I realized the other day that the end of this month marks exactly three years since my husband and I have been working solely for ourselves. It makes me think back to the day we left our comfortable paychecks and looked to our future with open hearts and minds. Although we had lots of support, I can’t say for sure how comfortable our family and friends felt with our decision, but it was one we knew to be right for ourselves and one that we knew could be accomplished if we put our everything into it.
Early on there were definitely days we wanted to end our business venture, but luckily we had each other and those feelings we both had never crossed paths. If it was me who was worrying, Scott would reassure me that everything would be fine and to wait and see what the end of the week or month would bring. If it were him, I did the same. I can’t believe its been three years already, it really only feels like yesterday. We have worked our butts off, spending most, if not all our time on our business and we look forward to its future.
Along this journey, we’ve had to sacrifice many things, mostly material, but our lives are by far simpler and richer then they’ve ever been. We’ve made incredible friendships I know would not have happened had we been inside a cubicle everyday.
We’ve learned many things about running a business, but time management always seemed the most difficult. Working for yourself means you don’t have to get up at a certain time to be somewhere on time. You can work in your pajamas if you want and you can head out to meet whomever, whenever. But you can also end up working too much, not giving yourself a break because if you do guilt sets in because you are not working. We have both been more of the latter.
I’m finally letting in the fact that there has to be balance. I can and should have moments of free time that do not include thinking about our business. I’ve learned to keep a pretty steady work flow through the week and reserve weekends for a little time off. Truthfully, I do still work on weekends, but its more laid back and includes other activities. This weekend I actually worked a lot, catching up on things for the craft show season, but because we actually had really nice sunny days I spent some time getting things planted in my garden, going to a local print show and baking banana bread just for you.
This banana bread has a delicate light crumb texture. It’s studded with the perfect amount of chocolate and toasted walnuts, to be sure there’s a bit in every bit. It has the signature deep cracks along the top and a golden brown crust that gives into a moist interior. The ripeness of your bananas can dramatically change the taste of your bread. Most use heavily spotted to black bananas but that always yields an entirely too banana flavor for my liking. I like my to be yellow, but covered with little brown spots. Just enough banana flavor to know it’s banana bread, but not overwhelmingly overpowered. This recipe will work however you like your bananas.
Now for the giveaway! We’re so excited about our three years in business we wanted to share some of our excitement with all of you and offer one reader one a chance to receive one 8″x 10″ Let The Sun Shine In poster! This has been our most popular poster and mentioned on many design blogs, you can also purchase one right here. To enter, leave a comment below telling me your favorite memory in the sunshine. You can enter a second time if you twitter @slidesideways and come back here letting me know. And because I hate leaving people out, this one’s up for anyone inside or outside of the US. Please leave an email so I can reach you if you’ve won. Contest ends this Friday at noon, PST. One winner will be chosen at random.
Banana Bread with Chocolate & Walnuts / 1 loaf
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups mashed ripe banana
3/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 350F. Oil or line with baking parchment a 9″x 5″ loaf pan.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
In a medium bowl combine the mashed bananas, almond milk, olive oil and vanilla. You want to make sure this mixture is very smooth, if you need to run it through a blender that would work as well.
Pour the wet mixture over the dry and combine just until everything is wet. You don’t want to over mix. Using a spatula, fold in the chocolate and walnuts.
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared loaf pan and give it a couple drops on the counter top to even everything out. Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting and serving.