Oh Joy

one potato, two potato... 29 Feb 2016

Mini Baked Potatoes

Ever since I was allowed to use an oven (probably in middle school), one of my favorite things to make when I wanted to eat something filling, yet easy, was a baked potato. Especially when I was broke in college, I ate my fair share of baked potatoes slathered with butter and a ton of cheese. No matter when you make it, it's just so satisfying.

Combining the comfort of a baked potato with some unexpected ingredients, we made these mini baked potatoes which are perfect for making when people come over...or for a late night snack for yourself...

Mini Baked Potatoes

Here's how:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Place small yellow dutch potatoes in a baking dish or baking sheet.

3. Bake covered for 30 minutes, and then uncover and bake or another 10 minutes until golden brown and give in when squeezed.

4. Top butter, salt, and extra toppings of your choice!

Here are some combinations we love...

Mini Baked Potatoes

1. Peas, proscuttio, basil, and a dash of pepper is like an artisanal sandwich in miniature potato form.

Mini Baked Potatoes

2. Edamame, pomegranate seeds, green onions, mozzarella cheese, and a sprinkle of spicy korean chili seasoning tastes savory with an asian twist.

Mini Baked Potatoes

3. Peaches, walnuts, ricotta cheese, and a drizzle of honey is creamy and a tad sweet almost like a sweet potato.

Are there any other baked potato toppings you make and love?

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester, production by Julia Wester and Jessica Hong}

the cutest cookies... 26 Jan 2016

Henteco Bakery in Tokyo

Henteco Bakery in Tokyo

Henteco Bakery in Tokyo

Henteco Bakery in Tokyo

Henteco Bakery in Tokyo

Henteco Bakery in Tokyo

I visited Japan almost six years ago and am still inspired by the attention to detail and craftsmanship there. These cookies by Henteco bakery in Tokyo are just ridiculously cute. And, they now have a book, too!

{Photos by Henteco}

making dinner easier... 14 Jan 2016

Oh Joy Kitchen

I am not one of those people who can make dinner from scratch every night. Or even most nights. By the time I get home from work, I have a few hours with my kids before they get to bed and I want to maximize that time as much as possible. We try to cook mostly on the weekends when we have more leisurely time. So during the week, we often use services that help make meal preparation easier and faster. Since there are so many out there and I'm always in search of the best, I have tried a lot of them. I wanted to share my favorites with you in case you're like me and just need a little help every so often...

READ MORE...

mini pancakes! 5 Jan 2016

Mini Pancake Toppings

I could eat pancakes any time of day. I've been making pancakes a lot more lately because my kids love them (especially when they are bite-sized), they don't take a lot of time to make, and it's a fun food for kids to help make. I like to make a big batch of these mini pancakes and then put out a bunch of toppings so everyone can make their little stack special and pick their very own toppings. 

Mini Pancake Toppings

I'm not ashamed to say I use pancake mix—it's just so easy to have on hand and there are so many good ones out there like this Beekman 1802 pancake mix (from Target!) we used. Here are a few of our favorite topping combinations right about now...

Mini Pancake Toppings

1. Blueberries, sliced persimmon, and ricotta cheese — this is like summer on a pancake. It's fresh, healthy, and delicious.

2. Shaved chocolate and coconut flakes — for the chocolate lover, this adds a little extra sweetness that makes it such that you won't need anything else.

3. Sliced almonds, sprinkles, and whipped cream — I like to call this the birthday cake pancake. This is extra special and fun for a birthday breakfast!

Mini Pancake Toppings

Of course, you can drizzle honey or a little maple syrup on any of these, but I find that all these naturally sweet toppings do the job to satisfy that sweet tooth!

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester}

happy friday + oh joy eats this month... 13 Nov 2015

Trois Familia / Los Angeles

Happy Friday guys! After our recent survey, those of you not living in LA said that sometimes I tease you with photos of the food that I eat here. I totally get it and photos of food tease me, too (especially if I can't have those things like RIGHT NOW). But, I love food and love sharing my favorites. I'll still share some Los Angeles spots with you from time-to-time, but instead I'm going to share a few of my favorites each month all in one post. So every month, those of you who are in LA or those who plan to visit soon can still get a round-up of new spots to eat at in Los Angeles if/when you are in town next ;) Click below to see my favorites from this month...

READ MORE...

{oh joy eats} hong kong egg waffles! 22 Oct 2015

hong kong egg waffles

OMG. Have you guys tried these before? Yesterday, we took a out to San Gabriel (an area East of Los Angeles with a large population of immigrants from China and Hong Kong) to get some Hong Kong egg waffles at a little spot called Fresh Roast.

hong kong egg waffles

hong kong egg waffles

We got the regular egg waffle filled with chocolate. They pretty much taste like waffles and pancakes had a baby in the shape of jumbo packing bubbles. You can pull them apart and just pop those suckers right in your mouth. They are just SO FUN to eat.

hong kong egg waffles

hong kong egg waffles

We also tried a green tea (matcha) waffle filled with coconut which has a nice texture and tasted more savory then the sweeter chocolate version. It was warm and chewy in the middle with light crispy edges. And really just a nice, fun breakfast to have. 

If you want to try and make them yourself, it looks pretty easy if you have the right pan. I found this one from Williams-Sonoma that looks perfect and makes me want to try them at home (like right now). Or, next time you're in the LA area, check out this little spot!

Fresh Roast | 308 S San Gabriel Blvd. | San Gabriel, CA 91776 | 626-451-5918

{Photos by Casey Brodley for 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}

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