Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hands on Play- Week Seven

Week Seven - Jump in puddles. 

Grace has discovered puddles, and how much fun it is to jump, walk, stomp and just have her feet in them.  This puddle is in the driveway of George's Kindy and every rainy day we have to stop for Grace to have her time playing.  Usually she's wearing her gumboots which she wears every day but after one of my care kids took of her shoes Grace had to copy so her gumboots quickly came off and the splashing continued barefoot.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Plum Crumble Slice

There is a lovely lady at church who has many many many fruit trees.  Enough to provide fruit all year round for her family and grandkids and nieces and nephews and friends and anyone else who needs some and she see me as some one that needs some.  Last year she provided me with apples which I made into applesauce and bottled up, also grapefruit which I made jam and marmalade with and plums which i made plum jam with.

This week she gave me a bucket fill off dark plums.  The only catch... they're too sour for eating fresh.  No problem there are so many things you can do with sour plums.

The next afternoon Grace has decided she wasn't keen on a afternoon nap so i set her up at the sink and she helped me scrub each plum (getting more water on the floor than what was in the skin but she did have a lot of fun) I then halved and removed the stones and stewed the plums for a couple of hours.

I did add a couple of cups of sugar as I was planning on bottling these plums but I'm not keen on too much sugar added to what my children eat, also I'm not sure what the end use of all these plums will be.
After all the plums where cooked there was a LOT of liquid in the pot which and I didn't have time to watch the pot while it reduced down.  When this happens I pull out my trustly slow cooker.  I moved the plums from the pot on the stove into the slow cooker, set it to high and placed a wooden spoon just under the lid leaving the lid ajar so the liquid can evaporate off. 
After leaving the slow cooker going all night I managed to find time to bottle up the plums while the kids were distracted with their breakfast.  I managed to fill 3 large jars. 

I still had just over a cup of stewed plums left over and our banana bread from earlier in the week was finished so I knew I had to make something suitable for George's Kindy lunch box.  A quick search online and I found a recipe for Plum Crumble Slice.  I did not have all the ingredients for this so I altered it somewhat.


Plum Crumble Slice

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes


125g soften butter
1/2 C white sugar
2 eggs
2 C flour
2 t baking powder
250g cream cheese
2 C stewed plums 

Crumble topping
3/4 C Flour
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
50g butter

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time then add cream cheese and mix well.
Sift flour and baking powder and fold into the creamed mixture. 

Spread mixture in a greased 18 x 28 cm tin and then spread the stewed plums over the top. 

In a clean bowl mix flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Rub in butter into it resembles bread crumbs.  Sprinkle over top of plums. 

Bake in a preheated oven on 180 degrees celsius for 45 minutes or until cooked.  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Eating the Alphabet - Banana bread

Eating Alphabet JPG

This year I've joined a group of bloggers for link up on eating the alphabet, and this month is letter A and or B.

Every week when I go grocery shopping I check out the reduced to clear bins and usually end up finding the weeks food for my bunnies, and maybe a treat or two from the bakery section.  This week there was a whole lot of over ripe bananas bagged up at only 99 cents.  As soon as I saw them I knew I had to make Banana bread.


I needed to challenge myself and instead of pulling out the trusty Edmonds cookbook I went to the computer and started searching for different recipes.  Here is the recipe I found and used as the bases of my recipe.  The comment section was great and gave me all the information I needed to make changes and know that I was still going to get something yummy at the end. 

George currently has a thing for blueberries, thankfully it's currently blueberry season in New Zealand.  There was even a fruit stand just a couple of doors down from our place this weekend selling freshly picked blueberries and I just couldn't say no.  This meant the banana bread quickly changed to banana and blueberry bread. 
Blue berries

Banana and Blueberry Bread Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour


4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 C blue berries
1/2 C plain yoghurt
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
zest of 1 lemon


Preheat oven to 175°C ( 350°F)

In a bowl mix yoghurt, mashed banana, egg, sugar and lemon zest.

Split the vanilla bean length wise and scrap out seeds and add to the mixture.

Sprinkle baking soda over the mixture and mix in, then add flour and mix together into a batter.

Lastly fold in the blueberries.

Pour batter into a greased loaf tin and bake for 45 mins - 1 hour.


Hands on Play- Week Six

Week Six - Slide

When I was younger and would walk home from Hamilton Girls High School, I walked down Ruakiwi Road which had this huge slide on the side of the road going down to the lake domain.  This slide was steep - or at least seemed so to my younger self and I didn't always slide down it due to my caution or I should really say fear. 

At some point, and after a good (5 minute) search online I haven't found out when, it was moved from Ruakiwi road to where it is now on the hill in the playground of the Lake domian. 

George used to be scared of this slide and wouldn't even go down it with myself or hubby.  This year this changed and rather out of the blue.  He will now happily run up the path, climb the stairs and slide down while I watch on.

Grace wants to do everything her big brother does and will be up the half way up the path before I can catch up.  I'm not ready to let her slide by herself, maybe when she's 2 I might let her, but really when I think about it I probably won't.


Next weeks challenge: Jump in puddles

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hands on Play- Week Five

Week Five - Walk in nature

This challenge was easy to mark off this week as we went camping over the weekend.  We went to Kauaeranga Valley and stayed in one of the DOC camping grounds.  Most of the walks around the valley were rather long and a bit too much for the kids physical abilities but we did manage 3 walks.


Grace has got to the stage where she wants to walk everywhere rather than be in the carrier.  While this is great for her interdependence and I love how she wants to do so much for herself it does get hard when you're walking several kilometers.  After some bribery she did go on my back and even had her afternoon naps in the Mai Tai.

Next weeks challenge: Slide

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Vanilla Cupcake Recipes

It was my Mothers birthday this week and for family birthday George and I usually make the birthday cake.  My Mother does enjoy her sweets but a whole cake is far to much and only bringing half a cake seems kinda rude.
So how do you cake less cake without taking less than a cake??  Simple... you make Cupcakes!!


These cupcakes were light and fluffy and so delicious.  

  •  2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 egg whites
  • 115 grams softened butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • Seeds from 2 vanilla pods

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Separate egg and beat the egg whites until they're stiff then set aside. 

In another bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, butter, milk and vanilla seeds. Mix until everything is combined into a thick batter.  Fold in egg whites.

Line your muffin tins with cupcake cups and fill halfway with batter and bake for 15-20 minutes until the top springs back when pressed, or when a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Top with vanilla butter cream and fresh blue berries.  Add a candle and sing happy birthday.