Favorite Things-3

A couple of weeks ago, I tried to make a sweet potato pie.

I got the ingredients
I did some boiling
I misread the recipe and found myself with a mess. Wonk, wonk :(

I should’ve known it was going to be a flop. I accidentally grabbed yams instead of sweet potatoes from the store. Yes, there is a difference :)

In any case, I was happy to recently come across a new zine called “Cooking With Mama, A Soul-Food Zine” by Patricia Jones.

“A legacy in a ladle: 
I was born in California, my mother was born in Kentucky, and her mother was born in Alabama. These recipes traveled with these women and they continue to nourish our family as I pass them on to my daughters. The most important ingredient of each of these meals is without a doubt Love. Cook these meals with the people you love in mind, including yourself. The flavor begins there. Bare in mind, these recipes are very traditional. There are not many quick shortcuts in here. You can’t be scared. No dippin your toes in, you got to put your foot in it.” -Mrs. Jones https://www.etsy.com/shop/PaperMulatta

The “Cooking With Mama… zine brings together my love of eating/recipes (y’all know I’m a foodie :) and zines. This zine is definitely one of my favorite things this season. It would make a great gift for the foodie/DIYer in your life!!

I will be going on winter break starting today and will return early January. It’s been hard these last few weeks for folks across the country. This is a time to connect with loved ones, regroup and keep pushing ahead in 2015.

*Here is the recipe I tried to make. Maybe y’all will have better luck than me. 

No-Fail Sweet Potato Pie (I failed..haha ;)

3 sweet potatoes

3 eggs

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Dash of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 store-bought ready to bake 10-inch pie

Scrub the sweet potatoes but do not peel. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes and boil until tender when pierced with a fork, 30 to 40 minutes; the timing will depend on the size of the sweet potatoes. Drain well, let cool, and peel. Place the sweet potatoes in a bowl and mash with a potato masher until no lumps remain. Measure out 2 cups; reserve the remainder for another use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until blended. Add the 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes and beat well. Stir in the milk until well mixed, then gradually beat in the sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Add the vanilla and stir well. Taste and adjust with a little more spice, if you like.

Pour the sweet potato mixture into the pie crust. Bake until the center is firm and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool before serving.

Makes one 10-inch pie; serves 6 to 8.


Favorite Things-2

These days there is a better selection of toys/books for Black children. If I had children, I would probably indulge them and buy everything.  Check out my favorite things for the young folks in your life :)

1) Little Miss Rue – Zuri Doll: I heart QuellyRue’s designs. As a fellow DIY (Do It Yourself) creative, I respect all the hard work she puts into her handmade products. She recently introduced dolls into her line. Little Miss Rue is adorable and looks oh so cuddly :)

Photo from: http://www.quellyrue.com/product/zuri

2) “Flying Lessons” written and illustrated by Kayin A. Talton Davis: I actually got  a chance to interview Davis for a project, a year or so ago. She was very nice and has a lot of passion for her work. Her book “Flying Lessons” was inspired by the “The People Could Fly” a book about slaves who possessed magical powers to fly away to freedom.

Photo from: http://shop.soapboxtheory.com/products-page/paperworks/flying-lessons/flying-lessons-a-lola-and-luella-adventure/

3) Doc McStuffins Puzzle: Whenever I give toys/books to toy drives, I make sure to provide culturally diverse items.  I came across the “Doc McStuffins” line by accident. I had never heard of the show, probably because I don’t have a lot of kids in my life. The creator of McStuffins, is actually a non-black woman. The show/merchandise is also promoted by Disney who I am usually giving the side eye to.  But how can you resist such a needed character in Black children’s lives?  I’ll give this one a slight pass ;)

Photo from: abcpartyideasforgirls.org


Favorite Things-1

It’s that time of year for gift giving. I thought I would share a few of my favorite things this week for gift ideas. I wrote about how I failed my summer reading list, but I was able to read one of the books a month or so ago. “The Roving Tree” by Elise Augustave was a heartwarming read.

“Elsie Augustave’s novel The Roving Tree has a surreal opening. Its narrator Iris Odys is giving birth to her daughter Zati and—hanging between life and death—she drifts into a deep sleep and receives a visit from a Vodun goddess. Her bed seems to be floating as the daughter she’s given birth to lies in an incubator. Little by little her story is sown together for the reader.”  http://kreyolicious.com/haitian-book-club-the-roving-tree-by-elsie-augustave/9549/

As a young Haitian girl, Iris is left with a white American family, due to unfortunate circumstances. She must learn where she comes from, to know where she is going. I teared up at the end of this book. I felt connected to Iris as she went through her journey of self-discovery, love, and family. This book is a good gift for the reader in your life :)




Y’all,  I am about to pass out. I am so excited to see Goapele in concert this week. I bought my ticket months ago, so it’s been a long time coming. Goapele is such an underrated artist. I love that she’s passionately political and wraps it all up with beautiful, smooth vocals. Go girl!

“Goapele (pronounced gwa-puh-lay), which means “to move forward” in Setswana has been doing just that, moving forward and making her presence felt in the music industry since 2001 as an American soul and R&B singer/songwriter. Perhaps, her most endearing quality is her constant work with the community to give back to people in need. She has performed at rallies, demonstrations, and various political events around the world. In 2006 the California-based Ella Baker Center for Human Rights honored her with its first ever Human Rights Cultural Hero Award. http://goapele.com/about-goapele/

I haven’t had a chance to check out her newest album, but I forever bump her others. So I’m sure it’s good. This is one of my favorite jams from her…“I know we’ll find a way”  :)

The Colonizer’s Holiday

Well, another Thanksgivings day is almost here. When I asked a friend what she was doing for the holiday she said,“The colonizer’s holiday? Nothing.” After the grand jury failed to bring charges against  Darren Wilson for shooting Mike Brown, I thought about the fact that the government sanctioned murdering of Black people continues the long American tradition of white power and domination against people of color, beginning with Indigenous/First Nations/Native people.

“the system isn’t broken it’s doing what it was set up to do…”

The sad truth is these killings will keep happening because there has never been any respect for the lives of people of color.  As a matter of fact, folks are now outraged over the police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.  Black people aren’t getting enough time to heal before we are dealing with another tragedy in our community. Imagine the magnitude of that tragedy for Indigenous/First Nations/Native communities.

There is nothing wrong with spending time with the family. We are all overworked and underpaid and need time to regroup. But there is something wrong with perpetrating the myth about Thanksgiving and not the real history/story of what the day represents.  And that truth is not something of the past but is still here in this present day for all folks of color.

This is one of my favorite talks from Indigenous/Native American activist Andrea Smith.





I follow a group of amazing women of color writers. I love the group because I get introduced to their latest work.  “Patient.” is a new release by Bettina Judd.  The book of poems was the 2013 winner of Black Lawrence Press’ 2013 Hudson Book Prize. Go girl!

“A researcher lives with the ghosts of enslaved women after they visit her hospital bed. To appease them, she traces the stories of Anarcha, Betsey, and Lucy, three of the women who were subject to experiments by the father of American gynecology and finds that she is entangled in a history of medical subjection and display.” http://www.patientpoems.com/

I’m usually not a big purchaser of poetry books, but this is one I will definitely be adding to my collection.  :)



I will forget never when Aaliyah died. I was visiting my mom and had fallen asleep on the couch. She shook me and asked me if I had known about the singer. She had been watching television when news broke that Aaliyah died in a plane crash. I remember popping straight up and asking in an incredulous voice, “Aaliyah is dead?”

I’m sure most Black folks have similar stories. Particularly, if you were young at the time. I was in my 20’s and the event shocked me. Aaliyah was the first major star of my generation to die so tragically. It was unsettling.

When it was announced there was going to be a movie on Aaliyah’s life, folks asked why? Well, why not. Trust when Britney Spears passes on there will be a movie about her life,  and Black women singers like Aaliyah (and Janet) are the ones she was groomed to copy/rip off,  so I didn’t see anything wrong with Aaliyah getting her due. Also, it’s just sad when someone dies so young in such a horrific way.

I didn’t see the film this weekend, but I read it was a bust. Not surprising, as the “Aaliyah” movie was a flop from the start.

(1) The fact they kept trying (and eventually did) to cast (Latina looking) biracial women to play Aaliyah. This is the continuing agenda to erase Black women from mainstream roles/images. It’s like how they had a biracial woman play Harriet Tubman in “Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter.” Come on, now. (2) The producers of this film weren’t allowed to use Aaliyah’s music in the film. A movie about a singer and you can’t use their music? It defeats the purpose. We want to hear the tunes that made us like the person in the first place (imagine “What’s Love Got to Do With It” without music!). (3) I read they romanticized the relationship between Aaliyah and R. Kelly. Kelly was 13 years older when he married Aaliyah (28/15).  Even if she thought she was “in love,” Kelly knew better. Why they would want to make it a love story, is beyond me.

This film was just a bad move from the start. Aaliyah was a young star whose light was diminished much too soon.  Rest in Peace.

Photo from: wblk.com