Exam Fever

Thai cave boys fever is over, so is football fever. In comes exam fever now and this fever takes years away from my life, prematurely!

This girl is a vomit-blood inducing kid.  I kid you not.  She wasn’t like this when she was much younger. She was the cute as a button, obedient, angelic little girl who could melt my heart instantly, transformed into a life-sucking devil in disguise of a petite 10-year old girl.

One moment I would feel like strangling and slapping her, another moment, she can be the sweet little girl she used to be, massaging my temples, feet and shoulders and saying sweet little nothings to me. Tween hormones raging to be blamed? Maybe.

She seems to have lost her mojo and focus when it comes to revising. All her mojo and focus have shifted to her novels.  She is still pretty disciplined when it comes to doing her school homework (thanks to her class teacher who seems to be able to do a little magic to motivate her) but anything beyond homework, it’s a torture for her and me.

These days, she needs to sit next to me when she does her homework, with her hands, legs and body touching mine, as if to get her inner batteries charged from having bodily contact with me. Like I’ve said before, she is like my twin. Three years of breastfeeding this rascal has created a very special bond between us.  Not that I like someone snuggled next to me when I am doing my work on the computer. It is already super hot in the afternoon. With someone leaning on my side, that’s something that annoys me.  But a mother’s sacrifice has  no boundary. I let her snuggle and lean next to me, with 3 fans blowing at us at full blast 😍

After an hour of revision, she gets to claim her screen time but she’s not totally free in front of the idiot box. She has to help to peel garlic skin 😀

My lunch yesterday (Sunday, 15 July 2018) was spent with only Cass and Drama Queen. Alycia stayed home to revise for her History test, the hubs was at work at Cyberjaya and the mil was away in Ipoh. After sending Drama Queen to a BM talk at the tuition centre, I spent my afternoon doing chores and revising BM with Cass.

I can’t tell you how suffocating it was for me to revise with that stroppy pre-teen. It didn’t help that I was PMS-ing and was feeling extremely short-fused and hothead.

Lunch at PappaRich:

I bought 3 boxes of takeaway chicken + cha siew rice and grilled jumbo Portobello BBQ mushrooms for dinner.

This time I delegated the task of prepping the mushrooms completely to Drama Queen.

We all love this grilled super juicy and meaty jumbo Portobello. Prepping this dish just takes 5 minutes:  rinse and dry the mushrooms, grease a baking tray with olive oil, sprinkle chopped garlic and butter at the back of the mushrooms and grill for 15 minutes in the oven at 170C.

Once removed from the oven, season the mushrooms with freshly ground black pepper and scrape a little rock salt on them. Drama Queen tried her hand at carving patterns on the mushroom skin and it looks awesome!

I put an eraser on the mushroom as a comparison to show how huge it is.  At RM13.90 for a punnet of 4 mushrooms, it is a tad expensive. But it’s A-OK, mushrooms are superfood loaded with nutrients and cancer-fighting phytochemicals, they are delish and most of all, minimal cooking is required to prep a yummo dish which I can delegate to my 13-year old 😉

Chinese Egg Fried Rice / Golden Fried Rice

On the eve of GE 14 today, it’s school off  for Alycia and Drama Queen.  Alycia gets 3 days off  and Drama Queen gets 2 days off as their schools are used as polling station.  Cass gets only one day on 9 May. Poor her and me. I was anticipating for an off day for Cass too so that I could sleep in for 2 days. But no such luck. I still have to wake up early tomorrow to prepare for voting, my first ever. I’m so excited! 😁  Hopefully Thursday and Friday  or Monday and Tuesday next week will be declared a public holiday, as promised by the respective Parties should they win.  So, who do you think will win? 😉  I can’t wait to find out!

Since I have all morning to myself  today without having to do school and tuition runs, I did what I love best ~ retail therapy, all by myself.  Bliss! My most favorite  past time to destress is to go shopping alone with no one breathing down my neck for this and that and no one rushing me to quickly finish up and go home.

At Uniqlo, I saw this SPRZ NY top that is SUPER light and feels like I’m not wearing anything.  Was tempted to get it for myself for traveling as the material drys up super fast.  I thought I could share this with Alycia but after Whatsapping her the picture, to which she said “NO, I DON’T WANT IT, DON’T BUY IT!!”, I put the top back.  This is not something that I would wear often. My wardrobe only has sleeveless tops and dresses 🤭  and jackets. And I added another sleeveless bra dress to my collection  👗

Back home, Drama Queen  made two batches of pancakes. The first batch was a flop.  She tried to be creative and made blue pancakes using blue pea flower tea and wholemeal flour but the batter churned out starchy pancakes. The second batch was cooked to a tee ~ fluffy, pillowy and soft.

For dinner, I cooked Chinese Egg Fried Rice / Golden Fried Rice. This is by far the most perfect Chinese fried rice that I’ve dished up!  In future, I’ll stick with this recipe for the ultimate Chinese egg fried rice.

And what’s the secret?

The secret is by coating the cooked rice with egg yolk and separately frying all the ingredients.

Method:

First, separate the yolks from the whites. There are several methods of doing it. You can separate it with a spatula with drainer, by scooping the yolks up with half the cracked egg shell, sucking the yolks up with a water bottle, separating the yolks upon cracking the shell and by using your bare hands. Check out this video to see which method suits you best. Drama Queen and I prefer scooping the yolks up with the cracked egg shell.

Beat up the egg yolks and in a large bowl, mix the egg yolk with the rice evenly. Make sure that every grain of rice is coated with egg yolk. If the egg yolks are not enough, prep more.  I used Basmati rice and brown rice.

Heat up wok with sesame seed oil and olive oil.  Fry the rice coated with egg yolk until the rice is dried up. You will hear ‘popping’ sounds when the rice is dried up. I added a little Chinese sausage into the fried rice as it’s leftover from the previous night dinner. Season with salt and pepper and a little soy sauce if you wish but do not add too much as the soy sauce will cause the rice to be wet and the wok to turn brown/burnt.   Remove the fried rice from the wok.

Next, brown the garlic and onions. Then remove from the wok.

Brown the minced pork until you hear ‘crackling’ sounds from the wok or when the minced pork is golden brown. Add in the chopped long beans and carrots and fry till cooked.  Season with salt and pepper. Remove from wok.

Then fry the egg whites. As egg white tends to stick to the wok very easily, be sure to keep scraping the egg whites off the base of the wok to prevent them from getting burnt / stuck to the wok.

Finally, add in the fried rice, meat and vegetables and the chopped spring onions and stir well.

Ingredients:
1. Cooked rice. I didn’t really measure as I had some overnight cooked rice and I cooked another 1 cup of rice.
2. 6 eggs ~ yolks separated from whites (use more if necessary)
3. 1 bulb garlic
4. 2 bulbs red onion
5. Protein of your choice ~ I used organic minced pork
6. Vegetables of your choice ~ I used 1 packet organic long beans and 1 carrot
7. Chopped scallions / spring onions
8. Salt and pepper to taste. Soy sauce is optional

Instructions:
1. First, separate the yolks from the whites. There are several methods of doing it. You can separate it with a spatula with drainer, by scooping the yolks up with half the cracked egg shell, sucking the yolks up with a water bottle, separating the yolks upon cracking the shell and by using your bare hands. Check out this video to see which method suits you best. Drama Queen and I prefer scooping the yolks up with the cracked egg shell.

2. Beat up the egg yolks and in a large bowl, mix the egg yolk with the rice evenly. Make sure that every grain of rice is coated with egg yolk. If the egg yolks are not enough, prep more.  I used Basmati rice and brown rice.

3. Heat up wok with sesame seed oil and olive oil.  Fry the rice coated with egg yolk until the rice is dried up. You will hear ‘popping’ sounds when the rice is dried up. I added a little Chinese sausage into the fried rice as it’s leftover from the previous night dinner. Season with salt and pepper and a little soy sauce if you wish but not too much as the soy sauce will cause the rice to be wet.   Remove the fried rice from the wok.

4. Next, brown the garlic and onions. Then remove from the wok.

5. Brown the minced pork until you hear ‘crackling’ sounds from the wok or when the minced pork is golden brown. Add in the chopped long beans and carrots and fry till cooked.  Season with salt and pepper. Remove from wok.

6. Then fry the egg whites. As egg white tends to stick to the wok very easily, be sure to keep scraping the egg whites off the base of the wok to prevent them from getting burnt / stuck to the wok.

7. Finally, add in the fried rice, meat and vegetables and the chopped spring onions and stir well.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

It’s day two of Cass’ first term exam and she sat for her Chinese Understanding, Chinese Writing and Moral papers today. Chinese has always been the toughest subject for Cass, so is BM. She hardly reads Chinese and BM novels. She barely ever talks in BM,  does not attend BM tuition and the only practice that she gets apart from the exercises from school is from the exercises that I give her from the BM workbooks that I bought from Popular Book Store. Before exam, I do some intensive exercises and revision with her for her BM subject and these sessions always jack up my blood pressure reading many notches up.

Breakfast for Cass was a slice of wholemeal bread spread with butter, avocado and hazelnut chocolate bread spread. And Izumio.  Lunch box for school recess is hot cross bun with herb cream cheese spread and avocado.

My brunch with the hubs at Good Taste:


While enjoying my bowl of sui kow, at the corner of my eye I spotted something black flapping its wings behind a packet of bread. I turned to my side and oh. my. gawd. I saw my no. 1 enemy on the wall and it was huge! It was flying towards my side. I told the hubs and he told the waitress who then nonchalantly put on a disposable plastic glove on one hand,  chased after the huge roach, caught the fler, squashed it maybe (I don’t know) and then dumped it into the big bin at the side of the restaurant. By then, I had already lost all my appetite and the hubs walloped the rest of the sui kow. What a terrible brunch I’ve had!

Thankfully the mil dished up a big pot of aromatic and colorful fried Basmati rice with curry leaves, French beans, traffic light colors bell peppers and diced pork and I had that for lunch.

Cass tends to be overly confident with her English papers and I usually do minimal revision with her. An hour max of going through English Grammar with her and giving her  some handy last minute reminders and pointers.  Tomorrow (Wednesday) will be English Paper 1 & Paper 2 and RBT.

I’ve done my utmost best and now it is all on this girl’s effort in self-revising and her memory retention power. I’ll see…

Colorful Meals

I love colorful meals cooked using only naturally colored ingredients. I love colorful clothes too.  I just love anything that’s colorful as it makes my life more colorful! Bright colors make me happy.  Happy colors seem to do the magic in lifting me up from my doldrums. I have a ‘lucky dress’ which I will only wear when I desperately need luck.  It’s a colorful floral short dress. I treasure it and it’s an under RM50 dress from my online store.   Each time I wear it, I am lucky. I better not talk too much about it, lest I jinx it!

My two older daughters cringed when they saw the new car that their dad had bought for  me 4 years ago ~ in bright pink!   They are not so colorful inclined. They love black  and other earthy colors. That’s just so opposite me. But when it comes to food, everyone loves colorful meals. And it makes it easier for me to cook. I like adding tomatoes, carrots, traffic light colors bell peppers, beet root, etc to my dishes and I don’t get complaints from the 3 fussy pots.

On one of the days last week, I cooked macaroni beef bolognese for lunch. The girls’ grand aunt had given us a big pot of beef bolognese sauce. All I had to do the next day was to cook some macaroni al dente and mix it with the heated up beef bolognese sauce. The girls loved their lunch to bits.

As there was still a lot of macaroni left, I stir fried it with some colorful vegetables for dinner the next day.  I added some curry powder to give it that more-ishness since the girls love curry.

While the girls had macaroni beef bolognese for lunch, I had salad with beef bolognese sauce. My salad composed of organic alfalfa + onion sprouts, baby beet root, organic yacon, Korean kimchi, toasted almond strips and a little preserved Japanese anchovies.

I also made organic mulberry smoothie with mango, apples and orange, with a tinge of raw honey and Korean fruit vinegar. So refreshing and so colorful, iLike!

 

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

This morning, Alycia’s transporter left her behind when he came to the condo to pick up another student. Maybe the driver was a minute or two earlier today and he didn’t even have the courtesy to give us a call to inform us that he was here.  How dare he!  Thankfully Cass’ transporter came and I asked her for a favor to drop Alycia at school.  Alycia sat on her van for 6 years when she was in primary school.   The boss of the fleet of vans apologized profusely to me for his driver’s oversight.  Apologies accepted.

My breakkie today was a bowl of corn flakes + Milo cereals + Cecile’s seeds & nuts with honey & quinoa (the mil bought this from New Zealand) + pistachios; half an avocado, an orange, a banana and a packet of Izumio hydrogen water.

Dinner from last night was lunch for Cass in school today ~  Japanese kids curry + fried fish + Basmati rice + a packet of Izumio. It’s CoCo day today. My baby girl did high jump, long jump, short put and running today. She told me that she came up on top in almost all the events!

Our dinner last night:

This is going to be a short post coz I am rushing off to bed.  My 2018 Resolution is to get a minimum of 6  hours of sleep every night.

Good nite everyone! 😴

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Lunch today was just me with Drama Queen and Cass.  Alycia accompanied her grandma to Sunway Medical Center (SYMC) for a medical check up. As a reward for accompanying grandma, she got a treat of Starbucks sandwiches and coffee for breakfast and McD burger for lunch from grandma!  The girls love going to SYMC because of Starbucks, free WiFi and the hotel-like atmosphere. During my surgery at SYMC in May last year, the girls had Starbucks coffee, sandwiches and cakes for 2 days straight. I think they really enjoyed themselves at the hospital while accompanying me! They had a time of their lives camping at the comfy couch at the hospital concierge the whole day while hooked to their phones and iPad and sipping on Starbucks coffee.

We had lunch at one of our favorite neighborhood cafes today just so we could enjoy the air cond. I don’t mind paying a little more to enjoy my lunch to avoid getting sweat-drenched clothes and rushing off my meal.  It’s the hottest time of the year now and I try not to be out in the afternoon. Thus I run all my errands and have brunch before 11 a.m. to avoid  the hot afternoon sun later.

Cass had portobello mushroom pasta and Drama Queen had Japanese grilled salmon, potato salad + rice. I had mee siam.  Just one forkful of the Japanese potato salad to try  and I was hooked for more.  After lunch, we shopped for ingredients to make Japanese potato salad. I just had to have Japanese potato salad for dinner tonight!

Typical scene while waiting for food to arrive ~ one was hooked to her phone and the other to her novel.

I summoned the girls to the kitchen to help with prepping the Japanese potato salad.  The littlest one was very earnest in helping, the middle child was a tad reluctant this time but helped out anyway (dare say no? Then don’t touch the food later!) and the oldest always finds an excuse to avoid the kitchen like the plague as she’s got royal fingers 🙄.  Her excuse today is she had to go to the gym after being cooped up in the hospital for half a day doing nothing.

With two helpers doing all the tedious chores from washing to peeling, chopping, mashing and mixing, our insanely delish Japanese potato salad was ready in under half an hour!

This Japanese potato salad is quick and easy to prep and off-the-charts delicious.  I love eating spuds this way.  The crunchy raw carrot, cucumber, onion and apple make it a little healthier while giving you the fiber and rawsome goodness. You can even add in finely chopped raw cabbage and it goes well with this salad. And you get the protein from the hard boiled eggs. I could have this alone as a meal and it fills me up pretty quickly. We made a big portion today and the girls can have it again for breakfast tomorrow before we head to the mall.  This is a brilliant back pocket recipe for appetizer for a party.  Serve the potato salad in dainty Japanese appetizer bowls and you’ll sure to impress your guests.

Japanese Potato Salad

Ingredients (serves 6-8 pax)
4 large potatoes
1 medium carrot
1 red apple
1 large Japanese cucumber
1 large Bombay onion
4 eggs, boiled
Japanese mayo (plain)
Japanese mayo (with wasabi)
Freshly ground black pepper
Few pinches of salt

Instructions
Chop potato into cubes and steam until soft.
Boil eggs. I cooked the potatoes and eggs in the same wok.
Chop the carrot, cucumber, apple and onion into small cubes.
Mash the potato and hard boiled eggs in a large bowl.
Squeeze in the plain mayo and wasabi mayo. You can use just the plain mayo if you don’t like the taste of wasabi.
Add ground black pepper and salt to taste.
Add in the chopped carrots, cucumber, apples and onion into the mashed potato + egg and mix everything up well.
Keep in fridge if you prefer it chilled before serving.

いただきます (itadakimasu)!

Canyon Spice Curry Roux For Kids

About 2 weeks before the mil was due to return to KL from Hong Kong, she shipped a box of goodies back to us. As per usual practice, she always couriers a BIG box of goodies back to KL after her long vacation traveling the world. That’s the ‘treasure box’ that the girls look forward to each time their grandma comes home from a long overseas vacation. In the treasure box this time was a pack of Canyon Spice Japanese curry roux for kids. Grandma knows that her grand daughters are big  fans of curry.

It was my first time using Canyon Spice curry roux and I found the roux tricky. The roux is not in the form of paste. Instead, it’s rectangular in shape and hard; I thought I had screwed up the meal the moment I opened the box. I thought I shouldn’t have cooked it the way I did. There wasn’t any instruction in English and I had just dumped the entire chunk of roux into the wok to simmer with the seared chicken drumsticks + garlic + onions + water. Thankfully after about 15 minutes or so with constant stirring, the roux dissolved and the sauce thickened. Now it finally looked like Japanese curry, phew!  I did a quick test taste and immediately fell in love with the curry!!

My Japanese kids curry was cooked using drumsticks instead of cubed chicken as I didn’t have sufficient time to cut the chicken into cubes. I always rush off cooking dinner as I have school and tuition runs to do in the evenings.  Instead of potatoes, I used Japanese sweet potatoes, which is a healthier alternative.

And the outcome was a very, very yummy Japanese curry which the girls loved to bits!

Canyon Spice curry roux for kids is sweet and not at all spicy, albeit with the taste of aromatic curry spices.  I added about 1 tablespoon of Baba’s meat curry powder to give the curry a hint of spiciness.

Wok-licking-good ~ that’s how yummy the curry was.  Check out Drama Queen scraping the bottom of the wok for whatever remaining curry sauce that was left 🤣

I have not seen this brand of curry roux at our local supermarkets. It costs about HKD36 per pack in HK. Two days before the mil returned to KL, I quickly Whatsapped my sil to ask her to get us 3 more packs.  TQVM tai kar che for the curry roux, we love it!

 

Simple Bento Lunch Boxes For Cassandra

Cass has grown terribly fed-up of having bread and buns for recess in school, or even to have them as breakfast at home. She loathes at the sight of buns now. She used to love bread but I guess she’s had enough of anything that’s doughy from the same bakeries most of the time.  She prefers to eat a proper meal consisting of rice and noodles. But the food from her school isn’t my ideal choice of meal for her. Yet, I can’t muster up the energy and enthusiasm to cook for her at 4:30 in the morning.  So the best that I can prep for her that’s fast and still nutritious is to heat up the food that I cook for dinner the previous evening.

These are some of the bento boxes that I prepped for Cass:


Penne pasta bolognese with blanched broccoli and a packet of Izumio.


The bolognese sauce is made from scratch with tomatoes, carrots and pumpkin puree blended using my powerful Blendtec blender + lots of onions, garlic, dried rosemary, Italian herbs, celery, shimeiji mushrooms, minced pork and a little  salt and palm sugar syrup to taste.  The pumpkin puree gives the sauce a very creamy and rich texture.


Canyon Japanese kids curry (curry roux) with chicken drumsticks and sweet potatoes and sauteed mustard greens with shimeiji + garlic. The mil bought the curry roux from Hong Kong.


Fried salmon + steamed minced pork with ‘mui choy’ + Japanese rice.

I keep a small portion of food for Cass during dinner on most days for her bento box. Sometimes she brings porridge. Even a simple blanched green tea noodles or buckwheat noodles seasoned with soy sauce, sesame seed oil, toasted sesame and seaweed is more appealing to her than bread, cake or buns now. She doesn’t even mind eating them cold right from the fridge ala Japanese.

Friday Lunch ~ 23 February 2018

Drama Queen and I have been tucking into lunches at our neighborhood shops almost daily since the start of the school year in January this year. After lunch, I will drop her off in school.  It’s the first time that she’s in an afternoon session in school.   After about a month of having noodles, chicken rice, char siew / siew yoke rice and economy rice, we have gotten really bored and sick of these food.  We want simple food sans the added oil, salt and MSG.

 

Today I decided that we are going to have homecooked lunch.   I prepped what the girls love the most ~ my grilled chicken, which is a dish that is SO easy and fast to put on the table.

After I got back from my morning exercise, I defrosted the chicken. Then did another round of laundry and showered.   When the chicken was thawed, I marinated it.  I cooked the rice before leaving the house at 9 a.m. to drop off Drama Queen at the tuition center and then to have breakfast with the hubs.  When we got home at 10:40 a.m., I quickly popped the chicken into the oven. While Drama Queen showered, I cooked 4 wallet eggs  and washed some cherry honey tomatoes, purple grapes and cut apples.

This is an under 30-minute meal.  No matter how busy, tired and hangry you are,  even if you have to do 10 things in the morning or evening, you can still muster up the energy  for a seriously tasty lunch or dinner for your family which requires minimal effort.


This one was for Drama Queen. Two wallet eggs for this girl who is always hangry.


And this was for Cass.  She is only allowed one egg today coz yesterday, this rascal ate 4 eggs ~ 2 eggs with mayo for lunch, a cup of Chawan Mushi and chicken egg rice bowl for dinner.  She always declares that egg is her favorite food.

Forget about the green vegetables when you are running out of time.   Don’t stress yourself up over greens.  You can always eat them tomorrow 😀

This is anytime yummier and healthier than the economy rice or chicken chop that we had this week. And way kinder to my wallet too!

Macaroni And Cheese With Grilled Chicken Drummets

Wednesday evenings are hectic for me.  After prepping dinner, I rush off to fetch Drama Queen from school.  She only has about 15-20 minutes to eat her dinner before I send her to the tuition center. Her BM tuition class starts at 7:30 p.m.  So I always plan a quickie home-cooked dinner for Wednesdays. And the meal has to be easy and yummy to eat (pasta, spaghetti and fried rice are often on the menu on Wednesdays) so that my dawdler can gobble down her food in a jiffy.  Today I made mac and cheese, with grilled chicken drummets and blanched broccoli as sides.

Ingredients for macaroni and cheese
1. 8 ounces elbow macaroni
2. 1/4 cup butter
3. 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
5. Ground black pepper to taste
6. 2 cups milk
7. 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
8. Chopped garlic

Directions for macaroni and cheese
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook elbow macaroni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, 8 minutes. Drain.

Melt olive oil and butter in a saucepan over medium heat; add in some chopped garlic, stir in flour, salt, and pepper until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Slowly pour milk into butter-flour mixture while continuously stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbling, about 5 minutes.

Add Cheddar cheese to milk mixture and stir until cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes.

Fold macaroni into cheese sauce until coated.

Directions for grilled chicken drummets
Marinate drummets with garlic powder, coriander powder, salt, black pepper, olive oil, chopped garlic and a dash of Teriyaki sauce or soy sauce. Leave in fridge for at least an hour.

Grill for 30 minutes at 170C (15 minutes each side)

Drizzle gula Melaka syrup (palm sugar) or honey on the chicken 15 minutes before the drummets are removed from the oven.

Alycia’s latest craze is pulled strands of stretchy cheese in her food ~ pizza, toast, pasta, baked fried rice, noodles and even on cream crackers!  I used shredded pasta topping cheese and 3 slices of Swiss cheese for this dish.

Mac N Cheese with grilled chicken drummets and broccoli for the girls:

Mine is keto ~ half a box of alfalfa sprouts and brocolli to substitute the macaroni with grilled chicken rib and one piece of drummet.  Also quaffed down a bowl of chicken soup from yesterday’s dinner.

Home-made Meat Patties / Burger

Since it was a public holiday yesterday, I decided to embark on a little project that’s been long sitting in my bucket list ~ making burgers. The girls LOVE burgers ~ Burger King and Mac Donalds especially but this is an occasional holiday food.  We only eat burgers when we travel back to Ipoh by ETS as these two giant fast food chains are so conveniently located at KL Sentral. We normally grab burgers for a quick bite before boarding the ETS back to Ipoh.

I’ve always wanted to make my own burgers and let the girls eat to their hearts’ content without any guilt but I’ve always put off this project due to time constraint.  I only have an hour to spare for prepping dinner from Monday ~ Friday before I rush off to fetch Drama Queen back from school.

It’s actually pretty easy to prep the meat patties. It is rolling and shaping the meat patties and then pan-frying them that’s time consuming.  With Drama Queen and Cass around to help out yesterday, it was really fast.  The big princess who avoids the wet kitchen as much as she can was happily working out at the gym for over an hour. When she came back, she was pleased as punch to see burgers on the dining table.  Haiz, this princess with royal fingers better get herself a high-paying job or marry a rich man in future so that she can afford to hire helpers to cook her dinners.

I taught #2 and #3 the art of shaping the meat patties and they rolled out 12 pieces.  I oven-grilled 4 pieces and pan-fried 8 pieces, just to see which tasted better.

#2 and #3 thoroughly enjoyed shaping the meat patties.

Can you tell which ones are oven-baked and which are pan-fried?

The 3 pieces on the right are oven-baked.

Verdict: both types taste almost the same.  We can’t really distinguish the difference, except that oven-baked ones get slightly burnt on the sides.  I managed the pan-fried ones better as I kept flipping them, so the colors are more uniformed. Taste wise, they are YUMS!

Drama Queen stuffed cubes of Kyubu Japanese nacho cheese into her meat patties and the outcome was pretty good.  The cheese gives out pops of salty creaminess to the meat.

Drama Queen gave tutorial to Cass on how to fry wallet eggs.  And this teacher is so garang!  Cass told me quietly that her 2-che was bossing her around in the kitchen, hahaha!  Check out the teacher’s hand impatiently hooked on her waist…

This tomato ketchup is sweetened 100% by veggies, made in Auckland and couriered to us from Hong Kong by the sil.  The mil got this for us from New Zealand and sent it back to us along with other goodies when she reached Hong Kong recently. She’ll be in Hong Kong for another month.

I sauteed shimeji mushrooms with miso, garlic, home-grown scallions and black pepper as one of the sides besides cucumbers, tomatoes and grilled sweet potatoes, carrots and cherry tomatoes.

This is Cass’ DIY burger. She shaped her meat pattie into hearts.

This is Chef Sherilyn’s creation.  She prepped the grilled vegetables under her own steam and initiative.  The grilled veggies were seasoned generously with olive oil, mixed herbs and black pepper.

And this burger is meat-free, specially prepped by Drama Queen for kakak Maria who does not eat pork. The girls adore our part-time helper who has been working for us for almost 5 years.

Recipe for the meat patties:
Ground meat. We used organic pork.
Chopped onions
Chopped garlic
Chopped scallions / green onions / spring onions
Black pepper
Garlic powder
Salt
Organic soy sauce
Bread crumbs. As we didn’t have any bread (other than the buns), I used corn flour (about 2 teaspoon)
Lea & Perrin sauce
1 egg, beaten

Method
Season the ground meat with all the ingredients and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Shape the pattie using your hands and gently press / flatten the top.
Find a flat tray and spread cooking oil on it. Place the shaped meat patties on the tray.
You can pan-fry or oven-grill these meat patties.

Cooking is one of the best ways for a family to bond. The girls (except the big princess) love cooking and we always have loads of fun cooking and bonding, despite leaving a big mess, including oil splatters (OMG!!) in the kitchen.  Just don’t sweat over the mess when the kids help out in the kitchen but focus on the fun and end product 😉

The skies were cloudy after a downpour on 31 Jan 2018, the day of the super blue blood moon’s appearance. Thus, we didn’t get to see any moon that night. But the next day, we saw the moon, big and bright, though it was a tad cloudy.

Picture above was taken with my Huawei Mate 10 phone with dual leica lenses at around 9:30 p.m. on 1 February 2018.

Monday Dinner – 29 Jan 2018

Malaysia’s ‘summer’ is slowly rearing its ugly head. This also means that Chinese New Year is coming soon. Though it’s been raining almost daily, the weather has been really hot and stuffy.  Even when it’s pouring hard, it’s still not cooling but humid.  Today I showered 5 times (washed my hair 3 times!). When I’m hot and sweaty, I can’t seem to sit and concentrate at my work station. My mind will be foggy and distracted and gravitated towards the bathroom. The OCD in me will be dying to have a nice cool shower, even if it’s just a 1-minute quick splash with cold water. After cooking today’s dinner, I had my 4th quick shower before I zoomed off to fetch Drama Queen back from school.

Today’s dinner is baked cheese fried rice again. This time, I fried the rice with organic pork (marinated with Teriyaki sauce, pepper and sesame seed oil), organic spinach, sweet corn, garden baby peas, garlic, onion and eggs.

Cass helped to layer the rice with slices of Swiss cheese before this baby was popped into the oven. We used about 10 slices of cheese and baked the rice for 20 minutes.

This dish is fast to make and completely low maintenance. Loaded with tons of vegetables, this is a simple yet incredibly tasty dinner you can get on the table in less than 30 minutes. Along with the ABC soup, it took me under an hour to prep two items.  While the soup was still boiling on the stove, I got some work done on the computer.  I must give credit to my part-time helper for helping me pre-chop the garlic. I always have a tub of chopped garlic in the fridge to last me for 2 days.

Also cooked ABC soup with roast pork bones, sweet potatoes and red dates.  I recently discovered that adding sweet potatoes into the pot of soup would yield very sweet and thick soup.  The pot of soup can be a filling one-pot dish with meat, carrots, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, cabbage, etc.  Lately I seem to have a liking for soups, especially vegetables soup.

When using roast pork bones (or any meat for that matter) to prep soup, just be sure to blanch the pork bones in boiling water for a few minutes to remove the fat and scum, as well as for aesthetics reason. Meat not pre-blanched will result in soup that looks murky and err… looks yucky too.

The fussy king of the house who does not like baked cheese rice had steamed pau and scrambled eggs when he came home at 9pm.   Drama Queen helped to steam the frozen pau and cooked the eggs.  After cooking, she wiped the stove and washed the dishes.

Me: quick go and shower.

Sherilyn: I can’t shower yet. I have to wait for dad to finish his dinner, then wash the dishes. And I have to wait for the pau to be steamed.

Me: you sound like you’re Cinderella! Thanks anyway.

Thank God for Drama Queen who is always around to help me with the chores that I hate most.

Rainbow after a downpour this evening. Can you spot a double rainbow? Blink your eyes hard and see if you can see two rainbows.

 

Home Cooked Dinners (22 ~ 24 January 2018)

Hello everyone! Sorry for the lack of update in my blogs. I’ve been busier than in previous years ever since Drama Queen started attending high school this year. I have extra school runs and tuition runs to do (from morning through night) and an extra chore  job of cooking dinner (and sometimes lunch) as the mil is still overseas.

In addition, I’ve been pretty busy with my online clothing store as it’s less than 3 weeks to CNY. Orders are usually higher around this time of the year.  This leaves me with barely any time to blog.

Sundays effective this year have also been busy for the girls and me.   The two older girls have started membership/baptism classes in church from 2-4 pm every Sunday until they are baptized on 25 May 2018.

At the home front, our usual efficient part-time helper went back to Indonesia for a 3-week holiday and was only back yesterday. I can’t tell you how relieved I was that she finally turned up at our doorstep yesterday evening. She’s been a great help to me and it’s  only when she’s around that I have the time to do my own stuff.  She’s been working for us for 4 years and I selfishly wish that she will work for us forever, even after her marriage.

Despite my crazy life right now,  despite burnt out to a crisp, I still cook dinner on week nights, 5 times a week, though many times I’ve been terribly tempted to hit up the nearby stalls and restaurants for a quick and relaxing dinner.  I know that very soon, the girls will leave the nest and then the house will be so eerily quiet that I can even hear the grass growing. And then I will miss my crazy hectic days again. So I am not complaining.  It’s going to be another 3 years that Alycia goes to college and if we have the financial means, she may even be pursuing further studies abroad. Time really flies eh?

Ok, back to healthy food talk!  These are the dishes that I prepped this week, from Monday ~ Wednesday:

Monday ~ grilled tomato chicken with tomato onion sauce for the rice; sauteed organic choy sum with garlic. I used Basmathi long rice.

Chicken drummets are marinated with tomato ketchup, garlic powder, salt, Japanese teriyaki sauce, black pepper and chopped garlic. Grilled in the oven for 30 minutes, 15 minutes each side.

Sauce for the rice and chicken: sauteed onion and garlic with tomatoes and tomato paste. Seasoned with salt, palm sugar syrup, Italian herbs and pepper.

Tuesday ~ beet root + carrot + red dates + wolfberries + onion + whole garlic + chicken breast soup; Steamed eggs with fried minced pork.

The steamed eggs with fried minced pork is a new dish and this recipe is a keeper!  The steamed egg is so custardy and smooth that the girls commented that it tasted like Chawan Mushi.  The minced pork is first marinated with soy sauce, sesame seed oil, pepper and a dash of Chinese cooking wine for at least 1 hour.  Then seer the minced pork in a skillet with oil and transfer the pork to a steaming plate.

For the egg mixture, to ensure that the egg is custardy and smooth, do not beat up the eggs but gently stir them till the yolk and whites are mixed well. Add salt or soy sauce and pepper and a little water and mix well.  Strain the egg mixture but I skipped this step due to time constraint. Just ensure that there are no bubbles on the egg mixture.  Pour the egg mixture into the steaming plate with the fried minced pork.   Cover the steaming plate with another plate and steam in medium fire for 10~15 minutes.

Wednesday ~ ABC soup with sweet potatoes + potatoes + red dates + wolfberries +pepper corn + chicken soup; Sauteed baby French beans with Berkcious pork slices + oyster mushrooms + organic miso paste + organic soy sauce and garlic.

 

Baked Cheese Fried Rice

I have about 10 minutes for this post before I make a dash to the kitchen to dish out yet another quickie dinner in under an hour before the final school run of the day.

Every evening is a mad rush in the kitchen and then to school.  Traffic is horrendous whenever it rains. Yesterday was such a day.   Back home, Drama Queen and I had 10 minutes to eat dinner before rushing off to the next destination ~ BM tuition.

The girls ordered baked cheese fried rice yesterday, which is something that’s so easy and fast to prep.  This is one for busy weeknights, lazy weekends and every other day in between.  When it’s this easy peasy to make something so lip smackingly good with ingredients that are basic kitchen essentials, frozen meals and home delivery aren’t even a passing thought. No matter how nuts your household is at dinner time (like mine!), no matter how tired you are (me too), no matter how irritating and incompetent your boss or spouse is, how bad the traffic jam home was, how miserable the weather is (like yesterday’s super wet evening) – you got this and your kids to praise you sky high💪🏻

You can fry the rice with whatever ingredients that you fancy. I fried the rice with lots of chopped garlic and onions, added broccoli and julienned carrots and 5 eggs to it.

Once the rice is fried, add in cheese and mix well. Then transfer the fried rice onto a baking dish or disposable aluminum baking dish. Top up with more cheese and some cherry tomatoes.

Bear in mind that the cherry tomatoes have high water content, thus your fried rice will be wet / soggy. So if you have the time, bake the cherry tomatoes in the oven till they are partially dried. Or cook your rice with lesser water. Or omit them if you don’t like soggy rice.

I’ve exceeded my time on this post by 10 minutes and I really have to go now! Happy cooking!

Grilled Chicken In Lemon Garlic Butter Pumpkin Sauce

Hello to my new favorite grilled chicken in lemony, garlicky, buttery and pumpkin sauce!

This recipe is not what I intended to prep in the first place. I had wanted to prep a lemon garlic and butter sauce for my grilled chicken but I didn’t have any chicken stock with me, thus I used my papa’s pumpkin soup that’s stowed in my freezer. He prepped it for us during his stay with us recently.

When I used the pumpkin soup, I took a risk ~ the sauce could turn out great or end up in the sink. Thankfully the combo was wonderfully paired and  delish! Thank goodness too that the sauce did not curdle on me or turn lumpy. Cass who was initially apprehensive (she hates pumpkin) took a small lick of the sauce and then we both let out a “told you it’s yummy” and “you are right mum, it’s yummy” giggle 😀


Also dished out a cabbage sauted with miso and carrots.

 

Grilled chicken
Marinate with organic soy sauce, black pepper and garlic powder for at least 2 hours.
Grill at 200C in the oven for 30 minutes (15 minutes each side)

Butter, garlic, lemony sauce
1/2 slab of butter
Chopped garlic – I used half a bulb. Actually, the more the better
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
2 to 3 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of multi-purpose flour. I used organic plain and unbleached flour.
Chicken stock OR
Pumpkin soup / puree
Fresh herbs of any kind, chopped

Method
Heat up butter in skillet
Add garlic
Add flour and whisk into a roux
Add in lemon juice, zest and honey
Add in pumpkin soup OR
Gently pour in chicken stock, keep stirring and ensure the sauce does not turn lumpy
Add in the chopped fresh herbs. I used coriander.

Pumpkin puree / soup
Cook 1 whole pumpkin with some garlic, onions and ginger.
Add chicken breast (optional)
Blend using hand blender.

Grilled chicken dinner with a perfect sauce for it along with conquering kitchen fears and rushing out to do school and tuition runs.  This was done on a hectic Friday evening 🙂

My Thursday ~ 11 Jan 2018

It’s been a cold and wet day the whole of today.  After 1.5 days of torturous chills, backache and fever, my  high fever finally broke last night.

The downside of being a WFHM (or SAHM for that matter) is that work has to CONTINUE whether or not you are fit or ill.  Donning on a shawl wrapped round my neck and shoulders, I still had to cook and do school runs in a shivering body.  Not to mention waking up at 4:15 a.m. to get the girls ready for school.  And hubs is not feeling too well too.

After gulping down many packets of Izumio hydrogen water and chewing on my homegrown Indian borage yesterday, I was right as rain again at night!  What would make a WFHM and SAHM happiest?  When she’s fit as a fiddle and  everyone in the household robust.

As I felt so much better this morning, I did some brisk walking at our condo grounds but had to cut short the exercise when it drizzled.   And it has not stopped drizzling since.

As I was in the mood to cook, I whipped up Taiwanese ‘Zha Jiang Mian‘ for lunch for Drama Queen and Cass. As this was totally unplanned, I had to make do with whatever ingredients that I had in the fridge. What’s missing was spring onion.

My Zha Jiang Mian is 80% organic cooked using organic pork, organic Mugi miso, organic seaweed noodles and organic cucumber. What’s not organic are the carrots, cooking oil and garlic.

This dish is very easy and fast to prep. If not for Drama Queen messing up the stove, this would only take 20~25 minutes of prep time.   That silly girl put the lid on the pot to boil the noodles and I only realized it much later when the fire was put off by the starchy lava that spewed out from the pot. Hubs had to dismantle the stove to unclog the gas holes and I had to do what I hate the most~ scrubbing the stove, the stove parts and the pot glued with starch!