Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Hello friends!  

We’re well into this Sunday and it feels all the way like Spring.  I hope your brunch table runneth over.  

I’ve been in Nashville this week eating everything I can get my hands on and wearing cowboy boots like I know what I’m doing.  I don’t… I barely know what I’m doing, but the boots help with the confidence.  

This week has been a lot, hasn’t it?  Here is what’s what.  

•  Germanwings flight 9525.  “When one person is responsible for 150 lives, it is more than just suicide.”  From Slate.  

•  We work from home, hang out with out cats, take pictures of our home coffee, watch HBO Go while we blog and email and order gluten-free crackers on Amazon.  Is it true?  Are we The Shut-In Economy

•  Let’s go ahead and opt out of everything.  Opting out of group texts and reply-all emails being the most important of all.

•  The perfect bean to save the hot and hungry planet.  

•  Mariel Hemingway on Woody Allen.  It’s important.  

•  Feminist Ben and Jerry’s flavors.  Because.   

•  Tim Cook on running Apple.  Also, he plans to give away all his wealth after he pays for his nephews college education.  

 •  Meerkat app and Periscope.  What in the world is going on?  No, seriously.  Are we going to be ok?  

•  Our president + The Wire creator David Simon.  

•  Remember when your parents had “The Talk” with you?  Ugh.  From NYMag:  Let’s Talk Frankly About Sex.

•  Just in case you need to see everything Don Draper wore on Mad Men.  

•  The X-Files.  Come on BACK!  

Have the most lovely day!  Don’t let the Sunday night stresses get atcha.  Wine and pudding help.  Wine and chocolate pudding.  

xo Joy

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Roasted Strawberry and Dumpling Skillet Cake

Roasted Strawberry and Dumpling Skillet

Roasted Strawberry and Dumpling Skillet

I was looking for rainbow carrots.  I was thinking we’d roast some carrots… you know, sit around a plate of carrots and just chat.

And then, nope.  

Turns out strawberries are in season!  Now.  Already.  It’s time!

Maybe still a little too soon for the white jeans and the flip flops (shut up California and Florida), but strawberries are here and we have major reason to celebrate (with dumplings).  

Come with it! 

Roasted Strawberry and Dumpling Skillet

 Strawberries have yet to reach their peek in sweetness and extreme loveliness.  When in doubt: ROAST! And there better be butter and a little bit of sugar.

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New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

It’s taken me entirely too long to get to soak my red beans.  A year!  I’ve lived in New Orleans a year and I’ve never soaked my red beans to make a pot of Red Beans and Rice.  Some nerve, really.  

Red Beans and Rice is a Monday night New Orleans tradition.  I thought Monday nights were reserved for red wine, salty popcorn, and M&M dinner… turns out I was totally mistaken.  All the way wrong.  

Red Beans and Rice is a Monday tradition because Monday was considered the “wash-day”…. laundry.  Red Beans could cook on the stove, mostly unattended, all day while the laundry was done.  Also, Red Beans could be made with the precious ham hock reserved from Sunday supper.  In other words, everything makes sense.  Ham, red beans, Monday laundry.  New Orleans is doing it right and I need to get my act (and my laundry) together.  

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

Let’s get this pot on the stove!  

Classic Camellia Red Beans, dried but soaked.  

Major soup flavors like onion, garlic, celery, pepper, and pancetta.  

Parsley and thyme for fresh herb notes.  Bay leaf for base flavors. Good chicken stock for roundness.  

Lastly, smoked sausage, sliced, for that perfect layer of salty smoky pork.  

Rice too!  And it’s almost dinner! 

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Let It Be Sunday

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Happy Sunday, friends!  

I have three hopes for you today:  

I hope there’s champagne in your orange juice and fresh flowers in  a vase.  What luxuries… seriously.  

I hope you make yourself a big pot of Roasted Garlic Soup and not care a lick about the garlic breath you might have for the next full week or so.  (Kidding… it’s not really that bad.)

I sincerely hope you take some time to slow it all down today.  Leave and the muss and fuss for Monday and Wednesday.  

(photo above from Young Blood, Atlanta.)  

This was a week.  We’re carrying on through the year, aren’t we? 

•  There is an election this coming week in Nigeria, but what’s really most pressing there is Boko Haram.  This from the NYT:  Nigerian Army Noticeably Absent From Town Liberated from Boko Haram.  

•  We live in an age of irrational parenting.  I don’t even want to let my housecat out on the patio, so I totally understand this.

•  Seven years ago Los Angeles banned the expansion of fast food restaurants in South LA in an effort to curb obesity rates.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work.  

•  In a world that has a review for dang-near everything on the planet, I mean… who can we trust?  Inside The Mad Mad World of TripAdvisor.  

•  Have you seen the new HBO show ‘The Jinx’?  Probably yes.  You’re much more on top of things than me.  I juuust now figured out that House of Cards is back and new.  I have yet to see ‘The Jinx’, but woweee how we blur real life and entertainment:   The Queasy Finale of ‘The Jinx’

•  Ben Dorcy has been a roadie since 1950.  Let’s wrap our brain around that kinda life and then read all about him:  The First Roadie Ever 

•  I haven’t read this yet, but here’s a peek into my Internet-land weekend reads:  The Woman Who Froze In Fargo.  

•  There’s an app for that:  You phone buzzes when you approach places where women made history (aka herstory).  

•  Ask a Wine Pro:  Pronouncing Wine Words.  When you want to do more than wince and point.  

•  I will eat hummus until the cows come home.  Related: I don’t want to talk about my breath.  Thanks.  Green Goddess Hummus

•  New Orleans love!  We have a new happy place:  St. Roch Market.  

•  Kate Spade and her forever-clever clutches:  Wedding Belles.  

Happy day to you and us!

xo Joy

How To Brown Butter

How To Brown Butter

How To Brown Butter

Browning butter is one of those life skills that should be taught to everyone alongside things like:  how to change a tire,  how to tip at a restaurant, how to ride a bike with no hands, and how to mince garlic.  Everyone should know.  

It’s a good thing I’m here.  I don’t know how to change a tire… but I’m here with butter.  

We talk about Browned Butter a lot.  I’m always trying to wrestle you into adding it to Banana Bread, Baked Donuts, and Grapefruit White Chocolate Cookies

Browned Butter is butter cooked until it has melted into a liquid, the water has cooked out, and the milk solids begin to toast and brown to a delicious and nutty state.  

When incorporated into desserts like breads, donuts, and cookies, it subtly deepens the flavor from delicious to ‘ohmygod who made these cookies!?!?’.  That’s the power of browned butter.  Here’s how to make the magic.  

How To Brown Butter

Step One:  Butter (cold or room temperature, preferably unsalted) meets a lightly colored, medium skillet or saucepan.  

It’s important that the bottom of the pan be lightly colored so you can actually see the butter browning.  In a black-bottom pan, you’re left guessing (and probably burning).  A white or silver-bottomed pan is best.  

Place the butter in the pan and place the pan over a stovetop set to medium heat.  Gently place your arms on your hips, assume a good attitude and peaceful face, and standby.  

How To Brown Butter

Step Two:  Allow to butter to melt.  No stick of butter has ever browned without melting first.  

No need to stir of swirl.  Just let the business melt.   

Daydream a bit.  That might be nice.  

Whatever you do, do not multitask.  As soon as you step away from your pan, it’s scientifically proven, you’re going to burn your butter.  

Step Three:  Now we’re going places!  

Once the butter has melted into a liquid, it will start popping and crackling.  That’s the water cooking out of the butter.  Once the water cooks out, the milk solids in the butter will begin to brown.  

So… first popping, then browning.  

Swirl the pan around if you’re feeling restless or chef-y.  Don’t even think about stepping away from your butter. 

How To Brown Butter

Step Four:  Getting there!  

Once the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown.  This means that little brown bits will start to appear on the bottom of the pan.  The actual melted butter liquid won’t brown, but rather, the milk solids will begin to brown at the bottom of a pan.  

Use a heat-proof spatula to stir the browning milk solids off the bottom of the pan so they brown more slowly and evenly.  

Once you see the butter browning on the bottom of the pan, the rest of the process will move pretty quickly.  But don’t forget you’re in charge!

To prevent the butter from browning too quickly and burning, simply remove the pan from the heat source.  The heat of the pan alone will slowly brown the butter.  Leaving the pan over the heat source will brown the butter much more quickly, forcing ninja-like reflexes upon you.  

Once the butter solids are browned to golden, immediately remove the pan from the heat (if you haven’t already), and remove the butter from the pan.  The pan is still hot, even when it’s not over direct heat, and will quickly burn the butter solids.  So remove the butter from the pan!  Burnt butter is not as good as Browned butter.  That’s also been scientifically proven. 

How To Brown Butter

Just as the butter browns to golden, a trombone parade should be passing by your house, confetti should fall from your kitchen ceiling, the bathroom will magically clean itself, kittens will trot by wearing party hats, and a unicorn with a bag of hot french fries should be waiting at your front door.  

If those things don’t happen, you’ve done it wrong.  

Golden, nutty, fragrant browned butter is now ready for your favorite recipes!  I humbly suggest The Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies Known To Man… but maybe I’m biased.  

Happy butter browning! 

How To Be A Better Baker

How To Be a Better Baker

How To Be a Better Baker

We talk a lot about doughnuts and waffles.  We talk about my cat a bit too much.  We talk about New Orleans and beignets and parades, and beads.  We could, if you’re at all interested, talk about how many peanut butter cups I just shoved in my mouth.  That conversation would be short and barely interesting.  6.  That’s the number. 

Today let’s talk about 7 ways to be a better baker.  A few small tweaks and little nuggets of advice to build confidence in the kitchen.  Read through and leave a comment below if any questions come up for you!  I want us to be the best bakers we can be.  

Cookie dough above: Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookies.  

1.  You’re only as good as your relationship with your oven.

Well, unless you’re a raw pastry chef, in which case, cheers to you.  No need to have the fanciest, latest and greatest oven.   It’s more about your relationships, how well you know each other, and how readily you accept all the quirks.  

Some ovens have hot spots, little zones in that hotbox that are hotter than others.  Get familiar the hot spots by seeing how a cake browns in the oven.  Is one side more golden or burnt than another?  Take note and rotate the your cakes and breads during baking.  

Stop what you’re doing right now and invest in an oven thermometer. A gauge inside the oven is the only way to know how hot the hot is.  Sometimes the dial doesn’t reflect the actual heat correctly.  

2.   Yes you have to follow the directions, mostly. 

Baking is a delicate balance of flours, moisture, leavening, and heat.  A recipe is there to hold your hand, lead the way, and give you a high-five at the end.  You’ve got to trust the recipe to be good. Sometimes they’re not, but you have to trust the process, cold butter, buttermilk and all.  

Here’s how to read a recipe.  It’s nice to know how to read a map.  

3.   If you’re not using a scale, here’s we measure flour. It’s important. 

4.  Waste Not, Want Not

So often I end up with a container full of egg whites after making ice cream, a small handful of pecans, and leftover fresh herbs from various baking projects.  Don’t throw these things away or let them languish to death in the refrigerator. Delicious treats come from leftovers!  Don’t let em go!

• Turn egg whites into crisp Vanilla Bean and Cocoa Nib Meringues!  

•  Toss pecans, and whatever other nuts you have on hand into a batch of Oatmeal Cookie Granola!

•  Smash leftover herbs into butter with lots of salt and call it Super Herb Butter.  Delicious done!  

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Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Hello friends!  Welcome to another Sunday!  This weekend my new neighborhood, the Irish Channel, is alive with green beer, Irish pride, and lots of dudes in green cumberbunds handing fake flower out to ladies in the Irish Channel Parade.  You’re supposed to kiss the dude on the cheek when they give you a flower… kiss them on the cheek and ignore the fact that they’re a sweaty stranger with a fake flower… or maybe embrace that actually?  It’s New Orleans.  You’re supposed to just go with it even though it feels like a swampy episode of The Bachelor.

Along with all the green, it’s Easter candy (and yes… Lent) season and if you’re not careful, I’m going to buy every single Cadbury Easter candy-coated mini eggs.  I’m not even kidding. 

Cheers to you, your cozy pajamas, and that extra cup of hot tea.  

The Internet, for us:  

•  Hey guys, we’re drinking whiskey too fast. Why does it have to be old before its time? 

•  The Good, The Bad, and The Hangry

•  Quick note:  Exhaustion is not a status symbol.  

•  I own one Nicholas Newcomb mug and it’s a treasure in my kitchen.  Nicholas Newcomb studio visit on Design Sponge.    

•  Before I Go:  A Stanford neurosurgeon’s parting wisdom about life and time. 

•  California has about one year of water left.  Will you ration now? Still real.  

•  It’s Ikea’s World, We Just Live In It and hate those tiny frustrating screw driver things. 

•  Vegan BBQ Lentils with Millet Polenta is beautiful and food.  

•  Pickling Spring Vegetables (and other things I’ll probably never do but will be equipt with knowledge about. )  

•  A friend recommended I read The Piano Tuner.  Let’s do it! 

•  New news in lipstick technology:  Color Changing Lip Paint.  

I love you as much as you love Sunday.  Enjoy!

xo Joy

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

I always have the best intentions when I buy a bundle of bananas. ! daydream about protein-packed green smoothies.  I toy with the idea of afternoon snacks with almond butter.  I know I’ll eat them for breakfast with a cup of black coffee and a smile on my face.

Unfortunately, exactly none of that actually happens, and I’m left with a shameful bundle of brown bananas on my countertop a week later.  

It never fails.  It never does.  

A bundle of bananas is meant for cake.  Destiny.  Sightly under baked with strawberries and pecans.  Let’s!  

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

Make and bake in the skillet!  It’s really the best.  If you aren’t a neurotic food blogger like me, you won’t need a million bowls big and small to bring together this skillet cake.  Just a skillet, and spoon, and good attitude. 

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Sweet and Sour Green Juice

Sweet and Sour Green Juice

Sweet and Sour Green Juice

If you found me sitting on my living room floor drinking this green juice, eating peanut butter with a spoon straight from the container, and blasting 90’s Ani DiFranco, well… you could chalk that up to awesome taste, cool life-stylings, or… more likely, single real-life independent-woman cat-lady instincts come to life.  Related:  please listen to Dilate asap.  

I also have my old pair of Dr Martens from 1997 and I always think that oooonnneee day they might make sense on my body again. I know that will never be true, but a girl can hope.  

Can we just get on with the juice? My peanut butter and Ani consumption are always part of the deal.  You can dig it. 

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Gluten-Free and Gluten-Full Zucchini Pistachio Bread

Gluten-Free and Gluten-Full Zucchini Pistachio Bread

Gluten-Free and Gluten-Full Zucchini Pistachio Bread

First things first when moving into a new kitchen:  figure out where to put your silverware and your stand mixer.  Second things second when moving into a new kitchen:  make some sort of spiced quick-bread to make the whole house smell exactly like home.  

I’m a strong believer in this theory.  It’s important to make a house smell like a home, and no amount of banana bread scented candles will do the trick.  They would do the opposite of the trick.  

Last time I moved:  banana bread.  

This go’round:  zucchini bread two ways, gluten-free and waaay gluten-full.  Experiments and good smells all up in this new kitchen!

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Let It Be Monday

Let It Be Monday

Let It Be Monday

Welcome to a new week, my friends!  It’s Monday Funday and if you’re not all the way into it, here’s a few helpful tips to get into it:  11 Little Ways To Get Through This Monday.  

We’re not going to talk about this whole weird dress color controversy.  We can just let that one go, right?  I hope this week holds good hair, hot coffee, easy emailing, and general good vibes.   I’m settling into my new kitchen and have some delicious things in store for us.  There’s a donut thing happening with cheese and mustard.  We need to talk about that soon.  

The Internet, for us: 

•  Leonard Nimoy:  What I’ve Learned.  

•  The Elastic Brain.  Can neuroscience expand the mind of a child past childhood?  

•  Scott Budnick, producer of the Hangover movies, is one of the most effective advocates for prison reform in California:  Outside Man.  Here’s a challenging article about what happens when we send teenagers to adult prisons for non-violent crimes: A Boy Among Men.  

•  George Harrison’s memorial tree in Griffith Park is destroyed by beetles.  There’s got to be an emoji sequence for this kind of irony, right?   

•  Rage against the tyranny of sitting:  The Standing Desk.  

•  Slot Machine Science.  Put a Wheel of Fortune wheel on a slot machine and count me all the way in! 

•  Let’s imagine all the things we can do with Brie Cheese.  

•  The tidying trend.  Let’s do it!  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  

•  New rule:  no WebMD searches after 8pm and if we scroll through more than 3 pages we’re cut off because we’re officially freaking ourselves out.  Also… Looking Up Symptoms Online?  These Companies Are Tracking You.  Nooooooooo. 

I love you and Happy Monday!


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Extra Nutty Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Extra Nutty Dark Chocolate Brownies

Extra Nutty Dark Chocolate Brownies

Hey can I borrow your kitchen?  Mine is a mess. It’s half of a mess.  I’ve managed to unpack my favorite coffee mugs, my stand mixer, and my mason jars.  I’ve basically unpacked everything pretty.  The rest?  The drudgery?  Not interested. Those will stay in a box for a good while until I lose my mind and can’t live without my boring black plastic tongs for another second. 

So… I’m going to need to borrow your kitchen.  I’ll come in with random bags of baking groceries.  I’ll raid your cabinets for mixing bowls and wooden spoons and I’ll make us some brownies.  

Working in your kitchen will be much better then unpacking my own.  I think they call this avoidance. Really delicious avoidance. 

Extra Nutty Dark Chocolate Brownies

My friend Gabrielle let me use her pretty marble kitchen.  I made a mess, but there were brownies in the end.  Forgiveness through chocolate. 

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Kitchen On The Move

Byebye French Quarter

Byebye French Quarter

I feel like I haven’t been in my kitchen in ages!  

Well… I’ve been in my kitchen, it just hasn’t been to cook.  I’ve packed up my French Quarter kitchen and moved it box my box, beater by beater, to the Irish Channel.  It’s a process!  Do you know how many spoons I have?  A weird amount of spoons.  

Thank you for your patience with me as I get my life, my brain, and my kitchen sorted.  The thing is… I’m still the only person that writes this blog.  It’s just me, making all the donuts I want, and coming here to tell you about them.  That makes times like these… when I don’t have a stockpile of already shot and edited recipes, a little awkward.  Also, moving is hard on the brain, too.  I’ve considered using the packing tape to adhere my car keys to my forehead so I can stop losing them.  This blog is the real life (the super styled, extra delicious version) of my kitchen, so maybe this is a good time to take a few deep breaths and let it be what it is.  

Tron would agree.  It took him a day and a half to pack up all his toys and he’s a little stressed out.

Enough about me.  How are you?  Sincerely.  What’s inspiring you these days?  What are you hungry for?  Can I make you a Sazerac?  I’m practicing.  How should I christen my kitchen?  Stew?  Banana bread?  Chocolate chip cookies?  I need your guidance.  I think I packed my brain alongside my whisks.  

More soon.  Straight from the oven… something good, I promise. 


Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

I was having one of those days where I was certain that everyone in the world around me was mostly thoughtless, unkind, and out to drive reeeeaallly slowly, and ruin my day.  Turns out, if you feel like every single person around you is a dolt, it’s time to look within, get yourself a snack, and simmer all the way down.  It’s not them; it’s you… or in my specific case, me.  The cure to my crunchy day was a cup of coffee, a breakfast sandwich, and a stop to look at the beautiful blooming Magnolia trees.  

I need to call my mom and say hello.  It’s been too long and she’s probably getting worried.  She’s also probably reading this…  I’ll call you, Mom! 

Here’s what the Internet wants us to know this week:  it’s cold so we’re moving to Mars.   

•  What the heck is going on in Boston!? Boston’s Winter From Hell.  Would it help if we sent them all of our sunshine and space heaters? 

•  My Own Life:  Oliver Sacks On Learning He Has Terminal Cancer.  “I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential.”

•  One Way Ticket To Mars.  No, please. 

•  Life lessons from The Kitchn.  We know this to be true, but we need a reminder:  Five Times To Say “No Thank You” and Three Things To Do When You Hear It.  

•  Hey, you guys!  Eggs Are Back (along with a list of new dietary guidelines)!  Get excited.  We’re all about whole foods and egg yolks.  Full disclosure:  I read this article while eating boxed mac and cheese, straight from the pot, at 12:21am.  I’M DOING IT RIGHT.  Stay tuned for Joy the Baker dietary guidelines.  Coming soon.

•  Let your brain soak up these election-style Oscar predictions.

•  Shopping while hungry, beware!  “Findings suggest that hunger creates an acquisitive mindset that encourages people to get more stuff in general—no matter if it is offered for free or carrying a price tag.” Hungry Makes You Buy More Stuff, Even If It’s Not Food.  

•  Quick note:  Humans can only distinguish between about 30 shades of gray.    

•  Gray vs Grey

•  Excuse me while I eat 100% of this Taco Salad.  

•  Chocolate Dipped Potato Chips.  Don’t be mad at it.  

I love you.  Happy Sunday!  


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I Love You, New Orleans

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras
New Orleans, you beast.  You wild, unpredictable, crazy fun, wholly overwhelming place.  New Orleans isn’t just a city… it’s a spirit and culture.  It’s a lady and a trouble-maker.  It’s palpable and  irresistible, and will not be ignored.  New Orleans, you excite me.  New Orleans, I’m hungry.  New Orleans, I love you.  

I’ve lived for the past year as a new New Orleanian.  Fresh in this world.  Wide eyes.  Lost in the streets.  Enamored by the sights and sounds.  And sometimes… well, I’m a little overwhelmed by new city.  There’s a lot for this California girl to learn about the Deep South.  A lot to learn about Southern hospitality, being a neighborly neighbor, oyster eating, and brunch.  Those are all the easy things to learn.  

I’ve spent the past year living smack-dab in the middle of the French Quarter.  It’s been nutty:  filled with music and art and always new tourist friends.  I’m saying goodbye to the French Quarter and moving my kitchen, all my cookbooks, and TronCat… Uptown.  Let’s go cook in a new kitchen!  I can’t wait to share my new space with you.  It’s quaint and you’re invited over for cookies, always.  

Here are a few things I’ve learned so far in New Orleans:  

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Joy the Baker’s Best Winter Recipes

Joy the Baker's Best Winter Recipes

Joy the Baker's Best Winter Recipes

Happy Tuesday!  

Are you thinking about black coffee and chocolate croissants, or is it just me?  Two chocolate croissants.  Two please.  Warm.  Thank you.  

Now that we’re past the holidays and into the part of the year where we’ve conveniently forgotten our New Year’s diet resolutions, it’s time to get in the kitchen, crank up the oven and bake some cold weather comforts.  

Here’s some inspiration.  There’s tons!  

•  Butter Pecan Biscuits for some reason these biscuits put REO Speedwagon in my head.  I can’t fight this feeling anymore.  Pecans make me want to sing. 

•  Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie. In which we spend quality time with chicken and pie crust.  It’s rich, creamy, and worth every bit of time it takes to make this beauty!  

•  Morning Glory Oats are sweet, hearty, and comforting.  It’s like carrot cake, in a bowl, for breakfast.  

•  Maple-Spiced Almond Milk with a hint of pumpkin is Winter-spiced, naturally sweet, and totally huggable.  

•  One Pot French Onion Pasta has all the savory comforts you want from a dinner pot.  Plus it makes the house smell like caramelized onions which is exactly perfect.  

•  Spicy Vegetarian Tortilla Soup.  I hesitate to say it, but the word ‘ZESTY!’ really applies here.  

•  Vegan Banana Pecan Muffins.  Would it sway you to know that my Mom makes these muffins almost every week?  Also, flax seed eggs: wave of the future! 

•  Mushroom and Brussels Sprout Hash.  Just add poached eggs.  Game over. 

•  Roasted Potato Galette with cheddar and chives.  It’s carb on carb.  Totally a Winter tradition.  

Joy the Baker's Best Winter Recipes

•  Turkey and Bacon Meatloaf for sandwiches and beyond.  An embarrassing amount of ketchup is encouraged. 

•  The Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies: there are no better words.

 •  I love this Apple Fennel Pistachio and Apricot Salad because it’s the perfect balance of bright, fresh, and sweet.

•  Beer-Battered Onion Rings are for any and every season! No excuses.

•  Classic Lemon Bars: one of the first things I learned how to bake and the recipe  remains the same! 

•  Apple Cinnamon Baked Donuts with Brown Butter Glaze. I can’t stop. Neither should you.    

•  Winter Lemonade with Ginger and Cloves is spiced and sweet and full of health promoting Winter goodness!

•  Salty and Malty Brown Butter Treats becsuse Rice Krispie treats are just a blank slate for all the good things in life.  

•  Sausage and Mushroom Risotto is so good! Go on at get your pot on the burner. So hearty and satisfying with earthy mushrooms and spicy sausage! 

Let It Be Sunday

let it be sunday

What a lovely Sunday to live in!  I hope this finds you happy, well, and still in your embarrassing pajama bottoms.  I mean… I’m still wearing my Christmas pajamas too.  No shame in my game.  

Mardi Gras has been swirling around me and WHOA, just whoa.  I’ve lived in New Orleans for one full year and boy do I have some wide eyes and words about it.  I’ll share those soon.  

This week the Internet has offered us some gems.  These are them:  

•  Bob Dylan has some really excellent and humbling words about what it means to be an artist and to live and breathe in that space. He’s wise.  “These songs didn’t come out of thin air.”   

 It feels like civil rights is only as pressing as our current news cycle dictates.  That’s a problem.   The Public Life and Private Doubts of Al Sharpton.  

•  The current state of public shaming.  We have a problem, but then again… we’ve always had a problem.  How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life

•  How The New York Times Works.  You know… that old thing.  

 I wasn’t allowed to be a picky eater as a kid.  Not an option.  The Tyranny of Chicken Fingers

•  Worry is an important part of being a moral person. Anxiety reimagined.  

Martha Stewart’s beauty routine.  Saying “I don’t get clogged pores” is like saying “I don’t bloat”.  Oh HUSH Martha.  YES YOU DO! 

•  If Stanley Tucci Were Your Boyfriend, “it would always be the second week of fall. The sun would never set before 8pm, but you would never sweat again.”  Isn’t that the TRUTH! (We can also stop eating Cheetos in the shower, which is mostly a relief.)  

•   Fired Sony Executive Amy Pascal thinks actors are “bottomless pits of need”, and also… magical.  

•  Stop what you’re doing:  Salami of the Month Club

•  I’m reading:  The Girl Who Fell From The Sky.  

•  Ten Things You Should Know Before Getting Into a Relationship with Someone Who Loves Food.  More salt, please.  

•  Let’s do this blue

•  Lastly, The New Yorker reviews Fifty Shades of Grey aka “the Downton Abby of bondage”.    

I love you, I do.  Have a most wonderful day!

xo Joy

Grub Street Diet

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Joy the Baker Grub Street Diet

Of course I’m nosy!  Invite me over, please.  I’d like to look in your fridge. I’d like to know what you feed your cat.  I’d like to know how you take your coffee and what kind of cold cereal you have in your cupboard.  I won’t go snooping in your medicine cabinet, because that’s just rude, but I may take a peek inside your linen closet.  I’m sorry.  I’m curious about your thread count.  

One of my favorite ways to be nosy (without being such a creep) is with Grub Street Diet, NY Mag‘s weekly column about who is eating what.  Fred Armisen eats a lot of Grape Nuts.  Diablo Cody knows her way around a Taco Bell.  Molly Ringwald is a wine girl.  These are important things to know about strangers!  Important and totally useless and I’m absolutely positive I’ll bring them up in conversation and get strange looks in return.  

This week, well… I’m featured on Grub Street Diet.  If you have ever wondered what my diet looks like for five days (and wwwhhyyy on Earth would you wonder that?), all of your questions have been answered.  Spoiler alert:  I drink a lot of coffee, impulse buy Good & Plentys, and eat cake sitting on the floor.  It’s really glamorous, all of it.  

Joy the Baker:  Grub Street Diet 

Clockwise from left to right above:  

I ate all the grapefruits in Louisiana // Donuts from District // Ate this cheese plate as Jon made it // Jon also made cocktails (nailed it!) // I made waffles and burnt my hand // Bought all the Girl Scout Cookies 

Clockwise from left to right below: 

Grilled oysters at Cochon (reason enough to visit New Orleans)  //  Perfect daiquiri from Cane and Table  //  Coffee, cranberry water, vitamins, repeat  //  KING CAKE! // In n Out at Dockweiler Beach //  Making brunch with onions, eggs, and asparagus  


Happy Friday!  I love you, bye-bye!

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Mini Jam-Swirled Baked Donuts and Lavazza Coffee Giveaway

Mini Jam-Swirled Baked Donuts

Mini Jam-Swirled Baked Donuts

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and, well… we need each other.  Let’s hold hands and get through this together! 

We’re going to need some tools this holiday weekend.  By tools I mean, baked donuts, strong coffee, and festive sprinkles.  Coffee, donuts, and love are fitting for every day of the year, but especially appropriate for a Valentine’s Day weekend.  I hope you sleep in and share coffee and donuts with someone you want to high-five for life.  

JTB V-DAY Coffee Collage

To celebrate the holiday I’ve partnered with Lavazza Coffee to give away a Valentine’s Day Survival Kit!  Just a few important things to inspire a lazy Valentine’s Day morning lingering over really fantastic coffee and sweet, tender donuts.  

1 •  My favorite Bodum French Press.  Makes perfect cups of coffee!  

2  •  Make if official with couple mugs.  Few things are more precious.  

3  •  A good throw blanket.  For picnic-style morning coffee adventures.  

4  •  Critical in any at-home coffee date is the perfect cup of coffee!  Lavazza Italian Coffee is my new favorite!  Dark, rich, and round coffee without a hint of bitterness. Lavazza makes home coffee feel extra special.  

5  •  Two people, lots of love, one journal.  It’s like a little time capsule of your years together!  

6  •  Mornings should smell great with this Capri Candle!

7  •  I always want to watch When Harry Met Sally and I know you do too.

8  •  No coffee date is complete without donuts!  They’re tender, sweet, and jam-swirled.  Get into it!  Here’s the pan you’ll need

9  •  Games of skill and chance on the living room floor:  checkers and chess.  

To enter to win a gift basket filled with Lavazza Coffee, a $25 gift card to Lavazza, and the rest of these Valentine’s treats, please leave a comment below with your favorite Valentine’s Day tradition.  Winner will be randomly selected Saturday February 14th at noon est! 

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Mardi Gras King Cake

Mardi Gras King Cake

Mardi Gras King Cake

Y‘all… it’s TIME.

It’s time for the brioche-rich, cinnamon-swirled, colorfully sprinkled cake that is KING CAKE! 

It’s carnival time here in New Orleans.  That means that we’re celebrating life, pushing the limits of indulgence, dancing in the streets (most literally), catching as many beads as we can, throwing as many beads as we can, and eating King Cake… all before Lent next Wednesday.  We have a lot to fit into this next week!  

In New Orleans, which is a world in its own, we eat King Cake between very specific dates:  January 6th to honor the Three Kings and Fat Tuesday (the madness just before Lent).

What’s with all of the colorful cake madness?  History.  We need a history lesson.

“The King’s Cake accompanies festivities to commemorate the Epiphany, the day the Magi (interpreted by some to mean “kings”) arrived in Bethlehem and presented gifts to baby Jesus the twelfth night after his birth. The cake is a reenactment of Epiphany, with a bean or baby figurine baked into the cake to symbolize Christ and is eaten throughout Carnival festivities.”  – Three Men and a Baby: A Brief History of King Cakes 

I hesitated to make this cake at home this Mardi Gras.  King Cakes are absolutely everywhere in New Orleans and really… there’s no need to make one at home.  That would be like visiting Paris and staying indoors to make your own croissants. I’m also very new to New Orleans.  Who am I to make a dang King Cake?  Well… here goes nothing (/everything).  

•  Is that a plastic baby Jesus in my cake?  Kinda yea.   

•  10 things to know about Mardi Gras.  Yes… Mardi Gras is only a legal holiday in Louisiana.  It’s a different world.  

•  Mardi Gras Mix Tape Zing!

Mardi Gras King Cake

Here’s what we need:  flour and salt, milk, sugar and yeast.  The makings of a fine and good yeasted bread.  

What takes this treat from bread to cake is fat and flavor.  Lots of melted butter, five creamy egg yolks, ground cinnamon, and lemon zest!  

We’re also going to need a mega amount of sprinkles.  Purple for justice, green for faith, gold for power.  And a little plastic baby to sneak into the cake after baking.  Whomever gets the cake has to buy the next King Cake… and the circle never ever ends.  

If you’re not with us here in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, I hope you make this cake and fill your kitchen with the spirit of this city.  It’s special.  It’s delicious!  It’s Mardi Gras!  

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