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Jen7714 is published!

15 Jun

Jen7714 is published!

How exciting for me! A little more than a year ago, an editor approached about using my “How to Make Your Own Screen Protector (for less than a nickel)” in a new book.  Of course I said yes! It turns out that she was the editor for a book for Popular Science Magazine,  THE insight for the newest technology and gadgetry! With articles and photos ranging from up-to-date technology, the most recent scientific breakthroughs, and home improvement projects to just the all-inclusive life improvement hacks, Popular Science is one the best sources. In other words, this magazine reports the future before the future happens (magic!). In other other words, I was ecstatic that I could be apart of this amazing book.

Titled The Big Book of Hacks, this page turner holds 264 DIY projects, all of which are simply amazing! It really is awesome to see how innovative and genius those other authors are. I received a copy directly from the editor’s stock, and I definitely want to try some of these life hacks out.

Number one on the (wishful) to-do list? I’m still trying to figure out how this innovator turned his old laptop into a tablet! Anyways, check this book out at your local bookstore! Can you find out how to make a screen protector for less than a nickel? 

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Easy Food Photography Tips for the New Blogger

12 Jun

Easy Food Photography Tips: Example Included!

Whew! It has been almost three years since I started food blogging. I have to say that the quality of my photos, a very essential component of being a foodie journalist, have gotten better.

So here’s some advice for some new bloggers out there: in addition to creating mouth-watering recipes, take some awesome pictures that do your creations justice. How? Well, there’s no better way to learn than to learn by example!

Shown above is a picture generously donated to ChrysN over at Instructables. And here are some of my thoughts on the photo.

Thoughts on photo:

  • I was a bit surprised why this photo wasn’t the title picture of the instructable (which was the close up of just the cookies). I really like the compositions more in this photo and here’s why
    • I like that you can see more of the mug in this photo. It gives it more of a “lived in” feel, which is important when photographing food.
    • This shot allows you to see more of the cookies and doesn’t have a sense of overcrowding.
    • It layers the textures and colors better than the other photo as well.
  • The set up of the cookies is appealing to eye as well. If you pay attention, the placement of the tree makes the onlooker focus on that. The tree also helps guide the onlooker’s eyes to the star. That is good because it pulls the reader in by focusing on the more “unique shapes.”

Photo Editing and Other Ways:

  • I would add some color to this photo. There’s a lot of browns and neutrals that can seem dull. ChrysN did a nice job of having different shades of brown though. I would add a colored cloth napkin somewhere to give it some color.
  • As for photo editing, this photo is great as is. I might increase the color temperature (think yellow light bulb vs white light bulb) a bit for the more home-y feel. The lighting is great in this picture and the shadows are almost nonexistent (which is good as well).

Main Idea:

Add some color to give your photo some life and pay attention to layering different colors and textures. And great lighting makes great photos.

Have an idea of how to start now? Awesome! And welcome to the food blogging world!

Click here for a quick summary of five of my food photography tips.

 

The New Craze: The Cronut

2 Jun

Hey everyone!

So we all know food fads are always coming and going, usually faster than we can follow them. Some have a long shelf-life, such as the classic cupcake. Some are crazy and unique (the gummy glasses fit into this category :) Others are just amazingly innovative that blog posts should be dedicated to them, such as the new craze, the cronut. 

For those of you who do not know what a cronut is (and don’t worry I didn’t either), it is essentially a perfect combo of a croissant and a doughnut. Going into more mouth watering detail, the unique dough of croissants is formed into the known shape of a dougnut and then fried. Sweet pastry cream is then squeezed so it oozes between the layers of the croissant dough. Sounds good doughnut it? (Get it? Doesn’t it…doughnut it. Alright :) 

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However, these little desserts are in HOT demand right now. Recent reports have said that on the black food market (sounds appetizing, no?) cronuts go for $40! At Dominque Ansel’s Bakery in NYC (the originator of the cronut), the line goes for seemingly miles and the bakery runs out sufficiently quickly. 

Come on Mr. Hansel, send one over to this dessert-loving food blogger?

Are you ready to check out the innovative new food fad for yourself at Dominque Ansel Bakery (if you can outlast those lines!)?

Asian Sweet Bread (Hong Kong Pai Bao, Hokkaido Milk Bread)

31 Dec Asian Sweet Bread 1

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Happy New Year! This post is an oldie at Instructables, but new here! Make some bread for the New Year?

I am so happy to share this recipe with you. Asian Sweet Bread is a staple in all Asian bakeries. The bread is soft and pillow-y and just melts in your mouth with a slight sweet flavor. The crust is perfectly brown and flaky. It’s gorgeous to look at…and delicious to eat. A perfect snack on any occasion and it can hold its own next to any store bought rolls or loaves.

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This recipe is close to my heart as well. I have always gotten some sweet treat when going to Asian bakeries. I always came home with all kinds of bread…all of which derived from this simple recipe.

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Asian Sweet Bread (otherwise called Hong Kong Pai Bao or Hokkaido Milk Bread) is a staple in Asian bakeries and it should definitely be a staple in your household :) Delicious, fluffy, soft and everything bread should be.

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Ingredients

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Homemade Nutella Butterfingers

23 Apr 080a

I love Butterfingers. I think they have just the right amount of flakiness and chocolate flavor to them. My mom loves them too. However, my dad is allergic to peanut butter so I wanted to make a kind of butterfinger without peanut butter. So introducing: Nutella Butterfingers. They are decadent, flaky, and is the perfect indulgent treat. It’s made with the infamous Nutella, a delicious hazelnut spread. These can be decorated with chocolate and many other toppings. Be as creative or simple as you want! Nutella Butterfingers is the perfect treat for those who want an alternative to the ever-popular Butterfinger.

Things you need to make these delicious treats:

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Classic Hard Candy Chews

27 Mar 034a

What’s your favorite candy? Whether if it’s chocolate-y goodness or fruity explosions, everyone loves candy. I always wanted to try to make my own. I mean what better than picking your own flavors and colors and sharing it with everyone you know. I love gummies  but hard candy also holds a special place in my heart. Classic Hard Candy Chews are the perfect blend of the two. They’re hard at first, giving you a flavor you can suck on for a while. Then they turn chewy, giving your mouth some exercise :) They’re easy to make and hard to mess up. The special part…it even allows you to play with your food. Like taffy, these chews have to be pulled and stretched giving you a pretty good exercise ;) Different flavors and colors can be combined to create the perfect candy for anyone.

Some things you need to make this delicious candy are:

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Food Photography Through a Novice’s Eyes

6 Mar Food Photo

This post was a post I wrote for instructables.com after receiving a comment I should post some food photography tips. I hope you enjoy!

“I was skimming through all my dessert cookbooks one day. I desperately needed a good party dessert. I stopped to look at a delicious lemon pound cake, some chocolate chip cookies, and a very good-looking pear pie. I was thinking to myself,”

That was an excerpt from my instructable version of Pomegranate Cake Tarts. Believe me they are delicious. If you need a link, here it is.
Now, in that instructable, I said that I loved all the photos I took. I uploaded to best but still have some other shots I have rejected.

I also posted this instructable on my blog. You see, in the “food blogging world,” there is a great site called foodgawker and another one called tastespotting. These sites showcase the best of the best in food blogs. The pictures are sharp and perfectly lit. The composition is impeccable and leaves your mouth-watering. The editors of that site hold very high standards for photos and reject plenty of them.

Pomegranate Cake Tarts made it onto foodgawker (amazingly) and I was beyond happy :) :) I’m still learning the ropes for photography but I have some quick ten tips on food photography for anyone willing to learn:

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Mini Pac-Man Pizza Bites

28 Jan CIMG4629

So I’m back! Don’t worry that hot pot post is still trudging along but today I present you with: Mini Pac-Man Pizza Bites

Pac-man is a classic game for everyone! It is truly an “oldie.” There are Pac-Man shirts, bags, hats, costumes; you name it. Mini Pac-Man Pizza Bites are perfect for a get together with friends to discuss the latest strategies for Pac-Man or an after school snack. They’re fun, easy to eat and make.

However, an added bonus is that these pizzas are also (somewhat) healthy for you. This recipe for pizza uses wheat flour for grains, cheese for dairy, and the toppings can cover anywhere from your vegetables to proteins.

Enjoy!

These pizza bites need:

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Pomegranate Cake Tarts

17 Jan CIMG5854

I was skimming through all my dessert cookbooks one day. I stopped to look at a delicious lemon pound cake, some chocolate chip cookies, and a very good-looking pear pie. I was thinking to myself, “Someone should combine all the best parts of those desserts into one!” After some experiments I discovered the perfect combination. I present you with my very own creation to hit taste buds everywhere: Pomegranate Cake Tarts. These delicious tarts combine all the best parts of cakes, cookies, and pies. The merging of all these classic desserts makes this dessert special. The “filling” of the tart is a moist red-velvet-esque pomegranate cake. The crust of the pie is a classic cookie with little hints of white chocolate (if you choose) . And I have the perfect frosting to go along with this too: White Cream Cheese frosting. I’m proud to say I created this recipe and I’m glad to share it with all of you!

Don’ they look delicious? Well I love all my photos that I took of my final product this time but I want to know what you guys think. Leave a vote or comment saying which one you like best!

Well I know you’re anxious to get started ;), so here’s what you need to make these yummy tarts:

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Asian-Style Tomato Soup with Rice Noodles

5 Jan 1032a

This recipe is so delicious and classic to our family, I just had to share. The base of the soup is mainly tomatoes but the addition of the rice noodles/vermicelli, meatballs, and tender vegetables just makes everything click together. This recipe is great because it is so versatile. We make all different versions: vegetarian, meat-loving, and everywhere in between. I made a version with tofu, shrimp, and mushrooms (picture below) but the recipe that the recipe uses has more veggies and adds some yummy homemade meatballs.  The dish is very healthy with a combination of vegetables, meat, grains (the noodles) but be creative and see what combination you’ll put together. Asian-Style Tomato Soup with Rice Noodles is a delicious, versatile  recipe for the family or for a quick dinner.

Here’s what you need to make your next dinner ;)

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