‘Prasmatic Light’, a refreshing wheat ale with notes of orange peel, peaches and grapefruit. @Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use by permission only please.

Catskill Living Along The Rt. 28 Scenic Byway – Outtakes

Catskill Interviews, Catskill Made, Catskill Mountains, upstate new york

Being the food and lodging writer for Kaatskill Life Magazine is one of several gigs, most definately a treasured one. I find myself meeting all sorts of folks and tasting my way up and down the Catskill Scenic Byway of Route 28. The following photos are some outtakes that did not see print. Below are links to the articles to read online, with links to their Facebook sites directly following.

*As a photographer for hire well-versed in the hospitality industry, feel free to email me at MoonflowerRA@gmail.com if you are interested having photos taken of your own restaurant  or lodging establishment. 

Kaatskill Dining:

Kaatskill Lodging:

Kaatskill Dining/Lodging

Family table at Cucina Woodstock. © Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use with permission only please.

Family table at Cucina Woodstock. © Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use with permission only please.

Bread baked daily in Brio’s wood-fired oven. © Rebecca Andre, Mountain Girl Photography. Photo use with permission only please.

Potato Pancakes topped with applesauce at Brio’s, © Rebecca Andre, Mountain Girl Photography. Photo use with permission only please.

Potato Pancakes topped with applesauce at Brio’s, © Rebecca Andre, Mountain Girl Photography. Photo use with permission only please.

Mouth watering cupcake selection at Bite Me Bakery © Rebecca Andre, Mountain Girl Photography. Photo use with permission only please.

Mouth watering cupcake selection at Bite Me Bakery © Rebecca Andre, Mountain Girl Photography. Photo use with permission only please.

Chocolate & Caramel cupcake at Bite Me Bakery © Rebecca Andre, Mountain Girl Photography. Photo use with permission only please.

Chocolate and Caramel cupcake at Bite Me Bakery © Rebecca Andre, Mountain Girl Photography. Photo use with permission only please.

©Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use by permission only please.

Mellow Critical Listening’, an IPA as smooth as its name. © Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use by permission only please.

Woodstock Brewing outdoor seating. ©Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use by permission only please.

Woodstock Brewing outdoor seating. © Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use by permission only please.

Tap room at Woodstock Brewing. ©Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use by permission only please.

Tap room at Woodstock Brewing. © Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use by permission only please.

Pine Hill Arms. ©Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use by permission only please.

Pine Hill Arms. © Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use by permission only please.

Maeve, in charge at Maeve’s Coffee Shop at Pine Hill Arms, and friend. ©Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use by permission only please.

Maeve, in charge at Maeve’s Coffee Shop at Pine Hill Arms, and friend. © Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use by permission only please.

Queen room with kitchenette at Phoenicia Belle B and B. ©Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use by permission only please.

Violet’s Suite with kitchenette at Phoenicia Belle B and B. © Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use by permission only please.

Violet’s kitchenette at Phoenicia Belle B and B. ©Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use by permission only please.

Violet’s kitchenette at Phoenicia Belle B and B. © Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use by permission only please.

Owners Tom and Dana Fraser Violet’s at Phoenicia Belle B and B. ©Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use by permission only please.

Owners Tom and Dana Fraser at Phoenicia Belle B and B. © Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use by permission only please.

Wintertime on the Mill Stream. ©Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use by permission only please.

Wintertime on the Mill Stream. © Rebecca Andre of Mountain Girl Photography, NY. Use by permission only please.

Almost Healthy Chocolate Chip Joy Infused Cookies

photography, Recipes, Uncategorized

About four minutes into the baking of these chocolate gems, a caramel warmth wafts towards my nostrils and all is right with the world.


On a bitingly cold Saturday, complete with a play-date, there is only one thing to do: make cookies. Upon informing the my 8 year old daughter and her friend that I was working on a healthier version of chocolate chip cookies, using agave, I was bombarded with protests.

“Oh no, you are going to use oatmeal, aren’t you?”

“AGAVE! What is that?” 

Their words dripped with “ick” and fear.

I calmed them with a little mini spoon dipped in agave, and eyebrows raised, they were forced to concede to its sweet goodness.

Back to these Almost Healthy Chocolate Chip Joy Infused Cookies. My goal in developing this recipe was to lower the fat content and glycemic index and to up the intake of whole grains in one of America’s favorite desserts. 

I succeeded.

Hand delivering one (before-dinner) cookie each to the girls, the first bite solicited the following response: “These are AMAZing,” and “nice job,” complete with a thumbs up.

“See,” I said, with grin of a conqueror spreading across my face. I did a little happy dance back to the kitchen. 

You too will do a little happy dance when you first bite into these mood altering baked discs of delight (aka cookies).


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup blue agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 4 tsp. vanilla bean infused vodka (or pure vanilla extract works too)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup whole oats
  • 10-12 oz. of the most seriously dark chocolate chips you can find, malt-sweetened if possible, so as to completely avoid processed sugar.  I only had Hershey’s Special Dark semi-sweet chips on hand.
  • (As you can see, there is not salt added in this recipe. I forgot it, and it isn’t needed. I am not sure why. Greatly reduces the sodium content!)

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter and coconut oil together, about 45 seconds in the microwave, allow to cool slightly.
  2. Use a mixer to blend the agave and coconut palm sugar together, add the melted butter and oil. Add the vanilla then the egg whites (warmed to room temp. in a bowl of warm water for about 10 min.) Beat until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the two flours, baking powder, cornstarch and cinnamon. Add slowly to the wet ingredients.
  4. Stir in whole oats and, finally, chocolate chips. Add some nuts if you so desire.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
  6. Chill dough in freezer for 30 minutes.
  7. Spoon onto sheet in generous tablespoons. Bake 8-10 minutes.

Makes 40 cookies (if you don’t nibble at the dough during the baking process)


So how did I determine this comparison? I used the nutrition tracker on MyFitnessPal. As you can see from above, my agave-coconut-whole-wheat-oats recipe is not only lower in fat, sugar, carbs and sodium, but packs a nutrition punch with potassium from the coconut sugar and egg whites and a dose of iron from the dark chocolate and oats.

Yes, Costco’s Kirkland brand cookies may be a tad larger, or could it be an optical illusion, as they are flat. And full of artificial flavor. I will take a smaller, cleaner cookie any day.

The only way to make this cookie of joy better is with a cup of Safari Spiced Chai, a Traveler’s Tea African Rooibos blend that pairs so very well with dessert, and boasts a dose Vitamin C, anti-oxidants, and minerals.

Mom and kid approved, I could not have developed this recipe without inspiration from Amy’s Healthy Baking and this agave nectar cookie recipe. I have absolutely no affiliation with the websites mentioned, except for the tea sites, which is my company. I highly encourage you to check out the online store, Mountain Girl Made, and buy some organic, additive-free tea to go with your baked goods while supporting this blogging housewife.

Food photography – waste not, want not 

outdoors, photography, Recipes, upstate new york, Watershed post

In another life, I worked as a set stylist at QVC Studios for several garden vendors. Working my way up from water girl to head designer took three years, and I learned a lot.

For example, always provide the host/talent with an unadulterated product to sample on air. Hide it behind the basket of gleaming strawberries (sprayed with vegetable oil). Make sure there is a real tomato sitting on the cutting board next to the knife, so he or she doesn’t try and cut a fake one. Be sure to warn of the blueberry pie (with shaving cream whipped topping).

When all else fails, hide in the green room. Because the cringe-worthy moment will eventually occur. It’s live TV. You will sink in your seat, and cover your eyes, perhaps let out a whimper, or a scream, when the host moves to sniff a silk rose that just got touched up with a spritz of spray paint…

What does all this have to do with food photography?

Many tricks of the trade make food that has been photographed inedible. I hate waste, and I always try to come up with edible ways to stage my food shots. Just in case I get a snack-attack on set.

  • Rinse fresh veggies in a colander just before the shot, they will glisten for the photo, and will also be ready-to-eat.
  • Cook the ingredients separate, when possible, and not all the way. Stage for the shot, (less-cooked veggies have better color) then throw back into the pot and finish cooking for dinner.
  • Use daylight whenever possible, it makes everything look more appetizing and you won’t need to trick the lens.
  • Cut the pie, quiche, lasagna, etc. once it has cooled. Less chance of a soupy shot. Then re-heat and eat!
  • Always have fresh herbs on hand…that splash of green injects any food photo with life. And any dish with flavor.

Ok, that’s enough, I’m not giving away anymore trade secrets.

Below are photos taken at one of my favorite eateries here in the Catskills, Zephyr Restaurant, along with shots for restaurant articles in Watershed Post (Two Old Tarts & Bite Me Bakery) Sometimes I take my family on a trip without even leaving the kitchen, I include those shots as well.

Apologies, should you become hungry…

Lemon tart @ Two Old Tarts in Andes, NY | Cupcakes @ Bite Me Bakery in Shokan, NY

Above: Yogurt and berry parfait @ Zephyr Restaurant in Pine Hill, NY Below: Lemon curd hostess gifts and spiced cranberry compote

An evening visit to Japan, perfectly artificially lit, totally consumed

Revisiting Quebec City one morning: Alton Brown’s blender crepes, both savory and sweet