Category Archives for Misc Food Stuff

Food Bloggers Challenge – Week 2

Last week food bloggers dug into their creative sides to deliver some amazing Squash recipes. Each week food bloggers create and share a unique recipe using a single ingredient as the base of the recipe. This challenge is designed to challenge the food bloggers to enhance their creativity, hone their cooking skills and have fun in the kitchen.


Choosing a favorite from those submitted was hard, but based on what I would enjoy I have to say the Butternut Squash Chocolate Cake from When is Dinner was very creative. To put squash in a cake – a chocolate cake – wow! That’s something you just have to try for yourself.

This coming week our ingredient is Bananas. I can just taste the deliciousness that is to come with this one! Will you be joining us for the challenge? Feel free to join our Facebook Group to grab the linky code, ask questions or get in the mix with the Food Bloggers Weekly Challenge.  You can jump in any week and participation isn’t mandatory. If you have a great idea to use bananas as the foundation for a unique recipe join us and share it by Sunday!

Photography Tips: Faking Natural Light

One of the most popular pieces of advice you’ll regarding photography is lighting. Lighting can make or break your photography and is probably the single most important element when taking pictures. When it comes to food photography you have 2 options: make everything during the day while the sun is up or optimize artificial lighting for the best pictures. Photography-Tips-Faking-Natural-Light

Not everyone is able to use natural lighting for whatever reason. Weather and timing are huge factors for me (dark, cloudy days are pretty common here.) Because of that I chose to optimize the artificial lighting in my kitchen. I bought a lightbox from Amazon but it wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do. I don’t like working in such a confined space. Also, the lights that came with the kit weren’t bright enough for my needs. In the long run optimizing my kitchen lighting was cheaper and more comfortable for me to work with.

Here’s how I optimized my artificial lighting in my kitchen.

I bought 3 lightbulbs:

floor lamp

I also bought a cheap (like $3.0o) floor lamp for the larger bulb. This allows me to move the light depending on the effect I’m going for and to fill in any unsightly shadows.

The 2 GE light bulbs went into my overhead light fixture with a piece of aluminum foil  behind them to reflect the light.  overhead light

These bulbs allow for great, “natural” lighting when going outside isn’t possible. Of course, if you’re able to use natural light do that, but if not this is what works for me. Depending on what I’m shooting and what mood I’m looking for  I may not use both sets of lights. The important thing is to play around and do what you’re comfortable with.

Do you have a tip for faking natural light?

Food Bloggers Challenge: Week 1 – Squash

Welcome to the first week of the food bloggers challenge! The chosen ingredient for this week is squash. It was actually spaghetti squash but since that isn’t readily available in all markets we broadened the scope. Be sure to hop around and see what all these awesome bloggers came up with this week. Also, leave a comment and let us know which ingredient you’d like to see us use for future challenges!


If you’d like to join this week’s food bloggers challenge just create a unique recipe (adapting is fine, just make sure you adapt enough to make it yours) and link it up below. Each week we’ll feature at least one of the previous weeks dishes so make sure you have an awesome recipe and photos! Make sure squash is prominent in the recipe! You can make any dish: breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snack, appetizer, drink – just make sure there’s squash in there!!

This food bloggers challenge is all about challenging yourself as a  blogger, a photographer and a cook. Get creative and be original. Style your plate in a new way and let everyone know what the dish means to you;  but most of all have fun!

Food Bloggers Challenge

If you’re a Food Network watcher you’ve seen shows like Iron Chef where the chefs are given a secret ingredient or ingredients that they must use in their recipes. I love that part of these shows and while in the shower tonight (that’s where I have my best ideas – it’s the only quiet time I get) I realized how fun that would be to implement into a blog. I see it as a way to challenge myself, my cooking and my creativity. So how about it? This is what I have in mind:



Each week (we’ll say Sunday) the secret ingredient will be randomly chosen from the comments on the week before’s post. I’m thinking a Facebook group may be the best bet for announcing the week’s ingredient, linky codes and feedback. You can join the group here.

We’ll create our own recipes (adapting from another is acceptable – as long as you make it yours) and post it by Friday.

There will be a weekly linky for all participating blogs to share their creations.

Each week a recipe from the week before will be featured for it’s awesomeness.


Comment and let us know what ingredient you’d like to see for the first challenge.

Check out the recipes linked up to find new recipes to try.


I have tons of ideas running around in my head and I’m sure some of them don’t make sense right now, but I’d love your opinions! Would also love your suggestions for the first weeks challenge – what ingredient(s) would you love to see a recipe for?

Be as creative/bold/traditional as you want – no suggestion is a bad suggestion (unless it’s illegal – let’s keep it legal 🙂 )

Photography Tips – Composition Too Tight

Since jumping into the world of DSLR cameras I’ve become just a little obsessed with cramming as much knowledge on the subject in as possible. I spend hours changing settings, switching lenses and taking practice shots. I still have a ton to learn and I’m in no way an expert – these are tips that work for me, but may not work for all.

My main goal this year was to get pictures approved by the photography gods over at TasteSpotting and Foodgawker. I had been submitting pictures to them forever with no luck. Instead of letting all the denials crush my dreams of ever being accepted I decided to take note of the reasons. That’s an awesome thing about these sites, they always tell you why they’re not approving your pictures – even if it’s rather vague sometimes.


As of today I still have way more denials than approvals (20 – 6), but most of those are for the same subject repeatedly (I’m relentless – argh!) I’ll admit, I had no business submitting most of these as the pictures were terrible – but I believe in trying. If I were truly one of the cool cats I would still have these pictures to show you, but I’m so not cool – not yet at least – so I only have a few.

The biggest issue I’ve had has been composition. That’s exactly what it sounds like – what the picture consists of. I was a hardcore cropper – I thought the only thing in the picture should be the food. It never crossed my mind that that could be too overwhelming and not at all inviting. “Here’s a big chunk of food – you can’t tell what it is or what you do with it, but enjoy.” Regardless of how scrumptious the food looks there needs to be more depth in the picture. Foodgawker-denials1

My latest denial was my shortbread cookies. The first photo I submitted was – dun, dun, dunnnn, denied! I had cropped it way too much. When I submitted the next it was approved. You can see in the picture that it was just way too much cookie and not enough personality. In the picture that was approved there’s rows and columns of cookies (with a nice blur I must say) and cookie crumbs. The cookies aren’t all up in your face crowding you – they’re set back a bit – inviting you in to take one.

The best tip I can give when it comes to your photo composition is to step away and get some personality in your photo. No one wants food shoved in their face, they need a little distance so their brain can process what it is and how it will taste. Try experimenting with your next food shot. Step back and get a full shot, you can always crop a little just don’t go crazy!

What is your best tip for avoiding the “Composition too tight” denial?