July 26, 2012

Chili Enchiladas

enchilada 2
These enchiladas are evidence of my struggle to reconcile myself to reality. While August is fast approaching and there’s still plenty of hot and humid days to come, I cannot help but fantasize about winter. Beautiful, chilly, winter with its chunky knit scarves and bracing, Arctic winds. Velvety hot chocolate that smoothly slides down your throat with its—key word: welcome—warmth. Twinkling Christmas lights strewn across porches, making every neighborhood look like a charming movie set. Steaming bowls of hearty chili that make you feel all snuggly and cozy inside. All of it. I want all of it!

July 17, 2012

Summer Strawberry Salad

salad 2
I am so excited to share this salad with you guys! Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been really working on planning my meals better and eating a bit healthier (emphasis on “a bit,” since there’s still ice cream in the equation). As I’ve geeked out and created weekly menus, complete with Excel spreadsheets, it’s lead me to a lot of great, healthy recipes to add in the mix. Out of all the yummy new dishes I’ve tried, this one has been my absolute favorite. Simple ingredients, fresh flavors, and—best of all—super quick to prepare. Here’s how to do it:

July 5, 2012

Calling all Smarty-pants

This is an S.O.S. to all of you tech-savvy, crafty, and all-around smarty-pants people who read this blog. I am in need of some major advice on about half a dozen predicaments, so even those of you who wouldn’t consider yourselves masters of some technical, computery mumbo-jumbo, please heed my cry and help me find some clarity of mind.

Ever since the spring I’ve been working towards putting together some more YouTube cooking videos, much like the one I had uploaded as a contest entry last fall. From that first experience, I was able to garner a lot of tips and tricks, plus plenty of things that I wanted to improve and change. I’ve watched oodles of other cooking videos on YouTube, admiring people’s lighting, sound, cameras, and not to mention delicious dishes, trying to get a feel for how I wanted mine to look. So far, I’ve purchased a surprisingly cheap lighting system, as well as a beautifully economical baby-level audio device to record external sound, all in an effort to produce some videos that would be full of bright, colorful, happy food and information.

The thing is, I’m a bit stuck. As anybody who has ever begun any project knows, there are so many little ways that things can go wrong and so many tiny hiccups that can leave you puzzled for weeks on end, hence why I’m sending out the Bat signal. Are you ready?? Cause here we go…

(1) My last video was filmed outside, which made for some gorgeous, bright light for close-up shots, etc. The problem is, that was outside in November-ish, a very very very different thing from outside in the middle of July. Cue the the umbrella-y contraption below. It provides light, albeit a frighteningly florescent shade of blue (claiming to be “daylight”). Combined with the oddly warm fluorescence that usually lights my kitchen, the white balance is a little bit better, but still nowhere near the beauty of natural light. Any ideas of how I could improve the lighting? I’ve considered perhaps forsaking the traditional front-facing cooking video format and filming it in a more impromptu manner next to the window in the kitchen where I normally shoot my photos. What do you think? Pleasant and casual? Or jarring and unprofessional?

umbrella light
(2) Sound. I know enough to know that when it comes to DSLRs, it’s better to record externally, due to their okay-quality built-in mics, but I’m really no expert with audio. Have any of you done any audio recording? I’d love any sort of tips or places to find more information on how to go about this properly.

hand recorder
(3) Finally—this is a more aesthetic question—what do you guys have as far as organization tips? I have a great island in my kitchen, perfect for plenty of cooking space, but half of it’s covered with junk mail, etc. And it’s sky blue laminate, but that can’t be helped. The main problem is the mess. How do you keep things tidy in your kitchen? Or are you in the same boat as me? Do tell!

So as you can see, as it happens with big projects, I’ve got an idea of what I want to do, but it’s the execution of it that’s a pain in the booty. Ideally, I’d love to have a video or two to show you guys by maybe…August? September? Maybe even the end of July, who knows? I spent several months in the spring coming up with plenty of yummy, brand new recipes especially for some YouTube videos, so I really can’t wait to share them with you. And I can’t wait to hear your answers to my questions! Again, even if you don’t consider yourself a huge video aficionado, leave me a comment about anything—I love ‘em! Ideas, suggestions, and all that jazz are the best!
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