Favorite Recipe : Banh Mi Bowls

What happens when I find something that I love? I shout it from the rooftops and make it

That is what happened with these Banh Mi Bowls. I was on Pinterest a few months ago and saw a photo for this recipe and immediately knew I wanted to make it. I LOVE food in a bowl. Burrito Bowls. Greek Bowls. Stir Fry Bowls. Curry in a Bowl. I feel like it is the easiest and best way to eat food. This is no different, I LOVE it.

The original recipe I found was from Chelsea’s Messy Apron. She’s one of my favorite food bloggers. Here is the link to her recipe.

After making this recipe no less than 10 times and making some tweaks and changes to how I cook/season things – I wanted to share the KLP Version of Banh Mi Bowls.

In the recipe above – Chelsea uses fish sauce and sugar when she is cooking her ground pork along with a few other ingredients. I tried it her way and realized that I like my meat to have a different flavor. Below is the way that I make my Bahn Mi Bowls – it usually is enough for 2 large portions for Kyle and I + leftovers.

Banh Mi Bowls

Course: DinnerDifficulty: Medium
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes

Ingredients

  • Meat
  • 1 Pound Ground Pork

  • 1 Teaspoon of Sesame Oil

  • 1-2 teaspoons Soy Sauce or Coconut Aminos

  • Minced Garlic

  • Grated Ginger

  • Black Pepper

  • Optional : Sriracha

  • Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Mayo

  • 2 teaspoons Lime Juice

  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha

  • Pickled Veggies
  • Veggies Sliced Into Matchsticks : Carrots, Bell Pepper, Radishes

  • 1/4 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • Other
  • Cooked Rice (Brown or White both work!)

  • Sliced Avocado

  • Cilantro

  • Sliced Jalapeños (Seeds Removed if you want less spice)

  • Sliced English Cucumber

Directions

  • Start by getting the pickled veggies going. In a bowl or Tupperware container (easier for leftovers) – add your veggies along with the rice wine vinegar, sugar, and salt. Give them at least 30 minutes in the vinegar mixture, stirring occasionally.
  • Brown the ground pork. Once browned, if there is a lot of grease, drain the pork & put back into the pan. Add in the sesame oil, soy sauce or coconut aminos, minced garlic, grated ginger, black pepper, and if you like spice – some Sriracha. Continue to cook until you see the meat start to get crispy on the edges.
  • To make the sauce – whisk the mayo, sriracha, & lime juice together in a small bowl.
  • To assemble the bowls – add rice, ground pork, pickled veggies, and sliced cucumbers to a bowl. You can also add additional toppings such as cilantro, sliced jalapeños, & avocado. Drizzle with the sauce & enjoy!

Notes

KLP Presets : One Click Mobile Edits

We all can admit that the camera we use the most is probably the one on our cell phone. Even for myself, sometimes my iPhone is the fastest and easiest way to snap a photo. My phone goes with me places even when I don’t want to bring a camera, and the cameras are actually great quality – so it just makes sense! 

Last year, I had gotten a few requests for some “Filters” or “Presets” so that people could edit their mobile images and have them look bright, crisp, and natural. 

That’s the style in which my professional photos are in – but a lot of “filters” actually don’t look REAL. They alter color and even sometimes the texture of images. Green becomes dull and brown. White becomes yellow and overly warm. And photos go from looking bright – to looking heavy. 

I had been editing my own iPhone images by hand in different apps – but I decided to create some presets that everyone could use to edit their mobile images – KLP Style!

Since I am a natural light photographer – the first 2 presets that I created were the KLP Original and the KLP Cool Tone. 

The KLP Original is the OG. The first. And the one I use the most. It is for NATURAL LIGHT images – and works best on images that do not have heavy shadows. A lot of times, I photograph people in the shade – or at least not in direct sunlight. It’s the most flattering on a super hot & bright day, and is the most consistent lighting. The KLP Original Preset warms up the image a little bit, because most of the time, shaded images need it! 

The KLP Cool Tone is the Cooler Version of the Original. It’s going to give your color some pop, but works well in the sun – or if there is a lot of warm color in your image. Sometimes, I just prefer a cooler edit – also! I love the Cool Tone when my image has white/grey in it – it really makes those contrasts pop! I have also found that the Cool Tone is great for images indoor taken by a window. Indoor lighting tends to be warmer (more yellow) and the cool tone balances that out!

Now, I know that a LOT of times, you might be using your iPhone for photos inside! The light might be REALLY dark – and there might be shadows! The KLP Dark & KLP Dark Cool presets are my answer! 

They both will brighten up your dark images (Dark means to use on darker images, not that they will make the image darker – I know that can be confusing). But at the same time – they are meant to recover some of the shadows! These are perfect for indoor images – or outdoor images that are OVERLY dark! The KLP Dark is a warmer edit and the KLP Dark Cool is perfect if your image is being lit by ambient light (think lamps and candles – those give off a warm glow, and the Dark Cool will counteract that and make the image crisp and perfect!) 

The last 2 presets are MUST haves in my opinion. 

First – the KLP Lite & Crisp is great for if you don’t want to alter the image much, you like how it is – but you just want to fine tune it! I feel like it gives each photo a perfect POP – but doesn’t change much! This is one that I reach for a lot – especially on vacation when I just want to have things looking crisp, but not needing much change! 

Lastly – the KLP B/W Preset. I LOVE Black & White photos. I also am VERY VERY picky about the type of Black & White edits that I use. I need them to be crisp. I need them to be clean. And I need them to have contrast, but not too much to where it looks and feels heavy. This is my favorite black & white edit – and to be honest, some images are just ROUGH with lighting. Especially on phone camera, sometimes things just turn out with some wonky colors. This is the easiest way to save an image you love, but that might need a little extra help! Black & White is a lifesaver for images that have color casts. 

So – how do you use these? 
Well first, you can use them on Apple or Android Devices through the FREE Adobe Lightroom App. The App downloads directly to your phone & then once you purchase the presets, you can install them right into the app to apply them to your images with ONE CLICK. Also – If you have more than one, you can click through each of them to see which one you like the best! 

The presets are one of my favorite things I’ve ever created, because it’s been so fun to hear and see how you have used them on your own photos! 

If you want to see more examples & get an idea of how they would look on your images – head over to the KLP Presets Website! 

Also – if you purchase more than one preset, use the code MULTIPLE20 for 20% off your entire purchase! 

www.klppresets.com

The BEST $30 Cheeseboard!

One thing you will always find at our home when we have people over is a cheeseboard. However, with the trend of cheeseboards on the rise over the past few years, I remember being SUPER overwhelmed at the beginning on what to buy to put on my first cheeseboards!

One stop at Trader Joe’s and $30 was my goal to create a cheeseboard with some variety that everyone could find some favorites!

My cheeseboard goal is never to have the fanciest cheeses – but to have some variety. In fact, I think that my FAVORITE part of a cheeseboard is the extras that can be added to make it even more exciting!

I love having some cheeses fruit, veggies, crackers, meat, and different dips/spreads to jazz it up!

Every item was found at Trader Joe’s and the total was $29.28! The board you see pictured was only HALF of what we purchased. There was more cheese, meat, crackers, and dips that did not fit on my board – so with all of these items, the cheeseboard would be the perfect sized for 6-8 people! Either you could do one giant board, 2 boards next to each other, or refill the board once most things have been eaten!


1.) Cheese Party Tray – $5.49

I love having a variety of cheese on a board. A lot of blogs/recipes have wild cheeses and most of them can be expensive. I love Beecher’s Flagship, but a block of it is around $10, so when I’m trying to keep things simple and inexpensive, I love getting these Variety Packs of cheese to get a lot of variety and even quantity on my board without breaking the bank! Plus, I find that standard cheeses like Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Swiss, and Colby Jack will always get eaten! Especially by picky eaters! Also – the presliced cheese makes setting up a cheeseboard SO quick! (For a larger group, Costco has a great sliced cheese variety pack that is around $10 and is a great option!)

2.) Goat Cheese – $2.99

My friend Liz had a girls night a few years ago and served Goat Cheese topped with Pepper Jelly and I instantly fell in love! The goat cheese is tangy, and the pepper jelly really balances it out! Even people who have never had goat cheese have told me that they LOVED this! (Costco also has a double pack of goat cheese that is a super great deal if you are planning on making multiple cheeseboards in a month – or if you like goat cheese! We love adding it to salads!)

3.) Hot & Sweet Pepper Jelly – $2.49

THIS is the only pepper jelly I use – Hot & Sweet Pepper Jelly from Trader Joes’s! It’s sweet but not TOO hot and perfect on goat cheese (or cream cheese) and spread onto a cracker! One of my favorite cheeseboard additions! Make sure to put it in it’s own bowl or container, because it is liquid and will spread all over your board! Find it over by the peanut butter!

4.) Apple : Green & Red – $.69 each

Fruit & cheese go together like PB&J. An easy way to add color & crunch to a cheeseboard! Plus, I love having options for people who are dairy free or gluten free. Fruits & veggies are a great way to have things on your cheeseboard that everyone can enjoy!

5.) Bell Pepper – $1.19

Like the apples : An easy way to add color & crunch to a cheeseboard! Plus, I love having options for people who are dairy free or gluten free. I chose an orange bell pepper – because I already had a red and green apple. I think the more color on a cheeseboard – the prettier it is!

6.) Mini Persian Cucumbers – $2.29

Perfect for dipping in hummus or tapenade – and also are a great option for people who have food sensitivities.

7.) Genoa Salame & Provolone Cheese – $3.99

This was a great option to add some meat to our board without breaking the bank! Some of the meat options were over $7 – and these salami pieces were GIANT. I could easily cut them into quarters and they would go really far on a board! Same with this cheese!

8.) Hummus Dip – $1.99

Perfect for dipping veggies in! We chose a simple plain hummus for this board – but TJ’s has SO many options for hummus/dips. Wether you like a spicy hummus, or want to try a spinach dip or something that is vegan – TJ’s has some great options!

9.) Pita Chips with Sea Salt – $1.99

Because nothing goes better with hummus than pita chips! Plus, these go a long way on a board, and are even great with the goat cheese + pepper jelly!

10.) Olive Tapenade – $1.99

I LOVE olives, but they can be expensive. This is one of my favorite things to put on a board. Olives are briny and yummy and salty – this tapenade is super good. Not the prettiest, it’s a lovely brown color. But put it next to something else and I promise people will dive right in!

11.) Cracker Assortment – $3.49

One of the WORST things is getting a cheeseboard on a date night and it comes with like 3 crackers. I’m sorry – but crackers are maybe MORE important than the cheese. This variety pack had 4 different types of crackers and was a great deal! Choose any crackers you like, but make sure you have enough!


So – those are all the things I added on my $30 cheeseboard. If I was making a cheeseboard for more $$ -or- had more people to serve I would add some Marcona Almonds, some Brie Cheese, and also some berries! Those are some of my favorite additions to a cheeseboard, but they also can be spendy!

I think all of us lead busy lives. Whether its work, or school, or families – life moves quickly and so often weeks and months can go by with us spending time with people! So – I have an idea. Grab $30, buy some things for a cheeseboard and a few bottles of things to drink – whether it’s some LaCroix, or wine, or maybe some cold brew – text some friends and set up a quick get-together. You can make the cheeseboard TOGETHER – just put all the ingredients on the counter, get out a giant cutting board & a few knives – you’ll be able to put it together in 10 minutes and you’ll spend the next couple hours grazing and chatting.

It doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t have to be complicated, & it doesn’t have to be expensive for it to be meaningful.

The Power of a Photograph

Sometimes when I can’t sleep or when I’m having a hard day – I’ll go through the photos on my iPhone. I’ll look through recent photos or some from years prior. I glance through our wedding photos, or our photos from vacations, or even photos from holiday gatherings with friends and family.

I will see photos from the hospital room where I said goodbye to my grandpa. I will see photos of different hospital rooms where I held my best friends’ babies on the day they were born. Photos of Thanksgiving turkey. Photos of cups of coffee from a cafe in California. Photos of me snuggled up to Kyle on a beach in Maui.

As a photographer, I sometimes forget the power of a photograph to brighten a day, to bring back a memory long forgotten or even sometimes – to bring up emotions that I didn’t realize I had.

I am reminded of those beautiful memories when i see the photo. Of our time in Ireland. Or the time in our life when we were first married and every new thing was a “first”. And I am also reminded of some of the tough moments that have happened – and that even when it felt like those tough moments would last forever, I always made it through. 

Life can have REALLY hard moments. Or even days. Or even seasons. It can feel heavy. We can find ourselves searching to find joy when our days feel long, difficult, monotonous, or even hopeless.

But then you might glance at your phone background and see a photo of your smiling kids and remember their first time seeing the snow. Or you see a photo in a frame of your parents and see that you really do look like a perfect combination of both of them put together in one person. You see your husband and remember the butterflies you felt when you first saw him, and again during that sweet first look on your wedding day.

My friend Brianna put it perfectly when she said :

“A photo session captures a moment – in love with a spouse, or holding the hand of a tiny precious human, or a family all grown but closer than ever. When that moment is captured, it’s no longer passing, but forever – and you get to revisit it any time you want…It’s a reminder that life is still good.”-Brianna Wood 

I get it – getting in front of the camera can be hard. When life is busy, or money is tight, or even if you are dealing with feeling insecure about your body or appearance. Being photographed can feel like the LAST thing you want to do or have time for. 

But here’s the deal – you deserve to have beautiful memories captured. I know it takes work to get everyone dressed and to the same place for a photo session – but it is seriously something you will be so grateful you did. 

We had a wildly busy 2019 and we needed a BREAK. We booked a last minute vacation to Maui & even though we were only 3 weeks away from our trip – I booked a photographer for a sunrise photo session. These images are something that I am so glad that I have – to not only remember this season of our lives and this trip – but also to look back upon and remember all that 2019 brought into our lives. We accomplished a lot together, but making time to rest and refresh together was the highlight of our year. These photos serve as a reminder to me to prioritize our relationship and marriage – even in seasons where the schedule is crazy. What a gift.


I am so grateful for the friends who have trusted me to photograph some of the best and brightest seasons of their lives, and others who have trusted me to photograph the hardest seasons as well. It’s not about everyone in the photo being perfect – it’s about the memories that the photos will remind you of. The good, the hard, the bright & shiny, and the not-so-much. 

So if it’s been a while since you’ve stepped in front of the camera, can I challenge you to do that this year? Whether you hire a professional photographer and choose new outfits, or ask a friend to take a photo of your family at a BBQ. You will be so glad you did.

Your life is beautiful & it is worth remembering,
Kels

These Images are from our photo shoot in Maui by Hannah McFall Photography – highly recommend if you are looking for a photographer while on vacation in Maui! She was a dream to work with!

https://www.hannahmcfallphoto.com

2019 : Behind the Scenes & Bloopers

Why I started collecting the least flattering photos of Kyle & I on a folder in my desktop, we will never know. But 3 years later – this is one post that our friends and clients always love. 2019, we loved you. You were crazy busy most of the time, and I still have no idea how to keep my hair frizz-free even after being alive for 30 whole years, but at the end of it all – we had the VERY BEST year with our amazing clients.

So take a look through these behind the scenes & so many bloopers. These unedited moments that show you just how weird we really are. And if we look like your kind of people? Let’s work together. We’d really love to photograph your wedding days or family photos!

To book a photo session with these weirdos, visit :

https://www.kelseylynnephotography.com/contact

Or to see last year’s Bloopers Post, check this out!

https://kelseylynnephotography.com/2018-behind-scenes-bloopers/