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How I Shoot: Horses with @lindalaughs

How I Shoot is a series where we ask Instagrammers to tell us about their photo-taking process. This week, @lindalaughs shares her tips for taking photos of horses.

“Horses are very honest and pure. They have a calming effect on me. They respond to feelings,” says Instagrammer Linda Heidema (@lindalaughs), who likes to convey human emotions and expressions through her photos of horses.

Once a week, Linda gets four hours away from her hectic life as a mother and youth justice officer in Groningen, Holland, and drives out to the countryside to photograph animals in the meadow. “I used to ride horses, when I was a young teenager myself, but I had to quit,” she says. “When I discovered Instagram I started photographing nature. I came across the enjoyment of photographing horses by accident.”

Here are Linda’s tips for capturing these calm beings up close:

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Recipe: Chicken Pesto Spaghetti Squash

I don’t know if there’s ever been a better creation from flour and water than pasta. (Okay, besides hot, crusty bread with butter on top). You can fill it with cheese, you can put meat on it, you can coat it in butter and garlic……the possibilities are endless. 

As much as I would love to fill my mouth with pasta every single day of the week, it’s just not a possibility. I know, I know - moderation is key, right? Kind of like how my college Italian teacher (who was petite, cute and sun-kissed from the Amalfi coast) ate a sensible portion of pasta each day with her meal. 

I tried that same tactic….with just one problem. I somehow couldn’t stop from eating the entire pot of pasta. 

Fortunately, spaghetti squash soon thereafter entered my life. Fair warning: spaghetti squash is NOT pasta, so don’t expect it to magically turn into pasta. Read: it’s not going to taste exactly the same. BUT, it does do the trick for a healthier, veggie-filled way to mimick pasta, and is actually quite tasty once you accept (after many deep breaths and a glass of wine) that it is a vegetable, after all. 

But, let’s face it: isn’t pasta (or spaghetti squash, in this case) really just a vehicle for your sauce? Similar to how I just use pancakes as an excuse to drink maple syrup, I like to use spaghetti squash for this same purpose. Bolognese, alfredo, parmesan-topped marina - heck, even butter, garlic and herbs is enough to make me sign up for spaghetti squash whenever I can. 

Pesto has also been the object of my affections lately. Maybe I’m clinging on to the last bits of summer before my basil plants fade into fall….or maybe I just really like the amount of parmesan I’ve been putting into my pesto creations. 

At any rate, I whipped up this little concoction the other night, combining my love of both pesto and spaghetti squash. I went pretty heavy on the olive oil, pine nuts and parmesan in this batch of pesto. Not surprisingly, this version was met with rave reviews. 

Enjoy! 

Chicken Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients

For the Pesto

Handful of fresh basil

1/2 cup of pine nuts

1/2 cup of parmesan cheese (more or less, to taste)

1/2 - 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (more or less, to taste)

2-3 cloves of fresh garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

Other Ingredients

2 boneless chicken breasts, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper

1 medium to large spaghetti squash

Directions

1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. This is actually pretty tricky, so make sure you do it with a sharp, heavy knife. 

3. Lie the spaghetti squash halves face-down on a cookie sheet, and put just a little bit of water in the bottom of the sheet/pan/whatever you use. 

4. Stick your spaghetti squash in your trusty, hot oven, and let them roast for about 45 minutes. 

5. Meanwhile, while your squashes roast away, it’s time to focus on your pesto. Combine all of your pesto ingredients together in a food processor (if you don’t have one of these - they’re magical), and process until creamy and smooth. Make sure to taste test your pesto while you’re processing it. This not only ensures you have bomb pesto, but it’s also the most fun (why cook if you can’t taste?).

Side note: I used some parmesan I found at the Ossining farmer’s market last weekend, from #Chaseholm Farm. OH MAN this was amazing - creamy, parmesany and perfect. I thought I had had parmesan, and then I tried this stuff. 

6. Now, turn your attentions to your chickens. If it’s the summer time and you have access to a grill, throw these babies on the grill for about 20 minutes or so (flipping to ensure both sides cook through). If you aren’t a grill master, cut and cube your chickens, and sautee them on the stove top until they’re just cooked through with no pink inside. It’s tough not to overcook chicken, but practice makes perfect! 

7. Now that you have your chickens, pesto and squashes ready to go, it’s time to assemble. Pull your squashes out of the oven, and let them rest and cool down for about 5-10 minutes. After scooping the seeds out of the middle of the squash, use a fork to pull out the threads of squash in each half. They should come out in long, spaghetti-like strands. Hence the name! 

8. Combine your spaghetti squash “noodles,” chicken and pesto in a large pan on the stovetop over low heat. Fold everything together, and voila! 

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Assembly photo op….pre-spaghetti squash takeover.

9. Top with more parmesan cheese (you can never have too much), and enjoy! 

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Finding Quiet Moments on Local Farms with @wings_of_tin

For more lush portraits of life on small farms, follow @wings_of_tin on Instagram.

“Farming is the dedication of your life to the stewardship of plants from seed to harvest, for better or for worse, in good weather or bad, through pest and disease, at all hours,” says Nikki Seibert (@wings_of_tin). “All of this back-breaking and often heart-wrenching work is done to provide food for family, friends and neighbors.”

Nikki spends almost every day working with local farms in Charleston, South Carolina, where she runs a sustainable agriculture program for organic farmers.

“I’m a ‘farmer of farmers’,” she jokes. “A childhood filled with outdoor adventures, hardworking parents, and countless hours spent building, growing and fixing things created the trifecta for me to end up in a career in agriculture.”

Nikki uses Instagram to showcase her favorite colorful crops and the green, flourishing landscapes of the farmlands she visits.

“I hope my pictures show how important it is to support the people and places that make your community unique,” she says. “Also, how much I love playing in the dirt.”

kellyknab

Reposting this from an incredibly strong lady who has the best attitude I think I’ve ever encountered. Sending enormous amounts of positive thoughts your way - here’s to keeping on kicking butt! 

kellyknab:

I had my quarterly MRI/CT scans and met with Dr. Reidy for the results last Wednesday. Needless to say, this is NOT an update I expected to write.

I went into my appointment only vaguely considering that the results would show anything other than what I expected: the drugs would still be…