i am baker http://iambaker.net Confections & Creations Sat, 23 Aug 2014 13:20:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 grilled chicken rainbow cobb salad http://iambaker.net/grilled-chicken-rainbow-cobb-salad/ http://iambaker.net/grilled-chicken-rainbow-cobb-salad/#comments Sat, 23 Aug 2014 13:20:37 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=44633 Grilled Chicken Rainbow Cobb Salad!
This post is brought to you by Aldi’s. I used fruit and vegetables to turn this salad into a beautiful and refreshing meal!  A bit different from my norm, wouldn’t you say?   One of my favorite meals in the world is a Cobb Salad.  It has a little of everything; meat (usually chicken), greens/vegetables.... 

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Grilled Chicken Rainbow Cobb Salad!

This post is brought to you by Aldi’s.

I used fruit and vegetables to turn this salad into a beautiful and refreshing meal!  A bit different from my norm, wouldn’t you say?

 

One of my favorite meals in the world is a Cobb Salad.  It has a little of everything; meat (usually chicken), greens/vegetables.  This particular version of a Cobb Salad has all of that as well as some fruit and bacon!

Bacon.  #bacon #bacon #bacon

#getinmahbelleh

 

I laid it out here with all of the ingredients lined up and covering a bed of lettuce,  but you could just as easily put all ingredients in a large bowl.

 

But I can’t help but love the way it looks when laid out in rainbow color order.  There is just something so beautiful and fresh about it all!  And there is bacon.  Did I mention I adore bacon?

 

The recipe is for a quick assembly, but do feel free to customize in a way that is most pleasing to you!

Grilled Chicken Rainbow Cobb Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 grilled chicken breasts
  • 4 roma tomatoes, cut into round sections
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup corn (can be canned)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup purple cabbage
  • bacon
  • I head lettuce, rinsed and shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vinaigrette salad dressing to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare ½ pound bacon. I put mine in the oven at 425 for 15 minutes.
  2. Coat chicken in salt and pepper and grill for about 5 minutes per side. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. Place lettuce in a large bowl. Prepare all vegetable’s and place on top of lettuce. Sprinkle bacon.
  4. Pour vinaigrette over everything.
  5. Cut chicken into sections and place over vegetables.
  6. Serve immediately.
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Of course, if you want to really have fun with your food, put it all in a jar!  Not only is this beautiful, but convenient. Place it all in a jar then head out for a picnic with your family!

I shared this recipe over at Aldi’s blog!  I was able to buy all the ingredients for this salad at Aldi’s and on a budget.  Which is awesome when you make this as often as I do!

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coffee sugar cookies http://iambaker.net/coffee-sugar-cookies-ice-cream-sandwich/ http://iambaker.net/coffee-sugar-cookies-ice-cream-sandwich/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:40:42 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45055 Coffee Sugar Cookies
I was hanging out on Pinterest the other day and came across some Coffee Sugar Cookies.  Intrigued by the picture I clicked on the pin and low and behold… I made them!  Ha.  Talk about forgetfulness.  I think it’s post-pregnancy-i-have-five-children-and-nine-chickens-brain. Seeing how horrible my original pictures were I decided to update the recipe and shoot... 

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Coffee Sugar Cookies

I was hanging out on Pinterest the other day and came across some Coffee Sugar Cookies.  Intrigued by the picture I clicked on the pin and low and behold… I made them!  Ha.  Talk about forgetfulness.  I think it’s post-pregnancy-i-have-five-children-and-nine-chickens-brain.

Seeing how horrible my original pictures were I decided to update the recipe and shoot some new shots.  Also, the idea of coffee sugar cookies seemed fabulous!  Two of my favorite things in one place.

Sugar + Coffee = Happiness Coma

 

 

However, I actually decreased the amount of coffee in the recipe.  You can see that the gorgeous flakes of caffeinated awesomeness are still thoroughly dispersed throughout.  There is more than enough to add a little spring to your step!

Which leads me to another alteration… I made it with decaffeinated grounds. I am still a nursing mom and in the slight chance that my kids might sneak one I figured it was for the best.  You can certainly opt for full caffeinated fun!

coffee sugar cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. fresh ground coffee (you can also use instant crystals or powder)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (I used kosher)

Instructions

  1. In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar.
  2. In a small bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, and coffee until fully incorporated.
  3. In separate bowl add together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. Slowly add your egg mixture to the butter mixture until well combined. Slowly add flour mixture until fully combined, do not over beat.
  5. Chill this dough for at least one hour, preferably overnight.
  6. When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Roll out dough on floured solid surface to about 1/2 inch thick. Using a circle cookie cutter, punch out circles and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden. Allow cookies to cool completely before covering in any icing.
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Here is the thing with these cookies.  They are good, they live up to their name well.  But I actually prefer them when a few adaptations are made.  For instance, adding mounds of glorious pink buttercream frosting.  Cherry buttercream frosting to be exact.

The combination of the slightly bitter cookie with the subtle cherry frosting is kinda sorta totally awesome.

Then I took it one step further.

I made ice cream sandwiches.

 

The ice cream was Double Chocolate Chunk and it was seriously amazing.  I keep trying to think of descriptive words and say things about how delicious they are and all I can think of is… amazing.

Double Chocolate Chunk Coffee Sugar Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Pretty sure I can officially retire from food blogging now.

Well, until the next crop of zucchini comes in.  Hello double chocolate zucchini cupcakes!

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frosting method comparison http://iambaker.net/frosting-method-comparisson/ http://iambaker.net/frosting-method-comparisson/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 15:08:38 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45045 KitchenAid® Appliance Frosting Comparison!
I recently did the most fun experiment! I made a recipe for buttercream in four different KitchenAid® appliances and then determined which appliance worked and which didn’t. And why. And had to extensively taste test each frosting in each appliance. Sometimes being a food blogger is kinda fun! One most definitely did NOT work. And one (or three)... 

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KitchenAid® Appliance Frosting Comparison!

I recently did the most fun experiment! I made a recipe for buttercream in four different KitchenAid® appliances and then determined which appliance worked and which didn’t. And why. And had to extensively taste test each frosting in each appliance.

Sometimes being a food blogger is kinda fun!

One most definitely did NOT work.

And one (or three) worked amazingly well!

They all also had to endure the “pipe-ability” test.  Who do you think was victorious?

Head on over to KitchenAid®’s blog, The Kitchenthusiast, and see who the Triumphant Winner is!

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birthday celebration (with LOTS of desserts!) http://iambaker.net/birthday-celebration-with-lots-of-desserts/ http://iambaker.net/birthday-celebration-with-lots-of-desserts/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 14:57:30 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45028 Zucchini Chocolate Cake!
This past weekend was a busy one, with lots of food, fun and desserts of course!   My little guy is turning eight in about a week and my sweet niece turned nine last Friday!  We are also celebrating one year in our home as well as a long and beautiful summer.  School time is right... 

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Zucchini Chocolate Cake!

This past weekend was a busy one, with lots of food, fun and desserts of course!

 

My little guy is turning eight in about a week and my sweet niece turned nine last Friday!  We are also celebrating one year in our home as well as a long and beautiful summer.  School time is right around the corner, and we wanted to be outside with friends and family before the cold Minnesota winter drives us indoors.

But lets talk desserts!

 

My mother-in-law made this beautiful Chocolate Zucchini Cake.  It was a hit!

I made my husband’s all time favorite Butterscotch Peanut Butter Dessert Pizza.

I actually made two for the party, but hubby didn’t get to eat any of it, so I made him another one that night.  (It only takes 15 minutes from conception to your first bite, so easy!)

 

Parker had requested a white cake with strawberries, so I made him these cupcakes.  They are my white zucchini cake recipe with strawberry buttercream and fresh strawberries on top.  I didn’t actually get to try one, but I heard folks enjoyed them.

Last but not least was the Chocolate Zucchini Cake.  I didn’t get to try this one either, as it went pretty fast, but I did get to try the cupcake version and those were amazing.

As for the entertainment…

 

Some of the talented kids from our church agreed to come and play.  This is Next Destination.  I think everyone would agree that they did an amazing job!

We also had face painting:

Eddie

Inga

We also rented a giant bouncy house that the kids enjoyed for three days!  Seriously enjoyed.  On Sunday they spent a good deal of time trying to plan ways to save money so they can buy their own.

It was a wonderful time I we felt beyond blessed to have so many friends and family there.  And to get to enjoy good food together!

Can’t wait until next year!

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how not to do a selfie (i.e. with underwear on your head) http://iambaker.net/how-not-to-do-a-selfie/ http://iambaker.net/how-not-to-do-a-selfie/#comments Sun, 17 Aug 2014 23:34:27 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45019 Our Driveway
Or maybe I should title this, “How to absolutely do a selfie.”  I haven’t decided.  But I digress. Every Tuesday is garbage day.  Which means that when my husband is out of town and just happens to have the 4-wheeler with him, I need to walk the large and often heavy garbage to the end of... 

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Our Driveway

Or maybe I should title this, “How to absolutely do a selfie.”  I haven’t decided.  But I digress.

Every Tuesday is garbage day.  Which means that when my husband is out of town and just happens to have the 4-wheeler with him, I need to walk the large and often heavy garbage to the end of the driveway.

Most would not think that is a big deal.

 

However, when you can’t even see the end of your driveway, it can be a very big deal.

And this day, it was feeling more like a burden than a regular chore.  (A chore which I honestly don’t mind doing, just don’t tell my kids that.)

I had had a tough week and weekend and being responsible was really the last thing I was concerned with.  And that fact that I was going to have to make this trip twice (it was recycling week as well) was weighing my shoulders down like a 100 pound backpack.

The fact that this particular load of garbage happened to contain the remains of a guinea and a chicken was yet another weight added to the load, mentally as well as figuratively.

I started my long slow walk and made it all of 2 steps before this guy was at my side.

 

“Can I come with you mom?”

“Eddie… what is that you have on your head?”

He smiled.  He tried to look into my eyes but the sun was too bright.

As he was glancing at the hard rocks he said, “My underwear.  My underwear-hat.  And this is my sword!”

I really don’t know what happened in that instant, but all of a sudden I was grinning from ear to ear.

“Of course you can come with me little man.  And tell me all about your sword!  Are you going to battle some tall weeds along the way?”

Eddie launched into a story about an epic battle (his words, I think he got it from Angry Birds Epic) and was happily chattering and dancing along as I pulled to garbage to the end.  By the time we got there, my load seemed considerably lighter.  Not just because this is where I could leave that cumbersome garbage can, but because little Eddie has helped me to enjoy that long walk.

Together we delighted in the sun and battled imaginary weed monsters and laughed.

On the way back he stopped suddenly, as the underwear and slipped over his eyes.

I reached over to pull them up a bit and he stopped me.

“No, you wear now.  I am done.”

I stopped and started to shake my head no, incredulous that he would even ask.

But instead of an adamant no, I found myself saying yes.

Kneeling down at the end of our driveway on a warm summers afternoon, I calmly let my son adjust his (clean) underwear on my head.  When his face lit up at the sight of me, all seemed right with the world.

 

So I did something I normally do not do.  I would even go so far as to say never do.

I took a selfie.

Looking at that picture brings tears to my eyes.  Happy tears, tears of relief, grateful tears.  I left so many emotions at the end of my driveway that day.  I let go of the anxiety and the stress and the fear that I couldn’t handle parenting alone.  I said goodbye to the birds that had taken up residence in our hearts as well as backyard.  I left behind some of the insecurity and un-belief in myself.

It was all over, that overwhelming week of trials, and the bigger picture was blue skies, fluffy clouds, happy boys and underwear-hat wearing selfies.

Eddie has no idea how much his time and company meant to me that day, but hopefully someday (when we are much older) we can look at this picture together , laugh at the silliness of it, and I can tell him all about it.

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Double Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes http://iambaker.net/double-chocolate-zucchini-cupcakes/ http://iambaker.net/double-chocolate-zucchini-cupcakes/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 11:01:07 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45005 Double Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
Um, have you noticed?  I am putting zucchini in everything.  I can’t say I am sorry though, because everything I am making is so darn delicious!!   This one is a favorite so far, as it is over-the-top chocolatey.  Everything is rich and creamy and moist and amazing.  It’s pretty much the best cupcake to... 

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Double Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Um, have you noticed?  I am putting zucchini in everything.  I can’t say I am sorry though, because everything I am making is so darn delicious!!

 

This one is a favorite so far, as it is over-the-top chocolatey.  Everything is rich and creamy and moist and amazing.  It’s pretty much the best cupcake to ever be made in the history of all the cupcake making world.

I wish someone could just slap me when I am being so overly dramatic and pompous.

Forget I just said that.

 

Since I have been baking with zucchini so much lately, I thought I would write  a little poem about it.

And now, Poetry with i am baker.

 

 

Zucchini

You grow fast

and have hardly any flavor

Yet I love you

and your green innards.

Pretty good huh?

Don’t worry.  I will stick to baking.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 eggs room temperature and lightly beaten
  • 1 cup oil
  • 3 cups finely grated and drained zucchini
  • 3/4 - 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cupcakes pans with liners. (Yields roughly 26-28 cupcakes)
  2. In a large bowl add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. With a whisk gently sift ingredients.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the eggs and oil. Mix by hand. Batter will be fairly thick. Add in grated zucchini and chocolate chips and fold in with spatula. Batter should loosen up a bit with the moisture from the zucchini.
  4. Using an ice cream scoop, fill up cupcake liners 2/3 full.
  5. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick is removed mostly clean.
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Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.

 

Some things worth mentioning:

This is a one bowl cupcake recipe.  One bowl.  I LOVE that.  I dislike dishes.  A lot.  One bowl!  Well, excluding the bowl you beat the eggs in.  Darn it.

I used this Chocolate Frosting recipe for the cupcakes.  Using an ice cream scoop, I just dropped a dollop on each cupcake.  It’s my new favorite way to decorate!

These suckers are rich.  RICH I TELL YOU.  Make sure you have milk and loose fitting pants near by.

 

This recipe was adapted from a cake recipe, and I am making it into a cake today! It’s my son’s birthday soon and we are having a big party tomorrow… his request was Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Frosting and White Zucchini Cake with Strawberry Frosting.  (Ok, so I added the zucchini request in there, but he will love it!)

I am also make these Chocolate Chocolate Zucchini Cookies and these Snickers Zucchini Cookies and this Peanut Butter Buttersctoch Pizza.

I just hope there is enough food.

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blueberry zucchini cake with lemon buttercream http://iambaker.net/blueberry-zucchini-cake-with-lemon-buttercream/ http://iambaker.net/blueberry-zucchini-cake-with-lemon-buttercream/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 13:15:24 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=44991 Blueberry Zucchini Cake with Lemon Buttercream
Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s to the garden I go! And come back with loads of zucchini.  And then bake with it.  It’s in my blood people.   Finding new ways to use all the zucchini has proved to be much more fun than I thought!  I mean, eating cake everyday isn’t such a bad gig in... 

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Blueberry Zucchini Cake with Lemon Buttercream

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s to the garden I go!

And come back with loads of zucchini.  And then bake with it.  It’s in my blood people.

 

Finding new ways to use all the zucchini has proved to be much more fun than I thought!  I mean, eating cake everyday isn’t such a bad gig in life.

Add in blueberries and buttercream and you can officially chalk me up as satisfied.

 

I found this recipe over at allrecipes.com and it is officially labeled as Blueberry Zucchini Bread.  I studied the ingredients and thought, there is no way I can pass this off as bread!  Why not just make it in an 8-inch round cake pan and see how it goes.

It went.

Right into my belly.

 

This cake is moist!  Like amazingly so.  I popped my cake into the freezer right after baking only because I wanted a nice clean cut.  But I do recommend eating when it is still warm and the zucchini bits are lounging around the bursting blueberries in a delightful way.

Because this recipe is technically designed as a bread, this cake is pretty dense.  Densely packed with deliciousness that is.

I am in full-on cheesy mode today.

 

blueberry zucchini cake with lemon buttercream

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups finely shredded and drained zucchini
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries (you can reserve a few for garnish if so desired)
  • Lemon Buttercream
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest of (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans.
  2. Grate a large zucchini (or two small zucchini) and place in a clean dish towel. Squeeze until most of the liquid comes out. You will want to have 2 total cups of shredded zucchini after it has been drained. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl and using a hand mixer, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini.
  4. Slowly add in the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Gently fold in the blueberries. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans.
  5. Bake 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
  6. Lemon Buttercream
  7. Combine butter, sugar and salt and beat till well combined.
  8. Add lemon juice and vanilla and continue to beat for another 3 to 5 minute or until creamy.
  9. Fold in zest*.
  10. *If you are piping this buttercream, I recommend leaving out the zest.
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Cake recipe adapted from allrecipes.com and frosting recipe from food.com.

 

I would really love to try this cake with raspberries, as my love for blueberries has inadvertently excluded all other fruit on my little baking blog.  Maybe even a berry medley!  Oh yeah.  Definitely.   Off to bake!

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Top Ten Things About Sending Your Daughter to College http://iambaker.net/top-ten-things-about-sending-your-daughter-to-college/ http://iambaker.net/top-ten-things-about-sending-your-daughter-to-college/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 12:54:23 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=44998 hebrews 13:8
Today’s special guest is Karen Hossink from the blog Surviving Motherhood.  I have known Karen for many years and find her heart and dedication to Jesus truly inspirational.  She is a talented writer, author, singer and mentor.  Karen’s blog, Surviving Motherhood, is a sacred, happy place full of encouragement and support.   I saw a post with a... 

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hebrews 13:8

Today’s special guest is Karen Hossink from the blog Surviving Motherhood.  I have known Karen for many years and find her heart and dedication to Jesus truly inspirational.  She is a talented writer, author, singer and mentor.  Karen’s blog, Surviving Motherhood, is a sacred, happy place full of encouragement and support.

 

I saw a post with a title like this last year and decided to save it for my own encouragement – knowing “my day” was coming. And, since Elizabeth is leaving for college today, I decided to re-read the list – and write one of my own.

So, here it is:

*cricket*

*cricket*

That is, I got nothin’.

I can’t think of a single “Top” thing about sending my daughter to college.

*I’m going to miss her.

*I’ll be the only girl in the family now.

* Dinner table conversation is going to be AWKWARD.

*We’re losing our dish-washer, and our towel-washer/folder.

*That sweet smile won’t be dancing around the house anymore.

*And the random outbursts of silliness. I’m going to miss those!

*Have I mentioned the benefits of having a daughter with a sweet-tooth? She makes delicious chocolate-y goodness whenever her heart desires. But how can I taste it when she isn’t here anymore to make it?

*No one is going to ask me to braid their hair.

*M, and L, and M, and K, and H won’t be coming over for dinner and sleep-overs.

*And “Head of the Herd” just won’t be the same without Elizabeth.

 

Well now, that wasn’t a very up-lifting list, was it?

Honestly, it was a little painful to write…

 

Image Credit

However, in my attempt to construct a list of the Top Ten Things About Sending Your Daughter to College, I have come up with ONE good thing: GOD is faithful. And HE always will be.

And that ONE good thing has led me to this list:

*I know that God is going before Elizabeth and preparing her path.

*HE already knows the challenges she’ll be facing.

*And HE knows how to lead her through them.

*God knows exactly what Elizabeth’s future holds.

*God has been preparing my daughter for Wheaton for the past 18 years.

*And HE will continue to shape and make her.

*God has done beautiful things in and through Elizabeth during her years at Okemos High School, and I trust He has just begun.

*Having Elizabeth at home has only given me the illusion of control. In reality, God has always been in control.

*And that isn’t going to change!

*Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

No matter where my daughter is living.

 

Thank You, Father, for Your faithfulness. Thank You for holding my daughter for the past 18 years, and for Your promise to never let her go. As she begins this new chapter in life, please continue to draw her close to Your heart – and remind her every day how precious she is to You. And to me!

 

Your turn: Is there something in your life right now for which you need this encouragement to trust God?

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three quick photography tips http://iambaker.net/three-quick-photography-tips/ http://iambaker.net/three-quick-photography-tips/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 01:18:29 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=44975 How to insert a lens for a DSLR camera
  I just have to preface this with, I think you already know these tips.  I think everyone already knows these tips. There tips are along the lines of “DA” and “common sense” but when I started using using a DSLR everything about it was terrifying, and the photography was so overwhelming that these little details were... 

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How to insert a lens for a DSLR camera

 

I just have to preface this with, I think you already know these tips.  I think everyone already knows these tips.

There tips are along the lines of “DA” and “common sense” but when I started using using a DSLR everything about it was terrifying, and the photography was so overwhelming that these little details were completely lost on me.

The only reason I am sharing them here is because I did not know these tips until someone mentioned them in casual conversation.  But when they did, it changed my life!

1. RED DOT TO RED DOT.

Most DSLR camera’s come with a handy dandy little red dot on the body.  There is also a little red dot on the lens.  When you are putting a lens onto your camera body, if you line up the red dots they will fit perfectly into place.

As you can see my camera is a Canon, I have heard that on Nikon it is a white dot.

I did not know this for the first year of using my DSLR.  I would struggle with it every time! Seriously embarrassing.

2. PROTECT BOTH ENDS.

I remember the first time a saw a professional change their lens out.  They put the lens cap on the lens first, removed the lens, then put the back lens cap on.  They looked at me and said, “It’s that back elements that matter, right?”  Yes, yup sure right.  I totally knew that!

I totally did not know that.  Here I was babying the front lens, not even realizing I was damaging the back with improper handling.

So now I make sure that when a lens is not on a camera there is a lens protector (cap) on both ends.  I also do not ever touch the back elements.  If there is dust or dirt, I very gently use a Q-tip or simply blow on it.

3.  GET YOUR SHOT, THEN START SHOOTING.

Ok, so this last one is more about shooting pictures than the mechanics of your camera, but it was one of those things that you hear and it changes everything about how you shoot.

I was watching a CreativeLive series and heard the photograph say, “Set up your shot, get your “hero” shot.  Now the fun begins.”  After he had gotten the picture he needed for the client, then he went in and changed angles, lighting, props.

When I did this for the first time, it totally opened up a whole new world of creativity and inspiration.  It’s like taking pictures suddenly got really interesting again.  I have found that some of the ‘after’ shots is what I use in my Instagram feed, as they tend to be my favorites.  I just like the fact that it’s a bit different, a bit more personal, and a lot more fun.

 

I recently posted these “marry me” cookies.  After I got the shot I wanted (a tall stack) I tried playing with it a bit.

This specific shot never made it to the blog post (although a brighter and sharper version did) , but as a photographer I got a sense of satisfaction in trying something new to me.

So there are my totally obvious tips.  If you are looking for some real photography tips check out these guys:

Food Photography Tips for Bloggers from Cookie + Kate

10 Items That Can Improve Your Food Photography from Pinch of Yum

Serious Eats Guide to Food Photography from Serious Eats

Tips for Food Photography from Pinch of Yum

10 Things I’ve Learned About Food Photography from The Pioneer Woman

Our Approach to Food Photos from smitten kitchen

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Giant Sugar Cookies with Pink Buttercream http://iambaker.net/giant-sugar-cookies-with-pink-cherry-buttercream/ http://iambaker.net/giant-sugar-cookies-with-pink-cherry-buttercream/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 14:34:01 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=44959 Giant Frosted Sugar Cookies!
Somedays just call for obnoxiously big cookies covered in pink frosting and sprinkles.   I have been fighting the impending-winter-blues.  It’s almost a brain sabotage if you will.  The summer has been so lovely with so many blessings and so many adventures and I just can’t seem to enjoy the beauty in the moment, I have... 

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Giant Frosted Sugar Cookies!

Somedays just call for obnoxiously big cookies covered in pink frosting and sprinkles.

 

I have been fighting the impending-winter-blues.  It’s almost a brain sabotage if you will.  The summer has been so lovely with so many blessings and so many adventures and I just can’t seem to enjoy the beauty in the moment, I have to go and dwell on winter coming.

Darn my silly tendencies and inability to just relish the moment!

 

Anyway, in a somewhat pathetic attempt to live in the moment and make amazing memories with my babies, I made these cookies.  Well, we made these cookies.  They (my sweet kiddos) are quite good at the art of sugar cookie dough, and even better at licking the spoon.

That is the true reward right?

 

I used my favorite (and seriously amazing) sugar cookie recipe and then a new recent love, this Cherry Frosting.

The combination is, it’s… well.

I need a moment.

Done.

It’s amazing.  I love it.  I want to eat all of it all the time ever.

And then head back to school for grammar lessons because, well, obvious.

Giant Sugar Cookies with Pink Buttercream

Ingredients

    Cookies
  • 1-½ cup butter or 3 sticks(I use unsalted)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Cherry Buttercream
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice

Instructions

    Cookies
  1. In a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add in 3 eggs, the extracts and mix until just combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly (about a cup at a time) add flour to butter mixture and combine. (You can use a mixer or not, just depends on how strong you are.)
  4. I usually just mix ingredients until they are combined, if you over-mix this dough it will get tough.
  5. Put dough in some Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. (If your dough is sticky, add more flour, up to 1 cup.) When you are ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. (325 for convection)
  6. Roll dough out, use a 4-inch round cookies cutter to cut out cookies, and bake for 6-8 minutes on a parchment lined baking sheet. The cookies are better when slightly under-done, not golden around the edges.
  7. Cherry Buttercream
  8. In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
  9. Add almond flavoring and cherry juice continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more juice if needed for spreading consistency.
  10. Top with Rainbow Sprinkles.
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When I was a teenager I went to visit my aunt in Idaho and there was a bakery in the mall there that sold a cookie like this.  It was a sugar cookie with pink frosting.  I cannot remember the exact flavors, other than it was sweet and wonderful and brilliant.  I was trying to recreate that feeling and look, and just happened to recall that lovely pink cherry buttercream , so went with it.

I honestly had no intention of covering these in sprinkles, but it just seemed right.

Can sprinkles ever be wrong?

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