Monday, June 17, 2013

Two Years. Sweet Cole. :)

Cole is a serious sweetheart. But that's no surprise considering who his mama is... She was my ninth grade math teacher and definitely one of my favorite teachers ever. She was patient and sweet and fun and enthusiastic... And it's obvious her son adores her too. He is shy and loves to be held by his mommy. He is cautious and sweet and makes the most adorable little boy serious faces ever... But then his face can light up with the sweetest smiles too! It took him a little while to warm up to me and the camera, but I think we got some really cute representations of his little personality :) We started out taking pictures at the train tracks, and ended at an old fashioned ice cream parlor. I think the milkshake Cole got there was his favorite part of the morning for sure. I got so many sweet smiles out of him while he drank his shake :) 

One reason why this shoot was extra special to me is because Cole's newborn photos are one of the very first sessions I ever was paid for. If my business were a baby, it and Cole would be the exact same age. :) It is so fun to watch him grow and develop, seeing him walking around and talking. 

So, with that, here are some of my favorites from our session :) 

ok, seriously... I am in love with the two below. Could he be any cuter??! 

 Choo Choo!! 
 The strip below reminds me of an old newspaper article... 

Next stop, Ice Cream Parlor!! 

He looked like a little man sitting at the table sipping his milkshake, watching the cars go by. So cute! 

That milkshake made him so happy!!  

Love these expressions!! 

 And the one below.... I don't think you could ask for a sweeter photo. 

Looking in at the chocolates!! 

And a few more outside the ice cream parlor before we wrapped up :) 

 I'll end with one of my favorites from the day. 

Thank you so much for letting me capture Cole at two years old... what a sweet time of "toddler-hood" it is as he talks more and more, explores and develops his personality. He is such a sweet heart and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to catch it through my lens :) 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dan & Tawni: Newlyweds!

So, I love the story of this shoot.... We had scheduled an engagement session for June 8th. About a week or two before our session was coming up, I got a message that Dan and Tawni had gotten MARRIED on their trip to Vegas, and we were turning the engagement session into a newlywed session! So fun, spontaneous, and very like these two... they don't want a lot of fuss, they want simple, fun, genuine. 
When I asked Tawni what feel she was looking for from their photos she said "I like the more casual, fun, best friend, forever love kind of pictures ..." So we went from there and I think we came out with just what she was looking for: pictures that capture their love and relationship with a twist of playfulness :) 

I'll start with these fun shots of their new bling!! 

Loved, loved, loved the sunset light spilling into these photos... 

The one below is a favorite

I put the two below side by side because i just love how something as simple as how much sunlight you let peek into your lens can change the feel of the photo so much. 

And the again, the one below is another definite favorite! 

Love this one too, especially with the black and white edit on it :) 

The series below are a few from the last few minutes of our session. I told them I wanted to capture some personality, some goofiness, and to just be themselves and interact and pretend I wasn't there... Love all the character these have!!  

Husband and wife. :) 

Thank you guys so much for asking me to do these photos for you! They were super fun and laid back and I feel like they represent you so well. I hope you love them all as much as I do!! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How to turn leftovers into SALADS! (some of my favorites)

I have salad for my lunch more days than not. I love it. Partly because it's so good for you, and partly for the endless combinations you can come up with. While buying specific salad supplies can get expensive, I have found a way to have a variety of different salads, use up leftovers, and not break the bank... win, win, win. :) 
It takes a little creativity, but I'm pretty sure if you give it a try you can come up with some amazing new salad recipes too :) 

Let's start with this: 
Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette.

If you (and or the baby in your belly) have a newfound love for vinegar, definitely give this a try. 
We were out of grocery money for the month and I was craving a good balsamic dressing so I came up with this from what we had in our pantry.

Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Italian Herbs

Mix oil and vinegar, about 2/3 oil to 1/3 vinegar. (I did half and half, but that might be too vinegar-y for some...) Then add ground sea salt, freshly ground pepper, sugar and italian seasonings to taste. For the best Italian Seasoning I recommend McCormick's Italian Herb Grinder- the taste is so fresh and good. You're probably going to need more seasonings than you'd anticipate to get the flavor all through the oil and vinegar mixture. Combine all in a container of choice (I used my glass dressing bottle) and shake well. 

Finished product :) 

Ok, so in order to make a variety of salads without making specific shopping lists and spending a ton, there are a few things I always keep on hand. 
1. Croutons (specifically texas toast caesar croutons)
2. Dressings (Caesar, french, blue cheese, raspberry vinaigrette and my homemade balsamic)
3. Craisins
4. Wontons/Tortilla Strips
5. Variety of Nuts (cashews, almonds, glazed pecans) 
6. Lettuce (obviously.... I love romaine but lately we've been using buttercrunch, spring mix, or whatever is in season that we can buy fresh)

The Dressings are easy, they last a long time. The croutons I use in some other recipes (like crunched up on top of chicken divan, or on top of some soups etc.) The nuts are another staple, Shaun loves to mix them together and take them as part of his lunches to work. And the craisins are an easy snack for the boys sometimes too. Wontons or tortilla strips seem to last a while for us too and are a fun addition to several different salads. 

K, now on to some examples: 

The one you see below was so yummy.... We had leftover chicken salad that I had made so I just tore up some romaine lettuce, piled chicken salad in the middle, and thought about what would taste good with the two that we had already.... I ended up adding some fresh strawberries, glazed pecans, and wonton strips. I used my balsamic vinaigrette as the dressing. Adding berries or fruit to salad is one of my favorite toppings. Strawberries, blueberries, and mandarin oranges are common ones I add. 

The next salad was to use up leftover chicken bbq and pico de gallo from dinner the night before. Again I used romaine lettuce, then topped it with slices of bbq chicken, spoonfuls of pico de gallo, some sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and tortilla strips. Mmmm.... :) 

The one pictured below was my lunch today, and probably my favorite of all of them... The spring mix is from our friends' Jarrod & Kendra's garden and is SO. GOOD. I used leftovers from Monday's dinner, caprese chicken. I piled up my spring mix, added a few slices of chicken, then shredded mozzerella cheese and chopped up tomatoes to add. (Both of these were ingredients I had gotten to make the caprese chicken and had extra of) I finished it off with some caesar croutons, balsamic vinaigrette and a slice of foccacia bread (also leftover from Monday night dinner) 

As you can see, I love to add a little chicken to my salads. The protein in the middle of the day keeps me from feeling like I'm going to faint in the afternoon. You might have also noticed that most salads have some kind of cheese on them... I didn't have that on my list of things I try to keep on hand because usually we have some kind in our fridge just because a recipe called for it and I'll use that. Every now and then I will buy feta which I love on salads. 
Another example of turning a leftover dinner into a salad (this is probably what started me in the whole thing) is a taco salad. Just use extra taco meat and whatever else you had for your tacos (salsa, sour cream, tomatoes, crunched up tortilla chips etc) and pile on a salad. 

I kind of have a formula for what makes a good salad in my head: 

fresh lettuce.
something crunchy.
another fruit or veggie besides lettuce.
cheese and/or meat. 

Then, if my salad is mostly veggies, I'll use a more savory dressing. If it has fruits or the glazed pecans on it, then a sweeter dressing like raspberry vinaigrette is one of my favorites. But you'll figure out your own formula through trial and error too :) 

Last but not least, this one isn't made using leftovers as inspiration, but it's a definite favorite. 
Tomato, basil and Chick pea Salad. 
(especially good when the tomatoes and basil come from your garden!) 
Here's the link to the recipe: tomato, basil & chickpea salad

I only use one clove of garlic, and depending on how much basil I have I'll use anywhere from 10-25 leaves. You can just eat it with a fork, or you can scoop it with tortilla chips or use as a topping to grilled chicken etc. Our boys love it. 

Well, I hope you're feeling inspired to try salad in new ways and use up some leftovers in a healthy way!!! Let me know if you come up with some amazing new combinations! 
Happy Salad Eating :)