culinary council with tom douglas & nancy silverton

Macys Culicary Council in Portland, Oregon-12

Last week I attended Macy’s Culinary Council cooking demonstration with Tom Douglas and Nancy Silverton. In the middle of hustling Washington Square Mall, a small crowd watched as these two amazing chefs taught us how to deal with holiday entertaining. Both chefs cooked, and I starred in awe of the grace they had in the kitchen, and flavor complexes they came up with for their dishes.

We were all completely spoiled, besides being in complete raptures over watching the chefs work, everyone in attendance was treated to a sample of the dishes Nancy and Tom created. Everything, and I mean everything I put into my mouth was a symphony of complex flavors.

Seeing these amazing chefs work was a honor. It was so fun to watch the shoppers go by and look and wonder. Some recognized who was cooking, I heared one of the shoppers say as they walked by, “That’s Tom Douglas! He makes our rubs!”. (Incase you didn’t know Tom has a great line of spices and rubs.)

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holiday cranberry drink

Classic Hot Chocolate


My sister actually developed this recipe. Reduced cranberries with oranges and cinnamon. I love it warm, but it’s wonderful cold too. Not to mention the smell as it simmers on the stove, cinnamon-cranberry bliss! It’s a refreshing change from heavy hot chocolate. It’s also very easy to make in large batches, and keep for parties, or later in the week. You can serve this as soon as it’s reduced, but the flavors deepen if you let it sit overnight. You may need to adjust some of the flavors after you let it simmer too. Just taste, add some sugar if needed, or maybe more orange juice.

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

6 cups water

3 cinnamon sticks  (or  3 teaspoons ground cinnamon)

1 orange, cut into 4ths

1/2 cup + 1/4 cup orange juice (about 2 oranges)

Combine everything, except the 1/4 cup orange juice with 6 cups water. Bring everything to a boil, boil for 10 minutes. Cover and let simmer for 1 hour.  Add sugar if needed (it depends on how sweet your cranberries are), and the 1/4 cup orange juice.

Let sit overnight before serving. Serve hot or cold.




photo tip: framing images

There is one pinnacle rule when it comes to framing and cropping an image. If you have ever taken an art class then you have probably heard of the rule of thirds. This is a method used for centuries to draw your eye to the subject of your image (or painting). My favorite thing to do with the rule of thirds is to break it. However, I do more often then not, apply the rule of thirds to the pictures I take. And I urge you to use and practice this rule before ever attempting to break it. I shot everything on the thirds for years to make sure I had the basics down. You have to know the rules before you can break them                 


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chocolate medallions, with fluer de sel & pomegranate

Salted Chocolate Pomegranate Medallions Is everyone feeling sentimental yet? Is the Christmas music and glittering lights making your heart melt a little because of the sentimentality? I know you are, so don’t even try to lie to me. Christmas does that to people, it’s the one time of year where I fell 12 again. We have the tree up, and of course the holiday music blasting 24-7. These are so simple to make, and an explosion of complex flavors. It literally takes a matter of minutes to make a few of these little medallions as I like to call them. I used a semi sweet chocolate, though dark, or even milk chocolate would be fine here. Continue reading

photo tip: camera angles

An important aspect of food photography, or any kind of photography, is camera angle. With food though you have to think about what will show off the element of the dish. Does the dish have a glossy top that you want to show off? Or neat layering that you want to be in the spotlight? These are things you need to consider when bringing up the camera to snap the shot.

20130809-RDG_2687                           Quinua Patties (1 of 1)


Here are three of the best camera angles: from above, straight on, and three-quarters. Continue reading

polar express hot chocolate

Polar Express Hot Chocoalte


First, note the best mug ever known to man (found at IKEA of all places). And secondly, I am hot chocolate obsessed recently, awesome, and not awesome at the same time. I hope you all have seen the Polar Express, and love the hot chocolate scene as much as I do. The iconic cozy feel good drink is simple to make and an instant mood lifter. The trick to a cup good enough to board the Polar Express is a dash of salt and vanilla, other then that it’s just milk and chocolate. Simple.

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announcing facebook and etsy pages!

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I am super excited to share new expanpantions of the blog! Recently I opened a Facebook page to easily keep up with new posts and giveaways. I have also been working on an Etsy shop so you can easily buy prints though etsy. Flat rate of $10 for a 8×10, and it’s an instant download so it’s super simple and fast. So if you would, please give my Facebook page a like and the Etsy shop a glance!








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carnevale clay giveaway!

Giveaway at


Update: Laurel West is the winner of this giveaway! Thanks for playing!


I’m super excited to be givingaway a beautiful set of mugs from the Etsy shop Carnevale Clay. They hand make the most unique and wonderful clay items for the kitchen. 

Carnevale Clay is giving this set of red cafe mugs to one lucky reader! Thanks so much to Carnevale Clay for doing this giveaway with us, it’s so fun. And trust me lucky winner, these mugs are even better in person.

The details:

Just visit their store, and leave a comment below!

A winner will be chosen at random Thursday, December 5th at 5:00PM Pacific time.

Set includes two handmade clay mugs.

Giveaway at II

If anyone is interested in doing a giveaway with shoot me an email at:

photo tip: propping

Propping is something that can make or break food photography. I do use some props, but not a ton –I try to keep it minimal. I think using too many props can look rather artificial and awkward. Some people are amazing with props, they totally enhance the photo. When I started taking photos of food I didn’t know how to prop, so I kept it very minimal. Since then, it’s kind of become a stylistic choice to use simple natural props.


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