A couple of weeks ago one of my Instagram followers asked if I could do a behind-the-scenes post that shows my set up for food photography. A few of you have also made this request in the past, so today’s post is a first glimpse into it all. But first, I should preface it with a bit of background for those of you who are newer readers.
Back in my university days when Eat Spin Run Repeat was born, I lived in a 2-storey town house. There were 3 bedrooms in total, but for my final year there, it was just a friend and I. That meant oodles of space for both of us.
You know how “they” say that no matter how big your house is, you’ll find a way to fill it? That was certainly the case. I lived in that house for 5 years and certainly accumulated a bunch of non-essential stuff.
Ever since moving out of that home, I’ve been trying to live life with less clutter by downsizing – both in square footage of each new place and in personal belongings. As I’m sure many of you who are food bloggers would agree, having an entire room with storage cupboards for dishes of all colours, glasses in all shapes and sizes, trays, platters, seasonal decor, baskets, dish towels, and all sorts of other blog props would be paradise. But is it reality? No… well at least not for me!
When I moved from Waterloo to Vancouver, I was ruthless with blog props and narrowed down my essentials to one bin. Parting was sad, but the prospect of simplicity and living with less stuff was exciting to me. I now live in a far smaller place that costs me double in rent, buuuuuuuuut….. I get to look at the mountains and the beach every day. #tradeoffs.
I knew I’d need to be creative about storage space. Up until very recently, I’d been tossing everything into the top of my closet and a couple of small bins. It was working…. but it wasn’t ideal. And it was slowly driving me crazy.
Things were going missing. I was forgetting about items that I had because they weren’t all visible. Glasses had come dangerously close to falling and smashing to smithereens. This was definitely not aligned with my 2016 goal to make home feel like a sanctuary, and my original intention to lighten up and live with less clutter! When I came back from Christmas holidays, I was determined to end the madness ASAP.
So today you’re getting a bonus: a peek at my new, far more simple and orderly food photography setup, and a crazy delicious Cranberry Orange granola recipe.
I invested in a simple rolling cart from Canadian Tire with 3 fabric drawers. It cost me a whopping $30, but I also wanted a few accessories to go with it. I went to Michaels, a place where, much like Crate & Barrel and Staples, the potential for things to get out of control from a spending perspective his hiiiiiiiiiiiigh. But don’t worry, I was on my best behaviour.
After getting home and putting it all together, it looked like this:
I found 2 baskets to hook onto either side – one for my go-to food photography books, and another for my camera and all its accessories. On top I have a collection of coloured straws for smoothie shoots, as well as some notebooks and pens for recipe brainstorming.
I’ve been using this little cart solution for 3 weeks and it’s been awesome. I love having everything in one space and my closet is now used for what it should be used for: storing clothes!
I’ll go into more detail about my photography setup in a future post. It’s pretty minimal (just like the space I have to shoot in!) but for now, here’s a look from a few steps back:
(My apologies for the bad photo quality – this is an iPhone shot and as you’ll notice, my proper camera is on the tripod!) My usual surfaces are either my floor or the table you see here, which is what I used for the Cranberry Orange Granola recipe I’ve got for you today.
It’s been far too long since a batch of granola appeared on this blog and recently I dreamed up this brilliant recipe that absolutely needed to be tested. It’s gluten-free as long as you use certified gluten-free oats, and delivers a super nutrient-dense punch of healthy fats thanks to the sunflower seeds and chopped almonds. It’ll keep you full, that’s for sure – and trust me, after taste testing extensively, I can attest to this!
A note about sugar: Store-bought granola can be suuuuuuuper high in sugar, so that’s one thing I wanted to use less of in this creation. The sweetness in this recipe comes from orange juice, maple syrup and Truvia® Calorie-Free Sweetener, a stevia-based zero-calorie sweetener. A little goes a long way: 1 packet of Truvia Calorie-Free Sweetener = the same sweetness as 2tsp sugar, but with 0 calories. In the case of Truvia Calorie-Free Sweetener, it worked really well with the other natural sweeteners in this recipe.
Last but not least, I can also attest that this granola will make your house smell amazing – especially if it’s only 472 square feet like mine! Living with less stuff and living with less sugar are two things it seems many of us are striving to do this year, and when you can have both, plus a yummy-smelling home too… that’s pretty sweet!
Cranberry Orange Granola
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Ingredients (about 5 cups)
- 3 cups rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)
- 3/4 cup chopped almonds
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp orange zest
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 tbsp orange juice
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 7 packets Truvia Calorie-Free Sweetener
- 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
Preheat the oven to 300F.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients from oats to orange zest.
Heat the coconut oil a small saucepan over medium heat until just melted. Add all remaining ingredients to the saucepan and stir constantly for 1-2 minutes, or until the mixture is runny and smooth.
Pour the contents of the saucepan over the dry ingredients in the large bowl. Stir well to coat as evenly as possible
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and pour the oat mixture over top in a single layer. (You may need to do this in batches if your baking sheet is small or if you double the recipe.) Bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
Leave the pan out on the counter and allow the granola to cool completely. It will also get crunchy as it cools so don’t worry if it’s soft when you take it out of the oven.
Store in air-tight jars in a cool dark place, or in the fridge.
[Tweet “Lower sugar, gluten-free Cranberry Orange Granola Recipe”]
So tell me…
- Have you downsized in any way recently? Has it made your life feel more uncluttered or lighter in any way?
- Any questions about my blogging setup? As I said, I’ll write more about this soon but if you have any questions in advance, feel free to ask so I can answer them in that post!
Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by Truvia, but as always, the thoughts expressed are my own. Thank you for supporting Eat Spin Run Repeat and the companies that keep delicious recipes coming your way!