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02 Jul 09:50

The 7 Rules of Compliment Club

by joythebaker

Compliment Club

COM•PLI•MENT // noun // a polite expression of praise or admiration.  

COMPLIMENT CLUB, it would follow, is a group of people whom actively, enthusiastically, sincerely, and frequently offer words of praise to the people around them.  My maj Tracy and I came up with Compliment Club as a way of encouraging each other to send good vibes into the world.  It’s not an exclusive club… you should totally hop on in! 

Let’s talk about compliments.  You’ve likely gotten them when you’re wearing a flattering dress, when your hair is flipping the right way at the right time on the right day, when you’ve made an impression on someone… BOOM!  Sometimes they drop a compliment in your lap.  It feels great!  It feels like you’ve been seen and appreciated for your hard work to be a good human.  Right?  

Well… giving is more important that getting.  I think it was Socrates that said that.  Definitely Socrates.  

There are some guidelines for offering compliments.  We can’t just go throwing them around willy-nilly.  Here are the rules of Compliment Club.  Join.  Follow them.  Let’s be better together.  (I sincerely mean that… don’t look at me like I’m crazy.)  

•  First rule of Compliment Club (yes… we can talk about Compliment Club): Look for the positive in other people.  This is imperative.  You can’t offer a sincere compliment if you aren’t looking for the beauty in the people around you.  Naturally, sometimes seeing the light in people is easier than others. In gridlock traffic?  Hard…. very hard to see the good in people.  Behind the lady writing a check in the express lane at the grocery store?  Challenging…. extremely challenging to see the beauty in that situation.  

It’s ok.  Not every moment is the right time for a sincere compliment.  But!  If you’re regularly looking for the good in people, those moments of frustration will likely (hopefully) have less of a tinge.  

•  The second rule of Compliment Club:  Be genuine.  Mean what you say.

Stay away from hyperbole.  Hyperbole is saying things like “oh my gosh you’re the best person in the world.”  An exaggeration.  I mean… they’re probably great, but literally the best person in the world?  Is that accurate?  

I’m guilty of hyperbole.  I think it’s the way of the Internet these days… exaggerating to make things sound like the best, the biggest, the coolest thing EVER.  Hyperbole has no place in a genuine compliment.  It actually makes the compliment rather empty.  

Root yourself in the compliment.  Stand tall in it.  I think we use hyperbole to separate ourselves from the genuine words we really want to say.

•  The third rule of Compliment Club:  Be Specific.  Specifics go a long way.  

People want to be seen and noticed for their efforts in the world.  See them.  Comment on them specifically.  

•  The fourth rule of Compliment Club:  Be heartfelt is how things make you FEEL.  Throw some emotional language into your genuine compliment.  Make yourself vulnerable.  

Here’s one, ” When you stood in line for an hour and bought me every single treat available at Tartine, you made me feel really special. I see so much kindness in you and I really appreciate you.”  

(That was a good day.)  

•  The fifth rule of Compliment Club:  Chill on the back-handed compliments.  Don’t do it.  Rude.  

•  The sixth rule of Compliment Club:  Just go for it!  There’s no time to waste and sometimes the window to offer someone some kindness is short.  

I saw the most lovely old lady walking her dog this afternoon.  I admired her but hesitated.  No compliment.  I lost my chance.  

I suppose the lesson is:  don’t worry about embarrassing yourself.  Life is short.  Say it and mean it! 

•  The seventh rule of Compliment Club:  Don’t expect anything in return.  Everyone absorbs a compliment differently.   Some people feel embarrassed.  Others might want to refute you.  Some with thank you.  Some might back away slowly.  Have no expectations.  Just put your kind words out in the world, let them linger in the air, soak in… and your job is done!  Besides, expecting a compliment in return would make you a jerk and jerks don’t deserve compliments anyway.  

Ultimately, Compliment Club is not about being flashy, outgoing, or overly extroverted… it’s about genuinely liking people, seeing their good, and reflecting their light back to them.  Totally easy.  Go on, have at it! 

02 Jul 01:57

17 Ways to Conquer Soul-Crushing Negativity

by Angel Chernoff

17 Ways to Conquer Soul-Crushing Negativity
by Scott Sind

When we are aware of our weaknesses or negative tendencies, we open the opportunity to work on them.

Ever had one of those moments when all you wanted to do was crawl back in bed, put a pillow over your head and shut out the world for a few hours?  For a few days?

For the rest of the year?

I’m willing to bet that you have wanted to throw in the towel at some point.  And it’s okay if you have.  It’s a perfectly normal response, actually.

Human beings have an elaborate, built-in defense mechanism designed to keep us safe.  The only problem is that the system doesn’t do a very good job of threat assessment.  All dangers are equal, whether the threat is a hungry lion or the empty judgments of others.  Our minds and bodies react the same way to both—we retreat back into our cave, where the soft glow of the fire keeps us safe and warm.

You’ve said it before: “It just won’t work.” “Why am I even trying this?” “I don’t know what I’m doing.” “This is stupid.”  Deep down you know you’re trying to rationalize your way out of doing something that’s scary, whether it’s looking for a new job, starting a business, writing a book, or calling up your estranged sibling.  And every time you rationalize, you sink further into the depths where the pressure of negativity will ultimately crush you.

A few years ago I wrote a novel.  Sometimes it was easy, when the words flowed onto the page and I saw the story clearly in my head.  Other times it was as if my fingers were made of lead and the story disappeared behind layers of thick fog.  On those days I felt like giving up—like I was never going to finish, and even if I did, the book would be terrible.

So I quit writing.  My manuscript sat there, untouched, for over a year, and I agonized over it daily because I had sunk so deeply into the rationalization that I wasn’t cut out to be a writer.  Every day that I didn’t write I died a little bit inside.  I knew that I should be creating, giving the characters life and using words to paint the pictures I saw in my head onto the page.

A little over a year into my creative isolation, I had an epiphany.  I started thinking about my book, and my life as a writer, differently.  I discovered little tricks to coax the writer within me out long enough to put words on the page.  At first these were fleeting moments—maybe ten minutes here and there.  But soon, and without much effort, I was spending more and more time working on my novel, enjoying the process, and even laughing off those moments when I couldn’t produce any words.

The very things that had previously driven me into isolation—fear and insecurity—actually propelled me forward now.  I’d learned, through various techniques and mindset shifts, to prevent myself from sinking completely into the depths of negativity.  The result?  I’m now more focused and better able to climb over obstacles and wade through the challenges that come my way.  I’m happy to share these tips with you so you can accomplish more, and live an abundant, more confident life.

1.  Frame your questions in a positive light.

“What if I fail?”

“What will people think of me if I’m wrong?”

These kinds of questions bait us into negative thinking.  By framing our decision-making this way, we’ve (more…)

01 Jul 09:19

Costa Rican Breakfast

by joythebaker

Costa Rican Breakfast

There’s something people don’t tell you about Costa Rica:  time slows (almost) all the way dooowwwnn.  It’s magic.  Like time gets stripped away leaving luxuriously long mornings followed by, luxuriously lazy afternoons, followed by impeccable… truly impeccable sunsets.

It’s like island life.  But not an island.  It’s beach life.  The sun stays high and the air is just mellow.  Completely mellow.  

I visited Costa Rica last year and still wonder about the paradise-heavy time warp.  Why does that happen in Costa Rica and not on any given Wednesday in my New Orleans life?  

Here’s hoping the Costa Rican time warp can be a state of mind no matter what my longitude and latitude.

I suppose it starts with breakfast.  Shall we?   

Ps.  When I returned from Costa Rica last year I made this Banana y Leche con Cafe and I don’t regret it one bit.  

Costa Rican Breakfast

This breakfast is best after an early rise, a few hours on the beach spent trying desperately to both surf poorly and not drown, and some quality time in the morning sun.  

This breakfast is also quite delicious if enjoyed after sleeping in, barely shuffling out of bed.  

It’s all about assembly.  Fluffy white rice on a plate.  Leftover rice microwaved to warm is perfectly acceptable.  Don’t stress it.  

Costa Rican Breakfast

Black beans on top of the rice.  

I like to season the rice and beans with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika.  Both rice and beans can be, what I refer to as a… taste suck.  Their flavors are so base that they need a good dose of salt, pepper and other flare to bring them forth.  

Hot Smoked Paprika is a secret weapon in the kitchen.  I should write a whole blog post about it.  

Costa Rican Breakfast

Scrambled eggs, fresh tomato salsa, and sliced avocado.  

This breakfast isn’t specific to Costa Rica.  It’s also not rocket science.  What it is, is…. supremely delicious and what I enjoyed most late mornings in Costa Rica.  

Costa Rican Breakfast

Should we talk about frying plantains?  You could.  You can.  You should.  You’re full of great ideas so YES! 

Plantains are like bananas.  They’re larger, a bit more dense, sweet, with a savory quality.  They’re peeled, sliced and pan fried in a bit of olive oil.  A sweet and welcome addition to the savory flavors of the breakfast.  Also… you’ll want them all the time, so prepare yourself.  

Costa Rican Breakfast
2015-06-30 17:01:32
Serves 2
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
What You'll Need
  1. 3 cups warm white rice
  2. 1 cup black beans, drained and heated through
  3. 4 large eggs, scrambled
  4. 1 ripe Haas avocado, pitted and sliced
  5. 1/2 fresh tomato salsa
  6. 1 plantain, peeled, sliced, and fried in a bit of olive oil
  7. sliced pickled jalapeños
  8. salt, pepper, and hot smoked paprika to taste
  1. This breakfast is more about assembly than anything. Gather together your ingredients: fluff the rice, warm the black beans, season and scramble the eggs, slice the avocado, potion out salsa, and fry the plantains.
  2. Divide the rice between two shallow bowls or plates. Top each portion of rice with black beans. Season with salt, pepper, and smoky paprika. It's all about building layers of flavor. Top the beans salsa followed by scrambled eggs. Top with avocado slices, pickled jalapeños, and fried plantains. Again season with salt, pepper, and hot smoked paprika. Enjoy immediately!
By Joy the Bkaer
Joy the Baker
28 Jun 13:00

Now This is a Customer Service WIN

24 Jun 21:30

Learn How to Bulk Up Your Chicken Legs with These Exercises

by Patrick Allan

If you feel self-conscious about having really skinny legs, you need to do some training to bulk them up. This infographic features 19 exercises you can do to take your legs up a few sizes.


24 Jun 09:08

Sweet Plum Sorbet

by joythebaker

Sweet Plum Sorbet

I always wanted a ponytail.  A ponytail I could position extra high on my head with hair long enough to cascade down to my shoulders, cheerleader-style, youthful, bouncy.  The kind of hair, that you can flip around to express various emotions, from bitchy to bored to flirty.  

I don’t have ponytail hair.  Never did.  

What I’ve always had is a fine, curly, frizzy, perfectly acceptable, head of hair that I’m completely grateful for.  It’s just not ponytail hair.  It’s not hair I can whip around to express my enthusiasm for life.  

That’s how hair works, right?  

Summer fruit, all of the gorgeous peaches, apricots, strawberries, and plums… they’re like a gorgeous, shiny, lustrous, perfectly bouncy, high ponytail.  Showing off, effortless… a little enviable even.  

Luckily, no matter what hair grows from our head, high ponytail or not… it’s our time.  It’s Summer and the markets are bursting with sweet fruit flavors.  Let’s get at em!

Sweet Plum Sorbet

Plums are perfect just as they are.  Deep purple skin.  Tart with just a hint of snap when you bite through.   Sweet insides.  Sour as you reach the pit.  They’re exactly right.    

Sweet Plum Sorbet

These plums are golden on the inside, but the deep purple skin is dark enough to tint the finished sorbet a lovely shade of fuchsia.  

Sweet Plum Sorbet

Pitted and sliced plums are boiled in a mixture of sugar and water.

Boiled to softened.  Boiled to almost jam.   

Sweet Plum Sorbet

The plums will fall apart.  The skins will separate from the fruit flesh and tint the sugar water a lovely purple.  

Sweet Plum Sorbet

A blender gets us one step closer to sorbet.  

The cooked fruit and sugar mixture is blended completely.  Skins and all.  No need to strain.  Everything is everything.  

The mixture will be hot (it was boiling fruit) when it goes into the blender.  You may need to blend in two batches.  Don’t be cavalier.   

Sweet Plum Sorbet

The blended plum will need some quality chilling time in the refrigerator.  Literal chilling… not just relaxing.  

It helps if the mixture is completely cold before it’s churned into a bright pink sorbet.  

Sweet Plum Sorbet

Smooth and glossy, soft and sweet.  This sorbet is perfectly scoop able, bright, and sweet.  The high proportion of sugar makes this sorbet creamy smooth and not icy.  I also love the little bits of skin.

Top with chopped salted pistachios and even a bit of chopped dark chocolate to balance the plum sorbet sweetness.

It’s Summer!  Ponytail or no… what a good life it is!  

Sweet Plum Sorbet
2015-06-22 17:10:05
Serves 6
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Prep Time
12 hr
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
12 hr
Cook Time
30 min
  1. 2 cups water
  2. 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  3. just over 1 pound of ripe plums (I used 9 medium purple plums), sliced into chunks, pits discarded
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  6. 1 tablespoon vodka (optional)
  7. 1/2 cup coarsely chopped, shelled salted pistachios
  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, stir together water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add the sliced plum, a pinch of salt and stir. Allow to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the plums begin to soften and breakdown. You might even find that the skins separate from the flesh of the fruit. The sugar water will be tinted purple. That's exactly right.
  3. Once the fruit is softened, remove from heat and transfer to a blender. You may need to do this in two batches but I managed it in one. Add the fruit and liquid to the blender, make sure the lid is secure, place a clean towel over the lid and blend until smooth.
  4. The mixture will still be hot. Place in the refrigerator (in the blender... why not?) until chilled through. Leaving it overnight to chill is best.
  5. When ready to churn, remove from the refrigerator and stir in the lime juice and vodka (if using). Follow your ice cream machine instructions to churn to a thick, soft, sorbet. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and allow to rest in the freezer for at least 4 hours before scooping and serving.
  6. Top with shelled, salted pistachios just before serving. Enjoy!
By Joy the Baker
Joy the Baker
07 May 21:30

When You Shouldn't Eat Stinky Cheese

by Patrick Allan

Most of the best cheeses have their own type of stink, but that can make it hard to tell if they’ve spoiled or not. The trick lies in the type of smell they give off.


19 Jun 00:07

Red Lentil Dumplings

I thought I'd jot off a quick post for those of you who like to see what I pack to eat when I travel. I have one more day in Hong Kong before flying back to San Francisco, and I'll be sad to leave. This trip has been far too quick - Hong Kong is an amazing city, and the people couldn't be more kind, friendly, or generous. Lots of pictures and a bit of video to come. In the meantime, I made these little dumplings for the flight. They're protein-packed pureed red lentils, flared out with deeply roasted cherry tomatoes, and a simple smoked paprika and garlic oil. I meant to finish them with a simple basil oil, but didn't want to miss my flight. More soon! -h

Red Lentil Dumplings
Red Lentil Dumplings
Red Lentil Dumplings
Red Lentil Dumplings

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15 Jun 10:07

Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake

by joythebaker

Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake with maple

Because it’s Monday.  Because it’s just about summertime.  Because we like fruit with our breakfast.  Because we’re grown and we can do what we want…  we get to drink lots of coffee and eat lots of cake for breakfast.  

Blueberries, oats, and pure maple syrup make anything breakfast so… CAKE it is!  

Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake with maple

I’ve been experimenting a lot with gluten-free baking lately.  I’m sure you’ve noticed.  It’s possible you have a question mark in your mind about it.  Well… I want to learn how to bake without wheat.  Baking is such a science and I know how wheat flour interacts with leavening and liquid.  Gluten-free flours are a whole different science.  I want to know that I can still make fluffy cakes and flakey biscuits in the absence of wheat.  So far I’ve had some major fails and happy triumphs.  This is one of the triumphs.  

Eventually I’m going to try making my own gluten-free flour blend to use in my kitchen but I’m still getting my footing.  Right now I use King Arthur Flour’s Gluten-Free Flour and I’m going to give Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef’s All-Purpose Flour Blend.  They know what’s what!  

If you’re hoping for more gluten-FULL coffee cake recipes, here’s your jam: 

•  Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Brown Butter Glaze.  A recipe from my cookbook Homemade Decadence.  

•  Pear Crumble Coffee Cake.  You might not be in the mood for pears, but I think strawberries would also be mega! 

•  Coffee Coffee Cake Muffins.  I mean… let’s make our cake taste like coffee! 

•  Brown Butter Blueberry Muffins.  These really are THE BEST! 

Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake with maple

There’s a real happiness in creaming butter and sugar and adding eggs.  It’s a sign of a right future.  

For extra flavoring, vanilla extract and a good dose of maple syrup.  

Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake with maple

I use a hand mixer to cream the sugar and beat in the eggs and flavoring.  When it comes to stirring in the dry ingredients, I like to use a spatula.  It helps me be more gentle with the batter and doing things by hand helps me get into the bottom edges of the bowl to ensure everything is evenly mixed.  

Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake with maple

Fresh blueberries because it’s summer and we can! 

Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake with maple

The batter will be smooth and rather thick.  Not pourable.  Definitely spoonable.  Stud the top with blueberries before the crumble goes to topping.  

I added oats to my topping.  Gluten-free.  Last minute baker’s decision.  

Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake with maple

Just begging for the oven.  

Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake with maple

Golden brown with bubbling blueberries.  I mean… what a world.  It’s a good one. 

Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake with maple

Because enough doesn’t always seems like enough, I served this breakfast cake warm with a hearty drizzle of maple syrup.  Make it rain.  Make it rain maple syrup.  

This coffee cake, though gluten-free, is light and fluffy.  It’s spongy and moist and studded with fruit.  Basically, it’s exactly what you want it to be.  This recipe is adapted from this recipe here… if you’re interested in an alternate topping.  

Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake
2015-06-14 14:59:39
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
For the Cake
  1. 2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
  2. 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 cup granulated sugar
  8. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  9. 1 heaping tablespoon lemon zest
  10. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  11. 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, plus 3 tablespoons more for topping
  12. 2 large eggs
  13. 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  14. 1 cup fresh blueberries
For the Topping
  1. 1/2 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
  2. 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  3. 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  4. 3 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
  5. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  7. pinch of salt
  1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch square baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or you could use a large bowl and a set of hand beaters) beat together sugar, butter, and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract and maple syrup.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one egg at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition.
  5. Stop the mixer and remove the bowl from the stand. Add the dry ingredients, all at once, to the butter mixture. Use a rubber spatula to fold a few strokes. Add the buttermilk and fold until just combined. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl well to evenly mix the batter.
  6. Add the blueberries (reserving a small handful for topping) and fold to combine.
  7. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle on the remaining blueberries
  8. To make the crumble, in a small bowl combine all of the ingredients and use your fingers to break up the bitter bits into the mixture. Some of the butter will be the size of small peas, others the size of oat flakes.
  9. Sprinkle the topping over the cake and place in the oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes before serving.
  10. Drizzle with maple syrup before serving.
  11. Cake will last, well wrapped at room temperature, for 3 days.
By Joy the Baker
Adapted from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef
Joy the Baker
12 Jun 10:36

Mango and Jalapeño Guacamole

by joythebaker

Mango and Jalapeño Guacamole

Sure, you could make this irresistible guacamole for a backyard barbecue, or a block party, a brunch party maybe… any event that would take you out of your pajamas, off of your couch, and into the presence of other people (gasp.) OR… you could make a giant bowl of this guacamole, keep your pajamas on and settle in for a good, old-fashioned Netflix binge.  I mean.  To me, the choice is clear.

Choose your own adventure.  I will often choose pajamas and privacy, especially where guacamole is involved. 

Mango and Jalapeño Guacamole

It’s easy!

Ripe avocados are pitted and scooped into a big enough bowl.  Diced red onions plus finely diced jalapeño into the avocado.  

Lots of lime to keep things tart, green, and to prevent scurvy.  

Salt and pepper too because, always. 

Mango and Jalapeño Guacamole

Cilantro for that particular guacamole punch.  

And mango instead of tomatoes today!  The sweetness and juiciness is a wonderful compliment to the creamy avocado and savory onions.  

Mango and Jalapeño Guacamole

I also added a splash of tequila to the guacamole.  The fragrance alone is a nice complement.  The slight bite is welcome.  

Now… guacamole is a very personal endeavor.  It’s like making an omelet.  Everyone is very particular, as they should be.  

Maybe you like your guacamole more onion-y, with way more spice, with no cilantro or all the cilantro, or without the tequila.  The recipe below is an outline, feel free to adjust as your taste permits.

Have fun!   Also… let me know what you’re Neflix binge selection is. I’m curious.   

Mango and Jalapeño Guacamole
2015-06-11 22:24:34
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
  1. 3 ripe Haas avocados, sliced in half, pit removed and scooped from peel
  2. 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  3. most of a jalapeño, seeds removed and finely diced
  4. juice of 3 limes
  5. small handful coarsely chopped cilantro
  6. 1/2 cup diced, ripe mango
  7. salt and pepper
  8. splash of tequila (optional)
  1. In a medium bowl, mash together avocado, onion, jalapeño, and lime juice. Leave the avocado mixture as chunky as you'd like.
  2. Stir in cilantro, mango, salt and pepper, and tequila (if using). Taste and adjust seasoning as you'd like. Maybe you'd like to add more lime, salt, or pepper.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
By Joy the Baker
Joy the Baker
03 Jun 01:39

Caramelized Fennel on Herbed Polenta

Like many of you, I'm a fan of Sarah Britton. Her site My New Roots is a beautiful blend of inspired cooking and nutritional insight, punctuated with genuine positivity. I'm sitting here with her eagerly-awaited first cookbook - a substantial hardback filled with her signature plant-based recipes and vibrant photos. I've had the manuscript for months, and expressed my enthusiasm with a quote on the inside cover. I could have written a lot more if I'd been allowed to edge in on Sara Forte or Deborah Madison's endorsement space ;) Here's what I wrote, "My New Roots is beautiful proof that eating with nutrition in mind need not be a compromise. This is an unabashedly enthusiastic riff on the food-as-medicine approach to cooking and eating. Sarah's playful and encouraging voice is infectious; you get the sense that she is waiting on the other side of each recipe to give you a high five." I think the high five is the key, and part of what I love so much about Sarah's work. At a time when many food choices work against us, Sarah wants your food and cooking to work for you. And she works hard at communicating the hows and whys - riding that line of inspiration and coaching, with the just the right amount of nutritional context. There are a lot of great recipes in her book, but I cherry-picked this gem to highlight. It is a creamy, herb-flecked polenta spiked with Pecorino, and topped with caramelized slabs of pan-seared fennel.

Herbed Polenta RecipeHerbed Polenta RecipeHerbed Polenta RecipeHerbed Polenta Recipe

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05 May 17:00

Diced, Chopped, Minced, & More: A Visual Guide to Six Basic Knife Cuts

by Susannah Chen on Skillet, shared by Whitson Gordon to Lifehacker

If you’ve ever wondered about the difference is between “chopped”, “diced”, “minced”, and other cuts in a recipe, you aren’t alone. Knife cuts can be so confusing that we’ve compiled a visual guide to some of the most common.


30 Apr 02:24

40 Quotes that Will Quiet Your Mind

by Angel Chernoff

40 Quotes that Will Quiet Your Mind

Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.

You know how you always turn down the volume on the radio when you need to think clearly about something complicated or confusing?

The same is true for your life in general.  The noise you need to cut out to concentrate?  That’s the noise in your head – the busy, worried thoughts screaming over your better judgment.

Turning down the radio refocuses your mind and offers you clarity when you need it most.  You don’t really think about how or why this makes such a huge difference, you just know that it does.

Now it’s time to apply this same strategy to all the other noise in your life, starting with the noise in your head.  And although it’s not quite as easy as spinning the radio’s volume dial, the good news is you can quiet your mind and train it to think more rationally simply by reminding yourself to do so every day.  Some people call them affirmations, or mantras, or convictions, but in any case these daily reminders keep you on track by keeping peaceful, productive thoughts at the top of your mind, even when life gets noisy.

Here are 40 quotes gathered from our blog archive that can be used as reminders to help tweak your thoughts and quiet your anxious mind:

  1. Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.  So pay close attention to the thoughts you choose.  They have a way of becoming real.
  2. There is absolutely nothing about your present circumstances that prevents you from making progress, one step at a time.
  3. Worry, and you get what you worry about.  Work, and you get what you work for.  It’s often just that simple. (more…)
30 Apr 17:30

Make an Impromptu Slow Cooker Meal With This Basic Formula

by Dave Greenbaum

Sometimes you don’t have the time or patience for a recipe (or you just have some leftover ingredients). This chart shows you a simple formula to put together any slow cooker meal.


24 Apr 16:00

Joinery 101: Make Rabbet Joints to Learn a Skill You'll Never Outgrow

by Timothy Dahl on Workshop, shared by Andy Orin to Lifehacker

Rabbet joints may not be the prettiest of wood joints, but sometimes they’re just the best option you have. Here’s how (and when) to use them.


15 May 09:11

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

by joythebaker

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

I banged my head against the wall one good time.  I wanted cheesecake, like a really big slice of cold creamy cheesecake, and I wanted to do anything anything anything at all NOT to make a cheesecake.   Headbang.  How can I get to cheesecake into my face without leaving my house…  without having to make an actual cheesecake?    The last time I foil-wrapped and water-bathed a cheesecake was probably 1997.  It ended in a tragically soggy crust and I’ll never do it again.  

One good bang against the wall and presto!  Ice cream is the answer.  Cream cheesy and rich to mimic cheesecake flavors,  berries because they’re purple and delicious, and chunks of graham cracker crumbs to simulate the all-important crust.  Dreams:  realized.

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Basically, I’ll do anything not to get all the cheesecake flavor I can without actually making a cheesecake.  Ice cream is my latest cheesecake hack.  Past cheesecake hacks involve using a pie plate instead of a springform pan.  I’m nothing if not clever in the kitchen.  Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pie.  

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

This ice cream is majorly easy!  I don’t like an egg yolk-y ice cream base so I tend to skip the yolks. 

Fortunately we have all the luscious fat we need with heavy cream and cream cheese!

I like to use brown sugar for a little extra depth to the sweetness, salt for balance, and bourbon because it’s awesome and it keeps the ice cream from freezing into an unmanageable block.  

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

All of the ingredients are combined in the bowl of a big ol’ food processor.  That’s right! This ice cream starts in a food processor.  

If you don’t have a food processor, a high-powered blender will also work.  

Milk and cream, cream cheese, sugar, and salt all twirled together and just like that!  Ice cream base!

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

For the blueberry sauce we’ll combine fresh blueberries, sugar, cornstarch for thickening, as well as salt and lemon to bring out the flavors of the berries.  A bit of water too.

The berries will burst and break down slightly and the whole mixture will thicken as it boils.  Super easy! 

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Churned cheesecake ice cream is devilishly smooth.  Seriously.  either commit to going at it with a spoon straight from the ice cream maker, or don’t even go there.  Once you start… game over!

We can totally talk about ice cream makers if you’d like although you probably have one cluttering up the way way back of your kitchen cupboards (I’m guilty too..).  This Breville Smart Scoop makes fantastic ice cream because it has an internal cooling system.  No need to chill a bowl.  Also great, this Cuisinart 2-quart ice cream jammer… as long as you remember to keep the mixing bowl in the freezer.  

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

We quickly transfer most of the churned ice cream to a freezer-safe container.  In this case, my freezer-safe container is a metal loaf pan.  I mean… why not?  

Cooled blueberry sauce is added to the quickly melting ice cream and the two are swirled.  

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Large chunks of graham crackers are folding into the aaaaahhhh-it’s-still-melting-ice cream.  More blueberries on top.  And hey a few more graham crackers too.  

Quick quick.  Then we run to the freezer to let it all rest.  Like seriously… run.  

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

What do we want this ice cream to fulfill?  Rich a cream cheesy?  Check.  Taste just like cheesecake?  Check.  Fresh sweet blueberry goodness?  Check.  Pretty purple color?  Check.  Crust-like graham cracker bits?  Check.  Once consumed, provides turbo energy for housecleaning and other mundane chores?  Well, kinda.  Check! 

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
2015-05-14 22:08:22
Write a review
For the Cheesecake Ice Cream
  1. 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  2. 1 cup whole milk
  3. 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  4. 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional but delicious)
For the Blueberry Sauce
  1. 1 cup fresh blueberries
  2. 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  3. 2 teaspoons corn starch
  4. 1/4 cup water
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  7. 1 heaping cup crumbled Graham Crackers
  1. To make the ice cream, combine the cream cheese, milk, cream, brown sugar, slat, and bourbon (if using), in the bowl of a large food processor fitted with a blade attachment.
  2. Blend on high speed until smooth. Depending on how softened your cream cheese was, there may be a few flecks of cream cheese remaining in the combined mixture. That's ok!
  3. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions, usually about 30 to 45 minutes.
  4. While the ice cream is churning, make the blueberry sauce. In a small saucepan stir together blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, water, salt, and lemon juice over medium-low heat. Stir until the berries burst and the juices have thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Place in a small bowl and allow to rest in the refrigerator while the ice cream churns.
  5. When ice cream in done churning, quickly spoon it into a freezer safe container. Add the blueberry sauce and swirl to combine. Add crumbled graham crackers and lightly stir in.
  6. Allow ice cream to rest in the freezer for at least 4 hours. Overnight is best. Ice cream will last for 1 week in the freezer.
By Joy the Baker
Adapted from Joy the Baker Homemade Decadece
Joy the Baker
03 Mar 19:09

Refined Contemporary Design: Self-Supporting Spiral Staircases by Rizzi Studio

by Lavinia

spiral staircases
In creating these cement spiral staircases, Rizzi Studio combines a sophisticated design with a perfect technical core. Each of the projects acts as a connection between storeys, enhancing the value of the settings and accommodating the requirements of contemporary living. The self-supporting staircase winds around itself according to the available space in a harmonious upward crescendo to become a fundamental element of interior design as well as a functional feature. Individual prefabricated modules are put together to form self-supporting staircases, with 11 standard diameters of between 125 cm and a maximum of 300 cm, to offer fully customizable projects according to the finishes of the intended surroundings.
ideas modern staircase Rizzi
The logic behind the installation of Rizzi’s reinforced concrete spiral staircases drastically reduces installation times: individual unrefined steps are shipped and subsequently assembled directly on site. They include the tread, the riser and at either end the stringer which, when assembly has been completed, will form two spiral stringer boards notched to accommodate the reinforcement connecting the starting storey to the landing. The treads and risers can also be clad with wood, stainless steel, ceramic, marble and resin. [Photos and information provided via e-mail by Rizzi Studio]

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14 Apr 16:30

This Infographic Shows How to Care for Every Type of Clothing Fabric

by Melanie Pinola

Washing your clothes according to fabric rather than color can not only save you money , it could make laundering your clothes more efficient. Here’s a guide to washing and ironing various fabric types.


28 Apr 15:50

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Quick, clever, healthy breakfast ideas are something I'm always excited to discover. I'm talking about preparations you can make at home, in the morning, when you're often crunched for time. Nobody loves a leisurely brunch more than I do, but most mornings that's just not in the cards for me, nor, I suspect, for many of you. I landed on what I think of as a new healthy breakfast favorite this week, and instead of simply sharing that recipe, I thought I'd list it off with a handful of other feel-good day starters that are in regular rotation here - with an emphasis on the quick ones. I really love a savory breakfast, but savory or not, I try to make sure whatever I make has a good amount of protein, fresh ingredients, and some fruit or vegetables, and/or greens if possible. For example:

Five-minute Breakfast Tacos: If you plan ahead just a bit, these come together in minutes. This is what I've been eating for breakfast most of this week. Peel a hard-boiled egg*, smash it in a small bowl with a bit of yogurt or drizzle of olive oil. Heat a tortilla by throwing it down directly on a very low burner or gas flame. Flip it once or twice, until it is hot, and blistered a bit. Remove and top with the smashed egg, shredded greens, sprouts, micro greens, or chopped herbs. Add a drizzle of hot sauce or salsa. Done. Pictured above and below.

*I hard-boil eggs once or twice a week 6-12 at a time, and then place them back in the carton, so they're ready first thing in the morning.

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Miso Soup: It's a traditional way to start the day in Japan, and I love how it makes me feel - warm, calm, cozy. Also, it can be as quick to make as a cup of tea. I put a dollop of good miso in the bottom of a cup or mason jar along with anything else I want, pour a splash of just-shy-of-boiling water in, stir to break up the miso, then add more and more water until the taste is the strength I'm after. I tend to add whatever is in the refrigerator to make it a bit more substantial and filling - a scoop of cooked barley grains, tiny cubes of tofu, cooked mung beans, etc. I did a post on miso soup a while back as well.

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Crepes: Don't roll your eyes yet ;) I know it sounds time intensive, but crepes really aren't if you have the batter ready. I sometimes make a jar of crepe batter on a Sunday, and it's good until Thursday or Friday. Just give it a good stir, and into the pan it goes. A favorite version is as follows: make the crepe, when it is nearly done, pour one well-beaten egg on top of the crepe while it is still in the pan (less if you're using a small pan), allowing it to form a thin coating, then cook until the egg is set. Add whatever else you like after that - herbs, a little swirl of sauce or pesto, some chopped spinach, or a bit of cheese, or avocado. Fold and go. Here's the rye crepe recipe I use often.

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Yogurt Bowls: (photo above) I think the key with yogurt bowls is to start with the best, plain yogurt you can get your hands on. Then add other ingredients. I'm always shocked at just how much sugar is in some of the pre-flavored yogurts out there. I had a vanilla yogurt the other day that was like melted ice cream - delicious, but not the best way to start my morning. I decide if I'm going to take a yogurt bowl sweet or savory and go from there. Some favorite combinations:

- Plain Yogurt + seasonal fruit + honey + something crunchy - for example: this Pluot & Poppy Yogurt Bowl,

- Plain Yogurt + pinch of salt + brown rice or barley + lots of chopped herbs + a pinch of turmeric + olive oil drizzle

- Plain yogurt + toasted walnuts + some crumbled toasted seaweed +and a bit of granola that is on the spicy/un-sweet side of the spectrum.

That's just a quick brainstorm - if nothing else, try the tacos. Curious about what your go-to healthy breakfast ideas are as well! -h

Continue reading Healthy Breakfast Ideas...
07 Apr 14:30

This Infographic Tells You How Often To Clean Household Items

by Kristin Wong

Some household items should be cleaned more frequently than others. If you have trouble keeping up with how often to clean stuff around your house, this basic, room-by-room infographic can help.


31 Mar 19:50

What To Do When You Are In A Car Accident

by SteveLehto

No matter how fabulous of a driver you are, there is a good chance you will be in a car accident someday. Here are my tips on how to protect yourself and your rights after the accident.


30 Mar 23:00

Add Modular Counter Space to Your Kitchen with a Simple Folding Bracket

by Heather Yamada-Hosley

Most of us could use more counter space, but a simple folding bracket from the hardware store could be the solution to your storage woes. Install one and you can add working space when you want it, and then fold it away when you don't.


30 Mar 20:00

The Monkey Business Clippa Is a Multitool in a Hair Clip

by Thorin Klosowski

Multitools are awesome, but multitools that integrate into your day-to-day wear are even better. If you’re a fan of using hair clips, the Clippa adds in a screwdriver, wrench, trolley coin, ruler, and knife.


03 Mar 18:00

An Adult's Guide to Hygiene (for Those Who Weren't Taught Growing Up)

by Eric Ravenscraft

There are no classrooms that teach you basic hygiene growing up. Your parents may do what they can, but a surprising number of people make it to adulthood with gaps in their knowledge. We're here to help fill those gaps.


26 Feb 13:30

ASL Dictionary Shows You How to Say Words in Sign Language

by Eric Ravenscraft

Sign language can be complex to learn because movements are difficult to convey without watching someone do them. This video dictionary helps you learn new words in sign language with actual humans demonstrating the movements.


19 Feb 19:00

The Three Layers You Need to Stay Warm in Freezing Winter

by Melanie Pinola

Temperatures are painfully frigid across much of the country, so it's important to protect your skin and eyes and dress effectively to stay warm . This infographic shows us the three layers that can keep you insulated outdoors.


14 Apr 10:33

Chicken and Dumplings

by joythebaker

Chicken and Dumplings

The days really are warming.  There are the prettiest strawberries in the market.  It might almost be time to daydream about watermelon wedges.  But… I still need soup.  The unapologetically comforting kind of soup with soft carrots, big bites of chicken, almost too much thyme, and the fluffiest floating dumplings.  

It’s Winter comforts in Spring.  Let’s bridge the gap.  You know… like wearing a light scarf or shoes with no socks… except this is food and way way delicious.    

Chicken and Dumplings

Boneless and skinless chicken thighs to start.  I like chicken thighs because they’re more fatty and flavorful than chicken breast.  Always go for flavor!  

The meat is seasoned well and browned in hot hot olive oil.  This is where the layers of flavor begin.  

Chicken and Dumplings

The holy trinity for soups!  Necessary and proper:  diced onions, sliced carrots, and sliced celery.  Oh… a little garlic too, because YES! 

Chicken and Dumplings

Once the chicken is browned on each side it is removed from the pot and our vegetables are sautéed in the chicken oil.  Dried thyme is added too.  The saute heat helps bloom the flavor of dried seasoning. 

Layers.  More layers of flavor.  

Chicken and Dumplings

Once the veggies are softened a bit, time for the return of the chicken, this time with a bay leaf and chicken stock.  

This is when the soup becomes soup!  Veggies cooked down and chicken cooked through! 

Chicken and Dumplings

Green peas and fresh parsley to really brighten the whole pot.  

Chicken and Dumplings

Once the chicken is simmered to tender and cooked through, I remove it from the pan and chop-shred it.  Technical term.  I also burn the heck outta my fingers because the chicken is super steamy and I’m too impatient to wait for it to cool.  Be like me! 

Chicken and Dumplings

Soup simmers and we make our dumplings.  

Of course there’s butter.  

I actually used King Arthur Gluten Free Flour Blend for these dumplings and they were delicious!  

Chicken and Dumplings

The butter is broken down into the seasoned flour mixture.  A beaten egg and a bit of buttermilk to bring the dumpling dough together!  

Chicken and Dumplings

The batter will be homogenous, a little sticky but not too wet.  

Chicken and Dumplings

Ok!  Game face! Time to dollop dumpling batter into simmering soup!  (This is totally the best part!)

Chicken and Dumplings

Grab a small spoon from the silverware drawer.  Heap it up with about 2 tablespoons of dough and zing it right into the simmering soup.  

Zing it! 

Once all the dumplings are in and simmering, we cover the pot for 10 minutes to let the dumplings simmer and cook.  It’s tremendous… like little biscuits in hot soup!  

Chicken and Dumplings

Warm and classic comfort in a bowl.  And no… you’re not allowed to fish out all of the dumplings for your own consumption.  I already thought of that and beat you to it.  

Chicken and Dumplings
2015-04-13 18:09:45
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For the Soup
  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  3. salt and pepper to season chicken thighs
  4. 1 large yellow onion, coarsely diced
  5. 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  6. 4 ribs celery, trimmed and sliced
  7. 1 clove garlic, minced
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  9. 2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
  10. 1 bay leaf
  11. 1 cup frozen peas
  12. 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  13. salt and pepper to taste
For the Dumplings
  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  5. 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  6. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold
  7. 1 large egg, beaten
  8. 1/4 cup buttermilk, cold
  1. To make the soup, place oil in a heavy bottom soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides. Place in the soup pan to brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and place on a plate. Chicken won't be fully cooked through but it will return to the pot to simmer a bit later.
  3. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and thyme to the pot. Stir and saute until the onions are cooked through and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Return the chicken to the pot. Add the bay leaf and chicken stock.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are cooked through and softened, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  6. Remove the chicken when it is cooked through and carefully chop and shred it. Return the chicken to the pan.
  7. While the soup simmers. Make the dumplings. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, thyme, and pepper. Add the butter and use your fingers to break it down into the flour mixture creating small flecks of butter throughout the mixture.
  8. Add the beaten egg and buttermilk and stir until just combined. Try not to over-stir the dumpling dough.
  9. When the vegetables in the soup are cooked through and the chicken is chopped and returned to the pot, bring the soup to a light simmer and season to taste. Stir in peas and parsley. Use a small spoon to gently dollop about 2 tablespoons of dough into the simmering soup.
  10. The dumpling may sink, but will rise to the surface of the soup as it cooks. Add all of the dumplings.
  11. Cover the pot. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  12. After 10 minutes the dumplings should be cooked through. Remove from heat and serve warm!
By Joy the Baker
Adapted from Whole Foods Market
Joy the Baker
13 Apr 14:00

There's Always Another Side to the Story


Submitted by: (via maximenz)

09 Feb 15:15

House Redesign Abundant in Soft Walnut Hues: “Two-Levels” Project in Ukraine

by Lavinia

Sergey Gotvyansky from NOTT Design Studio completed the “Two-Levels” project, a redesign of a family residence in  Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. The result is an elegant home with a color spectrum based “on the balance of rough surfaces of concrete-like plaster and warm textures of American walnut, plus white background and black embedding details”. The new layout was planned around a long hall acting as the core of the home. This key area connects an attached living room to the right with a kitchen and dining zone to the left.
design modern interior
The second floor is described as a completely private area accommodating the master bedroom with the dressing room and the bathroom, children’s and guest rooms. Here are further details, as provided by the project developers: “Selection of pieces of furniture has been made according customer’s desire to have quality made-in-Ukraine furniture and use the least possible number of factory stuff, so all board furniture, complete kitchen, the table, the coffee table, beds are made on the authors’ sketches by local craftsmen.” Enjoy the virtual tour and let us know what you think! [Photography by Andrey Avdeenko]
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09 Apr 02:21

dwellerinthelibrary:Fantastic photos of the “astronomical...


Fantastic photos of the “astronomical ceiling” at the Temple of Dendera, posted on LiveJournal by aksanova.