Oh Joy

my favorite edible gifts... 29 Jul 2013

Edible-gifts

One of the most common questions I get from my friends is suggestions for edible thank you/birthday/anytime gifts. I'm kind of obsessed with food gifts, so I wanted to share my favorites with you...

Molly-penny-cookies

Cookies. You can never go wrong with cookies, unless your friend doesn't like cookies, in which case you might want to consider un-friending him or her right now. I love Molly Penny (shown above), The Cravory, and Milk Jar Cookies for the soft, chewy cookies, and Früute and Whimsy & Spice for crisp cookies.

Liddabit-sweets-tallyhos

Homemade Candy Bars. Homemade candy bars are a nice update to the typical box-of-chocolates gift. I love Liddibit Sweets (shown above), whose offerings change seasonally, as well as Sweeteeth, Mast Brothers, Chocolate Editions, and Komforte Bars for alternatives to your standard chocolate bar flavors. Candy bars are also a great option for when you need to spend less than $20 on a gift.

Momofuku-milk-bar-cake

Cake. How often does a whole cake show up at your door? A cake is an awesome way to say, "Happy birthday, eat your heart out!" I love Momofuku Milk Bar for its unique flavors (the cake truffles are awesome, too) and Georgetown Cupcakes for those who like their cake in smaller bites.

Carmela-ice-cream-scoops

Ice Cream. Ice cream is usually a tougher (and more expensive) gift to send due to the express shipping costs and the fact that it has to stay cold. But if you're willing to spend the money and can make sure the receiver will be home, it's a pretty awesome gift to have show up at your front door. My favorites are from Jeni's and Ciao Bella (the Key lime graham flavor is one of my favorites ever). There is even a site that ships a ton of ice cream brands (genius!). 

Finally, for you savory folks, a few suggestions of the salty kind...

Pickles. This is kind of the best gift ever to send to a pregnant friend, especially if she loves pickles like I do. I think I received like 10 jars of pickles when we first announced we were pregnant with Ruby—and even if your friend doesn't eat those pickles right away, they're kind of the gift that keeps on giving thanks to their shelf-stability. My favorites right now are from Gordy's, McClure's, and Mother in Law's (if you want to get into the kimchi territory).

Charcuterie and Cheese. This is my favorite gift to send to a new mom. It's like, "Hey, you had your baby, now you can eat all the soft cheeses and cured meats you want again!" I love Beecher's and Zingerman's, as well as the options from great food gift sites like Fab and Dean & DeLuca.

So, there you go...now go give something delicious to someone you really love, like, or whom you want to love/like you back! ;) 

{Photos by Oh Joy}

currently snacking on... 18 Jul 2013

Momofuku Milk Bar | Cake Tasting Set

You know how sometimes you want cake, but you don't want a whole piece? This cake tasting package by Momofuku Milk Bar is pretty genius. With flavors like apple pie cake, birthday cake, chocolate chip cake, and pretzel cake, it's exactly how I'd want to eat my dessert every day if I could—in lots of little bites of every flavor available...

P.S. Speaking of snacks, I was recently a guest on Amy Cao's super cute video series, Stupidly Simple Snacks for The Cooking Channel. You can see our episode right here...

 

{Photo by Oh Joy, video courtesy of The Cooking Channel}

{oh joy eats} milk jar cookies... 8 Jul 2013

Milk Jar Cookies | photo by Bonnie Tsang

Milk Jar Cookies | photo by Bonnie Tsang

Milk Jar Cookies | photo by Bonnie Tsang

I'm always on the lookout for special treats to give as gifts for when I don't have time (or the ability) to make them as good myself! So I stopped into Milk Jar Cookies in L.A. recently for a dose of homemade cookie goodness.

Milk Jar Cookies | photo by Bonnie Tsang

Milk Jar Cookies | photo by Bonnie Tsang

Milk Jar Cookies | photo by Bonnie Tsang

Milk Jar Cookies | photo by Bonnie Tsang

Some of my favorite cookies included the Banana Split, Rocky Road, and Chocolate Pecan Caramel. They're the soft and chewy kind of cookie that make you feel like you just came home from school, and your mom surprised you with a special treat!

One of my favorite things about the shop is the story behind it. The owners left their long-time corporate jobs to pursue their dream of opening a cookie shop. Maybe it's because I love entrepreneurial stories or just that it makes me happy when people have a chance to do what they really love. Either way, there is so much joy baked into each and every pillow-soft cookie you'll find here...

Milk Jar Cookies | 5466 Wilshire Boulevard | Los Angeles, CA 90036 | 323.634.9800
(shipping outside of LA available, too!)

{Photos by Bonnie Tsang. My outfit: Dress by En Soie, netted bag c/o And So It Goes, vintage belt, necklace by Anthropologie (past season), shoes from ShoeMint (past season).}

summer s'mores... 26 Jun 2013

Oh Joy | Summer S'mores

You may know that I have a thing (or two) for s'mores. Well, to switch things up for summer, I decided to try a few new s'mores combinations using white chocolate. White chocolate looks so light and pretty, and pairs so well with fruity flavors. So for your summer s'mores adventures, I highly recommend trying these variations...

Oh Joy | Summer S'mores

Vanilla Funfetti S'mores: Layer sugar cookies, vanilla bean marshmallows, and white chocolate. Then top the whole thing off with rainbow sugar sprinkles on the melted marshmallows.

Oh Joy | Summer S'mores

Cherry Lemonade S'mores: Start with lemon wafers, lemon marshmallows, and white chocolate. Then add slices of Rainier cherries before sandwiching the layers together.

Oh Joy | Summer S'mores

Toasty Coconut Waffle S'mores: Sandwich coconut marshmallowswhite chocolate, and shredded coconut between Belgian Butter Waffle Cookies (these are from Trader Joe's). Um, hello sweet tooth...!

What other s'mores combos are you guys loving for summer?

P.S. They're even better with these summer fruit cubes...

{Photos: Bonnie Tsang. Production assistant: Julia Sir. Tea towel from Target, mini pedestal by Herriott Grace. This summer inspiration is brought to you by Target. Find more fun and surprises all season long on Target's #SummerUp Pinterest board. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting these sponsors that allow me to create new and special content like this for Oh Joy.}

currently snacking on... 13 Jun 2013

Wild-ophelia-chocolate

...chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate (yes, it's that time of month!) from Wild Ophelia. The Southern Hibiscus Peach, Peanut Butter and Banana, and Sweet Cherry Pecan are like homemade slices of pie in chocolate form. And, with a side of rainier cherries...my sweet tooth is happy...

{Photo by Oh Joy}

fruity summer striped ice cubes... 20 May 2013

Oh Joy | Fruity Summer Striped Ice Cubes

Oh Joy | Fruity Summer Striped Ice Cubes

As summer approaches, I always find myself craving fresh fruit and juices of all kinds. I love smoothies, but it's not always possible to whip out the blender and make a fresh one whenever I want. So I decided to make these pretty (and practical) juice and smoothie ice cubes, which can be frozen and saved to have on hand anytime you need a juicy kick!

Oh Joy | Fruity Summer Striped Ice Cubes

They can be added to some sparkling water for a dose of fruit, or stored in the freezer so you can have smoothies on hand whenever you want some (just put a handful of the saved cubes in a cup and into the fridge the night before). Plus, they are so, so beautiful to look at in a pretty glass with a cute straw!

Oh Joy | Fruity Summer Striped Ice Cubes

Oh Joy | Fruity Summer Striped Ice Cubes

Here are some of my favorite combos and flavors to use, shown above:

JUICES: I used store-bought grapefruit juice, mango juice, limeade, and made some strawberry/beet juice.

SMOOTHIES: I combined kiwi, cucumber, mint and lime make for a beautiful green smoothie blend.

COCONUT MILK: I layered a lot of these cubes with coconut milk, which can be poured right from the can.

Simply add layers of pre-made juice, smoothies, and/or coconut milk (which I love for its color and for a creamy touch) to standard ice cube trays. I've even been adding veggies (like carrots, beets, and cucumbers) to my smoothie mixes for Ruby, to get her those extra vitamins whenever possible! 

What kinds of fruity ice cubes would you guys make?

{Photos: Julia Stotz. Art direction and concept: Oh Joy. Production Assistant: Michelle Tu.
This summer inspiration is brought to you by Target. Find more fun and surprises all season long on Target's #SummerUp Pinterest board. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting these sponsors that allow me to create new and special content like this for Oh Joy.}

the love behind cakes... 9 May 2013

Typography-cake-a-subtle-revelry

Charm-city-cakes-california-collection-1

Matchbox-kitchen

Sweetapolita-ombre-cake

La-receta-de-la-felicidad

The other night, my friend Mari made a Scandinavian Princess Cake for her husband's birthday. This type of cake has been his favorite cake since he was a kid. So she researched and planned and prepped to made a very special one for him this year...from scratch. It was so delicious, but also so special because it made Mari's husband so happy. No matter how old I get, cake still makes me really happy, too. And, I love the love that goes behind making a cake for someone else

When's the last time you made a special cake for someone? It's something I want to try and do more often...

{Sources: Yay cake by A Subtle Revelry, floral cakes by Charm City Cakes West, hot chocolate cake by Matchbox Kitchen, Sweetapolita ombre iced cake, rainbow cake by La De La Felicidad.}

currently snacking on... 8 Apr 2013

French-raspberry-biscuits

French-raspberry-biscuits-2

Lately I've been loving hand pies because they're a neater version of one of my favorite desserts. I recently received a gift box of goodies by a*pour toi (which specializes in French food gifts) that included these raspberry-filled treats by Saint Aubert. Oh. My. Goodness. They taste like mini raspberry pies, with a not-too-sweet filling and a soft, buttery, cookie-like crust. Needless to say, the box was finished within 24 hours of its arrival...

{Photo by Oh Joy}

currently snacking on... 27 Mar 2013

Copper-pot-caramels

I've been poppin' these sea salt infused caramel chews from Copper Pot Caramels this week like no one's business. They're soft, salty, buttery, and don't stick to your teeth! They satisfy that chewy candy craving when I want something a little more buttery than gummy bears (which I also love).

What's been your favorite candy lately?

{Photo by Oh Joy}

currently snacking on... 18 Mar 2013

kouign-amann pastry

kouign-amann pastry

Have you ever tasted something that you felt might have been created just for you? I recently came across a kouign-amann in the pastry section of one of my favorite speciality food shops in L.A., McCall's Meat & Fish Co. Kouign-amann is a speciality of the town of Douarnenez in Finistère (in the west of France), made of bread dough with layers of butter and sugar folded in. It tastes like a cross between a croissant and elephant ears thanks to its buttery, flaky pastry layers and crispy, sweet caramelized edges. It's so light and airy, too, that it fools you into thinking it's okay to have two in a row. Plus, anything caramelized pretty much makes me weak in the knees...

P.S. If you want to try making it yourself, David Lebovitz's got you covered.

{Thanks, Jimin, for the tip! Photo by Oh Joy.}

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