Halloween Frosted Banana Cake

Halloween stopped being interesting to me after middle school. I just got tired of it. Many people love getting creative with makeup and props and dressing up – I am not one of those people. But I love the sport of Halloween, the effort put into costumes. But I am merely an observer, not a participant. I’ll gladly hand out candy at the door rather than shiver around town to collect it (my dairy-intolerance/wheat avoidance aside).

With that said, the weather today was nippy! Probably the coldest day we’ve had in a while. I found myself shivering in the house with the heat on, sweater zipped all the way up, patiently waiting for my tea to cool, blanket wrapped around me. I needed to warm up the house – why not turn on the oven?

I’m a firm believer in using things for their usefulness. I know that may sound redundant, but I hate the idea of buying or investing in something if it’s just going to sit there, you know? I like using up leftovers, making sure fruits and veggies don’t go bad (because it feels like such a damn shame when they do). So today when I realized there were two items in my house that we don’t usually have (Apple Cider and exactly FOUR bananas), I decided to put them to good use.

I found myself once again browsing Gluten-Free Goddess (her recipes are simply amazing) and discovered this scrumptious Frosted Banana Cake! Needless to say it turned out delicious, albeit a little on the sweet side. Maybe cut the sugar a bit if you plan on trying it at home. The ripe bananas and agave make it sweet enough! 😉

My ingredient spread
My ingredient spread
Add all dry ingredients except for the brown sugar
Add all dry ingredients except for brown sugar
Whisk
Whisk
In a separate bowl, break up your bananas into small chunks
In a separate bowl, break up your bananas into small chunks
Mash 'em up!
Mash ’em up!
In a separate bowl, beat two eggs
In a another bowl, beat two eggs
Add the brown sugar and the rest of your wet ingredients
Add the brown sugar and the rest of your wet ingredients
...including your banana puree!
…including your banana puree!
Beat accordingly
Beat accordingly
Now add your dry ingredients. It should look like this
Now add your dry ingredients. It should look like this
Once your batter is thoroughly blended, pour it into a 9x13 pan lined with parchement
Once your batter is thoroughly blended, pour it into a 9×13 pan lined with parchment

Roe Tip: I find that having the parchment stick to the glass pan makes for a overall better baking experience when pouring the batter. I used to spray Pam, just to add a layer of adhesiveness so the parchment paper would better form to the pan. But I always felt annoyed during clean-up when I had to scrub and really wash the pan to the get oil off. Today I tried something different and it worked great: Use water instead of oil. The water will act as an adhesive barrier between the pan and parchment, but will cleanly evaporate while in the oven!

Extra Roe Tip: Trim the the edges of your parchment paper as best as you can! If you leave them long and put them in then oven, they have the tendency to burn at the edges. FIre safety! This happened the me once – just burnt edges and an acrid smell, no fire – luckily. Ha!

Voila! A beautiful, fragrant banana cake!
Voila! A beautiful, fragrant banana cake!
After cools, ice it and add some walnuts if you wish!
After cools, ice it and add some walnuts if you wish!

Roe Tip: If you’re not big into icing, cut the icing recipe in half! That’s what I did and that’s what you see above. A little goes a long way; Often when I make icing I make too much – more than I know what to do with. (The cake is sweet enough as it is – you may not even need it) 😉

Bad Weather

Is it weird that every time I hear bad weather’s coming or a storm’s approaching, I get excited?

I think it’s that kid part of me; A part of my being still gets excited at no school, no homework, no test tomorrow.

Even when the power goes out, I’m giddy and full of adrenaline.

As the wind hammers the house, I secretly hope it’ll rip off the roof.

When it snows and snows and snows, I hope it never stops – even if I have to shovel it!

Of course, this is all highly dependent on whether or not I have to travel somewhere. But when I’m home and my family’s home, I couldn’t ask for anything more. I just love that cozy feeling; Let’s get trapped together, laugh and drink together. Keep The Weather Channel on in the background. Let’s turn on the news and see where it’s like somewhere else.

There’s been a lot of speculation about this coming winter and how horrible it’s supposed to be and I’m all like, bring it on. I have the shovels and scrapers and cans of anti-freeze and heat-warmers for my gloves. I’m so ready. I’m smiling inside.

Healing

I’ve been recovering. Today is probably the best day I’ve had all week. I can breathe out of my nose, but now I have the cough. Luckily Delsym is coming in handy for that. Delsym and olive leaf complex. No joke. It’s apparently antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, and an overall good health tonic. My dad bought it for himself, then Nonna started using it, then my mom and I got sick so I figured, why the hell not? It’s bitter but has this peppermint taste to it, so it goes down easy. I’ve been taking 2-3 tablespoons a day (along with the rest of my health “meds”) and I’ve been feeling a lot better since.

I can’t get over the fact that today feels like a Saturday. It’s probably because Columbus Day is coming up and my mom took off work to have an extra-long weekend. But no, today’s Friday. And with the free time I had this morning (since my mom helped with the daily Nonna morning routine), I decided to switch my wardrobes over. My closet is very small, and it can’t hold all my clothes at once. So I end up switching them out during the summer/fall and winter/spring transitions. I’m glad I got that done.

I have a lot more winter clothes than summer clothes, probably because I like winter a lot more. I prefer a big sweater over a tank top any day (unless of course it’s 100 degrees out) probably because I’m more comfortable with my body when it’s covered up. And I prefer the sensation of being warm in the cold as opposed cooling off when it’s hot. There’s more of a coziness to it. The latter is more of a relief.

Ace Enders spontaneously released a new album yesterday – and of course it’s awesome. I listened to it this morning. Y’all gotta check it out. He is one of my favorite songwriters of all time.

Music heals, I’m certain of it. That and laughter. I’m keeping both in stock while I overcome this silly sinus cold.

How to Blow Your Nose in Public

It’s January, it’s cold – it’s cold and flu season. Coughs, sniffles, sore throat, runny nose, phlegm and mucus – Who’s hungry?

I don’t mean to unceremoniously sound the alarm (or honk my horn for that matter), but this is a issue I’ve been debating for a few weeks now as I unattractively stumble down the New York City streets with tears streaming down my face (which later transform into baby icicles) and my nose running like it has its own train to catch. Sometimes I ashamedly bury my face in my scarf trying to breathe some life into the numb, frostbitten lower half of my face while casually hiding the fact that I have Flubber coming through my nostrils. What’s worse I can’t even feel the swamp that resides over my upper lip because of these polar temperatures! My hand are two blocks of ice buried in two layers of gloves and as I blindly reach for an already used tissue in my jacket pocket, my headphones pop out of my phone and I being to juggle dabbing my rose, replugging in my headphones, and attempting to access my all-touchscreen phone to replay the music I was listening to. On occasion I’ll throw in a little balance challenge because I’m maneuvering through snowy and icy New York in sneakers. But I have to say when it all comes down to it, I end up trudging down 7th Ave doing the best I can, hoping no one is looking at me, praying I don’t run into anyone I know. How many more days ’til Spring?

Last week I was on the PATH heading down to Christopher St. and the time came – I had to blow my nose during a semi-rush hour on public trans. I couldn’t breathe right and I could feel that all too familiar trickle…Well out comes my tissue and the dirty looks I got, GWORL LET ME TELL YOU! If you ever needed to part a crowd, blowing your nose and maybe screaming, “Oh my God, I’m gonna throw up!” will probably get the job done. You feel everyone’s eyes squint at you in disgust as they minimally shuffle away and then avert their eyes to judge you as discreetly as possible. So that’s when I put my Ego aside, tuck my consciousness in the right-hand drawer in my head, and put a blindfold over my feelings. Listen, honey – I don’t blow my nose to look pretty. The noisy clearing of my sinus and nasal cavities is not the new mating call and never will be. I mean, would you rather I just let it slide down my face? But I know as soon as I sound I’m automatically labeled as a diseased, germ-carrying, terminally ill rat. But the best part is when roles are reversed, I’m disgustedly shuffling away from you too. I don’t want your disease. Ew, gross!

I’ve often wondered what the hell the proper nose-blowing etiquette is. It’s too loud and messy to be polite in any way, shape, or form. Ick! A 6-year-old Yahoo! article says it should be done quietly in private with your own tissues and with washing your hands afterwards. Oh yeah and don’t look at the tissue…Like that needs to be said. Well luckily I check out on all of these – when I’m comfortably settled in somewhere like at home, except at home I could be as loud as I want. But when I’m on the street in the blistering cold, what then?! Where shall we turn? Is there a savior among us commoners who could potentially save the human race from the future embarrassment from blowing their nose in public?