Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is what it's all about!

In my family, we're big on tradition.  Sure, we are open to trying new things, but we like our traditions.  In a world of constant change, it's nice to know there are some things you can count on.  Thanksgiving is no different.  My dad has to have his lima beans, cranberry sauce from a can (although he likes the homemade whole berry type also), and pecan pie--he is a Southern man after all!  My little sister has to make the crescent rolls from scratch and I have to make Senator Russell's sweet potato souffle, a recipe handed down from my dad's grandmother.  And while we tend to kitchen duties, we also watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and yes, we still wait to see Santa!

As an adult now, I love returning to my parents' home to continue with these traditions.  I love that no matter how old I get or how far away I may be from my family at times, I can always come back and find comfort in these traditions and comfort in the people who make these memories so special.

Since neither Josh nor I are willing to part with our families for the holidays, we decided to start our own tradition together this year and celebrate Thanksgiving at our home this past Sunday.  We (ok maybe just I) dubbed it Tashua's (Tashy + Joshua) First Annual Thanksgiving Celebration!  As it turns out, he's not so keen on many of the dishes I grew up on.  Seriously, though, who doesn't like cranberry sauce?!  Anyway, thanks to Josh's free turkey from work, we enjoyed a delicious meal together.  Even Ricky Ricardo got in on the turkey action!  We never feed him table food since he has a sensitive tummy, so this was really a treat.

I hope you enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

From The Kitchen || Mini Pumpkin Spiced Cheesecakes

Truth be told, I was not a fan of cheesecake until just a few years ago.  I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I loathe cream cheese unless it is thoroughly disguised, as in my mom's delicious cream cheese pound cake.  There is just something about seeing someone's teeth imprints in inch-thick cream cheese caked on a bagel that makes me gag.  Or even worse when people squirt the packets of cream cheese directly into their mouth and follow it with a bite of bagel (walk around a college campus if you don't believe me!).  Grosses me out to the core!  It must have been my mom's cheesecake that got me over this fear and thankfully allows me to enjoy sweet treats like these mini pumpkin spiced cheesecakes.

You may remember from this post that this recipe was on my list of must-tries for the Fall baking season.  I've never baked cheesecake before so this was going to be an adventure.  I'm happy to report that all went well and these little guys were a hit with my boyfriend and his family as we sat around the table carving pumpkins a couple weeks ago.

Having never baked a cheesecake before, I obviously wasn't prepared in the pan department.  And since I love all things mini (who doesn't!?), I had my eyes on this pan from Sur La Table which I am happy to report was perfect for the job.  Clean up is super easy, too.  I'm also a big fan of this little gadget that, while not absolutely necessary, does make it easier and cleaner to distribute batter among pans or for pancakes/waffles.  Sure it adds another item to wash, but it's easier than using a measuring cup and your fingers/spatula.

As for the recipe itself, the only adjustment I made was to substitute the cream cheese to 1/3 reduced fat in an attempt to make myself feel less guilty should I have decided to eat 5 in one sitting!  I ended up with more whipped topping than was needed, but I can always find another use for it, like on top of a pumpkin spiced latte!

If you have any great fall cheesecake recipes, share in the comments below!  And if you aren't sick of pumpkin baking recipes yet, check back next week for DELICIOUS mini pumpkin spice latte bundt cakes with coffee glaze!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Behind The Lens || Baby Fever

It seems that this year is the year of pregnant friends everywhere I turn.  I swear each time I check Facebook, someone new is expecting and that's not an exaggeration!  While I don't plan on jumping on this boat anytime soon (despite persistent, non-subtle nudging from my future mother-in-law!), I have a serious case of baby fever.  Lucky for me, I can just borrow a friend's little nugget and give him/her back once I've had my fix!  Is it me or do you wish you could bottle up that new baby smell?!

A couple of friends recently gave birth within a few weeks of each other and I was beyond excited to offer my services to provide newborn photos for them to cherish as their little girls are growing quickly.

Shannon and I go back a few years from when she worked for me back in my camera retail days.  She is one of the kindest, most thoughtful and funny people I have ever met; you can't help but gravitate toward her.  A couple years after the close of our store, I went on to shoot her engagement photos and later her wedding so naturally, it was a no brainer to see it all come full circle to her firstborn!  The great thing about working with a friend is the level of comfort you experience that you probably wouldn't get from allowing a stranger into your home to capture such a precious time.  Not the case here!  Baby Abby was a perfectly behaved model and absolutely adorable.  
One of my favorites!

Sleeping Beauty

Megan and I go back almost a couple decades!  We know each other from way back when my dad was stationed in Tucson and she and her family had just relocated from New York.  She comes from a family of four kids (all girls!) who happen to all match up pretty closely in age to me and my siblings.  Coincidentally, a few years ago I also shot her wedding!  Megan's husband is in the Air Force and was deployed just a couple weeks before she gave birth to itty bitty Mallory.  She came back to Tucson to be with family while her husband is deployed and we figured he may want some special keepsakes from these early weeks he is missing so we incorporated a special tribute to her daddy.   
Little lady knows how to accessorize!

Proud to be an Air Force brat!

You want a baby now, right?!  If you're looking for someone to capture your special memories, leave me a comment; I'd love to work with you!