Kristin Eldridge Photography specializes in maternity, newborn, baby, children, and family photography servicing Long Beach, Orange County, and Los Angeles.

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June 2012

28Jun

Flashback: Summer 2007 [Costa Mesa Baby Photographer]

I was going through the archives and found one of my very first photo sessions.  It was the summer of 2007.  I had just bought the Canon 5D and I was practicing on every willing friend.  Looking back, I’m really lucky my friends were so gracious to me as I worked out my skills and business practices.  I noticed in these photos that my style is still much the same…babies and kids.  Being cute.  Being themselves.

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27Jun

Wallpaper Makeover [Southern California Photographer]

I’m a bit vanilla.  When it comes to how I dress and how I decorate my home, plain is best.  I’m creative in my work, but I tire out when it comes to personal decisions.  Thankfully I have stylish friends.  And thankfully they help me make personal decisions.

Two of my good friends have wallpaper in their homes.  The exact same pattern, in fact!  So, the wheels started turning about a year ago.  I wanted to wallpaper a wall in my dining room, but oh the choices!  I waffled this way and that for a whole year.  I pinned different patterns.  I was sure about this one, until I saw that one.  Finally ready to pull the trigger, I ran two options by my friends.  Laura told me to go to Walnut Wallpaper by where she worked at The Grove.  She met me there and we looked through all the books until we narrowed it down to this:  Summer Palace Fret in Mineral by F Schumacher.  Heather gave the stamp of approval and we were off!

I’m so happy with how it turned out!  The mineral color nicely compliments the soft gold color on the walls.  We also got these mercury pendants from West Elm a few months ago and these chairs from Crate and Barrel were what started the whole change.  I used to have matching wood chairs to the table.  Matching.  How boring.  Laura recommended a galvanized steel chair and I love how it has a vintage feel, while still being modern.  And of course I love my DIY terrariums.

We also decided to wallpaper around the corner, so you could see a peek of it when you walk through the front door.  Danny, our contractor, installed the wallpaper and it looks perfect.  Brent agreed to wallpaper if it was professionally installed.  I would have happily tried to do it myself, but weird seams and crooked patterns weren’t what Brent had in mind.  If you’re in the SoCal area and looking to wallpaper, I will gladly give you Danny’s info.  He’s the best!

And just so you can see the difference.  Here’s a before picture.  VANILLA!

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26Jun

Baby Delaney [Newport Beach Newborn Photographer]

I love this curly redhead!  I’ve been photographing her since she was a baby and now she has a new baby sister.  I can just envision our future photo sessions with two little sets of red bouncy curls.  Love!

 

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24Jun

Orange Chicken Recipe [In the Kitchen]

This is an original recipe created by Ben.  We made it to serve a crowd (8 adults and 4 kids) so if you have a family of 5, half it.  Or invite over some friends and they’ll be friends for life.

We started with a half gallon of natural squeezed orange juice (store bought-look for a quality brand)  heated to a boil in a sauce pan.  Zest an orange into it and add your minced ginger and garlic.  Stir and then let this simmer for an hour.  The mixture will reduce down to a concentrated orange sauce.  You can leave it simple like that OR add 3 T sesame oil and 1T of rice vinegar.

While your sauce is cooking, you can prepare the chicken.  We used boneless chicken thigh meat for the flavor, but boneless skinless breasts will also do the trick.  Cut them into small chunks and place into a bowl.  Sprinkle a cup or so of cornstarch into a shallow dish.  You’ll be breading your chicken in cornstarch.  WHAT!?  I know, I had never done it either.  But, it absorbs less oil and maintains a crisp even while drenched in sauce.

Below, you’ll see the step by step process of Ben coating the chicken in cornstarch, then shaking off the excess through his fingertips.  He cooked them in small batches in vegetable oil over medium high heat and drained them on a paper towel.

Add a few tablespoos of cornstarch to 1/3 cup water and mix well.  Add this to the orange sauce and simmer for 5 minutes to thicken.  In a new saute pan, add the cooked chicken and your sauce.  Boil it down for additional 5 minutes and you’re ready to serve!  We made a kid version and an adult version with the addition of chile flakes for a little heat.

I normally always make brown rice, but this was the time to splurge.  We made white jasmine rice with a 2-3 ratio for sticky rice.  So if you are using 1 cup of water, add 2/3 cups of rice.   Also make sure that you season the water beforehand (salt and pepper to taste).  That’s a pro tip right there!

Steamed broccoli rounds out the meal.  I’m not kidding you, we devoured this stuff!  The flavors were so amazing!  I’m learning from Ben that quality ingredients go a long way.  You don’t need fancy techniques.  Simple prep is the way to go!

Ben’s thinking about starting his own blog for his original recipes.  He started writing recipes, well when he learned how to write.  (Hello, child genius.) Brent and I love eating his food and the chance to cook with him and learn so much was a treat!  So…if you want to see more recipes and kitchen tips highlighted here, holla back!

Orange Chicken: serves 10-12

1/2 gallon orange juice (store bought-quality brand)

zest of one orange

2 T. minced garlic

2 T. minced ginger

1 T. rice vinegar (optional)

3 T. sesame oil (optional)

red chile flakes to taste (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

4 pounds boneless skinless thigh meat, cut in 1″ chunks

1 cup cornstarch (feel free to use more if you need it)

vegetable oil for frying

(directions above)

 

 

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23Jun

How to Mince Ginger Like a Pro [In the Kitchen]

I’m sorry.  This is a teaser.  I promised a post about the most delicious orange chicken you’ve ever had and I’m giving you a post about ginger.  But, I felt like what Ben the Chef taught me was worth it’s own blog post.  Full on orange chicken is coming tomorrow.  Pinky promise.

I’m gonna back track and say that I was sent to the market with a list.  Whole ginger was on the list and it was the first time I had ever purchased it.  I always use ginger from the jar.  I’m a stickler when it comes to fresh garlic, but I was just a little intimidated about those big knobby fingers in the produce aisle.

The first thing I was taught is that you should not use a microplane.  It shreds the ginger and you end up with a hairy mess.  What you should do is peel it.  With a vegetable peeler?  No.  A spoon.  That’s a pro-tip right there.  Peeling ginger with a spoon is the fastest and easiest way.  The fibers will run length-wise through the stem, so cut it against the grain (so it looks like small circles).  Then, you’ll want to make vertical slices, then turn the other way to create a mince.  We added the minced ginger to the orange chicken sauce for a perfectly infused ginger flavor without any fiber-y strings.

Thanks Ben!

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22Jun

Recovering [Huntington Beach Photographer]

It gets worse before it gets better.

Isn’t that how a lot of things are?  We have to tough out the hard stuff to get to the good stuff.  When I blogged at the beginning of the week about my accident last weekend, I was in a hydrocodone-induced fog with a little frustration mixed in from the whole one-handed thing.  I haven’t let my injury stop me from having fun with the kids, eating way to much ice cream and paddling across the lake.  Well, Brent paddled, and I got to enjoy the scenery.  Being at Hume Lake, away from our fast paced life, is wonderful.  And I’m glad I didn’t decide to stay at home to feel better.  Feeling better is best done under pine trees with a milkshake in your hand.  Trust me, I know.

Here’s a bit of sharing from my recent mini-sessions at the bay.  I have lots more to share, but the whole-slowing down thing makes blog posts take forrreeevver.  So, little by little we go.  Oh AND I have 2 amazing recipes coming up from my friend Ben the Chef.  He’s the real-deal, guys, and I can’t wait to show you what we did!

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19Jun

Ouch! [Personal Musings]

I should probably tell why I’ve been absent and may continue to be for a little while.  It’s best explained in photos…

Brent got me the chef’s knife of my dreams for Christmas this year.  My friend Ben, the real life chef, sharpened said knife REALLY well the other day.  Sharp enough to cut off a finger.  Or at least the tip.  Thankfully I did it the night before we were supposed to leave for 2 weeks on a trip.  And I wasn’t done packing.  I knew Brent wanted to spend the night in the ER anyway.  It was the weekend of our 16th anniversary and perhaps I wanted to end it with a bang.

I’m on the mend, but I’m slow.  I’m not my usual very efficient self.  Doing life one-handed is hard.  Try putting deoderant on your right armpit with your right hand.  Or buttoning a shirt one-handed.  Or typing.  Pecking out this paragraph is taking me 30 minutes.

But, I’m putting a smile on my face and pressing on.  Things could be much worse.

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14Jun

Baby Ashton’s One Year Portraits [Irvine Baby Photographer]

I posted the other day about Ashton’s birthday party, but also wanted to share his one year portraits.  We met on a separate day to spend some time documenting the life of a busy one year old!  He’s such an expressive guy.  His little surprised look was my favorite. :)

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13Jun

Bacon and Brussel Sprout Salad [In the Kitchen]

One of my friends is a chef.  He was over cooking with me yesterday and we were talking about quality ingredients and how when they are prepared well, it’s all you need.  When your body feels tired and yucky after a processed meal, it’s an allergic reaction to all the chemicals and unknown ingredients you just ingested.

I’m always amazed at how simple recipes can be so delicious.  The flavors are bright and you don’t need much to feel satisfied.  Like how this brussel sprout salad can be dinner.  I have to admit, I am not a fan of brussel sprouts.  My previous experiences have been bland and mushy.  But, this recipe serves them up raw (what!?) with the right amount of salty tang.

I found the recipe on the website A Pinch of Yum: (serves 10)

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 orange
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled or chopped
  • 4 dozen brussel sprouts
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook and crumble the bacon.
  2. Squeeze the juice of the lemon and orange into a large bowl with the shallots. Pour the oil into the bowl in a steady stream, whisking to form an emulsion (it should appear more creamy and less transparent). Season generously with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Using a mandoline, shave the brussel sprouts (not including the stems) into thin slices to make a shredded/slaw texture. I rinsed and dried mine again after shaving them just to be sure they were totally clean.
  4. Place the almonds in a food processor and pulse until chopped coarsely. Add 3/4 of the almonds, cheese, and bacon to the shredded brussel sprouts; toss to combine. When ready to serve, toss with the dressing and sprinkle remaining almonds, cheese, and bacon over the top. If needed, add a few more tablespoons of olive oil and toss.
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12Jun

Mickey Mouse Disney Party [Huntington Beach Photographer]

A few weekends ago, I photographed Ashton’s first birthday party.  He loves Clubhouse Disney, so they went all out and created a party that would make Mickey himself jealous!  Every detail was to perfection and every vendor I worked with was at the top of their game.

There were hundreds of photos from the party, but I tried to narrow it down so I could share the highlights of the day!

Event Location:  The McCharles House in Tustin

Event Planner:  Kathy Jo Weddings

Catering:  Room Forty

Linens:  Wild Flower Linen

 

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