Joy the Baker

Cheddar Buttermilk Waffle BLTs

May 12, 2014

Cheddar Buttermilk Waffle BLT

I still have daydreams of my Dance Like Nobody’s Watching jaunt in the laundromat.  I haven’t done it yet mostly because I’m scared and also… I’m not Beyonce.

The daydreams are still there.  They’ve transferred from my Venice Beach laundromat to the streets of the French Quarter.  In my daydreams I’m taking over the streets to The Naked and Famous song Girls Like You.  I’ve got all the jump moves and hip gyrating, spins and flips I need to look like… not an idiot.  It’s still just a daydream.  I know it’s been years and years of a daydream.  Your patience is appreciated.  Beyonce wasn’t built in a day.  (I just likened Beyonce with Rome AND I’VE NEVER BEEN SO RIGHT ABOUT ANYTHING EVER!).

While Rome (and dance videos) are built in daydreams… at least I’m in the kitchen cooking like nobody’s watching.

cheddar buttermilk waffle BLT

Except someone is watching…

And he’s really bossy about what happens to all of the bacon in the house.

Cheddar Buttermilk Waffle BLT

What happened here is this:  I put bacon, lettuce, and tomato in between two cheesy waffles. Nothing but trouble.

I was cooking (and smashing food in my face) like no one was watching.  Well.  No one my height was watching.  No one with thumbs was watching.  Just me, and this, and three minutes later a dance party for one.

I am the picture of (really embarrassing) success!  Dance daydreams pending.

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Buttermilk Ice Cream with Strawberries

May 11, 2014

Buttermilk Ice Cream with strawberries

I’ve always had a bit of wanderlust.  I like to call it a case of the ‘get-gones’.  I like to, you know… get-gone from everywhichwhere I am.  Just drop me off at the airport and I’ll figure out the rest… all of this to the great dismay of my parents and my cat who tend to stay in one place for extended amounts of time.

Last month I was lucky enough to be in Asheville, North Carolina where they have the most awe-inspiring blue mountains and the most wonderful chocolate.  Can I camp in the mountains and drink chocolate for the rest of my life?  I might be ok with that.

This weekend I visited St. Louis where I found seriously good coffee at The Mud House and the most lovely tea from The ReTrailer.  Can I just perfect latte art and blend healing teas for the rest of my days?  That seems really nice.

The get-gones shape me, in big and subtle ways.

Realistically thought, I can’t always be gone.  That’s just unreasonable.  There’s Instagram for the times when the get-gones turn into the stay-puts.  I mean… really.

I also find myself thumbing through cookbooks when I’m feeling travel-antsy.  (I’ve made up a lot of words in this post.)  My most recent cookbook traveling adventure is David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.  I haven’t been to Paris yet, but I’m pretty sure I’m 100% ready for the Coq Au Vin.  Thank you, David.

Buttermilk Ice Cream with strawberries

David’s recipe for Buttermilk Ice Cream caught my eye.  It perfectly marries my love of buttermilk with my love of cold, churned, frozen dairy.

It’s wonderfully simple!  No egg yolks.  No tempering.

There’s heavy cream for that luscious supple texture,  buttermilk for the milky tang, and granulated sugar and vanilla honey for sweetness.  I also decided to add a splash of bourbon (which comes pretty naturally to me) to help keep the ice cream scoop able in the freezer.

This creamy, smooth ice cream is like blending frozen yogurt with gelato.  So rich and fresh to death!

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Lemon and Asparagus Pasta with Pistachios and Mozzarella

May 8, 2014

lemon asparagus pasta with pistachio and mozzarella

It’s a good weekend for pasta.  You know how I know?  Every weekend is a good weekend for pasta.

Too easy.

If there’s also a couch involved in the weekend pasta plans… game over.  Consider me done!

Lemon and Asparagus Pasta

There are really great things happening in this big bowl of weekend pasta.

It’s Spring and we’re taking full advantage.  Asparagus, yes.  It’s even boiled with the pasta so laziness isn’t an excuse.  Fresh herbs and lemon brighten the whole deal into oblivion.  Olive oil… the good kind that you actually want to eat instead of butter.

We’re adding pistachios too because I’ve just discovered that Pistachios Crusted Asparagus is the best thing ever and the two should always and forever be paired together.

Lastly we’re adding mega special Bottarga.  Have you ever tried this stuff?

Bottarga is salted and cured fish roe.  Yea… get into it.  In this preparation the Bottarga is grated into tiny flakes.  It’s fishy and super salty and takes the place of Parmesan cheese in this pasta.  So much flavor! It’s unique and special.

Actually wait… what’s so special about this Bottarga is that is was handmade by my friend Jill in NYC.  It’s love, and gorgeous grated Bottarga can also be yours.  I’m already plotting sprinkling my eggs tomorrow with Bottarga.  This obsession has taken root.

Ok now… let’s pasta.

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What I Love In New Orleans

May 8, 2014

in New Orleans

Since moving to New Orleans I’ve gotten SO MANY requests from readers visiting the city for the first time eager to eat, drink, and beignet.  Now… if you’ve never been to New Orleans, it’s like you can’t go wrong.  You could stumble into almost any bowl of gumbo and happily eat your way out.  That being said, I totally understand wanting to know where to find the best of the best in the city.

I’m new to New Orleans.  Really new.  I’m no expert on where to find the very best jambalaya, but you can bet that I’m going to do my best to find it.  I don’t care how many bowls I have to devour to find the best.

As I learn about New Orleans and explore the city, I’ll leave my suggestions in a part of my blog that you can always reference… right up in the header! It reads New Orleans!  Click on that header and you’ll find yourself in an ever-growing list of the food, drink, and places I love in this city.

I hope you come for a visit!  I hope we make awkward eye contact over a plate of beignets.  I hope I stand next to you to listen to this band on Royal St.  I hope I run into you at The Joint and you have BBQ sauce all over your face.  Anything goes!

You can also follow my New Orleans adventures on Instagram.  I made a hashtag (because that’s what we do now) #jtbnola.  Let’s live it!

22 Comments

The Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

May 6, 2014

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER

I grew up in a ‘because I said so’ household.

“Why can’t I have an Easy Bake Oven?”, I no doubt said in the whiniest voice ever.  “Because we have a real oven and because we said so!” was likely the answer from my very reasonable parents.

“Why can’t I wear these filthy overalls and Nirvana inspired grunge flannel to church!?”  I’d ask my mom as we were rushing out of the house, almost late for service.  “For so many reasons, but mostly because I said so!”.  Thank goodness for mothers.

“Why can’t I drive a car like all of my friends who have cars that their parents bought them to drive!?”  Gah… what a brat I was.  My parents response was likely somewhere along the lines of, “You’re crazy.  You’re lucky there’s food in the fridge for you to eat.  You’ve only been on the planet for 16 years and we care too much about you, and our cars, and about other people on the road to ever merge the three.  Also BECAUSE WE SAID SO! Get out of our faces starting now. ”  Thanks parents.

In that vein, I bring you the BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER… because I said so (and also because of browned butter).

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER

I think I’ve posted this recipe on my blog before, but I’ve found a renewed spirit for these cookies after my friends at King Arthur Flour put these Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies to the test.  They asked, in step-by-step pictures of butter melting and flour whisking, if these cookies were the very best there are.  The answer is up to you, really.  Are the cookies that come out of your oven after mixing up this dough the best you’ve ever had?

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Let It Be Sunday

May 4, 2014

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I lost my cat for a day yesterday.  My giant, always hungry, way too fluffy, ‘I’m going to eat your scone dough’ orange cat wandered out of an open door here in New Orleans and, just like giant orange cats do…. he disappeared into thin air.

I was in the thick of preparing for the Kentucky Derby Party I’ve been talking about here for a week.  Elbow deep in Mac and Cheese, two Derby Pies (that wouldn’t set in the oven because I eyeballed the addition of too much bourbon), baking biscuits, two hours away from guests arriving, and…. a missing cat.    I’ll tell you now that I 100% freaked out, and then I 100% continued to make Mac and Cheese because I didn’t want to burn the dang béchamel.    I also cried on a few of the biscuits.

A few friends diligently searched the neighborhood.  Hearing them call for my giant orange boy cat in their dainty coaxing voices was calming.  When I searched the neighborhood myself, with flour all over my shirt and my eyes starting to puff and fatigue, I think I was offered just about every cat consolation in the book.

‘Just go outside and call for him.’  Thank you, antique shop neighbor.  I hadn’t thought of that.

‘He’ll find another good home.’  Um… I make cat treats from scratch. It doesn’t get better than my home!

‘I moved to a new neighborhood, lost my cat and it came back after four months.  You’ll be fine.” Nope.  Now I’m really not fine, but cool I’m happy for you.

‘I recently lost my cat in a tragic dryer accident so I know what you’re feeling.”  And I run screaming away from this neighbor as fast as I can.

‘He’s wearing a collar, right?’  No… get away from me.

‘Calm down.  Cats come back.’  Thank you but this doesn’t feel entirely helpful right now!

It turns out that, ok…. cats do come home.  At least Tron-cat did come home.  Early this morning, mud all over his belly, dirt crusted in his fancy tail, paws blackened with dust and dirt.  He was HUNGRY.  I mean… he missed AN ENTIRE MEAL.  I also think he was scared and happy to see me.  I told him about all the fried chicken and biscuits he missed and the Derby Party.  He told me about all the flies he ate hiding in the bushes.  I told him about the lady with the cat in the dryer and he made the sign of the cross with his paw.  Not really… that last part only happened in my imagination.

So.

That happened.

•  Also this week, I became re-obsessed with this James Blake song, Retrograde.  It hypnotizes me.  Some songs just dig deep inside your heart.

•  I have a new coffee table book:  Unfathomable City:  New Orleans.  It has the strangest maps and the coolest essays about my new city.  The San Francisco edition also seems fantastic.

•  Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere has a new capsule collection with Club Monaco, but you already knew that.  I’m excited for the collection and I think it’s really cool to see bloggers do what they do!  Totally inspiring.

•  Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo!  Let there be Breakfast Nachos.  High priorities.  A lunch time margarita might also treat us right!  I like Gaby’s Strawberry Jalapeño margarita jimmyjam.

• Can someone come over and teach me to make crepes?  I’ll provide the jam and Nutella.

•  My goals for May include making some sort of falafel or veggie burger recipe.  This Sweet Green Pea and Herb Falafel is super inspiring.

I’m off to strap on my hawk-holding gloves and give my cat a bath.  The mud bath it appears he took late last night doesn’t sit well with either of us. It’s also the last day of Jazz Fest here in New Orleans.  Find me swaying in the Blues Tent until sunset.

I love you.  Happy Sunday!

99 Comments

Bourbon Pecan Pie with Dark Chocolate

May 1, 2014

bourbon pecan pie with dark chocolate

I have two superhero skills.  Two!  So good, really… that I’m tempted to call them skillzzzz.

My two superhero skills are: catching things that are falling (anything really, it’s cat-like agility) and making PIES!  Sometimes you’re just endowed with talents beyond your ability to learn them.  That last sentence I totally made up and it can’t possible be true.  Suffice it to say, I can catch a falling wine glass without spilling a drop, and I can whip up a rich chocolate pecan pie in the blink of an eye.  Do not, however, throw a baseball my way (I can’t catch that!!!) or ask me to make you croissants (not in my superhero wheelhouse!!!).

Chocolate Pecan Derby Pie

What’s your superhero skill?  If your answer is ‘long division’, I’m super impressed.  Maybe your answer is ‘dish washing like a ninja’, in which case please come over, flex your skills and eat this pie.

bourbon pecan pie

Maybe your superhero skill is ‘not eating all the cookie dough before it’s baked’.  That really would be something.

Maybe your superhero skill can be pie baking.  I really think it should be.  It’s just butter+flour, pecans+eggs.  Rub it together.  Whisk it up.  Be a pie ninja.  It’s all so very possible.

Let’s make this Bourbon Pecan Pie with Dark Chocolate.  We’re showing off for the Kentucky Derby.  Flexin’ because we can.

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Classic Mint Juleps

April 29, 2014

classic mint juleps

Let’s throw the best Kentucky Derby Party around!  This… coming from a California girl curiously living in the Deep South.

In my mind, throwing the best Derby Party has everything to do with buying all of the mint and all of the bourbon.  With those two staples… everything else will fall into place.  This… coming from the California girl (who really likes bourbon).

A big hat is important.  A television that plays the races is pretty essential.  Red roses are a nice touch.  Fried chicken will keep the masses contented.  A Derby Pie (totally in our near future) is above and beyond, and totally major.

All of the bourbon, though.  First we’re really going to need all of the bourbon.

Classic Mint Juleps

Adorning our bourbon is also pretty important.

Silver Mint Julep cups are classic.  I have friends so serious about the Kentucky Derby, they bring their very own Julep Cups to Derby parties (ahem Ms. Whitney).

 I went with a more colorful Julep cup.  This… coming from the girl from California.  These floral enamel tumblers from MacKenzie Childs are full of charm.

Horse racing cocktail spears found here!

Classic Mint Juleps

With all the bourbon and all the mint, here we are… OFF TO THE RACES!

(I had to.)

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48 Comments

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

April 27, 2014

double crust chicken pot pie 1

I have my routines.

I get my oil changed every three months.  I get my hair cut every eight weeks.  I feed my cat every day at 5pm.  I drag my butt to bed every night at midnight.  Routines.  Structure.  It all feels good… like strapping on a bra in the morning.  I know I’m good to go.  (Totally an analogy I should have kept to myself…)

Also in the catalog of sometimes mundane routines is this PIE.  Every three years I make this Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie.  Only every three years.

Every three years I over-indulge in this pie and wonder why I don’t make it a part of my more present/pressing/monthly routine…. then I remember all of the onion chopping and carrot slicing and roux making.  It’s a process. Worthy, still… but it remains my every three years pie for all of it’s butter cutting and onion chopping.  I feel like I savor it more with the years in between.

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

Can I just say, after slicing my way through most of an onion, I get to the butt end of the onion and I’m like… I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU! WHY ARE WE EVEN DOING THIS!? I begin to question everything.  It’s a really weird place to start a cooking endeavor, but it happens to me every time.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.  Clearly I was meant to work with pastry… not onions.

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

This pie is rich, creamy, full of Spring vegetables, and tender chicken.  The crust is buttery, flakey, and otherwise perfect.

Invite a friend.  Share the chopping duties.  There’s no reason to freak out about the onion alone.  This pie is worth every slice and dice!

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62 Comments

Let It Be Sunday

April 27, 2014

it's a sunday

Sunday seems like a good day for a little of this, and a little of that.  You know… lingering in pajamas, lot of coffee, hopefully a doughnut, a long walk, and at least two hours on the couch.  I wish that for you.  Especially the doughnut.

Here are a few things on the tip of my tongue these days.

•  Clementine and Red Wine Spritzers!  Don’t wrinkle your nose.  This is really good news for our summer cocktailing.

• Last time I donated blood I fainted.  It’s a long story that mostly involves seeing someone else faint.  Who knew that fainting could be so contagious?  Still though, I’ve watched enough old episodes of ER to know that little bags of blood are super important to people who need little bags of blood.  Stat!

Donation is a big deal to me.  Fainting or not.  Three years ago I joined Be The Match, the bone marrow donation registry.  It’s a painless and free sign-up situation that only involves a mouth swab.  (I just said mouth swab on my blog!).  Should I ever be called to donate my bone marrow, I’d only ask that no one faint in my vicinity.  I’d be a goner.

• Dine x Design is my favorite new site on the Internet.  It’s the intersection of pretty pretty food and mega inspired design. This Spring Creme de Violette Cocktail makes my brain sparkle.  I’ll surely be making this soon.

This weekend I made a double batch of pizza crust and now I have unbaked frozen pizzas in my freezer.  It’s my small attempt at Shutterbean’s meal prep.

There’s a new app on the scene! Of course there is. Meet: Steller.  Steller is like Instagram for storytellers.  Instead of sharing a single picture, you can create a book of photos to flip through, combining photos, videos, and text.  There’s a major amount of customization.  The designs feel clean, simple, and super intuitive.  It’s like making your very own Kinfolk magazine… on your phone, for the Internet.  Does that makes sense?  Here’s a more helpful review.

I finally read this essay from the late David Foster Wallace: Consider the Lobster.  It’s what happens when  a brilliant thinker visits Maine’s largest lobster festival.  Originally published in Gourmet Magazine, August 2004.  I think I’m tempering myself to read Infinite Jest.  It’s working.

How awesome is it to wear a dainty finger ring on your finger? Also, I love Sweetheart Society.

I bought this Nixon Watch with gold and molasses tones.  It was a treat-yo-self moment.

 I’m hosting my first party in New Orleans next weekend!  Scream it with me now…. DERBY PARTY!  In preparation, I’ve found an ice crusher and I’m working on the perfect Mint Julep.  I’m working on a vinegar-y potato salad with lots of olives and parsley.  There’s got to be a Derby Pie inspired cupcake.  And I’m ordering fried chicken from a place called Chicken Sue’s… which sounds absolutely perfect.  Derby Party recipes coming next week!

Enjoy your Sunday!

36 Comments

The Old-Fashioned

April 25, 2014

the old fashioned

I learned how to drink alcohol between the ages of 21 and 25.

Learning how to drink is an exercise in irony.  It’s like you have to learn how not to drink in order to learn how to properly drink.

The lessons learned are often far too numerous and embarrassing to acknowledge.

Stay away from that dark rum.     You didn’t need to drink whatever was in the paper bag.     Any booze made in a bathtub is really really really not a good idea.     A shot on the way home from the bar is 100% foolish.     Every drink in Vegas will somehow multiply itself by WAY TOO MANY!    Tequila… ugh.     Cheap gin is downright criminal.     Dropping a shot into any other drink and consuming it quickly should be reserved for sushi karaoke bars, or better yet… NEVER.     Don’t Jagermeister anything.    You are not Tyra Banks in Coyote Ugly before she went to law school.      Vodka is not spicy water.

The lessons really are too many  to chronicle.  I mean…

I found my drink by figuring out what wasn’t my drink, a feat I hope you all approach gingerly. My drink order:  A Maker’s Mark Manhattan, up, with two cherries.  Gah… just to think of 21-year-old me ordering that drink makes me roll my eyes.  I was going for sophistication, poise, edge, knowledge, with a touch of sweetness.  Also… gag me with a spoon.  Right?  I think mostly I was trying to seem cool enough not to get carded.

These days, anyone that cards me is an angel sent from heaven.  Literally?  My drink of choice currently: an Old Fashioned, no cherry, extra twist and what kind of Rye Whiskey do you like best, bartender?  It’s simple and classic and admits defeat when it comes to proper rye whiskey knowledge.  I think it might also betray my Mad Men fan girl tendencies but I’m ok with that.

Here’s how!

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Lemon Pound Cake with Lemon Poppy Seed Buttercream

April 22, 2014

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I forget.

I sometimes forget that we have a thing here.  A thing that’s more of a weird Internet friendship than a simple fling.  Forgive my forgetting.

I’ve gotten a lot of urgent emails and tweets and random Internet shouts about why why why WHY I picked up and moved my little world to New Orleans.  (I also respect the fact that some of you couldn’t care less… that’s cool.)

The answer is probably far less exciting that you’d like it to be.  I moved from California to New Orleans because I wanted to.  I wanted a change in place, a jolt of inspiration, more crawfish on my plate, adventure.  I wanted to feel out of my element and get to know a new place.  New Orleans, with its little bit of magic, seems like the place my heart wants to be.  So… this is that!

Lemon Cake with Lemon Poppy Seed Buttercream

Can I be honest with you about something?  The more people asked me why I was moving to New Orleans, the more I wanted to hold that information close and keep it to myself.  I try to keep a balance of what I share with the big wide Internet (with its supporters and haters) and what I keep to myself.  Mostly I’m trying to protect you from things like… my weird love for One Direction and all those times I feel too many feelings.

I’ve created a place where I can share, where we can share, where we can hang out and bake together.  Trust me when I tell you that you don’t want all of the nitty-gritty.  I just forget that sometimes I have to explain myself. It totally makes sense that you would want to know the why.  (Again, it also makes sense if you don’t give a care.)

Anyhow… I’m still trying to figure this whole ‘sharing on the Internet’ thing out… six years into the game.

At least now you know the not terribly interesting reason I moved to New Orleans.  Did I mention the crawfish?  That has a lot to do with it.

Lemon Cake with Lemon Poppy Seed Buttercream

I’m still figuring out how I want to photograph in my new space, I’m learning the quirks of my new oven (which are many), and I’m trying to figure out if there’s a single surface that my cat can’t jump on.  I appreciate that you’re along for that ride.

Learning curve: steep.  Still there’s cake.

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Pistachio Crusted Asparagus with Feta

April 21, 2014

Pistachio Crusted Asparagus with Feta

I had a little taste of Asheville, North Carolina waiting for me when I returned to New Orleans last week.   It wasn’t a warm mochas or a drinkable caramel, sadly… but those are fleeting anyhow.  I found my friend Ashley’s book Handmade Gatherings waiting for my in my mailbox!  The very same Ashley that writes about chickens and bees, and had me in a stone-bottomed river bed pretending to be warm for a Spring picnic photoshoot.  Needles to say, Ashley is always welcome in my world.  I usually just need boots, a sweater, and an empty stomach.

I found this recipe flipping through the Spring pages of Handmade Gatherings.  Asparagus meets pistachios.  Roasted tender and crunchy.  Green on green.  Salty and fresh.  From the recipe title alone I knew it would be exactly right.

Spot on!  This is dish is all balance and heart.  Good timing.  I was just starting to miss those endless waves of green-blooming Blue Ridge Mountains.  Asparagus will step in where the mountain-longing creeps in.

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52 Comments

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

April 16, 2014

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s better to just let it be what it is.

I had every intention of making you a fancy Easter brunch cake… the kind with lemon and lavender and swirly frosting… but as I stood in my kitchen (with exactly zero lemons), and evaluated my desire to go to the store (to buy hella lemons), I thought… can’t it just be what it is?

What it is, is CHOCOLATE.  That’s what I want.  That’s what I need.  That’s what I have in abundance in my kitchen.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

In the spirit of letting it be what it is, I’ve taken all of these photographs on my phone, on the fly.  I also wasn’t wearing shoes and had frizzy hair.  What else is new? Rhetorical question.

I made these cookies for us.  This is that.

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86 Comments

Triple Berry Dutch Baby

April 13, 2014

Triple Berry Dutch Baby

It’s all well and good until someone has to stand in front of the stove and flip the pancakes.

It’s a thankless job and I wouldn’t wish pancake flipping onto anyone’s relaxed weekend.

Luckily, where there are a few eggs, a bit of flour and milk, and a big ol’ handful of berries…. there is a Dutch Baby.  Pancake sans flip.

Triple Berry Dutch Baby

Dutch Babies exist in the delicious land between pancake and popover.  They’re tender and eggy, light and crunchy.  They’re also quite a spectacle coming out of the oven.  They’re show-offs.  It’s cool.  Breakfast can be dramatic.

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Milky Salted Caramel

April 10, 2014

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.

french broad

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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56 Comments

Roasted Broccoli and Cheddar Baked Potatoes

April 8, 2014

roasted broccoli and cheddar baked potatoes

I needed someone to talk me into making baked potatoes.  Silly, really.  Why would I need someone to hold my hand through placing a raw vegetable in the oven and waiting for it to be soft?  Is it really that hard or more of a mental block?  Clearly… mental.

Enter:  Nigel Slater and Tender.

I talk about the book Tender all the time because it’s a book of poetry dedicated to vegetables.  I like to just thumb through it for inspiration.  This go-round I felt inspired to step in the kitchen and (dramatic pause because this is really dramatic) bake.a.potato.  Totally life changing… I know.

roasted broccoli and cheddar baked potatoes

Why roast a potato when you can salt-roast a potato.  I mean.. right!? I’ve had salt-roasting in my brain ever since HonestlyYUM salt-roasted a Branzino.

Adding roasted broccoli and melted cheddar cheese makes these special potatoes a dinner of their own.  Potato dinner!  Better than my usual popcorn dinner.  Let’s roast!

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35 Comments

Espresso, Almond, and Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Pudding Cups

April 7, 2014

Espresso Almond and Ghirardelli Chocolate Pudding Cups

Every day I need a treat.  I need a little something that says ‘Hey, I see you trying to get through this day standing on your own two feet and you deserve this special something just for you”.

Sometimes that treat is a whole milk cappuccino with extra cinnamon.  Whole milk tastes like ice cream to me.  It’s just too good.  Sometimes that treat is a high-kick dance along to old school Beastie Boys… because, yea I’m still listening to Beastie Boys.  Often times that treat is a piece of chocolate.  A piece usually turns into a good portion of the chocolate bar… but then again, you knew that.

It’s Monday.  We’re going to need a little something to savor.  Reach for the chocolate… Or!  Better yet, make these creamy, crunchy, salty, sweet, chocolate studded pudding cups!  Actually… get someone to make it for you.  That’s the real savor.

Espresso Almond and Ghirardelli Chocolate Pudding Cups

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Spring Things!

April 4, 2014

Spring Essentials

 I feel like I’m grasping tight to the things around me these days.  I’m probably the first to shrug off the change of season, the change of moving cities, and the change of traveling a ton as no big deal…. but it all adds up to matter and I have to admit I feel a little crazy in the brain.

This season I’ve started a new workout routine.  Since I’ve moved away from my beloved SoulCycle in California, I’ve started practicing Bikram Yoga in New Orleans.  I’m terrible.  Who knew bending could be so dang challenging?

I’ve also taken out my Tender cookbook (a Spring go-to) and am daydreaming my way through Donald Link’s Down South cookbook in an effort to acclimate myself to my new city and surroundings.

Here are a few more Spring flings I’m into these days.  Though the list says these things are ‘essentials’, clearly this is just a list of sparkly indulgences. I’ll take the life changes, new growth, and sparkling trinkets all in kind.

1•• I am very pale.  That’s just the color of my skin.  I’m totally into it… until I want to wear shorts.  Faux Mineral Fake Tan, I thank you.  My legs thank you.  The public at large thanks you.  

2••  I absolutely LOVE this Ellovi Body Butter.  It feels super nourishing and it’s only six ingredients!  Macadamia Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, and Hemp Oil are the main ingredients.  Smells good.  Feels good!

3•• I’m thinking of sporting short fingernails with Blue Orchid Nail Polish as the weather gets warmer.  

4•• Pale nude lipstick like this Pearl Lipstick blends with any outfit and is less noticeable when I forget I have lipstick on and smear the whole deal all over my face.  You know?

5•• When I was a teenager my mom told me that I had a ‘hat face’.  I don’t think that’s a real term, but she meant that I look good in hats.  I ran with it and have been wearing Blossom hats ever since.  In other news, this Straw Bucket Hat helps update the Blossom days and also helps steer clear of sunburnt scalps.  

6•• Pale Pink Ankle Strap Flats  for just kicking’ around in the sun.

7•• A little pastel sparkle in these Periwinkle Dangle Earrings.  Let’s be honest… I wear a lot of jeans and white tshirts.  I always need a little sparkle. 

8•• Two Tone Sunnies.  It’s face fashion that I totally love.

9•• I always have a notebook in my bag where I can scratch down frenzied notes.  In my dreams I’m the girl that lingers with coffee in City Park and paints a little mossy tree scene.  First I’ll need to ditch the frenzy and add a Watercolor Moleskin Notebook.

10•• For my watercolor endeavors I’ll also need this little Traveling Watercolor Set.  I think this set would also make a great gift… just saying’.

11•• Everything everything in the Grey Canvas Backpack and it’s go-time!

12•• Jus By Julie is here to help us bring a bit of Spring cleaning to our insides.  I did their three-day juice cleanse and it was different from any other juice cleanse I’ve ever done.  Jus By Julie is more smoothie than juice.  All the fiber is still in the juice so the juices actually keep you full.  It’s a revelation.

Because they’re rad, Jus By Julie is offering you 20% off your order with code: JOY20JUS

13•• We can talk about juice and we can talk about booze.  It’s all about balance.  Prairie Vodka graces my little bar cart these day.  I’m a fan.

14•• Julep Cups are going to be essential for the upcoming Derby Party!  There will be bourbon and Chocolate Pecan Pie present.  I’m hat shopping now.  Get on the bandwagon!

I love you!  Have a wonderful weekend!

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Tiny Strawberry Cream Scones

April 2, 2014

tiny strawberry cream scones

Remember yesterday’s April Fools’ Day post?  The one where I mocked marble and farm tables and food blogging in general?  Yea…. well, here I am living in the the very world I lovingly mocked.  In penance I offer you with baby scones.  I set the marble aside for today because that would just be too much.  The farm table I can’t help.  Thank you for letting me mock us and myself.

tiny strawberry cream scones

I’m excited to tell you about these scones!

Sure… I’m always excited to tell you about scones.  That’s a constant.

But these scones are special!  They’re definitely more scone that biscuit.  In my world I’m generally trying to pass of biscuits as scones, but this isn’t that.

These Cream Scones are just that:  cream!  There’s no cold butter, no eggs, and no buttermilk.  Just cream, flour, and a few fixins!

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