"Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one'."

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Joyeux Kitchen: Taking orders today!

The big day is here!  I'm elated to announce that I'm now taking summer orders.  (You can view the original menu and post here.)  Also, Joyeux Kitchen will be a permanent page in the column to the right with a price list and a few *what might be* Frequently Asked Questions (I did a casual self-interview this afternoon). 

Let me take a load off your shoulders!  If you have a family barbecue coming up, maybe a church bake sale or Father's Day brunch, give me a shout and I'll have your treats ready in no time. 

It's contest time!
At 4pm (PST) today Lindsay and I are going to draw a fifty tiny toes follower's name out of a hat and that person will receive a FREE Joyeux Kitchen dessert of your choice (*if it has to be shipped, choices are scones, cinnamon rolls or cake balls).  So join our follower's list for a chance to win!

Don't forget to "Like" Joyeux Kitchen on Facebook!
I'll be sharing baking tips, my favorite foodie blogs, running occasional contests, and you'll be the first to know about special yummies for sale beyond what appears on the regular menu.

Friends and Family Referral Reward
If you refer a friend or family member (or your dog walker, or your checker at the grocery store) and they mention your name when they order, you'll get a credit for 15% off your next purchase.  You're eligible for a reward every time a new customer mentions your name!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Joyeux Kitchen: Toasted Coconut Marshmallows

We love Memorial Day weekend!  It's a bonus day to have Daddy home and a great excuse to get together with family and barbecue.  These homemade marshmallows are a perfect, albeit unconventional, take on tomorrow's dessert, or you could use them as little going-away treats for visiting friends and family.  If you've never made marshmallow from scratch, you're missing out!  It's easy!   

You'll need:
  • 7 oz toasted coconut
  • 3 packages unflavored (Knox) gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar for rolling/dusting
Start your mallows by combining the gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and allow this to sit while you make the syrup. 

For the syrup, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer.  Remove from heat. 

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin.  Put the mixer on high and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes.  Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly on medium for another minute, scraping the bowl as necessary.

Sprinkle half the toasted coconut (How To Toast Coconut Tutorial) in the bottom of a 9 by 13 glass dish,  Pour in the marshmallow batter and smooth the top of the mixture with damp hands.  Sprinkle on the remaining toasted coconut.  Allow to dry overnight, uncovered at room temperature.

Remove the marshmallows from the pan and cut into squares.  Roll the cut sides of each piece carefully in powdered sugar.  Store uncovered at room temperature.  (I'll post a picture of this step in the morning!) 

I can't wait to try them toasted over the firepit!  YUM!

Original recipe from Ina Garten.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

101 Things To Do...

...in your life together!

Target's Club Wedd recently posted this list on Facebook and I thought it was awesome. A nice little reminder to do something out of the ordinary once in a while with the love of your life.
  1. Build a fort in your living room
  2. Watch a black & white movie marathon
  3. Do a home improvement project with your neighbor
  4. Build a tree house in your backyard
  5. Watch a meteor shower
  6. Perform a duet in a record store
  7. Play a practical joke on your partner
  8. Make your own artisan cheese
  9. Have a spa day at home
  10. Have a food fight
  11. Camp out for a concert
  12. Walk everywhere for one day
  13. Play a game of flag football
  14. Throw a black tie dinner for two
  15. Apply Feng Shui to your house
  16. Perfect your guacamole-making skills
  17. Mix your own signature cocktail
  18. Make a mix CD for each other
  19. Get lost on purpose
  20. Map your family tree
  21. Take dance lessons
  22. Write a note to your future grandchildren
  23. Go backyard bird watching
  24. Kidnap him for a play date in the park
  25. Go skydiving
  26. Go on a health kick together
  27. Book a trip and travel on the same day
  28. Karaoke while you cook
  29. Cook everything from A to Z
  30. Pretend to film a cooking show in your kitchen
  31. Pick her up in a limo on a Tuesday
  32. Paint a ceiling in your house to resemble a famous mural
  33. Camp out close to home
  34. Treat her to breakfast in bed
  35. Do something touristy in your hometown
  36. Go skinny dipping
  37. Surprise her with a clean house
  38. Bury a time capsule in your backyard
  39. Spend a week at sea
  40. Set a world record in something
  41. Learn 3 guitar chords and play a song
  42. Spend a night in a haunted house together
  43. Swim in the ocean with a large fish
  44. Take her out for a date in your living room
  45. Teach her how to build a fire
  46. Cook something that you've grown with your own two hands
  47. Brew your own wine or beer
  48. Go on a hot air balloon ride
  49. Build a house of cards and then run through it
  50. Build something that will outlast you both
  51. Take an extended nap in a mattress store
  52. Have a pillow fight
  53. Send handwritten notes to each other
  54. Get your palms read
  55. Volunteer at a soup kitchen over a holiday
  56. Eat every dinner at the table for a week
  57. Throw a dart at a map and eat a meal from that country
  58. Fly a kite
  59. Go white water rafting
  60. Test drive a car you'll never be able to afford
  61. Climb to the top of a mountain and yodel
  62. Go bowling
  63. Get tattoos
  64. Learn how to surf together
  65. Cook breakfast for dinner
  66. Make your own pasta from scratch
  67. Donate blood together
  68. Learn a new language together
  69. Host a croquet tournament in your backyard
  70. Make a movie together
  71. Watch the sunrise and sunset in the same day
  72. Send a message in a bottle
  73. Watch 26 movies in 26 days starting with each letter of the alphabet
  74. Plan a poker party
  75. Throw a party because its Tuesday
  76. Dress up for Halloween when it is not Halloween
  77. Carve your names into a tree
  78. Take a road trip
  79. Cultivate a bonsai tree
  80. Go jogging in your pj's
  81. Learn how to throw a knuckle ball
  82. Go for a ride on a scary roller coaster
  83. Build a giant snow fort
  84. Pay for the next person in a drive thru
  85. Go on a 24-hour cleanse
  86. Bake cupcakes and give them to a neighbor
  87. Put the iPod on shuffle and dance all night long
  88. Cook a 5-star dinner in the great outdoors
  89. Take a cooking class together
  90. Go to the top of the tallest building in your city
  91. Go out dressed 80's style
  92. Play a game of H.O.R.S.E.
  93. Switch sides of the bed
  94. Take part in a rally for something you believe in
  95. Put on a puppet show
  96. Volunteer at an animal shelter
  97. Plant an herb or vegetable garden
  98. Build a birdhouse
  99. Put together a giant jigsaw puzzle
  100. Paint each other's self-portrait
  101. Do yoga on the beach
    Dan and I have done 58 of these in our 13 years together. How many can you check off the list?

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Joyeux Kitchen: Salted Caramel Buttercream

    It shouldn't come as a surprise to any of you that I'm a frosting snob.  I'll just come out and say it: The canned stuff is yucky, and the film it leaves in your mouth is caused by the junk they put in it to make it 'shelf stable' (look at the ingredient list--I'm not lying).  Bleh.  Making your own is cheap and easy; even this recipe, which is more complex than most, hardly takes any time at all.  I put this particular buttercream on espresso cupcakes, creating what I like to think of as a "Caramel Macchiato on a plate".  You could also just serve it in a parfait dish, maybe, with a steaming espresso shooter. :) 

    You'll need:
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 2 tbsp water
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) salted butter, softened/room temp.
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    (Double this recipe if you like mounded frosting on your cupcakes, like I do.)  Stir together the granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium high heat.  Continue cooking, without stirring, until the mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6-7 minutes.

    Remove from heat and slowly add the cream and vanilla (start with a tablespoon or two), stirring with a wooden spoon until completely smooth.  If the cream you added was too cold, the mixture will start to separate and you'll think all is lost!!  Don't despair, put it back on the still-hot stove top and stir until it comes back together, then remove from heat.  Set aside until cool to the touch, about 30 minutes. 

    Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated.  Turn off the mixer, then add the cool caramel.  Beat frosting on low to combine, and then increase to medium-high and beat until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes.  Refrigerate if not using immediately (or to harden the frosting a bit).

    Salted Caramel Buttercream originally from Gimme Some Oven!

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Picture of the Day: Buzz & Woody

    I was lucky to get away on a girls trip to Palm Springs this weekend. This is a picture of my boys on the morning I was leaving. They were so happy to be in these pajamas together!

    What a team they will make.
    And what a bittersweet moment.

    Such a simple one that just took my breath away because as I was packing up my suitcase, I was so very aware of how in love with them I am. My little Buzz & Woody.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    Picture of the Day: Thirty Tiny Pedicured Toes

    I love baby feet, and the girls love to get their teeny tiny toenails painted (easier said than done sometimes--best accomplished while they're in their booster seats eating a snack).  They relish the opportunity to paw through my box of polish colors and choose the perfect shade, and they take sitting still very seriously so as not to smudge the paint.  Just a little moment that brought us all joy this morning :).

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Garage Sale-in' Fools

    It only happens once a year folks...the Lakeland Hills Neighborhood Garage Sale and it is fan-freakin-tastic! We always have a very precise plan of attack and move through the hundreds (may be a slight exaggeration, but go with it) of sales with frantic frenzy...ahem...grace. We are armed with a wish list written days in advance, Starbucks, re-useable grocery bags, and a mama mobile sans car seats!

    2011's first purchase of the day. The Notebook. A classic. Sarah was pleased! (until she saw one later with hottie Ryan Gosling on the cover. Doh!)

    These babies were a dollar each and brought a huge smile to little Carter man's face!

    Sarah's loot.

    Lindsay's number one wish list item. A kid-sized picnic table: $5.00

    Great day!

    Summer time fun: $7.00

    Best find? Two identical (and brand new) Superman sleeping bags: $1.00 each!

    Hannah loves Scooby Doo so Sarah was stoked to find this $2 costume!

    Find of the day? Maybe Doug's new Star Wars toy. Vintage for $0.50. It transforms from the ship below (complete with miniatures) into Han and Chewy-bots above.

    Sarah's new sangria pitcher! $3!

    Love the bowl: $2 and it now resides on top of the fridge. Shiny!

    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    Joyeux Kitchen: Maple-Glazed Cinnamon Rolls

    These cinnamon rolls are from Ree Drummond, a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman, and as far as I'm concerned, they are her greatest masterpiece.  I'm made them more than a dozen times and every person (EVERY person), after one bite, says, "These are the best I have ever had."  So...what makes them different?  Homemade cinnamon rolls are, in general, fantastic no matter the recipe, right?  You have to taste them to fully understand, but these are gooey, not dense, not too "bready", instead of the middle one being by far the best, each one is a "middle", the maple glaze is certainly a unique and welcome departure from the standard cream cheese frosting....

    Warning:  Friends and relatives alike may fall hopelessly in love with you after tasting these cinnamon rolls.  They're the baked-goods equivalent of Old Spice body wash.  ("Helllllo ladies.")

    You'll need:
    • 1 quart whole milk (4 cups) ... and yes, it has to be whole milk.
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp if you buy the jars)
    • 8 cups (plus 1 cup extra, separated) unbleached all-purpose Flour
    • 1 tsp (heaping) baking powder
    • 1 tsp (scant) baking soda
    • 1 tbsp (heaping) salt
    • plenty of melted butter (just go ahead and melt a whole box/lb.)
    • 2 cups sugar
    • generous sprinkling of cinnamon
    Maple Glaze
    • 1 (2 lb.) bag powdered sugar
    • 2 tsp maple flavoring (found on the spice aisle with the vanilla)
    • ½ cups milk
    • ¼ cups melted butter
    • ¼ cups brewed coffee
    • ⅛ tsp salt
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

    Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in both packages of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover (I use loose plastic wrap) and let rise for at least an hour.

    After rising for at least an hour, add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).

    When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 1/2 to 1 cup melted butter over the dough--I use somewhere between 1/2 and 1 cup...it's more of a feeling than an exact science. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

    Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.

    Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven or nine inch round foil cake or pie pan (I use 9 in round foil cake pans). Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans (an easy way to cut the rolls is to use dental floss for nice even slices).

    Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.  (If you don't want to bake them right away, at this point you could cover and put the pans in the fridge for baking the next day, or put in the freezer for future use.--See step four of the tutorial at her link.)

    For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls.

    This recipe is easy for an experienced baker, but there are lots of steps and it is quite time consuming.  More than once I've lost track of how many cups of flour I put in and just had to wing it.  (Get ready for a shameless business plug...)  If you're dying to have some but don't have a spare six hours-ish to devote to brunch making, I'd be happy to be your supplier :).  Joyeux Kitchen taking orders starting June 1.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Green Bunny: Alki

    As promised in a previous post, here is a two-page layout featuring a 12x12 photo. LOVE!

    If you are interested in playing with oversized photos in your scrapbooking, you should definitely try Scrapbookpictures.com and Persnickety Prints!

    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    Joyeux Kitchen -- In Business!

    Well friends, this post has been in the works for a long time. I love to bake for friends and family, and after doing it for fun for the past five years, it's time to take a big scary leap! I'm excited to announce that starting in June and stretching through the end of August, I'll be offering a small selection of my very, very favorite yummies for sale. Small orders need to be placed three days prior to your event and large orders will need to be placed at least a week in advance. Gigantic orders... well if I get a gigantic order I'll fall over dead of shock and then I guess we'll have a meeting.

    Initial offerings at special summer prices:

    Chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes with an ample mound of cookie dough buttercream frosting.

    $10.00/dozen: custom colored and drizzled
    $15.00/dozen: decorated

    $8.00/dozen heart-shaped cream scones. Perfect for family brunch.

    Ooey-Gooey Cinnamon Rolls
    Have I really never blogged these rich, gooey rolls???  Oh this is HAPPENING this week. Rolls that melt in your mouth with a lick-your-fingers maple glaze.
    $8.00/pan (approx. eight rolls per pan)

    Joyeux Kitchen Two-Layer Chocolate Cake
    This amazing chocolate cake is my favorite from Ina Garten's kitchen. The rich, chocolate buttercream makes it the best chocolate cake you will ever eat. You will immediately want me to make you another. Photos coming soon.
    $16.00 (9-inch round cake pan serves 10-12 people)

    As if it could get any better, the first official fiftytinytoes contest is coming soon. We will be a drawing a lucky follower's name out of a hat, so make sure to join our followers list to be entered to win a free dessert from Joyeux Kitchen. Be EXCITED and go join our followers list now!

    Also, if you've tried any of these treats from my kitchen and post a review in the comment section, I'll give you a half-dozen cake balls FREE. Are you EXCITED now?

    If you have an event in mind and would like to pre-order your goodies, there are a number of easy ways to reach me. Leave me a comment here or send me a message at fiftytinytoes@gmail.com! And soon, you'll be able to "Like" Joyeux Kitchen on Facebook and send me your order that way. I've never shipped my baked goods. I'm investigating that process now.

    Can't wait to share my treats with you. xo

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Happy Mother's Day! (just another day in The Mutha-Hood)

    Happy Mother's Day Weekend, readers!  (Hope you all enjoy Anita Renfroe as much as we do :)

    Recently I wrote an essay as part of a Green River scholarship application; I ran into some perplexing questions.  I was at a loss, really, as to how to explain my work experience or academic achievement, so here's how I introduced myself (tongue firmly-in-cheek, of course):
    "For the past five years I’ve held the position of Chief Executive Officer of a small, successful-though-chaotic enterprise. My responsibilities include but are not limited to: budget allocation and record-keeping, maintenance, meal preparation, buyer (of everything), efficiency expert, health and personal safety advisor (including personal hygiene), and transportation of precious cargo. I am on-call 24 hours a day. In exchange, I receive zero compensation. I get zero days off per year, and (BONUS!) also get zero vacation or sick days."
    Then I included an interview I did with the girls about Mommy going back to school:
    Here’s what my charges have to say about me:

    Q: Would you say that Mommy’s a hard worker?
    A: “Yes, when you get home from the gym, you’re always really sweaty!!”

    Q: What would be good about Mommy going back to school?
    A: “You really need to learn about Jesus, and makeup, and Easter egg hunts….”

    Q: Would Mommy be a good nurse?
    A: “Yes! You’re great at checking us out with the doctor’s kit!” … “But don’t give any kids shots Mom!”
    They crack me up.  Being a mom is hard work.  It's also hilarious, and that's part of the reason we started this blog in the first place--to celebrate the hilarity of motherhood.  Try interviewing your kids today with some questions about you, your time with them, your profession, the world...we'd love to hear their responses.

    Check out South Sound Macaroni Kid (one of our favorite sites!) for a list of events going on this weekend in the area.  Enjoy your celebrations, Mommies!