Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Great Salsa Experiment

Let me start this with saying that I am not food blogger so I apologize for the lack of photos documenting the steps and my lackluster {boring} set up of the photos I did take!

I have been on a quest. A quest to find a salsa that meets all the requirements my husband has on his checklist when determining a great salsa. Over the last few months I have been experimenting and so far, this one is the keeper.

He likes the texture to be almost soup like. His Memaw used to make and can her own salsa and that is what he holds his standards to. She sent the recipe she used home with him one day and it was quite intimidating. Not the steps, but the part that the recipe was written to make 9 quarts. When I picked up my Salsa and Guac pack from Bountiful Baskets {love!} I sat down and worked the recipe in to a manageable amount. After tons of chopping and cooking it for 2 hours, we realized that we are not fans of a vinegar-y salsa, and this was. Also, the 2 hour cooking time isn't exactly the best when you want salsa right away.
I tried a salsa verde recipe the next day that only required roasting the main ingredients for 15 minutes and then run it through the food processor. Easy peasy.
So this past weekend I bought everything I needed to make salsa and tried roasting all the main ingredients and then running it through my Ninja blender. It was good but it was missing something and I made the mistake of throwing 3 {3!!} unseeded jalapenos in and it literally took all night for me to regain feeling in my mouth.
Out that batch went and I researched what the mystery ingredient could be. The answer: cumin. One more trip to the grocery store and this is the formula that works for us:
4 lbs. of roma tomatoes
1 onion
2 jalapenos {deseeded!}
2 cloves of garlic
1 bell pepper
Cut the onion and bell pepper {after cleaning out seeds} in half. Remove the stem portion of the tomatoes. Place everything on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees. Flip halfway through.
Add items to blender or food processor {I ran mine for a second with half of the tomatoes in it} and pulse a few times. Then add:
2 tsp. cumin
kosher salt to taste
fresh cilantro to taste
Blend everything to the consistency of your choosing. Like I said, my husband likes his salsa almost soup like so I ran mine for a minute or so.
This recipe made about 10 cups. I'll have to update you on how long and how well it lasts. Without the vinegar it may not last as long since vinegar works as a preservative.
I do know that it is really good. It's yummy on just chips and it was fantastic on cilantro lime rice we had with dinner the other night. My husband even used it on his eggs the other morning. And it looks super cute in these cute little jars that you can use to trick people in to thinking you're an old pro when it comes to canning!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

An Update on Updating Photos

(Right before publishing this post I realized I had posted about updating photos once before. So this is kind of an update on updating photos since a few things have changed for me.)

I haven't been able to create new items as much as I would like right now. Why? There is a list of why's but the biggest one is trying to update photos of the items I offer in my Etsy shop.

Like this photo of one of my top sellers. I shot this 2 years ago in a tiny closet in my office with absolutely no natural light. All because I believed that a white background would be best. That is true for some people but I have grown to love seeing pictures of my items in a home setting with props (that is a whole other post!).  I have also changed my method of painting. So it's no surprise that at times I will get feedback on Etsy that the sign someone received was so much better than the picture.
I have now embraced the power of natural light. So when I find good natural light I try to take as many photos as I can.

The other day was one of those days. I don't even remember why I looked out the front door, but the light was perfect. I was about to pack this one up to ship and decided to snap a few photos of this sign, as well as a few other signs. I'm pretty sure the roofers that were working next door were wondering exactly what I was doing. Every few minutes I would walk out with another sign and sit down, stand up, kneel down, move the sign and on, and on.
Now for what has changed since the last time. I took class in January from a local photography studio, Solas Gallery in Salado, Texas. My youngest had her pictures taken there as a baby and I have always admired Tim's work. I was excited to soak up all of his knowledge. His first suggestion was to stop shooting in manual, not that there is anything wrong with it, but the settings he showed us cuts down on how much time you spend adjusting settings. Like I said, there is nothing wrong with manual, I was just having a hard time getting everything right. I also learned so much about fstop, aperture, ISO, lighting, why I need to use a tripod and that sometimes it is ok to just use that awesome photo you took with your iPhone. Tim admitted to us that he had just spent a week in New York City with his family and only took photos with his iPhone. Just proof that having the top equipment isn't all that matters
I know that I still have a lot to learn about photography and props, it's kind of a necessary evil with having an online business, but I am enjoying the process.

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Paint Wish

I.Love.Paint. There, I said it. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram then this is no surprise to you. I work with paint everyday. My one wish? That there were places in my immediate area that carry specialty paints, like chalk paint or milk paint, or even the paint that comes in ridiculously cute mason jars {what is it with mason jar packaging that we go crazy for?!}

This leads to my second wish...

I wish I could carry a paint line. For real. Like sell the paint in my booth. Have fun little classes teaching people how to paint their furniture. To go to fun classes and workshops to drool over learn from other painters. This is where my happy place is, painting and distressing.

Clearly my second wish would fulfill my first wish. I have begun researching paint lines that are looking for retailers I've realized that it's overwhelming. The upfront costs, the quality of the paint, is this the type of paint people in my area are looking for?

This is where I turn to you for help. What paint do you wish was available locally? What paint have you tried and loved/hated? Send them all to me, the big lines, the small and struggling line, even the line that you may be mixing in your kitchen right now! Meanwhile, I'll be here collecting every penny I find for my wish jar.