out with the old/in with the new

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

At the turning of the New Year, I always crave a deliberate process of introspection and a way to set a few intentions for the year ahead. So this year I wrote my own questionnaire. Care to join me? Here are the rules:

1. Print out this page/Just read it
2. Fill it out (preferably with crayons or bright markers)/Simply ponder thoughtfully
3. Share it with everyone you know/Don't tell a soul
4. Keep it forever/Burn it immediately

Thinking about this past year:

What was the most fun you had?

When did you laugh the hardest?

What was the best thing you ate?

What was the most beautiful thing you saw?

What was the hardest thing you didn't think you'd get through (but did)?

Who came into your life?

What conversations and connections made your heart full?

When did you surprise yourself?

When were you most proud of yourself?

When did you tell the truth?

What did you lose that you thought you needed but didn't?

What did you do for the last time?

What healed?

Who can you forgive?

What thing about yourself can you forgive?

Who can you let go of?

Who can you grab onto?

Thinking about the year ahead:

What new thing have you always wanted to try?

What's something easy you can do, that you know will make your life better?

What's something hard you can do, that you know will make your life better?

How can you be kinder and gentler to yourself?

What good deed can you bestow?

What's something you can give away that will make a big difference to someone?

What things could you do to live more authentically?

What are you ready to dedicate yourself to?

What song is your new anthem for 2014?

Remember: it's not "Successful New Year!" or "Productive New Year!", it's "HAPPY New Year!":)

P.S. My favorite Joeycake posts of 2013………..<3
Things that might happen if you get a job wearing a bikini on national television
Love yourself
Amazing cookies
The best cocktail accompaniment
Lena speaks!
An open letter to zucchini
Remember that time I fell in love with a Mexican waiter?
Pilot Season is not for the weak of heart
Sweaty waiters and bold birds
When in doubt, namaste

merry and bright and lazy

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Guys! Is it too late for a Happy Holidays post? Let's pretend not. Happy Holidays!

I'm currently suffering from a severe case of the In-Between-Christmas-and-New-Year's lazies. Just now? Instead of getting up to grab my glasses three feet away (I wear glasses now thanks), I just squinted through several Buzzfeed "articles", a J.Crew online sale purchase and more Facebook scrolling than I care to admit. All while having to pee. It's not helping my condition that I have a cozy, sleeping dog next to me on the couch. She hasn't budged in 12 hours. Safe to say this affliction is contagious.

How was your Christmas (if Christmas is your jam)? Ours was spent at my mom's in San Diego where I ate my body weight in pork products. In my defense, we did take a few walks and I'm sure I burned a handful of calories lifting and glazing said pork. I feel like I gleaned some wisdom this year and (if I may be so bold) thought I'd share:

*Don't fight the ham. Just eat it.

*Will your husband remove a long, black dog hair from your face while you're mid-conversation with someone's father-in-law at a random Holiday party? If so, keep him.

*Have another strip of bacon. It's delicious.

*No matter how progressive she is, do not watch the movie DON JON with your mom. Unless watching porn with your mom sounds fun. Then please go ahead.

*Do cook things "for the family" that are really just for you. (things=Rice Krispy Treats)

*Don't be surprised if you find yourself asking your princess-crazed, three-year-old niece if she wants to take off her stole.

*More cheese? Sure!

*If you decide to swap out the Christmas-morning pancakes with gluten-free ones, don't tell your picky brothers.

*If you have a chance to perform a puppet show for your entire family, do it. You'll laugh until you cry. You won't be able to wipe away your tears because you'll have puppets on your hands, but it won't matter.

*Rice Krispy Treats are the second coming. After Jesus of course.

I just decided (it wasn't difficult) that I'm going to continue to do very little this week. Things will speed up soon enough. I hope you are having a super lazy and enjoyable time too. Happy, Happy Holidays, my friends:) I'm grateful for you.


*investigator of bacon-flavored Rice Krispy Treats for next Christmas

P.S. This song is giving me joy right now……..

kale quinoa tomato chickpea soup

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hi. My name is Jolie. And I'm addicted to Amazing Race.

I cannot. Get. Enough.

So imagine my glee when I discovered that EVERY SINGLE SEASON exists on Hulu! Hooray! 

After hosting our epic feast of a Thanksgiving this year, we signed up for a free week of Hulu Plus and took to the couch for the better part of the weekend. It was...well, amazing. (Warning: Maybe don't go all the way back to the first season. It's kinda painful. They hadn't worked out the kinks yet. And instead of high-tech, matching workout gear, many of the competitors are wearing jeans. JEANS! That, coupled with the lack of HD, makes it look like the late 80s even though it was 2001.)

Life is moving FAST, amirite? And it's only speeding up now that we're knee-deep in December. So here's a fantastic tip: want to feel like your life is moving at a normal pace? Binge-watch Amazing Race. Seeing those hyper teams run in and out of airports and bungee jump into jungle ravines and fight each other for rickshaws makes life feel downright calm. And watching multiple episodes at once lures one into feeling they have nothing better to do. Problem solved!

Partly why I've been so busy:

I wrote another piece on Huffington Post about the perils of commercial auditioning. Check it out here.

I also filmed a short with some friends that is up on Funny or Die! Check it out here.

I also concocted this soup that is served hot. Which means you have to slow down to eat it. It also is delicious and so healthy that it offsets Holiday binge eating.


Kale Quinoa Tomato Chickpea Soup
yields 3 quarts
(serves 6-8)

This is surprisingly hearty for a meatless situation. And a clean one at that. The cumin and green chiles give it a great smoky spiciness and all those veggies and quinoa make it so tasty-healthy. Total cookie footprint offset happening here.

2 T evoo
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
8" fresh rosemary, leaves pulled off the stem
1 T ground cumin
2 15 oz. cans roasted and diced tomatoes with green chiles (or without if you prefer less spice)
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained and rinsed
2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 bunch tuscan kale, de-stemmed and rough-chopped
salt and pepper
extra evoo for serving

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery, rosemary and a big pinch of salt and pepper and sauté until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the cumin and stir for a minute until toasted. Then add the tomatoes, chick peas and broth. Bring to almost boiling and then turn down the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Add the quinoa and the kale and cook another 15 minutes at a simmer. Taste for salt. Drizzle each bowlful with olive oil before serving.


P.S. Thanks for coming here and hanging out. I have such appreciation for you! xo

P.P.S. Amazing Race is on TONIGHT!

grandma's pumpkin pie

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year for a small group of family and I haven't done it in ages. My first time cooking the whole shebang on my own was about 15 years ago when David and I were newly dating. I enthusiastically volunteered to make dinner for about 8 people, including his Mom who was flying in from Connecticut and who I had only met once before (no pressure).

My out-of-state Dad (a cook extraordinaire) wasn't attending, so he'd sent me detailed step-by-step instructions (complete with diagrams) on recipe cards; his mother's recipes that he'd scrawled out in his jagged handwriting. I followed his instructions to the letter, prepping as much as possible the day before. I had picked up our fresh turkey and per his instructions, was preparing to rinse it, dry it well, then salt it overnight.

I didn't get around to unwrapping the turkey until quite late and needed to enlist David's help in lifting the behemoth. After which, we sliced open its plastic covering. The bird slid out into the sink along with a gush of pink fluid. We looked at each other in horror. We were in WAY over our heads. After I shimmied the bird's legs out of their plastic handcuffs, I pried open the icy cavity and stopped cold.

What was nowhere to be found on my recipe cards (or diagrams) was any information about removing the creepiest thing in THE ENTIRE WORLD. Despite the late hour, I didn't think twice before calling my Dad in Colorado and waking him up.
"Hi Honey. Is everything ok?" he answered.
"UM…..not really," I said. "What the CREEPS is this bony penis thing inside the turkey???"
 "Oh, that's just the neck." he said.
"Just the neck? JUST THE NECK?! First of all it's TEN INCHES LONG," I said, "Secondly, they cut it off and stick it inside of itself? That's horrifying."
 "Don't worry. You just remove that." he said.
"Oh. Ok. Thanks for telling me NOW."
"This wasn't on the recipe cards!" I shouted.
"Dad? Are you there?" I think he fell back asleep for a second.
"I'm here." 
 "Ok. Hold on the line while I do it."
At this point David, who'd been standing slack-jawed during this mess, bolted and feigned deaf when I continued attempts to make him my accomplice. I finally pinched the meaty neck between a few (hundred) paper towels and made record time to the garbage.
"You also gotta get the organs out." said Dad.
Oh, joy. 
"There's more?! ORGANS?! WHY WASN'T ANY OF THIS ON THE CARDS?!!" I said, "I don't think my heart can take it."
"That's a coincidence because I think one of the organs is a heart."
Somehow I managed to hold down my dinner and finish the turkey autopsy. The next day went off without too many hitches and that Thanksgiving turkey was probably the best one I've ever made. Holiday success!*

You know what's WAY easier than raw-turkey-part analysis/removal? Pumpkin pie.


Grandma's Pumpkin Pie
makes 1 pie

There are no bells and whistles here. This was my sweet Grandma's recipe that I've made just a dash spicier over the years. It's pretty basic but pretty freaking delicious. This amount of filling is perfect for a 9.5" pie. If your pie pan is smaller, you'll have a bit of filling left over.

1 recipe pie crust (note: If you wanna go from scratch, I love Deb's all-butter recipe on Smitten Kitchen but no one will complain/even notice if you pick one up in the frozen section of Whole Foods. It's already fluted in the tin and everything. They taste amazing and have no creepy ingredients. No one needs to know:))
3 large eggs, beaten
1 15oz can pumpkin puree
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 t kosher salt
2 t pumpkin pie spice (buy pre-mixed or make your own)

If you don't do the Whole Foods shuffle, make your pie crust and let it chill for at least 1 hour (it can live in the fridge for a few days, otherwise freeze it). After it's rolled out and placed in the dish, chill again in the fridge for 15 minutes, while you preheat the oven to 400F. Now you're going to blind bake your crust (this just means pre-baking with no filling inside so it won't become soggy on the bottom). Line your dough with foil, pressing it lightly over the entire bottom of the crust. Cover the sides and edges gently too, then top the foil with pie weights (or uncooked rice or beans). Stick in the oven on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake another 5-10 minutes or until the crust is golden. Take out and set aside.

While your crust is cooking, make your filling: combine the eggs, pumpkin, sugar, evaporated milk, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Stir until well mixed. Pour into the warm, pre-baked pie crust and bake for 10 minutes at 400F (keep it on that rimmed baking sheet in case of spills!), then turn the oven down to 300F and continue baking about 30-40 more minutes. Check as you go. When you lightly jostle the baking sheet, you want the edges to be set but the very center to be wiggly. The pie will keep cooking as it cools and will set beautifully in a few hours at room temperature. I always like to make these the day before.

Serve with fresh soft-whipped cream sweetened with a dash of maple syrup and vanilla.


*Except when later that same weekend, we went out to breakfast and after I'd finished my eggs, I leaned over to pick at David's plate. His Mom clocked this, looked at her son and shook her thumb at me. "Well, she can really put it away, can't she?" I was horrified even though she to this day insists it was a complement.

P.S. I'm so grateful for you! Happy Thanksgiving!

Korean Spa 101

Monday, November 25, 2013

Good Monday Morning to you, lovely readers:)

I submitted a comedic essay to the Huffington Post and was lucky enough to have it published this morning!

I hope you check it out and enjoy…………….

Korean Spa 101: Therein Lies the Rub



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A couple weeks ago we took a trip to New England to visit DP's family and snuck in a 48-hour NYC prequel. It nearly coincided with our wedding anniversary (12 years!!) so we took the opportunity to celebrate lots. It was really special. Although I cannot believe how much and how often we ate in the name of being married. 

I love love graffiti <3


Breakfast at Locanda Verde in the Greenwich Hotel was one of the best I've ever had...

(I'm still dreaming about this sheep's milk ricotta with lavender honey and toast!)

You & Me should go here!

Wallpaper people at The Standard Hotel

How freaking inviting does this cafe look on a sunny fall day (This is also The Standard)??

The next day the skies were SO blue and cloudless!

Central Park stroll…

Hard to imagine a grumpy bubble maker but this guy was not nearly as bubbly as his bubbles:)

Cafe Gitane on Elizabeth Street is a new fave! We had iced tea under these umbrellas...

Fall fleurs

Rainy ride

Grand Central Station has always rendered me a blatant tourist, even when I lived there. It's impossible to not stare at the ceiling with mouth agape. Isn't it staggeringly gorgeous?? We took a train from here up to Connecticut farmland. More pics of that to come:) Spoiler alert: there will be chickens.


P.S. Some other awesome places we found this trip:

60 Thompson for a perfectly sized SoHo hotel with comfy beds and great service
Piccola Cucina for amazingly authentic Sicilian in SoHo
David Burke Kitchen at THE JAMES was crazy decadent and delicious
Whynot for coffee and wine in the West Village
Organic Avenue for great juice
Erica Weiner  for vintage and vintage-inspired jewelry that feels surprisingly fresh

P.P.S. My last NYC visit!

P.P.P.S. I like you.

wink if you hate green beans!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ok, feeding her whole ones was a bit ballsy.

Happy Monday:)

experience becoming

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

As an actress, my day-to-day job is auditioning. For each one, I spend time and energy preparing for it, dressing for it, thinking about it, driving to it, waiting for it. And then I go in and perform, give it my all, be as present as I can be, spend time (hopefully) collaborating with the casting director or director or producer(s), feel pretty good (hopefully) about what I did and then leave. Often to never hear another word about it. Imagine a life of job interviews where you have to bare your soul in all manner of vulnerabilities and almost never get the job.

After almost two decades of this you'd think I'd have it down.

I have learned something though that I continue to keep learning: If I felt good about what I did in the room and felt good that I got to express myself that particular day doing my version of that particular role? That needs to be enough. No matter what they thought of me, no matter if they thought I was or wasn't "right". Especially if I'm seeking peace and happiness in my life. Look, is it always *enough*? No. But it should be and it's worth working on. 

You don't get a phone call after an audition unless you get the job (read: result) but if I only counted the roles I booked as my successes, I'd be a ginormous failure. This sometimes makes for uneasy cocktail party conversation when people ask what I've been up to lately ("Umauditioning lots and working on letting them go afterward…?") It's so freaking easier to have a concise sound-bite-y THING to answer in those moments, something that people can quickly understand. Even better if it sounds successful. People want results at cocktail parties (and it's not easy to talk about the exploration of oneself while juggling a glass of merlot and a chicken skewer). 

We are so conditioned to define our success/creativity/worthiness by others. Either by comparing ourselves to them or by giving in to what they think of us (cocktail parties included). What a revolutionary notion to cultivate an inner knowing instead. It takes the emphasis off the result and puts it on the process. And then there are way more things to celebrate along the way instead of merely the End All Be All Result. This is not an original idea (even I've said it beforebut there is so much momentum in the collective consciousness that I feel it bears repeating. Often. Joy in the journey, people! 

But then, hey, sometimes I get the job (result!), and the shooting part is a let down. Or let's say it's great and I enjoy the journey of shooting it (result!) and feel super accomplished (result!) then learn that the show gets cancelled before it airs. See? there is no scenario where this journey thing doesn't apply. If a girl wearing a bikini on a new CBS comedy falls in the forest and no one is there to watch TV did it ever happen? Yes! It happened. And I have to choose to believe that I'm better for the experience of it all. 

So. Here I was pondering all this. And then I came across this wonderful letter Kurt Vonnegut wrote and I think/hope you will enjoy it as much as I did/do/will forever………….

In 2006, a group of students from Ms. Lockwood's class at Xavier High School were given an assignment to write a persuasive letter to their favorite author, asking them to visit their class. Five of them chose Kurt Vonnegut. This was their only reply:

November 5, 2006

Dear Xavier High School,

I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don't make public appearances any more because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana. 

What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what's inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you're Count Dracula.

Here's an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don't do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don't tell anybody what you're doing. Don't show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash recepticals. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what's inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

God bless you all!

Kurt Vonnegut

Here's to soul growth! And to becoming! And to the Mystery of it all! And to more meaningful cocktail parties!


{thanks to Shoko for bringing this to my attention! And also to letters of note}

gluten-free pumpkin gingerbread

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween, Lovely People!

It's a toss up as to what the scariest thing is around here:

1. The snoring sounds coming from Lena today
2. The mold that is growing inside of our jack-o-lanterns (creeps!) or
3. How fast we ate this pumpkin gingerbread loaf

We had a pumpkin carving contest last weekend and guess who won? Our friend Christopher who pandered to the crowd and tugged at our heartstrings with his "I <3 LENA" offering. Go Team Lena! I don't think she gives two cents about her namesake pumpkin though--she and her bat ears barely sat still for me to take this photo. The letters are getting a bit saggy from the decomp, but I had to share:)

Go make this bread! It is scary delicious! Spicy and pumpkin-y and molasses-y and ginger-y...

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Gingerbread
adapted from Simply Recipes
makes 1 loaf

You can make this with gluten if you like! Just sub out regular all-purpose flour and omit the xanthan gum.

1-1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
3/8 t xanthan gum
2 t ground ginger
1-1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), melted
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 T finely minced fresh ginger
2 eggs, beaten
3 T water

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 9x5 loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside. Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, xanthan gum and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk well until evenly mixed. In a separate bowl, stir together the pumpkin, butter, sugar, molasses, ginger, eggs and water until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until incorporated. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a tester (toothpick, bamboo skewer) inserted into the center comes out clean.


super easy super tasty broccoli soup

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

We just got home from a jam-packed week back east, where I got the delicious hit of autumn I'd been craving. I also got a delicious hit of serious food indulgence. Can one eat better than in New York City? Tangy fresh sheep's milk ricotta with flowery honey on toast, soft buttery scrambled eggs, spinach ravioli with fennel sausage ragu, wine wine wine, salads with gently poached chicken and earthy beets and warm goat cheese, toasty bagels with thick cream cheese and hot strong european coffee, falling-apart short ribs with woody mushrooms and crispy brussels sprouts. And that was all within 48 hours. After which, we took the train up to Connecticut to see DP's family and eat his favorite childhood pepperoni pizza 3 times in 3 days.

For our grand finale, we stopped at the airport Dunkin Donuts on the way to board our plane home and bought a bagful of pumpkin Munchkins*. The only thing that might be more disturbing is the instrumental Muzak version of "Blurred Lines" that American Airlines is using as their taxi-to-the-gate music.

Broccoli soup, anyone?


Super Easy Super Tasty Broccoli Soup
yields 2 quarts (serves 4-6)

When pureed to a super smooth consistency, you will swear this soup has cream in it. It's super luxe!

3 T olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
(or you can swap one large yellow onion for the leeks/small onion)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 large handful chopped parsley (about 1/3 cup)
1 bay leaf
4-5 cups chopped broccoli (heads and peeled stalks)
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt

In a large soup pot, add the olive oil and when hot, add the leeks, onion, garlic, celery carrots, parsley and bay leaf. Add a big pinch of salt and some black pepper and sweat over medium heat until soft and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Add the broccoli and sauté another 5-7 minutes, adding a little more olive oil if it seems dry. Add the broth, bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until broccoli is very tender. Transfer to a blender to puree in batches. Return to the pot, add the lemon juice and taste for salt.

*I just learned from that link that each Munchkin has 1g protein!


P.P.S. East coast pix to come......................

pumpkin spiced popcorn

Monday, October 14, 2013

You Guys!!
Happy Autumn! (Or, for all you LA peeps out there, Happy Autumn? It might be 90 degrees tomorrow so let's not get too excited.) What is going ON, my darlings?!?! I'm so sorry I've been so MIA. I feel like we are long lost friends in need of a serious catch-up:

How did the:
family reunion/birthday party/doctor's appointment/visit with your father turn out?

Was it:
fun/scary/awful/better that you expected?

And I heard that you:
conquered breast-feeding/got back into your skinny jeans/spoke your truth/booked that job!
You are a freaking rock star. I knew you could do it.

Hey! I saw that facebook picture of your:
happy puppy/cute baby/recent vacation/new glasses.
I approve.

And, whoa: did you hear about You-Know-Who?! They finally you-know-what! Can you believe it? It's nuts.

Ok. I feel a little better:)

My spare time lately has been sucked dry by Poshmark. Do you know about this? It's a clothing buying/selling app that is completely addicting. You can browse other women's "closets" and list your own items for people to check out. You know those clothes/bags/jewelry items that were expensive that you hardly ever wear? That might even still have their tags attached? That you can't bear to give to Goodwill? Poshmark is perfect for them. It's way faster than Ebay when it comes to listing items (you do it right from your phone), it's easy to search for things (you can filter by your sizes), and Poshmark emails you the shipping labels so you don't have to deal with weighing items and estimate shipping. Here is my closet! And here is a great post that gives the full Poshmark low-down if you're interested.

This week I also became completely obsessed with making popcorn the old-fashioned way via stovetop. (How did we get hoodwinked into thinking chemical-laden microwave popcorn was so much better? It's not even that much more convenient.) I got this brilliant idea to formulate a pumpkin-pie flavored version and began tinkering around with recipes, then on a whim I did a google search only to find out I was not in fact the inventor of this idea. Oh, well. You know what softened my disappointment? Eating it. And then shopping on Poshmark.

Pumpkin Spiced Popcorn
makes about 15 cups (WAY too much for one person although it's not impossible)

2 T coconut oil
3/4 cups organic popcorn kernels
1/2 stick (4T) butter, melted
3 T brown sugar
2 t pumpkin pie spice
1/2 t fine sea salt

Melt the butter and set aside. In a separate small bowl, mix together the sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt and set aside. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot with high sides and a well-fitting lit, heat the coconut oil and 3 popcorn kernels over medium heat. Cover. When the oil becomes hot enough to pop the three kernels, add the rest of the popcorn, cover again and continue to cook, shaking the pot from side to side (holding the lid on) every 10 seconds. This insures even kernel heating. When the popping slows down, take the pot off the heat and continue shaking until popping stops. Toss with the melted butter first, stirring to coat the kernels as evenly as possible, then add the sugar/spice/salt mixture, shaking or tossing to distribute. Try not to eat the entire bowlful.


P.S. I feel like we should remake this Portlandia sketch but with pumpkin spice instead of birds. Put pumpkin spice on it!

P.P.S. Welcome new email subscribers! I like you! I'm so glad you're here!

turkey mutt loaf casserole (with special guest Lena)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

As the canine star of Joeycake, it's really an honor to have you here today in more than just cute pictures, Lena. Thank you so much for joining me!

Um....Have you met me? I'm pretty much joining you every day under the desk here. 

Yes, but I'm so glad you've allowed me to interview you for this home-cooked dog food post.

HELLO, did somebody say FOOD?

Yep. I did. How are you liking the food I've been cooking for you lately?

Wowee! That stuff's good! I like digging my snout in there A LOT. And my tail's been super tired lately. 

From all the wagging?

You got it.

I notice that right after eating, before your epic all-day nap, you do a victory lap around the house. What's that about?

I gotta see what I missed while I was eatin'.

I see. So, which dishes have you enjoyed the most?

The one with the meat. Oh, and that other one with the meat.

Confession: I sometimes slip fresh parsley in there to give you fresh breath.

Say what?

And I also sneak lots of veggies in there and whole grains and even apple cider vinegar so you can live a long time and be healthy.

 Huh. Ok......but there's meat in there too, right?

Yes, there's meat. Don't worry about it. I've got you covered.

Hey, do you mind if I lie down while we have this conversation? And maybe close my eyes?

No, go for it. So, I notice that anytime I'm in the kitchen now you think I'm cooking for you. 

Aren't you?

Not so much. We need to work on that. Your begging has become supreme.

Thanks! Hey, next time you're in there can you make me my favorite Blueberry dessert?

Don't push it.

Turkey Mutt Loaf Casserole
adapted from Feed Your Best Friend Better by Rick Woodard
makes about 12 cups

Ok. Listen. This is happening: I've become a person that cooks for her dog. If you know me this shouldn't surprise you since a) I'm kinda weird, b) I like to feed everybody, and c) Lena has always appreciated my cooking. Oh, and d) I need more things to do (not).

Our sweet Lena girl is about 12 now and has begun to have some health issues that come with aging. All this time we've been feeding her a good, organic dry food but lately I felt compelled to research feeding her some home-cooked grub. After learning what a dog needs nutritionally and how to use food to treat/tame certain conditions, I decided to experiment feeding her a variety of high-quality foods (and adding liquid vitamins, minerals and fish oil) to see if we can extend her quality of life and also avoid illness and all the costs that come along with it--monetary and emotional. It's definitely a little more time consuming but if you're already in the kitchen cooking for yourself, no biggie. This is mega-easy with only two steps: mixing and cooking. And confession: It's really good. I'm not ashamed to say on more than one occasion I've scooped myself out a large corner portion with toasty edges, added some salt and pepper (and a fork) and eaten alongside her. Yes, I eat dog food (see a).

Cooking spray
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 t dried oregano
2 1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t garlic powder
1 T soy sauce or tamari
1 T worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (or any cheese, really)
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
3 lbs ground turkey
3 cups rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 375F. Spray a large glass or metal lasagna pan (mine is 15x10x2) with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and then add the oregano, thyme, garlic powder, soy sauce, worcestershire and parsley. Mix well. Add the cheese and tomatoes and mix again. Add the turkey and oats and get your hands in there to combine thoroughly. Pour/spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish evenly and bake for about 40 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the middle comes to 170F. Turn the broiler on high and blast the top for about 5-6 minutes (watch it carefully!) until it gets browned and toasty. Cool before serving and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers. Each 1 cup serving of this contains just over 300 calories*.

*Rick has caloric guidelines in his book to help you figure out how much to feed your pooch. For example, Lena is about 60 pounds and should have 1000-1200 cals/day, depending on her activity level. So I've been experimenting with giving her part high-quality dry food and part home-cooked grub, making sure she gets her caloric needs met.

P.S. Don't ever feed your dog onions! And they need very little salt. (Here's a full list of dangerous foods for dogs.) And BTW I'm no expert, just a dog lover. Talk to your vet about your pooch's diet.

Jolie and Lena

missed connections/vegan carrot coconut soup

Monday, September 23, 2013

Missed Connections (by Joeycake)

*You were the three-piece-suit-wearing dandy on the corner of Santa Monica and Vine last Wednesday. I thought you were pretty formally dressed, seeing how you were three sheets to the wind before 9am. You were high-stepping and shouting gibberish, seemingly just for me. I was the one in the dirty Prius, waiting at the red light, hurrying to lock my doors. Remember when you did an actual jazz square while holding my gaze? Due to the fact that I was operating a motor vehicle, I wasn't able to get my phone out fast enough to safely capture photo and/or video of your exceptional shenanigans. I'm kicking myself for this now.

*I was the intrepid actress who prepared for hours, got off book, curled her hair and drove across town in rush-hour traffic to audition for your high-profile project. You were the Important Casting Director who decided to leave the room and let your assistant take over the taping duties right before my turn. Not to be a stickler? But your name did appear on my official appointment email. So you kinda shoulda been there. But it's cool. I'm sure you've been extensively training your 19-year-old assistant to give thoughtful adjustments and hold the camera without shaking it.

*You were the special of the day: the short-rib panini on buttered, toasted fresh country bread with caramelized onions and horseradish aioli. I saw your melty self being delivered to the lucky bastard in front of me in line. I seriously considered you but then, sadly, was the orderer of the bland salad. What can I say? I was trying to be chaste and carb-free. And where did it leave me? Just obsessively thinking of you later (all day, really, and part of the next). Not sure if you'll be there when I return, but a girl can dream.

*You were the main electrical board inside my fancy European clothes washer. I was just a gal, minding her own business, trying to wash a load of whites when you short-circuited. Not cool, main electrical board, not cool. You left me high and dry. Literally. And while I tried to be optimistic about replacing you, you had to play hard-to-get. I know, you're in Europe, you need time to get here, blah blah. But it seems like "two weeks minimum" is an awful long time. Not digging your laid back Euro attitude. Frankly, I think you're playing dirty. How ironic.

*You were a bag of carrots. I'd been looking past you for a week. There were more seductive things in the fridge, like white wine. And the extra short-rib panini I bought to have leftovers. I was the one who needed soothing after a particularly frustrating audition experience. And also after pulling my groin from stepping over heaps of dirty laundry. Did you see me? I clutched an onion and a knob of ginger while limping over to you, hoping you could grab your coconut friends and we could all make a connection...

Vegan Carrot Coconut Soup
serves 8

4 T coconut oil
8 cups peeled and diced carrots (about 2.5 pounds)
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 T minced fresh ginger
sea salt
6 cups vegetable broth
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk beverage (I used Trader Joe's brand in the carton)
zest and juice of 1 medium lime
toasted shredded coconut for serving (optional)

In a large soup pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, ginger, garlic and a good pinch of salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and soft, about 10 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer for about 25 minutes or until carrots are very tender. Add the lime zest. Transfer to a blender in batches to puree. Return the smooth soup to the pot, add the lime juice and coconut milk. Heat thoroughly and taste for salt. Add a little more broth if you want a thinner consistency.  Serve with a sprinkling of sea salt and a few shreds of toasted coconut if you wish.


P.S. how to do a jazz square
CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan