Time of my life (part 2)

As I stated in Part 1, I forgot to take pictures, I know, EPIC FAIL!!! However, one of my line sisters came through and designated herself to be the resident photographer. The pictures don't include everyone, but there's a lot of us nonetheless.

There were about 50 people who came out to the shower, a fun time was had by all. Additionally, all of my friends and I went to Bar 7 in DC after the shower. Idris Elba was there too, he's actually just as fine in real life as he is on screen.

I danced for the first hour or so, and then parked it on a nice comfy couch as one of my homeboys designated himself to be my own watch man. He checked on me throughout the night to get me water, and to make sure I was enjoying myself. I seriously have the best friends, EVER - I'm truly blessed!

Time of my life (part 1)

My baby shower was this past Memorial Day weekend. The shower brought together lots of my high school and college friends, family and truly will be a wonderful memory for me to share with Naja. I hadn't seen some of my friends in OVER two years, and folks flew in from all over: California, Upstate NY, Indiana, North Carolina and more. At the end of the day, I felt blessed to have the friends and family that I have. I know Naja is going to be a lucky girl with about 20 extended aunts and uncles.

I'm going to break the shower up into two posts: 1. Shower details (food, et al) and 2. Party pics. This post will feature Part 1: Food, et al.

My mom threw me the shower, and I probably had a little more involvement with everything than you normally see...however, I'm really hands on, I love to be involved and busy - so I loved every part of it!  The theme was, "Round and Poppin'" and the colors were brown, pink and green. We tied the theme in with the shower game gifts, and gift bags, and the decorations. My mom knows how much of a foodie I am, so she let me plan the menu. We served the following:
*Anything with an asterisk has previously been featured on the blog, and is linked.

Zucchini Roll Ups*

Main Dish
Curried Tuna Salad*
Emerils's Chicken Salad SS: Link to recipe from foodnetwork.com
Fried Chicken
Deviled Eggs
Smoked Provolone Pasta Salad (see below)
Very Berry Fruit Salad SS: Link to recipe from foodnetwork.com
Cucumber Salad SS: Link to recipe from foodnetwork.com

Red Wine Sangria
White Wine Sangria
 Mom's Punch

Cake from Brown Betty

The cake got a little messed up in the commute from Philly to VA, nonetheless, I loved it! Unfortunately, I was so busy talking my head off at the shower, I forgot to take pictures of pretty much everything. However, I do have one picture of the Smoked Provolone Pasta Salad (with some of the cucumbers), so I'll go ahead and share that recipe.

Smoked Provolone and Penne Salad
Source: Whole Foods Market Cook Book
Serves 8, Adapted to serve 60+

2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups chopped parsley
4 cups mayonnaise
2 cups white wine vinegar  SS: I would use less next time, perhaps 1 3/4 cup, we had to adjust this by adding a lot more pepper because the vinegar was very strong
1 bulb garlic, minced (~ 2 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

4 pounds penne pasta
6 cups packed baby spinach, washed and stemmed
4 16-oz jars roasted red peppers, diced
3 pounds smoked provolone cheese, diced

Combine the Parmesan cheese, parsley, mayonnaise, vinegar, garlic, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper with a hand mixer or in the bowl of food processor or in a blender until the dressing is smooth.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasts until it is al dente. Drain the pasta into a colander, run cold water over it or submerge it in ice water until chilled through, and drain well. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, spinach, roasted red peppers, and smoked provolone.

Toss the salad with the dressing. Serve immediately. *You may make this salad up to 2 days ahead of time; just add the spinach and dressing before serving. The pasta base keeps perfectly well for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

My mom made the Chicken Salad, my uncle made the fried chicken and deviled eggs, and I prepared everything else on the menu. I also had lots of friends help out the day of with preparation. Many thanks to Steve, Ashley M., Ashley H. and Danielle - seriously,  you guys are AWESOME!

Gift Bags
In addition to preparing the food, I also helped out with the gift bags. Each guest received a bag with hand-painted pink and green circles, packed with a "Baby CD Mix", AKA songs with the word "baby" in the title, and a set of cookies that spelled out "N-A-J-A." I printed out labels for all of the CDs and added some polka dots along with the list of songs on the CD. I baked about 200+ cookies total, and I iced them myself. The green color wasn't what I expected, but this was also my first time using food coloring with icing. I made the cookies from here, and used the icing referred to here.

OK, I think that's A LOT for one post, since this is a blog with a bit of everything, I did want to share some things, but I'm leaving out some details. If you have more specific questions, ask away!

Comedy Show...Two Weeks Later

Mrs. J asked me if I was going to post pics from the Comedy Show mentioned in my "Smile" post, and well...I WAS going to post them on Friday, 5/13, but that was the day that Blogger was down. So I took it as a day off. THEN, I was going to post the pics last Friday on 5/20, BUT I was at home in VA, and the pictures were on my computer in Philly. So for this Friday, I'm in VA, however I planned ahead and compiled pics from the comedy show. Why? Because this vintage dress was just too pretty not to share more, and because of the cause - supporting the Community Partnership School (CPS). I'm all for quality education in black and brown communities - it's very necessary!

...the cocktail hour where I had a sweet potato sundae with sweet and plain mashed potatoes topped with smothered mushrooms and blue cheese.

...the stage where the children performed a tribute to Dr. Cosby.
..the friend who made it happen!

*The dress is a hand me down from my aunt, which makes it vintage (???) - it's probably from the 80's - sorry that I have no full-length pics.

Just to recap, since I mentioned this AGES AGO, my best gal pal received a handful of complimentary tickets to a Comedy Show featuring Bill Cosby in support of the Community Partnership School. We went, ate, drank, laughed, and supported the children. It was a great cause considering that all of the children at CPS come from low-income neighborhoods, and CPS is a feeder elementary school for a lot of the well-known private high schools in the Philly area (Penn Charter, Germantown Academy, etc.). It truly shows that it doesn't matter where you're from - brilliance is everywhere. All of the children are sponsored to attend, so it costs their parents nothing. All in all - this was a wonderful event for a great cause.

If you didn't know - I have a big heart for philanthropy and community activism, so this kind of thing is right up my alley. For more information on supporting CPS, click here. Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Panko Crusted Asparagus with Soy-Ginger Drizzle

This weekend, my mom is throwing me a baby shower. A lot of my friends from high school and college are flying in, along with a handful of my mom's friends. I'm super excited to see everyone. knowing my love for food, my mom asked me to help plan the menu for the shower. This asparagus was one of the options I considered for an appetizer, but it was later nixed. I previewed the asparagus for my cousin last Saturday to taste it. We both loved it! This is a great healthy appetizer for a party - many thanks to Dana for sharing the recipe with her followers! One note - these are messy, and I think they are  best served warm, that's why we nixed it.

Roasted Sesame and Panko Coated Asparagus with Soy-Ginger Drizzle
Source: Bon Appétit via Dana - Treat Yourself
Serves 4-6

¼ cup mayonnaise
4 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar, divided
3 teaspoons soy sauce, divided
1 ¼ teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger, divided

1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
¼ cup sesame seeds
1 pound thick asparagus spears, trimmed, bottom 2/3 of each spear peeled
1 teaspoon golden brown sugar

1 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce
½ teaspoons sesame oil

Preheat oven to 450°F. Oil large rimmed baking sheet. Whisk mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon grated ginger in pie dish. Mix panko and sesame seeds in another pie dish. Toss asparagus in mayonnaise mixture to coat, then roll in panko mixture. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Roast until browned, turning once, about 16 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk 1 teaspoon water, brown sugar, chili-garlic sauce, remaining 3 teaspoons vinegar, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, ¼ teaspoon ginger, and ¼ teaspoon sesame oil in small bowl for sauce. Transfer asparagus to platter, drizzle with sauce.
Too bad my friends will miss out on this one. I'll have lots of pics from the shower next week - expect food, friends, fashion and more to come - I can hardly wait!

Animal Keeper

Dress (worn as top) - Fcuk; Pants - Limited (c. 2004); Shoes - Anthro; Necklace - Anthro; Bracelet - Anthro; Headband - Anthro; Ring - J. Crew; Earrings - Anthro

Date: Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I just piled on the accessories today because I was feeling rather plain with just the top and cargo pants. This is a perfect example of how accessories can take a plain dress (turned tee) and pants, and add some EMPHASIS! I call myself the Animal Keeper today, because the bracelet reminds me of an elephant's tusks - don't worry, it's not an actual tusk - it's earthy, and it's filled with child-like shapes of elephants, turtles, seals and more! Additionally, my headband, though discrete is actually a leopard-like print. I can't stray far away from mixing prints - it's one of my loves of fashion!

This dress was in my 30 for 30 Challenge, so I've worn it a lot. I put a mini collage of the various remixes below.
Do you like seeing me reference previous remixes? Do you prefer me to link it to the remix post, or the collage like the one above. If you like the collage, I'll try to comply :). PS - I was 3+ months preggo in the last pic!

Whoa belly!

Dress - Anthro (2009)?; Blazer - Anthro (2009); Shoes - Macy's (2008)

Date: Sunday, May 22, 2011

First off - how did I even fit into this dress? I'm still not sure about that, but I think this is probably the LAST time I would have been able to wear it. Honestly - it was a bit tight, but it wasn't unbearable. I don't know what's up with people inviting me to all of these formal/nice clothing required events while I'm pregnant. LOOK - NOTHING FITS (how I want)!!! It's like my belly just pops right out and says "HELLO!" In this last week - it's really popped out there. Sorry, about the slight rant-tangent.

On Sunday, my aunt was honored at her church for being the "Woman of the Year." I was happy to be able to show her support because she is AMAZING, and I love her to pieces *MUAH* - that's for you Aunt Kim :). Her church is a little more traditional than mine, thus I had to dress up, again. Two dressed up outfits at 30+ weeks pregnant...I don't know how I might make nice outfits work as I get bigger, I better get my creative juices flowing!

Random SN: Is it just me, or is everyone expecting? Ashley just made an announcement, and so did Sydney, while I don't know them in real life...two friends from my bball team are expecting, one of my line sisters is also expecting, and another two friends just had little girls in March. I guess that's what happens when you get a lot of snow during the winter...you get a lot of babies in the summer and fall.

See the blazer here.

Fooled ya!

Top - Anthro (2008); Blazer - Anthro (shop); Pants - Anthro; Shoes - Urban; Necklace - Anthro

Date: Saturday, May 21, 2011

I had a sorority meeting on Saturday, which calls for "business attire." I put this term in quotes because frankly, I don't know how anyone wears business attire in 70 degree weather. Technically speaking - business attire means your legs have to be covered in pants, or stockings! I bent the rules a bit by wearing these pants (again), and adding a light summer blazer. I really wanted to pull the pants up higher over my belly, but this was as far as they went, so I worked with it...truthfully speaking, I so almost don't look pregnant in these pictures. My sorority sisters were checking in with me to make sure I was still carrying - ha, I totally fooled them! This shows you the wonders of black + creating a waistline + a blazer: this combo can take a 7 month pregnant woman, and make her look unpregnant. TRUST - if I took off the blazer and gave you a side shot, you would say, "Whoa, I wasn't expecting that!"

PS - My goal was not to look unpregnant, but to just wear something acceptable and decent.
PSS - I know unpregnant is not a word, please don't sue me.

Are you tired of seeing me wear these pants yet? Check them out here and here.

New Beginnings with Locs

In my last hair post, I stated that I planned on locking my hair. I two-strand twisted my hair on wet hair, with the intentions of starting my loc process from the twists. I'm 3 weeks into my locking process and I stumbled across a video from one of my favorite youTubers who happens to have locs. After watching her video, I've decided to take down my twists, and start over. I've started locs before, but never on my own. Additionally, I didn't find any of the tips below in my quasi-research before I started my locks.

BronzeGoddess01 really hit the nail on the head with some important starter loc tips for those folks who are doing it all on their own (click here to see the video). Watching her video led me to summarize a couple of tips that may help those who are considering starting locs on their own. These are things I wish I had thought about in detail prior to doing my twists...

1. Make neat, practical parts. When you venture on a loc journey, you are setting your hair style for years to come. Thus if you like to style your hair with a certain look/goal, it's important to keep parting in mind. Make sure all of the parts you make work with any type of style you may want to try (flat twists, side part, middle part, etc.). I used a triangle method for my parts, when I should have just done straight box parts. This is the main reason I plan on restarting.
2. Make all of your twists in the same direction. This is a big help down the road, and will help the locking process with the added consistency. Coming from 2 years of free-strand naturalness, I didn't even think about this. When I went to re-twist my hair, I realized that some were twisted clockwise, while others were counter-clockwise! When I restart my locs, I will choose one direction and stick to it!
3. Know what size you want your locs to be. Understand that this is not necessarily a one-size fits all kind of thing. Parts of your hair that may be thin (Ex. edges) may have more hair at the root, while thicker parts may have less. Overall, I'm pleased with the part sizes I chose in the front, however I think I did them a little too big in certain parts of the back.
4. Take your time when starting your locs. Be sure to set aside a reasonable amount of time to start your locks. I started my locs out of frustration, AND after I did a friends' hair, at about 1 am. CLEARLY, I was tired when I started them.

Those are the main points I would have really benefited from knowing in starting my own locs a couple of weeks ago. I kind of did it on a whim, but this time I'll be ready to start and not look back. Completing my first re-twist this past weekend, confirmed that locs are the style for me. I washed and re-twisted my hair in ~1.5 hours. I then sat under a dryer for 30 minutes, and let the rest air dry overnight. This means I'm looking at a bi-weekly routine of 2 hours, AND I don't have to worry about styling my hair every time I wash it. Pure awesomeness.

I plan on re-twisting my hair with every wash until my hair is at the teenage loc stage. Due to my active lifestyle - I can't go more than two weeks without washing my hair, and I doubt that I will like the look of my twist/locs without a re-twist. I'll be sure to be gentle on my edges. Once I'm at the teenage stage, I will move to monthly re-twisting, and wash my hair as needed. I can already tell from week 3 that my hair will loc fairly quickly with the two-strand twists. I didn't run into any issues of my twists unraveling or coming undone after a thorough wash. In fact, I'm a little worried about this take-down, but I'm sure it will all work out just fine!


 Top - H&M; Vest - Anthro (sample); Pants - Urban; Shoes - Urban; Hat - Urban (sample)

Date: Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Prior to being an expecting mother, I heard stories about the rising costs of daycare, and the security that surrounds these institutions. Now that I'm actually LOOKING for placement - I can say that all of the stories I previously heard ring quite true. I don't have the luxury of being a stay-at-home mom. I plan to continue to be an engineer, and work full-time, and maximize my 6 weeks of maternity leave. Yes - 6 whole weeks! It is unfortunate that I have to send my newborn off into strangers hands at such a young age, however I know I'm not the first mom/dad who has had to cope with this difficult truth. Although, most of us who do this do it because we have to, it's still tough.

Today, I visited another daycare. I consider the visit somewhat successful, because now I know I don't want to send Naja there. However this also means my search continues...

Note: With everything that's going on, I will try to still add some creativity to my posts, but sometimes I will keep it plain and real and just tell you what's going on.

PS - Third day I'm wearing this hat, and I'm not mad about it.

Extended Wear

 Tunic - Thrifted; Belt - Thrifted; Jeans - Level 99 via Anthro; Shoes - Urban; Hat - Urban; Earrings - Frank & Myrrh

Date: Sunday, May 16, 2011

People are often amazed at the fact that I do not wear maternity clothes. I get the following question a lot:

How is it that you are 7 months pregnant and still able to wear your regular pants?

First, let me explain how grateful I am. I've had a smooth pregnancy with no morning sickness, no nausea or food cravings. I'm a little tired here and there, but I'm still able to work out 3 times/week with a modified regimen consisting of 25-30 minutes on the elliptical, followed by bicep and tricep curls, and lots of stretching. So, my regular pants fit just fine everywhere but the belly. Ok, now let me address the ACTUAL QUESTION - how do I make it work? Belly extenders!

You can buy belly belts that "extend" the waist line of your regular pants. The belts are a piece of elastic with a button hole on one end, and button on the other. This significantly extends the life of your pants during your pregnancy. You will have a gap in your pants, however, as long as you wear a long top, you will more than cover up the fact that your pants aren't zippered. Trust me when I say it's totally ok - I haven't zippered my pants in 4 months, and none of you have noticed ;-)! You can also use hair ties or rubber bands as your pants' extenders (Thanks Adrienne). I've been using the rubber band method and I've also been able to extend the pants myself by placing the hook in the button hole. This has saved me money, and has allowed me to continue to wear pants that fit me well.

On the beach

Dress - Anthro Sample???; Sweater - Anthro; Boots - Cavenders; Hat - Urban Sample

Date: Saturday, May 14, 2011

On Saturday I went to a sample sale, and this dress was one of the few apparel items I grabbed. I originally put the dress on to see if it fit, and I did not take it off! I love the casual-cool vibe it sends. It makes me feel like I should be on the beach somewhere, especially with my hat (bad hair day). I wasn't at the beach though, I was in Philly, where it rained on and off the entire weekend.

I hope you all had a great weekend - I missed my normal Friday "send-off" due to Blogger having some technical difficulties. The site was down for a whole day during the time I normally put aside for blogging. Thus, we all got a day off on Friday! It makes me feel that much more "fresh" this Monday. Speaking of this Monday - can you believe we're already halfway through May? I can't! I have 10 weeks left until my new arrival is here - it's crazy to think about...but I'm really looking forward to it!

FYI - I added a photo collage of my favorite Month 6 looks on my Pregnancy Style File Page.

Fried "Chicken" Sandwich

What? Monique, I thought you didn't eat meat! Well, I don't eat meat, which is exactly why I made a sandwich with fake meat, and it was GOOOD. I'm not a fan of most fake meats, but this stuff was to die for! I fixed a made up recipe with broccolini, tofu, curry and rice earlier this week that FAILED, but I wanted something TRULY satisfying this night. I knew that there were a handful of satisfying recipes from the Top 10 Vegan Sandwiches article, so I went for one of them, and I'm happy I did!

Chicken Sandwich with Home made Coleslaw (and Baked Sweet Potato Fries)
Source: Namely Marly (Sandwich); Sarah's Cucina Bella (Fries)
Serves 4

Fair warning guys - this recipe is semi/very involved, but most of the spices and ingredients are probably already in your pantry. I decided to make the sweet potato fries first, then the coleslaw. I saved the chicken for last because I knew I wanted to eat my sandwich nice and hot, with some cool coleslaw on top. I'm sure this meal can easily be adapted for actual fried chicken. Enough blabbing, here are the deets...

1 – 1 1/2 lb sweet potatoes SS: I used yams
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Peel the sweet potatoes. Cut into strips that are about 1/2 inch wide on each side. Place the sweet potatoes into a resealable plastic bag. Add oil, salt, paprika and cinnamon. Seal the bag and shake well to thoroughly coat the fries. Spread the potatoes out onto the baking sheet in a single layer.
Cook for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, until slightly browned. Transfer immediately to a paper towel lined plate and serve warm. SS: My fries were wilted and not crispy, but they still tasted good

1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 cup + 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, divided
2 jalapenos, seeded, cut in half and sliced crosswise
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 green cabbage, core and outer leaves removed, and very thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Stir onions into one cup red wine vinegar, and let sit at least 20 minutes. Remove onions and discard vinegar. In a large bowl, toss onions with jalapeno, parsley, cabbage and salt.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, and salt. Slowly whisk in olive oil until well blended.
  3. Toss salad with vinaigrette until evenly coated.

1 package Gardein Chick’n Scallopini (4 pieces)
1 cup whole raw cashews
water for covering cashews by 1”
1 Tbsp. Tabasco or other hot sauce
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning SS: I used Todd's Dirt instead of Old Bay
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
vegetable oil for frying

  1. Make the cashew cream (plan ahead): Put the cashews in a bowl and add cold water to cover them by one inch. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight. SS: I didn't plan ahead, so I kept the cashews in the cold water while I made the baked sweet potato fries, and the coleslaw - about 1 hour, I think it still turned out just fine! Drain the cashews and rinse under cold water. Place in a blender with enough fresh cold water to cover them by one inch. Blend on high for several minutes until very smooth and strain through a fine mesh sieve. 
  2. Mix the cashew cream with Tabasco in a medium-sized bowl. Add the Gardein chick’n pieces and make sure all are well coated.
  3. In a shallow bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, garlic powder, Old Bay, cayenne, and black pepper. Shake the excess marinade off the chick’n pieces, and then dredge each one in the flour. Shake off excess flour, then dip the chick’n back into the cashew cream, then coat again in the flour.
  4. Add enough oil to a deep large skillet to create a depth of 1”. Heat over medium-high heat to 350º f (use a deep-frying thermometer or an electric frying pan). SS: I was low on the vegetable oil, I probably used about 1/4 cup and everything still turned out nice. Fry the chick’n in batches until golden and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and serve.

To make the sandwich, put the chick'n between a bread roll of your choice and top with coleslaw - I only used half of the actual roll when I ate it, so it was an open-face sandwich. YUM!

Wing tips and red lips

Dress - Vintage, Flea Market find in 2010; Belt - Limited; Shoes - Kenneth Cole via Nordstrom; Earrings - Urban; Lips - MAC (Dare You)

Date: Sunday, May 8, 2011

I found this dress last year at the Fairmount Annual Flea Market. When I saw it, I thanked God for the 1950's woman who was busty, and careful enough to take care of this lovely dress so that I could find it for $20 at a flea market. As a matter of fact, the same season I found this dress, Anthro had a similar dress in their store - bow in the front and everything, only it cost about 6 times more than my thrifted find.

I played dress up this day and added a wing tip eye using lots of black liner and red hot lipstick to go with the whole vintage theme. It was actually a huge surprise that the dress still fit me. I've come to realize that I should try a dress on before I dismiss it as "not going to work". While some dresses are CLEARLY inconceivable, others are very doable, even with my growing belly! I'm sure this look will make my personal Top 10 for favorite pregnant looks.

Yard Sale

Top - H&M; Pants - Anthro; Shoes - Anthro; Sunglasses - Anthro

Date: Saturday, May 7, 2011

On Saturday my parent's neighborhood hosted a yard sale. My mom quickly gathered all of the junk items she planned to give away to the Good Will and had my brother set everything up on a table outside. After the set up, my mom had to help volunteer with a group my brother is in (Jack & Jill). My dad spent the entire morning at the gym - "by accident" I'm sure. Thus, my brother and I were left to "man" the yard sale table from 9 am - 12 pm.

What were our profits at the end of the day? $28.25 - something is better than nothing.

These pants look familiar?

Mother's Day

Mom's are awesome - I know that I take my mom for granted at times, so it's great that mom's get a whole day to themselves to be recognized because they deserve it. This Mother's Day, I went home to spend time with my mom (and dad and brother). I did a lot of cooking this weekend to give the my mom a day off! Fair warning - there is a LOT of food in this post!!! My brother and I surprised her on Saturday with an early morning breakfast featuring a Baked French Toast along with some scrambled eggs and turkey bacon.

I got the recipe for the Baked French Toast from foodnetwork.com, the only difference is that I substituted blueberries for strawberries. I don't like blueberries. This french toast was BOMB, and we had leftovers for Sunday breakfast!

On Sunday, we all went to church, and went back to my grandparents house for dinner. All of my aunts and uncles, and a handful of my cousins were there to celebrate. We spent our time laughing, sharing and eating. The men prepared most of the food, and I made a curry tuna salad that was TO DIE FOR!!!

I got the recipe from foodnetwork.com (again), and followed the recipe to a tee, with the exception that I omitted the nuts, and I added in some celery. I used albacore canned tuna. I must say again - this tuna was DELICIOUS! I also baked some "Mother's Day Cookies" AKA I made these sugar cookies with royal icing with a Mother's Day theme. I hand-iced the cookies with "xoxo", "Happy Mother's Day" and other sweet messages.

Royal Icing, a hard icing
1 lb powdered sugar, sifted SS: Equivalent to 16 oz
1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
3 egg whites

I did make one slight alteration to the cookie recipe this time because I used flour to roll out the dough in contrast with powdered sugar. One of my friends/blog followers got me a nifty icing set along with some baby stuff, and I used the icing set for the cookies. This was my first time EVER using Royal Icing, and although it has egg whites, it requires no baking. These cookies were HEAVENLY - they will be making another appearance on the blog before the end of the month!

That was my weekend in summary - there was a lot of good food, fun with family and good times! How was your weekend? Did you do anything special for the mom in your life?

Feature on Newnaturalista.com!

Today, I was featured on newnaturalista.com  - the article focused on maintaining your personal style while you're expecting. Newnaturalista is an online magazine that focuses on fashion, food, fitness, and more. Many thanks to Tonya and the folks at Newnaturalista for the feature!

Click here to see the article.


Three things from my week that made me smile...

1. An AWESOME weekend with my line sister. We went out to Continental (Philadelphia, PA) for some drinks and food. We ate good food and chilled the entire weekend. Pictured below: Twizzle cocktail and mocktail. I loved my mocktail, it just made me feel grown again - people really treat you like a child when you're expecting.

2. Brown Betty Dessert Boutique - Philadelphia, PA. Their cupcakes are AMAZING, I ate mine so quick I didn't take a picture of the actual cupcake! If you go, get "Only for Eliza" - it's a sweet potato cake with cream cheese frosting. Brown Betty is also black-owned - hi-five for supporting minority-owned businesses!

3. Comedy for a Cause - Philadelphia, PA. My friend Lindsay received tickets to attend a comedy benefit show to support the Community Partnership School. The event was awesome - we had lots of laughs, great food and an all around good time! Pictured below: Lindsay and me after the event. I wore a vintage dress that formerly belonged to my aunt in the 80s'.

Summer Watermelon Gazpacho

It was really warm on Tuesday. I made this gazpacho because I wanted something savory and refreshing that was also quick and easy. Gazpacho is a tomato soup that is served cold. There are plenty of versions of it with sweet peppers and onions, I opted for a slightly sweeter version with watermelon. It's great for hot summer months because it cools you down, and because tomatoes are right in season, so their taste is vibrant.

I made this soup with my new Breville Juicer  that I got from Williams Sonoma. I used gift cards for 80% of this purchase. I got the gift cards from my job for volunteering to do some extra work. Needless to say, with the juicer in hand, I whipped this up in under 10 minutes!

Summer Watermelon Gazpacho
Source: Me, I pulled from a handful of recipes to come up with my own thing

3/4 lb tomatoes
4 cups watermelon SS: I bought the pre-cut cubes
1/2 small onion
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cucumber, peeled SS: I think I'll use two next time
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup tomato juice SS: Look for it in the juice section
1 cup tomato puree
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Ricotta salata (optional) SS: This cheese has a soft, savory flavor that compliments watermelon very well

If you have a juicer
Place all of the whole vegetables in the juicer and process. Pour into a bowl and add the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, tomato juice and puree. Add salt and pepper. Stir until well mixed. Pop in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to chill - serve cold. Sprinkle some ricotta salata crumbles on top.

If you do not have a juicer
Chop and seed the tomato and cucumber, chop the onion. Place the onion, tomatoes, cucumber and watermelon in the bowl of a food processor; pulse to chop coarsely. Pour into a bowl and add the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, tomato juice and puree. Add salt and pepper. Stir until well mixed. Pop in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to chill - serve cold. Sprinkle some ricotta salata crumbles on top.

*This soup is vegan without the ricotta salata.