Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dairy and Egg Free Banana Muffins and a Vegie Patch Make Over

Dairy Free Banana Muffins
In my quest to cut out unhealthy food, or at least to counter all the rubbish the Beach House Brats are offered when they are out and about,  I have excluded all the store bought sweet treats in their school lunches.  No more chocolate biscuits, muesli bars or flavoured yoghurts loaded with sugar and preservatives.

Coincidentally, we seem to have at least two bananas go close to black per bunch, before we can get to them. The synergy here seems like it's meant to be.  So every few days, I bake a batch of these for school lunches.  They are dairy free and the sweetness comes from the honey, bananas and sultanas.  They are terrific for school lunches, because they are bite size and  there are no nuts, a complete no no at our and most schools these days.  I do wonder why there are so many food allergies with this generation.  It must be awful for those who suffer from it.  It was never like this when were kids and you have to ask, what they are doing to our food?

In an attempt to have some control over what we are eating, we are making changes on the fruit and vegie front as well.  We have replanted our humble vegie patch.  One of the sponsors at the Digital Parents conference I went to last week, Be Natural, came up with the ingenious idea of having us make a pledge, in writing,  to get closer to nature.  Mine was to 'eat more home grown vegetables' and for once, I am sticking with it.  Be Natural offered pallets of free seedlings to help the committed, which was a great idea. I do love a promotion that fills a need.  It makes a nice change.

A vegie patch is a great way to rope the kids in to getting active and learning about life and nature.

This getting healthy thing, has been a theme at the Beach House since I decided I was way too fat, 18 months ago.  Actually I decided I was way too fat about 10 years ago, but actually decided to do something about it 18 months ago.  I have lost 17kg in that time.  You can see how I achieved that here.  I have much more energy now for things like gardening, among other things. It's all self perpetuating really.  Once you change your habits permanently, eating like this becomes a way of life and it is not difficult to sustain.

So here's the before shot of the vegie patch......I actually remembered to take a photo this time.  It was a mess after the Summer harvest.  And there were still a few plants with fruit on them, so I was waiting for them to ripen before I pulled out the plants.   As for setting the garden up, I think Mr Beach House bought the tin border at Bunnings.  They have different sizes, to suit the size of your backyard   We dug it into the ground at one end, so it was level,  in a sunny spot  facing north.  We layered it with about 6 bags of gravel then about 6 bags of good quality soil and 1 bag of cow poo, turned into the soil with a spade.  It is located next to a wall, so we could use it as a point to trellis vines.   Luckily, we have had no problems with radiant heat in high Summer and no plants have been killed.  I certainly wouldn't be positioning it against a western wall, as your plants will get burnt in Summer by the radiant heat.

One thing I have noticed is that all the produce is smaller than the store bought stuff, which does make you wonder what they use to pump it up in size.  One Pink Chair, one of my IG friends, suggested that you need to grow potatoes by seed to get them to be a good size.  So maybe I am just too cynical.  I shall be trying that next crop.

My potatoes may be small,  but my pink hand indicates,  my iron levels are high. And I am loving that long life line.
So here is the cleaned out version of the garden.  I pulled the tomato and cucumber vines to the edge of the garden.  The basil and thyme in the middle were keepers and the pumpkin seedling (centre far right) planted at pre school, by the Beach House Brat, has yet to take off.

And here's our future dinner in motion, which will be ready to eat in about 2-3 months time.  There are loads of salad leaves, broccoli, carrots, spinach, leeks and spring onions.  I can't wait.  I am out there daily, hose in hand,  loving these things like crazy.  Oh and don't worry about the lawn.  Currently ours is the worst in the street,  but it has Mr Beach House's name all over this Easter weekend.  

Dairy Free Banana Muffins for School Lunches.
You need 2 mini muffin pans for this recipe

2 ripe bananas
4 dessert spoons honey or maple syrup
4 dessert spoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 and a quarter cups wholemeal plain flour(make sure the pack says 'whole wheat')
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sultanas
Oil spray for greasing the mini muffin pans

Preheat oven to 180 C or 375 F
Mash bananas, honey, oil in a large bowl.  Fold in remaining ingredients and mix.  Spoon heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture into a non stick mini muffin pan.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Make 24 muffins

I had a look at the back of the self raising flour packet and it had heaps of 'numbers' in it.  So I decided to use whole wheat plain flour with my own raising agents.

Here's to your health Beach Dwellers.

If you want to eat healthier treats, you may like my Healthy Chocolate Icecream.

Have you entered the giveaway yet?  I am giving away a $100 gift voucher to spend in a fabulous online homewares store, Allissias Attic Design here. The store is full of beautifully inspired French, vintage and Hamptons style pieces, which I know you will love.

In other news, I have started a Newsletter, apparently the newest 'must have' accoutrement to ones blog.  With the demise of the RSS feed  (Google Reader) and the rumours about the future axing of GFC and Feedburner, you may want to start one too.   Next week, I will be doing a further review of what I learned at DPCON13.  If you want to subscribe to my Newsletter and see what all the fuss is about,  pop your email in the box at the top of my sidebar.
Today I am linked here


  1. I love banana muffins - they are the perfect way to use up bananas that are approaching their expiry date!

  2. Wonderful! We are in the process of planning out our veggie patch too. I love that you've made them dairy free! Almost vegan for me too would only have to replace that pesky honey with some beautiful agave. :D Congratulations on taking a healthier step, you and the kiddies will feel it in no time!

  3. We will often have sugar free, gluten free banana muffins for breakfast!
    Good luck with the garden!

  4. The kids had an awesome time planting the things we got from Dpcon. There is a post coming soon lol. Those muffins sound so good!!!

  5. Your recipe sounds fabulous and we too are more conscious of what we are eating. We've planted a vegetable garden and try to only eat farm to table foods. It's so true what you say about the size of those things grown without chemicals...scary!

  6. Your little Miss Beach House has stolen the scene again!

  7. Yum! The cupcakes look scrumptious :)
    Greetings from sunny S-E Queensland♥ ~Pernilla

  8. Your muffins sound so good! And healthy! I have a new weekly link party which is live now and I would love if you stop by and link up this wonderful post! Hope to see you there!

  9. Oh how fun, I love your garden area, ours has been going strong for a while, and I love all the veggies. Thanks for joining TTT. Hugs, Marty

  10. Sounds amazing! I would love for you to link up at SHOW-licious Craft Showcase.

    Just follow the link.....



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