Oatmeal Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m full of all sorts of good ideas.

Like… the good idea I had to cream two stick of butter with two cups of sugar.

Like… the good idea I had to add eggs and vanilla extract.

Like the awesome idea I had to add oats and flour and spices.

And chocolate.  That was totally a good idea.

Putting chunks of dough in the oven?  Also a great idea.

Yea… I was on a good idea roll.

The best idea ever?  Putting these warm cookies in my mouth and calling it dinner.  Excellent.

Just thought I would share my good ideas with you.  Yea… I’m kind of a show off.

Oatmeal Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches Cake

Here’s the thing about love…. allow me to speak as an authority on the subject for a moment.

The thing about love is this:  you have to fall into it with everything.  Arms flailing, smiling like a maniac, giddy beyond belief, with all of who you are.  You have to go big.  You have to leave nothing behind.  You have to risk it all.  That’s the only way it has a chance of working… right?

And even then… sometimes it doesn’t work.  And you fall flat on your face.  And it sucks.  And there’s no way that it won’t suck… so you just have to sit with the suck for a while.  And then sit with it some more…. and a little more still.

And then I suppose you separate yourself from all the suck and try again… later.  Waaaaaay later. Cause your face is sore from where you totally fell on it.

That’s how it works, right?

This helps… but isn’t always foolproof.

Know what also helps?  Cake.  Cake with milk.  So there.  Put that little gem in your brainhole.

Tres Leches Cake

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Santiago de Cuba Inspired

Santiago de Cuba:  Rum Party

We’re shakin’ it up a bit around these parts.  See… every month my ad network Foodbuzz finds 24 bloggers that are keen on mixing up a few drinks, cooking up some food, inviting a few friends and calling it a party.  With this inspiration, my darling friends Rachel, Whitney and I decided to throw a rum driven cocktail party.

An evening in Santiago de Cuba was a colorful celebration of food, life and… rum!  Every dish served was either rum infused, splashed with rum or soaked in rum. Really.. what could go wrong!?

Santiago de Cuba:  Rum Party

Rachel.  Foxy as every.  You’ll never guess how old she is… and I’ll never tell.

But seriously… we’ve got rum to talk about.

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Tart Pan Giveaway!

Tart Pan Giveaway


Wow y’all!  Thanks for all the inspiration!  You’ve certainly got my gears working.  I’ve got summer berries in the works.  I’m plotting some lavender goodness.  And chocolate never goes out of season… does it!?  Our tart pan winner is… drum roll…

Tart Pan Winner

Look at this!  Bright!  Shiny!  Scalloped!

It’s a tart pan with a removable bottom.  It’s pretty snazzy.

For some reason,  it took me about 28 and 3/4 years to buy one of these pans.  I thought these pans were for super fancy bakers that make fancy French style fruit tarts all day and all night.

It turns out… this 9-inch tart pan is our secret weapon against having to roll out pie crust.  That’s right!  Secret weapon.

Strawberry Banana Cream Pie for On the Lamb

With this tart pan all you have to do is throw together a dough and press it into the pan.  Press.  Not roll.  Just like I did for this Strawberry Banana Cream Pie.  Genius.

And!  The best news ever!  I’m giving away one tart pan this weekend.

All you have to do is leave me a little comment inspiration.  Tell me something you’d like me to bake up and post on Joy the Baker by the end of this Sunday, April 25th… and you could have a tart pan delivered right to your doorstep!

My next move with this pan?  Brownie Pie.  It’ll happen.  Prepare yourself.

Coconut Pineapple Vegan Banana Bread

Pineapple Coconut Vegan Banana Bread

Want to know what’s in my fridge?  A whole lot of ‘what the heck am I going to do with that’?  Maraschino cherries.  Basil pesto.  Expired buttermilk.  Kale… lots of kale.  A bottle with less that a tablespoon of maple syrup and carrot juice.  It’s a glamorous life I lead.  Totally.

You should be thankful I didn’t reach into my fridge for this recipe.  Cherry Pesto Kale Bread sounds like a big mistake.

Instead I scavenged through my cupboards.  What did I find?  A can of crushed pineapple.  A bag of dried beans.  Shredded coconut and bananas that I had very obviously forgotten about.   So!  Yes!  Bread!  Minus the beans…. cause…  that would just be weird.

So, just in case you’re keeping score… you could go ahead and call me an ‘oh crap I’m out of eggs and butter and just about every other animal product needed for baking’ type of vegan.  Also… I totally love bacon. Worst vegan ever.

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Maybe You Can Help…

Dr Pepper Cake

Here are the facts:

I had grand plans to make a Dr Pepper cake for a certain cute red headed boy for his birthday.

I had these grand plans because I wanted to impress this certain boy with my ninja-like baking skills.

I found a book.  I found a recipe.  I bought Dr. Pepper.  I whipped up the batter.  I threw together the frosting.  I married the cake and frosting.


Dr Pepper Cake

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Raisin Bran Muffins

Raisin Bran Muffins

If I were a bran muffin on a bakery display shelf…

Yes… I just said that.

If I were a bran muffin on a bakery display shelf I would probably have blueberry muffin envy.

Blueberry muffins are like the cute blonde girl next door.  The girl that every boy likes in the sixth grade.

Bran muffins are more like the girl in the sixth grade with frizzy bangs, big teeth, giant feet and loads of…. potential.  Seriously!  The last thing you want in the sixth grade is potential.  Lame.   (If you can’t already tell, I’ve painted a picture of my sixth grade self for you.  I was tragically hilarious and full of… stinkin’ potential.)

Blueberry muffins are like cupcakes.  With fruit.  For breakfast.

Bran muffins… have a great personality… if you know what I mean.

But these Raisin Bran Muffins?  They are sorta like a secret weapon.  Like the ugly duck turned swan.  Like the unfortunate looking sixth grader who got kinda cute in her late twenties.  So there!  Take that sixth grade blueberry muffin blonde!

Woooow.  I can’t believe I just wrote that.  Furthermore… I can’t believe you just read that.  Apologies and thanks.

Raisin Bran Muffins

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On the Verge of a Million

Pillsbury Bake Off 

I think this Bake Off got to me.  I woke up twice in the middle of the night, jumped out of bed, and found myself standing in the middle of my hotel room trying to figure out where to go to finish my dish, and how I could get it to the judges.

Really Joy?  You’re not in the Bake Off…. never mind the fact that the Bake Off is over.  Yeesh.  Ridiculous.  

Enough about me… look at these four lovely ladies.  One of them is about to win a cool million dollars.  Can you believe it?

These four lovely winners were announced in an all out U2 style rock concert hosted by Sandra Lee… no Bono in sight.  

Pillsbury Bake Off 

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So… No Pressure or Anything…

Pillsbury Bake Off 

I’m at the Pillsbury Bake Off in Orlando, Florida.  There are 100 finalists here… dicing, slicing, frying, baking and otherwise stressing out in a giant hotel ballroom.  At stake?  One.  Million.  Dollars.  In their faces?   Cameras.  Lots of cameras.  

Me?  I’m not baking.  Not baking a thing.  Thank heavens.  I’m not a competitive baker.  Just the thought of competitive food production makes me want to crumble.

Pillsbury Bake Off 

The 93 women and 7 men competing here  at the 44th Annual Pillsbury Bake Off are champions.  Cooking with this sort of pressure and media is a looooong way from home cooking.  

Want to see what this whole shindig looks like?  It’s serious business.  

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Strawberry Banana Cream Pie

Strawberry Banana Cream Pie for On the Lamb

It’s Spring!  I know because I’ve busted out my hippie print wrap skirt and I’ve got the last of the Cadbury Cream Eggs in my mouth at this very moment.  Thank goodness I’ve reached the end of the Easter candy… my thighs are angry with me… or angry with my tight fitting jeans… I can’t tell.

Strawberry Banana Cream Pie for On the Lamb

The best part about this budding Spring, besides the end of Easter candy?   I get to play with my food and play with my friends.  More specifically… I get to play with first of the season strawberries and my two best friends Whitney and Rachel.

Strawberry Banana Cream Pie for On the Lamb

Apparently when my friends and I play with food… we do it for an audience.  April 10th.  Surfas.  Los Angeles.  Strawberry cooking demonstration.  That’s today.  That’s happening.

Strawberry Banana Cream Pie for On the Lamb

I know.. I know.. I’m always popping up in Los Angeles and Sonoma and never in your neck of the woods.  I’m sorry.  I should just take myself on tour.  While I figure how to rent myself a rock star tour bus, take a peek at what I’m cooking up for the cooking demonstration.  Strawberry Banana Cream Pie.  It’s like heaven with fruit.

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What to do with all that Buttermilk

Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream

If you’ve been around these parts long enough, you’ve probably noticed that I’m pretty fond of buttermilk.

Buttermilk brings the tang, brings a tender texture… and is all around awesome in baking.

But once you buy the carton for one recipe, what the heck are you supposed to do with the rest of the milk?

Not to worry.  I’m looking out for you.  Here are a few recipes that will help you use up that carton of buttermilk.

Click around.  Maybe you think that  Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream is swell.

While you’re busy with buttermilk, I’m going to go stuff my face with more Easter jelly beans.  Good?  Good.

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Stuck in the Middle with You

Joy the Baker in Napa 

I’m pretty sure I spent my weekend traveling through the center of California… in a car… where I sang every single word the the latest Maroon 5 album exactly 4 and 3/4 times… before I drove myself downright crazy.

Why all the car time?  

I went up to Sonoma to teach another baking class.  Holyheckballs… it was fun.  See evidence below. 

Sonoma Cooking Class 

We made Red Velvet Black and White Cookies.  Allison looks like a pro. 

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How to Impress a Boy by Baking

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Confession: I’m a baker because cookies make me friends. I’m a baker because cakes help me out of a jam from time to time. I’m a baker because brownies attract quality men.

Let’s talk about boys and baking. Boys like cookies and pies and coffee cake with lots of crumb topping. I know. I’ve done the research.

Here’s how to impress a boy with baking.

Note:  If your particular boy doesn’t like baked goods… I’m afraid I don’t understand. He’s weird. I’d question his motives.
If you happen to be interested in girls… well… that’s a whole other blog post… one that possibly includes more chocolate and how to hide a giant engagement ring in her favorite cupcake.

Boys. Baking.

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