lights, camera, action.

by Janetha on March 15, 2011

in meals,moves

i’m in a quinoa coma. this isn’t a bad thing. more on that in a moment.

first, some meals & moves! i am going to show you basically everything i ate today for the purpose of my post. here we go!


breakfast was actually eaten at work today. i have been eating breakfast at home these days, but i was running late this morning so i ate breakfast at the office.


1c plain 0% greek yogurt + 1 sliced banana + ~1/3c nature’s path ancient grains granola.


lunch was leftover chicken + broccoli quinoa casserole, just as good (if not better!) the second time around.


my snack was around 4 PM and i was still at the office.

1 sliced braeburn apple + ~1 TB mighty maple peanut butter + muscle milk light.


when i got home from work i ended up having some toast + cottage cheese pre-workout.


after a little procrastination and iron chef watching..


i decided to do a workout. i started with this warmup followed by the survivor workout and i was literally dripping in sweat after the short 15 minute intense routine.

a brief rundown of the workout—there are three five minute parts.  the first part consisted of five exercises that you do for 50 seconds and try to achieve max reps followed by a 10 second rest to write down your scores. for the next part, you do 5 minutes of single leg squats + tuck jumps for max reps. the third part is the exact same as the first part. here are my scores for the survivor workout:

  • left leg backward lunge and kick: part 1=22 , part 3=19
  • right leg backward lunge and kick: part 1=20 , part 3=20
  • single arm (alternating) press ups: part 1=12 , part 3=12
  • double kick with breakdance pushup: part 1=7 , part 3=7
  • pike jump + jump squat:  part 1=9 , part 3=9

i did 42 single leg squats + tuck jumps in the 5 minutes of part two.

i finished up with this cooldown. the entire process (warmup, workout and cooldown) took just over 30 minutes

the end.


i created a new, simple recipe for dinner tonight.

four can quinoa casserole!


i am on a quinoa kick lately. i love how quick and easy it is to make and i also love the texture.  the health benefits are an added bonus.

to make this casserole, i simply boiled 1 lb of chicken breasts in low sodium broth and shredded it with two forks.


i combined the chicken with 2 cups of cooked quinoa (i cooked it in low sodium chicken broth for extra flavor) and four cans:


okay, so the one on the far right is technically a jar.. but “four can quinoa casserole” had a nicer ring than “three cans and one jar quinoa casserole”… don’t you agree?  also, i am well aware that this recipe is a total sodium bomb due to the canned goods. if you make this, go ahead and drink an extra glass (or twelve) of water.

anyway, i combined the chicken, quinoa, 7 oz can of diced green chiles, 10 oz can of rotel, 14 oz can of corn and 1 cup of verde salsa (not the whole jar) and mixed it well. because the dish didn’t have enough sodium yet, i added cholula seasoning. love this stuff.


next, i poured it into a casserole dish and topped it with a bit of shredded cheese (the mexican blend).


i baked the casserole at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. can you guess which side is marshall’s?


this recipe makes six servings and here are the stats for one serving, assuming you use 2 oz of cheese in the recipe:


those stats are also pre-garnish. i garnished my mexican casserole with 1/3 of a perfectly ripe avocado. it would have been even better with a dollop of greek yogurt, but i am all out!


and that, my friends, explains why i am currently in a quinoa coma. boy, was it delicious.

randy dog is in a different kind of coma.. he got into a box of love crunch granola and ate the whole thing! poor guy has a belly ache and can’t even move.


hopefully he learned a lesson.. but chances are he already wants more granola.

and now—the reason behind my title: lights, camera, action. 

i am often curious about where bloggers shoot their photographs. some blogs that come to mind are ashley’s, allie’s and mama pea’s—their photos are always stellar! i am no professional, but i thought it would be fun to show you where i usually photograph my food.

i simply took photos of the bigger picture for all of my meals & moves today.

when i shoot at work, i try to take photos in the conference room because it is the only area that has natural light. that is where i shot my breakfast today.


i did notice that the lighting was different due to the time change, but the natural light was still abundant. i usually use this small table right by the window and get great side light.

i sometimes use the other corner table for front light.


the only problem is i have to be sure to use a placemat because the tables are all glass-top and there is a reflection in the glass if i don’t use a placemat.

if i am pressed for time, i will shoot my meals at my desk. this happens more often than not because i am usually really busy. i have ridiculously annoying florescent lighting in my office, but i adjust the white balance on my camera to make up for the harsh lighting.


glamorous, i know.

i have a dark colored desk, so i try to use white dishes when shooting at my desk. today’s lunch up above is a good example.

when i have a snack at my desk, i try to zoom in because my desk is usually a mess.


looking at my snack photos above, you wouldn’t know where i was when the photos were taken. looks are deceiving!

when i eat meals at home, i obviously shoot the recipe process in my kitchen. the lighting in the kitchen is standard and i use the tungsten white balance setting on my camera. you can see photo examples in the recipe how-to above.

when it is time for plating photos, however, i move over to my kitchen table. this is where i shoot all my meals eaten at home.


there is a sliding glass door to the left in this photo and when it is light out, i get great light coming in and can shoot from all angles.  additionally, i have installed daylight bulbs in my kitchen light fixture so it gives off a more natural looking light at night time. 


after seeing ashley’s post about what she uses to shoot her photos, i think i want to buy a little table like the one she has so i can move to various rooms in the house to get optimal lighting depending on the time of day. i also really want to make a light box, but i am lazy. there, i said it.

i also thought it would be fun to show you guys where i do my workouts. we have a spare bedroom that really is just another place for me to put all my clothes. because there isn’t much in the room, i have converted it into a home workout station!IMG_9655

i have my stuff set up on the dresser.


laptop with the workouts, interval timer, notebook & pen to write down scores, water bottle.


i don’t have much equipment.. an exercise ball for abs and stretching, a foam roller, a jumprope, an exercise mat and some dumbbells.


that’s it!  and i am able to get killer at home workouts in whenever i want.

well, that’s that! a little peek behind the scenes. hope you enjoyed it.

i am going to go join randy on the couch. check you guys later!


1. question bloggers: where do you typically shoot your food photos? when i first started blogging, i always shot my photos on the floor of the house where i lived because it was the only spot to get nice lighting. this was fine, but it was hard to keep the dogs away from my food! the things we do…

2. question for everyone: how important are photos to you when deciding what blogs you read? to be honest, content always comes first.. but if photos are incredibly horrible, it makes a blog harder to read. when blog posts are entirely absent of photos, i still read if it is someone who’s blog i love.. but if i am initially checking a blog out and there are zero photos, i typically don’t stay long.

xo. janetha g.

Print Friendly
Jill {i run i eat} March 16, 2011 at 1:45 pm

That casserol looks yummy! I need to make it ASAP.

Jessica March 16, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I apologize if you have answered this before but how do you get to the exercises on the bodyrock website — perhaps I am just a little slow (which is probably the case) but I am not understanding how to actually do the workouts!! Any advice will help! Thanks!

janetha March 16, 2011 at 2:26 pm

You can just click the “All Workouts” tab at the home page and then scroll through. Each post is a different workout or exercise challenge. You watch the tutorial video and follow the directions! Let me know if that makes sense.

Tamizn March 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I try to find the best light so if that means my meals are going on the floor that’s fine with me, on a plate of course!!!! H aha ha

I have to be honest I do like to see nice photos on blogs but its the content that keeps me going back the photos are a bonus! Most of the blogs I read do have great photos though : )

Alexa @ Simple Eats March 16, 2011 at 2:34 pm

That casserole…oh my gosh. Looks amazing! I have such a hard time with lighting…especially with funky shadows coming from my side of the camera!

Naomi March 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm

its so funny to look at a picture of food, and then take a step back adn see the entire background of that little picture…sometimes I take pics on my kitchen table which could be a MESS but I just toss things aside to shoot one picture, if one were to look at the entire shot, it would look like a mess!!

I love natural lighting for pics! makes them look so amazing!

you are a BODYROCKER!!! love the workouts! :) keep it up girl!

cardiopizza March 16, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I like seeing photos of bloggers themselves, I think that’s fun! Food photos are OK, I don’t like a ton of them though, just a few are good for me!

However, photos are not the only reason I read a blog: I like feeling like I ‘know’ someone. I like when people are open and honest too.

You make the best looking casseroles by the way! Holy yum!

runningyogini March 16, 2011 at 6:11 pm

I love your workout room! So cute :-) bodyrock sounds fun…maybe too hard core for me thought… Have a happy day!

Pure2raw twins March 16, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Love seeing where you take your pictures! That is really cool that you have that large conference room to take pictures in at work :)

We take pictures in all different places but lately it has been outside Michelle’s front door ;) We are still learning a lot about photography and how to take pictures; we are really enjoying good pictures and keep trying to learn each day. Lately we have really been enjoying looking at and reading blogs of all kinds with good photos. We are just really liking photography so looking at blogs with that greatest pics is hard, I will admit. Content is important to me as well, mostly if it is on a topic I really care or what to learn more about.

BroccoliHut March 16, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I take almost all my photos on my kitchen table. It gets a fair amount of sunlight, and it has a very neutral black backdrop.
Photos are very important to me in choosing blogs to read. Call me superficial, but I just stop reading when I see a blog with iPhone photos!

emily March 16, 2011 at 7:48 pm

1. I actually shot 90% of my photos on the floor! They’re still pretty bad, but the lighting in my house is terrible. Plus, there’s usually not junk piled on the floor, unlike all of the tables!

2. I think size matters even more than quality. <– TWSS No matter how good your photos are, if they are teeny tiny I'm not going to read your blog because it'll drive me crazy.

Susan March 16, 2011 at 8:17 pm

I love seeing where you take your pictures!! Also, did you notice everything you ate in this post was out of a bowl? I only did because I’m a big fan of bowl number 1 & 2 :)

1. I shoot mostly in my living room, the only side of the apartment with windows. Our kitchen lighting is badbadbad so I’m known to bring pots out into the living room just to get a “cooking” shot.

2. The only time I get picky with photos is when it’s a food diary type blog. I can’t get into it if the whole post is based around over-exposed, blurry, disgusting pictures of half eaten food.

Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather March 16, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Janetha you always crack me up girl. I like how you changed up the recipe title… It totally does sound better with 4 cans, and it looks so yummy too!

Lately i’ve really been enjoying looking at amazing food photos, but I guess it’s only semi important.

The majority of my photos are taken in a light box… Natural light isn’t very abundant in our house, or at least I haven’t found it yet.

Wow I feel like i’ve written a book. Night!

Christin@purplebirdblog March 18, 2011 at 6:25 pm

I definitely prefer blogs with photos… big photos. :)

Mary March 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm

That casserole. I’m making that. Yes. I can’t wait. I’m super excited.

I actually just bought some quinoa this week and am going to cook it myself for the first time, so this is perfect! Friday day night Mexican night is now going to be Janetha’s casserole night. ;)

Allison R March 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm

I just made this tonight and it’s delicious! And now I have 5 pre made meals for this busy week of midterms :)

Janetha March 7, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Glad you tried it and liked it!

Sez January 18, 2014 at 6:32 pm

Thanks for this recipe: I just made it, and it’s delicious! (and almost three years after the original post!)

Kelley King March 28, 2015 at 11:32 am

Hi, I just stumbled on the casserole recipe too!
I’m all for easy, and few ingredients. This recipe is also inexpensive, so budget-friendly.
Regarding the salt, you would be surprised how many salt free products are available. My local stores carry 2 or 3 different brands of no-salt corn. I’ve not looked for the Rotel products in no-salt but we can definitely find no-salt diced tomatoes. So I will be making this very soon. Thank you for sharing.


carolyn April 2, 2017 at 10:16 am

I don’t care for corn so I would substitute a can of black beans. Sounds delicious so I am going to make it soon. ?

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post:

FTC Disclosure. Disclaimer.