Hercules to Humanity

Did you know that the first celebrity chef was a black man?Hercules, Hercules!

What happened to my man Hercules?

Maybe Hermiesha got him in a headlock?

Maybe the shutters blowing in the wind are distracting him?

Maybe insecurity has him in a bind.

Hercules, Hercules?

Whatever happened to Hercules?

Fashion me this nonsense where all black chefs cook collard greens & neckbones?

I’m sorry but high blood pressure & insulin doesn’t appeal to me.

Appealing is what makes my heart smile.

Colors, poetry, eclectic truth 

I mean what is Eclectic truth?

* E us for every triumph I had to overcome to rebuke each attack that made me wanna blow my brains out or soak in a pool of depression

* C is for come daddy, come daddy I need your attention before I give myself away to another hood dude with no exposure & will feel up any pair of long legs as long as he feels compelled to …. which is often.

* L is for let me live my life, l. o. l. & all that jazz

* E is for everybody hates Chris or rather everybody picked on Rachel from 7-19. 20 I cut the crap & became my own glorious firefly

* C is for the circumcision from the cataclysmic chaos & catastrophe of crackheads & cracklife. Healing deep. Healing deep. Just know my healing is very deep. Wounds pour out like blood gushing from the life of my very soul. Ripping up a new life. A new being. A new day. Hallelujah! Jesus has come. But what about that dude Hercules? Aren’t you gonna get to the point? If you listen he’s in the lyrics of this lyric one generation at a time. An ever recurring song of life & retaliation. Never growing outdated. Names changed. Blame to fame? What’s yo name shawty?You thicker than a snicker & I like ya accent. Your ambition is fire & that natural hair is making me do some thinking. Nah I’m good bruh. 
Reclaiming my time. Reclaiming my time. 

Every woman has her own inner Maxine Waters.
* T is for time is never wasted if you follow your own mind & trust in God

* I is for the ignorance of the beautiful bliss that awaits you in life if you choose to create it & take advantage of being an adult. You need to reclaim your time before victimization is your only legacy. Victim or Triumphant Overcomer . It’s your choice.

* C is for choices. Choices. Choices are the power of the voice you have. It’s your power in life. Sometimes you don’t have a choice but then Jesus comes in to create a miracle. Love.
Well, I’ve told you about life, love, power & faith. A little humor. A whole lot of reality. But what about Hercules?
Hercules was the first celebrity chef. He’s the only black master chef. He & his crew are responsible for bringing fine dining to Urban communities. He & his crew were the first to create British fusion cooking…. NOT SOUL FOOD! Hercules was a slave of George Washington. Purchased at 13. Ran away from the plantation after outsmarting President Washington with his own money & racism. Hercules paved the way for my daddy Henderson Woodson, the legendary Executive Chef at Carville Hospital for Leprosy. Henderson taught Me, Rachel Joi. Rachel Joi is a professional chef & caterer. I’m one of the hottest in the game. My colleagues can’t touch me. I move too fast. I know too much. Hercules paved the way for me. 
The first black woman certified master chef.


Recipe Archives: Aloe Vera Facial Mask

     If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I love all things related to creative culinary medicine. A friend of mine recently gave me an aloe vera plant. After doing some research, I discovered that the syrup from an aloe vera leaf contains nutrients that improve the health of your skin. I decided that instead of spending $40.00 on a facial, I would create a facial mask recipe! It’s frugal, creative, and fun! After trying it, my skin was tight, soft, supple, and glowing.

You’ll Need:

• 4 large aloe vera plant leaves

• 1 tablespoon of honey

• 1 bowl 

• 1 medium sized cooking knife 

• 1 spoon

• 1 hot hand towel 


– Slice the thin parts of the leaf off & put them to the side

– Slice the thick parts of the plant leaf in half & separate 

– In your small bowl, take your knife & scoop out the gel of the plant (it’s okay to include the clear pieces of plant that may still be attached)

– After repeating this process on all of your leaves, add your honey & stir with your spoon

– Smear the gel mixture onto your face

– Place your hot towel over your face & let it sit for 2 minutes

– Wipe the aloe vera mixture off of your face

– Enjoy your pampered skin 

Dear Diamonds: Say NO to Manipulative People!

As a diamond of the rough, I have had a fair share of interactions with manipulative people. I have learned that they are sneaky, and if you are not discerning enough they can have a very toxic stronghold on your life. I have learned to say no to mental, emotional, and spiritual manipulation. Sadly, a manipulative person can often be hard to identify. I have noticed that manipulators will possess chameleon-like tendencies. This means that they will try to bond with you emotionally by lying about their lives in order to gain a hold of your emotions. They key to overcoming their deceptive tricks is to discern the manipulative behavior quickly, and put up the necessary boundaries for your own emotional, mental, and physical safety. I have listed below an article that teaches on how to eliminate a manipulative person from your life.


10 Ways To Eliminate Manipulative People

There’s always going to be people trying to shake your confidence—people trying to instill seeds of self-doubt within you. These people will do their best to manipulate you into believing that their opinions are objective facts. They’ll tell you that everyone in the entire world thinks you’re arrogant, crazy, or not good enough. Then they’ll tell you how concerned they are about you—about how you’re living your life, spending your money, raising your kids, on and on.

If you don’t change in exactly the way they want you to change, your life will be ruined. That’s what they want you to believe. The truth is these people don’t want to help you. They want to control you. They want to change you, not to better your life, but to validate their lives and to keep you from outgrowing them.

Don’t be confused. Manipulative people are not worried about your interests. They’re worried about their interests. Once you let manipulative people in your life, they can be extremely hard to get rid of. The key is having enough confidence in yourself to give manipulative people the boot as soon as you spot them. Here are 10 strategies for eliminating manipulative people from your life:

1. Ignore everything they do and say.

Manipulative people are meant to be ignored. These people flip flop on issues, they’re slippery when you try to hold them accountable, they promise help that never comes, they make you feel guilty constantly—everything you don’t want in person.

When dealing with a manipulative person, the biggest mistake you can make is trying to correct them. By correcting them, you sink deeper into their trap. Manipulative people will use frustration and confusion to bait you into conflict. They want to get you emotional so they can see how you tick.

Once they know the things that trigger you, they’ll use them to influence your actions. A better strategy is to ignore them completely. Simply delete them from your life. If you can’t delete them right away—like if they’re a boss, coworker, or family member—agree with what they say and then go do your own thing anyway.

2. Hit their center of gravity.

Manipulative people are constantly using their own strategies against you. They’ll become friends with your friends and turn them against you. They’ll dangle some small reward in front of you and make you chase it continuously—every time you get close to it, they’ll pull it away. They’ll hold past actions over your head forever. On and on.

Stop letting manipulative people use their strategies against you. Instead, turn the tables. Create a strategy of your own and hit them where it hurts. If you’re forced to deal with a manipulative person who keeps making your life hell no matter how hard you try to ignore them, you only have one option, find their center or gravity and attack it. This center might be the manipulative person’s friends, followers, or subordinates. It might be a high level skill or an advanced understanding of a particular field. It might be a particular resource that they control.

Either way, find out what their center of gravity is and make it yours. Create allies with people close to them, recruit people with their skillsets and knowledgebase to replace them, or siphon away their prized resource. This will throw them off balance and force them to focus on controlling their life, not yours.

3. Trust your judgment.

You know what’s best for your life better than anyone else. Too many people go around asking for other people’s opinions about everything. What should I do with my life? What am I good at? Who am I?

Stop looking for other people to define you. Define yourself. Trust yourself. What separates winners from losers is not the ability to listen to other people’s beliefs, it’s the ability to listen to one’s own beliefs. By setting your own beliefs and holding onto them strongly, you prevent manipulative people from affecting your life. In this way, your beliefs will act as a blockade, keeping manipulators ostracized and out of your way.

4. Try not to fit in.

Keep reinventing yourself. The idea that consistency is somehow virtuous or tied to success is a misconception. Manipulative people want you to be consistent so they can count on you to push their agendas forward. They want you to show up every day at 9am and work for them for minimum wage. They want you to get home on time and clean the house and make them feel good about themselves.

Assembly lines are consistent. Prison is consistent. Consistency is how manipulators keep you in a box. It’s how they control you. The only way to keep from being manipulated is to actively push against all the boundaries that others try to set for you.

Stop trying to fit in. Instead, work to stand out. Work to be different in every possible way and to never stay the same for too long. Personal growth, by definition, requires a lack of consistency. It requires constant change—constant reinvention.

5. Stop compromising.

Guilt is a useless emotion. But it’s a powerful tool. Guilt is one of the weapons that manipulative people will use against you. They’ll make you feel guilty for past failures and small mistakes, or they’ll make you feel guilty for being prideful and overconfident. Any time you spend feeling happy or sure of yourself, they’ll use against you. No one should ever feel too good about themselves, they’ll say.

Another weapon that manipulators will use against you is doubt. They’ll work to instill a sense of self-doubt within you—doubt about your abilities and your worth. Their overall goal is to knock you off balance and make you second guess yourself. Manipulators gain power in this state of uncertainty. Their influence becomes stronger and they are twice as likely to convince you to compromise on your values, your goals, and yourself.

The solution is simple—stop feeling guilty. Stop doubting yourself. When it comes to your own life, you don’t owe anyone anything. You deserve to feel good about yourself and to be proud of your accomplishments. You deserve to feel a strong sense of confidence and self-belief in what you’re doing. Compromising on any of these things is not moral or enlightened. Rather, it’s the road to self-destruction.

6. Never ask for permission.

It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. The problem is that we’ve been trained to constantly ask for permission. As a child, we had to beg for everything we wanted—to be fed, changed, and burped. Throughout school we had to ask permission to go to the bathroom, we had to wait to eat lunch at a designated time, and wait our turn to play with toys. As a result, most people never stop waiting for permission.

Employees around the world wait to be promoted and wait for their turn to talk. Most are so used to being picked that they sit silently in meetings, afraid to speak out of turn or to even raise their hands. There is a different way to live.

What if you did whatever you wanted to do whenever you wanted to do it? What if you stopped being overly concerned with politeness and making others feel comfortable? What if, instead, you live your life exactly the way you want to? These are all things you can do at any time.

Manipulative people want you to feel beholden to some imaginary rule or ideal that says you cannot freely take action without consulting either an authoritative figure or some group. The truth is you can disregard this sense of confinement at any time. You can start living your life today radically different that you lived it yesterday. The choice is yours to make.

7. Create a greater sense of purpose.

People driven by destiny are not easily fooled. The reason manipulators continue to thrive in this world is because so many people are living purposeless lives. When your life lacks purpose, you’ll believe anything. You’ll do anything. Because nothing really matters.

People who lack purpose are just killing time. There’s no rhyme or reason behind how they’re living their lives. They don’t know where they’re going or why they’re here. So, to keep from going crazy, they work at pointless jobs and stuff their brains full of celebrity gossip, reality TV, and other forms of useless information. They stay busy to avoid the feeling of desperate emptiness growing inside of them. This busyness and emptiness empowers manipulative people.

There’s a sucker born every minute. If you’re constantly distracted, constantly consuming useless content, constantly trying to stay busy—you’re the sucker. Manipulators control purposeless people by peddling useless information and activities to them. The only way to escape this fate is to develop a sense of destiny. Destiny destroys distraction. When you know you’re going, manipulators can’t hurt you. They can’t distract you or misguide you.

8. Keep taking new opportunities.

The world wants you to put your eggs in one basket. Everyone and everything around you is telling you to lock yourself into a mortgage, a car payment, a stale relationship, a single office job, on and on. They want you to stay staked down to a single opportunity for the rest of your life.

Nowadays, being ambitious is often looked down upon. Staying hungry is often seen a sign of weakness. Why can’t you be content with what you have? Why are you so greedy? This is what manipulative people will ask you when you express a desire for more. They will call you selfish, arrogant, and prideful. They will make you feel cold and awkward, like you are inhumane and heartless. The truth is they want to keep you in your place. They want you to stay at the same job and live in the same place for the rest of your life. They want you to stay dependent on them and the systems they control.

The only way to stay independent is to constantly seek out and create new opportunities. Keep applying to new jobs, keep starting new businesses, keep building new relationships, and keep chasing new experiences.

9. Quit being a baby.

If someone fools you once, shame on them. If someone fools you 10 times, you’re an idiot. Stop letting manipulators walk all over you. Stop being a punching bag. No one feels bad for you and you’re only embarrassing yourself. Have enough self-awareness and self-respect to say no to manipulative people.

You can’t just walk through life blaming other people for your problems. You can’t just walk through life oblivious to the people trying to manipulate you either. Yes, negative and manipulative people exist. And yes, these people will try to use you. But that doesn’t mean you get a free pass to make mistakes and be used.

No one can manipulate you without your permission. You’re responsible for your own successes and failures. If others outthink or out-strategize you—it’s your fault, not theirs. Be accountable. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t keep trusting the same slippery person over and over again. Cut them loose. Delete them from your life. Commit to surrounding yourself with likeminded people who aren’t going to use you.

10. Bet on yourself.

Take a chance on the one thing you can control in life—yourself. When it comes to making tough decisions, too many people limit themselves to considering just external factors. They consider the financial and relationship consequences of a situation. But they fail to consider the effects their decision will have on their personal happiness and sense of self-worth. As a result, they take chances on other people when they should be taking chances on themselves. Then they wonder why they’re miserable.

When you only take chances on external people and things, you place yourself at the mercy of those people and things. This makes you vulnerable and ripe for manipulation. Instead, you should be taking chances on yourself. In any difficult situation you’re faced with, don’t ask questions like, “Who is the better person to side with?” or “Which option is more likely to be successful?” Instead, ask, “What do I want to do most?” and then go out and do it.

If, for example, you’re faced with an opportunity to start your own business or stay working at the same dead end job, don’t stay at the job just because the pay is only slightly pathetic. Don’t stay just because the relationships are only slightly miserable. When you do this, you’re betting on external factors. This is always a mistake. A better strategy is to bet on yourself.

You’ll never regret betting on yourself. Sure, you’ll have to take full responsibility for any mistakes you commit. Sure, you’ll have to hold yourself to a higher standard. But you’ll also be fully responsible for your own victories too. You’ll continue to grow and achieve greater and greater levels of success.


Source: https://www.isaiahhankel.com/manipulative-people

Recipe Archives: Quinoa Dressing 

You’ll Need:

• 1 box of Harmony Quinoa

• 1/3 cup of sliced White Onion

• 1 package of Turkey Sausage

• Extra Virgin Olive Oil

• 1 medium-large Pot

• 1 medium-large Skillet

• 1 13×9 inch Baking Pan

1.) Boil the quinoa in a medium large pot on a medium high heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to a low flame & let it simmer. Add water as needed until the quinoa is fluffy & tender. Drain excess water from the cooked quinoa

2.) After the quinoa is drained, simmer your sausages in a skillet with 2 tablespoons of EVOO & onion over a medium heat

3.) While the sausage is cooking, add 1 cup of EVOO to the quinoa and stir 

4.) Once the sausages are thoroughly cooked, slice them into 1 inch bites

5.) Combine your sausage, onions, and sausage drippings to your cooked quinoa and stir

6.) Pour your dressing into the baking pan & bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes

7.) Enjoy your beautiful creation!
Pairing Suggestions: Baked Sweet Potato Fries & Fresh or Frozen Green Beans  

Recipe Archives: Chicken Alfredo

You’ll need:

• 1 lb of chicken tenderloins

• 1 jar of Classico Brand Alfredo sauce

• 1 box of whole wheat penne pasta

• 3 cups of raw spinach

• 2 teaspoons of honey

• 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper

• salt

• pepper

• 4 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

• 1 large skillet or wok

• 1 medium large pot

• 1 cutting board or extra plate

• 1 cutting knife 

1.) Fill your pot with water and heat to boil and salt the boiling water with 2 pinches of salt. While you’re boiling the water heat 2 tbsp of EVOO in your skillet

2.) Slice your chicken into cubes and toss into the heated skillet. Once the chicken starts to brown at the bottom, add your cayenne pepper & 2 tbsp of pepper

3.) Once the water is boiling add your pasta and heat until soft

4.) Stir your chicken until it is fully cooked. Once fully cooked add your sauce and spinach leaves and heat on a medium fire

5.) Once your pasta is soft, drain the excess water in the sink 

6.) Once all of your spinach is wilted, stir the sauce mixture. Once sauce ingredients are blended, combine it with the plain pasta.

7.) Stir until blended well

8.) Add remaining oil & honey. Stir.

9.) Dig in! (Salt to taste if needed)
Pairing Suggestion: Spinach salad with EVOO, pepper & curry powder

Chef Diaries: Broken Pieces of My Soul

     I have realized that food is more than an edible substance that I consume to stay alive. It is more than plated poetry. It is the song of my soul. It is proven to provide fuel for my physical, mental, and emotional creativity. Albert Einstein is quoted stressing the grandiose difference between creativity and  intelligence and how creativity trumps pure intellect. When prepared correctly, food is a healing balm for my soul. I would go so far as to say that without food Rachel would cease to exist; and creativity would be held captive to bad rubbish.

     I have been in situations where I was forced to eat in a stereotypical American fashion. As I expected, my soul became captive to its poison. My peace was robbed. I need fresh fruit and fine, pressed oils. I need whole wheat and whole grains. I need the nourishment of salmon. I need the soft kiss of Greek yogurt and the song of sweet tea, pasturized oranges, and pressed apples. Removing these items chokes the very breath of my existence.

     When I cook in my accustomed style, I breathe slowly, deeply, light, and surely. I am transferring my emotions and mental attitudes into a pot or skillet and fastening them creatively on a plate to mimic the attitude of my spirit man. You might scoff, “That is just an overly passionate lyric”. I am here to tell you that any true cook can indentify with my perspective. For us, we reflect our insides with food, and then resubmit them to the body. It is a form of medicine. It is an act of self love. That level of functioning is our sanity.

Vibin’ Vivian

Her hips twist like licorice

Sweet black substance indeed

Heavenly hair 

Curls undefined

Unbound, unbrined.

Angelic lova!

Thinking of ways to love

How to live…how to love

Vibin Vivian on tha block

Her children stand and bless her.

Dudes be jockin.

Bad spirits follow to harass her….

Lips ruby red wet & wild from Walgreens

Ring finger on lock by the most high until her hubby came to scoop her up

Vibin vivian what they call her round the block

Never had her nose up

Always hugging children

Tutored my daughter after school 

She got straight A’s

1 B 1 B 1 B

The one math teacher tried to hold her down 

1 B 1 B 

That 1 B****

She came with me to confront the principal.

Let my daughter live

Let my sister give

My sister open your eyes 

We’re alike intertwined 

Colors of the rainbow 

Ribbons in the sky


So divine

I’m so high

Live life live love

Live hard live love or die young

My heart opened. Mesmerized. Trance like.

1 B 1 B

I’ll always remember that 1 B

2 3

You see she’s 23 

2nd grade is where I met her

She grew up

Such a sweetheart

What is a vibration?

Activity of the limbs, the heart, the tounge

The style, the swag

Fingers on a harp intertwined for a higher purpose

Make me golden, make me black, make me hard, make me soft, make me alive

Vibrations are in your actions.

What do yours say about you? 

Vibin Vivian coming at you over the written 1’s & 2’s. . . . . 

Chef Diaries: The Dissertation

Dear Diary,

When I think of my culinary brand, I think of change, prayer, and peace. I swear I am such a hippie. It’s who I am. Hope’s Kitchen has grown so much, I am proud of the baby I have birthed. If Hope’s Kitchen were described in a pictorial matter I would equate it to pink cherry blossoms covering a mother’s womb sharing in the joy of a newborn baking in her womb. Alas however, there’s still so much work to be done.

One evening while I was leaving Louisiana State University, I was discussing levels of education with a friend. We discussed our perceived insecurities of those who undergo both master’s and doctorate degrees and compared our intellectual backgrounds and exposure to culture and books. As we talked, I discovered that Hope’s Kitchen is my dissertation to the school of hard knocks as well as the American cooking industry. Food has been my passion since I was a little girl, but I never though it would grown into this. I realized that I am challenging not only American culture, but also international cooking and the natural tendencies of the human soul. I have been so dedicated to helping people’s body’s and minds and yet I haven’t lost myself. Instead, I heal.

Realizations and Revelations: A Word On Poverty Part 2

     I reminisced on the subject of poverty one morning during Sunday school. I concluded that poverty is not a demonic power or force. Jesus was poor, and the scripture declares: 

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”(‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭8:9‬ ‭(NIV‬‬))

     Being rich is a state of mind. When you posses wealth inside of your mind, soul, and spirit, a harvest of wealth blooms in everything you have and everything you do. If you are wealthy on the inside, the size of your bank account is irrelevant. Poverty is not a tangible lack. Poverty is the lack of your inner bank account coming to pass in reality.

Recipe Archives: Cheeseburger Quesadillas

Sooooo….. it’s been a very long time since I’ve posted a recipe! Sorry for the wait. This recipe embodies America and Mexican delights that will soothe your pallet. You can call it freedom food.

You’ll Need:

•2 whole wheat quesadillas

• 1 cup of cubed sharp cheddar

• Turkey Burgers (seperately made)

• 1 tbsp of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

Turkey Burger Ingredients:

• 1 pound of ground turkey (great buy at Walmart!)

• 1 package of crumbled feta cheese (another great Walmart find)

• 1 egg

•1 annehiem pepper  (chopped)

• 1 & 1/2 tbsp salt

• 3 dashes of pepper

• 1 skillet

• 1 baking pans

• 1 plate 

• 2 tbsp of EVOO

• 1 spatula


1.)  In your baking pan combine the ground turkey, pepper, cheese, salt, pepper & egg 

2.) While you’re squishing Burgers heat the recommended amount of EVOO in a skillet on medium heat

3.) After the meat is prepped mold little balls about 2-3 inches wide & 1-1 & 1/2 inches thick & place them in a skillet 

4.) Heat your Burgers on both sides and press them with your spatula until both sides are crisp on the outside and the inside has somewhat hardened

5.) Repeat this process & add the cooked Burgers on a plate

6.) After the Burgers are finished wash & dry your skillet to reuse for quesadilla pressing with recommended EVOO & medium – low heat

*NOTE*: I used day old Burgers that chilled overnight but fresh ones should still be tasty!

Quesadilla Pressing:

7.) Place your tortilla in the skillet & while it’s heating add half of a cup of your cubed sharp cheddar cheese over half of the tortilla

8) While it the cheese is melting & your tortilla is toasting QUICKLY crumble one burger over the half of the tortilla with the melting cheese & fold then press with your spatula

9) Lift the bottom of your folded quesadilla slightly to prevent it from sticking to the skillet then flip your creation to the other side 

10.) Once both sides are browned & crisp you’re ready to dig in!

11.) Repeat this process with your second tortilla & then dig in!

Suggested pairs: Green or Red Grapes & Green Salad with tomato & a spiced Greek yogurt dressing

FUN FACTS: Wheat filled eating patterns fuel you with vitamin b complex which improves metabolism, increases life span & boosts the immune system which can help under stressful conditions. It also regulates blood glucose levels in diabetic patients & lowers the hazzards of heart disease. 

Extra virgin olive oil reduces the stress on your breathing & improves brain health!


Health Benefits of Wheat

Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Health