Joy the Baker

Mini Pretzel Dogs

January 31, 2012

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I think I’d like to write a book about how to make friends, entitled How to Make Friends, the almost fairytale.

Chapter One

Once upon a time there was a lonely girl who had but one friend… her snaggle-toothed mother.  One day, in the kitchen, she stumbled upon a rare and delicious combination.  A combination never before discovered in the land of Lonleyia.  Warm, soft, salty dough met with… hot dogs.

It was as though rainbows, unicorns, and friendly hobbits had descended upon this special girl.  People came from far and wide to sample her new found delicacy and friendships blossomed abound.  It was like Springtime.  Springtime of friendships.

Even the girl’s snaggle-toothed mother made a friend or two.

Never again was the lonely girl lonely (or hungry)…

The end.

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Yea… my next book only has one chapter, one recipe, and about 34 words.  No biggie.

So!  You have two options here.  You can re-read this story  and go take a nap OR (and I totally suggest this next option) you could make these pretzel dogs this weekend, serve them with spicy mustard and cold beer, and make (or solidify) friendships of your own.

Choose your own adventure.  No bigs.

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319 Comments

Roasted Winter Citrus

January 29, 2012

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I’m 87% sure there’s nothing you can do to ruin these perfect creations.

Winter citrus is sparkling!

If I could wear these citrus segments as earrings… I would.

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Let’s roast these beauties!

I know.  Weird.

Weird… but totally incredible.  Warm and salty sweet citrus bites.

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109 Comments

ENJOY! subscriptions open again!

January 26, 2012

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January 29th 2012 UPDATE:

Thank you to everyone who signed up for this round of subscription gifting.  I’m so excited to get gifts in your hands!  Subscriptions are now closed and will open again at the end of April 2012!

Gifts just get better and better!  Be a part of the fun come April!

- joy the baker

ENJOY! is a subscription gift program.  It’s a mystery gift delivered right to your door. Like a wine of the month club… only better!

Every three months I pair up with a different cool, quirky company and hand-select a unique little gift package for you.  It could be a cool kitchen item.  It could be something for you to carry in your purse.  It could be a little something for your vanity.   Whatever it is, it’s a new and exciting thing that arrives in your mailbox every three months.  …We’re not talking freebies or samples… we’re talking full-on awesome gifts!

It’s easy!  Every three months, you get a gift!

enjoy gift

What was the last ENJOY! gift?

For the last round of gifting I worked with a Los Angeles company called Poketo.

Poketo creates “art for the everyday”.  They work with artists and turn their work into awesome everyday things like wallets, stationary, calendars, plates, and these awesome clay chain necklaces that I’m obsessed with.  With Poketo we gifted cool wallets and arty calendars.  Surprise gift success!

Read on… sign up! (I’m bossy.)

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113 Comments

Chocolate Beet Cake with Beet Cream Cheese Frosting

January 24, 2012

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Hey Dude (that I’m currently dating),

We need to talk.  It’s about your mother.

Mostly… it’s about how I need to meet your mother.  We’ve been carrying on for a while now… and I need to meet the lady that birthed you, clothed you, slapped you upside the head, and made you the awesome man you are now.  If I don’t meet her soon, she will surely think me some sort of hussy harlot who was born in a barn and doesn’t much care for other people’s mothers.  This is not the case.  I care about most mothers, often.

It’s a lady thing that perhaps you don’t understand.  I need to be nervous.  I need to bite off all my nails.  I need to agonize over the perfect outfit that will make me look sophisticated, but sweet and approachable, womanly without being more womanly that her.  I need the outfit that says I can damn well take care of myself, and keep her dear and darling son in line for the rest of his life.  It’s a fine fine fiiiine line.

I need to let your mother look me up and down in examination.  I need to stand there and let her envision me as her daughter-in-law.  I need to eat her casserole, express my desire for the recipe… then I need to do her dishes.

I need to let her tell me how to do things that I already know how to do, like make a pie, and pluck my eyebrows.  We need to watch 60 Minutes together.  She in her recliner, me sitting on the floor.  I need to offer to bring dessert.  She’ll make a face when it’s being served, and enjoy it despite herself.  It’s all a dance.  Every moment of it.  It’s all a test… because mothers do not let their sons go quietly… they let them go passive aggressively.

Lastly, she needs to see that I make you happy.  That’s where you come in.  Don’t act weird.  Well, don’t act weirder than you usually act.  Be natural… and put your arm around me once in a while.  It’s your job to make sure that no one gets a third glass of wine.  That’s when things get weird.

It’s also your job NOT to tell your mother that there are beets in the cake I’m serving for dessert.  That will be our little secret.  Unless she loves it… then I’m taking all the glory.

Cool.

Love,

Joy

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430 Comments

Crunchy Kale and Coconut Bowl

January 23, 2012

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You can and you should.  Work hard.  Don’t stop.  Unless there’s wine.  Drink it.  Then work harder.

If people don’t get it.  Lose em.  Find people that do.  They exist.  Make them your friends.  Go thrift shopping.  Buy skirts.  Talk about ice cream.

Make the world more beautiful.  That’s our job while we’re here.  And we’re still here.  So love well, and hard, and like we won’t be here forever.  Because we won’t.

Use your good luck spoon.  Throw away your bad luck fork.  Remember that texting and driving is dumb.  And your car horn never really adequately expresses your anger, so don’t use it and just scream in the car a bit if you must.

Buy kale.  Especially if it’s named dino.  It’s ok if it has dirt on it.  It came from the ground.  Wash it well.  Combine it with coconut.  Roast.  Feed it to a person you love.  See what happens.  You’ll have just made the world more beautiful.  Is it really that easy?  Sometimes it is.  Mind blown.

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166 Comments

Spiced Almond Steamer

January 21, 2012

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Not everything requires a bowl, a mixer, whisk, and measuring spoons.

Sometimes the most delicious comforts come out of milk, spice, and heat.

I’ve been keeping it pretty simple in the kitchen lately.  You know… trying to treat my body right, and such.  I’m also trying to stay far far away from the Winter cold that’s ruining the world as of late (that was totally dramatic).

cookies and friends

Here’s the plan:

Heat about 2 cups of almond milk in a small saucepan.  If it’s unsweetened almond milk… you might want to add a touch of honey.  If it’s already sweetened… no need.

Add about 1/8 teaspoon of ground cardamom and a good sprinkling of fresh ground nutmeg to the heating milk.  Also add the scrapings of half a vanilla bean… heck, throw the pod in too.  If you don’t have vanilla beans on hand, no worries (!) just throw in a dash of pure vanilla extract.  If you want to add a bit of bourbon… I won’t tell a soul.

Heat until steaming hot.

Serve hot with cookies from your favorite bakery.  Enjoy while reading a cookbook studded with Polaroids of your friends as bookmarks.  (Suggestions… no biggie.)

80 Comments

Strawberry Cucumber Smoothie

January 20, 2012

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This is not a cheeseburger.

This is not bacon.  These are not peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes.

These are not doughnuts nor french fries.

Oooh how I wish these were all of those things.

Instead… this is health.  It’s health that tastes good and makes our bodies feel like they can leap like superheros, with x-ray vision, and super strength.

It’s ok that this smoothie doesn’t taste like chocolate… mostly ok.

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121 Comments

Vanilla Bean and Cocoa Nib Meringues

January 18, 2012

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Have you ever spent a hearty sum of money on something… and then didn’t want to use it because it was so expensive?

I sometimes feel that way about my couch.  Ok… I didn’t spend a ton of money on my couch… but, well… it felt like a lot of money at the time.  As a result, I feel like the couch must be treated with the proper respect.  God forbid someone should try and jump on it.  Heck..  if someone sits down on it too hard (is that really even possible) I look at them sideways.

And don’t even get me started on the cat.  He has nooooo respect.  Probably because he has noooo concept of what money is.

My couch isn’t fancy.  But… I feel like the very fact that I have a couch puts me on the fancier side of fancy.  I spent a lot of years without a couch.

Don’t sit down to hard on my couch… that’s all I ask.  Oh!  and if you’re going to park your rear end for a prolonged amount of time, please rotate seat spots.  You’re mushing my cushions.  Nevermind that it’s a couch made for sitting and mushing.  I’m unreasonable.  I know.  I truly am.

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I feel like these cookies echo my fancy couch sentiments.

See… they have fancy ingredients in them.  Cocoa nibs and vanilla beans deserve some respect.  When these two ingredients meet in a cookie, the cookie should be held in the highest esteem… even if it’s just a light, puff-of-air meringue.

Treating yourself is important.  Treating yourself to a couch, and then acting unreasonably about its use might be silly.  But splurging of some crunchy cocoa nibs and baking them into cookies is a slightly easier treat.  And your cat won’t scratch cocoa nibs.

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148 Comments

Savory Cornmeal and Chive Waffles with salsa and eggs

January 15, 2012

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There’s something about a giant stack of waffles topped with butter, powdered sugar, and maple syrup that puts me in an un-fightable, resistance resistant, afternoon coma.  That really… and I mean reeeeaaalllyyy pisses off the workaholic in me.  She hates napping.  The waffle-aholic in me?  Well… obviously she thinks her workaholic counterpart should just chill  the heck out.

I’ve tried to appease both sides of my w-aholics… and it’s not about trading waffles for spelt toast.  No…  that just can’t happen.

Switch up the waffle!  Make it a savory dream!  Top it with salsa and an egg!  This way my waffle-aholic self gets all of her warm waffle goodness. and my workaholic self doesn’t need a resentful nap.  Take note.

Please tell the waffle-aholic within you that this dish is supreme for either breakfast or dinner.

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160 Comments

Green Pea Pesto Ravioli

January 13, 2012

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This is total brain food.

If you think you know what I mean by that… think again.

This is the sort of dish that you can make seated at your kitchen counter, or at your the desk that you’ve cleared off, or sitting on the floor beside the coffee table.  This is the sort of dish that you sit, and make, and think with your brain… while you let your fingers do the working.

Taking the time to making these little pockets is the slightly more productive equivalent to standing in the kitchen with buttery crackers, peanut butter, and Lucky magazine.

Taking the time to make these little treats is also the equivalent to  listening to Van Morrison’s Veedon Fleece on repeat.  It’s just good for the brain.

If you don’t know… now ya know.

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This is no time to celebrate fresh peas.  But! Frozen peas, brought to life with boiling water.  We’re good to go!

…I should tell you how many times a week I defrost peas and call them dinner.  It might make you worry about me.

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126 Comments

Smashed Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Pancakes

January 10, 2012

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Some things I know to be true things for me:

True:  Gin martinis are best, most immediately and with olives.  True:  sometimes painful sacrifices are made for fashion… especially when it comes to wedges.  True:  In my life, Hemingway and Julia Child are devoured in equal amounts.  True:  I will always eat a doughnut.  It always seems like the right, and totally wrong thing to do.

True:  Things in life can be simultaneously exciting and terrifying.  Exciting progress.  Exciting growth.  Exciting opportunities… and at the same time totally bonkers nerve-wracking.  When the road ahead is steep, and full of the promise of adventure…. and you totally want to be on that crazy road… but you also appreciate the smooth and steady road you once knew.  That road was safer.  There were more cookies and less adventure.

Here’s another important truth for me:  Always sign up for adventure.  Always say yes.  Even if it’s terrifying to the core of your soul.  That means you’re doing the right thing.  You’re learning and growing and shoving yourself right out of your comfort zone.    Unless… well, unless there are guns and heists.  In that case… stay in your comfort zone and away from guns.

Also… before you forge forward.  Have breakfast (preferably with chocolate) and pack cookies.

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188 Comments

Roasted and Shredded Beef Sandwiches

January 8, 2012

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Dear New Year,

Here’s the deal!  I like carrot sticks.  I’m going to keep eating those.  I like oatmeal cookies.  I’m going to continue to consider them a breakfast cookie.  I’ll drink green juices.  I’ll even like it.

Also… I’m going to continue to follow 3 people on Facebook that I don’t actually like.  It’s that ‘keep your enemies close’ thing.

I’m going to drink tea, but I’ll always love coffee more.

I’ll go to church.  I’ll volunteer… and I’ll try to be better all the time.  I’ll try most sincerely.  I’ll try to love more and text less.

I’m going to find a new bourbon to appreciate.  That should be bonkers fun.

I’m going to eat real dinners, unless eating cold cereal while reading Food and Wine magazine makes more sense.

That’s where this roasted beef sandwich comes in.  Gorgeous.  Glorious.  Blessed day!  This could be the answer to unanswered questions.  Slow cooking, good smelling, tender tender, sandwich goodness.

Alright New Year, I’m gonna getcha!

Love,

Joy

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111 Comments

Triple Chocolate Black Bean Brownies

January 6, 2012

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I was skeptical.  Sure… I’ve heard people talk about beans in brownies, but really!?  Must we really put beans in our brownies?  Isn’t that just like having a CNN news break right in the middle of Teen Mom 2?  Kind of a bummer.

I was skeptical and I was dang wrong.  Beans in brownies is totally not CNN!  (When was the last time you typed ‘totally not CNN’?) Beans in brownies is a trick that knocks down the fat and boost up the protein (even if just slightly).  Sea salt and big walnut chunks are also highly advised….so advised, that you may find yourself indulging at breakfast.  Like I did.  This very morning.

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172 Comments

A Balanced Breakfast

January 5, 2012

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Yes… it’s that time.

Vacation is oooooovvvveeeerrrr.  Our inboxes are filling up.  Official mail (you know, like bills) are overshadowing the friend greetings and holiday cards in our mail boxes, and the gym sure is calling… isn’t it?

Yea.  That carefree week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is long gone.  Major bummer.

Before we totally freak out and put our work helmets on, can we just… have breakfast?

Let’s have a balanced breakfast… like the kind in the cereal commercials.  We’re talking glass of juice, slice of toast, and whole grain cold cereal… that kind of breakfast.

This is our version with hot oatmeal and a super healthful smoothie.

The only thing we’re missing the the cheesey eggs, crispy bacon, and side of doughnuts.  This is not that.  We can still deal.

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89 Comments

Spinach Feta Blood Orange Salad

January 2, 2012

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My grandmother used to have a house dress, house hair, and house shoes.  She made no apologies for boiling her fresh vegetables half way to kingdom come.  She sat with her Bible at every spare moment.

I… well, I have a house sweater.  It’s big and grey with floppy sleeves and giant buttons.  It’s just a house sweater, unless of course I decide that it can handle a quick trip to the store or a quick meet with a friend.  It really should stay in the house, as beat up and unattractive as it is… but sometimes it’s just too warm and cozy to part with.  I don’t even want to talk about introducing the house sweater to someone that you’re dating.  That’s a whole other beast to tackle.

My grandmother would support my house sweater.  She’d nod in quiet understanding.  She’d also love that I have her Bible on my nightstand, and I read and reread all the bits she underlined in red pen.  This salad?  She would not understand.  It’s entirely too fresh and crisp and… unboiled.  I suppose that’s the difference between her Tennessee blood and my California living.

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154 Comments

Ten Pictures in TwoThousandEleven

January 1, 2012

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So much happens in a year.

Full of days.  Full of hours.  Full of moments and opportunities.  Full of choices.  Full of beauty and grace.  Sunshine and fog.  Cookies and pie.

Here are some images of this past year… and here’s a big hiphiphooray for the days, hours, moments, and opportunities in front of us.

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52 Comments

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Homefries

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

Baked Brown Butter and Pistachio Doughnuts
11 Little Ways To Get Through This Monday
Let It Be Sunday
Muffuletta Pasta Salad
Homemade Steak Sauce
Dipped + Crisp Peanut Butter Cookies
Let It Be Sunday
New Orleans: ManhattanJack
Roasted Tomato and Feta Guacamole