One of the most difficult parts of blogging for me, honestly, is the photography.
During my travels in Europe I somehow got decent enough at photography through trial and error with a little basic digital camera. Once I returned stateside and resumed normal college life, I only used my iPhone for photos. It’s a decent enough camera and you always have it on you, right? Ryan and I recorded the first year and a half of Charlie’s life on our iPhones, and actually have some good photographs of our little puggle. When he sits still enough for more than five seconds, that is.
When I started this blog, I thought photographing food was going to be easy. All the other food blogs that I read make it look so simple – they have beautiful photographs of pies, pastas, pizzas, tacos, and so on. If they could do, I could do, even though I never so much as picked up a DSLR or taken a college photography class.
I don’t know why I thought this – it’s not like by writing a running blog I’m suddenly going to be pounding out Boston qualifying times like they’re no big deal as my favorite running bloggers seem to do. So I’ve been doing what I know all the other food bloggers have done before me: I’m learning food photography. I got my DSLR camera about a month ago and have been trying to learn how to take good food photographs ever since.
Food photography is both simple and difficult. Simple that, unlike Charlie, the food isn’t going to spaz out and try to lick my face or run hiding from the camera. That would be super weird if it did. The food just stays right there, exactly as I arranged it. That, though, is the hard part – arranging the food and then getting a good composition so my salads and cupcakes look oh-so-pretty for the blog. Then there’s lighting – that’s always a tricky one, especially as we have less and less daylight up here. When I shot first DSLR photos – these acorn squash pancakes ones – I got so frustrated with the lighting, and it was a beautiful and bright Sunday morning!
Amazingly (like, I really don’t know how), I’ve had a couple photos accepted onto Foodgawker and Tastespotting. I practically passed out from joy (or maybe it was the exhaustion of a six-hour job interview) when Ryan texted me that This Runner’s Recipes started having traffic from Foodgawker. That doesn’t mean I’ve got this whole food photography thing done yet – but it does mean that I’m getting somewhere.
It is still an obstacle for me to stop and spend fifteen minutes photographing food, when I could be putting said food into my mouth. Usually I end up caving to the delicious smells and eating my cheddar beer vegetable soup or eggs baked in bread bowls without a single photograph taken.
There are, though, some foods that just don’t photograph super pretty, but often those are the tasted foods. I mean, think about how delicious hummus is, but think about how it’s just kind of a brownish paste – not so pretty. These apple muffins with cream cheese glaze are similar – super delicious but not the prettiest thing to photograph. They’re melt-in-your mouth crumbly, which I love to eat, but not to photograph. They’re a rich autumn brown thanks to apple cider and brown sugar – but brown is fairly low on the scale on pretty photograph colors, especially compared to the bright red apples that these muffins came from.
Still, even if they don’t look the prettiest here, please make these muffins. I’m fighting the temptation to eat another as I write this. At least they’re healthy, which makes having more than one in a day acceptable (right?). There’s not butter or oil in these, but Greek yogurt. Most of the sweetness comes from the apple cider and only a small amount of brown sugar. Plus there’s two cups of apples in there. These would actually make a pretty nutritious breakfast.
- 2 cups chopped apples
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 3 oz cream cheese
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 2-3 tablespoon milk
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Beat together the cider, yogurt, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla.
- Grind the oats until they resemble a coarse flour. Add the oats, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spice to the wet ingredients; gently mix until combined.
- Gently fold the chopped apple in to the mixture.
- Use an ice cream scooper or spoon to divide the mixture into 12 lightly greased or lined muffin tins.
- When you put the muffins into the oven, lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 15-18 minutes.
- After removing from oven, let cool in pan for ten minutes, then remove from pan.
- For the glaze, beat together cream cheese, nutmeg, milk, and powdered sugar. Drizzle over cooled muffins as desired.
- These muffins are light and crumbly. If you prefer a heartier muffin, add an additional 1/4 cup flour.
Okay, so maybe the cream cheese glaze makes them a little less healthy, but it’s all about balance here.
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