A Very Busy Summer and Banana Cake

Well, here I am again, explaining away my excuses for not being here for over a week.  To be fair, it was a very busy week, but still.

Let's review said very busy week:

On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, NES and I were on an adventure (or more accurately, three mini-adventures) for our anniversary.  I'll come back to that another time.  There were many good food adventures involved.

I spent Wednesday through Friday studying, and generally running around like a crazy person.  On Thursday night, I somehow made a pizza, put it in the oven, made pie dough, put it in the fridge, ate the pizza and made a strawberry rhubarb pie after dinner.  Phew.  Somehow I thought that pie wasn't such a streamlined process.  I guess it can be if you don't make it an all day project, like I usually do.  Having the strawberries and rhubarb cut up and ready (read: thawed -- it's been a busy spring into summer season) was pretty awesome.

Then, Friday night happened to be the evening we made dinner for my mom and dad for their anniversary.  That's what the pie was for.  Sort of.  It was actually a belated father's day pie.  But anyway.

NES made his famous barbecue sauce and we grilled some steaks to go with it.  Maybe I can talk him into writing a guest post about the sauce sometime.  It smelled so good all over the house while he was cooking it.  Mmmm.

I made a salad with mom and dad's fresh lettuce and my fresh tomatoes, and some grilled sweet potatoes.  I adapted mom's grilled potato recipe: I sprayed a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray, sliced two large sweet potatoes into 1/4 inch-ish slices, then sprinkled them with garlic salt, paprika and thyme.  The are grilled in a packet until they are soft.  Yum.

After falling asleep to Frozen (and I NEVER sleep during movies -- oops!), I spent Saturday morning visiting.  Saturday afternoon, I visited HFK and BMM.  We had a good afternoon of catching up and make up/dressing up.  Which makes us sound like little kids playing dress up.  But we weren't.

Because my next stop was MLA's house for JLG's bachelorette party!  We headed to the Melting Pot for cheese fondue and entree fondue.  It was an excellent choice for dinner.

If you've never been to the Melting Pot, I'd highly suggest it.  I'm usually more into going to local, non-chain restaurants, but NES and I have been a couple times.  It makes a great long, relaxed dinner.  It takes at least 2 1/2-3 hours to eat the whole meal.  So, as we were discussing at the bachelorette party, it is not good for first dates or other uncomfortable situations, but wonderful for dates or groups of girls who just want to hang out and talk!

Then we ate tasty pastries, drank tea, and JLG opened gifts!  It was my speed of bachelorette party, that's sure!  Thanks for organizing it, MLA!

And then, after a (short) night of sleep, NES and I headed to Boston for a Red Sox game with mom and dad M!  The Red Sox finally won, too!

NES and I had ice cream sundaes to celebrate national ice cream day and everything!

Monday came with a couple tours: a Duck Tour of Boston and a (belated Christmas) tour of Fenway Park!

It was pretty cool seeing the inside of the pressbox and get to sit momentarily on top of the Green Monster!  They were also changing out the infield for turf for a soccer game.  Overall, although it wasn't as inclusive as I had hoped, I still really enjoyed it.  Merry Christmas (2013), Dad!

Then Tuesday was spent studying and running errands afterwards, all while trying to avoid stopping at one of the plethora of Market Baskets on my way home.  (Seriously, I drive by 3 on my way home, and for the last 25 minutes, they are the only grocery stores on the way.  I didn't want to have to stop at multiple grocery stores because the shelves were empty!)

Finally, Wednesday was also spent studying and then meeting mom and dad S. and ZNS for another baseball game!  This time it was a short season single A affiliate.  The rain (and the fact that it was Wednesday night) cut the evening short, but three of us (ummm, we were the last three who got hats and the first two who didn't) got hats!
Ok.  If that doesn't convince you that it's been a busy week, then I don't know what will.  Phew.

And now to the baking (which hasn't happened since the pie, I'll have you know).

I had four way overripe bananas sitting on the counter (there are three more sitting there now) a couple weeks ago.  JAB, RB, JB, and LB were coming over, and it was just a couple days after JAB's birthday, so I decided (at the very last minute) to make a banana cake.

Totally last minute.  And we actually had everything on the shelves!  Amazing!

The cake was like a sweet, light banana bread.  Complete with chocolate chips.  Yum.

The frosting turned out light and fluffy and wonderful.  I highly suggest it.

Again, I had forgotten how quick a cake can come together when there isn't all sorts of crazy frosting and such to go along with it.

It was ready by the time they came!

There were also leftover cookies from the Maine adventure.

And I also made a couple of chocolate cupcakes for NES, who doesn't like bananas!

Oh, and the next weekend, we went to a wedding, and had banana cupcakes!  I'm sensing a theme!  They were too busy doing this for me to get a picture of our cupcakes:

Congratulations, ADS and JBS!

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
from the Baker Chick

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp. baking soda
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
4 medium overripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup chocolate chips (mini or otherwise)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease, flour and line three 8 or 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, and both sugars until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time.  Then add the bananas and vanilla.

Alternate the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour.  Mix until just combined.

Add the chocolate chips and mix.  Then pour the batter into the prepared pans.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely.

2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2-3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar (I ran out after 2 cups, and it worked just as well!)
1 tsp. vanilla
1-3 tbsp. milk

Cream the butter and peanut butter together until smooth and creamy.

Add the powdered sugar half a cup at a time.  Add the vanilla.

Add the milk gradually, beating after each bit until the frosting is the desired consistency.

Frost the cake and decorate with chocolate chips!


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