Joy the Baker

Bourbon Orange Coriander Barbecue Sauce

June 30, 2011


This is one of the most satisfying things I’ve made in a long time.

It’s sauce.  It’s just sauce.

I know.

But would you look at it.  Rich, burgundy colored, speckled with coarse black pepper and onion bits!

Shut.  It.  Up.

Where’s the chicken.  Tell me you brought the chicken.


We’re making this sweet barbecue sauce in 10 easy steps.

Step 1:  saute chopped onions.  Do it.

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Simple Roasted Apricots with honey mascarpone

June 28, 2011


Everything is as sweet as dessert in the summertime.

Living is totally easy:

Morning warmth and sunshine.  Just like dessert.

Granola with berries and sweet coffee.  Reminds me of dessert.

Chicken salads and pink wine for lunch.  Desserty.

Peachy blue sunsets, popcorn for dinner, and roasted apricots for dessert.

Gin and tonics.  Totally dessert.

Sleep.  Wake.  Repeat.

(Oh, but let’s not forget the fact that we still have to totally work hard, and get our hustle on, and keep our eye on the prize, and keep our nails did, and eat our vegetables, and pay our bills, and stay inspired, and just when we think we’ve worked hard enough… we have to try to work a little harder)

But other than that… summertime is totally all dessert, all the time.


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30 Things For 30 Years

June 27, 2011


Three months ago, I set up a challenge for myself.  I wanted to run through a list of 30 tasks before I turned 30 years old.

You helped me build my list of tasks!  You started your own lists.  It feels like we’re all out in the world trying to do good, be better and share cupcakes.

Except.  Well.  Um…

I haven’t given you an update on my 30 Things list because well… I’ve already gone and turned 30… and I’m no where near done with my list.

So! The 30 Things Before 30 Years has become 30 Things For 30 Years.

It’s a work in progress.  I’m a work in progress.  So far, it all feels pretty good.

Here’s the list that’s going to keep me busy this summer.

Let’s be better to ourselves, for ourselves, to each other, for each other.  Let’s just do that, and be that, and make a list about that… now!

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Homemade Ginger Syrup for ginger ale

June 23, 2011



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Peach and Raspberry Crumble

June 22, 2011



The smell of peaches reminds me of:

dusty, dirty sneakers.  light coming through peach tree leaves.  shade.  drinking from the hose.  wet jean shorts.  caked mud.  my yellow Sony sport walkman.  that Counting Crows cassette tape i loved.  my sister’s freckled nose.  my dad’s hands.  my mom’s laugh.  sleeping in the sun in the car, half hearing adults talk.  pie.  pie pie pie pie pie.  pie.

My family and I used to go pick peaches during summer months.

We never had fancy fruit during the year.  We didn’t buy containers of raspberries.  There were no pints of blueberries in my fridge.  Those were too much of a luxury.  We had bananas… endless amounts of boring bananas.

But!  In the summer!  We went peach picking.  I remember it like a slow motion, montage movie scene in my head.

I like the keep the peach smell memories tucked away in my crazybrain… you know, to think about awesome things when not so awesome things are happening.  Life tricks.  I got em. I’m so good at life is downright amazing.  Not true.  At all… but I’ve got the peach smell memory situation tucked away in my brain just perfectly… for emergencies.


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Juice Beauty Giveaway!

June 21, 2011

juice beauty

UPDATE! Paige!  You’re looking forward to big, bright SUNSHINE this summer.  It’s a good thing you just won this Juice Beauty sunscreen!  Yay for you!

It’s a good thing you’re here.  I have treats for you!

It’s the first day of summer and I want to share a few of my favorite things for you.  They’re things for your face!!

Juice Beauty makes my absolutely FAVORITE facial sunscreen.  It’s a tinted mineral sunscreen.  There’s organic white grape and pomegranate juice, antioxidants, and just a hint of makeup coverage.  It’s like make-up without wearing make-up… plus sun protection!

Juice Beauty also makes an amazing face wash and mask… made out of apples.  The Green Apple Cleanser and the Green Apple Repair Mask help with brightening and refining.  They’re like anti-aging face products without completely frying your face off with weird chemically stuff.  I also happen to be obsessed with face products that have food items in them like… green apples, lemon, and cane sugar.

I’m into Juice Beauty, organic skin care.  I totally am.

So!  Let’s get you on this!  There’s two things you need to know!

(One)  One lucky reader will win the Juice Beauty Mineral Tinted Sunscreen, Green Apple Cleanser, and the Green Apple Repair Mask.  All three things!

Leave a comment on this blog post.  Tell me what you’re looking forward to this summer!  Comments close Friday evening June 24th.

(Two)  Juice Beauty wants you to be pretty pretty pretty.  So!  They’re offering you a Green Apple Repair Mask with any purchase of any Juice Beauty product.  Do you see what I’m saying here!?  A free, full-size face mask with the purchase of aaaannnyyything!  You could snag the Mineral Light Tinted Sunscreen and get a free mask!  Free stuff!!!

I’m totally not telling you what to do… I just like to put a bargain in perspective.  Ps.  When you buy stuff… Juice Beauty totally gives you extra little samples too.  Awesome.

Coupon Code: JOY

Offer stands : June 21- July 8, 2011

Boom.  Amazing.


Five Things for Monday

June 20, 2011


I made you some truly despicable muffins this morning.  They were full of peanut butter, and oats, and the best of intentions.

They were gross.

So here we are… stuck staring each other in the face.  It’s bound to get awkward.

All I have for you is a picture of my desk.

Um.  I love you.  I doodle it sometimes.

Can I tell you about real life?

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Sweet Corn Hash and other Dad-friendly Foods

June 17, 2011


Here’s the plan:  breakfast!

Here’s the second plan:  dice up potatoes, toss it with stuff, and call it hash.

Here’s the other part of the first and second plan:  serve it to someone you love.  Maybe that’s your dad.  Maybe that’s your handsome husband.  Maybe it’s that dude who takes your trash bins in just because he’s nice.

Here’s another important part of the plan:  parsley and butter… they should go in pretty much everything (except probably cupcakes).

dad and me

This is Dad and me.  I know because my mom put a sticker on this… one of my favorite photos.  My Dad is the best man I know.  I also love those jeans…  I wish he still had those so I could borrow them.

But seriously… best man I know. Thanks for being that guy, Dad.

dad collage

Other Dad-friendly foods include:

Dad’s Buttermilk BiscuitsDad’s Buttermilk Pancakes & Dad’s Perfect Sweet Potato Pie

See a theme here?  Yea.

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Risotto Rice Pudding with brown sugar and vanilla

June 15, 2011



hello.  hey.

so.  i made this rice pudding, then i stood in my kitchen and ate it from the pot with a tiny spoon.  a really tiny spoon.

i just stood there and ate half the batch.

i discovered then, that this recipe should just be called The Milk and Stir.

or What To Make When You’re Having a Weird Day and You Need to Eat Something Warm, and Sweet, and Starchy… and You Wish You Could Just Sit Around All Day, But You Can’t…. So You Just Stand in Your Kitchen and Eat This Pudding Like It’s Nobody’s Business… Cause It’s Totally Nobody’s Business.

Ok.  The Milk and Stir is catchier.

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Strawberry Upside-down Cake with Cardamom

June 12, 2011


I thought upside down was one word.  I was wrong.

You knew it wasn’t one word.  You’re smarter than me.

Let’s learn a lesson… because I just learned it, and I want to share it with you.

Upside down is two words when you write something like “Oh crap… that pie just landed on the floor upside down!”  Adverb nation.  Wait… right?

Upside-down is hyphenated when it’s used as an adjective like, “Oh crap…  Joy is totally obsessed with strawberries right now, and that Strawberry Upside-down Cake looks major.”  Upside-down describes the cake… working overtime in adjective land.

… And this… this is why I’m not an English teacher.

Class dismissed.

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Homemade Churros with warm dark chocolate sauce

June 10, 2011


Once upon a time, as a young youth with frizzy hair and giant teeth, I went to Disneyland with my family.

We went on rides.  I saw Michael Jackson as Captain EO, and tried to replicate his dance moves for the rest of the day.  We got popcorn, I secretly made faces at other children standing in line (I was not trying to make friends… I was simply being a major weirdo), and I remember some sort of parade.  There’s always a parade at Disneyland.

We watched the Abraham Lincoln show, which… as a young youth… is the most boring thing I could possibly experience.  We stood there as a statue of President Lincoln was illuminated and some prerecorded speech about freedom was played.  I think… maybe I don’t remember this correctly.  Since I was not shoveling sour candies into my face, I was sure that this show was going to make my eyes bleed from boredom. I was sure it was possible.

Just after the show, as we were exiting, my aunt (who has always been the pillar of clumsiness) stumbled down the stairs and sprained her ankle.  Good grief, I thought…. I totally should make my mom buy me sour balls for having to endure this inconvenience to my funtime awesomeday.

Do you know what happens when you fall at Disneyland (back in the 1980′s before everyone sued everyone else)??  I’ll tell you… it’s awesome:

They take you to the backstage/secret/red alert/ what’s even back there anyway/ Disneyland area.  The place where Goofy walks around without his head on, and Snow Whites could care less, and Tinkerbell is smoking a cigarette (ok… that didn’t happen… but I SO wish it did)!!! They take you and your family backstage, and sit you down, and give you juice, and ask you if you’re ok, and bring you medical attention… AND YOU GET TO SEE GOOFY WITHOUT HIS HEAD ON!!! Clearly this left a lasting impression on me…. as a young youth.

What do kids have these days?  Lawsuits and Disney cruises.  Pffft.  Weak.

Anyway… Um.

Churros remind me of Disneyland.

So…. yea.


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Strawberry Balsamic Flatbread

June 8, 2011


Am I the only jerk that still orders a medium coffee at Starbucks?

What am I supposed to say?… grande.  When it comes down to order time, I always choke.  I feel like I’ll sound like a complete tool ordering a grande… but now I realize that I sound more like a tool ordering a medium.  I dunno…. it’s just coffee!  Can you just give me coffee?

I was at a Starbucks this weekend, saying grande over and over in my head… I was focused.  I was on my A-game.  Then… I overheard the lady in front of me order some sort of half caf/nonfat/extra foam/iced/capp…. with less than half a pump of chocolate.

I was totally thrown off my game.  Why would anyone order an iced cappuccino?  With extra foam?  What does that even look like?  And I don’t think the chocolate croissant you just ordered is doing any favors to your nonfat iced creation.  I’m so confused.  What are you doing?  And Lord!  How much did that handbag cost you!?  And does anyone really say handbag anymore… or is that like saying pocketbook!?  I am old.

…. and then, when my turn came, I ordered a medium…. when all I was trying to do was be a normal person and order a grande.

… and then I went home and made strawberry bread… and that felt right.  Then people came over and Whitney brought wine… and it felt even righter (more right, duh).

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Avocado Orange Salad

June 5, 2011


What’s the weirdest thing you’ve had for dinner?

Tonight I had:

Mung beans tossed in butter, salt, and pepper.  Mung beans.  Yea… not ideal.

Frozen corn, made unfrozen in boiling water… tossed with butter, salt, and pepper.

A flour tortilla… while standing over my desk, looking glossy-eyed at my massive to-do list.

A sprig of parsley.  I dunno.  Because it was green and there on the counter.

Water from my water bottle… followed by a hearty slug of bourbon, poured over tiny ice cubes.

… I’m also really bad at re-filling the ice tray.  Future husband, I’m sorry.  I love you.  I hope you hate ice.

And, for dessert, a frozen chocolate cupcake.  I’m about 7 seconds away from going to grab another cupcake from the freezer.  Believe that.

This is what I eat when left to my own devices.  Clearly, I should not be left alone.  I’m not sure how much longer I can survive like this… I’m a complete weirdo.  Someone hold my hand and make me cook you dinner… that’s the only way I eat like a regular person.


These avocados?  See how nicely sliced they are?  This is the sign that I’m cooking for others, and not just standing in my kitchen eating tortillas.

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Brown Butter Banana Strawberry Bread

June 2, 2011


Can I tell you something about me?  This has exactly nothing to do with bananas or butter or bread.  Feel free to roll your eyes and skip ahead, if necessary.

I used to be a worrier.  Like… a professional worrier.  I would worry like it was my job to worry, like I was getting paid mad/crazy/rich person dollars to worry.  I wasn’t.  I was broke.  That fact, in itself, made me worry.

I thought that worry would save me from every possible pain in the world.  I thought worry would prepare me for bad things, disappointing things, and crazy unforeseeable things.  If I worried about it… it either wouldn’t happen or I’d be prepared for it.

Well… let me tell you:  worry is no preparation.  It took me years.. YEARS, people…. years, to figure out that worry is just wasted energy.


Let’s be real.  I still worry about things.  It’s human nature.  We have big brains… I’m pretty sure a small portion of them are built to worry.

I worry about earthquakes in the middle of the night when I’m wearing no bra, my ugliest possible t-shirt, and the most embarrassing pair of panties a girl has ever owned.  What if there’s an earthquake, and my house falls down, and I have to retreat to my neighbors house in this hideous outfit?  Those thoughts usually lead me to find a reasonable pair of pajama pants and I slip on a sports bra.  See?  Worrier.

But I’m changed my expectations.  Instead of worry about the worst, I try to expect the best.

Seriously… what would my day look like if I expected great things instead of disastrous things?  I’ll tell you… it’s looks a heck of a lot better.  It feels better too.  I can drink more coffee without completely spazzing out.  Less worry frees me up to jump around in the world, and be silly, and thankful, and wear mint green nail polish, and write pen pal letters, and tell people I love them.

I still worry about earthquakes.  Those are scary.  But I also expect and welcome not just the good… but the great.

(What?  Wait… I’m not talking about trashy reality television?  No.  I know.  It’s weird.)

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Whole Wheat Garlic Knots

June 1, 2011


I turned lip liner into a pencil I use to write silly notes on my bathroom mirror.

I turned an outdoor fire pit into an herb garden.

I turned a toothbrush into a bike cleaner.

I sometimes turn my desk into my bed… by simply falling asleep at it.

I can turn my bathroom sink into a cat bath.

Turn breakfast into dinner?  I’ll do that.  Yes.


Turn whole wheat pizza dough into twisty garlic knots!?  That’s a heck-yes.  That’s a win.

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homemade decadence

The Web Series



Brown Butter Banana Bread with Rum and Coconut
Sweet Corn Pancakes
Roasted Apricot Breakfast
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Pie
Ham and Cheese Puff Pastry Pie
Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bars
Homemade Hot Dog Buns
The Ultimate Club Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Pickle Sandwich

Joy, Recently

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Roy Choi’s Furikake Kettle Corn
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Fall 2014 Cookbooks!
Baking Bootcamp: Apple Pie Biscuits
Beer Brownies
Let It Be Sunday
Oatmeal Cookie Granola