Rants and Nonsense.

Today started out a little bumpy, literally, and I've just been feeling a little bogged down and drained. So I thought I'd word vomit out all of my feelings and see where this takes us. (Isn't that what blogging is really about anyways??)

Gunner woke up with a really nasty sounding cough, luckily it doesn't seem to be croup; Just your average strain of nursery germs. Then after dropping Zack off at work, someone rear-ended me. There were no injuries, but our bumper took a beating. Ultimately, I guess its not that big of deal.  Its mostly just super inconvenient. We're getting ready to go out of town for a while and I don't even want to deal with insurance claims, and car repairs, and ugh. But truth be told, I'm so grateful no one was hurt. It definitely could have been so much worse.

Lately (as in, before today) I've been feeling really great and productive. I'm not sure if I've been more productive because I feel better, or I feel better because I've been productive. Anytime I've been in a funk my mom's advice has been, take a shower and get moving! She's a huge example to me of hitting the ground running in the morning. I've never been a big believer in early mornings, but with Zack still recovering from his surgery I have to drive him to work. This has us up, dressed, and out of the house by 9 am everyday. Before his surgery I didn't even wake up before 9 am. But since Gunner and I are up and out of the house so early we've started running our errands right away. We've been hitting the gym, the library, and the children's museum pretty regularly. (My mom would be proud)

The best part of it all is that Gunner's getting a lot more physical and social play which makes him a happier kid, making me a happier mom. By the time nap time comes around he's exhausted and climbs into bed by himself, too tired for books or whining. Just a quick kiss and a "night-night mama." Some days I literally feel like the luckiest mom on planet Earth. He's fearless and rambunctious; he pushes every boundary he encounters. But man, he's smart! And he's a problem solver, and a sometimes he surprises me with how well he listens. And on top of it all, he's generous with his kisses and I love yous. So even if his wild spirit may actually be the death of me, my heart soars when he soars!

Tonight as I was tucking him into bed, I was so grateful for today. Because even though Gunner is sick, and my bumper is jacked up, and I didn't get much done, life is pretty darn good.



Banana Bread

I always feel silly posting pictures on food on Instagram. Like, people don't care what I'm eating/baking, right? Well apparently I'm wrong because this picture of Banana Bread got more likes and comments than any other picture in recent history! So I'm sharing my deep, dark banana bread secrets.

(Spoiler alert: there is no secret to my banana bread.)

The other day I was just laying on the couch craving something sweet (as usual) while surfing twitter. (Twitter is what I resort to towards the end of nap time when I've refreshed my FB/IG feed millions of times and I'm all out of Candy Crush lives.) At the top of my feed was a tweet that read,"8 minute banana bread" It felt like a sign from heaven. I thought, I've got eight minutes, and I'd really love some banana bread. Plus, the recipe called for three overripe bananas, which is exactly what I had! It was clearly meant to be.

I'd say the real secret to a successful banana bread has more to do with technique, than the actual recipe. I've probably used 10 different recipes, and they usually turn out pretty similarly. Here's the link to the recipe that inspired me on this particular occasion. I did make a few changes as I went, and realistically this is more of a 15-20 minute banana bread.

1 1/4 C   Granulated Sugar
1/2 C      Butter (room temp)
2             Eggs
3 Med    Overripe Bananas
1/2 C      Milk (I always, always, always, use whole milk)
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
2 1/2 C   Unbleached Flour
1 tsp       Baking Soda
1 tsp       Salt
Cinnamon Sugar to dust pan
Brown sugar to sprinkle on top

Stand Mixer/Hand Mixer
1 Small Bowl
2 Medium Loaf Pans
or 4 Mini Loaf Pans
or 2 Muffin Tins

This is a basic creaming method, quick bread recipe. 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pans with butter or spray. Dust the pan generously with cinnamon sugar. This will create a crunchy sweet, buttery crust at the bottom. If you're using spray, you'll need to move you're sugar and cinnamon around really quickly or it will all stick together and make a big mess.

2. In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt). Run a fork or whisk through it for like two seconds.

Tip: The reason you want your dry ingredients mixed together is so that your baking soda and salt will be spread through the entire batter. The flour acts as a carrier to ensure you don't end up with all your baking soda or salt in one bite.

3. In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar. If you don't know what creaming butter means, use the whisk attachment to mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Tip: This is why butter temperature matters. If your butter is too cold the sugar will not absorb until you've mixed it so long that the butter basically becomes room temperature. If your butter is melted, or too soft, you won't be able to incorporate air into the mixture (it will never become light and fluffy), which will affect your structure.

4. Add eggs one at a time. Wait until the first egg is completely incorporated before adding the second.

5. Toss in the bananas. If they are really ripe and extra soft the whisk will break them up easily. If you're using firmer bananas, I would recommend throwing them in a food processor, or hand mashing before you put it directly into the batter.

6. Add the dry ingredients and milk in three portions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. (Half of dry ingredients, milk, second half of dry ingredients) Once all ingredients have been added, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula really well, then mix on low until smooth. Be careful not to overmix.

7. Portion into your choice of loaf pans or muffin pans (I've also turned this into a banana cake using a bundt pan, or cake pans.) Sprinkle the tops generously with brown sugar, and maybe a pinch of cinnamon if you're into that kind of thing.

8. Bake at 350 degrees for :
Loaf pans: 45-50 Min
Mini Loaf Pans: 30-35 Min
Muffins: 18 Min
(Times are always just ball park estimates. Bake until top becomes golden brown.)

9. Apply butter liberally to each slice and scarf the first loaf before your kid wakes up/ husband gets home from work/ anyone notices.

I absolutely love these disposable mini loaf pans. They are perfect for wrapping up as a sweet "thinking of you" gift for the people in your life who could use some extra sweetness. I also love taking them to the awesome ladies I visit teach! I found these amazing printables at Simple As That blog. She always chooses great quotes, and designs them beautifully. I'm a huge fan!

I hope this post was helpful/not overwhelming. If anything wasn't clear, or you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Enjoy!