Pan-Fried Soy Sauce Prawns

Today I wanted to teach Cass to be responsible at home by helping to clear and clean the table after lunch. If Alycia and Drama Queen are around, they would be the ones to clear and clean the dining table after every meal. They are normally not around for lunch on school days. After lunch, the little spoilt brat with a cavalier attitude would leave the table and dash straight to the bathroom. Today, I decided that Cass is old enough to take on the duty.  She should start to be responsible just like her 2 older sisters. As there were plastic takeout boxes with watery gravy inside, I warned her specifically to be extra careful before she brought the boxes to the bin, lest she dropped them onto the floor.

Me: Cassandra, be VERY, VERY, VERY careful when you bring the boxes to the kitchen. First, close the lid tightly so that the gravy won’t spill out.  Be very careful NOT TO DROP THE BOXES on the floor, else the gravy would splatter and it’s going to be a big big mess. Understand?

Cass: OK!

And what do I know? The second she turned her back from the table with the gravy-filled takeout box, SPLAT!!  Her butter fingers dropped the box with gravy onto the floor.  Oh. My. Goodness. I can’t believe her!! That scatty girl.  I was seething!!

I made her clean up the floor and showed her how to clean up while berating her.

Does this sound familiar? Do you have a child like this too? That “I can’t believe you” anger can really send you a few years earlier knocking on Heaven’s door. Right? Right?

OK, moving on to the food scene!  Just a few days before the mil returned from Hawaii, I discovered that there was still a packet of prawns in the freezer. It was sitting in the freezer for over one month. She bought them just before she left for Hawaii.  What would she say when she returned and saw the packet of prawns?  I didn’t want her to have the impression that I hardly cook. Truth is the girls and I are not fans of prawns. Thus, I hardly buy them.   So I quickly cooked the prawns  the same evening that I discovered them.

This soy sauce pan-fried prawn recipe is the mil’s signature dish. And it’s SO easy to cook that you’d think I’m not revealing all the ingredients and steps.

Don’t you just love the vibrant colors of the prawns, broccoli and tomatoes? I love traffic colors on my plate 😀 I am utterly enamoured with this colorful dish that tastes as good as it looks. Even the ‘fussy king’ (a moniker the girls and I give the hubs, HA HA!!) loved it and had no criticism darted at it. Being a perfectionist caterer, the fussy king is VERY VERY critical of the food people cook, his mum and I inclusive!

Ingredients:
Medium / large size prawns – devein the prawns with a pair of scissors
Cooking oil
Soy sauce
Sugar – I used organic muscovado sugar
A dash of Chinese cooking wine
Spring onions and Chinese parsley cut into 10 – 15cm length (as this was a last-minute dish, I didn’t have the time to buy spring onions and parsley, thus omitted them)
Cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, whatever vegetables you have to decorate the plate.

Method:
Heat up oil.

Pan-fry prawns until they turn orangy in color / thoroughly cooked. That will take approximately 10 – 15 minutes, depending on the size of the prawns. Be very careful not to over cook the prawns or they will be rubbery and dry and that’s the last thing you want. You don’t want the prawns to end up being ‘recycled’ in fried rice the next day.

Dish out the prawn and leave aside.

With the remainder oil in the wok / pan, add in soy sauce and sugar. Mix well. You can add a little water if you wish.

Add in the spring onions or Chinese parsley and a dash of Chinese cooking wine. Let them simmer for about one minute. Do not overcook the spring onions and Chinese parsley.

Pour the sauce over the prawns

Decorate the plate with the vegetables.

This is a perfect dish for Chinese New Year or any Chinese festival celebrations and is a total crowd-pleaser.

Do give this one a try, it’s a winner! Bon Appetit!

 

 

Updates – 25 July 2017

Sorry for the lack of update in my blogs. It was only after a phone call from my dearest mummy this morning to check on me on why I have been so quiet lately that I realized that I have not been updating my blogs for days.

So why the silence?

Whenever you do not read updates from me, I am either:

  1. feeling under the weather
  2. busy with the girls
  3. internet down
  4. out of town / country
  5. simply couldn’t find my mojo to write.

This time, it’s no. 1, 2 and 3.

I have been busy revising with Cass and Drama Queen over the weekend. Also, I caught the flu bug from the hubs and Drama Queen and started to have a nose that dripped water like a leaking tap and an irritated throat since yesterday. I was running to the bathroom every 10-15 minutes to blow and clean my nose at the sink. I don’t use tissue papers as this will only cause a sore nose.  I was struggling to keep myself alive the whole of yesterday — dragged myself into the kitchen to cook and to revise with Cass who is sitting for her term exam which started yesterday and only ending next Wednesday.  To compound matters, the internet at my house was down for more than half a day yesterday and by the time it was up again, it was time for me to cook dinner already. I was really down when the internet was down as I could not do anything on the computer, except to use my mobile phone but that’s using the mobile data. Furthermore, with a phone, my work is limited.  When it rains, it pours hard!

This morning while I was waiting for Cass to dress up for school before I tied her hair into a bun, I told Cass that my eyes felt very  heavy and I didn’t feel like exercising. Cass looked at me with a stern look and with a serious tone, she said this:

Cass : mummy, PLEASE don’t go jogging ok? We can go down to the lobby ourselves. We are not babies anymore. You go back to sleep. And don’t you dare go jogging!

And so after sending Drama Queen and Cass off to the school van, I snuggled back onto my cozy bed and slept for 2 hours (with dreams some more haha!), only to wake up at 9:30 a.m. for a breakfast of a slice of Japanese chiffon cake and a bowl of light Marmite soup (1 teaspoon to 300 ml of water).

It’s usually safe to exercise when you have a cold as long as you listen to your body. You’ll need to watch out for certain risky situations, like shortness of breath, a congested nose (which may cause difficulty in breathing) and fever.  As I felt very lethargic (from lack of sleep) with tired eyes and a beat up body, I decided to catch up on my sleep. Sleep is equally as important as exercise and when you have a cold, you should listen to your body’s calling. It is during deep sleep that our body repairs itself.  I listened to my body and took a 2-hour nap, woke up and felt like I’ve recovered from the cold.  With just natural supplements like carotenoids, hydrogen water, Esberitox, raw honey, Manuka honey, propolis and lots of sleep / rest, I am on my way to recovery in just a day!  PTL!

 

Final Exams Are Over!

FINALLY the day that all the exams for year 2016 are over and done with is here today. For all 3 girls. Can you feel my relief? Can you? 😀 😀

If you are a parent with school-going kids, I am sure you’ll feel me deeply.

I have not planned out what to do with the girls yet as they still have 1 more month of school to attend before the 1-month school holiday starts. But tomorrow we will be attending a food and fun fair at our church. The girls have been looking forward to attend this fun fair for months.

For me, I have nothing much to look forward to except to catch up on my sleep this weekend.  And it is just about the right time for me to do my yearly medical screening again.  Much as I hate going to the hospital to have blood works (hate the fasting!) and scans done, these can be life-saving.  Don’t scrimp on medical screenings and investing in some good supplements. These are the little things which may seem insignificant to you now and  you may not see the immediate benefits yet. Or you may say that you do not have the budget for them. Not  until  you are dealt with a  shocking diagnosis by which time regretting is the one thing that will corrode you. I wish this will never happen to anyone. I have a customer whose mother skipped just 1 year of not having a medical screening done.  The following year when she went for her medical screening, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had less than a year to live.  She was only in her early sixties.

Have a good and relaxing weekend world! 🙂

Yesterday’s dinner…

Sauteed okra with organic ‘milk white’ vegetable (lai park), big onions, tomatoes, shredded kafir lime leaves and Baba’s rendang curry powder.  The ‘milk white’ veggie is added into this dish coz some fussy pot hates okra.  This kid literally pukes each time I force okra down her throat, I kid you not!

Baked garoupa fish breaded with wholewheat bread crumbs.  If you have kids who dislike eating fish, try baking breaded fish. The bread crumbs lend a very crispy texture and aroma to the fish. My kids who are not great fans of the fish love fish cooked in this style.

Award-Winning Dawdler

Someone just spoilt my afternoon and I am still burning with anger!

Just a moment ago, I received a call from a sales staff from a bank trying to sell a product to me. I wasn’t interested and I told him straight. Then he said that he won’t take long and just wanted to give me some quick info on the product.  But I am freaking busy alright.  I had and still have 1001 things to do and I just told a white lie to the caller: “I am in a meeting right now”.  And before I could swipe the end button on my phone to end the call, some smart alec hollered loudly across and said “NO, YOU ARE NOT IN A MEETING!”  

HOW DARE SHE DO THAT TO ME?!! 

I am certain that the caller heard that!! Though I didn’t give a hoot.

I quickly swiped the end button on my phone… then shot killer dagger stares and spewed lava on this eat-full-nothing-to-do kid! She’s got a Math exam tomorrow and she had already wasted an hour in the bathroom faffing around and when she came out, she hadn’t even taken her shower!!   I was so enraged I wanted to swallow her up. I would if I were a ruthless giant.  As I am typing this post, this dawdler is at the balcony tending to her plants. Aaaarrrgh… I so want to swallow her up right NOW!!

 

Exam Fever

Today is finally the end of Alycia’s final exam. It has been a tough one week for her with lots of last minute revising and only getting 4 hours of sleep each night. My constant nagging to the girls to revise daily has fallen on deaf ears and she prefers to do an eleventh hour revision, in which case, hers is a seventh hour revision just before sitting for her papers! Let me see how she has fared in her exam this time. Since it is such a tall order for me to get her to follow my method of revising, the next best would be for her to do a trial and error on her own studying methods. Her first method of revising during her first semester exam was with her iPod next to her books with music blasting into her ears via ear plugs. The method failed.  Her grades were middling. This time, she surrendered her iPod to me a week before her exam, albeit with reluctance. She studied in total silence in her room with the door locked to prevent her sisters from annoying her. If her seventh hour revision method fails too, I believe she will try another technique in her next exam. One thing for sure is that she needs tuition for Math and I have already found a tuition center for her to begin tuition next month.

Alycia and her classmates have planned to have a little celebration in school with a basketball game after the end of their exam today. I’ll bet when she comes home later today, she’ll plonk herself on the bed and sleep like a baby the entire afternoon. Today marks the end of all the exams for Alycia for this year. Drama Queen and Cass will be sitting for their exam next week and I can foresee tomorrow being a nerve-racking day for me revising with the two dawdlers in the house! I can’t wait for next Friday to come to mark the end of all exams for the girls for this year…

Smart TV Lessons From Drama Queen

Can you believe that ever since the hubs replaced our old TV with a WiFi-enabled smart TV one year ago, I still do not know how to turn it on? HA HA HA!  Unbelievable right?

Truth is, I have NO TIME to watch the TV.

Am I the only work-from-home-mum of 3 kids who is so outdated and still living in a world of dinosaur TVs? Tell me I am not the only one, tell me!! I feel dumb ya know.

Last week, Drama Queen had to give me a short tutorial on how to operate the smart TV but know what? Half way through it, I was interrupted by work again and by the time I was done replying my customer, I looked at the clock and dang it, it was time to cook dinner already!  So yeah, I still do NOT know how to switch on the frigging damn smart, smart TV!!

How many of you here is just like me and still don’t know how to operate the smart TV? Raise up your hand!! 😀

 

Bribing My Kids

Today I bribed the small brat.  Cute as a button and can melt my heart when she is in her angelic mode, this brat can be a little monster when she is switched to devilish mode, spewing out the molten lava from my within through my nose, mouth, ears and all outlets in my body.

Though she is doing pretty well in her studies in school, she has an ‘attitude problem’, which is driving me NUTS!   Something must have happened between her and her tutor and she started to dislike her Mandarin tutor recently.  The brat will act up each time the tutor comes and this is DRIVING ME INSANE!  Now, this Mandarin tutor is the nicest teacher I have met. Alycia loves this tutor and got along with her really well throughout the 5 years that she tutored Alycia.   Cass and the tutor started off with a very cordial and chummy relationship since the beginning of time.  Cass was about 5 years old when she joined her 2 sisters during Mandarin enrichment classes.  When her syllabus got tougher as she progressed from pre-school to Primary 2, naturally the tutor had to increase the homework load.  Coming from a family consisting of yellow banana parents, our girls are gravitated towards English. They speak in English at home, watch TV shows, listen to English songs and prefer reading English books. With so much influences from pop stars from the West, they are pretty much ‘westernized’.

It was the hubster’s idea of sending the girls to a Chinese school. I had already anticipated all the problems that would brew and crop up one by one should our girls be educated in a Chinese school and tried to change his mind 8 years ago, but the hubster stood his ground – only Chinese school. Period.

Fine then.

For a child coming from an English-speaking family with yellow banana parents, mastering the Chinese language will be tough – most of the time, as they are unable to receive much guidance from the parents. Naturally, our girls had a very tough time picking up the Chinese language since they were in pre-school. While spoken Chinese is still manageable as their grandma speaks in Mandarin with them whenever she is around, written Chinese is one of the toughest languages to master and they all struggled during the initial years.  They are still struggling with Chinese writing.  I personally find that whether a child can flourish in a Chinese school depends very much on the character of the child. Does the child possess the material to study in a Chinese school?

Alycia survived 6 years in a Chinese high prestige primary school (SBT) and breezed through it, though she had had many minor melt-downs during Mandarin tuition classes.  She had a very good tutor who would entertain answering her questions sent via Whatsapp round the clock. Yes, I am referring to the same tutor.   Alycia did not protest when her daddy was adamant in sending her to a Chinese independent high school (private).  She is doing OK now. It is too soon to comment further as she is only in Junior High One.

For Sherilyn, she has a typical ‘kwai por’ or ‘Mat Salleh’ character. When she was younger, she used to tell us “I am an English girl, not a Chinese girl!”  She would greet me “hey mum” (and she still does),  reads only English books, watches English movies and listens to English songs and tells me “I HATE CHINESE SCHOOL!!” all the time.  She even recites the times table in English though they are required to do so in Mandarin.  She would morph into another person during Mandarin tuition classes.  She gets so bored that she can snooze off during Mandarin tuition classes.  She would find ways to stall time like faffing around pretending to look for things or pretend to have urges to use the bathroom.  And now, the littlest one is just like Sherilyn during Mandarin tuition classes!!  Monkey see monkey do.  Which is why I feel SO stressed out lately whenever the Mandarin tutor comes.  On bad days, she would refuse to cooperate with the tutor. This is when corporate punishment is meted out.   I feel so harried by the two brats and I am sure the tutor feels the same.

When I run out of ideas to get the 2 brats to behave during Mandarin classes, I bribe them. I use threats and corporal punishment.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. It is easier to use bribes on the littlest brat.  Today I bribed her with something that she really likes from my online store, which is some magic clay.   And it worked. She behaved 90% well, which is a vast improvement compared to the previous class.  I know my way of dealing with these 2 brats is not ideal.  There could be some better ways.  But I do not have the time and money to find a better solution. You may suggest  finding another tutor who uses a different approach in teaching them or perhaps have a better chemistry with these 2 brats. But it is not easy to find another good tutor. I am very comfortable with the current tutor who is one of the nicest teachers around and her fees are very reasonable.  Also, I know that a child cannot be compelled to like something which she naturally dislikes. This will backfire and have serious negative consequences.  These 2 brats hate studying in a Chinese school but are compelled to.

I can’t rant out to the hubs for he will comment that I am harping on the same string again and again. And I can anticipate his replies to me.  He is by nature a very happy-go-lucky person and does not place high expectations on academic achievements on his girls.  He’ll be satisfied with mediocre marks and positions while I am the total opposite.

OK, enough of ranting.  I just have to accept the ebb and flow of life of a mother with 3 head strong kids.  My motherly instinct tells me that they will turn out well in future.  And just like Lukas Graham sings – my mama said that it was OK.  Mama said that it was quite alright.

My mama always tells me to let it go and chill… she was not pushy on my studies when I was young (and she was a teacher) and I still turned out fine now 🙂

 

Supermom

On some bad days, the term “I am a good mom” is not by any stretch of my own imagination. I’d feel incompetent and unfit to be a mom. On some good days, “I am a good mom” does not really measure my own worth.   On these good days, the girls would think that their mummy is out of this world. 🙂

Saturdays are usually busy days for me. My day would start at 4:45am to do some chores and then to wake Alycia up to prepare her for school.  Alycia attends full day school on Saturdays.

Then, I send Sherilyn off to the tuition center by 9am, have a quick breakfast with Cass, do some quick shopping for groceries and rush back home before 11am.  Cass has tuition from a private Mandarin tutor at 11am.

At 1pm, it’s time for me to fetch Sherilyn back from the tuition center.

Back home, I sit with Cass and guide her when she practices her piano.  Yesterday, I spent my afternoon revising BM with Sherilyn and Cass. Today is another blood-vomiting and hair-pulling session for me!

By 2:30pm, Alycia is back from school. After her lunch and shower, she does her homework. Since she does not have any tuition, I guide her in whatever subjects that I can whenever she asks me to.  Thankfully, most of her subjects are in English.  Though she attends a private Chinese school, subjects like Math, Physics, Chemistry and Biology are taught in English (Cambridge syllabus).   English subject is Cambridge syllabus too.

Math for Junior Middle One is super duper tough. I don’t recall doing anything like what Alycia’s doing now when I was in Form 1,  30 years ago.  The Math book is Cambridge syllabus but edited by the school’s board of Mathematicians.

Below are the questions for Alycia’s Math homework yesterday.  They were considered the ‘easiest’ I have seen thus far.   On a few occasions in the past, I wasn’t able to help her solve the sums and had to Whatsapp my younger brother (UK educated electrical engineer) or friends for help.

I felt a sense of achievement when I could solve the two questions that she tossed to me yesterday.  Since I did not have the time to help her at home, I snapped a picture of the page and brought it along with me to work on the sums when I waited for Cass to finish her piano class at Yamaha.  Once I was done, I snapped a picture of the answer sheet and messaged it back to Alycia on Facebook so that she could complete her homework 😀

My old brain ain’t rusty after all.  Though I don’t remember much about the Math and Add Math formulas that I learned 30 years ago, I applied common sense to solve those questions. What I learned decades ago was pretty different from what my girls are learning now in a Chinese school. I was a product of a Kebangsaan school (Methodist Girls School).

Today (Sunday) is another long and hard day for me. My day started at 4:45am.  Alycia has a jogathon to start off at 6:30am.

I prepared a slice of toasted wheat bread and a glass of Manuka honey to help fuel her 10km run.

 

Life as a mom is really tough. But I am not complaining.  The man will always remind me of our struggles and battle with infertility 16 years ago. His reminders have never failed to wake me up and remind me to appreciate our 3 princesses, however tough it is to raise them – mentally, physically and financially.  Because that was what we earnestly prayed and asked for from God 16 years ago. 🙂

 

Throes Of Motherhood

Sorry for the lack of updates in my blog for the past 2 weeks. These days, I try very hard to force myself to be in bed by 10pm as I have to wake up for my ‘night duty’ at 2am. It’s agonizing ok, to force yourself up from your beauty sleep to do your motherly duty.

Cass is still recuperating from a bout of UTI attack. I do not want her to hold back her urine for 8-9 hours during bed time. At 2am each day, in the still of the night when everyone else in the house is in their deep slumber and oblivious to what’s happening outside their bedrooms, I carry Cass who is still deep in her sleep, from the bed to the bathroom, as if she was a sack of 23kg rice. While she pees, I quickly fix some Izumio with Waterfall D-Mannose in a glass and gives it to her. After she’s done drinking this potion, I wash her bottom and we go back to bed. Thank God, I can still get back to sleep but 2 1/2 hours later, I would have to force myself out from bed again to do my next round of motherly duty at 4:45am. This is torturous and I am so bushed. But I hope that all my pain and effort will pay off well. The best gift for me would be to see Cass recover 100% from UTI with no recurrence and be 100% diaper-free by this year.

During the day, I would either be in school to check on Cass for a couple of hours or stay home to do some work. In between, I need a short power nap to recharge my batteries.

Tonight, I have broken my own rule. It’s already 10:30pm and I am not in bed yet but at the computer. Tomorrow is a Saturday but my motherly duty continues. I have to do this every single day until Cass is weaned off the diaper at night. Life is tough but I am very sure that I will reap the sweet fruits of my labour very soon.

I better end here instead of rattling on and on. G’nite world! 🙂

My Wednesday – 6 January 2016

Haih… and so the nasty chi that circulated around me yesterday attacked me right up to the moment I clambered onto bed at the stroke of midnight.  I thought that after calling it off for the day, the bad chi would end but NAY! The moment I plonked onto bed, I felt a crick on my left neck. The crick paralyzed my entire head and I had to lay still and massage my  neck for 15 minutes or so to release the crick.  DANG it! I could not believe my luck!!

I seriously need to know how to manage stress. It’s not doing me any good. When our body goes into stress, millions of stress hormones called Cortisol are released, attacking every cell in our body. Thus, the stress gas stabbing my middle abdomen and the stiffness in my body yesterday.

This morning, I woke up feeling groggy and zombified having had only 5 hours of sleep. After sending our girls off, I went back to sleep. I was contemplating whether to swim or not to. My mind was willing but body was too weak. I made the right decision. After a 1-hour power nap, I felt my batteries recharged to full bar. I quickly hung the laundry, took a quick bite for breakfast and zoomed off to school.

Traffic was pretty bad. I reached school about half an hour later. Then spent over an hour to sort out Cass’ missing books. The issue is still not totally resolved yet. I’ll need to follow up with both her primary 1 and primary 2 teachers.

On the way back from school, I felt a creepy crawlie going up my leg. Dang it, it must be the baby roach that Alycia saw on Sunday. I swept it away with  my hand and I am still not sure what it was.  For a moment, my memory went back to the year 1990. Fresh from my 17th birthday, my mum presented me with driving lessons. On the second lesson, I saw a big roach on the car floor mat. The car was a really beaten up old and dirty junk. I screamed and stopped short the car in the middle of the road at the roundabout and raised both my legs on the seat. The grumpy old man driving instructor yelled at me impatiently. HA HA HA!!

Note to self – must fumigate my car with Sol-U-Guard (Melaleuca) powerful antibacterial spray.

Then I stopped at a cafe to have a nice lunch.  It was just me alone and I was working from my mobile phone at the cafe with no interruption. No yelling at the kids.  Total blissss!!

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I am now hankering for positive vibes. I am trying to stay positive and happy. I hope this stays even after the girls are back home.