New Camera Fun!

I got my new camera (Canon Rebel XT) in the mail on Thursday, and since then I have been wearing it around like a necklace! I just can’t get over how amazingly clear and focused all the pictures are, and how much I have to learn!

I have been dreaming about buying a DSRL for quite some time now, I just did not want to drop the several hundred dollars necessary to purchase one. However, when my old camera suddenly died on me a couple of weeks ago, I just could not survive without a decent camera. At first I thought about getting buy for a few more pay checks with a cheapo point and shoot, but once I went to amazon and saw the DSRL’s I could buy for only one hundred more…yeah, it was over.

I bought my camera used from amazon, and have not regretted it thus far. Yes, the camera body is a little scratched (which was noted on the description), and it is not the newest model, nor does it have all the high tech features. But it is a huge upgrade from my canon powershot (a camera that I absolutely loved, and will probably buy again just to have the convenience of a point and shoot), and the price was reasonable for my budget.

While I love making healthy meals, and the community and friends I have gained from blogging, I think the biggest enjoyment I get from the whole process is the photography. I love taking pictures of food! I think it is so much fun to manipulate the food, lighting, and accessories to produce a picture that is good enough to eat.

Shooting in manual mode is a lesson in patience and trial and error right now. I definitely still have a looonng way to go in improving my pictures, but I can also tell such a big difference from where I began only a few months ago.

Here are some of my favorites from this weekend:

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Bitter Melon with Eggs

I think I have always loved bitter foods. I eat grapefruit and dark chocolate at least weekly (more so the dark chocolate than grapefruit), and I like the bite of bitterness.

Bitter melon is just that, very bitter. It is definitely an acquired taste, and is not something that everyone will enjoy. But if you are interested in trying new things, I would give bitter melon a chance! I bought four smallish melons at the farmer’s market for one dollar, so it’s not much of an investment if you don’t end up liking it. According to the vendor at the farmer’s market, the white variety is much less bitter than the green.  I also read that parboiling the vegetable before using in a recipe can cut down on the bitterness.

I used the Chinese variety in this recipe, because that is what I ate growing up. My grandma would most often saute the melon slices in eggs and soy sauce, like in this recipe. We would either eat it over rice, or just plain. I took some pictures of the final dish, but they really don’t look too appetizing. So instead of posting them, I am sharing photos of the cutting and pith removal process which will hopefully be helpful for people who are new to the vegetable.

Chinese Bitter Melon with Eggs

serves 4 (side dish)

2 medium bitter melon

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp and 1 tsp of soy sauce

4 eggs


Cut the melon in half lengthwise. Remove the pith and seeds. Slice the melon into crescents about 1/8 in thick.

Saute the melon on medium heat with the oil for 5 minutes.

Scramble the eggs with soy sauce. Pour the egg mixture into the pan. Stir and flip the mixture until the eggs are cooked (3-5 minutes). Serve over rice or on it’s own!

Farmer’s Market

Yesterday I checked out two farmer’s markets in Charlotte. A couple of my coworkers recommended Kings Street market and the Charlotte Regional Farmer’s market, so I made the trip to both. The Charlotte Regional market was huge, and had a much greater variety of North Carolina produce than the King’s Street Market.  However both had great selections, and I have really enjoyed the produce so far.

Before we get to the pictures, I will say that the markets were packed with people and it was difficult to take decent pictures. Every time I slowed down or knelt to get a shot, I blocked people trying to pass through. I also felt a little awkward photographing produce without buying anything, especially when the farmers stood three feet away watching my antics (tilting, turning baskets, trying not to get my shadow in the shot). As a last resort, I tried to take some covert walking-while-snapping pictures, but none of them looked all that interesting.

Oh the trials of being a blogger 😉 Despite all of the mishaps, I managed to select some shots that are reflective of the markets and their produce.

Between the two markets I ended up with five tomatoes, four cucumbers, a bunch of basil, a pint of cherries (which I inhaled in under two hours), a pint of peaches, two jalapenos, and several ounces of a locally made dill cheese.

Look forward to lots of exciting vegetable based recipes this next week!