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

Diamonds Soundtrack: Never Give Up

Never Give Up by Yolanda Adams:

Visions that can change the world
Trapped inside an ordinary girl
She looks just like me
To afraid to dream out loud

And though it’s set for your idea
It won’t make sense to everybody
You need courage now
If you’re going to persevere

To fulfill your divine purpose
You’ve gotta answer when you’re called
So don’t be afraid to face the world
Against all odds

Keep the dream alive don’t let it die, if something deep inside
Keeps inspiring you to try, don’t stop
And never give up; don’t ever give up on you
Don’t give up

Every victory comes in time
Work today to change tomorrow
It gets easier
Who’s to say that you can’t fly?

Every step you take you gets
Closer to your destination
You can feel it now
Don’t you know you’re almost there?

To fulfill your life’s purpose
You’ve gotta’ answer when you’re called
So don’t be afraid to face the world
Against all odds

Keep the dream alive don’t let it die, if something deep inside
Keeps inspiring you to try, don’t stop
And never give up; don’t ever give up on you

Sometimes life can place a stubborn block in your way
But you’ve gotta keep the faith
Reap what deep inside your heart
To fly

And never give up
Don’t ever give up on you,
Don’t give up

Who holds the pieces to complete the puzzle?
The answer that can solve the mystery
The key that can unlock your understanding
It’s all inside of you
You have everything you need

So, keep the dream alive don’t let it die
If something deep inside keeps inspiring you to try
Don’t stop
And never give up; don’t ever give up on you

Sometimes life can place a stubborn block on your way
But you’ve gotta keep the faith
Bring what’s deep inside your heart
To the light

And never give up
Don’t ever give up on you
No don’t give up
No, no, no, no

Don’t give up
Don’t give up
Don’t give up
Oh, don’t, no, no, no, no
Don’t, give, up

Diamonds Soundtrack: Dear No One

“Dear No One” by Tori Kelly

I like being independent
Not so much of an investment
No one to tell me what to do
I like being by myself
Don’t gotta entertain anybody else
No one to answer to…

But sometimes, I just want somebody to hold
Someone to give me the jacket when it’s cold
Got that young love even when we’re old
Yeah sometimes, I want someone to grab my hand
Pick me up, pull me close, be my man
I will love you till the end

So if you’re out there I swear to be good to you
But I’m done lookin’, for my future someone
Cause when the time is right
You’ll be here, but for now
Dear no one, this is your love song

I don’t really like big crowds
I tend to shut people out
I like my space, yeah
But I’d love to have a soulmate
And God’ll give him to me someday
And I know it’ll be worth the wait, oh

So if you’re out there I swear to be good to you
But I’m done lookin’ (But I’m done lookin’), for my future someone
Cause when the time is right
You’ll be here, but for now
Dear no one (Dear nobody) this is your love song (Ooo-Oooh)

Sometimes, I just want somebody to hold
Someone to give me the jacket when it’s cold
Got that young love even when we’re old
Yeah sometimes, I want someone to grab my hand
Pick me up, pull me close, be my man
I will love you till the end

So if you’re out there I swear to be good to you
But I’m done lookin’ (I’m done lookin’), for my future someone (Ooo-Yeah)
Cause when the time is right
You’ll be here, but for now
Dear no one (Dear Nobody) this is your love song (This is your love song)
Dear no one, no need to be searchin’, no
Dear no one…
Dear no one…
Dear No one, this is your love song

How To Get Over Your First Love.

     I was looking back over my life one day, and I started to reminisce about first love. I was 17 with a heavyset figure. He was 6 foot 3 with dreadlocks. He was skinny and played basketball for the local high school. We were both brace faced, lonesome teenagers with big dreams living in a crack infested, poverty stricken neighborhood. It was the beginning of summer in 2010. We lived across the street from each other. Our families knew one another, and he was friends with my younger cousin who had just moved to town. He would always tease me on the bus on the way home from school. It was his way of sheepishly giving me attention. It annoyed me, but I still found it cute. One day he courageously waltzed over to me and confessed his feelings for me after two years of hinting and teasing me around his peers. Our romance started quickly and lasted almost four years. Sadly, it was one of the worst decisions I have ever made in my life. It caused me health problems, destroyed my self-esteem, and corrupted my innocence. He was indeed in love with me, but he had a sick soul and treated me poorly because of it. A few months before my 21st birthday, we grew apart and went our separate ways. We went in two completely different directions in life. I’m 23 years old now, and I’ve just started to accept living without him. I’ve let go of the idea of marrying him, and having his children. I’m healing from the years of damage caused by that horrible relationship.

Here’s an article that I found one day while reminiscing that I wanted to share with whomever is having a hard time getting over a first love:

Getting over your first love can be tough. Your first love teaches you what it’s like to be in a romantic relationship. Experiencing anything for the first time sets the tone for how you will engage in such experiences in the future. If you’re struggling to get over your first love, this is perfectly normal. This is something most people struggle with, but there are things you can do to help yourself move on. First, limit thoughts of your ex. Try to focus on the present and not dwell on the past. Try to adopt a healthier perspective about the relationship. While it ended, you learned a lot about yourself by being in love. After grieving, try to move forward. Focus on what’s ahead of you rather than your lost love.

Limit time spent thinking of your ex. You may think that you should eliminate your ex from your thoughts altogether. However, this strategy can very easily backfire. If you try to force yourself not to think about something, you’ll only think about it more. Instead of trying not to think about your ex altogether, limit the time you spend thinking of them. This is a more sustainable strategy.[1] •Choose a certain time in the day where you can thoughts of your ex out of your system. You could, for example, think about your ex for half an hour every morning. If you’re having trouble coming up with memories, try listening to a song or thinking about a movie the two of you loved.
•After this, try to avoid thinking about your ex for the rest of the day. If thoughts creep back in, say something to yourself like, “I’ve already thought

Watch for unrealistic thought patterns. If you’re reeling from the loss of a first love, you may be prone to catastrophic thinking. For example, you may think things like, “I’ll never love anyone again” or “I’ll never be happy again.” When you catch yourself engaging in such thoughts, stop and challenge them.[2] •No two relationships are alike. You’re right to think you’ll never feel exactly the same way again. However, this does not mean you’ll never love or be happy again.
•Be realistic. Most people do not end up with their first love. Think about your parents, friends, or other family members. They probably all experienced the loss of a first love, but ended up in healthy relationships later on.
•Remind yourself that, while things are difficult now, in all likelihood you will love again and be happy again, even if it takes time.

Focus on the present. Remind yourself of what you have going for you right now. Think about things like your friends circle, job, interests, and passions. While you may not have the romance you want right now, there’s a lot in the present to focus on.[3]

  • Do things to keep you grounded in the present. Take up a new hobby. Join a club. Volunteer somewhere. Join a gym. Anything that can keep you in the present moment can help.
  • New memories can help you get over the past. Taking concrete steps towards making new, better memories can help you let go of your ex.

Practice self-care. It’s very difficult to think positive when you’re not caring for yourself. You may find it hard to sleep, exercise, or eat right after heartbreak. However, you need to keep up with basic self-care. This will allow you to stay strong and avoid negative thinking.[4]

  • In addition to sleeping and eating right, give yourself treats. Do not be afraid to baby yourself slightly after a breakup.
  • Have a night out with your friends. Order takeout. Go for a long walk or bike ride. Watch a movie you love.

Examine any negative patterns. You can learn something from every relationship. It’s all a process of growing and changing so you can find a healthy, happy longterm romance. When striving to get over your first love, look for any negative patterns you should work on breaking in your next romance.[5]

  • Think about why the relationship ended. Is there any way you could have behaved differently? Is there any reasons the two of you weren’t compatible? Why were you drawn to this person? Was it for the wrong reasons?
  • Most of the time, relationships end because two people are just not right for each other. You can take this as an opportunity to examine how you can pick someone more compatible in the future.

Allow yourself to enjoy past memories. You don’t have to shut out all thoughts of your ex. With time, you may be able to smile on some of what has occurred. Love can trigger wonderful, happy emotions, and your first love will always be special. If you find yourself smiling at a memory, allow yourself to enjoy this rather than shutting the memory out.[6]

  • You can find strength in old memories. You can look at them as a way to remember yourself as a loving person. It can be healthy to remember your best loving self.
  • Old memories can also help you feel better on bad days. You may suddenly remember some encouraging words from your ex when you’re feeling bad about yourself. It’s okay to embrace the good memories, as long as you do so while acknowledging the relationship is over.

Acknowledge there’s nothing special about your first love. First loves can be a wonderful experience. You learn a lot about yourself and are able to experience love for the first time. However, people have a tendency to romanticize their first experience with something. There is likely nothing special about your first relationship beyond the fact it was your first. Remember, you are wired to place first experiences on a pedestal. You do not want this mentality to get in the way of embracing the present.[7]

  • You may remember experiences with your first love in a somewhat inflated manner. In new relationships, this may result in a tendency to compare current feelings to past feelings. However, think about your first experience with anything. You probably inflate these experiences as well. Your first day at a new job probably felt very exciting, but chances nothing that different happened that day than any other day.
  • Instead of seeing your first love as the perfect partner, view your first love in terms of experience. You learned how to love someone and be in a romantic relationship. However, the person you were with is likely not the one and only person for you. You are simply wired to romanticize the memory because it was your first.

See your ex as a way to learn about yourself. Reflect on what you learned during the relationship. Think about what you liked about yourself in the relationship. Did you learn to be more selfless? Did you learn how to care for another person? Even though the relationships over, do not disregard it as a failure. Most romantic relationships you have in life are, in a sense, practice. Value what you learned about yourself and your capacity for love instead of trying to forget the relationship altogether.[8]


Revisit your larger goals. In the wake of loss, you often forget your bigger goals in life. You may think losing your first love means you’ve failed on the goal to find a loving relationship in life. However, look at your larger goals in terms of relationships. One failed relationship does not mean you’ve failed on your goals.[9]

  • Revisit what you want out of life. In addition to finding a loving partner, think of other goals. What kind of career or education do you want, for example?
  • One loss does not mean you have failed. In fact, the vast majority of people face a lot of loss and rejection on the path to larger goals. You do not need this one particular person to eventually reach your goals.

Give yourself time before dating again. Many people feel getting involved with someone else will help them forget their first love. While a new relationship can help distract you from thoughts of the current one, you’re not likely to find relationship success this way. Instead of jumping into a new romance, take some time to reflect.[10]

  • Think about what you want out of a relationship. Think about the ways your need were and were not met. This will help you figure out how to find a more suitable partner in the future.
  • Many people jump from romance to romance, hoping to find the right person. However, if you’re not okay on your own, you will not be able to have a functional romance. You need to grieve your first love and figure out what you want for the future.

Model your behavior after someone else. Look for a friend, family member, or c-worker who has also suffered heartbreak, but moved on successfully. Try to model your behavior off of someone who does not need a relationship to feel fulfilled and happy.[11]

  • Find someone who does okay on their own. You want to lean on someone who does not need a relationship to feel fulfilled.
  • Once you’ve found someone, think about how they cope with heartbreak. Look for the ways they stay independent and strong after a relationship ends.

Accept you will be sad for awhile. While you may want to move forward, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings. Take steps to feel better, but accept sadness is a normal part of the process. Getting over a first love is hard, and even if you’re doing everything right it will not happen over night. Do not beat yourself up for having bad days. This is normal and it will take time to move on.[12]

  • Don’t panic if a reminder of your ex leaves you feeling bad. If you try to hard to avoid the bad feeling, you may make it worse.
  • Instead, accept that you’re going to feel sad for a bit. Let yourself cry if necessary. Get the bad feelings out so you can continue to move forward.