Joy the Baker

Real Life Dinner

July 20, 2011


I have a real life.

I know… epic.  You have a real life too.  I’m not trying to pat myself on the back or anything.

I just wanted to remind you that I totally have a real life.  It’s imperfect and blurry.  It’s messy and florescent.  It’s crooked and underexposed.

It’s quiet… with the occasional solo dance party.  It’s awkward.  It’s sometimes frustrating.  It’s often times blessed.  There’s a lot of food in this life of mine… and it’s not always in focus.  It’s just not.

For some reason, I think it’s important that you know this.

Can I show you dinner?  Real life… I made this at 7pm in my poorly lit kitchen… and ate it off the coffee table… dinner.


Before dinner can be made, dinner must be shopped for, dinner must be stood in line for.

I’m the girl that answers emails in line at the grocery store.  I just am.

I also wear sunglasses in the grocery store… it’s LA, and that’s totally allowed- if not encouraged.



Groceries home.  I’m going to make salad-y things, and tomato-y things with mussels, herbs, and wine.

Real life:  I found an easy recipe on the internet.  I read it.  I bought the stuff, and I just want dinner (and wine time) to happen quickly.

Spicy Steamed Mussels with Garlic and Herbs.


There’s chopping to be done, so I chop.  Leftover kielbasa, sliced garlic, and green onions.


Directly behind me, my cat is rummaging around in the cabinet under the sink.

He’s learned how to open cabinet doors by himself.  He’s like that velociraptor in Jurassic Park.  Yes… that terrifying.  Don’t believe me?  Come live with me for a day.  It’s actually scary.

Anyhow… this animal opens my cabinet, rummages around, spills stuff onto the kitchen floor… stuff for me to trip over, then he saunters away.


After chopping and slicing, these little bits get cooked in olive oil.

Heavy on the red pepper flakes.  Spicy spicetown.


Fresh basil and thyme for the chopping.

I love to finish dinner with fresh herbs.  It makes me feel like I’ve turned my house into a restaurant… mostly because herbs make food taste better.


Salad for dinner too!?

I’m incredibly civilized.  Don’t be fooled… I often have popcorn for dinner.  I made a salad because I had company over.  Casual company… but still company.

When you have company over.. you have to make a salad, right?


Real life: I was too lazy to dig for my spatula so the sides of my pan are coated in tomato sauce.  Also… I totally burnt my first round of toast.  Like, hardcore.  Like, I almost set the house of fire burnt.  Black as the day is long.  And the day is long…. really long.

Joy the Baker burns toast.  This is a true fact.


I’ve never made mussels before.  They seem like the kind of food that you only eat in restaurants.  Nope.  These are so easy and delicious.


I tend to eat dinner alone and standing.  I hear it’s great for digestion.  Gravity and such.  No…  I totally don’t hear that.  Whatevs.

This time around, because I have company, I’m classing it up… we’re eating hunched over my tiny coffee table.

Not ideal, but I totally have linen napkins.


Real life dinner done and delicious.

All thats left now are dishes, and leftovers… and dessert to rummage through the freezer for.

Spicy Steamed Mussels with Garlic and Herbs. I love this recipe!  It feels like Mario Batali cooked you dinner.  And I made it in about 25 minutes.  Major!  Oh… I added capers and kielbasa, and a bit of thyme instead of oregano.

ps.  I wish I could make  YOU dinner.  pps.  I love you.  ppps.  No biggie.

191 Comments Add A Comment

  • A cat that opens cupboards – too funny! The cat’s haircut looks good by the way. You did a fine job!

  • my husband’s a vegetarian and i’ve been with him for 14 years, so i’ve never cooked meat or seafood. this looks so grownup!

  • We have nine indoor cats. At least four of them also open cabinets. And pantry doors (the folding kind). One of them can even get a pull drawer open. I hear you on the “terrifying” bit. (:

  • If my “real life” dinner included a Whole Foods and mussels I’d be a happy camper :)

  • Oh Joy…. We all love that you are YOU and only you! ….Dinner looks great and your guest is lucky! Your cat is lucky; he’s cute and has a great momma who documents his cuteness for the world to see! :)

  • …You’re a class act Joy! You burn toast A-N-D have steamed mussels for dinner = [singing the word] “c-l-a-s-s-a-y”! ;o)

    …And your dinner guest there is that is that cute guy that you featured some time ago, isn’t it? Go ahead, tell us, isn’t it? *wink*wink*nudge*nudge* Mmmm hmmm… :o)

    …The photo of the red sauce is just divine! Makes me long for pasta, salad, bread and it’s only 10 am…and it’s 450 degrees outside…ugh…*sigh*

    …Thank you Joy! Enjoy your day!

    …Blessings :o)

  • My cat totally does the same thing with the cabinet doors. He can also open drawers. When he reallty wants to “help” me, he’ll open them all for me while I’m at work and pull the onions out. So I come home to him sleeping on top of the fridge with all of the lower cupboards and drawers open, onions rolling all over the apartment.

    ps. I totally burn my toast on purpose. It’s crazy delicious with extra butter. noms.

  • Real Life Joy seems like a pretty cool chick to me. :)

  • hehe sounds like my cat.. I ended up putting child locks on my cabinet doors to prevent her from opening them. It has worked.

    Dinner looks Yummy!! I Love mussels!!

  • I wear glasses in the grocery store too. Usually it’s because I was too lazy to put on make-up. Never have made mussels either, so going to try this. Thanks!

  • An amazing real life dinner! I just tried mussels or the first time in a beer battered broth! And what? You ave a life outside making us drool?

  • It’s patient boy’s hands!!! I’m totally “awwww”ing over here.

  • We eat everything off our coffee table, it just tastes better that way. This is such a grown up meal though – it even involves cutlery! Looks super delicious though and I don’t usually like seafoody stuff.

  • I love that your version of an “real life dinner” is mussels. I’m super impressed. Mine is totes pasta. Even if I am eating with company. If I’m feeling fancy, maybe some veggies are included. I’d be company at your dinner any time!

  • joy :):)
    You burnt the toast.:)You made my day:)

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