Why I Will (Probably) Never be a Food Blogger, and a Brownie Recipe

I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. On the one hand, lots of really great ideas to inspire my cooking, decorating, and shopping habits. Also an easy way to keep all of these great ideas organized and easily accessible.

On the other hand, the expectations that Pinterest sets are normally nearly unattainable. My good friend Stephanie sent me this Buzzfeed article the other day, which perfectly describes the sky-high standards that Pinterest is setting for anyone who wants to cook, clean, look, etc…better.

I especially related to the author’s point about lighting:

“23. I learned that a lot of Pinterest is just good lighting.”

Food photography (and photography in general, I suppose) is so dependant on lighting and photo quality…two details at which I am consistently failing when it comes to taking photos of my food.

I love to cook. But you’d barely realize it reading this blog (house building obsession aside) because I can very rarely get a good photo of the things I cook. The reasons are two-fold: one, because I can’t for the life of me find even one of the two batteries I have for my DSLR, which means I take a lot of iPhone photos; and two, because we are currently living in a tiny apartment with only two windows, which means lighting is ideal basically never.

Still! I persevere! And maybe once the house is done and I have a bright and beautiful kitchen, I can do better than this:IMG_5087

Even though the pictures suck, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been whipping up some pretty fantastic dishes behind the scenes that I’ve been wanting to share. Case in point: the collage above features, clockwise from top left, sticky garlic chicken and broccolimeatball sub sandwichcrispy black bean tacos, and this salad with this dressing. These recipes were all fantastic (especially the tacos), but the photos are just meh.

On to desserts!


Alton Brown’s overnight cinnamon rolls (a Thanksgiving tradition), toasted marshmallow strawberries, peanut butter bacon cookies (a deer camp tradition), and my version of “lunch lady” brownies — a until-now secret recipe I’m happy to be sharing below!

If anyone has any photography tips or tutorials, please share in the comments — I think I feel a New Year’s resolution brewing!

But for now — brownies.

Dark Chocolate “Lunch Lady” Brownies

(AKA the best brownie you will ever eat)

Adapted from Saltbox House
Makes a 9 x 13″ pan of brownies

For the brownies:
1 c (2 sticks) butter, melted
1/2 c Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
2 c all-purpose flour
2 c sugar
4 eggs
4 tsp vanilla
For the frosting:
1/4 c (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1/2 c condensed milk
1/4 c Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
3 c powdered sugar
pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease and flour a 9 x 13″ baking dish
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter and cocoa until smooth
  4. Add in the flour and sugar; beat until smooth
  5. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until just combined (note: this is a very thick mix, don’t expect it to be runny like boxed brownie mixes — and don’t overbeat trying to achieve a thinner batter!)
  6. Pour into baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the brownies comes out clean
  7. While the brownies are cooking, mix together the frosting ingredients; frost brownies while still warm (Note: if the frosting becomes too thick to spread, thin it with a bit of regular milk before frosting the brownies)

I promise the next time I make these I will take more pictures and document the actual process, but these were just too good not to share ASAP!



2 thoughts on “Why I Will (Probably) Never be a Food Blogger, and a Brownie Recipe

  1. The tricks used in food photography are endless and very much outside the norm for most home cooks. One trick I did pick up watching a photography seminar online, though, was that cameras store more information in the lighter areas than the dark, so if you’re dealing with a low-light situation, adjust the exposure to deliberately let in more light (some phone cameras have settings that allow for this) or put it in a very bright area of indoor lighting and then use editing software (Afterlight app is awesome) to bring the levels down into the right range.

    • Thank you so much for the tips! I really need to find the battery for my “nice” camera and work on exposure. Photography has been on my 30 by 30 list for a while — hopefully this is the year I check it off the list!

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