30 Things For 30 Years

Three months ago, I set up a challenge for myself.  I wanted to run through a list of 30 tasks before I turned 30 years old.

You helped me build my list of tasks!  You started your own lists.  It feels like we’re all out in the world trying to do good, be better and share cupcakes.

Except.  Well.  Um…

I haven’t given you an update on my 30 Things list because well… I’ve already gone and turned 30… and I’m no where near done with my list.

Continue reading 30 Things For 30 Years at Joy the Baker.

Two of my favorite things. Two of you. The Giveaway!

Chocolate Chip Cookies Part 1

What do puppies with giant paws, foggy mornings, warm chocolate chip cookies and my bright, red spatula have in common?  That’s easy… they’re just some of my favorite things in the world.

If you hadn’t already figured it out, you guys are totally up there on my list of favorite things… right up there with puppies with giant paws.  You and your cute tea cup pictures.  You with your kind comments.  You with your thoughtful recipe questions.  I just think you’re dreamy.  I suppose that’s why it has become one of my new favorite things to give things to you… let’s do it again.

Creaming butter

Two of you get two of my favorite things:  an express shipped box of chocolate chip cookies made by Joy the Baker (for someone here in the US), or a brand-spanking-new, colorful spatula (going international, because Customs doesn’t like when I send fresh cookies).

All you have to do to win some of my favorite things is leave me a comment telling me where you’re from, and some of your favorite things.  Seems fitting, right?

You’ve got until this Saturday April 11th at 10:38pm PST to get your comments in.  That’s when I turn back into a pumpkin and pick the winners.

Also… I like you!

Things I Want To Put In My Face

What a week.  What a week.  Financial crisis. Bail out.  Katie Couric interviews.  Vice Presidential debates.  So much has gone on this week I literally feel exhausted by all of the news.  I do know one thing.  I need the phrase “Joe Six Pack” out of my life forever.  Seriously.  Out.

I thought I’d treat you all to some blog love.  Why?  Because it’s free, and free is a long long way from 700 billion.

Smoky Barbecue Sauce-  I know it’s not a dessert and I also know that summer is over but I could eat barbecue sauce by the spoonful.  Really?  Ok… maybe not.  But I love the idea of homemade barbecue sauce, especially if I get to use those darling flippy top jars.  Check out Cooking for Seven to figure out what they heck I’m talking about.

Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread–   Yes!  The perfect introduction into Fall.  I’m also thinking hard about pumpkin and chocolate combinations.  It’s not too early, right?

Double Chocolate Layer Cake–  Oh Amanda, you know just how to speak to my heart.  Yes.  My answer is Yes!  I’ll marry you.  Wait…. did you ask?

Sweet Cherry Pie–  Are there still cherries?  Is it not too late?  Maybe there’s something magical in Florida where Mike of Mike’s Table whipped up this pie.   Warm cherry pie with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream- I could die a happy happy girl.

Banana Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies–  Abby, what have you done?  Would these be a proper breakfast food, because I’m seriously considering these with a glass of milky coffee in the morning.  Please and thank you.

On broken eggs and other such broken things

broken egg

I feel like I’ve been breaking things all day.

First there was the printer…. and then another printer.  Two printers… broken.

Then a simple trip to the restroom seemed to be enough to unhinge the entire door.

Now… my site is feeling a little broken as well.

Here’s what’s going on.  I’ll explain it as I understand it.

I’ve gotten a few emails from readers that their IP addresses have been blacklisted and blocked from my site.  Their questions were the same as mine:  what the heck!?

It turns out that the blacklisting scandal is a hosting problem.

The hosting company I have used has increased their level of security.  That’s good, right?  Well, yes and no.

See, there’s this company called Spamhaus.

Spamhaus is in charge of compiling giant lists of evil spamming IP addresses.  They then send these lists to my hosting company.  In turn, my hosting company will block that IP address, thus saving me from the spam nasties.

But Oh No!  Some of you and your IP addresses are getting on this Spamhaus list and you’re finding yourselves banned from my site!  This may not be your fault.  You may have inherited a bum IP address, as they change every once in a while.

Now what do we do?  Well, first I think we should have a good cry…. no?  Ok.  First we should have a doughnut.  Then, if you find that you get this error message on this site, or any other site,  you can check whether or not your on the naughty list here.  You can also email me with any dirty error messages you might have received and I’ll contact my hosting company.

I’m working my way away from broken.  Just wanted to let you know!

All the Things You Made

december collage

Good Lord.

I’m so full of food.

I probably won’t eat again until 2012.

But! Yesterday you attacked my comment section with the most lovely Christmas wishes and all sorts of excitement about the goodies coming out of your kitchen.

You reached back into my archives, put on your baking gloves (duh) and got goin’ in your kitchen to create some sugarlove for your families.  I’m so glad I could be a part of that!  Blame me for those tightening trousers.  I totally think it’s worth it.

Here’s what you made! Ps.  I’m proud of you.

Creme Fraiche Quiche

Katie made this Creme Fraiche Quiche for her Christmas brunch.

She called it “flavorful and fluffy”.  She’s totally right.

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Lina made these Chocolate Brownie Cookies drizzled with white chocolate and dried cranberries.

She also greeted me with a “Sup, brah.”… which is totally uncommon.

Sweet and Spicy Baked Almonds

These Sweet and Spicy Almonds were a big hit for Roohbaroo.  She hogged all the compliments… well deserved.

Parker House Rolls

These Parker House Rolls are yeasty and topped with butter.  Ms. Wong said they were “AMAZING”.  Caps lock means things are pretty serious.

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Someone made a vegetable.  That’s a miracle in itself.  Lisa made vegetables with butter… and she says she’ll make it again.   High five.

Eggnog Pancakes

Joy in Amsterdam made these Egg Nog Pancakes for her first Christmas alone.  That makes my heart feel good.  Get it, girl.

Cranberry Coffee Cake

This is the second year Mischa made this Cranberry Coffee Cake for her family.  Um… sounds like a tradition to me!

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Gina made this Vegetarian Chili for her family.  She skipped the jalapeno and topped it with sour cream.  Smartypants.

Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls are just about the best thing ever.  Adrienne and her sister woke up at 5am Christmas morning to make these for their family.  Wendy made these Christmas morning so her boys would wake up to yeasty cinnamony smells.  Kim gave these a shot too.  Am I the only one who didn’t have cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning?

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Anne’s Kitchen made this Vegan Pumpkin Apple Cranberry Bread for her friend in an effort to get her vegan friend into baking.  That’s sweet.

Um… ok.  I have to go stop eating for like… the rest of my life.

Five Things for Monday

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I made you some truly despicable muffins this morning.  They were full of peanut butter, and oats, and the best of intentions.

They were gross.

So here we are… stuck staring each other in the face.  It’s bound to get awkward.

All I have for you is a picture of my desk.

Um.  I love you.  I doodle it sometimes.

Can I tell you about real life?

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I’m one of those girls that wears a ring on her ring finger.  I do that.  I’m not married.  I bought my own dang ring and wear it on my ring finger.  And I love it.  And it’s not coming off until… well, you know.  Maybe it confuses dudes:

Wait… is she married? She has a ring… wait.  Is that the right hand or left?  Wait.  That doesn’t look like a wedding ring.  Huh… I wonder if she’d give me her number so I can send her a text late at night, in like 2 weeks, and ask her what’s she’s doing.  Cause… Yea.

The ring confuses dudes.  I’m ok with that.

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I have a letter from my friend Tyler on my desk.

Hi Tyler.

Tyler is currently in Afghanistan being a soldier.  I think about him and all the people over there doing brave things while I sit at my desk and complain about bad muffins.  I think about them every day… mostly because I don’t want them to get shot, or shoot people, or get hurt, or hurt anyone… but well… that’s tough.

I appreciate them so much.

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I’ve got this manuscript on my desk.

THE manuscript.  For my book.  It’s almost done.

In the meantime… it’s kinda giving me nightmares.  Like… oh-my-god-this-is-a-dream-come-true nightmares.

Does that make sense?

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I also have this encyclopedia-type food styling book on my desk.

It’s extensive and sufficiently overwhelming.

Wait… is my desk stressing me out?  Maybe just a little, tiny bit.

I’m going to go make some vegan cookies, eat too many, and them tell you all about them.  Real life.

Things I Totally Love.

Bread.  Hell yes.

Bread.  Love.  Bread.

I’m on a tiny bit of a vacation these days.  Tiny.  Seriously.  Also… I’m kinda still working, but that’s mostly because I can’t help myself.

While I’m away… sort of away, I want to show what I love.  Can I share a bit with you?

Here’s one thing!  I love that you can now sign up to get my rambling posts in your email inbox.  Kinda sweet, right?  Just drop your email in the little “subscribe me!” box to the left.  Oooooh technology.  You’re rad.

Freya Art

Freya Art and Design.  I love her prints, like the one above.  Colorful and playfully designed with a touch of thoughtful innocence.  I dig it.

I recently got an email from 12 year old Catherine in Nova Scotia.  Catherine.  Thank you for your email.  You’re super sweet and I wanna squeeze you till you squeak.  Seriously.  I’m glad you like the Old School Brownie recipe.  It’s a real winner…. so are you.

I have serious affection for Beckie of Movies of Myself.  Why?  Well… she’s hilarious and approachable and real.  Aaaand, she plays a huge part in determining my musical taste.  Thank you Beckie.  I wouldn’t sound even the least bit cool trying to talk about music without you.   You’ve got taste girl!

Zuni Cafe Cookbook

I think I would love love love this Zuni Cafe Cookbook.  I went to Zuni Cafe in San Francisco last weekend.  Holy Heck!  Their food is a dream, but really…. this Bloody Mary set my world right.  It was divine.

Zuni Bloody Mary.  Eff yea.

You know what I also like quite a bit?  You.  I’m thinking about doing another Ask Joy the Baker session…. ok, mostly because I’m terrible at responding to individual emails.  What do you think about that?

Coming this week:  Pancakes.  I ride a bike in clippy shoes… to be explained.  And Ask Joy the Baker- burning questions answered.

Bridge Watching and other scary things.

San Francisco and Sonoma 

Let’s talk about this weekend’s adventures.  There were highways, gas stations and bridges.  I might have a made friends out of strangers although there was too much wine to be clear on that.  Aaaaand!  I taught my first cooking class.  In Sonoma.  That happened.  

Take a peek!

San Francisco and Sonoma 

San Francisco and Sonoma 

I spent an evening in and around San Francisco.  The Golden Gate Bridge.  It chokes me up.  It makes me a little teary eyed.  It’s just a bridge.  Why would a bridge make me want to cry?  Weirdo.

San Francisco and Sonoma 

I stayed at a lovely resort tucked just behind the Golden Gate Bridge.  I got lost trying to find it.  So lost.  But look at this place?  Doesn’t it look like where you’d want to fall in love with Ryan Gosling if you were Rachel McAdams?  

San Francisco and Sonoma 

Long grass.  It’s got character.  

San Francisco and Sonoma 

Birds.  Boats and buildings.  

San Francisco and Sonoma 

I spent the rest of the evening in the city without my camera.  If you are two of the three women that were with me that night… you should be glad I didn’t have my camera.  I’m just sayin.  Wow.  Wine.  Wow.  We all have our ‘too much wine’  moments.  I remember mine:  in front of The Pioneer Woman and Steamy Kitchen.  Oops. 

I made my way to Ramekins in Sonoma.  Above is James.  He was my hype man.  He said nice things and introduced me to the class.  Awesome.  Thank you. 

San Francisco and Sonoma 

The kitchen at Ramekins is gorgeous.  My kitchen is never this organized.  

San Francisco and Sonoma 

Nor does it ever have this many people in it.  

San Francisco and Sonoma 

Cameron is making Creme Fraiche Quiche.  She’s a dear. 

San Francisco and Sonoma 

Jessica is peppering some biscuits.  Rad.  

San Francisco and Sonoma 

Danielle is cutting biscuits.  Nice form. 

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Jessica brought Tom.  He’s the silent type.   He got his hands dirty.  

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Everyone gathered ’round the griddle making pancakes for themselves.  I’m pretty sure I’ve found heaven.  

San Francisco and Sonoma 

Meet Annie.  She’s the most dear, lovely and gracious lady I’ve ever met.  Annie, thanks for your endless help and support with this class.  Thanks for the hospitality and for loving macarons enough to stop a taxi.  You’re great.  

San Francisco and Sonoma 

And… this is what the drive home after a crazy weekend looks like…

San Francisco and Sonoma 

… but this is what if feels like.  And.  Yes.  I did sing every Fiona Apple song I know on the drive home.  I also ate a cheeseburger.  And chocolate.  

Thank you to all of you shining people who came out to Ramekins for my first baking class.  Big hugs of appreciation to the fine folk at Ramekins who made my class run like an absolute dream.  I’ll be back.  April. 

These Three Things

Violet Hour Supper Brunch 

Three things.  Can I tell you three things?  Do you mind getting all up in my business for the next several minutes of your life?

New room 

Remember two short weeks ago when I was moaning and groaning about not living in the cool part of town?  I wanted to live in a loft downtown despite my disapproving pocketbook.  

Remember the part where I cleaned my kitchen and waxed on and on about appreciating the things you have…. that the grass isn’t always greener… remember I said all that?  Well… I changed my mind.  I’m moving to a loft downtown.  

I’m sharing my space with new people and I have turquoise walls.  And I have no idea how to arrange and decorate my room.  Seriously.  I need help.  I’m lost.  Can we trade room design for baking lessons?  SOS.

sister

My little sister… the girl my heart beats for… is moving to Seattle.  We’re driving from Los Angeles to Seattle this week.  Sister road trip!  I’m looking forward to Red Vines and french fries… believe this.   If you see a giant UHaul truck puttering up the California interstate this week, please just have kindness in your heart when you cut us off.  Seattle or bust.

Violet Hour Supper Brunch 

On the Lamb held a Violet Hour supper brunch.  

There was Creme Fraiche Quiche.

Violet Hour Supper Brunch 

Can you see my face back there eagerly grasping for something?  What am I reaching for with such elation?  

Money… I wish I were kidding.  

Here is a fact about trying hard to live the dream with On the Lamb (the pop-up events and catering firm my friends and I started)… no one ever tells you how much gosh-dang-holy-heck-geeeeeez work it is.  My ankles are sore just thinking about it. But really… the excitement, the uncertainty, the new friends, the creativity, the occasional punching match… I wouldn’t trade it.  The oil burns and sore ankles are all so quickly mended when I remember that I’m trying to live my best life and I’m doing it with my two best friends… and all of these new friends that we get to feed!  

Violet Hour supper brunch

Thank you to Sandy and Jason of Enid and Edgar.

Thank you to Dan for taking such lovely photographs.  

Thank you to… you, for being so loyal and lovely and so… here.  

30 Things For 30 Years

quarters

Three months ago, I set up a challenge for myself.  I wanted to run through a list of 30 tasks before I turned 30 years old.

You helped me build my list of tasks!  You started your own lists.  It feels like we’re all out in the world trying to do good, be better and share cupcakes.

Except.  Well.  Um…

I haven’t given you an update on my 30 Things list because well… I’ve already gone and turned 30… and I’m no where near done with my list.

So! The 30 Things Before 30 Years has become 30 Things For 30 Years.

It’s a work in progress.  I’m a work in progress.  So far, it all feels pretty good.

Here’s the list that’s going to keep me busy this summer.

Let’s be better to ourselves, for ourselves, to each other, for each other.  Let’s just do that, and be that, and make a list about that… now!

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30 Things For 30 years:

Eat 1 giant birthday hot dog with sauerkraut, spicy mustard, and beer.

It was a pretzel.  There was coffee.  It was awesome.

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Send flowers to 2 friends.

Workin’.

Buy 3 strangers their morning coffee.

1 down, 2 to go.

Take 4 new people to church on Sunday.

2 down, 2 to go.

Make 5 new friends.

Done!  But these people might not know we’re friends yet.  We’re friends.  This summer I’ll prove it!

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Mail 6 hand-written letters.

Inspired by the PenPal Project… so far I’ve written 78 letters.  No joke.

Compliment 7 strangers.

I love this.  Mostly because it’s awesome to tell people that they look pretty.

Leave 8 lucky quarters on the ground.

Done.  Easy.

Send 9 of my favorite books to 9 of my favorite people.

Workin’.

Smile at 10 strangers.

I try to do this everyday.  It really does feel awesome.

Go in for 11 high-fives.

Workin’.  Awkward every time.

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Give away 12 fresh cupcakes.

Mind blowers.

Send 13 postcards to 13 blog readers.

Done!

Tip my waitress above average.

Done!

Leave 15 nice comments on 15 other blogs.

Gotcha!

Make (at least) 16 coffee ice cream cream puffs.

Workin’.

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Enjoy 17 beach sunsets.

Workin’.

Give (at least) to my favorite charity.

Workin’.

Pick 19 super ripe figs.

Can.  Not.  Wait.

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Ride my bike at least 20 miles.

Whitney!  It’s me and you!

Give 21 bits of advice to a new 21 year old.

I did this!

Make 22 beers.  Yea… make beer.

Andrea!  We’re doing this!

Stay up for 23 hours… just for kicks… and bourbon.

Who wants to play sleep-over!?

Take and develop 24 pictures… with film.

Workin’.

Take a 25 year old out to lunch.

I need a 25 year old LA friend… who is hungry.

Take 26 yoga classes.

Workin’.  I own you downdog.  (not really).

Clean my closet and give away 27 things.

Let’s be real… it could have been way more than 27 things.

Learn 28 new words.

Workin’.

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Write down the beauty of the day for 29 days.

Workin’.

Tell 30 people why I am grateful they’re in my life.

All the time.  Super important.