Baby | 5 Month Photo Shoot

He’s 5 months old already! Let me stop and let that sink in – 5 months! That is almost half a year, which is almost a year which means it’s almost his first birthday?! Okay, I guess not quite but it sure feels like it.  Seriously, you hear ‘they grow up so fast’ and boy is it true! I want him to stay this cute, little, squishy guy forever. Since he just had his 5th month birthday it was time for his photo shoot. 6MonthPhotoshoot_1 6MonthPhotoshoot_26MonthPhotoshoot_5 6MonthPhotoshoot_3 6MonthPhotoshoot_4

I am cherishing these moments when I get to dress him up in anything I want and he is still happy as can be – even if that means naked and a cap like Grandpa!

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Two Little Lovelies

I am editing my way through these images and can’t wait for these proud parents to see the entire gallery because I just have way to many favorites. These little girls melted my heart the entire session.  Even though we had a tough time getting them to both sleep at the same time, by the end, they both gave me 3 minutes of sleepy bliss which allowed me to capture my favorite picture of the day — two sleeping little girls in tutu’s. Precious.


xoxo

Friday | Picture of the Week | Week 27

It’s official and I am happy to say that my little brother got married this past weekend! The wedding was filled with love, beauty, and lots of family! Bill Quinn was the official photographer for this wedding but of course I couldn’t let the day pass without snapping a few pictures. Since, I am in SF I do not have access to all the pictures, but Ryan was kind enough to send me one for my picture of the week. Until I do a full post, please feel free to check out Quinn Photography’s blog post if you want to see more pictures from the day!

As for the new logo, I am pretty sure I change it every month and am just working on it until something sticks! Not sure if I will keep Shannon Càit but until I come up with something better, Shannon Càit it is!

xoxo

Recipe | Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Streusel Muffins
From Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics
Makes 20 muffins

Note: Wash blueberries in a strainer under running water and pick out any stems and leaves.

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (2 half pints)

For the Streusel Topping (I double this because I looooove a good crumb topping!):

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and blend with your hands. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, lemon zest, eggs and almond. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a fork, mixing just until blended. Fold the blueberries into the batter. Don’t overmix! With a standard (2 1/4-inch) ice-cream scoop or large spoon, scoop the batter into the prepared cups, filling them almost full.

For the topping, place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until the butter is in very small pieces. Pour into a bowl and rub with your fingers until crumbly. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the streusel on top of each muffin. Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Note: These muffin expand quite a bit in the oven so tips on two things:

1. Don’t overfill your muffin pan.

2. Reapply more topping half way through baking. Once the muffin expands, the streusel topping no longer covers the entire “muffin top”. So half way through the baking, I opened the oven and applied more topping so that the entire top was covered. (Told you I like my crumb toppings)!

 

XOXO

Recipe | Vanilla Ganache French Macaron

Finally, after several attempts documented here, I feel confident to post the  recipe for french macarons from the Annie Rigg recipe book! I made these for the first time in a must-come-out-perfect situation (for my sister-in-law’s bridal shower) and I have to say, I performed better than the Laker’s did in this playoff series (PS I just got husband bonus points for thinking of the Lakers and extra credit for actually mentioning their name in a post)!! 

  Back to the macrons, I had to transport them on a 7 hr drive up north so I decided to make the cookies and ganache on Thursday night and package the cookies and ganache separately which I would then assemble once at my destination. I am not sure how others handle traveling with these pain-in-the butt delicate treats but this worked well for me.

Ingredients
200g confectioners’ sugar
100g ground almond
120-125g egg whites (aged for at least 24 hours)
a pinch of salt
40g super fine sugar
a piping bag, fitted with a 1/2″ nozzle tip
2 baking sheets, lined with non-stick baking parchment
 
Directions
0. Measure all ingredients.
1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and prepare piping bag with tip (I use Ateco tip #807)
2. Sift confectioners’ sugar and ground almond together into a bowl.
3. Place egg whites into a spotlessly clean and dry mixing bowl. Add the salt and, using an electric handheld whisk, beat until they will hold a stiff peak.
4. Continue to whisk at medium speed while adding the regular sugar a teaspoonful at a time. The mixture should be thick, white glossy (like shaving cream).  You should be able to hold the bowl of whisked egg whites over your head. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry (Sorry, but no tricks for telling if you overbeat them). 
5. Using a spatula, fold the confectioners sugar and almond flour, into the egg white mixture. Continue folding until egg white mergine, almond flour, and confectioners sugar resemble molten lava (no more than 50 strokes – AND THIS IS IMPORTANT). Over mixing will result in running batter, so stop yourself at 50 strokes!
6. Fill the pastry bag with mixture and pipe evenly sized rounds about 1.5″ onto the prepared baking sheets.
7. Tap the bottom of the baking sheets sharply one, on the work surface to expec any large air bubbles.
8. Leave macarons for at least 40-60 minutes until they have “set” and formed a dry shell. They should not be sticky, tacky, or wet when tested with your fingertip.
9. Pre-heat oven to 325F.
10. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time for 11-12 minutes. Remove from oven and leave to cool on baking sheet.
 
White Chocolate Ganache
150g really good white chocolate, finely chopped
5 tablespoons heavy cream (I prefer this to Whipping Cream; Trader Joes sells regular heavy cream)
1 vanilla bean (seeds)
 
Put the cream and vanilla extract in a small saucepan and head until the cream has come to a boil. Place chopped white chocolate in saucepan along with vanilla bean seeds. Stir until smooth then leave to cool. Cover and refrigerate until thickened (can take up to 24 hours).
 
 
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Friday | Picture of the Week | Week 6

This week’s picture is not my usual style of soft, romantic, wedding, or flowers — but yes, instead I decided to photograph a glass of milk! I wanted to try and expand my technical skills and work with the shutter speed and flash.  Because I used a flash to capture this picture I could not put the camera on continuous shooting mode, so each time I attempted the splash down I only got one shot to get it right! I’m sure you are wondering, but this picture was attempt number four —  the other three I had great timing but I was working out the camera settings still!

first year ~ part II

As posted previously, last time I went home to visit, we took some pictures of Riley for use on his birthday invitations. Now that his invites have gone out, I can reveal the rest of the shoot. And just in case you really want to see more of this photoshoot, click here for slideshow.

For the invitations, we decided to do a postcard style photocard using Photoshop. With Melissa’s poetic skills and the book editor skills of my mom, they came up with the poem and I did the design.

Sorry, but the crying pictures are just too cute to not include – crying with a party hat on! Man, I can’t wait until this little guy is in college and this gets sent around to the frat brothers!!!!