Monthly Archives: September 2011

Fall Edits

I know I’m quite late in posting these – the last few days have been quite hectic with day long hikes, family discussions and job applications – so here are my edits for this week’s fall themed Good to Wow: Shoot and Edit! You can see my SOOCs of my brother and his lovely fiance here.

Most of them are quite clean edits to brighten up the fall colours – nothing super fancy as the subject is great to start with. 🙂

How has your weekend been going?


Filed under Photography

It’s Fall and There’s Love in the Air…

This weekend was a busy one. As I mentioned previously, last Friday I went out to the mountains with my brother and his new fiancé to take some engagement photos.

We first went out to Moraine Lake by Lake Louise, then headed to Vermilion Lakes near Banff. Many of the trees have turned to a wonderful shade of yellow, something I wanted to take advantage of.

We had beautiful weather – it was warm if way a bit too windy.  It was pretty sunny for the whole day and with the sun at such a high position in the sky, I know many photographers aren’t keen to go out shoot. Sure, some of the photos may not be as flattering as if it had been beautifully diffused light, but I’m a fan of the notion of trying to make the best of the situation and using the light available to you.

Please learn from us: it’s important to remember to have your emergency brake on when you park your standard so that your car doesn’t start rolling away when you sit on the bumper.

After the photo session, we headed back to Calgary. As I was heading out to my friend’s bachelorette party, I noticed the evening sun peaking through the trees. I seriously need to go take photos of people in the evening now as the light has been amazing recently. Any takers?

What do you think about taking photos of people in direct sunlight?

All these shots are Straight Out Of the Camera and shared at this week’s Fall themed Good to Wow: Shoot and Edit.



Filed under Photography

GAHIGF: Gluten Free Ginger Beef and Chinese-esque Pork Dumplings

When I was a kid, almost every time my mom was out of town, my dad would order us Chinese food. Usually we’d get ginger beef, sweet and sour pork, some sort of chicken stir fry with vegetables and occasionally Shanghai noodles. When we found out that none of us could eat gluten, we stopped ordering in Chinese food altogether.

Over the years I’ve had Chinese food a few times, especially over my teenage years when I disregarded the need to eat gluten free all the time. I think the most memorable experience was when I was invited to my best friend’s family birthday dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Given that they were Chinese, we had a variety of actual Chinese food – including duck (good) and jellyfish (bleck. When I asked what the long clear strips were, they said that I should try one because they were tasty. I did and after chewing on it for a few minutes, I asked what it was. “Jellyfish!” they replied. Needless to say I didn’t eat any more of it!)

When Iris from the Daily Deitribe, who is hosting this month’s “Mooncake Festival” themed Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free, said to make one of our favourite Chinese food dishes suitable to our dietary needs, I knew I wanted to make something I hadn’t eaten in a while. (No, not jellyfish – I’ve since then discovered an allergy to shellfish and non-fish sea creatures). I recently started to eat some cuts of beef (a story for another day), so I thought that I should try to make ginger beef gluten free. Since I’m also an overacheiver, I also wanted to make some dumplings, especially since seeing LaxSuperMom’s recipe for gluten free wonton wrappers. (I call them Chinese-esque because I can’t presume that they are truly Chinese dumplings. )

Both ended up being very tasty – Mr. Bean LOVED the dumplings despite me not rolling out the dough thin enough. I really enjoyed the ginger beef as the sauce was so close to how I remember it and how they were not mostly gross deep-fried batter. The recipe allowed for 2 very generous meals for both of us, plus a bunch of dumplings and  about 1/3 of the dough leftover. We also had left over meat from the dumplings, which I guess we could have used to make more dumplings, that Mr. Bean made Asian inspired meatballs out of.

Ginger Beef (based on this recipe from tasty kitchen)

~1 lb sirloin tip steak, sliced in 1/4″ thick strips
Rice flour
1 onion, sliced
2 – 3 stalks of celery, chopped diagonally
1 – 2 carrots, sliced diagonally
1 pepper, sliced thinly (I used 1/2 red and 1/2 green)
2 -3 baby bok choys, chopped
1 handful of bean sprouts
2 green onions, chopped
4 tbsp freshly grated/minced ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. GF soy sauce
2 tbsp. cooking sherry
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/3 c. sugar (could use 1/4 c. agave if you wanted to make it refined sugar free)
Red Pepper flakes (optional)
Cornstarch and water

  1. Heat some oil up in a frying pan. Dredge the beef strips in the rice flour. Fry in batches until meat is browned. Remove from frying pan and place on a paper towel lined plate.
  2. Once the meat is done, add a bit more oil to the pan if necessary and sauté the onion, carrots, onion, garlic and ginger until the onions are starting to become translucent. Add the rest of the veggies.
  3. A minute or two later, add the soy sauce, cooking sherry, apple cider vinegar and sugar and bring up to the boil.
  4. Create a slurry with some water and cornstarch and add to the boiling liquid. Stir. Add more slurry if necessary to get the sauce thickened to the desired consistency.
  5. Add the beef back to the stir fry and stir to coat. Season with salt and red pepper flakes to taste.
  6. Serve over rice if desired.
  7. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Chinese(esque) Pork Dumplings

For the wrappers (based on this recipe from LaxSuperMom – for detailed instructions with pictures, check out her blog post)

2 c. sweet rice flour
1/2 c. garbanzo bean flour
1/2 c. potato starch
1/2 c. tapioca starch
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. xathan gum
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
7/8 c. applesauce (or 1 c. if it’s quite thin as my applesauce was very thick)

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs and applesauce.
  3. Mix together and add enough water to make an elastic dough. (I used over 1/2 c.)
  4. Sprinkle some sweet rice flour over a long strip of wax paper (or other non-stick surface.)
  5. Roll out about half the dough until 1/8″ or less thick. The dough sticks together quite well, so it can be fairly thin.
  6. Cut ~3″ squares in the rolled out dough.
  7. Spoon ~1/2 tbsp. of meat mixture into the middle of the square. Create a slurry with some cornstarch and water (you only need about 1/4c. water and a tbsp or two of cornstarch) and use your finger to “paint” slurry on two adjacent edges of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the meat and seal the edges.  Place finished dumpling on a piece of wax paper.
  8. Repeat with remaining dough.
  9. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the dumplings in the boiling water until they float. (I let them cook for a few extra minutes after they started floated to ensure that the pork was cooked.) Once done, remove from the pot and place in a strainer to drain.
  10. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.
  11. If desired, you can fry them until they are browned. I actually preferred them that way over just boiled.
  12. Once all the dumplings are cooked, you can eat them any way you like. SuperLaxMom ate hers in a broth, whereas we ate ours dipped in the sauce from the ginger beef.
  13. Enjoy!

Pork Filling for Dumplings (based on this recipe from Steamy Kitchen)

1 lb ground pork
1/2 c. thinly chopped green onions
2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1 1/2 tbsp. GF soy sauce
1 tbsp. Cooking sherry
2 tsp. olive oil (could use sesame, but I don’t own any)
1 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

  1. Mix together all the ingredients until fully incorporated. (I used my hands but you could also easily use a food processor.)
  2. Store in fridge until ready to use.

What is your favourite kind of Chinese food?

Recipe submitted to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Gluten-Free Wednesdays and Real Food Wednesdays.


Filed under Food

Brother and Fiance Edits

Thank you all who left wonderfully nice comments for my brother and his new fiancé! It’s very kind of you and much appreciated.

This week with my edits, I tried to do a clean edit and something a bit different with most of the shots. After all this talk about presets, I made a few of my own. The above is one called “Pretty B&W.” It’s based on the Creamtone B&W Creative option in Lightroom.

This one is “Bean Bleach w/o Grain,” based on PSKiss-Bleach 01.

The preset on the right is “Vintage Sunshine RAW” by Frog – Photo Blog.

To see all the other edits for the Teen/Adult Portrait for this week’s Good to Wow: Shoot and Edit, check out Ashley’s blog!


Filed under Photography

Some Exciting News!

Guess what? Our family is about to gain another member!

Yep, that’s right – my younger brother proposed to his girlfriend over the weekend! They went hiking out to the mountains and he proposed in the snow. Can I hear a collective “awwww…”?

I’m super excited for them and their future – and the fact that I get to go and take photos of them in the mountains on Friday!

What’s something exciting that’s happened to you this last week?

The Straight Out Of the Camera shots are my entries for this week’s “Teen/Adult Portrait” themed Shoot and Edit. For the rest of the SOOCs, check out Jill’s blog!


Filed under Photography