Thursday, April 28, 2011

ode to heidi (part 1)

It may be surprising for some people to know that, up until a few years ago, I really didn't like to cook. As a food photographer, I feel like it's my duty to be a fabulous chef and, truly, I am not. But something has definitely shifted in the past few years. It all changed after I discovered a few blogs that resonated with me and addressed the way that I like to eat-- simply and with lots of vegetables. Heidi Swanson's blog, 101 Cookbooks, has been one of my favorites since the first time I read it.

In our household, my husband, Joe, is the "real" cook. He's one of those people who can look at whatever is in the fridge and pantry and create something amazing. In 13 years, I have never seen him glance at a recipe.
I, on the other hand, often start with a recipe and adapt as I go. I am constantly on the lookout for new veggie recipes. Vegetable dishes are my domain, meat and fish dishes are Joe's. I avoided meat for years and, while I do eat it now and enjoy it, I still prefer to eat primarily vegetarian meals. Consequently, we eat big salads 4 or 5 times a week. I am pleased to report that Joe has been won over to the salad camp and craves them whenever I am out of town. Success! :)

So, back to 101 Cookbooks.

Heidi is a vegetarian so her whole site is devoted to meatless meals using whole foods.
As if her blog weren't great enough, Heidi's latest cookbook, Super Natural Every Day, is FREAKING AWESOME. Sorry, there is just no other way to put it. I can't think of any other cookbook that makes me want to cook every single thing in there. The recipes are simple, straightforward, healthy, and delicious. Exactly what I like. On top of that, the photos are stunning. Heidi is a rock star with the camera.
So far, I have made a number of the dishes in her book and plan on making a whole lot more.

Lately I have been craving roasted tomatoes. Yes, I know it's the end of April and, yes, I know that tomatoes are months away from being in season. Today, I didn't care. I bought some cherry tomatoes anyway and roasted them.
If you haven't roasted cherry tomatoes before, then I suggest you do so as soon as possible. I will be growing cherry tomatoes this summer for the sole purpose of roasting them-- they are THAT good. And they are so incredibly simple. Heidi has a recipe in her book, as well as on her blog.

After roasting the tomatoes and eating quite a few of them on their own, I decided to make another one of Heidi's recipes-- Heather's Quinoa. This one is on her blog, not in her book, so you can check it out over there. It combines quinoa with shallots, corn (I used frozen), kale (I used red chard instead), tofu, pesto, pumpkin seeds and roasted tomatoes. I added way more tomatoes than called for but, other than that, I stayed pretty true to the recipe.
Not surprisingly, it was incredibly tasty, and really, really easy.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

hana at four

Remember Hana? You can read about her here, here and here.
She is one of my favorite little people to photograph and one of the best parts about visiting my cousin and his wife in Vermont. I mean, who can resist a 4-year old who says, "I wish I were a papa. Then I could drink wine and beer all day and sleep naked."



not quite spring in new england

Leaving Vermont, after 8 wonderful days.

Thank you, Joe, Heidi, and Hana, for making me laugh harder than I have in as long as I can remember.
I love you all more than you know.


Friday, April 22, 2011

what's next?

I have been in Vermont this past week, spending time with family and relaxing. Originally, this trip was going to be work-related but, due to some unforeseen circumstances, my plans changed. I am always amazed at how much perspective I gain when I get out of my usual routine. This trip has been so restorative on many levels.

On a work-related note, I am spending a lot of time thinking about my classes. Every time I lead a workshop, I am inspired by the creativity of my students. My favorite part of the day is looking at everyone's images-- each person has such a unique vision. It's so cool to see.
I get so much out of teaching the workshops, that I have been brainstorming what other classes I would like to teach.

What do YOU think? What kinds of classes would you like to see? I would love to hear your ideas!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

making a difference

I am so inspired by the countless ways people are helping to raise money for the people affected by the crisis in Japan, (like this guy, for example.)

A couple weeks ago, I donated a piece of art to Artists for Japan, which ended up raising over $92,000! And then last week, Joe and I (along with our little fundraiser, Nina) walked with a small group of other dog lovers at Alki Beach, trying to raise money for the dogs of Japan.
It was a gorgeous day, (miraculously) and it was so awesome to see how many people crossed the street to show their support or hand over some cash for the cause.
It made me love my city, and the awesome community of West Seattle, even more.

This walk was organized by our fantastic dog walker and trainer, Anthony Hardt of Left Coast Dogs. Anthony is part of Nina's family-- she ADORES him, and he loves her just as much.
We feel so lucky to have met him.

If you live in West Seattle, and are looking to train, board, or schedule walks for your dog, I cannot recommend Anthony highly enough.

Below are some shots of the day.

Our little social activist, Miss Nina
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The man behind it all
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And his lovely wife
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