When the weather gets colder my cravings turn toward richer, heartier foods. I love a good hot stew or chili on a chilly (yep, pun intended;) night. Serve this delightfully warming one-pot-wonder with some crusty bread and everyone will be going back for seconds.

  • 2 pounds ground beef, I prefer lean
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon smashed garlic
  • 2 small to medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers,¬†coarsely chopped
  • 2 serrano chiles, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes with juice
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle of Guinness stout beer
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • sour cream
  • fresh cilantro
  • fresh sliced scallions (green onions)
  • grated cheddar cheese (optional, not shown)
  • salt and pepper to taste

I like one pot recipes and will use any excuse to get my enormous dutch oven working it’s magic. Plus, who wants more dishes to clean?

~ Saute onions with garlic, salt, cumin, paprika and coriander and olive oil until soft.Add meat and cook until outside is browned. Add beans, chiles, chili powder, serranos, tomatoes, and beer and bring to a boil then decrease heat to simmer for 25 minutes stirring occasionally. Add bell peppers and cook for 3-5 minutes, allowing peppers to remain somewhat crunchy. Ladle into bowls and top with sour cream and fresh cilantro as garnish.


food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

The holiday spirit is invading the studio these days, much to my delight! Here is a festive and gorgeous winter classic. My-oh-my aren’t they photogenic;)

Happy Holidays!!!

~ Cut a large X into the flat side of each chestnut with a sharp paring knife. (Be careful!)

~ roast chestnuts on a shallow baking at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or more depending on size while rotating several times

~ peel chestnuts as soon as they’re cool enough to handle

* I’ve also heard that the secret to the unique taste of NYC vendor’s chestnuts are to cut an X in each one then boil them in unsalted water for 15 minutes. Drain and cool. Have yet to try this but thought it worth sharing!



food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

Sticky, sweet and doughy…could it get any better? Whether you call them rolls or sticky buns, these beauties are open to all kinds of variations. Here we have a knotted cinnamon dough, dusted with more cinnamon, drenched in pure maple syrup (heated with cinnamon, of course!) and topped with walnut pieces and currants. Simple and delectable. Use your favorite dough recipe or store bought rolls and twist and top to your heart’s content. Don’t forget to take a moment to enjoy the sweet scent of cinnamon and sugar wafting throughout the house:)

Mmmmmm the holidays are on the way…

  • 1 can of biscuits (or your favorite biscuit recipe)
  • pure maple syrup
  • lots of cinnamon
  • chopped walnuts
  • currants or raisins

~ Butter baking dish. Take one biscuit at a time, brush with butter, pull slightly and knot in whatever shapes you wish. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and place in baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

~ Heat pure maple syrup with 3 or more cinnamon sticks in a pan. Pour over plated biscuits then sprinkle with walnuts and currants/raisins.

With this simple and super quick recipe you can make as many or as few buns as you wish without waste. Simply adjust amounts accordingly.


food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

Taking a break from city life is an integral part of maintaining my sanity. I need to strike out and explore, often with pups in tow, to refresh my perspective. I’m inspired by the textures, colors, and depth of nature as many are. Living visually makes a walk through the trees a spectacular event…

What inspires you to photograph, paint, create?

Should I be worried about dinosaurs?

it’s amazing how beautiful something dead can be
Peacock Butt!!
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