The 7 Rules of Compliment Club

Compliment Club

Compliment Club

COM•PLI•MENT // noun // a polite expression of praise or admiration.  

COMPLIMENT CLUB, it would follow, is a group of people whom actively, enthusiastically, sincerely, and frequently offer words of praise to the people around them.  My maj Tracy and I came up with Compliment Club as a way of encouraging each other to send good vibes into the world.  It’s not an exclusive club… you should totally hop on in! 

Let’s talk about compliments.  You’ve likely gotten them when you’re wearing a flattering dress, when your hair is flipping the right way at the right time on the right day, when you’ve made an impression on someone… BOOM!  Sometimes they drop a compliment in your lap.  It feels great!  It feels like you’ve been seen and appreciated for your hard work to be a good human.  Right?  

Well… giving is more important that getting.  I think it was Socrates that said that.  Definitely Socrates.  

There are some guidelines for offering compliments.  We can’t just go throwing them around willy-nilly.  Here are the rules of Compliment Club.  Join.  Follow them.  Let’s be better together.  (I sincerely mean that… don’t look at me like I’m crazy.)  

•  First rule of Compliment Club (yes… we can talk about Compliment Club): Look for the positive in other people.  This is imperative.  You can’t offer a sincere compliment if you aren’t looking for the beauty in the people around you.  Naturally, sometimes seeing the light in people is easier than others. In gridlock traffic?  Hard…. very hard to see the good in people.  Behind the lady writing a check in the express lane at the grocery store?  Challenging…. extremely challenging to see the beauty in that situation.  

It’s ok.  Not every moment is the right time for a sincere compliment.  But!  If you’re regularly looking for the good in people, those moments of frustration will likely (hopefully) have less of a tinge.  

•  The second rule of Compliment Club:  Be genuine.  Mean what you say.

Stay away from hyperbole.  Hyperbole is saying things like “oh my gosh you’re the best person in the world.”  An exaggeration.  I mean… they’re probably great, but literally the best person in the world?  Is that accurate?  

I’m guilty of hyperbole.  I think it’s the way of the Internet these days… exaggerating to make things sound like the best, the biggest, the coolest thing EVER.  Hyperbole has no place in a genuine compliment.  It actually makes the compliment rather empty.  

Root yourself in the compliment.  Stand tall in it.  I think we use hyperbole to separate ourselves from the genuine words we really want to say.

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Costa Rican Breakfast

Costa Rican Breakfast

Costa Rican Breakfast

There’s something people don’t tell you about Costa Rica:  time slows (almost) all the way dooowwwnn.  It’s magic.  Like time gets stripped away leaving luxuriously long mornings followed by, luxuriously lazy afternoons, followed by impeccable… truly impeccable sunsets.

It’s like island life.  But not an island.  It’s beach life.  The sun stays high and the air is just mellow.  Completely mellow.  

I visited Costa Rica last year and still wonder about the paradise-heavy time warp.  Why does that happen in Costa Rica and not on any given Wednesday in my New Orleans life?  

Here’s hoping the Costa Rican time warp can be a state of mind no matter what my longitude and latitude.

I suppose it starts with breakfast.  Shall we?   

Ps.  When I returned from Costa Rica last year I made this Banana y Leche con Cafe and I don’t regret it one bit.  

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Mini Peanut Butter and Chocolate Baked Donuts

Chocolate Peanut Butter Baked Donuts

Chocolate Peanut Butter Baked Donuts

I wonder if tastebud tastes are inherited.  If so… I inherited my love (let’s go ahead and call it an obsession) with chocolate and peanut butter from my mother.  She’s the queen of spooning every last bit of peanut butter out of the PB and Chocolate ice cream.  She’s the master of making a holiday dessert called Peanut Butter Balls which are a glamorous mixture of butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar, dipped in chocolate.  Birthday cake?  You can guess, I’m sure.  

What I’m saying is, all of this chocolate baking and peanut butter dipping… I come by it honestly and I’d like to pass it on to you.  

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Let It Be Sunday!

Let It Be Sunday!

Let It Be Sunday!

The night sky in New Orleans turns a dusty shade of pink during a summer thunderstorm.  The lightening brightens everything with light and contrast and I always hold my breath for the crack of thunder.  New Orleans is extra palpable in the summer months.  She’s breathing deep and will not be ignored.  

It’s been a big week.  Sun-filled.  Sweaty.  So so sweaty.  I’ve been in the kitchen cooking up recipes for the blog and the brunch book.  Tron (when he’s not laying in the bathroom sink) is trying to convince me to make him an indoor-outdoor cat.  I’m doing a lot of yoga and looking like an absolute spazzzzz.  They don’t call it a practice for nothing.  

I hope your days are starting to feel warm and slow and sometimes stormy.  Here’s what this week has for us:  

•  We’re human and we build societies and rules and all sorts of ridiculous things for ourselves.  We build a structure and sometimes we build it wonky and have to reevaluate what we’re doing and how we’re treating each other. These words from the Supreme Court make marriage for all.  It’s a mark in history and here we are, alive for it!  

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death.

It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.  

It is so ordered.”

• What is going on? Three terrorists attacks on three continents, Friday.  

•  How New Orleans stopped making jailing a business and reduced its jail population by 67%.  Spoiler alert:  New Orleans still has a heck of a lot of people incarcerated.  

•  What if authors were payed every time someone turned a page?  Amazon is about to find out.  

•  We talk about our guts a lot lately.  There’s much going on.  Can the bacteria in your gut explain your mood?  Surprise surprise, stress is a nasty beast.  

•  Turning to a ghostwriter for a personal toast.  This is pretty fantastic.  

•  Extremely Important:  Why women apologize and should stop.  Taking sorry / not sorry to a different level.    

•  Meet the 63rd Black Woman With A Physics Ph.D in American History.  She used to help me with my Spanish homework in high school.  Go on and GET IT, Chanda! 

•  Meet people where they need to be met.  Nowadays, that’s with a text:  How the crisis text line is saving lives.

•  The essential guide to happiness at work, with Rashida Jones.  

•  This was unexpectedly beautiful to me:  14 perfect French words and phrases we need in English

•  David Lebovitz went to visit the Le Creuset Factory in France.  

•  11 things to remember when you think you’re not good enough. Helpful more often than we’d like to admit.  

•  What happens when a man spends two weeks eating nothing but food made for women?  Try to give me a thumb-sized brownie and see what happens… I’ll bite you.  

•  The life-saving ‘undo send’ feature is now an official part of Gmail.  Um… we’re also going to need this for text messages and ten year old emails.  Thanks.  

•  10 Most Annoying Food Package Quirks.  Shrink wrapped cucumber WHY!? 

•  5 things that will make your kitchen more Parisian 

•  A Sad Cat’s Diary.  Half of love is just… low.  

•  Have you put together your Summer Bucket List?  May I suggest that this lovely travel watercolor kit be on your list?  It’s so great! 

Go enjoy this day!  It’s just too good to waste.  

xo Joy

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Campfire Baked Bananas At Home

Campfire Bananas At Home

Campfire Bananas At Home

I can just smell the campfire now.  I can feel that tinge of burn in my eyes from the smoke, and I can hear the John Denver.  

Campfires remind me of the last nights of sleep away summer camp.  When I sat with a group of girls… girls who just a week earlier had been complete strangers, now absolute best friends… bidding farewell to our Summer time together, wondering how we’d ever live without each other, without craft hour, without the flagpole song, without the knot workshop, without sliding down the big hill on a giant block of ice.  Just HOW will we go on?  

We’d sing Leaving on a Jet Plane and cry… all the way CRY and promise friendship and love and more summers to come.  Then we’d eat these bananas gooey chocolate and marshmallow bananas, sleep one last night in our bunks, fold up our sleeping bags (impossible for child hands), and wait for our parents to come  pick us up to take us back to home-summer with all of its daytime television and chores (uuugh chores).  

I’m still figuring out how to recreate that campfire feeling here in New Orleans.  I think it’s too humid for fire.  Is that a thing?  I think, yes.  Luckily, I have an oven that heats itself with fire and I can hustle up the most gooey part of my memories: baked bananas, in foil, with a glorious mess of toppings.   

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Summer Bucket List 2015

Summer Bucket List

Summer Bucket List

BUCKET LIST buck•et list (noun): a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have accomplished during their lifetime.  Also, a 2007 comedic film featuring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson.  

SUMMER BUCKET LIST sum•mer buck•et list (noun):  a list of things that a person would like to accomplish and experience during the summer months.  If done correctly, should involve water-guns, pool time, and roller-skates.  

Here’s my Summer Bucket List.  Let it inspire you to set some playful intentions for your warm months.  

1.  Brew my own kombucha.  I’m going to use this kit, inspired by my maj Tracy.  

2.  Hang art in my house.  Bye-bye blank walls!  

3.  Work up to running 7 miles.  Straight.  I’m up to running 3 miles now.  Mind over matter.  

4.  Go to the Hollywood Bowl and picnic.  

5.  Write a short story.  Don’t let it be daunting.  

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Sweet Plum Sorbet

Sweet Plum Sorbet

Sweet Plum Sorbet

I always wanted a ponytail.  A ponytail I could position extra high on my head with hair long enough to cascade down to my shoulders, cheerleader-style, youthful, bouncy.  The kind of hair, that you can flip around to express various emotions, from bitchy to bored to flirty.  

I don’t have ponytail hair.  Never did.  

What I’ve always had is a fine, curly, frizzy, perfectly acceptable, head of hair that I’m completely grateful for.  It’s just not ponytail hair.  It’s not hair I can whip around to express my enthusiasm for life.  

That’s how hair works, right?  

Summer fruit, all of the gorgeous peaches, apricots, strawberries, and plums… they’re like a gorgeous, shiny, lustrous, perfectly bouncy, high ponytail.  Showing off, effortless… a little enviable even.  

Luckily, no matter what hair grows from our head, high ponytail or not… it’s our time.  It’s Summer and the markets are bursting with sweet fruit flavors.  Let’s get at em!

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I Stalk You On Instagram

jtb instagram collage

jtb instagram collage

We’re connected.  I have all y’all on my phone and in my pocket.  I take you with me to yoga.  You go with me on walks.  You browse the grocery store with me.  You know what’s going on in my kitchen.  You know when I’m strolling through New Orleans, wandering through Philadelphia, or visiting my family (and the beach… I miss the beach) in California.  

My favorite way that we’re connected is Instagram.  I get to see what you’ve got going into the oven and all the Joy the Baker recipes you’re celebrating your days with.  It fills my heart to see you take my recipes into your kitchen and share them with your friends and family.  That’s what this blog is all about and the fact that you spend your time and energy in the kitchen with my recipes means everything to me.  We’re in this together and seeing you bake on Instagram is a really lovely (am I stalking you?) reminder for me.  Thanks you for sharing with me.  It really means so much.  

I found the wonderful things you’re baking on Instagram using #joythebaker and #homemadedecadence.  Go on y’all!  You’re excellent.  

Here’s what you’ve baked, from left-ish to right-ish:  

•  Peach and Blueberry Pie (it’s gluten-free!) is so nice for summer and beautifully recreated by @gabriellegeiselman.

•  Brown Butter Blueberry Muffins are my very favorite muffins.  I posted this simple recipe years ago and it’s still my favorite.  Thank you, @andrealwan!  

•  Strawberry Raspberry Crisp.  Summer fruit is just too easy.   Lookin’good, @piebelly!

•  It’s always good to get help chopping the crisp bacon for these Peanut Butter Bacon and Dark Chocolate Cookies.  It’s nice to share the kitchen.  @bricksonshea

•  This Marrakesh Carrot Salad is worth all of the chopping and grating.  It’s lovely.  Don’t skimp on the feta. High-five @nosh_happy!

•  Brown Butter and Pistachio Baked Donuts are the best that baked donuts can be.  So pretty, too! Mega: @maysiejones

•  Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream made with blackberries by @marisapinson.  It’s cream cheese in ice cream… I mean, what more could you want? 

•  Dust off the waffle maker because Vanilla Bean Sweet Potato Waffles and fried chicken are always in season.  Boom! Pow! @thehappylittleapron!

•  Strawberry Cream Scones toasted, golden, and covered in sliced almonds by @michellefooter_butterscotch.  

•  Your next Sunday plans should include these Quick and Dirty Chocolate Espresso Cinnamon Rolls.  There’s chocolate in our cinnamon rolls and they’re extra speedy to put together.  Right on,  @amoore1014

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Let It Be Sunday!

Let It Be Sunday!

Let It Be Sunday!

Summer Solstice is my favorite day of the year.  The day that officially welcomes Summer.  It’s our (us northern Earth dwellers) longest day, tilted all the towards the sun, spinning round and round through space.  It feels like an extra special day to enjoy bare feet in the grass and warm sun on our shoulders, so let’s!

I’ve spent some very good days this month learning to love Philadelphia.  Between the gardens and parks, murals, fountains, good coffee, and great people… it’s been an easy place to love.  I say that now.  In Summer.  My blood might be too thin for  Philadelphia winter.  

Above, Amos Lee and David Gray at The Mann Center of Performing Arts.  It’s our time for long days, outdoor concerts, picnic blankets, wine in plastic cups, and sweat behind our knees. Let’s live it all for as long as we can.  

More important than the warm breeze at our backs… it’s Father’s Day!  Call your father.  While you’re at it, call my father.  Share the gratitude and love.  Happy Father’s Day, Dad!  Thank you for teaching me how to pay my bills and make really excellent biscuits.  Life skills for…. life.  

The world this week has been hard on the heart.  Here are some links that range from heartbreaking to rather trivial.  It’s the world we live in: 

•  This week, nine black men and women were murdered at The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.  These murders are hateful and racist, senseless and tragic.  They should be confounding in this day and age, but here we are.  This, from The New Yorker’s David Remnick:  Charleston And The Age of Obama.

•  Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church: a living landmark

•  “IF Giulia Enders had not contracted a mysterious illness as a teenager that left her covered with sores, she, like most of us, might never have thought much about her digestive tract, except when it was out of whack. She might never have enrolled in medical school, either, and she almost certainly would not have written a best-selling book about digestion last year…”  A German Writer Translates a Puzzling Illness into a Best-Selling Book.  

•  The book?  Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ

•  Putting A Price Tag On The Stress Of Having a Child.  Coooolll. 

•  Cheating Sleep.  How to get one over on biology and body chemistry.  But wwwhhyyy? Sleep is so precious.  

•  For our summer travel consideration:  The Best and Worst Airlines, Airports, and Flights.    

•  Get personal, be vulnerable, and tell the unconventional side of the story.  Frankly Speaking:  How I Learned to be Heard.  

•  Papa Says.  He is my father and he is always right.  

•  Tracy turned me on to Thrive Market and now I’m hooked.  Healthful kitchen products, really great prices, without yet another trip to the grocery store.  One of my very favorites:  this coconut oil.  

•  Chloe Sevigny got a hold of some stickers.  

•  Seeing as it’s the first day of Summer, I’m working on my Summer Bucket List:  all the happy things, big and small I want to do and see this summer.  So far I know I want to make my own kombucha (thanks for the inspiration Tracy!), and find a lot of excuses to wear these sweet JCrew heels.  Don’t worry, the list will be more meaningful than drinks and shoes.  

•  Two Weeks of Status Updates From Your Vague Friend on Facebook.  We should all be rolling our eyes at ourselves.  

•  Dark Chocolate Dipped Sugar Cones.  Too easy and too good.

Have a most lovely day!  Go on and live it!

xo Joy

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Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake

Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake with maple

Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake with maple

Because it’s Monday.  Because it’s just about summertime.  Because we like fruit with our breakfast.  Because we’re grown and we can do what we want…  we get to drink lots of coffee and eat lots of cake for breakfast.  

Blueberries, oats, and pure maple syrup make anything breakfast so… CAKE it is!  

Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake with maple

I’ve been experimenting a lot with gluten-free baking lately.  I’m sure you’ve noticed.  It’s possible you have a question mark in your mind about it.  Well… I want to learn how to bake without wheat.  Baking is such a science and I know how wheat flour interacts with leavening and liquid.  Gluten-free flours are a whole different science.  I want to know that I can still make fluffy cakes and flakey biscuits in the absence of wheat.  So far I’ve had some major fails and happy triumphs.  This is one of the triumphs.  

Eventually I’m going to try making my own gluten-free flour blend to use in my kitchen but I’m still getting my footing.  Right now I use King Arthur Flour’s Gluten-Free Flour and I’m going to give Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef’s All-Purpose Flour Blend.  They know what’s what!  

If you’re hoping for more gluten-FULL coffee cake recipes, here’s your jam: 

•  Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Brown Butter Glaze.  A recipe from my cookbook Homemade Decadence.  

•  Pear Crumble Coffee Cake.  You might not be in the mood for pears, but I think strawberries would also be mega! 

•  Coffee Coffee Cake Muffins.  I mean… let’s make our cake taste like coffee! 

•  Brown Butter Blueberry Muffins.  These really are THE BEST! 

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Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

The best part about going out to lunch with another lady is the unspoken assumption that, no matter what, we’re going to order French Fries.  Sure… two salads.  Sure… lemonade and ice water. Sure… we’ll browse the menu for other healthy options and then …order the fries, eat them first, and stare rather blankly at our salads.  The particular fries are from the Cresheim Valley Grain Exchange, Philly.  

Good morning and Happy Sunday!  I hope this day brings you sunshine and good shade and a tall glass of something fizzy.  The warm days are asking us to take it easy.  I say we relent. 

The Internet is big.  Here’s just a bit (big and small, sad and silly):  

•  From BBC News, Inside Mosul:  What Life Is Like Under The Islamic State.  

•  I read the story of Kalief Browder earlier this week and have thought about him and his family every day since.  “He had been arrested in the spring of 2010, at age sixteen, for a robbery he insisted he had not committed. Then he spent more than one thousand days on Rikers waiting for a trial that never happened.”  He shared his story with The New Yorker and shed some light on how and who we imprison in this country.  It’s a sad and important story.  

•  President Obama’s eulogy for Beau Biden is beautiful.   

• An interesting read from the NYT.  SEAL Team 6:  “The unit best known for killing Osama bin Laden has been converted into a global manhunting machine with limited outside oversight.”

•  I literally can.not.even. right now.  I can’t.  The never-ending story of how older people can’t understand how younger people speak.  Tale as old as time.  Song as old as rhyme.  

•  It’s like 1999 and Serena Williams still reigns supreme.  Just be better than everyone else.  Easy, right?  

•  Watch people from all over the world describe how to spot an American.  Apparently we wear a lot of sweatpants and we’re loud, jolly, and jumpy.  

•  Weekend reading:  Extreme Climber and BASE Jumper Dean Potter’s last jump in Yosemite.  Lost Brother in Yosemite.  

•  We’ve gone too far:  America’s First Certified Organic E-Cigarette Vaping Liquid.  Please, no.  

•  We’re shaving dogs into cubes now. Not a typo.  Thank you, Japan.  

•  Serengeti Selfies.  I wonder how many followers the Serengeti has on Instagram (no I don’t).  

•  Here’s what I’m listening to:  Amos Lee Live At Red Rocks.  It’s out on Tuesday, but you can listen here now! 

•  I’ve made this Garlic Braised Chicken two times this week and I’m trying to pep-talk myself into these Barbecue Ribs from the oven.     

Have a beautiful day.

xo Joy

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Mango and Jalapeño Guacamole

Mango and Jalapeño Guacamole

Mango and Jalapeño Guacamole

Sure, you could make this irresistible guacamole for a backyard barbecue, or a block party, a brunch party maybe… any event that would take you out of your pajamas, off of your couch, and into the presence of other people (gasp.) OR… you could make a giant bowl of this guacamole, keep your pajamas on and settle in for a good, old-fashioned Netflix binge.  I mean.  To me, the choice is clear.

Choose your own adventure.  I will often choose pajamas and privacy, especially where guacamole is involved. 

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Fresh Raspberry and Gin Slushies

Fresh Raspberry and Gin Slushies

Fresh Raspberry and Gin Slushies

I have very fond memories of a stained red tongue, way sticky fingers, and a messy stained t-shirt from those convenience store/ cherry-sweet slurpees.  You know… the ones that come with that long plastic straw with the scooper on the end?  Heaven for an eight year old.  Follow that slupree with a good run through the sprinklers and I’m pretty sure there was nothing better.  

We’re grown now (right?).  We have bills to pay and really… I don’t think we give ourselves enough time for slurpees.  

Fresh Raspberry and Gin Slushies

Until now.  

Say hello to adult slurpee-ing featuring fresh raspberries, lime, and  hallelujah for gin!  

We can skip the sticky fingers and stained shirts these days, but I really wouldn’t be above a god run through the sprinklers.  

Let’s go! 

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Elvis Ice Cream Snackwiches

Elvis Ice Cream Snackwiches

Elvis Ice Cream Snackwiches

It’s part laziness… putting ice cream between two crackers and calling it a treat.  

There’s some guile… folding crisp bacon, banana, and peanut butter into sweet vanilla ice cream.  

It’s all-the-way riiight… dipping anything and everything into melted milk chocolate.  

Elvis Ice Cream Snackwiches

So here we are.  

Crackers in hand.  Bacon in our ice cream.  Melted chocolate all over the kitchen.  And we have Elvis to thank.  The man who made a peanut butter and banana sandwich ultra popular would surely have been wooed supreme but these frozen treats.  

It’s summer snacking!  Long live the King (and bacon in ice cream).  

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Let It Be Sunday!

Coconut Whipped Cream

Coconut Whipped Cream

How has your week been? I hope you’re all eased into the weekend and you’re feeling happy, well, and making your own coconut whipped cream.

I’ve been visiting Philadelphia again this week.  The days are so warm and gorgeous, I feel like everyone that spent a cold cold Winter here deserves these pretty days much more than me.  I’m soaking it all in just the same.   

While you meander through these links, just know that I’m here trying to figure out the easiest, most approachable way for us to make fried chicken at home.  I have a major craving.  I’ll solve this for all of us.  

The Internet for our knowing: 

•  This week Congress reworked the post 9/11 Patriot Act.  This is a big deal because most of us weren’t paying attention to the details of US surveillance until Edward Snowden asked us to pay attention.  

•  NYT Op Ed:  Edward Snowden.  

•  Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian has been jailed in Iran, without being charged, for nearly a year.  

•  What’s Causing Baltimore’s Crime Spike?  

•  Judge This: the power of first impressions. Clarity or mystery, which do you choose?

 Men that take up more than one seat on a train because they think they deserve a whole lotta leg spread vs. lady who simply wants a seat.  I’ve Been Sitting On Manspreaders For The Last Month and I Have Never Felt More Free.    

•  Google wants to count the calories in your Instagram food porn.  Please no.

•  How my doppelgänger used the Internet to find a befriend me.  So… just for future reference, if you look exactly like me, cool.    No need to stage a photo, I’ll take your word for it.  If, however, you have Tron’s doppelgänger, he’s happily accepting all staged photos and emails.  

•  How Many Steps A Day Should You Really Walk?

•  I’m interested in this book:  The Good Gut. The scientific authors are trying to keep our good body bacteria from going extinct.  The key? All the fiber all the time.

•  Enough with the love locks.  They’re really really heavy

•  I had no idea I should be braising radishes!  From The Kitchn: Braised Radishes with Shallots and Bacon.  

•  Roasted Strawberry and Toasted Coconut Popsicles!  It’s time for popsicle diet. 

Have a happy day!

xo Joy

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Peach and Buttermilk Lassi

Peach and Buttermilk Lassi

Peach and Buttermilk Lassi

I‘d easily enjoy a daily diet of milkshakes and french fries.  Steady. I’d never flinch.  It would be a dream.  

In related news, I just spent the last six minutes browsing milk shake machines on Amazon.  

Milkshake diet aside, I’m currently content with my fresh peaches, yogurt, and blender.  It’s the reasonable alternative to milkshakes day and night. 

This lassi is packed with healthful yogurt, fresh summer peaches, tangy buttermilk, and peach pie spice.  The fact that it’s flecked with peach skin feels like a bonus.  It’s summery, healthy, chilled, and supremely refreshing.  

I hope it makes you happy.  Also, I’d totally want cheese on my fries.  

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Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Angel Food Cupcakes with strawberries

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Angel Food Cupcakes with strawberries and coconut cream

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Angel Food Cupcakes with strawberries and coconut cream

Before I was tall enough to see over and into the ice cream case at the drug store my very favorite flavor was strawberry ice cream.

I remember the ritual very well because going out for ice cream was so rare and such a treasure my eyes widen now just thinking about it.  

A scooper girl, teen-aged and likely grumpy, would wrap a small piece of tissue paper around a flat-bottomed, kinda cardboard-y cone.  She’d bend forward into the case with an ice cream scoop and emerge with a gorgeously haphazard ball of pale pink, strawberry studded, frozen cream that she’d precariously shape onto the cone.  The treasure would be passed first to my mother, who your take a giant bite out of the cone before handing it down to me.  Let’s not even talk about how frustrating it is to watch your precious ice cream being BITTEN INTO… that’s just childhood, you don’t make the rules but you do occasionally get ice cream.  I’d hold onto the cone carefully but mostly desperately, willing myself not to lick the ice cream off its perch.  

These fluffy strawberry and cream cakes remind me of the days when I was much younger, shorter, and didn’t have to buy my own ice cream.  Those are precious days, indeed.

Oh.  Quick note… once I got taller and could see inside the ice cream case for myself… my favorite flavor was that neon blue bubble gum ice cream.  BUBBLE GUM in ice cream.  Two treats in one!  Such a loophole.  Also disgusting. 

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Watermelon Peach Caprese Salad

Watermelon Peach Caprese Salad

Watermelon Peach Caprese Salad

Yea.  I definitely stood in the kitchen, staring at this gorgeous summer salad, wondering/hoping/wishing/longing to put all of these ingredients between two slices of bread to make an extra buttery, extra mozzarella-y grilled cheese.  

I think watermelon in a sandwich might be out-of-bounds.  I think this ultra fresh summer salad belongs on a plate with a knife and fork.  I think I just want to turn everything into a grilled cheese sandwich.  

Related:  Lasagna Grilled Cheese

 Summery goodness!  And the great news is that tomatoes and watermelon are only going to get better as we get deeper into summer.  

Now excuse me while I go daydream more grilled cheese situations.  

Watermelon Peach Caprese Salad

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Let It Be Sunday!

Birthday Cake!

Hello my friends!  I hope this finds you feeling fine and fresh!  

I celebrated a birthday this week.  That means that my dad posted embarrassing pictures of me on Facebook and people I haven’t spoken to since high school gave them the thumbs up.  Pretty cool.  In more awesome news, someone made me a cake!  In even more awesome news, I ate a cake I didn’t make myself and it had candles that spelled out my name and it was the best thing EVER.  Here’s to 34!  

I hope this Sunday finds you enjoying some warmth and sunshine!  Go on and get it! 

The Internet, here’s some: 

•  “A group of Nepali women first defied the odds by summiting Mount Everest, then the tallest mountain on every other continent. Now they are up against their greatest challenge: rebuilding their country after two devastating earthquakes.”  After The Seven Summits

•  Saying all the things we think in our dark, dirty, not nearly as funny minds:  How Comedians Became Public Intellectuals

•  Long before Bruce Jenner there was Richard Raskind.  A really interesting interview with The Woman Who Paved The Way For Men To Become Women.  

•  We don’t want to read every single thing off a screen.  We still have the printed page.  Technology Of Books Has Changed, But Bookstores Are Hanging In There.  

•  I’m starting a new blog, it’s called:  What To Do If You See A Bear.  

•  I currently have 1544 unread emails.  I’m not even kidding.  Inbox Zero vs Inbox 5,000: a unified theory.  

•  Minnesota:  The Land of 10,000 Dessert Salads

•  I’m 0% sports fanatic but this book is completely fascinating:  The Sports Gene:  Inside The Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance

•  The ladies of TasteBuds, Krissy and Jessica, came to visit me in New Orleans!  They took a mighty fine tour of the city and then we made fancy cocktails in pineapples and coconuts!  Taste Buds, brought to you by Ford, is a fun new travel show on YouTube.  Loads of fun episodes can be found here!  Check it! 

•  In related news:  Vanilla Sugar Daiquiris and Grapefruit Margaritas because, YES! 

Have the happiest Sunday!  I’ll see you tomorrow! 

xo Joy

Tastebuds video partnership sponsored by Ford.  

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Gluten-free Peach and Blueberry Pie

Gluten-free Peach and Blueberry Pie

Gluten-free Peach and Blueberry Pie

Just in case you’re looking for an excuse to consumer obscene amounts of whipped cream or French Vanilla Ice Cream… just in case.  Here we are!

The days are long and warming and I’m pretty sure I can smell peaches and berries in the air.  It’s intoxicating and has me daydreaming about fruit pie combinations while lingering in the produce section at the grocery.  

Today we peach and blueberry. Soon I’m thinking a strawberry raspberry pie is in order.  Don’t even get me started on apricots.  

It’s about to be a great summer! 

Gluten-free Peach and Blueberry Pie

You know how I feel about pie crust.  I’ve never been shy about coaxing large amounts of butter into perfectly flakey pie crusts.  

Sidenote:  Five Tips For The Best All-Butter Pie Crust From Scratch.  

This version of pie perfection is made with gluten-free flour.  I love the King Arthur Flour variety and the only amendment I made was to add an egg yolk to the buttermilk.  The yolk helps with binding the crust but let me be honest, the crust was still a bit crumbly.  

Here’s the nitty gritty.   

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