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On Black, Fat, Femme Positivity: Why I'm at My Heaviest, My Most Confident, and Don't Need Your Approval to Exist

"If I breathe in public for five seconds, it’s also common that someone will feel the need to tell me, “YASSSSS!” in an attempt to ch...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Brown Baggin' It BGSK College Challenge: I WON!!! :D **Updates**


Okay, after about two weeks of posting nothing--sorry to all of my three readers--I'm finally updating y'all on my culinary goings-onsss :) Other posts on my hair are to come as well. Anywho...I won two of the many gifts in the giveaway with the Small Kitchen College Brown Bag Challenge :) They liked my Not-So-Traditional Ragout!! I'm so flattered! Not to mention, the BuiltNY lunch and bottle totes are awesome!!


Furthermore, once my excitement died down...I got back to whipping up stuff here and there. Among them are Gorgonzola Stuffed Burgers...I snagged some of the recipe from this guy, a few pointers from her and slightly altered it to my taste. No pictures (my brethren and I devoured them before one could say "cheese!"). Ha...get it? :) I also made a lazy poor college student Pizza Caprese...sans fresh basil...or tomato sauce lol! But I did have tomato. Pretty basic, no need for an all out post and recipe. Take your favorite pizza dough recipe (I like whole wheat), a few drizzles of EVOO, some shredded or sliced mozzarella cheese, sliced tomatoes (a lot if you don't have pizza sauce) dried basil, salt and pepper to taste...layer it and bake it! :) I also took that same pizza dough, shmeared it with cinnamon, sugar and BUTTAH rolled it up and made cinnamon rolls :)


I also tried my hand at gnocchi ;) You'll get a post for that soon. Not the best, but pretty good considering I had no ricer and it was my first time. I used the recipe and notes over at 101 Cookbooks. I didn't like the whole shredding/mashing with fork thing. I might try different methods. Gnocchi (pronounced NYOH-KEY) takes time and I'm willing. I even bought a gnocchi stripper :)

I did tell y'all in an earlier post that I would upload the recipe and pics for the Pear and Pecan Muffins I made...yeah, it's late and I need to finish packing for St. Louis (for the Alpha Lambda Omega Christian Sorority, Inc National Leadership Conference...I'M STOKED!) I'll post that soon (scout's honor). Something else I did was give Smitten Kitchen's Pea Pesto Recipe a try...It was pleasant :) Not the usual nutty, basily deliciousness I'm used to, but quite pleasant. I subbed roasted almonds for pine nuts because of the simple fact, I'm a poor college student and pine nuts cost about the same amount it would to make a week's meal. Maybe another time lol. I also added a little pasta water to loosen the pesto. Anywho...my recreation is pictured below :)

I highly recommend stopping by Ms. Deb's site and giving it a good gander. You may find yourself favoriting about half of her posts *raises hand in guilt.* I know, personally, that my Bookmarks tab is FULL! Lol :) 

Well...that's about it for now. I need to finish packing and get ready for this roadtrip! I learned how to knit recently, so that'll give me something to do in the car to avoid going nuts! Lol :)

As always peeps,

Peace, love and many blessings <3

Mirakol :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Brown Baggin' It (Day 5) - BGSK College Challenge :) **RECIPE: Pear-Gorgonzola Salad

So, today makes me long overdue for a post! Lol :) Long week and crazy night last night! Went to Bible study with some friends then we wen to the gym together and followed the workout with some AWESOME ANGUS BEEF BURGERS *drools* Anywho, I didn't cook the burgers...so no recipe for that. But I can tell you that if you've not eaten guacamole and muenster on a burger........you're missing out on an amazing, life-changing experience! Ha :) Nah, but it was really delicious. 

Anywho...for Friday, I was a bum and really tired so I just ate my "Not-So-Traditional Ragout" for lunch again :) However, I did make a salad for lunch today!! Yayyyy!! Recipe as follows (kinda...) :P

Pear-Gorgonzola Salad w/ Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
(serves about two...give or take I guess)

1 Bosc Pear (or any pear you have)
2 to 3 Cups of your choice of chopped lettuce (I used a plain old iceberg head, but romaine or spinach...or both is preferred)
1 Handful of Gorgonzola cheese (only if you like moldy cheeses, the taste is pungent...you can try feta)
1 Handful of roughly chopped roasted Almonds (maybe pistachios or any nut of your choice...I like almonds)
2 Tbsp or so of Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe follows) 

Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
(makes enough for some more salads)

1/2 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (give or take...idk)
1/4 Cup of Balsamic Vinegar (strawberry's delicious, I just didn't have it on hand...you can add in preserves)
1 Tbsp of Pure Honey
1 Tsp Brown Mustard
1 or 2 Happy Pinches of Salt and Pepper

For the Salad: Okay, we all should know how to assemble/toss a salad. Chop up your greens, Core and Slice up your pears ( I prefer the skins on for fiber!) Either Toss it all together with the cheese and nuts or layer as follows (greens, pears, cheese, nuts, dressing).

For the Dressing: Okay, this is super easy especially if you keep leftover jars around the kitchen like me :) Lol! Okay so take a jar about this size...

And carefully funnel all of your ingredients into it. Cover it with the lid that it came with and be sure it's secure. Hold tight and shake it like a Polaroid picture! HEY YAAA! ...wait ;) You get the idea lol. You could just make an emulsion by whisking in a bowl. But I didn't feel like it...and I needed to wash my mixing bowls from baking Pear and Pecan Muffins the other day (Recipe to come later!!) Anywho...yeah, dressing. The ratio is commonly 3 parts EVOO to 1 part Vinegar...but my olive oil is SUPER strong and I like the sweet and tangy taste of balsamic vinegar. So, adjust the recipe as you like :) Assemble your salad (layer or toss and dress) and ENJOY! :)

And of course, 

Much love and many blessings,

Mirakol <3

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Brown Baggin' It (Day 4) - BGSK College Challenge :) **SO SLEEPY!

Hey thar folks! Seeing as I have to be at work ALL DAY tomorrow...well, today (July 14th) I'm going to do a late night post on my Day 4 in the week of Brown Baggin' it (a challenge brought to you by the awesome peeps over at BGSK College). I'm mad tired, but I had to do a post. This time it's LEFTOVERSSS :)

I worked for a good portion of the day after I indulged a bit in the sale going on at Wheatsville Co-op (Dr. Bronner's Castile Soaps for super cheap!!) But that's another story for another post :) Anywho, I came home after work and decided to do something with the ground turkey that was in the fridge. Hmm...ground meat, tomatoes, carrots, onions, tomato sauce - I'M THINKING RAGOUT!!! :D

Granted, it's not super traditional Lidia's Italy, Giada De Laurentiis or Emeril Lagasse. But it's pretty good! I had a huge bag of whole wheat penne rigate that I snagged from a friend in the pantry and some other pantry items that everyone has (everyone does have roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes, right?) Anywho, here's the recipe...or something like a recipe. Bon App├ętit ;)

Not-So-Traditional Ragout with Whole Wheat Penne Rigate
(serves a bunch of folks)

Olive Oil
2 1/2 to 3 Dry Cups Penne Rigate (I used whole wheat)
1 lb Ground Turkey (or ground meat of your choice)
1/2 to 3/4 Cup Chopped Carrots (to your liking...I needed veggieeessss!)
A scant 1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
1/2 Chopped Roasted Red Pepper
1 tsp Minced Garlic
1 1/2 to 2 Chopped Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Throw in a handful of chopped fresh tomato (totally optional. I just love tomatoes)
Splash of Dry White Wine or White Wine Vinegar
Splash of Milk
Italian Seasoning (or you can use the fresh stuff)
Salt and Pepper to taste, duh...
Tomato Paste and Water or Your favorite tomato/pasta sauce (I enjoy Francesco Rinaldi)

Okay, so this is a bit more to do than your simple PB&J. But keep in mind, this is technically left-over dinner. That being said LESSSSS DOOOO DISSSSS!!!! 

Bring a pot of water to a boil, adding olive oil and salt to prevent stickiness and promote taste. While your water is boiling, chop all of your veggies and set aside or you could do what I did and throw all of your veggies into the work bowl of a food processor (depending on the size of your food processor) and chop it up all small-like and then set aside. In a pan (medium saucepan, I guess) brown your turkey until mostly cooked through. Season to taste. 

**I didn't bother draining mine because it helps give liquid to the meat sauce...besides, it's mostly water that drains from turkey. 

Add your veggies to your meat, a little olive oil, your herbs, milk, wine/vinegar. Allow for this to simmer until your veggies are a bit tender. Add the tomato sauce and allow it to simmer for a bit longer. By now, your water should be at a rolling boil. Follow your package instructions for the pasta. (**A quick note: Whole wheat takes longer to cook through than plain pasta...even if you do want it al dente.) Allow your ragout to simmer some more until your veggies reach your desired tenderness. Once your pasta is done, drain and DO NOT RINSE!!! Rinsing pasta will get you beaten by an old Italian lady with a hot wooden spoon . The starch that is on the pasta allows for the sauce to stick making the dish all yummy and cohesive. Toss everything together and serve it up topped with shredded cheese--parm may be best--along with crusty bread and perhaps a salad (now kicking myself for not buying that cheese and 2 dollar baguette I was eyeing at Wheatsville!)

Enjoyyy! And as always...


Mirakol :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Brown Baggin' It (Day 3) - BGSK College Challenge :)

Hey there whoever you are :) I'm at it again roughly eleven hours later ;) lol! Day three (3) of the BGSK Brown Bag Challenge! Remember!!! These awesome ladies are offering awesome prizes too!! They are "partnering with BuiltNY to give you tips, recipes, and giveaways about lunch on the go." Sharing with the ladies how you "Brown Bag It" will give you the chance to win some of the awesome lunch and bottle totes pictured below for your "brown bagging" needs! So hop on the bandwagon and brown bag it! :)

On the menu today: PBB&Nutella!!! (Peanut Butter, Banana and Nutella) 

Okay, so yesterday when making my turkey pita muenster lol, I realized how delicious pitas are toasted. Specifically the store-bought ones. Toasting them gives them a fresher taste as opposed to that "bagged bread" taste. So, without further ado...

PBB&Nutella Stuffed Pita 
(serves 1 or 2...depending on whether you want to share after tasting)

1 Honey Whole Wheat Pita (halved)
1 Small Banana (well ripened, I like mine with brown spots)
2 Tsp Honey
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
2 Tbsp Peanut Butter (or any nut butter you'd like)
2 Tbsp Nutella (or other chocolate hazelnut spread)
**I had this along side some carrot sticks, a bosc pear with muenster cheese chunks :)

Whatcha gotta do:

In a small bowl using a fork, mash your banana (I should get that on a shirt, ha!) anywho, mash your banana with the cinnamon and honey until well incorporated. Toast your pita!! (again, screen tee worthy, lol). When your pita's all toasty spread 1 tbsp of peanut butter on one of the insides of the halved pita. Repeat with the Nutella on the opposite side. Between the Nutella and peanut butter, slather the banana mixture...that's a cooking term right? *shrugs* After doing all of that strenuous work (ha!) Enjoy your lunch with your choice of yogurt, fruit, veggies, cheeses or any combination of those :) 


As always, blessings! :)

Mirakol <3 

Brown Baggin' It - (Day 1 & 2) Big Girls Small Kitchen College Challenge :)

We all remember the good ole lunchbox, brown-bag, grocery sack full of noms to keep you satisfied throughout the day and especially at lunch time. My lunchbox was red, came with the cutest canteen and had, if I remember correctly, a Disney character in front of it :) Some had brown paper bags with their names written on them. Memories of swapping snacks and sandwiches because you hate tuna and your mom never ceases to make it...ah, those were the days!

Well, why not bring these days back?! The lovely ladies, Phoebe and Cara, of Big Girls Small Kitchen and Big Girls Small Kitchen College have challenged foodies, food bloggers and followers alike to get back in the swing of carrying our lunch again with the Brown Bag Challenge this week! They're offering awesome prizes too!! They are "partnering with BuiltNY to give you tips, recipes, and giveaways about lunch on the go." Sharing with the ladies how you "Brown Bag It" will give you the chance to win some of the awesome lunch and bottle totes pictured below for your "brown bagging" needs! :)

Whether you're at work, in between classes (for us college-goin' folk) or wherever/whatever else, it is all too important to miss lunch.

I can say personally that going to Wendy's and perusing the value menu is not the best decision for lunch time come crunch time. Neither is a Chik-Fil-A combo, no matter how deliciously crispy and tender their waffle fries are. It is, indeed, still terrible. 

Unfortunately I did not pack a lunch per se on Monday. However, I did manage to pack healthy snacks. I had smoked Gouda and Muenster cheeses and not-too-terrible Ritz crackers as well as fresh blueberries, carrot sticks, a pear and peanut butter with honey. But today, oh today! I made a stuffed pita sandwich that made my heart leap a bit when I tasted it :) Sadly, I did not take photographs before I devoured both halves of the turkey/muenster/tomato-filled goodness. 

However, I will post this easy lunch recipe and its constituents below :) Thanks for reading...whoever you are.

Love and Blessings,

Mirakol <3

Day 2: Brown Baggin' It

Turkey Stuffed Pita Samiches (yes, samiches.)
(Serves 1...yeah.)

1 Honey Whole-Wheat Pita (halved and toasted)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil Mayo (cracked pepper and olive oil mayo if you have it)
1/2 Tbsp Brown Mustard
2 Slices of Deli Style Mesquite Honey Smoked Turkey Breast
A guestimate of 3 Slices of Tomato (halved = 6 thin wedges) I love tomatoes!
1 or 2 Slices of Muenster Cheese

Okay, so here's the dealio...this was quick and delicious, so there are no funky tricks and fancy culinary techniques ;)

Take your mayo and mustard and mix it a bit and set aside. Slice your tomato and set aside as well. In a nonstick skillet, take each piece of turkey and place your desired amount of muenster on each piece (1/2 or 1 whole slice). If you feel necessary, oil the pan? :P Fry the turkey cheese side down until the cheese melts and is crispy and flip over for the other side of the turkey to brown a bit. (This could get messy. I just used what I had. You could use a broiler, I guess. But that's no fun!) Once your meat and  cheese is all crispy and melty, remove it from the heat. Pop the pita in the toaster for a bit till toasty. Spread your mustard/mayo inside the pita (vary the amount and ratio to your liking). Stuff with turkey muenster (ha, get it? Turkey muenster (monster)?? I'll be here all night!) Divide your sliced tomato among each half pita. If you'd like, you could stuff a green in it as well :) Serve with veggie sticks and/or fruit :) Hope you find this as pleasant as I did!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ina Garten's Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes on the Food Network

These cupcakes are awesome!!! With 1/2 cup of cocoa instead of 1/4 cup and maybe 1 tsp of additional food coloring as well as mini semi-sweet chocolate chips in the frosting...THESE CUPCAKES WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!! Lol...just kidding. But they are pretty darn delicious :) My recipe could have actually made more cupcakes...maybe about 18-20 because my 15-16 baked up very big :) Yummy all the same!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Need For Self-Discipline

(1 Corinthians 9:24-27) - Paul Said to the Corinthians...

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

Just thought I'd share this scripture. It convicted me...to be consistent in my walk with Christ to live this God-fearing (revering) life and kill my flesh daily (v. 27) So that I may be a reflection of my Father and His kingdom. And to ultimately receive my Crown :)

Be blessed! In Him,

Mirakol ❤