Sitting here and typing this out right now is giving me the space I need to breathe, take a moment and look at what’s going on around me. I’m an honest believer in putting in 110% when you are working and detaching completely when you are not. I’ve read articles upon articles (like this one), books upon books (such as here), on how, and why, this is the most effective method in work and life, and why go-go-going all the time is depleting, ineffective and produces less-than results.
I know this. I know that it’s true but somehow I continually find myself slipping into after-hours working, laying in bed thinking about what I need to get done and munching my lunch standing as I continue to shoot. It’s a very, very hard thing to turn. yourself. off.
But I’m giving it my very best. For the first time (possibly ever?), I’m tracking my time. Seeing where it goes, how it’s spent. What I am actually doing. And it’s working! At the end of a month when I tally up hours and notice that I spent way too much time e-mailing, cleaning, or not enough time detaching, I adjust! I would highly recommend it.
But where does all this time go you say? Well over here, lately it’s been on cookbooks! I’ve been very late to the game to share the news about new releases of books I’ve shot (and will dive into detail in a later post), but I wanted to get the word out there that a big handful of these amazing books are now out in print and available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Elliot Bay Book Company & other smaller bookstores all over!
In the past few months I’ve learned about sushi, bitters, smoothies, herbal medicine, spiralizing, baby food, salads, fruit-infused water and Kombucha, and am currently working on a few fun new books (both photographing and food styling) in the food/lifestyle world.
It’s been a whirlwind of a journey entering in to the cookbook world. I’ve never spent so much time at the market in my life. Here’s a peek into what the last few months have encompassed. Don’t worry, the down and dirty details on shooting, behind the scenes, food styling and prop shopping are still to come (after all, sometimes those are the most exciting parts!).
If you pick up any of the titles below and/or whip up a recipe or two, please do drop me a line in the comments below and let me know what you think. It's always great to hear your thoughts!
The 21 Day Healthy Smoothie Plan, Sonoma Press
Get it here.
This book, my first with Sonoma Press, was SO MUCH FUN to prop shop for! I love a challenge (say shooting the same subject 25 different but still interesting ways), that forces me to be creative in my propping, lighting, angle and composition. The book is an approachable 21 day plan that incorporates 1 smoothie into each day for protein, fruit, vegetables and nourishment. The recipes are written by a certified nutritionist and thus do an excellent job of delivering a balanced and satisfying boost. Bonus recipes of Salads are included in the back and people are loving this book on amazon (check out the reviews on the link above).
Salads That Inspire, Rockridge Press
Get it here.
Who doesn't love salads? I know about five people that don't (most of them under age 5). Personally I know when I'm trying to develop recipes for salads I find I get in a real pickle. It's the one dish where I'm utterly stumped for ideas. This book is a bargain for the price. Loaded with more recipes than you could ever imagine, the whole spectrum is covered from fruits, grains (Strawberry Kale Salad with Quinoa), veggies, meats (Grilled Flank Steak Salad with Cherry Tomatoes), and seafood (Flaky Smoked Salmon Salad). Personal favorites include the Wok Chicken Salad wraps (pictured below), Strawberry Kale with Quinoa and Flank Steak with Cherry Tomatoes.
DIY Kombucha, Rockridge Press
Get it here.
Another hot ticket on amazon according to reader reviews, DIY Kombucha is a super fun book for Kombucha lovers. With a friendly introduction and step-by-step instructions that walk you through picking a Scoby and fermenting tea to colorful and quirky mocktails (I haven't stopped getting hit with mad cravings for the Kombucha Mojito Mocktail (pictured below), since I sipped one on the shoot!). Of course (as any Kombucha-lover will understand), I fully reaped the benefits of having crates of Kombucha at the end of the shoot. If only it had lasted me more than a couple of weeks....
The Healthy Spiralizer Cookbook, Rockridge Press
Get it here.
Spiralizing is a sensation. My mother's on board, my sister's on board, my yoga teacher is on board. So of course when I got this project I hopped on board too! A super simple and inexpensive (we're talking $15.00), machine, the spiralizer turns vegetables into zoodles and rice that, in turn, can be mixed into waffles (carrot waffles with honey anyone?), pasta (zuchinni with pesto and parm), and dessert (avocado and sweet potato mousee). You'll be shown which vegetables work best for which dishes and which spirazlier settings to use in each recipe. Oodles of healthy recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner pack the pages.
Do-It-Yourself Herbal Medicine, Rockridge Press
My first book stepping outside of the food world and into a really exciting project on Herbal Remedies- this book I personally can't wait to start diving into! Having just received my copy in the mail a couple of days ago, I am already itching to get started. A hardy handbook this baby's got everything from DIY Skin, Body and Haircare recipes to illness-halting medicinal recipes, to around the house natural uses for common household items (laundry detergent, pest control, cleaning supplies). Weather you're looking for a treat to indulge yourself in natural goodness or an all-around herbal resource this is it.
Sushi At Home, A Mat To Table Sushi Cookbook, Rockridge Press
Get it here.
Here's a hot tip- you can make sushi at home! Yes it is actually doable. Following well-written instructions, simple instructional drawings and referencing photographs makes the process easy. Ever wonder how they get those rectangular rolls to look so perfect? There's a mold for that! In case you can't tell, I learned a lot with this book. In all honesty though, the well-written tutorials and approachable recipes make this far less intimidating than I had initially thought. If you want to take it up a notch, garnish away! You can always add all sorts of delicious dipping sauces.
Fruit-Infused Water, Rockridge Press
Get it here.
You know all those benefits and nutrients in fruit? Well did you ever realize that you could be adding them to your daily diet by simply tossing some quick slices into your water and letting it infuse for a while in the fridge? Or the fact that adding something sweet, tart and flavorful to your drink makes you want to drink more water each day? Or that you could be pairing a calorie-free, delicious flavored beverage with your meal when you want to keep things healthy but flavorful? This book goes into great detail as to exactly why and how to do just that and offers a multitude of refreshing recipes, specifying which fruits offer what in terms of nutrition. A beneficial book to have on your shelf for sure.