December, 2012

Pound cake

My grandmother is a typical Southern woman.  Proud of her cooking and baking.  Thinks nothing any restaurant can make comes close to her cooking.

She really is a great cook and baker.  She used to regularly make birthday cakes for her daughters and us grands.  My mom’s request would be coconut cake, with coconut freshly grated by my grandmother’s antique Moulin grater.  One year my birthday came around and she asked what I wanted.  I said anything but pound cake.  So of course, surprise, she made pound cake.

This is a time that I am happy my grandmother is not computer literate.  What I am about to say would break her heart.


Buttery pound cake

Buttery pound cake

I do not like her pound cake.  But to be fair, I don’t like most pound cake.  It’s usually too dense and at times dry.  Thick, dry cake.  Terrible.  This is not the case for Gussie’s cake.  It has a lemon taste to it.  But there is absolutely no lemon in it.  It’s probably psychological.  Whatever.

One year my cousin gave me a recipe, knowing my issues with pound cake. And, gasp, I really like it.  And so do most of my friends.


Pound cake

Pound cake


This time I decided to make it in loaf pans, just to switch things up.  But I think I will stick with the bundt.  It’s what I am used to.  In fact, I can’t recall my family every making a loaf pound cake.  I am not sure if that’s a regional or cultural thing.


Slices of pound cake


Whatever it is, it’s not natural for me.  To be honest, I thought it tasted different.  But I think that was me being silly.  It was yummy as usually.


Want some?

Want some?


The loaf does make a purty picture though.    Thanks again to Thien for da bomb pictures!

Pound cake
A simple and easy cream cheese pound cake
  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2¾ cups flour
  • 2 tsps vanilla
  1. Cream butter and cream cheese
  2. Add sugar gradually
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mixture may appear curdled.
  4. Add flour gradually. Fold in vanilla.
  5. Place in cold oven. Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour and 5 minutes. Cooking times may vary, so check at 5 minute intervals. A cake tester should come out clean.


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Goodbye Little Tree

By C.M. DuBose

Charlie Brown Tree

I purchased my first Christmas tree at the age of 26.

Living 200 miles away from my family, I wanted to declare my independence by making my own “holiday cheer.”  Off to Target I ventured, determined to make this work within my skimpy $75 budget.

An hour later, I returned home with what my boyfriend would later dub “The Charlie Brown tree,”  a handful of ornaments and some garland. I placed the tree in the only place it would fit in a 704 square-foot apartment –the door to my patio. I adorned my fireplace with stockings and garland and lit up the living room every night for the next two years.

I was proud.

When we purchased our home (now double the size of our apartment), we took “The Charlie Brown tree” and set it up in our dining room. For three years, the tree stood in our front window, lighting up our home–in lieu of dining room furniture. Last year, it even hosted my newborn daughter’s first special ornament –a glass bulb with her name and DOB.

But this year, things changed.

On December 1, I ventured to my garage to gather decorations and begin our home’s transformation.  My tree was gone. My husband (the boyfriend mentioned above) said that in January, “we decided” to throw it out when we took down our decorations.  I don’t remember that decision but I was a new working mom who was sleep-deprived and hungry so maybe, just maybe, in a moment of weakness I did –I agreed to let my “holiday cheer” be placed on the curb next to dirty diapers and newspapers.

I was devastated.

I made countless trips to the garage to hunt for my little tree, pined over it while hanging stockings and discussed its ‘disappearance’ with anyone who would listen, including co-workers.

One night, as I watched my one-year-old daughter delight in the lit garland and bows handing from our bannister, I realized I had to let the tree go. There was too much at stake.

The “Charlie Brown tree” had served its purpose. I had to step my game up. My daughter might only be one but the holidays now belonged to her.  Christmas needed to be about more than a tree. What about time with her family? What about traditions reserved just for her and mommy and daddy? How could I create those if I continued to worry about a metal tree?

I revel in the fact that Christmas is my favorite holiday –growing up it meant homemade cookies, the smell of fresh pine throughout the house, Christmas music 24/7, and time with “My Gram” and mom. I want my daughter to have those memories. On Saturday, with our home still sans tree, we ventured to Lenox Mall to ride The Pink Pig, an Atlanta tradition for more than 50 years. As we chugged around the track passing Christmas trees and silly mirrors she squealed and clapped her hands –now that is the stuff traditions are made of.

So, R.I.P little tree. Hello new holiday memories.


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On Repeat- Rihanna ‘Diamonds’

I am not sure when I turned into a Rihanna fan, but I know I was reluctant.  She is a beautiful woman, has dozens of popular, catchy songs, but not a magnificent singer (however, in my humble opinion, there are very few extraordinary mainstream singers today).  But lately I have enjoyed her music more and more.  To the point that I bought her last album Talk That Talk.  Even admitting that is a big step.

And every time Diamonds comes on the radio, crank it up.  I cannot get enough of this song lately.

I think as I see her more on one of my fav shows ‘Fashion Police’, I have come to like her more.  It seems she is expressing herself, whether by song, clothes, or a plethora of tattoos, and isn’t really concerned about approval.  I like that.  I may not always find her holey denim hot pants or her neck tat to be of my taste, but I do like  a woman that is confident.

So here is the official video for Diamonds.  Enjoy!

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World AIDS Day

Observed annually on December 1, World AIDS Day is a time worldwide to raise awareness and support for the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

I don’t want to get preachy or ramble of facts, but I think it is important to continually remind the public of some statistics.  The CDC approximates there are more than 1 million adults and adolescents living with HIV in the US.  This increase in the prevalence is due to the fact persons infected are living longer.  The rate of new infections has remained steady in recent years.  I find this a bit alarming.  It is positive news because if there are more individuals living with HIV, there are more opportunities for infection.  But I would think that with all the public health efforts, more people would use caution.

I also find it concerning about the populations HIV disproportionately effects.  Men that have sex with men (MSM) represent about 2% of the US population, but about 50% of new infections.  Blacks make up about 14% of the US population, but account for about 44% of new infections.  Latinos represent around 16% of the US population (btw wow), and about 20% of new infections.  Also, about 50,000 people are infected with HIV each year, and 1 in 4 is 13 to 24 years old.

We have to do better.

And days like World AIDS Day help keep HIV in the forefront.  Help encourage people to get tested.  Help to eliminate stigma for having a positive diagnosis.  Help educate the public on modes of transmission and risk factors.  Help raise money for research.

So know your status, don’t be ashamed to ask someone’s status if you are going to be intimate and protect yourself.

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