Happy Holidays

Wow, what a crazy time of year. Things have been a bit too nuts for me to create new content for the blog so I thought I’d share what I’ve been up to lately.

I’ve been lucky enough to do the editorial, product, and portrait photos for a new bakery called Mah-Ze-Dhar. The bakery is owned by an incredibly talented woman named Umber Ahmad and backed by Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio. Below are a few of the photos from the Mah-Ze-Dhar shoot.

Tom Colicchio & Umber Ahmad for Mah-Ze-Dhar by V.K.Rees Photography
Mah-Ze-Dhar by V.K.Rees Photography
Tom Colicchio & Umber Ahmad for Mah-Ze-Dhar
Tom Colicchio & Umber Ahmad for Mah-Ze-Dhar by V.K.Rees Photography

Chocolate Brownies for Mah-Ze-Dhar

A few of my photos are in the most recent issue of BUST magazine. I know I say this all the time, but they are the best. I love BUST.

BUST Magazine Thin Mints. Photo by V.K.Rees Photography
BUST Magazine Borscht. Photo by V.K.Rees Photography

I recently wrapped a shoot for a dating website called How About We. Here are just two photos from that shoot:

How About We Photo Shoot, V.K.Rees Photography

A shot for a book cover about women and hard liquor. This book is going to be amazing! I will keep you posted when it comes out. =)

Book cover

Food Styling by Lauren LaPenna

Happy Holidays everyone! Till next time!

Mah Ze Dahr Bakery for Summer » V.K.Rees Photography - [...] of Chef Umber Ahmad and her delicious baked goods for her  company Mah Ze Dahr. You may remember from an earlier blog post that I’ve already taken pictures for Mah Ze Dhar. Well, we wanted to do it again, this time [...]

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Megan - I would love to know the name of the book about women and hard liquor! Or any details you do have. It sounds like the most perfect book…

Amy | Minimally Invasive - Oh, my…this work is just stunning. Congratulations on your continued success, and happy holidays!

Jade Sheldon - Go you! Such a rockstar! Can’t wait to see what you create in the new year…

tamara - Awesome! You are such an amazing photographer. All of the projects you’re working on seem great!

ameyfm - congratulations on getting so many awesome gigs!! Your work is just so beautiful! You certainly deserve all this success. Also – I saw your pics in BUST and was so stoked. I love BUST!!!

Ashley - You continually impress and inspire. Congrats on all of your accomplishments! Hope you get a few days off next week. :)

Melissa - Vanessa…these are inspiring! The women & hard liquor photo is stunning…they all are. You are really finding your groove and I am so proud of you. :]
I can’t wait to see you for NYE and talk some tech!!

Caitlin - congratulations on all of your success recently! all of the photos are gorgeous! have a great holiday, vanessa!


This post is inspired by my grandma, “Grandma Rees” we called her. She would make my brother, sister, and I pizzelles when we visited.

Today’s post is not just a recipe as per usual. I’ve decided to turn the image above into a holiday card and do a giveaway. These cards say “Happy Holidays” on the front & the cookie recipe is on the inside. They are mighty cute if I may say so myself.

On December 1st I will choose 5 people to win a set of 15 cards. To eneter the giveaway, simply go to this address, click the “enter sweepstakes” button, and fill out the form. You must provide an email address so that I can contact you if you win. I can promise you that I will never use your email address for anything other than this giveaway. =)

This reciepe was adapted from Vegan Feast Kitchen’s recipe.


  • 1/3 cup    Earth Balance, melted (earth balance is a healthy margarine)
  • 3/4 cup    almond milk
  • 1/2 Tbs    pure almond extract (vanilla extract works fine too)
  • 1 1/2 cups   powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup    whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup    unbleached white flour
  • 1 very small pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Using the “s” blade, combine all the ingredients (except the powdered sugar for dusting) in a food processor or a Vitamix.
  2. Heat up the electric pizzelle iron according the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Spray the pizzelle iron with some oil.
  4. When the iron is ready, add 1 Tbs of batter to the center of each cookie. The amount of batter you need will vary depending on which iron you have.
  5. Close the iron and let it cook for a little less than a minute.
  6. Remove the cookies from the iron and sift powdered sugar over them.
  7. Store in a air tight container until ready to eat.

Dont forget to enter the card giveaway.


Linda Perkins - Love the cards. Wish I would have had them to use when I sent out invitations to this years Cookie Exchange.
I have a pezzelle maker….I give then out as a gift to all the girls that attend.

Maisie lam - Your photography is wonderful!

Angel Legume - The styling of these photos is so pretty.
My boyfriend and I have been attempting to veganize his moms anise pizzelles. We thought using cold coconut milk solids to replace some of the eggs would work well, but ours fell right apart in the iron.
We did make a successful batch just using whipped egg replacer, but we’re going to try yours and see how it goes. Maybe we’ll swap out some of the almond extract for anise oil, to stick to his mom’s tradition.

The Peace Patch - Making pizzelles with my Sicilian grandmothers is one of my favorite childhood memories. Those big clunky irons, pizzelle batter dripping everywhere, the heavenly scent of almond extract. And piles of pizzelles disappearing just as quickly as we made them! Thanks so much for sharing this!

vkrees - You sure can! Just shoot me a message from the contact form. =)

Denise Adams - I am sorry to have missed the sweepstakes for the pizzelle cards. My grandmother taught me how to make them. I make them every Christmas to honor her memory. Can I purchase any from you?
Thank you for sharing your love.
Happy holidays.

Paulina - Your cookies are amazing, but I am wondering if it’s possible to make them without pizzelle iron? I live in Poland and I don’t think I could find pizzelle iron anywhere here. Maybe I could bake them in the oven or use a frying pan?

vkrees - Claire- I do indeed sell prints! Just send me an email if you’re interested. =)

Claire - Just curious, do you offer prints of your photographs? Just in case I don’t win some cards!

Leinana - hi! i am waaaay behind on my blog reading so i hadn’t been to your site in quite a while. i checked it out today and just wanted to say that your photography is just breathtakingly beautiful. some of the best food photography i’ve ever seen, hands down. thank you for being so inspiring!

Julia Schuster - Simply lovely!

meridith - i love this…it reminds me of my grandma too! i can’t wait to make these for holiday gifts for friends and family.

Kate - This is so lovely! I’m bummed the sweepstakes isn’t for us mobile-users–it’s all I got!

Ashlae - Stunning, lady. If I don’t win these, I wanna buy some from you ;)

Jackie @ Vegan Yack Attack! - Vanessa, you never cease to amaze me. This shoot is so beautiful and truly looks like Winter and the Holidays. I’ve never had a pizelle, but I may just have to try them out! Here’s to hoping that I win those beautiful Holiday cards! :)

ameyfm - so sweet. I already loved this image, but I love it even more knowing that it is grandma-inspired. Grandmas are the best.

Evan Thomas - These look terrific! Always a great Christmas cookie choice.

Ashley - This is fantastic! Entering now, and those pizzelles look amazing.

Denise - You make all the winter blues go away. So lovely.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - What a beautiful cookie! A total hit!

Caitlin - what a great idea! it’s super cute and the photo is gorgeous!

ana cooks - this is so beautiful.
i’m so thankful for follow your blog where i learn so much about pure beauty in photography.
i just keep scrolling upside-down amazed!
thank you!

Mini Apple Cakes

Hello! Sorry it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. If you follow me on Twitter, you may know that I recently injured my foot and am in a cast (it’s all i talk about). Taking photos in a cast is not easy! The cast should be coming off soon, so things are looking up.

I’ve decided I will start posting weekly. On Tuesdays. So be sure to check back every Tuesday. =)

Before we talk about food, I wanna talk about hurricane Sandy. Things in NYC are still a disaster. Many parts of Rockaway beach, Redhook, Coney Island, and Long Island are completely devastated. If you can, give some money to Occupy Sandy. They are doing a hell of a job helping those in need!

Okay now let’s talk about mini apple cakes. These are cute and delicious. Here’s what you’ll need:



  • 3 Apples peeled and cut into slices
  • 1/2 cup earth balance
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tbsp non dairy milk
  • 1 tbs orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp lemon


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease the pans.
  3. Mix the butter & sugar together.
  4. Add applesauce, vanilla, orage juice, & milk. Mix.
  5. Add flour & baking powder. Stir.
  6. Pour batter evenly into the pans and arrange cubes on top. Only fill the pans 1/3 of the way to to the top or the cake will rise over the pan and things will get messy. Makes about 4 cakes.
  7. Mix together the 3 topping ingredients and distribute over the apples.
  8. Bake about 40 minutes. Or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Let cool before taking it out of the pan.
  10. Serve with ice cream.

Till next time! xoxo

denelle - Not sure what’s meant by “cubes” — apple slices? Lovely photos.

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Maggie Muggins - I’m always so impressed with your props, they always go so perfectly with whatever you’re photographing. You must have an entire room dedicated to them! Those cakes look incredible! I really need to find some mini springform pans. Little things are just cuter.

Amanda - I’m guessing Earth Balance is butter. Is that correct?

Kiran @ KiranTarun.com - I hope you feel better soon. In the meantime, I’d enjoy drooling over this delicious photos :)

Natasha - These look amazing! And the photos are stunning, as always. Love all the props. Hope your foot gets better soon!

Meeta - These truly are adorable and gorgeous looking cakes.

Jes - Cute & delicious are always good things :) Love the white/rustic feel!

Ashlae - Lady! You rule. On so many different levels.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - These are so stunning!

Linnea - These apple cakes look amazing! I always look forward to your posts: both for the recipes, and the gorgeous photography and styling.

I do hope your foot is feeling better and heals up quickly.

Ashley - These photos. I am in love. The light, the colors…everything! Not to mention the actual apple cakes. So much talent!