10k, more running, cooking

Today I completed my first 10k!

It was tough. My goal was to finish in an hour and 30 mins. And I did! 17 sec under actually. Along the way I had to stop and walk to catch my breath. But I’m proud of myself for this achievement.

More races are in my future for sure!

In fact I have committed myself to running more consistently once school lets out. It is my ultimate personal goal to be an avid runner.

So I was strolling through Instagram (follow me @jazch) and saw that Bryant Terry has a new cookbook out. Afro-Vegan brings African, Caribbean, and Southern flavors to the veggies! How fantastic! My personal goal #2 is to cook more and experiment with more flavors. AND…blog about it!

I have plans I tell you! Plans!


In the meantime I will drool over this book, study the ingredients, and make mental notes.

Eat well! Be well!


Farm to Table

Last week I visited the Whitelock Community Farm. This may not be so abnormal, a health conscious person visiting a farm. But there is something unique about this farm; it’s in the city. Yes the actual farm is in an urban inner city community. I’ve been following this trend for some time. I’ve read about city farms in Chicago, but I was most pleased to learn that there is a farm in my city. This is such a dope concept! Not only is Whitelock an urban farm, but they are 100% organic. I have plans to volunteer for them. I can’t wait to get my hands dirty in some organic dirt! LOL!

This veggie was in heaven selecting produce. I got turnips (first time eating turnips. They have a great flavor!), garlic chives, a bunch of arugula, chocolate basil, mint (grown wild from the community garden), and Thyme. Just like a creative cook, I was flooded with recipe ideas. I made an arugula pesto with mint, basil, olive oil, juice of one lemon, and seasoned with sea salt and pepper. Blend and done! I served it cool atop sobo noodles, and sliced cucumbers and peppers with toasted sunflower seeds.

Eat well! Be well!

21st Century Girl!

Since I moved into my new place I have not had access to the internet, or cable. Let’s face it, when buying a house some things sort of take a back seat. They are no longer priority. So for 9 months my iPhone served the very usefully purpose of connecting me to the inter-webs. I use my phone for EVERYTHING. Social networking, emails, youtubing, blogging, finances, fitness, music. You name it.

But today I have gladly welcomed technology into my home. I am connected. Wired. Linked. So now I can give my phone rest and burn up my computer and iPad. I feel like a big kid in an Apple store!

So you know what that means! More post! Yay! This evening at work I had the revelation that I get to blog more and I got super excited and started mentally planning. (Sheesh! Writing for this blog is so therapeutic!) I digress.

Stay tuned for what’s new and fresh from my kitchen. (My very own kitchen!)

Eat Well! Be Well!

Big News!

Hello Veggies!

I started writing this post a few weeks ago just before a major storm intending to have it posted by that weekend. Well as you will have it, that major storm knocked out my power for 4 days. So I was displaced. No power. No internet. Completely disorganized my fairly organized life. So here we are a few weeks later and I’m back to normal, as normal as normal can be. And as usual I’m posting randomly and infrequently.

But I still have news. I still have to make my big announcement. I’m not going to delay it further. Even though I’m sitting in Starbucks and there is something about this place that makes me want to write and I had this whole story planned in my head on how to break this news. I will not delay.

I bought a house!!!

Well, I bought a condo, but equally as important and significant as a house. Especially sense I’ve been dreaming of owning property since elementary school. I can remember sitting in school daydreaming about owning a house that’s so big it looks empty. Yep…I tuned out through most of elementary thinking about having my own space. This dream actually began to take shape in high school when I decided that I was going to skip rent when I learned that for me there is no economical gain in throwing away thousands of dollars a month on property that I did not own. When I compared renting and owning in my city the smart move for me was owning. Turns out I was right. My mortgage, including my condo fees and city property tax, is cheaper than a rental in the city. And at the end of the year I get to write it off.

Of course deciding to own instead of rent required some sacrifices. Mainly, I had to sacrifice my space. Meaning, I had to share. Yes, as kids we were taught that sharing is caring, but for someone as particular as me sharing is a hard pill to swallow because that meant releasing my things, space, and time to someone who may not value them as I do. But it all was a means to an end. So I shared a space with my parents and later my grandmom to save the money needed to purchase. To be honest, while living with my parents my sole focus was my wardrobe to include bi-weekly trips to Anthropologie. My blissful years! But when I moved in with my grandmother I gave myself a year to save after I graduated college. I graduated in December 2010, by November 2011 I put things into action. Got a great real estate agent, took first time home buying classes, and cut back on my extracurricular spending. No more Anthro and Starbucks. The dark ages.

After a very long and stressful six months (November 2011 to May 2012) I finally settled and signed my life away. 30 years. Of course I do not intend to live in this same space for 30 years. In fact, I almost certainly will not. I’m young and single. This place is certainly my investment property. I’m either going to move into a single family home with my husband, or buy myself a single family home and rent my current property. That’s the plan.

Anyway, those six months were the most emotionally toiling months of my life. And I have been through just enough in my 28 years to say this. On top of buying a house I was in grad school and working full-time. How I got through I do not know. Nothing but the grace and guidance of God. I carried this place in my heart, thoughts, and spirit for those six months. I definitely got emotionally connected to it. In my mind I was living there. I really had to work hard to detach myself emotionally so that disappointment did not hit so hard. And there was plenty of disappointment. Whenever I got the news that there was a huge setback that threatened my chances I internalized everything and completely folded in on myself. It seemed like there was nothing but setback after setback. A normal person would have given up. But because I am abnormal and live against the grain, I powered through. At settlement the selling agent said, “You are a patient young lady.” Here’s the thing, though the setbacks hit me hard emotionally, in reality the outcome worked for my good. To me and the faith that I hold that is a testament to the power of God. In the end, $17,000 was knocked off the asking price, I got new floors, new cabinets, and a first time home buyer’s grant from the government. Through it all I learned patience and how to channel my stress. Maybe I will post this process in full detail later. Some of it will blow people’s minds. I haven’t really had the opportunity to share it all and I think this is the space to do it.

In retrospect I think school was on autopilot. I haven’t even checked my grades yet. But somehow I think they are some combination of AA, BB, BA, AB. I really don’t know. I have been locked out of my school account because I am too lazy to call the help desk to have my password reset. Maybe not complete laziness, but quite possibly apprehension? Right now school is synonymous with the stress of home buying. But I know I did well. I didn’t fail any assignments and I got everything in on-time.

So this has all been the deal since my last post in February. A whole lot of happenings, and a whole lot more happenings to come. God is not through.

The best part about having my own space, THE KITCHEN! Pictures to come. I have been cooking some wonderful veggie meals and can’t wait to share my creations. School is on hiatus until next spring so that I can focus on a training program for my job, so I may have more free time to post.

New York Times-Summer Sauces

I love sharing information.
I came across this article in the New York Times. It gives great ideas for delicious summer sauces. Great for those mushroom and bean burgers. How creative can you be with these recipe ideas? Let us know!