How I Failed at Making Classic Vegan Mac N’ Cheese

mac and cheese


Mac n’ cheese. It’s pretty much the quintessential quick-and-easy food memory from childhood—am I right? I learned to make mac n’ cheese by myself from a pretty young age. That was great, because I liked it a certain way—a little runny, well-cooked, but not mushy, and with plenty of black pepper on top. Oh, and I had to have the packaged mac n’ cheese.

I know some people like using real cheese or slices of processed cheese, but those weren’t for me. Other than the type and variety of cheese to use, there’s also a bit of contention when it comes to pasta shape—I mean, it’s called “mac n’ cheese” so, it should be obvious that one should use macaroni, right? But, Kraft brand Macaroni and Cheese Spirals?? Oh my god! I loved that stuff! The texture was awesome and I felt like the shape of the pasta cooked up really well. Some people use shells or other kinds of pasta, too. To each their own. . .

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Savor The Moments Because There Will Be New Ones

savor the moments

I am so confused. The last thing I remember is being in the hospital holding an itty bitty baby thinking that there’s no way anything could top that feeling. When did that itty baby turn into an outgoing kindergartener who declares herself to be a “totally people person” with loves hugs, reading and fancy dresses? And why am I even more in love with her today than I was nearly 6 years ago when she first came into my world and brought me back to life? I wasn’t expecting this.

No one really talks about it, either. They tell you to savor the moments when your children are young. Folks talks about how it goes so fast, but nobody ever really talks about how it keeps getting better and better.

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On Beauty from a Preschooler

self esteem thoughts of self

Over the last couple of days, Lil Miss has been making some pretty intense comments about her appearance. She comments on how our hair is so much alike, and how she has brown eyes like the honey that I keep on the counter. I love these observations of hers, but one that she kept making always made me feel uneasy. She wanted to know why she was light-skinned and I was dark-skinned, and her twin, Sir Twizzler, looked like chocolate. 

I didn’t have an answer. 

So I went with the straightforward. For what I’ve learned from having four children, most of the time, giving them straight answers is the right thing to do. They can smell stalling like a dead rat on a summer day. They can also smell fear of subject matter. Which then makes them press forward with a perseverance that only politicians have been known to have. 

I had everyone put their hands in a group, backside up. As we all put our hands in, Lil Miss’ eyes lit up, and I was surprised with what she said next.

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We’re ALL like honey! 






10 Spring Cleaning Must Dos (Not Your Usual Tips)

Spring is here! And I’m sooooo looking forward to the warmer weather (it’s been super cold this winter in St. Louis), the colorful scenes nature blesses us with, and the outings with friends and family. Spring is one of my favorite seasons – notice I didn’t say summer; can’t stand the heat! :) – not just because of the weather but because of what it represents…renewal…awakenings…growth.

So while most people, including myself, focus on spring cleaning their homes, cars, garages, etc. and participate in yard sales, getting rid of items, and organizing their EXTERNAL spaces, we often forget about our INTERNAL spaces – the mind, body, and soul.

So go ahead and do your regular spring cleaning and then also do the following so you can have a FULL, whole life cleansing experience!

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Beyond the Lens: Alfreda Howard

Most of the people who work in the entertainment industry seldom, if ever, get their photo taken. Sure, we see photos of stars all the time, but what about all of the people behind the scenes who actually make things happen? I’m in no way hating on the work-ethic of the famous people. Recording artists spend a crazy amount of time in the studio, and actors and actresses spend a gabillion hours on the sets of movie and television shows as well as on stages across the world. I get that. I appreciate that. But I also appreciate all of the other people who are in the studios and Hollywood backlots. You know?

The famous people aren’t alone when the hits are created. I mean, who ever gives the sound engineer his props? When is Beyonce’s glam squad ever recognized? Who has ever seen the face of their favorite movie’s Key Grip? What in the world does the Key Grip do anyway?

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Blogging from #AtoZChallenge- H Hot Hot Roti!


I’m so excited to share H day with you today! There are lots of books that start with the letter H. And I’m sure they’re fine books. But since I love food, I wanted this book to be about food. And what better way to talk about food than with a picture book, right? Hot Hot Roti for Dada-Ji is the perfect book to explain life in a house where grandparents come to visit from India. 

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Time to Take Action Now To Get Good Business Finances

It is a magnificent time to take action now to get good business finances. At the beginning of each year, people and business owners all across the world take time to assess their business’ financial condition. For some business owners, the beginning of he year is the only time financial condition is examined. If you are a business owner who only pays attention to finances at special times of the year like the beginning of the year and tax season, it is time for a change.

It is important to have a good relationship with your financial condition. Money is not a dirty word. Finance is not a dirty word. When you are an entrepreneur, you have an obligation to pay attention to the financial condition of your business. You should always be aware of the key elements that impact the financial condition of your business. These elements include:
Cash flow
Balance sheet
Accounts receivable
Accounts payable

Why You Should Be Watching What You Eat?

I had the shock of my life when at 25 years old, in what I thought was good shape I found out that I had high bold pressure and high cholesterol.

Some simple research, revealed the surprising answer. Many of my “healthy habits” were sending me to an early grave. The labels that I didn’t look at were full of ingredients that were FAR from healthy.

A normal dinner:
Rice with 900mg of sodium, chicken with 500mg of sodium, then add the butter I used when I cooked and the salt I added when things were done. Not to mention, the salad dressing I had with my salad. Dinner alone was more than 1,900 mg of sodium and let’s not even look at the fat or the calories. The recommended daily allowance for sodium is 1,500 per day.

How did this happen? 

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Four years ago, I was so very sad. I didn’t think that I was that bad at the time. I could smile and laugh and hang out with friends occasionally and feel normal. But in private, I was still in pain, still heartbroken. And so very angry. I blamed breast cancer for everything wrong in my life.

Breast cancer stole my breast. Breast cancer wrecked my relationship. Breast cancer made me sick. Breast cancer cost me my job. Breast cancer made me horrible to look at. And on and on…  and while all of that is true, there were deeper truths that I wasn’t really ready to face for a long time.

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A running joke in our family was my father’s love for Outback Steakhouse. No matter the occasion, DaddyTDJ would suggest Outback.  This tended to work out well because once my husband, MrTDJ, joined our family, the 2 shared an affinity for Outback.  Lucky us!  It wasn’t my favorite place, so I often found ways to convince them both that some other restaurant would be a better choice for a number of reasons (distance, wait time, etc). But for birthdays? Nope!  LOL!  Neither could be talked out of a visit to Outback. Last year, for DaddyTDJ’s birthday, he told me that he just couldn’t look at it the same since the death of MrTDJ.  **sigh**  And, he was very aware of how much the 9th of each month affected me.  So, for his 62nd birthday, we headed to Longhorn Steakhouse.  I only managed to get one picture of LittleTDJ and his grandfather.

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