Oh Joy

make a tropical breakfast basket... 17 Apr 2017

Breakfast-fruit-baskets-blog

I have the hardest time making time to eat breakfast during the weekdays because I'm so busy getting everyone else ready to go, go, go in the mornings! So anything that can be prepped in advance is always a big help. And since I love having a mix of different things, we want to show you how easy it is to put together a mini breakfast basket like this one!

a tropical breakfast basket

You'll need:

A variety of easy-to-eat fruit and other healthy morning favorites like:
- Grapes
- Papaya
- Dragon Fruit
- Bread
- Yogurt w/ Kumquat slices
- Kiwi
- Banana
- Watermelon
- Mandarin Oranges

a tropical breakfast basket

Then, simply assemble a variety of items mixing colors, textures, and variety. In some cases, you can prep them the night before so it's ready to go in the morning. And then, simply add any super fresh items like yogurt or sliced fruits right before enjoying.

a tropical breakfast basket

These also make for a fun breakfast option to prepare for the whole family or for a having guests over. It's healthy, easy, and looks beautiful!

Items shown: Target napkin (past season), Local + Lejos turquoise & pink baskets (past season),Indego Africa pink woven basket, Indego Africa black woven basket (past season), Leif spoons (past season).

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester, and crafting by Jess Hong.}

honey chickpea salad! 4 Apr 2017

honey chickpea salad

The Oh Joy Office is on a bit of a health kick right now (except for me who will continue to believe that ice cream is high in Vitamin C ;P), so we're sharing this simple, yet delicious, recipe of an office favorite—Honey Chickpea Salad! Here's how...

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play with your food! 23 Mar 2017

play with your food / oh joy

I've always admired those moms who make fun faces or shapes out of food for snack time—there' something so charming about it, but it also seems like it takes a TON of time. So rather than write it off and assume it would take too much time, we challenged ourselves to create a fun, healthy, and delicious afternoon snack for your little ones. Today, we've partnered with Wonderful Halos mandarins, who we've loved as a family snack for years, to bring some playful snacks to life!

play with your food / oh joy

play with your food / oh joy

1. Blow Fish — Snack time can be hard when your kids are need a boost of energy before dinner and you don't want them to fill up on heavy snacks that will spoil their meal. By turning a Wonderful Halos mandarin into this super cute blow fish, it provides just the right bit of sweetness they crave but in a healthy way. With half of a Halo, we added in carrot sticks to make the spikes, cucumber peels for the seaweed and fish's mouth, and blueberries for the bubbles! Finally, use sprinkles, rice, or sesame seeds for the eyes.

play with your food / oh joy

play with your food / oh joy

2. Palm Tree — For the summer or as an ode to an upcoming vacation, try making a Halos palm tree! This scene is a fun one that the whole family can nibble at. Use segments of the Halos to create the tree fronds, then add celery for the base, grapes as coconuts, and cucumbers and cucumber peel for the grass. This one is quick and easy and could be created in five minutes!

play with your food / oh joy

play with your food / oh joy

3. Happy Face — I love this sweet little face! Start by cutting off the very top of the Halo and then add in curled pieces of the rind. Add a sprig of celery leaf and cut eyes and a mouth from the cucumber peel. This one could be customized in so many ways to make the hair as crazy and outlandish as you want. It's also a fun one for kids to take part in help making snack time extra fun.

play with your food / oh joy

play with your food / oh joy

4. Pattern Play — If you want to get a little more serious, try using Wonderful Halos and some other fruit friends to make a pattern. This is a fun option if you're having a group of kids over after school to make something that feels special. Additionally, it won't take too long for multiple kids to create this one. Simply arrange segments of Halos along with blueberries and sliced kiwis in a pattern on a plate!

play with your food / oh joy

play with your food / oh joy

5. Puppy — How sweet is this little guy?! This one is guaranteed to bring a smile to your babe's face and award you the Best Parent Ever trophy for making snack time epic. Combined sliced Halos, segmented Halos, and slices of the rind to create the body of the pup with small grapes for the paw, blueberries for the nose, and sprinkles or rice to make the eyes.

When kids enjoy what they are eating, it makes a healthy snack more fun. We promise it will be as fun for you as it is for them!

*This post is brought to you in partnership with Wonderful Halos. All words are my own.

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester, and food art by Jess Hong.}

happy friday + yogurt mousse! 6 Jan 2017

yogurt mousse

As we start off the new year on the right foot, I asked our friends at Botanica to share a delicious, guilt-free snack that we could have any time of the day. Their yogurt mousse brings yogurt to a whole new level! Here's how to make it...

yogurt mousse

A few notes: In order to do this mousse justice, you’ve gotta start with good, thick yogurt. Our go-to is Aris, a thick sheep’s milk variety available around California. You can also use Greek yogurt purchased at any local grocery store. As long as you get your hands on a yogurt that has some heft (and tang!), you’re golden. Also important? Good eggs. Keep in mind you’re eating the whites raw, so you want them to come from a happy place!

You'll need:

Makes 2 ample servings (or 4 smaller servings)

- 3 happy eggs

- 2½ tablespoons honey (or more, if you want it sweeter)

- 1¼ cup delicious plain yogurt

- 1 tablespoon orange or lemon zest

- 1 vanilla bean, halved, seeds removed

Here's how:

1. First, separate your eggs. Add the whites to the bowl of a stand mixer or a big mixing bowl (if you have a handheld mixer). Save the yolks for another use (aioli, namely).

2. Beat the whites until light, fluffy and semi-firm.

3. Pour the honey into a small saucepan set over medium heat. When it bubbles, turn your mixer back on and stream the honey very slowly into the egg whites, beating all the while, until a stiff meringue forms. It should be glossy and form stiff peaks if you dip a finger in it.

4. In a medium bowl, mix the yogurt, orange or lemon zest and seeds from the vanilla pod. Then gently fold the rest of the meringue into the yogurt in a few batches (we use a silicone spatula), making sure everything is incorporated, being very careful not to deflate it. Stir through a spoonful of meringue to loosen the yogurt a bit. The mousse should be light, fluffy and hold together well.

5. Spoon it into your serving vessel of choice (ramekins and teacups are nice), then chill in the fridge for at least an hour (preferably more, if you want it nice and cold -- but note that it will separate a bit as it sits and will need a gentle stir before serving).

We serve it with whatever fruit is in season — berries or stone fruit in summer, fresh citrus segments in winter — and any toasted nuts and seeds we have lying around. Feel free to experiment with different zests and spices, and serve this with any and all fruits and compotes. You seriously can’t go wrong with this one.

{Photos and recipe by Botanica}

how to create a veggie plateau for the holidays... 10 Dec 2016

how to create a veggie plateau for the holidays

Our friends at Botanica are known for their veggie plateaus—a multicolored jumble of gorgeous seasonal vegetables, prepared every which way, with flavors and textures and dips galore. It’s a tower of savory treats designed to be set at the center of a table and be utterly (and communally) devoured. It’s a constant at their parties and I'm in awe every time I see one. So, I asked them to share their tips on how to make one just in time for holiday entertaining!

how to create a veggie plateau for the holidays

The plateau is inspired by two of the world’s more delicious things: fresh vegetables and aioli. The key is to have a variety of shapes, textures and flavors.

how to create a veggie plateau for the holidays

Step 1: Hit the market and pick up the loveliest vegetables you can find. You’ll want a mix of things you can eat raw, poached (or steamed or blanched), roasted, grilled and/or fried.

how to create a veggie plateau for the holidays

Step 2: Pick your dips. The goal is variety! We consider some type of aioli a must (roasted garlic or smoked paprika are favorites), plus something green and herby (salsa verde, perhaps?), something bright and sweet (beet muhammara or squash hummus), something oily (like dukkah, olive oil and lots of lemon zest), something creamy (garlicky labne!)…really, whatever you want to dip things in over and over will work.

how to create a veggie plateau for the holidays

Step 3: Prep your veggies. Partially cook whatever needs it before hitting the grill (tiny potatoes, Japanese sweet potatoes, beets); blanch whatever’s getting blanched (haricot vert, asparagus); slice what’s getting roasted, and so on.

how to create a veggie plateau for the holidays

Step 4: This one’s the key to it all: Season EVERYTHING. The only things that should hit the dish plain are the most basic crudité (fennel, cucumbers, radishes). Everything else should be seasoned — with olive oil and sea salt, at the very least — so that it tastes lovely even if you pop it in your mouth naked, without a lick of dip.

how to create a veggie plateau for the holidays

Step 5: Roast, grill, season, etc. Spoon the dips into little bowls and garnish them as needed. Stagger them on a platter, a board, tiered plateau, or whatever vessel you’re using to hold this array of earthy delights. Place the prepared vegetables around the dips in a semi-random fashion. (There’s no beauty in perfect order here! Delicious vegetable mayhem is the visual goal.) Tuck fennel fronds, carrot greens, rosemary sprigs or edible flowers here and there to make it extra pretty.

how to create a veggie plateau for the holidays

Step 6: Place on a table and prepare for “ooooooooh!”s. We view this as a use-your-hands-and-triple-dip situation, but we understand that sometimes plates and serving spoons have their place.

Enjoy! To see more about Botanica, visit their Kickstarter right here!

{Photos and recipes by Botanica

a hearty fall salad for brunch! 13 Sep 2016

Fall Brunch

I love brunch. Like I love brunch more than a lot of things. But you know what brunch usually doesn't have? Salad! And as much as I'd love to eat only eggs and carbs for brunch, sometimes you need some of those greens for your growing bones, too. So today, we're sharing a recipe we created for a hearty fall salad that's perfect for brunch (or lunch or dinner, too ;). Here's how to make it...

Fall Brunch Salad

You'll need:

For the salad:

- 16 oz kale

- 1/2 cup thinly sliced brussels sprouts

- 1/3 cup thinly sliced beets

- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

- 1 cup micro greens

- 2/3 cup feta cheese

- 1/2 cup julienned heirloom carrots

- 1/3 cup pistachios

- 2 cups cubed, roasted butternut squash

- 3 tbs honey

- salt & pepper 

For the dressing:

- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

- 3 tbs maple syrup

- 1/4 cup olive oil

- salt & pepper, to taste

Fall Brunch Salad

Here's how:

1. Preheat over to 375 F. Toss diced butternut squash with honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

2. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring half way through to evenly brown. The squash should be slightly tender and lightly browned.

3. In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients—kale, brussels sprouts, beets, pomegranate seeds, micro greens, feta, carrots, and pistachios. Allow for butternut squash to cool for 15 minutes before adding to the salad. 

4. Prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients. 

5. Add butternut squash and mix in dressing. Salt & pepper to taste.

Fall Brunch Salad

Add the salad to your other dishes, and you'll feel much better having this dose of green!

Fall brunch table runner

And, to spruce up your brunch table quickly and easily, we added in a faux leaf garland and mixed in some real eucalyptus and flowers. It made for a centerpiece that lasts longer and costs a lot less since you can use the garland over and over again.

{Photos by Casey Brodleystyling by Julia Wester, crafting by Jess Hong. Tabletop items: Pehr runner, Target flatware, 1882 Ltd Plates, Pehr napkins, vintage glasses.}

summer berry tart! 28 Jul 2016

summer berry tart by sweet laurel

Few things are more refreshing then a berry tart on a summer day. Today, our friends Claire and Laurel from Sweet Laurel are sharing this beautiful dessert with us that takes only 15-20 minutes to make! And what's even better, for those of you have food allergies, this tart is gluten, grain, dairy, refined sugar free! Here's how... 

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the most beautiful açai bowls... 5 May 2016

Frozen Açaí Bowls

Even though I live in Los Angeles (the land of the super healthy), I can't say I live that gluten-free, macrobiotic, eat-some-oxygen-for-breakfast kind of life. I like being healthy when I can, but I also love things that taste good (hello donuts and fried chicken). And the combo of those two things can be hard to find.

In walks Amazebowls, a company I came across at a recent event and fell in love with their açaí bowls. If you're not familiar with açaí, it's a berry from South America that has been coveted for its health benefits. And, it actually tastes good (like blueberries mixed with a touch of chocolate). So we asked Amazebowls to share a recipe for Açaí Bowls with us so we can all recreate this deliciousness at home. This was the best and most beautiful breakfast ever (I ate two the day we did this shoot)...and makes for a great snack or pick-me-up pretty much any time of day...

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family meal: chinese chicken salad... 31 Mar 2016

Chinese Chicken Salad recipe

A couple weeks ago, I blogged about how we do something called "family meal" at the Oh Joy office where each of us is assigned one day each week to make lunch for the whole team. That way, we only have to worry about bringing lunch one day a week and it gives us a mid-day break where we all sit down to lunch and enjoy a meal together. Last time, I shared our crafting assistant, Jessica's, Roasted Sweet Potato Sandwich and today, we're sharing this Chinese Chicken Salad that our Creative Producer and Stylist, Julia Wester, makes...that I LOVE so much! It combines so many textures and flavors and is one of my favorites for lunch.

Chinese Chicken Salad recipe

You'll need (serves 4):

- 2 cups romaine

- 2 cups of shredded/pulled chicken breast

- 1 cup shredded carrots

- 1 cup shredded cabbage

- 1/2 cup chopped green onions

- 1 cup fuscilli pasta (pre-cooked)

- 1/4 cup sliced almonds 

- 1/2 cup crispy chow mein noodles

Chinese chicken salad dressing

Chinese Chicken Salad recipe

All you have to do is mix the ingredients together and toss with dressing! Now, we are fully aware that Chinese Chicken Salad is not rooted in anything actually from China. It's an Americanized version of a salad that has become a staple at cafes and restaurants. For me, it combines lots of great textures and flavors and with the addition of pasta, makes a salad that actually leaves me feeling full! It's so easy to make and SO good!

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling and recipe by Julia Wester}

a snack kit! 16 Mar 2016

How to Make a (Good for You) Snack Kit

During the week, the days are often go, go, go! I am so consumed with getting everyone else fed, dressed and off to school/work, and then busy with a million things at work. I often find myself needing a snack throughout the day to keep my energy level up. But in an effort to make sure I have a healthy snack (and not whatever random, greasy snacks are at the convenience store down the street) I recently discovered new Curate Snacks bars. Made from wholesome fruit, nuts, and grains, the bars come in six fun combinations like Indulgent Dark Chocolate & Hazelnuts or Harmonious Blend Marcona Almonds & Apricots. They have the texture of a bar you’d make in your own kitchen!

Today, I’ve partnered with Curate to show you how to make a snack kit that we created inspired by these fun and brilliant combinations. I like to make a snack kit on Sundays to bring to the office on Monday so that throughout the week, I can grab a morning or afternoon pick me up from it.

Here’s how to make these super cute snack kits...

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