Lunch Special #1: Pancake Day.

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Today’s lunch special commemorates Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Day)

The menu is

Buttermilk pancakes with Maple syrup.
Scrambled eggs with Havarti cheese
Nectarine and Pomegranate seeds
Grapes and Mandarins

Happy Pancake Day!

Enjoy,

Mak

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Classic Buttermilk Pancakes

Adapted from Fine Cooking 102.

Yields 17 pancakes.

Ingredients

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter; more for serving
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Vegetable oil for the griddle
Pure maple syrup for serving

Instructions

Heat the oven to 200°F. Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stove and set aside to cool briefly.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk and eggs. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Whisk gently until the dry ingredients are almost incorporated; stop before the batter is evenly moistened. Add the cooled melted butter and mix just until the batter is evenly moistened (there will be lumps). Let the batter rest while you heat the griddle.

Heat a griddle or a large skillet over medium heat (or set an electric griddle to 375°F) until drops of water briefly dance on the surface before evaporating. Lightly oil the griddle. Working in batches, pour 1/4 cup of the batter onto the griddle for each pancake, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Let cook undisturbed until bubbles rise to the surface and the edges look dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Check the underside of each pancake to make sure it’s nicely browned; then flip. Cook until the second side is nicely browned, about 1 minute more. Transfer the pancakes to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you repeat with the remaining batter.

Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.

Enjoy!

Mak

My ‘Pink Wednesdays’ mani

So my niece put me on to the ‘on wednesdays we wear pink’ blog. The idea as is apparent from the name is to wear pink polish on wednesdays. So for this weeks pink wednesday, I tried Sally hanson’s brilliant violet lacquer but thought the plain pink was a bit blah, so I added blue diagonal stripes and I love it. This is how it turned out:

It kind of reminds me of my mum, this would be right up her alley. Wednesday is still 2 days away…Lets hope it lasts till then.

Kisses,
Bey

Heat free styling – my first ‘twist out’

So I’m on a quest to discover healthy new styles. Right now, I am steering clear of heat. No flat irons, no curling irons, no crimping irons…no heat! I figure if I want to wear my hair out any time soon, I’m going to have to come up with some heat free styles. And today, while watching the show ‘Girlfriends’ I am totally inspired by Tracee ellis ross’ gorrrgeous curls. I imagine that one way to copy that look is with a twistout. I’ve never done it before but I am willing to try. I decide to try my hands at twist out… and here is the result.

The next day my curls fell, so I put my hair up in a messy bun:

Its not exactly like Tracee Ross’ but I love it!

Here’s the video on how I achieved this look.

If you are looking for heat free style options, this should definitely be on you to-try-out list. It’s super easy, versatile and…heat free. What else could a rapunzelesque hair loving girl ask for?

have a great day! Kisses!
Bey

Protective Styling – Scarves

Scarves are back! Well, did they ever really leave? I mean, I have been wearing head scarves on and off since forever. I consider them my go-to style for bad hair days. However, recently I have been seeing a lot more of them. On the runways at the beach. In bold colors, patterns and prints. I’m loving it. Even better is the fact that they are a great protective style option. You get to rock a trendy look while protecting your hair and nurturing your goal of attaining beautiful long locks. There are lots of ways to wear this trend.

Here are some pics to inspire you …

 

Here are some pics showing my current favorite ways to wear a head scarf:

Check out my video below, demonstrating how to achieve these looks.

Theres almost no wrong way to wear a head scarf…get creative.

xoxo
Bey

Skate Guards

 

Nothing’s cuter than watching little ones learning to skate.
Watching them go from waddling like ducks to gliding gracefully like swans (ok, well, some of them eventually glide gracefully).

You would think it would be apparent but I never knew skates had to be regularly sharpened. I thought once sharpened in the factory, that was good for the life of the skates! “Umm, this might explain why your kids are having difficulty gliding.” a nice lady told me. “Here – call John, he sharpens all the competitive figure skaters’ skates.”

Well, John did a great job sharpening the skates and showing me how to check if they have become dull.

As I put the skates in the back seat of my van, thinking “Great, nice and sharp”. I had a second thought – should my children be carrying knives attached to boots without some kind of umm..I don’t know… guards? Hence, the idea to make skate guards was born.

It’s pretty easy….

What you need

16” x 16” fabric for the exterior
16” x 16” batting
16” x 16” fabric for the inner lining (I would suggest flannel or felt)
About 60 inches of elastic

Instructions

1. Cut the batting and the fabric for the inner lining such that the three pieces of fabric are the same size.

2. Place the three pieces of fabric on a flat surface as follows –

At the bottom, Inner Lining fabric (right side up),
In the middle, Exterior fabric (right side down),
On top, batting.

3. Measure and cut the 16” x 16” square into 2 16” x 8” rectangles.

4. Sew the length of the two long edges, joining the 3 pieces of fabric.

5. Turn the sleeve inside out. Repeat on the second set.

6. Iron the two sleeves.

7. Sew an inch in from the two long edges, creating a “tunnel” on each side.

8. Place a safety pin through an end of the elastic string and thread through the two “tunnels”. Cinch it tightly and pin the ends of the elastic together.

9. Sew up the short ends , making sure the seam holds together the elastic. Sew the edge with a zig zag stitch to prevent fraying.

10. Complete the second skate guard. Turn them inside.

You’re done!

Enjoy!

Mak.

 

Insanity

So Whitney Houston passed away at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Saturday. She was 48. Allegedly, a lethal combination of prescription drugs and alcohol led to her untimely death. Since you have a pulse and access to the internet, I’m sure you’ve heard all about this already.

But here’s what I want to talk about- The Pre-Grammy party. 

Whitney was at the hotel to attend and perform at Clive Davis’ annual Pre-Grammy party. Clive Davis is the CEO of Arista Records who discovered Whitney at the age of 19. He nurtured her career into the success that it ultimately became. Whitney, in turn, made Mr. Davis truck loads of cash. Without a doubt, she was his biggest star. But apart from the business relationship they had, they also had a close personal relationship. The two had been friends for twenty something odd years and Mr. Davis was the godfather of Whitney’s only child Bobbi Kristina. In fact, some of the last footage of Whitney before her death was of her giving Clive Davis multiple kisses and saying repeatedly, “This is my dad.” (see below).

So… I think it was in very poor taste for Clive Davis to go ahead with his party on the same night, in the same hotel where Whitney Houston’s body still lay- not even gone cold yet.

I could not believe that all those people (many of whom had met and had connections to Whitney) would just get out of their limos walk past the crime lab trucks and go into a party where Whitney had been supposed to perform, then smile and drink and take pictures- just four floors below Whitney Houston’s dead body.

It was Whitney Houston. It was mere hours after she had died. It was the same hotel her body was in. It was the same party she was getting ready to perform at. It was the party of her mentor and close friend. 

So since she couldn’t make it, how did they fill the spot? Did they just get someone else to perform in her place? Did they play one of her CDs? Did they all just get up and do the dougie? How exactly does that work?

There are video clips where they are interviewing the coroner about Whitney’s death and you can just hear the music thumping in the background- You can barely even hear the interview. It was just sooooo off.

Their excuse: Whitney would have wanted the party to go on. 

Umm, really? Is that really it? Or is it more that maybe you already spent a bunch of money on this party and decided you might as well go ahead and have a good time anyway?

Thank God for Chaka Khan because she called them out on it. I was starting to think I was crazy.

Chaka Khan was interviewed by Piers Morgan about Whitney’s death and she said that going ahead with the party was “insanity.” She also said that the whole lame excuse about Whitney wanting the party to go on was just that- lame. She said Whitney would never have attended a party if one of her friends had just died. She would not have wanted the music to keep playing.

I 100% agree with Chaka Khan. It was insanity.

Yes, I know the show must go on… but does it really have to go on right this very second?  How about the show go on… eventually, in a day or two… after we take just a night off to mourn Whitney? How about that?

Just my two cents.

RIP Whitney Houston.

😦

Koko

Happy Valentine’s Day

Red velvet mini-cupcakes for a Valentine’s Day school party.

Enjoy!

Mak.

Red Velvet cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp fine salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 tbsp (1 oz) red food coloring
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Sift together cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt.
Stir to blend.

Place the buttermilk, eggs, vinegar, oil, red colouring and vanilla extract into mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well incorporated.

Add flour mixture in three batches to mixing bowl, whisking well after each addition.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full.

Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: 4 cups

Ingredients

4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 lb. cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 lb. butter (at room temperature)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Using an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter at medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Add vanilla extract and mix well.

Oliver Twist

As my four year old niece sat at the dinner table having dinner, I pulled out the chair right next to her and sat down. Absent mindedly, I ripped open a small bag of gummy bears and popped one in my mouth. My eyes never left my blackberry but I could feel her full undivided attention on me. Or rather, on my gummy bears. I looked up from my blackberry at her. She smiled. She looked from the gummy bears to the broccoli on her plate. Then back to the gummy bears.

“Aunty Koko, can I tell you a secret?”

I knew what was coming but I leaned in so she could whisper it, “Can I have some candy, please?”

When her mum wasn’t looking, I slid her a few like we were in Shawshank Redemption and I was smuggling in cigarettes or some other contraband for Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman and the rest of the crew. 

Something about that exchange reminded me of myself when I was her age. Except for one major, gigantic, humongous difference- I did not merely ask nicely for treats. I used to beeeeeeeeeeg, y’all.

Let me tell you about myself, guys.

My name is Kokoeka. And I am a recovered beggar.

As a kid, I had this phase when you couldn’t pass me by with any gaddam thing. Nothing. From snickers bars to groundnut to hobnobs to scotch egg to Fanta to Okin biscuit.

Everybody in my house knew me for it. It was a known, accepted, indisputable fact in my house that Kokoeka was going to beg you. If you had any thing, you had to make sure that you were sufficiently equipped to combat my relentless begging because as sure as the sun was going to rise the next day, I was definitely and without a doubt going to be begging you. And when I say relentless, I do mean just that. One, two or twelve “Nos” were never enough to deter me. I was not a quitter. Not I. I would beg to the last drop- pitch getting higher, and plea carrying increasingly intensified urgency with each bite or gulp by the person I was begging that reduced the quantity of whatever I was begging for.

I didn’t even have to like what you had. But as far as you had it, I was begging you for it. And as the last born, if you denied me, you had basically left me no choice. I would automatically do what I did best. Take a deep breath, throw my head back and yell out the word like a knife was literally being twisted into my back, “Mummmmyyyyyyyy!!!” It always worked like a charm. I would run straight to Mummy to report that Mak didn’t want to share. Or Etekamba was selfish. Or Bey was greedy. Or all of the above. It was just who I was.

The one word I used more than any other was not even “please”. It was “small.” My vocabulary consisted primarily of the following phrases: “gimme small”, “remain small for me, ok?”, “cut small for me na”, “just pour small for me”, “can I just taste small?”, “pleeeeease na, just SMAAAAALL!” 

In my house, we always used to hustle for “Daddy’s remaining”- because my Dad’s food was always such awesome awesomeness. They would give us yam and stew with one meat like we were in a damn orphanage. And then they would give my Dad some hors d’oeurves with some gourmet French cuisine type stuff. My Dad was a surgeon, so when he was on call, he would come home late and eat his dinner late. We would wake up at night to go get his leftovers. If you slept right through it, you were shit out of luck. And you best believe that if you didn’t wake up by yourself, nobody was going to wake you. Every man for himself. Every night, we would divide my dad’s leftovers among all who were present and punctual. Ladies and Gentlemen, even on those occasions, when I had my own share right in front of me, I would still beg my siblings for their own. That’s how gangsta I was.

 Everything I said started with “Can I…” The only thing I said as much as “Can I…” was “I can’t.”

Yes, yes, y’all. As much as I liked to beg, I would NEVER give. As in… never. If you like kill yourself in front of me- I was not parting with half of half of a Rich Tea cookie for no damn body. My only brother, my loving sisters… It all meant nothing to me. The answer was always- I CAN’T.

And then one day, I came into some good stuff- it was Danish butter cookies, the prime real estate of cookies. I didn’t even hide to eat it. Nope, not me. That was definitely not my style. I would eat it in front of any and everybody. Matter of fact, I would hum and dance in front of them while I ate it, like “men, this ish is sooooooo goooood, you must want to be me right now.” And I was definitely not afraid to respond in the negative to anybody who dared to ask me for some. In fact, I relished it.

That day, Mak was my first victim. Even though I had the whole paper muffin cup full of four cookies when she asked me for one, I said my catch phrase accompanied by a winning smile, “No, I can’t”

Shedidn’t argue or beg. She just said, “Ok” and she walked away. I should have known then that she had something up her sleeve but I didn’t care. I was lost in a paradise of buttery, sugary, selfish goodness. 

Mak seemed absolutely unperturbed. Probably because she knew exactly the type of individual she was dealing with and she was confident that some how, some kinda way, I was gonna come crawling back and she would have me right where she wanted me.

Mere moments later, half a nanosecond after I had ingested the last cookie crumb, Mak walked in with a big bowl of ice cream. She sat down right in the very center of my direct line of sight and started to devour it.

You would think I would be able to see through the obvious ploy, right?

Still, as a licensed, certified, chronic beggar with no ounce of pride, I went for it…

“Makamba, please… please, can I just taste small?”

Just in case you are thinking that since she was older than me, she might have done the noble, kind big sister thing and given me some ice cream, let me assure you that she did not.

You guys, I beeeeeegggggggeeeeeeeed. I begged hard. I begged like Keith Sweat on a love song. I begged like that tri-fuh-ling good for nothing typa brotha that got busted for cheating on the girlfriend that pays his bills. I begged like that runaway slave that got caught and was being dragged back to massa for a beatdown.  I begged like that ex-boyfriend-turned-stalker- like Boyz II Men on bended knees, talkin’ ’bout “I’ll never walk again until you come back to me.” You would have thought my life depended on it.

When she in her wicked way, still refused to give me any, much to the pleasure of my two other equally wicked siblings who were celebrating and jubilating at my downfall, I uttered a line that has now become a classic in our house, “Okay, okay, Makamba, please… please, just imagine that I gave you the biscuit when you asked me…”

I swear my persuasive argument skills did not start in law school.

Surprisingly, Mak agreed, “Ok, no problem.”

I smiled in satisfaction. As I stretched out my hand to collect the bowl of ice cream from her, she completed her answer, “You too, just imagine that I am giving you this ice cream right now.”

Oh, ain’t that just stone cold?! 

She offered some to Etekamba and Bey and I looked on in horror as the ice cream continued to diminish right before my eyes. It was the most painful thing I have ever witnessed in my entire life. Excruciating. 

And mummy wasn’t home. I was helpless.

 What a cold, cold, world.

 I think that was the day that I learned some very important life lessons- Begging is just desperate and straight up sad. Begging rarely ever even works. Begging often just leaves you feeling frustrated, broken and devoid of your pride and self worth. Yup, it really was that deep.

Brethren, I am proud to tell you that today, I no longer beg for food.

***

Sidenote: I miiiiisssss my sisters and brother. I miss living in the same house (even the same country) with my siblings. I miss sharing “Daddy’s remaining.” I miss being Koko, the dog, in “Famous Four.” I miss sleeping in the same bed and having silly rules about it- like the last person to get out of the bed has to make it (you don’t want to imagine the kind of mad dashes out of bed that would occur at 6 in the morning just to get out of making a bed). I miss eating suya together and being cheated in all kinda ways (we would each pick a piece in turns based on age- so guess who always had the smallest pieces and if the number of pieces was not equally divisible by four, guess who got screwed? Oh, the inhumanity!)

But most of all, I miss being able to tell you guys to “Just give me small naaaaa… pleeeeeaaaaaase, naaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! Just small! I will tell Mummy oh!”

BEEV forever…

Deuces!

🙂

Koko

The Hair Growth Challenge

So we all started out on an even playing field.

And in later years, we still kinda remained in the same ball park.

But today, I think perhaps… possibly… it seems like… something may have changed. 😐

Well, Bey is no longer in the same zip code as us. A few years ago, she started taking really good care of her hair and now she’s moved on up to the east side.

BEY’S HAIR GROWTH

So this year, Mak and I are challenging ourselves to care for and grow out our hair too.

The Plan

  • Wash and condition once a week
  • Comb hair properly
  • Minimal/No heat
  • Always wrap (with silk head scarf) before bed
  • Stretch relaxers (every 3 months)

Styling

  • For Mak: Sewn in tracks (protective styling).
  •  For Koko: No tracks in 2012. Real hair, don’t care. 🙂

The Prize:

  • A head full of gorgeous luscious healthy hair
  • What?!! No money? Oh well! A head full of gorgeous luscious healthy hair is all the prize I need. Oh… and bragging rights, of course.

Progress pics coming soon. 🙂

Wish us luck!

Koko