Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Filling the cupboards

I've stopped buying a few things in my weekly shop in a bid to make them myself.  Muesli bars, biscuits and crackers are off the shopping list.  And I've been making a chocolate and coconut brownie which is going down a treat in the lunchboxes.

By baking a few things at a time or baking every second day I can keep the baking tins full and my shopping bill, hopefully a little lower.

This is working out well towards the end of the weekend when everyone is home and hungry.  So come Monday morning I won't be digging around for something to put in the lunch boxes.

Chocolate and coconut brownie........with all the good things like butter and sugar!  Good old fashioned baking at its best.  Because sometimes you just have to.

This is an Edmonds recipe.  You can find it here.

Cream crackers.  My kids love crackers.  The next time I make these I will make half with cheese in them.  This recipe is from my Grans Kitchen Cook book.

455g flour
Half teaspoon salt
85g butter
Milk to mix

Put flour  and salt into a bowl and rub through the butter.
Slowly add milk to foam a stiff dough. Roll out thinly.
Cut into squares,  prick with a fork and place on greased oven tray.
Bake at 200 degrees celsius for approximately 10 minutes (quick hot oven).

This mix will make up two baking trays full of crackers.  I baked one tray at a time.

I had a go at making my own muesli bars.  These are delicious, although next time I will use less oats and a lot more honey so they are a little more moist and not so crumbly.

I used oats, almond meal, raisins, shredded coconut, walnuts, pumpkin and sunflowers seeds.  I mixed through honey and coconut oil and baked in the oven at 180 degrees celsius until golden.

These Petite Kitchen vanilla nut butter biscuits are still proving popular too. 
What do you enjoy baking?   What are your family favourites?

Happy baking!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

30/52........Hello Term 3!

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

School holidays are now officially over.  Term 3 is here and now underway.  We were lucky with the weather and the fact that Mr H took a weeks holiday from the winery.  These two factors played a MAJOR part in me keeping my sanity over the two week break.

We made the most of the weather and spent alot of time outdoors.  In the garden, every park we could think of and the beach.  Our mission every day was to tire the boys out each morning before heading home for lunch and afternoons spent around home.

Not alot of money was spent.  This is not a hard task when living in a relatively small coastal/country town.  There is no pressure to take them to things.

Yes there were cries of "I'm bored" but it is amazing how they can quickly amuse themselves and find forgotten toys when said cries are ignored and they are forced to use their imagination.

I really loved these school holidays and can quite honestly say I looking forward to the next one!

Bell - I'm finding it harder and harder to photograph her.  She is'nt around as much as the boys are and over the past week in particular I have hardly had my camera out.  Here she is helping me with the washing - I took a quick snap of her over the washing line.
Tom - It was Mr H's Birthday on the weekend.  Tom is helping with the BBQ prep by tossing some chicken around in olive oil, salt and pepper. He loves helping in the kitchen.
George - This kid can eat!  He will finish his meal, then move around the table finishing off the leftovers from everyone else's plate.

Very happy to be joining in with Jodi's "52 project".

Friday, 26 July 2013

A Royal Baby..........and that blue polka dot dress

Prince George Alexander Louis
Born 22 July
8lbs 6oz
I have been annoying Mr H all week with this.  I've been feeding him with up to the minute news feeds.  The fact he is home this week on holiday makes him an easy target.
I am a Kate and William fan you see.  I stayed up to the wee hours watching their wedding unfold.  Champagne and chocolate to hand.  And a Royal Baby is just the icing on the cake.
From the minute I read that The Duchess was in labour I was checking regularly for updates.  Then to read a baby boy was born.  Lovely.   And that they named him George, perfect.
Don't they look like proud parents?  I can't help wonder if once they get back to the "palace" if Kate will be in trackie bottoms and milk stained t-shirts while she gets the hang of their new parenting gig?
Will she get all over tired and shouty?  She can't exactly put Prince George in his pram and pop down to Mothercare for fresh air and breast pads can she?!
Anyway I purchased my Commemorative Magazine today, to add to my Kate and William stash.......yes I am a geek.
It is so nice to have news reports filled with baby newborn joy, compared to the usual (usually awful) media reports.
And no it does not make me clucky.  But it does make me want to buy a blue a white polka dot dress!
Happy weekending!
Our Prince George!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Op shop showoff............


My little photo bomber.

4 little brown pottery mugs found for 50 cents each.
Half the size of your average mug makes them perfect for little hands to hold milo and warming hot chocolate.
Very useful for mum and dads strong morning coffee too.

Found anything great lately? Pop over and share it with Max.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Dreaming of............a kitchen garden


All photos from Google images

Dreaming of a kitchen garden.............
My poor garden needs some TLC.  With a welcome break of good weather,  I'm feeling inspired  again.
I have been stalking google images (above) for inspiration.
I have lots of plants in my vege garden but they are looking a little worse for wear.  The birds have  been having a mini feast (due to no grapes on the vines - these birds are gutsy), our dog and small people have also been running through it.
So, my next step is to create some kind of fencing around the garden as well as covering to keep the birds away.
Do you have a vege/kitchen garden?  What grows well for you?  What do you use to keep pests, pets and children from eating and stomping their way through all your hard work?

Monday, 22 July 2013

In the kitchen

Here are a few things that have come out of my kitchen lately.
I made the "breakfast rolls" to go with our dinner of homemade chicken and vegetable soup.  I enjoyed them but Mr H found them a bit "sour".  I'm not sure if I got the yeast amount right.  The recipe stated a packet of yeast, so I did a bit of guess work.  I also let it rest for most of the day which may have had something to do with the stronger taste.  The rolls were lovely and crisp on the outside and soft in the middle though.
The biscuits are from my Petite Kitchen cookbook which I am working my way through.  I've never been a "FREE" of everything girl.  But I have an incredibly sweet tooth.  Trying these recipes is a way of enjoying my sweet treats without all the sugar etc.  And the bonus is, if the kids enjoy them too it's better for everyone and they get some "good" treats in their lunch box.

"Breakfast rolls"

Mix 2 cups of flour, 1 egg, a melted tbsp of butter, 3/4 cup of warm water, a tsp of sugar, 1 pinch of salt and packet/sachet (I used 1 1/2 tsp) of yeast together, let it rise, shape it into rolls, let it rise again and bake for 15 minutes at 220 degrees.

Vanilla nut butter biscuits with raisins
1 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup peanut butter (you can use any type of nut butter)
3 tbsp honey
1/2 cup raisins (or any dried fruit of your choice)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
Preheat the oven to 180°C, and line a baking tray with baking paper.
In a food processor add the almonds, peanut butter, honey, raisins, vanilla and baking soda. Process until a dough like texture is achieved (about 1 minute). You may need to scrape down the sides a little.

Using your hands, form small balls and place them on to the baking paper, a couple of centimetres apart as they expand a little.
Using a fork or your fingers, press down on each ball to flatten in half.
Place in to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until nice and golden on the outside.
Makes around 16 medium sized cookies which will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
*gluten free
*grain free
*refined sugar free
*dairy free

Chocolate coconut rough macaroons

(The next time I make these I will use less cocoa and more ground almonds as I found these quite strong)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut
3/4 cup ground almonds
3 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp cocoa/cacao powder
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
A pinch of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 160°C, and line a baking tray with baking paper.

In a food processor add all of the ingredients. Process until well combined. You may need to scrape down the sides a little.

Using your hands form small balls and place them on to the baking paper, a couple of centimetres apart. Using a fork or your fingers, press down on each ball to flatten.

Place in to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until slightly crispy on the outside.

Leave to cool completely or they might break, then enjoy!

Makes around 20* macaroons, they will keep for around 3-4 days in an airtight container.

* I only ended up with about 12 macaroons.........due to eating a lot of the dough.  So good.

*gluten free
*grain free
*refined sugar free
*dairy free
*egg free


Sunday, 21 July 2013


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

We have had much needed blue sky days.  Such a mood lifter.

A river walk...........
Bell - up high on the bridge.  Blue sky.
Tom - freaking us all out - closing his eyes and biking up to the edge of the wharf.
George - he biked such a long way and kept up with us all.

Very happy to be joining in with Jodi's "52 project".

Friday, 19 July 2013

The Family Design Store

**New Sponsor**

The Family Design Store
I would like to introduce a new sponsor here at A little bit country.

Local business The Family Design Store is run by the very creative Wife and Husband team of Chelsea and Gene along with their two gorgeous little girls Primrose and Coco.

Their beautiful store is located in an old two story villa in Ballance Street Village, a small commercial area outside of the main CBD in Gisborne. The first floor displays homeware and clothing while a gallery and two studios occupy the top floor.

The Family Design Store currently stock - Willowsong, Willowolf, Fog linen, Rifle Paper Co, Nga Waiata, Redecker, Garden Trading, Factory Ceramics, Zora's Rainbows, Flat out Frankie, Weebits, Cally Whitham, Walter Hansen, GP Walker, Chelsea Thorpe, The Family Wine and Longbush Wines.

The Family Company is their online store - High quality products are sourced by members of Chelsea and Gene's extended family from across the globe and range from homeware (kitchen, lounge, bathroom and bedroom), clothing (men's, woman's and children's), stationary, art and design.

Check out:

Facebook: The Family Design Store
Blog: The Shopkeeper | shopkeeper, mother and wife
Pinterest: Chelsea Thorpe (primroseandcoco) on Pinterest


 Take a look at the Family Design Store Facebook page for product updates and giveaways.
 Photo: Like us and win!!!!

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