peanut butter brownies (grain-free)

If we are blinded by darkness, we are also blinded by light. When too much light falls on everything, a special terror results. –Anne Dillard (via)

A few days ago I met an old friend for coffee. Lauren’s been someone whom I deeply admire, and have been longing to see for a while. Seeing her feels like an exhalation–I can explain it, but I always feel calm in her presence. She’s soft-spoken, introverted and insanely creative. We met years ago when we were online marketing managers at HarperCollins, and we’ve kept in contact over the years–perhaps out of sheer curiosity about where we’d inevitably land. I remember our first lunch after years of not having seen one another, and I shared how much I loved photographing food, and she smiled and shared that she had started freelancing as a professional photographer. At first I felt embarrassed around her because she was the real deal while I was someone with an expensive camera taking pictures of the food I’d made, but she was so generous with her time that I soon grew eager to ask her questions. She advised me about shooting light, Lightroom techniques for balancing out distortion as a result of using my 16-35mm, and general tips about lenses (she shoots with a Nikon while I’ve a Canon).


This week, in passing, she mentioned that some of my recent photos have been good, really good, and that I should consider submitting them to a few sites for stock photography. At first I balked, I waved her away–who was I to submit photos alongside people who could pontificate for hours about bokeh and light? It’s weird even writing this alongside a post where the food shots are passable at best (brown is hard to beautify, especially when you’re dealing with gluten-free desserts, which are sometimes challenging as keeping the integrity of the sweet becomes a nearly impossible proposition, and food styling gives me massive vertigo because I think the food should always be the star of the show), but when I look at some of my images from Nicaragua (I really enjoyed shooting with a wide-angle lens, and I feel really proud of this photo), Thailand, Fiji, and India, I get excited. They’re not half-bad. They’re decent, even. I also think the buns from this post are pretty foxy.

So I submitted a portfolio of about 30 photos for consideration to one of the cool stock sites, where I can make a few hundred a month (for grocery + transportation $, not bad!). To be honest, I’m expecting to be rejected (I’m not fishing. Seriously, I’m not), but it’s nice to take an element of what I love about this space and finding a way to make a little extra money from it. I even thought about redesigning the space so I can have a section for my photos (the travel shots are the ones of which I’m most proud, since the food photos are simply okay) in hopes that I might sell some prints.

What do you guys think? Am I crazy? It’d be nice to hear your thoughts.

Like I said, ignore the brownies (although they were downright delicious) as an example of my work.

INGREDIENTS: Recipe from The Extra Virgin Kitchen
4 tbsp chunky peanut butter
125g dark chocolate
100g vegan butter (7 tbsp)
2 medium eggs
125g coconut palm sugar
75g almond flour (about 3/4 cup)
1 tsp baking powder

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Line a small square baking tray (8×8) with parchment paper.

Beat the peanut butter and maple syrup in a small bowl with a fork. Litter the tray with baby blobs. Set aside. In a double-boiler, melt the chocolate and butter, and set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar until creamy (2-3 minutes). Beat in the almonds and baking powder. Fold in the chocolate and butter mixture. Pour over the peanut butter mixture and even out with a spatula. Bake for approximately 18 minutes.

Cool on a rack for an hour. You can store this in the fridge in an airtight container for a week.


27 thoughts on “peanut butter brownies (grain-free)

  1. I love when people are generous with their time and knowledge. Your brownie picture is what made me open the post and now I’m craving brownies (thank you :))..I think selling your prints is a fab idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I come back again and again for your writing that I can relate to many times, especially the NY posts; for your travel posts… seeing the world through your lens and because I LOVE love to travel; and your photos… I love photography as well, and I think so many of your photos are awesome!!! Why not submit them and see where it goes from there? You have nothing to lose and a few hundred dollars to gain for your journey 🙂 Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is coming from a person who doesn’t even own a camera, but you don’t strike me as a person who doesn’t try new things. I seem to recall you’re leaving Brooklyn, you were heading for California, and then you got sidetracked in Nicaragua(?)… Submit your photos – that your professional real-deal friend told you to submit. With all the things you seem fearless about trying, this is…you know. Go big or go home! Love your writing. I must, because I don’t cook.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You clearly have an artist’s eye, so trust it. You know which of your photos are the great ones- again, trust your instinct. Just because you aren’t a professional full-time photographer does not mean that you can’t make money doing it. There’s no reason to feel like your work can’t stand up next to the work of a full-time photographer.

    I say all of this as I go through a similar internal struggle. I’m starting to get to the point where I can trust my eye and know which of my photos are great (not so many yet) and could stand next to the work of a full-time photographer’s. I’m not saying I would compare myself to Annie Liebowitz, or Ansel Adams, or Greg Heisler, or any of the hundreds of real artists in the craft. It’s more that I don’t feel ashamed of my good work, and I wouldn’t feel guilty putting it out there for profit.

    I remember going through the same struggle in my music career, and eventually reaching the point where I felt confident charging an honest rate to folks looking for a trumpet player.


    1. Jon,

      Thank you for this! Many of my friends have echoed your sentiments, and I’ve already started combing through my photos to find some great ones, and I’m even starting to save for my next lens investment (50mm, 1/2). You’re right about trusting your gut because I’m really proud of some of the pictures I’ve taken and I’ve received a nice bit of praise here, so it feels okay to have a small side hustle of selling them online.

      Thanks again, and I’m wishing you so much luck and light in your journey. I used to play the clarinet, so I appreciate and fondly respect anyone who loves music.

      Warmly, f.

      On Tue, Mar 10, 2015 at 4:25 PM, wrote:



      1. The clarinet is a beautiful instrument, in the right hands (aren’t they all?!).

        I’m thinking about my photography profits in a similar way- to save up for more gear! Right now I’m actually saving money by creating a lot of my own DIY lighting mods. I just built a small strip softbox that I’m going to try out on a musician friend this afternoon.

        Sorry for the tangent, but you got me all excited about photography gear. Looking forward to seeing where your photography takes you in the future!


  5. The brownies look so chocolately! I think that if your friend thinks its worth doing and shes got experience behind the lense you can only give it a shot. The worse they can do is say thanks but no thanks and you move on. I hope you do get some positive results out of this venture 🙂 I use an iphone as Im such a procrastinator over what camera to buy and I totally agree with you its damn hard to make brown look exciting.


  6. I think the photos look awesome, and the brownie photo is what made me click on the post. Sounds delicious, and how can you go wrong when you combine chocolate and peanut butter? Thanks for sharing 🙂


  7. Hi Felicia,
    My previous was just an offering of tips/places/possible help regarding places you may want to consider on your journey, but I understand the need to keep the details close to oneself concerning certain things. Best of luck in your journey and please feel free to shoot me an email if you ever change your mind :)!
    Good luck and safe travels!


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