Banana Wheat Germ Muffins

I always seem to be looking for ways to use up ripe bananas. Ergo another muffin recipe!

Banana Wheat Germ Muffins1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup wheat germ
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 medium ripe bananas (the riper, the better)
1/2 cup honey
3 Tbsp applesauce (or oil)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 large egg

Heat oven to 350F. Combine flour, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In a stand mixer, mix together the bananas, honey, applesauce, vanilla, and egg. You can put the bananas in whole and let the mixer do the mashing! Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Grease a mini muffin pan and fill to 3/4 full. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Orange Chicken Stir Fry

This is a yummy stir fry that we all enjoy, and I vary the vegetables depending on what we have in the fridge. I keep the little 200ml juice cartons in the pantry just for this!

IMG_1791 (1280x960)200ml pure orange juice
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp honey
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
Vegetables – I tend to use red bell pepper, snap peas, broccoli, carrots

Mix everything except the chicken and vegetables in a small bowl. Heat a little oil in a pan and cook the chicken for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the vegetables (harder veggies first) and cook for another two minutes or so, then remove everything from the pan. Put the sauce in the pan, bring it to the boil and reduce it by half (about 5 minutes). Add everything back in the pan and cook for a further minute, making sure the chicken is cooked and veggies are tender.

I serve this with brown rice, but Asian noodles would be good too.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate is something that Zoe doesn’t see an awful lot of – but these muffins are a great way for her to get a taste, as they’re totally sugar free! And she LOVES them, calling out for “more brown muffins, Mama!” – and I love that they’re healthy. And easy. And help to use up my seemingly endless supply of overripe bananas.

IMG_1800 (1280x960)1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs, whisked
1 banana, mashed
1/2 cup honey
2 cups grated zucchini (about two medium zucchini)

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a bowl, combine the flours, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, combine the vanilla, applesauce, eggs, banana, and honey. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, then stir in the zucchini.

Pour in to greased mini muffin pans – it made 43 mini muffins. Bake for around 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Yumbox and Snack Containers

There was quite a bit of interest when I posted the photo of Zoe’s lunchbox, so thought I would tell you a bit more about it, and let you know what other containers we use.

Yumbox and Snack ContainersI chose the Yumbox, as I liked that it had the individual compartments, and the lid, as you can see from the picture, seals them so they are separate from each other. You can put hummus or dip or something and it won’t run from one compartment to the next. Amazing! This way I know that when Zoe opens it up (it’s easy for her to open) her grapes aren’t going to be covered in hummus. Not that she’d probably care, I’ve never known her to turn down grapes – and she does have some strange dipping habits. Blackberries with garlic hummus? Apples with honey mustard? Mmmmm……I ordered our Yumbox online, from, but there is a Canadian website called Fenigo that sells them too. For days when we are packing a sandwich, I use the Sistema sandwich containers (made in New Zealand, but available in Canada and the US – randomly, I found them at Old Navy once?!).

IMG_1744 (1280x960)The other containers we use are the Dr Brown’s Snack-A-Pillar, which come in a set of four, and can either be used separately, or screwed together to create a tower, or snack-a-pillar, if you will. These are perfectly sized for taking along some cut fruit, a muffin, crackers, etc. I do find that when they’re screwed together, you lose a bit of real estate in the bottom ones as the upper one encroaches in the space. I still love them though! I tend to colour code them – blueberries in the blue one, tomatoes in the red, to help me remember!

I also use these reusable snack bags a lot. There are a lot of options for these out there, the ones I have are Colibri brand. That’s what the store had when I needed them, and I like the prints. They are machine washable, and have certainly saved on all the ziplocs!

Anything to make life a bit easier! I’m also fond of my new coffee mug!

Coconut & Raspberry Muffins

Coconut and Raspberry MuffinsMost of my baking choices are made by having stuff to use up. Case in point – leftover coconut milk from a Thai curry!

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 large egg
2/3 cup coconut milk
heaped 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup raspberries

Preheat oven to 400F. Either grease or line your muffin pan.

In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and coconut. In a separate bowl combine the egg, coconut milk, and applesauce. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet, gently combining.

Fold in raspberries, then spoon the mixture in to the pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins.

New Veggie Of The Week – Acorn Squash

Acorn SquashFor the last few weeks we have been trying a new vegetable each week. Some weeks it might just be a new one for Zoe, sometimes it might be for all of us. Past weeks have seen us try jicama and turnips – this week, it was acorn squash. Ohhhhhh it was so good!! And just as important – so easy.

1 acorn squash
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup olive oil
Dried thyme
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400F. Slice squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff. Slice squash in to 3/4 inch slices. In a bowl, mix together the other ingredients. Add the squash and stir it around to coat.

Lay the slices out on a baking tray, and put them in the oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes until squash is tender and golden. The skin will peel off easily.

Beef, Lentil & Pasta Bites

Beef Lentil and Pasta BitesThese can be mixed up a bit – you could swap the ground beef for ground turkey, or even swap the pasta for rice. Throw in some diced zucchini, mushrooms – so versatile, just work with what you have in the fridge!

150g dried pasta (I used small shells)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsp olive oil
300g ground beef
1/2 cup red lentils
14oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth (no salt added)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups grated cheese

Preheat the oven to 350F. Heat the oil in a medium pan, add the onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft. Add the beef and brown. Drain off any fat. Add the lentils, tomatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste, and any veggies you want to add.

Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the lentils are tender, then add the Italian seasoning. While that’s cooking, cook the pasta.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, and add the pasta, cheese, and meat/lentil mixture. Stir well to combine. Spoon mixture in to a greased muffin pan, filling the pans to the top. It should make around 24 regular size “muffins”. Cook for 20-25 minutes.


Fluffy banana pancakes

Fluffy Banana PancakesSomebody couldn’t wait to take a bite of these! Great way to use up ripe bananas and very handy to have in the freezer to pull out for breakfast. I often add blueberries or coconut too, once I had a peach that needed using so chucked that in too – it’s pretty versatile, but they’re great as is too.

1 mashed banana
1 cup flour (I use half all purpose and half whole wheat)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut (optional)

Mix everything together in a bowl, and leave it for half an hour if you can – they’ll be fluffier this way. Cook like regular pancakes. If I’m adding blueberries, I put them in the raw batter once they’re in the pan – so put the batter in the hot pan, then sprinkle a few blueberries on top of the batter before you flip them.

Beet & White Bean Dip

Beet and White Bean DipThis dip has amazing colour! Great to serve with some veggie sticks. Zoe had carrot, grape tomatoes, jicama, red bell pepper, and snap peas.

1 medium beet
1 large garlic clove, peeled
15oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400F. Rinse the beet and wrap in tin foil. Put on a baking tray (that has sides, in case the beet leaks!), and bake for 45-60 minutes, until you can poke a knife through it easily. Let the beet cool, and remove the skin. I find the easiest way to do this is to get a paper towel and just wipe it off.

Once the beet is cooled, put everything in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Dip will keep for a week in the fridge. Makes around 4 cups.

Cranberry, Orange and Veggie Loaf

Canberra Orange Veggie LoafGreat combo of flavours and the yogurt makes it nice and moist. I just used regular yogurt but I’m sure Greek yogurt would be good too.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup oat bran
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup dried dranberries
1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup plain yogurt
3 Tbsp applesauce
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tsp grated orange zest
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup grated zucchini

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a loaf pan.

Combine flour, oat bran, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in cranberries and nuts. In a medium bowl, mix together the yogurt, applesauce, eggs, orange juice and zest. Mix in carrot and zucchini. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones until just combined.

Pour batter in to pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack.