Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I'm Snap Happy Workshop

This past weekend I attended the "I'm Snap Happy" workshop by the lovely Joy Harmon of Wildflower Photography. It was fantastic and I learned so many new tips and tricks. Here are a few practice shots of our models.

I'm Snap Happy

Mom and Son

Boy on Bike

Giving flowers


Legs 2

2 Girls on Bed

Little Girl

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Oatmeal Pancakes

I recently ordered Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours by Kim Boyce and it has inspired me to experiment with different kinds of flours. With the help of my trusty L'Equip 760105 VitalMill Grain Mill, I have been discovering all kinds of new grains and flavors. One of my favorites is oat flour. Oat flour is ground groats--the same stuff oatmeal is made of but it is whole instead of steamed and rolled into "old-fashioned rolled oats". Or if you do not have a mill, you can also grind rolled oats using a food processor or spice grinder until it becomes flour. Oat flour is now a new favorite of mine because it has a delicious sweet milky taste. It is also gluten free, which means you must mix it with other flours to provide the necessary structure.

My first experiment with oat flour was used in this wonderful recipe for oatmeal pancakes. It was fantastic and it beat eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast!

Oatmeal Pancakes

Oatmeal Pancakes

Dry Mix:
3/4 cup oat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons natural cane sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Wet Mix:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cup whole milk
1 cup cooked oatmeal
1 tablespoon unsulphered molasses
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Sift all the dry ingredients into a medium bowl. In a large bowl whisk together the wet ingredients.
2. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX.
3. Heat a 10-inch cast-iron pan or griddle. Rub the pan with butter. Using a 1/4 cup, pour batter onto the pan. Cook about 5 minutes or until golden brown on each side.
4. Serve hot with butter or topping of choice.

Source: Adapted from Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours by Kim Boyce.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Blackberry Vanilla Yogurt and Granola

Yogurt 3

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny Mother's Day, despite the 20 mi/hour wind. I was hoping to be able to visit my mother, but she was unable to see me. I was a little disappointed, but not offended. My step-father has been deathly ill and my mother has been very dedicated to taking care of him. She said he was feeling cheery yesterday and had decided to take him out. He needed to get out of the house...and so did she. Being a caregiver is hard work and I deeply respect my mothers committment to him. Besides, I had stopped by on Saturday and while my mother was out, I dropped off her Mother's Day gift and some delicious homemade vanilla yogurt I made. I thought that they would enjoy it.

I love you mom.

Yogurt Pic 2

Yogurt Pic 1

Yogurt Pic 3

Vanilla Yogurt

4¾ cups 1% milk
2-3 tablespoons agave sweetener
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons dry nonfat milk
1 packet of freeze dried yogurt culture
1 tablespoon of blackberry preserves, per cup
1 vanilla bean scraped

Scrape vanilla bean pods into the milk. Heat milk and vanilla bean in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not allow milk to boil. Once milk reaches 180°F and is about to boil, remove from stove and stir in the agave and vanilla extract. Allow milk to cool to 120°F. Once liquid reaches appropriate temperature, whisk in dried milk and yogurt culture until ingredients are thoroughly homogenous. While liquid is cooling, place a heaping tablespoon of blueberry preserves in each jar. Pour liquid into individual jars. Place jars into the Yogurt Maker without their lids. Cover the yogurt maker and set for 10 hours. When yogurt is finished, cover the jars with their lids and store in the refrigerator. Yogurt will keep refrigerated for up to one week.

Source: Yogurt adapted from the Waring Pro Yogurt Manual. Granola was made using David Lebovitz Recipe.