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Apricot Date and Coconut Biscuits

Apricot date and coconut biscuits

With term 4 creeping up I’ve started thinking about those school lunch boxes again, not too much but just a little bit.

I love recipes that you can make ahead of time, seal away in a container and pop into the freezer all ready for that quick grab when those daily lunch boxes are being made (for me that’s usually the night before).

The kidlets love a good biscuit in their lunch box and just quietly I love one dunked in a good 

With term 4 creeping up I've started thinking about those school lunch boxes again, not too much but just a little bit....

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Easy Butterfly Lolly Bags

Easy butterfly Lolly bags

It’s perfect timing for birthday themed posts this week because……….it’s my birthday today! If my Nanna was still around (bless her little heart) she would be telling me I was heading into my 37th year and celebrating 36 years of living life.  Definitely feeling extremely grateful for all my precious family and friends I have in my life as well as all of you, my gorgeous readers! Thank you xx

Now on with the show……

We’ve covered the birthday cake here, time for the lolly bags!!

When I was little, one of the great excitements of attending a friend’s party was to be sent home with a lolly bag to explore and eat your way through. I don’t think things have changed much in the 25+ years since I attended birthday parties except for the fact that lolly bags seem to be turning into something that is above and beyond my expectations as a parent.

Between the kidlets we’ve had our fair share of throwing parties and making lolly bags, I’ve probably gone a little bit overboard on a few occasions with helium balloons and bubble wands in the lolly bags but the bottom line is that we now have 3 little people to have parties for, we don’t do parties every year but when we do I’ve now decided the lolly bags don’t have to be crazy and costly!

Ella recently turned 7 and celebrated with a handful of friends and family. Of course lolly bags were a given but I wanted to stick with simple so I did a little investigating over at Pinterest for some inspiration and VOILA……. butterfly lolly bags are what I came up with.

You will need:

Snack size snap lock bags

Packet of pipe cleaners

Wooden pegs

Assortment of lollies (I used marshmallows, jelly beans, gummy bears and strawberries & cream)

Glitter balls for decorating

Some googly craft eyes

Craft glue

Butterfly lolly bag supplies

Take your sugar fix,

select your sugar load

Arrange them in the snap lock bag, so you have a space left in the middle.

place in snap lock bag

Take a pipe cleaner and twist around the centre.

Take you pipecleaner

Curl the tips to create little antennas.

twist twirl and curl

Position the peg over the pipe cleaner.

Lastly liven the butterflies up by gluing some eyes and little pom poms on the peg.

For the boys I used blue and green colours but failed to take a decent picture!!!! Whoops!!! I’m sure you get the idea you can create them for boys too!

Butterfly lolly bag

If you’re not comfortable supplying children with sugar why not try filling the bags with homemade popcorn or some pretzels??

My true thoughts are ‘YOLO, go the lollies!’ We’re not talking lollies everyday but as a treat!

For the record these lolly bags are the most budget friendly I’ve ever made and the reaction I got when I handed them out to the kids was just as rewarding if not better than the crazy costly ones I’ve handed out in the past………lesson learned!!!

I’m off to enjoy a birthday now!

Until the next time………..






It's perfect timing for birthday themed posts this week's my birthday today! If my Nanna was still a...

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I’ll be back before you know it!

Just a little note to let you all know I’m not disappearing, this little blogging adventure of mine is becoming far too exciting and heart warming to leave for too long, but I am taking a little vacation next week to Fiji with my gorgeous little family.

A holiday like this is something we don’t get to do on a regular basis (it’s a big treat if you know what I mean.. My extent of overseas travel is an NZ honeymoon). So for the time that we are away I’m switching off, going back to basics, well almost…(I think Zadada will still be impressed!) the only forms of technology I’ll be tampering with is a camera (there will be a holiday debrief post when I return and get sorted) and perhaps the ipad  for a little family Skype. I want to soak up every possible minute and I can’t wait to just be…………

Before I go I thought a big ‘Online Cheers ‘would be appropriate as I won’t get to say it next week, I promise to think of you all as I sit by the pool sipping a cocktail!!

Online cheers

For all the beer drinkers out there, Zadada has recently discovered this Byron Bay Pale Lager and is absolutely loving it you can see more here. Thought I had better balance things out a bit considering I’m usually talking wine or Vodka!!

So for now I will say ‘Until my return’

Zamama might sunbake!!!

See you soon lovely ones xxxx

Just a little note to let you all know I'm not disappearing, this little blogging adventure of mine is becoming far too...

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Why I write…….

For those of you not aware, there is a little Blog Hop going on at the moment over at Always Josefa and I have been lucky enough to be nominated to take part by the gorgeous Lauren from Create Bake Make. Lauren has a love for baking and creating just like me, she also writes beautifully about her life experiences. I recommend taking a peek around her Blog, you won’t be disappointed.

Now to get on with the little hop……..

Where I write

Why I write

Writing is something I never imagined myself doing until 12 months ago when a lovely lady I know by the name of Jewel suggested that perhaps I should start a Blog. Let me say 12 months ago I didn’t have much of an idea of what a Blog even was…….? Jewel gave me a little insight mentioning the likes of Martha Stewart and Mamamia. The picture became a little clearer. You see, like lots of Mums, I get great joy out of making my children’s birthday cakes as well as baking lots of other yummy treats for everyone in my life to enjoy.  I love a good chat, a cup of tea, and I love sharing……. probably to the point where I am an oversharer at times (I can’t help myself). Taking all these things into account along with Jewels encouragement, the idea of having my own Blog became very appealing and as they say ‘the rest is history!’ I am certainly no Martha Stewart or Mamamia (one can dream!), but I am Dannielle from Zamamabakes and I hope you enjoy your time with me when you visit my little piece of Cyber Space.

The whole blogging experience has been and is continuing to be a very fulfilling education and experience. I have never been known for my tech savvy ways but that is slowly improving with perseverance. I think my husband discretely cringes every time I ask him a question regarding something I can’t get the computer to do, thanks in advance for the next 10 questions Zadada!!

I know I will never write the way a journalist can (I’ve always been a numbers kind of girl). My words don’t flow as naturally as some but I try to be myself, make my words happy, enjoyable and entertaining (in my waffle kind of way). To me that’s what blogging is all about, sharing the love, in my case lots of baking mixed with a side of life’s experiences.

So to sum things up, if I bumped into someone I knew and they asked me the question ‘Dannielle why do you write?’, my response with some waffle in between would be:

1. I love giving. ( I feel I can do that through my Blog)

2. I love seeing people smiling and happy. (I like to think that in each one of my Blog posts I write there is always something to make my readers smile)

3. I love that this whole blogging adventure is taking me in a direction that makes me feel driven, it’s enabling me to learn more about cooking, baking, the never ending world of technology and it is creating friendships I never would have imagined.

That’s pretty much the gist of it!

What am I working on?

My quality. I have recently enrolled myself to do a beginners blogging course, while its all well and good to be able to bake, create and babble I believe I need to be better armed to enable myself to keep improving the quality of what I give my readers.

I would love to one day put together a Zamamabakes recipe book & perhaps some kind of  Family friendly homemaker App but for now I want to concentrate on polishing all my blogging edges, I need to walk a bit before I start running!

How does my writing differ from others in my genre?

I don’t have any special writing talents. I like to think just being myself is my difference.

Why do I write about what I do?

Discovering, eating and creating good food along with experiencing life’s positive adventures light my soul up in a way that makes me feel the need to share.

Cooking in the kitchen

How does my writing process work?

It’s a bit of an evolving plan in progress. Initially there were lots of here there and everywhere grab what you can kind of moments (sound familiar?), but now almost 1 year down the track I think I’m finally starting to find a bit of rhythm.

Most of my writing takes place of an evening once the kidlets are in bed. Planning in advance is definitely the key.

The cooking and photography process which feeds most of my writing, generally takes place during our threenagers nap time or on weekends when I have my supportive husband around, thanks again Zadada! I don’t get too many complaints unless I’m photographing his dinner and taking too long to do so!

Who is next?

I’ve asked 2 gorgeous bloggers to come and join this lovely little Blog Hop.

Why I write girls


Lydia from Always Made with Love refers to herself as a hopeless romantic & lover of all things girly. Lydia shares her experiences of family, food and life. Just quietly I can’t wait to try her Raspberry and White Chocolate Shortbread.

Ellie from Petalplum  writes about her daily life, documents creative projects & chats about her children. Ellie and her husband also have an online shop ‘Deadwood Creative’ you can visit it here.

There you have it lovely ones.

Until the next time……








For those of you not aware, there is a little Blog Hop going on at the moment over at Always Josefa and I have been luck...

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A Kidlet Friendly Slice For The Holidays

I have a certain 9 year old son that doesn’t mind the opportunity to create in the kitchen when he can, in fact all 3 kidlets love the opportunity to assist with baking and at the very least they’ll spectate, eagerly waiting for any used wooden spoon or mixing bowl offerings, (I can remember doing the same with my Mum when I was little ).

junior cook in the kitchen

Back in February (hence the lack of clothing on the upper body, this child only wears a shirt if he absolutely has to)  Blake came to me and asked if we could make a particular slice he had found in an old ‘Sesame Street  Encylopedia’ of Zadada’s. Does anyone else remember these books? Generally I only need to look at a recipe to feel inspired to make it, so there was absolutely no hesitation from me to make it especially since I was being asked by one of my precious babies to share some quality time in the kitchen. We set to it….. Sesame Street book at the ready!

sesame street book

‘Cookies Pick-Nick Bricks’ is the name of the recipe. I have increased the quantities and added a few extra mix-ins to suit a slice tin 18cm x 28cm x 3cm. You can stick to the quantities and ingredients given in the book (see pictures below) if you want a smaller, plainer slice. For the one we made…..

You Will Need:

250g packet sweet biscuits (we used Granita’s for a it more texture)

60g Chopped nuts (we used pecans, if you don’t do nuts just increase sultana’s coconut to compensate)

4 Tablespoons sultana’s (we used raisins, I’m planning to use pitted dates next time)

1/3 cup desiccated coconut

125g butter cut into cubes

4 Tablespoons golden syrup

100g milk chocolate, roughly chopped

Optional Topping

100 dark chocolate melted.

Note: You’ll find the instructions for making the slice in 2 of the pictures below.


We did use a food processor rather then the rolling pin method for crushing the biscuits. If the kids need to burn some extra energy go with the more physical option, I’m sure they’ll have lots of fun too!

Crumbing the biscuits


melting down

melted wet mix

Press into tin

Info 1

info 2

Once the slice cooled a little in the fridge we decided to take things one step further and give it a dark chocolate topping. We melted down 100g chocolate (using a double pan method), drizzled it over the top and popped it back in the fridge for another good half hour before slicing.

drizzling choc

slice and serve

There you have it one fun, yummy activity for the school holidays!

I’ve got another fun activity in the blog pipeline that all 3 of our kidlets love doing when we are enjoying a nice home day! Stay tuned…….. you should have it before the weekends out!

Until then,




I have a certain 9 year old son that doesn't mind the opportunity to create in the kitchen when he can, in fact all 3 ki...

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A Long weekend To Treasure… Thank You Easter

Today has been a day of gentle winding down and catching up around the house after a big weekend of Easter and Birthday celebrations.

Weekends like this really make me stop and reflect how fortunate I am to be the Mummy member of my little family of 5. We have had a gorgeous break catching up with precious family, making new friends, celebrating 9th Birthdays picnicking & fishing (I caught a fish!!!), overindulging in chocolate and just having ‘time’ to appreciate everything that is good in life!







Hot Cross Bun

Easter Morning

9th Birthday cake

birthday Boy



beach footy



My little family


I hope the Easter weekend has brought all of you lots of love, hugs and treasured moments.

Until the next time,


Today has been a day of gentle winding down and catching up around the house after a big weekend of Easter and Birthday...

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A Dish For Good Friday With A Side Of Sweetness

Looking for a fish dish for Good Friday?

Here’s a simple, tasty treasure you’ll be very happy to call upon when you need a delicious way to serve your fillets of fish.

About 6 weeks ago Zagorgeous Angie from Tweed Fruit Exchange (my favourite fruit and veg shop) shared this recipe with me and I’m so very grateful that she did. Sometimes you cross paths with a person and recipe for a reason and I think the reason was so I could share it with all of you for Easter. Thanks Angie!!

I decided to road test it on Saturday night. From Woe to Go it only took 1/2 an hour to have it ready for eating, big tick there from me, the other good news is that it’s delicious. I had never poached fish before Saturday night, I didn’t realise how easy it is to do.

The recipe suggested using firm white fish fillets such as (hoki, basa or ling) I used ling fillets from Coles deli but next time I make this dish (and there will definitely be a next time) I want to get some fresh barramundi fillets and try them in the recipe.

Coconut poached fish

Being a lover of sweet delights I can’t help myself  but to also share a quick, easy and effective Easter dessert recipe that Zagrandma and I discovered and used at Easter last year.

Firstly for the Fish Dish:


Coconut poached fish ingredients

You will need:

400ml can coconut cream

finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons sambal oelek (I only used 1 incase it was too spicy, I’ll be using 2 next time)

1 garlic clove, crushed

4x 120g firm white fish fillets (I used Ling  and it was nice but next time I want to test out Barramundi)

1 cup baby spinach leaves

Serve with:

Steamed rice (for quick and easy I love the family size pre-cooked Sun Rice ready in 2.5 minutes!!!)

Garnish with shredded green onion and sliced red chilli (fresh from our chilli bush for us)

I also steamed a good bunch of pak choy, roughly chopped and served it on the side.

How to:

1. In a large frying pan (I prepped the following ingredients in a jug first then poured in the pan), combine coconut cream, lemon zest and juice, sauce, sugar sambal oelek and garlic. Over moderate heat bring to the boil, stirring.

Coconut cream mixture

 2. Reduce heat to low and add fish.


Pop fish in pan

Cover and simmer gently, 8-10 minutes, until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.


Fish simmering

 3. Transfer fish to a plate.


Fish resting

Stir spinach through the poaching liquid. Simmer 1 minute.

Simmering Spinich leaves

4. Serve fish on bed of prepared rice (and if you choose a side of steamed pak choy). Drizzle fish with poaching liquid and top with green onion and sliced chilli.

Coconut poahed fish

Delish lovely ones!


Sweetness time; Easy Easter Tiramisu

This is a great, simple and extremely Easter appropriate dessert, after all it is called ‘Easter Tiramisu’!!! Zagrandma and I discovered it in the 2013 Autumn edition of the  Coles magazine you pick up for free at the checkout.

Here’s a snap shot of ours from last year.

Easter Tiramisu

So yummy, we used choc chip hot cross buns from bakers delight because to be honest they are my most favourite of all hot cross buns!!

When you read the recipe you will notice there is Marsala as an ingredient, we left that one out because we wanted it child friendly and it was still delicious!!

You will find the recipe here.

So my gorgeous ones I hope you give it a go and enjoy. You won’t be disappointed and you won’t be slaving in the kitchen all day either!

To complete the spread why not add an appetiser, may I suggest one of these recipes I’ve posted, ‘Gabriela’s Gorgeous Baked Feta’ or the ‘Easy, Tasty Cheese Ball’ . You’ll have everyone asking you for the recipes!

Wishing you all a Happy and Safe Easter Break.

I’ve got a certain little someone turning 9 on Easter Sunday, so there will be some cake action coming up next week!!

Until then,


Looking for a fish dish for Good Friday? Here's a simple, tasty treasure you'll be very happy to call upon when you need...

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Easy, Tasty Cheese Ball Recipe

Well hello again. Hope your week is going well. We have had a great week. I am still very much enjoying the fact that it’s school holidays and we are not having to stick to a strict schedule.

I promised this recipe to everyone last year when I revealed the menu for our 2013 Christmas day feast!!
This delicious little appetiser first found my attention 3 years ago when Zaunclejim featured it on his cheese platter for Christmas day. It was a fantastic hit, everyone loved it. I believe it was one of Zaunclejims gorgeous work colleagues who originally shared it with him a few years ago. We love it so much we asked Zaunclejim to bring another one for the 2013 Christmas feast just passed. I love a great recipe that finds its way to me, so thank you Zaunclejim and Zagorgeous work colleague.

I have made the Cheese Ball a few times now, most recently I made it and took it along to a baby shower I attended last weekend.

A recipe like this should be shared over and over. So here is me sharing it with you.


You will need:

250g cream cheese
125g triangle of Blue vein cheese
60g butter softened
1/2 cup sliced black olives (I used a combination of olives and semi sun-dried tomatoes)
3 shallots finely chopped
Approx 150g chopped walnuts, pecans or cashews (I used walnuts)


Combine all ingredients except for nuts (keep them aside) in a food processor (if you don’t have a food processor a hand mixer will do, mix cheeses and butter first until smooth, then add the vegetables).


Process/mix until evenly combined. It is meant to be a textured mixture so don’t over process or mix.


To make the mixture a little easier to handle I refrigerate it for about 1/2 an hour.


Prepare your nuts on a piece of baking paper.


Remove chilled cheese mixture from the fridge. I moistened my hands a little which made the mixture a little easier to work with.

NOTE: Depending on the size of Cheese Ball you want for your platter, this quantity has the potential to make 2 good size balls and possibly 4 smaller ones you may just need a few extra nuts for rolling.


Carefully place cheese mixture in a mound on top of prepared nuts. Just work the nuts up and around the mixture, then roll it over and continue to press the nuts all over until the Cheese Ball is well coated.


Once you have your Cheese Ball prepared wrap it in cling wrap and place it back in the fridge to firm up for at least 20 minutes.

The Cheese Ball will keep in the fridge for a good 5 days so if you want to prepare it ahead of time you can.


I made a smaller ball for Zadada and I, as well as the larger ball to take to the baby shower pictured below.


I love colour so I served the Cheese ball with some raw veggies as well as some crackers.
I had a lovely morning at the baby shower.

You really need to put this recipe on your to-make list, you won’t regret it.

Next up in the Blog Post pipeline is an easy sweet treat involving licorice allsorts.

Until then

Well hello again. Hope your week is going well. We have had a great week. I am still very much enjoying the fact that it...

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Crystal Creek Banana’s

IMG_3371I love the fact that on a drive home from town, if I need some fresh produce, Banana’s in particular, there is a great roadside, fresh produce stall that I can call into. It is known as Crystal Creek Banana’s and you will find them on Nerang – Murwillumbah Rd which continues off Numinbah Rd towards Chillingham. From the town centre of Murwillumbah it is approximately 11.5 km and will take you about 12 minutes. We just happened to call in there for some delicious Banana’s and some other fresh produce yesterday.

As you can see all Banana’s were only $1 per kg.

IMG_3372Alani enjoyed helping hold the cucumbers, they were 3 for $2!!!

We also purchased an avocado for $0.80, bargain.


IMG_3374 The satisfied face says it all.

IMG_3376I would recommend stopping to make some purchases if you are ever passing by.

I love the fact that on a drive home from town, if I need some fresh produce, Banana's in particular, there is a great r...

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Crunchy Salmon Casserole

This recipe is a great comfort food dish for the whole family to enjoy. It’s a fishy take on macaroni and cheese I guess. My beautiful Mother-In-law was the person who originally shared and served the crunchy salmon casserole recipe to me. It’s actually one of Zadada’s favourite dishes, he enjoy’s it best the next day when the cheese has flavoured the dish just that little bit more.
It keeps in the fridge for a good 3 days and reheats really well. It’s not a fancy dish but its easy and it gets gobbled up by everyone in our family.

We are a family of 5, the quantities below easily feed us all for 2 separate meals with more to spare.

Here are the ingredients you will need:
2 1/2cups (400g) uncooked macaroni pasta
250g packet Arnott’s Cheds biscuits, roughly crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
415 g tin pink salmon
2 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups grated tasty cheese
Salt and Pepper to season


Lightly grease 22cm x 30cm x 6cm baking dish.Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Meanwhile pop a frying pan on medium heat and add butter and 12 cheds biscuits, stir to evenly distribute melted butter with biscuits. reduce heat to low , add milk followed by 1 cup of cheese and salmon ( I slice thru the salmon to break it up a bit before adding), continue heating through until cheese has melted. Season salmon mixture with salt and pepper, remove from heat.

Preheat a moderate oven.

Place cooked, drained pasta into prepared baking dish. Pour or spoon salmon mixture over pasta and stir a little to evenly distribute in dish. Use another 14 crushed cheds biscuits and scatter over the salmon pasta mixture. At this point I usually push some of the biscuits down into the mixture as well as leaving some lightly on top. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of grated cheese over the top of prepared dish. Bake in oven for about 25 minutes or until cheese has melted and is lightly golden. Serve with a garden salad or some steamed vegetables.



This recipe is a great comfort food dish for the whole family to enjoy. It's a fishy take on macaroni and cheese I guess...

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