Shots from Instagram

1. Fun time in the pool | 2. New rings I love | 3. Weekend stroll | 4. Shoes my mom picked up, then returned | 5. Hanging at a bar in Ann Arbor with college friends | 6. Mommy & Naja | 7. Newest J. Crew catalog | 8. Things Naja finds on the ground and tries to eat | 9. Shot of me & Naja at 11 months | 10. Naja - she's a sucker for the camera | 11. My little politician | 12. Me rubbing arms with a guy on the bus...unintentionally | 13. Naja smothering uncle with kisses | 14. Car ride to Michigan | 15. My shot - filled with water | 16. Me and the broham

Life's been busy! Something about the summer ignites a lot of happenings, it's fun, and I'm liking it! I thought I'd sum up my past few weeks in photos from instagram...after all, everyone else is doing it.

To see more of this in the moment, follow me @mowitafro (on instagram and twitter).


one & three: dress - vintage; shoes - rebecca minkoff; jacket - zara | two & four: top - j. crew factory; skirt - j. crew; shoes - urban; necklace - etsy; sunglasses - anthro

Still Nursing

Naja smiling on Mother's Day 2012

I'm skipping the weekly update this week to provide an brief update on my breastfeeding experience. Naja is 10 months old now and she is on three solid meals a day, with two additional snacks. She drinks water, and my milk. She has exclusively had my milk, and I continue to pump three times a day at work, and nurse her whenever I'm around.

I plan to nurse her through her first birthday, and I'll see where we go past that. Her recent set of incoming teeth has caused nursing to be her only consolation to the pain. I'm happy I've stuck with it this long - it's a great feeling to know that I can assuage her pain, even if only for a moment, and I do love the bond that I share with her due to breastfeeding.

Since my last update, I have a new tip for the working- nursing mom: Pump and nurse simultaneously - yes at the same time! I stole this genius idea from a mommy mentor. This tip has saved me time, and re-built my milk supply since I lost about 40 ounces due to a fuse break in my freezer. It's quite simple - whenever you nurse the baby - you nurse her on one side, and pump the other side. It takes some getting used to at first, but after the first time, Naja could ignore the pumping sound and go right to sleep while she nursed. This is really helpful at night now that Naja isn't waking. This is also helpful when I go out on the weekends, as I leave "balanced" - I don't have to worry about one side being more full than the other.

My body is at an equilibrium with the whole milk supply thing. I don't leak, and I am past the pain that accompanies those first few weeks months. I even went away for one night for business travel last week, and while away, I didn't have a chance to pump as much as I normally do. Surprisingly, everything seemed to be fine when I returned - my milk seemed to be just enough for Naja!

This may be TMI but...I still have yet to have a visit from Aunt Flo - no complaints - 19 months and counting! However, recently, as Naja has nursed less, I have experienced bouts of slight nausea, headaches, being tired, and other pregnancy-like symptoms. No worries - I'm definitely not pregnant. In talking with other moms (and googling the heck out of stuff), it seems like other nursing moms have experienced these symptoms surrounding a change in their milk supply. Joanna talks about this here, and Drea talks about it here. This nursing thing is all hormonal, so funky things happen, I'm noting any changes that are out of the ordinary for the future (and my next visit to the doctor).

Finally, I've lost a ton of weight without even trying! I haven't changed my diet, and I am the smallest I've ever been in life, thus I attribute this weight loss to nursing.  I lost a large chunk at the onset, and another 5+ pounds after the 6-month mark. I've heard similar stories from other nursing moms. Who knew?

No promises that all of these things will apply to you, and this may actually be totally irrelevant...but I thought I'd throw my experiences out into the net to help future google searches ;).

Cheesy Quinoa Cakes

It's been a while since I've mentioned this beloved grain (I've referenced it here, here, here, here, here, and here), and now it's back in an appetizer variety with two wonderful accompaniments: cheese, and aioli. The cakes have simple ingredients - fontina cheese, quinoa, green onion, S&P, and flour. They were sauteed to generate a crispy outer shell, and paired with a flavorful, tangy garlic aioli sauce. It's simple, and it's everything that you need for a delicious appetizer.

PS - if you don't try the cakes, at least try the aioli - it's sure to add lots of great flavor to any grilled panini!

Cheesy Quinoa Cakes
Adapted from spoon fork bacon
Makes about 10-12 cakes

2 cups cooked quinoa
2/3 cup grated fontina cheese
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste

½ cup light mayonnaise
1 head of garlic, roasted
1 lemon, zested and juiced
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

1. For the cakes: Place all ingredients, except for the oil, into a mixing bowl and stir together until well combined. Season with salt and allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes.
2. Pour oil into a large sauté pan and place over medium heat.
3. Form ¼ cup patties with the quinoa mixture and place in the heated sauté pan. (this will have to be done in batches)
4. Cook quinoa cakes for about 5 minutes on each side. Repeat with the remaining patties until all of the cakes have been cooked. Set aside.
5. For the aioli: Place all ingredients into a food processor, season with salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Pour into a small bowl and serve alongside the warm quinoa cakes.

Weekly Update 5.6.12

Not loving the car ride
Pausing only for a moment for a kiss from mommy!
Beignets to-go from Founding Farmers
gif maker
My little busybody

This week was a bit meh, and this week's update is all about Naja, which is very fitting considering the past couple of days weeks we've had.

We have officially passed the quiet reserved baby stage, and moved into full out active baby mode! Naja will give me approximately one hour of being content in her stroller (aside from jogging), and after that - she wants to be FREE! Naja will fly out of your arms to try to walk and run - preferably outside, with help (of course), and she throws a fit if she can't do this. I mean crying, screaming, throwing her head back - an all out fit. I'm at the point now where I remain calm while this happens, and I typically oblige to her desire to be an adventurous child.

She'll be 10 months in a few days, and she's just shy of walking, so I don't expect her to sit in a restaurant, waiting for food, "socializing" for 2 hours. However, this stage makes family dinners, and any type of social outing a bit of a moot point (I.e. I miss out on the adult socialization part). I honestly think it's great that she loves to be so active and observe plants and critters. When we are outside, you can tell she's in heaven - not a peep, aside from an occasional whim to the little critters she sees. She also loves other kids (and dogs). When she sees them, she smiles and tries to make friends via gentle love taps and kisses.

It's a new stage, and I'm still adjusting. In the meantime, I should plan to hang out with people with kids who want to do similar things so that we're all caught outside chasing walking around with our kids, instead of sitting inside a restaurant socializing.

Happy Mother's Day 2012

Naja with Mimi & Grandma (my mom & her mom)

This year's Mother's Day activities were similar to last year's - we went to my grandmother's church, and the men of the family prepared the food for all of the women. I received more than a handful of cards, texts, tweets, and even got some cupcakes over the past few days. My spirit was blessed by all of the warm gestures from friends and family.

These past 9+ months have been a whirlwind with highs and lows. Having a daughter of my own has given me a newfound appreciation for my mom, and all of the other mom's out there. To all of the moms out there - know that you are adored, appreciated, admired, and loved. Happy Mother's Day!

Feature on Around The Way Curls

Happy Friday everyone! I'm so happy to have the opportunity to share my thoughts on motherhood over at Around The Way Curls - the post went up yesterday, but I did want to let you know in case you wanted to check it out. Have a great weekend!

Happy Birthday Dad

Who's the best grandpa in the world?

Naja sleeping on one of her favorite things - Sonny's chest :) - Picture from January 2012

Sonny. Happy Birthday Dad - we love you!


one: top - anthro; skirt - zara; shoes - zara; sunglasses - anthro | two & three: jacket - anthro; top - gilt; leggings - gilt; shoes - bcbg for keds; necklace - c/o oiajules; watch - gift | four: button up - j. crew; pants - h&m; shoes - zara; rings - hautelook; watch - gift; bracelets - anthro; earrings - anthro; sunglasses - anthro

Weekly Update 4.30.12

This week...

Playing outside, she loves it!
Little Miss Personality 
Clapping and still getting over a cold...
Playing with mommy :)

Naja and I hung outside all day Sunday. We blew bubbles, walked with her giraffe walker, and basked in the sun!

On Tuesday, Naja was sick - she caught a runny nose virus from her uncle, that resulted in several sleepless nights. Funny thing was, while she was up at 3:30 am - she clapped for the first time! She knew just what to do to get me to smile :)

Naja's personality is developing more and more - she's blossoming into a little diva. She can really throw her head back when she doesn't get what she wants...I didn't know kids did this at 9 months??? No worries though - I don't let it get to me, I just distract her by doing something that makes her laugh.

Despite the lack of sleep, - I still managed to get 3 marathon runs in this week, totaling about 9.5 miles. I missed one 6 mile run, but will make it up next week. The runs have been feeling pretty good - I'm just adding mandatory snacking to my diet. Food = energy!

Baked Eggplant Burger aka Best Veggie Burger Ever

Next on my list of backlogged food items is what I'd like to call the best veggie burger ever. I could also call this "Epic Eggplant Burger", but I don't want to overuse the word epic.

So why is this the best burger in town? Well, let's just say that the sauteed onions give the burger depth, while the hummus gives it great texture, and with all of the wonderful spices has great flavor, not to mention it's super healthy - this is energy food people! When you top it off with a homemade tahini sauce - you have added a nice zing, and that's when it hits you -- Best Veggie Burger Ever! It doesn't look like much, but just trust me on this one, it's pretty awesome.

Baked Eggplant Burger aka Best Veggie Burger Ever
Makes 4-6 patties
Adapted from The Tolerant Vegan

2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more to brush on eggplant before roasting
1 red onion, diced
1 14 ounce can cannellini beans
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 an eggplant (should equal about 1 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup classic hummus (or your favorite flavor hummus)
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Optional burger toppings (Ex. lettuce, tomato, pickle) 

1/3 cup sesame tahini
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt to taste

  1. To make the burgers, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Roast the eggplant by cutting it into 1/4" slices and brushing each side with olive oil.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes on one side, then flip the slices and bake for another 5 minutes.
  4. Once the eggplant is done and you remove it from the oven, turn the oven down to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. While the eggplant is roasting, place the diced red onion and 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until the onions soften. 
  6. Place the eggplant, onion, beans, bell pepper, parsley, pine nuts, garlic, sea salt and cumin into a large bowl.
  7. Add the hummus and stir.
  8. Place the mixture into a food processor and blend everything together. It should only take about 15 seconds.
  9. Pour the mixture back into a bowl, stir in the breadcrumbs, and use your hands to make four large patties.
  10. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray the foil with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray.
  11. Place the patties on the foil and bake for 45 minutes, turning once halfway through.
  12. While the burgers are baking, make the tahini sauce by tossing all of the ingredients into a food processor and blending until fully combined.
  13. Remove the burgers from the oven, serve on pita, add tahini sauce, then toppings, and eat!