These are pretty, right? Hot diggity dang, I think they’re precious.
In the middle of frosting these cupcakes I looked down at my hands. No big deal. I was simply looking down at the cupcake in one hand, and frosting covered knife in the other. I had to see what I was doing, right? When I looked down at this particular moment, I saw… my grandmother’s hands. There they were, the worn and wrinkled hands that had absolutely fascinated me as a child… only now spotted with powdered sugar and tinted with food coloring.
When I was a kid I would hold my grandmother’s hand in my lap and study it like it like I might study my favorite picture book. Somehow her hands weren’t at all different from reading an intricate a story.
So there I was, frosting a cupcake with my grandmother’s hands. The image was so strong that I even put down the cupcake and knife and bent my left index finger with my right hand. It ached a little. I don’t know why. And just like that… those hands were gone from me.
That was simultaneously perplexing and so comforting. I had to share that with you… I now only hope that I live long enough for my hands to be read like a story book.
Now let’s talk cupcakes!
Some things just shouldn’t be a luxury. Some things are an absolute necessity.
Spending too much money at Target, for example. Sometimes… (you know it’s true) that’s a total necessity.
Hot bath plus cold beer. You need it. I need it. Necessity.
A super comfortable dress that shows a little shoulder. Everyone loves a little shoulder.
A girlfriend you can talk about your lady parts with. Yes, I said lady parts. Please don’t under estimate this necessity.
Aaaaand, last but not least… a little pancake love on a weekday morning. Do it.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
I received an overwhelming response to my rooftop picnic plans. You and you and you over there…. you guys are rad!
I’ll send out email invitations later today. Keep your eyes peeled.
Unfortunately, because of the huge response, I am unable to extend an invitation to each and every one of you. I received more requests than I have room for. Bummer. Total bummer. But stay close! I’ll let you know as more spaces become available. I want to see as many of your smiling faces as possible. Wait…. have I mentioned that I’m shy? I guess on August 23rd I’m not shy… not shy at all.
Let’s not forget the virtual picnic! More details on that as the date approaches.
I have this nasty little habit that shouldn’t bother you in the least… unless of course you’re one of the unlucky people in the world that might have to share a pint of ice cream with me.
See… I’m a picker. I will shamelessly pick out every good morsel of ice cream chunky goodness from a pint, leaving only half melted ice cream for you. Cookie Dough Ice Cream is only Cookie Dough Ice Cream until I get my paws on it for five minutes. After a cool five minutes, that pint is just a sad excuse for vanilla ice cream. Don’t even get me started of Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream. I’ve got enough skills to dig out every ounce of peanut butter in seconds flat.
It’s a shameless habit. It’s terrible and selfish… and it’ll never change. I can’t help myself.
Cookie No-Dough Ice Cream may have just solved my ice cream picking issue. Instead of having vanilla ice cream with chunks of cookie dough embedded within it, this ice cream… the entire ice cream is the flavor of cookie dough! Holy heck balls! That’s amazing. Yea.. it is.
A few weeks ago I threw a little idea out into the world: a Joy the Baker picnic.
Well… holy heck! We’re doing it!
Joy the Baker is throwing a rooftop cupcake party smack dab in the middle of gorgeous downtown Los Angeles. Consider it a room with a view (the view pictured above silly!)… and no roof and tons of cupcakes and sweet tea.
Sunday August 23rd from 2pm until 7pm. Downtown Los Angeles.
This event is not a pot luck situation. It’s more of a eat-all-the-Joy-the-Baker-cupcakes-you-can situation.
If you’d like to attend, send an email to joythebakerpicnic (at) gmail (dot) com
I’ll email you the fancypants invitation late next week.
Now… a girl can only make so may cupcakes. In the event that I have to limit the guest list, invitations will go out on a first come, first serve basis. Get your emails in!
Not in Los Angeles? Don’t fret! I have plans for you to play along wherever you live. You might call it a virtual picnic! Stay tuned for that!
I want to see your shining faces!
There are three things I want you to take away from this post. No foolin’ around… I’ll get straight to the point.
One. You’ll want to stop by tomorrow if you think you might like to be one of those people that attends my (holy heck yes!) summer party. It’s in August. It’s for real.
Two. You know that part of the pedicure when the lady at your feet goes to it with a pumice scrub? It’s at that point that I have to try with every ounce of who I am, not not not to kick her in the face. I’m ticklish. Extremely. Now you know.
Three. These blueberry muffins are (yes) perfect. Straight forward. Simple. Summer. One whole hell of a lot better than the stale coffee shop version… perfect. How often do I say something is perfect? Not often. Fact.
I like you. I like you a lot. I mean it… and I don’t think I’ve told you in a while. Sweet. I’m glad you’re here.
Would now be a good time to tell you that I have a serious, though not lasting, aversion to my kitchen these days? I have an even more serious aversion to my oven. For reals.
It’s just that… well, it’s summer! There seems to be so many museums to visit, brunches to have, friends to laugh with, wine to drink… and somehow none of this fun takes place in my kitchen.
Amazingly, and through the miracle that is my freezer, I’ve managed to throw together a lovely and waaaay super easy summer recipe. It’s apple pie meets snow cone, minus the cone, plus a hint of awesome.
I love a good weekend project, especially when that project involves my fingers in loads of cookie dough.
I’ll admit that I may be waaaay behind the times on this trick. It’s the sort of trick that super moms have on lock to make them look even more awesome than they already are. Since I haven’t yet produced other people with my body, this trick is just now hitting my radar.
The idea is this: one day… (say, maybe a lazy Saturday morning) whip up a couple batches of your favorite cookie dough. Dollop that cookie dough onto a cookie sheet, all close like. Throw the entire cookie sheet into the freezer. Freeze the dough balls, then throw them into a zip lock bag and back into the freezer. You know what that means? All you have to do is flick on the oven and throw in a few dough balls anytime you want fresh baked cookies! Dang this livin’ is easy!
This frozen dough ball situation is key and here’s why:
You and the family can have fresh baked cookies any and every night.
Surprise guests? No problem at all… you just happened to be whipping up a batch of fresh cookies. Taaadaaa!
Bake ‘em directly from frozen…. do it!
Frozen dough balls in the middle of the night? I won’t tell a soul. Can I be honest? I eat the dough balls more often than I actually bake the cookies. In fact… be right back. Dough ball for breakfast.
Ok… first of all, stop looking at me like that.
Yea, I can see that crazy look on your face. But it’s me. The same person that brought you amazing Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls and Perfect Lemon Pound Cake. We trust each other. We have an understanding. Just go with me on this.
Something about hot summer weather gets me to thinking (or melts my brain) and brings some strange recipes to the surface. Remember last year’s Blueberry Ice Cream with Homemade Hot Fudge? Yea… I got a few strange looks for that too.
Because I still see those raised eyebrows on your face, let me tell you a little about this beast of a cake. Believe me, I was super skeptical too.
The vegan chocolate cake is dense and moist, and everything you might want from a chocolate cake minus the eggs and butter. The fat in the cake is almond oil (or anything you have on hand) and one whole mashed avocado. It’s lovely, and I didn’t taste a lick of avocado in the cake.
The avocado buttercream is a dash more strange. Yes, it’s bright green. Yes, the only fat in the buttercream is avocado meat. It’s sweet with slight hints of citrus. I had my doubts, but when combined with the chocolate cake… holy wow! It actually worked! It was honest-to-goodness delicious! Not to mention vegan and full of healthy fats!
Your thoughts? Have I scared you off?
I had no idea how easy ranch dressing was to make. Here’s how it went down in my kitchen.
I looked at the Buttermilk Ranch recipe. I shrugged one shoulder. I mashed garlic, chopped herbs, and dolloped various white and creamy ingredients into a bowl. I again shrugged a shoulder. I threw in some salt. I threw in some crushed peppercorns. I threw in a dash of Tabasco. I… yes, shrugged my shoulders. I stirred the bowl of herbs and creamy things together. I shrugged. I threw in some buttermilk. Stirred again.
Then I did this thing…. I took a leaf of butter lettuce and dipped it into the bowl. Holy Hell! Gracious heavens!! It tasted… get this… JUST LIKE RANCH DRESSING! Geeeeez! That was cool. Sometimes goodness sneaks up on you. Dang.
This is the part where I take a moment to ask for your help.
This is the part where I tell you how much I need you.
Seriously people…. I need some inspiration. Give it up. Please and thank you.
I think I’ve found myself in a bit of a kitchen rut. What should I make? What do you want to see?
Hot? Cold? Sweet or savory? At what point will you stop putting up with my baking antics? How much cranberry juice is too much cranberry juice to drink in one day? What do I do about this giant blemish on my chin?
Ok… I suppose you should only answer the first few questions above. Send me some inspiration. Send me a dozen eggs. Send me a punch in the skull. I need your creative kitchen juice or your closed fist punches. Let’s be a team about this. I need you… but please don’t actually punch me. I was kidding about that part.
Update: You all are the most lovely people a blogger could ask for. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for all the inspiration. I’ve already got a list working from all your suggestions. Keep em coming! I think you’re dreamy!
Aaaand another update: You lovelies have blown me away. Thanks for all the inspiration. Amazing! Let’s hug. I’ll be in my kitchen this weekend and be back next week with some pretty fabulous treats for you. Thank you. One the real…. thanks.
I had exactly too much fun this past weekend, so much fun that I seem to have left my camera in a different city. At least I know what city it’s in…. it just doesn’t happen to be the city that I’m in, making blogging about muffins and such difficult.
Time for a distraction!
Hey… look over here! It’s fabric! Why? What’s this all about?
Mom and I had a little downtown Los Angeles fabric shopping adventure last weekend. We braved walls and walls, stores after store of fabric… for you. It’s blinding friends, absolutely blinding. The only thing that cures fabric blindness…
Honey Roasted Plums with Fresh Thyme and Greek Yogurt
This weekend I want out! Out of the kitchen and into a pool. Out of these clothes and into a bathing suit. Out of this computer and into a poolside book and cocktail situation.
I want you out too. I don’t want you in the kitchen all weekend. Don’t you think your time would be much better spent in sunglasses and a big floppy hat with your feet up by the pool!? Good. I’m glad we agree.
If you’re celebrating the 4th of July this weekend, be sure to say things like “Go America!” and watch colors explode in the sky if you can. It’s fun.
If you’re not celebrating America’s independence… well heck… I think a weekend by the pool is still in order. You just don’t have to scream things like “Go America!” unless you really want to.
Here are the recipes that will keep you out of all day kitchen adventures and magically keep your bellies satisfied.
Let us explore.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Lovely friends… hi. Dear readers… hello.
Let’s talk about keeping it classy. Hot dang! I try hard to keep it classy. Holy smokes… do I ever fail sometimes.
Let’s discuss classy versus not classy, and what the heck chocolate dipped bananas have to do with anything.
Classy: a tastefully short summer sundress. Not class: booty shorts that awkwardly bunch in the crotch.
Classy: gracefully switching from wine to water at the company picnic. Not classy: maybe getting drunk and punching the sous chef in the face. Oops.
Classy: How much I love listening to public radio. Not classy: How much I love to watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Guilty… but why do they yell so much?
Classy: Enjoying mini chocolate dipped bananas on a summer afternoon. Not as classy: Trying to gnaw your way through a giant chocolate dipped banana. It’s just not pretty friends. Let’s try to avoid this scene this summer. I think we all know why.