Ashley Halas Photography: Blog en-us (C) Ashley Halas Photography (Ashley Halas Photography) Wed, 10 Apr 2024 02:14:00 GMT Wed, 10 Apr 2024 02:14:00 GMT Ashley Halas Photography: Blog 120 80 Orange Amaretto Cranberry Sauce Orange Amaretto Cranberry Sauce is a delicious twist on the classic cranberry sauce recipe. My husband actually requests cranberry sauce for the Thanksgiving table now! Plus this recipe is so simple and quick there’s no reason to serve the canned stuff again!


24oz Fresh Cranberries

1.5 cups Sugar

2/3 cup Orange Juice

3 TBS Amaretto Liqueur

2 TBS Orange Zest

1/4 cup Water


Rinse cranberries and add to a large saucepan. Add sugar, orange juice, orange zest and water.

Bring to low boil for 3-4 minutes. Lower heat to a simmer.

Add amaretto and continue to simmer for 20 minutes or until thickened.

Cranberry sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.






(Ashley Halas Photography) Cranberry Cranberry Sauce Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Holiday Baking Holiday Food Blog Holiday Recipes Homemade Homemade Cranberry Sauce New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Stylist Recipes Wed, 22 Nov 2023 14:23:15 GMT
Studio Maternity Session | Hamilton NJ Photographer Brianna and I had planned to shoot her maternity session outdoors in a field, but the day of her session it rained. So we decided to shoot in my studio instead, and wow was that a great backup idea! I have recently opened my studio to Maternity Sessions and I'm pretty certain they are my new favorite. The light is so inviting and peaceful, just perfect for a quiet and relaxed maternity session. Brianna and Raymond were as sweet as can be, basking in the excitement of the journey ahead! Momma-to-be wore a beautiful light blue dress from Sexy Mama Maternity . Below are my favorites from their session, enjoy!


AHP-24AHP-24 AHP-70AHP-70 AHP-77AHP-77 468x60468x60 AHP-23AHP-23 AHP-87AHP-87 AHP-32AHP-32 AHP-114AHP-114 AHP-107AHP-107 AHP-115AHP-115 468x60-FreeshippingReturns468x60-FreeshippingReturns

AHP-111AHP-111 AHP-67AHP-67 AHP-119AHP-119 AHP-46AHP-46 AHP-44AHP-44







(Ashley Halas Photography) Hamilton NJ Photographer Maternity Photographer New Jersey Photographer NJ Maternity Photographer NJ Photography Studio Princeton Maternity Photographer Princeton NJ Photographer Fri, 16 Jun 2023 17:53:19 GMT
Blackberry Lemon Cinnabuns | New Jersey Food Stylist & Photographer AHP-1-2AHP-1-2

Blackberry Lemon Cinnabuns | New Jersey Food Stylist & Photographer

Grove Collaborative


If you love cinnamon rolls but hate that it seems all the best tasting recipes take hours of prep and even require overnight proofing. Well, I think I have finally cracked the code to the best tasting, quick and easy cinnabuns. These gooey cinnabus are made even better with fresh fruit and bright flavors like lemon and cream cheese. These are easy to make and can be prepared and eaten in the same day or make ahead for the freezer.



Cinnabun Dough:
1 cup milk warm (105 degrees F)
½ cup + 1 TBS granulated sugar divided
1 TBS Active dry yeast
2 large eggs room temperature
6 TBS butter melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 to 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Blackberry Lemon Cinnamon Sugar Filling:
1 cup brown sugar packed
1 TBS ground cinnamon
6 TBS butter softened
juice of one lemon
1.5 cups fresh blackberries

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter softened
2 cups powdered sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
juice of one lemon or more


Make the Cinnabun Dough:
Warm milk in the microwave milk for 45-60 seconds. It should be warm but not hot to the touch (about 105 degrees F).
Place milk into the bowl of your standing mixer, then add 1 TBS sugar and 1 TBS yeast to the warm milk. Stir and let it sit (proof) for five minutes or until it becomes foamy.
Add the ½ cup sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla to the mixture in the bowl of your standing mixer. Use a dough hook to stir until combined
Add 4 cups flour, salt and cinnamon and stir the dough hook, starting on low and increasing to high.
Knead dough in the standing mixer until a large ball is formed. The dough should be smooth and only slightly tacky to the touch. If the dough seems too sticky and is not forming a ball, add more flour 1 TBS at a time until a smooth ball is formed.
Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead with your hands until it is smooth and elastic (about 3-5 minutes). Form it into a ball.
Grease a large bowl and place the dough inside.
Cover the bowl with a warm, damp towel and put the bowl in a warm place to rise.
Let the dough rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size.

Make the Blackberry Lemon Cinnamon Sugar Filling:
While the dough is rising, make the filing. In a sauce pan bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and blackberries until mixture bubbling and thickens. Mash berries slightly. Set aside.

Assemble Cinnabuns 
- Sprinkle a large work surface with flour.
- Gently press the gas out of the dough and form it into a rectangle.
- Roll the dough into a 24x12” rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick.
- Spread the blackberry filling all over the dough using offset spatula. This process can seem difficult but it gets easier as you spread it.
- Roll up dough cut into 8-12 equal sized rolls.
- Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease. Then place rolls evenly spaced.
- Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

Bake Cinnabuns
Once rolls are doubled in size, bake them in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes. They will rise more in the oven.

(NOTE: Check the center of the cinnabuns and make sure they are baked through. If your oven bakes cool or unevenly you may need to increase the baking time up to 10 minutes longer. If the top starts to brown before the center is baked, tent the baking pan with foil to prevent further browning).

Make the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
While buns are baking, beat together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract lemon juice and salt. Add lemon juice 1tsp at a time until reach desired consistency. Once the cinnabuns have been removed from the oven, spread the cream cheese frosting on them while they are still warm. Let cool and serve warm.





Overnight: After the cinnabuns have been assembled in a baking pan, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and cover with a tea towel or aluminum foil and place them in the refrigerator. In the morning, remove the baking dish from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature and finish rising (this takes about 30-40 minutes). Then bake according to recipe instructions.

To Freeze: Assemble the cinnabuns in the baking pan. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil or a lid. Freeze for up to 1 month. To bake, remove cinnabuns from the freezer the night before you'd like to bake them. Let them come to room temperature and rise overnight, then bake according to the recipe instructions. If filling "oozes out" If you find some of the cinnamon/sugar filling at the bottom of your baking pan when you pull them out of the oven, immediately place a lid or a baking sheet over the top of the cinnabuns and flip them upside down (invert them). This will cause the filling to reincorporate into the rolls!





(Ashley Halas Photography) Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade New Jersey Photographer Recipes Fri, 16 Jun 2023 17:37:33 GMT
Natural Light Photography Studio for Rent - Hamilton New Jersey PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO FOR RENT

Mercer County / Hamilton New Jersey Photographers



$50 / 1 hour
$200 / 4-6hrs
$350 / 6hrs+

Rental fee is not refundable or transferrable for any reason. This fee reserves the studio space for your use only. If you need to reschedule for any reason this fee may not be transferred to a new date.

Additional Props/Rentals available upon request includes:
Vinyl floor/back drop (white or brown), Vintage sofa (cream), Large & Small fabric teepee/tent, small wooden chairs, stools, crates. 

If you would like exclusive use of the space for more than one day with overnight storage please contact me for pricing and availability


Natural Light Photography Studio

HEPA Air Purifier 
9x15 or 135 sq foot space with lots of natural light

Located on a residential block, Hamilton New Jersey

This studio is attached to a private residence, absolutely no bathroom facilities provided

No lighting equipment provided or available for rent

You will have access to three electrical outlets, AC, adjustable baseboard heating and private entrance.

Email Ashley at [email protected] to set up a viewing
Reserve or request a date Reserve/Request a date



Sample images below

IMG_9145IMG_9145 IMG_9144IMG_9144 IMG_9150IMG_9150
310493516_10160204315724483_3013119545651688782_n310493516_10160204315724483_3013119545651688782_n AHP-1AHP-1 307528248_10160177276349483_5634869919771301958_n307528248_10160177276349483_5634869919771301958_n    IMG_9148IMG_9148



(Ashley Halas Photography) Hamilton NJ Mercer County NJ Natural Light Studio New Jersey Photographer New Jersey Studio Studio for Rent Fri, 16 Jun 2023 17:35:16 GMT
Hamilton NJ Cake Smash Photographer - Tips for a Cake Smash Photo Session AHP-68AHP-68 AHP-51AHP-51
How to Prepare for a First Birthday & Cake Smash Session

Plan your session early : If you have a specific photographer in mind its always a good idea to contact them at least 3 months prior to your child's birth date, sometimes sooner if your child's birthday is between September-December. You'll want to book your session early so that you get the date you want but also to give your photographer time to gather materials needed to create the set for your session. You also may want the images from the session ready for your child’s actual birthday or party to print out and display. In that case, I suggest scheduling your child's session at least 2-3 weeks before their birthdate or event.

Share your ideas : I encourage my clients to make their own cake smash session design and location choices. Now is the time to be opinionated, I love hearing your ideas! I also have lots of suggestions to help you choose exactly what you envision. Please provide sample images if you have specific ideas or colors in mind. I supply any color balloons or ribbon garland to go with any color scheme or theme

Be prepared to stay a while : First Birthday & Cake Smash Session with me will typically take about one hour, sometimes more sometimes less, it all depends on the pace your little one sets for us. I block out two hours for each session so we never need to feel rushed. 

Timing is everything : It's a good idea to schedule your session around your child's morning nap. The day is still fresh and sessions are designed to feel a lot like play time. Making sure your child has a proper meal just before your session will also help them to focus and have good energy. 

What to wear : When it comes to outfits it can be overwhelming with all the adorable choices out there. I always suggest choosing outfits based on what you feel is timeless. If you booked a full Cake Smash Session we have time for two clean outfits and one cake smash outfit. Typically parents choose one formal outfit, one casual and then something simple for the cake smash. Frosting will likely stain the clothing, please keep this in mind if you are planning to use an outfit again. Rompers and tutus are cute for girls. Onesies, diaper cover or jeans with suspenders is a popular choice for boys

Bring snacks mom! ..and something to drink. We take lots of breaks to help keep your little one from becoming overstimulated or bored. Sips of water during the cake smashing helps to clear your littles ones mouth and avoid gagging. Tiny bite-size snacks such as puffs, gold fish or cheerios are great for encouragement too. 

Be prepared for a mess : One thing parents don’t often realize is that you too will likely become covered in cake and frosting during the session, your little one will be running/crawling straight towards you with frosting covered hands. Lots of extra wipes or a wet wash cloth and a change of clothes to go home in is a good idea along with a plastic bag to put the dirty smash clothes into.

AHP-46AHP-46 AHP-73AHP-73 AHP-10AHP-10 AHP-18AHP-18 AHP-30AHP-30 AHP-74AHP-74 AHP-70AHP-70 AHP-49AHP-49 AHP-79AHP-79


(Ashley Halas Photography) Affordable Cake Smash Cake Smash Photography First Birthday Cake Smash Advice New Jersey Cake Smash Photographer New Jersey Photographer NJ Photographer Fri, 16 Jun 2023 17:30:37 GMT
Save on Wedding Invitations and Holiday Greeting Cards with Basic Invite I'm so excited to announce that I have partnered with Basic Invite to bring you gorgeous wedding invitations, save the dates, baby announcement, birthday party invites, holiday greeting cards and plenty more great stationary options.
First let's talk exclusive discounts and deals through Ashley Halas Photography, because let's be honest who doesn't love saving money. Not only can you use my code below any time to receive free shipping and 20% off any purchase, anytime. I also pass along to my clients 40% off through the holiday season! How sweet is that? 



Ok let's talk about the all the features, designs and customization options they offer..

Not only does Basic Invite supply a wide array of designs from casual to elegant, I love that they also have FREE mobile friendly Wedding and Birthday Party Websites to match your invitations! Everyone knows wedding websites are a valuable tool in the wedding planning process, with features such as address collection, digital rsvp's, maps, registry linking, and more. But did you ever consider how cool this option would be for a sweet 16? Your teen can share the details of their birthday party with their friends on their phones and upload photos for easy sharing both before and after the event. Plus, how hard is it to get a bunch of teenagers to rsvp to an event these days? With Basic Invites Birthday Party Websites collecting rsvp's and putting together that final head count is easier than ever. I think it's so cool they have over 40 Birthday Party Websites that cater to all ages and almost 400 of the Best Free Wedding Website options. All event websites are completely free and I found myself falling in love with the fact that they offer these free event websites with no restrictions whatsoever, unlike many other free event (wedding) websites, there's no paid features here. You get full access with no limitations right from the start with no ads cluttering up your site or making it look cheap. Plus every single event website has a matching invitation suite creating a seamless look both online and in person. When they say "truly customizable" they mean it! I think what really sets this online invitation site apart is that you can alter the color of every aspect of your designs and choose from over 180 color options with multiple shades and dozens of different font styles. You can truly customize your website and invitations to suit exactly what you envision. 


On a tight budget? Most couples are as these days. How about all the paper waste that can happen with weddings? Well I have found that Basic Invite has a great solution to solve both problems while keeping class and style in mind with their Seal & Send Wedding Invitations. Simply choose from over 60 of their best-selling designs. What's extra special about these Seal & Sends is that your guest's addresses are printed on the front of each invitation which means no envelope necessary! All you have to do is share a link to collect guest addresses, and upload them onto your design, instantly. Once you receive your order all you have to do is add postage, fold up your invites, and secure them with a sticker! Simple, easy, and super trendy. Your guests receive both the invitation itself and a tear-away RSVP section at the bottom (that print with your return address included). What I like most is that these invitations are FSC certified and made with 50% recycled content. No envelopes means less waste and more time and money in your hands.


AHP1-14AHP1-14 AHP1-15AHP1-15


I love that the customization is truly endless with Basic Invite. Not only do they offer over 900 Wedding Invitation Sets but the color choices are practically unlimited, allowing you instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card with over 180 different color options. So, you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it - down to the littlest detail. If you're anything like me you want to make sure the choices you made online look as good as you think they will in-person. So you may want to considering taking advantage of their printed samples, you can order a printed sample of the actual invitation you designed so you can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before you ever have to place your final order. As a photographer I'm a huge fan of color envelopes when putting together a flat lay, and with over 40 envelope color choices you can really create a dynamic look to your invitation suite, cherry on top? All their envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed.

AHP1-2AHP1-2 AHP1-10AHP1-10 AHP1-7AHP1-7 AHP1-8AHP1-8 AHP1-16AHP1-16 AHP1-11AHP1-11

Want to hear about another cool option available through Basic Invite? Clear or frosted invitations! That's right they're clear vinyl (plastic) or frosted printed invitations for a seriously unique twist on your wedding or shower invitations. "Paper" is treated with a scratch resistant coating and can be paired with over 40 different envelope colors. Talk about leading the way on a new trend!


AHP-1-2AHP-1-2 AHP-1-3AHP-1-3 AHP-3-2AHP-3-2 AHP-2-2AHP-2-2


With wedding season right around the corner, bridal shower and bachelorette season is upon us. I'm currently looking forward to my best friend's wedding this October and as a bridesmaid it has been super fun helping to put together her shower! Scrolling through Basic Invites Bridal Shower Invitation designs I noticed so many fun ideas I wanted to be sure to mention. You'll see in an coming up blog post highlighting her event which design we ultimately chose to fit her bridal shower theme, but I can't share that just yet as obviously it's a surprise. However I came across some fun designs you may want to check out for this fall are listed and linked below.















**This is a sponsored post**

I received the stationary featured in this post complimentary and was provided compensation for this post. I only partner, recomemend and promote products and companies I 100% like and enjoy using. I do earn a commision if you make a purchasing using my code at no cost to you. The opinions stated in this post are all my own. Thank you in advance for your support.




(Ashley Halas Photography) Basic Invite Birthday Invitations Cake Smash Photography Custom wedding invitation Engagement Sessions Family Holiday Cards first birthday photographer hamilton new jersey photographer Hamilton NJ Photographer Hunterdon County Engagement Photographer Hunterdon County Wedding Photographer New Jersey Cake Smash Photographer New Jersey Child Photographer New Jersey Fall Mini Sessions New Jersey Family Photographer New Jersey Holiday Mini Sessions New Jersey Photographer New Jersey Wedding NJ Engagement Photographer NJ Photographer NJ Wedding sponsored post Wedding invitations Fri, 16 Jun 2023 17:27:51 GMT
Alye + Alex | Princeton NJ Photographer | Ashley Halas Photography AHP-44AHP-44

Friday July 17th 2020 Veterans Park Hamilton New Jersey


Alye and Alex were the absolute sweetest to work with! Both let me know right from the start they had not had the best photography experience in the past and felt quite uncomfortable in front of the camera. Well needless to say, once we got started they started laughing and having a great time.  These two just fit together so perfectly, it was a total joy to capture a piece of their love story. 

Below are a few of my favorites from their session


AHP-2AHP-2 AHP-3AHP-3 AHP-5AHP-5 AHP-8AHP-8 AHP-10AHP-10 AHP-11AHP-11 AHP-16AHP-16 AHP-32AHP-32 AHP-39AHP-39 AHP-26AHP-26 AHP-48AHP-48 AHP-45AHP-45 AHP-52AHP-52 AHP-50AHP-50 AHP-51AHP-51 AHP-54AHP-54 AHP-53AHP-53 AHP-46AHP-46 AHP-70AHP-70

(Ashley Halas Photography) New Jersey Photographer Tue, 04 Aug 2020 13:20:39 GMT
Epic Surprise Proposal Foti & Danielle | Montauk Point Lighthouse NY | Ashley Halas Photography  


Saturday August 1st, at the Montauk Point Lighthouse also known as "the end of the world"


When Foti contacted me to capture his proposal to his girlfriend Danielle I was thrilled! I've captured proposals before and know that they are just bursting with emotion, I love to document this special moment. I jumped at the opportunity and quickly learned the details of Fotis creative plan. 

He arranged a weekend getaway that included a trip to the the lighthouse, letting me know this was the perfect place to for them to recreate the popular on Instagram "follow me" shot before they would head out to dinner. Simple, sweet and so romantic.

My husband and I worked this one together, arriving 2 hours early to scout the location and get myself set up. After much anticipation I watched through the lens as they walked along the beach, my heart jumped with excitement the moment I saw him drop to one knee. These are the moments I live to capture for my clients! Her reaction was beautiful, and of course she said "yes!". As the couple shared a hug I moved in closer to catch those priceless reactions before my cover was blown. 

Below are some of my favorite images from this epic proposal. 

AHP-3AHP-3 AHP-5AHP-5 AHP-4AHP-4 AHP-1AHP-1 AHP-6AHP-6 AHP-8AHP-8 AHP-9AHP-9 AHP-11AHP-11 AHP-27AHP-27 AHP-12AHP-12 AHP-13AHP-13 AHP-15AHP-15 AHP-16AHP-16 AHP-19AHP-19 AHP-20AHP-20 AHP-25AHP-25 AHP-28AHP-28 AHP-9AHP-9 AHP-1-2AHP-1-2 AHP-7AHP-7 AHP-13AHP-13 AHP-2AHP-2 AHP-3AHP-3 AHP-16AHP-16 AHP-10AHP-10 AHP-6AHP-6 AHP-18AHP-18 AHP-14AHP-14 AHP-24AHP-24 AHP-28AHP-28 AHP-15AHP-15 AHP-26AHP-26 AHP-34AHP-34 AHP-25AHP-25 AHP-35AHP-35 AHP-31AHP-31 AHP-36AHP-36 AHP-37AHP-37


(Ashley Halas Photography) New jersey engagement photographer New Jersey Photographer NJ engagement NJ portrait photographer Proposal surprise proposal Mon, 03 Aug 2020 02:36:03 GMT
Lemon Thyme Poppy Seed Cake with Blackberry Filling & Icing AHP-9AHP-9 AHP-13AHP-13 AHP-16AHP-16


Over the last several years my husbands birthday cakes have gained a reputation for being epic. This year I set out to make a simple cake and actually follow a recipe from one of my favorite magazines/blogs, Bake from Scratch. My husband selected the Lemon Thyme Poppy Seed Cake and I decided to pair it with his current blackberry craving. Like always the whole thing turned out much better than expected. The cake was so so ridiculously moist, and bursting with bright refreshing lemon flavor. The basic buttercream frosting was whipped until super fluffy and spread thin to keep the over texture of the cake light and airy. Blackberry/lemon icing completes this masterpiece with a sweet tart finish.

Recipes below

AHP-12AHP-12 AHP-10AHP-10


2 cups butter, softened
1¾ cups sugar
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
4 large eggs
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup whole buttermilk
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Garnish: chopped fresh thyme, lemon slices, blackberries


Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 2 (8x5-inch) loaf pans or 2 4 inch cake pans with baking spray with flour.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with a mixer at medium speed until creamy, about 6 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. 

Add poppy seeds and thyme, beating until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt twice. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Divide batter between prepared pans.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cover loosely with foil, and bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 45 minutes more. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. 


Blackberry Filling

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup blackberries
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt

Bring water, sugar, salt and blackberries to a boil 5 minutes. Mix corn starch and water together to create a slurry. Add corn starch slurry to blackberry mixture. Cook another 3-5 minutes to thicken. Allow to cool completely before use.


Basic Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 -2 cups powdered or confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-5 tablespoons water
pinch of salt

Whip all ingredients medium high speed for 3 minutes.


Blackberry Icing

4-6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon blackberry filling (forced through a strainer) 
pinch of salt

Mix ingredients together, add more lemon juice or powdered sugar to desired consistency 




unnamed (2)unnamed (2)






Some links in this post are affiliate links which means I earn a commission if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you.  I only recommend brands and products that I 100% like and enjoy using.  Thank you in advance for your support!


(Ashley Halas Photography) Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Hamilton NJ Photographer Homemade New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Photographer New Jersey Food Stylist New Jersey Photographer NJ Photographer Recipes Wed, 29 Apr 2020 15:53:50 GMT
Moms Killer Brownies Moms Killer Brownies

If you’ve ever had my mother’s brownies you know they are just to die for! This is her recipe (minus her secret ingredient) She made me promise I would never share it before she’d give me her recipe - so sorry to everyone who thought I was going to reveal it. These brownies are just as delicious without it but if you’ve ever had her brownies you’ll know they just don’t have that extra special something hers (and now mine) will always have.


8oz squares unsweetened chocolate
1 1/3 cups butter
2 2/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups sugar
8 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips or chopped nuts

Melt chocolate and butter, let cool. 
Mix flour with baking powder and salt in separate bowl.
In stand mixer beat eggs well, gradually beat in sugar. Add vanilla  
Mix in flour mixture. Add chocolate chips or nuts
Pour into a greased 10x10 pan.
Bake at 350 for at least 30-40mins. Toothpick should still be a wet (but not too wet) when testing the center – off center should come out clean. You want the finished brownies to be gooey in the center. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.




AHP-7AHP-7 AHP-10AHP-10 728x90_01728x90_01

(Ashley Halas Photography) Brownies Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Photographer New Jersey Food Stylist Recipes The best brownies Sun, 26 Apr 2020 01:17:00 GMT
Homemade Mac & Cheese Homemade Mac & Cheese

Every home needs a go-to Mac & Cheese recipe, this one is ours. So ditch the boxed stuff and give this easy recipe a try.


Royal Norfolk Turquoise Swirl Stoneware Plates courtesy of Dollar Tree found HERE




1 lb pasta like elbow or shell macaroni
6-8 tablespoons unsalted butter
6-8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5-7 cups whole milk plus a splash of heavy cream
1 lb white cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 lb Havarti cheese, shedded
1/4 lb Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup breadcrumbs


Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the pasta then follow package directions, but cook 1 minute less than the package calls for. Drain.

Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a large high-sided pot over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and whisk the butter and flour together until it smell toasted and looks light brown; 2 to 3 minutes.

While whisking, pour in the milk and heavy cream. Continue to cook, constantly whisking until the sauce begins to simmer and thickens.

Turn the heat to low then stir in the Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, cheddar, havarti and gruyere cheeses. When the sauce is smooth and velvety, stir in the cooked pasta. If the sauce looks too wet, don’t worry, the pasta absorbs some the extra moisture as it cooks

After adding the pasta to the cheese sauce, butter a large baking dish and pour in pasta, top with breadcrumbs (optional). Bake, uncovered, in a 375-degree oven until bubbling and browned on top; 25 to 30 minutes.


Step-by-step video below




AHP1-1AHP1-1 AHP1-5AHP1-5
AHP1-3AHP1-3 AHP1-4AHP1-4 10000000_663202607528814_2408706024253947904_n



Some links in this post are affiliate links which means I earn a commission if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you.  I only recommend brands and products that I 100% like and enjoy using.  Thank you in advance for your support!





(Ashley Halas Photography) Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Holiday Food Blog Homemade homemade macaroni and cheese macaroni and cheese macaroni and cheese recipe New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Photographer New Jersey Food Stylist New Jersey Photographer NJ Photographer Recipes Sun, 26 Apr 2020 01:15:00 GMT
Carrot Cake Minis AHP-1AHP-1

Carrot Cake Minis
What could be more appropriate on Easter than carrot cake! I know not everyone is a fan of carrot cake but trust me, give this one a try. I wanted to make a simple cake without any crazy ingredients like coconut, pineapple or walnuts simply because I don't like those things. I don't even like the carrots in carrot cake. So for this recipe I used a fine hand grater but I'm sure popping carrots into a food processor would work too. 1/2 a cup took about 2-3 large carrots. They were barely detectable almost caramelized specks in the cake with bursts of perfect sweetness. 

Makes about 18 mini cakes depending on how you slice.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely grated carrots
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

16 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream together oil, sugar and eggs. You can do this by hand or with an electric mixer.
Add vanilla extract, applesauce, and crated carrots, and mix well.
In a separate bowl, mix flour baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until incorporated.
Pour the batter into a parchment paper lined (or greased) 9 by 9 inch baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool completely, and then frost and cut into bars.

With an electric mixer, whisk softened cream cheese, vanilla extract, and salt until smooth and creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar as you mix.
Reserve 1/2 cup of frosting for the carrot decoration. Spread the remaining frosting over the cooled cake.
Divide the reserved frosting into two bowls and mix one drop of green food coloring with one and orange with the other. Spoon the frosting into two small plastic bags, cut off a small piece of the corner. Start by making the stems with the green frosting, and then add the carrot.


AHP-2AHP-2 AHP-5AHP-5 AHP-3AHP-3 AHP-4AHP-4 unnamed (2)unnamed (2)


(Ashley Halas Photography) Best ever carrot cake carrot cake Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Photographer New Jersey Food Stylist New Jersey Photographer Recipes Mon, 20 Apr 2020 14:48:36 GMT
Apple Butter Cinnamon Swirl Bread AHP-6AHP-6

This recipe is not my own. I found this recipe searching Pinterest. It's perfect and simple and wouldn't change a thing. Except of course I added a cream cheese icing. My husband and I made this together with our 15 month old son over the weekend and we all devoured it within hours. We had a huge jar of apple butter from Terhune Orchards sitting in the fridge mocking me for weeks. So this week when we ran out of quarantine snacks and sweets I decided to use what we had and give this recipe from A Baking Moment a try, link below.

  IMG_4652 IMG_4633

Apple Butter Cinnamon Swirl Bread
prep time: 40 MINS | cook time: 45 MINS | resting time: 1 HR 35 MINS | total time: 3 HRS
Apple butter cinnamon swirl bread: a soft, moist yeast loaf with ribbons of apple butter and cinnamon sugar in every bite!

1 1/2 cups water, warm
1/4 ounce active dry yeast (1 packet or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 3/4-4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup apple butter

Place the warm water in a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top.  

Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to proof.

Add the brown sugar and butter.  

Blend in 2 cups of the flour and the salt until moistened. 

Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.

Stir in an additional 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 cups flour, until dough pulls away cleanly from the sides of the bowl.  

Knead on floured surface, adding 1/2 to 3/4 cup additional flour, until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. 

Place dough in large greased bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.

Lightly mist a 9×5-inch loaf pan with non-stick spray.  
Stir the granulated sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. 

Punch down the dough and roll it into a rectangle, about 9 inches on the short side and 1/4 inch thick. 

Spread with a thin layer of apple butter, and top with the cinnamon sugar. 

Starting at the short side, roll into a tight log (like a cinnamon roll). 

Using a sharp knife, cut the log in half lengthwise, leaving the two halves attached at one end. 

Twist the two long pieces together and place in the prepared pan. 

Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  

Uncover dough and bake 40 to 45 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when lightly tapped. 

Cool completely before slicing.



AHP-1AHP-1 AHP-4AHP-4 Play_Gym_468x60Play_Gym_468x60 AHP-3AHP-3 AHP-10AHP-10 AHP-11AHP-11 Play_Gym_392x72_00Play_Gym_392x72_00









Some links in this post are affiliate links which means I earn a commission if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you.  I only recommend brands and products that I 100% like and enjoy using.  Thank you in advance for your support!




(Ashley Halas Photography) apple butter cinnamon bread Cinnamon swirl bread Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Photographer New Jersey Food Stylist New Jersey Photographer NJ Photographer Recipes Sweet bread Tue, 31 Mar 2020 14:07:42 GMT
Oatmeal Banana Muffins Oatmeal Banana Muffins

These muffins are so quick to throw together and the perfect blend of healthy and sweet. You'll love making these for a weekday breakfast, so everyone in your family can just grab them and go.   


10 tbsp. melted butter
⅔ cups brown sugar
1¼ cups mashed overly ripe banana (3)
½ cups buttermilk 
2 cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cinnamon 
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a stand mixer, beat together melted butter and sugar. Add the buttermilk and mashed bananas, mix on low for 30 seconds. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix until just combined.
*Optional: Process the oats in the food processor, it makes for a smoother texture in the muffins
In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Whisk together then with mixing speed on low, gradually add dry ingredients. Mix in chocolate chips. Do not overmix.
Fill each muffin pan well ¾ of the way full. Place in the oven and bake for 18-22 minutes. The tops should be lightly golden brown and they should be nice and firm. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pans for 2-3 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.



AHP-90AHP-90 AHP-92AHP-92 AHP-94AHP-94 AHP-95AHP-95 AHP-96AHP-96 AHP-98AHP-98 AHP-88AHP-88 AHP-100AHP-100 AHP-104AHP-104


Some links in this post are affiliate links which means I earn a commission if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you.  I only recommend brands and products that I 100% like and enjoy using.  Thank you in advance for your support!


(Ashley Halas Photography) Banana Oatmeal Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Healthy Recipes Homemade Homemade Muffins Muffin Recipe New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Stylist New Jersey Photographer Recipes Fri, 13 Mar 2020 02:30:00 GMT
Simple Perfect Chili Simple Perfect Chili

This chili recipe is direct from my mother. It's simple, easy and oh so flavorful. Perfect for warming the whole family up on those first cold Autumn days. Keeping those savory chili flavors everyone loves without the spicy kick. 


AHP3-4AHP3-4 AHP3-6AHP3-6 AHP3-14AHP3-14 AHP3-11AHP3-11 AHP3-13AHP3-13




3-4 pounds ground beef
1 (15 oz) can dark kidney beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained
2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (12 oz) beer, preferably lager
1 large onion chopped
1 green bell pepper seeded and chopped
2 TBS ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper 
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Cook ground beef until evenly browned. Add in the chopped onion and green pepper until onions are translucent. 
To the stock pot, add in the drained beans, crushed tomatoes, beer. Season with the cumin, chili powder, turmeric, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Stir to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
After 2 hours, taste, and adjust salt, pepper, and ground cumin if necessary. The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste.
Remove from heat and serve, or refrigerate, and serve the next day. Serve with cheese, green onions, sour cream, or whatever chili toppings you prefer!



(Ashley Halas Photography) Chili Recipe Easy Chili Fall Cooking Fall Recipes Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade Homemade Chili New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Stylist Recipes Simple Chili Recipe Winter Cooking Wed, 16 Oct 2019 22:48:00 GMT
Snickerdoodle Blondies Snickerdoodle Blondies



Perfect for your next fall gathering or a quick sweet fix! These snickerdoodle blondies are a delicious easy dessert that can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes with just a few ingredients. So grab yourself a cozy sweater, your favorite hot beverage and a couple of these and you're in Autumn heaven!


  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 cups packed brown sugar

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature

  • 2 eggs, at room temperature

  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla

  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.


3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat until well blended.

4. Fold in your chosen mix-ins (this time I went with white chocolate chips & pumpkin spice chips)


5. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.

6. In a small bowl, combine the white sugar and cinnamon.

7. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the batter in the baking pan.

8. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until the surface springs back when gently pressed. Remove from oven and let cool slightly on a wire rack. While still warm, cut into squares with a sharp knife...and enjoy!



*Optional: Simple Icing 

1. Water & powdered sugar - mix to desired consistency



(Ashley Halas Photography) Recipes Wed, 16 Oct 2019 22:47:00 GMT
Orange Coriander Mini Cakes  



Orange Coriander Mini Cakes  

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups Blue Moon beer
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • Zest of one orange 
  • 2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 tsp ground coriander 
  • 2 tsp baking soda

1) Preheat  oven to 350  degrees.

2) Melt butter and set aside to cool down. 

3) Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, beer, vanilla, and orange zest in one bowl, and mix together the sugar, flour, coriander, and baking soda in another. 

4)  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two parts, using a mixer to combine. Add the melted butter and combine.

5) Pour batter into cupcake cups and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool.

*Tip*  To make mini cupcakes with frosting contained inside the lip of the cupcake liners; only fill cupcake liners with 2 tablespoon of batter if you are using regular size cupcake liners.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting (makes extra frosting)

  • 2 package (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 5-8 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 6 Tbsp Blue Moon beer

1) Blend the cream cheese, butter, orange juice, orange zest, and Blue Moon in a large bowl, using an electric mixer set at medium speed, until smooth.

2) Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and creamy -- about 3 more minutes.

3) Chill & Enjoy! 

(Ashley Halas Photography) Recipes Wed, 16 Oct 2019 22:46:00 GMT
Homemade Cold Apple Cider Homemade Cold Apple Cider AHP-1AHP-1

10 Medium/Large Apples 
(6-8 sweet variety such as gala, honeycrisp, fuji, ect., & 2 such as Granny Smith)
3 Oranges
6-8 Tablespoons White Sugar
1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Ground Allspice 

Quarter apples, peel oranges, place all ingredients in large stock pot and cover with water by at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Boil, uncovered for 1 hour. After 1 hour mash everything. Cover pot, reduce heat and let simmer for 2 hours. 

Strain apple mixture through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Discard leftover solids. Refrigerate until cold. Serve and enjoy!


Skull Ice Mold can be found at William Sonoma! Link Below 

For crystal clear ice fill mold with distilled/boiled water

(Ashley Halas Photography) Apple Cider Apple Picking Cold Apple Cider Fall Baking Fall Recipes Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade Homemade Apple Cider Recipes Wed, 16 Oct 2019 22:45:00 GMT
Apple Butter Spice Loafs with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Icing Apple Butter Spice Loafs with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Icing

Homemade Apple Butter Homemade Applesauce 

What do you do with a bushels of apples? Make homemade Apple Butter and Applesauce for fall baking of course! 




Apple Butter Spice Loafs with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Icing


3 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup oil
1 1/2 cups applesauce
1/2 cup apple butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice


Use butter and flour to grease 6 mini loaf pans or two large loaf pans. Line the bottoms with parchment. Set aside.
Beat together eggs, sugar, and oil in a large mixing bowl. Mix in applesauce, apple butter and buttermilk. Combine dry ingredients and stir in.
Pour into your prepared loaf pans.
Bake at 325° for 30-40 minutes for mini loaves, 60-70 minutes for regular loaves.

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
dash of salt
3 cups powdered sugar (more or less)

Homemade Apple Butter


6 medium apples, cored and roughly chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1.5 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 cup pure maple syrup


Stir all ingredients together in a medium-sized pot. Cover and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or so until apples have reduced.
Remove pot from stove and let cool, uncovered, for 15 minutes or so. Puree apple mixture with a food processor until it’s smooth and buttery.
If you want to thicken your apple butter even more after you’ve pureed it, just return it to the stove over low heat and let it cook down until it’s reached your desired level of thickness. I cooked the apple butter for an additional 90 minutes – it all depends on the apples you started with! Just keep an eye on it and tailor the process to suit your tastes.

Homemade Applesauce 

6 pounds Apples, peeled, cored, and cut chunks
1 cup Apple Juice or Water
Juice of 1 Lemon
1/2 cup Brown Sugar, Packed
1 teaspoon Cinnamon


Combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 30-40 minutes. Carefully puree in a food processor or blender (don't fill too full; split into two portions if needed) until smooth.


(Ashley Halas Photography) Apple Butter Apple Spice Cake Applesauce Fall Baking Fall Recipes Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Holiday Food Blog Homemade Homemade Apple Butter Homemade Applesauce New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Stylist Recipes Spice Cake Wed, 16 Oct 2019 22:44:00 GMT
Potato Leek Soup & Homemade White Bread Potato Leek Soup & Homemade White Bread



Potato Leek Soup


8lbs potatoes 

½ stick butter 

4 large leeks

3 large carrots

4 sticks celery

8-10 cloves garlic

5 sprigs fresh rosemary

5 sprigs fresh thyme

10 fresh sage leaves

48oz veg or chicken broth

2 cups white wine

1 pint heavy cream

salt / pepper



To clean leeks:

  • • Trim and discard root and dark green parts, reserving white and light green parts. Split lengthwise and wash well to remove sand and grit. Chop into cubes

To make the soup:

  • • Rough chop veggies and herbs. 
  • • In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, melt butter. Add leeks, carrots, and celery, soften without browning over medium heat, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and herbs until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  • • Pour in 2 cups white wine, let alcohol cook off about 3 minutes
  • • Add broth, potatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper, bring to a simmer. Simmer until leeks and potatoes are tender, about 30-60 minutes.
  • • Using an immersion or regular blender, puree soup until smooth. Return to pot and stir in cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot garnished with sour cream.

glassware-728x90glassware-728x90 AHP-7AHP-7 AHP-3AHP-3





2 cups Warm Water

1/4 cup Sugar

1-1/2 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast

1-1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 cup Oil

6 cups Artisan Bread Flour


  • In a large bowl, combine sugar, water, and yeast. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Add salt and oil to mixture and stir to combine. Add flour one cup at a time. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.
  • Place dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, oil two 9x5-inch loaf pans.Punch down dough. Knead for three minutes. Divide in half and shape into two loaves, Place loaves into oiled 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
  • While bread rises, preheat oven to 350°F. Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes or until loaves are golden brown. Remove from pans and let cool completely on wire rack.




Some links in this post are affiliate links which means I earn a commission if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you.  I only recommend brands and products that I 100% like and enjoy using.  Thank you in advance for your support!


(Ashley Halas Photography) fall soup recipe Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist heart winter soup Homemade homemade white bread New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Photographer New Jersey Food Stylist New Jersey Photographer NJ Photographer potato leek soup Recipes Thu, 03 Oct 2019 19:57:07 GMT
Decadent Hot Chocolate Hot Chocolate

This recipe makes about two servings


2 cups Whole Milk
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/3 heaping cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/3 heaping cup Milk Chocolate Chips
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Sugar
Pinch of salt


1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pot (I suggest using a larger pot than necessary)
2. Cook on medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat immediately so mixture does not boil over.
3. Maintain low boil for about 3-5 minutes, this will thicken the mixture. 
4. Serve hot with a cinnamon stick


AHP-1-2AHP-1-2 AHP-4-2AHP-4-2 AHP-3-2AHP-3-2




Some links in this post are affiliate links which means I earn a commission if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you.  I only recommend brands and products that I 100% like and enjoy using.  Thank you in advance for your support!



(Ashley Halas Photography) Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Holiday Baking Holiday Food Blog Holiday Recipes Homemade Homemade Hot Chocolate Hot Chocolate New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Stylist Recipes Fri, 13 Sep 2019 18:11:00 GMT
Cherry Tomato & Summer Squash Champagne Cream Sauce Pasta Cherry Tomato & Summer Squash Champagne Cream Sauce Pasta

I can't take full credit for this creation as my husband basically suggested the entire idea. I was stuck trying to come up with a new pasta that wasn't a repeat of pastas I've made many times before. So as we talked about what I could create my husband suggested I use up all the vegetables I picked last week at a pick-your-own farm I visited with my aunt in Columbus NJ. I picked so many cherry tomatoes, mainly because it was the easiest to pick while babywearing, they looked absolutely delicious and I knew I could do so much with them. I also picked three huge beautiful summer squash that baby boy has been enjoying all week as baby food. Funny enough I also picked an onion. My husband encouraged me to create something that would finish off these veggies. We are out of our huge jug of white wine so after a little scavenging around the kitchen this dish was formed. 

AHP-8AHP-8 unnamed (2)unnamed (2)


1lb pasta
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
¼ onion, minced
1 tablespoon parsley, dried
1 tablespoons basil, dried
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2-3 cups cherry tomatoes, whole or halved
2-3 cups spinach, chopped
1 whole summer squash, sliced
½ cup Champagne or Prosecco 
14oz can chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cups Asiago cheese, grated

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente, per the package instructions. Drain.

Saute butter, garlic, onions, dried parsley and basil. Add champagne, and cherry tomatoes simmer over medium heat and allow to reduce by half. 

Throw in spinach and summer squash cover and let simmer medium-low for 2 minutes or just till spinach begins to wilt. 

Add chicken broth and heavy cream and simmer 5 minutes.

Add Asiago and stir until melted. Salt & pepper to taste.

Transfer the pasta into the skillet, stir to mix well with the sauce. Serve and enjoy


AHP-3AHP-3 AHP-2AHP-2 AHP-4AHP-4 AHP-7AHP-7 download (1)download (1)








Some links in this post are affiliate links which means I earn a commission if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you.  I only recommend brands and products that I 100% like and enjoy using.  Thank you in advance for your support!


(Ashley Halas Photography) Cherry Tomato & Summer Squash Champagne Cream Sauce Pasta Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Photographer New Jersey Food Stylist New Jersey Photographer NJ Photographer pasta recipe Recipes Fri, 09 Aug 2019 16:00:00 GMT
Chocolate Hazelnut Butter aka Homemade Nutella  



Chocolate Hazelnut Butter aka Homemade Nutella


1 cup hazelnuts

12 ounces milk chocolate chips ( melted )

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon salt



Preheat the oven at 350 - lay hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and toast them for about 15 minutes. Place the nuts in a towel and rub them together till the skins are removed. Let the nuts cool.

In a food processor - process the hazelnuts till a paste forms. Add all the vegetable oil, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and salt - process till very smooth. Add melted chocolate and blend. 

The mixture will be a little hot and runny but it will firm up once you let it cool down. 

This recipe makes about 2 cups and can last at least a week 



AHP-2AHP-2 AHP-4AHP-4 AHP-3AHP-3 vases-728x90vases-728x90

(Ashley Halas Photography) Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade homemade nut butter New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Photographer New Jersey Food Stylist Nutella Recipes Fri, 28 Jun 2019 21:30:00 GMT
S'mores Cookie Bars AHP1-17AHP1-17



S'mores Cookie Bars

I absolutely love s'mores but hate the mess and don't actually like the old fashioned ones you make over a campfire. I feel the reality of that treat is more mess than yumm. Plus who really can relax with family and friends when kids are constantly setting the marshmallows on fire for fun (I may be guilty of this myself LOL) But give me a s'mores bar, cookie, ice cream or pastry and I'm all for it. All the flavor without the mess. So I took my favorite cookie recipe and played with it until it worked perfectly as a base for a s'mores. You have got to give this one a try this summer! ..and incase you didn't notice I gave you guys this one just in time for 4th of July!


11 tablespoons butter softened
1 cup brown sugar packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 cup mini marshmallows divided
3 large sized Hershey bars broken into pieces
2 sleeves graham crackers broken into squares + 2-3 graham crackers broken into bits for top of cookies.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Using a mixer, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy in another bowl.
Add vanilla, then add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
Slowly beat in flour mixture until just incorporated.
Line a 13x18 sheet pan with parchment paper, spraying the parchment with non-stick cooking spray.
Lay out graham crackers on baking sheet leaving no gaps between them.
Place small scoops of cookie dough on the graham crackers, spread dough out a little by flattening with back side of spoon or offset spatula.
Sprinkle the semi-sweet, milk chocolate chips, 2-3 graham crackers broken into bits and mini marshmallows over top.
Bake for 5 minutes without disturbing.
After 5 minutes of baking
Place Hershey pieces on top.
Bake for 5-7 more minutes.
Cool S'mores cookie bars in pan.
Cut S'mores cookie into bars or squares.
Store at room temperature in a sealed container.

22232223 AHP1-5AHP1-5 AHP1-1AHP1-1 AHP1-10AHP1-10 AHP1-4AHP1-4
AHP1-9AHP1-9 AHP1-12AHP1-12 AHP1-11AHP1-11 AHP1-8AHP1-8 AHP1-16AHP1-16






Some links in this post are affiliate links which means I earn a commission if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you.  I only recommend brands and products that I 100% like and enjoy using.  Thank you in advance for your support!




(Ashley Halas Photography) Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Photographer New Jersey Food Stylist New Jersey Photographer Smores Recipes Wed, 26 Jun 2019 22:49:28 GMT
Baby Boy's Greek Orthodox Baptism My baby boys baptism - St. George Greek Orthodox Church AHP-1AHP-1 AHP-3AHP-3 AHP-4AHP-4


The ceremony was held at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, the church my husband has attended his entire life, the church we were married in. The ceremony was beautiful and meaningful. A full explanation of a Christian Orthodox Baptism can be found HERE

Holy Baptism is the first of seven Sacraments in the Orthodox Christian Church. Nothing shows the nature of God's grace more than infant baptism. 
A brief explanation of the ceremony
The sponsor or godparent
The godparent promises to see to it that the child is raised and educated in the Orthodox Christian faith. For this reason, it is important that godparents be chosen not for social reasons, but because they are persons who love God and His Church. Sponsors must be Orthodox Christians in good standing with the Church, otherwise they will not be able to bring up the child in a faith that is not theirs.
The exorcism
The first act of the Baptismal service begins in the narthex (entrance) of the church. This is to show that the one being received is not yet a member of the Church. The purpose of Baptism is to bring him into the Church. To enter into the temple of God is to be with Christ, to become a member of His body. The Priest then calls upon the sponsor to renounce the devil and all his works on behalf of the child,
The sign of the Cross
The priest then makes the sign of the cross on the child's body. This is repeated often during the service. Essentially the cross is the sign of victory which puts the devil to flight. In the old days slaves were branded, as are animals today, to show to what master they belonged. Today the sign of the cross brands us as belonging to Christ.
The Creed
The godparent is then asked to confess faith in Christ in behalf of the infant and reads the confession of faith contained in the Nicene Creed. The Creed was a symbol or sign of recognition among the early Christians; it was like a password that distinguished the true members of God's family. By reading the Creed the godparent confesses the true faith that will be passed on to the infant in time.
The naming
From the moment the child is received into the Church emphasis is placed on his individuality. He is given his own particular name by which he shall be distinguished from every other child of God. This new name expresses also the new life in Christ received through Holy Baptism. In addition to our own individual name each person receives the name "Christian" at Baptism. From that moment on we bear the name of Christ.
The candles
However dark may be the night that surrounds us, Baptism remains the sacrament of entrance into light. It opens the eyes of the soul to see Christ, the light; of the world (John 1:19) It makes us sons of light (1 Thess. 5:5). In the early Church the baptismal candle was always kept by the one baptised and brought to Church for major events in the person’s life. Even as the final hour of life approached it was lighted again as the soul went forth to meet its Judge. It was a constant reminder for the Christian to live and die by the light of Christ. Thus the candle becomes a symbol of the perseverance of the baptised soul until Christ's return.
The water 
Used for cleansing. In Baptism it expresses the fact that through this sacrament Christ cleanses us of all sins. The Priest blesses the Baptismal waters in the Font by calling on the Holy Trinity,
Anointing with oil
Olive oil is blessed by the Priest and then applied by him to the child's forehead, breast, back, hands, feet, ears, mouth, in order to dedicate them to the service of Christ. The godparent then covers the entire body of the infant with olive oil in order to express our prayer that with Christ's help the infant may be able to elude the grip of sin and the evil one.
Immersion into the Baptismal font
Priest immerses and then raises the infant up again 3 times. After the Baptism the Priest places the child in a new linen sheet held by the Godparent.
The Sacrament of Chrismation
In the Orthodox Church the Sacrament of Chrismation (known sometimes as Confirmation) is administered immediately following Baptism as in the early Church. It is considered the fulfilment of Baptism. 
New clothes
Following the Sacrament of Chrismation the Priest then invests the newly Baptised child in a new robe or garment
Tradition states that at this moment God assigns a guardian angel to stay with the newly-baptised person until the end of their earthly life. 
The cutting of hair
The Priest cuts four locks of hair from the child's head in the form of a Cross. This is an expression of gratitude from the child, who having received an abundance of blessings through the Sacraments of Baptism and Chrismation and having nothing to give to God in return, offers part of its hair, as a first-offering to God. In the Old Testament, hair is seen as a symbol of strength. The child, therefore, promises to serve God with all its strength.
The Holy Eucharist
Immediately following Baptism and Chrismation the neophyte becomes a full member of the Orthodox Church. As such, the child is now entitled to receive the precious Body and Blood of Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Communion (or Holy Eucharist). The new life in Christ, given in Baptism, is renewed again and again in the Eucharist. As nature provides milk for the nourishment of the infant after birth, so God provides Holy Communion for the infant immediately following Baptism in order to provide nourishment for the spiritual life the neophyte has received through Baptism.


Ceremony Photography: Tonjanika Smith

demetrios-109demetrios-109Demetrios Baptism demetrios-250demetrios-250Demetrios Baptism demetrios-108demetrios-108Demetrios Baptism demetrios-110demetrios-110Demetrios Baptism demetrios-249demetrios-249Demetrios Baptism demetrios-104 - Copydemetrios-104 - CopyDemetrios Baptism demetrios-113demetrios-113Demetrios Baptism demetrios-123demetrios-123Demetrios Baptism demetrios-132demetrios-132Demetrios Baptism demetrios-147demetrios-147Demetrios Baptism demetrios-148demetrios-148Demetrios Baptism demetrios-152demetrios-152Demetrios Baptism demetrios-157demetrios-157Demetrios Baptism demetrios-158demetrios-158Demetrios Baptism demetrios-159demetrios-159Demetrios Baptism demetrios-161demetrios-161Demetrios Baptism demetrios-164demetrios-164Demetrios Baptism demetrios-162demetrios-162Demetrios Baptism demetrios-165demetrios-165Demetrios Baptism demetrios-167demetrios-167Demetrios Baptism demetrios-173demetrios-173Demetrios Baptism demetrios-172demetrios-172Demetrios Baptism demetrios-168demetrios-168Demetrios Baptism demetrios-174demetrios-174Demetrios Baptism demetrios-182demetrios-182Demetrios Baptism demetrios-185demetrios-185Demetrios Baptism demetrios-187demetrios-187Demetrios Baptism demetrios-190demetrios-190Demetrios Baptism demetrios-191demetrios-191Demetrios Baptism demetrios-218demetrios-218Demetrios Baptism demetrios-216demetrios-216Demetrios Baptism demetrios-217demetrios-217Demetrios Baptism demetrios-231demetrios-231Demetrios Baptism demetrios-234demetrios-234Demetrios Baptism demetrios-235demetrios-235Demetrios Baptism demetrios-238demetrios-238Demetrios Baptism demetrios-244demetrios-244Demetrios Baptism demetrios-252demetrios-252Demetrios Baptism



AHP-18AHP-18 AHP-19AHP-19 AHP-20AHP-20

One of the first celebrations our little boy has received! I started planning his baptism back in February, shortly after his 40 day blessing. - The Forty Day Blessing takes place at the end of a regular Sunday Service and consists of prayers of joyful thanks for the safe delivery of mother and child. The service blesses the mother who has been absent from the Church for forty days and formally presents the newborn child to the Church family for the first time. - My inspiration and idea for his "theme" came from one of the most random things yet, a spring wreath I purchased and enhanced for my Studio Spring Mini Sessions. I put together the wreath because winter was finally over and we were packing up all our winter home decor. Of course our front door needed something because the house was definitely starting to look to plain and empty. At the same time I was designing my Studio Spring Mini Sessions I found these super cute and realistic looking blue butterfly garlands from a local nursery, Dragonfly Farms. I always have coupons for Jo-ann Fabrics and fell in love with the Eucalyptus garlands and spring decor they had this season so I knew I wanted to incorporate this as much as I could. 

I put together a simple menu so that I could feel comfortable pulling off all of the cooking and baking myself. Of course me being me, I needed to theme even the food and wanted everything to be green and blue. So starting with a simple salad and tossed in some blueberries and put together a simple herby oil and vinegar dressing. Creamy alfredo bowtie pasta topped with buttered asparagus, fried zucchini fritters and 14lbs of filet mignon completed the menu. My cousin also bought a stuffed cabbage dish using my grandmothers recipe. Dessert took the majority of my time and attention as I took on making a two tier cake myself. Sticking with theme and as per my husband's request I chose to do a blueberry jam filling with a white cake and buttercream frosting. Because I never know when to stop I decided to top the cake with candied lemons which were surprising simple to make, more blueberries and fresh hydrangea flowers. A few weeks prior to the baptism I made Pink Lemon Donuts which came out delicious and were a huge hit with everyone who tried them so I knew they had to be a big part of the dessert table. I altered the frosting just a bit to fit the color scheme by adding blueberry and a splash of the butterfly pea flower tea simple syrup I had chilling to make the blue color really pop. I topped the donuts with Bob's Red Mill Sparkling Sugar fresh blueberries and some crushed butterfly pea flower tea leaves. To complete the dessert table we purchased macaroons from our favorite local bakery Eet Gud and my husbands grandmother made with love dozens of delicious baklava. Modern Birch Co. supplied the beautiful wooden cake topper, "God Bless" banner and cross decor. 

My husband graciously allowed me to chose the floral tie I had been envisioning followed by a quick trip to Macy's where he completed his outfit with a beautiful baby blue Ralph Lauren sport coat, dress shirt and brown wingtip dress shoes. My dress was an awesome find on ModCloth, I was probably the simplest to dress!  The main event, baby boys baptismal outfit was purchased months in advance from a company I found on Etsy, Raphael Jr Childrens Wear. The outfit and bow-tie worn prior to the baptism is from Little Mister.

Photography: Tonjanika Smith, myself and my aunt

Favors: Bracelets from Trendy Handi Craft

Invitations/Stationary: Lavender & Love 

Orthodox Baptism set (candles, oil bottle, soap) Le Petit Elephant Shop

IMG_0002IMG_0002 demetrios-290demetrios-290Demetrios Baptism demetrios-256demetrios-256Demetrios Baptism demetrios-258demetrios-258Demetrios Baptism demetrios-294demetrios-294Demetrios Baptism demetrios-289demetrios-289Demetrios Baptism demetrios-299demetrios-299Demetrios Baptism AHP-5AHP-5 AHP-9AHP-9 modcloth-headermodcloth-header


demetrios-307demetrios-307Demetrios Baptism demetrios-309demetrios-309Demetrios Baptism demetrios-311demetrios-311Demetrios Baptism demetrios-312demetrios-312Demetrios Baptism demetrios-314demetrios-314Demetrios Baptism AHP-12AHP-12 AHP-3-2AHP-3-2


IMG_0001IMG_0001 demetrios-273demetrios-273Demetrios Baptism

demetrios-272demetrios-272Demetrios Baptism demetrios-269demetrios-269Demetrios Baptism demetrios-264demetrios-264Demetrios Baptism demetrios-265demetrios-265Demetrios Baptism IMG_0115IMG_0115 demetrios-274demetrios-274Demetrios Baptism demetrios-284demetrios-284Demetrios Baptism demetrios-276demetrios-276Demetrios Baptism demetrios-301demetrios-301Demetrios Baptism demetrios-283demetrios-283Demetrios Baptism demetrios-285demetrios-285Demetrios Baptism demetrios-304demetrios-304Demetrios Baptism demetrios-281demetrios-281Demetrios Baptism IMG_0114IMG_0114 IMG_0117IMG_0117 IMG_0118IMG_0118
demetrios-324demetrios-324Demetrios Baptism demetrios-328demetrios-328Demetrios Baptism demetrios-329demetrios-329Demetrios Baptism demetrios-275demetrios-275Demetrios Baptism AAA_4460


For the three days following the baptism the baby should not be bathed. The water from the first bath after the Baptismal Ceremony should be used to water flowers. For the three Sundays following the Baptism the baby receives communion dressed in his/her baptismal outfit.

AHP-1-3AHP-1-3 AHP-6-2AHP-6-2 AHP-4-3AHP-4-3 AHP-3-3AHP-3-3 AHP-5-2AHP-5-2


Some links in this post are affiliate links which means I earn a commission if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you.  I only recommend brands and products that I 100% like and enjoy using.  Thank you in advance for your support!



(Ashley Halas Photography) Baptism boy outfit baptism celebration Baptism decor baptism decor inspiration baptism dress boy baptism Greek orthodox baptism New Jersey Photographer Wed, 26 Jun 2019 14:29:12 GMT
Creamy Spinach/Basil Pesto Pasta with Raspberry Balsamic Chicken Thighs  



Creamy Spinach/Basil Pesto Pasta with Raspberry Balsamic Chicken Thighs

Caprese inspired this entire meal. I wanted to make something using simple summer fresh ingredients used in caprese salad but neither my husband or I have ever been fans of plain old caprese; Basil/Tomato/Mozzarella. So immediately I decided to make pesto pasta made healthier with spinach. Chicken thighs are my go to protein (incase you havent noticed haha) and we only had raspberry balsamic vinegar on hand which turned out to be absolutely perfect! All that was left was to use those gorgeous multi colored cherry tomatoes I always see in the produce aisle but rarely have a chance to use and those cute little mozzarella pearls. This meal turned out to be the perfect new take on a classic dish. I hope you guys try out this recipe and enjoy this dinner as much as we did. Take a quick pick and tag me, I'd love to see your versions! 


Creamy Spinach/Basil Pesto Pasta



2 cups spinach

4 cups basil leaves

4 cloves garlic

1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese

1/3 olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup pasta cooking water (the secret to creamy pesto pasta)

1lb pasta of choice (farfalle, penne and gemelli are my favorites for pesto)

1/2 stick butter

Fresh Mozzarella pearls for serving


Bring a large pot of water to the boil

Add pasta and cook for the length of time on the box.

Just before draining, scoop out 1 cup of the pasta cooking water for the pesto. Set aside, allow to cool

Drain pasta in a colander, return to cooking pot, add butter (no heat)

In a food processor combine spinach, basil leaves, garlic, Pecorino Romano cheese, salt and pepper. Drizzle in the olive oil while processing on high speed. Add 2/4 cups of pasta cooking water.

Add pesto to the pasta. Toss to coat pasta in pesto, adding more pasta cooking water if required to make pasta silky and saucy.

Taste, add more salt and pepper if desired.

Garnished with fresh mozzarella pearls.



Raspberry Balsamic Chicken Thighs



8-10 chicken thighs

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

4-5 garlic cloves

1/4 cup raspberry balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons olive oil for cooking

2 tablespoon dried parsley

2 tablespoon dried basil

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 pint multi-color cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered


Heat olive oil in skillet over mid-high heat.

Combine salt, black pepper, garlic, raspberry balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dried parsley, dried basil and onion powder in a Ziploc bag. Add the chicken and coat each piece evenly with the seasoning. Set aside, allowing the flavors to absorb into the meat.

When skillet is good and hot, place the chicken thighs into the hot skillet in a single layer. Allow the chicken to sear, untouched, for 5-6 minutes until the chicken releases without sticking to the pan. Use tongs to gently lift the chicken thighs and flip over each piece. Transfer cooked chicken thighs to a plate, allow to rest

After cooking all the thighs add sliced tomatoes to the pan and allow to cook 3-4 minutes until soft.

Top chicken thighs with cooked tomatoes and drizzle with raspberry balsamic vinegar


(Ashley Halas Photography) caprese chicken Caprese recipes Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Photographer New Jersey Food Stylist pasta recipe pesto pasta pesto recipe raspberry balsamic chicken Recipes Thu, 13 Jun 2019 18:13:21 GMT
Apricot / Nectarine Chicken and White Wine Couscous 4F683F70-1B72-4F0B-95B2-A9481BF94D334F683F70-1B72-4F0B-95B2-A9481BF94D33 AHP-1AHP-1

Apricot / Nectarine Chicken and White Wine Couscous

The perfect way to start your summer cooking journey, with fresh fruit and herbs. This dish is perfectly light and abundantly flavorful. As soon as the few last weeks in April you can begin to find Apricots and Nectarines in grocery stores. I came up with this dish after spotting beautiful golden Nectarines in the produce aisle. I grabbed some Apricots for color contrast, remembering I had some tri-color couscous at home, all I needed to pick up was chicken and I had an easy delicious meal ready to go. Couscous takes just minutes to make and baking the chicken in the oven allowed me to play with my son rather than tend to then chicken on the stove. The entire meal took me less than 15 minutes to throw together and was done in under an hour. I served it alongside a crisp salad and enjoyed it on the porch with my husband and the remaining Chardonnay. I hope you guys try out this recipe and enjoy this dinner as much as we did. Take a quick pick and tag me, I'd love to see your versions! 

White Wine Couscous

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs such as; thyme, parsley, rosemary, oregano
1/4 cup minced shallots 
2 cloves minced garlic 
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup white wine ( I happened to use Chardonnay but any white wine you have on hand would do just fine)
1/2 water or vegetable broth
2 cups tri-color pearl couscous

Heat butter and olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add fresh herbs, shallots and garlic; cook 4 minutes stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice, salt, pepper, wine, and water or vegetable broth; bring to a boil. Add couscous. Cover saucepan, turn off heat, let sit for 8-10 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.


Apricot / Nectarine Chicken

8 chicken thighs bone-in, skinless
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs such as; thyme, parsley, rosemary, oregano
4 cloves minced garlic 
1/2 chopped onion 
1/2 Apricot; mashed
1 Nectarine; mashed 

2 Apricots/3 Nectarines halved for roasting


Combine all the ingredients in a large Ziploc bag and shake until well combined. Add the chicken and coat each piece evenly with the seasoning. Set aside, allowing the flavors to absorb into the meat.

Preheat oven to 375F with the baking rack in the middle.
Remove chicken from marinade. Add the chicken to a baking pan along with halved Apricots and Nectarines and bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until the chicken thighs are is cooked right through to the bone.



(Ashley Halas Photography) Apricot chicken chicken dinner dinner ideas Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade nectarine chicken New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Photographer New Jersey Food Stylist Recipes summer meals summer recipes Thu, 13 Jun 2019 15:41:51 GMT
Pink Eureka Lemon Lemonade AHP11-7AHP11-7 summer-fun-728x90summer-fun-728x90

Pink Eureka Lemon Lemonade

1 1/2 cups sugar
10 Pink Variegated Eureka lemons / 2 cups fresh squeeze lemon juice 
8 cups water

Combine ingredients, stir and chill. Serve over ice with extra slices of lemon for garnish


AHP11-1AHP11-1 AHP11-9AHP11-9 glassware-728x90glassware-728x90

(Ashley Halas Photography) Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade Homemade Lemonade Lemonade New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Photographer New Jersey Food Stylist Pink Lemonade Pink Lemons Recipes Wed, 15 May 2019 18:21:36 GMT
Classic Super Creamy Hummus AHP11-1-3AHP11-1-3

Classic Super Creamy Hummus

3 Tbsp tahini
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans/chick peas
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 medium garlic clove
1/4 tsp cumin
Salt to taste 
Garnish 1Tbsp olive oil, chopped fresh parsley, paprika and/or cumin

Place the chickpeas in a medium saucepan and add the baking soda. Cover the chickpeas by several inches of water, then bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling, reducing heat if necessary to prevent overflow, for about 20 minutes, or until the chickpeas look bloated, their skins are falling off, and they’re soft. In a fine-mesh strainer, drain the chickpeas and run cool water over them for about 30 seconds. Set aside, toss out and remove as many skins as possible. 
Meanwhile, in a food processor or high-powered blender, combine the lemon juice, garlic and salt. Process until the garlic is very finely chopped, then let the mixture rest, about 15 minutes so the garlic flavor can mellow.
Add the tahini to the food processor and blend until the mixture is thick and creamy.
While running the food processor, drizzle in 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Scrape down the food processor, and blend until the mixture is ultra-smooth, pale and creamy. (If your tahini was extra-thick to begin with, you might need to add 1 to 2 tablespoons more olive oil.)
Add the cumin and the drained, over-cooked chickpeas to the food processor. Blend until the mixture is super smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor as necessary, about 2 minutes.



(Ashley Halas Photography) Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade Homemade hummus Hummus New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Photographer New Jersey Food Stylist Recipes smooth creamy hummus Thu, 04 Apr 2019 17:04:56 GMT
Pink Lemon Doughnuts - NJ Food Photographer AHP11-11AHP11-11

I found pink "variegated eureka lemons" at my local grocery store. I polled my Instagram followers on the perfect use for these unique lemons, doughnuts vs sorbet. You guys voted doughnuts so here they are! Enjoy!

3/4 cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 large egg
2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cup whole milk

2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp water
1/4tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease a donut pan
In a small bowl, mix the sugar and lemon zest and juice together. Add brown sugar. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 2 minutes. Add lemon sugar mixture and vegetable oil. Beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add one egg at a time and beat to combine. With a spatula, stir in the baking powder, baking soda, salt and vanilla. Mix well.
Continue using a spatula, stir and add the flour and milk to the butter mixture alternately in 3 additions, by starting and finishing with the flour. Mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
Spoon the batter into a pipping bag or Ziploc bag, fill the donut pan with batter all the way up to the rim.
Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. Test the donuts with a toothpick for doneness. The toothpick should come out clean. Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer the donuts to a cooling rack and cool completely. If you have extra batter, clean and dry the donut pan. Lightly grease and repeat filling the pan.
For the glaze, in a medium bowl, add powdered sugar. Add the milk and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Whisk until smooth. Add more lemon juice if the frosting is too thick. Glaze the donuts and let them set for 20 minutes.
Donuts can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, but best to serve the same day. 

AHP11-10AHP11-10 AHP11-21AHP11-21
AHP11-12AHP11-12 AHP11-19AHP11-19 AHP11-18AHP11-18 AHP11-17AHP11-17 AHP11-5AHP11-5 AHP11-4AHP11-4 AHP11-8AHP11-8 AHP11-16AHP11-16

(Ashley Halas Photography) eureka lemons Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade homemade donuts homemade doughnuts Lemon donuts New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Photographer New Jersey Food Stylist pink lemon Pink Lemon donuts Pink lemon recipe Recipes variegated lemon recipes variegated lemons Wed, 03 Apr 2019 19:49:36 GMT
Zucchini Fritters - Kolokithokeftedes Zucchini Fritters - Kolokithokeftedes

4 large zucchini – grated
1 T salt
4 scallions – chopped
4 T fresh dill
3 eggs
1 c flour
½ t baking powder
½ t garlic powder
½ t cumin
3 T fresh parsley 
1/3 c feta
4 T olive oil or more for frying

Lay out a layer of paper towels and spread out grated zucchini. Sprinkle zucchini with salt and let sit for at least thirty minutes and up to an hour. Squeeze out all excess moisture from zucchini.

Put drained zucchini in a large bowl with scallions, dill, baking powder, garlic powder, cumin, parsley and feta. Mix to combine. Stir in eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in flour until dough comes together, adding slightly more flour if dough is too wet to form patties. Form dough into 3-4 inch patties.

Heat 4 T olive oil or more in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry patties until golden brown on both sides and cooked through but still moist, about 3-4 minutes per side. Serve hot with tzatziki alongside.


AHP3-3AHP3-3 AHP3-2AHP3-2 AHP3-4AHP3-4 AHP3-5AHP3-5


(Ashley Halas Photography) Cheap dinner Cheap meals Dinner recipes easy dinner recipes Family Meals Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist greek recipes healthy recipes Homemade Kolokithokeftedes New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Stylist Recipes Zucchini Fritters Fri, 22 Mar 2019 17:04:04 GMT
Macaroni and Ricotta with Herby White Wine Chicken Macaroni and Ricotta with Herby White Wine Chicken 


Macaroni & Ricotta Pasta

1lb rigatoni pasta
½ stick butter
1 32oz container ricotta cheese 
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup romano cheese
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper 
2 cups chopped spinach
Salt to taste

Boil/cook/strain pasta. Return pasta to large pot, on medium/low heat. Add ½ stick of butter to pasta, stir until melted. Throw in entire container ricotta cheese, milk, grated romano cheese, garlic powder salt and pepper. Allow cheese to melt. Add chopped spinach, cover pot and allow spinach to wilt on low heat. Stir and serve. 

Herby White Wine Chicken
8 chicken thighs bone in
2 cups white wine
2 lemons
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
large handful mixed fresh herbs chopped (I used sage, oregano, parsley, thyme, basil and rosemary)
salt & pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil for marinade
2 Tbsp olive oil for frying 

Marinate chicken thighs in 1 cup white wine, lemon juice, half of the sage, oregano, parsley, thyme, basil and rosemary and 2 tablespoons olive oil, at least 2 hours. 
Pre-heat the oven to 350°f.
In a large, oven-proof frying pan, heat the other 2Tbsp of olive oil and fry the chicken until golden brown all over.
Remove from the pan then add the chopped garlic and allow to fry for a few seconds then pour in the rest of the wine and herbs.
Add the chicken back to the pan then season to taste and place in the oven.
Allow to bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked through but still juicy.




(Ashley Halas Photography) Cheap dinner Cheap meals cheesy pasta Dinner recipes easy dinner recipes Family Meals Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Stylist Pasta recipes Recipes Ricotta Macaroni Sat, 09 Feb 2019 22:43:07 GMT
Cheesy Spinach Sundried Tomato Pasta with Meatballs Cheesy Spinach Sundried Tomato Pasta with Meatballs

Spinach Meatballs

2-3lbs ground beef
4 cloves garlic
½ large onion
3 cups spinach
½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs 
½ cup Romano cheese
2 eggs
1 tablespoon parsley
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon basil
¼ teaspoon thyme
¼ teaspoon sage
Salt & pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

To the ground beef add minced/pressed garlic, finely chopped onion, finely chopped spinach, breadcrumbs, romano cheese, eggs, dried parsley, oregano, basil, thyme and sage. Salt and pepper. 
Mix by hand to combine, do not over mix. Shape 1-2” balls and place on baking sheet. 
Heat olive oil in a large pan, once hot pan fry meatballs on all sides on medium heat, do not overcrowd the pan. Place meatballs back on the baking sheet. 
Preheat oven to 350. Place pan in oven and cook meatballs 10-15 minutes 


Cheesy Spinach Sundried Tomato Pasta

1lb Rigatoni or Penne pasta
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cups spinach
2 cloves garlic
½ large onion
1 cup sundried tomatoes 
½ cup cream
1 ½ cup milk 
½ cup Romano cheese
½ cup mozzarella

Boil pasta 7-8 minutes in a large pot minutes until tender, drain and return to pot. Add ½ stick butter.
In a medium sized sauce pan. Heat oil on medium heat, sauté minced/pressed garlic, finely chopped onion, and finely chopped sundried tomatoes about 8-10 minutes. Add chopped spinach and continue cooking until wilted. 
Lower heat, add heavy cream, milk, grated Romano and mozzarella cheese, bring to a simmer and turn off heat. Salt & pepper. 
Pour sauce over pasta and serve.


IMG_9171IMG_9171 AHP-1AHP-1


unnamed (2)unnamed (2)



Some links in this post are affiliate links which means I earn a commission if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you.  I only recommend brands and products that I 100% like and enjoy using.  Thank you in advance for your support!   



(Ashley Halas Photography) cheap meals dinner Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade meatball recipe Meatballs New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Stylist pasta recipe Recipes Spinach spinach meatballs Sundried tomatoes Sat, 02 Feb 2019 22:20:55 GMT
Spinach Mushroom Risotto with Red Wine Steak Spinach Mushroom Risotto with Red Wine Steak 

One of the secrets to a delicious London Broil is the marinade and this easy red wine marinade is perfect for tenderizing London Broil and other tough cuts of beef, such as skirt steak. Making this an inexpensive dinner for any night of the week. Personally I find it hard to eat my veggies so I've gotten into the habit of hiding my veggies in delicious meals I love, like risotto. I chop the mushrooms and spinach super small and hardly notice them, which could be the perfect way to get those kids to eat this meal too! Plus who doesn't love some cheesy rice?!  




3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 dry bay leaf
2 teaspoon thyme leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon whole peppercorn medley
1/2 onion, minced
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup red wine

Peel and smash 3 cloves of garlic,  peel and mince 2 cloves garlic and set aside.
In a small bowl, pour red wine, Worcestershire sauce, add garlic, and all spices and whisk with a fork.
Place London Broil in large zip lock bag.
Pour marinade over London Broil and seal bag removing as much air as possible.
Place ziplock bag (with London Broil) in a pan large enough that the London Broil is flat 
Refrigerate for 4 to 6 and turn bag once midway through marinating time to distribute marinade evenly over London Broil.



2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
½ onion, chopped
8 ounces cremini mushrooms diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
2 cloves garlic minced
4-6 cups chicken or vegetable broth 
2 cup Arborio rice
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1/3 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese freshly grated

In a large pan, add butter and oil. When oil is hot, add onions and cook for 2 minutes to soften, stirring occasionally.
Add mushrooms, spinach, garlic, salt, and thyme; cook for 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender, stirring frequently.
Add rice; cook and stir for 3-5 minutes more until rice is toasted. 
Add broth, 1 cup at a time allowing broth to absorb before adding the next cup.
When cooking is complete, stir in romano cheese.





unnamed (2)unnamed (2)



Some links in this post are affiliate links which means I earn a commission if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you.  I only recommend brands and products that I 100% like and enjoy using.  Thank you in advance for your support!




(Ashley Halas Photography) easy steak recipe Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade london broil recipe New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Stylist Recipes risotto recipe steak weeknight dinner Tue, 29 Jan 2019 18:19:51 GMT
Cranberry Orange Cinnaknots Cranberry Orange Cinnaknots


These cinnaknots take a little longer to make than the quick and easy cinnamon roll recipe I've shared before, but they are well worth it. Plus they're super cute :) If you've been afraid to work with yeast in the past, don't be now. This recipe is an easy introduction to working with a yeasty dough, and it's still quick enough to make on a lazy weekend morning without having to start the dough the night before.


For the dough:
¾ cup warm milk (110 degrees F)
2 ¼ teaspoons active yeast (1/4-ounce package yeast)
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
3 cups bread flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons orange zest
½ cup fresh cranberries (chopped)
For the cream cheese frosting:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange juice
Egg Wash
1 large egg
1 tbsp milk



Add warm milk to the bowl of an electric mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. You’ll know your yeast has activated if it begins to foam after a few minutes. If it hasn’t, then start over; your milk was either too hot or too cold.
Once yeast begins to foam, add in sugar, egg, egg yolk and butter. Mix until well combined. Next stir in flour and salt.
Place dough hook on mixer and knead dough on medium speed for 8 minutes. Dough should form into a nice ball and be slightly sticky.
Transfer dough ball to a well oiled bowl, cover with a warm towel. Allow dough to rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
After dough has doubled in size, transfer dough to a well-floured surface and roll out into a 14x9 inch rectangle.
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, orange zest and chopped cranberries. Spread softened filling mixture over dough, leaving a ¼ inch margin at the far side of the dough.
Starting on the short side of the dough, fold 1/3 of it into the center, then fold the other third over to center too, covering the first flap. Roll the pin over the folded dough just to stretch the width out to 10-12 inches. 
Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut strips of dough starting from one long side to the other. The strips should be about 2 cm in thickness. To assemble the rolls, take one strip, hold one end with your thumb and next three fingers. Wrap the strip around your fingers two times, covering the thumb as well, then pull the dough under and slip it through the opening where your thumb is. Pull it upwards and let it cross over the bun and tuck it in the other side
Place cinnaknots on a greased baking sheet. (I also recommend lining the pan with parchment paper as well, in case any of the filling ends up leaking out.)
Place each roll on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Cover it loosely with a plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour, until double in size.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat 1 egg with 1 tablespoon milk and brush this glaze on the surface of the risen rolls. Bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden.
Allow them to cool for a 5 minutes before frosting. 
To make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Spread over cinnamon rolls and serve immediately



Some links in this post are affiliate links which means I earn a commission if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you.  I only recommend brands and products that I 100% like and enjoy using.  Thank you in advance for your support!   



(Ashley Halas Photography) cinnamon buns Cranberry Orange Cinnamon buns Cranberry Orange Cinnamon Knots Food Blog Food Blogging Food Photography Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Stylist Recipes Thu, 24 Jan 2019 16:57:45 GMT
Lemon Blueberry Sorbet Lemon Blueberry Sorbet

This recipe makes about 8 1/2 cup servings.

You'll love this easy to make dessert. Perfect to impress the guests at your next dinner party or a healthy homemade treat you and the kids will love. This recipe is simple, quick and the fruit can be swapped with whatever you have on hand! Try it for yourself and enjoy!


3 cups blueberries
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest



In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil. Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. 
Add lemon juice, zest and blueberries, simmer 10 minutes; set aside to cool.
Pour into a food processor. Cover and process for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Press mixture through a fine-mesh sieve.
Transfer puree to an 8x4in loaf pan. Freeze for 1 hour or until edges begin to firm; stir. Freeze 2 hours longer or until firm.


AHP-4AHP-4 AHP-1-2AHP-1-2 AHP-3-2AHP-3-2 AHP-6AHP-6 AHP-5-2AHP-5-2 AHP-7AHP-7 AHP-9AHP-9 AHP-10AHP-10 AHP-8AHP-8



Some links in this post are affiliate links which means I earn a commission if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you.  I only recommend brands and products that I 100% like and enjoy using.  Thank you in advance for your support!   


(Ashley Halas Photography) Food Blog Food Blogging Food Photography Food Styling Food Stylist Healthy Dessert Homemade Homemade Sorbet Lemon Blueberry Sorbet New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Stylist Recipes Wed, 23 Jan 2019 21:03:56 GMT
Irish Inspired Dinner & Drinks for Two | New Jersey Photographer | Ashley Halas Photography I love St. Patrick's Day! Probably because I adore the warmth and colors of spring just about as much as I love Autumn! For me, St. Patrick's Day marks the first holiday of Spring! The clovers, daffodils and tulips can be found everywhere. A mark warm weather is practically here and anyone who knows me personally knows I love the color green in all forms- from nature all the way down to my natural hair color 😉 

I've always chosen to decorate more for the season incorporating the natural green elements I love. You can find them anywhere- outdoors or in season at your local market. To make it festive I add a little holiday specific elements to bring it all together. My mothers corned beef and cabbage for instance is the main event of this meal (see recipe below) and I wanted to find a way to make use of the outer or as I consider them "dirty" pieces of cabbage I would normally discard. But they’re just so pretty and after giving it some thought I got an idea! (cabbage wrap instructions below) 

Now, just about the only thing I don't like green is my drinks! There's just something about all that food dye that is generally unappealing to me. Thinking along the lines of corned beef & cabbage, Irish, Ireland, rain, rainbows and of course pots of gold I logged into Pinterest in search of the perfect golden cocktail. I immediately came across dozens of recipes but after reading over a few I pulled some ideas from each and created a super golden, and sweet "Pot of Gold" cocktail. (see recipe below)

My husband and I, are trying to save money anywhere we can but enjoy our date nights. So in an effort to keep our dates and still be able to save money we create a lot of our dates at home on our days off together. This time I didn't have to cook since my mother sent my husband home with her annual corned beef and cabbage. I took this opportunity to bring my dining room together for spring and create a sweet early dinner for just the two of us. I felt we needed just a little something fresh to accompany the meal so I shook up a super quick, easy and delicious lemon vinaigrette (recipe below) and poured it over some leftover arugula we had in the fridge, threw a few slices of lemon into the grill pan and topped it off with parmesan shavings, yum! Since I didn’t have to really cook anything I was able to put all my focus on the décor, and keeping in mind we’re on a budget, around the house I went in search of things to match the theme I was going for. Sometimes I can get a little carried away grabbing everything so I tried to keep it as simple as possible so the food and the amazing cocktail could take center stage.

After all it is about gathering together and good food! 

AHP-35AHP-35 AHP-5AHP-5 AHP-12AHP-12

AHP-11AHP-11   AHP-7AHP-7 AHP-20AHP-20 AHP-18AHP-18   AHP-42AHP-42 AHP-16AHP-16 AHP-21AHP-21 AHP-9AHP-9   AHP-10AHP-10 AHP-22AHP-22 AHP-2AHP-2   AHP-4AHP-4 AHP-23AHP-23 AHP-24AHP-24 AHP-26AHP-26 AHP-29AHP-29 AHP-33AHP-33 AHP-31AHP-31 AHP-32AHP-32 AHP-34AHP-34 AHP-39AHP-39 AHP-41AHP-41 AHP-40AHP-40 AHP-37AHP-37


Cabbage Wrapped Jars

Use outer cabbage leaves / the greenest part of the cabbage
Using a small jar layer each leaf around the jar
Trim bottom so jar can sit flat
Secure it all together with twine
Lasts up to two weeks or more if refrigerated 

Mom's Corned Beef & Cabbage

Bring a large stock filled with water to a boil
Add chopped onion and sliced corned beef to water - Bring to a boil
Add in half of the seasoning packet that comes with the meat
Allow onion and corned beef to simmer for at least two hours; up to 4 hours
Add potatoes, cabbage, carrots, bay leaf, salt & pepper
Serve with pumpernickel bread & butter

Pot of Gold Cocktail
8oz The Knot Irish Whiskey
Juice of 2 lemons
ginger honey syrup (recipe below)
edible gold leaf, garnish
Make the honey ginger syrup. Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice. 
Shake and strain into a glass with large ice cube. Garnish with gold leaf. Serve in gold sugar rimmed glass

Ginger Honey Syrup
4 oz grated ginger
2 cup honey
1 cup water
Add all ingredients into a pot over high heat. 
Bring to a boil and turn to low to simmer for 8-10 minutes. This is what gets it nice and golden. Take off the heat and let cool. Strain into a glass

Shamrock Ice Cubes
Boil water to fill ice trays
Snip a small amount of clover heads 
Drop clover heads into ice cube trays and pour in boiled/distilled water
Allow to freeze at least 6-8 hours

Simple Lemon Vinaigrette
Combine White or red wine vinegar, olive oil & lemon juice and fresh cracked pepper.
Shake well!


Inspired by Ireland this spring I wanted to include a few shots I took while on a trip to Ireland when I was about 18 years old. Enjoy!


25038_359361834482_5428267_n25038_359361834482_5428267_n 25038_359361794482_2676942_n25038_359361794482_2676942_n 25038_359361804482_2996580_n25038_359361804482_2996580_n 25038_359361819482_69078_n25038_359361819482_69078_n 25038_359361749482_5053006_n25038_359361749482_5053006_n 25038_359361779482_4766136_n25038_359361779482_4766136_n 25038_359361769482_8377227_n25038_359361769482_8377227_n 25038_359361764482_1662297_n25038_359361764482_1662297_n



(Ashley Halas Photography) Holiday Tablescapes Home Decor New Jersey Photographer Tue, 13 Mar 2018 18:49:09 GMT