing and I'm super excited to show you some pictures and share what I learned. 

I'll be posting images tomorrow but in the meantime, if you want to check out any of her upcoming classes, you can do so here.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quinoa & Sweet Potato Cakes

If you have an iPad and enjoy recipes from Whole Foods Market (a U.S. based grocery chain), then you might want to check out their iPad app.  It's chock full of delicious and nutritious recipes.  Many of the one's that I've saved have a manageable ingredient list and are easy to make.  See, I have a thing about recipes that require too many obscure ingredients.  I love food but have limited time during the week to cook as I'm sure many of you can relate.  Thankfully this recipe for Quinoa Sweet Potato Cakes is pretty easy.  I like to cook extra quinoa and lentils so that I can use it for other recipes later in the week. 

Hope you enjoy it.  I modified the recipe slightly by adding fresh garlic and omitting a random Whole Foods special seasoning b/c I didn't feel like spending the extra $$.  Not to mention, the exact special blend probably isn't available in other grocery stores.

Quinoa and Sweet Potato Cakes

Serves 4-6

These flavorful cakes make a unique appetizer or side dish. Try pairing them with vegetable soup or salad for a hearty meal.


1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup truRoots Organic Sprouted Green Lentils
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 tablespoons diced red onion
2 tablespoons Bragg Organic Sprinkle Seasoning
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch ground black pepper
1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato, more if needed
Salsa or other condiments of your choice


Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook quinoa and lentils separately according to package instructions. Drain lentils well. In a medium bowl, mix together quinoa, lentils, red pepper, onion, seasoning, chili powder, salt and pepper. Add sweet potato and combine using hands until mixture sticks together easily. If mixture is not sticking together, add more cooked sweet potato until desired consistency is reached.

Form the mixture into four (4-inch) patties and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 10 minutes. Flip and continue baking 10 to 12 minutes more until edges are dry and patties are heated through. Serve with your favorite condiments.



Per serving: 230 calories (20 from fat), 2.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 360mg sodium, 44g total carbohydrate (8g dietary fiber, 8g sugar), 10g protein

Monday, January 23, 2012

Breakfast of Champions

Given the new year, I've been trying to stock up on healthier options for breakfast.  I've gotten bored of the usual muesli cereal that I buy and I think I tend to eat too much of it.  Same goes for bagels and I've cut that down to a once-a-week indulgence.  So I recently came across a few gluten-free options that are tasty, filling and can be found in the cereal aisle of most grocery stores.  The images above are of cooked buckwheat that I like to dress up with some kind of chopped nuts, ground flax seeds, fresh fruit and a dash of maple syrup or honey.  Bob's Red Mill also sells a plethora of hot cereals and another one I've tried is the gluten-free "Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal."

Anyway, if you're looking for other options on a cold winter day, give the buckwheat or other hot cereal variation a try.  Nice change of pace from oatmeal too.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Horsing Around

Here are some more photos from our mini-break last weekend.  The first two are of the Kern River.  It's pretty low at this time of year but in the summer it swells and becomes a popular spot for tubing. 

We met some friendly horses at a corral at one of the trail heads near the cabin.  I would've brought treats for them had I known they'd be so friendly. 

One of the gates we came across during our morning hike.  Mind you, this gate was made of wire and a stick...but we made sure to close it just in case the horses decided to wander up the hill.

More images over the weekend...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winter Mini-Break

This past weekend my boyfriend Wendel and I took a road trip up to the Kern River, located in the Sequoia National Park.  We were lucky enough to stay at our friend's beautiful cabin that overlooked the river and the weather couldn't have been better.  The nights were a chilly 30 degrees Fahrenheit so we took advantage of the fireplace and the daytime temps warmed up to about 50 degrees - perfect for some brisk cycling and hiking excursions.  The only downside was that we couldn't visit the part of the park with the giant sequoias because the road was closed due to snow.  We stayed near a mountain town aptly named Kernville - it's pretty much a one bar, one grocery store kind of town with a few antique shops sprinkled in for local flavor.  The microbrewery and restaurant called (as you may have guessed) The Kernville Brewing Company has great beer and is a fun place to check out the local scene. 

I'll be posting images for a few days.  I took 3 cameras with me but the film images will take some time b/c I'm still waiting to purchase my film scanner. 

Stay Tuned

I'll be posting some photos from my trip to the Kern River later today!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!  What are your plans for the weekend?  My boyfriend and I will be taking off for a rustic weekend getaway up near the Sequoia National Forest (it's about 3.5 hours north of Los Angeles).  Our friend lent us her cabin and we're excited to enjoy the fresh air, chilly temps and all the mountain biking/hiking we can squeeze into our 3-day adventure.  We may even visit a ghost town!  I'll be sharing my photos next week b/c there's no internet service up there.  :-)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Before Sunset

Here are a few more of my favorite shots from our beach outing in Palos Verdes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Winter Sunset

Here are some photos from last weekend's beach excursion.  It was amazing to see how the sunset bathed the landscape with a golden glow.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Winter Warmer

This weekend's weather in Southern California was nothing short of amazing!  Even after living here for 5 years, I still seem to forget that it doesn't really get cold by the beach.  Yesterday, my boyfriend and I visited Founder's Park in Rancho Palos Verdes.  It's a little park that cuts right by the Trump National Golf Course and includes a rocky, dog-friendly beach.  It's also a great spot if you like to explore tidepools.

Here are some photos from our outing...

More to come tomorrow....

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Greens and Grains

For 2012, my boyfriend and I are planning to eat more more vegetables and try to substitute them for meat in many meals.  Here's a perfect side dish that I easily created from items in my fridge/pantry one night.  It pairs well with seared tofu, tempeh, chicken, pork, or really any kind of meat.  And it's just as good alone.  I sort of threw it together so the measurements aren't exact but it's hard to mess it up.  Totally healthy, totally delicious.

Brown rice with chick peas, spinach and pine nuts
  • about 2-3 cups of cooked brown rice
  • half a bag of spinach, washed
  • 1 t. chopped garlic
  • 1 t. extra virgin olive oil.
  • 1 small can of chick peas
  • handful of pine nuts
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cook brown rice and set aside.  I like to use Trader's Joe's frozen bags of brown rice.  Each bag only takes 3 minutes to cook.  Sauté spinach and garlic with olive oil in pan.  Drain and rinse can of chick peas.  Once the spinach is wilted, mix everything together in a bowl and sprinkle in pine nuts.  Season with salt and pepper.  Enjoy.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Apologies for my absence but I recently returned from visiting my family in Rochester, NY for Christmas.  You see, my Mom doesn't have an internet connection unless I want to use the land line.  No joke!  After being on a computer for a majority of my work days it was lovely to kick back and recharge my batteries.  :-)  For those of you not familiar with Rochester, it's home to Kodak.  If you ever visit the city, be sure to stop by the George Eastman House.  It's a world-renowned photography/film museum and home to the infamous creator of Kodak.

One of my sister's and I visited last week to check out the latest exhibit called, "The Unseen Eye."  We later took a tour of the old mansion and grounds.  Here are some photos from our visit....unfortunately, it was raining so I didn't get any shots of the outside but you can check out the website here - http://www.eastmanhouse.org/index.php.

I can't help but wonder if old George is rolling over in his grave because I took photos of his mansion with my camera phone.  To make up for it, however, I did shoot a few rolls of Kodak film with my Hasselblad.  Those images to come...I need to scan them in and my scanner is currently kaput.  :-(