Cute Wooden Animal Alphabets

Another surprise parcel awaited Cass when she got home from school yesterday!

When she ripped the parcel bag apart, she found three stacks of wooden alphabets.   I helped her to unwrap the stacks of alphabets. While doing it, we were both guessing wildly what to do with the wooden alphabets.  They are similar to those wooden alphabets that are stuck on Alycia’s bedroom door, making out the word “WELCOME”.    But there was no instruction with our gift this time.  We were even more baffled when we found out that there were 3 pieces of  the letter ‘S’, 5 pieces of letter ‘A’ and the other letters were also redundant.  It was not a complete set of  26 letters of the alphabet. Hmmm, what could it be?  Santarina must have wanted us to work out brains hard to solve the mystery of the mysterious gift, ha!

No mysterious is ever left unresolved for us.  Very soon, I figured that the set of wooden alphabets were actually for the names of Alycia, Sherilyn and Cassandra! Jeng jeng jeng…. mysterious solved!!

Cass used her blue tac to stick behind the wooden alphabets and plastered up the 3 names onto the wall.   See how pretty and vivacious Cass’ little play corner is now!

 

Cute, bright and happy colored wooden animal alphabets to liven up your walls.  Perfect for toddlers to learn their ABCs too!  Thank you Apple Crumby & Fish once again! :)

 

 
No. of times viewed = 15

Breaded Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs

I have been wanting to try grilling breaded boneless chicken thighs for the longest time and finally tried them last week.  I googled around to get an idea of how to prepare this dish and then adapted the recipes that I found online to my kids’ liking and to the availability of my ingredients. For families with hungry meat-loving children, these Breaded Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs (you can use breasts too) are the answer to your prayers. Quickly bread and bake them in a large batch. Then store them in the refrigerator or freezer for the kids to warm in the micro or pack in their lunch bags.  Perfect for a busy weekday dinner too.

For a first-timer, I would say that I aced in this dish with an A+++!  ;)

INGREDIENTS:
Boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts.  I like using boneless chicken thighs as the meat is smoother and juicier and not as dry as breasts.  I used 6 boneless chicken thighs.
3 eggs, beaten
Multi-purpose flour. The only flour that I could find in the kitchen cabinet was my MIL’s cake flour, so yep, I used cake flour :)
Bread crumbs
Parmesan cheese to coat the chicken
Cooking oil.  I used Knife sesame oil + peanut oil.

MARINATE INGREDIENTS:
I pre-marinated the chicken thighs in the morning with my usual spices and seasonings such as soy sauce, pepper, coriander seeds, turmeric powder and garlic steak seasoning.    You can use garlic salt or whatever spices and seasoning you fancy or have in your kitchen.

Grill in oven for about 20-25 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius or until the coating turns golden brown and the meat inside is thoroughly cooked.

METHOD

I pulsed 6 slices of bread in my Blendtec blender.  I used Gardenia wheat and bran bread.

 

Make sure you toast your bread lightly in the oven/toaster, else the bread will stick to the blender and blades. You need dry and toasted bread so that the crumbs are light and easily poured out from the blender.  Make sure not to over-toast your bread or your coating will be dark/burnt later.

 

Below are the raw marinated chicken thighs,  flour, beaten eggs and bread crumbs with parmesan cheese.

Dip the chicken first into flour, shaking off any excess. Then dip it into the egg, shaking off any excess. Finally, dip it into the bread crumbs + parmesan cheese.
Lay the breaded chicken on a greased baking sheet (I used a few tablespoons of oil to grease the baking sheet).  Sprinkle some drops of  oil over each chicken piece so that the chicken will be crispy.

 

Fresh from the oven. Oh my…. the aroma of it!! Can send you to food heaven instantly!

 

Using a pair of scissors or knife, cut the chicken thighs into smaller pieces.

The chicken tasted so so so good!  The outside was crispy and inside flesh was very juicy.  My kids commented that it tasted even better than KFC!   As I had  removed the fatty skin of the chicken, my girls and I ate the coating of the chicken without guilt.  Since the coating comprises of flour + bread + egg + cheese, this meal is complete on its own and can fill you up easily.  A piece of chicken is more than enough for your kid. It is an all-in-one delish meal with protein and carbs.

I had a piece of leftover chicken that night and I kept it for lunch the next day.  To reheat the chicken, just wrap it in a piece of aluminum foil and heat it in the oven covered for about 15 minutes.  Then unwrap the aluminum foil and heat for another 5-10 minutes.  The overnight chicken tasted even more like KFC.

This is a very successful recipe and I will definitely try it again and this time, I will use chicken wings and drummets.

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 104

Halloween-ify Your Photos

Just want to share with you a new photo function  launched by Google Plus a few days ago.

Halloween is coming up and you might not feel up to slathering your face with makeup, fake blood, and whatever else comes with Halloween costumes these days. Now you don’t have to because Google has a new trick that will take your photos and “Halloweenify” them!

I tried the photo trick on one of my photos and here’s what I got with the scary Halloweenify version…

Sherilyn looking like a zombie! How apt for this drama queen! LOL!

 

For the fun ones, you can choose from adding virtual face paint that will turn you into a pumpkin, puppy, or kitten:

 

 

The bad news here is that you’ll need a Google+ account with photos uploaded onto it. That said, if you actually do feel like logging into Google+, you’ll see that Google has added some terrific new Halloween-related filters that can make your pictures more festive.

You can click here to experiment your pix for the fun of it : https://plus.google.com/photos

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 244

Cheat Pizza With Wendy’s Fried Chicken

Hubs bought a box of Wendy’s fried chicken home on Sunday night. The RM10.99 for 6 pieces fried chicken is an on-going promotion at Wendy’s.  But the girls and I had already eaten our dinner.  So I refrigerated the fried chicken.  The next day, I gave the fried chicken a make-over and dished up a cheat  pizza for Cass…

Baked wrap pizza with Wendy’s fried chicken (de-boned and de-skined), cherry tomatoes, cheese and tomato paste.

 

This is the lazy mommy’s way of tricking a kid that this is pizza ha!  But it is healthier than store-bought pizzas as it is free from deli meat and is low in sodium.  In our household, deli meat is a prohibited food item as is deep fried food. The girls and I only get to eat deli meat once in a purple moon during hotel stays or when we eat out.  Deep fried chicken is allowed occasionally but with the skin (the culprit!) removed.  Yeah, you can rightly call me a health freak mommy! :D

 

Lately, Cass is into writing me sweet appreciation and thank you notes during meal times when she likes the food that I cook.  After wolfing down the pizza, she wrote me this little note…

 

Can you see how high my score is for this pizza? WOW, the pizza must be really yummy!

And I scored an A+++ with 4 stars!

And a ‘very good’ too.

Go to My Kitchen Rules! Again, Cass asked me to take part in My Kitchen Rules TV reality show.  My girls think that their mummy is the best cook in the whole wide world and have even asked me to open a restaurant!  To an outsider, this is the ultimate joke.  I won’t even call myself a good cook.  I only cook for the love of my angels.  But in the eyes of my girls, their mummy’s cooking rocks! :)

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 124

Happening Weekend – Cousin’s Wedding & Parents’ Wedding Anniversary

Our weekend was one of happening, spent with my family. My parents came from Ipoh on Friday.  My eldest brother and his family came from Singapore the next day.  The purpose of this grand reunion of sort was to celebrate my cousin, Nic’s wedding.  The Yong family had not had a wedding for yonks already.  It was great catching up with my aunts, uncles and cousins, some of which I have not seen for years.

On Saturday morning, the foodie hubs was in an adventurous mood and drove the whole jing gang to Klang for ba kut teh for breakfast. There were 8 of us in his MPV.

 

Restoran Teluk Pulai (Claypot) Ba Kut Teh dishes up one of the tastiest ba ku teh in Klang and in the Klang Valley.  In the vicinity, there are several others ba ku teh shops but this Teluk Pulai one is always seen bursting with customers while the others have lukewarm business, evident from the taste and price.

 

Delish porky bones in claypot to savour, complete with such trimmings as foo chok (fried bean curd sheets), puffed tofu, golden needle mushrooms, button mushrooms, lettuce and plates of yau char kwai / you tiao (deep fried Chinese crullers).

 

This braised pork trotters with cuttlefish and ginger was super tasty!

 

Someone was satisfied to the max after wolfing down chunks of porky meat like a feral dog, haha!

 

After our protein overload indulgence, hubs dragged us to his friend’s newly opened cafe in Klang to have his fix of gourmet coffee.

 

 

Our family portrait at Nic’s wedding dinner @ the Noble House, PJ.   Check out Miss Drama Queen’s halloween dress, which is a piano dress with hands playing the piano :D

 

The tea ceremony just before the dinner…

 

My Princess Anna…

 

The hubby and I being served tea by Nic and his pretty wife.   How time flies.  Nic is my favorite baby cousin.  My brothers and I used to play with him whenever we were back to my papa’s shophouse in Cameron Highlands.   Nic is 10 years younger than me.

 

The next morning (Sunday), we celebrated my parents’ 44th wedding anniversary at Oriental Pavillion @ Jaya 33 PJ.

 

May God bless my parents with many more blissful years together.

 

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 229

First ABL Match For The Girls

After dinner with my parents last night, the hubby dragged everyone along to the MABA stadium to  watch an ABL (Asean Basketball League) match between Malaysia Dragons and Vietnam.  It was the girls and my parents’ first time watching a life basketball match.  The hubs had on hand some VIP tickets, thus dragged everyone along.

 

 

Players as tall as Yao Ming and as fast as lightning charging the court and displaying their sheer competency.  Each half court strike would earn them a minimum of five thousand bucks!   Go be a basketball player if you have got the height!!

 

 

Check out how TALL the Malaysia Dragons player is!  My parents and girls look like midgets standing next to him!

 

My parents obviously enjoying the game.  The girls are seated next to Roy kau fu.

 

This burly and lanky Malaysia Dragon player swept Cass off her feet! She commented that he was as sweaty and slippery as an eel and smelled ewwwwww!  LOL!

 

It was indeed an eye-opening experience for the girls.  They now look forward to watching the next ABL match!

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 155

Crispy Beef Taco

Alycia had been bugging me to get some taco shells ever since she saw a taco recipe at her daddy’s Flavors magazine.   Taco shells are not as common as pasta, spaghetti or tortilla chips where you can easily get them from mini marts and supermarkets.  They can only be found at places like Jaya Grocer or Village Grocer.  I finally got a pack of taco shells and her wish was my command, I whipped up a crispy beef taco, about 2 weeks ago.

 

 

The girls wolfed down the crispy beef tacos like some feral dogs.  I think each of the girls devoured at least 3 tacos and I was left with only one!  One of the pros of having kids with ravenous appetite is that you eat less, thus have a svelter frame :D

 

It is pretty simple to dish out crispy beef tacos.  Just toast the taco shells briefly in the oven or toaster.

The beef filling is cooked ala bolognese.  You can cook a big batch of beef bolognese and store them in containers in the freezer.  You could use them for crispy beef tacos, spaghetti or for wraps.   Deep-freezing beef bolognese is very handy for busy weekday dinners.  Just defrost the container of beef in the morning.  In the evening, pop it into the microwave oven or pan, boil some pastas or toast up some wraps or bread and you’ll have a great dinner in a jiffy!

 

 

 

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 242

Holiday Mood

Someone is getting an overload of TV and all the i-gadgets since the Deepavali holiday started on Wednesday.  For the weeks of studying hard, she deserves a good break now.  After all, she did pretty well this time. If this was her actual UPSR exam, she and I would be the happiest persons on earth.  She is a straight As student this time.  For all 9 subjects, woohooo!!!

Now the girls are counting down to 5 December 2014 as this is the day that they will be flying to  New Zealand with their grandma.  Alycia will be celebrating her 11th birthday in the air, how memorable that is huh? Cass, the hubby and I will follow suit a few days later.

 

And to add to their excitement, koong koong and granny will be visiting us tomorrow!   They can’t wait and have been making cards and Rainbow Loom bands to welcome them :)

 No. of times viewed = 338

Hidden Hints Game

A few days ago, another surprise awaited the girls at home.  It was a box of mystery word game called Hidden Hints by Learning Resources.  The girls’ angel had sent them another mystery gift woohoo!

Hidden Hints Game Box

 

Since it was the last day of Alycia and Sherilyn’s final exam, they could start playing this game, yay!!

Hidden Hints is a game that develops reading comprehension and vocabulary using context clues.

Targeting ages 7-12, players practice making inferences and drawing conclusions based upon context clue question cards. While proving their word-sleuthing skills, players earn chances to solve a mystery.

The publisher, Learning Resources, describes the game this way:
“Wrangle your way through word-sleuthing challenges to earn a shot at solving a mystery. Figure out what words mean by clues in the text around them. “
Basically, the game reinforces vocabulary a player might already know and challenges them to learn new vocabulary. Reading comprehension cards are also a part of stretching the player’s contextual understanding.

Hidden Hints can be played by 2-4 players and includes:
43 double-sided context clue question cards
7 double-sided game play cards (take an extra piece, lose a turn, etc.)
40 self-checking hint cards
16 game pieces
1 activity Guide with answer key
1 durable cardboard briefcase with handle and latch

This game is just perfect for my girls – aged 6 1/2, 9 1/2 and almost 11.

They spent their night yesterday playing with this game.  I was really surprised that Cass being the youngest could answer most of the question cards, except for some synonym cards that contain pretty hard vocabulary like defunct, insidious, etc.

Hidden Hints™ Mystery Word Game
Overall, I think this is an excellent learning game for kids. It is fast moving, interesting, and challenging. The girls’ vocabulary bank has grown a little by picking up a few new words from this game :)

Thank you very much Applecrumby And Fish once again for this wonderful game :)

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 168

Crock Pot Maple Dijon Chicken Drumsticks

I stumbled upon this recipe at skinnytaste.com while searching for some recipes to dish up. Chicken drumsticks cooked with maple syrup and dijon mustard in a crock pot seems pretty easy and delish. Best of all, not many ingredients are needed for this dish.  I was excited and very eager to try out this dish, so  off I went grocery shopping for maple syrup (this ain’t cheap ok!) and dijon mustard.

I adapted the recipe (can’t help it. I am too adventurous when it comes to cooking!) with an oriental touch by adding a few tablespoons of organic soy sauce and some freshly cut garlic.

As you can see from the picture, the chicken literally falls off the bone and is so delish! Kid-friendly, healthy and very easy to prepare too.

I hate Mondays as they are hectic for me. I need to pick up the Drama Queen from the enrichment center at 5ish pm, then cook, serve kids dinner, send Drama Queen for hip hop dance class, dinner myself and fetch Drama Queen back from dance class. So this dish is easy and fast enough for me to dish up on a maniac Monday. I started preparing at 3pm. Preparation only takes about half an hour. Once the drumsticks are cooking in the crock pot, I am free to do other stuff.

The fried rice was cooked by the girls’ grand aunt.

Crock Pot Maple Dijon Chicken Drumsticks
Recipe from Skinnytaste.com

Ingredients:

8 skinless drumsticks
1/4 cup pure Maple syrup
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp garlic salt
Fresh cracked pepper

The above is the original recipe from skinnytaste and I adapted it by adding some honey, soy sauce and garlic. I also seasoned the chicken with garlic steak seasoning. No marination is required.

Directions:

Season chicken with garlic salt and pepper and place in slow cooker. Combine maple, balsamic, and Dijon in a small bowl and whisk until smooth (I only used a spoon to mix all the ingredients). Pour over the legs, making sure the chicken is covered.

Left to right: Dijon mustard, balsimic vinegar, honey, organic pure maple syrup, pepper and the combined mixture in the bowl.

 

The original recipe uses garlic salt but since I only had garlic steak seasoning, I used whatever that I have.

 

 

Before cooking…

 

After 3 hours in the crock pot in high temp setting…

 

 

Do give this recipe a try. It is easy to prepare and perfect for a weekday dinner. You can dump  the drumsticks into the crockpot and set in low temp before you leave the house for work in the morning. By the time you are back in the evening, your entire house will be wafting with the sweet aroma of chicken, waiting for you to dig into :)

No. of times viewed = 455