Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday's in the kitchen- Rhubarb and Almond Loaf

I'm writing this while the rain is falling after what seems like weeks of hot summer days in the high 30's. It's lovely watching the veggie garden getting soaked after l started to pull out the summer's crop yesterday that had died off after the scorching heat. This recipe today comes from the lovely Olivia from livingwithliv, I stumbled across Olivia when she had a blog but you can find her over at Instagram. All that creative, vintage loveliness and this recipe is no exception. 
She posted this on Instagram a week or so ago, it made my mouth water and l asked for the recipe. I'm thankful for little pleasures. Making a pot of tea in the afternoons is a ritual even when the house is a mess and things are off track. This recipe is reminiscent of afternoon teas with my Nana. My grandparents Jack and Jean use to warm the teapot before making tea and the smell of loose tea leaves brewing was ambrosia. We would sit around the kitchen table that now adorns my family nest and share a slice of cake and cuppa. I treasure those memories of conversations and stories shared and the warmth from a pot of tea then and now. I made this over two days as with two little ones it took awhile to stew the rhubarb and then bake the cake but it was incredible and worth the wait. Miss Three thought it was great so it might be a winner for those that aren't carried away with the idea of rhubarb.

for the stewed rhubarb
4-5 stalks of rhubarb, chopped into 2cm pieces
70g caster sugar
20g butter

for the loaf
190g butter, softened
140g plain flour
190g caster sugar
3 large eggs
1tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp ground ginger
25ml whole milk
stewed rhubarb from above
15g flaked almonds

how to make
1. Preheat oven to 170°C and line one loaf pan (8.5 x 17.5cm with 7.5cm sides
 with baking paper).
2. Place small diced pieces of rhubarb in a saucepan along with sugar, butter and 50ml water. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently until rhubarb softens, then set aside to cool completely.
3. Meanwhile, using electric beater or cake mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the egg one at a time, mixing well on a medium speed after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure 
everything has been mixed in properly.
4. Sift together dry ingredients, then add half of this mixture to the creamed butter and eggs, followed by half the milk. Mix well after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining dry ingredients and milk and stir till 
all ingredients are combined.
5. Stir in the stewed rhubarb, making sure it is evenly mixed into the batter, then pour into the prepared loaf tin and sprinkle the flaked almonds on top.
6. Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes. When cooked, the loaf should be firm to the touch or a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf should come out clean of any uncooked batter.
Allow loaf to cool in the tin for a while before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Olivia got this recipe out of 'Cake Days' by The Hummingbird Bakery. If your library has a copy it would be worth getting your hands on, I've ordered it from my local. A shout out to Olivia thank you for sharing the recipe over here at Poppyfox HQ. 
If anyone has a recipe they have tried and loved share a link, email us at poppyfoxathome@gmail.com or become a member of the blog and leave a comment below. We love to receive comments and hear from you. Watch out for my first guest blogger from Make, Do, Sew who is going to share a recipe with us shortly.

Have a wonderful Tuesday everyone. If you are in Melbourne take the time to jump in puddles and enjoy the cool change. I'm going to grab my wellies and jump in puddles while Mr Tully has a sleep.
 I figure it's a perfect way to celebrate an end to the heatwave.

x Mummafox

Sunday, February 24, 2013

08/52: a portrait project

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.

For much of the week we have been fighting the summer heat.
Either in the backyard pool or having baths to cool off.
Both are growing up.
Poppy fast approaching three and a quarter + Tully, 8 weeks old.

a portrait of my people once a week, every week, in 2013 ~
i'm joining with jodi and taking part in the 52 project
Come join us

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My week in Instagram- Home Happenings

We have stayed home and kept things simple for much of the week.
 I've been reminded of the need to simply stop and keep things simple. 
Sometimes it's all you can do.
A family member is in hospital + we have been visiting Nana a lot this past week and a half.
It's been important to just go with the flow. 
Support our family, care for the little ones, find time to be together as a little family of four.
We have enjoyed a play date or two, some afternoon yoga + harvesting.
 Visiting the chiropractor in the hope of helping Tully with his reflux. 
Starting to work on the heat effected garden. There's been family time, visits to our extended family, lots of cuddles, crafternoons and cooking sessions. 
I've gotten through the washing, dealt with the mayhem. Kept the two little ones happy for much of the week but I have only begun to set the sewing machine up so here's hoping the week ahead is a productive one. I'm desperate to sew again after having such a long break.
I realise one can only do so much but it's time to get sewing again.
I've been dreaming so let's see what the week holds for us all.

Enjoying sun-ripened, homegrown tomatoes,
 watermelon play dates and yoga
Imaginative play
Miss Three teaching Tully and
exploring her surroundings
Morning swim class and cuddles
Summer BBQ's outdoors + moments spent
admiring my little ones
Miss Three  + her salad experience and art

How did you spend your week? 

Did you have adventures, tell stories, dream big dreams or make little ones?
 I'd love to know. Join the blog, leave a comment, share a link or shoot me an 
email at poppyfoxathome@gmail.com.

x Mummafox

Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday link love

This link love is about space, eclectic collections of prints, trinkets
and textiles that make a home.
I aspire to have a beautiful space that tells the story of our tribe. A home that brings peace to those that share the space and live there. I'm starting to collect prints to frame on a wall. It's taking time. I'm searching for a wooden day bed and a Eames teak unit for the bedroom but so far without success. The adventures of hunting and gathering.
Are there things you love to collect and dream of for your family nest?
Watching Miss Three and Tully beginning to share the space at home has reminded me of the importance to self- nurture, have my own space and create somewhere that Ads and I can be without them. My friend Lisa created a yoga routine for me to do on a Friday morning after l drop Miss Three at childcare. A time to stretch out, refocus and have Tully join me on the yoga mat.
I went and bought Country Style and Frankie magazine while shopping for food to inspire + provide some moments of escape from the mayhem of my little family. Tully's still struggling with reflux and there are good days and bad. He's putting on weight and l can see his little thighs taking shape. He's making noises and smiling at us + spending more time each day joining in and exploring his world from his crochet bouncer. Miss three continues to astound me with her boundless energy and creativity. At the moment there is very little downtime.
I've been sitting in our home wondering where l can carve out a space for ads and I. I think that will be the balcony when the kids are asleep or sitting out in the garden with a glass of wine. It's too hot to do that at the moment but come Autumn the nights will be cooler and a perfect time to take a moment for ourselves.

A wall of photos and the blend of textiles and linen.
Wood frames and a eclectic mix of artwork and prints.

Living spaces found
here and here
Bedrooms found
here and here
Wood, a blackboard and pastels adding comfort with simple furniture

Found here, here and here.
The beauty of wood and foliage.
Bringing nature inside
Seen here and here.
Book shelves, collections of trinkets that tell a story.
Wood, glass and those lovely chairs.

Shelves found here, here and here.
Chairs and home life seen
here and here.

How do you make space and time for yourself? 
I'd love to know. 
Become a member of the blog and know when there are new posts. 
Leave a comment, share a link and I'll endeavour to visit your blogs and have a wee peak.
Thank you to those that have been leaving comments, it makes my day.
Have a wonderful week everyone!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

07/52: a portrait project

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.

Miss Three so active, playful and curious when playing.
She's grown into such a beautiful, tall, creative little girl.
Tully asleep under the palms.
He's putting on weight.
 Has started to smile and talk in his own little way.
Seven weeks old and counting.

a portrait of my people once a week, every week, in 2013 ~
i'm joining with jodi and taking part in the 52 project
Come join us

My week in instagram

I feel like we're in rhythm this week.
A playful, magical + happy tune. 
Where love resides, a family nest filled with laughter and imperfection.
 A family tribe who like to play and explore. 
 Bath times with loads of bubbles and zoo animals.
Captured + shared cheeky smiles and cuddles.
The wonder + newness of sibling play.
A family I love, with just a touch of mayhem.
 I don't think l got much done but it's been fun.

the 2 apples of my eye, baking + wonder 
home happenings
sibling playtimes + crafternoons
outdoorsy fun
getting ready to celebrate Valentine's Day
playdates with besties

What did you get up to? I'd love to know.

x Mummafox

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesdays in the Kitchen- Summer Tomatoes 3 ways

I have a glut of tomatoes harvested from my veggie garden in bright, happy honey yellows, plum reds and tiger red and gold tomatoes - what to do with them? I've been harvesting daily and there are bowls to use up. I'm planning on slow roasting tomatoes and drying them for meals when l get the chance. But l needed some quick ideas. Well this morning between nursing Tully, making babychino's and breakfast for Miss Three and folding the washing l slow cooked pasta sauce on the stove for tomorrow night's dinner. It's always better on the second day if it has time to rest. I made a simple tomato salad for dinner tonight to have with BBQ and then l made Miss three and I lunch all with what was in the garden so thought l would share. It seriously is a quick and easy way to use tomatoes and stuff found in the pantry and fridge.

Simple Tomato Salad
1 cup of pasta
boiling water in a pot
1-2 cups of cherry tomatoes (or mixed colours)
1 cucumber
1/2 of black kalamata olives
1 tsp of finely chopped chives
1 handful of basil leaves or parsley

How to
Cook a cup of vegetable spiral pasta or small shell pasta
in salted water
drain and cool for 15-20 minutes
Add chopped tomatoes (1-2 small cups), chopped cucumber,
chopped olives and a tsp of finely chopped chives into a bowl
In a cup add a glug of red wine vinegar, 1/3 cup of olive oil, 2 crushed and chopped cloves of garlic and salt and pepper.
chopped finely herbs and add.
Throw all the ingredients into a bowl and eat!

take the time to skin the tomatoes and take out the
seeds it makes for a better sauce

Always cook on a low heat 

Stove top slow cooked tomato sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic clove, peeled and finely diced or crushed
1 tsp of mixed dried herbs (basil, oregano)
1/2 tsp of raw sugar
2 cups of drained and crushed tomatoes (either bottled or homemade)
1/2 cup of freshly grated or shaved good quality Parmesan cheese

How to
If using fresh garden tomatoes collect from the garden.
Throw tomatoes in hot boiling water for a minute then plunge into cold water to cease cooking.
Peel the skins while hot and squeeze tomato gently to get rid of the excess tomato seeds.
Place in a bowl for chopping or crushing.
I used big tomatoes and a variety of small cherry and lemon drop and yellow pear heritage varieties. These l skinned and deseeded and then crushed with the back of a fork.
Chop tomatoes and set aside.
If your using canned tomatoes drain and add to bowl ready for sauce.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced onion and saute for a couple of minutes til transparent or pale yellow in colour. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.
If using garden picked tomatoes you will need to cook pasta sauce on low for 30 minutes till soft and liquid sauce reduced.
If using bottled tomatoes. Add tomatoes, herbs, sugar and pepper and salt and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
Serve with cooked pasta and top with the cheese.

the perfect lunchtime snack while watching playschool reruns

Tomato, Cheese on Crackers
This is perhaps the easiest snack/lunch for us at Poppyfox Hq at the moment. I need simple and it doesn't get better than this.

How to
Take a couple of Vita wheat Rice Multi grain crackers, a tiny spear of Proactiv margarine, add finely sliced mini yellow drop or cherry tomatoes and
then a slice of tasty cheese to top it all off.
Perfect with a pot of English breakfast tea or in Miss Three's case a warm milk.

What are you cooking in the kitchen? Feel free to share a recipe, post a link, email us at poppyfoxathome@gmail.com. We would love to hear from you, thank you to all of you who have taken the time to leave a comment it's meant the world to me. So thank you.

x Mummafox.

back to playing

Monday, February 11, 2013

06/52: a portrait project

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.

Miss Three at the Convent. I love her smile.
Tully six weeks old + such a beautiful little one.

a portrait of my people once a week, every week, in 2013 ~
i'm joining with jodi and taking part in the 52 project
Come join us

x Mummafox

Sunday, February 10, 2013

My week in Instagram

at home.
in the kitchen.
battling with reflux.
in the sandpit.
in the backyard with friends.
on the couch with the little ones.
on the floor blanket.
two Miss Three's on the yoga mat.
tully watching Miss Three in the pool
in the sunshine.
in the garden.
at the farmers market.
at Collingwood Children's farm.
visiting the animals.
buying olives and fruit.
at the convent having lunch.
in bed early.
happy but exhausted.

x Mummafox

Saturday, February 9, 2013

DIY- Rainbow Giftbags, face paint + decorations

Today is the third part of the DIY Rainbow party series. Including a how to for face painting, gift bags, popcorn bags, pass the parcel and gift tags. So Enjoy!

I was lucky to have two wonderful friends offer to do face painting for the rainbow party. The theme of rainbows, fairies and tiaras all had a colourful and rainbow theme through out. They had their own supplies but it's easy to buy a rainbow palate of face paint and face glitter at any party supply shop, Spotlight or makeup shop these days. A wide sponge, mirror, good brush and a pack of wet ones is advisable. There are numerous ideas on Pinterest for face painting here or just take a look at the Rainbow party blog post here or my other playdate blogs for ideas found here, here and here.

From Kikki K I bought two strands of Kikki K cloud bunting ($7.95 a pack), two sheets of wrapping paper,  a mini rainbow notepad, a sticker book and wrote a To do list a couple of weeks before the party. I had a hole punch XL and small hole punch, yellow string, stapler, washi tape in dots for decoration and an Alphabet stamp set and ink pad from Typo. I used rainbow coloured card stock and a Kikki K Hello Sunshine sticker book ($19.95) for the main decorations for the gift bags and decorations. 

I went to my local art recycle centre and sourced paper, cardboard boxes, stickers, butchers paper, tissue paper and craft supplies to create the giftbags and presents with. A discount craft centre, Riot Art or Kmart would also have what you need.
On the day I went shopping I was able to get a small box of non-toxic 5 crayon packs in rainbow colours to use in the giftbags. I've made my own circle rainbow crayons for the shop but it was great to not have to use these for party favors. The crayons will be available at the Poppyfox online shop in the next two weeks and custom bulk orders can be arranged for parties.

For the giftbags I already had plastic giftbags in various sizes A5, A2 and smaller lolly bags  these can be purchased at stationary shops, cake decorating or craft supply shops in packs of 20 or 30. The ones I used were self sealing which saves a lot of time.

For the giftbags
Clear Plastic bags in various sizes A5 and smaller
Crayon packs or a coloured pen for each of the giftbags
Dot Washi tape
Rainbow Sweet and Sour lollies (I bought these at Kmart)
Animal cookies or Teddy bear cookies
Hello Sunshine notepad paper
Hello sunshine stickers
Mini Rainbow paper

How to
Using the plastic self adhesive bags place half a cup of cookies in a bag and secure with washi tape. 
Place lollies in another bag and stick down. 
Place a sticker from the Hello Sunshine Sticker book on the front of each 
of the cookie and lolly bags for decoration.
Divide up the Hello Sunshine pad of notepaper and place it in A5 clear bags at the back to create a background for the other goodies in the giftbag. 
Then place the lollies, crayons and biscuits in their little clear plastic bags
 in front of the paper. 
Wrap Washi tape around crayons and secure with sticker or you could alternatively use a set of coloured pencils, or a coloured pen for the giftbag. Fold over the top of the A5 clear bags and stick down.
 Using a stapler attach a mini rainbow from the Kikki K rainbow mini notepaper pad and secure with a staple on the top bag fold.
Take an alphabet stamp set and ink pad and stamp the child's name on the front. 
You could alternatively write the name of leave the rainbow blank.

Popcorn Bags
Clear plastic lolly bags
Circle gifttags
Yellow String
Hello Sunshine Stickers

Using clear lolly bags fill bags with air dried popcorn and twist the top. 
Using a glass of a XL hole punch (as used to make the Rainbow bunting) and colour card stock in rainbow colours cut out two circles per bag for gift tags. Make a hole through the top of each circle and attach with string to the popcorn bags.
Place 1-2 stickers on the gift tags for decoration.
Place in a basket for the table ready for the party.

Pass the parcel
2-3 newspapers
coloured tissue paper
gifts for the pass the parcel
Hello Sunshine Stickers
Sticky tape
Music to play for the actual game

Use coloured tissue paper and numerous gifts. 
Extra craft supplies, pens, sticker books, lolly pops and coloured journals were bought to use in the pass the parcel. 
Gifts were wrapped individually at the start in coloured tissue paper and stickers. This aided kids in knowing what was a present and what was just newspaper. 
The big present was wrapped in newspaper and then layers of newspaper added with presents spread through out. There was enough presents for each child who was attending the party in the Pass the parcel.
The front of the pass the parcel was then decorated with stickers and the words Pass the Parcel on the package using letter stickers in the Hello Sunshine Sticker Book.

Other Decorations
I used wooden rainbows on the table that are some of Miss Three's favourite toys. A plain tablecloth was used for the table. Ikea rainbow plastic cups and plates were stacked in cane baskets for the little ones to use, Ikea napkins in a bird design completed table service. Plastic cutlery, plates and cups in various blues and yellows added to the table for the adults to use. The options are endless.

I hope these DIY's have helped get your creativity flowing and the party hats on in planning the next party for our little ones. I found by having a central theme and making a list of what food, party games and gifts were needed it gave me a starting point in planning the rainbow party and then making and completing the To do List.

x Mummafox

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