Behind the Scenes: Crostini with Caramelized Apples, Fontina + Rosemary [Part 1]

I am so excited to share this post with you today! Instead of my photos accompanying a recipe post, my friend Anna Guziak is behind the camera to help me give you a glimpse into what happens in the kitchen when I create and photograph a recipe.

Anna and I met about seven years ago when she was my wedding photographer, and this past fall, she took family photos for us. She is not only incredibly talented, but also probably one of the kindest people I've ever met. I'm not used to stepping in front of the camera, but Anna has an amazing ability to put you at ease and capture beautiful, real-life moments.

As you scroll through these images, I want to note a few points about my food blogging process. First, I do not have a photogenic kitchen. Anna makes it look good in her images, but you can very clearly see that I lack the Instagrammable white cabinets, marble countertops, and stainless steel appliances. So, when I photograph a recipe, I create a makeshift setup in my dining room that can be easily taken down when needed.

I move the dining table against the window for the best natural light I can get in my house and set up a few white foam boards for the photo backdrop. For many of my posts, I style the food on top of a marble pastry board. I also have a wood board, various linens, and a handful of other props that I use when I want to change things up.

Secondly, I am a complete mess when I cook and develop recipes. Even when I try the "clean as you go" technique, my kitchen looks like the aftermath of a hurricane. For this post, I tried to straighten up as best I could while still keeping it real. But much of the time, my kids’ leftover breakfast sits on the counter alongside food-splattered Post-its with recipe notes, pages torn out of food magazines, and at least a couple cookbooks or my iPad opened for reference. This particular day, I also had the help of family watching the kids while Anna and I worked, but normally I’m fighting to get it all done before the naptime clock expires. I’m usually still in my pajamas, too…but I figured no one really wanted to see that much of real life.

Anna took all of the photos in this post, and in a second blog post, I’ll share a few of my photos plus the recipe for the dish you see in these pictures (Crostini with Caramelized Apples, Fontina + Rosemary). In Part 2, I’ll also share more about the photography equipment I have and links to resources you may find helpful if you’re getting started with food photography.

Want to know more about what happens behind the scenes in my kitchen? Feel free to ask a question in the comments section! And make sure to check out the rest of Anna’s work over at!

Why Do I Have a Food Blog?

I’ve often asked myself over the last couple years why food blogging and exercising creativity is so important to me. Why do I bother? I knew there was maybe an answer deep down, but I never really attempted to articulate it, and so I was left with my shallow responses that didn’t really get to the root of why I’m passionate about this endeavor. 

A little over a month ago, I had the opportunity to apply to attend a dinner that will take place during The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference. The application required that I write an essay answering three questions: 1: What do I do on a daily basis? 2: How do I feel about what I do? And 3: When has my work felt most meaningful?

I was forced to sit down and think through my work as a food blogger. I’m incredibly grateful for that challenge, and through this exercise, I’ve definitely found a renewed sense of purpose and am wrestling – in a good way – with the theological implications of creative work. 

Below is a sneak peek at what I wrote, and you can read the rest of my essay over at The Gospel Coalition

I am a stay-at-home mom of 13-month-old twins. I spend much of my day feeding hungry mouths, washing dirty clothes, wiping tears, giving kisses, snuggling babies, and doing whatever else is needed around the house.

When the kids get up in the morning, it’s diaper changes and then downstairs for breakfast. I grab a big mug of coffee and sit with the kids while they eat in their high chairs—because, maybe while they’re strapped in, I can enjoy my coffee while it’s still hot. Then I do a not-so-thorough cleanup job (it’s just going to be a mess again in a few hours, right?), and we head into the other room to play. I’m usually still trying to finish that coffee, which by now is lukewarm.

In between my mugs of caffeine and mama duties, I am also a food blogger. Eventually naptime arrives, and I squeeze in my blog work. I check emails, post to social media, develop recipes, photograph dishes, edit images, and write.

Food blogging started as a creative outlet for me, and once I had kids, it was an excuse to do something other than change diapers. I’d often sheepishly—almost with a sense of guilt—describe it that way to others. But in my head, I couldn’t help but wonder, What is the purpose behind my cooking? What is the reason for my blog? I craved the creative work, but I also felt guilty about spending time pursuing this craft.

Read more at The Gospel Coalition.