1-2 Simple Cooking

Where do I even begin?  3 years ago I was in a scary place.  After graduating college, everything was uncertain; I had no intention of pursuing my major and ultimately went after something I've always loved: cooking.  At one point my mother was trying to convince me to become a candle-maker.  Don't ask, it'll just make this more awkward.  The point is, no matter how busy or difficult things became in life, I always made the time to cook.  In so many ways it was this beautiful meditation: understanding your ingredients, knowing how to prepare them and transforming it all into a wonderful meal that not only tastes great but nourishes the body.

Often we're wrapped up in our demanding, busy lives and we end up forgetting the most important thing: taking care of ourselves. No matter where you live, what minimal tools you're equipped with, you can make dinner happen -- all you need are some basic skills.  It's exciting that I was chosen to host this show because I've always wanted to inspire people to cook.  I mean it's so fun! What's not to love?  You end up with a freaking awesome meal that YOU made and if you have any leftovers you can be THAT guy at work.  You know, the guy who has the amazing smelling lunch that makes your coworkers look down sadly at their microwavable Lean Cuisines, or you could be that NICE guy who enjoys sharing the wealth with someone in need (boss? friend? potential love interest??).  So it's thrilling and even more inspiring to see how many people thus far believe in this project and are pushing to make this a reality.  I want people to truly learn how food can be love and nourishment; how it can be fun and inspiring; and best of all, it will change your life for the better.  I can't wait to get started.


We have only 4 days left to raise the remainder of the money to reach our goal of $6000!! Please spread the word to any friends or family who you think might benefit from this show.  A small donation of even $1 can collectively help bring our vision into reality.  You can donate on our Kickstarter Page here

Read more about 1-2 Simple Cooking at

Kitchen Confidante

Crave DFW

6 Bittersweets


My dear friend Prerna over at Indian Simmer (please show home girl some love because she is FABULOUS) sent over a cool thread that was floating around called My 7 Links where we were asked a few questions about our past blog posts.  I thought it was a great topic so here it goes.

Most Beautiful Post

It was a recent one actually: my Chipotle Rubbed Salmon Open-Faced Sammies.  I remember when I photographed this post, it was a gorgeous day outside.  Norah Jones was playing in the background, I felt like a million bucks because I "ran" 4-miles in less than an hour (short legs deter the speed) and I had all these beautiful ingredients from Artizone to work with.

After cooking and plating, at the very last minute, I saw the prettiest leaf amongst the batch and carefully placed it on top.  And there it was: the perfect shot.


Most Popular Post

It meant a lot to me that My Mother's Wonton Soup was the most popular post on my blog.  She was spending the last month with me here in Dallas before she moved back to Shanghai China for retirement.  My mother is my best friend.  I know it sounds cliche but she really is.  She is the reason why I have such a deep rooted connection to food, and for that I am forever thankful.

So to see this post so well received, really meant the World to me.  It was sharing a part of my heritage and introducing everyone to the person who has molded me into who I am today.  I love you Mom, you are my everything.

Most Helpful Post

This post really wasn't food related at all.  It was about The Value of Friendship. We often take the small things for granted and we underestimate how far a truly good relationship can take you in life.   A good friend challenges you, helps you grow more than you can ever imagine and despite life's shortcomings will always be there for you, every step of the way.  I am lucky to have those in my life, especially my life-long friend Courtney.  Life is too short to be wrapped up in things that don't matter.  Focus on the things that better your life and collect that positive energy.

Most Controversial Post

I really enjoyed this post: Best Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Banana Ice Cream .  I mean honestly the word "vegan" scares me.  I think of really bland crappy food and then to bring vegan dessert in the mix, I mean don't even go there.  WHERE ARE THE YUMMY ANIMAL FATS PEOPLE?! But I realized, just because a lot of places make crappy vegan food doesn't mean I have to.  I took on the challenge and was determined to make a damn good vegan dessert.

I used honey as a topping because I thought it added a nice touch but holy crap did that make some vegans mad.  HONEY ISN'T VEGAN!!  they'd cry, holding up their fire torches and pitchforks --- OFF WITH HER HEAD.  Hey dudes, calm down I talked to the bees and they personally told me "Joy, we beeeeeelieve you can use some of our honey." Don't get your panties in a knot vegan snobs, just leave off the honey if you're concerned about the bees or better yet call PETA.  I hear they take care of matters like these.


Post Whose Success Surprised Me

This is the second most popular post after My Mother's Wonton Soup on Joylicious: Watermelon Lemonade and Strawberry Mint Iced Tea. It was pretty surprising but hey I ain't complainin'.  I remember photographing this at my old apartment and set up the photo in the middle of the parking lot.  My neighbor couldn't help but come out to ask "Joy, what the heck are you doing?".

I'm sure my neighbors thought I was a total weirdo but hey, at least they got to reap the benefits every time I shot food for posts!


Post That Didn't Get the Attention It Deserved:

I thought this post was pretty awesome: Copper River King Salmon with Fried Green Tomatoes and a Tri-Pepper Salsa.    The combination of flavors along with the tender flakes of Copper River King Salmon made this dish a freaking winner.  Plus I was able to catch a pesky visitor while I was photographing the dish so it made me like this post even more.

It's a great appetizer for dinner parties because you can make everything beforehand, yes even the fried green tomatoes which you can reheat in the oven!

Post I am Proud Of:

Okay I freaking love these cupcakes: Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes.  Now sure, they are not the healthiest things in the world but people you gotta live a little from time to time, AM I RIGHT? I love these so much in fact, I spent 6 hours photographing this shoot so I could SPREAD THE LOVE too all of your wonderful little tummies.  It's one of those recipes that make people happy and the ticket to anyone's heart.  So if you're into bribery, trust me these are the cupcakes that will get the job done.



Okay so that was a little long.  Thanks for hanging in there now DONT FORGET --- Support 1-2 Simple Cooking.  If we reach the goal I'm going to do the flapjack dance.  Don't question it, just trust me.  You will LOVE it.