Winter Cocktail Hour: Grapefruit Margaritas and Vanilla Sugar Daiquiris

Vanilla-Sugar Lime Daiquiris

Vanilla-Sugar Lime Daiquiris

I‘m going to play in the sun.  Obnoxious considering I don’t live in an extra-chilly, snow-covered Winterland.  There’s no real room to complain about a New Orleans January.  Still though… I’m going to go get some real-life tropical sun because I’m absolutely positive that the answer to what troubles me in is the ocean, in the sun, and inside a small coupe glass along with lime and rum.  

Grapefruit Margaritas with a hint of Cucumber

You should totally join me in the sun… or at least in spirit and in cocktail.  

You’ll need lots of lime, all of the pink grapefruits, Patron Tequila and Pyrat Rum.  You won’t need the sunscreen.  I’m going to hog all of that.  Can you even buy sunscreen in January.  Stupid question.  Cheers to us, sunshine or snow. 

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Magic Mineral Broth

Magic Mineral Broth

Magic Mineral Broth

You know what we’re into these days? You know what the latest food trend is? Not cupcakes. Not red velvet this and that. Not macarons. We’re not even talking about single origin coffee beans or biodynamic wine. We’re talking about broth. Bone, mineral, and vegetable broth.  Yes.  Broth. It’s delicious.  

Homemade broth is never just about broth.  It’s a whole kitchen experience.  I make my broths over time.  The scrappy bones of a roasted chicken are frozen for a week.  Carrot stems and onion skins and ends are stored in a container in the refrigerator for a good while.  Limp celery is put to good use and potatoes just beginning to sprout are given a home. Have you read The Everlasting Meal?  This broth is very much in that spirit.  

It’s where the fresh ingredients in our kitchen meet the more tired ingredients… in a pot, for our extreme health.  

Bone broths are a tale as told as time, but they’re totally having a moment.  It’s rejuvenating with the powers of magnesium, potassium, calcium, and collagen.  It’s fantastic start to a hearty and healthful soup and naturally (or oddly), New Yorkers are sipping the magic broth from coffee cups.    

 I’ve taken to simmering a pot every month and sipping the broth as tea or making soups.  The smell alone makes me feel like a soup genius and it’s a tremendous way to bring together the entire kitchen, scraps and all.  

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The Best of Intentions for 2015

New Year

New Year

Can I tell you one of my personal truths?  The new year… the box marked January 1st on my calendar, makes me all sorts of nervous.  

The Internet would have you believe that everyone is full of glee, rainbows, hope, excitement, possibility and plans.  It’s fantastic, right?  Unless you don’t exactly feel that way… unless you’re a little nervous like me.  Now, it’s not that I’m not tremendously hopeful and excited, but the vastness (glory be!) of the 364 days ahead sometimes feels paralyzing with possibility.  

Do I sound like I’m complaining?  I’m not.  Do I sound like I might have a scatterbrain?  I do.  Do I sound like I don’t know where to place my feet as I step into this year?  Pretty true.  So far I’m thinking one foot in front of the other is the best (and only) way to go.    

What are your resolute intentions for the new year?  Do you have a few?  Have you written them down on your bathroom mirror in lipstick?  Tell me how you’re working this new year!  

Here are some things, large and small, I’m thinking about for 2015:  

•  Dear Joy,  turn off your cell phone.  Seriously, what would happen if didn’t check your phone when your dinner companion gets up to use the restroom?  The world would end, right?  Well… let’s try anyway.

•  Social media anxiety is sooo 2013.  Whether it’s a fear of missing out or a fear of participating… none of it is actually real, so just calm down and maybe try turning off your phone.  

•  There’s always room to make your kitchen life better.  And I think it’s time for a new kitchen skill.  I’m thinking I’d like to be a chocolate master.  Is that a thing?  It’s about to be. 

•  I speak Spanish and Italian.  The only problem is that I speak both at the same time in the same sentence.  Helpful to no one, ever.  This year maybe I brush up on my Spanish and kick the random Italian out of my Spanish sentences.  

•  New rule:  Two drink max then walk your butt home and turn off your phone.

 •  Charitable resolutions like Be The Match or Compassion International are always in my year.  

•  There are all sorts of year-long projects to get involved in at the start of the year.  My favorites are:  Journal52 (prompts for the 52 weeks of the year… like brain food!).  A self-portrait a day with The Everyday App. And journaling with technology using DayOne App

•  When in doubt, when excited, when curious, when hungry for all the things:  GUT CHECK.  Our guts know. 

•  Have some fun.  Have some dang fun!  GEEZ.  

Happy New Year.  I love you.  

xo Joy

 

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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Let It Be Monday

let it be monday

let it be monday

Let’s take it slow this last week of the year.  We have a lot to absorb and a future to dream. 

Where have you been this year?

I’ve been to Uganda and Costa Rica.  I’ve been to the kitchen and the coffee shop.  I’ve been to California and New Orleans.  I’ve been scared and curious and anxious and exhilarated.  I’ve been to New York and Nashville.  I’ve been in the sky and on the ground.  Literally.  I have the plane ticket stubs and the scraped knees to prove every bit of it.  

I’ve also been hungry.  For all the things all at once.  

•  The end of the year brings with it many photo roundups.  Here’s another… let’s call this one astonishing.  More and astonishing photos of 2014.  It’s the big, beautiful, complicated, troubled, marvelous world we live in.  

•  Peter Edward Kassig was a US Army Ranger and aid worker in Syria and Lebanon.  That’s too easy to type.  He was also a son, student, flawed human, cool dude, laugher at jokes… you know the deal.  In 2012 he founded Special Emergency Response and Assistance, an aid foundation dedicated to providing medical assistance, supplies, and food to refugees in Syria and Lebanon.  Extra ordinary. He was taken captive in eastern Syria on October 1, 2013 by ISIS and beheaded November 16, 2014.  Please read this story about one man trying to save another.  It’s really remarkable.   The Race To Save Peter Kassig.   

•  This wall lay you right out on the floor.  It’s astounding.  10 of the best “Dear Sugar” Advice Columns by Wild Author Cheryl Strayed.  My advice: read every word of it.  I love “The Ghost Ship That Didn’t Carry Us”.  

•  Then there’s this:  The Obliterated Place.  Dammit all. 

•  3 Ways to Responsibly and Compassionately Respond to Panhandling

•  You should know that, as much as I’m into butter and sugar… I’m also really into space and Mt. Everest.  5,200 Days In Space.    

•  How To Write:  A Year In Advice.  What does it mean if I find the advice itself daunting?

•  I’ve Got Fifty Trivial Problems.  Join the club, buddy.   

•  Golden State.  See what they did there? 

•  Everyone should have a friend like Whitney A.  

•  My purse and travel palette.  Yes, we’re talking about makeup for a moment.  Thanks for letting it happen. Can we know about the world, care about people, and talk about makeup all at once?  Sure we can.  Sure we can. 

Happy Monday, my friends.  I love you.  Don’t make it weird. 

xo Joy

Grapefruit White Chocolate Brown Butter Cookies

Grapefruit White Chocolate Brown Butter Cookies

Grapefruit White Chocolate Brown Butter Cookies

Well, hello. Hi. How are you? Glad tidings. Happy Holidays. I like your hair.

Are you doing all of the lovely winter things? Hot chocolate? Mittens? Ski caps? Snow men?

I’d like to bring you stories of frolicking snowball fights and ski lift passes, but I’m terrified of both flying ice balls and ski lifts. Instead I could tell you about this tremendous head cold and how I’m trying to drown it in ginger tea and cookies.

White Chocolate and grapefruit. Let’s stay on our toes and in the game!

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Eggnog Rice Pudding

Eggnog Rice Pudding

Eggnog Rice Pudding

My December food-brain (because that’s totally a thing) is in overdrive. By overdrive I mean that exactly all I want to consume is that which is creamy, gooey, warm, and satisfying. I’ll take a pot pie of any and every sort. I’ll take dumplings in everything. Can we put cream cheese in everything from now until next May? I thought so.

Rice pudding fits perfectly into these creamy, gooey, warm, satisfying December needs. It’s ultra/ultimate/extreme/everything ever. By adding eggnog, well… now I’ve gone and done it. Christmas game ovah.

Eggnog Rice Pudding

I’ve never been one to sit down and enjoy a nice tall glass of eggnog. It’s feels like sipping melted ice cream. BUT! Something about the rich texture and pale yellow hue still has me smitten. Adding eggnog to rice pudding, adds the luscious holiday flavor and skips the too-thick for sipping situation. See? We smart.

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Cat Lady Gift Set

Cat Lady Gift Set

Cat Lady Gift Set

It would be fair to say that I’m two cats and four cat toys away from being a crazy cat lady.

This holiday season I’ve taken to crafting my own cat toys (yessss homemade cat toys) to share with friends who are equally enthusiastic about their cat-animals.  Last year I made homemade cat treats (super delicious and Tron approved), and this year I’ve partnered with Beyond Natural Cat Food to create happy-cat catnip-infused treat baskets.  Plush, hand-stitched and catnapped toys, jars of Purina Beyond Natural Cat Food and stacks of Purina Beyond wet food all come together to create the perfect Cat Lady Gift.

Cat Lady Gift Set

We’re even turning our plush felt catnip toys into a flying feather and pompom cat toy.  Tron is all the way into it.  Attack mode go!   

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Let It Be Sunday

back in new orleans

back in new orleans

Hello my friends.  Today is the Winter Solstice which means… some of you are having parties and dressing up as your spirit animals, some of you are celebrating the new moon and the shortest day of the year, and some of your are holiday shopping like mad.  I hope there’s a lot of spirit animal gathering… just because that sounds the most fun.

The whole wide world is happening around us.  Here’s a glimpse at the world last week.  I read the Internet and this is what it told me:  

•  These are the worst words:  Taliban Massacres Students In Pakistan.  You know what would be much better?  Things like this not happening… that’s too much to ask I suppose. 

•  Earlier this year there was a celebrity-endorsed hashtag about the young girls being kidnapped in Nigeria by a terror group called Boko Haram.  Remember that?  They’re still missing and this is still a very big problem.  At Year’s End, Where Are Nigeria’s Kidnapped Girls? 

•  Remember earlier this year when Russia was like… YOU’RE MINE NOW CRIMEA!  And we were like… WHERE IS CRIMEA AND NOOO RUSSIA YOU CAN’T DO THAT!  And we sanctioned the heck out of them, and it didn’t matter, and we continued to talk smack about their kinda crappy Olympics, and that didn’t really matter either, and basically Putin was doing whatever he wanted which included a lot of bare-chested shows of force?  Well… it’s all catching up with Russia in a big way as the value of the ruble is in the dumps, big time.  But!  Let’s not forget we’re all connected.  Global economy.  It’s complicated.   Five Reasons You Should Care About Russia’s Falling Ruble

•  We really need to talk about the Serial Podcast finale.  Spoiler alert.  Look away now if you haven’t listened to the last episode.  Ok.  So things don’t always end neatly wrapped with a pretty bow…  especially real-life situations.  Satisfaction is elusive. That being said… WHAT THE HECK SERIAL PODCAST YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!  You mean to tell me that you’re for-real going to introduce the possibility of a serial killer in Have Min Lee’s murder during the very last episode and just leave it at that?  HOW HOW HOW does that account for Jay knowing where the car was located?  WHY would Jay make up that entire story if he had nothing to do with the murder?  No no no no no. No.  No.  What are you even doing?  I can’t with you right now.  I really just can’t.  

What did we really learn from the Serial Podcast.  It’s this:  there may or may not have been a pay phone inside the Best Buy… there probably was.  Don’t give your cell phone and/or car to anyone named Jay.  Stephanie knows something.  Don seems chill.  Adnan is still in prison.  What the heck is going on(?). 

 Let’s talk about why podcasting is so delicious.   Towards a Critical Theory of Podcasting.  “Podcasts embody what is arguably the essential promise of the Internet: a means for surprising, revealing, and above all ennobling encounters with people, things, and ideas we didn’t know.”  That’s it exactly!  It’s the surprise!  

•  This particular episode of WTF with Mark Maron is 100% surprising.  It’s NUTS.  WTF Podcast with comedian Ms. Pat.   

•  Let’s talk about food.  This pie looks like exactly everything I’ve ever wanted:  Mississippi Bourbon Mud Pie 

•  Has travel become another exercise in narcissism?  Maybe kinda we’re the worst.   

•  My Family Love Story, by Seth Rogan This heartfelt and honest piece comes just as Sony Pictures shelves the release of that Rogan and Franco North Korean spoof The Interview.  On one hand, Sony’s shelving of the movie is like… YAWN Who even cares!?  On the other hand, we’re talking about a cyber attack and threats that coerced a major studio to lose a lot of money.  That’s unprecedented… that’s totally not what Americans do… and George Clooney makes some excellent points.

•  100 Most Important Cat Pictures Of All Time.  As if you’re NOT going to click on this.   

Let’s go to Cuba.  For real tho.  

Happy Sunday.

xo Joy

 

 

Brown Butter Banana Cranberry Bread

brown butter banana cranberry bread

brown butter banana cranberry bread

Whenever I need to recalibrate my brain in the kitchen, I look towards the oven and towards the fruit bowl. The oven is my base, my rock, my familiar place. My fruit bowl inevitably has an embarrassing amount of near rotten bananas in it because… I mean, who doesn’t buy a weird amount of bananas every single time they visit the grocery? That can’t be just me.

Banana bread. Familiar, simple, and sweet. It’s my first base.

I’ve spent the week writing recipes for my Brunch cookbook and I feel like aaaallll of my food ideas have been poured onto those pages for the future. Let’s just go back to first base, just to rest a bit.

brown butter banana cranberry bread

It would be fair to say that this month is a crush of madness. We all do a pretty fair job of acting like we’ve got our heads on straight, but I know what’s up. I also know how many rotting bananas you have in your fruit bowl… so, there’s no escaping this bread. Embrace the simplicity. Add cranberries. It’s festive and appropriate.

Sidenote: on this Sunday’s list post we’re going to need to talk about the last episode of the Serial Podcast because EXCUSE ME WHAT!?

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Inside the Baker’s Kitchen: Ginger Molasses and Dark Chocolate Cookies

molasses cookies

Molasses Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello friends!  It’s time for our third and final installment of Inside the Baker’s Kitchen with KitchenAid!  I want to show you my very favorite kitchen appliance, and also make my favorite spicy, sweet molasses cookies. 

This 5 qt. KitchenAid® Stand Mixer  is where luxury meets necessity in my kitchen.  I use it for everything from cake batters to bread loaves.  It’s just a work-horse.  The hum of this stand mixer of is exactly familiar to me… and it usually means cookies are in my future.  KitchenAid now has beautiful ceramic bowls to use with the 5 qt. stand mixers.  They’re beautiful, durable, and feel so special in my baker’s kitchen.  Really the most special thing!  

Molasses Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chewy edges, soft and cakey centers.  Holiday spiced, dark chocolate studded, utterly perfect because they’re cookies.

Naturally they’re topped with just a touch of sea salt.  Sweet meets salty meets perfect all around.

For more Baker’s Kitchen inspiration:  Sweet and Savory Buttermilk Biscuits and Creamy Spiced Squash Soup with Parmesan Thyme Popovers.

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Mushroom Kale Goat Cheese Quesadillas

Mushroom and Kale Goat Cheese Quesadillas

Mushroom and Kale Goat Cheese Quesadillas

Bloggers can be pretty predictable.  Since it’s December, you can count on most of us writing about tinsel and cookie swaps, peppermint coated this, mulled wine that… all the pine, all the Santa hats, all the sugar spice and nice.

Come January we’ll all be talking about salads and smoothies.  I don’t think we’re allowed to talk about fudge in January.  I think that’s actually against the law.

I have to shake loose from the holidays for a moment.  I mean… can we just sit at the kitchen counter and eat quesadillas for a while and not think about Winter cookies and holiday shopping?  That would be cool.

Let’s do that.

Ps.  The fact that these Mushroom and Kale Quesadillas are topped with sriracha makes them aaalllmost Christmas themed.  See how these holidays sneak in to stay?  Dang.

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Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Hi friends!  Look at us having a Sunday!

I’ve been in Nashville this week, mostly cozied up in a house trying my very best to write a cookbook about Brunch.  In between the brainstorming and typing I’ve eaten ALL the things in Nashville.  I smell like barbecue, and coffee, and tacos.  If you’re repulsed and concerned… don’t worry, I’m doing it right.

Thank you to all of you who came to my book signing at Parnassus Books.  Meeting you really is the highlight of anything I do.  I adore you.

Here’s our week on the Internet:

•  Time Magazine’s Person of the Year:  Ebola Fighters.  Read this.

•  I Can’t Be Forgiven for Abu Ghraib:  the torture report reminds us of what America was.

•  Louisiana’s Moon Shot.  The coastline is disappearing, but will $50 billion save it?

•  It’s that time of year.  Round-up, reminiscing, and that reverent thing we do at the end of a year.  2014: Year in Photographs January – April

•  As someone who has worked both front and back of house in restaurants, I must say I’m throwing up some Hallelujah hands for this one:  Los Angeles restaurant adds industry’s first Kitchen Gratuity line to checks. I hope the dishwashers are in on the back of house tip-pooling.  Real heroes.

•  The most annoying types of airline passengers.  Don’t you dare bring that fried chicken on the plane unless you plan on sharing with me.

•  Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy.  Let’s talk about how we hear things.  Mondegreen is the phenomenon of mishearing phrases to make sense in your head.  I’m a PRO.

•  The Pilots of Instagram.  Um… you guys?  I’m going to need to you to focus.  Please.  FOR REAL.

•  How I Tried To Lose A Guy In 10 Days.  100% all-the-way ridiculous.

•  I know everyone is obsessed with the Serial Podcast, but let’s not forget that Uhh Yeah Dude is actually the best podcast there is.

•  Baking = Therapy.  Who you tellin’?

•  Ladies be dressing.  The good.  The bad.  The not so pretty.

•  Did you take a moment to wish Taylor Swift a happy birthday?  So it’s gonna be forever / Or it’s gonna go down in flames.

Happy Holidays! Gifts I’m Giving.

JTB Holiday Collage

How’s your gifting this year? Do you have everything checked off your list, already wrapped, under the tree, in the mail?  Yea… meee neither.  It’ll all come together.  I just need to find my packing tape, my brain, and a little bit of free time.  Shouldn’t be too hard.

Here’s a peek at what I’m gifting the year.  If we’re the sort of friends that exchange gifts, consider this a spoiler alert.

1  •  Give the gift of cookies without actually preheating your oven!  This Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix from Not Without Salt makes the most lovely dark chocolate cookies. We’re all so inundated with sweets over the holiday season, gifting a mix means that cookies can be made in the future-future… like during the dark days of the January diet days.

2  •  Good coffee is such a luxury.  This monthly Blue Bottle Coffee Subscription is like morning luxury, delivered. Put your fancy pants on.  This mess is legit.

3  •  Unique cocktailing is a fine fine gift.!  I love Art in the Age’s SNAP.  It pairs perfectly with bourbon and apple and ice and a straw.  See:  Apple Snap Cocktails

4  • Never have there been softer kitchen towels, more luxurious kitchen towels.  Hard-working Turkish linen!   LoomedNOLA super plush kitchen towels.

5  •  ALOHA subscription!  You know I love this green powder!  This is a great subscription to gift going into a heathy new year.  Also… should we be doing all the Bikram Yoga?  Probably.

6  •  I know you know… I wrote a book!  Could you do me a quick favor and buy it and share it with everyone you know? Fantastic.  That would be great.  Homemade Decadence!   Grab a signed copy by calling Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans.  They’ll ship you a signed copy.  504.895.2266

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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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Winter Reading List

the vacationers the leftovers to rise again
one more thing mr & mrs glasses ny notebook
jason priestley cat dish towel drip mugs
Let’s read all the words.  We’re also going to need a lot of blankets, a cozy pair of socks, a lot of hot chocolate with a weird amount of mini marshmallows, and a fireplace would also be nice.

Here’s what’s on my reading list this Winter.  Humanity, a splash of murder, and a bit about food.  You know… the usual.

Us: a novel by David Nicholls  •  Heartfelt fiction on life, marriage on parenting.   The real things, as they are, in a story.  Exactly what we want sometimes, right?

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng  •  Family, murder, history, culture.  All the things within.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett  •  Danger, surprise, soooo many emotions, and the Amazon jungle.  It’s everything.

Consider the Fork  by Bee Wilson  •  I love reading food writing, especially in cold weather… when I’m much more hungry.  The history of how, what, and whyyyy we eat.  It’s fascinating.

Food: a love story by Jim Gaffigan  •  What a really funny man thinks about kale, coconut water, and pretzel bread.  I mean… come on.

Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky  •  If there’s any time to read about the history of salt, it’s Winter.  Also… get yo self some french fries.  Feel like a king / queen.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman  •  Reading some tragic young adult fiction isn’t a crime, it’s a page turner.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt  •  Now that I live in the South I feel bound and obligated to read this book.  Also, waiting for the Serial podcast every Thursday is too hard and I need more suspense and intrigue throughout the week.

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin  •  The man, the myth, the legend.

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Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar Beer Sauce

Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar Beer Sauce

Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar Beer Sauce

My mom had a few predictable and necessary things she’d have to repeat ad-nauseam to my sister and me at our family dinner table night after night.  There was the inevitable ‘sit still and someone please say grace’ followed by something like ‘do NOT kick your sister under the table’ or ‘stop staring at your sister when you know it bothers her and eat your fish sticks, thank you’.

My favorite/least favorite was ‘eat your vegetables, they’ll make you beautiful’.  The vegetables she was referring to were usually barely steamed broccoli or cauliflower served nearly raw (and yes, full of nutrients… which is entirely unimpressive to an eight year old).  If the (basically raw) vegetables weren’t eaten within three minutes of leaving the steamer they devolved into sometime entirely inedible to a child that wanted nothing more than a Happy Meal for dinner.  Eat your vegetables.  They’ll make you beautiful.  Eat them.  Eat them.  No seriously.  Eat them.

We ate them.

What my mom didn’t have in mind is that I’d grow up to simmer my dinner vegetables in butter and olive oil and serve them in a homemade Cheddar Beer Sauce.  I mean… Eat your vegetables!  (roasted and toasted and awesome!) They’ll make you beautiful.  (and so will the cheese sauce?)  Oh man.  Thanks mom / Sorry mom.

Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar Beer Sauce

Here’s how this happens.  Here’s what you’ll need:  a big head of cauliflower, a big pot to boil it in, butter, olive oil, lemon, and spice.

For the cheese sauce, all good things which include: milk, butter, beer, mustard, and Worcestershire.

Let’s!

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Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Let It Be Sunday

Hello, my friends. The days here in New Orleans have been amiable, the streets buzzing with energy, and there’s just something in the air… I can’t quite put my finger on it… it’s a fussy energy. An unsettled hum.

I took the long way home on Wednesday thinking I might run into some Eric Garner related demonstrations.  No.  Just brass sounds from young boys.  I also found a few streets that I haven’t walked through in the French Quarter and the dwindling day’s light felt dusty and solemn.

The days between Thanksgiving and the end of the year are a mash, aren’t they?  It’s hard to find the room for silence amidst the holiday rush, diamond ring television commercials, blog gift guides, and cookie swaps.

The world is still churning.  Here’s what the Internet has to say about it. Distilled:

•  What the Eric Garner Grand Jury Didn’t See.  We have to see what’s going on.  We really have to see.

•  Weekend read:  ISIS: What the US Doesn’t Understand

•  The Golden Quarter:  some of our greatest cultural and technological achievements took place between 1945 and 1971.  Think about it… civil rights, television, space travel, medicine.  And what do we have to say for ourselves now?

•  Totally Obsessed:  the new age of cultural manias.  Ultimately, we’re obsessed with being obsessed.  How trite.

•  Chris Rock on all things.

•  Here’s what we’re going to do… just so you know, it involves a shark tank and a fool-hearted sense of fear.  Let’s go!  Fear gives my brain the same rush as love.

•  How To Be Powerful Likeable and Female from Jenna Lyons.  Capable, kind, bossy, and all the other things, too!

•  Sorry food critics / NOT SORRY.  From Dallas’ top kitchens, reviewer Leslie Brenner is feeling the heat.

•  Let’s stay on these coffee trends, ok?  Flat White Coffee 

•  Meet the denim breakers:  the people who are paid to break in your designer jeans.

•  Now NBC’s The Voice sold 20 million songs without a single star.  I mean… this might-could be a problem.  What are we actually doing?

•  This blog is beautiful!  Fork Knife Swoon.  So many lovely holiday recipes!

•  Last holiday season I made Lip Gloss from scratch.  It was a very good idea.

•  Speaking of lips.  I love a nude… and these lipstick containers remind me of something my mom would have in her purse when I was young.

You deserve a great day.  Happy Sunday!

xo Joy

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Butter Walnut Cookies

Butter Walnut Cookies

Butter Walnut Cookies

Cookies for the sake of cookies, for the sake of December, for the sake of Christmas, and just so we can stand at the kitchen counter and count how many of these warm, nutty, powdered sugar bites we can shove into our mouths.

The answer is 3.5.  That’s how many cookies fit in a mouth.  Be careful.

I’m thinking about upcoming holiday parties, possible cookie swap situations, and general winter cookie desires.  These buttery walnut bites totally fit the bill.  Tender, crumbly, two-bites, powdered sugar clouds.

Butter Walnut Cookies

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Peppermint Pretzel Marshmallow Fudge

Peppermint Pretzel Marshmallow Fudge

Peppermint Pretzel Marshmallow Fudge

I don’t know whether I should rip into some yo mama jokes, flip a table, or pull the fire alarm, or just stop and shove aaaalll of the fudge into my face.

This fudge makes me feel aggressive.  Like I should beat my chest with pride.  Like I should… maybe I should stop talking.

The thing is… I feel like I made candy.  I’m pretty sure I made candy. Yup, I definitely made candy.  This fudge is the real deal.  No microwave.  No sweetened condensed milk.  We’re using  a real pot, a real candy thermometer, real cream, and we’re twerking sugar and chocolate into fudge.

Why would be so excited about doing something the hard way? Well… I think it’s important to know how to do things the old-school way before learning the quick tricks.  You know… like long division in mathematics.   (Do people do long division anymore?  That was always a special kind of torture.) Maybe long division isn’t the right analogy.  Fudge is way better than long division.

Peppermint Pretzel Marshmallow Fudge

Here’s what we’re going to need:  granulated sugar and brown sugar, melted butter, corn syrup, half-and-half, salt, vanilla extract, dark chocolate, and just because:  marshmallows, peppermint candy, and pretzels.  Turnt up.

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