Moist Egg Free Banana and Date Muffins

Moist Egg Free Banana and Date Muffins

Cooking is my therapy. And when Possum (now 21 months old) decides sleep is for losers, mummy needs therapy. This recipe was conceived and baked in 30 minutes. In time for Possum and I to curl up on the couch together, eating muffins, watching Ratatouille and being friends again.

Since Possum was diagnosed with an egg allergy, I had gone right off baking. Not trusting egg replacements and I think being a bit OTT with mourning the lack of eggy goodness in our kitchen (as I’m still breastfeeding I’m not eating egg either). Now I am 18 weeks pregnant and recognizing I needed a healthy snack when I’ve got the munchies (goodbye nausea, hello appetite again!!).

I’m very proud to share with you my recipe for…

Egg Free Banana and Date Muffins

Makes 12 mini muffins (next time I would double the recipe)

3/4 cup SR flour

1/4 cup oats

1/4 cup almond meal

1/4 cup desicated coconut

1/4 cup coconut sugar

2 Tbsp chia seeds soaked in 1/2 cup water for 15 minutes (looks a bit like frog spawn……..)

1 very ripe banana mashed

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp No Egg mixed with 2 Tbsp water

8 dates chopped

1-2 Tbsp melted butter

Mix all your dry ingredients together. 

 

Add your No Egg mixture, chia seed mix, milk, banana and butter. 

 

Mix until just come together. Spoon into pregreased mini muffin pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 180 fan forced (200 standard).  Cool on wire rack. Enjoy!

  

These are low in sugar and have a good mix of yummy healthy things in them. Possum declared after one bite “I love muffin!”. Therapy was a success in more ways than one!

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Here, taste this! It’s vegan…

That sentence makes me want to turn and run rather than open my mouth and chew. But after I got a text from Legoman at work this week that said “Friends for dinner. Can you please make a vegan, gluten free dessert?”, I didn’t really have an option. I have one vegan dessert in my brain as an emergency. A friend made it a while ago and it was surprisingly delicious. It was Vegan Chocolate Mousse! She refused to tell us what was in it until we started eating it. A great way to instil confidence in your dinner guests… “What’s this?” “I’m not telling until you eat it” “I’m scared”. But the brave (hungry) souls we are, chowed down and thoroughly enjoyed it. Her version used avocado. The one I found (thankyou google!) was a 4 ingredient, one dish wonder that can be mixed together in 5 minutes or less! And it is (kind of) good for you!!

What was that? You’d love the recipe? Sure! Here it is 🙂

Vegan Chocolate Mousse (taken from I Quit Sugar)

  • 400 ml can coconut cream.
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder.
  • 1/4 cup rice malt syrup.
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds.

Whisk ingredients together in a bowl. Serve into 4-6 glasses then refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

I only had time to refrigerate for around 90 minutes between getting home from work and eating dessert with our guests. But it was still delicious and really rich. The chia seeds just hadn’t had time to get their jelly thing happening. So was a mousse with texture. Our fireman meat eating friend finished his entire serve, so clearly wasn’t an issue. This was a recipe that I just happened to have all the ingredients in the cupboard/fridge at the same time. Hurrah! Food that was meant to be 🙂

I forgot to take a picture before serving… But here is one after!

Vegan? Delicious!

Vegan? Delicious!

Do I have something in my teeth?

We are well and truly into Autumn now. The leaves are all turning their gorgeous colours, and falling in their relaxed way to the ground. Mushrooms are popping up everywhere. The days are getting a little shorter. The nights are getting a little cooler. But the basil is still bountiful at my local fruit and veg. $3 for a bouquet of fragrant greenness. A little reminder of the summer just passed. Calling out to be made into garlicky pesto.

I have a memory as a child of refusing to eat my mum’s home made basil pesto. Oh the ignorance! My mum is a wonderful cook, everything she makes is delicious (she would refuse to accept that statement). I am so grateful my palate has changed since being a kid. Otherwise I’d still be eating fish fingers, cauliflower and corn on the cob.

After last night’s “night off” the meal plan needed to change a little so as not to waste food in the fridge. We were meant to be having Chicken Pesto Pasta. But instead of chicken (it’s still in the freezer) we had flathead fillets. I also roasted up some butternut pumpkin to stir through the pasta as well. A delicious combination as it turns out! A bit of steamed broccoli on the side and a lovely meal is made.

Pesto is very simple to make and if you can find a big bunch of basil pretty cheap, then it works out to be economical too. It’s able to be frozen and used at a later date, though it may discolour (it won’t affect flavour though). A far healthier option compared to store bought, particularly in reference to salt content. My version tonight had no salt added and was delicious. You can either use a mortar and pestle or a food processor.

Basil Pesto

1 large bunch of basil, leaves picked

4 cloves garlic

4 handfuls of pinenuts

4 handfuls grated parmesan (i used the coarse grater side of a box grater, though you could also use a food processor)

a few generous glugs of olive oil

Put the basil, pinenuts, parmesan and garlic in the food processor. Blitz to desired texture. Keep it running as you pour in the olive oil. Ta Dah!

I had to wait for Legoman to get home before being able to turn the food processor on (poor petrified Possum). Thankfully it only takes a moment to make.

The flathead fillets were on special at our local supermarket (Australian fish, I don’t buy imported fish). Super easy and quick to cook. Get a plastic bag you use for produce at the supermarket. Add a couple of tablespoons of flour with some salt and pepper. Shake the fillets in the bag with the seasoned flour until coated. Heat some ghee in a non stick pan and cook the fillets for a couple of minutes each side. Done! Lovely sweet fish.

And to save time and effort with the pumpkin, leave the skin on, you can eat it! Slice into 1cm thick slices, add a blob of oil then roast for 45 minutes in a 180 C oven. Cut the slices into… slices, then add to the pasta and pesto.

Homemade Pesto Pasta with Pumpkin and Flathead Fillets

Affordability : MODERATE. Fish for two cost me $6.50, cheaper than steak. Basil was $3 for a large bunch. I have enough leftover pesto to feed about 4 people. Pine nuts aren’t cheap but buy in bulk and you can save some money

Time Factor : EXCELLENT. Yes the pumpkin takes a while to roast but that is something you can chuck in the oven and get on with other things. You could make the pesto and the fish in the time it takes the pasta to cook. We cooked the broccoli in the microwave which takes 1 minute.

Complexity : LOW. No tricky steps or fancy ingredients. Just simple cooking using real fresh ingredients.

Deliciousness : EXCELLENT. Legoman said “This tastes at least 10 times better than I thought it would”. And I happily have HEAPS of green stuff in my teeth 🙂

Mess : MODERATE. The downside of using a food processor is having to clean it. So many bits and pieces. Some nights, using a few extra pots but having a quick dinner trumps a one pot wonder that takes 2 hours.

Tummy Filling Factor : EXCELLENT. I did go back for seconds of the pasta and pesto. Can’t let good things go to waste!

Possum Friendly? YES. Possum loves fish, plus the pesto is a great way to introduce herbs and strong flavours. I would choose an easy to handle pasta shape for bubs, like penne or bow ties.

Would I make it again? Yes. Certainly will!

Pesto Pasta and Fish

Pesto Pasta and Fish

In other news, I have very nearly finished (just need to weave in the ends) the gorgeous rainbow dress I have been crocheting for Possum! I bought an amazing skein of yarn hand dyed by Nunnaba at my local yarn shop. It has been such a wonderful experience working with her yarn. The way the colours change and blend together is simply gorgeous. Beats any commercially dyed yarn easily. So here is Possum crawling (!!) in her new rainbow dress.

Rainbow Possum

Rainbow Possum

Ants Climbing A Tree… Where??

Legoman came home… “Mmmmm something smells good!”…

Me…”Ants climbing a tree.”

Legoman… “Where??” whilst looking out the window.

teehee

That is the oh so cute name of tonight’s dinner. A Chinese dish of mung bean noodles, shitake mushrooms, pork mince, tofu and yumminess. These are a few of a my favourite things! Legoman is out at an end of work season party tonight so I had no qualms about making something with mushrooms in it (he is allergic).

Possum seems to be a bit of a tofu fiend and devoured quite a few pieces. Plus two roasted field mushrooms, a few sweet potato wedges and some pork mince. Must’ve been hungry!

The recipe includes some fresh chilli, which I switched for red capsicum to make it more Possum Friendly. On my own bowl though, I topped with chilli sauce. A win.

Possum's Dinner

Possum’s Dinner

I did roast an eggplant for Possum after she gobbled up so much of it in the Space Curry last week. I have a great way to roast eggplant so it turns out both meaty and delicately silky. Beautiful. Possum picked it up, put it to her tongue, then flung it on the floor and screwed up her face like she’d just licked a slug. Not so successful. So my 5pm dinner was supplemented with some delicious roast eggplant. Here’s how I made it…

Silky Roast Eggplant

Cut an eggplant in half lengthways. Using a sharp knife, cut a criss cross pattern in the flesh, making sure not to pierce the skin. Brush the flesh liberally with olive oil (you will be surprised how much these lovelies will soak up!). Top with fresh thyme and a little salt and pepper.

Roast in a preheated oven at 180 C for up to an hour, depending on the size of the eggplant. Just keep an eye on them. When done, they will look a bit like this…

In other news, I continue to reap what others have sowed in our little garden. Today’s bounty was a few kilos of potatoes! Here’s just some of them. Now to figure out what to do with the garden where they were. Any wisdom to share with an absolute learner?

Ants Climbing a Tree

Affordability : MODERATE. Noodles are super cheap but having a combo of tofu and pork does bump the cost up a bit. Having said that this recipe makes a huge pile of noodles. I will be having this out of the freezer for a while!

Time Factor : EXCELLENT. A super quick one pan dish. It’s a bit light on vegetables though so you’d need to cook some in addition.

Complexity : LOW. A lovely simple stir fry.

Deliciousness : MODERATE. The chilli sauce made this more delicious but still a yummy dinner, just not mind blowing.

Mess : MODERATE. I like to get a bit cooking show organised when doing stir fries, this means having lots of bowls of stuff out and ready. You also need to bowls for soaking plus a wok or fry pan.

Tummy Filling Factor : MODERATE. I needed a second bowl (though that was about 2 hours later at my 7pm dinner). Glad I had the eggplant as a vegetable, you could probably even add an eggplant into the dish itself and would be quite yummy!

Possum Friendly? YES. You can modify the level of seasoning as needed. This just uses soy sauce and hoisin. We didn’t have hoisin but had an asian BBQ sauce which I just used one spoon of. Otherwise the flavourings are the mushrooms, spring onions, fresh ginger and garlic.

Would I make it again? Yes. Though I don’t need to for a while with the amount of leftovers I have!

Ants Climbing A Tree

Ants Climbing A Tree

And the meat is back!

Oy, I just watched the second Hunger Games movie and need to unwind… Those films really get to me. Hopefully blogging will help.

Meat Free Week was a great success in our household! New recipes were tried and thoroughly enjoyed, and the meat wasn’t missed (that much). But I am glad to have some meat back on the menu this week. It’s good to know the huge variety of meat free recipes out there that are easy, quick and delicious. So if you’re on a budget or your conscience is getting the better of you, maybe try a meet free week for yourself and see how you go.

To finish off the week, we had roast vegetable frittata with oven baked risotto. First time I’ve made frittata and I had a bit of a frittata fail. It was delicious, don’t get me wrong. I just didn’t prepare my pan enough and it ended up sticking. And then I scraped the crap out of the pan trying to get it out. Here’s the photographic proof.

Frittata Fail

Frittata Fail

The risotto is a recipe I tried a few weeks ago and is now firmly placed in my Pink Folder of Wonder (where all my fav print out recipes go). This time I thought I would try a combination of arborio rice and millet. What is millet? Apart from being one of the main ingredients in bird food (sounds so tempting right?), it is a low allergenic grain which is a good source of many nutrients including magnesium, copper, phosphorous and iron. I’ve used it before to make some tasty millet, ricotta and mint patties. First time in a risotto. Super happy with the result. It offered a great mix of textures with the rice. I used 1 cup rice to around 3/4 cup of millet (I over poured and couldn’t get it back in the container…). I would recommend you add some variety to your grain cupboard with some millet and give it a go.

Tonight’s meal was a leftover of the risotto, some steamed veg and a quick bit of chicken. Here’s how I did the chicken…

Herby Lemon Chicken, Serves 2

Take one chicken breast. Cut a criss cross pattern on the underside.  Season with salt and pepper, a good helping of fresh lemon zest and some fresh thyme (or whatever herb takes your fancy). Lay it between two pieces of baking paper then pummel with either the bottom of a heavy pan or a heavy rolling pin (I have a solid marble rolling pin which is perfect for tasks like this. It’s also my home security system). Heat some olive oil in a pan (I used the hot plate on our stove top, but a BBQ would be perfect). Cook for a few minutes either side then let rest before slicing and dividing into two serves.

Herby Lemon Chicken

Herby Lemon Chicken

Herby Lemon Chicken with Vegetables and Risotto

Affordability : MODERATE. Splitting one chicken breast between two offered plenty of meat while cutting down cost. The risotto makes a large amount and can be frozen for another day. A good variety of veg on the side and you have yourself quite an affordable but delicious meal.

Time Factor : MODERATE. Thankfully the risotto was leftovers tonight and only took 2 minutes in the microwave, but originally take about an hour from go to gob. I cook my corn in the microwave, little trick I learnt at work. Using a leftover bag you use from your fruit and veg shopping (the clear super light ones), pop your corn and a spoon of water in the bag. Tie a knot in the top then microwave for 1.5 minutes. Ta Dah! Easy work snack and super easy dinner side.

Complexity : MODERATE. I choose to make my own tomato sauce for the risotto (recipe is at the foot of the main recipe). But you could make this more simple by using a store bought sauce (though I doubt it would be a delish).

Deliciousness : MODERATE. To be honest, the chicken let the team down a bit tonight. Breast meat has a tendency to get dry. Next time I would stick to using thigh meat like I normally do. But the risotto is delicious and I love fresh corn on the cob.

Mess : MODERATE. An oven pan, two saucepans, a grill pan and some microwave container for the veg.

Tummy Filling Factor : EXCELLENT. Great mix of veg, carbs and protein means I am nicely full and stayed full.

Possum Friendly? YES. I didn’t make enough chicken to give to her tomorrow, but would be an excellent way to offer some simple meat. Possum loves this risotto recipe. She isn’t too happy with plain steamed veg. Tonight I gave her some ocean trout (which she gobbled up at lightning speed) and some fried capsicum, with grapes and yoghurt for after.

Would I make it again? Yes. I think I’d try some other things before doing the chicken breast again, but it was a great quick way to flavour and cook the meat. It made me want to make schnitzel though.

Herby Lemon Chicken and Vegetables with RIsotto

Herby Lemon Chicken and Vegetables with RIsotto

In other news, Possum is on the mend. And crawling!! Very proud mummy 🙂

Will post my meal plan for the week tomorrow.

The burgers are better at…home.

I love burgers. All of them! A good burger is such a nice treat. I remember a burger I ate on the first day of schoolies in Byron Bay. It was a “works” burger. Beetroot, egg, bacon, onions, tomato, lettuce, cheese, beef. The egg still runny, leaving golden yolk running down my hands. The sounds of waves, the smell of sunshine and new found freedom. Mmmmmmmmmmm. I have tried a few time to recreate such goodness at home. But it’s never quite the same. Probably the fact I’m a grown up with responsibilities doesn’t quite compare to that 18 year old on holidays.

So when I saw the promise of a 15 minute meal and a delicious burger all on the same page, I was sold.

To make the patties I combined 500g of lamb mince with 5 Tbsp of tomato relish, 1 egg and some leftover quinoa. Then shaped and refrigerated until needed. They were cooked for about 5 minutes each side. The mixture was easy to shape but a bit wet and floppy when cooking, but it meant the patties were nice and moist.

Mixing the patties

Mixing the patties

I splurged and bought some turkish rolls, some persian fetta, roasted capsicum and hummus. Topped off with some mixed leafy greens.

Yummo! Best home made burger yet! And so grown up too.

Gourmet Burger

Gourmet Burger

Lego Man and I were trying to figure out how you take a photo of a burger. They don’t look good from on top. It’s tricky to do a side shot. Every burger ad on TV has just one single perfect “bite” taken out of it. So here is our “bite” photo. Starring Lego Man’s lovely man hands 🙂

Lego Man Approves

Lego Man Approves

15 minute Gourmet Burger

Affordability : MODERATE. You’d pay $15 for a burger like this out and about. Plus at home you can eat one…and a half of them! Probably cost around $5 per burger to make at home using nice extras.

Time Factor : EXCELLENT. Minimal prep and super quick to mix and cook.

Complexity : LOW. A good one for bigger kids to get involved with. Plus there is the fun of “make your own” burger.

Deliciousness : EXCELLENT. Just what I felt like eating tonight! And not too unhealthy either.

Mess : LOW. One mixing bowl and something to cook the patties on (I used the hot plate).

Tummy Filling Factor : EXCELLENT. Tummy was perfectly full after 1.5 burgers.

Possum Friendly? YES. She could absolutely enjoy one of the burger patties but i wouldn’t serve her the persian fetta or roasted capsicum. She could have the hummus and a bit of bread though.

Would I make it again? Yes, will keep this in the back of my mind for a quick weeknight dinner, or even if friends are coming over. Great if you see special things like the fetta on quick sale at the supermarket.

From last night’s meal… Possum loved the leftover vegetables today alongside one of the pork balls. She had a preference for the zucchini, then carrots and capsicum then cabbage. The poor green beans were left on the tray.

Leftover stir fry veg

Leftover stir fry veg

Pimp My Patty

The wonderful world of Pinterest, combined with the mighty force of Baby Led Weaning can lead to an overload of patty recipes. So many ways to combine things and fry things! So this afternoon I took some inspiration from Pinterest where someone had “pinned” an idea to combine tinned tuna and hummus to make a patty.

I pimped the patty.

Yes there was1 small tin of tuna and 1 Tbsp hummus, but there was also leftover 2 Tbsp quinoa (from yesterdays meatballs) and an egg yolk. The mix made 6 patties which I fried in ghee. And they were pretty darn tasty. I had 3 and Possum ate the equivalent of 2 but was offered 3. I think if you squished together all the loose bits on her high chair and on the floor you could’ve pieced together a whole new patty.

Are you familiar with the meme “Nailed it?”

So imagine seeing a lovely picture of patties… Now here’s how they actually turned out…

Nailed it!

Nailed it!

But the important thing is they are healthy and the critic loved them 🙂

Tuna Hummus Quinoa Patties

Tuna Hummus Quinoa Patties