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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...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Long time, no type...

Hey buddy!

It's been a while.

Updates? Well, I bought some cheap art, a floor lamp, and a TV stand from Big Lots for my living room. I also got a small lamp from Goodwill :) Built the furniture myself--including my previously purchased bookshelf and shoe shelf!

Oh! And I got my driver's permit! #WutWut! *proceeds to raise proverbial roof*

Very exciting stuff! Things about a car are up and moving. Shh!!! Don't tell nobody!

Hahaaa! I'll be rollin' soon. Ain't gon' be able to tell me nothing. Unless of course, you're the police and I'm ridin' dirty...

I'm doing alright, peeps. Living and learning...and then getting Luvs...wait o.O

Work has been up and down.

I'm constantly encountering learning experiences left and right that leave me questioning 'am I good enough?' Learning to navigate in a working world with superbly high expectations and seemingly small but overwhelming demands can prove daunting for a fish out of water girl out of college. I'm really trying to not blow up into tears when things go awry. I'm really trying to ensure that what I present to people is not subpar. I'm really trying to do well. But being a performer is not my most extraordinary of qualities. Perfectionism hits. The pangs of a populace peering at a me to provide unprecedented service scares the senses out of me. Coming from a Christian reality where I find comfort in such a truth as the love and acceptation I receive from God not being predicated on my performance, I step out and into a dichotomous, almost parallel universe where my performance ALMOST ALWAYS drives the acceptance I receive. It's difficult.

It's darn right hard. Trying to balance myself between two realities can be stressful. Learning to trust God and still be comforted by the aforementioned truth is demanding. It is demanding of my time, my emotions, my energy, my worship, my praise. Making a choice daily to love my God with my everything is probably one of the hardest things I've come to learn at 23.

I suppose it's a lesson that we continue to learn over the course of life. Doesn't mean it's always pleasant. Nonetheless, I'm doing fine. Since I began this draft two weeks ago not too long ago, I was encouraged by a friend that while my performance in the kingdom of God matters, it does not determine acceptance and love into and from God Himself, and I can find comfort in that same truth with my natural life in this world. Everything that I have has been given me by the gracious God. The job I have, the life I live, the blood that pumps from my heart and through my veins are only made possible through the atonement by the shedding of Christ's blood. My life has been claimed, my territory marked and my name written--on the heart of Christ and in the Book of Life. The last thing I should concern myself with is jeopardy facing my job--you know, the one God blessed me with. Realizing that there's no way tragedy can come for me without God allowing it for His glory and my good, is a reassuring notion.

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Until sooner rather than later,

Friday, October 25, 2013


I've been dealing heavily with my emotions, deep wounds and brokenness that stem from fatherlessness and motherlessness. I've cried viscerally and have petitioned God for answers that didn't come...or so I thought.

God tends to be quite practical. He's also constant and consistent. In step, he's persistent. I'm finding that when He answers, it's on His time, in perfect time and often in ways that we don't expect.

He will meet your deepest of needs and give you the desires of your heart. He will actually reach into your heart and give you desires and will fulfill them in only ways He can.

Sometimes...most times, it's gravely difficult to see the majesty of God's workings because they didn't come how our original desires framed boxed them God.

I desire to be pursued, romanced, held, loved, wed...

God did all this and more through The Christ. On top of that, he gave me amazing father figures, healthy male friendships, awesome girlfriends and family who love hugs and kisses.

Even then, when my heart doesn't quite agree with the truth of who He is, He is patient and is relentless in His pursuit of me.

A friend of mine contacted me yesterday. He asked how I'd been. I was honest. He responded in saying:
"Walk in that victory. Struggle builds strength, and that's why you're one of the strongest women I know. Keep living up to the rep God gave you."
I was in the kitchen washing dishes when I read this and my heart began to race, tears welled and I realized the goodness of the Lord is prevalent even when I don't quite feel His presence like I once did. I told my friend thank you and he told me that "the truth feels good, too." To which I responded, "The truth does feel good. Maybe a bit foreign to a broken heart, but good."

With a broken heart, the truth is oft and easily missed. But with a broken, contrite and willing heart, the truth can be seized and subsequently quickens the one who fastens to it.

Today was a good day. Tomorrow will be better. I choose to fight and to win, not because of my fickle faithfulness, but because of God's great faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-24


p.s. enjoy this awesome song :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Foggy Mirrors & Transparency...

Let me be completely honest...

It's about 10pm on a Thursday as I am starting this post.

I want to sleep, but I can't stop crying.

The tears started flowing when about the 40th minute of my waiting on the bus struck the clock.

I'd just gotten off of work today. All seemed swell, I suppose. I could have used some sleep and personal time (i.e.: reading, prayer, more sleep), but all-in-all it was a good day.

I was hustling to the bus stop as I usually do to catch the one that arrives around 5:10pm. When I make it to the corner to cross the street and make it halfway up the hill where my bus would have been waiting, I see my bus pull away and turn the corner to head toward my neck of the woods.

I'll keep it plain: I swore. Now, I'm not a cussin' sailor like I was in my BC days (Before I knew Christ). But lately, my language has been very much outside my character...that's another note. 

Moving on, I was quite miffed, but hustled my way on up to the bus stop and sat in the short-lived shade. Why is there even a covering at the bus stop if it doesn't shade you from the sun? Blueprint error?

I looked at my phone, because it was in my hand and my watch was covered by the sleeve of my sweater. (I was being a bum, so sue me.) 5:18pm. I waited, a bit irritated, but making it. Multiple buses that weren't mine passed--increasing my irritability. I look at my phone again. 5:29. Another bus passes. I grumbled, and waited "patiently." 5:37pm. I swore and complained. 5:40pm. Hopeful it was my bus turning the corner. ANOTHER Red River bus. I began scratching at the front of my purse, damaging the "leather." I had to get up and move around or else I probably could have worn a hole through the purse. I walked a few feet away from the bench where I once sat, and began to tense my hand muscles. *clench fist, unclench fist, stretch fingers, clench fist, crumple paper grocery bag* It got to the point where I felt deep anger. Surely, this bus should be here by now. Tears began to well, and I'm sure I felt my trachea in my esophagus. My anxiety rose and tears fell. I kept brushing them away, pretty embarrassed that people probably saw me crying. But I couldn't stop. I was so frustrated, upset, hurt even. Thoughts of being without began to flood my mind: If I had my license already...my car already...I wouldn't have to...

The bus finally came...5:45pm. Another one pulled up behind it. I asked the driver--the same one that left before I could make it--if she would be leaving first. She explained that another bus broke down and she would be leaving first. I felt so low. I felt petty. I felt selfish. Why had I gotten so angry? What was the reality behind my burning tears and clenched fists?

I sat on the bus, looked out the window, avoided eye contact and just cried. I tried to stop...for the most part. I eventually succumbed to the tears. A colleague got on the bus and waved, I gave a faint smile and returned the gesture halfheartedly. The next two stops, a lot of people got on the bus. I wanted to sit alone; to my dismay I had company. The guy saw me crying. He didn't know what to do. I wanted to apologize for my tears, but I didn't have the true desire to. I'd apologized for my tears enough. I just wanted to cry. And I did.

My weeping subsided once we hit the freeway, and I just stared ahead and out the window. By the time I got home, I was seemingly okay. I set my things down, got comfortable, ate some waffles (aka: carby, cinnamony goodness) and got to work on my online driving permit course. Eventually the system locked me out: my sign that I needed to give it a rest for the night. Before going to lie down, I checked Facebook to find that yet another friend got engaged/married/boo'd up, etcetera. I smiled, then felt kinda 'meh.' It made me think about some articles I was skimming at work. I ended up reading this article from Relevant Magazine. Great website, by the way! Anywho, it made the tears come back...

I dried my face and headed to my bed. I lied down, curled up and cried out to God...about my singleness, about my loneliness, about dating, about men, about my insecurities, about my frustrations, about how much I need Him. And He just took it. I believe He tried to settle me with a peace that at first took, then it wasn't enough. The peace of God wasn't enough. I continued to weep, toss, turn, blow my nose, cough. Weep. It was quiet at first. Then I got angry. I yelled out in tongues. I screamed. I told God it sucks not having my mother here to tell her how I'm feeling, to see if she understands, to get a comforting word from a woman who's gone through it. I told God it sucks to not be able to go to my dad for him to affirm me. 

At that moment, I felt like God nodded His head yes. He waited for me to be real with Him. To get to the root of my pain, my anger, my tears. At this moment, I didn't miraculously feel better, I didn't get up with a smile on my face ready to sleep and conquer the day ahead. I got up, grabbed my Remember the Roses book by Lynette Lewis and I headed to my laptop while wiping away snot and tears. (I've heard Lynette speak on multiple occasions, and I believe she understands well the importance of crying out to and being transparent with God among other things. Please check out her website and books!)

I'm writing about this with puffy, red eyes, a slight headache and hope in my heart that this will not just help me to reflect and heal, but to reach someone else.

Be real and honest with yourself and with God. He's patient. Even when His own peace isn't enough for your broken heart and weary mind, He can handle it.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dear Lie, You Suck!

You heard me right!

I've been believing lies. Lies that say my blessings, my joy, my happiness are predicated on my falling in love with the Christ. Letting him be my husband first.

Now, don't get me wrong. Christ should be one's first love. I am not negating this factor. However, I've been sold on waiting for God to move...waiting for True Love while existing meagerly and simply surviving by using God to compensate for my emptiness rather than having Him truly fill the daddy-shaped, God-sized hole in my inmost being.

Yes, I've believed lies.

I read this blog post.

It's titled "I DON'T WAIT ANYMORE."

I was taken aback and a bit afraid to open it, because I assumed that this must mean that she now lives a wild, "sexually emancipated" life and would make a claim or 5 about why it's okay and why God understands our longing for intimacy, for love. Right?



The single virgin/celibate/abstinent Christian wants physical intimacy with the opposite sex. It's how we're wired. Sometimes we (myself included) get sexually frustrated and emotionally irritated. Often questioning God in anger and with much frank. "God, I've done what you've asked. I've suffered relentlessly. I've hurt enough! When is my turn?!" We feel picked over, unloved, untouched. And, shoot, I'll say it: downright horny! The single struggle is real! While many my age are either in one variety of relationship or another (i.e.: sexual, courtship, marriage, romantic-and-not-going-anywhere-at-all), I lie in wait...for God to move. I even try to brush myself up...multiple failed diets, putting on a little mascara, rocking awesome red lipsticks, throwing back a smile or two to even speed up the process. "Somebody needs to go 'head and marry me!" I'd jokingly say. Inwardly, I meant it. I meant it so much.

In all this angst, a question my spiritual Poppa asked me one day after church service keeps reverberating in my mind...

What do you think you have to do for God to bless you?
Lose 70-80 pounds?

I unflinchingly responded matter-of-factly with a yes. I was dismayed to find him shaking his head in an act of repudiation.

He then began to encourage me with a truth I know with my brain (saber) but that I need to know with my heart (conocer). Gotta love Spanish...it's deep.

His [God's] loving me, leading me, pursuing me, wooing me, caring for me, providing for me, and someday presenting me before my earthly groom who follows His example is NOT the end result.

My falling madly, wildly, deeply in love with the Saviour of my soul and wanter after my heart is not a premise to some of my greatest desires of finite intimacy.

Point, blank and the period: Jesus is not a means to an end.

You (I) can't just love God madly until your husband or wife comes along. God isn't a genie. He isn't a yo-yo. He isn't a fleeting thought...evanescent in the wake of a new transient romance.

He is all or nothing.

Treating God like the latter leaves the heart, mind, body and soul with much to desire.

I will raise my hand in conviction to say that I am guilty of treating God as a means to an end. My suffering Saviour cries and longs to be near me while I cry and long for intimacy. Making 'peace' or lack thereof with the fact that everything the enemy has said about me is in fact truth. Bypassing the irrefutable truth of His unhinged, uninhibited and unfettered love for me.

This God...this Jesus. This Christ. He does not await the proper time to pursue me. He does not gauge my worth based on what my bathroom scale says, whether or not I wear Wet n' Wild or Revlon, whether or not I felt like moisturizing my feet today (and, FYI, I did not). He doesn't wait for me to do something different with my hair or for this pimple on my face to go away (albeit a nuisance). He does not wait for me to stop overextending my budget because I NEED that new fall dress. Nor does He wait for me to get up on Monday morning to workout after the gym and I have become complete strangers. He does not wait for me to get it together. He doesn't wait for me to be who He made me to be.

He meets me where I am: In the valley, in the quiet, in the shadow, at my breaking, in my searching, in my wandering, when I feel alone and at my lowest. He meets me.

He pursues me when I'm not the bride He asked for, but the very one He wanted. And because of His unfathomable grace and ever-existing love exhibited most clearly when the blood excreted from the wounds on His broken, cross-burdened body...I won't wait anymore either.

I will not wait to have it all together: to have my ideal body, to figure out my finances, to be presented before my earthly groom, etcetera, etcetera.

I will start right now, today, loving my Groom with reckless abandon.

And when the pangs of being a quarter-life, single, Christian woman overwhelms me, I will remember the One who made clear what are lies and what is Truth.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

23 without a driver's license...


My name is Mirakol, and I never learned to drive in high school...or college.

Some who are still in their teens may snicker at this fact. Others in their early twenties will feel empathy. Those in their late twenties to thirties and forties will give a knowing nod and maybe an encouraging word.

My very own mother didn't really learn to drive until her mid to late twenties. I have a fair number of good friends who didn't get skillful driving lessons or a license until they were around my age or even older. I used to feel pity for myself, get extremely frustrated and feel stagnant because I'd not acquired a skill many a peer had. In my teens when some of my closest friends were the 'ones with cars,' I was the one who rode along and chalked up gas money where I could. This wasn't a huge issue. Even when I got to be a senior in high school and going into my freshman year of college, my lack of reliable personal transportation was not a huge issue, because I made friends with cars fast! A few awkward rides home during holidays are for another post. I lived on campus the first two years of undergrad and managed pretty well. However, my lack became evident once I moved off campus into my first apartment.

Coming back from my second summer break at home was great! My family helped me move in, and they stocked me up on groceries. It was my third year and I was elated! Things weren't too bad. I lived in walking distance from HEB and the local beauty supply, so life was good! Presumably so, anyway. There were times my roommate and I would go and stock up on groceries...without a car. We'd take the grocery trolleys home--shamelessly--because the the no car struggle was inevitably real. Imagine our dismay when they realized residents in the area were taking trolleys home. They put stoppers on them so that they couldn't roll pass the parking lot. One day, we were stranded with enough food for a family of 5 to 8 people--hey, I was raised to buy in bulk :-)

Even in this, God was faithful. He'd send kind people with trucks asking if we needed help, friends rolling through the neighborhood and even the means to just get a taxi. Besides, I'd rather spend 5 bucks than tote all those groceries. Anywho, you get the idea. Outside of our regular grocery trips, things weren't too bad because so many good friends had cars and we were never in much want. There were times when I felt like a burden or inconvenience... This was pretty much my story up until I graduated college. When I started working January of this year, I realized that not having a car is no fun. My lack of transportation to get to and fro revealed more of a bird's eye view into my lack of freedom. Most friends with cars had graduated, gotten busy with school and life, and I wasn't salty about it. But it did suck to not get around when I wanted to. I wanted to do more. I wanted to get out. I didn't have school to occupy majority of my time anymore.

I started looking at apartments and wanted to find one on a bus line. First, going to look at apartments was a problem. Second, because getting to and from campus conveniently is kind of a big deal since that's where I work. However, I didn't want to stay in a 'student housing' area. After consulting with friends and spiritual family, I found that I shouldn't look for an apartment solely based on my commute. I didn't want to look out of a spirit of lack. However, obtaining proper driving skills and getting a car seemed so far-fetched to me, because it hadn't happened yet. I could trust God to provide with my job and finances, I could trust God to provide to send me on mission, I could trust God when it came to finding an apartment I could pay for, I could trust God with my education and degree. But, I couldn't trust God with something I hadn't seen him do for me before...that was the thought.

Being 23 without a driver's license for me is a bigger issue of walking in God-granted freedom and full assurance and belief in the God of the Holy Bible. The question is can I trust Him with this thing that I wanted to keep safe stifled? Do I really want to walk into God's uncharted territory of love and freedom with wild abandon? Do I really want to embrace the heart of the Father in Christ? To do this would mean to forget all I have known to be true. The lies that say:

I can't.
I won't.
I'm not able.
I'm not worthy.
I'm not worth it.
I'm not beautiful.
I'm not fathered.
I'm not loved.

Getting my license is more about me receiving the truth of the exact opposite of the aforementioned lies. It is more about me being driven than me driving. I am coming to understand that God does things in a timing that perplexes the human mind and ravishes the human heart. In what I thought to be absurdly late, God is fathering me through healthy male relationships.

In one relationship--I like to call him uncle: He's teaching me to drive and showing me what's under the hood of a car. He's also teaching me about real estate and mortgages and purchasing and owning my own place. Sometimes he takes me on mini dates and pays for my meals.

In another relationship--he's my spiritual dad: He hugs me, kisses my forehead and calls me beautiful. He rubs my cheek and tells me all God has spoken to him about me. He texts me "Beloved..." and an encouraging scripture. He lets me know that he understands and hurts for me...that He wants all that God wants for me.

And those are just two...all this to show me His heart. To show me a way only He can father me in spite of the absence of my biological father. Showing me that my biological father was not enough...that He can do a better job in surpassing my ideals of being fathered.

It's amazing, and I grow misty in writing this now. I'm learning to drive. I'm learning to be free.

I can.
I will.
I'm able.
I'm worthy.
I'm worth it.
I'm beautiful.
I'm fathered.
I'm loved.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Leftover Oatmeal Cookies ... Just trust me on this, okay?

Yes...I'm posting a recipe with picturesss! :-) Aren't you excited?! I know I am. One drawback: I don't have a fancy schmancy camera. I'm working with a dumbphone. So not even Instagram #nofilter worthy photographs. Let me pass--I wouldn't know how to work a DSLR camera if I had one [insert plug/plea for camera and lessons].

Moving on...

About my leftover oatmeal. It's been in my fridge a few days and I had very high hopes for it. Quick oats, dried apricots, hulled sunflower seeds, chia seeds, vanilla bean paste, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, agave and a sprinkle of sea salt--the first 4 ingredients and agave all courtesy of my local food co-op's bulk foods section #SupportLocal. Anywho, it smelled like a peach/apricot cobbler/pie of sorts! GAHHH! I would presume this breakfast manifesto to be DEE-LISH, right? Well...yeah, (dah) but the oatmeal was SO rich. Almost cloying. I couldn't eat it all and opted for yogurt and fruit instead. Saddened along with the burning desire to not waste food, I turned to Google...because, that's where people go to find solutions, right?

My query? 'leftover oatmeal...' Google provides me with options: Do you want to search for 'leftover oatmeal cookies' or 'leftover oatmeal cake?' No-brainer; cookies won out. Here's the recipe as adapted from Cooks.com. Skip breakfast on purpose to make these for dinner friends.


Leftover Oatmeal Cookies
adapted from Cooks.com

1 c. sifted flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ginger
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. coconut oil (mine was mostly melted, because it's September in Texas)
1 egg
3/4 c. cooked oatmeal (with or without your fixin's from the previous morning)*
1/3-1/2 c. chopped dried apricots
1/3 c. hulled sunflower seeds
1-2 tsp. chia seeds

my attempt at 'food styling' ...yea

Sift (or whisk) together flour, baking powder, soda, salt and all spices. Mash in brown sugar until all incorporated. Add extract, oil and egg and beat until creamy (about 2 minutes -- this was from the original recipe. I used a rubber spatula and a whisk to mix my ingredients...you know how stuff should look when it's mixed; I believe in you). Stir in oatmeal and fold in fruit and seeds. Drop from teaspoon onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Yield: 2 dozen. If you're anything like me and end up with 1/8 cup drops of dough, you may yield about 11-12 cookies. That's okay, because bigger cookies are better cookies ;-)

*Note: Be sure to dial back flavorings and mix-ins per your taste depending on how much you flavored your oatmeal before.

These cookies were not too sweet. Very pleasant with a nice warm, spicy flavor. Mine were a bit cakey because I accidentally put a bit too much leavening in the batter and had a heaping 3/4 cup of oatmeal. Good, nonetheless :-) Enjoy with yogurt and a banana (because it's breakfast in cookie form and kinda healthy). Or, you can sandwich ice cream between two warm cookies and lick the drippings that run down your arm...I won't judge you ;-)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Gone for a minute...

Hey family! It's been quite a while! I miss you...YEAH, YOU :-)

Things have been good! I found a new apartment and moved in on August 3rd. It's cute, quaint and just cute. I'm still getting furnishings and whatnots. It's in a bit of disarray right now...especially since my good friend is living with me for undisclosed reasons. This should be fun. Trying and faith-stretching, but fun :-) I hope to make the living space all purdy soon. My furniture for my bedroom and dining set comes in this week! That's exciting...expensive, but exciting :-) I met Buttermilk on July 10th! If you don't know who Buttermilk is, she's this adorable li'l diva here:

BUT!!! Before I met her, I visited New York and enjoyed myself. It wasn't the best trip experience for a Texas girl. I didn't get to see all the tourist attractions you read about in magazines and blogs and see in the media (i.e.: Lady Liberty) TRAGIC, I know! It smelled TERRIBLE in most places, and some of the folk were almost as rude as I heard they can be. However, I did see some great spots, including Carlo's Bakery! Get the cream puff, please! I ate some awesome pizza in Hoboken, NJ, and I also hung out upstate since that's where my friend lives. Great folks up there, super awesome farmer's markets and they have a more southern hospitality about them. I definitely want to go back and see more sights. I know I promised pictures...those will come later :-)

Anywho, on Buttermilk...we just didn't work. Her health wasn't in the best condition and I didn't want to pick up the responsibility of a sick kitty cat and I can't care for her the way she needs. I'll miss her sweet little face, though. I will say, I met a new friend. I'll have to post some pictures of him. His name is Konrad and he likes chicky and fishy lol! He's my neighbor's cat and tends to roam around outside. He comes by ever so often to snack and hang out. He's sweet and LOUD! Lol. I get my furry friend fix with Konrad. It helps during a time of wanting a pet, but having to buy furniture and pay grown-up bills.

Moving on...

I've been cooking/baking on and off. One of my sorority sisters' birthday was a short while ago and that means DESSERTS...I mean celebration of her life and love...?! I made a trifle with a coconut rum pastry cream and bittersweet ganache and strawberries. Funny story about this trifle...

I made it about a month ago and it all started when my community group decided to hold a going away party for a friend who got a job in Boston (read: Bah-stihn). My then roommate and I took on the task of making a Boston Cream Cake/Pie--cheesy, I know :-) Well, my roommate got busy, but helped buy the ingredients haha! Anywho, I was left to my own vices, which wasn't a bad thing. I love baking and am good at it, not to toot my own horn.

I started out with a basic yellow cake recipe from A Bountiful Kitchen and added a bit of rum extract--no real rum available...please use it if you have it! I then followed the pastry cream recipe from A Bountiful Kitchen to the 'T.' I didn't care for the use of corn syrup in my glaze, so I went for a basic 1 ½:1 chocolate to cream ratio when it came to my ganache. I whip up the batter and fill my pans...WITHOUT COATING THEM! I'm praying to my dear Savior that this cake doesn't stick considering that the pans are new and "non-stick." Pshhh, yeah right! I was too much of a bum to remove the batter, clean the pans and then refill the pans. So I crossed my fingers and put it in my preheated oven. I then whipped up the ganache and the pastry cream and awaited the cake in the oven. Open to check: OVERFLOW!!! Before the batter had a chance to hit the oven floor, I put down a sheet of foil on the bottom rack. I'm a bit flustered at this point, because the directions (after searching through comments, etc.) said to use two round 9inch pans. Obviously, I needed three pans. I tried to not stress as my delicious pastry cream and ganache cooled. Once my timer beeped, I take the cake layers out--one isn't done baking and another sinks. I cry a bit on the inside as I return the undercooked one to the oven. After a few minutes, I let them both cool and try to turn them out of the pans...to no avail! I'm floored and deeply saddened. After prying as gently as I could, I slammed the pans on the counter, walked outside and cried. I was really upset. It was probably more than the cake at that point, but that put the icing on it--no pun necessarily intended. After gathering myself, I returned to the kitchen with a plan...

The cake was delicious and the crumb was nice, both the pastry cream and ganache was completed and I had some extra strawberries in the fridge. TRIFLE! Thank God for the introduction to Food Network.  I broke the cake into chunks and began to layer in the prettiest clear glass bowl I owned--cake, cream, chocolate, cake, cream, chocolate, and so on. I topped it off with chopped strawberries. It was pretty, it was yummy, it was a hit at the community group going away party! My sorority sister requested to have the trifle on her birthday! Ha...funny how a blunder can turn into a good thing.

Needless to say, I made it again with a few tweaks and shortcuts in favor of time. It was great and I failed to photograph the end result (both times). If she happened to take a picture, I'll share it. Below, I will share what I did for the trifle :-P" (my drool face)

Coconut Rum Trifle with Chocolate Ganache and Strawberries

For the cake:
1 box of butter cake mix prepared per the instructions (I used HEB's Hill Country Fair brand...needed ingredients below. You could also use your favorite cake recipe)
---- 3 eggs
---- 1 stick of butter, softened (I dislike margarine in baked goods...strongly dislike!)
---- 2/3 cups of water
---- 1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut folded into the batter (An addition I think would be SPLENDID if I'd had it on hand. If I make it again...ooohhhh maaannn!)
---- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of rum extract (or 1-2 tablespoons of real rum...please, real rum!)

For the ganache
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chocolate of your choice)
8 oz. cream

Chop the chocolate finely and place in a medium mixing bowl. (I love this set of bowls!) Bring the cream to a boil and remove from heat. Pour the cream over the chocolate and set aside for a few minutes. Stir until smooth with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Do not use a whisk because it can create air bubbles in your ganache. Unless you like air bubbles...#YOLO. Cover ganache with cling wrap to prevent moisture and a 'skin' from forming. Allow ganache to cool to room temperature. Eat by the spoonful. Or use it for this recipe and other fun things like truffles and frosting! :-)

For the pastry cream
adapted from CravingChronicles.com by way of BraveTart

3 large eggs
1 egg yolk (save the white for breakfast or something fun like meringues!)
5 ounces granulated sugar (I used turbinado sugar because that's what I had on hand)
1.5 ounces cornstarch
pinch of kosher salt
15.5 oz coconut milk, full fat preferred
1/2 - 1 teaspoon rum extract (or 1-2 tablespoons of real rum...again, please!)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
vanilla bean, scraped if you have it
OR 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste to replace both the extract and bean
I purchased my Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste by Nielsen-Massey Vanillas from the Food Network Store

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, yolk, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until combined and free of lumps.

Bring coconut milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Slowly pour 2/3 cup hot coconut milk into the egg mixture, whisking briskly and constantly, to temper the eggs because scrambled eggs are to be made with the leftover egg white for breakfast, not in your pastry cream. Add tempered egg mixture back to coconut milk on the stove, whisking constantly. Continue to cook over medium heat, whisking, until mixture becomes very thick, like pudding. Taste it once or twice...or thrice. Yes, thrice is a word.

Pour pastry cream through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, just in case you decided to scramble a few bits while thinking about tomorrow's breakfast. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, pushing the wrap onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Once you have all the ingredients chilled appropriately, assemble as follows:

Cake cubes (1-2 inch pieces)
Pastry Cream
Cake cubes
Eat a cake cube or 5 and hope there will be enough to finish a few more layers :)
Make your last layer ganache and top with chopped fruit of choice. I used strawberries, but I imagine something tropical like banana or pineapple or BOTH would be great with the coconut and chocolate :)

I'll write again VERY soon. We have so much to catch up on: food, health, and all God is doing in my life!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Deeerrrrrppppp .______.

Soooo, I'm at work left to my own vices----a cell phone, a book, Mac Photo Booth and Facebook :)

Annnnd, boredom ensues...

Then I put a bubble in my mouth and made it move in rhythm with my eyebrows :D

Then, I thought I was sexy. But got upset when I found out the camera was doing the multi-shot thing. So I settled for cute and content.

I've gotten some interesting reading and random interwebs research done. Working on Saturday isn't the most fun, but it helps to get comp time. I need it for when I go to New York next month to visit my seester! Her name is Gabbi and she was my big when I pledged Alpha Lambda Omega Christian Sorority, Inc. I'll be going with my LS, D-Neezy f. Baby...long story about the nickname lol! I'm excited...it's gonna be a time, indeed. I'll post updates and pictures!

Also, whoever reads this thing can watch my review about this line of products:

You can get it at NaturallyCurly.com. A little foreshadowing--I didn't care for much but the mousse (surprisingly) and the spray. The other stuff can build a pile of rocks and kick it.

Moving on...
Yesterday, I found out about this:

Call me a dork if you will--and I'm sure you probably will--but it's awesome (err...scary?) that you can update life events on Facebook. Yesterday, I let all of Facebook know that I am now following a vegetarian diet. It's pretty neat! Unnecessary, but neat, nonetheless :)

Sooo, yeahhh...on this vegetarian lifestyle thing: 

As I mentioned in my post earlier this week, I'm reading Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat to Live book. Good information, though somewhat biased. Outside of the overwhelming amount of research he feels the need to convey in the book, somewhere in all what appears to me as "riff-raff" I find interesting observations and facts that help me to understand my eating habits as well as those of most of United States Americans. 

I'll soon begin an oil-free, sugar-free (only sugar from fruits and other plant bases...no substitutes), animal product-free way of eating. The stage of vegetarianism will not only help me transition, but also help me eat the foods that are in my fridge (e.g.: eggs, butter, etc.) I'm excited and somewhat scared, but going in with hope and expectancy that I can do this with the will of the Lord :) I'll keep y'all posted!

Outside of work today, I'll be going to Chuy's with the aforementioned D-Neezy f. Baby! Ha, her name is actually Denetria, but she's the best rapper you'll ever meet on this side of the South--I don't care what you say; she's cool to me! :)

I need to get laundry done because the business casual struggle becomes quite real during the week and I tend to obscure the line of what is work appropriate and what was clean and quick to put on because I awoke 10 minutes before my ride arrived downstairs. Also, I'll soon be moving into my new apartment...YAY! Finally out of student housing in t-minus 2 months. Ohhhh, freedom!!! I'll post on my moving process, furnishings and new pet:

Her name is Buttermilk and she's probably the cutest thing you ever did saw! :)
Photo courtesy of austinpetsalive.com

I hope to adopt her from Austin Pets Alive! once I settle in a bit and hand over my left arm and right leg for the pet deposit -____- lol! But she's a beaut and I wanna love her and feed her Meow Mix! Soon, Buttermilk, you will have your forever home with me :)

Welp...I'm tired of typing. I wish I would have brought some knitting materials. Time to read!


Friday, June 7, 2013

It's Been Far Too Long! :(

Well, hello there to my 2.5 readers :) Haha! It's been a while so I guess I can manage to try and catch you up on my goings-ons. First! Happy New Year! and Happy Belated Thanksgiving and Christmas is almost here! Needless to say I cooked and enjoyed food for all of the above stated holidays and will do so for the upcoming good times. Many recipes I am not going to post :P Lol! Further, I am currently in the end of my senior year of college an employee at UT Austin! I did not walk in the Spring semester, but I'm excited to be a December grad in Texas...a nice breezy 70 degrees on graduation day haha! It's bittersweet but I'm excited for new beginnings! 

(UPDATE: Definitely started this draft in the beginning of December 2012...I'm graduated and working now!)

Mi familia y yo :)

I guess I should start blogging more! I made this:

Photo: My dimply plum and cherry cake :) The house smells amazing! Cinnamon, orange zest, vanilla...mmm!

This was blackberry cobbler...

Photo: I woulda taken a pic of the finished product...but I lacked natural light :)


Oh food! And please forgive my poor food photography. The best one is the first and most recent pic using natural lighting and a dumbphone (the best...lighting that is)! 

Also, for the past 1-2 years, I have been experimenting with vegan cuisine. I'm really enjoying learning about how to prepare food differently and animal- and dairy-free! It is much healthier and very delicious! Flavor and funderfuliciousness does not have to be compromised because bacon and cheddar are not involved. 

DISCLAIMER: I am an advocate for bacon and cheddar...not necessarily in that order nor necessarily together. However I will oblige under the circumstances that they are offered in conjunction with one another. 

Even further, I am now reading this:

It's really helping reshape how I think of food and my body. I'm gonna take the 6-week challenge. Pray for me, lol! (But, seriously...) This, subsequently, will result in healthified "nutritarian" recipes. I will still post the occasional recipes for baked yumyums and noms that include animal products...I just won't be eating them. #TheStruggle. But this is for my health, for my life and ultimately for God's Kingdom and my role in it. More on this process later.

Ohhh....yeahhh, at one point had dreadlocks...and a nose ring :)


That was funnn...haha!

I did my 2nd Big Chop March 2012 because I wasn't being very smart lol. I loved it though...but missed my locs.

Hair Disaster December 2012 -- pictures later...oy!

Annnd...3rd Big Chop April 2013 

Ended up doing this after the aforementioned sad hair story that is for another post:

I actually love it short. However, it's growing in and now looks like this:


I may get locs again...who knows :)

I also went on a mission trip to Baja, Mexico with Ten Days Missions and it was beyond amazing. The majesty and sovereignty of God was definitely displayed. Here's a picture for you to enjoy. I'll post later on that as well.

Mi amiguita, Luna, y yo :)

I will post my recipe ventures, hair schtuffs, how Jesus Christ is rocking my world and other fun life things now that I will have more time (ostensibly) to maintain a blog! Much love to you all (1..2? Ha!)