Unpopular Opinion: I LOVE THE SWEAT!! (chocolate chip banana bread)

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Bananas left for dead

Ninety degrees and sunny, I love it. The sun slowly turning skin to leather, I love it. Sweat dripping from my body, I love it. Yes I am one of them, I am a summer worshiper. While most people morph into lobsters, and crawl around grouching about how burnt and hot they are, I tend to jump around embracing my inner firecracker.

Growing up in Jersey the summer always consisted of my mom complaining about the 108% humility and redoing her flat lifeless hair into perfect curls at least three times a day. My father, on the other hand, is where my approach to the summer came from. My father, if not at work, would spend the day bear footed in the garden or catching leathery skin on the boats all day.

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Brown sugar and butter

One thing my family could always agree on was the fresh pick of summer. During summer our garden turned into Wonderland, and walking out the backdoor was falling down the rabbit hole. Colors glistened in the sunlight and water droplets, living illusions of rainbows lay hidden under every petal. There were rows upon rows of bushy carrot tops, hundreds of long green slender string beans, cucumbers whose vines reached across the earth, like a cat waking up from an afternoon nap. The zucchini as long, and heavy, as metal baseball bats and the tomatoes the size of softballs to complete the game.

The things that came out of these marvels could make even the pickiest person love their veggies. Homemade tomato sauces and pizza sauces, glazed carrots, Italian string beans in a red tomato sauce, and of course zucchini bread.

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LETS GET BAKED

The breads of summer were always my favorite. Zucchini bread was the most popular in my household do to the sheer quantity o f Zucchini we had growing in the garden. My mother had a recipe for everything. But this zucchini bread was unlike anything I have ever had in my life. Somehow the outside of this bread was crunchy, while the inside moist and light. While the zucchini flavor could be tasted, you could also taste the sweet labors of summer. I have yet to get my fingers on this aged recipe card, but one day, one day it shall be mine… until then…

My second favorite summer bread that my mom would make was banana bread. The only reason we would have banana bread was if I did not eat the bananas my mom bought at the farmers market that week, and if that happened it ended in a shouting match, rather than a bread baking festival like I had hoped. I was often more scared of banana bread than happy to see it because if often reflected the agony and lecture that I had to go through.

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sorry I already licked the bowl

As the years wore on I have come to love banana bread and have even tried to adapt a crispy outside similar to that of the zucchini bread.   Today I had no sugar, but many bananas that needed to be put out of their misery. Instead of white sugar I used brown giving this bread a bit of a sweeter taste.  I made chocolate chip banana bread, as well as chocolate chip peanut butter. These breads had a crunchy top a slight banana taste and a very sweet base. By far this banana bread takes the cake 100% in my book!

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LOOK AT THAT GOODNESS!!!

Mini Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup unsalted butter, at room temp.

2 Eggs

1 Cup, or 2 medium bananas mashed

1/2 Teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ All-purpose flour

1/2 Teaspoon baking soda

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 Cup peanut butter chips (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Preheat a mini loaf pan. If you don’t have one you can use a standard loaf pan or you could buy one here.
  3. With a stand mixer combine sugar and butter in bowl at medium speed, until creamy.
  4. Add eggs and continue beating, scrape down side of bowl as needed.
  5. At low speed beat in bananas and vanilla.
  6. Beat in the rest of the ingredients at low speed.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips and the optional peanut butter chips
  8. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Let stand for 5 minutes before removing from pans.
  10. Scarf all down while warm, because let’s face it that is when they are the best.
  11. I mean, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap. Store in a cool place, preferably the refrigerator.
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                Ninety

                Ninety degrees and sunny, I love it. The sun slowly turning skin to leather, I love it. Sweat dripping from my body, I love it. Yes I am one of them, I am a summer worshiper. While most people morph into lobsters, and crawl around grouching about how burnt and hot they are, I tend to jump around embracing my inner firecracker.

                Growing up in Jersey the summer always consisted of my mom complaining about the 108% humility and redoing her flat lifeless hair into perfect curls at least three times a day. My father, on the other hand, is where my approach to the summer came from. My father, if not at work, would spend the day bear footed in the garden or catching leathery skin on the boats all day.

                One thing my family could always agree on was the fresh pick of summer. During summer our garden turned into Wonderland, and walking out the backdoor was falling down the rabbit hole. Colors glistened in the sunlight and water droplets, living illusions of rainbows lay hidden under every petal. There were rows upon rows of bushy carrot tops, hundreds of long green slender string beans, cucumbers whose vines reached across the earth, like a cat waking up from an afternoon nap. The zucchini as long, and heavy, as metal baseball bats and the tomatoes the size of softballs to complete the game. 

                The things that came out of these marvels could make even the pickiest person love their veggies. Homemade tomato sauces and pizza sauces, glazed carrots, Italian string beans in a red tomato sauce, and of course zucchini bread.

                The breads of summer were always my favorite. Zucchini bread was the most popular in my household do to the sheer quantity o f Zucchini we had growing in the garden. My mother had a recipe for everything. But this zucchini bread was unlike anything I have ever had in my life. Somehow the outside of this bread was crunchy, while the inside moist and light. While the zucchini flavor could be tasted, you could also taste the sweet labors of summer. I have yet to get my fingers on this aged recipe card, but one day, one day it shall be mine… until then…

                My second favorite summer bread that my mom would make was banana bread. The only reason we would have banana bread was if I did not eat the bananas my mom bought at the farmers market that week, and if that happened it ended in a shouting match, rather than a bread baking festival like I had hoped. I was often more scared of banana bread than happy to see it because if often reflected the agony and lecture that I had to go through.

                As the years wore on I have come to love banana bread and have even tried to adapt a crispy outside similar to that of the zucchini bread.   Today I had no sugar, but many bananas that needed to be put out of their misery. Instead of white sugar I used brown giving this bread a bit of a sweeter taste.  I made chocolate chip banana bread, as well as chocolate chip peanut butter. These breads had a crunchy top a slight banana taste and a very sweet base. By far this banana bread takes the cake 100% in my book!

Mini Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup unsalted butter, at room temp.

2 Eggs

1 Cup, or 2 medium bananas mashed

1/2 Teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ All-purpose flour

1/2 Teaspoon baking soda

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 Cup peanut butter chips (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Preheat a mini loaf pan. If you don’t have one you can use a standard loaf pan or you could buy one here.
  3. With a stand mixer combine sugar and butter in bowl at medium speed, until creamy.
  4. Add eggs and continue beating, scrape down side of bowl as needed.
  5. At low speed beat in bananas and vanilla.
  6. Beat in the rest of the ingredients at low speed.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips and the optional peanut butter chips
  8. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Let stand for 5 minutes before removing from pans.
  10. Scarf all down while warm, because let’s face it that is when they are the best.
  11. I mean, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap. Store in a cool place, preferably the refrigerator. 

Unpopular opinion: I love the sweat!!!! (Chocolate Chip Banana Bread)

 

                Ninety degrees and sunny, I love it. The sun slowly turning skin to leather, I love it. Sweat dripping from my body, I love it. Yes I am one of them, I am a summer worshiper. While most people morph into lobsters, and crawl around grouching about how burnt and hot they are, I tend to jump around embracing my inner firecracker.

                Growing up in Jersey the summer always consisted of my mom complaining about the 108% humility and redoing her flat lifeless hair into perfect curls at least three times a day. My father, on the other hand, is where my approach to the summer came from. My father, if not at work, would spend the day bear footed in the garden or catching leathery skin on the boats all day.

                One thing my family could always agree on was the fresh pick of summer. During summer our garden turned into Wonderland, and walking out the backdoor was falling down the rabbit hole. Colors glistened in the sunlight and water droplets, living illusions of rainbows lay hidden under every petal. There were rows upon rows of bushy carrot tops, hundreds of long green slender string beans, cucumbers whose vines reached across the earth, like a cat waking up from an afternoon nap. The zucchini as long, and heavy, as metal baseball bats and the tomatoes the size of softballs to complete the game. 

                The things that came out of these marvels could make even the pickiest person love their veggies. Homemade tomato sauces and pizza sauces, glazed carrots, Italian string beans in a red tomato sauce, and of course zucchini bread.

                The breads of summer were always my favorite. Zucchini bread was the most popular in my household do to the sheer quantity o f Zucchini we had growing in the garden. My mother had a recipe for everything. But this zucchini bread was unlike anything I have ever had in my life. Somehow the outside of this bread was crunchy, while the inside moist and light. While the zucchini flavor could be tasted, you could also taste the sweet labors of summer. I have yet to get my fingers on this aged recipe card, but one day, one day it shall be mine… until then…

                My second favorite summer bread that my mom would make was banana bread. The only reason we would have banana bread was if I did not eat the bananas my mom bought at the farmers market that week, and if that happened it ended in a shouting match, rather than a bread baking festival like I had hoped. I was often more scared of banana bread than happy to see it because if often reflected the agony and lecture that I had to go through.

                As the years wore on I have come to love banana bread and have even tried to adapt a crispy outside similar to that of the zucchini bread.   Today I had no sugar, but many bananas that needed to be put out of their misery. Instead of white sugar I used brown giving this bread a bit of a sweeter taste.  I made chocolate chip banana bread, as well as chocolate chip peanut butter. These breads had a crunchy top a slight banana taste and a very sweet base. By far this banana bread takes the cake 100% in my book!

Mini Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup unsalted butter, at room temp.

2 Eggs

1 Cup, or 2 medium bananas mashed

1/2 Teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ All-purpose flour

1/2 Teaspoon baking soda

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 Cup peanut butter chips (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Preheat a mini loaf pan. If you don’t have one you can use a standard loaf pan or you could buy one here. If using a regular loaf pan adjust the cook time to one hour. 
  3. With a stand mixer combine sugar and butter in bowl at medium speed, until creamy.
  4. Add eggs and continue beating, scrape down side of bowl as needed.
  5. At low speed beat in bananas and vanilla.
  6. Beat in the rest of the ingredients at low speed.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips and the optional peanut butter chips
  8. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Let stand for 5 minutes before removing from pans.
  10. Scarf all down while warm, because let’s face it that is when they are the best.
  11. I mean, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap. Store in a cool place, preferably the refrigerator. 

Welcome to America, Its National Doughnut Day

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Today is June 7, 2013, tropical storm Andrea is drowning the east coast, my diet has officially failed, and oh yeah, its national doughnut day. Dear America, THIS IS WHY YOU’RE FAT.

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I had no plans in taking part of this apparent national holiday. I avoided Dunkin Donuts, drove past Wawa, and I even planed to make anything other than donuts. But it happened, my father called me. “Hey Lauren it’s your Dad!” His message went on, “Hope everything is well with you, and well, I wish you were here to make some doughnuts for the girls at work, they really miss your baking…” I was guilt tripped into making doughnut by a man who works 100 miles from me. Thanks Dad.

I do have a few recipes for some good baked doughnut, like apple cinnamon, or coconut, but I am still 100% against this holiday, so I rebelled without rebelling. Chocolate Chip Cookie Doughnut, that’s what I’m calling them and I’m sticking to it. Cookies that are made in a doughnut pan, so is it a cookie or doughnut? I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

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These little circles of confusion would be perfect with a scoop of ice cream in the middle, or broken apart to dip in milk. They are simple as well, just take a chocolate chip cookie recipe (my favorite and the one I used can be found here), and a baked doughnut pan. Spray the pan generously with non stick cooking spray so you can get these conundrums out. Roll the dough between your hands to create a snake like figure and then lay it in the doughnut pan. Plop it in the oven at 375 degrees for 12 minutes and you have a chocolate chip cookie doughnut.

Also For those of us who were wondering here is a list of US national food days:

January

January 2 National Buffet week

January 3 National Chocolate Covered Cherry day

January 2 National Creampuff Day

January 20 Cheese Day

January 23 National Pie Day

February

February 9 National Pizza Day

February 15 National I Want Butterscotch Day

March

March 7 National Crown Roast of Pork Day

March 8 National Crabmeat Day

March 9 National Blueberry Popover Day

March 10 Oatmeal Nut Waffles Day

March 12 National Baked Scallops Day

March 13 National Coconut Torte Day

March 14 National Potato Chip Day

March 17 National Corndog Day

March 23 National Chip and Dip Day

March 31 National Clams on the Half Shell Day

April

April 2 National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day

April 12 National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day

April 17 National Cheeseball Day

April 24 National Pigs in a Blanket Day

April 25 National Zucchini Bread Day

April 26 National Pretzel Day

April 29 National Shrimp Scampi Day

May

May 4 National Candied Orange Peel Day

May 11 National Eat What You Want Day

May 17 National walnut day

May 24 National Escargot Day

May 28 International Hamburger Day

June

1st Friday National Doughnut Day

June 16 National Vinegar Day

June 17 Eat Your Vegetables Day

June 25 National Catfish Day

July

3rd Sunday National Ice Cream Day

July 3 Eat Beans Day

July 6 Take Your Webmaster to Lunch Day

July 7 Macaroni Day

July 15 National Tapioca Day

July 15 Gummi Worm Day

July[when?] Fresh Spinach Day

July 18 National Caviar Day

July[when?] National Daiquiri Day

July[when?] National Junk Food Day

July 28 Hamburger Day

August

August 3 National Mustard Day

August 3 Watermelon Day

August 8 National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day

August 23 National Sponge Cake Day

August 26 National Cherry Popsicle Day

August 28 Crackers Over The Keyboard Day

August 29 More Herbs, Less Salt Day

August 30 National Toasted Marshmallow Day

August 31 Trail Mix Day

September

September 4 National Macademia Nut Day

September 5 National Cheese Pizza Day

September 7 National Acorn Squash Day

September 13 National Peanut Day

September 14 National Eat a Hoagie Day

September 15 National Linguine Day

September 16 National Guacamole Day

September 18 National Cheeseburger Day

September 19 National Butterscotch Pudding Day

September 26 National Better Breakfast Day

September 28 Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children

September 30 National Hot Mulled Cider Day

October

October 4 National Vodka Day

October 20 National Brandied Fruit Day

October 24 Bologna Day

October 24 National Food Day

October 25 National Greasy Food Day

October 28 National Chocolate Day

October 29 National Oatmeal Day

October 30 Haunted Refrigerator Night

October 30 National Candy Corn Day

November

1st Thursday National Men Make Dinner Day 1998, Sandy Sharkey

4th Thursday Turkey Day (informal name for Thanksgiving Day)

Day after Thanksgiving Sinkie Day

November 1 National French Fried Clam Day

November 1 National Cook For Your Pets Day

November 2 National Deviled Egg Day

November 3 National Sandwich Day

November 4 National Candy Day

November 5 National Doughnut Day

November 6 National Nachos Day

November 7 National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day

November 7 National Eating Healthy Day

November 8 National Harvey Wallbanger Day

November 8 Cook Something Bold and Pungent Day

November 9 National Scrapple Day

November 10 National Vanilla Cupcake Day

November 11 National Sundae Day

November 12 National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day

November 12 Chicken Soup for the Soul Day

November 13 National Indian Pudding Day

November 14 National Spicy Guacamole Day

November 15 National Spicy Hermit Cookie Day

November 15 National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day

November 16 National Fast Food Day

November 17 National Baklava Day

November 17 Homemade Bread Day

November 18 National Vichyssoise Day

November 19 Carbonated Beverage with Caffeine Day

November 20 National Peanut Butter Fudge Day

November 21 National Stuffing Day

November 22 National Cranberry Relish Day

November 23 National Cashew Day

November 23 National Eat A Cranberry Day

November 24 National Espresso Day

November 25 National Parfait Day

November 26 National Cake Day

November 27 National Bavarian Cream Pie Day

November 28 National French Toast Day

November 29 Throw Out Your Leftovers Day

November 29 National Chocolates Day

November 30 National Mousse Day

December

December 1 Eat a Red Apple Day

December 1 National Pie Day

December 4 National Cookie Day

December 8 National Brownie Day

December 13 National Ice Cream Day

December 19 National Oatmeal Muffin Day

December 21 National Hamburger Day

December 25 National Pumpkin Pie Day

December 27 National Fruitcake Day

December 30 National Bicarbonate of Soda Day

December 31 National Champagne Day

Cake pops and surprise parties these are a few of my (least) favorite things

On Sunday May 26, we had a surprise 50th birthday party for my girlfriend’s father. I hate surprises. First of all, they never end up being surprises. People are naturally curious; a significant other will wonder why you are buying an extra 100 pounds of hamburger meat when you only have a family of 4.

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Family Birthdays

Needless to say, this surprise was not so shocking. He knew our intent and walked into the downstairs living room with a straight face saying “Hey surprise!” Still ended up being a good party and everyone had a blast but the real story was the desserts, of course.

I got a little out of hand with the desserts, okay, more than a little. We had three different varieties of cupcakes including Irish car bomb, key lime, and chocolate coconut. The headlining cupcake was the Irish car bomb cupcake. This is the alcohol lover’s dream. Featuring a stout cake, whisky gnash middle and a Bailey’s butter cream frosting, there is nothing not to love.

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Insides of Irish Car Bomb Giant Cupcake

The other highlights of my dessert collection included white chocolate Nutella cups, dark chocolate peanut butter cups and chocolate covered pretzel rods.

But our story today is Cake Pops. With as much fury as Hurricane Sandy on the Jersey shore, I hate cake pops. They were an internet sensation sweeping the nation last year, and with any luck the love of these retched things will dissipate by tomorrow. You may ask why I hate them so much. Last year my mom bought me a cake pop pan. I thought this was great, until I wasted three batches of bake batter on this thing because I thought it was just the batter sticking to the pan, but no the pan version just does not work. Also frosting these things is as much fun as planning your suicide.Image

Anyways these lil balls of joy were meant to simulate a golf balls, and I believe they looked pretty good! I wanted to find white nonpareils to simulate the dimples in the balls but I could not find them anywhere!! (If I did not wait until the last minute (like I always do) I could have gotten them from this internet site, but nothing screams me like the day of) Also I put Air Heads on the stick to represented the golf ball sitting on a tee.

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Cake and frosting mix

Reason number 634 why cake pops suck: you bake a serving worthy cake, just to destroy it. Ripping this cake apart with my hands made me feel like a murder. I just created something so beautiful just to dump it out. OOOH the cruelty.

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Balls o’ cake

After rolling these babies in melted white chocolate, dipping them in white sugar sprinkles, and wrapping a sticky Air Head around the base, these looked and tasted scrumptious. The cake was like a sponge, a chocolaty soft, decadent, moist, sponge. The outside was crunchy white chocolate and the sugar sprinkles gave it that extra sweetness.

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Sticks in balls

As much as these suck to make, was totally worth seeing everyone all oogly eyed over how fabulous these little golf balls looked. They were a hit too, only two left over and they did not last long either.

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Golf Ball Cake Pops

For the cake:

2 Cups Sugar

3/4 Cup cocoa powder

1 ¾ Teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs

1/2 Cup Vegetable oil

1 Cup boiling water

1 ¾ Cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ Teaspoon baking powder

1 Teaspoon salt

2 Cup Milk

3 Teaspoons vanilla extract

For the pop part

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease a 13x9X2 pan.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin, this is not a mistake, it is oaky). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for at least 20 minutes.

For the Pop:

Sticks

Nonpareils

Chocolate Frosting

Foam block

White melting chocolate

  1. Take the cake you just baked and crumble it into a bowl, just dump it in and crumble it up.
  2. Take half the can of frosting and dump in into the bowl of crumbled cake. With your hands mix it together. You could use a spoon but your hands are so much more fun.
  3. Roll the pops into balls
  4. Melt the chocolate according to the package
  5. Dip the stick into the chocolate, then dip the stick into the ball
  6. Dip the ball and the stick into the melted white chocolate, then stick the ball into the nonpareils
  7. Stick the cake pop into the foam block to dry.
  8. Enjoy slowly. And eat at least seven.