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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Chicken Fried Rice

My daughter's favorite dinner to make is a Chicken Fried Rice recipe that she learned in school. What a treat! First of all, I get a night off from cooking dinner - Woohoooooo! ...and secondly... it is DELICIOUS!!  It's got quite a few steps but well worth the work. There usually isn't any left but if I manage to put some away in a container it reheats well the next day in the microwave.

You'll have to give it a try and I'd love to know how your family liked it!!

Chicken Fried Rice:

Cut Vegetables - cut up 1 - 2 cups vegetables in small cubes. We use Red pepper, zucchini, carrots and sometimes broccoli or peas.
Cook vegetables in 1/2 cup of boiling water for 3- 5 minutes. After water boils turn down to medium heat and cover. Drain immediately and rise in cold water. Set aside

Cook 2 scrambled eggs with a dash of salt. Set aside

Cook Rice: 
2 1/2 cups of water
1 1/4 cups rice (Uncle Ben's or Carolina) - Not minute rice
1 teas salt
Place water in a 2 quart sauce pan with salt and bring to a boil. Add rice, stir and COVER - turn heat between warm and low. Cook for 20 mins. Do not lift cover until the timer goes off. When cooked remove from heat and uncover.

Cut up 1- 2 cups of chicken or pork  1/2 to 1 lb.
Slice chicken into thin strips and then again into 1- inch pieces. Add about 1TBS of Soy sauce and mix. 
Heat wok or frying pan to medium heat with a little oil in the pan. Cook the chicken until it's not pink.
Set aside

Cut 1 small onion and cook in wok or frying pan until softened. Add more oil if necessary

Rice,  Vegetable, Chicken, Eggs, and 2 TBS of Soy Sauce (add more to taste in desired) and a dash of pepper. Cook together mixing until everything is warm then serve.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Chocolate Toffee Saltines

My daughter has a few favorite recipes that she loves to make and seeing that it was her friend Julie's birthday she decided to make them for her. A perfect opportunity for my to do a little food photography!

These are so easy to make and everyone LOVES them. My husband is sulking because she didn't make extra. :(

Chocolate Toffee Saltines

1 stick of butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Saltines (about 24)
12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. In a 13 x 9 pan lined with foil - lay  1 layer of saltines along the bottom to fill the pan.

2. In microwave or in a sauce pan on the stove melt butter, vanilla, and sugar.

3. Pour melted butter mixture over saltines and spread evenly.

4. Bake at 350 for 8 min.

5.  Melt chocolate chips in microwave  - about 1 min mix and spread evenly over saltines. If you want     walnuts sprinkle them over the chocolate.

6. Put in freezer or refrigerate until they the chocolate is hardened.

7. Peel off foil and break into pieces

8. Just try not to taste!!!

9. Lick the bowl!!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Make Room for Mushrooms

I'm feeling so good about getting back into shooting again! I had been letting things slip away from me -letting the everyday necessary obligations take over. I'm realizing that taking classes is a good way to motivate myself. I seem to respond well to having a deadline and I enjoy the community of a class even if it is on line. What works for me may not be what works for you though. Think about what motivates you ...what gets you excited..what gets you moving? I also love reading motivational books - it really helps to get me going.  ...and one good thing leads to another. ( I think I just create a quote - you may just see that  on a future image!!)

Here's some images from my latest food photography class offered at PPSOP by the wonderful food photographers Ron Goldman and Lara Ferroni.

Which one is your favorite?

All image shot with offer camera flash and umbrella
50 mm 1.4
200 ISO

F 3.2 
ISO 200

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wooden Clothes Pins - another version

Another version of "the clothes pins".   I came across this quote that seems perfect for me and I'm sure many others! It's what I'm tying to think about everyday. Come take a step with me.

This photo was taken with an off camera flash and umbrella - backlit. I  use a white foam board to reflect some light back onto the front of the clothespins. 
Kim Klassens' texture "Felicity" was added in Photoshop.
I created a brush using Kim's tutorial for the type. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

10 Truths about Me

The Beyond Layers Challenge: 10 Truths about Yourself

Why I struggle with writing things like this I'll never know.  I feel like I'm back in school...ahhhh

10 truths about me (actually I squeezed many more into a list of 10 but don't tell)

1. I love to be home
2. I've finally found what I love to do - photography but not quite sure where I'm going with it.
3. Deciding to do 365 project was one of the best things that I have ever done for myself.
4. I cry easily...even commercials and parades. (very embarrassing)... but I LOVE to laugh!
5.  I love french fries, ice cream, Reece's Peanutbutter Cups, Hostess Cup Cakes and dare I admit chocolate canned frosting on a spoon. (Frozen it's like fudge - oh that is soooo bad)
6. If I had to choose someone I wished to be more like it would be my Father
7.  I enjoy reading, music, the country, the ocean,  spending time alone and spending time with friends.
8. I would love to take piano lessons again. I would love to learn to play the flute. 
9. I treasure my family and friends.
10. I dream of creating a kids game, marketing something or publishing a cookbook with my images someday. ( I need more hours in the day!)

Image: Off camera flash with umbrella in the back left of the image. White board front right to reflect light onto the front of the image

F 2.2
ISO 200
50 mm 1.4
Texture: Kim Klassen's Happy Heart

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Turn the Page

 Turn the page...
There are so many times we look at what we should have done, should be doing or how we would have done things differently. These thoughts do nothing to move us forward. I've recently been reading a great book "100 ways to Motivate Yourself" by Steve Chandler.  In one chapter he talks of replacing worry with action. If there is something that you think about often that you'd like change - stop thinking and take action! Even the smallest action will start the ball rolling and motivate you to keep moving forward.

 Taking the Beyond Layers Class with Kim Klassen is one of my small actions - I continually think about improving my photography and where I want to go with it. So now that I'm actively doing something about it. I can rest my mind and concentrate more on what I'm learning!! 

To all Beyond Layers artists - Congratulate yourself on taking action!

This weeks assignment was the painterly effect.  Kim showed us some great photoshop techniques to play with. It always amazes me that with Photoshop, there is always something more to learn. I used to have my standard routine and now I've learn that there is so much to play with blend modes, opacity and textures!! So much fun!

Off Camera flash with unbrella
Texture: Kim Klassen's Graydaystone

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Day Love

Happy Valentine's Day!

Over the years Valentine's Day has become much more that just a day for our romantic love.
Today we celebrate all people we and don't forget our endearing pets!  Do  a little something today for the people who are special in your life... bake some cookies... write a love note...or just leave little store bought surprise ( you can never go wrong with chocolate surprise in my book!)

... and don't forget to do a little something for yourself - go to lunch with a friend...a movie... or  just take some time to be creative.  What ever you choose - Enjoy your day!

I baked these cookies for my hubby. A friend at work gave me the recipe for these Linzer Cookies and are they scrumptious! I made them over the weekend and I believe they're all gone!!!

Below are 2 different versions. I can't say one is better that the other...just different. I like the both for different reason. The 1st would be great for a cookbook and the second..well just a nice print to hang on your kitchen wall. 

1st version: Minor touchups - darken top left corner with the paint brush (selecting a color near by)
Darkened to of Powdered sugar shaker, sharpened and added a little contrast.

2nd Version:  Applied some actions, texture by Kim Klassen,  a patterned overlay and smoothed out the background with the paint tool. Applied a slight burn using selection and multiply mode.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Love, Love, Love

I guess I have love and Valentines Day on my While I was sleeping last night I kept coming up with "love" image ideas. I guess I didn't sleep much - ha.
In this weeks Beyond Layers  class we worked on photographing in our home "studio" with natural light. One thing that Kim Klassen talked about was evaluating your image...walking away and coming back to see it with fresh eyes. It's amazing how much this helps. Take todays image. I reworked this 3 times to get the image you see above.

The 1st image: After walking away and looking at this image again the back heart seemed to be too bold. Sometimes you're so intent on working on the image that we don't see the most obvious.

2nd Image: softened/desaturated the back heart
Better, but it still bothered me. I felt my eye was still drawn to that heart and it certainly was not where I want the attention of the viewer to be.

3rd Image:  (Same as 1st image) I decided to remove the back heart. I used a large soft cloning brush to do this and then used the eyedropper to select a darker beige color and used my brush with a low opacity to paint and soften the background making it a bit more even.

What do you think? Do you see the difference?

Great advice Kim!

Camera Setting:
Lens: 50 mm 1.4
ISO: 200
Aperture: 1.8
Shutter: 1250th
Texture: Kim Klassen - Magic Scratches and Plastersquared

Monday, February 6, 2012

The little things you love

Have you ever thought about the little things in life that make you smile? ....the things that tell a bit about who you are? For me, there are so many things that I would love to take home with me when I find them...just because they make me feel good when I look at them. They may serve no other purpose other than to make me smile or stir up inspiration. Vintage books, old bottles, tea cups,  flowers, wooden spools of thread and oh....buttons have all found their way into my heart and home at one time or another.  ...and there something magical about old photos and handwritten vintage postcards! It's so much fun to search for these little treasures, take them home with you and create an image or two. Three times the joy!  Surround yourself with the little things you love..just for you!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Treasure the Memories

To me it's such a treasure to look through old family photos! Over the years I think people have come to realize how important it is to capture life's moments and preserve the memories of our lives. Take time to care for your family photos old and new - scan them or create scrapbooks to keep them safe so your families future generations will be able enjoy them for years to come. Don't forget to record who's in the photo and if possible the date taken. A project well worth the time - Treasure the memories!!

This image was created for my 2nd assignment: Vision and Blurr for Beyond Layers inspirational e-course by Kim Klassen. The 1st part of our assignment was a 6 word Memoir inspired by Smith Magazine. Kim asked us to create our own 6 word memoir. Try it - once you can't stop. Here's mine for today.

Capture the Moment,
Treasure the Memories

Would love to hear yours!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

So this is my story...

It's been a year now since I've finished my 365 project on Flickr - a photo a day for an entire year!! And yes, I did it!!  I didn't miss a day and I have to say, it was one of the best experiences - the doors of  inspiration opened. I was exposed to many talented photographers all over the world. I already had a passion for  photography but found myself falling deeper in love with creating art from my images.

So here I am a year later, back to work in an office (yawn) and finding little time or energy to shoot. A sad time for me. I had put so much time and energy into my photography the past few years and it's all  come to a halt. so this is my story....

It's been a year now since I've finished my 365 project on Flickr - a photo a day for an entire year!! And yes, I did it!!  I didn't miss a day and I have to say, it was one of the best experiences - the doors of  inspiration opened. I was exposed to many talented photographers all over the world. I already had a passion for  photography but found myself falling deeper in love with creating art from my images.

So here I am a year later back to work in an office (yawn) and finding little time or energy to shoot. A sad time for me. I had put so much time and energy into my photography the past few years and it's all  come to a halt.  

Well... now it's time to make a change!!  2012 a new year and I need to make time in my life for creating. Are you with me???  Last night  I stumble across the e-course being taught by the talented Kim Klassen "Beyond Layers". It's all about  inspiration, encouragement,  motivation, creativity.. .everything I'm looking for!  It's a 52 week course with 2 assignments per week. So I'm jumping in with both feet.  I'm soooooo excited!!

 My artistic journey has not been the success story that I see so many photographers write about. I've struggled to find my place but haven't given up hope yet.  I  dream that someday it will all come together.  Deep within I'm being pulled to create more. I feel the need to expose more of  my creativity. There's lots more just itching to get out!!  I know many of you can relate.  I'm hoping  this course will help me to overcome the things that hold me back from achieving my dreams and finding a clear vision of where I belong.
Join me as I create and explore.  Stop by,  say hi, leave a comment and tell me about your artistic journey.


#1 Assignment:  Simplicity