Welcome 2019! Happy belated New Year, readers!
It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway through January. I’ve been taking my time to write this blog post because I’ve been focusing on planning and getting off to the right start for myself and my family. Also, my writing flow is rusty as it was put to the side too often in the second half of the past year.
Goodbye 2018. It was a year of intense and beautiful growth for my family. There were a lot of firsts, first steps, first piano lesson, first skate. It was the year that we turned our old house into our home. The year that I healed my knee and made small steps forward in my photography. I’ve written this before, but I find it difficult to move on when I’ve had an enjoyable time. There is so much to be thankful for and so many fleeting moments. I was the child who never wanted summer to end and as an adult, I want my vacations to last longer, to spend extra time with my kiddos as babes, toddlers and all of the wonderful childhood stages and also, to have that extra piece of pie and be the last person at my best friend’s party. 2018 was a wonderful year and in order to let it go, I’ve started something new. I recently went through a thorough reflection process for 2018. The beginning of 2018 already feels a bit foggy so I found I needed a quiet space to complete this task (I did all my writing at night while the children slept). It occurred over the period of a week and involved pages and pages of writing in my black leather catchall book for recipes, dreams and plans. The writing process was cathartic and served as a method to be accountable to myself. In retrospect, I should have been doing this for years, but I had to get over the hurdle of feeling like I was wasting time.
In reality, I have wasted time spinning my wheels. Being indecisive and uncertain. Afraid to make a mistake I suppose. In this state of unawareness, it is not fully possible to “live in the moment” as we’re encouraged to do because we’re in a sort of limbo.. And really, I could continue on this way. It is easy to put off dreams for the future because it seems difficult to get started or to claim that now is not the right time especially in the throes of early motherhood. Being busy and tired does make it difficult to focus. I’ve finally realized, 6.5 years after becoming a mother for the first time, that it takes a different strategy to make things happen, it takes thoughtful planning.
I’ve been reading about how transformative motherhood has been for many female entrepreneurs and I have been very inspired by other people’s stories. I’ve known for a long time that I have to do something different instead of just sliding into the New Year. With the beginning of 2019, I followed the New Year’s Annual Reflection Process outlined by the host Sarah K. Peck of The Startup Pregnant Podcast. During the podcast, Sarah walks the listener through her personal 10- step reflection process. She provides examples from her own life of what worked, what didn’t and what she needs to let go. One of the many things she realized, was that the simple act of writing down the books that she had read actually made her read more. I’m certain this finding would apply to other interests as well, so this is an action that I plan to make into a habit. Going forward, she insists that the listener must write out what he or she wants for the next year and finally, to pick just one thing that you really want.
In truth, I had to modify the end part. I have developed a 2019 plan based on core areas and beliefs in my life. These are focused in the areas of family, environment, career, community and health. These areas overlap with one another and I view them as supportive rather than in conflict with one another.
It feels satisfying to have gone through this process of reflection and I have cleared away some of the baggage. Do you do an annual review? Do you write down your intentions for the year? Feel free to comment below and let’s keep this conversation going.
What do banana muffins have to do with reflection and planning? I bake these muffins on the weekend and then pack them in my daughter’s lunch or serve them as an afternoon snack. This is all part of my “planning for the week ahead” strategy. They are peanut and nut-free so they are school-approved. I secretly refer to this muffin recipe as “very banana, banana muffins” because there are 5 bananas in them! The ripe bananas add sweetness to this recipe rather than adding sugar. Adding chocolate chips gives them the oomph that they need so I won’t go into claiming that they are healthy. Given the spice combination, you can reduce the chocolate chips and still have great taste. Let me know if you make them by adding a comment below.
Banana Spelt Flour Chocolate Chip Muffins
Time: Prep time (10 minutes) + Baking time (25 minutes)
Makes: 12 standard sized muffins
5 ripe bananas*
1 large egg, whisked
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (172 g) spelt flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp cardamom
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp fine grained sea salt
½ cup (88 g) to 1 cup (175 g) mini chocolate chips
Coconut oil for greasing the muffin cups**
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease the muffin tins.
2. Peel the bananas, compost the skins and mash the bananas using a fork in a large bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and stir well to combine. Add the flour, spices, baking soda and salt and stir to combine (if your ingredients are clumpy, mix in a separate bowl first but otherwise, don’t dirty another bowl!) Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
3. Evenly pour into the prepared muffin tin. Bake on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes. The tops should be golden brown and if a toothpick is inserted, it should come out without any banana batter (melty chocolate is okay). Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Gently, remove the muffins using a butter knife and allow to further cool before storing them.
4. Store in an airtight, reusable container. After 3 days, if they are not all gone, put them in the freezer to maintain freshness.
Enjoy with fruit or pack in your lunch.
*I freeze bananas when they start to develop too many brown spots. Once I have 5 in the freezer, I make this recipe. Remember to unthaw them on a plate at least an hour before makes this recipe.
** I find that these muffins stick to the cupcake liners so I prefer to grease the muffin tin with coconut oil. To do this, I scoop about ½ tbsp out of the jar and use a scrap piece of parchment paper to spread it around the inside of each tin.
A Sweet Pea Chef