Gluten-free Banana Bread with salted caramel

Gluten-free Banana Bread with salted caramel

Gluten-free Banana Bread with salted caramel

Some days just feel like good days to turn on the oven.  The kind of day when you think you might-could crank up the heater, but instead you let the oven do the work… and maybe throw in a simple, fragrant loaf of banana bread.  It’s a win-win-win:  warmth, aroma, and actual fresh banana bread.  

Gluten-free Banana Bread with salted caramel

I made this loaf of banana gluten-free using an all-purpose 1-for-1 flour mix.  I really like King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi Purpose flour because it tastes clean.  Bob’s Red Mill is also good but has more of a bean flavor.  Glutino, also found in many grocery stores is a great option.  

I should do a baking test of gluten-free flours, shouldn’t I?  Yes.  

First, banana bread. 

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Let It Be Sunday!

Let It Be Sunday!

Let It Be Sunday!

Here’s what I recommend.  I recommend you take yourself out to dinner.  Wear your loose-fitting jeans for max comfort, bring a book, call a car, sit at the bar, order an entire pizza for yourself, and have as much wine as makes you happy.  Be chatty or not.  Just go and do.  The solo quality time feeds the soul.  

Thank you to each and every one of you that came out to see me in Baltimore last week!  You laughed at my haggard jokes, I made a pie and wrote in your books.  I really do appreciate you.  Thanks also for suggesting I eat a Hersh’s in Baltimore.  It’s really so so good! 

This week has been chilly and hurricane threatened.  We’re busy.  I can feel the hustle in the air.  I hope you’re taking this day to breathe deep and rest.  It’s a long run toward the end of the year.  I vote we take it slow and easy.  

The Internet, distilled:     

•  Meet the American Vigilantes Who Are Fighting ISIS.

•  Why is this a new normal?  So far is 2015 we’ve had 274 days and 294 mass shootings.  

•  The paradoxical, pressure-filled quest to build a ‘personal brand’.  Me, Inc. We’ve made it a very strange life, haven’t we?  

•  We try to build ourselves up.  Maybe others try to tear us down.  Tale as old as time.  Now, we can rate each other like we’re restaurants.  It’s like Yelp… but for people.  

•  Threats. Vitriol. Hate.  Ugly truth about women in sports and social media.  Ladies know the deal, we get trouble from men and women on the Internet.  100% ridiculous.  Related:  See above… new site where we rate each other as humans.  SOS. 

•  Harassed while doing a report about harassment.  Just… the worst.  Really.  I mean… REALLY.  

•  We know what we’re supposed to do, we just don’t want to do it.  Eye contact got scary once we started staring at our phones all the time?  I dunno.  Stop Googling.  Let’s Talk.  

 I met you in the rain on the last day of 1972 – m4w  “I cry a lot.  Sometimes from the loneliness.  Sometimes I don’t know why.”  

9 Nodding Strategies For Your Next Meeting.  I currently working on 9 eye-rolling strategies for your next encounter with most of humanity.  Ok… that’s not true, but it should be.   

•  Let’s go to Savannah to see Cara and get out books signed!  

•  The weather has me thinking Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie.

•  The Mason Jar, Reborn.  Beyond preservation.  7-Eleven Mason jar Slurpee cups. Shark, jumped.  

•  Related:  Jumping the Shark.  

•  Ready to switch from purse back to backpack.  

Have a very good day.  

xxo Joy


Baking Bootcamp: Chocolate Hazelnut Rolls with Quick Puff Pastry

Quick Puff Pastry Chocolate Hazelnut Rolls

Quick Puff Pastry Chocolate Hazelnut Rolls

Hey friends!  

I’m so excited to announce that it’s time for another Baking Bootcamp Series with King Arthur Flour!

Baking Bootcamp is a 3-part baking challenge that’s meant to get us in the kitchen and have us emerge with new technique, new baking knowledge, and really lovely sweet treats!  Let’s bake together!

Last year we baked four delicious recipes and learned about the difference between baking flours along the way.  

We made Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl Bread  +  Whole Wheat Oatmeal Honey Bread +  Apple Pie Biscuits  and Gruyere and Green Olive Rolls.  Sharing our treats on Instagram and becoming better bakers along the way!  

This Baking Bootcamp, we’re focusing on technique.  I want to take some of baking’s most intimidating techniques and make then  approachable enough for our home kitchens.  Let’s push ourselves!

Quick Puff Pastry Chocolate Hazelnut Rolls

For our first challenge, we’re making quick puff pastry.  Puff pastry is a laminated dough that focuses on incorporating cold butter into flour, creating a very rich, flaky, luscious dough.  True puff pastry is a real undertaking of time, temperature, and courage.  We’re going to make a quick puff pastry, using a rolling and folding technique, to create buttery and flaky breakfast rolls.  

My Supplies!  Here’s what you’ll need for the Chocolate Hazelnut Rolls with quick puff pastry.  

Three recipes shared on Instagram #bakingbootcamp + Three awesome sets of prizes!

The idea is simple!

•  Make these Chocolate Hazelnut Rolls with quick puff pastry (they’re sooooo good!) and take a picture of your creation!

•  Follow @joythebaker and @kingarthurflour on Instagram

•  Photograph your beautiful rolls and post them to Instagram with the hashtag #bakingbootcamp

•  When you submit a photo, you’ll be entered to win a 1-year supply of King Arthur Flour and a Baking Essentials box valued at $250!!  Official rules and details can be found here.

Let’s get baking!

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Bucket List Recipes

What's on your recipe bucket list?

What's on your recipe bucket list?

Stepping in the kitchen takes confidence and guts, usually inspired by a grumbling stomach or a nagging sweet tooth.  With some sort of sweet, salty, gooey, or melty craving in mind, we step into the kitchen with a recipe or an idea, with our fingers crossed, maybe a hope and a prayer.  

I’ll be the first to admit that, as often as I bust out my stand mixer and preheat my oven, I still feel intimidated by certain recipes and dishes.  I think it’s all part of being self-taught, but hungry and curious.  

Tomorrow I’m launching another Baking Bootcamp series with King Arthur Flour!  Last year we baked four recipes together, learned about different flours, and dang it… I think we became better bakers.  This next Baking Bootcamp focuses on learning new techniques… totally exciting and a little intimidating.  But!  We’re in this together.   

Here are a list of dishes I want to tackle.  My belly says I must.  It’s not that these recipes and dishes are overly complicated or even very hard, sometimes it’s just a mental block, or some way that I’ve told myself that I can’t accomplish something in the kitchen.  Do you do this too? 

•  Homemade Croissants with Puff Pastry:  Making puff pastry from scratch has always felt super intimidating.  I’m supposed smash this butter, fold and roll, and fold and what?  File under: Intimidating Kitchen Endeavors.  Spoiler Alert!  For our first Baking Bootcamp recipe we’re making a quick puff pastry (approachable, not intimidating) and making rolls filled with hazelnuts and chocolate!  Baby steps to full-on croissants.  

•  Cassoulet:  A rich and delicious French dish that involves two things that intimidate me in the kitchen… duck fat and confit, but cassoulet is so luscious, hearty, and actually rather humble in its elegance that I’ve got to find a way to make this happen in my kitchen.  I’ve also already bought the white beans!  Just need to buy the duck fat and start chopping the onions.  The coming cooler months are sure to be inspiring.   

 Braised Short Ribs:  Help me out with something?  Are short ribs actually simple to make?  Do I just have a major mental block?       There’s something about buying cuts of meat that I don’t normally buy or cook in the kitchen that proves intimidating to me.  I think if we can roast a chicken, we can braise some short ribs.  Red wine for braising for a glass to drink while cooking… for courage.
 Let’s get at it!  

•  Tiramisu: Making a homemade tiramisu has always felt really intimidating to me.  A well-made tiramisu is magic.  What’s the magic?  Mascarpone?  Italian grandmother hands?  Cocoa powder from heaven?  I’ve tackled chocolate mousse.   Let’s get to the bottom of tiramisu.

•  Sushi Hand Rolls:  The roadblocks in my mind to homemade sushi are, where to buy sushi grade fish, which is the right seaweed wrap, and I have a sneaking suspicious that making sushi rice is harder than it looks.  Still though… handmade rolls at home!?  This will be a game changer.  

•  Everything Bagels:  Is there anything better than a fresh bagel?  A fresh everything bagel?  With waayyy too much cream cheese?  Lord help me.  There’s boiling and baking, I want these things fresh from our ovens.  We can, we will! 

•  Leige Waffles:  Yeasty, stretchy, sugary waffle success!  These waffles are an undertaking but I think Deb from Smitten Kitchen made them as approachable as possible.  Waffle maker and pearl sugar on order!  

•  Perfectly poached eggs:    With an internet full of information, why is it still so hard to perfectly poach an egg?  Something about vinegar, boiling water, swirled boiling water, a flick of the wrist, a prayer to the patron saint of poached eggs…  I’ll get it right one day.  

Now tell me, what’s on your Recipe Bucket List?  Does it involved a blow torch, anything confit, or something that requires a waffle contraption?  Let’s tackle them all together! 

(Pictured above, the arms of Jon Melendez, a cat named Napoleon, and Brown Butter Brûlée Donuts.)  

Lemon Vanilla Cookie Krispie Treats

Lemon Vanilla Cookie Krispie Treats

Lemon Vanilla Cookie Krispie Treats

It’s ridiculous, really.  I’m always looking for any and every excuse to buy a bag of cookies from the grocery store.  

The best excuse I’ve come up with so far is that I need to buy this bag of cookies to make a dessert with cookies in/on/all over them.  

Related:  Milk Chocolate Cookies and Cream Cookies.  

I tell myself that I can’t possibly make a good dessert if I don’t have cookies to make a dessert with.  It makes the most sense, if you think about it (while standing in the cookie aisle, hungry, so hungry).  

It’s my work.  I really need these cookies.  I’m gonna get these cookies.  And make some dessert.  

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Let It Be Sunday!

Let It Be Sunday!

Let It Be Sunday!

I had a moment in the airport, one of those all-purpose airport stores with books and expensive water, and headphones (whyyyy do I always forget my headphones!?).  I picked up the book Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, stood in the store, flipped to the middle of the book, read two paragraphs and laughed loudly aloud.  Loudly.  Aloud.  I flipped to the back cover, saw that the hardcover books was a solid $27 and decided that YES I would happily buy this book, but only if I could sit on the plane with Cheetos and Milk Duds and laugh as loudly as I wanted.  That’s what I did.  It felt great.  It felt like very close to furiously happy.  

The lesson here is, treat yo’self.  Insights and laughs are worth the $27.  Cheetos and milk duds are just luxury.  Like, really stubborn luxury.  

I’d like to say this week was a doozy, but we all know what we’ve gotten ourselves into.  

•  Why are we trying to trick each other.  It’s like we’re trying to be the right kind of perfect and the perfect kind of vulnerable… and we’re all just doing the best we can all the time.  Why lie?  The #LuckyGirl’s Lie

•  The Pope Is Here!  And we’re really excited the Pope is here! 

•  Read this gem from Philly Mag.  Humanity and some perspective.  What Happened After My Kidnapping.  

•  I consistently read articles about how we have to turn our phones off.  Do you think we can?  Motherhood, Screened Off.  

•  We have to take care of each other… also, I just bit the shit outta my lip eating too many Milk Duds at once.  Who am I going to call!?  Answer:  Cherishing Your Girlfriends.  

•  Really great, knee-high, compression socks for working hard, standing lots, and those times when we’re (you, not me) are pregnant:  Marvy Socks.  

•  From Pinch of Yum, this looks delicious:  Garlic Basil Chicken with Tomato Butter Sauce

•  I’m a very big fan of Emily’s Cape Blazer.  Plus black and cream, so classic! 

•  The best iEverything accessories.  Aaaand, go!  

•  27 TV Deaths That Totally Broke Our Hearts.  Denny… oh man.  Omar.  GEEZ.  This slideshow is full of spoiler alerts, but if you don’t already know what happened to Nate Fisher on Six Feet Under… it’s like, ok enough already.  

Have a very happy and relaxed Sunday!  If you need me I’ll be making pie in Balitmore at 1pm.  Come on with it!

xo Joy

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Let It Be Thursday!

Let It Be Thursday

Let It Be Thursday

Happy Thursday, my friends!  The closer we get to the weekend, the more I find myself slouched at my computer staring at the screen.  Procrastination is powerful.  Because the Let It Be Sunday posts are my favorite to write and share each week, I thought I’d pop in with a mid-ish week list roundup.  While we’re staring blankly at our screens in a procrastination trance, we might as well click off Facebook and read a few clever things.  These are them:  

First, it’s candy corn season.  BE CAREFUL! 

•  I’ll be at the Baltimore Book Festival this weekend!  I’ll be signing books and showing you how to make a pie on Sunday 9/27 at 1pm.  It’s free to come!  I hope to see you there.  Seriously.  Come say hi! 

•  Is Mercury in retrograde OR WHAT!?  I just googled ‘what to do when mercury is in retrograde’.  How to survive Mercury Retrograde.  I did.  I really did that. 

•  You don’t have to tell me.  I have a problem with typos.  It’s terrible.  Here’s why it’s so hard to catch your own typos.  No excuses… I’m just sayin’.  

•  How To Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps.  Portion control, fruit juice, smash your heart on the floor.  You know… 

•  Read this, oh read this:  The Sanitized Stories We Tell.  ‘If we don’t deal with our trauma, our trauma begins to deal with us.’

•  I just bought a bunch of sour candy.  Be like me.  

•  Welcome to the world of really chic, super comfortable house/sleepwear!  This feels good, real good:  Lunya!  

•  It.  Is.  Time.  Pumpkin Pecan Scones with Brown Butter Glaze.  Sorry.  

Have a happy Thursday.  Fun is over.  Time to get back to work!

xo Joy

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Brown Butter Chess Pie

Brown Butter Chess Pie

Brown Butter Chess Pie

I watched the movie Steel Magnolias the other day.  

The full picture (if you’re curious) was me, my cat Tron, a rousing Thursday night, a shamefully large bowl of cheese grits and peas, and a paper towel I later used as a cry-tissue, sitting on my bed watching the movie Steel Magnolias.

I was thinking I’d REALLY like there to be a Steel Magnolias cookbook. Those ladies have got to have some pretty amazing deviled egg secrets, an unbelievable roux up their sleeves, and likely a recipe for chess pie that will knock all of our socks right off. 

I’d also like there to be a Father of the Bride Cookbook, a Home Alone 2 Cookbook, and a Stepbrothers snack guide.  What I’m saying is… I’ve got a lot of cookbooks to write in my future.  

First things first, a Steel Magnolias, Louisiana-inspired, butter-present Brown Butter Chess Pie. Shelby. Too soon.  

This post is in collaboration with Land O’Lakes because their butter is delicious! 

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Easy PB + J Sandwich Donuts

Easy PB+J Sandwich Donuts

Easy PB+J Sandwich Donuts

This is either a new high in midnight snacking, or a new low. Surely, it’s nothing in between. 

Here’s what’s happening. 

Brioche bread + peanut butter and jelly + battered and fried + coated in cinnamon and sugar.

It’s part donut and part sandwich, from the brilliant pages of Sarah Coates’ new book, The Sugar Hit.


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Let It Be Sunday!

Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

I’m not sure I’m ready for the take-on-the-Fall attitude I’m supposed to adopt. Whoa, everyone.  Can we slow down the pace just a little? How about a light jog before we’re in full holiday-mode sprinting?  

This week I’m working hard on a boat-load of Fall recipes to usher us into these slightly chilly months.  Breakfast rolls and soups and I definitely fried a peanut butter and jelly sandwich… so, here we go! 

This week, our Internet: 

•  I love New Orleans.  It’s built on layers of heart and soul, struggle, triumph, and legend.  There are whole parts of this city that are lost to me, and I appreciate this glimpse of A Vanished New Orleans.  

•  Scott Dinsmore wrote a beautiful piece about taking time away and going off the grid, stepping away, and pressing pause.  This past week he lost his life on Mt. Kilimanjaro and his wife and family are in my thoughts.   Disconnect to Connect: therapy for an addicted and over-connected world.  Jeff Goins, a writer on writing, wrote beautiful piece on losing friends:  When Friends Die: the clarity and confusion of grief.  

•  There is a very real human story behind this new and these numbers.  Syria is Emptying  + Each one of these dots represents a person killed in the four and a half year Syrian Civil War.  

•  Food editor, restaurant critic, author, and editor of beautiful beautiful Gourmet magazine:  Ruth Reichl Recharges in the Kitchen 

•  I’ve got to get a dog, a hammock, and some more friends

•  Listen to this interview from Brene Brown:  The Courage to be Vulnerable.  “

•  Like CliffNotes for grownups in need of encouragement:  131 Actionable Ideas from ten books I wish I had read ages ago  Sidenote: When I was in school, CliffNotes was considered cheating.  What do students do now that they have access to the Internet. I mean… can you just print out an entirely plagiarized essay?  Man… 

•  Ask Polly:  Why is everyone succeeding except me?  This is great.

•  Why Late Night Television Is Better Than Ever.  Very good.  Very good.  But can we get a lady in the mix?

•  There’s always room for personal improvement:  Making Better Pasta.  

•  I’ve made too many bad pork chops.  How to cook tender and juicy pork chops in the oven.  

•  These are my power shoes.  As seen on Instagram.  

Happy Sunday! 

xo Joy

Beef Enchiladas with green olives and raisins

Beef Enchiladas with Green Olive and Raisins

Beef Enchiladas with Green Olive and Raisins

Making enchiladas in my family is an event.  Not one of those ‘bust out the fine china’ events… but definitely a ‘dad’s been wearing an apron over his pajamas all day’ event.  That’s a sign that something really delicious is coming out of the kitchen… the pajama and apron combo.  

Lots of loud family around the table  –  Paper plates  –  Fighting over homemade guacamole  –   Who is making the next batch of margaritas?  –  When does the next pan of enchiladas come out of the over?  –  Who already ate a slice of cake?  –  Pass the enchiladas, please.  –  Now, please.  –  Thank you.  –  Seriously, now.  

It’s like that. 

Beef Enchiladas with Green Olive and Raisins

This particular pan of enchiladas deviates from my family’s traditional beef and cheese enchilada.  Read:  I can’t leave well-enough alone.  

I’ve added sliced green olives and sweet purple raisins to the savory beef filling.  It’s a riff of a Central and South American empanada filling and it’s dang delicious.  Sweet meets salty, plus beef enchilada, so…. we’re naturals.  Let’s go! 

If your instinct is something like.. but I don’t like olives / raisins, can I leave them out?… Sure.  You’re the boss of you.  But why don’t you like (California) Raisins!? 

Related:  Malo’s Beef and Pickle Tacos

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What Makes A Great Cookbook?

What Makes A Great Cookbook?

What Makes A Great Cookbook?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a great cookbook.  I’m currently working on my third book (wow…) about Brunch and as it carefully, lovingly, stressfully, curiously, and haphazardly takes shape, I think a lot about how to make it great. 

‘Great’ is both elusive and subjective.  I think it’s about being of service, being creative, communicating what’s beautiful about food and what’s beautiful about life.  Easy.  Super easy.  Luckily, I have shelves full of useful, beautiful, encouraging, inspiring… downright GREAT cookbooks to absorb as I make my own.  

Let’s talk about cookbooks:  the good, the great, the inspiring.  

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Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes

Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes

Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes

Have you heard about the latest trend?  Don’t say Kylie Jenner… don’t you dare.  

The latest trend has everything to do with fire, applied with intention and concentration to… basically anything and everything covered in granulated sugar.  

A few weeks ago we all pat ourselves on the back for Meyer Lemon Bar Brûlée.  We were a success and deserved the recognition.  This week we’re getting down and torchy  with crisp-sugar-topped, browned butter, soft and tender yeasted doughnuts.

Yea.  I mean… we all know you didn’t come here for bronzer or hair tips.  You came for doughnuts.  Let’s not beat around the bush. 

Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes

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Let It Be Sunday!

Let It Be Sunday!

Let It Be Sunday!

It must have been a Tuesday in August.  I was in a supreme rush to get to an appointment on time and with as little sweat running down my back as possible.  Before the appointment and the sweating, I had to make a Banana Tarte Tatin.  I say ‘had to’ because I was both inspired and compelled… self-pressure.  Problem:  I had 1 hour to make it, shoot it, and quickly stash it somewhere Tron wouldn’t find it.  Luckily he can’t yet open the refrigerator.  I made the tarte tatin.  I hurried, I rushed, I nearly burnt myself, I used a lot of profanity, I rushed off to my appointment, I sweat everywhere.  Whatever…  

The tarte tatin was INCREDIBLE.  I know because I showed a piece, literally torn from the tart, into my mouth, standing over the sink, with my car keys in my hand.  

Upon returning from my appointment I realized that my step-by-step photos were an abomination… an actual abomination… and the only decent and delicious photo was one single shot I took with sticky fingers on my iPhone.  

I don’t want you to be without this tarte.  Please.  Do this, and eat it like a civilized person… not holding your car keys, not bent over a sink.  Banana Tarte Tatin.  Very important note:  I added rum.  

It’s Sunday.  Let’s be ourselves:  

•  There is reward in just being:  Being Not Doing

•  I loved these words from David Leite about the restaurant on the 106th and 107th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center:   Windows On The World.

•  A beautifully thoughtful TED Talk:  What really matters at the end of life.  I’m left thinking about suffering, compassion, and a shift in perspective.  

•  I woke up last weekend and decided I needed some words of encouragement from Oprah.  Here’s 20 Years of Oprah Lessons

•  I told you I was on an Oprah kick.  This is such an interesting conversation:  Alanis Morissette on Super Soul Sunday.

•  Jessica went to Havana for us and came back with the scoop!  An American’s Guide To Havana

•  Tennis champion Mardy Fish on pressure and anxiety:  The Weight.  

•  Fossils found in African cave are new species of human kin.  Science is exciting! 

•  The Sunniest Climate Change Story You’ve Ever Read.  What are we going to do? (Besides keep destroying our precious home.)

•  This reality is hard for me to imagine.  The Queen, queening.

•  “The dream of the Venus-Serena match is that, in watching them play each other, we might catch some unmediated glimpse of them as tennis players and women, of their private selves and the unspoken aspects of their sisterhood.”   Serena and Venus: What’s It Like?

•  Related:  Roberta Vinci kicked ass like whoa

•  I’m always excited by a book list.  Have you read any of these? 9 books that will keep your attention to the very last page.

 x = -b plus or minus the square root of b-squared mine 4ac divided by 2a.  Solve for x.  BUT WHY!?!?  A word about raising teenagers.  

•  I’ve had this Chocolate Cherry Walnut Torte tab open in my browser all week and I can’t bring myself to close that tab until the cake magically appears in my kitchen.  

•  I’m mostly wearing menswear these days and I love this waxed canvas jacket!  

•  I’m baking from Sarah Coates‘ new cookbook next week!  The Sugar Hit

We are young.  Heartache to heartache.  We stand.  

Love is a battlefield. 

Happy Sunday!

xo Joy

What’s Your Daydream Dream Job?

Daydream Dream Job

Daydream Dream Job

In most ways, I’d say that I have my dream job.  I mean… I make and take pictures of doughnuts and cookies for a living.  I had no idea that was even a possibility for me when I was in college writing essays about the Harlem Renaissance.  No idea.  I feel lucky to combine my love of dough and words here on this blog.  If you want me to talk about the Harlem Renaissance we can, though my essay writing abilities aren’t as polished.  A topic sentence?… please don’t make me do it. 

I’m living in my dream job.  Some days it feels like more job than dream… but that’s just the nature of having tasks to do.  Because I’m greedy and have a healthy day-dreaming imagination, I entertain several daydream dream jobs in my mind.  You should see what a good drummer I am in my mind’s eye.  I’m amazing, but you’ll have to take my word for it.  

A Daydream Dream Job is a job that you often picture yourself doing, free of the boundaries of age, lifestyle, and actual skill or ability.  It’s out there, and so what!? 

Other than the current dream job, where I photograph doughnuts on my living room floor, here are a few of my most daydreamed dream jobs.  They range from ridiculous, to just… head-shaking no:  

•  Dream Job 1:  Backup dancer for a Beyonce.  In my mind backup dancers strike a lot of poses, wear bright red lipstick, and have flamboyant but supportive dance moves.  Essentially, I’d like to dance next to the spotlight and be Beyonce’s cheerleader.  Unfortunately I don’t have long hair to whip around, my body doesn’t twerk, and I incorporate way too much thumb into my dance moves.  

•  Dream Job 2:  Anonymous advice column author.  My advice would be a cross between my mom, the cashier at the grocery with purple hair and the most epic acrylic nails, and this guy.  Essentially my advice would be a string of ‘giirrrlll, don’t play’ statements and affirmations.  

•  Dream Job 3:  A drummer.  My dream job is to be the drummer for the Foo Fighters.  I know, the Foo Fighters already have an excellent drummer.  That’s no problem, I want to BE Taylor Hawkins.  Specifically, I want to be Taylor Hawkins playing The Pretender.  I basically AM Taylor Hawkins when I’m driving alone in my car blasting that song.  Again, you’ll have to take my word for it.  (I’m shaking my head no…  I’m awful).  

•  Dream Job 4:  An ER Doctor alongside Anthony Edwards, Noah Wiley, and youthful George Clooney.  I want to be an ER doctor among the original cast of the 90’s television drama ER.  Don’t worry, this is a totally realistic dream job.  You’re right,  pipe dream.  How about I just be Juliana Margulies before she goes to med school?  Good dream job compromise?  I thought so.   (I confident that only two of you reading this have any idea what I’m talking about.  I can’t help the specificity of my daydreams.) 

Tell me tell me!  What’s your daydream dream job?  Does it involve Beyonce?  Probably a little bit.  

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Really Very Good Chocolate Pudding

Really Very Good Chocolate Pudding

Really Very Good Chocolate Pudding

What do your guts know?  That tremble, tickle, internal compass in the center-insides of our bodies.  Those GUTS… they have feelings.  What do your guts tell you about who and how you are?  

My guts tell me to trust myself.  My guts tell me that I’m capable but also remind me that failure isn’t permanent.  

My guts tell me that spiders of any size are horrifying and life threatening.  

My guts tell me to lift with my knees, have a cup of tea instead of wine, and to disengage and take a bath.  

My guts tell me to run from hard conversations.  Then my smarter, wiser, more grounded guts tell me to stop, grow up, and say things that feel hard to say.

My guts know a lot about fried chicken and hope for frequent consumption.  

My guts dislike mosquitos, but at least they’re not flying spiders.  

My guts requested chocolate pudding and because they are generally knowledgable not not very needy, I obliged.  I’m glad I did.  

What do your guts know?  Tell me tell me.  

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Let It Be Sunday!

Let It Be Sunday!

Let It Be Sunday!

I walked by this house in the Garden District earlier this week when the sun was just going down, people were home from work making dinner for their families… the sky was darkening and street lights were just starting to flicker to life.  This house was bathed in sunset light and streetlamp light.  I thought it looked like a painting.  Dreamy, spooky, mysterious, and vulnerable somehow.  

How has your week been?  Whirlwind madness? Tackling the to-do list like a boss?  Trying hard and mostly not crying about it?  Me too.  

I hope you’re celebrating the end of summer and the beginning of working way too hard until the holidays this weekend.  Let there be bourbon and relaxation (and waffles).  

Here is some of our week.  The internet greatly distilled: 

 This week we’ve been shocked and saddened but the seemingly sudden humanitarian crisis of Syrian refugees.  In fact, it’s not sudden at all. If you don’t understand what’s going on and how it all got so bad, here’s Why People Are Fleeing Syria.

•  The Mother Of All Disasters.  Reading like this has me refreshing my hurricane/earthquake kit (and biting my nails a bit).  

•  I’m going to watch this documentary this weekend:  The True Cost.  The very high price of materialism.  

•  This is good news:  100 Black Men Greeted Kids On Their First Day Of School

•  “I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment.”  – Joan Didion, University of Riverside 1975  •   25 Powerful Commencement Speeches By Women

•  There’s a phone app that will walk us home at night?  It tracks our location, whether we break into a sprint, fall, or veer off our path, and invites friends and family to watch us on our journey.  My only question is, what are we going to do with our rape whistles? 

•  An Oral History Of Me As Told Through My Exes.  She was hot.  She was fun.  

•  Overcoming Love Addiction: One Apple Martini At A Time.  There’s a happy ending

•  Sometimes driving through San Francisco takes my breath away:  The Steepest Streets in San Francisco

•  CEREAL MILK (and all sorts of other good things)!  Apple Jack Cereal Milk Ice Cream with Applejack (Brandy) Caramel Swirl

•  Dana from Minimalist Baker makes such lovely treats.  Now, please put these Vegan Whoopie Pies in my face.  Thanks!

•  Let’s spend some quality time daydreaming about Paris with this lovely book:  Bright Lights Paris by Angie Niles 

•  I won’t get on a plane without my giant Loomed Turkish Pestamel (I LOVE these colors!).  Well… I will get on a plane without one, but I don’t want to.  It’s my security blanket.  Fashionable security. 

•  I appreciate the way Melissa Lanz and The Fresh 20 approaches a cleanse.  It’s called: The Mind Body Reset and I’m trying it for the next 20 days.  Meal plans, inspiration, encouragement, and it’s not about drastic diet, just a reset… I’m into it! 

Have a happy Sunday!  I’m glad you’re here.

xo Joy

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Slight Fear of Commitment Roast Chicken

I'm Proud Of Myself For Not Ordering Takeout Tonight Roast Chicken

I'm Proud Of Myself For Not Ordering Takeout Tonight Roast Chicken

Did you know that there’s a special chicken you eat when you get engaged.?  A chicken so treasured, so perfectly roasted, so exclusive, so only for people with fresh diamonds on their fingers that it’s actually called Engagement Roast Chicken.  Yea… it’s for people who have decided that they want to spend the rest of their lives with other people.  Boy oh boy…  engaged people have it GOOD!  

Or wait… maybe I’m understanding it wrong.  This is the sort of chicken you make for your significant other in order to prove your potential as a promising wife and partner.  In that case, I’m going to need A LOT more information about you, sir, before I make you this chicken.  Do you do dishes?  Do you do laundry?  Again… do you do dishes? Do you understand the concept of a retirement fund.  How do you act during football season?  Why do you watch the TV so loud, like seriously?  Put down your fork and let’s get down to brass tacks.   Also… chicken so good you’ll want to marry me?  Please… 

I’m not engaged.  Like… really not engaged.  I have a cat.  Have I told you about my cat?  (Don’t answer that.)  

I feel like… if we’re going to start making roasted chicken for very specific life and coupling events we should run the spectrum.  It’s only fair.  

Today’s roasted chicken is made in that spirit.  Consider these re-worked, more inclusive and (dare I say) realistic, recipe names:  

•  I’m Working On Me Roast Chicken

•  Why Hasn’t He Texted Me Back(?) Roast Chicken

•  I Folded My Laundry Like An Adult Roast Chicken

•  I’m Proud Of Myself For Not Ordering Takeout Tonight Roast Chicken

•  Slight Fear of Commitment Roast Chicken

•  I’d Rather Be Eating Cheese and Ice Cream Roast Chicken

•  I Didn’t Leave My Shopping Cart In The Middle Of The Parking Lot Roast Chicken

•  Was That A Date(?) Roast Chicken

•  But Really Why Is Everyone On Tinder(?) Roast Chicken

•  My Cat Is Going To Eat Half Of My Roast Chicken

•  I Generally Like Who I Am Roast Chicken

•  But I Had French Fries For Lunch Roast Chicken

I mean… we could go on forever and ever. Infinity Roast Chickens.

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A Few Notable Notes and I Dipped Your Chips In Chocolate

Chocolate Dipped BBQ Chips

Chocolate Dipped BBQ Chips

Hey friends!  

We need to talk about a few things.  I’ll keep this short because it’s Wednesday and you look super busy.  Actually, your hair looks fantastic, but your body looks busy (and otherwise perfect)… but busy.  Besides, I really have to get back to watching Bachelor in Paradise… which is actually one of the things I was going to talk to you about so we’re moving along quite well.  

First things first.  We need to talk about Snapchat.  The old people (I’m talking about me and my 30something year old peers) have descended upon Snapchat… so technically it’s officially OVER, but we’re going to ride the wave to shore like the adult professionals we are.  Joining in on the weirdness now would be your best bet.  I’m joythebaker on Snapchat if you want to follow me.  It’s weird.  Spoiler alert:  I’m weird.  So… I’ll see you there?  Great / I’m sorry.

Second things second.  Crinkle Cut Barbecue Potato Chips, when purchased with dark chocolate, coconut oil, and sea salt make an excellent snack.  Stoner-level excellent.  The chocolate is melted down with a bit of coconut oil, for smoothness and sheen.  Chips (BBQ!!!) are dipped and sprinkled with salt and left to harden slightly in the refrigerator.  The result is a sweet, salty, chocolate bonanza.  

Now would be a good time to look up the word bonanza.  

bonanza (n.) a situation or event that creates a sudden increase in wealth, good fortune, or profits. 

Yes.  We nailed it.  

Other things I’ve dipped in chocolate:  regular potato chips (also delicious), ice cream cones, and peanut butter cookies.  

Best of luck with all this Wednesday business.  At least your hair looks great.  

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Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

Now, you know I love a biscuit!  Now that I live in the south, I take my biscuits more seriously than ever.  Buttery and tender, up for just about any pairing from coffee to chicken.  I hold my biscuits to very high standards, they must be buttery and rise tall, the perfect balance of salty and sweet, with just a hint of crunch on top and a doughy tenderness inside.  

Because I hold my biscuits to very high standards, I’m always looking for ways to enhance the magic.  The answer:  better butter and a fold or two.  

Let’s go back to basics and make a better biscuit!  

Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits

The fewer the ingredients in baked goods, the more important it is to use really quality ingredients.  

We’re using Land O Lakes® European Style Super Premium Butter for these biscuits.  

You guys, this butter is fantastic!  European-style butter extra creamy and higher in fat than traditional butter made here in the US.  Extra creamy and more fat makes for extra flakey biscuits.  We’re going to use salted butter in these biscuits for that alluring, extra-salty bite.   

This post is in collaboration with Land O Lakes®.  Photographs by Jon Melendez.  

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