Rice Cooker Whole Tomato Rice

I hate Mondays!  Mondays = hectic.  Yesterday, Alycia told me this “mummy, if there is one word to describe Mondays, it is HATE!  I wish there was a ‘I Hate Mondays’ shirt that I can buy to wear to describe how I feel!”  LOL!!

Since Sunday, Cass has been telling me how much she hated Mondays too. She hates Mondays as everyone has to listen to boring lectures in the school hall for hours, first thing in the morning…. in Mandarin!  And she tells me that she only comprehends 50% of what’s being said most of the time.

One of the reasons why I hate Mondays is that I have to cook something that is really really easy and fast (and MUST BE TASTY for my 3 fussy eaters!)  as the drama queen has hip hop dance class at 7pm.  I have to start cooking at 4:30pm and pick her up from the enrichment center by 5ish pm. Back home, everyone has to have dinner latest by 6pm.

The only thing fast to whip up on Mondays is a one-pot meal.  Yes, 1-POT.  My favorite words when it comes to cooking for my fussy girls :)

Lately I’ve heard of this amazingly easy dish to cook in a rice cooker that everyone’s been raving about — the whole tomato rice! Actually I have cooked tomato rice twice last year, even before I heard wind of this famous tomato rice.  My own version was tomatoes cooked with rice.   Then the mashed tomatoes and rice were transferred into a wok where other ingredients were added to make fried rice.

Yesterday, my whole tomato rice was cooked in the rice cooker alone and I did not do any stir-frying. No oil splatters. A fuss-free and sweat-free one-pot whole tomato dish, cooked in the rice cooker!

One word describes this one-pot meal – SIMPLICITY at its best!

 

First, wash rice grains and put into rice cooker. Dump in any ingredient that you want into the rice cooker with the whole tomatoes, of course.  I used long beans (a handful), 3 whole ripened tomatoes, sliced shiitake mushrooms, garlic oil, pepper, 2 tablespoons of spaghetti sauce and pink sea salt.  Since my girls are carnivorous, I bought some char siew and roast chicken in the morning. That was dumped into the rice cooker too. Once everything is in, press START and please wait patiently for 30 minutes before the aroma wafts  the air in the house.

 

 

Once the rice is cooked, mash the tomatoes.  It’s kind of therapeutic to see the tomato juice splattering out when you poke the tomatoes :D

Mix everything up well.

 

My little drama queen decorated her plate of tomato rice with seasoned Korean seaweed (a staple in our house!), chopped scallions, fried scallions, cherry tomatoes and black pepper.   Note that since no frying is involved, the taste can be a tad bland. If you have fussy eaters who expect intense flavors, then you can season this dish with flavorful condiments like dried herbs, fresh herbs, scallions, seaweed, pepper, curry powder and anything you fancy.  For  not so healthy condiments, you can squeeze in some mayo, chilli sauce and tomato ketchup.

Note: do not put too much water to cook the rice as the tomatoes produce water too.  You should put lesser water than usual, else the rice will be mushy and sticky.

 

With all the right combo of condiments and ingredients used to cook this one-pot meal, it was very tasty.  It tasted even better the next day, when reheated.     Cass and Sherilyn liked it so much that they asked to bring this to school today.  I’m happiest when my girls like what I cook and ask to bring them to school to eat and ‘show off’ to their friends.  Sherilyn tells me that her friends are envious that she gets to bring home-cooked meals to school for recess almost everyday! :D

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 31

Health Freak Mommy is 42!

A year older but a year wiser.  I turned 42 yesterday!   Sometimes people think I am at the wrong side of 40 (and even 30 at times!) and I feel flattered.  You can be as old as the hills but as long as you feel young at heart, age is nothing but numbers.

The best gifts that God has ever given me are my 3 angels and to be able to celebrate my birthday with them is the best gift I can ever ask for.

 

“And the beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows!”
― Audrey Hepburn

The girls made me birthday cards days before my birthday.  In the morning, my drama queen prepared breakfast for me.  Later, Cass played a birthday song for me on her keyboard, followed by Alycia on her guitar and Sherilyn dedicated a dance move to me.  You can view the video of her dancing to Meghan Trainor’s Lips Are Moving by hopping to my other blog :)

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 52

Holding My Mind Ransom

Kids these days are super manipulative. With access to online social media platforms, the internet and the newspapers, my 12-year old knows more than I do sometimes. After all, she has more free time on hand to read during her leisure time whereas my free time is like just ten minutes a day – when I sit on the throne. And this is also  with the littlest one inside the same bathroom as me, to chat with me while she showers!

Anyway, I want to tell you how manipulative my 12-year old is each time I reprimand her for not putting enough time and effort to study.  With information that she absorbs from the newspapers and internet, she knows what kids are up to these days.  Each time I chide her off, she will say this to me… “mummy, if you want me to study so hard, later I will go crazy and depressed. And then I will jump off a building!”   This is definitely a case of a child verbally holding her parent’s mind  ransom! This makes me want to retort and say “go jump off right now!” Of course I did not say this, so as not to make myself so childish and to really challenge a tween with raging hormones to really do it. This girl is pretty reticent but when she talks, she can be really good with her words and sometimes corners me.   If you hear such words coming out from the mouth of your tween, what would you do and say?

 

 No. of times viewed = 117

Dealing with Reality

When death occurs, it can be challenging for loved ones and family members to function properly. There is a natural time of grief that is necessary and is quite healthy. At the same time, various items must be  addressed after the death of a loved one occurs.

Resting Place Options
After the death of a loved one, it is important to have professionals take care of the body in a dignified way. A funeral home is a popular way to take care of necessary details. A burial site, the type of coffin, a particular set of clothes and other miscellaneous items must be addressed, and a funeral home can take care of such details in a respectful way. Another way that is becoming increasingly popular is for people to have their loved one cremated instead of buried. Some people may initially believe that cremations are extremely expensive. That is not the case at all. There are plenty of affordable cremations that are intended to fit into many budgets that are offered by professionals. When a family receives the ashes, they are free to scatter the ashes on a field or lake. Some prefer to keep the ashes on a mantle. Whatever the case is, families have options to consider.

Having a Brief Service
It can be difficult for people to mourn over the loss of an individual. People tend to remain stoic and calloused as they guard their emotions and feelings. However, these same people are probably deeply grieving on the inside. There may be resistance to having a funeral, but a brief service can bring closure that is deeply needed. A pastor or priest can be quite helpful in providing solid answers and suggestions to families who are thinking about having a brief service or wondering about the healing process. In addition to this, churches and congregations are often willing to provide a light lunch after a service. A luncheon can provide people the opportunity they need to talk about the deceased individual without having to rush or feel embarrassed. Experiences like these can go a long way in providing healing and closure to people who are mourning death.

When a loved one dies, it is never easy. There are helps that are available that can be very beneficial. After all, the focus in the aftermath is primarily helping people deal with the new reality.

 

 No. of times viewed = 25

Our Sunday – 22 March 2015

Everyone started their day early today. By 10am, we left the house for KL Sentral station for the mil to check in for her flight to Hong Kong.  Once that was done, we hurried to Mid Valley Megamall to have breakfast at Han Room, after which hubs bought nyonya kuih from Nyonya Colors for the mil to bring to Hong Kong.  Hubs then hurried back to KL Sentral station to drop off his mum.

In the morning, Sherilyn asked her grandma to prepare some dough for her to make tong yuen (rice balls). The ever indulgent grandma quickly whipped up the dough and kept it in the fridge.  In the afternoon, the 2 sisters rolled tong yuen and have them filled with peanut butter and Nutella.

I was actually very reluctant to have these 2 troublemakers play dough rolling on a day where our part-time maid is off, knowing that they will not be easily satisfied with the small fistful of rice dough that grandma had prepared. I knew that the drama queen would have something up her sleeves eventually and true to what I had anticipated, this fella poured more flour into a bowl to whip up more dough!   Needless to say, you can already guess the mess they created.  Flour was blown around the house and bits of hardened dough were everywhere — stuck on the chairs, floor, hair and clothes.   So…. there goes my rest and relax Sunday, which I thought I could have. I have always wanted a Sunday where I don’t have to wash dishes and do much chores but I ended up doing everything today.    Oh well, since it’s their last day of school holiday, I thought I’d just let this be their last school holiday activity.

 

 

 

 

After the girls were done with rolling the balls, I boiled some ginger water with brown sugar and pandan leaves.

 

The tong yuen came in all shapes and sizes, as you can see here….

 

Today marks the end of the first term school holiday.  Tomorrow my slavery and zombified days will start again. I. Hate. Waking. Up. At. 4:45am!   Tomorrow also marks the commencement of  my days slogging and sweating in the kitchen… for the next 5 weeks!

 

 No. of times viewed = 136

Awesome Pawsome Cass

Last night, I felt really blessed.  While everyone else was watching TV, Cass gave me a massage on my problematic right hand.   Actually I had forgotten all about massaging my hand to loosen  the taut muscles and veins. I have hand numbness and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The physiotherapist that we saw on Wednesday taught me some simple massage techniques and I am supposed to do it every night.  Cass reminded me about the hand massage and offered to massage me!  As I lay on the bed, my baby girl gave me a really good massage – with Melaleuca oil, for a good 20 minutes!  As she massaged me, we chit chatted  and daydreamed about the future  a little. We talked about traveling the world together  and staying in a big bungalow that she will buy for us to stay when she graduates from Uni and makes ‘lots of money’! LOL!  When her eyes were drooping and I saw her yawning, I told Cass to sleep. She said “mummy, tomorrow I will massage your hand again ok!

The most pleasurable things in life are indeed free and right at home!

This note is from my awesome pawsome Cass, reminding me to sign her message book from school :)

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 117

My Thursday Breakfast At Doiffee Cafe – 19 March 2015

My breakfast today was with just hubs and Alycia.     It’s really been a while  where only the three of us had a meal together.  The last time we did that was 11 years ago when Alycia was just a baby (she was our only child then), our very much loved baby girl whom we had  tried for years to get.   Oops, sorry I got carried away and side tracked a bit!

 

Big breakfast – hubs’ all-time favorite breakfast or brunch item no matter which cafe that we go to.  Sometimes, he will ask the waiter if he can order a Big Breakfast set for lunch and even for dinner!  As you can see, he is a sucker for eggs, sausages, bacon, mushrooms and baked beans, along with toast and butter.  This combo just tickles his fancy – all the time.  Then he should be easy to please when it comes to food, right?  No No, he is not!  And if he gives his nod of approval to what I cook, then it must be darn good!

 

 

Waffle with banana slices and a scoop of ice-cream with edible flowers and maple syrup.  We love the waffles at Doiffee – they are light, crispy and not cloy.  The waffle for this set was specially made by the lady boss herself for us!  We’re one of their regular patrons.  Hubs loves their gourmet coffee as well.

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 102

Our Saturday – 14 March 2015

After  Cass’ Yamaha pop piano class today (her 6th lesson), I picked up Sherilyn from the enrichment center and then had lunch at an Indian restaurant.  Hubs, whose office is just a few steps away joined us for lunch.

After a carb-laden lunch, hubs suggested to have gourmet coffee at Les Deux Garcons, a French patisserie that serves delectable croissants, macarons and fine French cakes.

 

Hubs ordered a supreme croissant with frangipane, which was superb. The croissant was very soft, has paper-thin layers of buttery flakes, with a soft centre filled with frangipane. He also ordered a slice of Earl Grey French cake and a cup of coffee.  Good food with good company make this man happy and that is why, though my pants was on the verge of bursting after a carb-laden lunch, I agreed to his suggestion of having coffee and cakes, BURPS!  Oops!!

 

 

Sherilyn and Cass waiting for their daddy to fetch us for dinner, at the pool-side of our condo today.

 

 

Happy weekend peeps! :)

 

 No. of times viewed = 82

Dedicated Teacher

Since the start of this year, Sherilyn has been telling me how happy she is with her class teacher.  From what Sherilyn has been describing to me, this teacher sounds like a rare gem.  It is darn hard to find a teacher who really has the passion for teaching and takes pride in what she/he does.

Recently, this teacher created a Whatsapp chat group for parents of students in the class.  She would send us Whatsapp messages frequently to update and to notify the parents of happenings in the school. She would also send reminders to us on a new activity or cancellation of co-curricular activity.

This afternoon, I received this Whatsapp message from Sherilyn’s teacher, for us to remind our kids to study for an impending exam.

 

 

This is the first time in 6 years since Alycia started going to this school that I  have come across such a rare gem of a teacher.  The teacher also gives encouragement and praises to Sherilyn, which has boosted her morale and confidence in attempting to do Chinese composition (Chinese writing is her weakest subject).  Our country’s public schools certainly need more teachers of this breed.

 

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 72

School Stories From Cass – 11 March 2015

Cass came back from school yesterday with her school bag that looked as if it was about to burst out its contents at anytime. I helped her carry it and gawd, my shoulder was lop-sided and it hurt! I think her school bag weighed over 7kg, at least.

Cass told me that the principal informed all the students yesterday that they can no longer place their school books inside their desks in their respective classrooms. All the books have to be brought back… which means that Cass would have to learn how to pack her school bag.

After shower, Cass poured out all the contents from her school bag and asked me to teach her how to pack her school bag.

My method is pretty simple – books for each subject are placed inside a plastic folder.  The folders are labelled according to the subjects with her name and class.  Some parents whom I know label the books with different colors to signify either the subject or the day.

 

 

I will need to guide Cass for a few days and henceforth, leave her with this daily task on her own, with spot checks done randomly on her bag.

 

 No. of times viewed = 95