Oh Joy

the cutest party foods for kids... 14 Jul 2014

Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches by Heirloom LA

When we threw Ruby's little ice cream social, I wanted to make sure the kids ate a healthy meal before filling their bellies with the special ice cream treat. So I called upon my crazy-talented friend, Matt Poley from Heirloom LA, to come up with healthy and kid-friendly foods to feast on. What he came up with blew my mind and gave me so much inspiration for future meal-making for Ruby.

Fruit and Cheese Skewers by Heirloom LA

Almond Butter and Banana Sandwiches by Heirloom LA

Mini Crudite

Mac and Cheese Nuggets by Heirloom LA

The menu included (from top to bottom): mini grilled cheese sandwiches (in heart and star shapes); fruit, cheese, and mouse melon skewers; baby vegetable crudités (with ranch dressing for dipping), almond butter and banana sandwiches topped with sea salt, and finally, mac n' cheese nuggets (shaped like kids!). I mean, have you ever seen food look so cute?! Even the parents were chowing down on these beautiful morsels of goodness.

Oh Joy Mini Ice Cream Social

Matt made these mac n' cheese nuggets for the first-time ever for our party, and they were such a hit that he has kindly shared the recipe with us today. Thanks so much to Heirloom LA for these amazing treats and for giving me a serious dose of kid food inspiration!

See below for the recipe...

Continue reading " the cutest party foods for kids... " »

currently snacking on... 10 Jul 2014

Quin Candy

I've been on a bit of a sugar kick lately, and loving these organic chewy candies by Quin. These Dream Come Chew candies are like an all-natural version of a Starburst...yum!

{Photo by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}

mango chia seed pudding recipe... 27 Jun 2014

Mango Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

Lately, I've been in a breakfast rut—especially on during the week. I find myself making Ruby's breakfast and heading to the office quickly without feeding myself. I've been searching for something healthy, yet filling, and Casey (our office manager) suggested one of her favorites—chia seed pudding. So we came up this mango version which is tasty, filling, really refreshing for summer (and actually really good for you). Have you guys tried chia seed pudding before? Today, we're sharing our version of the recipe with you. It's super easy to make and full of protein, calcium, fiber, and antioxidants...

Mango Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

Mango Chia Seed Pudding
(serves 2)

You'll need:

-1/2 cup coconut milk

-1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

-1/3 cup chia seeds

-1 ripe mango, skinned and sliced

-optional toppings: fresh mango cubes, coconut flakes/toasted coconut, fresh pomegranate seeds, and almond slices

Here's how:

Blend the mango, coconut milk, and vanilla almond milk together until smooth. Stir in chia seeds, cover, and place in refrigerator. Let set for at least 1-2 hours. Then serve with toppings of choice (we like shredded coconut, almond slivers, pomegranate seeds, and mango cubes). Enjoy!

P.S. If you don't like coconut milk, you can use a full cup of almond milk instead.

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}

smoked s'mores in a jar... 18 Jun 2014

Smoked S'mores in a Jar Recipe

Smoked S'mores in a Jar Recipe

After our Parent's Night Out dinner a couple weeks ago, I needed to know how to make the Smoked S'mores dessert that ended our evening and Room Forty was kind enough to share the recipe with us. If you want to make a truly special dessert, here's how to do it...

Continue reading " smoked s'mores in a jar... " »

parent's night out... 12 Jun 2014

Room Forty / Los Angeles

Room Forty / Los Angeles

Room Forty / Los Angeles

Before I became a parent, I said I would never become one of those people who doesn't get to hang out with my friends as much. But it totally happened. Life changes, you get busier, and you have to make a way bigger effort to maintain friendships—especially with other friends who have kids. Because, chances are, they've been too busy to make plans, too. Bob and I are usually pretty good about having date nights, but it's more rare that we get to see a handful of our friends all together in a kid-free and relaxing adult environment.

So I thought it would be fun to gather a small group of our friends who are parents together to have a nice dinner out all together at Room Forty's tasting room at The Fig House here in L.A. It was a way to have a private dinner that was cozy enough to feel like we were at someone's house without all the clamour and difficulty of a big reservation at a restaurant.

I chose a mix of friends who didn't all know each other super well but had a couple things in common in addition to being parents—everyone was creative in some way and at least one person in the couple was a self-employed business owner.

Room Forty / Los Angeles

Room Forty / Los Angeles

Room Forty / Los Angeles

To start off the evening, I thought it would be fun to have wrist corsages for the girls and boutonneires for the guys to really relive the days of our youth. It brought me back to my first date with Bob—the senior prom! Botany Flowers made some beautiful wildflower versions for each place setting, and we had our own "Bachelorette" moments pinning them on.

Room Forty / Los Angeles

Room Forty / Los Angeles

It's funny to hear what goes on in a dinner with ten parents—from labor stories to our shower habits to drooling over the food which was way more amazing than anything we'd be having at home.

Room Forty / Los Angeles

Room Forty's chef, Libry Darusman, created an amazing menu for us to enjoy which included these drool-inducing dishes:

-Gin agar noodles with green olive bolognese and blue cheese

-Fennel soubise, house-made tofu, compressed pear, regianno foam, and crystal flower

-Diver scallops, raw coco mustard, butter popcorn tortellini, and puffed black rice

-Black cod, beet duxelle, nicoise pain perdu, red wine butter, and tomato foam

-Gazpazzo consommé with smoked street cart fruit

-Rib eye cap, cheek pastrami, shitake tartare, smoked corn jam, carrot confit, and pea ice cream

Room Forty / Los Angeles

All topped off at the end with this S'mores made of graham soil, chocolate and coffee ganache, housemade marshmallow, and hickory smoke. I'll be sharing the recipe for this with you guys next week as it's too good not to duplicate at home!

Room Forty / Los Angeles

At the end of the night, we got to hear how the chef made various dishes (um, like the butter popcorn tortellini!) which is such a treat and something we never get to experience at a regular restaurant. There's nothing like getting a custom catered dinner on an intimate scale. With full bellies and refreshed minds, we all came out of it feeling like we had such a special night just for us and walked away with a stronger connection to everyone else we dined with that night. Catching up with friends over food is probably one of my favorite things to do ever. Thanks so much to Room Forty for the amazing meal and beautiful space to have our dinner.

I hope our night out will inspire you to make time for yourself and make a special night out to reconnect with your nearest and dearest.

P.S. As a catering company Room Forty's primary function is private events, but as big believers in community, they’ve opened up their tasting room for private dinners like the one I hosted. If you're in Los Angeles, it's a treat I hightly recommend.

{Dinner by Room Forty at the Fig House, flowers by Botany Flowers, photos by Ryan Haack.}

fruity summer cupcakes! 5 Jun 2014

Oh Joy / Fruity Cupcakes by Trophy

With summer just around the corner, we thought it would be fun to share a fruity take on cupcakes with these strawberry, orange, and pineapple cupcakes made by Jennifer of Trophy Cupcakes inspired by my Oh Joy for Target summer collection! The cupcakes themselves could be any flavor, and I love how she transformed simple chocolate cupcakes into fun fruit ones with frosting, food coloring, inexpensive pastry bags and tips, and a little imagination. Here's how you make them too...

Oh Joy / Fruity Cupcakes by Trophy

For the strawberry cupcake, you’ll need:
- red, green and black food coloring
- red or dark pink sprinkles and a pastry bag with a small round tip (Ateco #2 or #3)
- a small star tip (Ateco #16).

Here's how:
1. Tint part of your buttercream to the desired shade of red or pink.

2. Hand frost your cupcake with a flat top and make one side a little pointy so that from the top the shape is like a strawberry.

3. Place your sprinkles in a bowl, scoop up a generous amount in your hand and carefully dip only the edges in the sprinkles with your other hand. Use pressure to create more of strawberry shape if needed.

4. Now, make a small amount of black and green buttercream. Place the black in a small pastry bag with a small round tip and the green in a small pastry bag with a small star tip.

5. Pipe dots on the cupcake to make “seeds” and a few green segments to make the stem (see photo for reference). 

Oh Joy / Fruity Cupcakes by Trophy

To make pineapple cupcakes, you'll need:
- yellow, brown, and green gel food coloring
- yellow nonpareils or sprinkles
- an offset spatula
- fat pretzel rods
- 2 pastry bags and Ateco tip #842 & #2 or #3

Here's how:
1. Place about ¾ of your buttercream into a bowl and tint it the shade of yellow that you like.

2. Take the rest of the buttercream and divide it into 2 bowls. Tint one bowl brown and one green. Place the brown buttercream into a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip (like an Ateco #2 or 3). Place the green buttercream in a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip( like Ateco #842).

3. Place a scoop of the yellow buttercream on each cupcake. Now frost the cupcake so the top is flat and the sides are a 90 degree angle. Use your off set spatula to make the shape a little oblong (like a pineapple).

4. Now take your pastry bag with brown buttercream and make a cross hatch pattern (see photo) and place a dot in each opening.

5. Now place your yellow nonpareils (or sprinkles) in a bowl. Cup one hand and scoop up a generous amount of sprinkles. Pick up a cupcake with your other hand and carefully dip only edges of the cupcake in the sprinkles.

6. Now break fat pretzel rods into 2-3 inch pieces. Carefully poke the end into the side of your cupcake (the side that you want to be the top of your pineapple) until its secure (a good inch or two should be sticking out).

7. Use your pastry bag with your green buttercream to pipe several “leaves” to create the stem over the pretzel (see photo). Enjoy!

Oh Joy / Fruity Cupcakes by Trophy

To make an orange slice cupcake, you’ll need:
- orange food coloring and sprinkles
- a small pastry bag fitted with a small round tip (Ateco #2 or #3).

Here's how:
1. Start by tinting part of your buttercream orange. Now hand frost your cupcake in orange buttercream so it has a flat top and the sides straight up and down.

2. Fill a small pastry bag fitted with your small round tip with white buttercream.

3. Pipe a circle on the top around the edge, then pipe straight lines to create the “segments” (see photo).

4. Now pipe tiny seeds (either in white or a lighter orange) in the inside corners.

5. Place your sprinkles in a bowl, scoop up a generous amount in your hand and carefully dip only the edges in the sprinkles with your other hand. 

Oh Joy / Fruity Cupcakes by Trophy

Finally, if you want to make your own cupcakes and frosting from scratch, here's a recipe for the chocolate cupcakes and vanilla buttercream we used here (but you can make any flavor you like as the base). 

Continue reading " fruity summer cupcakes! " »

chocolate hazelnut cookie sandwiches... 21 May 2014

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Sandwiches (Gluten-free)

Cookies are probably one of my favorite things in the world. So our friends at Wild Apple Magazine were kind enough to share this recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Sandwiches with us today—just in time for a Memorial Day picnic this weekend. And, bonus, they're gluten-free for those of you always looking for tasty gluten-free treats! Click below for the recipe...

Continue reading " chocolate hazelnut cookie sandwiches... " »

{oh joy eats} sweet rose creamery... 12 May 2014

Sweet Rose Creamery / Los Angeles

One of my favorite Los Angeles ice cream shops, Sweet Rose Creamery, has made its way to a more central location—hooray! Ice cream is literally one of my favorite things on earth, so shops that offer one-of-a-kind and seasonal flavors are always a must in my book.

During this visit, we got the cinnamon buttermilk sherbet with mandaquats and carnival sprinkles. It was creamy and tart with a nice touch of cinnamon as contrast, I couldn't stop eating it. In combination with the matcha green tea ice cream, it was a perfect and unexpected pairing.

Sweet Rose Creamery / Los Angeles

Sweet Rose Creamery / Los Angeles

Sweet Rose Creamery / Los Angeles

In addition to ice cream, they also carry a nice selection of pastries. We had the sticky bun with walnuts which was super light, buttery, and flaky—like a croissant—with the magical addition of the sticky caramel sauce on top.

We're expected to have a heat wave this week in L.A., so it just might be another excuse to go back!

Sweet Rose Creamery | 7565 Beverly Boulevard | Los Angeles, CA 90036 | 310.260.2663

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}

{gluten-free} cocoa pancakes with raspberry sauce... 7 May 2014

Gluten Free Cocoa Pancake Recipe

I'm not gluten-free, but I have so many friends and acquaintences who are that I love coming across really tasty books, magazines, and books that share recipes that anyone can enjoy. Launching soon, our friends at Wild Apple Magazine, were kind enough to share this recipe for gluten-free cocoa pancakes with us today just in time for Mother's Day this weekend...

Continue reading " {gluten-free} cocoa pancakes with raspberry sauce... " »

{oh joy eats} eggslut in los angeles... 30 Apr 2014

Eggslut Los Angeles

One of my favorite things in life is an egg sandwich for breakfast. There is something so soothing, so filling, and so wholesome about having eggs in the morning. It feels like a somewhat healthy meal (even if surrounded by butter and crispy bacon). I've visiting the Eggslut truck before, but so happy they now have an actual location open every day of the week at Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles.

Eggslut Los Angeles

Eggslut Los Angeles

And then this coddled egg over potato purée poached in a glass jar—it's like savory breakfast by the spoonful. If you're an egg lover or egg sandwich fan, you must go. They have one of the best egg sandwiches I've had (and I've had a lot of them).

Eggslut | Grand Central Market | 317 S. Broadway | Los Angeles, CA 90013

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}

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