I took a course on food styling once and found it utterly useless.
I remember sitting down in a giant auditorium and listening to the instructor explain how all one needed for amazing food photos was a 'few' simple tools of the trade. Among these tools were glycerin, glass ice cubes, fabric protector, cooking spray, make up blending wedges, glue, and antacids. Fabric protector, as it turns out, is often sprayed on porous foods (think pancakes) in order to help toppings and such (syrup) sit on the surface of the food without sinking in. The makeup sponges are soaked in water, microwaved, and stashed off screen (behind or under food) to create that fresh 'steamy food' look. Various types of glue are used for a number of adhesive purposes, but also to help thicken thin foods to make them look richer and more appealing.
Well, while taking some casual photos for this post I thought back to that course- and began reflecting on the concept as it relates to life itself. While the argument of whether it's okay to alter food to the point it is more chemicals and add-ons then actual food, for the sake of a great food photo the fact remains that we are conditioned to respond to perfection, whether it is real or simply perceived. Magazines, television, billboards, the internet- bombard us with someone's ideal vision of a story, product, or concept. And nothing illustrates this quite like the incorporation of artificial flavors, preservatives, and fillers in our everyday food.
Whatever happened to a simple 'me moment' with a cup of coffee? These days we get our caffeine fix in and out of coffee shop lines, herded like cattle, and paying 10x the ingredient value for a simple brand name and a fancy beverage title. Don't get me wrong, I love my Triple-Shot-Soy-Double Frothed-Gluten Free- Mocha-Chair-Latte as much as the next lady- but isn't it time for a little break?
That's why I'm sharing a delicious new product that recently turned up in the read-to-eat snack aisle of my local Walmart, Cafe Breaks. Remember the childhood feeling of pulling back the lid on a cup of delicious pudding, your spoon just waiting to dive in? Cafe Breaks brings that feeling back to life in an all new culinary escape for adults. Their cafe inspired pudding cups are ready to grab and go, and full of real rich coffee flavor. Because they're made with a special packaging technology Cafe Breaks' number one ingredient is Milk, yet they're entirely preservative and gluten free! They even contain an average of 16mg of real caffeine per serving- so this snack is all for Mom!
I cant' make pudding look sexy unless I whip it into something else, pour it into an elaborate fancy container, or layer it with a bunch of delicious toppings. But life doesn't have to be over-complicated and sometimes delicious things don't come in fancy packages with loads of gimmicks. They're just worth savoring all in themselves. Cafe Breaks understands that.
ibotta rebate offer when you buy Cafe Breaks at Walmart! Now, tell me, what's one simple thing you enjoy reveling in?
What Daughter Says: Take a break and get real- find time to unwind without all the extras!
Mocha Caramel Latte Cheesecake Bites
**Click here for the printable cheesecake bites recipe.
3 Cups (10.5oz) Caramel Latte Cafe Breaks Pudding
2 Cups (7oz) Mocha Latte Cafe Breaks Pudding
10oz Whipped Cream Cheese
1 1/2 C Graham Cracker Crumbs
2 TBS Granulated Sugar
6 TBS Butter, Softened
Silicone Mini Muffin Mold OR Similar Ice Cube Mold
Optional Chocolate Drizzle:
1 C Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 TBS Coconut Oil
1. Combine Cafe Breaks pudding and cream cheese in a blender or food processor until even and silky.
2. In a medium bowl combine sugar and graham cracker crumbs until incorporated. Add softened butter and mix until a granular crust begins to form.
3. Press a small portion of the crust mixture into the bottom of each tray/cavity of your mold. The crust should equal about 1/3 of the total mass for your individual treat. Top the crust with a generous spoonful of prepared pudding mixture. Place the tray/molds directly int he freezer for 1 hour, or until set. Remove from freezer and pop out of mold/tray.
4. For optional chocolate drizzle melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl for 90 seconds on Medium-High heat (Power level 7). Stir until evenly combined and allow to sit, to cool, for 5-10 minutes prior to topping cheesecake bites. Spoon a generous portion over the top of your cheesecake bites- the chocolate should spread across and over the edges. Return the bites to the freezer until ready to serve.
5. Allow bites to sit at room temperature 2-3 minutes prior to serving.