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March 2014

moments that matter {photographing your children}

clearwater beach photographer legacy seven studios a  clearwater beach photographer legacy seven studios c clearwater beach photographer legacy seven studios d

and i promised i would take more photos along the way.  and that i would look for ways to make work include more play.

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clearwater beach photographer legacy seven studios e


and so we finished a family portrait session, and i packed the camera.  and then i unpacked it, and grabbed a light, and photographed our own,  plus friends.

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and then i packed the camera and i soaked in what is real, and what matters in this moment.  because it is also what will matter for eternity.


clearwater beach photographer legacy seven studios i


clearwater beach photographer legacy seven studios b


from one mama to another (or to a sister, or a daughter, or a friend…) – promise to capture the moments, k?


dancing divider webb

italian rice balls with asparagus walnut pesto {gluten free amuse bouche}

rice balls with asparagus pesto_b

amuse-bouche, literally translated, means “to please the mouth.”  i have wanted to create an “amuse bouche” ever since i saw it, i think, on an episode of top chef.  i finally have!  on top of that, this one is gluten-free and the pesto included in the recipe is insanely yummy.  i promise.

gluten free rice balls with asparagus pesto_b

sometimes with seven mouths to feed at mealtimes (and when we get together with friends, there are often over twenty!), presentation goes by the wayside in favor of efficiency.  not this time; i wanted to create something that was practically-impractically-pretty.  just like a little surprise from the chef at an amazing restaurant, i wanted this presentation to surprise and delight.

gluten free rice balls with asparagus pesto_a


(i’m craving asparagus almost daily as it’s in season here; my family, not-so-much.  however, they ate this up like it was going out of style.)  making the pesto with the twist of asparagus was a fun surprise!

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this recipe was created for mccormick gourmet as part of the go 4 gourmet campaign – you can enter your own recipe by clicking here!

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when i saw the “challenge ingredients” of rice, root vegetables, vegetable broth, and garlic, i knew i wanted to try my hand at rice balls.  i also wanted a cool, portion-friendly presentation that would be “safe” for our gluten-free crew of friends and family.

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rice balls with asparagus pesto_c   rice balls with asparagus pesto_f

it’s a bit of work, but well worth it for the treat at the end.  print the recipe and try for yourself!


Italian Fried Rice Balls with Asparagus Walnut Pesto


  • Ingredients:
  • 2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 6 teaspoons butter
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • For pesto:
  • 1 cup roasted asparagus spears (about 20 stems)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. For rice balls, bring rice, stock, water, and butter to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes, covered. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in carrot, onion, parmesan, feta, tomatoes, capers, garlic, thyme, and salt. Add eggs and using clean hands, work thoroughly into mixture.
  3. Meanwhile, bring 4 cups oil to 300 degrees in a large dutch oven. When oil is hot, use a medium scoop or your hands to form rice into balls, roughly the size of large strawberries. Place 4-6 at a time in hot oil, turning once as it begins to brown. As each ball browns, use tongs or slotted spoon to remove from oil onto a paper-towel lined plate. If desired, salt lightly while still hot.
  4. For pesto:
  5. In a small food processor, combine asparagus, garlic, basil, sea salt, and walnuts. With processor on low, slowly pour in olive oil just until ingredients are combined.
  6. To serve, place a tablespoon of pesto in individual serving dishes. Top with a rice ball and if desired, fresh basil.


rice balls with asparagus pesto_a

do you have a favorite “fun” food that you love to show off to friends and family?  share your idea or link below!


dancing divider webb

p.s. – although i love to use fresh garlic, i was concerned about it burning in the hot oil.  for this recipe i used mccormick gourmet’s garlic powder as well as their dried thyme.  these added the perfect depth of flavor with the vegetables.

disclaimer acs


the waiting.

always just over the horizon, the future lies unknown.  Papa seems to delight in surprises, and one never knows what lies behind the clouds.  is it more haze, more invisibility, more unknown?  is it a flash of brilliant orange and gold, striping the evening sky?

i’m never without awe when i go to capture a portrait at the beach at sunset.  there’s a hush that falls over the visitors, almost invariably, as the sun takes its leave for the day.  young and old alike stop, and believing or unbelieving in the One who made it, they stand appreciating its loveliness.

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our family is in a period of waiting, for what seems to have been so very long.  i’ve told many a friend that it feels like desert… not knowing what “the purpose” is for this season, not always seeing the fruit of labor, wondering if this present business is calling or avoidance thereof.

many times, i look at my own brokenness, that of those i love, and i think, “nothing good can come of this.”  my temporary hopelessness taints everyday beauty, and i miss the glow of what lies over the disappearing line of the future.

and yet, in the midst of grey, streaks of color light our horizon, and we hear and see that even if we don’t have all the answers, even if we don’t see the signs that what we are doing every second holds eternal significance, He does.

one heart friend reminded me once, that maybe it isn’t desert we’re wandering in when we feel lost, for desert represents repercussions for our disobedience to what we know we’re called to do.  rather, it’s possible that it’s wilderness, where we just can’t see the future.  it’s just possible that our soul’s love doesn’t want us to know it all, but rather to soak in His beauty along the way.

it’s possible that He desires to give us flickers of what we’ve walked through and what lies forward.

we learned recently that the light we see at ocean’s edge is actually a reflection of the sun beyond.  when we watch sunrise, we’re seeing the light still to come.  when we take in a sunset, we’re watching the light that has gone ahead of us.

so in life, it’s possible that when i think He’s been gone from the darkness, and i see a flash of hope-light, He’s gone before, and i still see Him leading.  and when it seems the future looms dark, the brilliance of His light piercing the dark is the Sonrise that has not yet happened – a foretelling of what He holds for the future.

the thing is, i have to stop and watch for it.  the sunset may go unnoticed, and so, too, may the Son, my Papa, who holds out hope and beauty just past the line where my eyes can see.


dancing divider webb