Ashley Halas Photography: Blog https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Ashley Halas Photography (Ashley Halas Photography) Wed, 24 Mar 2021 17:33:00 GMT Wed, 24 Mar 2021 17:33:00 GMT https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u132549571-o477686033-50.jpg Ashley Halas Photography: Blog https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog 120 80 Blackberry Lemon Cinnabuns | New Jersey Food Stylist & Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/8/blackberry-lemon-cinnabuns 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.

 

Ingredients


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

 

Instructions
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!

 

 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade New Jersey Photographer Recipes https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/8/blackberry-lemon-cinnabuns Wed, 05 Aug 2020 17:05:06 GMT
Autumn Mini Sessions 2020 Sign-up | Mercer County New Jersey Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/8/autumn-mini-sessions-2020-sign-up-mercer-county-new-jersey-photographer NOW BOOKING Autumn Mini Sessions 2020

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Autumn Mini Sessions $250

Peak foliage dates below
 

Session includes
15 minute session
10-15 high resolution digital images
private online viewing & print ordering gallery
personal print release & mobile view app 

 

Veterans Park 
Friday October 23rd 
2388 Kuser Rd Hamilton NJ

7:20am | 7:40am | 8:00am | 8:20am | 8:40am | 9:00am | 9:20am | x

4:00pm | 4:20pm | 4:40pm | 5:00pm | 5:20pm | 5:40pm 

 

Rosedale Park 
Saturday October 24th
424 Federal City Rd Pennington NJ

7:20am | 7:40am | 8:00am |  x  |  x  |  x  |  x  |  x | 

x  |  x  |  x  | 5:00pm | 5:20pm | 5:40pm 

 


Loveless Nature Preserve 
Sunday October 25th 
291 Eggert Crossing Rd Lawrence Twp, NJ 

7:20am | 7:40am | 8:00am | 8:20am | 8:40am |  x  |  x  |  x 

x  | 4:20pm |  x  |  x  | 5:20pm | 5:40pm 

 


$50 deposit is required within 24hrs to confirm booking

Sessions will be held outdoors only. 

Only one rain date will be provided
Rain Dates: Friday October 30th | Saturday November 7th | Sunday November 8th.

In the unfortunate and unlikely event it rains on both your original booking date and rain date 50% of the deposit will be credited towards a future session (excluding Holiday Minis) for up to one year.

Deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable and can be made via PayPal to AshleyHalasPhotograpy@gmail.com, Venmo @ashleyhalasphotography or mail in check. If you are mailing a check please let me know and I will hold your session time/date request for up to 72hrs

 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) New Jersey Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/8/autumn-mini-sessions-2020-sign-up-mercer-county-new-jersey-photographer Tue, 04 Aug 2020 16:44:58 GMT
Alye + Alex | Princeton NJ Photographer | Ashley Halas Photography https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/8/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 wit!. Both let me know right from the start they had not had a good photography experience for their wedding 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

 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/8/alye-alex-princeton-nj-photographer-ashley-halas-photography Tue, 04 Aug 2020 13:20:39 GMT
Epic Surprise Proposal Foti & Danielle | Montauk Point Lighthouse NY | Ashley Halas Photography https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/8/proposal-foti-danielle  

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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. 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) New jersey engagement photographer New Jersey Photographer NJ engagement NJ portrait photographer Proposal surprise proposal https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/8/proposal-foti-danielle Mon, 03 Aug 2020 02:36:03 GMT
Couples Session | Lambertville New Jersey Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/6/couples-session-lambertville-new-jersey-photographer I was pretty excited when Brianna first contacted me and requested a couples mini session with her boyfriend! I knew from her first email our session would be super fun, and this couple did not disappoint! We met along the canal in the small town of Lambertville in Hunterdon County. It was super quiet and one of the first nice weekends of the summer! We had a blast grabbing these shots, sharing a few of my favorites below. Enjoy!

 

Interested in a couples session? Email me AshleyHalasPhotography@gmail.com

 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) Ashley Halas Photography Hunterdon County Photographer Lambertville NJ Engagement photographer Mini Couples Sessions New Jersey Engagement Photographer New Jersey Photographer NJ Engagement Session https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/6/couples-session-lambertville-new-jersey-photographer Sat, 20 Jun 2020 16:58:32 GMT
The Perfect Summer Family Dinner Table https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/5/the-perfect-summer-family-dinner-table  

Summer Family Dinner

Putting together a cute dinner table for your family just got easier and completely affordable with help from Dollar Tree. Their new Lemon Dinnerware Collection is beautiful for your table this summer. Bringing life and freshness to your next backyard barbeque, dinner party or typical weekend dinner with the kids. This set included 10-in. dinner plates, 7.5-in. salad plates, 5.5-in. bowls, and 12-oz. lemon mugs all made of durable ceramic! You can also find 16-oz. glass coolers, 11.5-oz. wine glasses, 12x18-in. printed placemats, and a printed linen collection of pot holders, oven mitts, and kitchen towels. Dollar Tree really stepped up their game with this one. In addition to this beautiful collection you can find absolutely everything you will need to complete your backyard dinner tables new look. Shop the entire table set pictured and more of my home favorites below.

Lemon Dinnerware Collection
Clear Glass Bottles with Flip-Top Metal Clasps
Thick-Bottom Clear Glass Coolers
Stainless-Steel Rounded Flatware
Clear Glass Bottles with Round Handles and Cork Stoppers
Glass Oil and Vinegar Bottles with Metal Pour Spouts
Clear Glass Canning Jars with Metal Lids
Gray Faux Wood Plastic Charger Plates
Home Collection Sunflower Inspired Tablecloths
Inspirational Stone Coasters
Frosted Ribbed Candle Jars
Breathe Eucalyptus and Mint Scented Frosted Candle Jars

 

If you're looking for a fresh take on the summer classic, chicken wings. I've also included a recipe that the whole family will love!

 

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Honey Lemon Chicken Drumsticks with Cheesy Spinach Lemon Orzo

Honey Lemon Chicken Drumsticks

INGREDIENTS
3-4 lbs chicken drumsticks or wings cleaned and cut in two pieces with the tips removed
1 cup flour
2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp salt

Honey Lemon Glaze
1 small finely chopped shallot
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup honey
zest of one lemon (finely chopped)
juice of one lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried or fresh parsley
1 tsp dried or fresh thyme

Season the wings with salt and pepper.
Sift together the flour, pepper, ginger, and salt.
Dredge the cleaned and trimmed wings in the seasoned flour.
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil (for easier clean up later) Lightly oil the aluminum foil with canola oil to prevent sticking.
Bake the wings at 425 degrees F for about 40 minutes (depending on size), turning them over half way through the cooking time.

Prepare the Honey Lemon Glaze
In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil and chopped shallot.
Sauté the finely chopped shallot in the olive oil for a minute to soften,, then add the honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper.
Simmer over medium-low heat for about 8-10 minutes.
Transfer the cooked chicken wings into a large bowl and pour the hot glaze over the wings.
Toss well to cover all of the wings in glaze. Garnish with grated lemon zest and fresh thyme if desired.

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Cheesy Spinach Lemon Orzo

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
½ onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2 cups finely chopped spinach
2 cloves garlic minced
Juice of one large or two small lemons
4-6 cups chicken or vegetable broth 
1lb orzo pasta
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1/3 cup freshly grated Romano cheese or Parmesan

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

 

 

Disclosure

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!

 

 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) chicken wings dollar store finds Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade lemon dishes New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Photographer New Jersey Food Stylist New Jersey Photographer Recipes summer recipes summer tablescape https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/5/the-perfect-summer-family-dinner-table Sun, 17 May 2020 12:40:00 GMT
Bayann & Adam Intimate Wedding Ceremony | Princeton NJ Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/5/bayann-adam-intimate-wedding-ceremony-princeton-nj-photographer Bayann & Adam

Arabic Wedding Ceremony

Ashley Halas Photography | New Jersey Photographer 
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Katb El Kitab, commonly referred to as the KK, is a formal Muslim marriage ceremony. Bayann and Adam chose to have this intimate marriage ceremony with their closest family members at Mara’s Restaurant in South Amboy NJ. Everything about this ceremony was flawless, especially the bride! Bayann was adorned with sparkle from head to toe, and Adam was effortlessly sharp in his black tux. Their family surrounded them with so much love and celebratory chants as the couple joined their lives. This was my first time shooting an Arabic wedding ceremony and I had such a great time! This family was so passionately supportive of Bayann and Adam, it was beautiful.

Take a look at some of my favorite shots from their day. 

 

For more information on weddings and events with Ashley Halas Photography click HERE

 

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Disclosure

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!

 


 

 

 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) intimate wedding photographer Mercer County NJ wedding photographer microwedding photographer New Jersey Photographer NJ microwedding NJ Photographer Princeton NJ wedding photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/5/bayann-adam-intimate-wedding-ceremony-princeton-nj-photographer Mon, 04 May 2020 15:05:26 GMT
Chelsea & Rick Backyard Farmhouse Wedding | New Jersey Wedding Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/5/chelsea-rick-backyard-farmhouse-wedding-new-jersey-wedding-photographer Chelsea & Rick Backyard Farmhouse Wedding

New Jersey Wedding Photographer 

Ashley Halas Photography | Hamilton New Jersey
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Rick and Chelsea were wed on their beautiful family farm in Wrightstown, New Jersey. The bride and her girls were looking beautiful with hair and make-up done by Village Salon and dresses from Fantasy Weddings by Anna Marie in Robbinsville. The bride stood out with her simply elegant gown by Rena Elle Couture. All the girls were comfortable as could be in their Tom’s footwear. The groom and his guys were effortlessly handsome, rocking new/old blue jeans and pale pink shirts dressing up their look with vests by Men’s Wearhouse. The entire wedding was lovingly hand decorated by the bride and her family! This bride was the DIY queen making her own fabulous centerpieces, bouquets and boutonnieres with flowers provided by Durr Farm in Chesterfield New Jersey. They purchased several strings lights from Amazon to decorate and create that dreamy twinkle light look under their tent.
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Images from this wedding was featured on Contemporary Weddings Magazine's blog in 2017, link below

https://www.contemporaryweddingsmagazine.com/photography/casual-family-farmstead-wedding-by-ashley-halas-photography/
 

Location: Private Residence

Catering: Top Hat Catering

Photographer: Ashley Halas Photography

Entertainment: Elite Entertainment

Flowers: Durr Farm

Wedding Cake: Kalman’s Bakery

Wedding Gown: Rena Elle Couture

Bridesmaid Dresses: Fantasy Weddings by Anna Maria

Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

Hair Studio and Makeup Artist: Village Salon

Favor Labels, Key Bottle Openers, and Wooden Honey Sticks: Amazon

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Disclosure

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!

 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) Engagement Sessions Farm Hamilton NJ Photographer Hunterdon County Engagement Photographer Hunterdon County Wedding Photographer New Jersey Photographer New Jersey Wedding NJ Engagement Photographer NJ Photographer NJ Wedding wedding https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/5/chelsea-rick-backyard-farmhouse-wedding-new-jersey-wedding-photographer Sun, 03 May 2020 17:28:53 GMT
Favorite Kitchen Essentials - Target https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/4/top-kitchen-essentials  

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Favorite Kitchen Essentials 

I've put together a list of my favorite Kitchen Essentials that I literally can not live to cook or bake another day without. I own every single item on this list (except for the super cute aprons) and absolutely love and use them all! Most were wedding presents but the rest I've picked up out of necessity over the years. Take advantage of Target's Kitchen & Dining Sale and save up to 50% on select items! I will update this list as sales change and my list of favorites grows!

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Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer $229.99 Sale | Reg: $449.99 | Save $220.00 (49% off)

4 in Mini/Smash Cake Pan Reg: $11.99

Kitchen Aid Hand Mixer $34.99 Sale  | Reg: $49.99 | Save $15.00 (30% off)

Kitchen Shears  Reg: $8.99

NutriBullet PRO Blender Reg: $79.99 (get the more powerful 900w series, you won't regret it)

OXO Garlic Press Reg: $9.99

Electric Kettle $29.99 Sale | Reg: $39.99 | Save $10.00 (25% off)

Cuisinart 8 Cup Food Processor Reg: $99.99

Stainless Steel Roasting Pan with Rack $29.24 Sale | Reg: $32.49 | Save $3.25 (10% off)

Pizza Stone $49.99 Sale | Reg: $85.00 | Save $35.01 (41% off)

12oz French Press Reg: $12.99

Off Set Spatula / Icing Knife  Reg $15.99

Honey Pot with dipper Reg: $9.99

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Serving Tray - here are a few of my favorites:

Oversized Carved Wood Tray - Hearth & Hand Reg: $39.99

Rectangle Woven Tray with Leather Handles - Hearth & Hand Reg: $24.99

16" x 2" Rectangle Tray White - Project 62 Reg: $25.49

Wood Collapsible Bed Tray - Threshold Reg: $34.99  <--- My all time favorite :) 
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And a few super cute aprons, because who doesn't need another cute apron?

Check Apron Blue - Threshold Reg: $15.99

Stripe Apron Gray - Threshold Reg: $15.99

Cotton Home Sweet Farmhouse Apron Black - Design Imports Reg: $19.99

Classic Tie Striped Linen Cooking Apron - Saro Lifestyle Reg: $56.99

Front Two Pocket Crossback Linen Cooking Apron Reg: $66.99

 

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Disclosure

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!

 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) Food Blog money New Jersey Photographer save Shop Target https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/4/top-kitchen-essentials Wed, 29 Apr 2020 21:21:55 GMT
Lemon Thyme Poppy Seed Cake with Blackberry Filling & Icing https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/4/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

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LEMON-THYME POPPY SEED CAKE

Ingredients
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

Instructions

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. 

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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 

 

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Disclosure

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!


 

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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/4/lemon-thyme-poppy-seed-cake-with-blackberry-filling-icing Wed, 29 Apr 2020 15:53:50 GMT
Moms Killer Brownies https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/4/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.

 

Ingredients
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.

 

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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/4/moms-killer-brownies Sun, 26 Apr 2020 01:17:00 GMT
Homemade Mac & Cheese https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/4/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

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INGREDIENTS

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

DIRECTIONS

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

 

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Disclosure

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!

 

 

 

 

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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/4/homemade-mac-cheese Sun, 26 Apr 2020 01:15:00 GMT
Carrot Cake Minis https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/4/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.


FOR THE CAKE
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


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


INSTRUCTIONS

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.


FOR THE FROSTING
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.

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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/4/carrot-cake-minis Mon, 20 Apr 2020 14:48:36 GMT
Angelina's Sweet 16 | Villa Mannino's | Hamilton NJ Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/3/angelinas-sweet-16-villa-mannino-s-hamilton-nj-photographer Sweet Angelina is one of my husbands cousins. So when her mother asked me to take a few portraits of her daughter for her sweet 16 I went a little overboard. This gorgeous girl has grown into a beautiful woman inside and out. She was so lovely to work with a so I'm grateful for the opportunity to capture this young woman on her special birthday. It was a super cold February evening but you wouldn't know it looking at these images! Angelina rocked her portraits and her generous family all pitched in to make the party super fun. 
Take a look at some of my favorite shots from her day below.

For more information about Event Photography with Ashley Halas Photography, click HERE 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) hamilton nj event photographer hamilton nj photographer new jersey event photographer New Jersey Photographer NJ Photographer sweet 16 photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/3/angelinas-sweet-16-villa-mannino-s-hamilton-nj-photographer Tue, 31 Mar 2020 16:57:44 GMT
First Birthday Cake Smash | Hamilton NJ Photographer | Some Bunny is One https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/3/first-birthday-cake-smash-hamilton-nj-photographer First Birthday Cake Smash Session

Some Bunny is One

Ashley Halas Photography Studio
Hamilton New Jersey

Sweet little Lucy was a pure joy to work with! Plus I can not begin to express how much I love the "some bunny is one" birthday theme. I think its adorable! Momma requested pink and white for color scheme and I added in some bunny string lights. Lucy did a great job and showed so many sides of her personality. Cake was a huge hit too. 

Below are some of my favorites from our session. Enjoy!

For more information about First Birthday Sessions by Ashley Halas Photography, click HERE 

For tips for a Great Cake Smash Session check out my previous post HERE

 

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Disclosure

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

 

 

 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) Affordable Cake Smash Cake Smash Photography First Birthday Cake Smash Session Hamilton NJ Family Photographer Hamilton NJ Photographer Mercer County Photographer New Jersey Cake Smash Photographer New Jersey Photographer NJ Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/3/first-birthday-cake-smash-hamilton-nj-photographer Tue, 31 Mar 2020 15:26:05 GMT
Apple Butter Cinnamon Swirl Bread https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/3/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.

https://bakingamoment.com/apple-butter-cinnamon-swirl-bread/

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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!

Ingredients
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

Instructions
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.

 

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Disclosure

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!

 

 

 

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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/3/apple-butter-cinnamon-swirl-bread Tue, 31 Mar 2020 14:07:42 GMT
Don't just survive, thrive working from home with children https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/3/dont-just-survive-thrive-working-from-home-with-children 90318924_10158026992959265_2420269961705422848_n90318924_10158026992959265_2420269961705422848_n

 

Don't just survive, thrive working from home with children

 

Clean Up & Prepare

Spend one day preparing the home for homeschooling and working from home. Clean up, trust me you’ll feel better and more focused working from home when the home is cleaned up. Organize yourself and prepare a clear work space for yourself and the children. This could take some time and creativity. Try to avoid using a surface that requires you to clean up your work multiple times a day like the kitchen table/counter or coffee table. Instead use a less often used surface in the common area. For example I have a buffet/bar table in our dining room, we do not use it regularly. A few month ago when my son started pulling himself up and grabbing everything in sight I cleared the bar of all its contents, dropped a table cloth over it and moved all my work to the bar. It’s in a central location so I can keep an eye on my crazy boy, the surface is high enough that he can not reach my important papers or keyboard, I can also choose to sit or stand to get my work done. Keep in mind your normal work place is not without it’s fair share of distractions. If you truly think about it I’m sure you can realize a good two hours if not more is taken from your typically day at work anyways. Commuting to and from the office, morning coffee, chatting, more coffee, water/bathroom breaks with more chatting, unanticipated issues, lunch break, more chatting, plus any time it takes you to walk from floor to floor or office to office. Distractions are everywhere and can consume your focus if you let it. This is why taking one day to prepare your home to be an effective work environment is super helpful.

 

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Set that routine and stick to it - it’s not bullsh*t.

Please do not just “wing it”. You will be burnt out and totally overwhelmed in a week. This is not just an extended weekend we have to survive and things will be back to normal in a day or two. This is possibly the new normal for some lasting at least two full weeks and for many much longer. Setting a routine is crucial to thrive instead of merely surviving this time at home. Routines are hard to get into for adults let alone children and resistance is just a given. Be prepared mentally, take some time to thoughtfully put together a simple routine that is realistic instead of idealistic. It is important to stay realistic and keep things simple and not expect too much from everyone including yourself. This way you can not be disappointed in yourself or feel like you’re failing at this. It is important to feel you are rocking it at home to keep your stamina up and stay mentally in good spirits and motivated for weeks or even months. Keep it simple and take the days on one at a time and even take each day in sections.

Morning 

Early morning:
Wake on time, sleeping in does not set the correct tone for the day. Monday- Friday are work/school days and should remain that way even when staying home. Run the day just like any other busy weekday morning. Get dressed, eat a simple breakfast and clean it up quickly, do not get carried away cleaning the whole kitchen just because you don’t have to run out the door to work. Communicate to the household and be clear about the plan for the rest of the morning until lunch. This creates a goal not to large with a clear end in sight for everyone.

Late morning:
My child is not school age however after breakfast he is set off to go play on his own and watch his movies while I sit down and get to work. No need to create a magical experience or creative craft for him. Just set them off to play or do school work in a separate room (even if it’s just the next room) so you can get down to business. Remember, we are working from home not finding our new careers as the most fun childcare establishment in town. Of course there will be multiple disruptions. I stop frequently to stop my son from climbing the bookshelves, hand out crackers, refill sippy cups, and change diapers, for many others it may be stopping siblings from fighting, helping with school work or answering a million little questions. But I give myself 2-3 hours (8-10/11am) to continuously commit to getting right back to work after every distraction.

Afternoon

Before lunch:
Taking 30 minutes to actively play and engage with my son before lunch makes us both feel better. He’s finally getting the attention he’s been wanting all morning and I feel better knowing I’m not ignoring his need for my attention. We choose play that lets him show me what he’s learned or can now do so he feels we’ve really connected. For example my son works on getting his shapes into the right holes, so we do it together and celebrate every time he gets it right. For those with older kids this could mean barging in on your kids for a tickle fight or initiating play time. If your kids are still young like mine this is also probably nap time but for older kids this is a good opportunity to let them take a little break from school work while lunch is being prepared(Free time) Eat lunch as a family and communicate and celebrate whats been accomplished so far and what still needs to be finished before later afternoon free time can begin.

After lunch:
Everyone back to work, however to keep everyone's mind positive instead of saying or feeling as though everyone is “getting back to work” talk and think about how you are simply finishing up at this point. Take the next 2-3 hours to “finish up” all work for the day. Believe me this doesn’t sound that important but really it is. Mentally forcing a second wind can be very difficult to encourage both within ourselves and our children. Especially if the morning was already a difficult one. But the reality is you can not squeeze a full workday into 3 hours of your morning, you need more time. Thinking and speaking as though everyone simply needs to finish up for the day puts us mentally in the right place to push through the afternoon.

Early evening:
Know when to call it quits for the day. Working from home is an endless struggle of limit setting. Limits are so good for productivity both mentally and physically. Mentally it allows us to see the end and know what we have to do to get there. Physically we get more accomplished overall with limits because we don’t feel overwhelmed. When you work from home it can be easy to think you’ll just work all the time whenever it’s convenient but that’s a slippery slope. Trust me. Be kind and understanding to yourself and realize you are doing your best to maintain normal productivity in an abnormal situation. This is tough on us as adults but our children are struggling to navigate this time as well. As a child and even for us adults being home means comfort and a feeling of being totally free. So when limits are set our children and ourselves included can more easily navigate what’s expected for each part of the day and feel that freedom feeling when 3, 4 or 5pm rolls around.

Evening
When the day is done, enjoy your time home! Get down on the floor and play with your kids because you don’t have to sit in an hour of traffic to get home to them, they don't have practice or recital, so you do in fact have the time to play now. Don’t forget being at home and still having work to do is a blessing! You are still employed, still bringing in that paycheck when many others stuck home unable to work or continue bringing in a paycheck. Your work is tough and time home is stressful but you are very fortunate in this moment. Fortunate for the beautiful little humans who drive you nuts and fortune to have a job that allows you to work from home. Enjoy the madness while it lasts and enjoy the extra time spent with your children and spouses. Make this a time of bonding and growth that your family can look back on and realize you got to spend valuable time as a family. Try not to focus on all that makes this time difficult, instead count your blessings and be well.

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Let's talk procrastination

Working from home, at some point your mind may begin to wonder and the overwhelming feeling of all that’s around you may begin to take over. When we are home we tend to think of all the things we should or could be doing, I mean, how could we not. It's all literally right in front of us. That home improvement project still isn’t finished and keeps catching your eye, the dishes are pilling up from all the snacks, the floor needs to vacuumed, an errand needs to be run or a phone call needs to be made, laundry that never ends. As you think of each thing, write it down and get it off your mind. You can take care of it once your “work day” is complete or on the weekend like you normally would. When you write it down it not only can leave your mind but you have now literally done something about it. You wrote it down, and now its there to remind you later to get it done so that tomorrow it does not bug you again. Even if you don't get to it later and it bugs you again tomorrow, well you've already done all you can do about it in this moment. You wrote it down, and it can get done over the weekend or whenever you can get to it like you normally would if you were going into the workplace daily. Consider how when you are stuck at work those dishes just sit there and that floor just stays unvaccumed, because out of sight out of mind. Those errands wait until your lunch break or you return calls on the drive home. Instead of battling procrastination on your work write it all down and when you call it quits for the day or the weekend comes refer to the list you created. 

 

Don't take this opportunity to be super mom

I mentioned before be realistic not idealistic. Sure we image this amazing at home structure and all this creative play time we will create and the luxury of getting work done in our homes without having to change out of our pjs. But the reality of something we always dreamed and longed for while sitting in the office is a bit different than how we've always imagined it would be in reality. If all you accomplish is half a days worth of work, call it a win. It's better than nothing and you'll try to do better tomorrow. After all, you only just started your work from home lifestyle. Give yourself and your family time to get into the swing of things, get used to their "new normal". Each day you will perfect this new lifestyle more and more, at the same time some days will be a total disaster. That's just how it goes. Try not to beat yourself up, or let your vision of how you want work from home life to look take over your reality. Keep things simple, realistic and for lack of a better word easy. I have found in the last 5 years working from home, the less I expect of myself each day the more I actually get done and the better I feel. I set a small work "must-do" list and anything extra I get done just makes me feel more accomplished. You will find once you and the whole family get into the swing of things the more "extra" work days you will have.

 

How do you manage through the day? Do you have any tips to add? Questions or comments? I'd love to hear it all! Leave a comment and let me know what your think or help me out and give me your best advice!

Stay healthy everyone!

 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) New Jersey Photographer work from home work from home tips https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/3/dont-just-survive-thrive-working-from-home-with-children Tue, 17 Mar 2020 19:36:07 GMT
Oatmeal Banana Muffins https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/3/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.   

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Ingredients
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

Directions
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.

 

 

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Disclosure

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!

 

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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/3/oatmeal-banana-muffins Fri, 13 Mar 2020 02:30:00 GMT
Studio Maternity Session | Hamilton NJ Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/2/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!

 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) NJ Photography Studio Hamilton NJ Photographer Maternity Photographer New Jersey Photographer NJ Maternity Photographer Princeton Maternity Photographer Princeton NJ Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/2/studio-maternity-session-hamilton-nj-photographer Sat, 29 Feb 2020 02:34:22 GMT
Save on Wedding Invitations and Holiday Greeting Cards with Basic Invite https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/2/save-on-wedding-event-invitations-with-basic-invite I'm so happy 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 off 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 recieve free shipping and 20% off any purchase, but I also offer my clients 40% off through the holiday season on all holiday greeting card designs! How sweet is that? Basic Invites pricing is already competitive, couple that with my discounts and you are set!

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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. 

Below you can see samples of how I was able to fully customize a few website designs. Click the "original sample" to view how they are offered on Basic Invite and then click "custom sample" to view how I much I was able to customized them!

 

ORIGINAL SAMPLE WEDDING WEBSITE

CUSTOM SAMPLE WEDDING WEBSITE

 

ORIGINAL SAMPLE SWEET 16 BIRTHDAY PARTY WEBSITE

CUSTOM SAMPLE SWEET 16 BIRTHDAY PARTY WEBSITE

 

ORIGINAL 1ST BIRTHDAY PARTY WEBSITE

CUSTOM SAMPLE 1ST BIRTHDAY PARTY WEBSITE

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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!

 

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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.

WINE BRIDAL SHOWER INVITATIONS

PANCAKES & PANTIES FOIL BRIDAL SHOWER INVITATIONS

SPA DAY BOUQUET BACHELORETTE PARTY INVITATIONS

I DO BBQ BRIDAL SHOWER INVITATIONS

MANIS & MIMOSAS BRIDAL SHOWER INVITATIONS

MISS TO MRS. BRIDAL SHOWER INVITATIONS


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**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.

 

 

 

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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/2/save-on-wedding-event-invitations-with-basic-invite Fri, 28 Feb 2020 21:40:00 GMT
First Birthday & Cakes Smash Sessions Best of 2019 | Hamilton NJ Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/2/first-birthday-cakes-smash-sessions-best-of-2019-hamilton-nj-photographer First Birthday & Cakes Smash Sessions Best of 2019

1st Birthday & Cake Smash Sessions $375
40 minute Birthday Portrait Session
40 minute Cake Smash Session
High resolution digital images
Up to 3 Outfits Changes
One 5' two layer Smash Cake 
Private Online Viewing & Ordering Gallery
Personal Print Release

Add-on: 15 minute Family Portraits $50 | USB containing Complete Collection of Images $75 | 25mi+ Travel Fee $25-$200

Session Locations : Sessions can be held in my natural light studio, the comfort of your own backyard or at an outdoor location of your choosing such as a local park, river, beach, woods, creek or canal. 

The Props : I provide your choice custom color ribbon or balloon banner, solid color latex (helium too), white "O-N-E" letters, cake stand (2), small wooden chair, rustic stool, sets of pearls, ect. 

All clothing, tutus, hair accessories, signage and additional props are provided by you. 

The Cake : I provide one 5 inch 2 layer smash cake; your choice: vanilla/chocolate cake & icing color. All cake toppers are provided by you

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(Ashley Halas Photography) Affordable Cake Smash Cake Smash Photography First Birthday Cake Smash Advice New Jersey Cake Smash Photographer New Jersey Photographer NJ Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/2/first-birthday-cakes-smash-sessions-best-of-2019-hamilton-nj-photographer Fri, 28 Feb 2020 04:44:25 GMT
Backyard DIY Wedding | Ewing New Jersey | Ashley Halas Photography https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/2/backyard-diy-wedding-ewing-new-jersey-ashley-halas-photography This was one of my favorite weddings of 2019. Farzana pulled of the most spectacular backyard DIY wedding I have ever seen! She is seriously the DIY queen, creating a magical atmosphere under a small white tent in her parents backyard. This intimate celebration with the bride and grooms closest family, took place on July 20th 2019. We met at Loveless Nature Preserve in Ewing NJ for family and bridal portraits before heading to the backyard reception. Farzana, with help from her family (and Pinterest) created the most beautiful floral chandeliers, simply but stunning centerpieces and you would never guess the plates and utensils were plastic with the way she styled them. She truly brought her wedding dreams to life.


Hair stylist: The Philly Hair & Makeup Co.
Make-up Artist: The Philly Hair & Makeup Co.
Brides Dress: David's Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal
Tuxes/Suits/Vests: Macy's
Brides Shoes: Burlington
Brides Jewelry: Zales Jewelers
Flowers: DIY- Michaels Stores/Joann Fabric & Craft
Lighting: DIY- Costco
Event Planner: Bride/Groom
DJ/Entertainment: N/A- Personal equipment used
Photo booth: DIY- Joann Fabric & Craft/Michaels Stores/Hobby Lobby/Party City
Food & Beverage: Homemade
Cake Baker: Sam’s Club
Décor/decorator/rentals: DIY- Joann Fabric & Craft/Michaels Stores/Hobby Lobby/Party City
Tables/Chairs/Linens: DIY Amazon linens; Rentals- Party Providers, Wehrung’s Party Rental
Invitations & Stationary: DIY- Hobby Lobby


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(Ashley Halas Photography) backyard wedding diy wedding hamilton nj photographer intimate wedding New Jersey Photographer nj wedding photographer princeton nj wedding photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/2/backyard-diy-wedding-ewing-new-jersey-ashley-halas-photography Fri, 28 Feb 2020 03:39:41 GMT
Hamilton NJ Cake Smash Photographer - Tips for a Cake Smash Photo Session https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/2/hamilton-nj-cake-smash-photographer---tips-for-a-cake-smash-photo-session Affordable Hamilton New Jersey Mercer County First Birthday Cake Smash Photography 

How to Prepare for a Great Cake Smash Photo Session

Babies do not always smash or smile, and that's OK!
All parents hope that their little one will right dive in and make a mess of the cake with a huge smile on their face. After all, that’s what you are paying for! But that doesn’t always happen and that’s okay. Not every child wants to dive right in and make a mess or have the time of their life with tons of smiles, no matter what tricks we try. It’s important to know that even if they don’t turn their cake into a gooey pile of crumbs, and every shot isn't with a huge grin, I am still able to catch fun images of them poking at the cake or daintily picking off bits of icing and show many sides of their personality. Sometimes we may need to strategically place a little icing to help things along, other times mom or dad may have to get involved in the pictures themselves or we may just have to come to terms with the fact that they are only one year olds and one year olds do not behave the way we hope or expect most of the time. Capturing the true memory of their session and a range of emotions, and all their different expressions is sometimes better than an album full of smiles.

Come prepared for a mess
One thing parents don’t often realize is that they too will likely become covered in cake and icing during the session, your little one will be running/crawling straight towards you with icing coated hands. Planning to return home after the session to clean everybody up rather than head out for a full day is a good idea. Also you're not going to want to put them in their carseat sticky from the frosting, so a change of clothes to go home in is a good idea along with a bag to put the smash clothes into.

Cake and icing choices matter
When choosing cake flavor and icing color, I suggest choosing a white cake over chocolate or red velvet. Bright or pastel covered icing seems to photograph better than chocolate, with the exception of red. When chocolate or red icing is smeared everywhere it can resemble things less appetizing.

Customize your session
I encourage my clients to make their own cake smash session choices. I supply any color balloons and a ribbon banner to go with pretty much any color scheme you may have in mind, and I am always willing to work with your own props and decor as well. I have had people bring chalkboards, custom banners, pompoms, you name it - but keep it simple so that the focus is on your baby.

Book in advance
Book your session early so that you get the date you want. Some parents want their cake smash pictures ready for their child’s actual birthday to print out and display, and in that case, the session should be done at least 2 weeks before the event.

Choosing an outfit
Pick an outfit that will be okay if it stains. Don’t have your baby wear an outfit that is a family heirloom, or if you intend it to be worn again, because it is probably going to stain in the cake smashing process. Buy something cute but not expensive. Rompers, tutus are cute for girls, or a little diaper cover or jeans with suspenders if you have a boy.


Bring snacks/drinks
It’s a good idea to bring some snacks and something to drink preferably water for your baby. We take lots of breaks to keep baby happy and interested without over stimulating. Water break during the cake smashing helps to clear your littles ones mouth and avoid choking/gagging. Tiny bite-size snacks such as puffs or cheerios are best so they can be hidden in the cake frosting. It’s also a good idea to bring along a favorite toy.

Cake topper
Top the cake with something cute. Check out Etsy or Amazon for cake toppers such as a sparkly cursive “one” or a cute little phrase or a tinny banner

A good mood is key
Make sure your baby is well-rested and isn’t starving before the shoot. Yes, you want them to smash and eat the cake, but if they’re starving, they’re going to be grumpy. And if they tired, they’re going to be grumpy, too. And that of course won’t make for good pictures. You want a happy and smiling baby in your pictures! 

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Hamilton NJ 1st Birthday Cake Smash SessionHamilton NJ 1st Birthday Cake Smash Session AHP-1AHP-1

$375 Birthday & Cake Smash Sessions Include:
30-40 minute Birthday Portrait Session
30-40 minute Cake Smash Session
30 high resolution digital images
Up to 3 Outfits Changes
One Location - Props Included
One 5' two layer Smash Cake Provided
Private Online Viewing & Ordering Gallery
Personal Print Release

Add-on:
15 minute Family Portraits $50
Download Complete Collection of Final Images $50
USB containing Complete Collection of Images $75
25mi+ Travel Fee $25-$200

Session Location : Sessions can be held in my natural light studio located in Hamilton NJ, the comfort of your own backyard or at an outdoor location of your choosing such as a local park, river, beach, woods, creek or canal.

The Props : I provide your choice custom color ribbon or balloon banner, solid color latex balloons (helium too), white "O-N-E" letters, cake stand (2), small wooden chair, rustic stool, sets of pearls, ect.

All clothing, tutus, hair accessories, signage and additional props are provided by you.

The Cake: If you would like to provide the cake, please keep in mind my cake stands can accommodate up to a 6" cake. All cake toppers are provided by you (if you are interested in using fresh flowers please let me know - I will provide) If you would like me to provide the cake please choose cake and frosting colors. My cakes are made of boxed chocolate or vanilla cake mix and a basic homemade buttercream food dyed to your requested colors.

Within 24 HRS of your session a preview of your session will be available via my websites private viewing gallery - a select few may be posted to Ashley Halas Photography Facebook Page and @AHalasPhotography Instagram. 
Within 14 days of your session your complete collection of final images will be available on your private online viewing gallery for download and print purchase. 

To book a session please email AshleyHalasPhotography@gmail.com or leave me a little message here on my contact page : )

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(Ashley Halas Photography) Affordable Cake Smash Cake Smash Photography First Birthday Cake Smash Advice New Jersey Cake Smash Photographer New Jersey Photographer NJ Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2020/2/hamilton-nj-cake-smash-photographer---tips-for-a-cake-smash-photo-session Wed, 05 Feb 2020 18:30:00 GMT
Chocolate Bottom Hazelnut Cookies https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/11/chocolate-bottom-hazelnut-cookies
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Chocolate Bottom Hazelnut Cookies

INGREDIENTS
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup light or dark brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2½ cups hazelnut flour, such as Bob's Red Mill
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
2-4 tablespoons butter

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 375˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cream together the butter and sugars; add in the egg and vanilla and mix until smooth. Turn mixer off. Add the hazelnut flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine all ingredients.
Scoop into small balls (about a tablespoon) and place on the prepared baking sheet. Press gently into discs and bake until golden and lightly browned on the bottom, about 7-8 minutes. Let cool completely.
Melt the chocolate and butter over low heat, start with two tablespoons of butter and add more as needed. Dip the bottom of the cookies into the melted chocolate, twirl, lift and shake off excess chocolate. Return cookies to the cooling rack upside down and allow chocolate to harden completely.

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(Ashley Halas Photography) Bob's red mill cookie recipe cookies Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist hazelnut cookie hazelnut flour Hazelnut Flour Recipe Homemade New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Stylist New Jersey Photographer Recipes https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/11/chocolate-bottom-hazelnut-cookies Fri, 08 Nov 2019 20:48:00 GMT
Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Cream Cheese Icing https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/10/pumpkin-donuts-with-maple-cream-cheese-icing  

 

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Pumpkin Doughnuts

Ingredients
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons pumpkin spice (+1/4 tsp allspice if desired)
½ cup brown sugar
6 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


Maple Cream Cheese Icing:
2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
4 oz cream cheese (must be room temperature)
6-8 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Lightly grease a donut pan
In a small bowl, mix the sugar, pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice 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 pumpkin/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 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, lightly grease and repeat filling the pan.

For the icing, in a medium bowl, add powdered sugar. Add the cream cheese and 6 tablespoons maple syrup, add more syrup as needed to reach desired consistency. Whisk until smooth. Dip 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. 


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(Ashley Halas Photography) Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Halloween Recipes Holiday Food Blog Homemade New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Photographer New Jersey Food Stylist New Jersey Photographer NJ Photographer pumpkin donuts pumpkin recipes pumpkin spice https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/10/pumpkin-donuts-with-maple-cream-cheese-icing Wed, 23 Oct 2019 19:36:06 GMT
Autumn & Holiday Mini Sessions 2019 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/10/autumn-mini-sessions Autumn & Holiday Mini Sessions

Here's what you need to know..

 

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Session Details

Mini Sessions will run 15-20 minutes, this is the perfect amount of time for families with small children. In my experience the "perfect" family portrait is captured within the first 5-10 minutes. The remainder of the session is mostly candids and playful portraits.

 

Mini Sessions yield about 20-60 images, it all depends on the size of the family and vibe of your individual session. I provide as many images as I feel are worthy of your final collection. All images delivered are enhanced for optimal light and clarity. No raw images will be provided.

 

I provide high resolution digital images so downloading your entire collection of images can take up a large amount of space on your personal computer or laptop. Consider adding on a flash drive containing your complete collection of images for an extra $10

 

Complete collection of final images will be delivered via email containing a link to your password protected online viewing gallery from my website, where you can download all your images. I always suggest downloading your images to your desktop computer or laptop rather than your phone or ipad for optimal quality when printing. 10 image preview is delivered within 48 hours followed by complete collection within 14 days.

 

High quality professional prints may be purchased separately through my website (prints starting at $4/4x6). If you prefer to print your images or create greeting cards I suggest using a professional quality printing site such as Artifact Uprising for prints and Basic Invite for holiday/greeting cards. Don't forget to use code: ASHLEYHALAS to recieve 40% off your Holiday Cards with BasicInvite.com 

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Tips for a great Mini Session

  •  Mini Sessions are scheduled back to back, please arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your session. This will give you time to find parking, wake, dress and prepare the little ones, walk over and be ready for your session at your scheduled start time.

 

  • Coordinate outfits but avoid dressing exactly alike. Choose outfits and colors that complement each rather than match from head to toe. Create a color palette by choosing one or two base colors that are neutral then add a pop of color that compliments the season, such as olive green, mustard, burgundy or dark blue. Deep warm colors look best in the fall. Avoid bright or neon colors such as orange, red or bright green. Remember the fall brings with it damp environments so try to keep this in mind when choosing footwear.

 

  • If you have very young children in your family consider bringing along a small treat such as m&m's, or puffs. However your discretion and only break them out as a last resort to encourage a smile or cooperation. 

 

  • Young children do not always cooperate or behave exactly as we hope despite our best efforts and that's okay! Mini sessions are most successful when mom and dad go with the flow and maintain their calm. Be prepared to get playful with the kids and always remember to maintain your smile.

 

  • Do not bring along your child's lovey or favorite toy unless you are okay with it ending up in your photos. Trying to take away a toy once it's time to start your session most times triggers a meltdown.

 

  • Be well rested and eat prior to your session. Babies, kids, even dads all feel better, have more patience, and are in a better mood overall when they aren't hungry or anticipating a meal. Don't skip nap time or choose a time slot that conflicts with naps. 

 

  • Plan a fun activity for after your session so your little ones have something they are looking forward to and can be reminded of throughout the session.

 

  • Most importantly, don't stress and enjoy your session. Mini Sessions are designed to be fun for the whole family and interactive. Enjoy this 15 minutes together just being yourselves and try to forget about being the "perfect" family. 

 

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Weather (Autumn Mini Sessions ONLY)

Because all Autumn Mini Sessions are held at outdoor locations I will be monitoring the weather closely over the next few days. If there is a 50% chance or more of rain I will send an email at 6:00am the day of your session letting you know if we will be rescheduling for the rain date.

The ideal time to shoot Autumn Mini Sessions is short, lasting only about three weeks. Because the leaves change and fall so quickly I'm only able to offer one rain date. In the unfortunate and unlikely event it rains on both your original booking date and rain date 50% of your deposit will be credited towards a future session (excluding Holiday Minis)


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(Ashley Halas Photography) Hamilton NJ Photographer Mercer County New Jersey New Jersey Fall Mini Sessions new jersey family photographer New Jersey Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/10/autumn-mini-sessions Wed, 23 Oct 2019 09:38:00 GMT
Simple Perfect Chili https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/10/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. 

 

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Ingredients
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
 
Instructions
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!

 



 

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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/10/simple-perfect-chili Wed, 16 Oct 2019 22:48:00 GMT
Snickerdoodle Blondies https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/10/snickerdoodle-blondies Snickerdoodle Blondies

 

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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!

Ingredients:

  • 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

Instructions: 

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

 

 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) Recipes https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/10/snickerdoodle-blondies Wed, 16 Oct 2019 22:47:00 GMT
Orange Coriander Mini Cakes https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/10/OrangeCorianderMiniCakes  

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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! 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) Recipes https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/10/OrangeCorianderMiniCakes Wed, 16 Oct 2019 22:46:00 GMT
Homemade Cold Apple Cider https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/10/homemade-cold-apple-cider Homemade Cold Apple Cider AHP-1AHP-1

Ingredients
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 

Directions
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!

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

For crystal clear ice fill mold with distilled/boiled water

https://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/novelty-ice-mold-skull/
 

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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/10/homemade-cold-apple-cider Wed, 16 Oct 2019 22:45:00 GMT
Apple Butter Spice Loafs with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Icing https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/10/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! 

 

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Apple Butter Spice Loafs with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients

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

Instructions 

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions 

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
 

Instructions

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.
 

 

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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/10/apple-butter-spice-loafs-with-brown-sugar-cream-cheese-icing Wed, 16 Oct 2019 22:44:00 GMT
Spooky Gooey Halloween Cookies https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/10/spooky-gooey-halloween-cookies Spooky Gooey Halloween Cookies

 

The secret to getting your cookies extra spooky is dutch processed cocoa powder giving your cookies a noticeably darker hue. Pair that with eyeball candies and these Spooky Gooey Chocolate Cookies are a sure crowd pleaser this Halloween. Super fudgy, intensely chocolatey, extremely easy to make. Just 10 ingredients and 10 minutes! Makes about 24 cookies.

Ingredients

1 cup softened butter

1 cup granulated white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 large egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup dutch-processed cocoa

2 & 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips (optional)

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 eyeball candies

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F 

Stir butter and the sugars just until combined. Add eggs, vanilla, and cocoa and mix just until combined. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Don’t overmix at any step or your cookies will dry out. Fold in chocolate & white chocolate chips.

Chill dough about 1 hour. Scoop and roll 24 equal sized balls out of the dough and place on greased baking sheets with enough space in-between. Press them down to a thickness of a thumb. Place eyeball candies on top if desired. Bake for about 8-9 minutes. I baked mine exactly 8 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes until they get firm enough to move them. Then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) Chocolate Cookies Cookies Double Chocolate Cookies Eyeball Cookies Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Halloween Halloween Baking Halloween Cookies Halloween Recipes Holiday Food Blog Homemade Homemade Cookies New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Stylist Recipes https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/10/spooky-gooey-halloween-cookies Wed, 16 Oct 2019 22:41:00 GMT
Potato Leek Soup & Homemade White Bread https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/10/potato-leek-soup-homemade-white-bread Potato Leek Soup & Homemade White Bread

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Potato Leek Soup

Ingredients

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

 

Instructions

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.

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Bob's Red Mill AMISH COUNTRY LOAF

INGREDIENTS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

  • 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.


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Disclosure

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!


 

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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/10/potato-leek-soup-homemade-white-bread Thu, 03 Oct 2019 19:57:07 GMT
Decadent Hot Chocolate https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/9/decadent-hot-chocolate Hot Chocolate

This recipe makes about two servings

Ingredients

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
 

Directions 

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
 

 

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Disclosure

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!

 

 

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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/9/decadent-hot-chocolate Fri, 13 Sep 2019 18:11:00 GMT
Gianna's Sweet 16 | Ashley Halas Photography | NJ Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/8/giannas-sweet-16-ashley-halas-photography-nj-photographer Gianna's Sweet 16

Hilton Garden Inn Hamilton | NJ Photographer


One of my favorite things about my job is my ability to capture the special events and milestone moments in the lives of my family and friends. So when my husbands cousin asked me to photograph her daughter's sweet 16 celebration I was thrilled! ..and let's be honest, I probably would have brought my camera and taken a few shots anyways. 

I've had to pleasure of watching Gianna grow into an absolutely beautiful young woman over the last 10+ years. Her personality could not be contained and shined so brightly through all of her images. Sixteen is such an amazing age, where you're grown enough to be treated like an adult but young enough to still have your entire life ahead of you. Hands down one of the best years of anyone's life. 

Wishing a lifetime of adventure and all the happiness a heart could bare to this gorgeous young lady.

 

For more information on have Ashley Halas Photography capture your next event please visit my website HERE or connect with me on Facebook and Instagram 

 

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Disclosure

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!


 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) hamilton nj event photographer hamilton nj photographer new jersey event photographer New Jersey Photographer NJ Photographer sweet 16 photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/8/giannas-sweet-16-ashley-halas-photography-nj-photographer Fri, 23 Aug 2019 17:45:59 GMT
Cherry Tomato & Summer Squash Champagne Cream Sauce Pasta https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/8/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. 

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Ingredients
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

Preparation
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

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Disclosure

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!

 

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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/8/cherry-tomato-summer-squash-champagne-cream-sauce-pasta Fri, 09 Aug 2019 16:00:00 GMT
My 8 Breastfeeding Essentials https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/8/top-8-breastfeeding-essentials 8 Breastfeeding Essentials

To celebrate Breastfeeding Awareness Month and World Breastfeeding Week ( August 1st - August 7th ) 


I've put together a list of 8 breastfeeding brands, products and a few recipes that have truly made my breastfeeding experience comfortable and easier than I imagined it would be. I found many of these products on my own from research I did prior to giving birth to my son. Some I came across more recently as my needs have changed throughout this journey. These are the products, brands and recipes that have worked best for me and may not be a good fit for every momma. But if you are able to find one thing about this post helpful I think sometimes that’s all we need to make all the difference. 

 

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#1 Intentional Eating

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed my child but I was definitely scared of how my experience would be after doing far too much reading on other women’s difficulties on this journey while I was pregnant. I had only read stories of struggle and pain however my experience for the most part has not only been relatively easy but one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had. I’m happy that I can provide my son with not only nourishment but comfort in a way nobody else can for him. Personally I have struggled to maintain a healthy weight my whole life so I was always concerned I would lose too much weight and not be able to produce enough milk to fill my son’s belly. But I did my research and decided not to care about “bouncing back in time for summer” or anything else except being a healthy mother for my baby. I have not lost any weight since my son was born and that’s just fine with me. Reading that it takes 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day to maintain a healthy milk supply, I was super nervous I would not be able to maintain. But though more research I found more important than counting calories was which foods I chose to eat. Being an adult who never particularly liked any vegetables, I had to get creative in how I would consume the right foods. I focused on foods that already seemed to be a part of my diet that are known to support and even increase milk supply such as: old fashioned oats, spinach, garlic, carrots, chickpeas, sesame seeds, and ginger root. These are the foods I knew I could make a large part of my everyday life. You’d be amazed at how many things you can throw some spinach in and not even notice, and I mean who doesn’t love hummus – it’s loaded with chickpeas and sesame seed. Also oatmeal cookies and banana oatmeal muffins became my breakfast.

You can check out my blog for recipes packed with the foods mentioned above.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Oatmeal Banana Muffins
Creamy Spinach/Basil Pesto Pasta with Raspberry Balsamic Chicken Thighs
Classic Super Creamy Hummus
Cheesy Spinach Sundried Tomato Pasta with Meatballs

 

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#2 Belly Bandit - The Mother Tucker® Nursing Tank 

Of course, I needed to still look and feel good once I got into the flow of mommyhood and began to slowly become a human again and get out of the house. With my new body came the need for new clothes that I could feel confident feeding my son while in public. Just like anyone else, no matter how content you are with yourself or your choices, it’s still human nature to feel uncomfortable with judgmental eyes all around. Just like any new mom I bought myself one of those cute cover-ups and thought I was set, nope. My son hates it, won’t feed under it and is constantly pulling it off his head, especially in the summer heat. So that didn’t work. During my pregnancy my husband stumbled across Belly Bandit, we were both drawn to the belly wrap compression products they offered, which are great but after purchasing the popular Viscose from Bamboo belly wrap I quickly realized that though it was great for the days following birth it was not practical for me to continue wearing daily. It worked perfectly as it should post-delivery, flattening my tummy and helping my body contract back into place. It worked so well in fact I was selected as “Bandita of the Month” for March 2019 but a few weeks later I just wanted to be more comfortable and enjoy skin to skin with my son without constantly removing my belly wrap. Because I liked the belly wraps results so much I decided to give other products in their line a try. I found several options that suited my needs but The Mother Tucker® Nursing Tank was by far my favorite. It provided compression support for my belly as well as convenient discrete nursing. I also enjoyed the Belly Bandit Perfect Nursing Tank, Belly Bandit Perfect Nursing Dress, and Mother Tucker Scoop Neck

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#3 Kindred Bravely - The Marvella Luxe Maternity & Nursing Underwire Free Bra
One of the most important things my nurses and lactation consultant suggested for self-care was to get myself a very supportive and comfortable bra with no underwire. Because we are on a tight budget I didn’t listen and went on Amazon and purchased what was probably the cheapest nursing bra 4-pack I could find. Needless to say they fell apart after a few washes and were just the frumpiest bras you could ever image and none of my tops or dresses looked good with them. I guess you could say they were at least comfortable but I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel on nice looking bras just yet. Funny enough while scrolling on Instagram I saw a sponsored post for Kindred Bravely and the girl in the picture was wearing a super normal and comfortable looking nursing bra, interest officially sparked. I checked out the site, used the signup coupon and purchased two bras, black and nude. These bras are soft, supportive, comfortable and the best part is they offer different styles to suit my various needs. The Sublime Hands-Free Pumping & Nursing Bra was such a good investment so that I could pump and continue to work on my computer at the same time. My favorite is The Marvella Luxe Maternity & Nursing Underwire Free Bra. This one looks beautiful under all my cute tops and dresses and I can’t wait to purchase their new Lace Nursing Bralette. They always have a bundle and save discount and run sales pretty often. (currently you can use code BRAVE20 for 20% off)
I will say one thing I didn’t like was The Organic Cotton Maternity & Nursing Tank. I received this free because I won a giveaway on Instagram, I don’t know about the rest of their clothing line because I have not tried it yet but this tank was too thick, stiff and just not comfortable. 

 

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#4 Lansinoh Nursing Pads
Lansinoh Nursing Pads
have not let me down once. I had a lot of trouble with leakage my first month or two, along with a painful let down so I always had a feeling of dread the moment I felt that flush of pain. After a little online searching it looks like everyone can agree these nursing pads are prime. I have been able to find them on Amazon, Target, Walmart, just about everywhere. I felt a little wasteful using disposable nursing pads but washing reusable ones just didn’t fit my lifestyle with how often I needed them, I choose to save the planet other ways and indulge in this convenience. Plus because they has a stick on application I have be able to use them when wearing backless strapless dresses and tops without fear

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Above photo: Jennifer Lynn Photography

#5 Milkies Milk-Saver Breast Milk Collectors 
Going through all these disposable nursing pads brought me to find Milkies Milk-Saver Breast Milk Collectors. Talk about a game changer! I wear these around the house and every time I nurse or pump. I can collect an extra 4-6oz a day just by wearing these. For weeks I was obsessed with filling up those 8oz freezer bags to build up a stash and these made the whole effort practically effortless. I grab mine off Amazon but I’ve seen them at Target too.


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#6 Earth Mama Organics Milkmaid Tea 
Because I’m always anxious about my supply, I drink Earth Mama Organics Milkmaid Tea every morning. Now this I have heard is truly not for every mom or their babes, but for me and my son it works great! It’s loaded with fenugreek, fennel, milk thistle and Red Raspberry leaves. I drink it to give myself peace of mind that I’m doing all I can to support healthy milk production and the cute little notes on each tea bag makes me smile every morning.

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#7 Earth Mama Organics Nipple Butter
I have yet to have a single issue with painful/sore nipples and I credit that all to this lovely nipple butter. 100% organic and you don’t need to wash it off before baby nurses. I actually don’t even remember to use it every day and it still keeps my nipples happy and healthy

 

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#8 The Jones Market – Nursing Necklaces
These necklaces saved my skin! Literally!  My baby boy loves to pinch, tear and scratch at my skin when he nurses but the moment I bought a couple of these he now has something else to do with his hand while he nurses. No more frustration for him while I’m constantly trying to grab his hand and no more pain for my poor skin! They’re also great for teething. We don’t have to carry around a toy that inevitably gets dirty or dropped on the floor, and since I’m not wearing expensive chains for him to tug on anymore anyways this is a cute replacement for me. I bought a couple in different shapes, sizes and colors to match whatever I’m wearing. The best part is they aren’t silicone so they won’t collect every piece of lint in a hundred mile radius like the one I got from the baby store.

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That's my top 8 breastfeeding essentials! I hope I have highlighted at least one brand, product or recipe that will help another momma on her journey. Advice, questions and comments are welcome as I'm new to this experience and hope to continue for another 6-9 months! 

Happy breastfeeding month ladies! 

 

 

 

Disclosure

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!



 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) breastfeeding breastfeeding advice Breastfeeding essentials breastfeeding must haves breastfeeding week New Jersey Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/8/top-8-breastfeeding-essentials Wed, 07 Aug 2019 17:19:51 GMT
First Birthday Family & Cake Smash Session | Hamilton New Jersey Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/7/first-birthday-family-cake-smash-session-hamilton-new-jersey-photographer First Birthday Family & Cake Smash Session

Hamilton New Jersey Photographer 

 

Jack was so much fun to work with! He has the silliest faces and a biggest personality. Getting him to stay in one spot sure was a challenge but made for some really fun shots. Cake was no match for this guys appetite, he dove right in and smashed his cake to bits. Mom and dad sure have their hands full with this little guy! Check out my favorite shots below.

 

For more information about First Birthday Cake Smash Sessions by Ashley Halas Photography, click HERE 

For tips for a Successful Cake Smash Session check out my previous post HERE

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Disclosure

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!


 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) affordable cake smash cake smash photography first birthday cake smash advice first birthday photographer hamilton new jersey photographer new jersey cake smash photographer new jersey family photographer new jersey photographer nj photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/7/first-birthday-family-cake-smash-session-hamilton-new-jersey-photographer Sat, 27 Jul 2019 18:08:47 GMT
One in a Melon | First Birthday Watermelon Smash Session | Hamilton NJ Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/7/one-in-a-melon-first-birthday-watermelon-smash-session-hamilton-nj-photographer One in a Melon

First Birthday Watermelon Smash Session | Hamilton NJ Photographer
 

When this momma contacted me and asked me to shoot a "One in a Melon" first birthday session theme I leaped with excitement at the idea of this new take on the typical First Birthday Cake Smash Session! Little Julia wore the gorgeous Aurora maxi skirt and floral headband from Bailey's Blossoms for her portrait session and her momma brought along one of those extra large balloons. We shot at Rosedale Park on an early June evening. After a quick outfit change into the cutest watermelon romper, little Julia drove right into her watermelon. I couldn't get enough of her sweet face and loved that she was having so much fun. 

Below are a few of my favorite shots from our session.

For more information about First Birthday Sessions by Ashley Halas Photography, click HERE 

For tips for a Successful Cake Smash Session check out my previous post HERE

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Disclosure

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!

 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) affordable cake smash cake smash photography first birthday cake smash advice first birthday photographer hamilton new jersey photographer new jersey cake smash photographer new jersey family photographer new jersey photographer nj photographer one in a melon https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/7/one-in-a-melon-first-birthday-watermelon-smash-session-hamilton-nj-photographer Sat, 27 Jul 2019 17:29:06 GMT
Maternity Session | Rosedale Park Pennington | New Jersey Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/7/maternity-session-rosedale-park-pennington-new-jersey-photographer Maternity Session | Rosedale Park Pennington

New Jersey Photographer Ashley Halas Photography

Najaa & Joe rocked every part of their Maternity Session, they're such an effortlessly beautiful couple and an absolute pleasure to work with. Their session was actually shot a week later than we had originally planned to shoot due to all the rain we had this June. But sometimes the inconvenience of having to reschedule works out to be a blessing in disguise because the evening they wound up having couldn't have been more perfect! It was a warm summer evening with a cool breeze graced by the most beautiful golden hour without a cloud in the sky. Mom-to-be wore a beautiful blue lace gown from Pink Blush Maternity, and you guessed it, they'll be having a baby boy!

Below are a couple of my favorite from their sesion. 

For more information about Maternity Sessions by Ashley Halas Photography, click HERE 

 

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Disclosure

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!

 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) Hamilton NJ Photographer Maternity Photographer Maternity Session Mercer County Photographer New Jersey Maternity Photographer New Jersey Photographer NJ Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/7/maternity-session-rosedale-park-pennington-new-jersey-photographer Sat, 27 Jul 2019 16:45:56 GMT
Chocolate Hazelnut Butter aka Homemade Nutella https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/6/chocolate-hazelnut-butter-aka-homemade-nutella  


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Chocolate Hazelnut Butter aka Homemade Nutella
 

INGREDIENTS

1 cup hazelnuts

12 ounces milk chocolate chips ( melted )

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon salt

 

INSTRUCTIONS

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 

 

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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/6/chocolate-hazelnut-butter-aka-homemade-nutella Fri, 28 Jun 2019 21:30:00 GMT
S'mores Cookie Bars https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/6/smores-cookie-bars AHP1-17AHP1-17

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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!

 

Ingredients
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.

Instructions
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.

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Disclosure

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!

 

 

 

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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/6/smores-cookie-bars Wed, 26 Jun 2019 22:49:28 GMT
Baby Boy's Greek Orthodox Baptism https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/6/baby-boys-greek-orthodox-baptism My baby boys baptism - St. George Greek Orthodox Church AHP-1AHP-1 AHP-3AHP-3 AHP-4AHP-4

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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

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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

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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.

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Disclosure

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!

 

 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) Baptism boy outfit baptism celebration Baptism decor baptism decor inspiration baptism dress boy baptism Greek orthodox baptism New Jersey Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/6/baby-boys-greek-orthodox-baptism Wed, 26 Jun 2019 14:29:12 GMT
The Best of Outdoor Spring Mini Sessions 2019 - Mercer County New Jersey Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/6/the-best-of-outdoor-spring-mini-sessions-2019---mercer-county-new-jersey-photographer greygrey

The Best of Outdoor Spring Mini Sessions 2019

Mercer County New Jersey Photographer
 

 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) New Jersey Child Photographer New Jersey Family Photographer New Jersey family Photography New Jersey Photographer New Jersey Photography New Jersey Spring Mini Sessions outdoor Spring Mini Sessions https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/6/the-best-of-outdoor-spring-mini-sessions-2019---mercer-county-new-jersey-photographer Thu, 13 Jun 2019 21:04:00 GMT
Creamy Spinach/Basil Pesto Pasta with Raspberry Balsamic Chicken Thighs https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/6/creamy-spinach/basil-pesto-pasta-with-raspberry-balsamic-chicken-thighs  

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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

 

Ingredients

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

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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.

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Raspberry Balsamic Chicken Thighs

 

Ingredients

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

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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

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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/6/creamy-spinach/basil-pesto-pasta-with-raspberry-balsamic-chicken-thighs Thu, 13 Jun 2019 18:13:21 GMT
Apricot / Nectarine Chicken and White Wine Couscous https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/6/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


Ingredients
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

Directions
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.

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Apricot / Nectarine Chicken


Ingredients
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

Instructions

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.

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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/6/apricot-/-nectarine-chicken-and-white-wine-couscous Thu, 13 Jun 2019 15:41:51 GMT
Chicken Wraps Two Ways with Baked Herbed French Fries https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/6/chicken-wraps-two-ways-with-baked-herbed-french-fries Chicken Wraps Two Ways with Baked Herbed French Fries

 

 

Ranch Chicken Wraps

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Ingredients
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 ½ Tbsp garlic powder
1 ½ Tbsp onion powder
1 ½ Tbsp dill weed
3 Tbsp dried parsley leaf
1 tsp dried chives optional
2.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast (This is about 3-4 average sized chicken breasts.  You can also use chicken tenderloins, chicken thighs, or other cuts of meat)
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
2 cups parmesan cheese
2 cups fresh minced parsley 
2 cups thinly sliced red onions
8-10 8” tortillas

Instructions
Cut the chicken breast into 1-2" chunks.  Put them in a container with 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, garlic powder, onion powder, dill weed, parsley, chives, salt and pepper.  Stir to coat with seasoning.  Let rest in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.

Heat remaining oil in a skillet over high heat.  Add the chicken and spread into a single flat layer.  Let cook 4-5 minutes without stirring or moving the chicken.  Then flip the pieces over and cook an additional 3-5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (165˚F internal temp)

Lay tortillas on a clean flat surface. Place about 1/2 cup chicken, 2 tbsp of mozzarella cheese, 2 tbsp parmesan cheese, and 1 tbsp of minced fresh parsley and sliced red onions on each tortilla. Fold tightly to form a burrito shape.

Heat a heavy-duty pan or grill to medium heat. Coat with a light layer or oil or cooking spray and cook wraps for 1-2 minutes on each side or until the tortilla is crispy and golden. Remove from heat, slice in half and serve with ranch dressing for dipping

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Buffalo Chicken Wraps

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Ingredients
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
2.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast (This is about 3-4 average sized chicken breasts.  You can also use chicken tenderloins, chicken thighs, or other cuts of meat)
1 1/3 cup Frank's red hot sauce
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1stick)
2 Tbsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt to taste
2 cups white cheddar cheese shredded
2 cups sliced celery
2 cups shredded carrots 
8-10 8” tortillas

Instructions
Cut the chicken breast into 1-2" chunks.  Put them in a container with 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, salt and pepper.  Stir to coat with seasoning. 

Slice celery sticks long ways into thin strips then chop into thirds; shred carrots and chop into thirds. 

Heat remaining oil in a skillet over high heat.  Add the chicken and spread into a single flat layer.  Let cook 4-5 minutes without stirring or moving the chicken.  Then flip the pieces over and cook an additional 3-5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (165˚F internal temp)

Mix together Frank's red hot sauce, butter, white vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. Toss cooked chicken pieces in sauce.

Lay tortillas on a clean flat surface. Place about 1/2 cup chicken, 2 tbsp of cheddar cheese, celery sticks and carrots on each tortilla. Fold tightly to form a burrito shape.

Heat a heavy-duty pan or grill to medium heat. Coat with a light layer or oil or cooking spray and cook wraps for 1-2 minutes on each side or until the tortilla is crispy and golden. Remove from heat, slice in half and serve with blue cheese dressing for dipping

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Baked Herby French Fries

Ingredients
4 Tbsp vegetable oil — divided
5 lbs golden yellow potatoes — Yukon Gold or similar
2 tsp kosher salt — plus additional to taste
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp onion powder
2 tsp dill weed
1 tsp ground black pepper
Optional toppings: chopped fresh chives — fresh parsley, freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions
Place a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Drizzle a large baking sheet with 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, brushing it as needed so that it nicely coats the pan.
Scrub the potatoes and peel if desired (I leave the peels on). Slice into 1/4-inch-wide sticks. Place the potatoes in a large bowl, then pour cold tap water over the top so that it covers the potatoes by at least 1 inch. Let sit 1 hour in the fridge.

Drain the potatoes, then transfer them to a clean towel and dry as completely as you can. Rinse and wipe out the bowl you soaked the potatoes in, then return the potatoes to the bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, dill weed, onion powder, dried parsley and pepper. Toss to coat, making sure the spices and oil are well distributed. Spread the potatoes into a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.


Roast in the lower third of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until turning golden underneath. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, with a large, firm spatula, carefully loosen the fries from the bottom of the pan. Flip them in large sections as best as you can so that the potatoes rotate and brown evenly on all sides (no need to painstakingly flip every single one). Return the potatoes to a single layer. Place the pan back in the oven and continue baking until the fries are as golden and crisp as you like, about 5 to 10 additional minutes (30 minutes total was ideal timing for this crispy-fry lover). While the fries are hot, sprinkle with any desired toppings and a bit more salt to taste.



 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/6/chicken-wraps-two-ways-with-baked-herbed-french-fries Sat, 08 Jun 2019 15:26:20 GMT
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The Best of Studio Spring Mini Sessions 2019

Hamilton New Jersey Photographer


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(Ashley Halas Photography) New Jersey Family Photographer New Jersey Child Photographer New Jersey Photographer New Jersey Photography Studio New Jersey Spring Mini Sessions New Jersey Studio Photography Studio Spring Mini Sessions https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/5/the-best-of-studio-spring-mini-sessions-2019---hamilton-new-jersey-photographer Wed, 15 May 2019 22:20:49 GMT
Kaden First Birthday Cake Smash - New Jersey Photography Studio https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/5/kaden-first-birthday-cake-smash---new-jersey-photography-studio Kaden First Birthday Cake Smash Session

Hamilton New Jersey Photography Studio
 

After viewing a preview of my Studio Spring Mini Session decor little Kadens mother requested the set/props for her sons First Birthday & Cake Smash Studio Session. It turned out amazing! I loved being able to use the set in a different way. Little man was so much fun to work with and has such a handsome smile. Check out a few of my favorites from his session below and enjoy!

 


 

Birthday & Cake Smash Sessions $350
45 min Birthday Portrait Session
45 min Cake Smash Session
Up to 3 Outfits Changes
One Set/Location - Props Included
Travel up to 25 miles
One 5' two layer Smash Cake Provided
Unlimited High Resolution Professionally Edited Images
Private Online Viewing & Ordering Gallery; download images
Personal Print Release & Mobile viewing app 

Session Locations

Sessions can be held in my natural light studio, the comfort of your own backyard or at an outdoor location of your choosing such as a local park, river, beach, woods, creek or canal. 

The Props

I provide a portable backdrop, custom color ribbon banner, solid color latex balloons (helium too), white "O-N-E" letters, cake stand (2), small wooden chair, rustic stool, sets of pearls, ect.  All clothing, tutus, hair accessories, signage and additional props are provided by you. 

The Cake

I provide one 5" layered smash cake; your choice: vanilla/chocolate cake & icing color. All cake toppers are provided by you

 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) Affordable Cake Smash Cake Smash Photography First Birthday Cake Smash Advice Hamilton new jersey photographer New Jersey Cake Smash Photographer new jersey family photographer New Jersey Photographer NJ Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/5/kaden-first-birthday-cake-smash---new-jersey-photography-studio Wed, 15 May 2019 19:42:09 GMT
Pink Eureka Lemon Lemonade https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/5/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

 

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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/5/pink-eureka-lemon-lemonade Wed, 15 May 2019 18:21:36 GMT
Olivia First Birthday Cake Smash - New Jersey Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/5/olivia-first-birthday-cake-smash---new-jersey-photographer Olivia First Birthday Cake Smash Session

Hamilton New Jersey Photographer
 

Sweet little Olivia was one giant smile for her First Birthday Cake Smash Session. Mom requested a location that would capture the beauty of the spring blossoms, and I had just the perfect spot in mind. Kuser Farm Park in Hamilton New Jersey has some of the most beautiful blooming trees around! We picked out a shady spot under a tree in full bloom on a particularly warm mid-April afternoon. Some of the blossoms had already begun to fall making for a beautiful sprinkling of white and pink all around us in the grass. Miss Olivia was such a happy little ham, she enjoyed her entire session and giggled her way through it. 

I have so many favorites, take a look and enjoy.

 


 

Birthday & Cake Smash Sessions $350
45 min Birthday Portrait Session
45 min Cake Smash Session
Up to 3 Outfits Changes
One Set/Location - Props Included
Travel up to 25 miles
One 5' two layer Smash Cake Provided
Unlimited High Resolution Professionally Edited Images
Private Online Viewing & Ordering Gallery; download images
Personal Print Release & Mobile viewing app 

Session Locations

Sessions can be held in my natural light studio, the comfort of your own backyard or at an outdoor location of your choosing such as a local park, river, beach, woods, creek or canal. 

The Props

I provide a portable backdrop, custom color ribbon banner, solid color latex balloons (helium too), white "O-N-E" letters, cake stand (2), small wooden chair, rustic stool, sets of pearls, ect.  All clothing, tutus, hair accessories, signage and additional props are provided by you. 

The Cake

I provide one 5" layered smash cake; your choice: vanilla/chocolate cake & icing color. All cake toppers are provided by you

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Disclosure

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!   


 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) Affordable Cake Smash Cake Smash Photography First Birthday Cake Smash Advice Hamilton new jersey photographer New Jersey Cake Smash Photographer new jersey family photographer New Jersey Photographer NJ Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/5/olivia-first-birthday-cake-smash---new-jersey-photographer Thu, 02 May 2019 21:19:29 GMT
Peanut Butter Ice Cream Confetti Birthday Cake :: Recipe via Bake from Scratch https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/5/Peanut-Butter-Ice-Cream-Confetti-Birthday-Cake Peanut Butter Ice Cream Confetti Birthday Cake

Frosting & Cake Recipe via Bake from Scratch

Makes 1 (9 inch) Cake

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Ice Cream Layer

Choose any flavor premade ice cream – for the cake pictured my husband chose Turkey Hill Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup ice cream

Instructions

1. Line a 9 inch round cake pan with plastic wrap

2. Fill half way with softened ice cream

3. Place in freezer overnight


Confetti Cake

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 ¼ cups granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp almond extract

3 ½ cups cake flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

½ cup sprinkles

8 large egg white

 

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter & flour 16x11in sheet pan or line pan with parchment paper

2. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Beat in extracts

3. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With stand mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter/sugar mixture alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating until just combined. Add sprinkles.

4. Transfer batter to a large bowl and clean out stand mixer bowl or use a separate bowl and electric hand beater, whisk egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into batter in thirds. Pour batter into prepared sheet pan.

5. Bake 25-30 minutes until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool completely. Use 9 inch cake pan as guide, cut 2 cake layers from pan.

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Cake Assembly

1. Line a tall-sided 9 inch round springform pan with plastic wrap.

2. Gently place one Confetti Cake layer in prepared pan. Remove prepared ice cream layer from freezer, and place on top of cake layer. Top with remaining cake layer and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze overnight

3. Remove cake from pan. Top with buttercream frosting (recipe below) 

4. If desired garnish with chopped peanut butter cups

5. Serve right away or freeze until ready to serve. Use a long knife dipped in hot water to cut into slices


Peanut Butter Buttercream

Ingredients

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

4 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

½ tsp salt

¼ heavy whipping cream, room temperature 

 

Instructions

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and peanut butter at medium speed until smooth. Reduce mixer speed to low, gradually add confectioners’ sugar and salt until just combined. Add cream, beating until spreadable consistency. Use immediately. 

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(Ashley Halas Photography) bake from scratch birthday cake Food Blog Food Blogging Food Styling Food Stylist Homemade homemade ice cream cake ice cream cake New Jersey Food Blogger New Jersey Food Photographer New Jersey Food Stylist Recipes summer cake summer recipe https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/5/Peanut-Butter-Ice-Cream-Confetti-Birthday-Cake Wed, 01 May 2019 20:00:55 GMT
Classic Super Creamy Hummus https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/4/hummus AHP11-1-3AHP11-1-3

Classic Super Creamy Hummus

Ingredients 
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


Instructions 
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.

 


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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/4/hummus Thu, 04 Apr 2019 17:04:56 GMT
Pink Lemon Doughnuts - NJ Food Photographer https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/4/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!
 

If you liked this recipe and want to do more with your pink lemons check out my Pink Eureka Lemon Lemonade recipe - coming soon

Pink Lemon Doughnuts

Ingredients
3/4 cup sugar
Zest from 2 pink lemons (Meyer lemon or regular lemon)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup light brown sugar
6 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


Pink Lemon Glaze:
2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 teaspoon whole milk
4-6 tablespoons pink lemon juice
½ dot pink food coloring (optional)


Instructions
Preheat the oven to 425˚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. 

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(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 https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/4/pink-lemon-doughnuts---nj-food-photographer Wed, 03 Apr 2019 19:49:36 GMT
The Best Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars https://www.ashleyhalasphotography.com/blog/2019/3/the-best-chewy-peanut-butter-granola-bars The Best Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars

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INGREDIENTS 

1/2 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter

1/3 cup honey

1 large egg

2 Tablespoons canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1 cup granola 

1 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal 

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup peanut butter for drizzling (optional)

1/3 cup chocolate or peanut butter chips (optional)

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 13x9-inch nonstick baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine the peanut butter, honey, egg, oil and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy.

Add in the oats, granola, puffed rice cereal, brown sugar and salt. Stir gently until well combined then stir in the peanut butter chips and/or chocolate chips.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan, pressing it into an even layer.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool completely before slicing the granola into bars and serving.

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