Happy (Early) New Year

Just thought I'd share some New Year joy with you before the celebrations begin. This is a picture of Naja from Christmas. I normally dress up, so I was sure to have a special dress for Naja. She tried to eat her dress, so I think she loved it.

Naja is wearing: Dress & Tights - Gap Kids; Clip - Giddy Giddy. If you look closely in the first picture, you can see the top of her tooth, the second front bottom tooth is slowly but surely following.

I will close this year with one of my favorite pictures of Naja, featuring a smile and a fist pump. She knows how celebrate! Thank you so much for all of your comments and support for 2011 - I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable New Year!


Cards and Stamping

Hello Folks! I hope you all are enjoying the time off, I surely am. I took two additional days of vacation, my plans: relax! I spent this Christmas with my family, and had a blast playing games, eating, and just catching up. I know I've kind of fallen off the "blogging wagon," but I have been keeping busy with random bouts of crafting. Today's post highlights one of my "projects." I made personalized cards for my mom to give to some of our sorority sisters. (My mom and I are in the same sorority - Alpha Kappa Alpha).

One of my linesisters happened to be in town visiting and helped me create these cards. We had so much fun putting them together. To create the cards, I used the following tools for the three designs:

  • AKA: alphabet stamps (from Anthropologie), gloss embossing powder (from Michael's), tape (from Anthropologie)
  • 1908: number stamps (from Anthropologie), tape (from Anthropologie)
  • Rose: rose stamp (from Paper Source), glitter embossing powder (from Paper Source), and a string of pearl stickers (from Michael's)
The designs are adorable, and easily adaptable for other sororities, organizations, or just to have another pretty card. Send me a message if you want the details on how I got this look.

Hair Candy for Naja

I haven't talked hair in a while. I wanted to share the cutest lil' hair candies I found for Naja. Giddy Giddy sells cute little felt hair clips for girls. I purchased clips for Naja on sale through The Mini Social (a sale site for kids). Naja is pictured below wearing the strawberry little girl hair clip. I typically just clip it somewhere in her hair in the front, just like I showed you here.

Nothing special, but it works. The clips are easy to put in, and they also don't fall out. They are very safe, even for Naja's curly hair with the felt being the 'back' to the clip. I purchased six clips in total. The first set of three: 1. A birthday cake, 2. A pink & green flower, 3. A strawberry.

The final set of three (which are my favorite): 1. A squirrel with a pink bow; 2. A bunny rabbit; 3. A snail. Seriously - how cute are these?

4 (almost 5) Months

Guess what guys? Naja is almost 5 months old. She actually rolled over a couple of weeks ago (not like the time I thought she rolled over at 6 weeks old). I mean I think my kid is smart - but rolling over at 6 weeks is a bit unrealistic aggressive. This time, she really did it, and I'm so happy I was there to watch her do it and cheer for her like her biggest fan! Has she rolled over since then? No, lol.

Naja is not a smiley baby. She gives people faces like the one below often. It's a discerning look, like she's thinking: Who are you? Why are you in my face? I don't know you, so why are you acting like you know me?  Whatever faces you're making aren't making me smile. I can get her to crack a few smiles when I give her lots of kisses on her cheeks and her belly - she loves it!

Her mouth is still juicy, and after her four month visit to the doctor, I found out she's not teething. I guess babies just love to taste everything at this stage, and let me tell you - Naja is no exception. She eats her fist, her bib, her shirt, her pants, my fingers, the ground: any and every thing! If it's within reach of her mouth - she's tasting it! I am looking forward to introducing solids at six months, and trying out baby led weaning, no pureed foods for this little baby! I'll post more on that later.

As for me, life as a mom is the same, but with more responsibility, less sleep at times, and a lot more smiles. Seriously, when I get home from work, I have a smiling baby ready to eat! I typically focus on the smile, and less on the eating, but she quickly reminds me that she's happy to see me, but hungry too! Ok - there's my long overdue mommy update. I hope you have a great weekend!

Naja's wearing: Top Picture: Top - Cater's; Middle - Carter's; Bottom: Dress - Target; Tights - Nordstrom

Pumpkin Tofu Curry

What do you get when you take leftover Thanksgiving pumpkin, and add Indian-inspired flavor? Pumpkin Tofu Curry! The original recipe here called for one pound of shrimp (to be added in at the end, where I added the tofu). While I do still eat seafood, I just haven't had the taste for shrimp in a while, thus, I decided to substitute the shrimp with some good ole tofu. My brother liked this dish, he ate it for dinner with me, and really enjoyed it. I love that he's so open to trying new things - he doesn't even cringe at the thought of a meatless meal anymore (at least when the flavor is there)!

In terms of taste, what can I say - this has curry, and pumpkin, and tomatoes, and it simmers for 30 + minutes. The flavors of this dish are deep with a little bit of spice, tart, and a subtle sweetness. The squash addition also makes this a very satisfying meal. NOTE: This is NOT a weeknight meal.

Pumpkin Tofu Curry
Adapted from bon appetit, November 2011 Issue
Serves 4-6

2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for shallots
1 cup sliced onion
1 tbsp minced giner
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 chopped plum tomato
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1-1/2 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup diced butternut squash
200 g cubed extra firm tofu
1-1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
1 cup dry basmati rice
1 shallot, sliced

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and ginger, and saute until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomato and pumpkin puree, cook stirring frequently, until pumpkin is golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Add vegetable broth, coconut milk, curry, and cayenne; simmer for 20 minutes. Add squash, tofu, and lime juice. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until squash is warm. Meanwhile, heat additional oil in skillet, add shallots, cook until just browning. Serve with steamed rice, top with fried shallots.


Top - Target; Pants - Anthropologie; Shoes - Zara

Date: Tuesday, December 6, 2011

As a "personal style blogger" part of me feels like I need to have on some type of accessory/vest/blazer to complete an outfit. Small items like these just finish a look and make it look complete, and without them I feel like I'm not fully dressed. While I'm not Bee, and I admit I'm not one to do a lot, I do like a little something. I feel like this outfit is missing something - particularly a black women's tuxedo vest. That would have been icing on the cake for me - my "completer piece." Unfortunately, I don't have a black vest, so I went without an accessory, and a vest, and a blazer. Thus, I  was basically naked.

"Chillin with my Kool-Aid"

Shirt - J. Crew; Pants - Anthropologie; Sweater Blazer - Anthropologie; Shoes - BCBG

Date: Monday, December 5, 2011

Remember the song "Diggin' on You" by TLC? Remember the line when T-Boz says, "I was chillin' with my Koolaid..." C'mon guys - if you were a teen/pre-teen/young adult in the 90's, and lover of R&B, you should know what I'm talking about.Well I just wanted to take you back because this outfit (randomly) reminded me of the song. Don't know why, but it did. I am actually singing the song in my head right now as I type this. Now go watch the video on youTube.

Sweet Potato and Pecan Cinnamon Buns with Maple Glaze

I realize that I totally forgot to post my Thanksgiving meal. I will try to get around to it this week. This weekend was busy, because I sang at church. It was a blessing, but it also left me with minimal time to catch up on blogging. Can you believe this is legal?

Sweet Potato and Pecan Cinnamon Buns with Maple Glaze
Adapted from Vegetarian Times, November 2011 Issue
Makes 12 buns

1 0.25-oz. pkg. active dry yeast
3 1/3 cups bread flour, plus more for rolling dough
2 Tbs. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
3 Tbs. vegetable oil, plus more for oiling bowl

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbs. soft butter, plus more for greasing pan
3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans, divided

3 Tbs. cream cheese
1/2 tsp. maple syrup
1 pinch salt
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1. To make Sweet Potato Dough: Stir yeast into 1/3 cup warm (105°–115°F) water until dissolved. Let stand 10 minutes.
2. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of food processor, stand mixer, or regular bowl. (Reserve 1/3 cup flour if kneading by hand.)
3. Stir sweet potato and oil into 1/3 cup warm water. Stir yeast mixture and sweet potato mixture into flour mixture. (If using food processor, add liquids through feeding tube with processor running. If using stand mixer with dough hook, add liquids in steady stream with mixer on low speed.)
4. Place dough in oiled bowl; cover. Let rise 1 hour, or until doubled in volume.
5. To make Cinnamon-Pecan Filling: Stir together brown sugar and cinnamon in bowl. Grease 13- x 9-inch baking sheet with margarine.
6. Roll dough into 14- x 12-inch rectangle. Spread with margarine. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over dough; top with half of chopped pecans. Starting at long edge, roll up dough. Slice 1 inch off each end; discard. Cut roll crosswise into 12 1-inch-thick pieces, and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover, and let rise in warm place 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
7. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake buns 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden.
8. To make Maple Glaze: Combine cream cheese, maple flavor, and salt in small bowl. Stir in confectioners’ sugar. Spread glaze over warm buns; top with remaining pecans.

I want to add that I had a TON of the cinnamon-pecan filling left over. However, this was my first time kneading dough, so I think I should have let it rise more, and then I may not have had as much left over. Let me know if you end up making this - love to hear how they turn out for you! NOTE: The original recipe is vegan - using vegan cream cheese and butter.

Tex Mex Rice & Black-Eyed Peas

This is quick, simple, affordable, and surprisingly delicious. Seriously - both my dad and brother were asking for several helpings of this meal. I can see me re-creating this for a taco night, burrito night, or just another night of rice and beans. The avocado was SO FRESH, and it added the perfect smooth, cool, flavor to my spicy beans! NOTE: The original recipe called for "fresh salsa" but I used my favorite brand of prepared salsa, a local concoction I buy at Whole Foods.

Tex Mex Rice & Black-Eyed Peas
Adapted from Food Network Magazine, November 2011 Issue
Serves 4

1       cup white rice
1       tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1       cup fresh salsa, plus more for topping
½       teaspoon ground cumin
2       14-ounce cans black-eyed peas (1 undrained; 1 drained and rinsed)
3       cups baby spinach
¼       cup chopped fresh cilantro
1       avocado, halved, pitted and sliced

1. Cook the rice as the label directs. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the salsa and cumin and cook, stirring, until the salsa is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas, plus the liquid from one of the cans and ¼ cup water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are creamy and tender, about 12 minutes.
2. Fluff the rice with a fork and divide among bowls. Add the spinach and cilantro to the black-eyed pea mixture and stir until wilted, about 1 minute; spoon evenly over the rice. Top each serving with a few avocado slices, some cheese and more salsa. Serve with sour cream or Greek yogurt, if desired.

The original recipe advised to serve with cheese and sour cream, but I thought - who needs it? I didn't - this meal was just fine, as is! PS - who knew I'd love black-eyed peas this much?