Posts Tagged ‘Hawaii’

Greeny Power Bars

Greeny Power Bars

Hi guys! It’s been a long time, eh?

The past month (has it been a whole month?) since my last food post has been jam packed full of photo shoots and prepping for our much needed long Hawaii vacation. As in 20 days long. Oh yeah, I should mention with a wedding, our wedding, thrown in the mix :) May has been gloriously busy with shoots for 1859 Magazine, Portland Monthly Magazine, OX restaurant, portrait shoots of little Latino children and loads of work with Eater. Yeah, I’m tired. But that blissful sort of tired when you’ve been doing exactly what you want to do. That energizing kind of tired when at the end of the day you can truly say, “I love my job”. I’m not trying to rub it in because I KNOW, believe me I know exactly what it’s like to have a shit job that holds you back and keeps you miserable. It’s not so long ago that I was there and I thank my lucky stars everyday for finally getting to where I want to be. And where is that, you might ask? Making beautiful pictures every day and earning a living from it. Shooting for two of Oregon’s premier magazines and knowing, just knowing that I’m on the road to shooting for the biggies. You know, Sunset, Food and Wine and of course the pinnacle, Saveur. When Saveur calls, my head may actually implode. Or, at the very least, there will be champagne :)

Greeny Power Bars

A peek into the craziness of the past month

Tomorrow morning Adam and I board a flight to the Big Island of Hawaii. For those of you who don’t know, my mom is from Hawaii. Born and raised in a small town in the northern part of the island called Honoka’a. My grandparents were born there as well and as kids growing up we spent every other summer with them. I know for some of you Hawaii would be a luxury vacation, but for me, it’s going home. My folks are there, my sister and her family are there, and seemingly hundreds of cousins. No seriously, my mom is constantly pointing out people on the street, in the grocery store, where ever. “That’s Johnny, your cousin”, “That’s Deb, your cousin”. No kidding, constant flow of family.


My three-year-old niece, Eliana, wearing the apron I gave her for her birthday. Cannot wait to see her!

There will lazy days on the  beach, there will likely be a bit of horseback riding (my brother-in-law is a cowboy. For real), there’ll be food (no I won’t eat Spam), and, oh yeah, there’ll be a wedding. My and Adam’s wedding to be precise. No biggie. Really. I mean, after four and half years we, for all intents and purposes, are married. But we were planning on going to Hawaii anyway (for an astronomical event that Adam must witness) so why not throw a wedding in the mix, right? We’re keeping it simple. Adam in linens and me in a Hawaiian dress (that you can see here on Pinterest). Flip flops, leis and of course family. Just immediate family, eleven of us. A quick ceremony on the beach followed by a luau the next day. And that’ll be that. Simple, straightforward, relaxed.

I think the strangest part will be getting used to saying “husband”.


Greeny Travelin’ Power Bars

I wanted to bring something healthy for Adam and I to snack on on the plane, so I turned  to
Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks because she often posts snacks she makes for traveling.

These are a riff on her Big Sur Power Bars. I included some different grains, as well as powdered greens to boost the health factor.
Greens are optional, of course. 


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup rolled barley flakes
1/2 cup rolled rye flakes
1 bar of dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon wheatgrass powder, optional
1/2 tablespoon spirulina powder, optional
1 cup brown rice syrup
Scant 1/4 cup raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Place nuts and seeds on a baking sheet and lightly toast for about 7 minutes. Give a stir or a toss once or twice.

Remove from oven and let cool.

Combine the oats, rye, barley, chocolate and greens in a large bowl.

Place grain mix in your food processor and pulse several times to just break down the grains.

Place grain mix in a large bowl.

Pour nuts and seeds into your food processor and pulse several times to finely chop.

Add nut and seed mix to grains and stir to combine. Set aside.

Combine brown rice syrup, sugar, salt, espresso and vanilla in a small saucepan of medium heat.

Stir constantly as it comes to a boil. About 5 minutes.

Stir the syrup into the grain mixture until well combined.

Lightly oil a 9×9 inch Pyrex or baking pan and spread the mixture into it.

Press it down with damp hands and let cool to room temperature before cutting.

Chilling them will help create a firmer bar.


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Here’s something you may not know about me. I’m a photographer.

This is Florence. I photographed folks at a nursing home in east Austin for my senior project at St. Ed's.

Not a weekend photographer or a hobbyist, but an actual bona fide, went to university, interned, earned a degree, have had a camera in my hand for 16 or so years, photographer.

I earned my degree at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX where I studied under the great Bill Kennedy and Sybil Miller. My focus at school was documentary photography, but I really cut my teeth on high-end photojournalistic weddings. I had the honor and privilege of working for Bill and his business partner Jenn Lindberg-another great photojournalist, at the now defunct, or maybe I should say transformed, Kennedy-Lindberg Wedding Photojournalism. Bill and Jenn pushed my photography (and me) to new heights. I shot more than 70 weddings with them including Jimmie Vaughan’s. Talk about pressure. Bill and Jenn not only molded me as a photographer, but also as an individual. I learned people skills, I learned how to anticipate moments and needs, I learned how to open my heart, I learned how to listen.

I worked for Bill and Jenn from 2001-2005. Life was good in Austin (a part of me misses it everyday) and the wedding business was booming, but the pressure of a sick parent (who has since had a full recovery) led me to Hawaii to be with my family and down a different path. There I worked for a couple of local newspapers and considered my next step in life.

The thing about freelance, especially in the beginning is that with every move, you pretty much have to start from scratch. The work in Hawaii was fun (boy, did I shoot a lot of rodeos), and I loved being near my family, but the opportunities there were limited. There were about two main photographers on the island who got damn near all of the work. And they weren’t going anywhere. I was also depressed, and not well. Another thing you don’t know about it me is that I have hypothyroidism. I was diagnosed in 2004 after a couple of very stressful years and it took about four years for my meds and supplements to be optimized to where I actually felt normal. When your thyroid is under active, motivation and enthusiasm pretty much don’t exist.

Enter Portland. All roads eventually lead to Portland. I had been thinking about moving to Portland for about seven years after visiting a friend who lived here. That’s how Portland gets you. A quick visit, amazing food, beautiful landscape, and you’re hooked.

After a particularly dreadfully depressing night in Hawaii of begging the universe for some guidance, “Portland” popped in to my head. Of course!

Within months I had money saved, found (with the help of a dear friend) an apartment, I was packed, and was saying Aloha to Hawaii and hello Pacific Northwest! And she’s finally saying hello back.

OK that’s not exactly true, Portland has been good to me since that first grey, wet day in March 2007, but, like I said, when you’re freelance you pretty much have to start from scratch with each move. It also helps if you have a clear idea of what direction you’d like to go in. I thought it was weddings, naturally, and I shot a few after moving here, but my heart wasn’t in it, and frankly, I lost my wedding mojo. It was gone. So of course, like any good Portlander, my first few years here were spent wondering what my next move would be while half-heartedly pursuing weddings and working in a downtown coffee shop and then, of course, Whole Foods.

Aside from health benefits, flexible hours and a discount on food (best-thing-ever), WF’s also likes to recognize that some of their employees have a world or a career outside their doors. With the knowledge that I am a professional photographer, they hired me to do a food shoot for screen advertising at Laurelhurst Theatre. If any of you saw those slides back in July or August of last year, that was my first attempt at food photography. After that I was hooked. You can read more about that experience here.

Fast-forward about ten months and you find me here. Writing and making photographs for not only my beautiful readers (you), but also for local business and now, local magazines.

Soon, you’ll find a page on my portfolio site that displays my tear sheets, both advertising and editorial, but for now I show you this: my first food photograph published in a magazine. Hurray!

If you’re not familiar with NW Palate you can find hard copies in wine shops in the Portland area, but you can also view a digital version of this issue here: Issuu.

I would love to hear your thoughts!


Click on the image for a larger view

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Despite summers spent in Hawaii (it’s not as glamorous as it sounds, Mum is from there), when I think of the beach I think of craggy cliffs, freezing gray ocean, and cool, misty Northern California summers. I grew up fishing with my dad on the cliffs at Muir and Rodeo beach. My sisters and I running barefoot on the rocks and feeding chicken bones to the seagulls. We’d all be bundled up in our hoodies, but we always had to stick our bare feet in the ocean. Kind of a ritual with my dad, always greet the ocean with your toes. Even if they want to fall off afterwards like ice cubes.

This is why I fell in love with Oceanside. It had everything that I yearned for in a beach. And this trip did not let us down. A thunderous ocean that you watch at a respectful distance. The horizon eluding us somewhere behind the thick blanket of cloud, fog and ocean spray. Seagulls playing in the crazy wind catching currents as they shifted wildly. The waves crashing on the shore with a fierce passion only a winter storm could bring. I absolutely love it.

Forced to stay inside, Adam and I lounged in our jammies, sipped tea, read, played games and nipped on glasses of scotch. Our idea of a perfect blustery Oregon weekend. On our second day there, the winds and rain calmed a bit and Adam and I stepped out of our cabin and onto the beach. A small handful of folks wandered the shore with blissed out dogs running like mad and greeting strangers.

Others, like Adam, combed the beach for agates and sea glass. A long-standing tradition with Adam, his mom has boxes and boxes of her son’s childhood ocean treasures. Within an hour, Adam had a sack of stones that likely weighed in at 3 pounds. I participate here and there, picking up stones if I happen to see them, but I find I gravitate towards funky shells and the polished bones of some long dead seabird. And some very odd sea creatures.

Our last day on the coast always leads us down the curvy, cliff-hugging highway 101 to Pacific City. All roads eventually lead to a pub, and Pacific City boasts the 16 year-old Pelican Brewery. Great food, fantastic service, a view of surfers (usually) surfing and, on Friday, probably the best beer I’ve ever had. Anywhere. MacPelican’s Wee Heavy Scottish Ale, an unbelievably delicious, creamy, dark amber, robust, ever so slightly sweet and possibly too easy to drink beer. After we ordered a glass each, Adam noted the alcohol content of 8.9%, and at 12:30 in the afternoon a heavy lunch started to sound much more appealing than the bowl of veggies I had intended to order. Hence, blackened chicken sandwich with bacon and beer battered fries. With full belly’s and cozy heads we thought it would be best to pop across the street to Stimulus for a bit of caffeine before we hit the road. Just enough to keep us alert for the rainy drive home.


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