Cardamon Cake with Cashew Butter Frosting

August is our birthday month. It started off great. Jacinto remembered to wake up early the first Sunday of the month for us to attend church services, so we can stand together when the announcer ask for everyone born in August to stand up.

We dined at our favorite restaurant, The Cecil in Harlem. Danced to Lauren Hill and Lenny Kravtiz at AfroPunk Festival in the VIP section. Our birthdays are about two weeks apart, and when my birthday week occurred, it wasn’t a great start.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

When the my boyfriend’s father was asked what type of birthday cake he wanted, he said, “It doesn’t matter, but make it with plenty of nuts.” The boyfriend’s father is health conscious and a martial arts instructor. He looks excellent for his age, because he’s always exercising, reading health-related books and playing music. Ask him any health-related question, and he has an answer. Such as repeatedly telling us how nuts are good for {blush} men’s reproductive health, and he explains why without the crass. The decision to make him a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake — with plenty of nuts — was easy.
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Pecan Bars

Potato Chips, fruity and hard candies, twirly sugar sticks, chewy caramels, salty pretzels and raw nuts were not my childhood friends. Among the most offending taste were raw nuts. The taste of peanuts are what I image wood to taste like, but I love peanut butter. And, I will never understand people’s obsession with salted sunflower seeds as they spit speckled shells onto subway train floors. Then there’s the pecans. They’re a different nut.

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Dried Strawberry Cookie and Granola

On one of my best friend’s born day, I called to talk about a personal problem and those congratulatory words of “Happy Birthday” never entered the conversation. True to her friendship, she listened and wished me well. A few days later, I realized she never mentioned, hinted or questioned my forgetfulness about her special day.

She’s the friend I discuss revolving problems at three in the morning. We talk countless hours on the phone. Other than my parent’s home number, I remember her phone number. My boyfriend frequently quizzes me about his number (the last four digits occasionally perplex my memory).

The first time we met, she was this bright girl with a warm smile sitting at our cafeteria table. She was a ‘new girl’ in orchestra with my other best friends who introduced us. I was a ‘cool kid’ cheerleader who dismissed this girl with a mickey mouse fan club voice and a Jheri curl hairstyle. As we exchanged pleasantries, I made a mental note to talk with my familiar girlfriends about being careful of inviting certain people to our table. Two years later, “mickey mouse” had stolen the affection of my high school crush. Read more

Blueberry Muffins with Almond Granola Topping

Three adults and four children left the North for the Mason-Dixon Line. As the only adult female in the group, I made sure we had plenty of healthy food to nibble on towards our destination. As mentioned before, eating healthy on the road is easy, if well planned. For this trip, I packed toasted pumpkins seeds with dried apricots (try purchasing dried fruit without sulfur dioxide, a chemical preservative retaining color and flavor), Beet Leaf Pesto Tuna Wraps (I swear it’s good, for two out of the four kids love it!), and Blueberry Muffins with Almond Granola Topping. If you haven’t noticed, prices for berries have dropped significantly. This is the time of the year, in which berries are in season. In addition, they’re sugary sweet, tart and plump. Read more