Saturday, February 11, 2017

Charleston Workshop Continued

Here are more shots from the January workshop.  The weather was perfect. The meals, as always, were great.  Each day was packed with instruction and fun. Helene, John, and Gina did a great job.  I believe it just deserved a second post: from food styling, going to meet the fishing boats, making gnocchi, and the beach.  It was quite a week.

Thanks so Much,

**A side note:  
    There is another work shop coming up in March.  If you 
    are interested go to workshop link for all the information. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Charleston Workshop 2017 Success!

Last week (Jan. 22 to Jan. 28) we had the team back together again for another great Food Photography Workshop in Charleston, S.C.  Host and teacher - Helene Dujardin, Chef John Ondo, and me. John gave me the title of Chef de Cuisine (to me that is pretty high praise, but I'll take it.)

This, I believe, is one of the best workshops around.  Where else could you get morning instruction; practice shooting time with one-on-one time with Helene (food photographer & author); a cooking demo from Chef John (restaurant owner & chef);  beautiful accommodations & meals; in one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S.  (Can you tell I am just glad to be there.)  The 3 of us together are definitely friends, but we are so much more.  We are family. We love working together and it shows.

To add to the fun Gina Homolka, author of "Skinnytaste" cookbooks and Skinnytaste blog, was a guest.  She added to the fun with tips and demos from her new book "Skinnytaste: fast and slow" (which Helene was the photographer).  
So added benefits, back in the beautiful Charleston, beach access, working along side family.  Score! on all counts.

But, what is a workshop with out attendees?  Nothing.  People from all over the world and all walks of life.  I will tell you that each workshop I have participated in, the attendees have been great.  This one was no exception.  Such a fun group to serve.  By the end of the week it was like we had known each other for years.  Best part is I get to add them all the my list of life-long-friends.  
Jennifer Carr
Alice Choi
Joanne Grewe 
Maryanne Cabrera

After this week of fun (not work), friends, and great food it takes at least 3 days for me to adjust back to my home life.  There are usually 3 stages: the exhaustion stage hits, then there is the winding down stage, and the least favorite of all is the reality stage.  You begin to miss your family and your new friends.
To bring this post to a close I want to Thank all those involved in making last week so wonderful and so much fun!  Helene, John, Gina, Jennifer, Alice, Maryanne, Sheena, and Joanne.

Thank you and Blessings,
P.S. to all who read this - check out the great blogs that I have posted.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Looking Back at 2016

When I look at the photographs of 2016 my mind reflects on that moment in time.  There is a saying that 'the good times out way the bad'.  It's funny how true that is - I seem to remember all the fun time; the travel, the family reunions, the days spent with my grand kids, time spent with my Mother, the building of our new house.  Yet, I cannot seem to recall any of the bad (and I am sure there are some - life just doesn't work like that.  How would we ever grow with out some kind of challenge or adversity?),

One thing I do know is that in 2017 I am still looking for my purpose in life.  That one thing or things; that one job that I can say "It's pure joy".  I have read - if you are doing what you love, you will never work a day in your life.  For me that has always been true.
I have had so many wonderful jobs and opportunities in my life.  I have been very blessed. I am just looking for that one next thing.  I am not just sitting around waiting for something to happen, but I do know that I am still a work in progress.

As I share my wonderful life lived in 2016; my prayer is that myself and everyone out there will find a blessing and God's purpose for life in each new day.
**If the video will not play or you see no video - click on the Looking at 2016 and that will take you to the flipagram video.  


Thanks for being here,
Libby Stephens

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Everyone Needs A Little Inspiration

Walking away from 2016

I feel that anyone alive; breathing and doing needs a little inspiration; a few uplifting words.  Heaven knows with all this doing and living there are times we fail - if you are human.  And then, it is all in the handling of the failure.  
The thing is - to fail does not mean to quite, but to pick yourself up and start a new.  Try a new way to get to the final goal. Whatever that goal may be. 

Thomas Alva Edison Story
Edison had a very specific attitude towards failure.
It took him 10,000 attempts to refine the
light bulb.  
He had many successful patients,
but there were many failures.  He continued
to try and try again.

Edison said, "I can never find the things that work best until I know the
things that don't work."  

Keep trying, trying, trying and persevere.  That dream - that may not have surfaced yet could be right around the bend.

Catching the Dream

I have a copy of a devotional that I keep with me and read to give me a lift; a little push; that encouragement to keep pursuing that dream.

"God doesn't give you the dream without giving you 
the courage to take action to pursue it."  (Guidepost 2016)

Let's bring in the year 2017 with that courage to pursue our dreams.

"For with God nothing will be impossible."
 Luke 1:37 (NKJV)
Excited about 2017

Happy New Year!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

What do you do . . .?

What do you do when you come back home after a week-long vacation?  We just returned from Portland, Oregon.  So . . .

In my world I:
  • Unpack right away (For me this is a must.  I am obsessive compulsive that way).
  • Wash all the dirty clothes (another obsessive act)
  • Download all vacation photos(More than 500 photos,  Yes, this is a typical number when I visit new places.  My philosophy is, ‘What if I never get back this way again’.) 
Without further adieu I would like to introduce you to a great city.  When you visit here are just a few things you should do:

           *walk around the city (you can't enjoy it if you drive)
           *try a food cart for lunch – my 2 favorites right now are the
             Jook Joint (Asian    Fusion – try the coconut corn fritters,
             so great) and Squeeze Berries (the best fresh juice smoothies).
             They are located beside each other on 10th Ave.
           *Find a great coffee shop; experiment they are everywhere. 
           *Hike through Washington Park and end at the Rose Gardens
             *Visit a winery or one or two or three
           *Have dinner at the many microbreweries' or restaurants

             in the city.
             A Killer Burger perhaps?
           *Visit  Mt. Hood (it’s amazing)

I could go on, but I will move on to the day after (returning home).
Question: Doesn’t everyone pickle jalapeños after returning from vacation?

The day after is usually filled with taking care of the things that have been left undone for a week. 
  • Sorting through a pile of mail
  • Watering plants
  • Sprucing up the garden
  • Picking veggies (banana peppers, jalapeños)
  • Last on the list - what to do with 3 1-gallons zip-lock bags of jalapeños.  Of course, make pickled jalapeños (nine jars to be exact).

So, Welcome home.  Everything is washed, picked, pickled, and put away. Now I can relax.

Would love to hear from friends out there.    How do you get back in the swing of things after being on vacation?

Thanks for Reading and Happy Autumn,

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Strawberry Picnic or that saying "Everything old is new again."

I know that just about everyone has heard that old expression “Everything old is new again.”  And lately that phrase has been very true for me.  The last few weeks I had been working on a family cookbook for our upcoming reunion in beautiful Pennsylvania.  The hand-written recipes by the sweet family that are very much in our hearts, but no longer with us have brought back memories of my childhood: family picnics, dinners together, birthdays, and family reunions. 

While writing one memory kept coming to me and it involved strawberries.  When I was growing up I loved strawberries (still do).  When we went out for Sunday lunch at the S& S Cafeteria (no longer around) I would always get strawberry shortcake for dessert.  At home my favorite thing was strawberries with cream.  One of the best desserts ever!
In this photo:  Stangl Pottery, Longaberger basket, old quilt from my late Grandmother, hand-made hearts from old material (made by Amy (my sister-in-law) 
Being summer and the memories flooding through my mind I felt like sharing a few strawberry recipes, along with a few old photos.
My Daddy and Papa

Me (8 yrs) standing by the first car I ever remember my Daddy driving
One of my all time favorite photos (Papa holding me, my Uncle, my Dad.  In front my Aunt and my sister.

Strawberries and Cream
(Which I found out is a traditional English dessert and served at afternoon tea.  Who knew this country girl had a slice of sophistication.)

2 cups strawberries (cut in halves or quarters)
(divided into serving dishes)

Mix together:
2 cups half & half
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla (optional)

Pour the cream mixture over the strawberries and serve.

In this photo 'Stangl Pottery'; Flemington, New Jersey
 Strawberries and Balsamic Vinegar
3 cups strawberries (halved or quartered)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup blasamic vinegar
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Place berries in a bowl and toss with the brown sugar.  Put aside so that the sugar dissolves and makes juice.  This will take about 10 minutes.  

For the syrup: place vinegar, sugar, and lemon juice in a saucepan.  Simmer over medium heat until syrup is reduced to half.  This will take about 3 minutes.  Pour syrup into small bowl to cool completely.

After cooling, pour syrup over the berries and toss to combine.  To serve divide the berries & syrup into individual bowls.  Serve immediately.

 Strawberries and Mascarpone Cream
2 cups strawberries (halved or quarters)
1 Tablespoon sugar

1 cup mascarpone cream cheese (softened)
1 cup plain yoghurt
1 Tablespoon sugar 
1 vanilla pod (scrape out vanilla seeds)

Place strawberries in a bowl with the sugar.  Toss to combine.  Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk to combine mascarpone, yoghurt, sugar, and vanilla seeds. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Divide the mascarpone cream into individual bowls and top with the berries.
Serve immediately.

Stay Cool and have a Wonderful Summer,