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Jan 15, 2015

Lucca, Italy

CommentsCategories digital italy travel Tags winter lucca

Sep 16, 2014

Pizza margherita

I tried my hand at making margherita pizza while still in California, in anticipation of our move to Naples. Now that we're here in Italy (and have been for almost a month) and I've had at least a dozen margherita pizzas at different establishments, my version pales in comparison. But no one complained back then. Who does when it's pizza? 

And yes, we've moved to Italy. It's been a month of ups and downs but that's to be expected. We're still in a hotel, in a small two-room unit with no stove or oven. I miss baking and going to Target on a whim, my kids miss their Xbox and escaping to their rooms... but I think my family is making the best of it so far. I love this city already. It has an energy I've not yet experienced in any other European city. It's intense and in-your-face, especially downtown. I don't think 3 years is enough time to explore this place but I'll certainly give it my best shot.

CommentsCategories adventures in california savory Tags pizza moving Italy

Jun 29, 2014

Baked Sunday Mornings: Banana Whoopie Pies

Over the weekend I made these banana whoopie pies for Baked Sunday Mornings. Initially I was frustrated with the milk chocolate swiss meringue filling because - and this is entirely my fault - I didn't leave the butter out long enough, so there were small chunks of cold butter in the meringue. I ended up filling most of the whoopie pies with butter-specked meringue but I just couldn'


I had to leave the house and when I returned, I decided to try to salvage whatever meringue was left in the bowl. I had stuck it in the fridge while I was gone but took it out and let it sit for a half hour or so to soften a little. Then I took the whisk to it and lo and behold, this seemed to do the trick. The random spots of butter disappeared, incorporated into the chocolately goodness. I wouldn't do what I did next but I hate to waste so... I took the whoopie pies that were already filled and scraped all of the messed up meringue back into the bowl, whipped it up again, and all was good once more.

That initial trouble with the meringue didn't endear me to these whoopie pies but after the second day, they grew on me. They're delicious, great with milk, and undoubtedly adorable in their own way. And now I know that the Baked guys write "cool but not cold, butter" in the recipe for a reason.

CommentsCategories baked sunday mornings baking digital sweet Tags baking mishap banana whoopie pies

Jun 8, 2014

Poppy Seed Pound Cake

I wish I could write more and post a couple more photos of this lovely cake but it's been so busy that I can't believe I actually found the time to bake and shoot. I love the swirl in the center (and the fact that it differs from slice to slice) and the citrus in the cake really appealed to me. I wasn't as big a fan of the poppy seed filling, though the glaze was a different story. I was scooping fingerfuls of it out of the bowl. Unfortunately, forgot to put orange zest into the glaze and I'm positive that if I'd not left it out, there'd hardly be any glaze on the cake :D

It was great to post again with the Baked Sunday Mornings group. I sure missed being a part of a baking group but between the Baking Bootcamp and Baked Sunday Mornings, I think it's apparent I'm somewhat back in the game. Let's see if I can make the next one. See everyone else's cakes here!

CommentsCategories baked sunday mornings baking digital Tags poppy seeds bundt cake pound cake

Jun 1, 2014

Baking Bootcamp: Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Are any of you participating in Joy the Baker's Baking Bootcamp? Sounds intimidating but it's not. I thought it was the perfect reason to get back into baking for no other reason than to get in the kitchen for the fun of it. Not to mention provide some material for my poor, neglected blog. Additionally it's nice to temporarily escape the semi-craziness that is life right now. Anyway. The name triple berry cinnamon swirl bread says it all. It's a gorgeous, satisfying bread and you should think of making it soon.

CommentsCategories baking digital sweet Tags sweet bread berries cinnamon Baking Bootcamp Joy the Baker

Dec 30, 2013

Chocolate Stout Cake

chocolate bundt cake with Guinness and a whiskey + Baileys Irish Cream glaze (I'm recipe testing so no recipe to share, sorry). Happy New Year!

CommentsCategories baking digital sweet Tags chocolate bundt cake cake Guinness whiskey Baileys Irish Cream

Dec 28, 2013

eggnog breakfasts

Eggnog french toast for Christmas Eve morning

adapted this recipe by substituting the milk for eggnog in equal parts

Eggnog cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning

recipe From A Beautiful Mess, here

Hard to believe that this is the last weekend of 2013, and while this blog hasn't seen much action I hope (resolve?) to remedy that in 2014. Some exciting things are supposed to be happening next year. I say 'supposed' because being in a military family is unsurprisingly unpredictable. I'm checking out library books -- both travel and cooking -- on where we are 'supposed' to be headed next and it's difficult to suppress excitement, and patience is not my virtue, but this is the waiting game we face. Happy Holidays to each and every one of you. xo

CommentsCategories baking digital personal sweet Tags eggnog french toast cinnamon buns

Nov 22, 2013

apple orchard

Just a few from a visit to an apple orchard in the area. Not much to show as most of the apple trees were bare. I like the last photo -- reminds of the Forest photo project that Cereal Magazine recently did (btw, two of my photos made it into the final 50! but alas they were cut in the final selection)

At the moment I'm shooting more people photos than I'm used to, and I do miss my food and landscapes so hope to get back to that happy place in the near future.

CommentsCategories adventures in california digital personal

Jul 24, 2013

Betty's Buttermilk Pound Cake

Hi internet, I'm still here and baking, just not as frequently as before as you can probably tell. As a result of using my iPhone and Instagram 99% of the time my poor dslr has collected quite a layer of dust. I decided to remedy that today when I made this cake. It's good but with 3 sticks of butter, 8 eggs, and 3 cups of sugar (and that's not counting what's in the buttercream frosting), it's best reserved for special occasions. There's a subtle hint of lemon thanks to fresh lemon juice and lemon extract. I might add lemon zest for a little more zing next time. I don't know Betty but I like her and this recipe from the Brown Betty Cookbook. I've made the cheesecake, too, and swear that I've not had anything better before or since.

I'm halfway in my training for a half marathon and despite some nagging issues (my feet and shins/calves are NOT agreeing with all this pounding the pavement), I'm on schedule with renewed energy and a monster appetite. I'm tackling my first double digit mileage run this weekend. Wish me luck, I'll surely need it.

CommentsCategories baking digital sweet Tags buttermilk pound cake buttermilk pound cake cake lemon brown betty cookbook

Apr 25, 2013

In Anthology

A quick post to share some exciting news... I'm published in the newest Anthology Magazine. I feel like a rookie for announcing this and not having shots of the story to show as well but I simply couldn't wait once I received my copy in the mail today. Being in my favorite print magazine is a dream come true and I can't thank the Anthology staff, Deb (who wrote the article), and Joy and Jess (the "mermaids" of the article) enough for the opportunity. It's humbling to be in the company of so many creatives who contributed to this issue - photographers I look up to and admire from afar.

(cover photo by Kelly Ishikawa)

CommentsCategories personal Tags Anthology Magazine published

Mar 22, 2013

Twix Cake

Made this for my son's birthday this past week. Recipe + instructions from raspberri cupcakes.

And the latest in the Creative Cake series for A Subtle Revelry... a tutorial for simple fruit candles.

CommentsCategories baking sweet Tags Twix cake birthday

Mar 12, 2013

Santa Cruz on film

Got some scans back of a couple of rolls of Kodak Portra 400... these were taken back in October. I thought I was throwing away $25, expecting the worst since I shoot everything sans external meter. But these left me pleasantly surprised and now I'm wondering about those rolls from Paris...

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CommentsCategories adventures in california film medium format personal Tags Santa Cruz Kodak Portra 400 Contax 645

Mar 7, 2013

Red Velvet Roulade

This lovely cake is from the new book, Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home. I have a couple of the earlier Hummingbird books but never felt compelled to make something out of them as much as I do from this one. And not just one 'something' but a few... the doughtnut cupcakes and cookies and cream cake come to mind. If you're like me and are a visual person and fan of beautiful photography this book won't disappoint -- there's a photo of the finished product for every single recipe. While my roulade doesn't quite look like theirs (with the perfect swirl in the middle), I'm fairly certain this is not the last time I make this cake.

If you're not caked out yet, head over to A Subtle Revelry and take a peek at easy checkerboard cake I made for Victoria's Creative Cakes series.

CommentsCategories adventures adventures in california baked sunday mornings baking digital iPhone people personal portraits recipe savory sweet travel tuesdays with dorie Tags red velvet roulade Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home cookbook cake

Feb 24, 2013

Blood Orange Bars

Blood Orange Bars

(recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Brownies and Bars)

for crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 tbsp powdered sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup butter

for filling:

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp finely shredded blood orange peel

2/3 cup blood orange juice

2 drops red food coloring (optional)

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

powdered sugar (for dusting)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8x8x2 inch baking pan with foil. Grease foil; set pan aside.

For crust, in the bowl of a food processor combine 1 cup flour, 3 tbsp powdered sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, and butter (if you don't have a food processor, use a pastry blender, or two forks, to cut in butter). Pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake about 15 mintues or until light brown around the edges.

In a medium bowl, whisk together granulated sugar, eggs, orange peel, orange juice, and, if desired, food coloring, until smooth. Stir in the 2 tbsp flour and 1/4 tsp salt. Pour orange mixture over hot crust.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes more or until filling is set. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Using the edges of the foil, lift uncut bars out of pan. Cut into bars and sprinkle with powdered sugar. 

*if you can't find blood oranges, regular oranges and orange juice can be substituted

CommentsCategories baking digital recipe sweet Tags blood oranges bars tilt-shift photography citrus

Feb 20, 2013

Piñata cake for A Subtle Revelry

This took the better part of a day to make and shoot but the end result was worth it. See the full blog post over at A Subtle Revelry.


Feb 18, 2013

field trip in Monterey

Trying to get out more with the camera to shoot without real purpose, to have fun with no pressure. So here, a few photos from a trip to see an abalone farm and recently caught fish, ending with a long walk on the beach... never mind that it was with 50 kindergarteners, it was too lovely out to notice the chaos!

CommentsCategories digital personal Tags Monterey

Feb 15, 2013

sweetheart macarons from Sucré

While we're usually not big into celebrating a certain day that just passed, I had to seize the opportunity and use the holiday as an excuse to request this collection of macarons (macaroons?) from Sucré. As you can see, one magically disappeared as I started shooting. The raspberry mousseline found in the center of one of these macarons is a pleasant surprise and once you reach it, makes subsequent bites so satisfying. Now if there was a way to justify ordering a membership to the 12 Month Club...

CommentsCategories sweet Tags Sucre macarons Valentines Day

Jan 13, 2013

Baked Sunday Mornings: Bananas Foster Fritters with Rum Dipping Sauce

phew... made it just in time for Baked Sunday Mornings today. These were divine, I highly recommend you give them a try: recipe

CommentsCategories baked sunday mornings baking digital sweet Tags bananas fritters bananas foster rum dipping sauce fried

Dec 30, 2012

Baked Sunday Mornings: Classic Shortbread with Fleur de Sel

This was a recipe I could manage this week for Baked Sunday Mornings. Take a look at how the other bakers fared; love all the variations on one of my favorite cookies. Happy New Year, everyone.

CommentsCategories baked sunday mornings baking sweet Tags shortbread cookies fleur de sel