Oh Joy

career day / an ice cream maker... 25 Mar 2015

Jeni's Ice Cream / Career Day Field Trip

If you’re from the Mid-West (or if you’re a huge ice cream fan like me), then you may have heard of Jeni’s Ice Cream. Jeni Britton Bauer (aka “Jeni”) is one of those entrepreneurs to appears to have a job that anyone would want—making ice cream, coming up with flavors, and creating joy for people all over the country with her sweet concoctions.

Jeni’s Ice Cream recently opened up a new shop right near me in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, so Ruby and I stopped by to chat with Jeni and get a behind-the-scenes peek at what it’s like to live and breathe ice cream. And (of course), to eat a little ice cream, too!

Jeni's Ice Cream / Career Day Field Trip

Here's a look at our visit to Jeni's for a Career Day field trip. I’ve also asked Jeni to share a bit about her history, growing an ice cream empire, and what she’s hoping it’s all leading to some day...

Jeni's Ice Cream / Los Angeles

When and why did you start Jeni's? / In the early ‘90s I was messing around with ice cream, collecting scents, and studying art at Ohio State. During a figure drawing class one day, a model I didn’t like to draw walked in. So, I got up, left my portfolio and all my supplies at my desk, and just walked out. I thought, ‘I don’t want to do this any more. I want to make ice cream.’ I quit everything else, too—school, side jobs—just threw myself into making ice cream and figuring out how to create a living doing that.

Within six months I started my first ice cream business, which didn't work. So, I took time off, traveled, lived, learned, and studied customer service. The thing that didn’t work at my first ice cream business was surprising people with new menus all the time. When I opened Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in 2002 in the North Market in Columbus, I made sure to offer signature flavors along with just a few surprises. 

Jeni's Ice Cream / Career Day Field Trip

When did you know you had something good? / The day we opened for business in November 2002—the day of the OSU/­Michigan football game. We thought we’d open that day to give ourselves a little warm up, to open softly, you know. OSU/­Michigan game day in Columbus is a holy day. Every man, woman, and child is glued to the TV on that day in Columbus. But much to our surprise there was a giant line all day. We’ve never looked back.

Jeni's Ice Cream / Los Angeles

If there were two of you, what other type of business would the other Jeni have? / I grew up in Peoria, Illinois, in the cradle of the greatest sandwich on earth, the breaded pork tenderloin. Other Jeni would open a joint that served from­ scratch breaded tenderloins on tiny white buns, served with dill pickles, homemade mustard, and potato salad. One pilsner on tap to wash it all down. 

Jeni's Ice Cream / Los Angeles

Do you take off on the weekends? / I’m never not working. I’m working the same way today as I did when I started making my own ice cream in the mid ‘90s: pretty much every moment I’m awake. I’m not bragging or complaining—whatever I’m reading, watching, listening to, and doing goes into whatever the next ice cream flavor is.

Sometimes I feel like a character in a comic book, like I fell into a vat of magical ice cream a couple decades ago and emerged with ice cream fused to my DNA. I go to work everyday thinking of how to improve the texture or body of my ice cream. Or how to get one flavor just right. I think about it constantly. And when I’m not thinking about it actively, there is a little spot on my brain that is always dedicated to only thinking about ice cream. It’s on no matter where I am or what I’m doing. It’s even on while I sleep. 

With 20 stores currently, what is your dream for your brand? World ice cream domination?  My only dream for this company is for us to make better ice cream tomorrow than we did today. One day at a time, that is what we’re trying to do here. As far as shops go, the goal has never been and never will be to open a chain of cookie-­cutter, look­-a­like shops. We own and operate our shops and I have my hands in every detail of the way each one looks and feels. I can’t imagine just opening a bunch of clone shops and just sitting back. I like the work too much. 

Jeni's Ice Cream / Los Angeles

Favorite ice cream? / I’ll never get tired of Lemon Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt. It’s so creamy, tart, and refreshing. I also LOVE it on pies in the summer!

Worst part about your job? / The existence of deadlines. I always think I can improve whatever ice cream we’re about to release! 

Best part about your job? / Being able to create something out of everything I absorb every day. This job didn’t just fall out of the sky for me. I had to make choices to create the opportunity for myself, but I’m proud and thankful I’m able to earn a living by creating something I dream up.

Jeni's Ice Cream / Los Angeles

One thing that has happened in your career that you never expected? / Giving speeches. It still floors me that people want to hear me tell my story. I’m always flattered.

One thing that has happened in your career that you completely expected and had hoped for? / When I was first messing around with ice cream, I mixed cayenne essential oil into regular store-­bought chocolate ice cream. I let it melt slowly on my tongue. It was cold, tasted like chocolate, and about five seconds later it burst into flames in the back of my throat. It was like the sky tore in two and light enveloped me. Right then I knew that ice cream would be my life. I didn’t know how I would do it, how long it would take, how many people, how much money, but I knew it was my path. For some crazy reason, I always thought there could be a place in the world where art, perfume, and ice cream could get along. I always thought that. And I guess it appears to be true. 

Jeni's Ice Cream / Career Day Field Trip

Jeni's Ice Cream / Career Day Field Trip

Even with a huge, booming business, Jeni remains kind, humble, and deeply grounded and loyal to her Mid-West roots. Thanks so much to Jeni and the team at Jeni's Ice Cream for an inspiring visit! I'm pretty sure Ruby enjoyed this Career Day field trip when she said afterwards that it was "the best day EVER!".

Jeni's Ice Cream | 1954 Hillhurst Avenue | Los Angeles, CA 90027 | 323-928-2668

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy} 

fruity frozen sips... 3 Mar 2015

Fruity Frozen Sips / Oh Joy

Since I'm on a fruity kick lately, I'm all about ways to get my fruit juicing game on. Inspired by my love of color-blocking, we made these fruity frozen milk bottles which make for a super easy and colorful way to serve up the fruity fun for a girl's brunch or for a kids' birthday party.

Fruity Frozen Sips / Oh Joy

Simply fill glass milk bottles or small mason jars with juice (we used mango, grapefruit, and pineapple juice), then prop the jars at an angle in the freezer. Let them freeze until they're solid. When you're ready to serve the bottles, pull them out of the freezer and pour flat or sparkling water into the top half and finish off with a straw. The frozen section will stay cold for a while, so keep refilling your sips as needed for a pretty and punchy beverage!

P.S. Our fruity ice cubes from a couple years ago...

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester for Oh Joy}

apple and pear nachos! 25 Feb 2015

Apple and Pear Nachos

I have to admit...I've been eating terribly lately. Because I'm nursing, I'm hungry ALL THE TIME up until the minute I fall asleep. Which means you'll find me snacking on chips, nachos, crackers, and chocolate at 10pm and then falling asleep soon after. I try and tell myself I'm burning off the calories by feeding my baby, but that excuse only works for so long. So, we challenged ourselves to come up with a fun and filling snack that I could eat after dinner, yet has good fats and some protein to keep me full through bedtime.

And so we came up with these Apple and Pear Nachos as an update to those full-of-toppings and not-so-healthy nachos we know and love. Here are three fruity alternatives using apple and pear slices topped with dried fruits, nuts, and other fun little ingredients...

Apple and Pear Nachos

1. Granny Smith apples with marshmallow fluff, pomegranate seeds, chocolate chips, and granola. 

Apple and Pear Nachos

2. Asian pear slices topped with nutella, dried mango, coconut, and toffee. 

Apple and Pear Nachos

3. Bartlett pears with dulce de leche spread (from Trader Joe's), sliced almonds, white chocolate chips, and pecans.

Simply slice the fruit horizontally (cutting through the core), cut out the seeds, and top with whatever you like! Just like regular nachos, the fun part is in the combinations you come up with as toppings. We tried out alternates to peanut butter, but of course, you can use classic peanut butter or almond butter as a spread for more protein. 

What other ingredients would you guys top these with?

{Photos by Casey Brodley, production and styling by Julia Wester for Oh Joy}

currently snacking on... 5 Feb 2015

Gray Malin x Compartes Chocolate Bars

Is it just me or do you also keep a bar of chocolate in your bedroom's nightstand? Maybe it's the thoughts of Valentine's Day swirling in my head or the fact that my sweet tooth is off the charts these days, but I'm currently snacking on my own box of chocolate à la these Gray Malin x Compartes chocolate bars. The "Sweet Sea" flavor (milk chocolate waffle cone with sea salt) is my fave and anything called "Beach Sprinkles" sounds so sweet in so many ways...

Gray Malin x Compartes Chocolate Bars

...and this packaging? Compartes always nails it with these gorgeous boxes!

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester for Oh Joy}

"kiss me" funfetti cookies... 4 Feb 2015

Kiss Me Funfetti Cookies

What would Valentine's Day be without a couple kisses for those you love? We made our kissable version of funfetti cookies as tokens of affection for friends and loved ones this upcoming holiday!

Kiss Me Cookies
(Makes approx. 15 cookies)

You'll need:
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter - softened at room temperature
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 large egg at room temperature
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 and 1/2 cup flour
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp cream of tartar
-1/2 cup sprinkles
-red and pink decorating frosting
-lip cookie cutter (part of this set)

Kiss Me Funfetti Cookies

Here's how: 

1. In a large bowl, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute, then add the sugar and mix until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla. Set aside.

2. In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Then add the wet ingredients in 3 batches. Once combined, fold in the 1/2 cup sprinkles.

3. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. 

4. Preheat oven to 350F. 

5. Roll out dough to 1/4" in depth and use the lip cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Place the lip cookies on an no-stick cookie sheet.

6. Bake for 8 minutes. The cookies will appear undone and very soft. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheets for 3 minutes and move to wire rack to cool completely.

7. If the cookies have spread out and don't look super defined anymore (this could happen depending on your specific oven), you can use the cookies cutters to re-cut them while soft and define the shape once again.

8. Once the cookies are cooled, use the red and pink frosting to outline your lip cookies. Enjoy! 

P.S. Funfetti Biscotti!

{Photos by Casey Brodley, baking and styling by Julia Wester, adapted from this recipe by Sally's Baking Addiction.}

valentine's day funfetti biscotti! 27 Jan 2015

chocolate chip funfetti biscotti recipe

With Valentine's Day around the corner, we've baked up a couple sweet treats to make and give to your nearest and dearest. For something sweet (but not too sweet), biscotti is one of my favorite treats because they're like cookies that disguise themselves as a breakfast treat...or really, an all day treat. Here's our funfetti version!

Funfetti Biscotti
(Makes 15-18 pieces)

You'll need:
-3 cups flour
-1 tsp baking powder
-3/4 tsp salt
-1 cup vegetable oil
-1 cup sugar
-3 eggs
-1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
-1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles
-1/8 cup shredded coconut and 1/8 cup sliced almonds
(or if you want to go nut-free, you can use 1/4 cup chocolate chips instead)
-1/4 cup of candy melts in white and pink
-pink sugar sprinkles 

almond coconut funfetti biscotti recipe

Here's how: 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl mix all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) set aside. 

3. In a larger bowl, whisk together oil and sugar. Once fully blended together, whisk in the eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla. 

4. Slowly whisk in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and then fold in the sprinkles and other additional toppings. 

5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out the dough to form a long rectangle. 

6. Top with pink sugar sprinkles and a few pinches of sea salt and bake for 25 minutes.

7. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 250 degrees. Use a serrated knife to cut into 1 wide inch pieces and place them on their sides. Bake at 250 degrees for 25 more minutes. 

8. Follow the instructions for heating the candy melts. Once biscotti is cooled, dip ends into the candy melts. 

funfetti biscotti recipe

As a super easy way to package them up and give to friends, use permanent markers to draw fun shapes, words, or patterns on Ziploc bags!

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester. Recipe inspired by and modified from this one by My Name is Yeh.} 

how to get your kids to drink more water... 19 Jan 2015

Fruit Water in Puj Phillup Cups

I don't know about you, but it can be really hard to get my kid to drink water. Ruby will say "How about some juice? How about some chocolate milk?" We try and stick to water or milk during the week and then let her have special drinks on the weekend. In an effort to get her excited about water, we recently started doing something so simple that I never even thought about...adding fruit to the water! I've never been much of a "add lemon to water" kind of girl so it didn't come naturally to me to try that with a toddler. But all of a sudden, water seems so much more fun now. And she loves getting to pick out what kind of fruit goes into her water.

Fruit Water

Her favorite combo right now is raspberries mixed with orange slices. And then the best part is getting to eat the fruit at the end as a reward for finishing the whole cup!

Fruit Water in Puj Phillup Cups

With an active toddler and a tiny babe, anything that makes the process of keeping the dirty dishes and cups to a minumum makes my life so much easier. These crazy cute Puj Phillup cups are a new favorite for our fruit water. They hang from adhesive hooks on the fridge and make it easy for Ruby to grab when she's ready to get a drink and to hang back up for later when she's done.

Puj Phillup Cups

Fruit Water in Puj Phillup Cups

We even use them for the whole family because everyone can have their own cup color to use throughout the day. Plus, anything that is safe and fun for my kids is a win-win for me. And now, we're all drinking more water which is never a bad thing...

P.S. I've long been a fan of Puj (even before they become a sponsor) and so excited that these Phillup cups are available for pre-sale now through 2/15!

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Puj—a brand I've been using and loving for years. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create new and original content like this for Oh Joy.

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester for Oh Joy}

currently snacking on... 7 Jan 2015

Bond Celebration Bar

I'm not a big fan of making promises I can't keep, so while everyone else is cutting carbs and heading to the gym for the New Year, I'll be over here enjoying this chocolate bar that tastes like a birthday cake and looks like a party perfect for my mouth!

{Photo by Casey Brodley and styling by Julia Wester for Oh Joy}

{oh joy eats} dinette in echo park... 1 Dec 2014

Dinette / Los Angeles

Sometimes you come across a new spot that has a combination of a close proximity, casual service, and delicious options that make you go back...every...single...week. You're worried the guy at the counter will think, "You again?" (But then again, that's not a terrible thing to see repeat customers, I suppose.) That newish spot for me is Dinette in L.A.'s Echo Park.

Dinette / Los Angeles

Dinette / Los Angeles

Dinette / Los Angeles

By the owners of Cafe Stella in Silver Lake, it's basically a mini restaurant tucked in a street corner with a fancy take-out window in an up-and-coming area. There's a mix of beautiful baked goods that sit in the window that tease you and tempt you to buy a cookie or slice of pie along with your breakfast or lunch.

Dinette / Los Angeles

Dinette / Los Angeles

Dinette / Los Angeles

But my favorite is the simple, yet beautiful, breakfast which includes the lightest, fluffiest waffles I've ever had topped with bacon and a poached egg, a ham and egg topped toast, avocado toast, and mini quiches—all perfect for sharing. As a milk tea lover, I also love the cardamom iced milk tea for a morning pick-me-up at my new go-to spot.

Dinette | 1606 W. Sunset Blvd. | Los Angeles, CA 90026

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}

currently snacking on... 24 Nov 2014

McFaddy Toffee

As we gear up for Thanksgiving, I've pulled out my stretchy pants to get ready for the feast ahead. Around this time, I'm constantly trying new treats to keep in mind for the upcoming gift-giving season, and I'm loving this spin on buttery, crunchy toffee by McFaddy Candy Co.

With flavors like salted toffee, strawberry kiss, green tea, and coconut, they're treats that I could imagine bringing as a hostess gift to an upcoming party or sending to that person in your life who already has everything...

{Photo by Casey Brodley and styling by Julia Wester for Oh Joy}


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