I've had a fascination with food and prop styling for awhile now, but haven't had much of a chance to play around it. I love to cook but I'm definitely a recipe follower, so creating food-related content has never really felt like a fit for me, and since this is new territory for me, it also comes with a little fear.
Until I decided to look at it a little differently — to focus more on the styling side of things and let the pros handle the recipes (for now).
Last week I casually challenged myself to create space to let myself play. I truly believe that flexing your creative muscle on a regular basis is the best way to not only get better at your craft but also to keep the creativity flowing. There's a Maya Angelou quote I love — "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."
I've been starting to feel a little creatively bankrupt with all of the big life changes recently, with client work being my only creative outlet, and that always feels limiting. So instead, I'm trying to set aside 30 minutes a day to play. Style and shoot a little scene, try my hand at a floral arrangement, focus on decorating a little corner of the new place — whatever feels right.
The other benefit of this exercise is that though I'm hesitant to admit it, I know I still let my perfectionism creep in when it comes to styling and shooting, and it often keeps me from just trying something new, or I end up procrastinating until the last minute and then it's rushed and stressful. So my intention is that giving myself the space to play around on a regular basis, I'll be able to challenge this tendency and rewire myself a little.
So how — after all this, did we end up on a recipe for Beetroot Hummus?
I'm glad you asked. While all of this creative challenge stuff is happening in my head, I've also been dealing with another struggle recently thanks to this tiny human I'm getting ready to bring into the world. Early on in this pregnancy, when I was battling with hints of morning sickness, I learned that constant snacking is a necessity. So I'm on a constant hunt for healthy options that make for easy snacks in the middle of a busy work day. Enter — the hummus. And this time around, after stumbling upon a recipe for beet hummus specifically, which — you guessed it! — is pink, I figured I'd attempt to whip up a batch from scratch, which, in all my hummus-eating days, I've never even considered.
I figured the pink colour would be fun to play with styling-wise, and then I picked out a few of my current favourite tabletop props and ingredients from the recipe, along with a beautifully rustic loaf of bread that's perfect for dipping and adding a little texture into the scene.
Ever since I attended the Loom Curated workshop last month (which I will have a post on soon, promise), I've been challenging myself to focus on curating authentic scenes that incorporate movement and tell a story. Scenes that aren't too perfect, or styled, but that feel lived in and real and capture the beauty of how we actually go about our daily lives. So that means crumpled linens, embracing the crumbs instead of brushing them away, and paying attention to the placement of items in order to create a sense of movement in the frame. I know — we've now gone way beyond a simple hummus recipe.
But here we are.
Part recipe post, part snack indulgence, part styling study. It's not perfect, but it's progress, and creating this truly felt like play at the end of a long day — which is exactly what I was going for.
19 oz can of chickpeas (shelled)
3 tbsp tahini
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup aquafaba (aka, chickpea water)
1/2 tsp beetroot powder (or, to desired colour)
2 garlic cloves
salt and cumin to taste
The original recipe I found and full instructions can be found here, and in this one they actually started with beets — which I had every intention of doing, but then ran out of time and remembered that I conveniently had beetroot powder from this client shot (beetroot powder creates the loveliest shade of pink for a natural food dye), so I ended up using that for my hint of pink.
I also wanted to tailor my recipe to account for a large can of chickpeas, adjusting the amounts specific to that. I figured that if this were to become a recipe I come back to often, simple is best, and being able to make a small batch using just one can is ideal.
So what's the verdict? Well first of all, I can't believe I haven't made hummus from scratch before. Not only is it simple enough, it's also incredibly delicious. It was also husband-approved, which is a definite win. Overall — highly recommended, and definitely something that will now be on regular rotation around here.
And in terms of the styling itself, and the creative play involved with putting this post together, mission accomplished. Not only did I feel energized during the process, but I enjoyed editing the photos and putting everything together as well in order to tell the full story.
Now of course, the challenge will be finding time to make this a more regular thing.