Pistachio, Cardamom and Honey Granola

Pistachio, Cardamom and Honey Granola | www.purplehousecafe.com

The past two weeks have been filled with space.

Space between sets of waves, to feel the froth of micro-bubbled salt water churning up my goose-bumped legs.

To sleep well past sunrise, the machinations of an energetic toddler lulled back into slumber in my arms.  Space to stretch beyond the boundaries of schedules and to-do lists.

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Food Photography Course…the creation of gawk-worthy pics

So I took this incredible food photography course with my pals Kelly and Brianna, taught by the incredibly talented Beth Dunham.  

I enjoy the heck out of taking pictures of the food I make for you all to drool over, and this course really helped me to take my photos to the next level.  So, ever since, I’ve been acquiring some extra gear (a new lens and a tripod), painting backdrops, and creating a little photography space in my basement.  

It’s been fabulous.

I got to take photos like this:

Food Photography | www.purplehousecafe.com


and this….you know, just to see if the strawberries looked better than the raspberries…

Food Photography | www.purplehousecafe.com


…and then we learned how to tell a story with our food photographs, and we decided to pretend we were in Italy….

Food Photography | www.purplehousecafe.com

and I messed around with my new lens a little…

Food Photography | www.purplehousecafe.com


It was so fun, and I learned so much, and I fell in love with my 50mm lens.  What was I doing without one up till now?

I’m not sure.

At any rate, all is right with the world, and I am having so. much. fun. with my face stuck behind my camera.


…on food photography and daylight savings time

All around the world, gazillions of food bloggers are endlessly thankful for daylight savings time.


You see, food pictures, on the whole, just kinda suck when they are not taken in natural light.  Sure, you can play around with editing and you can turn on all the lights in your house and you can slow your shutter speed and you can use a tripod, but the truth is, nothing beats the sun for lighting beautiful food photos.

See how un-pretty?  This photo was captured at night with all the lights blazing in my house.

See how un-pretty? This photo was captured at night with all the lights blazing in my house.

Entering the world of food blogging and wanting to make sure that I strived to create the best photos I could, I found myself doing just about anything to catch a few rays.

I make most of the food that you see posted on this blog on the weekend.  This allows me to take pictures of it during daylight hours.  Of course this also means that my weekends are spent in a frenzied, manic, albeit incredibly joyful flurry of activity in the kitchen.  I often have 4-5 recipes on the go at once while either wearing Ada in the carrier or feeding her raisins and entertaining her with Tupperware (see also:  Parenting 101).


I have been known to bring my food to work, along with my camera and a few choice props, so that I can take advantage of the light streaming through my office window – definitely the only daylight I see on a midwinter weekday.

This shot was taken in my office.  It's scaring hauling fragile little macarons in a Tupperware on the bus to work, hoping against hope that they'll survive to be photographed.

This shot was taken in my office. It’s scary hauling fragile little macarons in a Tupperware on the bus to work, hoping against hope that they’ll survive to be photographed.

But, here we are, the second week in March, and daylight savings time is upon us.  Last night, I managed to pick Ada up from daycare, come home, let the dog out, change out of my work clothes, haul some vanilla pudding out of the fridge that I whipped up the other night and managed (just barely) to save for photos, set up my props, placate Ada with a muffin and fire off a few shots.

(Except for the part where, once I got all set up and Ada was quietly munching, I turned on my camera and it had zero. zero. zero. battery power left.  After the requisite cursing, I let the battery charge for thirty seconds while playing patty cake, rattled off a few pictures, threw the battery back in the charger and picked muffin off the floor to feed to the dog…repeat repeat repeat).

What food photography looks like up close....

What food photography looks like up close….

...aaaaand the reality!

…aaaaand the reality!

Anyways.  What I was trying to say was:  boy is it nice to have an extra hour of daylight so I can take food photos after work instead of only on the weekends.

Am I nuts?  Maybe.  Really excited about food blogging?  Definitely.

What crazy stuff do you do in the pursuit of the past times you love?

Anyhow, here’s a recipe for vanilla pudding.  I had a hankering for something sweet after dinner the other night and wanted to use some of the vanilla beans that I’d brought back from Mexico (did I just incriminate myself there?  Shhhhh!).  This recipe could not be simpler…just as simple as pudding out of a box.  So please, take it from me, and do it from scratch!


Here’s what you need:

1/2 cup sugar

3 tbsp. corn starch

1/4 tsp. salt

2 cups milk (I used soy milk to make this recipe dairy free)

1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract)

1 tbsp. butter (I used a dairy-free butter substitute)

Here’s what you do:

Pour the milk into a saucepan and warm over medium heat until bubbles start to form around the edge of the pot.  While the milk is heating, whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl (if using vanilla bean, use your fingers to crumble the vanilla seeds into the dry mixture).  Gradually whisk the dry ingredients into the milk, ensuring that you go slowly enough to avoid forming lumps.  Heat the mixture until it begins to thicken (but not boil).  When the pudding is the right viscosity, it should linger on the back of your spoon as you stir.  Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and vanilla extract (if using in place of vanilla bean).  Pour the mixture into serving dishes and chill for 2 hours before digging in.

Recipe courtesy of http://allrecipes.com/recipe/homemade-vanilla-pudding/