Frozen Durians

We were back in Ipoh at my parents last weekend.  I saw a stall selling durians and being the durian fanatic that I am, I told hubs and my mum that I wanted to get some durians to feast on. When I see durians, my weight-watching plan is immediately thrown out of the window!  And I normally gain a kg or two during the durian season. My mum stopped me from buying from that stall as my brother from Singapore got conned by that stall the last time he bought them.  The stall owner told my brother that the durians were some superior Musang King species but when they got home to try, bull shit, it was just some kampung durians.

Anyway, when we reached home, my mum whipped out a box of frozen durians from her freezer. They were surplus durians from Cameron Highlands which a friend gave them recently.  After allowing the durians to defrost for about 15 minutes, I tasted the durians.  The flesh on the outside was slightly hard and crunchy and freezing cold on the inside and it tasted exactly like durian ice cream, minus the cream and added sugar!

Now I know what to do during the next durian season. I am going to squirrel away some extra durians and stash them in the freezer, to be savored during off durian season haha!

Frozen durians anyone? Give it a try and I’ll bet you’ll love ’em!

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Sherilyn’s Grade 2 Ballet Exam

Today marks another milestone in rascal #2’s diary. She sat for her Grade 2 RAD exam.  I think I was more excited and anxious than she was.  My 3 girls, they are all cool cucumbers who never seem to panic even in dire straits.  Bad, no? Well, there are pros and cons to being a cool cucumber.  I woke up early as usual, skipped exercising to get this dilly dallier ready, made sure she ate and drank the proper stuff so that she would not be too full and throw up when she danced. Had to let her skip drinking milk lately due to phlegm and only fed her with Manuka honey, fruits and a slice of cream crackers for breakfast today.  The ballerinas had to be at the dance centre by 10am today.

The 3 ballerinas in team A. The ballerinas in her class were split into 2 groups and her  group was tested first by one Ms Richards from overseas.

My graceful ballerina.  A whiny samseng she is but once she dons on her ballerina costume to shimmy and strut her stuff, oh my, she is instantly transformed into another sweet little girl, whom I really adore 🙂

Day in and out, this rascal has been practicing her dance movements very hard and I sure hope that she’ll pass.  And the good news for us parents is that their classes will be trimmed down from twice and thrice weekly to only once a week starting April through September this year, yippppeeeee!  And this gives our wallets a breather too 😉  Effective October 2013, the drilling and twice-thrice a week classes begin again for Grade 3 exam!  This has to go on until this rascal passes all 15 grades, which by then, she would have even started going to college!

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My BFF

Whenever we are in the car, my soon-to-be 5-year old baby girl would put her hand on mine, followed with a side glance at me with a satisfied smirk.  I truly cherish these moments and I hope that she will not find it shy to do this to me in a few years’ time when she thinks that it is uncool to hold mummy’s hand.  And I wish that she will always treat me as her BFF and will still plant pecks on my cheeks infinitely. .. ♥ 

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We Are Back In Ipoh!

We are back in the land that many beauty queens originate from, the land of pomelos, scenic limestone hills, crunchy bean sprouts and haven for one of the best hawkers fare in the world, my  beloved Ipoh! This morning, Alycia and Sherilyn participated in the yearly All Souls Day or Qing Ming with their daddy, grandma and grand aunts. They woke up at 5am and returned at around 11ish am. After a hot morning sweeping tombs and offering respect to their grandfather (hubs’ dad) and great grand parents (hubs’ grandparents), they came home looking really jaded and flushed but were recharged and enlivened after a breakfast of good ‘ol Ipoh hawkers’ food and refreshing pandan-flavored fresh coconut water.

I am really glad that this year, I manage to celebrate my birthday in advance, in my place of birth with my parents. For the life of me, I cannot even remember when the last time was that I celebrated my birthday in Ipoh with my parents and loved ones.

My cempedak sponge cake from JJ Swiss Roll, which was fresh from the oven and baked yesterday.

Initially, I was unsettled whether to order a butter cake from the well-known Nancy Chong or my favorite cempedak swiss roll from another famous bakery in Ipoh – JJ Swiss Roll.  I knew that having a butter cake would render all of us overly gorged after a heavy dinner of rich food. I am glad I chose the cempedak sponge cake from JJ Swiss Roll as the cake ain’t too heavy and is really fresh and tasty. We could almost finish off the 1kg cake after our 7-course dinner at East Ocean Restaurant @ Ipoh Garden South, without feeling glutted.

Check out the thick cempedak paste sandwiched in between the 3 layers of sponge cake! Love this cake to bits and I may get another swiss roll from JJ Swiss Roll before our trip back to KL tomorrow 😀

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A Bite Of East and West

Had this for breakkie this morning…

My fusion creation of east meeting  west — homemade walnut-rye bread with Surgers butter, drizzled with maple syrup from Canada and topped with freshly grated coconut, simply wholesome and yummy!  As usual my breakfast will only be complete after downing a hot mug of Japanese matcha.

I am very much a bread person and I prefer bread (wholemeal with nuts and seeds) to nasi lemak and noodles for breakfast. What’s your preference for breakfast?

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The Girls Helped To Make Buckwheat Noodles

Last Saturday, grandma wanted to make buckwheat noodles (from scratch) for lunch.  With under 1 hour to knead the dough, cut the dough into strips, prepare the anchovies soup and all, so that rascal #2 could eat her lunch on time before going for ballet class, everyone stopped what they were doing to lend a helping hand in the kitchen.

And so, here are the 3 little helpers at work… one was kneading the dough, one was cutting the dough into strips and another was messing up trying to help.

We all enjoyed our bowl of buckwheat noodles with anchovies soup and an assortment of balls but the entire kitchen floor and kitchen tops were scattered with flour and dough!

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Now You See It, Now You Don’t!

She may look demure and as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, but when she sees food, this girl with an insatiable appetite is capable of doing anything and I mean anything… not even the harshest of threats can stop her from shoving forbidden food into her mouth at times. Well, that’s the way this little tough cookie crumbles.

Barely 5 minutes after walloping her dinner last Friday, this suave little rat (she was born in the year of the rat and she ‘steals’ food as swift as a rat too!) and her sisters started to peck on the hot loaf of wholemeal bread that’s just out from the oven the moment our eyes were away from the tray of bread….

If you bake breads regularly, you will know that hot breads with crispy crust taste just so divine! The steaming toothsome flavor of yeast mixed with milk, butter and Manuka honey effused from the hot bread as you bite into the crispy crust can be very addictive. One bite will surely lead you to another bite and another and the outcome is often like this…

… which often leaves grandma beaming with joy and satisfaction

And I admit that I was also a partner in crime muahahahaha!!  Today, grandma will be baking walnut rye bread with figs and we can’t wait to peck on the hot bread this evening 😀

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Our Saturday – 16 March 2013

On most Saturday mornings, I would walk to the nearby coffee shops with the girls to take away breakfast. Walking in the morning sun helps to give us  the dosage of Vitamin D that we need. Kids these days are hardly exposed to the morning sun. They are shuttled off to school way before they could see the sunlight. Afternoons and evenings are normally spent indoors attending tuition and doing homework.  So weekends are the only time I could expose my girls to the glorious morning sun.  Today, the hubs joined us in the walk after his session at the gym.

We had our favorite char koay teow (cockles and chilli sauce omitted) with extra bean sprouts and 3 eggs (RM7.50 a plate! Oh well, still cheaper than Little Penang Cafe), pork noodles and today we tried this delish Nyonya curry laksa:


The level of spiciness was just right for the girls and me.   Did I tell you that the 3 girls are big fans of spicy food?  I love the soup, which has generous serving of fish. The hard-boiled egg and foo pei (deep fried tofu skin) went well with the curry laksa. It was lip-smacking and we finished the bowl of curry laksa. I will definitely tapau this again next Saturday!

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Motherhood Uncensored 2

On the eve of Alycia’s BM test early last week, I suddenly remembered that I had not gone through ‘Nilai Murni’ (which literally means pure values if translated directly from BM to English using Google Translate. It is all the good values that one should possess ) with her. And my cool as cucumber daughter nonchalantly told me that she did not bring her book on Nilai Murni back to do revision!! This girl can cause my blood pressure to hit sky high sometimes, especially during the exam season. So what else? It was already 6ish pm and where on earth was I going to find the notes!!?

Bless the person who invented the internet and Google Search. I hurriedly searched for notes on Tahun 4 Nilai Murni and thank God, I found them but the problem was printing them. The teacher who posted her Nilai Murni slides on the internet made it very difficult for the notes to be printed out. I spent quite a bit of time figuring out how to print the darn notes out while nagging Ms Cool As Cucumber away! As I was doing all these, this fella had the cheek to play games on my laptop!! What on earth was she thinking of, W.T.Fun!! After the notes were printed out, I forced   asked  her to memorize them — which was another round of blood vomit session with her!  I went through similar awful moments with her when I gave her Math questions which I set myself.  Lately, I’ve gone through quite a bit of hair-pulling, voice-raising and meltdown moments with this tween of mine.   Well, my only consolation is that she scored a 91/100 for her BM Pemahaman and 93/100 for her Math.    I hope I do not have to go through such distressing moments with her 4 times a year for the next 7 to 9 years!  I pray that she will buckle up and realize her mistakes and behave better!

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Healthy Granola Recipe

I love eating granola as they are made up of the nuts and seeds that I like to eat. I have tried many brands of granola but sadly, I have not found one that is not overly sweet. Most brands of granola are loaded with honey, syrup, maltose and sugar, which are all carbs, which will lead to weight gain. People think that eating granola can help with weight loss but they are not aware that they are high in carbs and calories. Before I put any food into my shopping cart, I always check the ingredients and nutritional information printed on the packing, paying special attention to how much carbs and sodium the product has.

Today as I was searching for healthy food recipes, I stumbled upon a recipe for a healthy gourmet cranberry cashew granola. The steps look pretty simple to me and I think I can get most of the ingredients from our local organic shop. What makes me bookmark a particular recipe is that the steps must be easy and the ingredients easily available. But I will tweak this recipe a little by reducing the amount of honey, reducing the dried cranberries and omitting the desiccated coconut. I will probably try out this recipe during the school holidays where the kids can rope in to help.

Ingredients You’ll Need

2 cups Healtheries Healtheries Wholegrain Rice Flakes
3 cups rolled oats
¾ cup Healtheries Bran Flakes or Healtheries Stabilised Wheatgerm
1 cup Healtheries Ground LSA (Ground Linseed, Sunflower Seed, Almond Meal)
1½ cups desiccated coconut
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup raw cashew nuts (or other nuts as preferred)
¾ cup honey
1 cup water (or apple juice)
½ cup neutral oil, e.g sunflower or canola.
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 packed cup dried cranberries (150g pkt)

Getting Into It

First Step
Preheat oven 150°C fan bake (160°C regular bake).

Second Step
In a large baking dish combine the rye flakes, rolled oats, LSA, coconut, seeds and nuts (and bran or wheatgerm if using).

Third Step
In a small saucepan heat honey and juice or water, stirring until honey is dissolved (or microwave for 1 minute). Remove from heat, add oil and vanilla.

Fourth Step
Pour liquid mix over dry ingredients, adding about one third at a time and mixing well between each addition. The final mixture will be quite wet and sticky.

Fifth Step
Spread mixture out into 2 large roasting trays and bake for 35-40 minutes or until crisp and golden brown, stirring regularly to ensure even cooking.

Sixth Step
Remove from the oven and stir in the cranberries.

Storage: Leave to cool before storing in an airtight container. Store for up to a month in a cool, dry place.
Serving Suggestions

Serve with fresh diced fruit and low fat greek yoghurt for a nutrient packed breakfast

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Homemade Biscotti

The mil made some crunchy-licious Biscotti yesterday. After the Biscotti were removed from the oven and left to cool, the girls and I could stop laying our hands on the lip-smacking Biscotti.  They were really delish and addictive. Best to savor these Biscotti with coffee or tea!  I’ll bet the needle on my weighing machine will move to the right tomorrow, shucks!

The procedures are pretty simple from what I observed.  The below picture shows the Biscotti after the first round of brief baking in the oven. After it has cooled down, the cutting begins… and that is the tricky part.  The mil used a long and sharp bread knife to carefully and skillfully cut the chunk of half-hardened dough into thick strips for another round of baking.

The final product!  A big tray of wholesome almond-pistachio-dried orange peel-dried cranberry Biscotti.  Absolutely addictive!

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Motherhood Uncensored

Cass always voices out her worry to me that I will die soon. “Mummy, I am so scared you will die” and she will hug me without letting go like a baby koala … I get this all the time lately.   I guess most kids will have this phobia of losing their parents.

Of my 3 girls, Cass is the most generous with her hugs and kisses for me, followed by Sherilyn and Alycia finds it uncool for her mummy to kiss her and she is no where near her teens yet! Is this a red flag sign?

My baby girl has this wacky taste bud and she is really adventurous with her quest with food!

Dipping egg rusks into yoghurt, anyone?

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Our Saturday – 9 March 2013

It’s an outing day for us today as Alycia’s 1st term exam is over, yipeeee!!

In the morning, we went jogging.   And in this picture, we were waiting for daddy to pick us up to send Sherilyn for her ballet class.

After sending Sherilyn for ballet, we had a second round of light lunch at Ficelle Boulangerie & Patisserie. Daddy ordered pizzas, pasta, croissants, sandwiches, orange juice and desserts.

This little rat is such a big eater with an insatiable appetite. She had a very heavy breakfast of char koay teow and grandma’s homemade red wine cranberry walnut bread, a big bowl of homecooked fried vermicelli for lunch and at 2pm, she ate the biggest portion of sandwiches and pasta!!

For dinner, the girls have all seconded my suggestion to try out a new steamboat restaurant. What a lovely Saturday this has been.  Here’s wishing everyone a very happy weekend!

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Life Is Never A Bore When You Have Mischievous Kids

I mentioned in my earlier post that in my motherhood journey, I encounter and grapple with problems related to my kids everyday. Almost everyday, I  face a new ‘juicy’ issue to jolt me up from the jadedness of being a WFHM. Today, when I picked Cass up from school, I just had a hunch that teacher E would tell me what my mischievous Cass had done in school today.  From a far,  as I was walking towards the school gate, I could already see that teacher E was trying to tell me something. Oh no, not another complaint!!  Why is my adorable sweetie pie slowly turning into a brat just like rascal #2?!   I felt like making a U-turn and not face the teacher but hey, that’s evading a problem and I have always been telling my girls not to run away from a problem but to face it bravely.  And I love caring and dedicated teachers like teacher E – strict and firm, yet very caring.

My naughty girl got hold of a piece of blue tack and stuck it to her gob of hair but she just would not tell teacher E where she took the blue tack from and when she stuck it to her hair.  After grilling her, she finally told me that she had curi the piece of blue tack from the wall of her classroom, just like what I had expected her to have done.  And she said “Sasha also did it”.  Kids, they think that if there is a partner in crime, the crime is not that much a crime! Sasha is Cass’ best friend since last year.

When I got home, I tried to remove the blue tack from Cass’ hair but the sticky tack was too much and all over that gob of hair. And I was pulling hair off her scalp too! So I had no choice but to snip off that gob of hair.   And I warned her never to do this again.  With 3 kids, life is never, ever a moment of bore.

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First Term Exam

Not even 15 minutes into revising for her exam and she’s already conked out!  That’s the problem with this girl of mine. She is the type who requires lots of sleep.  Should she be asked to do homework or anything that requires using her brainpower when she is sleep or nap deprived, I am sure to get scalded by her breath of wrath, which would send me hitting the roof. Just allow her a 20-30 minute brain-charging power nap and she will wake up being more recharged and more productive.

Today is the start of Alycia’s week-long first term school exam and I am hoping and praying that this girl will not be careless. Carelessness has always been her number one weakness and it has always been eating up her marks. If only she could be more careful and not rush off her work, she will fare very well. She still has to sit for exams four times a year while many schools only have two exams a year effective this year 🙁


Good luck in your exam precious baby!

How many exams do your kids have to sit for in a year?

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When Do You Give Your Child ‘Liberty’?

Many times lately, Alycia has asked me to allow her to take the elevator on her own from our unit to the lobby to wait for the transporter in the morning and to take the elevator up to our unit when she comes back from school in the afternoon.  She has also asked me to allow her to go swimming at the pool unsupervised.  She said that I can watch her swim from our kitchen as our kitchen has a good view of the swimming pool.  Hubs and I think that it is still too early for her to be independent in this area, in the light of rampant children kidnap cases and cases of children drowning in swimming pools.  Alycia will be 10 years old in December and I can see that she is trying to establish an identity of her own and trying hard to gain a wee liberty from us. I can feel that she wants to fly on her own as her tiny wings have now feathered and she feels that she is ready to fly on her own instead of being sheltered and taught how to fly.  But I am not ready to let her try doing these things that would affect her safety, on her own, just yet.

Today, Sherilyn saw her 2 Japanese friends who live in the same condo as us, swimming unsupervised by an adult, in the pool (adult pool, not the kids’ pool) of our condo after attending art class with her.  Her 2 friends will be 7 years old and  8 years old this year.  They are only beginners in swimming and have just learned how to float  but are not good in water threading yet. I was stupefied as to how the mothers of the 2 young girls can have the peace of mind to allow their daughters to go swimming without any adult supervision and there is no life guard around.  It is not that they are busy (both of them are SAHM) and I am very puzzled as to how they can let go of their young daughters, just like that.  It is OK if their kids are good swimmers but the 2 young girls are quite hopeless in the water, being new swimmers.  The mother of the almost 7-yo girl also allows her young daughter to take the elevator by herself at 6:30am every morning to wait for the van driver to shuttle her to school.  This 7-year old girl is the youngest child and she has 2 older brothers.

Another resident living in the same unit as I allowed her then 6-year old daughter to go swimming on her own without any adult supervision.  She allowed and still allows her now  9-year old daughter to swim and play at the pool area with her friends (also residents of the condo) from afternoon till night. When I asked the girl who taught her swimming, she told me that she picked it up herself when she was about 7 years old, without anyone teaching her.  When I heard that, I just could not grasp how her mother can let her learn swimming on her own!? I believed what she told me as I had seen her swimming all by herself at the pool many times — no parents, no adult, no friends either with her!!  After swimming, this girl would shower at the toilet cum bathroom located next to the swimming pool. Then she will have dinner at the Japanese restaurant at the condo with her 2 friends.  I am still stumped as to how this girl’s mother can allow her daughter to play from afternoon till night outside of the house without any adult supervision. Is she even worried about her daughter’s safety?  The girl’s parents are quite well to do and are the educated ones but yet… oh well, some people are born with a very cool and composed disposition and they aren’t the panicky type.

Maybe I am plain paranoid of losing my kids as I had gone through a very dark and difficult period to be able to conceive and  carry Alycia to full term.  Am I the only one who is such a chronic worrier? Would you allow your young kids to play on their own without any adult supervision?  For those of you with tweens and teenagers, at what age did you give your child a little leeway as a prelude to more independence?

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