Saturday, July 18, 2009

Learning my way around a camera

I own an amazing (for me) camera, the Canon Rebel XS. As of a few weeks ago I had never used anything other than a point and click, or as my step-mother says "A camera that only requires a PhD to use. Push Here Dummy!" Har-de-har. So my challenge is to learn how to use the camera in a manner worthy of the Canon Rebel. By way of demonstration, here is one of the first pictures I took with this awesome camera, on automatic mode: Hi Jack! It's an ok picture, for automatic mode and no photographic knowledge, but it it not going into a picture frame any time soon.

Here is a picture of Lovely Lucy that I took a few days ago, experimenting with various shutter speeds and aperture settings: Yikes! Hello , washed out Lucy!

And this evening, after a moderate amount of self study, I experimented in full manual mode and while I have eons and eons to learn, I have to say that I am pleased with my progress so far. Here are my two favorite (read: only) models. The light wasn't ideal and neither were the various contortions I executed trying to get these guys to sit and stay. But I am proud to say that I am moving in the right direction. Eventually I'll learn about composition and lenses and I will bankrupt my family with this hobby!

Quinoa "Salad"

I don't know if I'd call this a salad, a pilaf or something in between, but it is healthy, easy to make and tasty and that's all you really need to know.

Here is what you will need:
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 package extra firm tofu
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
White Balsamic Vinegar
Sea Salt

Start by preparing one cup of Quinoa according to the package directions. For more information on quinoa and all things healthy check out 101 Cookbooks grain tutorial.
Meanwhile, chop one medium zucchini, one medium yellow onion and some (I used most of a pint) grape or cherry tomatoes.

In a skillet heat approximately 1 Tbsp. olive oil over med-high heat. Add the onions and stir periodically for about two minutes, then add your zucchini, stirring until it turns a bright green (about another minute or two) and then throw in the tomatoes and some cubed extra firm tofu. Splash in some white balsamic vinegar, to taste and allow the whole skillet to saute for another minute or two, stirring a few times.

At this time the quinoa should be ready and you're just about done. Place the quinoa into a large serving bowl, mix in the sauted vegetables and for the final touch splash some more olive oil and vinegar on the salad along with a healthy dose of sea salt, to taste. Mix it all up and you're ready to enjoy a super healthy quinoa salad. Or pilaf. Or whatever you want to call it.

Friday, July 3, 2009

July, clouds and the joys of pet ownership.

Today is the perfect day for a walk with the dogs followed by a cup of tea. Sometimes I miss being by the ocean, but the open space and clean air of Southwest Virginia is hypnotizing me into considering a forever after in the Blue Ridge Mountains.