Sunday, October 31, 2010

October 2010 Daring Baker's Challenge-Doughnuts

Did you know that secretly I would love to be a revered chef? Though I sometimes have a love/hate relationship with my kitchen I am beginning to sway more towards the "love" side and am thoroughly enjoying my rediscovery of cooking. I joined a "club" per se known as The Daring Kitchen. This online site unites bakers and cooks throughout the world giving them a spot of common ground each month by challenging them to try something new. October was my first month as a new participant and I chose to stick with the baking side of preparation. While I like cooking just as well I become a tad more excited when anything with dough or batter is involved.

I have made doughnuts once before. It was two years ago and I was living in a small Virginia town with my family. It was fall, leaves were changing, the air was feeling cooler and I decided I wanted to make doughnuts. Well, they were a flop. They were quite bland and tasted greasy. This month's challenge had me hoping that I could master (or at least improve upon) the art of doughnut creation and consumption.

While we were allowed to use any recipe we could find one was provided to us but I felt that simplicity was key and stuck with this Alton Brown recipe from Food Network. A few things that I changed or discovered along the way:

-I used butter instead of shortening
-The dough was extremely sticky and almost pourable. After it raised (and it took almost 1.5 hours before I saw any real raising going on) it was a bit more like bread dough and less like cake batter.
-Do not fry for one minute each side. I burned most of mine. :( I would say go for 20 seconds each side.

And that's it! If I were to make them one more time I would probably add a tiny bit more of flour and fry them more quickly.

My taste tester had no qualms with the treats being a tad overcooked.

Maybe next time I will also do a complete glaze instead of just the tops.

I know, not the fanciest of pictures but it was late at night and I wasn't up for styling my food. :)

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall session Jefferson Memorial

Had the most energetic, beautiful evening this past weekend shooting this session. Two cute little boys:

And parents with the most lovely British accents.

What a treat to be shooting at one of DC's memorials with a bright fall sun and crisp autumn air. It was a great evening.

We had a fun time playing with Dad

And blowing bubbles

And giving kisses
Thank you Rob and Claire (and your cute boys!) for a great evening. Can't wait for you to see the rest! :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall Session at the National Cathedral-Virginia Family Photographer

Can I just say that I love my job!? I do and it's because of families like this one who make my job so much fun. I've said it before in many posts that one part I love about what I do is that I am able to meet so many wonderful people and let me tell you, Beth and her family fit the bill. We met up an hour or so before sunset at that National Cathedral. Originally we had planned on shooting on the mall but when Beth emailed me a few days previous and asked if we could move the location I was ecstatic when she said "National Cathedral". I'm a sucker for anything European or, in the Cathedral's case, anything that looks European. The grounds are always beautifully kept and there are so many different nooks and crannies to photograph in that you have background choices galore.

When I arrived it was windy to say the least. But the sky was a gorgeous blue and the building was breathtaking.
And then these cute little faces came around the corner and I knew I was in for a treat:

And with a handsome dad and beautiful mom who liked hiding out in make-shift tent forts, how could we go wrong?
We took shelter on the south side of the Cathedral because, no joke, the wind was blowing like crazy but about 20 minutes into the session the winds calmed and it was like any other fall evening.

My favorite of Sean and his little girl

And one of my faves of these two. She was captivated at first my the clicking sound of my camera and would stare at it mesmerized. But that only lasted a few minutes and then she was off crawling and giggling again.

I try to make my sessions fun, not painful. And sometimes I'm sure I look or sound goofy but if I can get an image like this, it's all worth it.

And sometimes, if you've just celebrated your first birthday, there may be cupcakes involved. Thank you Curbside Cupcakes for our yummy treats. Sorry Beth that I stole yours. :(

All in all, we had a nice, relaxing time:

We had some hide and seek time:

And even some time for a little of this:

But when you look this good, my job is easy:
Beth, Sean, I loved spending the evening with you all! I am so glad you found me on google (thank you google!) and called me up so that we could capture how awesome your family is. I hope you enjoyed your sneak peek! :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I used to live in the DC are five years ago and I knew Jenny then. We didn't do much together but we knew who the other one was. When I moved back I saw her one Sunday in church, we struck up a conversation and have become fast friends. We both love running (though I'm still trying to heal a heel issue that just won't go away), we share the same travel bug and love of photography, plus, I find her line of work fascinating (you'll have to ask her... :)

We went around Crystal City the Friday before I took off to Washington state and happily laughed and snapped pictures along the way. Here's a sneak peek!

(Side note, I'm editing on my laptop... colors/tones/lighting, etc. might be a tad off. That's just my little disclaimer) :)

By far this is one of my faves from the session....