My name is Ashley McLaughlin and this is my blog, Edible Perspective. To learn more about my journey head on over to my about + FAQ pages. I'm thrilled that you stopped by. Enjoy!



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Baked Doughnuts For Everyone: From Sweet to Savory to Everything in Between, 101 Delicious Recipes, All Gluten-Free



Food Photography Tip of the Week |24|

Food Photography Tip of the Week |24|

5 Basic Tips for Food Photography

It’s been a few weeks since my last photo tip of the week post, but today I’m back with a few important things I’ve learned over the years. These are more general tips to hopefully set you in the right direction to start your food photography journey, or keep it moving forward.

1 // Collect inspiration and keep it in sight.

This is something that seems obvious. I’m sure you look at a million food photos online each day, but are you saving your favorites? Sure, pin boards are great, but I find printing photos or tearing them out of magazines to have in sight is much more helpful. You can keep them in a binder, tape them to your wall, or have a few in the kitchen with you for a specific shoot.

The idea isn’t to copy what you see in the photo but to use it as inspiration. Pinterest is a great place to start your collecting. From there, I’ll take a few photos into Photoshop, reduce them to fit on 1 page, print, and then take it in the kitchen with me. I find this to be very helpful and it’s fun to look at my final shots and compare them to the examples I printed.

5 Basic Tips for Food Photography |

2 // Turn your camera to manual mode.

You’ve probably heard me tell you to do this a few times by now, but I swear it will make the biggest difference in your knowledge of photography which will then help to improve your photos. Using your camera in manual mode will teach you how shutter speed, ISO, and aperture all work together to create a properly exposed image with just the right amount of focus and bokeh. Manual mode gives you full control over the settings, making you the decision maker and not your camera. While it may take you awhile to get the hang of it you’ll feel comfortable in no time. I don’t know the last time I switched my camera off of manual mode.

Also, when I use my tripod I even manually focus each shot. This ensures my photos are going to be as sharp as possible and the focus is set exactly where I want it.

5 Basic Tips for Food Photography |

3 // Practice when you have time to experiment.

It can be really hard to improve your photos when you’re only shooting for the next deadline, blog post, etc. I fall into this trap all of the time, but it’s important to practice your photography when you’re not working on an specific assignment. There’s always a bit of pressure when you’re on a deadline even if it’s for your personal blog. It can be hard to master a pour shot or capture steam in your photos when you have a tiny window to get it right. My suggestion is to set up a time each week to practice, even if it’s only for 30 minutes.

Maybe you know you always have a hard time photographing something specific, like winter squash. If you practice shooting squash for 30 minutes you will notice more creativity coming out as you continue to snap away. This is something I need to do more of myself!

[Curious how to cook acorn squash? Check my tutorial here with a few simple preparation methods!]

5 Basic Tips for Food Photography |

4 // Start with a simple collection of props.

I know we’ve talked about props a few times before, but you really don’t need much to get started. Here is an idea of some basics that are great to have on hand. Besides thrifting, another money-saving option is to ask family and friends if they have any kitchen items you can borrow or keep if they’re no longer using them. You can cook up something delicious to say thanks!

  • 3-4 appetizer plates
  • 2 salad plates
  • 2-3 small bowls
  • 1-2 glass jars
  • 2-3 drinking glasses
  • 2 kitchen towels or cut fabric
  • a few different utensils
  • 1 baking sheet
  • 1-2 surfaces to shoot on
  • 1-2 backgrounds to set up behind your food

When I started, many of the items I used were what I already had in my cupboards. I definitely had to keep things on the cheap the first few years.

The wood planks below were given to me from a friend. They were part of an old fence that was taken down and when I saw the planks I asked/begged if I could have a few. This has turned into one of my favorite surfaces to shoot on.

[pssst! Check out my recipe for Simple Vegan Tacos on Craftsy!]

5 Basic Tips for Food Photography |

5 // Create your own style.

Use other peoples’ photos for inspiration but let your eyes guide you behind the camera. Trust yourself and be confident with the work you produce. Try new things to find your groove and don’t get discouraged when something doesn’t work. [Easier said than done!] You’ll find your weaknesses and strengths as you continue to take more photos, and you’ll also find a style that feels comfortable. If people can pick your photos from a lineup you know you’re developing your own style.

5 Basic Tips for Food Photography |

And a 6th, unofficial tip – don’t forget to have fun! If you’re feeling stressed, take a breather and then get back at it.



Tuscan Kale + White Bean Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bake

The end of summer caused me to go through a savory recipe rut. It’s that odd time when summer produce turns mediocre but is still being sold, and when squash and brussels sprouts just aren’t quite at their peak.

Tuscan Kale + White Bean Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bake |

But now that it’s nearly mid October I think I’m getting into the fall cooking groove. The squash piles are growing at the store each week, and there is a chill in the air causing me to crave steamy-hot, comforting meals.

Tuscan Kale + White Bean Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bake |

While I never grow tired of roasting spaghetti squash and eating it with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper, I try to come up with a fun and unique recipe each year that highlights this odd, crunchy, noodle-y vegetable.

Tuscan Kale + White Bean Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bake |

In 2010 [oy.] they were Tex-Mex stuffed. In 2012 I took the squash and stuffed it into jumbo pasta shells with mushrooms and spinach. Man, those were gooood. And last year I mixed in chard with a fire roasted tomato sauce.

It’s possible that 2014 is the best squash stuffing year yet.

I mean…




Tuscan Kale + White Bean Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bake |

I cooked the spaghetti squash and then created a mixture of garlic, shallot, white beans, sun-dried tomatoes, and kale. That mixture was combined with the squash and then tossed with ricotta + parmesan.

And because it’s way more fun for serving, I re-stuffed the squash shells with the mixture and set it off to bake. Oh man. The crispy top layer.

Tuscan Kale + White Bean Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bake |

And the breadcrumbs!

Tuscan Kale + White Bean Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bake |

Print this!

Tuscan Kale + White Bean Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bake gluten-free // yields 4 large or 8 sm/med servings

squash bake:

  • 2, 3-4 pound spaghetti squash
  • 1-2 tablespoons sunflower oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2, 15oz cans cannellini beans, drained + rinsed
  • 1 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes, not oil-packed
  • 10 cups ribboned Tuscan/dino/lacinato kale, stems removed ~2 med. bunches
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh oregano,
  • 1 large egg
  • 15oz full-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt + pepper

breadcrumb topping:

  • 3 slices gluten-free bread, I used Udi’s
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly chopped oregano

Preheat your oven to 400° F. Slice spaghetti squash lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Drizzle with oil, a sprinkle of salt + pepper and then rub in. Line 1-2 baking sheets with parchment paper and place squash cut side down. Bake for about 35-40 minutes until just tender enough that you can scrape the squash into strands. You don’t want it fully cooked since it will be baked again.

While cooking, place bread in a blender or food processor and grind into breadcrumbs. Toast on a pan in the oven [top rack is fine] for about 6-8 minutes. Remove and let cool fully, then toss with oregano and parmesan.

Flip the cooked squash halves over and let cool for 15 minutes [longer is fine].

While cooling, heat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add 2 teaspoons of oil. Once hot, add the shallot and let cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in the garlic with another teaspoon of oil and stir frequently for about 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned. Preheat oven to 350° F.

Raise the pan heat to medium. Add the white beans and a hefty sprinkle of salt + pepper. Let cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir the sun-dried tomatoes into the pan and let cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in the kale and oregano. Let cook for 1-2 minutes until just starting to wilt. Remove mixture from the heat.

Scrape about 90% of the spaghetti squash into a large mixing bowl, leaving some attached to each shell. Empty the kale mixture over the squash and combine. Add salt and pepper until seasoned to your liking.

Whisk the egg in a small mixing bowl. Mix mix in the ricotta, parmesan, a pinch of salt, and about 1/4 teaspoon black pepper until. Empty over the squash mixture and toss with your hands to evenly distribute. Scoop 1/4 of the mixture into each squash shell. Do not pack in. Bake for 25 minutes, until the top layer is a lightly crisped and brown.

Sprinkle with toasted breadcrumb mixture and bake for another 5-8 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly then serve.

Tuscan Kale + White Bean Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bake |

Pretty sure this would be a show-stopper meal for a dinner party. Just sayin’.