Brûlée Orange and Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Orange and Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Orange and Cream Cheese Pound Cake

 I‘m going to start a new line of pillows made exclusively out of this cream cheese pound cake.  Edible bed pillows.  Lay your head down at night and snack-and-sleep.  If we’re going to turn aaanny cake into a pillow, this is it.  

This is the softest, most tender cake thanks to both cream cheese and butter.  Sponge-y and moist without being cloying or obnoxious.  It’s the perfect pillow material.  Like memory foam but… edible cake.  

Or.  I suppose you could serve this cake sliced on platters and plates.  Also a viable option, just without the beauty rest.  Think about it.  

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All-The-Blueberries Buttermilk Waffles

Blueberry Buttermilk Waffles

Blueberry Buttermilk Waffles

I was trying to do a thing. A thing with waffles, cinnamon, sugar, and a blow torch.
The blow torch (perhaps not surprisingly) is where things went wrong.

I was trying to make a waffle brûlée. I thought that sprinkling toasty waffles with granulated sugar, and taking a torn to them would create that irresistible sugar snap-crack when brûlée meets fork. You know?

Turns out… taking a blow torch to a waffles creates REALLY BURNT WAFFLES. Like… the most burnt. Like… someone needs to take my baker’s card away. I’m benched.

Not all things work, but you have to try.

To hide my shame and my sins: blueberries. Fresh, juicy, forgiving, and un-torched.

In other news: I haven’t messed with eeevery waffle I’ve made. I’m actually pretty waffle proficient. I just got cocky.

See:

•  Cheddar Buttermilk Waffle BLTs.

•  Mashed Potato Cheddar and Chive Waffles.  

•  Whole Grain Waffles with millet, poppy, and sunflower.  

•  Vanilla Bean Sweet Potato Waffles.  

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Lazy Mary’s Citrus Tart

Lazy Mary's Citrus Tart

Lazy Mary's Citrus Tart

 If I find the word ‘lazy’ in the title of a recipe, it’s just… I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief.  Finally, a recipe that couples my deep love for pie with my deep appreciation for sitting on my porch, sipping drinks, and talking trash.  You mean I can have both homemade pie and lazy trash-talking all in one sweet situation!?  

Well… yes, and also NO.  You can have your pie (tart), but like any good pie, you’re going to have to work for it. 

Yea.  We can talk about it.  I’m going to make us. 

calamondin tre

First, let’s talk about citrus! 

The original recipe for this lazy / not-so-lazy tart calls for a Meyer Lemon.  A whole Meyer Lemon.  Peel, pith, insides.  The whole shebang.  

Meyer Lemons are all well and good, and you should totally use a big juicy one for this recipe.  I happen to live inside this mess of citrus in The French Quarter and wanted to find a way to incorporate this crazy citrus into my tart.  

Lazy Mary's Citrus Tart

These are calamondins!  New fruit from my new city.  Tiny, very tart, thin-skinned, lightly seeded citrus fruits.  I halved these, scooped out the sneaky seeds, and added them  to a blender for the pie filling. 

It’s time. 

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All The Citrus and Some Of The Greens Salad

All The Citrus and Some of the Greens Salad

All The Citrus and Some of the Greens Salad

I take my salads very seriously. Similarly, I take my omelettes, sandwiches and daiquiris with equal reverence. I need to know the person making me an omelette and I prefer that they have a big floppy chef hat on (bonus).  I need to shake the hand of the person making my sandwich before they put plastic gloves on and add extra black olives to my situation (thank you!).  I like to know the middle name of the person making me a daiquiri… a fact I usually learn after the third of fourth daiquiri.  All of this to say, I love when people make me food, and I really like to know who they are before I enjoy it.  

Salads, though.  I like to make my own salads.  There’s a delicate balance of fruit and green, cream and crunch and nuts.  Let’s try! 

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Winter Citrus Booster with ginger and sweet potato

Winter Citrus Booster with ginger and sweet potato

Winter Citrus Booster with ginger and sweet potato

Cold season?  Nope.  Not going to do it.  Flu season?  Get right outta here with all that.  Sniffles?  Congestion?  The general drags?  Nobody has time for all that.

To keep the sickness bugs at bay as the days frost over and chill, I’m shoving every whole and healthy bit of produce I have into my juicer.  This version is heavy on the big, bright citrus of Winter, and spiked with spicy fresh ginger.

There’s no way a cold is getting me down.  #knockonwood

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Brown Butter Cranberry Almond Pancake Muffins

Brown Butter Cranberry Almond Pancake Muffins

Brown Butter Cranberry Almond Pancake Muffins

Well… I mean… once you have half a bag of fresh cranberries sitting in your refrigerator, you really can’t ignore them.  Technically, you can ignore them until they soften and just about turn themselves into something between wine and jam… but that takes months and is not listed among ideas that are good.

These particular fresh cranberries were left over from the Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie:  a good idea that I will continue to support.

It’s the weekend which means it’s time for warm things straight from the oven, preferably covered in maple syrup.

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Apple Snap Cocktails

Apple Snap Cocktails (4)

Apple Snap Cocktails (4)

It’s time for a new go-to cocktail.  This summer’s negroni and sangria indulgences are long past me.  I’m looking for an Autumn cocktail that feels ample and cozy… but nothing like mulled wine or syrupy sweet pear drinks.

Has there ever been a tasty mulled wine?  I think no.

Apple Snap Cocktails

I wanted to combine the sweetness of fruit with the spiciness of the season.  Apple juice.  Fresh pressed and unfiltered.  Bourbon, naturally.  Lime and bubble water.  But spiiiiice! Needed and necessary.

Have you heard of Art In The Age?  They make the most lovely, unique organic spirits.  My favorite this season is SNAP, inspired by old school Pennsylvania Dutch ginger snaps.  Yessss, right?

SNAP is made from a neutral alcohol, molasses, ginger, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, tea, and sugar.  So so good!  Pairs perfectly with bourbon (yes!) and fresh apple.  I’ll be sipping on this SNAP all winter and I’m pretty sure I’ll keep a bottle or two around for hostess gifts.  It’s a treat.

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Apple + Fennel with Pistachio + Apricot

apple + fennel with apricot + pistachio

It feels like we’re in the middle of things.  Like we have to begrudgingly set down our watermelon and water balloons and pick up our infinity scarf and pumpkin spice latte.  Seasons don’t happen in a snap.  There’s a transition period… a kind of grace that allows us to take a deep breath, absorb our days of sunshine and beach breezes to ready ourselves for the crisp nights and spiced cider.  What we crave in the transition can be tricky.  I find myself gobbling all of the peaches and dreaming of apple fritters.  Truth be told, I’m always dreaming of apple fritters, that’s no surprise.

apple + fennel with apricot + pistachio salad

This salad feels like a lovely transition.  Fresh apple and fennel make it easy to move into Autumn.  It’s no time to crank up the oven for a roast when I find myself still craving fresh and bright flavors.

We’re also adding fresh arugula for its peppery notes, salty roasted pistachios, sweet dried apricots, and salty parmesan cheese.  It’s all about balance!

This recipe is inspired by Chef Nathan Lyon.  His seasonal cookbook is a staple in my kitchen.

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Weeknight Cobbler For Two

weeknight cobbler for two

weeknight cobbler for two

This is a safe place.  This is the place you can openly admit to watching Bachelor In Paradise and eating chocolate chips for dinner.

It’s Monday and the sheer fact that we’re making it through the day means that anything goes including chocolate for dinner and super easy crumble cobblers for dessert.  It’s as simple as that, really.

Peach and Strawberry Weeknight Cobbler for two

Hopefully you have a peach and a few strawberries.  Maybe you have a plum and a few cherries.  Maybe there are a few blackberries and raspberries in your fridge.  Noooo banana… save that for smoothie tomorrow morning.

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The Single Pancake

The Single Pancake with blueberries and lots of chocolate

The Single Pancake with blueberries and lots of chocolate

One of life’s small pleasures:  sharing breakfast with someone.

I mean… if you can find someone who will order the savory breakfast, but then let you pick at their hash browns… I’m pretty sure that’s a love for life.  The ultimate breakfast situation involves sharing an eggy-hash and then sharing a totally over-the-top pancake.  If you can find the human that wants to embark on this sort of breakfast endeavor with you, marry them or give them one of those BFF friendship necklaces.  Either way.  Shared breakfast is a big deal.

Breakfast isn’t always about a pair.  Heeeeck no!  The solo pancake expedition is just as important as the coupled pursuit.  This pancake recipe makes one giant pancake filled with fresh blueberries and chocolate pieces.  Just one!  Just one mega pancake with way too many fresh blueberries and a little too much chocolate.  It’s perfect for one hungry belly, or two bellies to serve after eggs as something I like to call… breakfast dessert.

The Single Pancake with blueberries and chocolate

This recipe comes together in little bits.

Little bits of flour and oats.  A little bit of sugar, cinnamon, and soda, powder.  A little bit of butter.  A lotta bit of fresh blueberries and chocolate.  Too many blueberries and too much chocolate… that’s really what we’re going for.

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Raspberry and Pomegranate Smoothie with Green Tea Ice Cubes

raspberry pomegranate smoothie with green tea ice cubes

raspberry pomegranate smoothie with green tea ice cubes

Don’t look at me with those sad-clown eyes (wait… is that a thing?).  It can’t be all Peach Cobbler Cinnamon Rolls around here.  That’s unrealistic (though delicious) and downright daunting (though delicious).

When the day’s diet turns a bit too indulgent, I reach for a blender and try to coax whatever fresh ingredients I have into a healthy smoothie.  It’s not rocket science… it’s mostly just fruit and almond milk.  You know the old song and dance.

If you take away any little gem of inspiration from this smoothie concoction, please let it be the Green Tea Ice Cubes.  Though so so simple, these little blocks kinda thrill me.  All the antioxidants and good vibes of green tea, frozen into a smoothie friendly cube and ready for blending.  It’s a clever way to add more nutrients to our smoothie meal!  I’m into it.

Raspberry Pomegranate Smoothie

My favorite smoothie boosters include:

•  Chia seeds for their omega powers

•  Maca powder for energy

•  Aloha Green Juice Powder for a major boost of green and minerals

•  Raw Meal Protein Powder for a vegan, gluten, and dairy free protein bang

•  Big handfuls of kale, cucumber chunks, and not bacon.  Whatever you do, don’t add bacon.

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Peach Cobbler Cinnamon Rolls

peach cobbler cinnamon rolls

peach cobbler cinnamon rolls

I’ve come to infiltrate your weekend.

You may have had plans to sit on the couch, go to the beach, do some sort of house work, eat a hot dog… NO!   Scratch all of that.  Forget it.  No good.  There are cinnamon rolls in the mix!

Seriously… can I elbow my way into your free time?  Can I persuade you with doughy rolls, cinnamon and almond crumbles, and fresh peach filling?  Let the answer be YES because we’re about to smash-bang peach cobbler and cinnamon rolls.  Let’s be geniuses!  Loose interpretation of the word ‘genius’…

Peach Cobbler Cinnamon Rolls

Here’s how this madness goes:  yeasted dough is topped with melted butter, oat crumble, and warm peach filling. Cobbler all up in a doughy roll,  topped with more almond crumble!

Can this be everyday?  (no.)

Peach Cobbler Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe is adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s famous (infamous?) cinnamon roll.  I’ve experimented with her recipe before.  Remember the Pistachio, Orange and Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls?  I like to think of those as our Winter Cinnamon Rolls, this peach madness is our Summer Roll.  Of course every good baker has their Summer Cinnamon Roll, right?

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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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Snap Pea, Watermelon, and Edamame Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

Snap Pea, Edamame, and Watermelon Salad

Snap Pea, Edamame, and Watermelon Salad

I’m in need of a California salad.  The kind that’s heavy on the green, unique, full of protein and surprises, and just generally sexy.  The kind of salad that would wear super expensive yoga pants… if a salad could wear yoga pants (because that totally makes sense).  The kind of salad that Gwyneth Paltrow would order if she were slumming it.  You know the stuff.

That’s exactly the sort of salad I’ve been craving.

Besides… I’ve had a watermelon on the counter staring me down and this week I’ve found the perfect combination of hunger, energy, and guilt to actually slice into it.

Come on, let’s salad!

Snap Pea, Watermelon, and Edamame Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

This recipe is inspired by The Lemonade Cookbook.  Loads of great sandwich, salad, and well… lemonade inspiration in this super fresh, California cuisine book.

I love combining greens and sweet fruit in the summer.  It’s pretty amazing that watermelon and onions can find their way into a dish together and work as a team, right?

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Peanut Butter Banana Bonbons

Peanut Butter Banana Bonbons

Peanut Butter Banana Bonbons

I lay in bed some mornings trying to will my food brain into action.

On the particular morning that these Banana Bonbon things were born into my brain, I was lying in bed thinking that I’d really like to eat Oreo cookies… but I’d like them to be frozen… and then maybe I could smear peanut butter on top… except that’s crazy… crazy good!!!

No food brain.  No.  Be reasonable.  (That’s what I think to myself as I lay in bed thinking about Oreo cookies first thing in the morning.)  We need more fruit.  Can we turn bananas into cookies?  Yes.  Let’s add peanut butter… and probably chocolate while we’re at it… and we’re going to need something crunchy… peanuts!   And let’s pull that awesome coconut oil trick to make a the chocolate as smooth as can be.

Alright food brain.  Good job!  Essentially you’ve created a chocolate-dipped frozen banana and found a way to smash peanut butter inside.  You started with Oreos cookies and, well… here we are.

Peanut Butter Banana Bonbons

Think of these frozen treats as mini banana peanut butter sandwiches dipped in chocolate an topped with peanuts.  It’s beyond easy and might be one of the better ideas ever on the Internet.  Speaking of the Internet, these treats are aaaallll over the dang thing, which just goes to show that no matter how hard my food brain works, it’s impossible to think of anything brand-spankin’ new.  Still though…. still delicious!  Just saying…

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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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Strawberry Raspberry Crostata

strawberry raspberry crostata

strawberry raspberry crostata

I’m on  a mission to make new friends.  I’m in a new city, I don’t know many people, and I work from home on the Internet…. so, I’m really good friends with my cat, but at some point that’s just going to get weird.

Meeting new friends in my 30’s, outside of the context of work relationships and school relationships has been interesting.  By interesting I mean, um… how do I do this!?  It seems that calling people, making plans, not flaking on plans, and making eye contact is a good start because I’m slowing amassing a group of awesome ladies in this new city.  Slowly but surely.

Strawberry Raspberry Crostat

A few weeks before I moved to New Orleans from Los Angeles I received an email from Anna of The Yellow Table.  She was in the midst of planning her cross-country dinner party road trip to support her upcoming cookbook, and wanted to host  dinner in my New Orleans home… that I didn’t even live in yet.  I said SURE because it seems like once you start making crazy moves across the country, crazy dinner parties make total sense.

The days run away, as they do… and before I knew it, Anna was in town with bags of groceries to cook in my New Orleans kitchen.  Around the table we gathered a group of total strangers/new friends:  Juley, Summer, Hannah, Rebecca, Anna, and Elise.

We laughed, talked in the imagined voices of our pets, and shared the most lovely dinner of shrimp and couscous, watermelon and feta.

I made this Strawberry Raspberry Crostata for dessert because making friends out of strangers often involves some sort of berry and fruit.  Try it.  Totally works.

Strawberry Raspberry Crostata

Recipes that start with this sort of beauty hardly seem fair.  Summer is such a show-off.

Fresh strawberries are rinsed and sliced thick.  Fresh raspberries are rinsed and snacked on before adding by the handful to the strawberry bowl.

We’re also going to need some sugar, cornstarch for thickening, a squeeze of lemon, and a dash of Grand Marnier because we’re fancy.

I like how this feels.

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Snickerdoodle Strawberry Shortcakes

strawberry shortcake

strawberry shortcake

I’ve been in California most of the week under the fog of one of those really unfortunate summer colds.  A raw throat and clogged nose just feels so unjust when the sun is shining and people are drinking margaritas in bikini tops.  I mean… really.  I’m waving the white flag.

I’m hoping that sweet strawberries will help ease me back into tip-top summer shape, because right now I’m sitting on the sidelines, missing the margaritas (and the bikini tops, too?).  At the very least, my benched status has cinnamon sugar shortcakes and extra juicy strawberries.  I’ll be back in the game soon, so soon!  Please/Thanks!

Snickerdoodle Strawberry Shortcake

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Sunset Happy Hour Cocktails

sunset cocktail trio

sunset cocktail trio

I knew New Orleans would feel different from my little beach bungalow in Venice, California.  That’s why you move across the country, right?

I knew the air would be thicker in New Orleans,  I figured the walls would be older, the people more talkative, the fried chicken more readily devoured.  The Mississippi is much more brown than the dull grey/green tones of the Pacific Ocean.  The cobble stone streets in my neighborhood are like a vortex you can fall into if you’re not diligent… like quicksand.  It’s different from the sandy beach and paved bike paths of California.

I sometimes feel like I’m underwater, without the water.  Does that make sense? It must have something to do with the fact that I’m hanging out below sea level.  It’s a real feeling.

Louisiana sunset

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The sunsets though… the sunsets in Louisiana have a really familiar quality.  They have the same dusty pink, brilliant orange, and stunning blue.  It feels very similar to the sunsets     I’d watch sitting in the sand in California.

Lately I’ve wanted my cocktails to match my sunset.  It’s my little way of creating a Pinterest-worthy moment  (just a moment) out of my day.. when the brilliant orange of my cocktail resembles the brilliant orange of the setting sun.  That moment of synergy feels really good.

As the days get warmer I find myself wanting to drink ALL the drinks.  It’s so hot and humid, I’m a bottomless pit of fresh juice.

We’ve talked about Juicing here before, but I totally understand that not all of us have the space, funds, or desire to have a fancy juicer in our kitchen cupboards.  It felt like a definite splurge item to me in terms of both funds and space.  I get it.

I keep a few Evolution Fresh Juices on hand because Evolution Fresh does all of the hard work of cold-pressing for us! Their juices are fresh and bright and sooooo perfect sunset inspired cocktails!  No big fancy juicer required.

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Baking Bootcamp: Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl Bread

triple berry swirl bread

Triple Berry Yeasted Cinnamon Swirl Bread // King Arthur Flour + Joy the Baker

I first started Joy the Baker because I wanted partners in baking. Strange really, considering that when I started Joy the Baker I was working as a baker in a rowdy kitchen.  Still, I would find myself coming home in the middle of the afternoon, still looking around for people to bake with.  Maybe I was a little obsessed…

Where do obsessed people go to find friends that understand them?  The Internet… obviously.

(What feels like) ages ago I joined an online baking group called The Daring Bakers.  Every week a different member would bring the group a new and challenging recipe, we’d all make it, post the results and photographs on our respective blogs, and otherwise totally dork out on our accomplishments.

Being part of The Daring Bakers was instrumental in helping me grow my blog audience, helping me make great baking friends online, and helping me realize that I really should never attempt to make a baguette in my home oven ever again… all really important things.

Now, I wanted to bring some of that community spirit back to Joy the Baker! I want us to take on baking challenges, get in the kitchen, and share all the goodness that comes out! We’re partnering with King Arthur Flour on a 4- part baking challenge called BAKING BOOTCAMP!  You guys… this is going to be good! The goal is to learn the differences between the most popular flours we use in the kitchen, and to get in the kitchen (each and every one of us) and take on 4 different baking challenges with new knowledge and confidence under our apron strings!

Triple Berry Yeasted Cinnamon Swirl Bread // King Arthur Flour + Joy the Baker

Four Flours + Four Recipes Challenges + One Instagram #bakingbootcamp

+ Four Awesome Sets of Prizes!

The idea is simple!

•  Make this braided Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl Bread (it’s sooooo good!) and take a picture of your creation!

•  Follow @joythebaker and @kingarthurflour on Instagram

•  Photograph your beautiful braided bread and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #bakingbootcamp

•  When you submit a photo, you’ll be entered to win a one year supply of King Arthur Flour and a Baking Essentials box valued at $250!!  Official rules and details can be found here.

I’ll be answering questions and sharing your photographs here on Joy the Baker.  By entering the challenge you’ll also have amazing cinnamon swirl bread in your kitchen, so… you really can’t lose.

Let’s get started!

Baking Bootcamp Essentials

Here’s what you’ll need for our Cinnamon Swirl Bread Baking Bootcamp:

1 •  King Arthur All-Purpose Flour  is perfectly soft and reliably sturdy for this braided bread.

2 •  I use this King Arthur Flour Bench Scraper just about everyday in my kitchen.  It’s perfect for scraping little dough bits from the countertop… something a sponge just pitifully attacks.  You might also use the bench scraper as a knife to slice though the center of the rolled dough.  It’s sharp too! I love this tool!

3 • Kitchen fashion is important to me.  Hedley & Bennett understands my needs for a functional, durable, totally chic apron.  Not too frilly.  I always want to be more badass than 50’s housewife-y in the kitchen.  

4 • My Cast Iron Skillet are a staple in my everyday kitchen.  Some are more successfully seasoned than others, but I try to keep some cast iron specifically for savory and other just for sweets.

5 • Having  Colorful Mixing Bowls  is the kitchen equivalent of having a great black dress in your closet.  Necessary treat.  

6 • Powdered Sugar Sifter because dumping it straight from the bag onto our finished bread is way more dramatic and clumpy than we want it to be.

7 • I inherited a Marble Rolling Pin from a family friend and now I don’t know how I’ve gone without one for so long!  This piece has great weigh and can be chilled in the refrigerator prior to rolling to keep our doughs more amiable.

8 • Don’t skimp on Good Silicone Spatulas.  The ones that melt along with the butter are just infuriating.  

9 • Is it normal to have a completely mismatched set of Measuring Cups, or should I just treat myself to a matching set like this?  Don’t answer that…

10 • Same goes for the Measuring Spoons… it’s nice to have a full matching set.

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