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When I was researching blogs in preparation for launching my own, there were some sites to which I was drawn due to their quality content, stunning website design, and the bloggers’ great personalities.  Although these sites appear on my blogroll, I thought it would be helpful to tell you why I recommend them.  I discovered and bookmarked these sites long before realizing they all know each other…interesting, although it does make sense that successful (aka award-winning!) food bloggers and photographers would run into each other.  Some day I hope to join their circle of friends! ;)  Hope you enjoy these sites as much as I do!  I listed these blogs in no particular order. Click on the names of the blogs to go to their websites.  For most, I specifically linked to posts that sum up my review of them.

Tartelette photography here —  For food and photos

Meet Helen, professional photographer and master of pastries ‘n’ all things sweet.  She has a warm, comforting, casual way of speaking that you might expect from a good friend, and also imbues a vivid, poignant quality into her words.  While I don’t make any of her desert recipes (I’m afraid of what will happen to my physique if I do!), I enjoy reading her posts and devouring her delectable sweets–sans calories–through her drool-worthy pictures.  I plan to prepare some of her savory dishes though, which are worth checking out.  If I had time, I would read every recipe–seriously, the photos are so exquisite and her stories are easy and fun to read.

Use Real Butter —  For the photos

Jennifer is a cancer survivor, outdoor enthusiast, and self-proclaimed smart ass.  As a professional photographer who blogs about food, her pictures are to die for–after you’ve gobbled up every last crumb.  I find most of them so breathtaking, I want to cry in appreciation.  Take a look at the first picture on the linked page, it almost jumps out from the computer screen, it’s so vivid and mesmerizing.  She has a very conversational style and fun sense of humor…seems like she would be a blast to hang out with!

Matt Bites photography here —  For food and photos

This is an appropriate title for this professional photographer and food-styler’s blog.  Matt writes about lip-smacking food–which you can’t wait to bite into–and delivers his posts with a witty, biting sense of humor.  So Matt does bite…in a good way.

Deliciously Organic —  For the food (organic & unrefined ingredients!)

I was so thrilled to stumble upon Carrie’s food blog.  She never uses white flour or white sugar, and only uses unrefined ingredients–which is rare to find, even on “organic” and “natural food” websites. Carrie gets her culinary genes from her mom, and shares that she has been cookin’ in the kitchen since she was a wee one.  I love her recipes and look forward to making my way through all of them. And her food portraits ain’t too bad either!

White on Rice Couple —  For food and photos

From the title of their blog, you know something about Diane and Todd right off the bat.  That this is a fun, not-too-serious couple who playfully embraces their stereotypes–he’s from white country, she’s from rice country, and they’re inseparable…very clever!  This website is chock-full of delightful photos, recipes, tutorials, and information.  I could spend hours eating up all the treats these full-time photographers and part-time food writers offer us.

Not Without Salt —  For food and photos

Another cleverly named blog, Ashley puts it all out there with her honest, down-to-earth style and inspiring photography.  She blogs about a wide variety of subjects other than food–recent posts center around bringing spring indoors by making a cherry blossom tree, and how to fashion your own stylish hair ornaments.  I can inhale her posts and photos in one sitting and find myself promising, “Just one more….”

101 Cookbooks —  For food (unrefined ingredients!) and photos

This blog is the first one I had found that focused on natural, whole food ingredients that were minimally–if at all–processed.  Heidi is a professional photographer who started her blog by putting her 101 cookbook collection to use and ended up with a cookbook of her own.  Compared to the bright backgrounds of White on Rice and Matt Bites, her pictures are earthy and muted; she often photographs her food on wooden tables and parchment paper-lined baking sheets.  On a recent visit to her blog, her style of photography set a scene in my mind of Heidi eating at a communal table, wearing a chunky cardigan, and sharing great conversation with friends…in Washington or Oregon.  She lives in San Francisco, and I’m sure she doesn’t live in knit sweaters or exclusively have hippie friends, but that’s the image I got.  I’ve made a few of her recipes–they are vegetarian by the way–and have been thrilled with the results.  How often can you make brownies out of black beans (no flour!), bring them to a party, and have everyone think they are made of fudge?  Not going to happen, unless of course you made Heidi’s Amazing Black Bean Brownies!

Simply Recipes —  For the food

You could take a three-day vacation on Elise’s massive site.  I couldn’t believe the library of recipes she has on there.  You can search recipes by main ingredient, course type, or by special category–budget, quick recipes, Gluten-free, low-carb, vegetarian, Mexican and Tex-Mex.  I have made many of her recipes and have sighed in delight after tasting such creations as her French Onion Soup and Eggplant Parmesan–truly the best I’ve ever eaten!  Her homestyle, comfort food is a hit every time!

Steamy Kitchen —  For food and photos

I think it’s fitting I end on an extremely high–but pleasant–note with Jaden’s site.  I’ve actually met her and felt an instant connection with this photographer/TV personality chef/food columnist/cookbook writer/mom/SuperWoman.  She’s sweet, full of energy, and will have you rolling on the hopefully clean floor in laughter.  Her writing is entertaining and chef knife sharp, and her humor is smart and loaded like a potato with all the toppings.  Jaden’s photography and recipes are no-fuss, quick, fun, and lovely…just like her!

What do you think about this list?  Do you have any other quality blogs to add?

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