Kitchen Time

I’ve been spending extra time in the kitchen this week.

This picture is in my saved photos from when we moved into our place.  I’ve been too busy photographing food to photograph the kitchen.

My kitchen is huge.   Kidding.  It’s three feet wide with very little storage space.  But I’m fine with that.  I’d like to think of it as less wasted steps to take and that I can be more efficient in a smaller space.  Sure, I’ll go with that mind game.

I’ve been spending more time in my kitchen because I’d like to try and post more recipes on my blog but…

…that takes time.

As I mentioned here, between creating the recipe, grocery shopping for the ingredients, actually cooking and making the food, food styling and plating, taking the photographs, editing the photos, and writing the recipe and blog post, it all takes time and is not a short process.  At least not for me.  Some people throw together a bowl of oatmeal with a slab of nutbutter on top, take a picture, and post it to their blog 10 minutes later, but that has never been my style.  Nothing wrong with that but I don’t work well in that eat it-snap it-post it right away style.

This is why I can see why bloggers who post one new recipe per day have their blogs turn into their jobs.  It can can be a big job keeping up with all the different pieces and components at hand.

But it all has to start with time in the kitchen.

Ad making a mess.

And sometimes you hit paydirt after you melt all that chocolate as was the case with  Fudgy Nutella Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

And sometimes you don’t.

And sometimes there are flops and never make it past the garbage disposal.  Rare because I am cheap and hate to waste ingredients, but it happens.

And sometimes I make food that wouldn’t be regarded as “classically beautiful” as these are and I wonder if I should blog about it.

But it’s real food and it’s what’s for dinner as was the case with Spicy Baked Black Beans with Mixed Vegetables

And I think that no matter what, it’s hard to make cooked vegetables, soft foods, comfort food, or beans look good on camera.  It’s just tricky.

But I was happy with the Caramel Maple Pumpkin Pie Smoothie I made.  Not nearly as tricky to make dessert in a cup look good.

And now I have to edit photos because in the past 2 days I have cooked 4 new recipes, and have taken about 350 photos.

I’d rather over shoot than under shoot.  Having too many options always beats not having enough.

Nothing worse that getting to your computer after the dishes are done, the food is eaten and gone and realizing, omg all my pictures suck and are improperly lit or blurry .  And then the choices are to re-make the food, re-do the photo shoot, or somehow try to salvage what you haven’t eaten because you’re stubborn and determined to blog about it.  Umm, yeah.  I’ve been there.

But I re-shot it and I’d like to think these were well worth the re-shoot.

So this is where you’ll find me for many hours this week…

…With a bowl of coconut oil sprayed cinnamon & stevia popcorn next to  me

And maybe a Baileys Slushie, too


1. How much time do you spend in the kitchen every day?  Or every week? 

Do you try to cook ahead, cook in batches, bulk, and make planned leftovers?   Or do you start from scatch with every meal?  Take out, restaurants, eating out?  How much of that vs. cooking at home?

It varies widely for me.  Some weeks I cook much more than other weeks and really try to make new recipes and get creative but other times I’m just too busy to get creative.  I don’t have the time or energy and those are the weeks where we eat lots of salads, tofu, edamame, fresh produce, and whatever I have in my freezer stash.

We do always eat at home, though.  No take out, no hot bars, no deli stops.  Too expensive and never really what I want anyway.  As busy as I am, I can always find time to make something at home in order to avoid over-paying for a salad or getting something that I always think, well, I could have made that better myself just the way I want it.

Plus, it’s not relaxing to go out to dinner with a 4 year old after a long day.  At least not for me.   And that’s when I am reminded, oh yeah, I better get my butt into the kitchen and start cooking!

2. What kind of recipes interest you when you read blogs or are doing online surfing?

I love making desserts and that’s what I like to read about on other blogs and websites for the most part.

Desserts are fun to make, fun to photograph, and I can photograph them at any time.  The next day, or even many days later, as opposed to dinner hour food which has to be photographed right then and there.

Dinnertime food and recipes are hard for me because the lighting is awful, everyone is tired and in a hurry to eat, and taking decent photographs is very challenging for me, and our family since they have to wait if I want to take food pictures of our dinner.  Not sure how other bloggers get vibrant shots of their dinners or don’t have melted down kids or partners, unless they make it all ahead of time and take afternoon photos when there’s still a glimmer of natural light and before the hunger and bewitching hour is truly upon them.  Doesn’t seem practical for us, though.

I’d like to think that desserts in the food world are what soap operas or reality tv are in television world: They aren’t necessary, they can be really creative, fun, and off the wall; they satisfy some sort of craving in us, and if you don’t have them in your life, it’s not the worst thing in the world and you can live without them, but every now and then you just want a little trashy tv or dessert.

Thanks for the Not Nuts! Giveaway entries

51 comments on “Kitchen Time”

  1. I can tell you put a lot of effort into your pictures, because they are all so perfect and beautiful! I only have like a 10 second window to take pictures before my daughter needs my attention, so a lot of times my pics come out blurry…another reason why I need to invest in a

    • girl no on the tripod

      it’s a major PITA and you will find yourself not using it b/c it’s actually easier for me at least to shoot freehand. just getting the camera in the tripod, adjusting the height, tilt, and ALL the knobs and dials…takes so much time. you can be much more efficient free hand.

      your photography is stunning of course. i have no idea how you pull off what you do in like 10 seconds!!!!

  2. Coconut oil sprayed?? Do you mean to say… you have found coconut oil in a spray bottle? Do tell, do tell!

  3. I love looking at beautiful food photography – even if I wouldn’t eat some of it :) Definitely like desserts and especially raw desserts (like yours!) or meals. I’m only taking pics with my cell phone but my desire to graduate to a camera is growing. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Oh girl, I spend way too much time per post. 2-3 posts per week these days is where I am at and that is FULL time. So many photos, edits, testing…all fun though. But crazy all the same.

  5. I hate when I overshoot haha. Too many photos to sift through—it gives me a headache!!

  6. I need to try those Nutella brownies – they look amazing!

    I like looking for slow-cooker recipes so I can have dinner ready when I come home from work.

  7. You know, some weeks I feel so excited to spend a LOT of time in the kitchen, and some weeks, I am just NOT feeling it. It’s been kind of a mix between the two lately over here. But at least I have good blogger friends like you to provide me with inspiration when I’m not feeling it ;-)

  8. Even though it is small, your kitchen is beautiful. We have a little apartment kitchen too…not nearly as lovely as yours, though. ;-) I spend little time in there because the kiddos are so into cooking…but as they grow up and leave the nest I’ll be in there more and more.

  9. ohh I can’t wait to see what you’ve been working are. I have no doubt the amount of time and effort that goes into it… I’ve done it a few times for blogging and it can take up easily half a day for me.
    I really spend minimal time in the kitchen… seriously most of my meals take 5-10 minutes to throw together.

  10. Ooooo I’m already loving your blog! *Adds to RSS reader*

    I take way too many photos too. I’ll have 3 shots of the same thing and ask my man which one is best, and he’ll say “but they’re all the same, aren’t they?” Amateur! Ha ha…

    Your kitchen is beautiful. I always meant to photograph mine when we moved in here 6 months ago and I never got around to it. It’s on my to-do list though.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and don’t be a stranger :)

  11. You’ve described my struggles with blogging to a tee! I absolutely LOVE it, but it does take up a lot of time. My husband is usually complaining about his cold food because I’m always trying for that perfect shot… and it doesn’t come easy! I end up taking way too many… which takes even more time to sort through. I’m envious of those who get to do this full time!

    You do a great job! Your readers definitely appreciate all the time and love you put into your blog!

    • Thank you for the sweet comment and for saying that I am not alone. I really have no idea how some people do it…cold dinners or poorly lit food…nite time pitfalls. Glad I am not alone in this predicament even though I wish you didnt have it, too.

  12. oooh it looks luxurious with the dark wood and dark countertops! We went stainless too and la la loooove it!

    and i’m all for mind games. the only place i can photograph halfway decent food is outside laying face down on the floor on the porch or upstairs glued to the only window that gets good lighting. I like to just tell myself its great exercise. right.


  13. I have no idea how much time I spend in the kitchen each day…sometimes it feels like I’m in there all day long! I’ll have to time myself one of these days.

    Recipes on blogs…I like to read about recipes that I am actually interested in making. For me that includes (my definition of) healthy lunch or dinner ideas, low sugar and non white flour snacks or desserts, and kid-friendly and/or man-friendly veggie ideas.

  14. I try to spend more time in the kitchen prepping and creating for the blog, but with a full time job, a 7 year old and multiple other side projects IT IS TOUGH. And daylight savings is just a few measly weeks away, so goodbye evening light! Looks like my weekends just got a lot fatter. Love this post Averie, and seeing everyone’s comments. XO

  15. I used to spend a lot more time in the kitchen. Lately I am all about easy things that can be put together with very little effort. Soups + smoothies are perfect examples. I don’t really like leftovers so I try to make fresh stuff every day or every 2 days.

    As for recipes on blogs, I like all kinds of stuff though I rarely remember to actually make them. But they do inspire me to create my own versions :)

  16. i have been spending more time in the kitchen since recently starting a blog, but you are totally right! i grossly underestimated the time it takes to plan, execute, and post a recipe. i have a newfound respect for recipe bloggers who also have beautifully styled and edited photos (yourself being one of them!)

    I look for recipes that are unique. My husband and I live off of salads, grilled chicken breasts, roasted veggies, and potatoes most of the time. If I’m going to try a recipe, I want it to be something fun and different!

  17. I feel your pain! Over the past 3 days I made 8 different recipes b/c I’m headed out to San Francisco for 7 days for work. Guess what I’ll be doing on the plane? editing until my eyeballs fall off…
    I’ve been gravitating toward sides and desserts recently because those are things I can make during the day, photograph in the light and they keep well for later. I’d love to do more dinners or full meals but liek you said, it’s hard without the natural light and those dishes don’t always keep well until dinner time. I often dream about how much easier it would be to do all this without a full time job between the hours of 8:30-5! Unlimited access to natural light would be amazing!

    • thank you for saying that you have the same challenges…I really don’t know how to make a plate of spaghetti look great other than mid-day…and then the choices are re-heat it for dinner provided you dont feel like a big plate of spaghetti at 11am or 2pm OR toss the food out and just use it for photo shoots (no!) So it’s just…hard. I have no idea really how to solve the issue either….

      GL w/ all your editing.

  18. Averie- your pictures ALWAYS amaze me! I take a lot, but really need to figure out how to edit them.
    Oh my goodness do I spend a lot of tiem in the kitchen. I should just plop a pillow there. ha! I love easy recipes. Ones without a lot of ingredients that are healthy.
    Thanks for that pumpkin smoothie recipe too. I jst stocked up on pumpkin at Trader Joe’s. You are awesome!

  19. I’m like you. Time in the kitch for me really, really varies from day to day, week to week, and def meal to meal. In the colder months, I’ve noticed, I do cook more.

    I’m interested in recipes of all kinds when rooting around online.

  20. During the week, I find it hard to spend more than about 10 minutes in the kitchen but I like to try and make time at the weekend to play around. I really need to get back in the swing of creating my own recipes though, I miss being creative!

  21. Welcome to the world of small kitchens…It does look very pretty, despite the size! The caramel maple pumpkin smoothie doesn’t hurt either.. ;)

  22. Some days I feel like I spend ALL day in the kitchen. The other day I made a fancy breakfast, dinner, AND dessert. I was about to rip my (boyfriend’s) hair out by the end of the night and forced him to do dishes. Heh. But some nights I like to keep it pretty low key, like today.

  23. I probably spend a good hour in the kitchen each week day, and more so on the weekends. Between breakfast and dinner, I spend the most amount of time.

    I try and meal plan for the week and that includes recipes where I’ll know we will have leftovers. I love making up big salads on Monday and Wednesday that get us through the week and will make extra pasta if we are having it so my husband can just reheat it for a snack. I love cooking, but sometimes during the week there isn’t enough time so that when I love leftovers!

  24. Sometimes its ten minutes or others it could be 4 hours. It depends on if I am in the mood to cook, I will often make a few things on a Sunday and eat that during the week or I may be searching for quick dinners. I rarely make the same thing twice and some things turn out and some never get blogged about.

    I don’t do much baking or dessert making because I don’t love them, I would much rather have chips and salsa than a cookie.

  25. I probably spend about an hour a day in the kitchen with the exception of weekends when I might have time to do more cooking – bulk cooking typically. I enjoy being in the kitchen most of the time. Sometimes it can get tiresome of course, especially after working all day then going home and trying to figure out what on earth to make (and then realizing you’re probably going to be showing the world what it was LOL).

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