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Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Food Photography

I absolutely love food photography!! Would I buy a cookbook with out it?  Probably not, unless it came  high HIGHLY recommended.  Photos of Food just add so much charisma and substance to cook books and Magazines.  They provide such an emotion that comes with eating food.  A good photograph of food should provoke all of the senory senses.  You should beable to taste, hear, smell, see, feel the food.

  I wish so badly I was better at  food photography and styling.  But I have found these links helpful Food Photography

cakes

*Picture from myrecipes.com

I also found this interview with Susie Theodorou to be useful and very interesting. 

susietheodorou

*Picture from mymamastable.blogspot.com

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Beauty Must Have

Jonathans, the bf, mother gave me  this Amazing mascara yesterday!  I was a bit skeptical at first because I’m so particular about my mascara but after reading the outstanding ingredients list I decided to give it a whirl!!

I think I’m in love!!!!! This mascara is sooo great! NO CLUMPING, NO STICKY FEELING, MY LASHES ARE LIGHT WEIGHT!! The mascara is 100% natural and made from fruit pigment! I can not wait to try more products! 

http://www.100percentpure.com/qvc_mascara.html

big_mascara

Ingredients: Organic Green Tea, Vitamin E (a-tocopherol), Honey Beeswax, Contains All or some of the following Pigments: Blackberry, Blueberry, Black Tea, Grape Skin, Pomegranate, Acai Berry, Boysenberry, Blackcurrant and Raspberry, Oat Protein, Wheat Protein, Provitamin B5, Seaweed Powder, Coconut Stearic acid, Mica (for shimmer in the Blackberry and Blueberry), Cocoa Butter, Pearl Powder, Rice Powder, Cacao Powder and Powdered Coffee Beans, Lavender Honey, Extracts of Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, Lavender and Golden Seal

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I *HEART* SALES!!!

Today while browsing the organic section at my local grocery store I came across these lovelies that were on sale for $2.46 a box!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I was so thrilled!!! I have been waiting months and months to try these.  After I heard kath raving about them I ran to the store to pick some up…much to my dismay they were a bit out of my budget! They are about $5.76 a box.  I just can not pay that much for a box of granola bars, right now….hopefully some day I will but for now I will most definitely be keeping my eye on them to go on sale.  I can not wait to try them in the morning with my oatmeal! A full review to come……..

 

 

 

granola planks

REVIEW:  Wow!!! My whole bowl of oatmeal was completely transformed!! These planks added so much chew and flavor to bowl!!!! I love the whole almonds and dried blueberries with the sweet notes of vanilla.   On top of being A.mazingly delicious their nutritional value  is GREAT!! http://www.honest-foods.com/products.html

I highly suggest trying these planks out if you have not done so already. 

plank-oats

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More holiday baking

For the past two years my three-year-old daughter and I have baked a batch of Christmas sugar cookies around the holiday season.  We take one night and make the cookies and decorate them.  It is such a blast!  These are memories I will cherish forever…..they don’t turn out super pretty but they were made with extra love and laughter! 

SUGAR COOKIES

This year we made these sugar cookies:

Fabulous Sugar Cookies
Found at goodthingscatered by Ashlee
Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp lemon zest
5 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Powdered sugar, for rolling
Directions:
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Cream butter and sugars in a mixer for 5 minutes.
-Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly.
-Add vanilla, almond, and lemon zest.
-Sift in flour, baking powder, and salt a little at a time.
-Do not over mix, this process should take about one minute.
-Chill dough for up to a week in the fridge, or roll out and cut right away. You will need plenty of powdered sugar for this. 
-Great cookie sheet well or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake cookies for 7-8 minutes.
-Wait until cookies are cooled before icing.

Then we decorated our cookies with this icing (In the past we have always used a cream cheese frosting which is GREAT…but this year I came across this recipe at goodthings catered and had to use it because I adore honey!!!

SUGAR COOKIES2

Honey Cinnamon Frosting
Everyday Food
Ingredients
1 1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar (I had to use an extra 1/4-1/2Cup)
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp honey
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Directions
-In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat confectioners’ sugar, unsalted butter, honey, and ground cinnamon until smooth, 4 to 5 minutes.  Be sure to beat the frosting for the full 4-5min to get all of the ingredients incorporated well.   Add more confectioners’ sugar if needed.

*This is a wonderful frosting recipe and I will definitely be keeping it in my recipe binder but it was a bit too much with the sugar cookie.  I think in the future we will stick to using a cream cheese frosting. 

Only down side to annual Christmas cookie night……..WE HAVE SPRINKLES EVERYWHERE!!

sprinkles

I’m off to enjoy a cup of tea and an extra sweet sugar cookie.

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What I’m snacking on…..

……….To keep all the holiday treats out of my mouth!

parfaitsThis holiday season I’m determined not to gain 10 pounds!  I’m finding if I eat healthy balanced meals and wholesome snacks I don’t want or need to be reaching for the fudge or sugar cookies. 

This is my very favorite snack that fills me up so well and keeps me going for hours.  I used to hate yogurt so much, it made me gag and I just detested eating it.  But then I discovered GREEK YOGURT!!!!!!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Greek yogurt with fruit, granola and on special occasions honey!! This has become my best go to snack when I’m hungry and  its not quite dinner time.  This easy parfait is super easy to make and sooo fast (less than 2 minutes tops)! 

So this holiday season create a simple, beautiful, delish snack instead of gorging yourself with holiday cookies! 🙂

granola

This parfait included: Greek yogurt, orange slices, pomegranate seeds and homemade granola.

Granola:

Adapted from various recipes on the internet

2 Cups rolled oats

1/4 Cup shredded coconut (you could also add nuts of your choice or dried fruit)

1 T honey

1 T maple syrup

2 T canola oil (or vegetable oil)

1 T brown sugar

1 t almond extract

1 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300*. Mix all ingredients well. Spread onto a well greased pan and bake for 17-20 minutes. Make sure to stir your granola half-way through the cooking time. Keep a close eye on it towards the end, due to burning easily.

Store in air tight container for 1.5 weeks.

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better baking

There is nothing I love more than baking but learning to use healthy recipes instead of the yummy treats I was used to making (ex: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/chocolate-gooey-butter-cookies-recipe/index.html) has been really hard for me.  So with the help of this informative website

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-recipes/NU00585 

I have learned you can make health changes that not only increase nutrition value but decrease calories and fat. 🙂 Yeah, your same old goodies with less calories. 

 

Other tips to help you bake with out gaining 300lbs:

Learn that you don’t have to taste test every chocolate chip.  While baking just BAKE don’t nibble your way through the recipe. 

Once you have finished the complete product put a piece of your finished product on a plate and sit down to enjoy it.  Make it a special occasion. 

DON’T GO BACK FOR 3RD OR 4TH SERVINGS!!  (*OR eat until you get physically sick…literally)

Save a few servings for you and your family and then give the rest of it away to neighbors, coworkers, distant family or soup kitchens.  So you don’t have a whole container full of cookies haunting you. 

Think of baking as an art form.  Think about all the time and effort you put into baking your goods, there is just no sense in stuffing yourself with all the beautiful goodies you made.  When you think of it in terms of creating a masterpiece the last thing you want to do is devour it.  You want to enjoy it, sample it and taste test the end product so you can make adequate adjustments in the future.  Don’t just eat it because its there.  Savor it.

Think baby bites.  The smaller the better.  You are not an ogre don’t take monster bites.  A great idea is to eat your desserts on an appetizer plate and use baby or Appetizer utensils

The key point is everything in moderation.  Enjoy the goods you make but don’t go overboard.

I think it’s very important to allow yourself to indulge every once in awhile.  I feel for most of us if we are very strict in our diets it usually ends disastrously.   Finding the right balance between eating healthy and indulging every once in awhile can be so hard and can take time figure out if you are used to a different style of eating.  Be patient.  If you really want to be health find it within yourself to change your eating habits.  Baking is a wonderful hobby, a great way to spend quality time with your children and a great form of therapy.  There is a way to make baking apart of your lifestyle without altering your weight or health. 

banana-bread

Lighten up Gma’s Banana Bread

Serves 1 loaf

 

1 1/3 Cup AP flour or WW flour (I used ½ and ½ because I didn’t have anymore WW flour)

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon baking powder

2 ¼ Tablespoons butter

2 ¼ Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

½ Cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1 Cup mashed bananas

 

  1. Preheat oven 350* prepare loaf pan
  2. Whisk flour, salt, baking soda and powder – set aside
  3. Beat sugar and butter on high for 2-3 min. Add in applesauce and vanilla
  4. Beat in flour mixture just until combined (do not over blend here)
  5. Add eggs one at a time until just combined
  6. Fold in bananas
  7. Spread mixture evenly into loaf pan.
  8. Bake 50 min or until a toothpick comes out clean
  9. Let cool on wire rack for 10 min

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food hangovers

After a long weekend of feasting on yummy Thanksgiving leftovers and holiday goodies, I’m sure many of us woke up feeling fatigued, bloated, headachey, dehydrated…BLAH! This feeling is most definitely a food hangover!!  You just feel yucky inside and you never want to eat again.

Here are some great tips to get you back to feeling like your healthy self:

EAT breakfast! Preferably a fruit filled one.  Smoothies are a GREAT option for the morning after an over indulgence weekend.

fruits

Drink TONS of WATER!!! I can not stress this enough. Drinking water is crucial if you want to reduce bloating.  Carry a water bottle around with at all times.  That way it is always there, you can sip on it all day long with out even thinking about. 

water

Exercise! Nothing makes you feel more fabulous than a sweat session!  When you are feeling bloated and sickly they last thing you want to do is go work out!!  Find a way to get yourself motivated, think of how great you will feel afterwards.  Get your tookus moving!! You will feel like a brand new person.

exercise

If you don’t want to go for that 6mile run or jump on the elliptical machine.  Yoga, Walking, light weight lifting, Ab work are all GREAT alternatives.  Use the internet to find resourceful free instructional demonstrations.  Self.com, Shape.com all have great videos.  Yogatoday.com is one of my absolute favorites.  I have several yoga DVD’s that I just get bored with.  Everday Yogatoday.com has a new video.  They have several videos that are good for all levels.  It is a great free resource to use. 

yoga

When all is said and done it doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do just DO SOMETHING! Don’t sit around and think that icky feeling will just go away.  Burn off all those calories you ingested!!!

Stay clear of salty foods.  Salt is your worst enemy on recovery days.  Make sure you eat whole foods, don’t waste your time on over processed foods.  Fruits and veggies are your best friend!

Remember, the holidays only come once a year.  If you continue to eat healthy and stay active all year long a couple days of holiday eating will not turn you into a blimp.  Just stay focused on the following days and listen to your body.  *NOTE: It takes 3500 extra calories to gain one pound of weight. 

I leave you with this refreshing smoothie:

Strawberry/Banana smoothie

Serves 2

 

½ Cup Milk

¼ Cup Dannon All natural Plain Yogurt

4 Frozen strawberries

1 Banana

½ teaspoon vanilla

Splash of OJ

ICE

 

Combined all ingredients in a blender.  Serve.

sb-smoothie

 

*Pictures above from Google images. *smoothie picture petitfoodie.

 

 

 

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