Friday, June 29, 2012

The Everything's Wonderful Pasta Sauce- Tuesday's in the Kitchen

I think the perfect winter's comfort food is a great pasta sauce over some spaghetti. This recipe was inspired by my friend Amber who often made this for her then little Miss Two to get her to eat her vegetables. I loved how many vegetables she'd pack into the sauce so over the years it's become a staple in our household. We had a couple of vegetable plots at a community garden that supplied us with veggies all year round and now our front garden veggie patch gives us much of what we need. I've loved cooking up a big batch in the slow cooker when l was working and knowing that we always had something really healthy and hearty in the freezer to eat when things got crazy. Nothing has really changed being a stay at home mumma with a toddler things often get crazy too. I sometimes make a pot every week or so or if l have freezer space I'll fill my 8L slowcooker and let it simmer away for eight hours on low. The longer you let this pasta sauce cook l think the better it is. It keeps up to three months in the freezer and is the base for my lasanga, pasta dishes or I add it to rice for a cottage pie. I made this on tuesday and had lasanga, pasta sauce and a casserole all going at the same time. I find having a major cooking session at home especially when Miss Two is sick is a great way to organise the freezer, knock out multiple dinners and keep my sanity. I just break everything into stages and go from there. Then l let it cook on low for a couple of hours and go on to the next thing on my list.

1kg Beef Mince Bulk Pack
4 Onions (red and brown)
4-5 cloves of garlic
a leek if you have it
4 fresh tomatoes (optional)
2 cans of diced Tomatoes
2 zucchinis
6-8 mushrooms
4 carrots (I like using yellow and orange)
1 tblsp/ a dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 cup of red wine (optional)
Olive Oil
2-3 tblsp of Mixed dried Italtian Herbs
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper

How to make
Chop finely the onions, leek and garlic use a sharp knife for this to reduce the onion juices making you cry. I chop finely the red, brown onions and a leek to add sweetness and depth to the dish as they all taste slightly different when cooked. I then skin the garlic cloves and crush them with the back of my knife and then chop them finely to release the garlic oils. I add this to a pot with 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil. I then sweat the onions and garlic till they are translucant and starting to get a golden colour to them. I then add the beef mince and break this up with a wooden spoon to evenly distribute the mince in the pot and break down the big clumps. You don't want big mince clumps in your sauce or your Lasagna.

Cook mince and onion on a medium heat until meat start to look cooked. While this is happening l chop the rest of the vegetables. Chop or finely dice the zucchinis, mushrooms, carrots and tomatoes and add them to pot. Add vegetables to pot along with the diced can tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, red wine, a pinch of nutmeg, mixed herbs (I usually use my hand as a guage of how much to add to the dish) and ground salt flakes and pepper. I stir it a couple of times to make sure ingredients are well combined then l turn it down to a low heat and put the lid on. I let it cook for 2-3 hours or longer if l have time on a very low heat. Very 30 mins or so l give it a stir and then leave it. If l need to reduce the liquid towards the end l turn the heat up slightly take the lid off and let it simmer for 15-20 mins stirring occasionally to make sure if doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
Then serve it with pasta.

How to make Meat Lasagna
Meat Sauce
is made from the above recipe so leave in the pot on the stove to retain heat and organise the rest of the elements to your lasagna.
Cheese sauce
(if you are making a big tray double cheese sauce recipe).
Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a saucepan and add 2 tbsp of plain flour and cook for 2 mins over a gentle or low heat. stir to make sure it's well combined. Remove from heat and stir in the milk. Return it to a gentle heat and stir until sauce is thick and smooth it should coat the back of a spoon without lumpy bits. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg and add 250 g of cheese (you can use mozzarella, cheddar or tasty cheese). I often double cheese sauce and add 400g of cheese to make it really tasty but that's me.
Putting it all together
Preheat oven on 180 degrees. Make sure the Lasagna tray will go in the middle of the oven and have even heat throughout cooking. Butter Lasagna baking dish. pour in 1/2 cup of meat sauce in the baking dish and with back of spoon fill the tray evenly with meat mixture. Sometimes this takes more than 1/2 cup to achieve that's ok. Alternate layers of lasagna sheets, meat and cheese sauces making sure you end with a top layer of cheese sauce. Most recipes tell you to allow for four layers that means at least two layers of lasagna sheets to make sure it stays in space. My tray allows for two to three layers of lasagna sheets with the meat and cheese sauces depending on how thinly l spread the layers.
Sprinkle leftover grated cheese and parmesan to the top cheese sauce layer. Bake in oven for 40 mins or until cooked through and golden on top. Let stand for 5-10 mins before serving. You can serve this on it's own or with a simple green salad.

Some Tips +
Variations to pasta sauce recipe
I finely dice the vegetables for the pasta sauce as kids enjoy the sauce more if it's not too chunky and it's great for the lasagna layers if you choose to make lasanga at the same time. I always do this because lasagna can be a messy chore and this way you make both and have the same level of mess. Key to place all dirty dishes as you go in the dishwasher and wipe down benches that way it's not to out of control in the kitchen.
You can add what ever vegetables you have to this sauce recipe but l think simple is best, some Capiscum would be a great addition but l would skin the red pepper before chopping it. Or try grating carrot and pumpkin to the recipe instead of finely chopping or dicing the carrots. Anything goes that's why it a great dish because you can adjust it to what you have in the fridge. I often use a good shake of herb salt towards the end of cooking from CeresOrganics (available at Maxi foods and health food shops) it's great for adding a herbie taste to dishes with ingredients of dried celery, carrot, leek, parsley, Celery leaves, Thyme, Basil, Lovage, Dill and Savory.
I usually make 6-8 frozen meal containers of sauce for the freezer each time l make this along with making spaghetti on the night l have made the sauce.
lasagna is better cooled and put in the fridge for a day before cutting into frozen meals it allows for easier cutting and lasagna won't lose it's shape. I usually get 10 portions out of my baking dish but it depends on serving sizes. I always set aside a portion for dinner the next night of cooking. That way it's spaghetti bolognese one night and then lasagna and salad the next and I only have to reheat it.

Have a go I promise you if my Miss Two loves it your kids are bound to too. Let me know how it goes.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Yarra Valley Wanderings + home

This weekend Winter was felt in the Yarra Valley. It called for warm winter scarves, coats and boots. The sun came out for a brief glimpse but it was cold. On the shortest day of the year the Valley holds the Shortest Lunch. For the past 8 or so years we have made the trek to some of the smaller boutique wineries in the Yarra Valley for a progressive lunch and some wine tasting and this year was no exception. In previous years we have taken extended family, friends and our little Miss Two but this year it was a couples wine Sunday adventure with two of my besties and their partners. I am sure Sim and her family were there in spirit but alas family illness got in the way. You were very much missed. Poppy got looked after at our house and spoilt rotten by her grandmother and it was a blessing to have the day to ourselves. It doesn't happen very often our last date was a visit to Tucks Ridge where we were married (another great vineyard) and the Peninsula Hot Springs back in March for our 5th wedding anniversary. 
The night before the Shortest Lunch Poppy came down with Croup so we had no sleep, a very asthmatic and miserable Miss Two and a short visit to the GP clinic sunday morning at 8am for Poppy before we had even hit the road. Poppy's sick but happy and the seal bark she gets when she gets croup  is settling down but it's going to take time. I don't think we will be venturing out of the house much this week. It's cold, she's unwell and it's often the best thing to slow down and rest.
So l thought it might be fun to list the wineries we visited, share what we ate and hopefully inspire you to head to the Valley for your own winter wine adventure or attend the Shortest Lunch next year. It never disappoints. We met Sophie, Jimmy, Tristen and Amber at Brumfield Winery in Seville for a much needed coffee as we hadn't had one yet and both Adam and I felt a little tired. I even bumped into a good friend and her family which was a great surprise. She and Lindsay were being very adventurous to attempt wine tastings and entertaining their son Hamish. We all enjoyed sharing hot Yarra Valley Beef Burgers on turkish bread with Tomato + red capsicum chutney, baby spinach and basil pesto + yoghurt sauce and a wine tasting. Adam really liked their 2008 Cabernet if anyone is interested doing a tasting of their own. 
Then we went onto Five Oaks Vineyard for Wally's famous Canadian pancakes and a 14 wine tasting that l was impressed Adam got through. My favourite was the 2008 Chardonnay. I drove and allowed Ads to let his hair down a bit with the boys. We then hit Seville Estate for some Slow cooked Duck Confit and another great wine tasting. The view in the restaurant was amazing and it's such a great place to have a chat, relax and watch the mountains in the embrace of winter and stay warm. I made Adam take photos of Sophie, Amber + I because there aren't many opportunities to be together with how busy our lives get. We made the journey down the mountain and up to Yering Farm for their amazing hot apple pies just like Nanny use to make. They grow the apples in their orchards side by side with their vines. I picked up a bag for home and l'm going to bake a pie during the week + stew some to have with custard. We ended the adventure with pie, did a wine tasting and then enjoyed the most perfect sunset of all time. It was such a suberb day, simple, relaxing, yummy and with the best company. You know you are spoilt when it takes you 20 minutes to get to the Yarra Valley, your friends and hubby spend the day with you and you don't have to do a thing except eat, drink and be merry. What a great lazy Sunday.

Check out the wineries in the Yarra Valley it's right at your backdoor. Imagine cozy fires, warming locally grown produce and slow cooked food, red wine and the misty mountains reaching up to the sky. 
Tell me what did you get up to this past weekend?

x Mummafox

It's all about our little people- Monday link love


Today I'm celebrating the creativity and beauty in unique bedrooms, clothing, toys for our little people. Poppy is sick with croup since late Saturday night and l am mindful of how precious our little people are and how much love we have for them. Watching Poppy struggle to sleep with the constant seal bark of hers at the moment l am impressed by her willingness to take her medicine and listen to our suggestions in trying to help her. Sometimes l forget she is only two and a half and not the Nana she comes across as. She has such a creative, strong spirited personality that l am often in awe of who she is now, who she is becoming and what she is going to be when she'd older. She told me yesterday she was going to paint large canvases when she was older and go to galleries. God l love her.
In dreaming up the perfect bedroom for Poppy these last few weeks l realise it can be something really simple and a little crafty that makes a bedroom unique and joyful. Her nursery is lovely but she's getting bigger and she needs a new bed, some storage for toys and a couple of things to make it more toddler friendly. I have been dreaming of things l know l can't afford (don't we all), things that l am going to attempt to make and have been incredibly impressed by what other's have imagined and then created for their little ones. So here is some of my link loves today and what l have loved about each and every one of them.  I saw these mid century memory game cards, what a vintage find (quite jealous really) and thought how great they would look laid out under glass for a child's bedroom wall or in resin as coasters. Oh the possibilities are endless.
I've been fascinated by the use of blackboards in people's homes, my friend Sim has a blackboard door in her kitchen that just begs for drawing and script. I would love to have a blackboard in Poppy's room or the back of her door or perhaps one of the cupboards doors painted in blackboard paint. You can now get coloured blackboard paint. How cool is that.
I also love the use of teepee's (from Lisa's closet) and wallpaper in bedrooms. I would love a feature wall in print and l just want to grab my collection of saris or some muslin and create a teepee headboard for my Miss Two when l buy the bed. I am thinking white wood or a natural wood for the bed and quilts made by me to brighten up the bed, soft pillows in quirky fabrics to snuggle into and rest and bring the space to life. Or some mud pie inspiration with an outdoor play kitchen for the backyard using blackboards for stage design absolutely brilliant. Woven baskets in natural sea grass or plastic coated black and white checks like the ones above to hold toys in. Poppy's bedroom is going to need to become a bedroom for adventure, play and rest so storage is going to be key to pulling this off in such a small space.  
But perhaps the best of the link loves of the week for me are the coats by Molly Goodall the visionary behind the whimsical animal coats out of Eco felt + wool. I can imagine Poppy in a Fantastic little fox coat or roaring as a sunny yellow lion. A coat to inspire play and to keep my little moppet at a lovely 37 degrees during this cold winter. Of course l would need a size 3-4 just to make sure that she is my little fox for a long time. I can just envisage her swishing her foxy tail around as she walks to playgroup and to the park. Her Hoodie keeping her warm and bringing her into an imaginary world of play and story like her beloved book Where the wild things are. Oh l can just see it now.

I'd love to know what your favourite things are at the moment. 
The things you wish you could buy, create or own. 
Shoot me a comment, link or email. I'd love for you to share it with us.
Happy Monday everyone.

x Mummafox

Thursday, June 21, 2012

DIY planting + growing garlic

It's garlic planting season everyone. Yes even YOU!
It's the shortest day of the year this weekend and the time you should all think about planting garlic. You don't need a lot of room to plant garlic it requires no maintenance and with all the rain you'll never need to water. 
I harvest my own garlic yearly and I always have strings of dried garlic hanging in my kitchen pantry for cooking. There is nothing better than eating what you have grown, it's fresh, you know what's in it and no chemicals used in it's little life. The white garlic you find at the supermarket comes from China and is bleached do you really want to put that in your body? I don't think so. Go to an organic grocery store and grab some organic Australian, local or Russian garlic. I suggest for a household that loves garlic plant 20 cloves or break up 2-3 bulbs ready for planting. If it's Russian or Elephant garlic this is generally more expensive and quite a strong garlic so plant 5-10 cloves of this and the rest in the smaller variety. I don't have a community garden plot anymore after six years we decided it was to hard getting to the garden with a newborn and pram. Now we have our veggie patch instead of a garden out the front of PoppyFox HQ. OK not the typical suburban front yard but l love it and it's all I've got til I buy that farm of my dreams. It's my green sanctuary, my little haven away from Miss Two when l need it. I guess that's why l long for a Acapulco chair to place by my front window so I can watch my garden grow. Poppy does love to dig with me and get her hands dirty, she knows all her veggies and I know as she grows so will her interest in growing veggies and living a simple life.

Preparing to grow garlic

All you need to do is buy organic garlic either the small Australian garlic with the purple and white skin or the big Elephant garlic or more commonly known Russian garlic. Don't waste your money on buying single potted garlic plants from Bunnings, do it yourself and save a bundle. You just stick the cloves in the ground and wait for it to grow. 
 Garlic loves sweet, well-drained soil and not acidic, soil. You need to use cloves for planting so take a couple of bulbs sit down while watching some TV at night and prepare your cloves.  Take a bulb of garlic and just break it down into little cloves it's important to keep the skin on. Look at the cloves – the bottom part is called the base plate and that's always got to be planted down. 

Preparing the soil + planting the garlic 
To begin, loosen the soil in the area you plan to plant and add in some compost and dolomite to improve fertility or the quality of the soil. You can find Dolomite + mulch at Bunnings. When you have prepared the soil and taken the time to rake it even make a small hole with your thumb and shove them in the soil making sure the bottom part goes in first. 
Plant each clove about 5cms deep and 10-15cms apart this will largely depend on how much room you have to plant in. Remember if a garlic bulb when it is harvested is the size of a base of coffee cup then allow for that much room in between planting to ensure they grow, get the sunshine and the rain.  Make sure the pointy end is sticking up and the flat, root end down (base plate). All healthy, disease-free cloves can be used to grow new bulbs, but as common sense dictates good-sized cloves will grow into good-sized bulbs. Really large cloves are prone to spitting (forming two small plants). If space is an issue plant the best cloves first and save the rest for dinner. Feel free to use them in the recipe l just posted for the Winter Fennel Salad or throw it into some spaghetti sauce. Yum!  Use a cluster or circular planting method, or in lines so you know whats a weed and what's garlic. Or even try planting them in the garden amongst your flowers or in some large pots or tough tubs with drilled holes in the bottom. You don't need a lot of room to grow your own veggies. My little front garden veggie patch is a testament to that. 
Remember It’s also time to plant spring onion seed. It’s black, angular and very attractive. Sow it thickly like grass seed. Then cover with some potash (also found at Bunnings), because it loves it. And finish with a thick layer of dolomite limestone because they love an alkaline soil too. I often plant Spring onion seeds and garlic close together as they require time to grow. I plant the spring onion seeds in a line next to the garlic and harvest the spring onions when l need it. Spring onions take less time to grow so they are great for kids to grow because they don't have to wait so long.
Once you have planted your garlic cloves and/or your spring onion seeds, cover with soil, add a layer of straw or sugar cane mulch or leaves and dried grass clippings. It's important to really cover the ground you have just planted out with mulch to protect the bulbs over winter.  As the garlic grows you'll notice green shoots and then leaves forming above the ground. This is a great sign that all is going well. Let them continue to grow and reach for the sky. At the community gardens where l use to have a plot some Italians would cut an inch or two of the garlic leaves when they grow tall with shears to promote bulb growth. You can experiment in your garlic crop during the year by doing half this Italian way and the other half growing naturally and see if it makes a difference. 
Garlic takes several months to grow to maturity. You know when to harvest it as the green tops of the garlic plant dry off and die around Springtime. You just use your hands to harvest the whole bulb when it's ready. Sometimes it helps to do harvesting after a light rain, using your fingers to pull out the bulb or you can use a hand shovel or large spoon to give you some leverage. I often string these up and give them as Christmas presents to the family. I planted 100 plants last year and we all still have some. I kept a string of garlic for replanting this year and that way l will always have some to eat and to grow.

Now go back inside and forget about it until springtime.
Happy gardening.

x Mummafox

An Italian lunch time feast

Yesterday it was cold. It was such an icy wind that it would not have surprised me in the least while walking to the car from playgroup that penguins were there to greet us. So it was the perfect day for a play date at home with the lovely Laura and our little people.
I've always admired Laura's innate ability to mix ingredients and create the most magnificent flavoured salads, frittatas and simple meals. She's Italian after all so yesterday I got a cooking lesson on how to make frittata in my Mielle oven. It was tasty, it was healthy and our Miss Two and Three really enjoyed it. It's the first time Poppy's tried Fennel, eaten Frittata and kept a smile on her face. So these two Vegetarian recipes a Winter fennel salad and My Veggie Patch Frittata come to you from the lovely Laura and her muse the veggies.

Ingredients for both recipes

For Salad
1 Fennel
1 large Lemon
1 Cucumber
1 large Red Pepper
1 can of Cannelloni Beans drained
4 cloves of garlic
Bunch of Parsley
Bunch of Thyme (Common/Lemon)
Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp of Dijon Mustard
2-3 tsp of Baby Capers
Salt and pepper to season

For Frittata
Bunch of Rainbow Chard or Silver beet

Bunch of Asparagus Stems
Half a bunch of spring onions
1/2-1 cup of diced feta (I used marinated feta I had in the fridge)
1/4 cup of tasty cheese
Bunch of Parsley
Bunch of Thyme (Common/Lemon)
Olive Oil for cooking
Five free range eggs
Dash of milk for eggs
Salt and Pepper to season

How to Make

Winter fennel salad
Slice the fennel, red pepper and cucumber into thin strips and place in a large bowl. Finely chop flat leaf parsley, thyme and the fennel tops and add to salad. Drain Cannelloni beans wash if necessary and combine with ingredients. Next add finely diced garlic (you could use a garlic press for this), the baby capers, rind of one lemon and juice of half a lemon to salad, a slurp of Olive Oil and red wine vinegar and 1 Tbsp of Dijon Mustard to another bowl, mix. Combine/toss wet ingredients together with salad. Adjust recipe to taste. In this case Laura added more parsley and a touch more lemon rind to the recipe at the end.

Veggie Patch Frittata
Preheat your oven grill to 240 degrees your using the grill to finish the dish off in the oven. For this recipe use a fry pan with a metal handle that can go in the oven or cook in fry pan on the stove it will be hard to get that golden crust on top though. Chop/dice finely 1 large bunch of Rainbow chard, asparagus and spring onions. The chard needs to be more finely chopped than the asparagus. Place these ingredients into a fry pan with a little olive oil and cook gently til slightly soft. Remove from heat. Finely chop the red pepper add to the fry pan. Do not stir in just have it resting on top of the other ingredients. Mix in another bowl the eggs and beat with a fork until well combined. Add a dash of milk to eggs to loosen. Add eggs to the frittata using the back of a spoon make sure the egg reaches the bottom of the fry pan but do not stir in. Dice the feta and place in pan make sure the feta is evenly distributed. Grate tasty cheese and sprinkle on frittata. Place on stovetop on medium heat til eggs are cooked triugh you'll notice that the ingredients rise up in the pan.
Place Fry Pan in the oven under the grill and cook til golden. This takes minutes. You should smell it when it's done it's like nothing else, absolute Heaven.

Serve the frittata with the salad as a side and Enjoy. For the little people in our lives l suggest creating a colourful array of salad with some cut cubed pieces of frittata. If you wait for the frittata to cool you can use a cookie cutter and create a shape. I have a Mr Fred food plate that is great for creating faces with the meal. I added some sticks of tasty cheese to their lunch plates. Poppy and Sabrina loved seeing what we put on the table and there wasn't much left. Even little Laney had her fair share of beans and frittata.
Num, Num, Num.

Variations to the Recipe
My purple and red rainbow chard was a really good size so l harvested a large bunch of leaves from my garden along with baby chard and some lemon thyme. It's a great idea to plant some in your garden you can pick leaves and add it to salads, scrambled eggs, frittata's and much more and it just keeps on growing all winter for you. For this recipe you could use Baby spinach, Rainbow chard ( I love the colour), Silver beat or even Kale. Kale will need to wilt a little more as it takes longer than chard. While your planting rainbow chard and silver beat get a herb garden stated. I harvest my own garlic yearly and have strings of garlic hanging in my kitchen pantry for cooking. It's the shortest day of the year this weekend and the time you should all think about planting garlic. All you need to do is buy organic garlic, stick in the ground and wait for it to grow. I'll post a DIY garlic blog post tomorrow for you.
For the salad you could add dill to the salad too, along with Avocado diced and perhaps some finely sliced celery for crunch. For the Frittata you could use anything from the fridge. One of Laura's favourites is red capsicum and mushroom. You could add thinly sliced pumpkin, grated zucchini, grated carrot, anything really but be careful of ingredients that hold a lot of water you don't want your frittata going soggy. Laura's advice is don't make it overly complicated, keep ingredients to a minimum and just use lots of it with minimal eggs. The eggs just need to hold ingredients together not be the main ingredient.
Thanks Laura for your creative and yummy Italian fare.

It's all play isn't it. Go on now have a look in your fridge and see what you can make. It's the weather for it. I'd love to know what you are up to today.

x Mumma Fox

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

An Ode to three blogs + Link Love

Today is an Ode to three of my favourite blogs/shops. I have been following these blogs for years they were the first l stumbled across when l was pregnant with Poppy and needing some reading after a stressful workday and renovating the house. I remember being 7 months pregnant coming home to an inch of dust covering the house and needing to escape. Reading blogs was great escapism. Naughty Shorts creater Bec makes incredible feminine, tea dresses out of vintage linens with such beauty and craftiness that l covet one for myself. She also makes her own quilts and pillows that adorn her home in a style much like mine. I have a vintage bedlinen collection that will soon be a single bed quilt for Miss Two's big bed, a range of couch cushions for the couch and a wrap skirt for casual wanderings. 
Bec from a naughty shorts has been published in Frankie magazine, Peppermint magazine (a personal fav) and last week in Tickle The Imagination an online Magazine. She's got a huge following and it's easy to see why, she's honest about motherhood, being creative and it's refreshing to have someone down to earth sharing their ideas, photos and story on her blog. Last week one of her dresses shown above was showcased in a recent style post by Elsie Larson from Abeautifulmess.
The blog Abeautifulmess is a sanctuary of photography, vintage fashion, DIY and lifestyle kitsch goodness. I love Elsie + Emma's style and their blog posts never fail to entertain or inspire. My latest inspirations from this blog have been the tea and cocktail recipes. I've taken tips on photography, Instagram and on blogging from them + they are such creative spirits with a strong ethos and passion for recycling and living a vintage life. I'm going to make the blueberry tea on thursday if l can get my hands on some blueberry's as I take some downtime while Miss Two sleeps to read the new edition of Peppermint Magazine l bought yesterday.
I met Maria Malakellis, who owns boutique lifestyle store Kittos on my first adventure to Barwon Heads. After hours of enjoying watching Mad Men, I longed for a pair of saltwater sandals and the day l walked into her shop I fell in love, i wear my salties everyday. I own five pairs and enjoy them all year round. I desired a pair of Marimekko socks too to wear with them and dreamt of the bags l could make with the fabrics in their bold, bright, emotive prints. It was wonderful to celebrate Maria's success as her home was in print in the Geelong Advertiser GT Magazine this weekend. So l thought it would be fun to share with you my Kittos wish list and the things l already love using in my home and life everyday.

1. An Acapulco Chair by my front window to sit in with a hot cup of tea and a good book. A place to watch the trees swaying in the breeze outside or watching the rain when it's just to cold to venture outside. Knowing l can enjoy watching the world outside while Poppy plays on the floor. Somewhere comfortable to hold Poppy while she needs to be held, cuddled and given some TLC because our Little people just have those days sometimes. I can imagine finishing the binding on my Winter's Nest quilt while sitting on my Acapulco chair
2. Marimekko Fabric and Home wares. 
I would love some Blue and White Marimekko fabric as seen above stretched over a canvas for above the fireplace. It would really brighten the white walls in the lounge. Marimekko kitchenware, I'm dreaming of a Siirtolapuutarha teapot and mugs for the kitchen table for when my best friends come over to catchup. Or a Siirtolapuutarha Platter for all the yummy food we like to make on the weekends.
3. Aesop Products to make you feel lovely and beautiful on those days where nothings seems to go right and Miss Two just isn't having a great day and I'm shattered. Come on we all have those days don't we.
4. A Muuto Unfold Pendant Light in Yellow to hang above my retro kitchen table or to hang above my wooden staircase. We have a small house so it would be great to use some bright and arty pieces to give the place some personality and make it feel like home.
5. A naughty shorts Annie dress created with vintage linen, in green or blues, or yellow loveliness or maybe earthy tones. I just can't choose from the huge selection of fabrics.
l just know if l put one of these dresses on I would be ready for anything. A picnic in the forest or by the sea. A getaway road trip down the coast, or to Red Hill for some wine and food. A long walk hand in hand with Adam along the beach in Anglesea or amongst the vines in the Yarra Valley. I can just imagine it.

Take a look at the blogs, go on now and tell me what your wish list is.
I'd love to know.

x Mummafox

Friday, June 15, 2012

The ultimate weekend treat- Anzac Cookies

Getting over the flu this week I have kept things really simple. I got out the sewing machine yesterday and finished the first layer of lattice stitching of the Winters Nest quilt. It took much of the afternoon between making play dough monsters and getting Poppy's lunch organised. After Poppy's sat morning swimming class we are driving over to Nana's for a play date with Poppy's cousins and to lay out the quilt on her lounge room floor and tape the next layer of lattice so l can finish it. We just don't have the floor space. It felt wonderful having Poppy playing by my side while l created.
This morning l realised l have no foodie treats in the house and the weekend is fast approaching. Poppy wanted to do something fun so l thought great- a bake up. But with few ingredients in the cupboards of the baking variety l went for a family favourite. Who doesn't remember growing up and sitting down with a glass of milk and an Anzac cookie after school or on the weekends after a bike ride, a game of tag or a game of street cricket.
Poppy got out her apron and I prepared all the ingredients. I doubled the recipe to make sure there was enough for a couple of days and here we are. A full cookie jar just ready for the weekend's activities and all hungry mouths to feed.

Anzac Cookies


1 cup (90g) of rolled oats
1 cup (150g) plain flour
I cup (220g) firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (40g) desiccated coconut
125g of Butter
2 tlbs golden syrup
1 tbls water
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

How to make

Preheat oven to 160/140 degrees (fan forced) grease oven trays and line with baking paper
Combine oats, sifted flour, sugar and coconut in large bowl.
Stir butter, syrup and water in small saucepan over low heat until smooth; stir in soda. Stir into the dry ingredients.
Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls, place about 5 cm apart on trays, flatten slightly. Bake about 20 minutes, cool on trays.

Prep Cook time 35 mins
makes 25

Enjoy creating these for yourself they are well worth the effort!

What are you doing this weekend?
Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

x Mummafox

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Weekend Sojourns & Link Love

I woke up this morning to the flu again. I just got over it two weeks ago and again it's back.
I long for no more runny noses, ringing ears or sore throats.
 We spent the end of last week trying to catch up with some of our favourite people. Having  play dates, a lovely Friday afternoon crafting at Crafternoon with Sophie and over the Queens birthday long weekend doing some day trips. We went up to the Yarra Valley and did a wine tasting at Oak Ridge, ate Sticky date Cheesecake @ Healesville Harvest, bought yummy, foodie supplies for dinners and took a walk through the park when there was a gap in the rain. The last of the autumn leaves were wonderful to skip through and kick up in the air. Then the rain began to fall and we waited for Ads to drive the car to Innocent Bystanders to pick us up as we had got stuck in the rain buying Parmesan for pasta. The rolling hills are green and lush from all the rain we have been having, sheep dot the landscape and the vines are still in autumn colour as they get ready for the cold winter setting in. 
Monday we spent the day at the Melbourne Zoo we of course didn't think everyone else would be there but it was really fun and the sunshine made the animals playful and happy. Poppy loved exploring the reptile enclosure for the first time with her dad. Having hot dogs and picnic on the lawn and exploring the zoo map while we ate. Poppy has been busy reading her Zoo magazines and had very clear ideas about what animals she wanted to see. The Orangutans, Lions and Giraffes put on a great performance. And now l am on the couch trying to rest, hoping this headache brought on by the flu and ringing in my ears goes away and that l get over this soon. I have a half finished Winter's Nest Quilt on the kitchen table, bunting cut out ready to sew and my bags that l long to complete hopefully I'll get better soon and come Thursday l will be able to get some major sewing done.
Today's Link love is all about creating Home Sanctuary's. I'm still in the process of renovating our home and all these homes inspired me to add colour to the study, bathrooms and storage areas we need to redo in our home. I've got blue tiles in the laundry and a bright blue wall in my living room to offset the pale blue splash back and red appliances in the kitchen so colour doesn't frighten me but l believe in living in a space before painting. Our first task is to clear out the study that is piled high with books and boxes from when l was pregnant with Poppy and renovating. We need to finish building the storage under the staircase to move all the recipe books downstairs that we have gathered like explorers these past ten years. Within the month we hope to begin this part of the next renovation phase to the PoppyFox abode. It all takes time though and l am reminded that our little family has to come first before any renovations. 
 Adam's been under a lot of stress at work, and with the gloom of illness getting me a little down l thought a dose of colour was in order. It inspired me to dream up beautiful homes and escapes for my little family, lovely isn't it. Have a look at the links and tell me your favourite. I especially love the lakeside holiday home, the colourful lounge room, reading nooks and the frame tent. I think l might have to make one for Poppy for the summer to rest under as l work in the veggie garden. I'm already dreaming of Spring and Summer.
 Clearly l am in need of a sunny, beach side holiday and some warmth but that could be the flu talking. I'm trying to let go of the things l can't control and being sick at the moment is something that l have to let go of and hope that in resting, my body bounces back and fingers crossed l can get the crafty projects I've started finished. Having Miss Two with me all the time makes rest somewhat of a commodity but l am trying my best to listen to my body and rest. I'm not good at slowing down though it's not a skill l acquired growing up.
I'll end this post with some photos from late last week & this weekend's sojourns. It's filled with happiness, the magic of childhood and friendships, the beauty of Miss Poppy's imagination and enjoying the simple things in life. Just what the doctor called for.

Happy Tuesday everyone. 
What are you up to today?

x Mumma Fox

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Keep Calm and Eat a Cornflake Cookie or two

It's winter in Melbourne and what better way to entertain and keep Miss Two happy than getting into the kitchen. 
 I try to do baking with Poppy at least once a week whether it be making dinner or cooking some yummy treats. She loves putting on her 50's apron, standing on the step stool and stirring in the ingredients. 
We were in charge of morning tea for Playgroup and some play dates last week so we needed something yummy. It was cold & rainy so it called for something really special- Chocolate Cornflake Cookies. They went down a treat with all the adults and our little people.

125 gm butter (chopped and at room temperature)
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup S.R. FLOUR
1 cup cornflakes (home brand cheaper and just as good)
1 1/2 cup extra cornflakes, crushed a bit,  to coat
1/3 cup dark choc chips
1/3 cup sultanas
1/3 cup of cranberries
1/3 cup of grated coconut (it adds another texture to cookies which I love)

How to make it
Preheat oven to moderate (180 degrees) and lightly grease or line a 2 trays with Gladbake.
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat. Fold in flour and 1 cup cornflakes and chocolate chips, coconut, sultanas, dried cranberries.
Roll teaspoons of the mixture into balls and roll in crushed cornflakes. If you want large cookies use a tablespoon.
Place on tray 3 cm apart and bake for 12 - 15 minutes or until golden.
Cool on trays. These will last up to a week in an airtight container.

Variations to the Recipe
I doubled the mixture so i had enough for outings and the home cookie jar. I doubled the chocolate too and used a whole bag of dark chocolate bits as I love chocolate.
You could add all or one of the indulgent ingredients like cranberries, coconut or chocolate.
Alternatives are dates, glazed cherries, dried apricot, mixed fruit, white chocolate.
You could also add finely grated zest of a lemon to mixture.

What have you been cooking lately? I'd love to know. 
Have a great day everyone and happy cooking.

x MummaFox

Monday, June 4, 2012

The cute and quirky- Monday Link Love

It's been a wonderfully, busy weekend spending time with family and friends. My lovely husband made Mexican on Friday night for me and my girlfriend as we caught up. Watching Poppy and her Godmother on the couch reading a bedtime story was such a wonderful moment. We had a birthday lunch on Saturday for my mother-in-law where kids played until they were exhausted. On Sunday during a reprieve from the rain and cold we had fun indulging in a late lunch at our friends where we enjoyed food, wine, and a amazing view of the city from the Dandenongs. Being amongst the forest in an incredible house it felt like l had walked into a Countrystyle Magazine.  My friends have great taste and it was such a wonderful get together. Amongst all the busy gatherings I was hoping to find time to clean the house, finish drying clothes inside as the rain continued to fall and trying to keep Miss Two happy and entertained. 
We stayed in the warmth today as Poppy had a sore tummy and fever. I found it amazing that l finally got all the washing folded and off the couch. I think it'll be another home day to make sure Poppy is OK and l admit I can't wait to hit the sewing machine first thing tomorrow and finish the first Charlie Sling Bags for the Etsy shop. I've gone for Winter warmth, botanical and vintage fabrics for the Winter series of bags for the Etsy shop. The first series of Charlie Sling Bags and Amber Totes are in stock at Threads of Nature in Croydon Hills pop in and have a look at the beautiful reversible bags. I'm finalising a nappy bag design for all the mothers out there or any woman who needs a bag with lots of room. I'm aching to make some out of the reclaimed soft demin that l picked up last week.
This week I've found some new blogs and enjoyed a lot of reading once Miss Two is in bed after dinner. She's been enjoying watching Masterchef with Zoe her toy & her folks before bed it's fast becoming a ritual. I'm still trying to find the right bed for Poppy and design her room but this week l began dreaming of colour and what arty things l can make or buy like the artwork from MaiAutumn to incorporate with her room's bird/nature theme to brighten up her room when the time comes. In the search for colour l stumbled upon amazing abodes, bedroom and caravan kitchen goodness just wait til next week. I've set my sights on making Poppy a winter hood and a new quilt and softies made out of fun and textural fabrics for her new bed when we find it. I've started squirrelling away fabric including the vintage goodness l won in a giveaway on Zy Zy. I'll keep you posted on the fabrics l find. 
Enjoy the Monday Link love and stay warm.

x MummaFox

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