I thought I'd round out this week with some of my favorite things that have really excited me this year.
This blog intersects with my three loves, food, photography and my two basset hounds, so here are a few of my links that I've returned to more than once:
- Spinach Soup with Cashew Cream--this soup was crazy good. Of the 22 soups from "The Soup Project" that I've made, this one by far has the most possibilities for spin off recipes. What can I say? I love cashew cream!
- Quinoa Fritters--this recipe that I pilfered from The South American Table by Maria Baez Kijac has saved me many times when dinner time approaches and I have nothing in mind. Okay, it's not the healthiest recipe because the fritters are fried, but the flavor and texture will leave you wanting more.
- Make an Artist Date in Your Garden--this concept has changed my life. The artist date concept came from Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, and the idea is to make an artist date with yourself once a week. It can be anywhere--walk on the beach, check out an antique store, go to an art museum, watch a parade--but you must immerse yourself in the moment like an artist. This is a way to fuel creativity and I find it helps a lot in the kitchen, the garden and with photography. If you don't have a garden or it's raining like it is here, check out this fabulous garden blog.
I'm over the edge lately when it comes to food blogs. I've been looking at as many as I can and it feels like every stay-at-home-mom and home cook has started a food blog. Here's a tip for you if you're thinking of starting one, please don't start out with "I have four lovely children" (or two or three). Please look at many blogs first and see if you have anything new to add besides your own recipes, we're knee deep in recipes, I never thought it could get deeper but it does. Every time I turn around someone mentions a food blog they've started. I find myself smirking, thinking, really, another one? And yet here I sit writing about food. You can find many food bloggers at blog hops--the biggest trend blogging this year.
Blog hops are like putting your name in a fishbowl for a prize. If you put your name in enough bowls, you'll pick up followers. Here's how you do it: get the Mr. Linky tool and hook up. When I checked out the people who participated it seems like a workable strategy, especially for the host who gets all the incoming links but are these these people all really followers? On the creepy side, the crowed ocean of what-I-cooked-for-diner-is just a hint that we've become way too obsessed over our daily menu choices. The good and the bad blogs, I check them all. Check out this one with the carved shark over blue jello cubes. What do you think? Creepy, quirky or boring there isn't enough time in the day for all food blogs in this country. Enough rambling.
Here are my favorite food blogs (no Mr. Linky tools here):
- 101 Cookbooks--I love Heidi's vegetarian recipes and her photos can be quite inspiring.
- Smitten Kitchen--I'm a new follower for this one, and it's not vegetarian but her photos, story and recipes are worth taking a look at.
- Orangette--not vegetarian either but seriously who doesn't love Molly Wizenberg's Orangette?
Good food photography is intriguing, inviting and harder than it looks to get the right angle and right lighting using the right lens. One way to improve it study popular food blogs where lots of comments are generated about the photos. Another way is to find tips on line. Here are some of my favorite links to better food photography
The Pioneer Woman's tips for better food photography--I like her focus. Pioneer woman's recipes with close up photos comes about as close as you can get to food porn. Check out this rhubarb dessert and see how she gets hundreds of comments without any blog hopping parties.
Compositon, lighting, lenses and filters--Since I took pictures for my book, I've been interested in honing my skills. I check out photography websites and blogs and here are two of my favorites.
- Danielle Leavelle--check out where the shadows fall and the colors in the photos
- Dean Riggott-- amazing farm photography for landscape photos
This is Whispering Winds Farm (not my best moment in the farm photo category), but it's yet another shameless attempt to mention that Farm-to-Fork dinner I'll be attending on July 16th. Check it out, it's so affordable for a dinner on the farm. Plus we're giving out door prizes, so get your tickets!
Basset hounds and dogs
If you haven't seen Cooking with Dog and you like dogs, you simply must see it. The talking poodle is totally my favorite. Also, when I realized Pioneer Woman has two basset hounds, I now check her posts about for news about Charlie and Walter. Anyone with one or two dogs on their blog gets my attention. Here are my favorite links for those of you with four footed assistants.
I need to ramp-it-up, get a few basset action photos, but every time I take out the camera Finn poses.
Don't try this one without serious supervision.