Saturday, May 20, 2017

Summer Reading 2017

This summer I'm challenging myself to read more books. Last year alone I didn't read anything outside of work obligations. My book club was also inactive so I wasn't even worrying. Now did I pick up books last year? Yes. But I never finished them. My book club is back active now. I no longer have tv at home or unlimited wifi. And during the summer I don't have to mosey in to a workplace, so I get 8 weeks of do-with-your-time-what-you-want. All of these factors I'm sure play a role in what I make time for. So far this year I've read Another Brooklyn (verse), We Love You Charlie Freeman, The Couple Next Door (psychological), 40 Acres (psychological), Around the Way Girl (memoir), and Unashamed (memoir audiobook). My goal for the year on Goodreads is 12 Books but I'm going to increase it to 34 total. 

I'm going to enjoy reading All Summer 17. I just got an idea just now while typing this post. Since it's 2017, I should read 17 books instead of the 16 I was planning. I really don't like odd numbers. So I'm going to stick to 16 and if I manage an extra one then so be it. But I'm only planning for 16. 

Summer Reading Challenge
2 books a week= 16 books to read in 8 Weeks

1. Everything, Everything 
2. All the Little Pieces (psychological)
3. The Shining
4. Landlines 
5. Blink
6. Tipping Point
7. Things I Should Have Told My Daughters (memoir)
8. One of Us is Lying (psychological 
9. What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky (short story)
10. Engagement Game (love)
11. If I Loved you I Would Tell You This (short story)
12. 10-10-10
13. We Are Only Taking What We Need
14. No One is Coming to Save Us 
15. Mid Adventures of an Awkward Black Girl (audio)
16. Black Privelege (audio)

I will be reading book #1 first but the other book will be read in random order. 

Share with me if you have read any of these books. Also share with me what books you are reading this summer. If we happen to read the same book, I'd be so thrilled to discuss with you. What's a book if we can't talk about it with someone? 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Teach Me

Teach Me
Teach me how to forget you.
Teach me how not to think of you when thinking is subconscious and each time it purposely involves you.
Teach me how not to remember your scent, the way you looked when you were serious,
the way your eyes widened when you were excited.
Teach how to forget the sound of your laughter, your breath brushing pass my cheek, the soft whisper in my ear, and the three sweet numbers rolling from your lips (143)

Teach me how to numb the ends of these severed emotions.
Teach me how not to see your smile in my mind.
Teach me how not to long for your warm touch.
Teach me how to move on when there's nothing left to have.
Teach me to not keep you as a lingering reminder of what I lost, what I could have had, what I wasn't good enough for, what I messed up, what chance I lost.
Teach me how to rewrite this story where in the end the tears are of joy.

Teach me how not to compare any new to the oldness of you.
Teach me how not to remember us, the good times, the bad times, the plans made, the time spent.
Teach me not to anticipate your return.
Teach me how to know that it is okay not having you around.
Teach me how not to read then reread each letter you sent.

Teach me to undeclare our song so that when it plays there is no slate of memories
Teach me how not to be so critical when it was just you being cynical
Teach me how to forget about you like you forgot about me.

-J. Renee

I hope you all are enjoying #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth. I will also be posting my favorite poets.

I wrote this poem in 2010. Coming back to it now... it still holds truth and I'm sure many people can relate. Let me know your favorite lines in the comments.

I Love to Cook

I love to cook and I love beautiful food! I saw this picture on Instagram last year and I decided I was going to make it. I had forgotten about the recipe until recently. I did use some substitutes for the recipe. I will share both in this post. Also feel free to modify your recipe as needed. I was working with what I had already stocked without having to make a trip to the grocery store. 

Maple Sweet Potato Chicken Meatballs 

1 lb ground chicken 
1 C Spinach 
1/2 C Sweet potato
3 tbs White onion
1 Garlic clove
1/4 C water
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbs Maple syrup (honey and maple syrup)
1 tsp Soy sauce (liquid amino)
1 tsp Cinnamon
Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
4 dashes of Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Sage (didn't use)

Maple Syrup Glaze:
1/4 C Maple syrup
1/4 C Chicken broth (Vanilla Almond Milk)
1 tbs Corn Starch (Rice flour/potato starch mixture)
1 tbs Soy sauce (liquid amino)
1/8 tsp cayenne


1. Preheat oven to 400. Rinse sweet potato, wrap in aluminum foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. 

2. Cut up onions, garlic, and spinach

3. Sauté the spinach, onions, and garlic ingredients on the stove with 1 tbs of olive oil. Add 1/4 C of water. Cook until water evaporates. 

4. Mix ground chicken, cinnamon, maple syrup, salt, pepper, nutmeg, olive oil, and soy sauce

5. Cut up pieces of the sweet potato and add to the meat mixture. Add the cooked spinach to the mixture. Do not over mix. 

6. Form the meatballs and place them onto an oiled pan. Meatballs should at minimum be one inch in size. 

7. Place meatballs in the oven to cook for fifteen minutes at 425.

8. Mix all the ingredients for the maple syrup glaze. 

9. After fifteen minutes take out the meatballs and flip them over. Coat each with the glaze. Place back into the oven for 5 more minutes.

10. Scoop up the glaze in the bottom of the pan and pour over the meatballs. Enjoy!

I paired my meatballs with black beans and the rest of the sweet potato. 

Let me know in the comments what you are going to pair your meatballs with.

VEDA Day 5 | I Love to Cook| ibyl