Thursday, November 25, 2010

Miss Moon's Musing About: Gratitude

Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.
- Kahlil Gibran

To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.
- Albert Schweitzer

The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!
- Henry Ward Beecher

Thanksgiving is a time for celebrating all of the things in our lives we're grateful for: health, success, family, friends, love, wisdom... all of the lessons and blessings we may encounter this year, the years behind us and the years ahead.

I am been tremendously blessed this year: I have a job that requires makes me think and utilizes my creativity on a daily basis, I have a sister-circle of phenomenal women in my life, I am in love with a terrific, passionate man that loves me ferociously, I have a family that fills my life with love and laughter.

I may not be exactly where I want to be right now, but I am alive and able: able to get there step-by-step, day-by-day. As Cree Summer sings, "It's a good journey... I'm in no hurry". Thank you all for walking with me, I am grateful for your company.

Happy Thanksgiving From Miss Moon's Musings!!!! Peace, Love and Gratitude from Brooklyn!!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

DOPE: "What Teachers Make" by Taylor Mali

I wish I had a teacher like Taylor Mali when I was a kid, man!! This is dedicated to all the teachers out there who actually care... Lord knows that they don't pay you enough, but thank you for doing all you can to educate our children so that our world doesn't become like the one in "Idiocracy".

What Teachers Make, or
Objection Overruled, or
If things don't work out, you can always go to law school

By Taylor Mali

He says the problem with teachers is, "What's a kid going to learn
from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"
He reminds the other dinner guests that it's true what they say about
Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.

I decide to bite my tongue instead of his
and resist the temptation to remind the other dinner guests
that it's also true what they say about lawyers.

Because we're eating, after all, and this is polite company.

"I mean, you¹re a teacher, Taylor," he says.
"Be honest. What do you make?"

And I wish he hadn't done that
(asked me to be honest)
because, you see, I have a policy
about honesty and ass-kicking:
if you ask for it, I have to let you have it.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor
and an A- feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups.
No, you may not ask a question.
Why won't I let you get a drink of water?
Because you're not thirsty, you're bored, that's why.

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home:
I hope I haven't called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something Billy said today.
Billy said, "Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don't you?"
And it was the noblest act of courage I have ever seen.

I make parents see their children for who they are
and what they can be.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write, write, write.
And then I make them read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely
over and over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math.
And hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you got this (brains)
then you follow this (heart) and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this (the finger).

Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
I make a goddamn difference! What about you?

:::drools::: Jessica Alba-style for Plus Size Fashionistas

I haven't posted a :::drools::: post for a while because I haven't found a celebrity outfit that inspired me in ages. Discussing my writer's block with my Darling Mum, she offered to buy me a fashion mag from our local Duane Reade in the hopes that it would give me some celebrity style ideas... and boy did it, thanks Mum!!!

Inspired again, I scoured the internet and found a terrific photo of Jessica Alba which I immediately knew I wanted to replicate for plus size fashionistas!!!

Jessica is rocking a Dolce and Gabbana Fall 2010 dress coupled with some gorgeous bangles, a killer black nail polish shade and buckled gladiator heels courtesy of Michael Kors. Let's get started on how I worked the outfit out --

Let's face it... it all starts with the dress. I fell head over heels in love with the Printed Velvet Dress Length (£40.00/$63.66, Simply Be) I wish I could've found a dress that had the fuller bottom, but I love the rose print and you can't beat how similar the dresses are... black band and all!!

I decided to make the shoe selection a bit more weather-appropriate for the girls in colder climates (Of course we can rock open toed shoes in the winter, but really... we shouldn't!) and selected the Madden Girl Sing Sing Bootie ($44.95, DSW). Jessica's shoes are all about the cross strap and silver buckles... and these Sing Sing Bootie has that!!!

For Jessica's bracelets, I went to my favorite go-to place for low cost, groovy jewelry and selected the Chic Bangle Set ($7.80, Forever 21).. a simple and economical addition to any outfit for a bit of va va va voooom!!!

And last but not least, for nail polish, you can't go wrong with Rimmel Lasting Finish Nail Polish Black Satin ($3.99, CVS). This finishing touch will have you Red Carpet Ready in no time... just like Jessica Alba!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Music Therapy with Miss Moon

Like many, I am not a fan of Mondays. It always takes a great song to motivate me to get up and look forward to the week to come. One of my favorite songs for Mondays is this week's Music Therapy with Miss Moon choice. It is chock full of swagger and one listen with have you vamping in front of your bedroom mirror... You might even rock a red lip, just because. If you have never heard of Betty Mabry Davis, you need to Google this Sistah, like, YESTERDAY!!! Enjoy "If I'm In Luck I Might Get Picked Up" by Betty Davis!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Little [JANELLE MONAE] for a Saturday Night

Happy Saturday, Everyone!!! This week was a tough one for this Brooklyn Geechee. I returned to work (despite not being 100% yet... I'm a trouper!) and have started to get caught up with all the work that I missed. Suffice to say, I've been coming home exhausted every single night, which explains the lack of blog posts.

This weekend is all about relaxation, kicking back, being quiet and just enjoying the stillness. My selection for this week's "for a Saturday Night" song is a PERFECT accompaniment for my mood, and it goes out with a very special shout out to my friend Marianne (Who celebrated a birthday this past week.. Scorpio Sister!!) who loves this song as much as I do. I hope that you all will love "Sir Greendown" by Janelle Monae....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Wanna Go Shopping with... Tracee Ellis Ross

Those of you new to my blog (who haven't checked out my older posts) may not be aware of this... but I have a MAJOR girl-crush on Tracee Ellis Ross' style. It would only be fitting to select her for my next installment of I Wanna Go Shopping with... Enjoy!!

I love this look... from the dress, to the belt (?) all the way to the booties.

Casually Fly!!! I have to recreate this look one weekend!!

Love, love, love it!!!!!!

Basic Black is Beautiful!!!!

Blue's my favorite color, so you know I'm loving this!!!

I've been stalking this outfit for ages!!! I need to find a decent plus sized tuxedo jacket to pull this one off!!!

There you have it... Is there a celebrity you'd like to go on a dream shopping spree with? Leave a comment, and your favorite celeb may be featured in a future post!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Music Therapy with Miss Moon

I am feeling so much better, and am so excited to return to work tomorrow. I wanted to select a song that really encapsulates my feelings about my life. I may not have everything, but I am alive, and am blessed with an opportunity to shine. As we all are.... so I hope you will enjoy this week's Music Therapy with Miss Moon choice, "Star", courtesy of The Roots.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Little [SADE] for a Saturday Night

Sade and Saturday Nights go together like peanut butter and jelly, don't they? There's something about listening to her music that makes you want to shut out the world, lay back, listen and dream. Why did I just think to select a Sade song for "a Saturday Night"?

I hope that you all will enjoy "Kiss of Life" this Saturday Night and that the sultry voice of Sade will soothe your cares away.

D-I-Y Nappturaliciously: Mixtress Magic - Heavenly Hair Oils

Now that the weather is starting to get a bit colder... it's time to incorporate oils into my hair routine to give my hair some extra moisture. Since I am wanting to be more of a D-I-Y kind of Natural, I did some research on Hair Oils that can be made at home, and of course I am going to share my knowledge... Enjoy!

Ginger Hair Oil

1 tablepoon of freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon of sesame, jojoba or olive oil.


Combine well and apply to the scalp as a hot oil treatment. Massage for 5-10 minutes and let penetrate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Cover with a hot wet towel and sit under a dryer for deeper penetration! Your scalp will feel all warm and tingly!

This oil can also be applied before shampooing the hair as a stimulating pretreatment. Or, you can apply to the scalp as you deep condition to add an extra kick to your conditioning treatments. Just make sure to rinse well!

Hibiscus Hair Oil

3 tablespoons Hibiscus Petal powder
8 oz Jojoba Oil


Add Jojoba Oil to a pot and add hibiscus petal powder and mix well. Heat the oil in a low flame. When it starts to fume, remove from heat and allow to cool. Then sieve the oil into a glass or ceramic bottle.

Acai Hair Serum

1 once Acai Oil
2 once Jojoba
1 once Camellia Oil
Jasmine Fragrance

Lavendar Rosemary Hot Oil

1/2 cup organic soybean oil or organic sunflower oil
5 drops oil of rosemary
10 drops oil of lavender


Mix all ingredients well. Warm slightly and apply the mixture to damp hair. Wrap hair in plastic wrap and apply a hot towel for 20 minutes. Shampoo.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Miss Moon's Musing About: "For Colored Girls".. and the Backlash

“ When I die, I will not be guilty of having left a generation of girls behind thinking that anyone can tend to their emotional health other than themselves.”
-- Ntozake Shange

I admit to being more than a little bit nervous when I learned that Tyler Perry was taking on "For Colored Girls", primarily because he is a relatively young director and I thought he may not have the chops to take on such a important piece of work. Despite my fears, I vowed to go see the movie due to my love and adoration for the works of Ntozake Shange. And despite the anger and controversy surrounding the film, I am very much looking forward to seeing the movie this weekend.

The backlash to this movie isn't really surprising to me. When "The Color Purple" came out, it received a similar backlash (Check Out Alice Walker's Book "The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult" which chronicles her experience making the movie and the aftermath).

I will never truly understand why there is always this feeling of betrayal that is talked about and discussed when a movie is about black women and actually tackles serious issues. Think about the opinion pieces that were written in response to “The Color Purple” and “Waiting to Exhale”.

Are all black men abusive, alcoholic, evil beings who only spread chaos and despair in a black woman's life? Absolutely not. Should we ignore the fact that there ARE men like “Mister” or “Beau Willie” in the world? Should we ignore the fact that as you read these words, a woman somewhere is being abused? We should not!!! And we shouldn't prevent a woman from relating and seeing their lives, or the lives of their Mothers portrayed on the silver screen. I can talk about the way women are portrayed in classic movies that are geared to black men (New Jack City, Boyz in the Hood, etc.), but I am not interested in turning the tables.

The contempt and fear of “For Colored Girls” is strangely reminiscent to me of plantation owners fearing groups of slaves assembling. There is nothing wrong with women sharing their stories with each other: the good, the bad, their fear, anger, frustration, passion and their hope.

Black women have always had to be strong for their families, for their communities... often at the expense of their own personal development. Why is a black woman's journey to “find God” in herself tantamount to selling out in some way? A fantastic part of life is finding a connection: to God, to each other, to life, to one's own sense of purpose, and to deny any woman (or any man for that matter) the chance to find that connection is sinful.

This movie can be considered a great opportunity to discuss the impact of substance abuse, of rape, of domestic violence and how it affects our culture. To ignore this opportunity by debating Tyler Perry's worthiness as a director, Janet Jackson's acting prowess and even if this movie is “male-bashing” is a disservice to women and children in need of our love, our protection and our respect.

We gotta dance to keep from cryin
We gotta dance to keep from dyin
So come on
Come on
Come on
Hold yr head like it was a ruby sapphire

Yummm! A Tasty Thanksgiving Feast!!

A sure sign that I am feeling better is that my mind has racing with recipes ideas for Thanksgiving this year. I put together a delicious assortment of goodies to truly be thankful for!

Smoked Turkey with BBQ Gravy

Recipe courtesy The Neelys, Food Network


2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons ground sage
1 1/2 tablespoons thyme
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon Neelys Seasoning, recipe follows

Turkey Brine:
1 gallon water
2 cups salt
3 cups apple juice
1 cup bourbon
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 (22-pound) turkey
Olive oil
4 cups hickory wood chips, soaked in water for 60 minutes
BBQ Gravy, recipe follows

For the rub:
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and reserve.

For the brine:
Mix the water, salt, apple juice, bourbon, peppercorn, and sugar into a 5-gallon bucket lined with a resealable bag. Stir until the salt and sugar is dissolved. Add the turkey into the bag with the brine. In a garbage bag-lined ice chest filled with ice, place the bucket in and surround with ice. Keep in a cool place and let brine 6 hours or overnight. Turn the turkey after 3 hours. Remove turkey from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.

Rub the turkey with olive oil and massage the rub onto the Turkey.

Soak wood chips for 1 hour prior to cooking the turkey and drain well. Fill the chimney starter with charcoal and light. Burn until they ash over. Place the burned coals to 1 side of the grill. Place wood chips on top of coals. Line a standard size loaf pan with aluminum foil and fill 2/3 with water. Place in the grill opposite the coals.

Take the turkey and place on the grill over the pan of water. Insert a probe thermometer in the thigh to keep a check on the temperature as it cooks. Place the lid on the grill with the vent open.

The temperature should remain constant at 225 degrees F. You may need to add more coals and chips every few hours.

After 1 hour check the turkey, if the skin is golden brown cover with foil. Continue cooking for 4 to 6 more hours or until a probe thermometer reaches 160 degrees F.

Remove from the oven and let rest 20 minutes before you carve. Serve with BBQ Gravy.

Neelys Seasoning:
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups paprika
3 3/4 tablespoons onion powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an air tight container for up to 6 months.

BBQ Gravy:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Drumstick, from turkey
Neck, from turkey
1 large onion, sliced
8 cups turkey stock or chicken stock
1/4 cup BBQ Sauce (recommended: Neelys BBQ Sauce)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the drumstick and neck and sear until brown. Remove from pan and reserve.

Lower heat and saute the onions. Add the stock, scrapping up the fond on the bottom of the pan. Add the drumstick and neck into the saucepan. Cover and let simmer until it comes to a boil; about 1 hour. Sauce will reduce down greatly. Remove turkey parts. Add BBQ sauce to pan and whisk together. Gravy will thicken. Season with salt and pepper.

Wild Rice and Mushroom Stuffing

Recipe Courtesy of Bon Appétit

2 cups wild rice (about 12 ounces)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
12 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced
12 ounces oyster mushrooms, sliced
2 large onions, chopped (about 4 cups)
1 large dried ancho chile,* stemmed, seeded, finely chopped
2 cups brown basmati rice
5 cups low-salt chicken broth
3 bay leaves (preferably fresh)
1 teaspoon (or more) coarse kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley


Place wild rice in heavy medium saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover rice by 3 inches. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until rice is almost tender, about 45 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add shiitakes; sauté until brown, about 7 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil to same pot; heat over medium-high heat. Add oyster mushrooms; sauté until brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with shiitakes.
Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil to same pot; heat over medium heat. Add onions to pot; sauté until golden and very tender, about 20 minutes. Add chile; stir 1 minute. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil to pot; add brown rice and stir 2 minutes. Add wild rice, broth, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon coarse salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover and simmer until all rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, 35 to 40 minutes. Fluff rice mixture with fork. Stir in mushrooms and parsley. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Stir briefly over medium heat until heated through. Transfer to large bowl.
* Available at many supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and Latin markets.

Hearty Garlic Greens

Recipe Courtesy of Martha Stewart


1 1/2 pounds autumn hearty greens, well washed, stems removed, and sliced into 3-inch strips
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, sliced paper-thin
1 pound spinach
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop hearty greens into water and blanch for 4 minutes. Immediately plunge blanched greens into a bowl of ice-cold water to stop the cooking. Drain, squeeze dry, and set aside.
Heat oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook until the garlic is golden around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove garlic from skillet; set aside.
Raise heat to high. Add hearty greens and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add spinach; season with salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Cook until spinach wilts, stirring frequently (about a minute). Return garlic to pan and stir. The greens can be served immediately or at room temperature.

Basil, Roasted Peppers and Monterey Jack Cornbread

Recipe Courtesy of


1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1 cup chopped onion
1 3/4 cups cornmeal
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups shredded pepperjack cheese
1 1/3 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
2 ounces roasted marinated red bell peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Butter a 9x9x2 inch baking pan.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in medium nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Cool.
Mix cornmeal with the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda in large bowl. Add 7 tablespoons butter and rub with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Whisk buttermilk and eggs in medium bowl to blend. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir until blended. Mix in cheese, corn, red peppers, basil, and onion. Transfer to prepared pan.
Bake cornbread until golden and tester inserted comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool 20 minutes in pan. Cut cornbread into squares.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Recipe Courtesy of Joy of Baking



1 cup (100 grams) graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cups (50 grams) finely ground ginger cookies, homemade or store bought
1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated white sugar
4 - 5 tablespoons (56 - 60 grams) unsalted butter, melted


2/3 cup (145 grams) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound (454 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (210 grams) pure pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)


1 cup (240 ml) sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter (or spray with a non stick spray) an 8 inch (20 cm) spring form pan.

For Crust: In a medium sized bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, finely ground ginger snap cookies, sugar, and melted butter. Press the mixture onto the bottom of the prepared spring form pan. Cover and refrigerate while you make the cheesecake filling.

For Cheesecake: In a separate bowl, stir to combine the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), on low speed, beat the cream cheese until smooth (about 2 minutes). Gradually add the sugar mixture and beat until creamy and smooth (1 to 2 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (about 30 seconds) after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree.

Pour the filling over the chilled ginger crust and place the spring form pan on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Place a cake pan, filled halfway with hot water, on the bottom shelf of your oven to moisten the air. Bake the cheesecake for 30 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees C (165 degrees C) and continue to bake the cheesecake for another 10 - 20 minutes, or until the edges of the cheesecake are puffed but the center is still wet and jiggles when you gently shake the pan.

Meanwhile whisk together the sour cream, vanilla extract and sugar. Pour the sour cream mixture over the top of the baked cheesecake and rotate the pan slightly to evenly distribute the topping. Return the cheesecake to the oven and bake about 8 minutes to set the topping. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Loosen the cake from the pan by running a sharp knife around the inside edge (this will help prevent the cake from cracking). Then place a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the pan so the cheesecake will cool slowly. When completely cooled, cover and refrigerate at least eight hours, preferably overnight, before serving.

Serves 10-12 people.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Miss Moon's Musing About: My UNEXPECTED Vacation!!

Me with my sexy I.V.
I have been in Brooklyn Hospital since late Friday morning, diagnosed with pneumonia. The last few days have been enlightening for me. The major lesson I have learned is not to hold off getting the necessary care you need.

I was super sick last week with what I thought was a cold. It was frustrating because when I woke up convinced I was ready to go back to work, I would lose my breath in the process. Thursday was the very worse, and I knew it was time to stop faking the funk, stop pretending this was not more than a tough cold and get myself to my local health clinic to get some medical care. I thought that worse case scenario, I had bronchitis... Imagine my surprise when the doctor I saw informed me that am ambulance was on its way to take me to the emergency room.

Picture taken from inside ambulance

After spending a little of 12 hours in the E.R.,I was admitted to Brooklyn Hospital, and settled into my room.

Now I have never had an extended hospital stay in my almost-33-years (tomorrow)since I was born, so the experience was an interesting adventure. I was released today, and am on bed-rest for the next five days, so this will be the last you will hear from me most likely until this week's Saturday Night selection.

I just wanted to post something to let you know what I've been up to and to say I missed blogging like crazy!!