How To Get Your Children To Eat Green Leafy Vegetables

The littlest girl at home can be as stubborn as a mule when it comes to eating her leafy greens. There are only a handful of green leafy vegetables that this little girl would eat – spinach (cooked till really soft), Romaine lettuce, mustard green (sawi) and cabbage. Other non-leafy ones like broccoli, leek flower, beans and cauliflower are still acceptable by her.  When other vegetables not in this list are placed on the dining table, not even the most attractive of bribes would entice her to swallow down the vegetables.

Her reason? Too hard to chew.  Too yucky.  Too slimy. Too boring.

And my best solution?

Scissors.

Picture above shows a plate of sauteed organic sweet potato leaves. And this little girl just won’t eat it, not even half a stem no matter how much I threatened or bribed her.  However, after cutting up the vegetables into swallowable pieces, this rascal mixed the vegetables with her turmeric chicken and scarfed it down in a jiffy. NO issues at all. No complaint of the veggie being slimy and fiber-ish.  And she says she’s a toddler once again 😀

Cass at 9 years 5 months

 

Teaching Your Kids Living Skills At Home

Alycia was feeling a tad under the weather yesterday evening. She said she felt very hot inside her body and felt very tired. I touched her body but it didn’t feel that hot.  I gave her a packet of Izumio hydrogen water and told her to pop 2 capsules of Super Lutein.

Later, I fished out the digital thermometer to check Alycia’s temperature but the batteries conked out. It’s been ages since we last used the thermometer. As we were rushing to send Alycia to the tuition centre, I summoned Cass to help me find new batteries to load them into the thermometer.

As there is a screw at the battery compartment for child safety purpose, I fished out our set of screw drivers. Then I gave Cass a short tutorial on how to unscrew the battery compartment by first finding the right screw driver.  Cass was very enthusiastic to learn. She volunteered to test each screw driver to see which fit the tiny piece of screw. After the cover to the battery compartment was released, I taught her how to put the right sides of the batteries into the compartment by looking at the positive and negative sides. Finally the thermometer was good to go and I showed her how to use the digital thermometer.  Cass learned something new. And Alycia had a temperature of 38.3C. She attended the Math tuition class anyway.

After popping 2 capsules of Super Lutein, a packet of Izumio, a glass of Manuka honey with propolis and 2 Esberitox, Alycia was well enough to go to school this morning. She was very worried of getting a fever as this would mean skipping school today.

In Alycia’s high school, skipping school without an official medical cert from a doctor would mean a deduction of 0.2 marks from every test paper. And for a slight fever or flu, going to the doctor’s office just to get an MC would cost at least RM50! Times are bad and our economy is lackluster, no way am I going to throw away my RM50 just for a piece of paper.  Thank God Alycia got well this morning and didn’t have to skip school.

Cheddar Cheese On Toast

Today’s lunch for Drama Queen and Cass was takeout Mee Siam from our favorite cafe.  Cass was super hungry today.  When she alighted from the school van, she grumbled “mum, I am SO hungry. My stomach is SO pain and growling. I am going to die from hunger!”  The moment she got into the house, she rummaged through the fridge for lunch. She saw the packet of Mee Siam in the fridge, took it out and devoured it like a feral dog. She was supposed to share the packet of Mee Siam with me but she scoffed it down within minutes, still in her dirty school uniform, stinky socks and with ruffled messy hair all over.

After she was done with her packet of Mee Siam, Cass said that she was still very, very hungry! OMG, what’s with her appetite?!  She must be going through a growth spurt now.  “But you have already eaten my share of Mee Siam. There is nothing else to eat. Do you want cheese on toast?” I asked her. There was a twinkle in her eyes. That’s her favorite, why not!

So I hurriedly popped a slice of wholemeal cranberry bread into the toaster, along with a slice of cheddar cheese and sliced tomatoes.  This open toast is very much in the same mold as pizza bread.   The bread is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The soft and chewy  melted cheddar cheese is SWOON!  Something as simple as a slice of crispy toast with hot tomatoes and chewy cheddar can really warm the cockles of this little girl’s heart 💓💓

 

Time-Table For Kids

I have never really made in mandatory to impose a time-table for the girls at home. But of late, someone has been spending too much time on her i-gadget which pisses me off. I told her dad about it yet again, who gave her another pep talk (on same issue again!); and he said she could continue to hold the said i-gadget on condition that a time-table must be drawn out and abided to. And my condition to the girl is the i-gadget must be out of her bedroom and into my bedroom by 9:30pm every night. The girl ain’t happy about this whole thing at all but a mum has to do what’s right but seem unpleasant, period.

After she drew up her time-table, the other 2 sisters followed suit and drew up their own time-table. That is why it is so important for the oldest child to set good examples coz the other siblings are watching. Monkey see monkey do.

Cass has been very serious about her time-table (thank God for that!). But she has an ulterior motive!  She wants half an hour of screen time on her phone or iPad everyday! I am fine with this as long as she finishes her school homework, tuition homework, my BM homework for her and piano must be practised daily. After all, everyone needs to do something that he/she likes to de-stress. She did a draft on her own time-table and I make sure that she follows it. On the first day of using her time-table, Cass was late for bed by half an hour. On the second day, which was yesterday, she was 15 minutes late for bed but lesser time was wasted on dawdling. She was working very fast and she did things without having being told. If she’s late, she would have to forgo her screen time.  Her piano piece was also played perfectly well yesterday, even without me standing next to her guiding her or me hollering to her “B flat, F sharp, rest, timing…!!”  from afar 👏👍

Today is CoCo day at school and she came home late. As of typing this post, she’s at the table doing her school homework. I’ll see if she can still meet the timeline on the timetable.

When I attended a parents’ briefing at Cass’ orientation day 3 years ago, I remember that the parents-students-adviser stressed that without a time-table, a student is less likely to excel, whether academically or in extra CoCo activity. This adviser has 2 kids who are state swimmers with intensive training everyday and yet are in the top class.  I think this is so true. Without a time-table, there is no target to meet and a child tends to dawdle on unimportant things. They tend to sleep late and have trouble waking up in the morning. Ideally, I want my girls to have 8 hours of sleep each day.  Numerous studies have shown the importance of sleep and the effect sleep deprivation can have on our brains. It is well-known that poor sleep patterns can contribute to lack of attention, memory loss and such brain disorders as Alzheimer’s and dementia. A lack of shut eye also shrinks the size of the brain.

Do you set a time-table for your school-going kids at home? Do you ensure that they follow it?

Pix below – a mesmerizing rainbow stretched out beautifully on the sky after a very heavy downpour yesterday evening.

Some where over the rainbow – can you spot KL Tower and KLCC? 🌈

Oh yes, did you manage to catch a glimpse of the super huge orange moon for the past few nights? It was even bigger than the super moon that we saw from our side several months ago.

Kitchen’s Best Hack – Install A Table Fan

I discovered by accident  that by blowing a fan directly at the onions that I am chopping can remove tearing – 100% tear-free!!!!

This is by far the most valuable kitchen hack that I have discovered today… all by accident. Can you believe it? Ha ha ha!  I am SO happy. Here’s to cheering myself on to add more onions to my dishes.  Onions taste awesome and this disease-fighting food is chock-full of nutrients.

How did I discover?

Ever since Drama Queen has to stay back in school for additional classes in preparation for the students’ UPSR next year, I don’t have anyone to help me in the kitchen anymore. I have to chop onions and garlic myself.  Since last week, I was in awe as to why I don’t tear up anymore each time I chop onions. Not a drop of tear. That’s unbelievable. I thought that my eyes had become immune to the tear-causing fumes from the onions.   All these while, I have the table fan blowing at my direction while I cook in the kitchen.

Today I was late in dinner preparation again. I was rushing and did not turn on the table fan. While chopping onions, I ‘cried’ my eyes and nose out.  Why was I tearing this time?  Then I realized that the table fan had not been turned on and a eureka moment happened. I turned the fan on and almost instantaneously I stopped tearing! Like magic!!

For fans of onions, try this hack. It will help you speed up your onion-chopping chore. Even if you don’t like onions, try adding them into your dishes. Here’s why you should eat more onions…

Here’s a quick glimpse at the incredible health benefits of onions:

  • The phytochemicals in onions along with their vitamin C help improve immunity.
  • Onions contain chromium, which assists in regulating blood sugar.
  • For centuries, onions have been used to reduce inflammation and heal infections.
  • Do you enjoy sliced onions with your food? If yes, rejoice! Raw onion lowers the production of bad cholesterol (LDL), thus keeping your heart healthy.
  • A powerful compound called quercetin in onions is known to play a significant role in preventing cancer.
  • Got stung by a honeybee? Apply onion juice on the area for immediate relief from the pain and burning sensation.
  • Onions scavenge free radicals, thereby reducing your risk of developing gastric ulcers.
  • Those bright green tops of green onions are rich in Vitamin A, so do use them often.

 

Short Cuts Around The Kitchen

Here’s one of my many lazy innovative ways around the kitchen.  I try to cut down my time in the kitchen as much as I can.

My kids love fried ‘wallet eggs’ (hor pau tarn) but eggs cooked in this fashion takes a longer time vs scrambled eggs as each egg has to be fried separately, unless I have someone to help me fry the rest of the eggs using another pan on another stove. Fat hopes.

If I were to cook 3 wallet eggs, that will take me approximately 5 minutes multiply by 3 eggs = 15 minutes.

So I take the short-cut way out by breaking 3 eggs into a bowl and gently slide them into a non-stick pan and cook them together. All it takes to fry 3 wallet eggs is about 6-8 minutes or shorter, depending on how cooked I want the yolks to be. For runny yolks, it only takes about 5 minutes for 3 eggs.

This is how the 3 wallet eggs look like, fried together on a non-stick pan…

Once that’s done, I plate up the eggs. And using a pair of scissors, I cut them into 3 equal parts, like this….

Here’s our wallet egg + pork chop open faced sandwich for lunch…

Yummeh!!

 

Living Skills Training For Kids

One of the activities for Sherilyn during this school holiday is living skills training 🙂

She may be pretty clumsy, impulsive (she drives me nuts with her impulsiveness) and accident-prone, but when it comes to cooking, I can see that she is trying really hard NOT to be what she is 😀

As she flipped the cabbage with a spatula yesterday evening, I stood next to her telling her… “be GENTLE, DON’T FLIP the cabbage too fast, don’t flip any cabbage out of the wok please, SLOWLY, don’t let the garlic get burnt, don’t get too near the stove, make sure your clothes are not near the stove and fire, lower down the flame, NOT TOO MUCH SALT PLEASE …”    LOL!!

I think our neighbors must have even heard me yelling out the instructions every evening and must be wondering if the fierce lady  is talking to her new Pinoy maid.  Thank goodness, they won’t know that it’s from our unit. That’s one of the advantages of staying in a condo, hehehe.

I also grilled a pomfret fish with fish curry powder, turmeric powder, soy sauce, black pepper, garlic and onions and a drizzle of palm sugar.

 

 

HFM’s Version of Thai-Style Grilled Fish

My love for kafir lime leaves was recently renewed when I bought at small punnet from a supermarket near my place.  As I do not use a lot of it it my dishes, I have more than enough to use these leaves everyday, in most of my dishes.  The unused leaves are now kept in a container in the freezer.

I have never  tried grilling fish using kafir lime leaves. Neither have I googled for recipes of fish using lime leaves. I am just too busy to google for everything.   Most of my dishes are cooked without referring to any recipe or measurements. They are ‘simply whack’ dishes requiring some common sense and most times (9 out of 10), my estimation on how much and what ingredients to use has been unerring, to produce a dish with just the taste that I wanted it to be! 😀

My first try with grilling fish with kafir lime leaves was saba fish (mackeral).  I rubbed the fish with turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt, pepper and cut up a handful of lime leaves.  The fish was marinated for about 7 hours.

 

I grilled the fish for 10 minutes on each side at 180C for 1st 10 minutes (fish covered with aluminum foil) and 160C for last 10 minutes (foil unwrapped to expose fish).  I have experimented many times with the timing and finally, I got it right with this timing and method.  This way, the flesh will still be moist.

I threw in some sliced garlic onto the fish in the final 10 minutes. Be careful not to grill sliced garlic too long in the oven as it browns and gets burnt pretty quickly.

 

The outcome was a delightfully aromatic fish (I love everything Thai!) with a hint of Thai flavor. The flesh was moist and not dry. I was sold.  And so this is how kafir lime leaves  earned a spot in my refrigerator!   It is way cheaper than other herbs like basil, thyme and rosemary. And the smell is Thai heavenly!  I should have squeezed in some lime juice and cut up some raw onions too to make it taste more Thai.

Tip: for busy mothers or fathers, you can marinate a big portion of fish, chicken or pork on your rest days with whatever herbs, spices and condiments that you fancy. Store them in individual ziplock bags or plastic bags.  Thaw them in the morning before leaving the house and when you are back in the evening, just crank up the oven or toaster to grill your meat.  You spend less than an hour marinating and organizing your meat once a week and you will have fresh, yummy and hot home-cooked meals everyday!

 

 

 

 

Involving Kids In Household Chores

It took my daughters and me over 2 years to get used to our life without a live-in maid, since our live-in maid of 4 years returned to Indonesia for good. My daughters have had at least a maid at any one time all their lives to care for them until 2 years ago. In 2005, we had 2 live-in maids. That was the year Sherilyn was born.  Alycia was only 14 months when her sister was born. And I was still holding a full-time job.  Thus we hired 2 live-in maids.

We have had  live-in maids for over 10 years, way back to even before Alycia was born. Life back then with a live-in maid was such a luxury. I’ve had my minimum of 6-7 hours of sleep each night and never had to worry about having to do any house chores.  All that changed 2 years ago when our live-in maid decided to return to start a family in Indonesia. Since then, I am only limited to a maximum of 5 hours of shut-eye each night. Every single school-going day, I’d feel zombified.  Some people don’t really need to sleep while some cannot function without sufficient sleep. I am the latter.

Ever since kakak Dyah left in August 2012,  I have never liked the idea of cooking and eating at home.  Cooking means having to wash the dishes, clean the kitchen, mop the floors, dry the clean dishes and keep them. I was terrified and tired of the whole freaking process.  When kakak Dyah just left, I tried the daily home catered food but stopped short just after a month. I actually tried twice  and in both cases, I was already sick of the food on the third day!  I still remember during my second try with another home caterer, I  gave the food away to the guards at our condo everyday for the entire month!  Instead, I cooked simple yet delish food that the girls loved.  Gradually, I started to force myself to cook every day – at least once…. all for the love of my girls.  Beginning this year, which is the second year sans a live-in maid, I began to get the hang of cooking.  I then cooked twice a day!  Gradually, I have also learned to condition my mind to ‘like’ washing the dishes and accepted the fact that our kitchen is too small to ever fit in a dishwasher.  Though we have a part-time maid coming in almost 5 days a week, she however, is not very reliable in terms of attendance.  And we cannot push every single chore to her as we have a limit of 4 hours each time she works.

Over the period of 2 years, my girls have learned to accept that doing chores after each meal is COMPULSORY… and that chores are a part of their meals – like dessert! 😀    Looking back, I am very glad that my girls and I have come to where we are now.  When kakak Dyah just left, we ate out a lot.  Now, we are eating more at home.  The girls now know that  after each meal, they are to bring the dirty dishes to the wet kitchen.  The drama queen’s duty is to wash the dirty dishes.  Alycia’s duty is to wipe the chairs, dining table and pick up food from the floor.   Cass’ duty is to wipe the clean dishes and keep them.   And my duty is to wash the pots and pans (STILL HATE THIS CHORE!)  mop the floor, throw the garbage and everything else that needs to be done.  In fact, the girls prefer to eat home more than eating out and don’t mind flexing their limbs to help out, though they would bicker when they work.

Drama queen at work just now…

Alycia cleaning the table till it’s sparkling clean!  She’s a clean freak just like me 😀

Do you rope in your kids to help in the household chores?

 

 

What Do You Do If You Are Grossly Overcharged For Some Avocados?

Get a refund!! Though it may cause you some inconveniences of having to make a trip back to the mall.

Yesterday, I bought 2 pieces of avocados from Cold Storage at The Gardens.  They were RM3.99 each.   I should be billed RM7.98 for the 2 avos but the cashier keyed an entirely wrong code during checkout and the hubs who paid obviously did not check the bill. Oh, that’s the thing with men. They are just born without that attention to details.

When I got home and unloaded the groceries while checking the  price of the label on the plastic bag, my eye balls almost popped out from the eye socket when I saw RM19.80 printed on the sticker.  It should have been only RM7.98 but hey, Rm19.80 is grossly overcharged!!  I retrieved the receipt and told the hubs about it and told him that we just had to make a trip back to the supermarket to get back a refund. Meanwhile, I called the number printed on the receipt, spoke to 2 persons in charge and was told to return to Cold Storage within a week to get back a refund.

Today, we went back to Cold Storage. While the hubs and the girls waited for a table at Han Room for dimsum, I quickly made a dash to Cold Storage to get back my  money.

Thankfully, the person in charge was very helpful.  She said that I could buy the 2 avos that I bought yesterday at today’s reduced price of Rm2.99 each. This means a savings of Rm2!  Seeing that the price has been reduced from Rm3.99 to Rm2.99 each, I bought 3 more avos.  The refund that I got back was more than enough to pay for the 3 avos that I bought today!

 photo Avoovercharged_zps0b12d517.jpg

So the moral of the story is – if you have been grossly overcharged  and you think it is still practical to make a trip back to the mall, do it and get back your refund. It’s worth it.

On a side note, today is not a good day for Cass and Alycia.

Alycia fell sick after an entire day of school trip to Sekinchan with the year 4 students in her school.  She was roasted under the scorching hot sun and came back with bad sun burns on her face, neck and hands.  She now has a cough, gastric pain and feels feverish.  Oh gawd, I think this girl has got my bad genes.  I am allergic to the sun and will fall sick if I am exposed for prolonged periods under the sun!

And Cass injured her lower gums and loosened her tooth when she bit onto the chopsticks while eating fishball *OUCHHHHHHH*!!!!  She cried and it really broke my heart into pieces to see so much blood and a slightly shaky tooth :(((

See in the below picture, she had no more appetite to eat dimsum and had to eat Gardenia white bread as it is soft enough for her to chew on her traumatized gums and tooth :(((

 photo Sunday10Nov_zpsc600b8e0.jpg