Today is the fourth anniversary of the day this blog was born. In some ways, I feel like Sweetly Serendipity came out of the womb with me, it’s like a part of my identity, even in the quiet moments when weeks stretch on without so much as a word. We know each other in intimate ways, and the words I lay here are the truest words I know. In other ways, I feel like we’re still getting to know each other, I’m shifting and shaping each post carefully, and often wondering what our future together looks like. I look forward to it with the same excitement you might look forward to a marriage, or a deep friendship – I see so many good things and happy moments as far down the road as the eye can see, and that’s a pretty special thing.
In the weeks leading up to this day, I thought many times about what I could do to celebrate. Some people make a big to do about blog anniversaries, others let them pass by without much of a mention. I wanted to do something that was quintessentially me, that would be a show of appreciation for this space, and the belonging that it provides me. It has been a rough year for me, and that has not changed yet. I have been dealing with a lot of personal struggles, and I am often consumed with the enormity of it all, this life, being an adult, the difficult decisions that sometimes must be made. I’ve struggled a lot to be present here, and I so regret letting months pass by with feeble recipes and forced anecdotes. When I write for this space, I do so from my heart, but my heart hasn’t had a lot of positive things to say for a while, so I’ve stayed quiet.
But through the hard days and lots of tears and uncertainty, this blog is a constant. Like my family and my closest friends, and the methodical way that a recipe can take over my anxious mind, and the magic I feel when I swing by legs over the back of my horse after months apart. There is a kind of familiarity here, an understanding that this space and these moments never leave. For this fact alone, I am so grateful. I am grateful to have a place that is all mine, where the complications of life don’t hold tight, and where I can feel free to express myself in the most honest of ways. I write as much for others as I do for myself, to let words flow from my fingers without worrying that the tone is just right or if people will like it. I come here when I have things to say, recipes to share, memories to capture in print. Some days, sure, it feels like a task, but more often than not I look forward to the pattern that each post follows, and take it upon myself with the same fervency I pull on my fluffiest sweater on a cold winter day.
And so when I needed to pick something to make for today, I knew that fanfare had no place here. I don’t need a 7-layer cake to celebrate this day, or a recipe with 26 ingredients and 57 steps from start to completion. I love how it feels when I tackle those kinds of big projects, but those aren’t so much me. I am simple, and easy, and uncomplicated but good. So I picked these muffins. I’ve been baking and consuming all forms of banana bread since as far back as I can remember, and it’s always somehow just been a part of me. I worked at Flour Bakery for a short time during college, and after Joanne published her first cookbook I learned that banana bread recipe by heart, baking it over and over when I needed something simple and comforting to get me through.
Today, I’ve made some changes to that recipe, like I so often do, to create my representation of this blog, of myself, of my words and my heart. It is simple and uncomplicated and delicious, and just right. Nothing fancy, a bit haphazard, but it works and I love it.
Once I had my eyes set on making banana muffins, I dove in, adapted as I saw fit, busted out these adorable paper liners my Mom got me for Christmas, and crossed my fingers. A lot of my life has been planning and perfecting and shaping things just so, because anything outside the lines feels scary and unfamiliar, and I don’t like to be taken by surprise. But one thing I’ve learned about life is that it’s never perfect, and despite your best efforts sometimes things happen that are completely outside of your control, and the harder you try to keep it just right, the more it all slips away. So I’m adopting a new philosophy where it’s okay not to have all of the answers, and it’s okay to be scared sometimes. When these muffins started baking, the batter quickly overflowed the edges, making for an awkward and imperfect appearance. The old me would have been furious that I was aiming for perfection and missing so greatly, but this time, I just laughed. So what if the exterior isn’t perfect? The inside still tastes the same. But the small imperfections, the bubbling outside the confines of that liner, those things all add charm and character, and what comes out at the end might not be perfect, but it sure as heck tastes good, and makes me feel like I did what I set out to do.
These muffins, in case you’re wondering, are absolutely fantastic. The original recipe yields a really dense, moist, and wildly flavorful banana bread. I swapped out the butter for coconut oil, and some whole wheat flour for all purpose, both changes which worked out great and made me feel a bit better about eating them. This updated recipe boasts the same delicious flavor, though I find it to be a bit more dense, and studded with chunks of granola and coconut. The added texture makes them a lot of fun, while still maintaining that same great taste.
To all my friends near and far, and readers I’ve never heard from, thank you so much for stopping by this space. I appreciate your kind words and support, and just knowing you’re out there enjoying the things so close to my heart that I love to share. Please join me in wishing Sweetly Serendipity a happy birthday, with wishes for many, many more.