Saturday, June 30, 2012

Made-from-scratch truffles? Yes, please!

Why don't I start with the end result and work my way backward? :)

Plucky Alapo and I paid another visit to the farm of our friends Jim and Kim today. Seeing that it was 500 hundred degrees outside, we decided to keep the fun mostly indoors. (Ok, it was actually 102 degrees but it might as well have been 500 degrees.)

Our adventure today? Making dark chocolate truffles from scratch. Part of the fun was experimenting with different flavors. We decided on three: plain, peanut butter and cherry. We also had three toppings to play with: crushed Oreo cookies, crushed pistachios and chopped toffee bits.

(P.S.: the dog treats weren't a part of the ingredients.)

After chopping our toppings, we simmered two cups of heavy whipping cream and melted bags of dark chocolate chips in it. We then poured the gooey awesomeness into three different containers. In one, we mixed peanut butter into the chocolate. In a second, we mixed in chopped cherries and cherry juice. We put the containers in the freezer so the chocolate could firm up and Kim and I went outside to visit under the shade of a tree.

We came back in and I scooped the chocolate onto cookie sheets while Kim rolled them and coated them with melted milk chocolate to create a shell. I then dusted them with their respective toppings. The whole process was quite messy and tasty. There was much licking of spoons, spatula and hands.

Said gooey awesomeness went back into the fridge to harden one more time and then, tada! It was eatin' time!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

All the single ladies...

Every once in a while, I run across a piece of writing that I find so profound. Then, there's profoundly funny. This lovely piece falls into the latter category.

My friend Roger first sent this to me a couple of weeks ago and I about fell over laughing so hard. Then this evening, my sweet friend Natalie sent it my way and I thought, "this is too good not to share." So, here you go!

"To all the girls who are in a hurry to have a boyfriend or get married, a piece of biblical advice: 'Ruth patiently waited for her mate Boaz.' While you are waiting on YOUR Boaz, don't settle for any of his relatives: Broke-az, Po-az, Lyin-az, Cheatin-az, Dumb-az, Drunk-az, Cheap-az, Lockedup-az, Goodfornothin-az, Lazy-az, and especially his third cousin Beatinyo-az.
Wait on your Boaz and make sure he respects Yoaz."

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The many hairs of Lola

You've asked. I've delivered.
This post is a culmination of the many hair conversations I've had with white and non-black brown people in my nine and a half years in Knoxville. You guys sure have a lot of questions about black hair! Sometimes the conversations have been awkward and other times, just plain amusing.

I'm honored that you trusted me enough to ask. I've smiled each time someone has asked to touch my hair. We're all learning together, yes? And I've frowned each time folks have tried to bounce stuff off my 'fro. Er, that's a no-no.

For friends and acquaintances who just never got up the courage to ask, this post is for you. Wonder no more :)

(I confess that this post is a bit strange to write. Hair is one of those sensitive topics for women. But hey, what's life without a little transparency?)

At any given time, I'm sporting one of three hairstyles: a pulled back afro, double strand twists or a head of defined curls.

This is the way my hair grows out of my head. My hair basically grows up because the curls are so tight.

When I walk out into public, however, it looks like this: pulled back with a ribbon.

I gave up perms and braids in college following a series of conversations with my white boyfriend at the time. He was very curious, which prompted me to think hard about why I styled my hair the way I did. A period of introspection made me realize that I didn't really like my hair. Psalm 139:13-14 came home to me in a fresh way and was a great reminder that God made no mistakes in the way that he made me -- my hair included. In fact, he delighted in every one of my features, which is why he gave them to me.

I've been wearing my hair naturally since then. And I love it.

Low maintenance is key to everything I do, including my hair. Washing, conditioning, trimming and twisting my hair (more on this in a second) are about the only things I do.

When I get tired of wearing my hair pulled back in an afro, I get it twisted, which loosens the curls. Twists are like braids, but they're two strands instead of three. This is probably the only time my hair hangs down. It stays straight for about two seconds. It's so curly that once humidity gets a hold of it, it shrinks.

I keep this style for a little while and then untwist them. The neat thing about twists are that they make my curls more defined and they look like this:

Pretty soon, I get tired of the curls and it's back to the afro. My hair's versatility matches my love of variety. I rotate between the three styles all in a month.

I hope you've enjoyed reading this post as much as I've enjoyed writing it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Girls' beach trip

I took three books to the beach last week but only read half of one because I kept dozing off as I watched the ocean waves. That, my friends, was a restful vacation.

I spent six glorious days on Kiawah Island, S.C., in early June with six other girlfriends. The trip was quite a gift. We stayed in a cottage owned by a family for whom one of the girls used to babysit.

Kiawah Island is the kind of place where deer run across the bike path and are spotted on the beach at night. My only regret was not seeing alligators even though there were many signs that warned against feeding and harassing them. Shucks.

We had some sun time. But even on cloudy days, the beach was still gorgeous.

When I wasn't snoozing on the beach, I explored the island on two wheels.

The trip allowed me to experience firsts including a trip to Charleston, which is about 40 minutes from Kiawah. Four of us girls visited the city's must-see sites like Rainbow Row, the Battery, the Market and Waterfront Park. Charleston is a walkable city, which is one reason I enjoyed it so much. There literally was history on every corner. Another thing: those Charlestonians are serious about their porches.

Back on Kiawah Island, we took turns cooking dinner. We also went out a few nights. One evening, we paid a visit to the hoity toity Ocean Course. (It will host the 2012 PGA Championships in August.) We had drinks as we took in the view. That's the Atlantic Ocean you're looking at just beyond the course.

I was thankful for the opportunity to recharge and to deepen my friendship with these fine lady friends.

As we left Kiawah Island that last day, we made one final touristy stop at the Angel Oak Tree, one of the oldest living things in the country. Legend has it that it's more than 1,500 years old. It's probably more like 300 to 400 years old. Either way, it's still one enormous tree.

For more pictures, please click here.