Friday, May 15, 2020

Quarantine Cuisine

Hi everyone,

Long time, no post!

As the world continues to grapple with the fallout from COVID-19, it has been very interesting to see the various coping mechanisms we have been using to navigate this weird time. I said "weird" because if I see the phrase "unprecedented times," "troubling times," or "strange times" one more time, I am going to lose it.

Like many others, I have been channeling my feelings into obsessive cooking.

Luckily, in British Columbia where I am quarantining (which is the new, post-apocalyptic version of "summering"), the only food shortages have been yeast. Thus, my primal desire to recreate dishes evoking times that I felt safe and happy is unimpeded by a lack of ingredients.

One of my few first-time creations: portobello mushroom tacos with sour cream and homemade guacamole

Another first-timer: coconut ice cream with cherries
The rest were things I've made before, like these veggie fajitas

Or restaurant favorites like this pear ravioli inspired by the pear ravioli at Felidia NYC. 



Very, very labor-intensive to roll one's own dough. 
I pressed the edges with the prongs of a fork.



My proprietary guacamole recipe



Huevos rancheros made an appearance

In a real throwback, recreating a sandwich that is no longer on the menu at regional fast-casual chain Atlanta Bread Company





Homemade vodka rigatoni def earned a spot in the regular rotation


Stayed true to my southern roots with butter biscuits



Cooking provides me with the illusion of control in a chaotic world, as well as an opportunity to be praised (b/c my cooking slaps). During my normal yuppie life, I rarely prepare my own food. I actually go so far as to order plant-based meals from Sakara to avoid cooking. So, it's been a lifestyle shift to say the least.

On the bright side, spending (a lot) more time in the kitchen has been a nice way to share old stories and make new memories. For example, my cousins and I compared my version of the Smith family macaroni and cheese recipe to my aunt/their grandmother's version. For my birthday, I made a lime curd cake that was a favorite of mine growing up. One of my cousins made me cinnamon buns for her home economics class assignment as a birthday breakfast. And on Cinco de Mayo, we made churros as a team. My cousin-in-law squeezed the dough into the hot oil while I cut it into pieces with a pair of kitchen scissors. Bébé cousin #2 covered the freshly cooked churros with cinnamon and sugar and bébé cousin #1 made a chocolate sauce for dipping.

First time having this in years. It was delish.



My amazing birthday cake with homemade lime curd and lime icing :)
This was such a nice birthday surprise :)

Churros con chocolate

There is a certain camaraderie I feel when scrolling through endless pictures of banana bread. My fellow stress-cookers in arms.  I derive inspiration from the various creations my friends share on their feeds. We have essentially become a bunch of suburban moms of yore swapping bon appetit links via DM. I must admit, I don't hate it.

If you would like to follow along in real-time, I have been posting photos and videos of things I am cooking to a highlight called "Q'tine Cuisine" on my Instagram page (@azeezahgoodwin). DM me or comment on this post if you would like recipes! My friends will vouch for the fact that I will reply and share :)

Wishing everyone good health and comfort during these weird times.

xo, Azeezah












Saturday, February 16, 2019

My Sakara Meal Plan Review: Total Body Transformation




Hi all,

I am excited to share my Sakara Life Total Body Transformation experience with you all! Sakara is an amazing meal delivery and nutritional supplement company created by Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise. The Total Body Transformation is a four-week special program offered by Sakara Life which includes meals, supplements and products from select partners.  My readers will find an exclusive discount code for 20% OFF any Sakara Life meal program at the bottom of this post

I am a proud affiliate for the organic food delivery service Sakara Life, as well as a fan and a customer, but I was not paid to take part in the Total Body Transformation (I paid for it with my own hard-earned $$$). I am a lifelong vegetarian, but after moving to New York for work I found that I struggled to put together nutritious, tasty meals while dealing with the demands of my job and the daily pressures of the NYC grind. 




Ordering Sakara Life meals has really helped me, as I know that I am getting organic, locally-sourced and nutritionally-balanced meals that don't involve fighting the lines at Whole Foods or Trader Joes, coming up with recipes, and cooking everything before it spoils. Sakara Life promo code 20% off




Normally, I order 3 meals a week 3 or so weeks a month. This gives me the flexibility to cook when I can, have the occasional dinner with friends, or order food to the office when I had to stay late. I attempt to eat healthy meals when left to my own devices but often find myself ordering something off of Seamless or standing in line at Chipotle. Sakara Li

fe promo code cou
pon code 20% off

After a health scare in July, I was prompted by the Universe to reevaluate all the little bad habits I'd picked up that were undermining my bigger goals. The hours spent sitting down, the nights spent watching Netflix instead of attempting to socialize, and stress eating were taking me down a bad path. After spending years working to "get the job", I had forgotten how to dream and was letting my circumstances dictate my lifestyle. Not to sound completely cheesy, but it is incredibly important to have dreams and goals. Without them, you'll stagnate at best. At worst, you'll regress. One of my goals is to get into great shape and really learn how to take care of my body. Sakara Life Coupon Code Savings 

I'd already been making a series of changes to my lifestyle  so when the end of the year rolled around, I was already in a "change positive" mindset and raring to go into the new year. I'd never been one to make resolutions, but I realized after some reflection that I didn't make resolutions because I was afraid I would fail. Embracing my new positive, anti-self shaming outlook,  I signed up for one of Sakara's quarterly special programs: The Total Body Transformation. Sakara Life coupon code discount



The awesome welcome gift. 
Full of goodies and gift certificates from True Botanicals, Coyuci, Pursoma and more!


While I love my body and don't feel that it needed to be totally transformed, I definitely felt like I could benefit from more veggies in my life. Doing a program represented making a commitment to show up for myself for four weeks. The embracing the cost of Sakara meal plans can be an adjustment, but I viewed the cost of my Sakara meal plan as an investment in myself.  

The brand has done a great job of using email and social media to build a sense of community. It is fun to hop on the 'Gram and see that other Sakara fans are documenting their experiences and eating the same meals. It has helped me feel connected in a really nice way. Sakara Life savings promo code discount coupon code


A preview of the food. So delish!


I customized my Total Body Transformation to receive two meals per day (lunch and dinner) for three days a week, which is double the amount I usually do. 


I finished the four-week program, and I feel so great! Not just as a result of the meals, but for successfully finishing the program. I rejoined the gym and started doing cardio and weightlifting, so I can't solely attribute any weight loss to the program, although I am sure it helped. I do know that I felt a lot better. You don't notice how many tummy aches and headaches and other random things you experience from eating gnarly foods until you cut back on them.


Shop Sakara Life Today!

I also felt happier that I was showing my body the love and respect it deserved by eating healthier. I dabble vegan in part due to ethical/environmental concerns about the dairy industry, so I was happy to know that during these four weeks I was contributing less to that system. I also loved the weekly "love notes" I received via email from the Sakara Team with positive affirmations and mantras for the week. I really appreciated that personal touch. 



If you would like to try a Sakara Life meal program or the Sakara Life 10-Day Reset, use my exclusive promo code for 20% off ALL meal plans and 10-Day Resets:




I will go back to doing the 3 meals a week every few weeks, but I am so glad that I did the Total Body Transformation. It was a perfect start to the year. SakaraLife promo code 20% off discount coupon

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Nestled in Jamaican Luxury

Wassup, fools.

I just came back from literal paradise on earth in the form of a little piece of land called Round Hill Hotel and Villas. This is not a sponsored post...I just really enjoyed my stay.

I flew in from NYC (JFK). The flight was direct and only a little more than 3 hours. I opted to stay at Round Hill because it received glowing reviews online and it was close to the Montego Bay airport. I also chose it because I could redeem Chase Sapphire Rewards points for my booking. I am super into collecting Chase points, which I was originally saving up for a week's stay at the Four Seasons Bora Bora. Realizing that at my current rate of spending, I'd only earn about a night's stay per year (and that I was in desperate need of a vacation), I decided to dip into my points stash. Hopefully, now that I've put it out into the Universe, a stay at the Four Seasons Bora Bora will still be in the cards for me the near future.

I used my points to book a suite. My two main requirements were a bathtub (because my studio in NYC doesn't have one, and I love baths) and an ocean view. When I arrived, the front of desk staff told me that I would be staying in one of their best suites in a premium luxury villa. I nodded and smiled, thinking that they were just trying to hype up the room. As a chauffeur drove me in a golf cart up to my room, I noticed we were going further and further up the hill. I figured that this was either a very good sign or a very bad one. It turns out that I had indeed been given a serious upgrade to a gorgeous, spacious suite in an amazing villa.

Ultimately, I am so glad that I took the time and the points to go. I pride myself on being relatively smart with my resources and thinking long-term, but I had gotten so deep into the habit of squirreling everything away that when a rainy day did actually come, it was difficult to convince myself to go, even though it turned out to be an amazing decision for my mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.

For additional videos and pics (think ackee and dumplings, glass bottom boat tour), check out my Instagram: @lazeez90 :)


Sick views while enjoying  complementary Appleton Rum on the first evening




Curated tropical luxury.




















Ugh these fruits were so fresh and delicious.






















I didn't do a ton in Jamaica, but that was kind of the point. Some of my happiest memories involved curling up in a fetal position on the lounge chairs after a swim or floating prone on my back in the pool at the villa. Definitely planning on going back with friends to do more funsy things, like the theme parks, waterfalls, nightlife, etc. I just soaked in the incredible atmosphere, the beautiful architecture, and the occasional brief, gentle rain shower.  I also had fun trying local dishes, such as Ackee (without the saltfish) and Callaloo.

If you look up Round Hill online, you will read about its storied past playing host to royalty, celebrities, and other members of the elite (I was told that Prince Harry and Megan Markle stayed in the same villa that I did during a friend's wedding in '17). What you may not read about was the fact that Round Hill used to be a pineapple and sugarcane plantation. I am immediately put off when I hear about people using American plantations for weddings and the like, so I felt somewhat conflicted about my stay. On the one hand, I wondered if I was dishonoring the suffering of the past and the continuing struggle of the children of the African Diaspora. On the other hand, I love the idea of reclaiming it by lounging around like the carefree black girl that I am. I like to think that the ancestors were sipping Pina Coladas on that beach with me.