Saturday, September 17, 2011

iHeart Strawberries

Strawberries are one of my favorite foods.  I’m always so happy when summer rolls around and they are on sale at the grocery store.  Even better is when you are able to get freshly picked berries out of the garden.  We had a small strawberry patch in our backyard when I was younger.  I have fond memories of running around and playing in the yard, then popping over to the patch to see if any were ripe.  In my opinion, there isn’t much better flavor in the world than a sun ripened strawberry picked right off the plant. 
Up in Boise, a lot of farmer’s stands go up in the summer to sell extra fruit, and we would often get these huge flats of strawberries.  That meant that mom would make strawberry shortcake and jam, and we would have lots of berries to snack on.  Yum.
Besides being pretty fruit (I love love that deep beautiful red), strawberries are very nutritious (which is a good quality in something that I can sit down and eat a whole lot of, am I right?).   They are high in fiber, low in calories, and one cup of strawberries has 136% of your daily vitamin C.  They also contain manganese, which is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent.  Because they are so packed with vitamins, strawberries are not only good for consumption, but for cosmetic purposes as well!  Did you know that placing the leaves of a strawberry on acne will help the swelling and redness go down by reducing the acidity of the affected area?  It’s true!  Strawberries also contain salicylic acid, which helps to slough of dead skin cells and refine pores.  They also contain powerful anti-aging properties and soften skin.  And you can make an all-natural facemask at home!  The two simplest versions are:

Version #1
5 medium strawberries, mashed
3 tablespoons of raw honey

Mix together and spread over face with clean hands.  Leave on for 10-15 minutes, then wipe off with a warm cloth. 

Version #2
5 medium strawberries, mashed
1 teaspoon raw honey
1 tablespoon plain yogurt

Mix together and spread over face with clean hands.  Leave on for 10-15 minutes, then wipe off with a warm cloth. 
(p.s. this is also a fantastic breakfast, if you forgo the mashing and chop the strawberries instead and add a lot more yogurt. Mix the plain yogurt {greek yogurt is my favorite} with a spoonful of honey then mix in the chopped strawberries with a little granola.  Delicious, and so good for you!)

Tadaaa. Easy right?

Ok. Back to strawberries as food.  One of my all-time favorite recipes is for strawberry muffins.  They are just sooooo good!  Andrew requests these all the time; he loves them too J

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 cups flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
3 tsps sugar (preferably raw sugar)

Preheat oven to 400°

Cut Strawberries into small pieces.

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and mix well.

If you forget to leave out your stick of butter to soften, microwave for about 10 seconds.

Creamed butter and sugar

Nice and smooth once you mix in the egg

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. 

Then, add flour mixture and milk alternately to butter/sugar mixture.  

When finished mixing, the batter should be pretty thick

Add vanilla and gently fold in the strawberries.

Spoon the batter into muffin pan, then sprinkle each muffin with a little raw sugar.

If you don't have one already, go get a large muffin pan!  They're fantastic!

Just a sprinkling of the raw sugar

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Let the muffins cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan, they tend to fall apart if you try to take them out too soon.

Delightful Saturday morning breakfast. Serve with coffee!
*Note: all these pictures were taken with my iPhone

So there you have it! Let me know if you try this recipe... or if you have any favorite recipe that use strawberries!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

iHeart Andrew

I’m kicking off a new series on the blog called iHeart… all about, you guessed it, things that I LOVE!  And what better way to start the series than with a post dedicated to the person in this world I love the most: my husband, Andrew.

Andrew and I have been together for a little over two years, and I know that doesn’t seem long in the grand scheme of things, but they have been the best years of my life.  Before I met him, I sometimes wondered about who I would end up with, and if he would truly understand me, and I him.  I wondered if falling head over heels for someone was realistic or if it was something just out of movies and books, and if he would be everything I ever wanted.  And then one summer night at a movie theater, I met him.  And life changed. 

Ours was kind of a whirlwind romance… we met and started dating a week later, were engaged after fours months, and by our wedding day we had known each other for a year and three days.  Over and over again as we got to know each other back then, and still now, it is so clear to me that from the beginning, we were always meant to be.  I know that may seem kind of cheesy, but it’s true! I still remember our first conversations and discovering how much we have in common… from our artistic interests, love of books, applications of our faith, down to silly things like pizza toppings and video games… and seeing how we compliment each other in the ways that we differ. 
Andrew is amazing… seriously… there are so many days I just stop and think, “wow, I am so blessed.”  He has a heart of gold… he is so generous, thoughtful, and genuine.  He is a constant encouragement and support; he believes in me when I don’t.  He calls me out when I need it, and is always the one I turn to when I need advice. He takes my opinions and thoughts into consideration, and puts up with the crazy in me.  He is wise and godly. He makes me laugh oh so much… being around him is SO much fun! He is talented, and smart, and just plain COOL!  He is my best friend, love of my life, and living, breathing proof of God’s faithfulness.  I guess you could say I’m smitten with him!

One of the ways Andrew has been encouraging me lately is in the pursuit of my dream of being a photographer full-time.  I had wanted to practice some portrait shots for a while and I asked Andrew if he would mind if I took some pictures of him.  Even though he isn’t a huge fan of having his picture taken, he agreed (see what I mean about thoughtful? He’s such a keeper!).  Here are some of my favorites.  Keep in mind ladies, he’s taken!! :D

I love being married to this man! I look towards the future with hope, no matter what it may bring, knowing that he is by my side and we'll walk through life together.  Here's to you baby!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

John & Sarah Shores {Wedding}

One of the things I love most about photographing weddings is seeing first-hand how the Lord brings couples together who are so perfect for one another, and how He brings them together.  Sometimes two people meet years before and reconnect at the right time,  or meet and are immediately swept away, or in this case, were living in different parts of the country and found each other through similar interests online.  Praise God for the internet, amen amen? =)
John and Sarah were married on August 6th up in Boise, Idaho at Whitney Baptist Church.  This wedding was so fun for me, because I got to go home and be a part of this wedding along with all the friends and family that I miss so dearly. My mom came along with me to the church in the early afternoon and we met John and his family for the first time.
On the invitations, John and Sarah wrote "cowboy attire welcome," so when the men showed up with their hats, boots and spurs, and pistols holstered on their hips, I just had to smile.  Sarah even wore a pair of white cowboys boots under her dress!
The ceremony was so sweet, and afterwards the guests headed over to the church's activity center for a reception.
As John and Sarah drove away with guest cheering after them, mom and I packed up the car and followed them over to the Boise Train Depot, where we took a few couples portraits.  These two really are such a sweet pair, and I'm so happy for them!

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