A Heart to Heart… Seriously, I might cry.

Picture Old Site Pictures

Can I share something with you?

I’ve been feeling a little lost lately.

I think this whole new blog has left me feeling turned around and upside down.

Let me explain.  I want to take you back to the humble beginnings of Joy the Baker.

See that picture up top?  That’s my first site.  Oooh me Oooh my.  Pretty precious, right?  I set this site up  two years ago so I could start selling wedding cakes and wholesale baked yummies to coffee shops.  I played the wholesale and wedding cake game for a hot minute.  I chugged along on my own for a few months before it became clear that food costs and kitchen expenses made it hard for me to even break even.  That’s when I started working in other bakeries and restaurants.  Phew.  That was relief.

Then a magical thing happened.  It really did feel like magic.  I discovered food blogs.  It’s like fireworks went off in my head… as silly as that sounds.  Stories plus pictures plus recipes… plus you just get to be yourself at every moment!?  Holy heck!  In!  I wanted in!

Old Site Pictures

Old Site Pictures

Here are some of my very first food photos, taken when I was working as the Head Baker at a tiny bakery in Burbank.  These shots?  Taken on my camera phone at 4:30 in the morning.  You think I’m kidding.  I’m totally not kidding.  That’s some good glisten on those cinnamon rolls, right?  Thank you camera phone macro mode!


Want to see my first post?  Ha!  I know it’s around here somewhere.  Here!

Above is one of the first pictures I took with a fancy camera, a Canon 40D.  I propped an Ikea lamp up in the background… that’s what is creating that yellowish glow.  Not exactly ideal, I now know.

Can  I just say… I was beyond mortified when I discovered that someone had found my blog and left a lovely comment in the days that followed my first post.


The thought of someone finding this space and reading my words absolutely terrified me.

But it didn’t terrify me enough to actually stop posting, and posting, and posting… and posting… and posting some more.

Joy the Baker

So here I am… almost two years later, still working a day job, cooking, blogging, throwing picnics for hundreds of people like you, and introducing a whole new look with loads of new content into my space.

Can I be honest?  That’s what we do here, right?

This whole redesign is a big, scary thing for me.  Many, many months ago I thought I might like to start a separate blog… one about my silly life and all the silly things I do.  I then thought… ‘Hey!  Why not put my food and my life all together into one big ol’ fun site!?’.

Here we are many months later, I’ve hired designers and fired designers.  I’ve begged coders to meet deadlines and battled hosting companies to get where I am today.  It feels like I’ve built a house, then set it on fire… then had it built all over again… but, really… less dramatic than that and without the fire.

I Fried

I’ve gone from taking pictures with my camera phone to running an entire site and keeping up with designers and coders and hosting and CSS and CPM and IE6 compatibility and… DUDE!  This mess is complicated!!!  Bourbon.  Where is the Bourbon?  Also doughnuts.  I need doughnuts!

Am I whining?  I’m totally pouting right now, aren’t I?

It’s just that sometimes things become far more than you expected… even when you’re trying to expect them.

I’m telling you all this… I’m showing you where I’ve come from and showing you how we’re right at the beginning of where we’re going, because I have an unreasonable desire to share with you the overwhelming, scary and totally exciting nature of this endeavour.  Oooh Internet, how you fussy up my emotions sometimes.

So we’re in this together right?  I couldn’t have nearly as much fun with this space if you weren’t here to share it with me.

Thanks for being here for as long as you have… even if it’s only for the past two minutes.  Thanks for adjusting to all this change I’ve thrown at you.

Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

Thanks for being patient as I get my footing here, yell at my hosting company, recharge the batteries on my camera…. and do some freakin’ dishes.

And hey!  Let me know what’s working for you here… and what makes you sorta wanna yell and scream (in a bad way).  You matter.  I’m listening, unless it has anything to do with my use of the ‘…’, then I’m not really listening.   Holla back.

No-Bake Orange and Cream Pie

No-Bake Orange and Cream Pie

Is it just me, or is making a pie sorta like going to jury duty?

Don’t get me wrong… I sometimes (no.. not always) like throwing together a pie.  I also sometimes like trucking my rear downtown for jury duty…. that’s after kicking and screaming in the weeks prior to said dutying.

The process of going to jury  makes me feel super adult.  What?  You want me to sit in this crowded room with a bunch of angry people missing work, and you want me to possibly make decisions Law and Order style?  Ok.  I’ll play your game justice system.  I’m a tax paying adult… thanks for the recognition.

The process of making a pie also makes me feel all adult like.  Something about tacking a many layered recipe and busting out my pie plate tells me that yes… you’ve got bills to pay, but why not take a minute… ok, an hour… and show to world who’s in charge by making a pie?  Orange and Cream… done and done.

No-Bake Orange and Cream Pie

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Saying Goodbye to Summer

Barnsdall Wine Tasting

I feel like it’s just about time to say goodbye to summer.  I think I’m just about ready to trade in peaches for pears and white wine for red.  Just about ready.

The best way to bid farewell to such a gorgeous season is to do something quintessentially LA…. and if we can work in a smokey sunset and some wine… well, that’s living.

Here’s some of our end of summer adventure.  What are you doing with your end of summer days?  Does it involve wine?  It should.  It really should.

Barnsdall Wine Tasting

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Every Which Way Pancake Recipes

Milk Chocolate Chip Pancakes

I love pancakes.

Maybe you don’t believe me.  Maybe you need proof.

How about a list of the ways in which I totally love love love pancakes?

Perhaps you can find your deep rooted love for pancakes this weekend with one of these fine recipes.

Milk Chocolate Buttermilk Pancakes

Dad’s Buttermilk Pancakes

Vegan Jam Swirl Pancakes

Everything But the Blueberry Pancakes

Gingerbread Pancakes…

Whole Wheat Banana Walnut Pancakes, one of my all time favorites.

Banana Walnut Pancakes

Need more proof of my pancake love?  Ok!

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Secret Vintage Wonderland

Shareen Vintage, downtown 

Shareen.  Do you know Shareen Vintage?

Oooooooh my word.  Should I tell you about Shareen?

Shareen Vintage is a wonderland of vintage dresses.  Ok… I’m about to combine three concepts that you probably thing an impossibility in combination: reasonably priced, magnificent condition, vintage dresses.  Yes.  It’s true.  These concepts all work together at Shareen Vintage in downtown Los Angeles.  I ain’t lyin’.   

Here’s the skinny on Shareen.  Her warehouse is located in a super obscure part of downtown Los Angeles.  You’ll seriously question your GPS finding this place.  You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the bodies at the end of the road.

Shareen Vintage, downtown 

Shareen Vintage is only open two days a week, and there are noooooo boys allowed inside.  Why no boys?  There are no dressing rooms in her secret garden of vintage dresses.  Girls try clothes on around a giant bed she has fashioned in her warehouse, or beside a couch and coffee table set up… really, just wherever you can find a spot next to a mirror.  Wear your pretty bra and underwear… I’m just sayin’.  

My pretty pink picnic dress?  Shareen Vintage.  I couldn’t believe how cheap it was.  Holy heck.  I’m a believer.  

So… now you know the secret:  Shareen. Vintage.  Downtown.  If you find yourself at the warehouse any given Wednesday or Saturday, please just save me some good stuff… in a size six.  It’s only polite… sweet, thanks!

Honey Whole Wheat Pound Cake

Honey Whole Wheat Pound Cake

Let’s play a game called Usta Wanna or… I Used to Want To.

I usta wanna be brave enough to go down the free fall water slide at the water park.

I usta wanna be a traffic cop… the kind that would dance in the street on occasion… the kind that I saw at the end of a slow evening news show sometime when I was about six.  I actually still want to be one of those traffic cops.  No joke.

I usta wanna take the swim test at overnight summer camp privately.  Something about doing my life saving dog paddle in front of the entire girls camp made me nauseous.

I usta wanna design a postage stamp.  This is the precious dream of a young girl whose parents both work at the post office.

Between the ages of 13 and 15, I usta wanna eat nothing but popcorn and orange juice.  I dunno…. I never claimed to be reasonable.

I usta wanna completely negate whole wheat from my life.  If I could have eaten Wonder Bread and ignored the whole wheat millet bread my parents bought as I was growing up… ooooh, how dreams would have come true.  Because whole wheat seemed to be impossible to escape, it would seem that somewhere along the way I grew fond of it.  For this reason, I bring you…  Honey Whole Wheat Pound Cake.

Let’s talk about it.

Honey Whole Wheat Pound Cake

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You Came. You Saw. You Cupcaked.

Rooftop Picnic Times

You know what’s a good combination?  Fried chicken and cupcakes.

You know what else is a good combination?  Me and you.  You and me.

Thank you for bringing your smiling, shining faces downtown on Sunday.  I don’t know exactly how to tell you how much this picnic meant to me.  Let’s see…. how can I relate this to you?

Rooftop Picnic Times

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It’s Picnic Time!! (Updated)

Joy the Baker Picnic

Oooooh Yea!  I’ve got a lot to be excited about!  Come on down for picnic time!

Don’t forget to send your virtual picnic pictures into joythebakerpicnic (at) gmail (dot) com …. Ok!?

You’ll also want to check back often today to see all sorts of picnic photos and updates.

Aaaand one more thing!

Don’t forget the live Twitcam broadcast at 4:30.  All you have to do is follow me on Twitter!

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Picnic Openings! Who Wants In!?

Raspberry Almond Cupcakes 

Hey there friendlies!  

I have a few spots open for this weekend’s grand bash!  Have nothing to do this Sunday?  Want to hang out with me on a rooftop downtown.. picnic style?  Did I mention there will be cupcakes…?

If you want a last minute invite, email me at: 

joythebakerpicnic (at) gmail (dot) com

Yes?  Yes.  This is happening.

Back to our regularly scheduled recipes and stories soon… promise.

Virtual Picnic Planning!


Hey Friends!

Guess what!? OOOooh yes! It’s almost picnic time! That means… it’s almost Virtual Picnic time!

But what the heck is a virtual picnic, and how is this going to work? Don’t worry. I have answers. Here’s how I’d like it to go down.

1. I would love for you to gather your friends… gather one friend… gather ninety friends… get together on Saturday August 22nd or Sunday August 23rd, share your favorite baked goods, and just enjoy fun and laughs over sweet treats.

2. Take pictures of you and your friends at your JtB picnic extravaganza. Why? Because you want to send those photos to me to be posted along with pictures from the Los Angeles event as it happens on August 23rd.  Pictures!  Pictures with signs.  Pictures with cupcakes.  Pictures with your smiling faces… I want them!

3. Do you follow me on Twitter? You probably do… and that’s great!  At 4:30 PST I’ll be live streaming video of the picnic extravaganza using TwitCam.  Yes… welcome to the future.  All you’ll have to do is find me on Twitter at 4:30PST and follow the link that says “Check out my live video stream of TwitCam”.  You’ll get to plug into the picnic as it happens!  You’ll see my in my pretty pink dress acting like the hostess with the mostess.  You’ll even be able to tweet comments and questions as I’m live streaming.  Oooh future.  You’re rad! 

4.  There will be prizes for the Los Angeles picnic participants and yes… prizes for some Virtual Picnic participants too.  There will be one random drawing and one prize for the virtual picnicers with the most spirit.  Who doesn’t like prizes!? 

Want to play along?  Want to gather your friends in the name of Joy the Baker and cupcakes?  I think you should.  Do it!  Then share the love with me!  So…. you in!?

What..?  You want a recipe?  Ok… how about Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream with Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce?  Good.

Lemon Rosemary Palmiers

Lemon Rosemary Palmiers

Let’s play a game called What’s on Your Nightstand?.  What?  Too personal?  Oooh come on!  We’re all friends here.  Let’s try to figure out what our night stands say about the state of our lives.

On my night stand is:

1 Ikea lamp.

A water color painting made by my aunt in the 80’s.

A cup of what once was hot lemon water with honey, now just a mass of lemon seeds at the bottom of a mug.

A glass bowl with a ring and a business card for a French bed and breakfast.

Two books:  Unaccustomed Earth and Seize the Day.

My credit card, and a small bowl with cookie crumbs in it… Lemon Rosemary Palmier cookie crumbs.

What might my night stand contents say about me?  I love a home furnishing bargain.  When I run out of tea I make do with lemons.  I can’t sleep in jewelry and I like to daydream about vacationing in the French countryside. I either read a book or go internet shopping before I fall asleep, and I eat cookies in bed.  All things considered, it seems like a pretty cushy and self indulgent life…. plus, cookies!

Lemon Rosemary Palmiers

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Baggu Really Does Love You!

Baggu Bags 

We have cute bags to talk about!  Can you stand a bit more Baggu talk?  Good… because I’ve got good news. 

There are two Baggu set winners.  Two lucky ladies out of the thousand of you who commented (geeeez!) that win the two colorful sets above.

But really… WE ALL WIN!

Baggu is offering Joy the Baker readers a 15% discount on cute bag purchases made through the weekend.  Yea!  Cool, right?  All you have to do is pick your favorite Baggu colors, checkout and type JOY (all caps) in the coupon area.  Easy as pie!  Thanks Baggu.  We like you.  We think you’re terrific.  We also think that people should use the word ‘terrific’ more often.  

Baggu set winners are Barefoot Rooster (do roosters wear shoes?) and Mindy Harris.  Congratulations!

Chocolate Espresso Sandwich Cookies

<Chocolate Espresso Sandwich Cookies

Dear My Bank,

We’ve known each other for a long time.  You know how I deposit my humble paychecks every so often, how I rarely use the ATM, and how I hate to use my debit card at the gas station.  I know that you like to decorate with bullet-proof glass… guns, I get it… have pens that don’t always work, and always want me to sign up for your credit card.  As much as I hate to admit it, we sort of have a thing going.

Let’s be honest Bank.  We’re not friends.  We don’t even really like each other very much.  I know that you have rules.  You know… if you’re being honest with yourself, that I do my very best to follow your rules.  And I do… Bank…..! Unless, I suppose, I just forget to add one payment to my balance books, leading me to believe I have several hundred dollars in you, Bank… instead of less than zero.

Here’s my beef with you… Bank!  Jerky bank.  When you penalize me several times in a row for spending money that I thought I had, well… that doesn’t get me any closer to having the money that you’d like to take.  How on Earth did you determine that $33 was an acceptable overdraft charge?  Why are you allowed to take money that I don’t have?  You know what I think?  I think you’re taking advantage of my mistake.  You know me, Bank.  You know that I don’t like to spend money I don’t have… and when I do… accidentally… you use that as an opportunity to take advantage of me.

That’s reeeeeaal crappy.

Nobody likes you.  I’ve done the research.  It’s true.

Nobody will ever… not even once… make you cookies just because you’re nice.  Why?  Because you’re not nice.

Now you know.



Chocolate Espresso Sandwich Cookies

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Baggu Loves You!

Baggu Bags 

Ok… well, Baggu loves me.  I love you.  Thus… and without question, Baggu loves you.  

See how that works?

Baggu has graciously decided to make my life easier, greener and fashionably color coordinated.  Thanks Baggu!  

See, instead of wrestling with single Baggu bags at the bottom of my purse, they’re put three matching bags in one pouch.  Clever, right?  

Now, I can walk out of Trader Joe’s looking like my tree saving self, and not feel bad about graciously ignoring the Greenpeace people who heckle me about whether or not I want to save the polar bears.  Obviously I want to save the polar bears…. don’t you see my Baggu bags!?   

Baggu bags.  Three bags in two sets, for two readers.  Leave a comment .  Comments close Tuesday at noon PST.  I’ll choose two comments at random and send those two darling readers a set of Baggu bags.  Success!  Go on… leave a comment and say hey!

Joy the Baker’s Cutting Room Floor

Dad's Buttermilk Biscuits>

I think it’s important that you all know something about what comes out of my kitchen:  it ain’t all pretty folks.  Not every creation that comes out of my kitchen is pretty, polished and ready for its blog debut.  The reality is that I have my fair share of flops, dropped eggs, burned butter and dirty dishes… I just don’t usually show those kitchen tidbits with you.  Tricky, right?

Today is your lucky day.  Here’s a peek at the flops, disasters and otherwise icky recipes I’ve tried and trashed.

Cutting Room Floor

Chilled Blueberry Soup.  Ok, seriously.  Who are you trying to fool?  This was just an elaborate recipe for blueberry juice.  You tricked me and I resent you Blueberry Soup.  This won’t be soon forgotten.

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Honey Roasted Peanut Thumbprint Cookies

Honey Roasted Peanut Thumbprint Cookies

It’s August 3, 2009 and I refuse to believe a) that summer is almost over, and b) that we’re a handful of months away from 2010.  Turns out that whether I believe or refuse to believe these two things… they’re still true.

It’s August 3, 2009 and I will openly admit that in the past few days I’ve been stress eating like a maniac over these picnic plans.  I’m not proud.

It’s August 3, 2009 and tonight is the night I’m going to polish off the frozen dough balls in my freezer.  Again, not proud.

It’s August 3, 2009 and I’m thinking it’s going to be really awkward when Dr Martens come back into style and I bust out my original pair that I sported back in middle school.  Yes, I still have them.  Yes, they still fit.

It’s August 3, 2009 and among the many other things I’m thankful for today, I’m also thankful for internet shoe shopping and these beautiful thumbprint cookies.

Honey Roasted Peanut Thumbprint Cookies

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