Mother by Nature Blog

Caravan mini cakes

December 29, 2018

Caravan mini cakes

It’s the summer holidays – hooray!

We are travelling in our caravan enjoying quality family time in the sun sand & sea; getting outdoors and relishing in all of nature’s glory.

No routines, no curfews, and my personal favourite – no alarm clocks!

All that fresh air, exploring and swimming makes for constantly insatiable appetites so for my hungry family of 5 I have been baking up more vanlife gourmet meals and homemade healthy sweet treats than ever.

Food to nourish the body and feed the soul.

In our van we have a half sized gas oven which has performed brilliantly, so much that I’m wanting one for at home now too. Even though it’s been 40+ each day we still have to eat so I have been making mini banana muffins – renamed ‘Caravan Mini Cakes’  to keep the food stores up and save me from buying packaged and processed flavourless ‘food’.

Healthy home cooking is something I am very passionate about.

You are what you eat and good health sets you up for life. I want my children’s bodies to have the best start to adulthood without all the junk, sugar, additives and other hidden nasties wherever possible.

There is a lot of ‘stuff’ on the supermarket shelves pretending to be food, and I avoid those isles at all costs.

But sometimes we all need a sweet treat so this is my go to cake to make and everyone in our family loves it!

Now I’m about to spill some family secrets here because this recipe is so old that I had to convert it from pounds and ounces from my nana’s younger days, and, with a modern twist I have reduced the sugar and butter amounts and added some power packed superfoods.

My dear nana who is 96 was a professional chef in her younger years and as result my mother and I have been handed down the passion and flair for ‘from scratch’ cooking with the DNA and skills to back it up. For as long as I can remember I have had this banana cake made for me and now I carry on the tradition by baking it for my little darlings.  There simply is no better recipe.

Firstly the biggest secret I can share with you is the actual bananas themselves. Don’t use yellow bananas, always use old brown ones. I pop them into the freezer when they can’t be eaten anymore. When you pull them back out they do look quite bad but don’t be put off…It will make all the difference!

So here it is, a Mother By Nature family recipe delight!

90g Butter

80g Raw Sugar or substitute with honey etc

2 Fresh farm eggs

2 Old Bananas

200g SR Wholemeal flour

1 Teaspoon Bi Carb Soda dissolved in 1 Tablespoon warm Milk

Chia seeds, walnuts, lsa mix, flaxseed, pepitas, sunflower seeds, sultanas, chopped dried apricots etc


Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy and then beat in eggs one at a time until combined. Mash the bananas (for more ‘chunks’ mash less) then stir through mixture. Sift flour and mix in alternately with the milk / bi carb.

Add the healthy additions of your choice and mix through gently.

I only had silicone moulds with me to keep the weight down in the van which made the mini cakes shape but you can use whatever cake or muffin tray you have.

Bake at 180 degrees Celsius: 20 mins for mini cakes or 45 minutes for full sized tins then remove and cool for 5 minutes in the tin before turing out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

There you have it!

It’s so easy and my children love to make it with me, I’m sure your little helpers would love to as well!

Store in a sealed container at room temperature.

If you really want to live large you can whip up this Lemon Icing which transforms it into a full on decadent dessert, one that you would be proud to take to a friends event to really show off!

Lemon Icing:

Mix together 250g Cream Cheese (reduced fat) and 3/4 cup of Icing Sugar to a smooth consistency. Zest and juice 1-2 lemons depending on how much zing you like it to have then gently stir into the icing mixture. Leave to set out of the fridge for 15 minutes and then ice once cakes are completely cooled.


Jolie x

Mother by Nature Blog

I know what I said but…

July 22, 2017
mother baby

I know what I said but…

Isn’t there something about women and changing their minds? Is that a thing? Well it sure is now, for this crunchy mama.

I know I know… I winged, I cried, I carried on and had everyone feeling sorry for me;


Swore it was the last time. I may have even said I would never EVER do that again. The sickness, the gestational diabetes, the hugeness, the impracticality of having a giant turtle shell strapped to my front while trying to parent and even just adult.

And then the icing on the cake, giving birth. It nearly KILLED me.

I was quick to say (with a few colourful words) in the labour ward THAT’S NEVER HAPPENING AGAIN!

No pain relief is not a good choice ladies.

Well that lasted for about 5 minutes after the baby was born, and then the newborn baby love train smacked me fair in the face (and heart) and I completely forgot (or blocked) it all.

All the nausea, all the vomiting, all the drips, all the pain and feeling yuk and blechhh, all the uncomfortable sleeps or sleepless nights, all the blood tests, all the fingerpicks and diabetes, and all the diabetes bloody diet rules. All of it has gone from my mind and I’m left with the warm fuzzy giddy love bubble of the drug that is the newborn baby.

Valentija. She is a beauty.

I want more.

Like an addict chasing a high, I want more.

More more more more MORE!

I definitely don’t feel done. Far from done actually; I worry I will never feel done. No need to alarm the hubby…

Menopause will have to physically punch me hard in the ovaries and yell IT’S OVER LADY and then maybe I will. I’m sure I’ll cry.

But then theres always grandchildren..

Mother by Nature Blog

Crunchy Mama Vegan Lasagne

September 21, 2016
vegan, dairy and gluten free lasagne

Crunchy Mama Vegan Lasagne

Yesterday I posted a picture on my Instagram page of a vegan lasagne I kind of made up on the spot – it was so healthy and delicious! 

Since then I’ve had so many requests asking for the recipe so I decided to write it down so I can share it with you all.

Quite a few years ago, I was a vegetarian/ wannabe vegan (wannabe simply because non-dairy cheeses back then were unheard of) so I am very familiar with the ‘crunchy’ lifestyle. People immediately tend to think of ‘rabbit food’ but in actual fact I found it made me a more adventurous budding young cook and I surprised my family quite a few times with divine earthy vegetable creations.

These days I am slowly embracing the lifestyle again but more towards a pescatarian diet. I want my children to have the healthiest possible start to life and for me that begins with proper nutrition. At the supermarket I spend 3/4 of the weekly shop on fresh fruit and veg alone, and it raises a lot of eyebrows at the checkout. “Wow, that’s a lot of fruit and vegetables!” Is that really so strange?  Yes, I agree it can be expensive to buy healthy food but that is a small sacrifice I’m willing to make…it’s called priorities.

For this meal I partially made it in my thermomix, I really love not having to chop up anything anymore, it’s such a time saver!

If you don’t have a Thermomix you are going to have to cut the vegetables by hand. You can also use the same béchamel sauce recipe but you will have to make it in a saucepan the old fashioned way.

Basically you can put whatever you like or have to use up including left over roast vegetables which would make such a great flavour.

So here’s what I did, I hope you love it too!

Continue Reading…

Mother by Nature Blog

Anzac Biscuits

April 6, 2016

Anzac biscuits

Talk about organised!

Anzac Day isn’t until the 25th of April this year so I am getting in nice and early with my recipe that I am sure you are all going love. As you are probably aware this is a very traditional Australian biscuit dating back to the first world war.

But did you know that they were originally known as an Anzac wafer or tile? The biscuits were included with rations instead of bread as they were made with ingredients which were less likely to ‘spoil’ and therefore had a longer shelf life that kept well during naval transportation. There are even stories that soldiers used them to ground down into a type of porridge! After the war they were still very popular because the ingredients were quite affordable in such hard times.

This is my families recipe, which is a pretty standard representation of most recipes out there, however I like to change the way I cook them to enhance the flavour and texture. For this recipe I have made the softer, chewier version (= less crumbs to clean up after my children discover them!) but for myself I prefer squashing them very flat and baking them for 5 – 7 minutes longer to get a lovely thin crunchy golden brown biscuit.

Either way they are very extremely bloody good, and the cookie jar has been totally raided at my house already.

Continue Reading…

Mother by Nature Blog

Best Banana Bread Blog

March 14, 2016

Best Banana Bread Blog

Listen up lovely readers…this is the only Banana Bread recipe you will ever need so be sure to save it and then share the love around!

I’m about to spill some family secrets here because this makes the most delicious, moist and flavoursome cake that smells so divine and I’d love to share it with you all.

Besides, If I’m going to be getting fat by eating so much damn cake, then you should be too. 

Continue Reading…

Mother by Nature Blog

Munching Madness

February 23, 2016

Recently I had to run a few errands with both children in tow.

Now, I’m sure every mother alive knows my pain; getting children in and out of the car downright sucks and it usually takes longer than the actual task itself.

A pain in every lovely mothers ass.

As a spontaneous reward to the little darlings for behaving so well on our ‘quest’ I asked if they would like to go for a special treat of hot chips and milkshakes at the ‘big’ hotel.

Delighted little nodding faces assured me they were in a good and somewhat focused mood that would allow for a pleasant experience for all involved.

Continue Reading…

Mother by Nature Blog

Mini Finger Buns

January 18, 2016

Hello lovely readers and welcome back to the blog for 2016!

I have really enjoyed some time out during the festive period with my darling diamond family; Yay for our long hot Australian summer holidays! We have been jetty jumping, spending time at the beach, visiting family and friends and of course enjoying the playground circuit crawl. Although we usually have to burn the children’s clothing afterwards…playgrounds are bloody filthy!

So now it’s that time where we have to think about getting back into routine and reality. It won’t be long now until school and kindy goes back, so I thought I would start off my blog with a cute yummy treat that will fit perfectly into little lunch boxes. I have road tested these on my children and they were a big hit to say the least. I actually used chia seeds as sprinkles on theirs, and depending on your school, kindy or day care food policy you might need to do the same. For photography purposes today I used the traditional 100’s and 1000’s as well because they look so visually appealing and fun!

I made these using my Thermomix because it’s so easy to knead the dough, so easy I don’t have to do anything at all!  Of course you can still make it using exactly the same recipe in the old fashioned way if need be.

Mini Finger Buns

290g luke warm water

5 tsp instant dried yeast

560g white bakers flour

pinch salt

2 tsp bread improver

50g sugar

40g melted butter

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place all ingredients into the mixing bowl in the order listed here and combine for 30 seconds on speed 3. Select dough function, set for 9 minutes and then go put your feet up! Once finished place dough onto your thermomat or in a lightly oiled large bowl and cover with a clean tea towel for about 20 minutes.

Buttercream Icing

I used the basic cook book recipe for this but found it to be way too sweet (besides the Fournado is hyped up enough on fresh air alone!) so I cut back the sugar. Mill 90g raw sugar for 20 seconds on speed 10. Using the butterfly whisk, add 60g milk, 250g soft butter and a splash of vanilla. Whisk for 3 minutes on speed 3. This will give you a super fluffy whipped icing, the best I have honestly ever made. It will keep in the fridge for quite some time.

I found these cute silicone bread moulds at Kmart for about $10 and they are great for achieving the desired shape. Just be careful not to over fill them…on my test run we had humongous loaf sized buns. Eeek! I worked out by using 60g of dough per mould it makes a perfect serving size.

Roughy roll into sausage shapes with your hands making sure there are no air bubbles trapped inside, then press evenly into the moulds and right into the corners. Bake for 15 minutes then remove and cool on a wire rack.

Once completely cooled ice with buttercream icing and sprinkle with chia seeds or 100’s and 1000’s!

Makes approximately 18 buns and they can be frozen before icing.

Mother by Nature Blog

The Pub Toilet

November 17, 2015

I never knew too much about it myself to begin with as I didn’t have a brother growing up so I wasn’t even aware. Later when I heard snippets of various mother’s conversations about the topic I never thought it could be that bad. They must be over dramatising it. Surely. Turns out those mothers were wrong: it was much, much worse than I could have ever have imagined.

Toilet training boys…Number ones. Wee. Wizz.

Teaching the precision art of aim; without having the actual equipment yourself.

Something that I wish I wasn’t so clued up on but unfortunately I am. With my previous career experience and now with a son of my own I am all too familiar with the epic fails that can happen in the toilet training business. And beyond. One of my first days as a wide eyed young child care trainee I was horrified to find a toy car sitting at the bottom of the children’s (clean) toilet. ‘EWWW, I am not getting that out of there‘ I thought to myself. That was early days. Very early days. From that moment on my visual tolerance level for anything disgusting, stinky and vile that a child can do has drastically risen. Because once you have seen someone else’s little darling vomit up fritz and sauce sandwiches, and then had to clean it up, that shit gives you iron guts. Or you can never ever eat fritz again. Or maybe a bit of both.

Continue Reading…

Mother by Nature Blog

Savoury Scrolls

October 28, 2015

Another one of our families favourite foods to snack on right now… the best part is that the combinations are endless! Again these are made in the Thermomix and I love that I no longer have to knead dough. Such a time saver! Thank fluck for technology…I would have failed miserably as a 50’s housewife. If you don’t have a ‘Therminator’ you can easily adapt this recipe I’m sure, but I can’t be arsed looking for that conversion method right now. #sorrynotsorry

Continue Reading…

Mother by Nature Blog

Flying with Children (and surviving)

October 18, 2015

If you have ever flown anywhere with children you know it’s a whole new ball game. Gone are the days of a small carry on bag (if any at all) and swanky drinks in the airport bar. I longingly stare these people now when I see them effortlessly gliding through the airport without a care in the world. To the leisurely solo traveller in business class…you have no idea how much I would love to be sitting in your place for the entire duration of the flight.

Instead I am madly rushing to catch the red eye with a babe in one arm, handbag and overfilled nappy bag in the other and our plane tickets firmly clenched between my teeth. The Fournado is running ahead bumping into strangers having a wow of a time with his new found freedom, while I’m left wondering if I have remembered to activate the house security system, what time the flight was, fumbling through my bag to check I got my sunnies and lip balm, hoping I have my wallet and praying that I packed all the important things we require for the trip…did I mention it doesn’t matter if you are travelling for a few days or a few months – babies need the same amount of ridiculously oversized cargo either way! It is exhausting just getting off the ground!

We have flown to various destinations around the world with children in tow from a 50 minute flight to our closest capital city to the mother of all flights…22 hours to Europe and I have learnt a few hot tips along the way. So if you are planning a long haul flight with kids you might want to read on.

Continue Reading…

Mother by Nature Blog

Heavy Breathing

October 14, 2015


Silent swift and stealth is what you have to be.

Bed time!

Say no more. The pinnacle of every parents evening. If we can just get through this last epic task we are home free…WineOclock! Sleep is such an underrated thing to those without the joys of children. Party all night and sleep all day; enjoy it while you can people.(Evil laugh) Fast forward a few years singeltons and it begins in pregnancy. You can’t sleep on your back. You must lay on your left side. Use the support of pillows. Blah blah blah. I was always so damn hot I would have to sleep near naked, giant tummy mountain blazing in full glory taking somewhat relief in the overhead fan pelting down from above. Meanwhile dear Muž would be a wearing a snow suit and 2 quilts as it was approaching the middle of winter…or sleeping on the couch. Apparently pregnant people snore too. As if…Pft. Continue Reading…

Mother by Nature Blog

Magic Playdoh

October 9, 2015

Got a few spare minutes and a few bored kids to entertain?

Then ‘Magic Playdoh’ is your answer! Not only does it look spectacular but it is a novel way to teach young children the simple yet fun science of how to make a new colour from two other colours. This little craft idea has been a favourite of mine for a quite a while now and I like to do it during the quieter school holiday period when there is nothing much else on…boredom busters at it’s child-like best.

Continue Reading…