Making Something Sweet – Sweeter

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.

— Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 New Living Translation

And Friendship-
This is how we live; 
Connected by experiences of both pleasure and pain-
Firmly believing life is better spent together. 

Jen and I initially connected over sharing the responsibilities of motherhood; carpooling our young ones to school and getting the big kids to and from the bus stop. During these little opportunities of time, we started to become more comfortable with each other. We began to walk several times a week – talking and walking: sharing the details of our homes, hobbies, aspirations and the possibilities of life. Coming together felt natural and was needed. Collaboration was the only way that this blog could have come into existence. 

Motherhood is a job that we both embrace. However, we know our hearts and minds are called to other outlets. Finding time to feed those areas means we have to be intentional in balancing our “domestique responsibilities” alongside our drive to grow as individuals. We have to allocate and share energy, using time for both our home “job” and our new heart “job”.  Home and Heart are work – meaning you have to put effort forth to accomplish the task at hand whether it is for your family or for personal growth.  

Jen and I were both given the middle name of Joy. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines Joy as that excitement of pleasurable feelings which is caused by success, good fortune, the gratification of desire or some good possessed, or by a rational prospect of possessing of what we love or desire. That is how we came up with the first part of our blog name. It is about who we are as individuals choosing joy in the midst of our busy days with our families. I consider us to be the Fancy Nancy moms, creatively expressing what we are composed of through our writing, photography and food (with a funny little feather boa on top!) The running of our homes is a “perfect” work in progress, accepting that each day brings opportunities of growth and adventure. We have come to face the reality that we are still maturing physically, mentally and spiritually; accepting the beauty and challenges in each season of our development. 

We are happy to unveil our new logo designed by Erin Oostra. She is developing a professional portfolio of designs that display her customers uniqueness and personal stamp to their work. She did an exceptional job creating our logo – it symbolizes our flair with bold, whimsical handlettering and a stylized icon. Jen has worked with Erin before, as she designed her Joonitree Photography logo. It felt natural to call upon her again considering her artistic abilities and excellent customer service. 

Getting this blog up and running has been complete teamwork. We have called upon our family and friends using them as resources. Each person has unique gifts to offer one another. Although they differ and range, these talents have importance and will be used personally and collaboratively.  A Big Thank You to all of “our people” for supporting us! 

We used our growing friendship and took it deeper by becoming partners in design/creativity and POOF! Now we have Joy Domestique. We used something sweet and made it even sweeter. We are using this same concept in our Ruby Red Roasted Strawberry Recipe. We took a simple strawberry to the next level by lightly sugaring it, drizzling it with vanilla and roasting it in the oven. Elevating Strawberries through this simple process will develop the color, increase the flavor and thicken the juices. 

As you can see, this is quite simple.  You only have 5 supplies on your list: a sheet pan, parchment paper, a pint of strawberries, sugar, and pure vanilla extract. Before you gather up your supplies, preheat your oven to 350. Your prep time is short and you want your oven to be at temperature.   

I took my washed strawberries and sliced the green top, then I cut them in half.  I laid all of the strawberries on a baking tray covered in parchment. Next, I took my sugar scoop and sprinkled on the sugar.

After that, I filled a cap full of vanilla and drizzled it evenly over the berries. I used a wooden utensil to mix it up. In this recipe I used Trader Joe’s Pure Bourban Vanillla Extract. Jen swears that high quality vanilla gives your recipe an extra pop.  

After 30 minutes of roasting, the color is RUBY RED! Let your strawberries cool, then place them in a dish and store in the refrigerator.  

We used some of the ruby reds to make strawberry lemonade. 

Throw some strawberries in the bottom of the cup and top with Honest lemonade. We added a mint ice cube because that’s our style. If you like, you can muddle the strawberries to bring out the roasted flavor and color.  Our kids wanted to drink the lemonade and eat the sweet strawberries with a fork.

Ruby Red Roasted Strawberries

Serves 4- 6
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Bake Time 30 – 35 minutes

The Berries

  • 1 pint of strawberries 
  • 1/8 cup or less of fine organic sugar
  • 1 capful of vanilla for drizzling 

The Process

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get out a large baking sheet. Cover your baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and set aside. Next, wash and air dry your berries in a colander. Trim the top of of each berry and cut in half, place the cut berries on the parchment paper. When the strawberries are arranged on the pan, lightly sprinkle sugar over all the berries and evenly drizzle the vanilla on top. Place on the middle shelf, baking for 30+ minutes. They will look soft and the sugar will be caramelized, that is how you know they are fully roasted.  

After the strawberries are done, carefully place them in a glass dish that has a top, as they cool more juices will release. When cool, cover and place in refrigerator. These roasted berries are great for drinks (like strawberry lemonade) and to top ice cream.  I am sure you can come up with additional creative ways to use them as a garnish/topping. I am thinking I would pair them with goat cheese and eat them on my favorite gluten free flatbread.  

Bottoms up!

PS Jen used the roasted strawberries to create a refreshing summertime cocktail.  Recipe to come! 

PPS I grew up with 6 children in my family. You gotta get it while you can, if you blink the food is gone.  

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