BLAT Salad

When catching up with some friends the other day, the subject turned to food. More specifically, kids and food. And just how much the little ones can put away.

There were furious nods of agreement when we mentioned that a loaf of bread can disappear in a single afternoon. When only going through 8 litres of milk in a week is considered a ‘good’ week. And when the “I’m hungry” calls start from the moment they arrive home from school.

And while my three girls are no different, I feel as if I’ve gotten off a little more lightly (at least for now) than my friend who has the voracious appetites of three teenage boys to deal with.

We then reminisced about the great banana crisis of 2011, when Cyclone Yasi destroyed over 75% of Australia’s banana crops. Bananas were in such short supply that it was not unusual to see them selling for $3 each! The community was outraged and anyone that walked into work with a coveted banana had their salary questioned!

The irony being that we generally do not hesitate to fork over at least that amount for a single avocado.

$3 for a banana? Outrageous!! $3 for an avocado? Bargain – give me 2!

I had to laugh, for I am most certainly someone that loves avocadoes and they feature quite regularly on our weekly meal plan.

Take this BLAT salad, for instance. Which was thrown together for an easy, speedy weeknight dinner.

Bacon, crunchy lettuce, boiled egg, tomatoes, sauerkraut and cucumber. And, of course, avocado. Which in this case was sprinkled with black chia seeds.

From memory, the avocado was “on sale” for $2.50 and, thinking it was a bargain, I of course grabbed two! Questionable frugality aside, it was a lovely addition to this tasty little salad.

You can find the recipe I used for inspiration here.

Banana raisin muffins


Yes, I did it again.

I left some bananas in the fruit bowl too long.

Meaning they were waaaay too overripe to eat, yes, but perfect for a batch of banana muffins.

This time I went with a simple version. No coconut, no berries, just the addition of raisins for some extra sweetness.


What I love about recipes like these is the yield. Some for now, some for later, and some packaged up and frozen for school lunchbox treats.

And suddenly leaving a few bananas in the fruit bowl too long doesn’t seem like such a bad idea after all!

img_1263 Banana raisin muffins (makes 12)

  • 2 cups self raising flour – sifted
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup natural yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a muffin pan with cases.
  2. Combine dry ingredients, and make a well in the centre.
  3. Combine eggs, bananas, oil, yoghurt and milk – and pour into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined, then fold through the raisins.
  4. Spoon into the muffin cases, and bake for 20 minutes – or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.


Coco-banana muffins

My weekly routine inevitably changed when Miss C started pre-school and I increased my work hours, and I feel as if I’ve been trying to find the “new normal” ever since. The days are quite frantic, as I work out who needs to be where, with what, and when (all while desperately hoping that I don’t  mess things up and forget a school pick-up!).

To try and streamline things, I’ve changed from little grocery shops throughout the week to (hopefully) a big shop once per week. This is working quite well, although the rate at which my girls consume yoghurt has meant there have been a few emergency yoghurt dashes.

And, on occasion, the bananas that I bought at the start of the week do not look so fantastic at the end of the week.  But we all know that overripe bananas can be perfect for baking – with the added bonus that a healthy baked treat makes a perfect school lunch-box addition.

On this occasion, I had two quite sad looking bananas taking up my fruit bowl. A quick rustle through the pantry revealed that we also had coconut and honey.


And so these little banana-coconut beauties came to be.


I used smaller patty cases, which yielded around 20 – and the whole batch took only 20 minutes or so to make – from start to finish.


I kept some out for the next few days, and froze the others in bags of two for future lunch-box additions.
IMG_7608 Miss C wolfed down a few as soon as the came out of the oven, without noticing that I’d reduced the sugar content – so I’m calling it a kid snack win!

Coco-Banana Muffins – makes 20 small muffins

  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  1. Preheat oven to 180C, and line a couple muffin pans with paper cases.
  2. Sift the flour, bicarb soda and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir through the salt, sugar and coconut.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, milk, honey, eggs, vanilla extract and banana until well combined.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined.
  5. Divide between paper cases and bake for 12-15 minutes.

(As I mentioned, I made 20 smaller muffins. If you wanted to make bigger muffins, just allow a little longer cooking time).

What about you? What’s your favourite way to use up  leftover bananas?

Banana oat bars

IMG_2637 The other day – I got to baking. And boy have I missed it. On the menu? Banana oat bars (which were inspired by these banana oat chocolate bars – with a few additions / subtractions along the way). IMG_2618 I opted for a natural nut / seed and sultana mix (instead of a straight seed mix), and left out the linseeds (I didn’t have any). Oats, dried cranberries and cinnamon rounded out the remaining dry ingredients. IMG_2621 As for the ‘wet’ ingredients – I used coconut oil and honey (in place of the rice malt syrup). Oh and a couple mashed bananas, of course. IMG_2622 Mixed together – then pressed into a lined sliced pan. IMG_2623IMG_2624 Baked for 35 minutes or so at 180C, and our house smelled amazing! IMG_2629 The recipe called for a dark chocolate drizzle – but with the dried fruit I found these were sweet enough for my liking. IMG_2631 So I kept the bars as is…. IMG_2636 A tasty return to baking indeed! What about you? Baked anything yummy recently?

Banana Bran Muffins

While I love cooking, I love baking even more. There is something so very relaxing about pulling together ingredients and creating a delicious sweet treat for the family to share. And with our littlest member of our family having now found her sweet tooth (thanks perhaps to Easter, or Grandad and his Freddo Frogs?!) – I’ve had to find healthier alternatives to keep her fooled… So last weekend, we got to baking. On the menu? IMG_9571 - Copy Banana bran muffins! IMG_9562 They have a little sugar, but not a lot, and are jazzed up with the addition of bran flakes, sultanas and wholemeal flour. And bananas. Of course. IMG_9564 Mixed, and spooned into muffin cases.. IMG_9565IMG_9566 Then baked until golden brown. IMG_9569 They didn’t rise as much as muffins might normally do – but they remained a nice soft muffin without being dense. IMG_9570 And while they may not have the allure of her Grandads secret chocolate stash, the little one seemed happy enough with the alternative. IMG_9574 Another bonus? Being able to freeze these – so that we can continue to enjoy them over the next few weeks too! Banana Bran Muffins – makes 12  (adapted from here)

  • 60g all bran
  • 250ml milk
  • 60g butter
  • 60g raw caster sugar
  • 1 egg
    • 130g wholemeal plain flour
    • 1tbs baking powder
    • 2 bananas, peeled and mashed
    • 80g sultanas
    1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.
    2. Soak the all bran in the milk for 10 minutes.
    3. Cream butter and sugar, until pale and creamy. Add egg, and beat well until combined.
    4. Stir in the soaked bran, sifted flour and baking powder.
    5. Fold in the banana and sultanas, and stir until just combined.
    6. Spoon into the prepared cases, and bake for 25-30 minutes.

    What about you? Do you have a favourite muffin?

    Banana maple muffins

    IMG_6726 It is not unusual, these days, for me to wander around the house humming a nursery rhyme or children’s TV show theme song. For Charlotte loves music, and she certainly loves some of the shows ABC2 has to offer. IMG_6718 It generally only takes Mr BBB or I to start humming a tune, and I guarantee it will remain in both of our heads for the rest of the day. IMG_6720 On this occasion, it was Bananas in Pyjamas. All day. Those silly bananas….. IMG_6723 So it seemed only appropriate(or perhaps it was completely inappropriate ?!) – that I made a batch of banana muffins later in the day. IMG_6729 Flavoured with maple, and topped with walnuts, these were a tasty little treat indeed. IMG_6724 Shame they did nothing to get the tune out of my head! Oh how life has changed…. Banana muffins makes 8

    • 2 bananas, mashed
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tbs maple syrup
    • 75g melted butter
    • 1.5 cups self raising flour
    • walnuts
    1. Preheat oven to 180C, and line 8 muffin cups with liners.
    2. Mix banana with the sugar, egg, maple syrup and butter, until combined.
    3. Add the flour, and stir until just combined.c
    4. Spoon amongst the muffin pans, and top each with a couple walnuts.
    5. Bake for 20 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.

    What about you? Had any songs stuck in your head recently?

    Banana and honey spelt loaf

    I think I have found my new favourite baked loaf. So much so, that thanks to some overripe bananas in our fruit bowl, and this recipe I found online… IMG_7774 It has made an appearance in our household not once but twice in the past week. IMG_7777 I was drawn to the recipe when I saw that it also featured two other favourites of mine… IMG_7771 Walnuts and dates. And the overall result was rather tasty indeed. IMG_7854 A moist, tasty loaf, with just the right amount of sweetness from the dates and honey. IMG_7855 And with a little crunch from the walnuts, scattered throughout. IMG_7856 Sliced and served with a little butter. IMG_7872 And I was one happy girl! I recommend that you try this for yourself. I know I will – well as soon as I leave some bananas in our fruit bowl too long again… What about you? Are you a fan of banana bread?

    Memory loss & muffins

    IMG_6853 I have never been someone who has a particularly good memory. So much so that photographs, diaries and blogging have really been my saviours when it comes to keeping track of what I did yesterday, last week, last year… You get the drift. Then I fell pregnant. And  ‘baby brain’ kicked in. Then my daughter was born. And sleep deprivation kicked in. And it seems that my memory is now completely gone as a result, with me  forgetting even the most obvious of things. Take this week’s forgetfulness by way of example:

    • I forgot to call my Dad on his birthday. He didn’t seem too fussed when I called the next day almost in tears, but I still get sad just thinking about it.
    • I put a load of washing on, and completely forgot to add laundry detergent. Twice. In a row.
    • I mailed a letter to my Mum, and forgot to write the postcode on the front. Here’s hoping it still reaches its destination.
    • I stared at my computer for a good 10 minutes trying to remember my password to log in.
    • I dressed Charlotte after her bath in a singlet and jumpsuit. Then realised it is probably a good idea to go back and  put a nappy on her too…
    • I have put my sunglasses down somewhere. And I have no idea where.
    • I forgot to eat up the bananas in our fruit bowl, that were rapidly nearing the end of their life.

    So although I couldn’t take back many of the things I forgot this week, I could fix the final one in the list. For overripe bananas mean only one thing…. IMG_6845 Baking time! IMG_6846 In this case… IMG_6847 Banana raspberry spelt muffins. IMG_6848 Fluffy on the inside, and with a hint of tartness from the raspberries. IMG_6849 Perfect comfort food when one is starting to lose their mind. IMG_6852 Banana raspberry spelt muffins (makes 12)

    • 2 cups spelt flour
    • 1.5 tsp baking powder
    • 0.5 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup caster sugar
    • 2 overripe bananas, mashed
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
    • 1 egg
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 2 tbs vegetable oil
    • 2 tbs apple sauce
    • Frozen raspberries- for topping
    1. Preheat oven to 180C, and line a 12 muffin tray with paper cases.
    2. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then make a well in the centre.
    3. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Pour into the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined.
    4. Divide among the muffin cases (about 3/4 full), and push 4 or 5raspberries into the top of each muffin.
    5. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean.
    6. Allow to cool on a baking rack.

    What about you? Do you have a good memory?

    Banana maple spelt muffins

    IMG_4917 Slowly but surely I am getting used to being on maternity leave. Although, truthfully, it has taken the better part of the week for me to really start to settle into my new routine.  I guess going from working 10+ hours per day over the past 8 years, to working…well…. zero…does require a certain adjustment. I’ve found that my mornings remain fairly productive…breakfast, blog reading, checking work emails (*I confess*), chores and any little house projects I feel like tackling. After lunch, however, I try to spend my time doing very little. An afternoon walk to the shops, nap time on the couch, some baking perhaps, and a healthy dose of reading or tv watching. Mr BBB arrives home shortly thereafter, and I pounce on him for conversation and “news” from his day. Poor guy doesn’t get a moment to himself (hey a gal needs conversation after spending the day alone!) During one of my many ‘potters’ around the house today, I came across a very sad sight. IMG_4900 Well sad for my morning breakfast porridge, but perhaps not so sad for my baking mojo. IMG_4901 For what better way to use bananas that have reached the end of their life than by using them in a baked treat? IMG_4903 IMG_4907 IMG_4909 Banana maple spelt muffins to be precise. IMG_4911 The thing I love about muffins is not only how versatile they are, but also how quick and easy they are to make. IMG_4912 Just take your dry ingredients, mix them with your wet ingredients… IMG_4914 Pour and bake. IMG_4916 Then around 20 minutes later, not only does your house smell like a bakery, but you have a tasty treat to enjoy warm straight out of the oven… IMG_4913 IMG_4920 Or let them cool, pack them up, and send them along with your husband when he heads to the rugby (while you dine with the gals!) IMG_4924 Either way, they never really last long Smile  Banana maple spelt muffins* – makes 12

    • 1.5 cups spelt flour
    • 0.5 cups GF plain flour
    • 1.5 tsp baking powder
    • 0.5 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup caster sugar
    • 2 overripe bananas, mashed
    • 1 egg
    • 3/4 cup milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
    • 2 tbs vegetable oil
    • 2 tbs maple syrup
    • 2tbs rolled spelt (for topping)
    1. Preheat oven to 180C, and line a 12 muffin tray with paper cases.
    2. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then make a well in the centre.
    3. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Pour into the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined.
    4. Divide among the muffin cases (about 3/4 full), and sprinkle with rolled spelt flakes.
    5. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean.
    6. Allow to cool on a baking rack.

    * these muffins are not gluten free, as they contain spelt flour. I am, however, able to tolerate spelt flour quite well, and opt to use it in my baking quite often. If you wanted to make a GF version, I would substitute the spelt flour for a GF baking flour mix. What about you? Do you have a favourite muffin variety?

    The power of pancakes

    Both Mr BBB and I thank you for all your well wishes after the crazy day we had yesterday – you guys really are too sweet 🙂 And, I am pleased to report that today was ‘drama free’. Mr BBB is feeling happy and healthy, and it was a relatively normal day all things considered (for which we are very grateful). I too am feeling rather more human after a wonderful night’s sleep. Or perhaps it was due to the power of pancakes??? Because pancakes is exactly what we had for dinner last night. IMG_4462 We cheated and used a pre-mixed GF batter, with blueberries thrown in for some colour and flavour… IMG_4463 Add some bananas that I grilled with a little butter and brown sugar…. IMG_4464 And our ‘recovery’ dinner after a rather crazy day was complete. IMG_4466 Times this by 2 – and I had one happy belly. IMG_4467 I haven’t had pancakes in ages, even though I have been meaning to. And these little blueberry pancakes were just delightful. IMG_4468 Light, fluffy, sweet and delicious. And, although I used to be all about the lemon / sugar combination when it comes to pancake toppings, the grilled banana and blueberries in this version just might have me converted. IMG_4469 I think all that was missing was a sprinkle of toasted coconut. Next time perhaps? What about you? What is your favourite pancake topper?