Wednesday, October 9, 2013

food, styled

I have a love/hate relationship with cooking. I'm good at cooking. And I do love food! I actually think I enjoy flavors and trying new things more since I eliminated dairy, gluten and refined sugar and added in more healthy fats and veggies. I've experimented more than ever with unknown ingredients and meats and spices. But the food prep and clean-up sure can be exhausting, am I right? I fall in and out of love with cooking pretty often. Having ever-hungry little people compounds the kitchen weariness too, I think. But, I've been making an effort to fall in love with the kitchen again and make it stick. I have prayed that I would enjoy it more, since it is an unavoidable part of my life (just like I pray about homeschooling!) and I know the Lord is faithful.

Thus, I've decided to start a little food photography challenge for myself! Because taking pictures of things always makes me like them more :) I was on Pinterest last night and typed in "food photography" and oh boy, can food be beautiful, or what? I think I bought the cookbook Gather, just because the pictures are so gorgeous! So I started playing with some food styling and it was really fun yesterday.

Also, since we've been here in Virginia, we have finally been able to begin a consistent family dinner. Before, when my kids were all really young and I was in survival mode, it just was not happening. Then, in Denver, Casey's work hours were very unpredictable, which made consistently dining together hard. We did it when we could, but it was a challenge. Things are different here, though, and we are really enjoying the time together at 6 p.m. every night more and more. I think this photo challenge will help me really me make an effort to make these meals pretty and special.

Don't worry, I will try and include recipes when I can too!

Last night I made egg salad. One of the easiest dinners ever, but also one of Casey's favorite things ever.

 I have an old recipe from a book I got when I was first married called, Help, My Family's Hungry. I have since passed that book along, but this is still our favorite egg salad recipe. I made bacon for the side and also had leftover of Rachael Ray's carrot salad. Kids loved it all.
Egg Salad Sandwich Filling
This makes enough for 4-5 sandwiches, but I usually double or even triple it for my family and to have leftovers. 

4 hard-cooked eggs
1/4 cup mayo
2 tsp Dijon or yellow mustard
2 Tbl pickle relish, dill or sweet, your choice
1 Tbl white or cider vinegar
1/2 tsp dried dill weed
salt and pepper to taste

I usually just put all these ingredients in my food processor and pulse, but I have made it by chopping the eggs myself also. If you do that, just chop your eggs and stir in the other ingredients by hand. Enjoy! 

Since I'm talking about eggs, I should also share this morning's breakfast with you, cause it was so good! I enjoy cooking breakfast least of all. It takes me awhile to wake up in the mornings and the last thing I want to do is make a big mess and be on top of my cooking game. I usually give the kids something simple like yogurt and granola and then if they want eggs when I'm cooking my breakfast I add some for them. But, I need a big breakfast, complete with plenty of fat or veggies--filling things. I decided to allow the mornings to be slower and start school a little later to accommodate for this because trying to wake up earlier was not working out, haha!  It's been great, I have time to drink my coffee and read my Bible and generally take my time. 

Anyway, this morning I tried the avocado boat idea I've seen floating around Pinterest! It was pretty tasty. I topped mine with bacon leftover from dinner last night and I think that made the dish. It added crunch and salty flavor. Mmmmmm. 
 I cut my avocado in half, scooped out a bit to make more room for the eggs, then cracked an egg into each half. I salted and peppered the tops and baked them at 425 for about 15 or 20 minutes, I think.
It was really tasty! And, I didn't have to stand over the stove and actually cook anything--best part ;) I had coffee and read some blogs while I waited.

What do you think about food photography, or do you notice it at all? Or maybe you just notice when it's bad and looks unappetizing, haha. These days, when we get so much cooking inspiration online, I definitely think the photo can sell the recipe! 


  1. I love to take pictures of food that I have cooked. Like you, being satisfied with both the process and the result is part of keeping cooking appealing for me. I also love egg salad, so I'm going to try that recipe. Here's a great breakfast that Emily and I love, and would make a great dinner, too. Per serving (I usually do one for her and one for me) one piece of bacon cut into pieces. Cook until crispy and remove from the pan. Drain most of the fat. Add some chopped onion (can skip if you don't like) and cubes of butternut squash, about 1 cup per serving. Cook until the onion and squash are tender (you can cover and walk away to let it steam a little, too). Add the bacon back in, then add 2 cups spinach per serving. Toss until the spinach is wilted. If you are making more than one serving, split into individual piles, make a little "well" in each pile, and crack an egg into the pile. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, covered. We also like to add some cheese, but since you are dairy free it is also good without. This is really a favorite at our house!

    1. Amy, that sounds amazing!! I love egg/hash-style dishes cause they're always so easy and flexible. So I'll definitely be giving this one a try! :)

  2. I started doing Bento style lunches for my 7 year old this year. He doesn't like to try new things, but this seems to help him eat a better variety of lunches. Anyways, I like to take a pic with my phone and send it to my Mom and Sisters. My sister has been doing the same with her son's lunches. :o) I have found that the pictures keep me motivated to get more creative, and the more creative I get the better Opie eats! Win, win! BTW, I don't get crazy with the Bento "Art", just simple and fun.

    So after looking at your last picture, I swear I can smell avocado! Now I really want to try that...for lunch sometime.