Pinch of Yum http://pinchofyum.com A food blog with simple and tasty recipes. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:38:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Our Life Without Sugar http://pinchofyum.com/our-life-without-sugar http://pinchofyum.com/our-life-without-sugar#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:32:13 +0000 http://pinchofyum.com/?p=18830 There’s something I haven’t been telling you. For the last 60 days, Bjork and I have taken on the challenge to live without refined sugar. And it is TOTALLY a weird person thing to say and do, and I know you’re thinking the same thing right now, since you know me for my love of […]

The post Our Life Without Sugar appeared first on Pinch of Yum.

]]>
Our Life Without Sugar - a journey to a refined sugar free lifestyle. | pinchofyum.com

There’s something I haven’t been telling you.

For the last 60 days, Bjork and I have taken on the challenge to live without refined sugar.

And it is TOTALLY a weird person thing to say and do, and I know you’re thinking the same thing right now, since you know me for my love of chocolate chip cookies and brownies and chocolate chip cookies and brownies together in one dessert. Which I still love. Like, hi. This is a monumentally bizarre situation.

A few months ago, a nice person named Jacqueline emailed me and asked if I had any interest in joining her course called Go Sugar Free. I said NO WAY NEVER EVER (in my mind). Then I said THIS COULD BE INTERESTING (to Bjork). Then I said SURE I’D LIKE TO CHECK IT OUT BECAUSE I’M INTERESTED IN SEEING HOW YOU RUN THE COURSE (to Jacqueline). I specifically told Jacqueline at that time: We are not really into this whole sugar free thing. That’s just not us. We won’t be participating, but I’ll just follow along in order to do some “market research.”

And so then the lessons started, delivered to my inbox every day in the form of a nice, concise, and extremely information-packed email. It was such a wealth of information that even after just three or four days I was crazy curious about this whole sugar free lifestyle. I would come home from work and just talk Bjork’s ear off through an entire Office episode about Jacqueline-this-and-sugar-that and isn’t this all so interesting?! One day, my curiosity reached a tipping point slash I became a new, open-minded person and I told Bjork I was going to participate with the course and commit to living sugar free for 60 days. He said: Okay, I’ll do it too.

Hold the phone. Crazy. Town. This was SO not something we would normally have any interest in and yet there we were, along with about 75 other people, committing to live sugar free for 60 days.

Our Life Without Sugar - a journey to a refined sugar free lifestyle. | pinchofyum.com

We started by creating our own version of what it meant to be sugar free. For us, this meant cutting out refined sugars (white sugar brown sugar fake sugar syrups etc etc etc) and sticking to all natural sweeteners in small amounts, like real maple syrup, raw honey, and fruits. It also meant cutting back as much as possible on refined grains and choosing whole grains whenever possible.

Okay, get ready for this shock of your (and my) life: I think the biggest surprise of the whole experience to me was how… easy it was. Most of the time. It’s not like we were doing the no-no finger shake at sugary foods – we were just embracing other foods that we might not ordinarily have chosen that were equally as delicious and made us feel even better. And when I say embrace, I mean loving up on them. There are some really amazing, whole, delicious foods out there that don’t need any added anything to be wonderful and satisfying.

Our Life Without Sugar

But, I mean, don’t get the wrong idea. There were challenges.

Two weeks after we started, we went on vacation for 7 days with my family. Because apparently we like to test our goals with extremely difficult and tempting situations right off the bat. Smart. We shed a few silent tears at the table when my mom pulled a pan of warm brownies out of the oven and we pined (I mean, it was intense desire) for that cool, creamy, sugar cookie crust fruit pizza. And my family, being very supportive and loving but also being superexcited about desserts, all probably silently judged us and/or felt bad for us as we tried to muck our way through these new choices. *pout* That was probably our hardest week – it was still so fresh and we weren’t super comfortable with making the decision public and redefining ourselves in this totally out-of-the-box (for us) way.

But in the better moments, which was most of the other 53 days, we really enjoyed not only what we were eating but how we felt about ourselves. It’s been such a positive lifestyle change for us that we’re indefinitely choosing to live a “refined sugar selective” lifestyle. Meaning that the new norm is choosing other whole foods and snacks over refined sugar desserts on a day-to-day basis, but also recognizing that truly special, social times every now and again deserve a real dessert. Like, for example, having a piece of cake at my high school bestie’s wedding next month. It’s special and it’s social and it calls for the real thing.

Our Life Without Sugar - a journey to a refined sugar free lifestyle. | pinchofyum.com

Jacqueline describes the sugar free lifestyle as a true freedom from wanting or needing sugar all the time, and retraining your palate to taste the natural sweetness in things in ways you never did before. And this has definitely been true for me.

Along those lines, let’s get a top ten list going here. You guys, I love listicles. So much.

Top Ten Positive Things About Living Sugar Free

  1. A new appreciation for fruit. Fruit tastes amazing. Fruit IS amazing. Beautiful, colorful, and perfectly sweet. I ❤ fruit. Current faves are cherries and raspberries.
  2. More sensitive tastebuds. Things that used to taste plain to me now taste sweet. I can put 2 tiny teaspoons of real maple syrup on my oatmeal with a tiny bit of real cream and it’s sweet perfection. My old ways would involve dumping half the syrup bottle into the oatmeal bowl and topping it with extra sugar. Joking sort of.
  3. Discovering new whole AND packaged foods that we love for meals and snacks. Like Medjool dates, Pellegrino, poached egg and avocado toasts. And new brands of spaghetti sauce, Greek yogurt, and crackers with no added sugar.
  4. Losing weight. This was not a big part of what motivated us to take the course, but has definitely been a side effect of living without sugar. I lost, like, two pounds, which… is fine. But Bjork lost 15 pounds and he looks ahhhmazing. To the max.
  5. Flatter bellies. I feel really spammy writing that, but I promise this is not secretly a google adsense segment where I talk about the one secret trick for losing belly fat. It’s just a natural side effect of eating less sugar and more whole foods. I lost 1 1/2 inches around my waist, and Bjork lost 4 (count em – 1-2-3-4) inches. Go get a tape measure and see what that looks like – it’s a HUGE change.
  6. No regret. I feel like every morning when I wake up and think about what I ate the day before, I feel clean and healthy and proud. I don’t feel that oh-no-I-ate-five-brownies-just-before-bed regret that I used to after a wildly good time at the dessert table.
  7. The upward spiral. We’ve felt really good about the decisions that we’re making regarding sugar, which leads us to want to make more healthy decisions. Yesterday Bjork went for an 8 mile run. By choice. Things are getting weirdly awesome around here. When you start feeding your body good things, you want the upward spiral to continue so you make good decisions to continue to progress.
  8. Simplified decision making. Do you want a piece of fudge? No thank you. Period. No decisions to be made. You just pass on it and find something else to enjoy.
  9. Being smarter. I feel like I have a better understanding of nutrition and sugar and food and maybe most importantly how to form and keep good habits that has and will continue to empower me to make smart choices.
  10. Feeling better, all around. This could be purely psychological or it could be a result of true physical change. I don’t even care. We both feel great.

Our Life Without Sugar - a journey to a refined sugar free lifestyle. | pinchofyum.com

So the whole point of this post is to come clean and just let you know that this is what we’ve been doing, and what we’ll be continuing to do for the foreseeable future: eating more whole foods, less refined sugar, and leaving just a tiny bit of room for high quality, real deal dessert on the most important occasions.

Even though I haven’t specifically told you about our new lifestyle shift here on the blog (other than the occasional vague mention), ALL of the recipes of the past two months have been fitted to our version of refined sugar free. You might not have even noticed, which makes me super happy. If you ask me, refined sugar free = eating really really well. Delicious yum more of the good food.

Last thing that’s really important to say: I pass no judgement on a lifestyle that includes refined sugar. None! You guys, please hear that.  This is not about nutrition wars or making blanket statements about what’s best for all the people everywhere or making someone behave the same way I do. I have always been a dessert lover and I get a lot of joy from a big, frosting-loaed slice of moist, rich chocolate cake. For right now, for us, this refined sugar free experiment has proven to both Bjork and I that it’s a good fit for us.

Our Life Without Sugar - a journey to a refined sugar free lifestyle. | pinchofyum.com

Finally, if you are interested in checking out the course that we did that guided us to our 60 days of refined sugar free living, you are in luck!

You can visit Jacqueline’s website to learn more about Go Sugar Free. This is an affiliate link since we highly recommend Jacqueline and the way she supports, teaches, and encourages throughout the duration of the course!

Go Sugar FreeThe next course will start on August 6th, and in order to keep a high level of individual attention to course members, the number of spaces available in the course is limited. If you don’t get in for the fall course, Jacqueline will be running the course again in January.

Thanks for being bestie readers, guys. I totally and completely and overwhelmingly appreciate the support, positivity, and open-mindedness that you bring to Pinch of Yum! XOXO

The post Our Life Without Sugar appeared first on Pinch of Yum.

]]>
http://pinchofyum.com/our-life-without-sugar/feed 120
Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad http://pinchofyum.com/balsamic-watermelon-chicken-salad http://pinchofyum.com/balsamic-watermelon-chicken-salad#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:00:31 +0000 http://pinchofyum.com/?p=18792 Watermelon on a salad like what is going on. I’ve had this idea written up on my nice little kitchen chalkboard for at least three weeks now. The name “Watermelon Chicken Salad” sat there happily on the board right next to all my other random ideas, most of which have since gotten scratched off and […]

The post Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad appeared first on Pinch of Yum.

]]>
Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad - blue cheese, watermelon, almonds, spinach, chicken, and a balsamic reduction. Like summer on a plate! 300 calories. | pinchofyum.com

Watermelon on a salad like what is going on.

I’ve had this idea written up on my nice little kitchen chalkboard for at least three weeks now. The name “Watermelon Chicken Salad” sat there happily on the board right next to all my other random ideas, most of which have since gotten scratched off and erased and replaced with something new because I actually made them and posted them. For whatever reason, this little guy lingered. Another week would pass with no sign of a watermelon chicken salad, but for whatever reason when I’d clean off my board for the week, I really didn’t want to erase the idea just yet. I had this premonition of great things to come.

Speaking of great things.

Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad topped off with a simple balsamic reduction. YUM! | pinchofyum.com

In the three weeks that “Watermelon Chicken Salad” has been staring me down from the chalkboard, I’ve bought 8 million watermelons with very good intentions, thinking that each of them would be the one I’d use to make some kind of inspired and beautiful salad. But then I discovered this drink instead and every single piece of watermelon since has been doomed for the blender. Or my mouth. Today I ate it for breakfast, which is so weird, but actually not as weird as watermelon in a salad.

And I have a really important question. Why is watermelon like candy? It’s so incredibly good. Juicy, bright, sweet, red… it’s basically large cubes of all-natural Jolly Ranchers. Have you ever frozen watermelon cubes? <— That. You’re welcome.

So I got a really great bottle of balsamic and starting thinking about salads, and BAM. The inspiration for this salad finally hit and wowzzer. The long wait to actually make this combo happen was totally worth it. Here she is, in all her blue cheese crumbled, rainbow colored, crunchy almond, sweet balsamic glazed glory.

Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad - blue cheese, watermelon, almonds, spinach, chicken, and a balsamic reduction. | pinchofyum.com

Pinky promise, as I am writing this, I can hear Bjork’s fork + plate clinking together at record speed as he is devouring this in the next room.

The salty blue cheese to me was the thing that tied it all together. You have the sweetness of the watermelon and the balsamic glaze, the savory of the seasoned chicken, the crunch of the almonds, the freshness of the spinach, and then that blue cheese. Oh, the salty, creamy tang that makes my heart go wild. I am making a weird “I LOVE IT” face right now as I’m writing this because I don’t even really know how to describe what I’m trying to say – you get it, though, right? Through computer food osmosis, are we kind of experiencing it together?

Color, crunch, and yum. I want that to be the tagline of my life.

Pretty salad, come to mama.

Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad - tangy blue cheese, crunhcy almonds, sweet juicy watermelon, grilled chicken, and balsamic reduction. fresh summer deliciousness. 300 calories.| pinchofyum.com

5.0 from 3 reviews
Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad
Author: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 teaspoons all purpose seasoning (I used a spice mix I got at a specialty food store)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups baby spinach or greens
  • 2 cups cubed watermelon
  • ½ cup blue cheese crumbles
  • ¼ cup sliced or crushed almonds
Instructions
  1. Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the balsamic vinegar is significantly reduced and starting to become syrupy.
  2. Meanwhile, turn a grill or nonstick skillet to high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with the seasoning on both sides and drizzle with the olive oil. Transfer to the hot grill and cook until no longer pink on the inside and nicely browned on the outside. Let rest for 5 minutes; cut into small cubes.
  3. Layer the spinach with the chicken, watermelon, blue cheese, almonds, and drizzle with the balsamic reduction to taste. Top with additional olive oil if desired.

Nutrition Watermelon Salad

 

The post Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad appeared first on Pinch of Yum.

]]>
http://pinchofyum.com/balsamic-watermelon-chicken-salad/feed 58
Smoked Gouda Mushroom Quesadillas http://pinchofyum.com/smoked-gouda-mushroom-quesadillas http://pinchofyum.com/smoked-gouda-mushroom-quesadillas#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:00:24 +0000 http://pinchofyum.com/?p=18532 It’s like this: I ❤ Tex-Mex. I’ve always loved Mexican food (read: an excuse to douse food in salsa) and my food senses will always steer me in the direction of a Mexican restaurant when it’s that glorious time to do my favorite thing of all time which is called Go Out to Eat. Chips […]

The post Smoked Gouda Mushroom Quesadillas appeared first on Pinch of Yum.

]]>
Smoked Gouda Mushroom Quesadilla - quick, easy, and colorful! Hits the spot every. single. time. | pinchofyum.com

It’s like this: I ❤ Tex-Mex.

I’ve always loved Mexican food (read: an excuse to douse food in salsa) and my food senses will always steer me in the direction of a Mexican restaurant when it’s that glorious time to do my favorite thing of all time which is called Go Out to Eat. Chips and salsa, enchiladas, chilaquiles, tostadas, and carnitas – more more more.

On the Mexican food spectrum, I can’t say my tastes are super refined or sophisticated. I food-thrive at both the totally authentic level and the overly Texified level. The freshest, spiciest Mexican food will, without a doubt, make my heart soar, but there is just something so wonderful about a predictably cheesy, golden brown quesadilla that makes me go WHEEEEE! Slash takes me back to 2005 and the snack bar in my college dorm building. Ruh roh.

Is there is anything authentically Mexican food-esquely about a very simple cheesy quesadilla? Better question: does it matter?

Quesa to the dilla.

Smoked Gouda Mushroom Quesadilla - quick, easy, and full of colorful veggies. | pinchofyum.com

Bjork and I have this weird lunch thing going on now that we work from home. Both of us. All day, together. WORKING FROM HOME. *head spins*

Bjork works in his little space in “the studio”, which could also be considered our completely unfinished and totally ant-infested basement. I work upstairs, in the aesthetically nice, bug-free, comfortable main floor of our home, because food blogger needs a kitchen, and husband needs wife to be on a different floor of the house. Something about overly excessive sharing of Buzzfeed Animal listicles and not being able to get any “real work” done. So at lunch time we reconvene to eat lunch together and share a few listicles with each other before parting ways back to our different levels of the house.

Le sigh. How romantical.

Smoked Gouda Mushroom Quesadilla - quick, easy, and colorful! Hits the spot every. single. time. | pinchofyum.com

Or more like q-u-e-s-a-d-i-l-l-a romantical.

True romance for us right now is when you make smoked gouda mushroom quesadillas for two, and then you sit at the table together, and top the quesadillas with every topping imaginable and maybe inwardly critique the other’s topping choices but don’t say anything out loud, cause you’re romantic ❤, and then you choose not to talk in order to allow the space, time, and attention needed for devouring the plate full of sauteed veggies blanketed with a layer of smoky melted cheese all packaged up in a golden brown tortilla crust. Self-sacrifice, guys.

Sauteed mushrooms + peppers + smoked gouda + tortilla + toppings to the universe and back = true love.

Smoked Gouda Mushroom Quesadilla - these veggie-packed munchies are the perfect summer meal! | pinchofyum.com

5.0 from 1 reviews
Smoked Gouda Mushroom Quesadillas
Author: 
Serves: 5 quesadillas
 
Ingredients
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 bell peppers (I used red and yellow)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 16 ounces fresh sliced white mushrooms
  • 1¼ cup shredded cheese (obvi, smoked gouda is my fave)
  • 10 flour tortillas
  • sour cream and cilantro and anything else for topping
Instructions
  1. Prep the peppers: Slice the onion and peppers into thin strips. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat; add the onions and saute for 3-5 minutes or until soft. Add the peppers and saute for 5 minutes until soft and roasty-looking on the outside. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Prep the mushrooms: Wipe the skillet with a paper towel and return to the stove. Add 1½ tablespoons butter and melt over medium low heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5-8 minutes or until golden brown. Toss in the bowl with the peppers and onions.
  3. Assemble and cook: Wipe the skillet with a paper towel (again) and return to the stove. For each quesadilla, melt ½ tablespoon butter in the skillet and layer these ingredients directly in the pan: 1 tortilla, 2 tablespoons cheese, ⅓ cup pepper mushroom mixture, 2 tablespoons cheese, 1 tortilla. By the time you've layered them, the bottom will probably be getting a little golden brown. Press the quesadilla together with the back of a spatula to help it stick and carefully flip it over in the skillet. I usually hold my hand on the top tortilla as I flip it to keep the filling from falling out. Let the quesadilla brown for another 2-3 minutes on the other side, just enough to turn golden brown and melt the cheese. Remove and cut into wedges (and repeat for the other quesadillas). Top with sour cream, cilantro or anything else you like!

Nutrition Quesadilla

The post Smoked Gouda Mushroom Quesadillas appeared first on Pinch of Yum.

]]>
http://pinchofyum.com/smoked-gouda-mushroom-quesadillas/feed 58
Food Photography: 10 Tips for the Pour Shot http://pinchofyum.com/food-photography-10-tips-for-the-pour-shot http://pinchofyum.com/food-photography-10-tips-for-the-pour-shot#comments Sat, 19 Jul 2014 11:00:07 +0000 http://pinchofyum.com/?p=18540 Dressing! Sauce! Toppings galore! Drizzling and swirling and pouring things over my food is probably among the top 5 things I enjoy about food blogging. Because my life goal is to make errathing so purty. Okay though, back up the train. It’s time to tell the truth about these deliciously in-your-face pour shots. And I’m […]

The post Food Photography: 10 Tips for the Pour Shot appeared first on Pinch of Yum.

]]>
10 Tips for Food Photography Pour ShotsDressing! Sauce! Toppings galore!

Drizzling and swirling and pouring things over my food is probably among the top 5 things I enjoy about food blogging. Because my life goal is to make errathing so purty.

Okay though, back up the train. It’s time to tell the truth about these deliciously in-your-face pour shots. And I’m talking about the messy, badly aimed, missed the bowl and dumped sauce all over the table truth. Yes – you suspected and I can confirm. For every one amazing, in-focus, clean pour shot you see here on Pinch of Yum, you can just imagine (but don’t) the 800 NOT amazing pour shots it took to get there. My poor table.

Food Photography: 10 Tips for the Pour Shot | pinchofyum.com

Related to food photography but unrelated to pour shots, this week I did my first Google Hangout on Air with Katie from Kitchen Stewardship and it was all about FOOD PHOTOG! Even though in today’s post I’m talking specifically about pour shots per a few requests that I’ve gotten via email and comments (you guys! such a great idea!), I wanted to also including the video from the hangout so we can virtually talk about all elements of food photography at the same time. And I know some of you wanted to see the hangout but couldn’t make it at the time we were live, so voila. The miracle of technology.

I was a little nervous in the beginning if you can’t tell from my straight up confident lie stating that I wrote Tasty Food Photography last year. Um, try 2011. #nerves

Okay, so I’m not an expert at this pouring shot thing as you’ll see from some of my scrappy little tips today. My approach is very, um, how can I say this? homemade? and I’m always trying to keep things as easy as possible. So professional photographers, go away now. Kidding/serious. But the good news is I have done many-a-pour-shot in my day and I have some hopefully helpful ideas about how you can make the dreamy pour photo less of a blobby splat and more of a reality.

Let’s do dis thang.

line10 Tips for Food Photography Pour Shots

10 Tips for Food Photography Action Shots! #1. Choose a good pouring container. | pinchofyum.com

Imagine that you’re going to hold one of these in your hand and pour out of it. Which one is going to give you a more crisp, clean stream? Good job, kids, it’s the tall glass one. The measuring cup might look tempting since it has that little lip/spout/thing on there (I was immediately drawn to it like a complete fool, thinking it would be awesome because CUTE! the lip!). But the reality is two-fold – the lip/spout/thing is not big enough to give you a defined stream, and the handle is set off to the right side so you can really only hold it with your right hand, unless you want to test fate by pouring it backwards over the not-spouted edge. You will see how THAT turned out a little later in this post.

Bottom line: use a container with a long, skinny pour spout for a clean stream, and look for a handle on the back so you can use either hand to pour.

line

10 Tips for Food Photography Pour Shots

10 Tips for Food Photography Action Shots! #2: Faster shutter speed. | pinchofyum.com

When shooting still, non-moving, regular food on a plate, I always suggest that people set their shutter speed low + slow. Usually I have mine around 60 – that means that the shutter will take 1/60th of a second to open and close. But in the case of milk being poured on cereal, 1/60 is not fast enough to catch the movement of the pour. Check out the floating blob of milk hovering just above the cereal. That might have also had something to do with a faulty pour, but you get the idea: mystery substances lingering in the air is not a goal in food photography.

But if the shutter goes FASTER, you can catch more action! *Openclose*, just like that, and you’ve caught the droplets or the stream midair without the blurry blobness. For the one pictured here, I used a shutter speed of 1/200 of a second.

Bottom line: shutter speed should be FASTER (higher #) to catch more sharp, quick action.

line

10 Tips for Food Photography Pour ShotsFood Photography: 10 Tips for the Pour Shot! #3. Set a focal point. | pinchofyum.com

Sometimes I want the pour to land in the foreground of the photo, and sometimes I want it in the center. It’s really important that you are able to talk to your camera and let it know what you’re trying to do, so I just press the little “Q” button on the back of my screen and select the icon that looks like this.Food Photography: 10 Tips for the Pour Shot | pinchofyum.com

I arrow over until I land on the focal point that I want the camera to focus on. Manually selecting your focal point is just a good way to boss your camera around and make it behave like you want. In this example, the camera would default to focusing on the center of the photo. Perf!

Bottom line: find this function on your camera and use it to tell your camera where you want it to focus.

line

10 Tips for Food Photography Pour ShotsFood Photography: 10 Tips for the Pour Shot! #4. Focus on an area of contrast. | pinchofyum.com

This one’s easy: the camera will just have an easier time focusing if the area that you’re shooting (and where the sauce is landing) has lots of contrast. The last thing you want is to start the pour and have the lens squirm back and forth trying to figure out where to focus. Wahhh!

Bottom line: give the food/landing spot some contrast with color and texture and your life will be much easier.

line

10 Tips for Food Photography Pour ShotsFood Photography: 10 Tips for the Pour Shot. #5: Add water to your sauce. | pinchofyum.com

When I use certain toppings or sauces as , I often add water to them to make them pour more smoothly. A great example is dressings – sometimes they are a little more gloppy than I want them to be. Nothing says EEWW like a thick glop of dressing on the front and center of your salad. So I just whir up a little extra water in there until it runs off my spoon nice and smooth. Even if the recipe doesn’t need it, the photo DOES. So don’t be afraid to manipulate your food to get the effect you want.

Bottom line: adding water to sauces almost always helps them pour more smoothly.

line

10 Tips for Food Photography Pour ShotsFood Photography: 10 Tips for the Pour Shot! #6: Test and adjust settings.| pinchofyum.com

So, but if you’re going to adjust the shutter speed, then what? Doesn’t it get too dark and too light and oh my gosh what are all these manual control wheels for?!

If you are changing the shutter speed to be faster, you’ll need to compensate with more light. You can do that by adjusting the aperture or the ISO. I’m not going to say a ton of mumbo jumbo about that here, because IMO it takes more than just quickly reading through one post to really learn how to do this manual controls thing well. But it’s important, like SUPER important! so that’s why I’m mentioning it. If you want a little more detailed (but easy to understand) help with this process, check out my ebook Tasty Food Photography. If you’re reading this and it’s still July 2014, use the discount code july30 because discounts are awesome!

Bottom line: shoot, check, adjust. shoot, check, adjust. shoot, check adjust. and repeat.

line

10 Tips for Food Photography Pour ShotsFood Photography: 10 Tips for the Pour Shot! #7: Set up a tripod.| pinchofyum.com

This is a really beautiful water, almond, and cilantro set up. Just stunning. I call that one Recipe Photo Shoot Leftovers Being Repurposed for a Food Photography Example Photo.

In reality, this is just me showing you how I would set up my tripod if I ever actually used my tripod. I would hold the remote while standing opposite the light (don’t block it!) and pouring the water right into the glass. Prior to this, if you’re using a tripod, you’ll want to check your setting, set your focal point, and do a few test shots without the actual pour. This same concept can work by replacing the tripod with a human spouse or friend or roommate.

Bottom line: using a tripod makes the pour shot, like, waaaay easy.

line

10 Tips for Food Photography Pour Shots

Food Photography: 10 Tips for the Pour Shot! #8. Use your arm. | pinchofyum.com

Okay, this is the time where I tell you the true stories. I almost never ever use a tripod. And I almost always do this little quick and simple hand maneuver to get my pour shots. I am seriously laughing right now – it’s so weird and not at all professional. But this is what I do! I’m not going to give a whole-hearted recommendation for this method because it is, without a doubt, more difficult than using a tripod. But if you are like me (impatient and impulsive) and want to get things done now now now instead of setting up a tripod for 10-15 minutes to get one photo (nutso!), this can work instead.

So here’s what I do: I look THROUGH the camera to line up my shot while holding the pouring vessel. Then I look UP at the pouring vessel to make sure it’s actually going to land on the food. <— very very very important. Then I do that again, and again, and again, back and forth at least five times, and finally when I’m sure both my hand and camera are in the right place, I pour and shoot.

Even though I can’t fully recommend this way of doing it, especially for beginners, I did want to mention this little homemade strategy for two reasons:

  1. I don’t want you to be fooled into thinking that you have to own a tripod to get a good pour shot. No way, man.
  2. I want to shed light on the bigger idea that there’s always more than one way of achieving an effect when it comes to food photography. Remember these posts about using household items to help your food photography? You don’t always need fancy-professional-tools. This is yet another way of achieving the tripod pour-shot effect, right now, in your very own house with whatever food you’re shooting, using something that you almost for sure have –> your arm.

Bottom line: it can work just fine without a tripod.

line

10 Tips for Food Photography Pour Shots Food Photography: 10 Tips for the Pour Shot! #9. Move your hand up and out. | pinchofyum.com

Just, just, just don’t ever do what I’m doing in that first picture which is pouring cream out of a measuring cup BACKWARDS (using my left hand and requiring me to pour over the non-spouted side of the measuring cup resulting in the liquid totally sloshing over the side and running off the measuring cup straight onto the table). Also, my hand. Gross. It’s like a mysterious dark creature of the night descending on the coffee and it makes me scurrd.

Bjork took the second picture for me and, as a result, my hand looks way more natural. If you DO want your hand to be in the photo, like so, move your hand up and back and angle it naturally so no one is wondering about creatures in the tops of your pictures and use a tripod or second shooter. If you don’t have either of those things, I would suggest moving your hand completely out of the shot and just capturing the stream. It’s really hard to get a natural-looking hand angle when you are doing the fancy maneuver from #8.

Bottom line: pay attention to your hand placement, whether it’s in or out of the shot.

line

10 Tips for Food Photography Pour ShotsPractice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice. For every recipe that you do with a sauce or dressing, challenge yourself to just try snapping a quick pour shot. When you drain or rinse things at the sink, practice the pour shot. Practice as much as you can, because remember, for every one good pour photo that you see, there are probably 800 bad ones that you’re not seeing. And you don’t always have to use the photos that you take, but if you’re already cooking and pouring and drizzling, and you already have your camera out, why not practice one real quick?

I love creating that up close and personal food feeling through the photos on my blog, and to me, saucy, realistic, in-your-face pour shots are one of the easiest ways to do that. My fingers are crossed that some of these tips will encourage you to be brave with your pours! If you have some awesome pour shots that you love, feel free to link a post below so we can check it out.

line

If you liked this…

then I’m a happy girl!

You can also check out my ebook Tasty Food Photography and the discount we have available right now through the end of July.

Tasty Food Photography on an iPadTasty Food Photography Sale

The post Food Photography: 10 Tips for the Pour Shot appeared first on Pinch of Yum.

]]>
http://pinchofyum.com/food-photography-10-tips-for-the-pour-shot/feed 73
Black Pepper Stir Fried Noodles http://pinchofyum.com/black-pepper-stir-fried-noodles http://pinchofyum.com/black-pepper-stir-fried-noodles#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 11:00:09 +0000 http://pinchofyum.com/?p=18732 I mean, why not greet you with a big plate of this right in your face? WHY. NOT. You guys, I know I say this a lot, but I really love this one. Noodles just speak to me. Something about all the twirling of the forks and the soakage of the sauces… it’s like we […]

The post Black Pepper Stir Fried Noodles appeared first on Pinch of Yum.

]]>
Black Pepper Stir Fried Noodles - this simple 30 minute stir fry is packed with AMAZING flavor! | pinchofyum.com

I mean, why not greet you with a big plate of this right in your face? WHY. NOT.

You guys, I know I say this a lot, but I really love this one. Noodles just speak to me. Something about all the twirling of the forks and the soakage of the sauces… it’s like we were made for each other.

This week I made a special grocery trip to a local co-op for a little something different and exciting in my life. Party! I went there instead of my local grocery store in part because I wanted to buy some trustworthy, local, good quality beef for a recipe that’s coming up in a few, but also if I’m being honest it was partially because our neighborhood chain grocery store is changing to a new chain grocery store and therefore it’s a total mess where there is pop in the produce section and the coconut milk shelves have been bare for months and it makes me cray cray.

Black Pepper Stir Fried Noodles - a completely adaptable recipe depending on whatever you have on hand. | pinchofyum.com

When I was at the local co-op, I made lots of new food friends (no, literally, I mean Food that I would now consider like a new hipster friend) and among them was a very significant New Noodle Discovery: UDON.

Actually, I’ve been thinking about udon noodles for the last, um, seven months, ever since I tried thee mooost amaaazing udon noodle tempura shrimp bowl at an adorable little Japanese bistro in Minneapolis. If you live even remotely close to Minneapolis, you’ll need to check this gem out. It’s called Obento Ya. When you go, Bjork and I will be the ones sitting in the booth talking about things like The Bachelorette and WordPress plugins and Michael Scott, and eating our usuals: vegetable tempura, miso soup, the summer roll, and the sushi bento box. Hard to miss.

So when I saw udon noodles staring me down in the tiny little aisle of the local co-op, I wasted 0.0 seconds getting them in my cart and home to a boiling pot of water. And things went well.

Black Pepper Stir Fried Noodles - sauce made from scratch and perfectly golden brown tofu = happy food! | pinchofyum.com

I am so in love with this recipe on so many levels.

  1. It’s sneakily easy. 30 minutes, start to finish.
  2. Pantry ingredients. Mostly. The only exception is those udon noodles which I demand you go hunt for because they’re so good. I’ve seen them at the co-op but also at regular grocery stores now that I’ve been looking.
  3. Tofu. ❤ It’s kind of a new thing for us, especially tofu cooked at home. But I got brave after that honey ginger stir fry and now it’s a new thing that we love.
  4. This will take things in your refrigerator that you are avoiding (carrots. mushrooms. broccoli. other foods that people avoid.) and turn them into a meal that tastes amazing. You can also add meat if you must. But please see #3.
  5. It’s just pretty. If you make this please snap a pic and tag me on Insty/Twitter because I will get an inappropriate amount of joy out of seeing your beautiful, colorful, texture-ful food.

 

Black Pepper Stir Fried Noodles - this simple, flavor-packed 30 minute stir fry uses basic pantry ingredients. Two thumbs up! | pinchofyum.com

We are now T-2 days until Bjork and I head up to the cabbie with my family for the best two weeks of summer. Boating and sun and fresh air for days! This seems like a good time to tell you that I, uhmm, wakeboard. I know. It’s not really like me, but it’s the single cool, extreme sport thing that I have mastered. I do it ONCE every summer, even if I have to go early in the morning or on a really cold day, just to say I can still do it. Proud much? And lest you should get the wrong idea about me based on this once yearly extreme sport thing, I always almost die when I jump in the cold water, I have a paralyzing fear of sunfish biting my toes, and I make my dad drive the boat like 2 miles per hour (thumbs down! thumbs down! slower slower slower! Daaaaad!). Because what if I fall? Ouch.

We basically spend the whole two weeks outside, except for at night when we gather round to watch TV series marathons. We started our first year at the cabin with the show 24, but it quickly spiraled out of control in the way only 24 can spiral out of control, and it became way too scary and violent for my younger sibs (read: me) so we quit.

Now I will ask for your help: I would luv it if you could suggest a show that we could become obsessed with while we’re there. I just love the late nights, big bowls of popcorn, and “one more episode!” vibe that we have when we’re there. The hard thing is that the show sort of has to be family friendly (12 year old up in the house), and sometimes family friendly shows don’t have the same pull that intensely violent counter terrorism unit shows tend to have. But if you’ve got sumthin, comment plz!

Black Pepper Stir Fried Noodles - this simple 30 minute stir fry is packed with AMAZING flavor! | pinchofyum.com

Super good news: I’m going to be posting while we’re at the cabin because – joy of all joys – I’m a blogger now so I can work from anywhere! SO dreamy! and the cabin is one of my favorite places to cook and bake because there’s always a crowd to enjoy the food with, so expect yums.

But honestly, why are we still talking.

I cannot wait until you make these black pepper stir fried noodles. Just hurry up already.

Black Pepper Stir Fried Noodles - this simple 30 minute stir fry is packed with AMAZING flavor! | pinchofyum.com

5.0 from 7 reviews
Black Pepper Stir Fried Noodles
Author: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
For the Black Pepper Sauce:
  • ½ tablespoon freshly ground black peppercorns
  • 5-6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 2 tablespoons honey or sugar
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 6 tablespoons water
For the Stir Fried Noodles:
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 8 ounces udon noodles (rice noodles would also work)
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 10 ounces extra firm tofu
  • sesame seeds for topping
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the noodles and cook for 1-2 minutes (they should NOT be all the way cooked - just enough to barely soften). Drain and rinse with cold water - this removes starch and helps them stir fry without turning into a big blob. Set aside.
  2. Place all the sauce ingredients in the food processor and give it a whirl. When it's smooth, taste it and adjust to your liking. Cut the tofu into slices and press out the excess moisture several times with paper towels. Cut the tofu slices into cubes. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large wok or nonstick skillet. When the oil is shiny, add the tofu. Stir fry very gently (breaks apart easily) for 5-10 minutes until deep golden brown. Add a tiny splash of black pepper sauce, a tiny splash of water, and ½ tablespoon oil and shake the pan around - everything will be all sizzly and awesome. When the tofu is cooked to your liking, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining ½ tablespoon oil in the skillet. When the oil is shiny, add the noodles and black pepper sauce. Add a splash of water if the sauce becomes too thick. Stir fry until the noodles are softened completely, covered with sauce, and piping hot. Remove from heat and toss with the spinach and tofu. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Notes
You can use more tofu (a whole block is 16 ounces) or more veggies - I just wanted mine to have a high noodle-to-extra-ingredients ratio.

Black Pepper Stir Fried Noodles Nutrition

The post Black Pepper Stir Fried Noodles appeared first on Pinch of Yum.

]]>
http://pinchofyum.com/black-pepper-stir-fried-noodles/feed 120
Chicken Shahi Korma http://pinchofyum.com/chicken-shahi-korma http://pinchofyum.com/chicken-shahi-korma#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 11:00:59 +0000 http://pinchofyum.com/?p=18667 If you like spicy, comforting, wonderful Indian food, first of all, you are my best friend and let’s go to the lunch buffet. NOW. Secondly, you know that sometimes the most humble looking recipes are the most delicious. And when I say humble, I do mean scary. Remember the palak paneer I made way back […]

The post Chicken Shahi Korma appeared first on Pinch of Yum.

]]>
Chicken Shahi Korma - so simple and RIDICULOUSLY good. Chicken, paneer, cashews, and golden raisins all in a creamy, spicy sauce. 400 calories. | pinchofyum.com

If you like spicy, comforting, wonderful Indian food, first of all, you are my best friend and let’s go to the lunch buffet. NOW.

Secondly, you know that sometimes the most humble looking recipes are the most delicious. And when I say humble, I do mean scary. Remember the palak paneer I made way back when? Okay yeaaaah.

But ain’t nobody got time for vanity here. This heavenly combination of chicken, paneer, cashews, golden raisins, and a creamy spicy sauce is gosh darn tasty, and I’ve known it for as long as I’ve been frequenting the in-cre-di-ble Indian restaurant in our neck of the woods, and better yet, now I know it FROM MY OWN KITCHEN.

This is a big deal. Usually me and Indian food are best left to the restaurants. You know, like all the following of the directions and those long ingredient lists and unfamiliar whole spices and *head in hands* I give up. But not this time, friends. This is beautifully simple to make, and although it does have a long ingredient list, it’s nothing that’s going to send you around town to find a million an one things. I (almost) promise. I am a big fan of realistic recipes and this is totally, totally a realistic recipe. Can you tell I want you to try this so so bad?

It’s also a spicy recipe.

Chicken Shahi Korma - hello homemade Indian food! So simple and so good. 400 calories. | pinchofyum.com

Today is big day for us: we are meeting with a team of constructionally gifted people to talk about tearing down walls in our house to make an awesomely fresh and open kitchen space. As in KITCHEN REMODEL. As in omg omg omg happy happy fun! I’m sure there will be no drama, ever, with anything, right?

The last few months have been a bit of a roller coaster of decision making. We had talked about doing the remodel, then NOT doing the remodel, then looking for a studio instead of the remodel, then NOT looking for a studio, and now we’ve settled back on doing the kitchen remodel. This will be the space where I’ll work indefinitely, and we’ll be able to not only use the space for some video if I get brave enough to try to be, like, funny and kewl on camera, but we’ll just enjoy not having to feel like we’re locked in a closet while we’re cooking and being able to talk to peeps across the real live kitchen peninsula.

I think when we were initially deciding whether or not to move forward with the remove, we both sort of forgot that we bought the house on the lower end so we could put a little money into the kitchen and make it a nice comfortable space. So now that we’ve kind of re-realized that, I feel really good about the decision. And I think Bjork does too. Right, Bjork? Do you even read my blog? Check yes or no.

If you forgot what it currently looks like, you are in for a treat. You can check it out ovah heeyah.

Chicken Shahi Korma -chicken, paneer, cashews, and golden raisins all in a creamy, spicy sauce. 400 calories. | pinchofyum.com

The gist of the remodel is this -

  • white cabinets
  • white/grey marble-ish countertops
  • cooktop and oven
  • dishwasher *insert prayer emoji*
  • skinny fridge (small house issues)
  • farmhouse sink? is it too big, or too adorable that we can’t say no? can’t decide
  • new hardwood floors that match the original floors of the house

I have a board on Pinterest dedicated to kitchen remodel inspiration if you want to check out the look that we’re going for. Which is one of those jokes about Pinterest where you pin everything you want your life to be and then realize that your kitchen is a shoebox and you can barely fit YOURSELF in the kitchen, much less your dream pantry space complete with organized jars of food and corresponding matching labels. What?

If you have anything awesome to say about kitchen remodeling 101 for dummies, you can leave it in the comments below. We are sort of clueless about this home ownership thing and you all are a wealth of knowledge.

Okay, though, Chicken Shahi Korma. It’s heaven-sent. The firm paneer, the crunchy cashews, the plump raisins, the spicy chicken, the creamy sauce which I could eat in a bowl all by itself… I am getting lightheaded typing that all out.

It’s what my dreams are made of.

Chicken Shahi Korma - this is food from the gods. Chicken, paneer, cashews, and golden raisins all in a creamy, spicy sauce. 400 calories. | pinchofyum.com

4.6 from 8 reviews
Chicken Shahi Korma
Author: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
Recipe Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs. chicken breasts
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons oil, divided
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1½ cups Greek yogurt
  • 16 oz paneer, cubed
  • ¾ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup cashews
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Korma Sauce Ingredients:
  • ½ cup cashews pieces
  • 1 cup chicken broth (more to thin the sauce later)
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (if you can't find them, just skip em)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
Instructions
  1. Cut the chicken breasts into small cubes. Puree the ginger, garlic, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a food processor, adding a little water if necessary. Pour over the chicken, stir, and refrigerate to marinate while you prep the rest of the recipe.
  2. Puree all the sauce ingredients in a food processor until very smooth. Set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add the chicken and the tomato paste. Saute until fragrant and browned.
  4. Add the korma sauce base, yogurt, half and half, paneer, raisins, cashews, and salt. Taste and adjust to your liking. Simmer for as long as you can before eating so the flavors can develop. Add extra water or chicken broth the thin out the sauce to your desired consistency since it will thicken up a little bit. Serve over basmati rice or with naan. It's soooo gooood.

Nutrition Chicken Shahi Korma

The post Chicken Shahi Korma appeared first on Pinch of Yum.

]]>
http://pinchofyum.com/chicken-shahi-korma/feed 111