Fighting the good fight


Satin Red Shirt- Pretty Little Thing| Bra- UnderArmour| Leggings- Uniqlo| Boxing Gloves- Twins|Tassel Earrings- H&M

Photography by. Bernadette Mira

Assisted by. Garrett Hagen

When I was a young girl I was constantly dancing. I started dancing to keep the traumatic experiences that I was enduring when I was 6 to about 10 years old at bay. I could express my feelings that way without turning it out on myself. All I wanted to do was dance. There was never a moment that I wasn’t thinking about it. While ‘studying’ at school, I would be creating new dance combos in my head. Then as soon as I would get home from school, I would turn on the stereo and dance in the living room until most of my family members came home and there wasn’t enough room to do double turns and leaps. After dinner,  I would then head to actual dance classes till about the late evening. Even though I needed that support from my parents to understand what I was going through, dance was the only thing that I could rely on. It helped me get through the most painful moments. I would dance while tears were streaming down my face and afterwards I can honestly say that I felt refreshed and felt like I was doing something for myself.

There became a point where dancing was put on hold and unfortunately I never seriously got back into it like when I was at 17. So, after years of almost zero physically activity, I found another passion. It’s been about a year and half now that I started doing kickboxing. I never thought that I would find something else that would make me feel the way that I did when I was dancing. Not only does it make me feel great from just the aspect from working out, but I feel like I have family there.

It’s almost like a slap in the face to the people who weren’t there for me when I was younger. I have that now and I’m grateful for that. If I’m down, people notice and they care to ask. The teachers are remarkable and they care immensely about what they’re doing. The past year and a half, I’ve been in and out of kickboxing from getting sick or hurt, which ALWAYS is a bummer during the down times that I’m out, but I’m always coming back to that space when I recover.  I found my family and I’m not going to let that go.



Spaghetti Bolognese

Serves 4


1 medium onion finely diced

4 large garlic cloves minced

2 tbsp. of olive oil

kosher salt and black pepper to season

1 to 1  1/2 pound of ‘good’ ground beef

1 tbsp. of tomato paste

1 can of puree tomatoes

1/2 cup of water (if needed for sauce)

1/2 tsp. of dried basil

2 tbsp. of dried oregano and fresh oregano to top

1 tsp. of dried thyme 

1 tsp. of red pepper flakes

(More kosher salt and black pepper to taste)

1/2 a packet of spaghetti 

Parmesan cheese 


  1.  For Sauce: In a dutch oven or large skillet, saute onion and garlic on medium heat with 2 tbsp. of olive oil until soft. Season with kosher salt.
  2. Then add 1-1 1/2 pound of ground beef and cook until brown on medium-high heat with the onions and garlic. Season with black pepper and kosher salt.
  3. Once brown, add 1 tbsp. of tomato paste and stir into the meat until combined.
  4. Then add one can of puree tomatoes (if there isn’t enough sauce add 1/2 cup of water to the mix and boil off till the mixture has reduced, for about 15-20 minutes)
  5. While the sauce is boiling off  add the seasonings. Basil, oregano, thyme, red pepper, kosher salt and pepper for taste.
  6. While the sauce is cooking on medium-high heat periodically stir so it doesn’t stick to the pan and or dutch oven.
  7. For Spaghetti: For my spaghetti, I add enough water until it fills the pot half way. I then add a dash of kosher salt and about 1-2 tsp. of olive oil. I then bring the water to a boil and add the spaghetti. I like to cook my pasta till al dente, about 15-18 minutes.
  8. Once draining the spaghetti and the sauce has reduced/seasoned to your liking, grab yourself a big plate and dig in. Be sure to add some fresh oregano and parmesan cheese to top it off! Enjoy!



Overnight Oats and learning French…slowly



Blouse- &Other Stories (similar)| Shorts- Thrifted (similar)

The Penguin French Phrase Book

Photography by. Bernadette Mira


I have been trying to learn French about a year and half now…on and off. I know, that isn’t the way to actually progress, but I get bored easily. All jokes aside, I do, sincerely want to learn how to speak French fluently. My question is though, how does anyone successfully learn a new language?


I want to convince my husband by saying, “Hey honey, I think we need to take a lonnnng trip to Paris so I can finally learn French.” We all know that isn’t going to go over well. WHO even has the funds to do something like that? Maybe, some rich white, eat pray love, woman who during her down time, just lays in the pile of money that she has. I digress, I guess I just have to whip myself back into gear. I need to be putting 100% effort in everyday…when I can, whether that be slapping sticky notes on food or appliances to remember the word pomme for apple.


Speaking of food, this is making me hungry and I need to start preparing breakfast for tomorrow. I try to make meal prep as easy, and painless as possible. So, today I am sharing my recipe for overnight oats. It makes getting up in the morning a breeze and actually enjoyable. You can sit back and eat your oats while you try to learn some french…which hopefully, I’ll be doing.



Pear Overnight Oats

Serves 1


1 cup of Irish style oats

1 cup of almond milk

1/2 tsp. of honey

1/8 tsp. of turmeric

1/4 tsp. of cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

half of a pear finely diced 



  1. Add 1 cup of oats and seasonings to a medium size bowl or cup.
  2. Then add the honey, almond milk and diced pear.
  3. With a spoon stir up the oat mixture until fully incorporated.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight and enjoy the next morning!




Falling over Bagels


All I can ask is “Why?” Sometimes life sends you curve balls. Is that the saying that people say? Well, life has sent me quiet of bit of those balls and sometimes I just want to throw them in the fire. For the past month and a half, almost, I have been suffering with colitis. If you don’t know what that is, please do yourself a favor and don’t look it up, it’s terrible. You literally feel like your dying from the pain and all I can say is take care of your gut and don’t take too many antibiotics IF you can help it.

So, Christmas and the holidays were non-existent for me, because I couldn’t celebrate while kneeling over with pain. Even though the pain kept me down, there have been  days where I have felt fine. On one of those days I decided to embark on making bagels.

Now, I have never in my life made bagels and I honestly thought it would be an easy task, but as you can see some of my bagels have a unique shape. Which is fine and Julia Child would probably approve of the attempt. Yet, in future baking, I am determined to create the perfect, circular shape for a bagel.



Poppy Seed and Parmesan Garlic Bagels

Makes 12


Poppy Seed Bagels

1 tsp. of active yeast

2/3 cup of warm water

1/2 tsp. of brown sugar

2 cups of bread flour

1 tsp. of kosher salt 

1/2 cup of water

1 tsp. of baking soda 

2 beaten eggs for egg wash

1/2- 1 cup of poppy-seeds (make ahead)

Parmesan and Garlic Bagels

1 tsp. of active yeast

2/3 cup of warm water

1/2 tsp. of granulated sugar

2 cups of bread flour

1 tsp. of kosher salt

1/2 cup of water 

1 cup of shaved parmesan (make ahead)

1/2 cup of minced garlic (make ahead)


Extra: flour, oil, damp dish towels, a big pot


  1. In two separate bowls add yeast, warm water and sugar. See Notes. Let both mixtures sit for 5 to 8 minutes. Then set aside.
  2. In two big bowls sift flour and salt together till combined. Then create a well into the flour and add the yeast mixture.
  3. Slowly mix the dough and incorporate the 1/2 cup of water for both mixtures. Then knead the dough for 5-10 minutes or until elastic.
  4. Then lightly oil two clean bowls. Let both of the dough mixtures rest for an hour with a damp cloth on top.
  5. After resting shape the dough into bagels. By doing this, cut the two dough mixtures into halves. Then with a sharp knife cut 6 medium size balls–making 12. (6 for the poppy-seed and 6 for the garlic bagels)
  6. Once you have your twelve balls, gently place your ring finger into the middle of the dough ball until your finger pokes through. Then carefully move the dough around in a circular motion with both of your hands pulling on each side as you go around. See shaping bagel video.
  7. After shaping all twelve bagels, on an oiled sheet or plate let the dough rest again with a damp towel for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 F.
  8. Once the bagels are done resting, create your hot water bath. In a big pot add water about half way with 1 tsp. of baking soda then bring to a simmer.
  9. Once the water has start to simmer, gently with a slotted spoon add the bagels one by one. Do this in batches of twos or threes, depending on the size of your bagels. Let each bagel boil for 2 minutes on each side. Then set aside to rest on a clean plate.
  10. Create your egg wash for the bagels and brush all of them till fully coated. At this point add your toppings, poppy seeds for one batch. Then, fresh minced garlic and shaved parmesan for the other. Cover the bagels completely.
  11. On a baking sheet bake the bagels for 30 minutes or until lightly brown. Bake the bagels in two separate batches.



Notes: For the poppy-seed bagels mix the brown sugar into the yeast/water mixture.



Photography by. Bernadette Mira


Christmas Time is Here (Julia Child’s croissants with cranberry jam filling)

I will always remember that Christmas.

That time of year is back again and I can already feel the anxiety setting in. There are times when I can’t help but think about the past. Especially about the time I opened up to my adoptive father about being sexually abused as a child.

Christmas time when I was a younger was all that I waited for with every passing year. I remember decorating the house till every room was filled with some sort of tinsel or sparkling lights. I cherished every second of it. You couldn’t stop me from dancing to the Grinch soundtrack with The Who’s singing “Trim up the tree with Christmas fluff…” That time of year was magical for me. Over the years it unfortunately lost its sense of innocence. That Christmas when I told my father about being abused left me raw and alone. I will always remember that Christmas.

The week before Christmas I had to say goodbye to my husband. We were both celebrating the holiday with our families, me in Virginia and him in Florida. He was my boyfriend at the time, but I still found it difficult to leave him. Maybe it was because I knew that I could confined in him about being abused. As soon as I made it back to VA with my adoptive parents I felt this sense of gloom over the house. Before entering the house that I grew up in, I looked up at it and all the memories of being abused flooded in. How I stayed in that house for years, I still don’t know how.

When Christmas Day came along I kept on contemplating if I was going to tell my father or not. My mother who already knew and saw me get abused said, “It’s up to you Bernadette.” I had to build up my courage throughout the day until by 8 pm or so I sat my father down and told him.

The moment went by so quickly. All I remember is him saying a joke afterwards about me being abused and him getting me a wet wash cloth to wash away my tears. That’s how it was with them. They think by washing away the problems that they will magically disappear. That method never works.

Now, that I am estranged from them, I can’t help but feel that Christmas has to be perfect. It’s not healthy to think that way and I’m slowly working on it. Even though this year has been tough in so many ways politically, socially and personally,  I have a loving husband. I have a silly dog and a new family in my husband’s family. I have met new people who I can consider real friends. I know that 2018 will be better. I know this because I will keep on trying to live for me and not for the family I grew up with.

Julia Child’s Croissants

Volume Two of Mastering the Art of French Cooking 

By Julia Child and Simone Beck 

Makes 12


1 1/4 tsp. of yeast

3 tbsp. of warm water (100 degrees)

1 tsp. of sugar

Second half of recipe

1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

2 tsp. of sugar

1 1/2 tsp. of salt

2/3 cup of warm milk

2 tbsp. of canola oil

1 3/4 sticks of chilled unsalted butter 

Cranberry Jam

Makes 3/4 cup


1 1/2 cups of fresh cranberries

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. of nutmeg

Pinch of pepper and salt

1/2 tsp. of cinnamon

1/3 cup of fresh orange juice

1/2 cup of water


Croissant Recipe: Equivalent version of croissant recipe. Here is a video of the master herself making some croissants on the show the French Chef.

Directions for Cranberry Jam:

  1. Throughly wash the cranberries, then pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. In a medium size sauce pan, add all the ingredients and stir on medium to high heat until it starts to simmer.
  3. Once it comes to a simmer, turn down the heat between low and medium. Stirring frequently for 15 minutes or until the jam comes to the wrinkle stage.
  4. Once the jam has come to the wrinkle stage, take off the heat and cool for five minutes.
  5. Pour the jam mixture through a fine mesh sieve with a glass bowl underneath to catch the jam. Do this with a spoon and patience. This should take about 10 minutes to get all the mixture through.
  6. Cool the jam in a glass jar and leave in fridge until ready to use. Keeps up to 2 weeks.


Photography by. Bernadette Mira


I often wonder…


Photography by. Bernadette Mira

I often wonder how people discover their “true calling”. Reading through Julia Child’s Life in Paris is fascinating and leaves me the question of how will I know what I would like to do as a career?  I mean Julia was in her late 30s if I remember correctly until she found her calling. Well, began to experiment with the idea of cooking. Perhaps, I am too picky when it comes to these things but I don’t want to be stuck doing something that I  don’t enjoy for years to appease others. I did that once, and I’m not going back there again (fingers crossed)!


So, here I am. Spending most of the days carving out a schedule that wont leave me completely exhausted but filling it out with enough projects to leave me feeling productive. I have been playing with the idea of creating my own career, because being a young black woman in these times and let’s be honest ANY time, I have to create something meaningful for myself. I have learned through all the job interviews that no matter how talented I am that no one is going to give me the job I would ideally want because I am black. I am plunging in head first and fully going into the deep waters to discover myself.

I honestly have nothing to lose at this point. At the brink of living a world where everything seems to fall apart literally every week, I need to make the most of it while I can.


Roasted Carrots and Potatoes with Hummus 

Serves 4



1 can of drained chickpeas 

1/4 cup of Tahini 

1/2 tsp. of paprika 

1/2 tsp. of cumin

1/2 tsp. of oregano 

1/8 tsp. of sea salt 

1/8 tsp. of black pepper

1/8 tsp. of lemon zest

juice from half of a lemon 

4 to 6 tbsp. of olive oil

extra oil for drizzling

Roasted vegetables 

4 to 5 medium size carrots 

1 medium size russet potato cut into half moons 

sea salt and pepper to season 

1 to 2 tbsp. of olive oil to coa


1. Preheat oven to 375 F having a rack directly in the middle.

2. While the oven is preheating, throughly wash the vegetables and pat dry with a paper towel.

3. Then cut the stems/greens off the carrots and cut the potato into half moon shapes (diagonally).

4. Add parchment paper to the baking tray and add the vegetables to the tray while fully coating them in olive oil. Then season generously with salt and pepper.

5. Roast the vegetables to 30 to 45 minutes or until tender to the touch. Then let rest for five minutes and serve with hummus.

6. Prepare the hummus in a food processor. Add all the ingredients one by one and season to taste. Serve in a big bowl for easy reaching and sharing.

Note: If the hummus is too thick or dry, add water or olive oil 1 tsp. at a time until desired texture.

Enjoy…or as Julia would say, Bon appetite!




Longing for kitten… (a blackberry fig jam recipe) 


Photography by. Bernadette Mira

I grew up with the sheer luck of having at least seven cats at different times through out my childhood. Living in the country these cats tended to roam around the house and in the outside world, which led to most of them ghosting away and never coming back. Yet, there was always another cat to take it’s spot. All of those cats weren’t officially mine and at times I longed for a cat to be only mine that I could take care of.

Yet, there was one exception. A cat we had named Cheeseball who belonged to my middle sister, seemed to grow fond of me over the years. Like my estranged family they ignored most of the pets we had around the house so I watched over Cheeseball like he was my own.


I remember taking photo shoots of Cheeseball, like he was a dashing model posing for every shot. Surprisingly he was quiet patient when it came to me taking photos of him. There were many mornings that I would come out of the bathroom shower and have him greet me at my feet. But if I didn’t pay every bit attention to him he would bite at my legs until I gave him a pat or kiss.

After moving away to go to musical theatre school in New York when I was 20, Cheeseball ended up running off to the neighbor’s house, because my family didn’t take care of him. Every time I would come back home to visit I would long for him to come over to the house, yet he never would. There were many moments when he would just stare at me from afar. It was hard watching him from a distance and not being able to reach him. I miss him still. I’m sure he is off in cat land somewhere chasing the sun and eating to his heart’s content.

I still long for a cat though. A kitten to raise. Maybe it’s because I can’t have children…? I don’t know, but I hope that I can be a mother figure to a kitten one day and give it all the affection in the world. Taking care of something and watching it grow is the most joyful I have ever been.


Blackberry Fig Jam

Makes one 16 oz. can


1 cup of blackberries

2/3 cup of finely diced figs (about 3 figs)

3 tbsp and 1/2 tsp. of granulated sugar 

1 cup of water 

1 tsp. of cinnamon

1/4 tsp. of nutmeg

1/4 tsp. of coriander 

1/2 tsp. of lemon zest

juice from half of a lemon

1/4 cup of cold water

2 tsp. of cornstarch 




  1. In a medium sauce pan, add the blackberries, figs, sugar and water and set on medium to high heat till it starts to simmer and the sugar dissolves. Stirring  frequently for about five minutes.
  2. Lower the temperature to low heat and add the spices and lemon zest.
  3. Stir for two minutes until the spices dissolve.
  4. Raise the temperature again to medium heat and add the lemon zest. Let the jam simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. After ten minutes, add 2 tsp. of cornstarch to the cup of cold water and stir completely until the starch dissolves. Then add the starch mixture to the jam.
  6. Stir the mixture into the jam. After a while the jam will start to thicken. Continue to stir for five minutes or so.
  7. After five minutes set the jam mixture off to the side to cool for ten minutes.
  8. After ten minutes, use the immersion blender and blend until the chunks of blackberries have liquified.
  9. Gently pour the jam into a heat safe container, such as a maison jar and close with a tight lid and set in the fridge to cool.

Enjoy this jam along side a creamy hunk of brie and toast.


030cheeseball and i





Curry Chickpea Pita Sandwich

pita girl

Photography by. Craig McDean(Left) and Bernadette Mira(Right)

Model: Gal Gadot

I never quite know how my weeks are ever going to be. When Sunday rolls around I try to set all these expectations. I’m going to wake up at 8:20 a.m. and make it to every 9:00 a.m. morning kickboxing class Monday through Friday then hit it hard on studying languages French and Japanese and make sure I get at least two recipes done this week for my blog! This past week didn’t go that way.


I noticed myself falling. That deep, dark hole that I’m all to familiar with started to creep in the second I woke up on Monday morning. “Hello, my unwanted friend. Oh? What’s that you say? I’m not good enough? I will never accomplish anything or discover who I am as person?…Oh…that’s…great.” This conversation was never-ending till late this past Friday.

Ever since I realized that Musical Theatre was not the path for me, that it was more of a dream and desire of my adoptive parents, I realized that I was trying for years to please them and not myself. Going to theatre school, sitting out in the cold waiting for hours to MAYBE be seen for an audition, dealing with the numerous toxic people in the industry…it was exhausting and it definitely wasn’t what I wanted to do long-term. So, now that I’m off that path and separated from my adoptive family, I don’t know who I am. I have to start over completely.

Maybe I’m just complaining and maybe nothing is truly wrong with not knowing what you want to do with your life, but it honestly bothers me. I THINK I like cooking and I THINK I enjoy taking photos, but am I actually doing it for myself or for others again?


Curry Chickpea Pita Sandwich

Serves 2-3


1 can of drained chickpeas (or dried that have been cooked)

Half of a yellow onion finely diced

Sea Salt 

Black Pepper

1/2 tsp. of ground garlic

1/2 tsp. of smoked paprika 

1/2 tsp. of curry powder

1/4 tsp. of turmeric 

1 tsp. of Tahini 

Yogurt sauce:

1/4 cup of plain yogurt 

4 big garlic cloves minced

Half of a cucumber finely diced 

1 Squeeze of half of a lemon juice (about a 1 tsp)

Toppings and Extras:

2-3 Toasted pita pockets

1/8 cup of chopped cashews 

1 small handful of diced grape tomatoes 

1 small handful of arugula 

2 hard-boiled eggs (make the night before)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. While the oven is preheating, make your yogurt sauce. Add the yogurt, minced garlic and cucumber and mix well together. Then add the squeeze of lemon juice. Be sure to only add a squeeze or two, about 1 tsp. (You don’t want the mixture to be too runny.) Then once the mixture is mixed well together set it in the fridge to rest.
  3. Then chop and prepare the toppings. Cashews, grape tomatoes, and washed arugula then set aside.
  4. By this time the oven should be done preheating and if not, continue to chop the half of the yellow onion for the chickpea mixture.
  5. Once the oven is heated add the pita pockets and toast them until warm.
  6. Then in a large pan on medium heat add 1 tsp. of olive oil. Once heated add the chickpeas, onions and spices and mix well together. Once the mixture is combined turn off the heat and then add 1 tsp. of tahini and mix again till combined. Move the pan off the heat and start serving.

I serve my pita pockets by cutting them with a scissors. I cut half of the top off the pita so it creates easy access to fill it in with the chickpeas and toppings. I did mine as followed, chickpeas, arugula, tomatoes, cashews, more chickpeas then yogurt sauce. Then I had the hard-boiled eggs on the side. Feel free to add the eggs into the pita pocket. Enjoy and happy eating!


Photos by. Bernadette Mira