How to Feel About Feeling 22

birthdaycakeI turned 22 last week! When you and many of your friends turn 22 the same year that Taylor Swift comes out with a hit song about that very age, chances are you’ll hear it a lot. I’ll admit to totally loving the song – it’s super catchy, and who doesn’t enjoy a sugary pop song now and then?

Although Taylor’s words are wise, for my 22nd birthday I asked people who know me a little better than she to send me what they would say to a 22 year old. I asked for little “nuggets” of advice; either “words of wisdom” or something they wish they had known when they were 22. I received Chinese proverbs and Shakespearean quotes, wise one liners and whole pages of thoughtful advice…it was really great. How to feel about feeling 22? Read on…

For Dad [Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies]

My first time in a kayak,  with Dad, circa 1995.

My first time in a kayak, with Dad, circa 1995.

It was my Dad’s birthday yesterday. He’s the man who’s got me out on more hiking trails than I can count, on cross country skis and skates, in kayaks and canoes. He’s taught me about everything from board games, to Monty Python, math, and growing snow peas. He’s incredibly supportive, and can be incredibly sarcastic. From him I inherited my love of word games and Jesus Christ Superstar. We sing around the house, and once performed a wonderfully awkward duet from The Phantom of the Opera. He’s one of my favourite travel buddies. I think he’s pretty cool.brownbutterchocochipDad’s made a few appearances here before, in the shape of his famous (in this house, anyway!) garlic tomatoes, du Puy lentils, and oatmeal bread. But even the healthiest man gets a craving for a buttery dessert sometimes. So when he told my mum he really felt like good old chocolate chip cookies, she whipped up a batch of the tastiest brown butter chocolate chip cookies(recipe courtesy of Joy the Baker) to accompany our favourite standby chocolate cake to celebrate. dad'scookies So Daddy-o, happy, happy birthday (!!), here’s to you and many more years to celebrate. xox

Lemony Olive Oil Banana Cake

Dylan, one of my loveliest friends, celebrated her birthday at the end of August, and despite finding out her favourite desserts (cheesecake or crème brûlée, yum!) from her sister I was still sick AND we had a bunch of very ripe bananas, so this cake happened instead. Not that this was a bad thing, it was super delicious! (But Dylan, I owe you some crème brûlée.)

The recipe is from one of my favourite blogs, Heidi Swanson’s 101 cookbooks, and is actually a banana bread but works fabulously as a cake! Dress it down by preparing it in a loaf pan and skipping the icing, or you can put it in a bundt pan like she did for something a little fancier.  I went somewhere in the middle and just used a round 9-inch cake pan.

The combination of banana baked with a bright lemon twist was something I had never actually tasted before and I was delighted. Studded with dark chocolate, it’s irresistible. I will admit to eating this for dessert and breakfast, and taking it to work as a treat (it travels really well!) so I certainly won’t judge if you do the same. In fact, it is encouraged.

As far as dessert goes, this one is pretty “guilt free” with whole wheat flour, olive oil, and yogurt as some of the main ingredients.  If you don’t feel like chopping up chocolate, I used bittersweet chocolate chips and it worked out perfectly. The glaze that Heidi suggests was nice, but I actually preferred the cake without. If I were to ice it next time, I think I might indulge in a chocolate topping (no such thing as too much chocolate!).

Whether yours ends up as a loaf or a cake, I hope you enjoy it! Happy weekend!