Avocado pesto toast

Toast #8: Pesto-Avocado (All photos: Kim Capella/@50toasts)

Warning: you are about to get ridiculously excited about toast.

At least, that's Instagrammer Kim Capella's hope. Through enticing food photography, Capella aims to make people more passionate about food and more discerning about the quality of ingredients they consume.

When she saw Food Network's recent magazine feature in the store, Capella decided to make and photograph exactly 50 toast recipes for her boyfriend, Jesse Smith. It was Smith's one condition for buying her the magazine she so desperately wanted, and Capella was ready to accept the challenge – to his surprise. "He really did not believe me, just because I don't have much time as it is," Capella said. "He was really shocked."

So began Capella's journey to make and photograph all 50 toast recipes — no matter how obscure the ingredient. Her experiment has even gotten Food Network's attention.

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Maple-bacon-blueberry toast

Toast #32: Maple-Bacon-Blueberry

Capella took particular care in putting the final touches on this creation. Capella has been honing her food photography skills since she took to Instagram to document her journey to better health. Inspired by a blogger who lost weight the healthy way, Capella created her account, @pbeechie. In three short years, she has gained almost 80,000 followers — and she's lost more than 65 pounds.

"I've always loved food and food photography and caring for your body," Capella explained. "That's what I try to express on my Instagram account. Its success was a total accident."

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Whitefish salad with apple slaw

Toast #22: Whitefish Salad with Apple Slaw

Part of the appeal of Food Network's toasts was the challenge of finding the strange ingredients, Capella said. To her, an afternoon at Sprouts is an adventure, mentally bookmarking ingredients to try out later. Part of the reason for this her fascination was her decision to start eating healthier. For each visit to a grocery store or farmers market, Capella committed to trying one new ingredient. 

"I didn't know how to cook, or know anything about food, but through constantly trying new things and being inspired by other people, I learned how – and it became inspiration for ways to teach other people," Capella said.

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Cheddar Chutney Toast

Toast #14: Cheddar and Chutney

But Capella also saw the toasts as a way to reach lots of folks – in general, the recipes are easy to create. A delicious recipe of cheddar and chutney is simple enough. Just take those two ingredients, spread on toast and broil until the cheese has transformed into melty goodness.

"I don't think the creators expected anyone to make all 50, but I really wanted to," Capella said. Whether or not they expected it, Food Network found out about Capella's project and gave her a shoutout on the Food Network Instagram account:

 
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Buratta and Mortadella toast

Toast #18: Burrata and Mortadella

Other recipes are not so easy to create, but don't be mistaken: they're all worth the effort. Take the Burrata and Mortadella Toast above, for example. The recipe called for burrata cheese and pea shoots, which were difficult — but not impossible — to find. (And Capella's determination paid off — this turned out to be one of her boyfriend's favorites!)

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Smoked salmon toast

Toast #20: Smoked Salmon

Another favorite was the toast topped with smoked salmon. A classic concept gets an upgrade with a cream cheese spread that includes chopped dill, chives, tarragon and parsley.

And let's not forget about the bread. Each toast recipe is its own masterpiece, balancing the flavors of a particular bread with the toppings. "My freezer is full of bread!" Capella said. For smoked salmon, pumpernickel is the bread of choice.

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Almond butter with mixed berries

Toast #44: Almond Butter with Mixed Berries

Even something as simple as a toast topped with almond butter, berries and honey is a visual treat. Capella recommends this recipe for an easy and nutritious snack with common ingredients you likely have on hand. Tarragon adds an unexpected flavor boost.

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Scallion pesto and ricotta

Toast #9: Scallion Pesto with Ricotta

It's the delicate balance of flavors that elevates these toast toppings to gourmet status. A tangy scallion pesto topped with creamy ricotta and lemon zest might not be a combination you'd think would work, but somehow it does.

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French onion toast

Toast #15: French Onion

Of the ones she's tasted, Capella's favorite is the French Onion Toast recipe. Turns out that toast tasting is her boyfriend's duty. (What a tough gig.)

"Every toast he gets it's like he's just as happy as the last one," Capella said.

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Strawberry poppy seed

Toast #42: Strawberry-Poppy

50 Toasts couldn't have come at a better time in Capella's life.

"I didn't seek out to be the inspiration for anybody," Capella said, "but in a way I did become that first girl whose blog I read who lost weight the healthy way."

That drive has inspired Capella to make major changes in her life. She's forgoing her career as a biochemist and dedicating her time to her new business, Beechie's Bakehouse, which sells protein-packed treats to make healthy eating available to anyone who's got a few bucks to spare.

"50 Toasts helped reinforce the idea that as long as I'm doing something that I love, good will come out of it and that it will be recognized," Capella said.

Her advice for newly inspired foodies? Don't be afraid to try new things. Ultimately, she says, there's no right or wrong way.

"You have to explore, and that's what's fun about 50 Toasts," Capella said. "You always have to want to learn."

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Anna Norris is an associate editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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