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On my Mind: Food Edition

How to decide what foods to eat

{Collage image source: 1. 2. 3. }

I’ve been in all sorts of turmoil the past 2 months when it comes to FOOD. It’s all around us, we have to eat it. We make choices all day every day about what we are going to put into our bodies. We all worry about weight and carbs and calories and sugar, but there is so much more to it than that. Or is there?… Continue Reading

Tips for Photographing Food

One might think that photographing an in-animate object such as food would be pretty easy. I mean, it sits still, unlike toddlers, right? I’ve spent years taking pictures of families, and when I dipped into photographing food, I realized it was MUCH MUCH harder!

how to photograph food

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{Pin this image above, not from the NYIP page}

Today, I’ve got 5 simple tips for photographing food for ya.  I’ve started a collection of plates, utensils, papers, fabrics, and other odds & ends to help me set up the scene for pictures. I feel like I have a LOT of practice still in the new-to-me area of photography, but it’s a fun learning process.

 I wrote this full article for the New York Institute of Photography

HEAD ON OVER to NYIP to read all about it! Read full article HERE.

To see more photo tips on my site, CLICK HERE.

To see more posts shared at the NYIP, click HERE. (Such as Storytelling with Pictures and Fun Ideas for Photographing Family Gatherings)

BlogHer Food 2013 Blogging Conference

Last week I went to my 3rd blogging conference this year. Before you think it…it’s a little much, I agree! What on earth do I need to go to 3 blogging conferences in 6 months??? Well, they all came about in different ways, and I went for different reasons (2 because they were practically free). This one I went to because it was RIGHT HERE in my hometown of A-Tex. I signed up nearly 9 months ago. I had originally planned to just stay at home at night, but I got to help with a sponsor party and got a hotel suite to stay in along with it. I didn’t like leaving my family again, but it was 3 days, and they were well taken care of while I was away. The reunion is so sweet after being gone…

This conference was filled with FOOD BLOGGERS. It was all about food. I have really enjoyed food photography the past few months, and even bought a few books to help me get some things figured out with styling. There were a few beneficial classes, but some a rehashing of things I’d heard before. The highlight with this conference (along with all of the others) is the bonding time with fellow bloggers. Not only do they “get” me, not only do we talk about blogging inside and out, but they become true friends–that are hard to say goodbye to.

food blog conference

I crammed all of these girls into my mini van and went to The Hula Hut, a local Austin Polynesian Tex Mex restaurant. I had to take advantage of the beautiful natural light and snag a group pic–I just love these girls. We spent hours and hours talking and laughing about life and sharing blogging tips, too.

Back row L to R: Camille from Six Sisters Stuff, Monique from Ambitious Kitchen, Elyse from Six Sisters Stuff, Nikki from Chef in Training, Kristy from Sweet Treats and More

Front Row L to R: Ashton from Something Swanky, Christy from The Girl Who Ate Everything, ME, Kristen from Six Sisters Stuff, and Deseree from Life’s Ambrosia

Ashton (Something Swanky) was hosting a PJ Party for PicMonkey and asked if I wanted to co-host with her. PicMonkey is an online photo editing program that I’ve recently discovered, and I LOVE it!!  I’ll share more about it in a future post, but for now, some pics of the party we threw for them.Capturing Joy and Something Swanky

Our room was filled with lots of treats: local gourmet goodies and lots of others stuff.  Well, it wasn’t just a room, it was a corner suite, a great place for our friends to hang out.

chatting in the suite


Gourdough's Doughnuts

Doughnuts from Gourdoughs and Cupcakes from Hey Cupcake. Yummy local treats! the pic below is a snippet of our PJ party (flash gone crazy).  I’m not sure I can name everyone in the pic below…so I’m not going to try (except for my good friend Lorie from Be Different, Act Normal in the bottom right corner since she isn’t in other pictures)!

friends at food blog conferencePJ Party for PicMonkey  Hey CupcakePicMonkey PJ Party Hildie

Hildie from Beehives and Birdsnests was my roommate at SNAP last year, she’s a local gal, too.

Kristen and Ashton

Above, Ashton and I enjoying the Crunch Pak dinner. I’m not sure why I put my hand on her hand…it was my attempt at a partial hug!

Below,  my friends Aimee from Shugary Sweets and Jocelyn from Inside BruCrew Life were also at the party. I had been emailing with Jocelyn for quite a while now, and it was so delightful to finally meet her! Her food photography is some of my favorite–colorful and fun!

Shugary Sweets and BruCrew Life

Kristen Duke and Ree Drummond

I got to chat with Ree Drummond from The Pioneer Woman. I told her she inspired me to write my Love Story after reading hers.

Here is a little collage of phone pics:

BlogHer Food Conference

Bottom left: I chatted with Amanda from Kevin and Amanda as well as Jenny from Picky Palate.  Amanda  inspired me with her weight loss story a while ago, and Jenny (funny enough after the weight loss comment) has the greatest Soft Batch Style chocolate chip cookie recipe that I use all the time. I love that bottom right pic of friends taking food pics and then instagramming them!

I am so happy I got to spend quality time with Christy from The Girl Who Ate Everything. She and I had emailed here and there, and she is just so sweet. Also a BYU grad, she is expecting her 5th baby in August. I told her I needed a side shot b/c you can’t even tell she is pregnant in this pic!

The girl who ate everything and me

This is the view from my hotel room, it was so fun to see my city this way…I just haven’t discovered it enough.

Austin Texas

Creamy Jalapeno Ranch Dip

There is this Tex-Mex restaurant just down the road from me called Chuys that introduced me to this creamy jalapeno ranch dip  10 years ago. Everyone raves about it, says they could swim in it or have it drenched over their heads and they’d be happy. I tend to agree. They serve it with their chips and salsa (but only if you ask). They also serve it as a dressing for their salads.  I came across a recipe at one point, but I changed it around a bit and added the limes.

If you see the word “jalapeno” and want to turn away–DON’T! I do not like jalapeno’s by themselves. I don’t put them on anything, in fact when I was making this, the idea of pickled jalapeno’s made my stomach turn just a bit as a spooned them out of the jar. But I pressed forward because I knew the end result was pure delicious-ness.

Creamy Jalapeno Ranch Dip

5.0 from 3 reviews
Creamy Jalapeno Ranch Dip
Cuisine: Tex Mex
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
This delicious dip is great for chips or as a salad dressing
  • ½ cup mayo
  • 16 oz. sour cream
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup tomatilla salsa
  • 1 small handful cilantro
  • 5 T Ranch dressing mix (or 1.5 packets)
  • ⅓ cups pickled jalapeños
  • 1 squeezed lime juice
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl
  2. In a large blender or food processor, pulse til smooth
  3. Refrigerate 30 minutes serve with tortilla chips.
  4. This dip can continue to be refrigerated, covered, for about a week. If you want it more runny for a dressing, add more lime juice

Here is a close up of the two unique ingredients that you likely won’t have at home and may be searching for at the store:

pickled jalapenos

The jalapeno’s give a bit of a kick to the ranch, but not too much. I don’t care for too much spice in my food.

Jalapeno Ranch DipWhip up a batch to celebrate Cinco de Mayo this weekend! Or just to enjoy in a quiet corner of your home;) What do you think? Sound weird? Delicious? Can anyone out there vouch for this goodness along with me? Try it, you won’t regret it!

If you like this dip, you might also enjoy my Easy 4 ingredient queso with Velveeta Block Cheese

velveeta queso dip


Linking up!