Monday, October 21, 2013

Healthier Halloween Candy Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the Healthier Halloween Candy giveaway! The randomly selected winner is Meredith M (comment #51)! Congrats and please look out for my email and send me your mailing address ASAP! =D

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Healthier Halloween Candy Giveaway!

Am I the only one who has never been a huge fan of over-the-top sugary candy bars and hard candies for Halloween? As a little kid and even now, the excitement of Halloween was more about getting to pick my costume, to play make believe and truly believe in magic, and to stay out late with my friends for one night of the year! I get quite nostalgic when I come across old Halloween photos -- like one of my mom in a Frankenstein's monster mask trick-or-treating with me in 2nd grade -- or think of the time that my friends made a surprise stop by my house in costume when I was too sick to go trick-or-treating. I cherish the memories of running around with those friends and counting then trading our many "treasures" at the end of the night much more than any of the candy itself. 

Giveaway Pic A
That being said, there would be no "trick-or-treat" without the treats! But now that I'm older and wiser =p, my taste in candy leans more toward healthier options that incorporate fruits, nuts, dark chocolate, etc. Certainly these are still indulgences, but why can't indulgences be a bit nutritious as well? If you're nodding your head in agreement, you're gonna love my Healthier Halloween Candy Giveaway! I've worked with Temptation Candy to develop a more health-conscious candy basket full of organic and natural treats for ONE lucky reader! These would be perfect for handing out to kids on The Big Night, but I also promise not to tell if you decide to keep them all for your own enjoyment ^_^.

Healthier Halloween Candy Giveaway Prize

Organic/All Natural Candy Included:
  • 1x Panda Blueberry Licorice
  • 1x Organic Hard Candies (Cherry)
  • 1x Justin's Organic Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
  • 1x Justin's Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
  • 1x Divine White Chocolate w/ Strawberries Chocolate Bar
  • 1x Box of Asher's Sugar Free Milk & Dark Chocolate Assortment
  • 1x RJ's Raspberry Licorice Log
  • 1x Green & Black's Organic Milk Chocolate Bar w Crunchy Toffee Pieces
  • 1x Justin's All Natural Almond, Milk Chocolate, Caramel & Nougat Bar
  • 10x Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops
  • 20x Das Lolli All Natural Lollipops (Flavors include Ginger & Lemon, Orange & Pomegranate and Salty Caramel)
  • 1x Bloomberg & Co "Smooch" All Natural Milk Chocolate Bar
Additional Candy Included:
  • 2x Chocolove Milk Chocolate Bars
  • 2x Chocolove Raspberries and Dark Chocolate Bars
TO ENTER, do as many of the following as you want and leave a separate comment for each thing you do! Please also make sure to leave an e-mail address for me to contact you if you win. The giveaway is limited to mailing addresses in the continental US and will close on October 20 at midnight; the winner will then be announced shortly thereafter.
  • Leave a comment that you'd like to win this giveaway.
  • Like 6 Bittersweets on Facebook, then leave a comment telling me you did or already do.
  • Like Temptation Candy on Facebook, then leave a comment telling me you did or already do.
  • Subscribe to this blog, then leave a comment telling me you did or already do.
  • Follow 6 Bittersweets on Twitter, then leave a comment telling me you did or already do so, including your Twitter name.
  • Tweet about this giveaway, tagging me @6bittersweets, then leave a comment telling me.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday Favorites

Earlier this week, I completed my first planned food shoot in over a year (for this post) and it was quite terrifying to start shooting again without knowing whether the old skills/sensibilities would flow back naturally or if the learning would be from scratch. In the end, it was a bit of both, with the added challenge of adjusting to the lighting in a new apartment. I realize professional photographers must constantly adapt to diverse settings for their shoots (among the many reasons that I respect them so and that I'll never be a pro lol!). I, on the other hand, am accustomed to quite the opposite: transforming the same environment into 20 different ones so my photos don't all blend together. If any of you have tips for readjusting to food photography/blogging after a long break or after a big move, please share them with me in the comments below!

Another topic on my mind this week has been the interaction between individual innovation and external inspiration from the work of others (such as the photos I share in these favorites posts). One of the reasons I enjoy perusing beautiful food photos is that different photographers can approach the same subject from drastically different angles. In the best circumstances, seeing such varied takes on the same subject helps me break out of a creative box I may not even realize I'm in. That's the best and desired outcome. Yet there's also the possibility that focusing too much on the work of others will simply impose new blinders that anchor your creativity to the ideas of another artist. I know I'm not the only one to feel this way. For example, I once read an article from a cake artist who avoided looking at other cake art so that she could ensure that her designs would be part of a unique, personal style. What do you guys think? Not just for food or photography but for any form of art, do you feel it's more helpful or harmful to look at other people's work while also developing your own? 

P.S. - Just want to make sure everyone knows that the photos I feature still link back to the source/creator if you click on the image.  One of the main reasons I make these favorites posts is to direct more traffic to deserving artists, so I'd hate for people not to realize the links are there. Enjoy!

Tomatoes Photograph by Local Milk
0 LocalMilk-Heirloom Tomatoes Ingred
Herbed Chicken Sandwich Photograph by Jeff Kauck
1 Jeff Kauck-Herb Chicken Sandwich, Burger Paper Wire Rack Blue Linen
Assorted Ingredients on Bread Board Photograph by Jeroen van der Spek
2 Jeroen van der Spek-Cheese Tray Round Wood Board Peas White Asparagus Mustard Ingred
Roasted Spiced Pumpkin Salad with Tahini Dressing from The Food Dept.
3 FoodDept-Roasted Pumpkin Winter Squash Salad Tahini Dressing Idea
Chicken Satay Lettuce Wraps from Sips and Spoonfuls
4 Sipsandspoonfuls-Grilled Chicken Satay Wrap Ingred Paper
Great Gatsby Themed Wedding Cake by Sweet Cakes Bakery via Glamour and Grace
5 SweetCakesLLC-Feather Gilded Great Gatsby Brooch Flag Banner Fondant Wedding Cake Fave
Salty Caramel Ice Cream with Popcorn from Have a Yummy Day
6 Haveayummyday-Salty Caramel Ice Cream with Popcorn Idea Ingred

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Naturally Gluten-Free: Coconut Cassava Bars

Hello world! These are my baby steps back into the food blogging/photography world. A little scared...a lot clumsy (I swear I've somehow forgotten even the basics of how light works! =X)...and learning things again bit by bit (I hope) with each attempt!

Coconut Cassava Bars
For today's shoot, I chose coconut cassava bars inspired by one of my favorite nutrition blogs, Nutrition to Kitchen. Similar versions of this cake can be found in Vietnamese and Filipino cuisine. These bars are mildly sweet and just a little bit salty (partly due to the addition of cheddar cheese!); soft and chewy in a way that's reminiscent of mochi cake (not surprising once you learn cassava is used to make tapioca); rich with coconut flavor (from the milk as well as sweetened coconut strings known as macapuno); naturally gluten-free; and ab-so-lute-ly addicting to nibble on. Please do give it a go, and let me know what you think!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday Favorites! (Guess Who's Back...Back Again...)

Wow. Can you believe it's been over THREE months since I last updated 6 Bittersweets?! No? Me neither. But somehow...despite my best efforts to keep the posts trickling in, the speed of life simply overtook my commitment and capacity to blog in the past few months. How do those of you with kids and/or more than one job do it? How and with what black magics? Seriously though, you guys are amazing and I have more respect for you all now than even before. 

It's incredible how easily a week without posting can turn into months, and the passage of time barely registers until suddenly a new season is approaching. Well that's not really all that's changed since my last post... During my break from blogging, I've managed to (1) get accepted into graduate school; (2) leave my government contracting job; (3) pack up/toss more belongings than any apartment-dweller should ever have (no really...we filled up a U-Haul moving truck intended to move a small house/family!!); (4) relocate from the metropolitan DC area to a very different part of the great state of Virginia (that is, rural Blacksburg); and (5) start (today!) taking courses toward a master's degree in nutrition as well as becoming a Registered Dietitian (RD). Sorta major changes, no? =D

I was so tied up between wrapping up my old life and laying the groundwork for the new one that blogging never even made it on to my To-do List this summer! Even with that off my plate, I'd be lying if I said I never felt overwhelmed by the huge life changes ahead of me. After calling Northern Virginia home for SIX years where I was lucky enough to be surrounded by my friends and my mom, moving (even just across the state) was no easy task. I will miss those people the most, of course, but the foodie within is also lamenting the loss of easy access to so many international food markets, amazing and varied restaurants, Trader Joe's, and the list goes on! (If anyone knows where to get haloumi or affordable mascarpone near Virginia Tech, please let me know!)

But the other, wonderful side of this coin is finally setting foot on my chosen career path and so much more. For those who've never been here, the VT university campus and surrounding region is bursting with natural beauty. After living near the city, it's glorious to see so much green (the campus, the mountains, our yards!). While we no longer have large malls at our fingertips, I'm already excitedly planning excursions that bring us closer to nature such as hiking, tubing, and picking fruit. As I ease myself back into regular blogging (this post is the 1st small step), I hope to share images from these parts of my life in addition to what comes out of my kitchen. Speaking of the kitchen, the one in our new apartment is more than twice as large as our previous. Anyway, before I get too carried away, my point is that I was gone for a while but NOT gone for good. I'm starting a new chapter of my life in a big way, and I'm bringing my readers with me if you'll still have me!

Citrus Fruits for Glazed Cream Cheese Pound Cake from Herriott Grace
1 Michael Graydon-Blood Orange Kumquat Citrus Ingred Wood Board Ingred Idea
Spring Chicken Soup from Gourmet Traveller
2 GourmetTraveller-Spring Chicken Noodle Soup Cilantro in Pot
Rainbow Beet and Goat Cheese Jewels from Frances Janisch
3 Frances Janisch-Rainbow Beets Goat Ch Strata Sliced Appetizer Idea FAVE
Table Spread Photograph by Matt Armendariz
4 Matt Armendariz-Apricots Macadamia Nuts Wood Board Table Scene
Photographs Styled by Dietlind Wolf with/withOUT the Food (all photos from this post are very educational/inspirational)
5 Dietlind Wolf-Roasted Baked Potatoes Sauce Dip Salad Styling Tutorial
Steaming Teapot and Tea Moving Photograph by Anna Williams
6 Anna Williams-Steaming Teapot GIF Idea
Lily Flowers and Pads Wedding Cake by Sweet Disposition Cakes
7 SweetDisposition-Asian Lily Pads Flower Ombre Fondant Wedding Cake Fave

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Recreating The Baltimore Bomb (Chess Pie with Vanilla Fudge Cookies)

I've always enjoyed eating pies, but they've never consumed my daydreams the way cupcakes and macarons have. Perhaps its their rustic appearance and less portable/adorable packaging. Or perhaps its the added step of having to make pastry dough in advance (a pie without a homemade crust is not a pie worth making IMO). Either way, my thoughts rarely turn toward pie unless autumn's on the horizon.

Baltimore Bomb Pie
At least that's how it used to be until an unassuming slice from the aptly named Dangerously Delicious Pies (DDP) in DC blew me away at first bite. Its name was The Baltimore Bomb, and I guarantee it's like no pastry you've ever tasted. DDP created The Bomb especially for the city of Baltimore, Maryland, using their famous Berger cookies, which are equal parts vanilla cookie and chocolate fudge. The inspired twist was to suspend these decadent cookies in a traditional Southern chess filling. The fudge melts down to bestow its gooey goodness to the entire pie, while the tangy custard reigns in the richness of the chopped Berger's. I strongly encourage everyone in the DC area to experience the real deal at DDP, but I think this recipe hits pretty close to the mark and captures all the elements that make the Baltimore Bomb Pie so exceptional and addictive =D.

P.S. - Please pardon the mediocre photo! I only had 15 minutes during the workday to grab a shot in front of my office building AND it started raining as soon as I got outside. The taste was fantastic though so I wanted to make sure I had a photo for this blog post to tempt you to try the recipe (please do!).