Photo of The Week

Chi-Town

A few of my favorite photos from my trip to Chicago. How can you not love downtown Chicago?

Chicago via Instagram

I just got home from my trip to Chicago visiting my family with my dad and haven’t had time to upload the photos from my camera. So, I thought I’d share my trip via Instagram photos. You’ll notice I did a lot of eating (so I tried to do a lot of working out too). Overall it was a fantastic trip. It was great to spend time with my dad and all of my Chicago family and it was a nice little break from real life. More photos to come!

MikiThe White Sox game was amazing! Fitzgerald’s is a great little blues club we went toButterfly sushiGnocchi and meatballs the size of my head. I loved this indoor track in Chicago. You don’t see those too often in California!

Hummingbirds

I am always so envious of my mom’s hummingbird feeder. It attracts such amazing little creatures and I love watching them flutter around and drink their sugar-water. I would love to have one in our backyard but our cats will go after (and kill) just about any bird they see in a one-mile radius of our house. Humming birds are extremely fast, but I just wouldn’t feel right intentionally luring them into the “kill zone” just so I can look at them. I am always wishing I had my camera when I go to my parent’s house so I made sure I brought it over for Mother’s Day. I sat and watched the birds for a few minutes and took a ton of photos. These were some of my favorite shots. I swear, for a minute this one particular hummingbird was posing and dancing around for me.

See, he (or she) is totally looking at me here.

Photo of The Week

Lighting Class Portraits

I recently volunteered to be the “model” for a photography lighting class through Photography My Way. They are a photography company that teaches you everything you want to know about your DSLR camera. I have loved every single class I have taken with them and highly recommend it if you’re new to photography.

I was a student in their lighting class months ago and afterwards still struggled with finding the perfect light for my photos. So I thought if I sat through another class and was able to re-learn lighting from the perspective of the subject, it might help me improve my shots. Well, it did! Being moved around and told where to stand and how to turn my head toward the light really helped me understand the concept better and I’m so glad I did it. Although, I have to say it was pretty uncomfortable having a group of people take TONS of photos of you in a crowded, public place. Not to mention the instructor had everyone take photos of me in horrible light and then in good light so they could see the difference. I am not interested in seeing the photos they took in the horrible light. No thank you.

Here are two of the shots they took in “good light.”

Seared Ahi with Lemon Dill Aioil

Last night my husband and I made this delicious dinner. We bought a sashimi grade tuna steak from our local grocery store and served it with garlic & balsamic brussel sprouts and the first artichoke from our backyard this year!

The tuna is easy and super fast (I accidentally overcooked it a little, but it was still tasty). I added salt and pepper to each side and seared it in a hot pan with a little olive oil. It really only needs less than a minute on each side, and I went a little long as you can see in my photo.

Then I sautéed onions and garlic in another pan with olive oil, added the brussel sprouts and 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar until they were tender and a little crispy on the edges. I boiled the artichoke and used my lemon dill aioli for dipping sauce for both the artichoke and the tuna.

Lemon Dill Aioli

  • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon veganaise
  • juice of half a lemon
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • 2 tsp. fresh dill, chopped

Mix all the ingredients together and add ingredients until you have the taste/texture you like. You can definitely make this without the veganaise, but I like to add a little to cut down the tartness of the yogurt.

Enjoy!

Black Bean and Endive “Tacos”

YUM! These little  black bean and veggie “tacos” were delicious! I basically just threw all the ingredients I could find in my fridge together and came up with these. You could use large lettuce leaves instead but I just love the crunch of the endive and happened to have them on hand already. They were so easy and quick to make, and kept me full all night. They are the perfect bite-size portions and would be great for a Cinco de Mayo party this weekend! What you’ll need:

  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped (any color would work, I used orange)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 tsp. chili powder (more if you like it extra spicy)
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth

What you’ll do:

Saute onions, celery, and carrots in 1 tsp. olive oil until tender. Add in bell peppers, then after a few minutes, add mushrooms. Stir in the drained and rinsed black beans until warm all the way through. Mix seasonings with vegetable broth and pour into bean mixture. Stir until seasoning coats the mixture and serve on small endive leaves or any lettuce wrap of your choice. Top with avocado, hot sauce, cilantro, salsa, whatever you like! These “tacos” are so healthy – full of fiber and protein – and taste great the next day for leftovers as well. Enjoy!

It’s a Bug’s Life

Spring is here and that means the bugs are here! I loved taking these photos because I actually took the time to watch the bees pollinate our flowers and it really is a fascinating sight. I hope this means our garden will be fantastic this year.Thank you bees!

Making the World a Better Place, One Color Run At a Time

So I have been away from the blogging world for a few days now because I have been out of town in Orange County. I was there for the weekend visiting friends and getting ready for the color run! This was the best 5k I’ve ever done and I plan to do it every year from here on out. Not only was it INCREDIBLY FUN, it also benefited a great cause — the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County. AND I just signed up for the Color Run in Sacramento in August! If you want to see if the Color Run is coming to your city, check out their website here. You won’t regret it.  I mean, who doesn’t love a little color? Happy running!

Stretching before the run

All these photos were taken with my iPhone inside a ziplock baggie or with my friend’s point and shoot (which ended up COVERED in colored powder) so the clarity may not be the best! But I definitely recommend the ziplock baggie. It protected my phone and made it possible for me to take photos during the run!

Just a warning- my hair is still pink after two washes. Next time I’ll wear a hat!