It’s no secret that we are in a very transitional stage of life right now. Our last baby is turning into a toddler and our oldest is going from toddler to child! It’s left us in a sate of: “what’s next?”. I have found myself (suddenly) realizing that my kids are not babies anymore, and they are in fact going to grow into bigger, more self-sufficient human beings. Sure they aren’t there yet, but with how quickly the moments are passing—faster each year—I’ve deemed it important to know now what we are going to do later. Simply put: who/what is going to go where/what room, and when, and what does this look like for each person in our family?
We are a family of 5 living in a 3-bedroom house, but space has never really been a concern for me. Babies don’t take up much space in the grand scheme of things, but when they start growing the space requirements that are suddenly needed becomes very noticeable. And I don’t just mean storage space. When you have that many people in a smaller, square-footage home, the space that once felt open and roomy feels closed in and slightly suffocating. Where did all this stuff come from? Where can I go to have 5 minutes to myself that isn’t my bedroom? Where can I read a book that isn’t in my bed or on a couch while being climbed by toddlers? It becomes necessary to regroup and decide how to make it work!
Since Tyson’s passing (RIP buddy!) we’ve finally gained back an additional space in our house we haven’t used in about 4 years—our office. It’s been a catch all for things we don’t have time to deal with (including a dining hutch—a refinishing project my husband started 3.5 years ago and still hasn’t been able to finish) and it has been the most neglected room in our home. Lucky for us, this new life stage has given us a push to finally dream up a space that the whole family can use. The double doors to our office will finally be able to stay open for the first time since we brought home our first baby 4 years ago. If you’re thinking this sounds insane, you would be right. But it worked for us and suited our needs during young parenthood.
We aren’t there yet, though. We are still shuffling allthethings and finding new homes for items that were once “permanently” stored in that room. Items that are not office appropriate, like a KitchenAid mixer! Believe it or not, it’s been a really refreshing task to complete. It has also forced me to put my KitchenAid mixer back on the counter, despite my trying desperately to keep the counters clear. But let’s get real: a small kitchen, no walk-in pantry, and a home-cook with all the gedgets just doesn’t work. So there it is, on the counter.
Admittedly, it has caused me to bake a lot lately. I am so incredibly over the heat of the summer here in the desert, and coming off a tough year with Dylan has left me yearning for the slower moments Fall often brings. So naturally I’ve been baking banana bread for the last month, lighting fall-smelling candles, and watching my family slow down and absolutely light up when they bite into a warm piece of this yummy goodness.
I have several recipes for Banana Bread, but the one from the Magnolia Table Cookbook is the best of the best in my opinion. It’s incredibly easy to make, and the fact that this is baked in a square dish over a traditional loaf pan is oddly life giving. I’ve grown up eating slices from a loaf, but the huge chunks when you cut this into squares truly gives you a warm feeling of comfort. Tell me you don’t feel the same when you make it 😉
Here’s what you’ll need and how to make it:
AFTER-SCHOOL BANANA BREAD | from the Magnolia Table Cookbook
Prep 15 min | Cook 45-50 min | Cool 10 min
|Nonstick baking spray
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
1 Cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
4-5 very ripe bananas, mashed
|1 ¾ Cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
½ Cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, as needed
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 inch pan with nonstick baking spray, or line it with parchment paper.
- With a stand/hand mixer, beat together the cooled butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well blended. Add the bananas and mix until combined.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until just combined. Add the pecans (if using) and mix until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Sprinkle the sugar over the top, as desired.
- Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes. Let the bread cool in the pan slightly on a rack. Slice and serve with softened butter.
- When completely cooled, cover the pan with foil and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we have!