food for thought.

  1. Considering a blog name change. Yea? Nay? Eh. Oy vey.
  2. Periodically I experience the desire to chop off all my hair. Then I remember I’ve spent the past two years trying to grow it back out and digress.
  3. We need to start using words like “exquisite” and “ardent” more frequently.
  4. Victoria’s Requiem Mass. I can’t even.
  5. Any sort of emotional recovery after Jane Eyre is probably impossible. Please tell me there are now-stable people who have adjusted to life after reading this book. Please.
  6. Why does wearing cute underwear automatically make me feel uber confident and babely? No one sees my underwear except the person at the register when I buy it. No one knows it’s cute unless I go out of my way to announce to someone how adorable my underpants are. It’s psychological feminine magic, it must be.
  7. My summer booklist is growing and growing and I’m acting like I don’t start my (nearly full-time) job next week. Whoops.
  8. Since my boyfriend is coming into town at the end of the week(!!!!!!), I decided to be cute and take him on a picnic one day. But while the Pinterest-ers of the internet have 8 million totally-doable (ha!) picnic ideas, it’s all…well, overwhelming. And a little above my skill levels. I haven’t totally given up on the Mason Jar ideas yet, though! Any suggestions? Or maybe I’ll just make pb&js…
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Real Life.

Come, sit with me, and let’s talk about life.

Rather, let me dominate the conversation and tell you all about mine. I know, you’ve been wondering why I’ve been gone so long – I’m sorry I never wrote why. You know, it didn’t even cross my mind to tell you. As time went on, you slipped further away from my consciousness. Ugh, I know, I should’ve told you sooner. I’m sorry, truly.

You know, friends, life is funny. Fate is funny, Providence possesses a wisdom far beyond the deepest parts of my brain that are seared with truth.

Allow me to summarize, starting from the beginning. Well, where we last left off, the end of September. Eighteen credit hours were wearing on me; expending myself in a relationship that was truly a shamble of communication was exhausting. And, slowly the knowledge of reality grew, expanded, and finally crashed through the door of my consciousness. Sometimes wanting something just isn’t enough. Sometimes, you can’t make people love you. Actually, you never can: love has to be given, effort has to be made, all things must flow from the heart. Love expects reciprocation, after all, for that is the nature of the thing. And this…wasn’t. This was – well, I’m not sure what it was. At any rate, things with the Boy mentioned in various previous posts fell through, and that is that.

Thus, the remainder of the semester involved heaps of schoolwork, papers, exams, new friendships…new trials, new blessings, new opportunities. There were weeks when the only time I turned on my computer was to start a new paper or logged onto the Internet to check my school email.

Winter break brought insane amounts of snow and intense amounts of preparations for my semester abroad. For weeks, I panicked, sorted, packed, re-packed, un-packed, spending many nights unable to sleep and many days dragging myself through stores to find just what I needed to ensure I wouldn’t be caught unaware in Europe. The days passed; I packed for the final time, leaving behind several things I didn’t want to; we loaded the car, drove two hours to the airport in ridiculous Midwest weather; ten hours after boarding a plane, I was across the ocean.

Thus began the “semester of a lifetime”, dubbed by my university’s study abroad program. Nothing could have prepared me for everything that has happened in the past four months. All my traveling, all my experiences, all my new knowledge, my new confidence, my new clarity – it would take weeks to detail it all to you.

To summarize: I’ve changed – or rather, I’ve grown. Am I a “new” person? No; my European adventures haven’t morphed me into a different soul, but rather, taken the soul I’ve always possessed and made it brighter.

Now, it’s time for Cakey Bakes to reflect my growth. Truly, I desire to start up this blog again, after that long, long hiatus. But I don’t want to limit myself. Cakey Bakes will remain food-based with the incorporation of various other things I enjoy – fashion, literature, music, travel, photography, odds and ends. Life is good, and I want to embrace all of it.

Here’s to new beginnings.

 

Catherine

Cakey Notes + Updates.

You know how sometimes you anticipate something and assume that, since you’ve experienced something of the sort before, you’re even better prepared to handle this particular situation?

Ha. I laugh at my naive self of three weeks ago.

College has hit me over the head with a shovel, dragged my body into a van, and will be holding me hostage for an unannounced amount of time. Already this semester I think I’ve had more homework than I did for most of my classes combined last fall. Most of my time has been spent in class, doing homework, doing laundry, and crying. Definitely that last one.

Ugh. It’s 4:30 in the afternoon and I just want to go to bed. You feel me?

Life is hard.

Now, the point of this post: I’m still alive! Cakey Bakes is still active! Unfortunately, posting and recipes will depend on my courseload and availability of the kitchen, as well as access to Kathryn’s iPhone’s camera. Inevitably, however, procrastination will follow wherever I go, and creativity is one of procrastination’s children. Recipes will be followed, desserts will be made, messes will be cleaned. Posts will be written, life will go on.

Here are a few notes & up-and-coming things:

  • In my excitement last week in making eggless chocolate chip cookies, I only took pictures of the dough, not the finished product. Sigh. That recipe will be posted…sometime. Soon.
  • Previously mentioned Kathryn (my roommate, partner in crime, taste tester extraordinaire, and woman after my own heart) & I will soon be starting up an etsy store. Stay tuned.
  • Some older recipes stuck in my drafts folder will be popping up. If I can find the photos I took.
  • What say you about my new signature? (At the bottom of this post)
  • Finally, thanks for sticking with me on this road, through the questionable photography and strangely worded posts and intermittent hiatuses.

Catherine

(in lieu of any of my recipes, give these other bloggers some lovin’.)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, revisited.

[PSA: Wordless Wednesdays has moved to currently unnamed Friday in honor of this recipe.]

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Hi, my name is Cakey, and I’m perpetually five years old.

I like to make messes. I like to play with the bubbles in the sink when I wash dishes. This weekend, I bought two coloring books. Last week, I ordered chicken strips for dinner with friends. When I was at a boy’s house, he asked what I wanted to drink – of course, I asked for a juice box. Part of me still wants to scream when I sit down in the dentist’s chair. A very large part of me.

Eventually, adult mode kicks in – flour is swept up, Anna Karenina is opened & read, and yes, please, I would like a side salad.

Oh, and packing for school happens.

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It’s that time of year again, when all my friends leave for college, leaving a week between me having friends and me heading back to campus. Thus, separation anxiety sets in, sadness ensues, and my oven mysteriously turns on.

I went back to the start to revisit one of my very first recipes. Kathryn & I baked it with the idea of sending some of it to a boy. Strangely enough, I baked it again this time with the same intention, for the same boy who is once again going to be six hours away from me for a few months. C’est la vie.

At least this time he’s fully aware of the intention behind the banana bread. I’m twice as alluring when I’m holding a freshly baked loaf of one of his favorite foods.

Feminine wiles, indeed.

Enough of the romance mush. Allow me to turn your attention to banana mush instead.

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I made a few more tweaks from the recipe I originally adapted from the great Joy the Baker, although very few. There seem to be varying opinions on the addition of vanilla extract to banana bread – this time, I added it to deepen the sweetness of the bananas. Self-control is null and void when it comes to vanilla.

Happy accident! My four pound Nestle chocolate chip bag (finally) ran out, leaving me with no choice but to chop up some dark chocolate sitting in my fridge. Chopped chocolate is, to me, more aesthetically pleasing than

This has become an all-butter/no oil recipe. A lot of bakers like using oil in breads and muffins to keep them moist (hold up, I hate that word with a passion. Unfortunately, it’s the only one that conveys what I’m trying to say), but then you miss out on the flavor the butter gives.

Finally, I added a crumble. Banana bread covered in sugar, oatmeal, and walnuts makes it a little more special.

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It’s as spectacular as it was before, only better. Do I contradict myself? (Very well, then I contradict myself.) This is probably the best banana bread you’ll ever eat – the perfect balance of sweet banana, smooth peanut butter, and just enough chocolate to round it out.

I’m still five years old when I make this bread, considering I had to taste-test it. Several times. This might’ve fueled my recent child-like spontaneity.

Embrace your inner child.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (printable recipe here)
makes 1 loaf pan (can use a cake pan or muffin tin)
originally from Joy the Baker
adapted from yours truly

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 4 medium) mashed oh-so-very ripe* bananas
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/2 cup walnuts

Optional oat-nut topping

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a loaf pan; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combing flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate medium mixing bowl, combine mashed bananas, yogurt, peanut butter, and melted butter.
  4. Beat in eggs, then sugars, until mixture is smooth.
  5. Barely fold the wet ingredients into the dry, until the mixture is mostly combined but a few flour streaks still remain. Fold in chocolate and nuts.
  6. If desired, in a small bowl, combine brown sugar, walnuts, and oats for oat-nut topping. Set aside.
  7. Pour batter into prepared baking pan; sprinkle with oat-nut topping or brown sugar. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 20 minutes. Invert loaf onto a wire rack to cool completely. Devour.

*NOTE: If your bananas aren’t yet ripe but you’re craving banana bread anyways, place them (skins still ON) on a baking sheet and stick them in a 350 degree F oven for about 35 minutes. The peels will turn black, but the inside will be ripe and sweet (and very easy to mash). Proceed with recipe.

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Black banana peels, mmmmm.

 

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Hey, you! Yes, you! What do you think of my tweaks – unnecessary or delicious? Do you have a favorite banana bread recipe or add-in of your own?