Thursday, 19 January 2012

January Baking Days

Have had a couple of opportunities this week to do some baking - always very therapeutic and enjoyable. Initially I needed to do something with a couple of age old bananas which were past their best (Andy won't eat bananas with ANY brown on them!). I found a recipe which I had obviously printed off the internet at some stage, omitting the title and it was only when I was looking for another favourite recipe that I came across it, read it through and realised it might be what I was looking for - something different to the usual Banana bread!

So I gave it a go:

Peanut Butter and Banana Muffins
275g plain flour
50g oats
1tbsp baking powder
2 eggs
75g light brown sugar
2 bananas
115g crunchy peanut butter
50g butter melted
250ml milk

Method: Preheat oven to 190/Gas 5
Fill a muffin tray with 12 paper cases
Mix flour, oats and baking powder in medium bowl and set aside.
In another bigger bowl, whisk eggs then stir in sugar, mashed bananas, peanut butter and melted butter.
Add milk and stir to combine.
Gently fold in dry ingredients - do not over mix.
Spoon mixture into muffin cases and make for 18-25 minutes until the tops are golden and spring back when gently touched.
Cool on a wire rack.

Review: These are quite a good breakfast muffin - they are not very sweet. You could add more sugar I think if you wanted. I did a dessertspoon of mixture in each case, followed by a teaspoon of Nutella (!) followed by another dessertspoon of batter to cover - tasty! I have also had one split in to with some extra Nutella sandwiched in! Naughty but lovely!

Second recipe I have made today - as I have some new school gate friends coming for a cuppa in the afternoon tomorrow. This is a recipe from Fellowship Afloat, where we lead our summer kids camp and they are the Kings (and Queens) of epic tray bakes. I chose this purely because I have everything needed for it in the cupboard and fridge so very cost effective!

Mocha Traybake
10 oz margarine
8oz self raising flour (I used wholemeal SR)
8oz sugar
5oz oats
4oz drinking chocolate
3oz margarine
12oz icing sugar
1.5 tbsp coffee essence (made from 2tsp coffee granules and 3tbsp hot water)

Grease and line a shallow baking tray or roasting tray - it doesn't need to be very deep and the base doesn't really rise.
Melt margarine in microwave or in saucepan.
Mix rest of ingredients in large bowl.
Add melted margarine and mix well to a firm, dark moist crumb mixture.
Press into a greased tray and spread evenly to the edges, making sure the whole area is covered and pressed together.
Bake in oven on low shelf for 20 minutes.
Leave to cool.

For the Icing, melt the margarine and blend in coffee essence.
Stir in icing sugar and beat to a smooth shiny paste.
Spread quickly over cooled base with a wet knife until evenly spread to the edges.
Leave briefly to set and cut into squares using a wet knife to prevent icing sticking.

Review: This makes a great nibble with a cuppa but also good for after a nice meal with coffee. You can cut the squares big or small and it travels well cos the icing is not too sticky. Nice crunchy texture with the oats and very moreish!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

a busy, up and down January...

Anyone stumbling onto the blog in the last few weeks will see that my December Daily posts stalled on 8th December. I don't think I even had a chance to think about them after that date. Looking back, I realise that was probably when I started to lose a sense of reality a bit. The first snuffly cold of the winter (first since Isaac's arrival too) set in, leaving me streaming and struggling to feed Isaac and blow my nose simultaneously!
In amongst 5th birthday preparations and other big events like Christmas, I never really stopped from that point on which was not a good place to be...
However, Christmas and New Year were lovely - a good mix of busyness which is to be expected as a church employee and time at home with friends and family. We had visitors for Christmas Day and my parents stayed from 26-28th December and then we headed to Northumberland on 29th to see the Smith side.
The travelling, late nights and not enough fruit and veg all took it's toll unfortunately and after returning from being with family at New Year, I had a week where I gradually felt worse and worse - sore throat, crazy tiredness - and after 2 months of no problems at all,  breastfeeding suddenly became more difficult with a cracked nipple (oh. so. painful). I knew I was run down but it only felt like a bit of something rather than anything too serious.
Anyway, once the breastfeeding pain had been going on for a few days, I headed to an out of hours doctor one Saturday morning who prescribed various creams and medicine for me and Isaac, diagnosing thrush. He also suggested that he'd be prescribing bed rest if I didn't have another child at home because I obviously wasn't shifting a virus or something. When Isaac's paediatrician said the same thing at our hospital check up 2 days later, Andy put his foot down and forced me to solely sleep, feed myself and feed Isaac for the next 2 days. It certainly made a big difference to my capacity to be rational about life, which had been going a bit awry! It also helped big time with the quality of my milk and although I now (a week later) have ANOTHER cold, I am definitely a bit more myself.

Throughout all of this up and down time, Isaac has been doing really well. He's still a tiddler at only 10lbs at 14 weeks old, which is partly why the paed wanted me to focus on getting well as she thinks his weight will do a sudden leap at some point to catch up with his length! So, I need to be ready for that obviously! He still sleeps really well, 7-10pm and then dream feed through to 7am.

Matilda has had a run of colds and coughs and such like, never enough to be off school but enough to make her grumpy after school. I'm glad we don't have any after school stuff like swimming at the would be a running battle I think. She's been put into a stream at school for her literacy and numeracy for those who are more able or who need stretching so she also has a little more homework to do for that. Alongside her dancing school show on Sunday with a full afternoon of rehearsals the previous 2 weekends, it's been a busy January already.
Andy turned the big 3-1 last week, which kinda got lost in the bed rest and stuff...but he made his own birthday muffins which were delicious (better than I would have made anyway!) and got enough gift money to buy a bazouki which he's been looking at for a while! It's not yet arrived but I'm sure once it does we'll be losing him to his study/music room a bit more!
So it's back into some semblance of routine. Isaac usually has 2 big feeds first thing in the morning before school which then leads into a good morning nap so I can get up, dressed, ready and get some jobs done round the house. He has another nap after his lunch feed but is usually then awake for once Matilda comes home from school until bath time at 6pm. 3-6pm is a crazy time of the day but lovely cos we're usually all around at home and doing various bits and pieces. I'm trying to get to some baby groups locally but with being poorly it hasn't happened yet. It's a big thing - even someone as supposedly 'confident' as me finds it hard to walk in cold to a new group of people, even if we do have something significant in common. But I will try my hardest before the end of January to take the plunge, just for my own sanity!