Tag Archives: spinach

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When I made that first meal for the blog last summer, I was embarrassed at how ugly everything looked, and how terrible it tasted. What was I doing wrong?

Well, the answer to that my friends, was everything. 

I've come a monumental way since that ill-fated, barely edible, I-cant-believe-I'm-posting-this-online post, and I've picked up a few tricks along the way.

salad, summer, mixed greens, arugula, spinach, baby, mesculin, spring mix, strawberries, berry, berries, strawberry, goat cheese, chevre, light, lemon, vinaigrette

Mainly, I've become a pretty decent photographer/food stylist (I hope!). This mixed green salad with strawberries and goat cheese is basically identical to the one I made one year ago, but with a nicer camera, better lens, no camera flash, better props, better lighting (THIS is the big one here), and a newfound knowledge of photography.

Here's the original shot:

And now the same salad, but with a year's worth of experience behind the shot:

salad, summer, mixed greens, arugula, spinach, baby, mesculin, spring mix, strawberries, berry, berries, strawberry, goat cheese, chevre, light, lemon, vinaigrette

Mmm....moody. How about another?

Now you might be asking yourself, ok, I get how the lighting, camera, and props make a big difference, but the salad itself just looks so much nicer! What's the secret, Sarah?

Brace yourselves, readers, because I am going to offer you a glance into the world of food styling, and peek at the obsessive compulsivity that must accompany it:

This is nuts. Halfway through washing and sorting through the spinach for the prettiest pieces, in 95 degree heat, I asked my mother if I had lost my mind. She said yes. I accepted this fact and continued to build a beautiful salad.

For the curious, here's the book I've been using as a basic guide to getting my food to look nicer: Food Styling for Photographers.

So that's it, I guess. I could lie and tell you I made a delicious vinaigrette to go with this salad, but I used up my last lemons making the citrus salsa verde for the salmon.

salad, summer, mixed greens, arugula, spinach, baby, mesculin, spring mix, strawberries, berry, berries, strawberry, goat cheese, chevre, light, lemon, vinaigrette

All in all, I'm pretty excited about where I've come in the past year, and looking forward to where the next one will take me. And I'm still waiting for the fame and fortune that I just know is right around the corner.

Original salad

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stuffed chicken, goat cheese, spinach, bacon, bacon-wrapped chicken, bacon wrapped chicken, juicy chicken, easy chicken recipe, easy recipes, dinner recipe, chicken dinner, chicken breast, butterflied chicken, sausage

Some of my favorite cooking is when I get home from work, look in the fridge, and say, "what can I make with this?" It's a fun form of problem solving for me. Sometimes I look up recipes, but more often than not I just make something up, hoping I create something new and exciting.

On one particular night my sister called as I was pulling out the possible ingredients, and she asked me what I was making. I said I didn't know yet, so she asked what I had. I told her:

  • chicken breasts
  • goat cheese
  • spicy sausage
  • broccoli
  • mushrooms
  • bacon

I had been planning on chopping it all up and maybe sauteing everything, perhaps tossing it with pasta? But Leah saved the day once again and told me:

"Here's what you do. You butterfly the chicken breasts. Cook the sausage and break it up, then mix it with the goat cheese. Stuff the chicken with the goat cheese mixture, and wrap it in bacon."

She blew my mind, and dinner that night was so incredible I decided I needed to make it again and document it for the blog. This time I stuffed it with a goat cheese/spinach mixture, but feel free to throw in whatever you want! I'm thinking next time I'll add fresh basil, maybe some garlic or mushrooms? ...continue reading

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spinach and artichoke pizza, garlic pizza, white pizza, garlic sauce

One of the only good things about being an adult, I've recently found, is that you get to expand your taste palette and eat fancier things. You have more money to purchase food, you have taste buds that are suddenly sophisticated, and you have a desire to try new things.

One of my favorite new combinations (probably not new to anyone else) is spinach and artichokes. Now, I've mentioned before how much I love artichokes, and spinach is something that pretty much everyone enjoys. It's soggy, absorbent, and packed full of nutrients. And when you combine them with a lot of gooey cheese...

Heaven. 

You normally find this intoxicating combination in dips, several of which I've made recently. But when you cut out the cream cheese, half-and-half, and a good amount of the cheese, and slap your veggies on a thin, crispy pizza crust with some fabulous garlic sauce, and you have a (mildly) healthier version. ...continue reading

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How many of us have made New Years Resolutions?

How many of us have already broken them, not even three days into the year?

I'm certain that many of you have resolved to eat better, lose weight, get healthier. Not like last year, where you broke down and cancelled that gym membership in February, this year will be different!

Disclaimer: as I write this, I am elbow deep in a bag of skittles. So perhaps I'm not the best life coach. In fact...don't listen to me at all. 

My New Years resolutions (for life, not for cooking) consist mostly of being happier, healthier, and figuring out what the hell I plan on doing with my life. Easy enough, right?

What we all can do though, is challenge ourselves to find or create some delicious and satisfying recipes that aren't horrible for you. (They don't even need to be healthy, but they can't be terribly unhealthy.) I'm going to help by starting the year off with some delicious spinach fettuccine, from my new Cooking Light cookbook I got for Christmas (you'll be seeing a lot of cookbook recipes now). ...continue reading