Style Me Pretty – Grandma’s Favorite Recipe Contest

Last week I received some great news! My Cherry Galette recipe made the top 10 finalist on the Style Me Pretty Living blog “Grandma’s Favorite Recipe Constest.” Say that 10 times… As a wedding photographer Style Me Pretty is kind of a rock-star! Knowing that my humble recipe inspired by the lessons and stories that my mom shared with me when I was a little girl is humbling and amazing! Please head on over to Style Me Pretty and vote for me! I promise that it will not take longer that half a second. All you have to do is leave the word V O T E. The person with the most votes wins!

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In a Rut

The last couple of days I have been in a rut of sorts, not sure why but I seem to just want to eat granola, burritos, veggie/fruit smoothies, and juice. It’s a pretty serious rut the kind where creativity does not flow and I grunt and rant about the next meal that I have to cook. Ever had one of those weeks? Normally, it’s pretty easy for me to shake it off. But this one feels like it’s dragging on. To get my mojo back, I’ll do things like take myself to the farmers market, flip through one of my cookbooks, or splurge on a restaurant that I have been wanting to go to for a while. But for now I have been getting pretty creative with my juice combinations.

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Carrot Ginger Juice – One Serving

2 small beets including leaves
6 ruby chard leaves
2 cups spinach
1/2 cucumber
1 lemon
2 apples
1 (1-inch) piece of ginger
6 carrots

 

Whole30 Challenge – Day 17

I have officially completed 17 days of the whole30 challenge and to be honest I might have to turn it into a whole60 challenge. I’ve had some bumps along the road and this challenge has taught me to me more … Continue reading

The Garden that Keeps on Giving & New Year Resolutions

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I think I am slowly starting to find my green-thumb my garden has kept on giving and giving. I love being able to walk out to my front yard and pick all sorts of beautiful greens – kale, rainbow chard, ruby chard, salad blends, spinach, etc. Everyday I have an excuse to go out and explore. The garden gives me the opportunity to see life happen to pick the perfect radishes, eat tender pea shoots, saute fresh bok-choy. The giving doesn’t stop and for that I am grateful. This morning I decided to tug at the carrot tops and to my surprise I found that I had these beautiful carrots. They taste delicious raw but toss in olive oil and roast at 350 degrees and they become sweet and slightly spiced. Roast and top with fresh herbs and you’ve got a wonderful meal. Perfect for vegans, vegetarians, paleo, or anyone looking to eat something healthy yet tasty!

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The last few weeks where hectic to say the least…we spent lots of time with family and loved on each other as much as we could, we are blessed and we enjoyed every-minute of it but it’s nice to return to a slower pace of life – to have time to think; yes really think! I needed this time of silence to re-charge and re-focus my vision for both 2013 life/business. You can read more about our business goals, achievement, failures, and expectations here. Needless to say, 2012 was amazing in every way, we had a lot of changes and blessings; realizing how good God is makes me feel unworthy. This past year was busy. Our business is taking off and we’ve been blessed to meet with and call friends some of the coolest people around. But it has also been A LOT of work. Whoever said that Self Employment was easy LIED… So for 2013 my goals are simple

  •  In HIS name
  •  With HIS power
  •  For HIS glory

Sounds simple but I know it wont be as we’ve discussed on here before, I have a hard time letting…I’m somewhat of a control freak. Declaring that I will trust, depend, on the Lord to guide and carry us into a fruitful future is one of the bravest things I’ve ever done… To say that I will do things in his glory is even harder…see sometimes I don’t want to behave like a believer. None the less I am so excited and ready for this journey and the challenge! I hope that this will be a year like none other…no year is ever the same but I pray that this be the year in which I grow wiser and mature in the Lord.

Portland Farmers Market

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On our recent trip to Portland we managed to experience the what the city had to offer in many ways, I of course had to visit the Portland Farmers Market. I love Farmers Markets you all know that, I delight in the sights, sounds, textures and aromas of a morning farmers market day; something special happens in me the minute I see tables covered with kale, rainbow-chard, carrots, and and colorful squash. Often, the vendors’ trucks are still rumbling into their market spaces and others are still busy piling tables with mountains of fresh produce. Portland_trip_web-33 Portland_trip_web-35 Portland_trip_web-32

Farmers markets are vital to local economies, small family farms, and small artisans, many of whom rely on the direct sales that take place at the Farmers Market as their main source of income.  Farmers Markets are growing in popularity, consumers are beginning to demand locally sourced and produced food in other outlets, too. Restauranteurs, chefs,  and avid foodies large and small have begun to seek out local, seasonal produce. Many restaurants and grocery stores (Whole Foods for example) proudly feature farms’ names on their menus and in their aisles. These small connections are creating an economy, vital for the farmers and artisans, these economies are fueling the businesses. Remember that when you shop at a Farmers Market your purchase is directly impacting the livelihood of the vendors! Portland_trip_web-34 Portland_trip_web-36 Portland_trip_web-38 Portland_trip_web-40 Portland_trip_web-41 Portland_trip_web-43 Portland_trip_web-42

Butternut Squash – Pomegranate Salad

The last few days have been productive. Business has been booming and there isnt a day in which I dont thank God for his blessings. But sometimes I forget my rhythm with this working from home deal. Granted we are out and about a lot of the time between client meets, follow-ups, shoot days, and everything that involves running a business; life can get quite complicated but more than often I am easily distracted, usually off task. There are days when I miss the routine; the affirmation when I do something well. Being self-employed has it’s moments of lonliness, regardless of my husband being here with me most of the time. I feel immensely blessed for the schedule we keep and the ability to do what we love. But I miss hanging out with people whose presence I can delight in. I’ve had the urge to host an intimate dinner party and share and delight in the presence of people that we cherish!

This salad just makes me happy! It’s healthy and beautiful. A subtle reminder that food can be fresh and natural, while not compromising flavor.

This salad is chocked full of protein, amino acids, iron, and  general good stuff. It also keeps me full until dinner. And my husband loves it so that’s a plus.

In the last year or so, I’ve had a love affair with baby arugula. It’s so versatile and delicious and healthy.

Salad

4 cups baby arugula

2 cups of roasted squash

1/2 tbs of Pumpkin Spice

1 oz feta cheese

1 cup Pomegranate seeds

Dressing

2 tsp Balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp of olive oil

1 shallot finely minced

1/2 tsp of honey

Salt & Pepper

Instructions

This salad is super simple and shocked full of flavor. Pre-Heat your over to 400 degrees. Rub the butternut squash with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, pumpkin spice seasoning and bake for 20 minutes until golden. In a mason jar toss  – olive oil, shallots, pepper, salt, pomegranates, pomegranate juice (from the fruit) honey, balsamic vinegar. Shake in the jar until all ingredients have come together. Toss cubed squash and all ingredients in a bowl with dressing.

DIY Lavender Sugar

Hello lovelies! This is a very special post because it addresses two of my passions; all things food and weddings! Yes weddings! My husband and I are wedding photographers in you case you didn’t know! Do It Yourself, or DIY, projects are huge right now. There are all sorts of DIY wedding projects that allow you to create your own personalized favors and touches for your big day. I love DIY projects but edible projects are my favorite because they allow us to share so much more than we know. This project is super easy, beautiful, and fragrant!  All you need are some basic items and a little creativity.

These Do It Yourself Lavender Sugar Favors  are an easy arrangement that can double as wedding favors and place card for your guest. Lavender sugar is a great alternative to vanilla sugar as a topping for  pastries, yogurt, chocolate ice cream/pudding and it’s also a wonderful sweetener for tea and lemonade. Most people like to use white sugar but I like this unprocessed brown sugar way better!!!

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. dried Lavender
1 C. Brown sugar or sugar of your choice
Jar with a tight-fitting lid
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Directions

The process is very easy! I like to place both the sugar and lavender in the food processor and pulse for a few seconds. This makes the sugar and lavender a bit finer and extracts essential oils from the lavender as well.

Cafesito Mexicano

Some of the best times of my life have been spent around the dinner table. Food has a way of bringing people together and making us forget that self-imposed guilt of needing to be productive. These fleeting moment in our lives always end or start with a cup of coffee…before we discovered an automatic coffee brewer, you think I’m kidding when I say discover…my parents did not own an automatic coffee machine until I brought one home at the age of 20. I was excited to give it to my parents because I knew they would love it-they did. It added some color to our counter-tops, they rarely used it, because we always found ourselves making “cafe de la holla”.

People have been brewing coffee this was for many many years! Don’t get me wrong I enjoy the new and fancy ways of brewing coffee. No one enjoys and iced drip coffee more than I do but “cafe de la holla” makes a delicious cup of coffee and it comes with many memories.

Ingredients

– 8 cups of water boiled

– 1 1/2 cups of freshly ground coffee (I used a Salvadoran Blend from Northbound Coffee Roasters)

– 1 stick of cinnamon

– 2 orange peels

– Chai tea blend

Instructions

Bring the water to a boil. When the water is boiling add the coffee and lets it simmer for a few minutes until all coffee is extracted. Bring to a low simmer and add the orange peel, cinnamon, and chai blend. Sweeten to taste. Enjoy!

Thai Basil Noodles

I am gentle cook one that believes that food goes beyond what sits on the plate. The delight that comes from placing a hand-selected seed into the soil and watching it grow and eventually make its way into my kitchen is like no other. My garden has been producing some wonderful herbs and produce – basil, rosemary, peppers, squash, salad blends, and so much more. This dish is the perfect solution for a garden exploding with thai-basil.

If you love Asian food but have been afraid to try making some of your favorite dishes at home, this dish is perfect and once you have all of the ingredients it takes less than 15 minutes! Healthy, full of flavor, and fresh!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of fresh Thai-basil
  • 1/2 Sweet Onion Chopped
  • 1/2 Shallot Chopped
  • 1 garlic clove finely minced
  • 1/2 tbsp of grated ginger
  • 1 small packet of Vietnamese Rice Noodles ( cook them according to package instructions)
  • 1 cup of dried shitakee mushrooms (soak in warm water for 15 minutes)
  • 1 tbsp of fish sauce
  • Dash of rice vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Low sodium soy sauce to taste
  • 1/2 tsp of crushed chili
  • 1 tsp of brown sugar

Directions

If you’re using dry noodles, put them in a bowl and pour boiling hot water over them to submerge completely. Soak for as long as the package instructions require. Do the same for the mushrooms. When they are soft drain and cut into strips.

Stir together soy sauce, rice vinegar, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, chili, ginger, and garlic stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onions, shallots, and some of the basil (the basil will infuse the oil); saute 30 seconds. Add mushrooms, drained noodles, and soy sauce mixture. Saute, stirring and tossing until everything is evenly coated and heated through, and all the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off heat and stir in chopped basil.

Garden to Fork – Basil Pesto

A basil explosion has taken place in my garden. This heat that we are experiencing in the “fall” here in California is pro-longing our summer harvest. I harvest baskets full of this stuff. So what does one do when your garden is rampant with all sorts of basil! Well, you make pesto of course.

 

Bring out the food processor and throw a handfuls of basil and pine nuts into a food processor with a garlic clove. Add a handful of really good Parmesan and some freshly squeezed lemon juice and some zest. Yes, lemon! The lemon brightens and makes the pesto lighter. Bring out the best olive oil and drizzle over the fragrant and bright pesto.

Because of our bountiful bushes I was able to whip up a hefty batch leaving me enough pesto to fill up three mason jars. I’m lucky I know. I am thinking of freezing it and making more pesto to take advantage of the bountiful harvest before it’s gone for the winter.  So far we have eaten it, marinated with it, explored the world of sandwiches,  turned it into an appetizer, shared with friends,  and ate it with warm pasta.

DIY Basil Pesto
A great recipe to make with fresh basil from your garden before winter

Ingredients

  • 2 C. fresh basil leave
  • 1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4C. pine nuts, toasted (or walnuts)
  • 1/2C. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced 1/2 lemon zest and a squeeze of juice
  • Dash of fresh pepper

 

Instructions
Blend all ingredients in the food processor, add the lemon juice and finish it up with olive oil. If you don’t have a food processor do not be scared check out this video. I have made pesto this way before and it does not disappoint.