Saturday, April 30, 2011

My First Card

The first card I made! A belated Happy Birthday card for hubby dear's friend in Singapore. I made the envelope too, as I couldn't find a "right" sized envelope for my odd sized card =p

The ribbon was from Darling son YW's pencil case =p It kept coming off the zipper handle, and he decided to take it off for good. So I recycled the ribbon and used it for the card instead! To open the card, just slide the ribbon down =) The owl was not inked very well, as this was the first time I used my clear stamps and block.

Here's the inside of the card. I cut out the tree using a puncher, and the owl from the pattern on a card filled with little owls!

A close-up look at the owl. Don't you love the print of leaves on the left? Looking at the silly owl, I felt happier. I will definitely be making more cards, as it helps in lifting my spirits. I'm happy making it, and I hope the card brings joy to the person receiving it!

Friday, April 29, 2011


What a lovely morning! Sunshine, lots and lots of it!

In the bento, there's ovenbaked chicken thigh fillets and baby corn, florets of broccoli, and rice. I hope that elder boy, with his braces on, will be careful when he goes for outdoor recess later in the day. It will be painful for him if he gets hit on the lips (and the braces) accidentally by his friends during play.

I'm sure the boys would want to play outside after school!
I want to be outside too!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Flowers Everywhere

Yet another cold and wet day. Darling son KW will be seeing the orthodontist today! He will be having the braces fixed onto his upper teeth. So far, he has not protested about having to see the orthodontist again.

To make him feel better, we thought we would just let him stay home for the rest of the day, after his visit to the clinic in the morning. We would like him to get use to wearing his braces at home. Well, the boy was extremely pleased to be able to stay at home after his appointment. I asked him if he was feeling good about the braces, he said "Yes". I also asked him if he was confident of brushing his teeth with the braces on, he answered "Yes" again. Phew! He was very diligent in brushing his teeth, paying careful attention to the parts where the braces were fixed. The nurse did an excellent job in explaining and teaching him how to clean his teeth with the braces on!

Since the elder boy was home today, I needed to prepare only one lunch box this morning. However, my body was still aching, and I was feeling extremely tired. Hence, I settled for "fast food" ... ham, japanese fishcake, and egg. Darling son YW brought a box of edible flowers to school for his lunch, and came home with an empty box =)

And when he saw his brother's braces, he said "COOL!". Luckily his elder brother was in a good mood, or else, a "Not Cool - Yes, Cool" argument would have followed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Oak Leaves

Buds are starting to sprout from the big oak tree outside our apartment. I love spring, and I love watching the leaves sprouting from branches, and flowers budding.

I felt better after taking the medication for strep throat. However, the body was still aching a little, so putting the lunch together was a struggle still. Couldn't do much, so I just use my mini oak cookie cutter and cut out cheese oak leaves.

In the bento, we have rice, florets of broccoli, and pan fried miso chicken fillets. It had been rainy since yesterday. I am hoping for some sunshine to lift my spirits. The wet and the cold did nothing to help a sick person feel any better =(

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Leap And A Hop

I should be happy that the boys are going back to school. I was, but at the same time, I was having a headache, bodyaches and a terrible sorethroat. My throat was very dry last night. It was painful when I drank water. Hubby dear wanted to bring me to the Urgent Care clinic in the morning, after sending the boys to school. But I was so exhausted and weak after packing their lunch, all I wanted to do was to lie in bed. I did and I could not get up to cook lunch for hubby dear, so he had to settle for instant noodles instead. Sorry, dear =( I couldn't eat lunch, as I was feeling weak and it was just too painful to swallow.

Hubby dear went to school to do his work while I was still sleeping. Just when I was getting ready (with much difficulty) to go out to pick the boys up, he came home. He brought the boys home, and then we all went to the clinic together. By then, I was feeling a little better, after having taken the painkiller. Since we told the clinic staff we suspect it was strep throat, they did a throat culture for me while I was waiting to see the doctor. It definitely saved some time. The result of the throat culture? Positive. I have a strep throat. No wonder I was having a low grade fever, headaches, bodyaches and a sorethroat.

Back to the bento, which I struggled to prepare this morning ... Baked parmesan and panko Tilapia fillet (which I overbaked as darling son said it was hard), cauliflower coated with panko mixture and baked together with the tilapia, broccoli and rice.

Oh well, this is the life of a stayhomemom in the woods. Life goes on even though you have fallen sick. There's no hawker centres or coffee shops for you to "TaBao" (take-out) your meals. At least Hubby dear is there to help send and pick up the kids from school =)

Monday, April 25, 2011


Spring Break is finally over. The boys were happy to be back at school, after a week of staying at home. However, the little one had to skip school, as we had to bring him to see the doctor at the urgent care clinic. He had been having a low grade fever for the last two days, and last night, a rash broke out around his neck and shoulders. He also complained of having a sorethroat.

A throat culture for Strep confirmed that the boy had strep throat, scarlet fever. He was given a 10-day dose of medication. After the first dose of medication, he felt better, and ran happily outside to meet his brother when the elder boy returned home from school. Since the weather was good, I let them play (hide and seek, haha) outside the house for a while.

Back to the bento ... Darling son KW asked me on Sunday night "What are we having for lunch?". He was referring to the different figures I put in the bento. It was then I realised, after a week of not packing bento, I had forgotten that I had to start my bento-making the next day! I was tired, after Darling son YW kept waking up at night because of his discomfort due to his sorethroat. So I took a shortcut, used my elephant cutter and cut out two cheese elephants. In the bento, there's Chicken Kijiyaki, broccoli and rice. The boy finished his lunch as he was hungry after all the running and activities in school. I guess it's good for them to be back at home, since they eat more during school term.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day Trip to Chicago

Finally, a day of sunshine! It's a good day to drive to Chicago, for some Chinese food, and to buy some egg tarts and 老婆饼.

It started to get cloudy on our way there, and the wind was blowing strongly. Though I was happy to see the yellow school bus, I was not too eager to be driving past big trucks.

It was almost 11am when we reached Chinatown, Chicago. Yes, time for some yummy Chinese food before the crowd comes in! Since Darling son KW wanted to have noodles, we settled for this restaurant selling roast duck and pork.

Darling son KW had CharSiew Noodles Soup, while Darling son YW and I shared a plate of CharSiew rice. The rice was a little too dry and hard, but the CharSiew was good. We also ordered a bowl of porridge to share.

Hubby dear ordered a plate of seafood HorFun. It was a huge! He couldn't finish the horfun, but he ate all the ingredients =)

We saw many people forming a queue in the shop. They all bought either the roast pork (CharSiew) or roast duck. Since I won't have time to cook when we reach home, hubby dear thought we could do with a roast duck, take-out, for dinner. We were glad we bought one duck, instead of half. It was better than the roast duck sold at the asian mart near our apartment!

Next, we were off the bakery nearby, to get our favorite egg tarts! How many did we buy? 20! We had one each when we got home, so the boxes of egg tarts didn't last very long through the weekend.

Next on our list ... 老婆饼! We bought 12! It's a huge "cookie" and the boys can eat one all by themselves! I have two fast-growing boys at home!

The weather was beautiful on our way home. We made a detour to Ikea. The boys had fun exploring the building, after sat through a 2+hr journey to Chicago. Kids are kids, you just have to let them release their energy. After the good food, fun at Ikea, they fell asleep on the way back home =)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Chicken Kijiyaki

My new book has finally arrived! It had been six weeks since I placed my order with Amazon. I was eager to try out some new recipes. The recipe for Chicken Kijiyaki caught my eye as I flipped the pages.

I tried it out for lunch, since it's Spring Break for the boys. Just as what the book had stated, the skin was crispy and yummy. Be very careful about the heat, as you don't want to burn the chicken and have it leave a bitter after-taste =)

Recipe adapted from The Just Bento Cookbook by Mikiko Itoh

2 pcs Boneless Chicken Thighs with skin on
1 tbsp Mirin
1 tbsp Soy Sauce (I use low-sodium soy)
1 tsp Sugar
Shichimi Pepper, to taste (I omit this)

  • Debone and clean the chicken thighs.
  • Pat dry with a kitchen towel.
  • Actually, my deboned and cleaned chicken thighs were kept frozen in the fridge. I took them out to thaw the day before. Hence, all I need to do in the morning was to give them a quick rinse and pat dry them with a kitchen towel.
  • Pierce the chicken all over on the skin with the tip of your knife. This will prevent the chicken pieces from curling up during the cooking.
  • Place a dry non-stick pan over high heat.
  • Put in the chicken, skin side down.
  • Fry till the skin is brown and crispy, pressing down on the chicken occasionally with a spatula.
  • Turn the chicken pieces over. Cook till done.
  • During the cooking, if the pan became too oily, you can use a paper towel to soak up the oil.
  • You may want to lower the heat to prevent the chicken from burning.
  • The chicken is done when you poke the middle with a knife tip and the juices run clear.
  • Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and wipe the pan clean with a paper towel.
  • Put the sauce ingredients into the pan, using medium-high heat, and stir until he sugar is melted.
  • When the sauce is bubbling, return the chicken pieces to the pan.
  • Coat the chicken pieces on both sides with the sauce.
  • Remove from the pan to a plate and let cool.
  • Slice and pack.
  • Sprinkle with shichimi pepper if need.

The boys just love the chicken. Crispy on the skin as well as on the other! They each had a chicken thigh, and they wiped their lunch plate clean. This is going to be a regular in their lunch bento!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Stir Fry Chayote With Broccoli

I met my Taiwanese neighbour at the asian mart and she saw the two chayotes I had in my cart. She said she cooked the chayotes, with the skin on, and they ended up very mushy. She looked in disbelief when I said I used them for soups, with the skin removed. My guess for the mushy chayotes was she didn't remove the skin and probably overcooked the chayotes while waiting for the skin to soften.

Hmmm, frying the chayotes .... I have never thought of frying them! Hubby and I love eating the chayotes from the soups. They have a soft crunch. Somewhat reminds me of cucumber. It is worth a try frying them. However, I need to add some florets of broccoli, as the boys will probably not want to eat the chayotes. They are not very adventurous in trying out new types of vegetables.

2pcs Chayotes, skin removed and sliced
1 head Broccoli, cut into florets
1/2 inch Ginger, remove skin and cut into thin strips
Chicken Stock and a little salt to taste

  • Heat up a frying pan.
  • Add a little olive oil.
  • Fry the strips of ginger till fragrant.
  • Add the sliced chayotes and give it a quick stir.
  • Add enough chicken stock to slightly cover the chayotes.
  • You can either leave the chayote to continue cooking and soften in the pan, or cover the pan with a lid to speed up the process. Check the chayotes occasionally, so that they don't soften so much that they become mushy.
  • Add the florets of broccoli when the chayotes are softened to your liking.
  • Cook the broccoli for a while.
  • Add some salt to taste.
  • Remove and serve warm.

I was right, the kids didn't want to eat the chayotes! They finished up the broccoli, and I must say, the broccoli tasted better when fried with ginger than garlic! Hubby and I liked the chayote slices. Refreshing with a slight crunch to it. Well, I guess I can still mix the two vegetables and cook it as one dish, since it pleases both the adults and the kids.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Visit to the Orthodontist

Six months ago, when Darling son KW's upper lateral incisors came off, it gave us a scare. It was the second set and naturally, we thought it was the permanent set. It was in the middle of the night when he came into my room, holding his tooth, and saying "Mama, my tooth came out"! I couldn't sleep the entire night, as it was the second tooth and it was supposed to be the permanent one! Is he going to be toothless till the full set of permanent teeth grows out before something can be done? It is going to affect his speech. So we hurriedly made an urgent appointment to see the dentist the next day.

The dentist took a look at the tooth that came off, and said "Too small to be a permanent incisor.". We insisted that it was the second tooth that emerged, hand so, he took an x-ray. Conclusion? Darling son KW had two sets of baby upper lateral incisors. How about the permanent ones? Yes, they are there and they are huge! Phew! It could have been a case where the boy had only two sets of baby incisors and .... no more!

Six months later, and still no sight of the upper two lateral incisors emerging. We can see that the gums are a little bruised. The baby canines beside are still sitting firmly, with no sign of loosening. Something has to be done. Since we were at the dental clinic for the boys' half-yearly dental check, the dentist examined the teeth and wrote a referral for us to see the orthodontist.

The man brought the boy to the orthodontics clinic this afternoon. The dentist explained to the boy what was happening to his teeth, and the boy was worried. He was reluctant to go to the clinic. But he had to. The orthodontist identified the problem/s (yes, more than one, sadly) and suggested a possible treatment.

Firstly, the central incisors are not aligned. They call it a "Cross Bite". The boy grinds his teeth in his sleep, but this is not the reason for the CrossBite. It is due to the embedded permanent incisors pushing the central incisors. As a result, one of the central incisor is further front than the other.

Secondly, there is a lack of space for the lateral incisors to emerge. One way is to extract the still firmly rooted canines. But that means he has four missing upper teeth! Not a good solution. Bad for his self esteem, as well as his speech.

Suggestion by the orthodontist? Braces. Braces, starting from the left first molar, across the canine to the central incisors, and ending at the right first molar. To fix the braces across a total of six teeth. It will help to create some space for the to-be-emerged incisors, as well as help aligned the rest of the teeth. He has to wear the braces for 5-6 months, with a visit to the orthodontist per month. There will be some soreness, and the cost? Estimated at US$1600. The financial advisor will look into our dental insurance, and give us a more confirmed cost tomorrow, which should be less than what is estimated.

So now, our job will be to convince our darling son to go for the next appointment, to have the braces fixed. It is going to be tough ....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Crustless Quiche

I love quiche but I really dislike preparing, kneading and rolling the pastry dough for the base. So when I saw the recipe for "Crustless Quiche" posted by The Waitakere Redneck's Kitchen, I knew I had to bookmark it.

This recipe yields a delicious dinner! Ok, that's for me and darling son YW. Hubby dear and darling son KW are no fans of quiche. They dislike the "softness" of the quiche. But nonetheless, they finished their dinner.

I'm the opposite of them. I like this dish and I like that it is easy to prepare. I also like that you can use whatever ingredients you have on hand to "fill" the quiche. Instead of using canned salmon as stated in the recipe, I opted for salmon fillets. Since I need to be out, I cooked the salmon in the morning, flaked it, and set it aside for use later in the evening. I also blanched the spinach, let cool, and squeezed out the excess water. All I needed to do when I return home in the late afternoon, was to put all the ingredients together in a baking tray, and send the tray into the oven.
Fuss free and simple.

1/2 cup Flour
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
4 Eggs
2 cups Low fat Milk
75g Butter, melted

2 Salmon fillets
2 Ham Slices
1 bag Baby Spinach Leaves
1/2 cup Grated cheese (I use Cheddar Cheese)
1 Tomato, cut into rings (optional)

A dash of black pepper and salt, to taste.

  • Clean and pat dry salmon fillets.
  • Season with a little sea salt. Spray a little oil over the fillets.
  • Put the fillets in a tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake at 400F till fully cooked.
  • Remove from oven and let cool.
  • Flake the cooked salmon into smaller pieces. Set aside.
  • Blanched the bag of baby spinach.
  • Let cool. Squeeze out the excess water.
  • Cut the spinach, using a pair of kitchen scissors, into smaller pieces.
  • Set aside for later use.
  • Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl.
  • Stir in eggs, milk and melted butter.
  • Add the blanched spinach. Stir to mix well.
  • Add salmon, ham, and grated cheese.
  • Pour the mixture into a large greased baking pan.
  • Bake at 350F/180C for about 45 minutes or till set.
  • Let cool before slicing.

I poured the mixture into an 8-inch disposal square baking tray. The remaining mixture went into a small disposal loaf pan. The baked quiche in the small loaf pan tasted just as good the next day. I will bake this again, for myself, when the boys and the man are not at home =)

Monday, April 18, 2011

From Ben10 To Lego

Spring break has started! The weather had been bad ... cloudy and rainy. The kids stayed home most of the time. No visits to the playground, no biking around the neighbourhood, no playing and running about with their friends in our neighbourhood.

Apart from getting them to do their Math and Chinese, the boys spent most of the time playing with their Lego, and drawing. Darling son KW is finally tired of Ben10. He took out all his Lego magazines from his box, flipped through them, and started drawing again ... Lego figurines.

Seems like it is going to be rainy the whole week. The most I can do is invite his friend over for a playdate .... Oh well, we will see how it goes ....

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Independent Learning

Since it was the last day of the school term, Darling son KW brought home yesterday, in his folder, the work he did during the term. He studied "The Physics of Sound" in the Science Unit, and this was what he learnt in class ... Structure of the ear. No wonder he was testing us during dinner a couple of days ago. Hubby dear and I were Physics teachers, and we both did not take Biology during our secondary school days. Needless to say, we couldn't answer all of his questions =P He was very pleased, as the last time he tested us on Matter, we could answer all his questions.

As with all topics learnt, you get an End-of-Module Assessment at the end of the unit.

I was pleased with what he had done ... paying attention in class to what his teacher had been teaching him. We did not do any extra with him at home. In fact, we did not even know he was learning about the Physics of Sound, although we had seen him writing down on his worksheet, sounds he heard at home.

After the Multiple Choice Questions, came the short questions.

Imagine if he was taught this topic back home! We would probably have to sit him down and go through the text and exercises with him before the test. Teach less, learn more?

Here's another surprise ... an assessment on his knowledge of Kenya. Every year, in conjunction with International Week, an annual school event, since there are so many international students studying at this public school, the students will study a country in depth. They learn about its geography, its people, its culture. Last year, Darling son KW learnt about Mexico, and this year, Kenya. Darling son YW on the other hand, learnt about China.

I am just happy that learning is fun for the boys! They enjoy these lessons, learning new things and engaging in activities. These end-of-module assessments were not stressful to the boys, and they did not add on to the parents' stress levels. The boys did not grumble about having to sit for these tests.

For the young, learning is about having fun. Assessment is just a tool in helping the kid to learn. When assessment becomes the main focus, one loses the joy in learning.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Easter Eggs

TGIF! It's Friday, and it is also the last day of the school term. It's finally the end of the week! Spring Break starts next week! The kids will be home the whole week. Arrrgh ... It will be a test of my tolerance and patience, really. Two boys, 24/7, and "partners in crime". Sometimes, I do think about how life will be like if I have two girls instead =) I'm praying for good weather so that I can bring the boys out to play.

Ok, back to their bento. The boys love chicken karaage, and they always ask for a bite when I pack the lunch boxes. After having stood in front of the wok for half an hour, frying the karaage, I don't really have much time left to do other things. So I settled for three simply decorated easter eggs. The eggs were cut using an oval shaped cutter. Then I "decorated" the eggs using other cutters ... stars, circle, and wave. Add a few strips of nori here and there, and they're done =)

So I will be taking a break from Bento-making next week! Time to try out some new bakes, since the two boys always tell me "I'm hungry". Hmm, time to surf the internet for new recipes!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Flower and Bee

It had been a busy week. Just a simple cheese bee cutout, together with a pretty flower food pick for the boys' lunch today. Nothing fanciful.

While grocery shopping, I found this pack of sausages ... Spinach and Feta Cheese Chicken Sausages. Before deciding whether to buy or not to buy, I tried very hard to recall the last time the boys were fed sausages. It was such a long time ago, I figured it did no harm if I were to buy one pack home to try. As a friend mentioned on her Facebook status, she "vomited a bucket of blood" while trying to teach her son Math. I had vomited many buckets of blood while trying to get my boys to do their Chinese. So these sausages are good "FastFood" on mornings when I am overwhelmed and feeling extremely exhausted after those "Do your Chinese - But I don't know, it's too difficult for me" battles.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chick In Egg

Easter is just a week plus away. I thought it would be fun to include an egg and a chick in the boys' bento. Moreover, this chick in egg is easy to cut and assemble.

In the bento, there's florets of broccoli, pan fried meat patties, and rice seasoned with a little sushi vinegar.

It's so fun to cut the egg using an oval cutter. Maybe I should include more easter eggs in the lunch tomorrow =)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dancing Pandas

What a busy start to the week! After preparing lunch early in the morning, and sending the kids to school, I went to the Post Office to send some cards and parcels. Grocery shopping next, followed by cooking lunch for hubby dear. Then there's the washing and cleaning up after cooking and eating. Did I mention laundry too? How about the meat I bought? This is the part I dislike most ... debone the chicken thigh fillets, remove the lumps of fats, and cutting the fillets into smaller pieces, pack and freeze. That took up a little more than an hour! I barely have time to sit down and have a proper lunch, and I'm off to school to pick the kids up. Where did my time go?

Knowing it would be a hectic morning, I was not motivated to do anything fanciful for the boys' lunch. Instead, I use the panda food picks I have to "dress up" the lunch. It did bring on a smile, on me, when I looked at my finished product =)

In the bento, there's a strawberry, florets of broccoli, rice sprinkled with furikake and topped with cheese stars, and chicken thigh pieces pan fried in black bean and garlic sauce.

Whoever says that a StayHomeMom has lots of time to do what she likes probably has some help at home with housework. I'm a stayhome mom, also a housekeeper, teacher, and cook. Time for myself? Yes, when the boys are at school, and I don't do the laundry, don't bake, and serve leftover dinner for today's lunch or dinner. I get less frustrated if I just leave the boys to do their Chinese and schoolwork, with no regards to whether they know their work or not. I will be very free then to do what I like, and to catch up on my beauty sleep =) And there's no such thing as "Leave Application" in my job scope. It is tough being a working mom, it is just as tough being a stayhome mom. But I am thankful for the opportunity to be with the boys during their growing up years =)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Darling son KW came home from school and requested for chocolate chip cookies. "Just chocolate chips. Without the M&Ms.". All the cookies I have baked so far are crispy cookies. And chocolate chip cookies were never on my bake-list!

The recipe was adapted from As usual, I halved the recipe, in case the cookies didn't turn out to our liking. I am suppose to get two dozens of cookies, but since we like our cookies to be petite, I end up with three dozens. The cookies were crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. The smaller ones were just ... cripsy. And they were highly addictive! I had to stop myself from eating, after having popped like four.
I just couldn't stop =p

1/2 cup Butter, softened
1/2 cup White Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1-1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chip Mini Morsels

  • Preheat oven to 350F/175C.
  • Cream butter and sugars till smooth.
  • Beat in egg and stir in vanilla extract.
  • Stir in flour and baking soda.
  • Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes, or till the edges are nicely browned.

I omitted the salt, since I used salted butter. Instead of mixing the baking soda into hot water as stated in the original recipe, I added the baking soda directly into the batter, together with the flour. The batter is stiff, and it drops onto the baking sheet easily, without making a mess.

This recipe is definitely a keeper. On the day the cookies were baked, we ate more than half of them! The next time I bake these cookies, I will reduce the amount of white sugar, as I find it a little sweet. However, there were no complaints from the boys =)

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Meet Doraemon, the cute but strange cat.
Strange because he doesn't have any ears, and a tail.
Hello Kitty is another strange cat who is without a mouth.

Here's the sketch of Doraemon and the different parts of his face, using different ingredients. You know how it feels like when you have to drag yourself out of bed early in the morning. Then you stand in the kitchen, wondering what you have to do next. Your mind is still in dreamland, even though your body is in the kitchen, ready to start work. How does Doraemon look like? That will be the last thing on my mind. On such mornings, I find the sketch very useful.

Do you see the rectangle on the bottom left corner? That is the sheet of nori that is used to wrap the riceball. Cut out the circle and the little slits around the edge. Then place the sheet over your riceball. The circle reveals part of the riceball, which is to be the face, while the slits enable you to tuck and wrap the nori around the sides of the riceball.

In the bento, there's oven-baked panko and parmesan chicken thigh fillet, cauliflower and broccoli, and the Doraemon riceball.

It has been a long time since we last watch an episode of Doraemon on DVD. Maybe the boys will want to watch it this weekend after seeing it in their lunchbox today =)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

3-2-1 Blast Off!

Ok, I admit I'm getting a little lazy. Look at the rocket. No quite rocket-like. My consolation was that the boys did not bring the rockets home.

In the bento, there's chicken karaage, the boys' all time favorite, broccoli, and rice. I could have done a better job assembling the rocket. To make up for the sloppiness in my work, I baked a batch of banana muffins for the boys, to be eaten after school.

These banana muffins don't look very exciting, do they?
Look like any other muffins ... or so I thought.

The moment I sank my teeth into the first one, my hands reached for a second while the first was gone in a flash! The boys came home and had two each, plus a couple of mini ones. These muffins are addictive! They are moist and soft. My boys love the chunks of banana hidden inside the muffins. And did I mention they were very easy to make?

The recipe is adapted from RasaMalaysia. I halved the recipe and made some changes to the quantity of ingredients ... for my convenience =)

1 cup All Purpose Flour
3/4 tsp Baking Soda (Erh, I used Baking Powder by mistake and it turned out ok)
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, melted
1/2 cup Sugar
3 Over-riped Bananas
1 Large Egg
1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence

  • Preheat oven to 375F and line muffin pans with baking cups.
  • Melt butter and let cool slightly.
  • Mash two bananas.
  • Break the third into half, and put it into the mixing bowl, together with the flour, baking soda, sugar, egg, vanilla essence and melted butter.
  • Beat the ingredients with a mixer for 3 minutes, or till the ingredients are blended.
  • Fold in the mashed banana with a rubber spatula.
  • Spoon the batter into the baking cups.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or till the muffins turn golden brown.
  • Let cool on rack.
  • Makes 12 small muffins, and 12 mini sized muffins.

In my hurry to bake, I used baking powder, instead of baking soda as stated. However, the muffins turned out ok, phew! By evening, only a quarter of the muffins were left. I will definitely be baking these muffins again, using baking soda, just to check out the difference =)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mr Penguin

What a lovely day today! It was still a little chilly in the morning, but it was nonetheless, a very sunny day!

In the bento, there's grape tomatoes, florets of broccoli, oven-baked chicken thigh fillet and rice sprinkled with a little furikake. The chicken thigh fillets were deboned, and seasoned with a little sea salt and paprika before sending into the oven for baking.

Mr Penguin is all ready to play. Are you ready to join in the fun too?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Makkuro Kurosuke Meets Mr Fishball

A very simple and light lunch for the boys to bring to school today. Fishballs, rice wrapped in nori, a slice of ham, and some florets of broccoli.

We were very excited to find these fishballs at the asian mart. The brand? QQ fishballs, haha. They were indeed very "QQ"! These fishballs are very small, and they are not the best we have eaten. But for the time being, they are good enough to satisfy our craving for fishballs =)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Braised Kecap Manis Chicken

I bought a small bottle of Kecap Manis from the asian mart last weekend. So far, I had used it for Nasi Goreng (non-spicy version). I knew I could use it for chicken, just that I was not sure how. A google search brought me to the recipe of Braised Sweet Soy Sauce Chicken at PigPig'sCorner. The sweet soy sauce refers to Kecap Manis. I was delighted and decided to give it a try, since it was supposed to be similar to Tau You Bak! The best part of this dish? Put everything into a big pot and let it cook! No frying, no mess!

So here's the soy sauce and bottle of Kecap Manis. I was happy to peel and crush the many cloves of garlic, and then sliced the ginger.

And soaked the chinese mushrooms too.
Reserve that water from soaking the mushrooms.

8 pcs 3-joint Chicken Wings, cut and separated
12 pcs Dried Chinese Mushrooms, soaked
3/4 cup Kecap Manis
3 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
1 tsp 5-Spice Powder
1 tsp White Pepper
3 stalks Spring Onions (I omit this as I don't have it at hand)
15 slices Ginger
1 bulb Garlic, Peeled and Crushed

  • Cut and separate the drumstick, wings and tips from the chicken pieces.
  • Discard the tip.
  • Wash and clean the chicken pieces.
  • Put them into a big pot.
  • Wash the dried chinese mushrooms.
  • Soak the dried chinese mushrooms in warm water for about 20 minutes.
  • Remove the mushrooms and reserve the water for later use.
  • Place all the other ingredients, excluding the water for soaking mushrooms, into the pot.
  • Add the mushroom water, enough to cover the all the ingredients in the pot. If you do not have enough mushroom water, add water.
  • Give the contents in the pot a quick stir to mix well.
  • Leave for at least an hour.
  • When ready to cook, bring the pot to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and let simmer for an hour to 1.5 hours, or till meat is cooked and tender.

The ingredients were prepared in the morning, while my boys were at school, and left to marinate till the evening. In the evening, as the pot of liquid bubbled away, I was free to supervise my boys in their Chinese homework. After one and a half hour of simmering, the chicken pieces were cooked, and were very tender. Although quite a fair amount of liquid was used to cover the ingredients at the start, half the amount of liquid had evaporated at the end of the one and a half hours. Just enough for us to drizzle the sauce on our rice ... yum yum!

This is such an easy dish to prepare. It is definitely a keeper, and a regular on my dinner table!

Friday, April 1, 2011


Look who's here! It's Phineas! And Candace will probably be shouting her little brother's name whenever she can ..... PHINEAS! I'm sure my boys are glad that they don't have an elder sister =p

In the bento, there is pan-fried miso-marinated chicken thigh cubes, blanched broccoli and cauliflower, sprinkled with a little furikake, and rice (hidden under the sheet of nori).

The 2 pieces of chicken thighs were marinated with 2 teaspoons of miso paste, 1 tablespoon of shaoxing wine, and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. The pack of chicken was left to marinade in the fridge overnight, and I took it out to pan-fry this morning. I could use 1 tablespoon of miso paste the next time, as the chicken pieces were not salty enough. The amount of miso used greatly depends on the type of miso paste.

It's April, and it's snowing again! No, it's not an April Fool's day joke. I made a quick trip to the supermarket this morning, racing against the rain clouds. I was panting by the time I reached home, and the moment I set foot in the house, it started to rain. Then snow. Check out the ice/snow on the bikes.

I love it when the aroma of baked cakes fill the house on a cold, rainy and gloomy day. So the first thing I baked after coming home from the supermarket was brownie cakes! The preparation was a breeze, using Betty Crocker's Fudge Brownie mix. I added an extra egg as the boys like their brownies to be cakelike. I was in the midst of mixing the flours into the cream cheese mixture for the Japanese Cheesecake when Mr Mailman knocked on my door. Oh, a parcel for me!

A bright and cheerful card greeted me when I opened the parcel!
This card certainly brightens up a gloomy day!

Together with the card comes a birthday present from an old friend!
A special edition, Hello Kitty, of the X-mini!
Thanks, Jean! Am I 40 already?
I'm not shy of announcing that I've reached the Big 4, even though I'm young at heart =)

Well, it's Friday, and it's going to be a "delicious" and delightful weekend .... brownie cakes, Japanese Cheesecake, and trying out the X-mini! And I'm looking forward to the International Food Fair at school tomorrow!

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