Chocolate Cake For Breakfast!

Chocolate Espresso Hazelnut Frozen Torte.  Recipe by Susan Powers at . Photo ©Roni Delmonico and The Photographer's Palette.

Chocolate Espresso Hazelnut Frozen Torte.  Recipe by Susan Powers at Photo ©Roni Delmonico and The Photographer's Palette.

I'm in a great mood this morning.  The creative juices are flowing, I've been writing a lot and I have some fun ideas for how I'm gonna finish out the year here. I'm excited about sharing it all with you.  Go grab a cup of coffee and sit with me for awhile. I'll cut you a piece of cake and believe it or not, it's actually good for you! Stay with me now... good for you doesn't have to equal yucky. I've got some interesting things to tell you! 

About a month and a half ago, I came across a book called It Starts With Food.  It was written by a couple named Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, who are big on tough love, small on tolerating excuses, especially when it comes to health and fitness.  I totally dig their style. Around the same time I began reading their book, my sister in law invited me to attend a six week Raw Food class with her on Wednesday nights.  I had had some limited exposure to the Raw Food lifestyle in the past and thought it might be a nice fit with my first Whole 30 Challenge.  I completed that challenge on July 30th and we just finished Week 5 of our Raw Food class.

I have been so inspired by both experiences, and there's way too much to tell you about that journey in one blog post so I've decided to spread out what I've learned in posts over the remainder of this year and to tie it all together by working my way through Nicole S. Young's book on Food Photography. I'll be sharing not just the photographic results with you, but also talk to you about the incredible things I have been learning about myself, about the psychology of eating, and about the ways we are falling short in providing the nutrition our bodies really need, sometimes, even hurting our bodies, without ever being aware of it. So much of what I've learned this year, I had never heard before and it was very eye opening.  I'm betting some of it will be new to you as well.

The fun stuff: I'm going to invite you into my kitchen regularly and talk to you with an open heart and mind about food and food photography: why I am eliminating some foods and adding others, why I choose certain equipment and angles when shooting food and the well informed reasoning behind all those choices. (Going forward and once I figure out how to do it, I will be including affiliate links to my favorite books, ingredients, kitchen supplies, and photography equipment sometimes, but only for products that I have used personally and find value in, and in the least invasive way possible.  My goal is to make it easier for you to find those things too, and to offset some of the costs of providing quality content, not to make you crazy with sales and flashy ads). I'm going to share the recipes for the healthy food photos I am creating and show you where to find the awesomely inspiring people who create them. I'm going to tell you about my favorite kitchen tools and gadgets, and teach you a few things about the lenses and camera equipment I use to get the job done.  I'm going to talk to you about the ingredients I'm using and why they are good for you. I'm going to indulge from time to time without substitution, because that's real life and I do have some decadent, not so healthy favorites that play an important role in my memory and in my family's history.  I'm going to share personal stories with you about my struggles with weight and my issues surrounding food over the past three decades. I'm going to tell you what I've learned about the incredible connection between mind and body and how that connection is important not just to the nourishment of my physical body, but to my creative and entrepreneurial spirit as well. I will introduce you to some of the truly forward thinking and compassionate professionals who have impacted my health recently in powerful, life changing ways. I'm even going to tell you stories about my immediate and extended families and the special foods that have brought us together through the years and why that matters to me so much.  I'm going to travel and share some local flavors with you when I do.  Through it all, I will be cooking and photographing food that will nourish our bodies with nutrients that have been sadly lacking in our modern age of fast and convenient.. making chronic pain, food addictions, illness, depression, neurological disorders and in far too many cases, premature death the norm, when it is in many cases, entirely preventable, simply by choosing carefully what we put into our mouths and our minds. And I'm going to do my best to photograph and write about all these things in ways that might encourage you to rethink what you're putting in your mouth, and help you begin to take back your own health and vitality so that you can truly thrive and feel happy. Imagine that.:)

Yesterday was a celebration for me and while I wanted to mark that with something special, I did not want to find myself on a sugar bender, undoing all the wonderful things I had accomplished by cleaning up my diet, eliminating alcohol, dairy, soy, processed food, sugar, grains, and legumes for an entire month.  I finished 30 days of beautifully clean eating, and discovered a host of things I want to share with you, while on that journey. It was good... it was very very good.:)  Dallas said that somewhere in the middle of it all, I might want to "kill all the things."  He was right, and it became a running joke in our house, that only made it all the more fun, as we navigated this crazy whole food terrain as a family.  Thankfully, I never did kill ALL the things. But I did slay some demons that had long been on my back... most of them existing comfortably on the cushy sofa I had installed for them in my foggy, junk food saturated mind.

We had chocolate cake for breakfast, and thanks to a totally Rawmazing, Susan Powers, it was not full of empty calories that make you feel bloated and uncomfortable and entirely guilty when you're done eating it and it required no baking whatsoever.  I hope you'll enjoy this new direction with me.  I look forward to it so much! Food photography hasn't had a strong place in my portfolio which is a direct reflection of my poor relationship with it in the past.  It is something I've wanted to improve upon for a long time and this seems like the perfect way to stay motivated, while engaging you, encouraging you, informing and maybe inspiring you to greater heights and healthier habits right along with me!


Food For Thought

I love Saturday mornings.  In our house, they are generally very relaxed and pajama clad, with none of the rush to get out the door that happens on other days.  I often use the time to catch up on blogs and read articles of interest that I bookmarked but didn't have time for during the week, while eating breakfast.  I've absorbed some truly wonderful soul food while feeding the body that way.  Something I read this morning, got an OH HELL YEAH! from me so I thought I'd share an excerpt here in case it resonates and so I can find it again easily when I need a good kick in the butt.;-)  

"...if you want to see what you are truly made of, or just how far you can go and what you are truly capable of  - forget the hack. Commit to the daily pressure that compels infinitesimal progress over time. Wake up before dawn and apply yourself in silent anonymity. Practice your craft in whatever shape or form that may be.. late into the evening with relentless rigor. Embrace the fear. Let go of perfection. Allow yourself to fail. Welcome the obstacles. Forget the results. Give yourself over to your passion with every fiber of who you are. And live out the rest of your days trying to do better.

I can't promise that you will succeed in the way our culture inappropriately defines the term. But I can absolutely guarantee that you will become deeply acquainted with who you truly are. You will touch and exude passion. And discover what it means to be truly alive.  In my opinion, this is the legit definition of success. And the essence of greatness.  Because the seat of genuine value, beauty and satisfaction lies in the experience of getting there."   - Rich Roll

You can read the entire article here.