Maple Spiced Almond Milk with a hint of Pumpkin

maple spiced almond milk with a hint of pumpkin

maple spiced almond milk with a hint of pumpkin

Can you feel it, too?  Can you feel ALL the feelings happening to us? Is it the giant full moon hanging over our heads?  Is it something having to do with Mercury and retrograde and yadda yadda yadda?  The real question is, is there enough bourbon in the cabinet to make it right?  Of course there is.

I made this most lovely and comforting almond milk.  It required forethought and intention because despite (and because of) ALL of the feelings, I’m still a maker of delicious things.  This combination of delicious is creamy and sweet with a hint of spice and pumpkin.  Drink it from the jar.  Go for a milk mustache.  Howl at the moon.  (Too weird?)

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Peach and Cardamom Lemonade

peach and cardamom lemonade

Peach and Cardamom Lemonade

It would seem as though I’m trying to drink my way through the rainbow, lemonade style.  First there was bright red with Beet Lemonade.  Here we have a  pretty peachy-orange color with Peach Cardamom Lemonade.  We also worked in the deep purple with Fresh Blueberry Mint Lemonade.

I’ve missed green lemonade but I figure we can work some sort of cucumber jalapeño situation into our future.

I’ll tell you now, I’m showing no signs of stopping this drinkable rainbow.  Hop on the lemonade train now!  I know you’re thirsty.

Peach and Cardamom Lemonade

This Summer is brought to you by lemons, over-ripe fruit, and a dose of sugar.  Cheers to us!

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Fresh Blueberry and Mint Lemonade

Fresh Blueberry and Mint Lemonade

Fresh Blueberry and Mint Lemonade

Can we talk about lemonade?

Actually.  Proper question: can we talk about lemonade again and probably again and again after that?

Last week we experienced Beet Lemonade, all bright pink and sweet and totally showing off.  Today it’s Blueberry Mint Lemonade, all deep and purple and tart… and totally showing off.

This lemonade comes together with exactly those fresh berries languishing in the back of your refrigerator.  They’re getting wrinkly.  You know the ones.  Throw those little darlings in a blender with fresh mint, stems and all… and here we are, on the fantastic side of refreshment.

This recipe is again inspired by The Lemonade Cookbook because it’s lovely and I’m thirsty.

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Beet Lemonade

beet lemonade

beet lemonade

I am the thirstiest person.   I’ve taken a city-wide poll, and yep… it’s me.  I win the prize for the thirstiest human.

I’m trying to get creative with the cold beverages that I take in this summer.  I’ve been brewing my own black tea which is remarkably easy, reasonably priced, and delicious.  Adding fresh mint (stems and leaves) into the brewing tea makes it fancy in a flash.  I’m also a huge fan of adding cucumber and lemon slices to water, smashed strawberries to sparkling water, and a splash of orange juice in my iced green tea.

None of it feels particularly genius though it is pretty dang refreshing.

This lemonade though… this neon magenta lemonade feels like a small stroke of genius.  Sweet, tart, and big bright pink!  Let’s drink.

If you’re feeling like you’d like to add a glug of vodka into this lemonade refresher… well, I get you.  Go on and get it!

Beet Lemonade

Let’s start with the basics:  fresh lemons juiced up just right, granulated sugar, filtered water, and raw, grated beet (about 1/4 cup). Yes, actual beet root!

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Milky Salted Caramel

hot caramel

drinking caramel

There’s this really cool thing that happens when you get to do what you love for a living.  Well… it’s that you do what you love.  For me that usually means an abundance of butter, caramel, and chocolate chunks.  There’s also a ton of dishes, camera batteries, and a few good hours on the computer.

There’s another thing that happens when you get to do what you love for a living.  Despite the butter and caramel, what you love becomes… work.  We all know that work is sometimes UGH.

Then there’s this other thing that happens when you’re lucky enough to do what you love for a living, and it feels like work, and you start to feel UGH… you start to feel entirely ungrateful for your very fortunate circumstances.  That’s just honest.  Not good, but honest.  It’s like you’re not allowed to be discontent where passion and career meet.

french broad chocolate

I’ve been in Asheville, North Carolina this week.  I’m trying to wade through a few work projects.  It’s awesome… and it’s ugh… and it’s awesome!

Do you know what I mean?

I’ve taken a few super great work breaks in Asheville.  Work breaks must involve either wine or chocolate so naturally I found myself at French Broad Chocolate Lounge.

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The chocolate dipped shortbread at French Broad Chocolate is out of this world.  Don’t even get me started on the mochas.  Don’t even talk to me about their Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate.

Major delicious.  Good inspiration.

milky salted caramel

And so!  Milky Salted Caramel.  Because work is sometimes work, but caramel helps.  Caramel always helps.

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Hint of Mint Chocolate Milk

hint of mint chocolate milk

My dad used to make my sister and I cold cereal for breakfast most mornings.  He’d spoon some brown sugar into a small bowl, add Life Cereal (remember that goodness!?), and top the cereal with milk.  My sister and I would sit in the breakfast nook watching I Love Lucy (or The Andy Griffith Show on a bad day) and enjoy our cereal.  Easy and regular and somehow super special.

I’d try to rush my way through the cereal before it got too soggy.  Always a race against time.  The best part of cereal was always the final spoonfuls of milk steeped with the brown sugar that lived at the bottom of the bowl.  I loved finding those sweet pockets of brown sugar.

I think I’m looking for those sweet pockets all through life.  They’re not really that hard to find…. especially when you put way too much minty chocolate syrup at the bottom of your chocolate milk glass.  See what I did there?  Sweet pockets.

For a hot version of Chocolate Milk, see: Cinnamon Infused Hot Chocolate.

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Watermelon Strawberry Citrus Sangria

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There is a thing in the world… it’s called Really Bad Sangria.  This is not that.

Really Bad Sangria is a mixture of  cheap red wine (not cool, but not a crime), sliced oranges (fairly benign), and grapes (questionable, but tolerable).  The combination of bad wine and boring fruit… that’s Really Bad Sangria.

Let’s talk about Really Good Sangria!

Really Good Sangria is pink.  Really Good Sangria contains fruit that feels like a treat!  See: watermelon and fresh strawberries.  Really Good Sangria is layered with wine, and vodka, and lemon or orange liquor.  Really Good Sangria is REALLY GOOD!  This is that.

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It’s the weekend!  Get at that melon!

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Clementine and Red Wine Spritzers

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It’s amazing where you can find a brief vacation when there’s not actually time to get away.

Mostly all you need is a brightly colored Mexican cloth and a sunset colored cocktail.

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I’m aaallll sorts of ready to let these summer days wash over me, but my reality is much more indoor work style than outdoor beach style.  Is this your reality too?  It’s cool.  It’s totally cool.  We have wine, fancy fruit soda, warm air, late sunsets, and a few good friends to share it all with.  We won’t need much more.

Can we talk about this crazy awesome spritzer combination?  Clementine aaannnddd red wine!?  It’s unexpected.  It’s a high-five.  Trust me on this one!

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Raspberry Rose Fizz

raspberry rose fizz

Welcome Friday!  It’s time for Mother’s Day cocktail inspiration!

It’s been a stunning week of color and brunch-fun with HonestlyYUM.

We’ve made Lavender Blackberry Scones, Baked Egg Tartlets, a pretty DIY Dessert Stands, a gorgeous (if I do say so myself) White Chocolate Rose Cake, and today… today is pink cocktail day!

Todd, the cocktail mind behind HonestlyYUM, whipped up (literallly) these incredible Raspberry Rose Fizzes.  Fresh raspberries, fragrant rose, and frothy egg whites for added class.  This is just beyond!  Find the recipe here!

raspberry rose fizz

raspberry rose fizz

images by HonestlyYUM

Mother's Day Inspiration

We had such a wonderful time putting together these pretties for you this week!  I hope you’ve found some inspiration to treat your mama right.  In the very least, get a card.  Mamas have an abnormal amount of love for cards.

Thank you to HonestlyYUM + Love and CupcakesTwig and Twine + Dish Wish

Thank YOU for being here/being awesome.  You are appreciated.

Kale + Blackberry + Beet + Almond Milk Smoothies

three almond milk smoothies

What’s in your morning routine?  I make my bed, splash my face with cold water, drink a giant glass of lemon water, and try to forget about the giant bag of dark chocolate chips I’ve been meaning (and failing) to hide from myself.  I try my best to start things off well, with some clarity and conscious eating… that’s because it’s easy to reason with my relaxed morning brain.  By the time dinner rolls around it’s nearly impossible to talk my brain out of popcorn, wine, and handfuls of chocolate chips.  Morning is my power hour.  Dinner looks like a breakup rom-com where a heartbroken girl eats her weight in everything ever.

It’s a new Monday.  It’s a new week.  Let’s start things off feeling great!  The morning is on our side in three major ways.

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Shrimp + Grits + Cocktail

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shrimp + grits

This isn’t my first rodeo.  I’ve been down this shrimp and grits road before… and I’ve taken you with me.  My last encounter with a warm dish of creamy grits and spicy shrimp was served to a gentleman whose only remark was that I had failed to remove the tails from the shrimp before serving them to him.  Really, dude?  Really!?  So ended that short relationship (not really… but sort of… FOR REAL).

I needed a redo.  Not for flavor’s sake, just for my own self… and because I totally just wanted a giant bowl of this madness.

New dating rule #37:  I graciously and happily remove a cooked shrimp tail for every car door that is graciously opened for me.  Respect, yo!

ps.  I don’t actually have thirty-seven dating rules.  I do, however, have two giant bowls of lunch.  Who’s counting (I am).

shrimp + grits + cocktail

I made these Shrimp + Grits with my friend Jonathan.  I bought the shrimp, he crashed my house with beer, cucumber, and lime… and we shot pictures on the floor by my front door (see Instagram) (we’re really fancy).

Jonathan made a bonkers cocktail to pair with the Shrimp + Grits… a Cucumber Blonde Bloody Mary.  It’s fizzy and refreshing.  It’s takes the tomato thickness out of the traditional Bloody Mary and makes this cocktail truly gulp-able.  In addition to being an awesome bringer-of-cocktails-to-my-house, Jonathan is also an incredible photographer, baker… and he’s obsessed with my cat.  All the things I look for in a friend.

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Mint and Cumin Salted Lassi

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salted mint lassi

I got lost in a Google search time-suck.  I really did have the best intentions.  I was very fervently doing research for a Boston Cream Pie recipe when I stumbled upon the words ‘Salted’ and ‘Lassi’.  Hm.  Usually I find the word ‘Lassi’ paired with the word ‘Mango’, and I’m made to think of the too-thick-for-my-taste yogurt drink served at Indian restaurants.  A Salted Lassi is totally a new addition to my culinary mind.

This yogurt-based drink is paired with fresh mint and cumin.  Yea!  Cumin!  Get excited… this is actually really cool.

The mixture is blended until herby and smooth and them topped with a bit of sparkling water for serving.  This drink is super fresh, easy to drink, and majorly refreshing.  Paired with a super spicy chicken dish… seriously!?  This was delicious enough to make me forget about Boston Cream Pie.

Ps.  I like that we try new things together.

Pps.  Maybe this Salted Lassi isn’t new to you… in which case, what other treats do you have up your sleeve!?

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Honey Chamomile Soda

honey chamomile soda

I think someone should throw me a dang parade for coaxing Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread out of my oven.  With hours dedicated to flour and yeast, I feel like a parade (or a really solid high-five) is a totally reasonable return.  It’s yeast induced hero-status… am I wrong?

Sometimes hero status doesn’t require multiple hours in the kitchen, and flour in your hair.  Thank goodness.

honey chamomile soda

Making a simple syrup is the easiest way for me to feel super clever in the kitchen.  It’s the best way to bring together ultra comforting flavor combinations without making a huge fuss.  Make a big fizzy soda, totally fancy-up happy hour, or add this sweet syrup to hot water with lemon.  It’s bottled delight… and you really don’t have to tell anyone just how easy it is to make.

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Lime Cordial, Three Ways

Lime Cordial, three ways.

Home is where the desk is.  Home is where the dirty dishes are.  Home is where the paper straws, cookbook collection, and to-be-folded laundry is.

It’s good to be home from New Orleans.  It’s good to be home knowing that I cleaned my desk before I left… I sometimes surprise myself.

lime cordial inspiration

I picked up this Gourmet Special Edition Pasta Magazine at the airport in New Orleans because I wanted to fill my brain with pasta carbs on my journey home.  I thought it would inspire me to make copious amounts of ravioli upon my return.  I think reading this magazine on the plane inspired my seatmate’s hungry belly (I could feel you reading over my shoulder, sir) and inspired me to, strangely enough, make Lime Cordials.

This could be a clear sign that I’ve eaten too much jambalaya and crawfish.

Lime Cordial, three ways.

Limes will be my restart.  I’ll be back on the pasta and beignet train shortly.

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It’s Cold!

cold cures

I know nothing about blizzards.  I know very little about multiple feet of snow.  Cold wind?  I can’t even.  Freezing rain!?  Are you for serious?

I have nothing but respect for those of you that live in temperatures that fall below 47 degrees F.  Mad respect.  Also… I really like your puffy jackets.  I’ve always wanted one of those, but I can’t deal with the freezing temps that go along with that sort of cuteness.

You and your snow tolerance?  Badass.  Me?  I’ll happily hop between California sun and Florida sun and visit New York in the Spring… late Spring.

That being said… even people in California catch a chill.  It’s mostly because we insist on wearing shorts year-round (but that’s neither here nor there).

Chilly temperatures require two things:  hot water and bourbon (in various incarnations).  Let’s explore.

A pot of hot water + A few glugs of bourbon + half an orange, squeezed + a big spoon of honey.  This fragrant orange treat is for days when you’ve got the ick-sniffles and need to justify your bourbon consumption with a dash of vitamin C.  It’s like adult Nyquil without the questionable cherry flavoring.

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On Juicing

juice it

I used to be the first person to run screaming from the sound of a carrot being juiced.  Growing up, my dad was a very enthusiastic juicer and the sight of a 10 lb bags of carrots entering the house would just make my five-year old heart sink.  I knew that we were going to be drinking a lot of straight carrot juice when all I ever really wanted was Oreo cookies.

Now… in 10 lbs of carrots I see 4 cream cheese frosted carrot cakes, and 6 giant jars of juice.  There is comfort in the cake and in the juice.

You see a majority of what comes out of my kitchen here on Joy the Baker.  What you don’t see, and what I often end up eating from a giant bowl on the couch, is usually of the leafy green or quinoa variety.  Sure, I eat popcorn for dinner and sometimes eat cookies for breakfast, but I also take great efforts to balance that with things that aren’t pumped with brown butter (oooh I love brown butter).

We talk about all sorts of things here:  nail polish, apple picking, ex-boyfriends.  Today it’s juice… because I’m starting to love these brightly colored concoctions as much as I love doughnuts (almost…) (aaallllmost as much…).

phojuice fruit

Juice is suuuuch a thing right now in Los Angeles.  We don’t meet for soy lattes anymore, we meet for spin class and expensive bottled juices.  It’s feels equal parts obnoxious and healthful.  This post isn’t about juice cleansing.  I’ve done that enough times (1) to know that I enjoy lunch, dinner, and late-night handfuls of chocolate chips straight from the bag.

I wanted my juice experience to be less about the  fancy glass bottle and more about the juice.  Less about the label design, fonts, and wordswordswords.  Cold-pressed.  Raw.  Organic.  Unpasturized.  Gluten-free. Vegan.  Be radiant!  Glow!  Sparkle!  Shine!  Drink this green business!  Give us $12 for 12 ounces of apple juice. On and on and on…  I mostly just wanted  my juice bottles to stop bossing me around.  Now I have my own juicer and it feels like an adventure.

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Hot Buttered Rum and Cider

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Welcome to the one time of year when it’s totally acceptable (encouraged even) that we coat our throats with a hearty dose of booze and butter.  That’s right, my friends… it’s totally time to drink butter.  Call your mom, call your friends, text your ex-boyfriend from three ex-boyfriends ago (awesome excuse), and let everyone know that it’s time to get on this drinkable butter bandwagon.  Hallelujah, this is fun/dangerous/delicious/ridiculous/whaaaat!?

This post is brought to you by:  there’s a bottle of spiced rum ‘decorating’ my desk (and something must be done about it).

rum and such

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Irish Coffee

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I thought I might offer you just a bit of inspiration.  It’s warm and brown.  It’s sweet and creamy.

I’ve always overlooked this cocktail for things with fancy cubed ice, grapefruit infusions, and handmade bitters… but the simplicity of this cocktail is no joke!  It needs no muss or fuss.  It needs no fancy mustached man in a vest and spectacles to make it for you.  This can happen right at home on your tiny kitchen counter, and can be enjoyed on your couch while you question your sanity in watching moooore  reruns of Jersey Shore.

I’m not implying that you have a tiny kitchen counter, that you’re crazy, or that you’re watching the Jersey Shore.  Um… I’m clearly just talking about myself. Not proud.  Just real.

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Spiced Almond Steamer

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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.)

Strawberry Cucumber Smoothie

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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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