Ballin’ on a Budget: DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent

Any aspiring baller knows that there are 3 principles of balling one must consider when tryna’ ball:

  1. Know when to swerve.  That is, if you suspect that the object or service of your desire could be procured at a lesser cost or effort with little to no determent to your baller status – regroup and do your research,  cop somewhere else, or go in a completely different direction and be a trend setter.
  2. It’s aiight baby, Treat yo’ self.  When the risk/reward analysis works out and you really want it, or it’s something you’ve gotta’ jump on or miss out – DO IT/BUY IT/SPLURGE.  IF you can afford it – it ain’t ballin’ if it puts you into debt.  Nobody likes a broke bitch.
  3. I got ‘dis.  Meaning, you can either make, trade, barter, or otherwise produce a comparable or higher quality good or service from your own devices.

In the case of liquid laundry detergent (I know, I’m fancy huh?) – I got ‘dis.

My skill set of playing around in my kitchen and the effort it actually takes to produce 5 gallons of laundry detergent is worth it to me.  It isn’t difficult, and it’s important to know that what I’m putting next to my most sensitive parts won’t leave me with an allergic reaction that looks something like raw hamburger – ya dig?

In any case – how to ball on a budget: laundry detergent edition.

The ingredients are cheap, non-chemical-y, and easy to come by.

Materials:

  • Stock Pot
  • Cheese grater
  • Plastic Stirrer (I used a plastic batter spatula)
  • Measuring Cup
  • 5 Gallon Bucket, preferably with a lid

Note: The utensils you use to mix/cook the detergent don’t have to be dedicated utensils.  We’re not working with any gnarly chemicals – just be sure to thoroughly clean them when you’re finished.  You won’t even need to use extra soap.  ‘Cause, ya know, we’re making soap.

Raw Materials:

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The Process:

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STEP 1:

Grate that bar of soap.  Yeah, the whole thing.  It will make your house smell like you scrubbed it with sunshine.

I did it over the pot to eliminate possibility of hubby accidentally eating what looks like stray cheddar cheese only to be greeted with highly concentrated soap flavor.  Mmmmm.

STEP 2:

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Add a cup of water to the pot and turn heat on medium.  Stir occasionally until soap is melted.  DO NOT over stir or get fancy and whisk or beat with hand mixer.  Excess bubbles will result in a chunky gel on the finished product.  Just gently, occasionally, stir it.

STEP 3

Add another cup of water, the cup of Borax, and the cup of laundry soda. Turn down heat, and occasionally stir until dissolved.  Let cool till you can handle the pot.

STEP 4

Dump contents of pot into 5 gallon bucket.  SLOWLY add warm water until almost full.  About 1/4 room left to the top of bucket.  Give it another stir to break up any developing chunks.

YOU’RE DONE!  Take the bucket to where ever you keep your washing machine.  Ours lives in the basement next to the utility sink.

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See those chunks on the top?  I tried to get fancy and whisk the melting Naptha – don’t do that.  Also, I didn’t add the water to the bucket slowly :(.  It ain’t pretty but it smells awesome, was CHEAP, and works!

Use about 4 oz per load (about one of those regular sized laundry detergent cups).  You’ll get around 160 loads out of a 5 gallon bucket.

NOTES:

Now, I’ve heard of some people super charging their detergent by adding some powdered OxyClean – but in my opinion, if I wanted expensive detergent…I’d just by it.

At about $5.33 in raw materials for for around 160 loads that’s like $.0333333333 CENTS per load.  If that ain’t ballin’ on a budget – I don’t know what is.

What do y’all think?  What’s one of your favorite ways to ball on a budget?

Protective Styling: Marley Twists

I don’t do hair.  More specifically, I am not trained at styling or maximizing care for my natural hair.  The best I can do is keep it clean, untangled, and mostly moisturized.  This is part of the reason I’ve been wearing wigs exclusively for the past 3 years after I decided to stop relaxing my hair.

What’s worse than not doing hair is:  I can’t braid.  Like, cornrow.  Ain’t happenin’.

I know.

It’s a living, breathing, low-down-dirty shame that I can’t do it and I know my nigga’ card is in danger of being pulled for it.  But since I’ve made a personal commitment  to educate myself and elevate myself to a certified naturalista in 2015, I’ve made some changes.

I’ve been wearing my hair out, ditching the wigs, and trying some new things. Although it’s been great the learning curve is steep and bitch got shit to do. So, I was searching for a protective style as easy as throwing on a wig.  I wanted something self contained yet warm cause it’s still chilly here in the PNW.

The Research

I did some research (okay, surfed a bunch of natural hair porn) and came up with the solution: Marley braids.

Once my mind was set on a style – I read some natural hair blogs but learn by watching so I took to YouTube. Ms. Ebony Clark has an “Invisible Root” method video that looked do-able. (Actual tutorial begins at 1:47).

The Process

I took a half day off and went down to my local Sally’s for the Marley Hair everyone’s been raving about and whaddya’ know – they didn’t have it.  So I mosey on down to my local Ethiopian strip mall and found a hair salon/ethnic beauty supply/flea market that sold this:

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I perused the color choices, grabbed 5 packs of 22″ hair, and was on my way $65 lighter.

One last stop by the grocery store for my favorite cranberry wine ’cause black girl hair installation time ain’t no joke.

Once I’m finally home, I throw on some Trailer Park Boys, pre-poo with olive oil, greenhouse that ‘ish with a plastic cap for an episode (about 28 minutes), wash, deep condition, band stretch till just about dry, then get to work.

Olive oil pre-poo, freshly washed, moderately stretched and air dried.

Olive oil pre-poo, freshly washed, moderately stretched and air dried.

I started with the idea that maybe I would try the invisible root method but I quickly found out that my lack of hair skill will not allow this to turn out well if at all.  So, I switched to the game plan and with with the ol’ Braid and Twist.

MemoirsOfKee has a tutorial for the “Braid & Twist” method that made it possible for a natural hair n00b like me.  Her video was a constant reference guide.  I used slightly different products but the rest of her directions I followed to a tee.

What I used:

  • Eco Styler Gel
  • Raw Shea Butter (first time using it)
  • Curls Cream Brulee

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Something I did end up doing that appears to be optional is using perm rods and hot water to curl the ends.  This was an extra step but totally worth it.

Your Results May Vary (YRMV) but my results:

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In the end, 6 hours later with LOTS of breaks (are y’all watching How to Get Away with Murder?!  Shonda Rhimes, tho!) I had some thoughts:

  • It was nice to have a protective style in for a few weeks to keep my hands out of my natural hair.
  • Using a multi-colored hair blend was a good choice.  It gave the style some depth.
  • Boy did it feel nice to let my scalp breathe!
  • These braids are BIG!
  • This hair is stupid uncomfortable to sleep on.  Some girl at the gym even asked me if it was hard to sleep with all that hair.

What I’d do different next time:

  • Use less hair.  The 22″ length was just too much for me.  Although the hair itself was pretty light, it put some stress on my fine hair and was very noticeably heavy when piled on the top of my head or running down my back. Messed up my triangle pose!  Not to mention there was so much hair it was really difficult to get any kind of good style out of it.  Up, down, or half and half was as far as I got.  One dude at a bar just tugged on it while I was engaged in a conversation with my friends.  When I turned around to clock him in the eye he to me “I just had to touch it!  It so beautiful and so MUCH hair!”  So yeah, there’s that.
  • At this length, this hair is super inconvenient to wash.  It took FOREVER to dry.
  • My scalp was not loving it.  In all fairness, I do have a difficult scalp, but after about 4 days my scalp was desert dry and itchy.  Flakes everywhere. Even though I did moisturize – I still had to  take most of them down weekly, comb out the ick, re-moisturize, then re-braid.

All in all, I will try it again before I count it out. Smaller braids, shorter length.  I sure did keep all that hair but I may try a different brand next time or condition it before I re-install.

For a first attempt though – I ain’t mad at it.

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What do y’all think?  Fail or win?

Steak & Blow Job Day is March 14th – Part 1: The Steak

If you (or your SO) struck out on Valentine’s Day … this holiday is not for you.  Believe me, come March 14th you won’t be gettin’ sh*t.   Clock it, think about next Valentine’s Day and move on.

However, if your SO really went the extra mile for Valentine’s Day and you’re still telling your girlfriends about it – Steak and BJ day is a wonderful opportunity to reciprocate those warm and fuzzies.

Before you balk at the notion of a day just for him AND one that requires you to exercise those jaw muscles for something other than throwing shade or chewing gum – hear me out.

March 14th, Steak and BJ Day, has value.  There’s an incredible amount of pressure placed on men in our society to “pass” the Valentine’s Day test.  Just one month ago this dude was racking his brain and doing things his friends would punk him for just to make you happy, feel loved, and included in the V-day “loves me/loves me not” game.  Why not do something nice for him that registers deep in his primal brain?  Yes!  It’s an awful generalization – but you understand where I’m going with this.

A steak, and a motha’ fuckin’ blow job.  Because he’s worth it.

Alright, you say, I’m in.  How do I do this steak and blow job thing?  Well first,

Cuts of Meat

My recommendation is to go for beef as local to you as possible.  If you’re in my ‘hood you can take a trip to Double D Meats to find whatever it is your little carnivorous heart desires.  Or, if you’d rather know your cow’s name before it meets your plate, you can look into “cow pooling” or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) meat shares in your area by checking Google with the search terms: CSA meat [your city].  You can also check www.eatwild.com for the grass-fed dairies closest to you.  For the rest of us who ain’t got time fa ‘dat – head to the closest butcher block to scan your options:

Rib Eye – Tender, beautifully marbled with natural fat.  The fat keeps this cut flavorful and tender.  Done right,  the beefy flavor and lovely succulence of this cut can’t be beat.  It will run you about $6 – $13.00/lb (nat’l average) and you’ll need about 1.5 – 2 lbs for two people plus a little bit of leftovers.  If you can, remember not to get too much of the excess fat trimmed, it’s what keeps this cut delicious and moist.

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Top Sirloin – Not as marbled as rib eye (more lean meat), can be accompanied by a nice strip of fat round the edge but far less throughout.  The fat (and flavor) is generally trimmed from the edge but, if you can, ask for the fat to be less trimmed.  Still has some nice marbling, with more lean meat, there is less margin for error but it’s still quite nice.  Good economical option at $5 – $11/lb.  You’ll want about 2 lbs or two nice sized steaks.

T-bone/Porterhouse – The holy grail of steaks.  They. Are. HUGE.  Note: Porterhouse and T-bone are two different steaks, but come from the same general area, so I’ll be referring to them simultaneously. Difficult to get right as one side is a New York strip, and the other is a tenderloin filet.  However, if you’re on top of your game, the porterhouse/T-bone can be amazing.  The ratio of marbling and lean meat is pretty incredible.  It’s also a steak that will serve two.  Generally, I would reserve a porterhouse for grilling, but if you’re careful, you can skillet fry the shit out of a porterhouse/t bone with pretty good results.  And, it just looks impressive.  They are not cheap though.  A good T-bone/porterhouse will run you about $10 – $20/lb.  You’ll want at least a 2 lb steak for two.

How to Cook a Steak

It’s all about the dry rub.  You remember when you came home crying from the 6th grade dance looking like a clown with your ill applied make-up all smeared and mascara running down your face, and your mama told you you’re beautiful just the way you are?  A natural beauty?  Yes you do.

The same concept applies to a glorious hunk of meat.  It needs little adornment and minimal molestation.  Do NOT try and sex it up with fancy seasonings and certainly NEVER apply a wet seasoning (i.e. sugar laden marinade, Worcestershire sauce, etc.).  You will be sorry.  It will boil and steam, become tough, and ruin a perfectly good piece of meat.  Most tragically – the steak will resist developing the coveted seared crust your’e going for.  If you disregard my advice – you better make for damn sure the blow job is the best thing that’s ever come out of your mouth since the word “yes.”

Whichever you choose, follow these simple but important steps and you will be in steak lovin’ heaven.

You will need:

  • Steak of your choosing
  • Butter (at least 4 tablespoons)
  • Dry herbs of your choosing ( I like rosemary or thyme)
  • Oil with a high smoking point (at least 2 tablespoons)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Cast Iron or Heavy Bottomed Heat Proof Skillet

Step 1 – 30 – 45 minutes before you ready to put heat to the meat, unwrap your meat, and pat dry any excess moisture with a paper towel.    

OPTIONAL: If you find there’s still some gritty residue left from the cutting at the butcher block (I don’t, I find it adds more flavor to the cooking), you can lightly rinse off the bone fragments but you absolutely must pat completely dry with a paper towel afterwards.

Step 2 – Season both sides liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. In a pinch, I use natural sea salt  and freshly ground pepper.  This will serve as is the base for the lovely crust that will develop during cooking as well as draw out any additional moisture from the meat, so make sure to evenly season.  Again, try not to get fancy with the seasonings.  Powdered seasonings like garlic, onion, or chili powder will quickly burn and add an acrid taste to the finished product.  However, if you just can’t help yourself, now is the time to season with a DRY seasoning of your choice as it will be patted once more before cooking.

Step 3 – Let the seasoned meat rest at room temperature for 30 – 45 minutes to let the salt do its thing.  It might be tempting, but DO NOT put the seasoned meat in the ‘fridge to rest.  The cold will cause condensation  = surface water build up = no golden crust for you.

Step 4 – Preheat your cast iron skillet on high heat.  Before the fat or steak even hit the pan, it should be screaming hot.  About 20 minutes on a gas burner should be efficient.  If you do not have a cast iron skillet: Use the most heavy bottomed, heat proof skillet you have.  I do not recommend a non-stick coated skillet if you can help it.  The pan will be on very high heat for a prolonged period.

Step 5 – Pat the prepped steak dry once more.  Then add enough fat to coat the bottom of the skillet (about 2 tablespoons) and heat until barely smoking.  Use a neutral oil with a high smoking point.  I don’t go in for refined seed oils, so I prefer to cook with ghee (clarified butter).  You can make your own compliments of the good people at Every Day Maven.com.  If you have no beef  (ha! see what I did there?) with commercial oils the best commonly available commercial choices: Safflower Oil, Vegetable Oil, or Canola Oil.  Good choices: Lard or Virgin avocado oil.  Whatever you choose, STEER CLEAR of olive oil, coconut oil, and standard butter (non-clarified).  The smoking points of these oils are some of the lowest, and they will burn before getting hot enough for your purposes … and will maybe ignite.

Step 6 – Lay the steak in the center of the pan (AWAY from you, FFS!) and let it cook on high heat, undisturbed for about 2 minutes.  Flip the steak after 2 minutes and let cook undisturbed on that side as well.  Keep flipping every 2 minutes until the internal temperature is 10 degrees F from the the minimum of the rage for where you’d like the finished product to be: 

Doneness Internal Temp Description
Rare 125 degrees F Thinly seared/cooked layer, followed by very thin strip of pink, deeply red 75%
Medium Rare 130-135 Degrees F Medium sear/cooked layer, followed by thicker ring of pink, 50% red center
Medium 135-140 Degrees F Well seared layer, pink layer blends with 25% faintly red center, no deep red to be found
Medium Well 140-150 Degrees F Mostly done steak, pink center, no red whatsoever
Well Done 155+ Degrees F No pink whatsoever.  Uniformly brown throughout

Step 7 – Once steak is about 10 degrees F from your minimum desired range, turn heat to medium and add 3 – 4 tablespoons of butter (standard unsalted is perfect) and let melt.  Place any fresh herbs on top of the butter, and look for consistent butter bubbles.  If the butter is has turned dark brown, you’ve waited too long.

Step 8 – Once butter starts to bubble, carefully and continuously spoon butter over the top of steak (again, AWAY from you, FFS!).  Note:  The skillet and the butter will be hella hot, so use an oven mitt to tip the skillet and coax the butter into a pool if you need better access to the butter.

Step 9 – After about 1 minute, flip the steak, and baste that side as well.  After another minute, check the internal temperature once again to see if it’s reached the mid range of desired doneness  (see above).  If your steak is still outside of your desired doneness range, keep flipping every 1 minute and basting until internal temp is perfect.  In case you need a visual for finished product:

Step 10 – Remove steak from pan and place on a cutting board.  LET IT REST for 10 minutes before cutting into it.  Please, don’t fuck this part up. It would be a shame for all of your hard work to go to waste.

Final Result – You can slice it with a very sharp knife or leave it unmolested and slap it on a plate next to some traditional veggie sides (or none at all, cause f*ck veggies).  Enjoy!

Some tips: 

DON’T FORGET TO VENTILATE.  Seriously.  You will be cooking with fat on very high heat that will need to be watched and tended carefully.  Do not make the mistake of setting off the smoke alarm during that small window of time you have to properly watch and tend the steak.

MINIMIZE EXTRA MOISTURE:  I can not stress this enough.  If you want to add any wet seasoning, it should be presented as an option along side the finished product.

LET THAT SHIT REST: The steak is still cooking, and juices will be preserved during this step.  The internal temp should continue to rise up to about 5 more degrees F, so it’s paramount to execute step 9 correctly to achieve desired results.

And that’s it for the steak part of the holiday.  What sides do you do with your steak?

A Hockey Primer for Black Girls

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So as I mentioned in the Valentines Day post, half-Canadian hubby and I took in a hockey game as our V-day date night activity.

I had already been to a hockey game once back in high school when the team first came to the area.  Quite a few of the under aged players were in classes where I went to school so I decided to take my lil’ bro and sister.  I don’t remember much about that game except it was a fun outing with the clan.  Oh wait – it was loud.  That, I remember.

Anyway, attending a game as an adult I have to say it was a fun activity to do together.  I got dressed up (not too much though, I mean, it is just a hockey game) and enjoyed taking in the scene.

Even with the gentlemen in the row in front of us graciously filling us in on the finer points of the action of the game (thanks Fellas!) – I still had almost no idea what was happening.  So, I vowed to learn at least the very basics before I go back again and this is what I came up with:

Basic Rules of Hockey:

  • There are 3 periods in a hockey game lasting 20 minutes each for a total of 60 minutes per game, unless extended by overtime and/or a shoot out.
  • Object of the game is to score more goals than the opposing team (duh!) by the time the game ends.
  • There’s a total of 6 players on each team including the goaltender (goalie).  The “main” guy on each team is called the “forward.”  Think of him as the quarterback in football (like Russell Wilson) or point guard in basketball (like Kobe Bryant).

The rest of the game is each team trying to make opportunities for themselves or their team mates to score on the opposing team.  Either by body checking from the front hip or torso of the opposing player and only if that player is in possession of the puck, by being the first to get to a unguarded puck and take possession, or by straight up stealing that shit.

Hockey No-No’s (main issues that will stop the clock):

Offsides – When a player gets to the offensive zone before the puck does OR if the puck is passed across the blue line and the center line.

Icing – If the puck is passed from behind the center red line and makes it untouched all the way to the opposing goal line and then an opposing player goes for it.

There are of course other penalties that will stop the clock, mostly having to do with undue or dangerous force but that goes beyond my understanding of the game.  You’ll know it when you see it.

Black Girl Tips for Enjoying Hockey:

1) Unless your seats are very good (and even then, I wouldn’t recommend it) DO NOT go high.  The puck is simply too small, and moves way too quickly for stoner eyes to follow.

2) Everyone seems to hate the refs.  At least they did at the Silvertips/Thuderbirds game I went to.  They got booed.  A lot.  Don’t be skeered, at least they’re not booing you.

3) Be prepared for the madness that ensues when the home team makes a goal.  I wasn’t ready for it, and was halfway to the ground in the “duck and cover” position before I realized it was part of the game.  I was relived to find no one got shot.

4) I am 99.9% sure I was literally (and by literally, I mean the Oxford definition) the only Black person in the entire building.  I didn’t even see any Black custodial staff.  This, of course,  It’s nothing new – but was a little unnerving.  I felt kind of like this guy:

black-hockey-fan

“They told me this was a basketball game.”

5) Black hockey players are rare and they probably don’t play for your home team.  In any case,  know em’, love em’ support em.’ 

And…that’s it!  Regardless of whether or not you’re into sports – (lawd, child, unless it’s the Seahawks I don’t care) you’ll at least have a good time socializing in a new environment.  Maybe catch some blood lust from the fights that are sure to break out on the ice!

Y’all ever see any black folks at a hockey game?

xxKendra

Chocolate Coconut Custard Cream Pie – Kind of Keto

The thought of a coconut cream pie popped in my head and never left.  I had my mouth all fixed for it, but I was not willing to break my fast from refined flour and sugar enough to buy a commercial one.

A little trick that’s kept me on the keto path is promising myself that if I want something that badly, think on it then and only then I may have it, IF I make it from scratch.  Besides, the conventionally sweetened pastries that I used to love so much never taste as good as I remember.  Then I feel punked, and I HATE that.

So – I set out to make the most refined flour and sugar free coconut cream pie I could knowing from the outset there was no way, no how, I was going to be employing the use of fake sugar in such a labor intensive project (fuck that noise!).

The Research

First place to start is the crust.  Finding a recipe for a grain free crust that would mimic graham cracker or shortbread crust was easy enough.  Amazing things are happening with almond flour.  www.againstallgrain.com has an amazing paleo Honey Graham Cracker Pie Crust recipe that was the jam!

Then I thought since I was gonna do it, why not do it big?  What’s a dessert without chocolate?  Like masturbating with a dildo when you *really* wanted some dick, that’s what.  I surfed  the ‘net and decided to make an amalgam of different chocolate/ganache recipes into a filling (recipe below).

The tricky part came with the coconut layer.  I would need a coconut cream layer that would a) be full of coconutty flavor and b) have some texture to it that would stand up to the chocolate layer on the bottom and still keep its shape.  Because, texture.

This, in itself wasn’t so difficult but try as I might, I couldn’t find a low carb filling that didn’t use fake sugar or those weird sugar alcohols.  I don’t believe in that shit.  Yes, my carb count will take a hit in the end but for a decadent mostly legal indulgence – I’ll allow it.  Besides, sugar alcohols have no business in baked goods.

This process did take a while so I did what I always do when I’m playing in the kitchen: poured myself a glass of wine, put a kung fu flick on the laptop and got started.

The Method

The Crust

I found a really fantastic grain free almond/coconut flour Honey Graham Cracker Pie Crust crust by Danielle Walker at AgainstAllGrain.com.  Its actually the easiest crust grain full or grain free I’ve ever made.  Which was an added bonus because I *hate* making crust by scratch.

Next, the chocolate ganache layer – 

Chocolate Ganache Layer

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1 1/4 C. Heavy Whipping Cream

1/3 C. Sugar in the Raw

2 TBS Raw Honey

1 tsp Vanilla Extract (I used Bourbon Vanilla extract)

6 to 8 ounces good ass unsweetened chocolate broken into small pieces.  I used a Ghirardelli bar I whacked against my counter a few times.

Directions:

  1. Add cream, honey and sugar to a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together.   Barely bring to a boil then turn off heat. Stir in vanilla extract.  NOTE: if raw sugar has not dissolved keep heat on low and whisk until dissolved.  Turn off heat and proceed to next step.
  2. Add chocolate and let it sit until chocolate has melted.  Bust out your hand mixer to ensure it’s smooth.  I used the whisk attachment on medium/low speed for 1 – 1 1/2 minutes

Pour filling into crust and place it somewhere away from heat to cool to room temperature.

The Coconut Custard Cream Layer –

Coconut Custard Cream Layer

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1/2 C. Sugar in the Raw

2 TBS Cornstarch (I did cheat with the cornstartch)

2 TBS Coconut Flour (not meal)

1/4 tsp Salt ( I used natural sea salt)

3/4 C. Heavy Whipping Cream

1/4 C. Coconut Cream

1 Can (13.4 oz) Refrigerated Coconut Milk (not the kind in a box, the REAL stuff)

4 Large Egg Yolks (carefully seperated)

1 TBS Real Vanilla Extract (I used Organics Bourbon Vanilla Extract)

Directions:

  1. Heat (but do not boil) 1/2 C. of the cream in a small bowl or heat proof mug.  Whisk coconut flour and cornstarch into milk until dissolved and set aside.
  2. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat add sugar and salt, slowly add coconut flour/cream mixture whisk until incorporated.
  3. Gradually add the remaining cream and continue to whisk until coconut flour and cornstarch has dissolved.  Add the can of coconut milk, and 4 egg yolks while whisking constantly.
  4. Cook over medium heat continuing to whisk constantly until you start to see the first large bubble surface – about 4 – 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to low, and continue whisking and cooking for another 1 minute.  Remove from heat.
  5. Once custard cream is almost room temperature, give it a stir (or skim the skin from the top) before layering it on top of the chocolate layer in the almond flour crust.

PROTIP: If you want to cool your custard faster in the ‘fridge, you can let the pan cool until it can be handled then put a layer of cling wrap directly on top of the custard.  This will prevent a skin from forming on top.

Then, I toasted some unsweetened coconut, whipped some heavy whipping cream and threw it on top with a couple of sprinkles of unsweetened cocoa.  And voila! Chocolate coconut cream pie, as keto as I could make it without sacrificing the spirit of the pie.

NOTE: Now, if you wanted to make your layers truly keto, you could.  I just can’t stomach sugar substitutes.  It feels wrong.  if I’m gonna take the time to make a pie – I sure as fuck am gonna use real sweetener.  Sorry, I just. can’t. even with the fake shit.

ANOTHER NOTE: This is a decadent dessert.  Not low cal, not low fat, not really that low carb.  You might have to IF for the day to make it fit your macros for the day.  I gave away half the pie to our bachelor friend but if you keep portions in check, it should serve 12.  Or 8 if you’re not tryna’ share.  Double nutrition info for 8 instead of 12.  Taken from recipe calculator at myfitnesspal.com.  Check the nutrition* below:

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Okay, presentation isn't *great* but I'm working on it!

Okay, presentation isn’t *great* but I’m working on it!

Nutrition Facts
Servings 12.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 359
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 27 g 42 %
Saturated Fat 19 g 96 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 140 mg 47 %
Sodium 37 mg 2 %
Potassium 32 mg 1 %
Total Carbohydrate 26 g 9 %
Dietary Fiber 4 g 14 %
Sugars 19 g
Protein 4 g 8 %
Vitamin A 13 %
Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 1 %
Iron 4 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

*Nutrition info DOES NOT include extracts, salt, or baking soda.

Awkward Black Girl Explains it All – Book Review

I just finished the audio version of The Misadventures of the Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae.

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl

In case you’re two-thousand-and-late and aren’t hip to Issa Rae’s wildly popular and hilariously insightful web series The Misadventures of AWKWARD Black Girl, treat yo’ self, and educate yo’ self by heading to YouTube right now to binge watch!

I was delighted to find her new book The Misadventures of the Awkward Black Girl on Audible.com read by the author herself.  Oh yes, she had me giggling at my desk.  Thankfully,  I’m in a dungeon-like cubicle and didn’t have to worry too much about looking like I was headed for the straight jacket guffawing at my computer.

This is certainly a must read and an even more entertaining listen.  I especially loved her chapter on “Connecting with Other Blacks.”  As the title may suggest, this chapter is not just for Black folks.  In my opinion, it provides some levity to a tricky topic by serving as a fun, easy to digest primer on the spectrum of different types of Blacks.  If you’re another Black person, you will absolutely identify yourself in at least one type of Black.  If you’re a non-Black – it’s a fantastic way to gain a little knowledge on the different type of Black folks there are out there.  Best of all,  Issa’s explanation may help to illuminate a universal Black truth: we. are not. all like “that.”  Issa Rae has appropriately dubbed this flavor of Black “Ratchet Black” or if you please, the previously popularized “Ghetto Black.”

The Misadventures of the Awkward Black Girl is not a militant account of what it’s like to be a strong African American in a whitewashed society.  If that’s what you’re looking for, might I suggest a good ol’ Black literature classic like The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told by Alex Haley or Native Son by Richard Wright (both amazingly deep books, btw)?  No, Issa Rae enlightens and delights the reader with background of her (very normal) multi-national upbringing.  She leads us to conclude she is a product of her regional environment and familial influence (which may, to some, appear to be the straddling of two worlds) and how this experience has come to exist in the singular body that is simply Issa.  She makes no apologies for being Black, or awkward, or who she is now.  In an uproariously funny manner.  What she doesn’t focus on (say perhaps the Black experience or the Black condition) speaks to the fact that Issa Rae, like a lot of us Blacks (Rachet Blacks excluded), really are just like everyone else.  I might be speaking out of turn as a non-Black, but I suspect Issa does more to capture what we all can identify with as a child of the 90’s on the cusp of technology take-over, than alienate every member outside of a minority group with the differences between races.

In fact, by the end of her narration, you won’t even notice she’s Black.  Just kidding!  That is however, a variation of one of those “things” girls like us get used to hearing.

I highly recommend giving this a read or a listen.  Issa Rae is amazingly talented and has a way with communicating the plight of the unsteriotypically Black girl that is tragically underrepresented in every media outlet ever that I just can’t get enough of.  Besides, you’d be “helping a sista’ out.”

Issa Rae, on behalf of Awkward Black/Nerdy Black hybrids everywhere – I salute you.

You can find her book on the all of the conventional channels: Amazon (even Kindle!), Barns & Noble in hardcover or nookbook.  Get to it!

xxKDUBxx

Girl, you don’t match! Pattern mixing part 2.

So, I tried it again.

This time I put a little more thought into it and re-read the rules of pattern mixing so that I was fully aware of the rules I was breaking (be wrong, strong! Remember?) I did cling onto two rules for dear life though:

1. Mix patterns from the same color family. Check – except maybe the gold in the scarf and the neutral beige of the base of the leopard print, but it’ll do.

2. Space the patterns out. Check, kinda’.  I discovered with my last attempt at pattern mixing, I’m just not that comfortable mixing more than two patterns.  Any they musn’t be right on top of each other.  Baby steps.

PRO TIP – This is also a rule I find applies to wearing colors (clothing, accessories, or make-up) that are closely related but just a shade apart.  Space them shits out!

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Cookie likes it!

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Even the spray bottle is in on it!

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I finished up the look with some pretty neutral eye make up, and matching (breaking rules again!) red lipstick.  Another PRO TIP – This type of red was difficult to find a lipstick match for.  It’s not a true red, but is very cool.  A coral based red did the trick.

One nuance of note: Regardless of the outfit being a success or not, I was feeling pretty fierce that day.  I suspect I could have chosen clashing colors for the whole damn outfit and still been a bad bitch.  Confidence is just that good.

What do you think?  Did I nail it or do I need some more practice?