Today was much sweeter. I woke up after a good 11 hours of sound, deep sleep feeling headache-free. Granted, my heart still aches, but that will take more than a night of rest to change. Baking could help.

Brownie joy
Coconut lemon cookies

Tomorrow we are having a potluck at work and I’d signed up for dessert. I definitely got carried away, but the relief I find in cooking is parallel only to running and I just didn’t have the stamina for a long run tonight. Tomorrow’s menu includes Sweet Sedona bundt cake, lemon coconut cookies and Mexican cinnamon brownies — all in celebration of Cinco de Mayo.

Sweet Sedona Bundt Cake
Coconut lemon cookies
Voila -- brownies for tomorrow's fiesta

Maddy and I had a great time. She is a doll and such a great reminder of the joy of life. I watched her today with her girlfriends and family; I want to be more like her — she’s carefree, confident, strong and sweet to a fault.

Maddy and me at her 11th birthday party

Thank you for your kind words about yesterday’s post. My apologies to the Monday dieters cruising through the blog.

Spicy Sunday Dinner

drained, rinsed and ready to be transformed into...
Hummus: the usual suspects
Black bean hummus and veggies
black bean hummus
black bean hummus and cut veggies

Black bean hummus + cut veggies: I swapped garbanzos in this recipe for black beans, added a dash of flax to thicken this a bit more and a lot of cayenne. Now that I’ve got the hang of making my own hummus, no more store bought nonsense. This takes all of 10 minutes to throw together at 1/4 of the price.


Community Dinner: Viva Cuba!

Community Dinner: Cuban Cuisine

Cheap red wine + two liters of Sprite Zero + sliced citrus + lots of ice = Sangria!

Community dinner has been on a hiatus for the last couple of weeks and will more than likely go into hibernation again soon; summer is arriving and everyone is getting busy — including this wanderer. I thought last night’s dinner would be canceled, but last minute I received several RSVPs. As a hungry reader of Andy’s Diner, I shot Andy an email and asked if he had any quick go-to Cuban recipes he thought would work.

Community Dinner: Cuban Cuisine
Community Dinner: Cuban Cuisine
Community Dinner: Cuban Cuisine

Ay caray! He was the man to ask. I made Cuban black beans (substituting turkey bacon for pancetta) and stewed chicken with white rice. We had sangria and coconut-pineapple sugar cookies too. It was a feast and everyone went home with perrito-bags. And I may have wolfed down black beans with my eggs this morning.

Community Dinner: Cuban Cuisine

Thanks Andy! Great suggestion.

I hope you are having a happy week. I am very much looking forward to this weekend; one of my best friends is coming into town and we plan on painting it red. Or rojo, as one with another round of sangria up her sleeve might say.

Hasta luego,

Give Us This Day…

twin loaves
crusty fabulousness
honey whole wheat

No Knead 2.0, honey whole wheat.

A loaf for a dinner party last night, and a loaf today for a luncheon at work. I tripled the recipe (and quadrupled the yeast) to get bigger loaves than normal. It worked!

I think a sign of a great week to come is a slice of warm, homemade bread to start off your Monday. Don’t you? Giddyup and pass the butter.


Give An Heirloom Gift

Africankelli Aprons

Looking for a great way to honor your mama/wife/girlfriend this Mother’s Day? Yep, it is right around the corner and this year you could give her a gift that makes her beam with pride. What a thoughtful child I’ve created! A custom-made apron is a super gift to celebrate Mother’s Day.
Does your mother love to cook? Perfect! And for those who look at kitchen-time as a chore, we all know that the easiest way to make a bummer job better is to look great doing it. Having a glass of wine nearby doesn’t hurt either.
Send me a digital photo, recipe, memory, color, Bible verse, poem or feeling you want included in your mother’s apron. In turn, I’ll create a unique, thoughtful gift that will be wrapped and ready to rock by May 10th. The cost is $50 including shipping. Email me if you are interested — international orders will be accepted for the next two weeks: africankelli at gmail dot com.

Honor thy mother — rock thy kitchen.

Y’all Invited: Southern Community Dinner

Celebrating Adam’s 25th:

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BBQ pulled pork sandwiches on

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Buttermilk biscuits,
with a side of

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BBQ chicken wings

And those not wanting heart disease enjoyed:

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Las frutas y

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Los vegetales.

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I think he was happy with the dinner.

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It smelled good, but I simply cannot bring myself to eat pork or chicken wings. It’s the fat, and the skin respectively. Skinless bbq chicken? Love it, especially if it is my dad’s recipe. But this is just not my style. That said, it was fun to try something so new.

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Thankfully he disagreed. And omnivore and carnivore alike came together to feast on brownies and ice cream in the end.


Creative Fuel

No knead

I made a couple more loaves of no-knead bread this weekend to take to Easter dinners. There is something about the smell of bread baking (especially these loaves; I added rosemary and parmesan cheese) that makes me ravenous. I wanted to pull them out of the oven, pour myself a big glass of milk, and eat the whole thing. Thankfully, I did not.

Earthy african fabric jewelry wrap
Hi pretty tags

Instead, I sewed. I have a bunch of CAOK gifts I’m behind schedule in sending. Two African fabric jewelry wraps are being mailed out today. Thankfully Stephanie is helping me sort out the tunic mess. Fingers crossed that project will be back on track by the end of the week.

Also, I hope to be back on track soon too. I’m going through a rough patch professionally that has me uncharacteristically blue, cranky and anxious. Ultimately, I need to find a new job and I may not be able to go back to Africa this summer as I’d planned. I am not just bummed out, I’m heartbroken. I can’t discuss the details, but I am so thankful for my faith. I know that from challenge comes greatness. I’m just not sure what that is quite yet and in the in between uncertainty is eating my happiness for breakfast.

Thanks for your well wishes.