Martin's BBQ

Last week, I got to tag along with my friend Jen Cook, who is one half of the very dynamic photographer duo Photographix here in Nashville. Jen and Ann are actually the ones that shot our engagement pictures, my bridals, and our wedding, and they do a fantastic job!! (If you have any sort of event coming up, you should check them out, for real!)

Jen was kind enough to let me tag along on her food assignment shoot for Southern Exposure magazine at Martin's BBQ Joint in Nolensville, TN. I had heard of this place before, mainly that the bbq is pretty legendary. They actually appeared on Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives last Monday!

Here are some my favorite shots:

I definitely have learned a thing or two from Miss Jen over the last few weeks that she's let me tag along with her and pick her brain:
  • How to use the light meter in my camera so I can get the correct exposure. This definitely takes the guessing game out of it, and I feel more in control of how good the shots turn out.
  • Take pictures of EVERYTHING. When she does shoots like this one, she says she takes hundreds of shots while the magazine will only use 4 or 5, but it's best to give them lots to choose from.
  • Some simple ways to enhance my photos in Photoshop, simply by adjusting the levels.
I'm getting a little more comfortable with both my camera and editing my photos, and seeing some of the ways Jen photographs stuff has given me a different perspective on how to shoot things on an angle or what to do in certain situations. Thanks so much Jen!


Yummy Pasta Salad

Happy Saturday, everyone! I wanted to share with you the pasta salad recipe that Billy and I took for a spin last night. We wanted something light and fresh and this hit the spot!

I originally pulled this recipe from a magazine, that I'm guessing is Family Circle--the only clue I got was the familycircle.com on the bottom corner of the page. This was a reader recipe that was sent in and I LOVE any kind of pasta salad so I decided to try it out.

Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad
1 pound rotini
2 pounds thin-sliced chicken cutlets
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 large sweet red pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1 large green pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1 medium-size red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly slided
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup canola oil

1. Cook pasta following package directions. Drain.
2. While pasta is cooking, heat grill pan or broiler. Sprinkle chicken with the lemon juice and grill or broil for about 2 minutes per side or until internal temperature reads 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Set aside and let cool.
3. When cool, cut chicken into bite-size pieces and mix with cooled pasta in a large bowl. Add diced peppers, onion, scallions, and dill.
4. In a medium-size bowl, whisk mayo, vinegar, honey, mustard, sugar, onion powder, parsley flakes, salt and black pepper. Gradually whisk in oil.
5. Pour mayonnaise mixture over the pasta and chicken and toss. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Now I have to admit that I improvised a little on the recipe. I didn't have a red onion, so I used Vidalia onion. I did not have fresh dill, onion powder, or dried parsley flakes. I used dried dill weed in my sauce. And I only used half of the oil. I like how mine turned out but I'm curious how different it would taste if you follow the recipe exactly.

Things I liked about it:
  • The creamy yet tangy and light dressing.
  • The fresh crunch of the veggies.
  • The pasta--duh.
I'm not really a chicken fan, but I do like how it added some good protein in there. I think it would also be great with shrimp.

Billy mentioned this would be a good dish for a summer picnic, and I completely agree. This is one of those dishes that ABSOLUTELY tastes better the next day, when the sauce has had time to hang out and all the pasta is nice and cold.

Next up: Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies!!!


Quick one...

I decided I needed to share two things with you real quick...

My dog.

My lunch.

That's all. So far this "freedom" thing is agreeing with me. :)


Here goes nothin'...

Friends, I've recently been handed some lemons. At work I was up for a pretty decent promotion, which I did not get. I'm still trying to understand why that happened, because I looked back on that job description and checked off the requirements like you check off the items on your grocery list. While I have my own opinions about it, I'm not the type of person that's going to run my mouth (fingers?) because I didn't get my way.

I've decided to make something out of those lemons: I quit my job. I'm not sure what I'm making with those lemons yet, maybe lemonade? Maybe a cake? Maybe I'll take pictures of those lemons and sell them on Etsy? I dunno.

I've though a lot about this, even though things happened very quickly. I like to think that maybe the only reason for working there was so that I could meet Billy. Fortunately, our Dave Ramsey Debt Snowball has crushed many of our bills over the last several months, and with Billy working so much it has definitely afforded me this opportunity to jump ship and maybe pursue some things on my own.

Here are some things on my TO DO list:
  • Learn more about photography and SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT!
  • Finish Photoshop Classroom in a Book, so I can edit my photos.
  • Restart P90X--we made it through Phase 1 and 2 last time. I'm going to do the Lean version this time and I'm determined to make it all the way through.
  • Cook. A lot.
  • Work on some things around the house. I plan on building myself a desk, and then tackling our laundry room with some help from Ana's plans on Knock Off Wood.
  • Teach myself how to sew finally.
  • Work up to at least a post per day.
  • Make a trip or two to Texas to see my mom in Houston and my friends Jill and Jenny in Dallas. Jill's baby Mia is soooooo cute, and I've been dying to squish her for MONTHS!
I'm not sure where this journey is going to take me. Maybe something with photography? Food photography? Catering? I don't know. I know there is a plan for me and I just have to wait and see what that is. I'm scared, anxious, excited. And scared. So, we'll see. Wish me luck.