Books that I read

Monday, December 24, 2012

Gingerbread house, yule log making & Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas time! This year, Little Sprout's mama invited me over for gingerbread house and yule log baking session!

Little Sprout's mama pre-baked the gingerbread cookies a day before. So what I need to do is just to assemble and decorate the house and the choo-choo train! This year, Little Sprout's mama try using the royal icing, which is different from what she used last year. And the results? Little Sprout's mama complains the house is not as steady as last year! Which make the assemble work more time consuming. Anyway, I enjoy myself decorating the house with all the candies and sweets prepared by Little Sprout's mama!

Unfortunately the house and the choo-choo train did not survive the trip going home from Little Sprouts' house. Next year (if we going to make the gingerbread house again) I'm going to try with different packing.

The yule log is actually decorated swiss roll. I wanted to try making swissroll some time back but do not have the gut to make it. Whenever the recipe calls for 'folding the dough with beaten egg white', naturally I will hesitate to give it a try. As I fear I would spoil the cake during folding process. But after a hands on experience on making swiss roll or the yule log, I have more confident now! And I definitely would try making swiss roll back home. :)

Another challenge on making swiss roll is the 'rolling' part. Both me and Little Sprouts' mama have no idea the correct way to roll up the cake. But I think we did it correctly, hehe. There's some cracks but it's at the bottom and we can cover it easily by using the frosting. Another lesson learn for me is, do not be too greedy and apply too much filling. It will overflow from the side. >.< Anyway it's a good experience learnt and I have so much fun! Nothing can beat when the whole yule log finished within the next day despite it's too sweet to our taste. Hehe.

Actually my baking sessions with Little Sprouts' mama started somewhere mid last year. That time I requested Little Sprouts' mama to teach me to make cream puff. After that, we get together few more times for some baking fun. Last few times, since I have got back to working world, we have the baking session during weekend. Thus while the mommies are busy baking in the kitchen, Lynn and Hao are busy playing and watching TV with Little Sprouts and Little Sprouts' papa in the living room!

Thank you Little Sprouts' mama for the fun baking session as well as sharing many baking tips with me! And also thank you Little Sprouts' papa for babysitting the kids!

Wish you all a Merry Christmas! 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Life with Do Re Mi Fa

Time flies. Opps seems like I have not been blogging for almost half a year. Well, the main reason is I seldom come online anymore. Even Facebook  I only check once a day from phone, sometimes none. Of course I still go online, but more for work purpose and not so much for leisure purpose. That's explain why I have not been writing and also not blog hoping much.

These 2 weeks, if you pass by my house you can hear lots of children noise. My 2 nieces (age 5 and 2.5) come stay with me for 2 weeks. My parents and my bro together with his wife are going for holiday and thus I'm helping them to take care my 2 nieces while they are away.

My elder niece is at the same kindy with Lynn and Hao. So every morning she will follow hb's car to go to school and I will pick up 3 of them from kindy after work. The youngest niece is going to the nanny behind my mom's house. I will drop her off on the way to work in the morning, and pick her up on the way home after picking up the 3 older kids.

My this youngest niece, MM is extremely attached her mom. From day 1, she has been crying looking for her mommy. I can see that she misses her mom very much. And I could not stand her crying. It's not just crying. She's actually closing up herself. She doesn't really play with the others, and not talking to us. When I ask her questions, instead of answer me (my this niece very good at talking at 2.5 years old) she will just shake or nod her head. This is definitely not her at all. Thus I message my SIL asking her to send back some video clips and pictures, telling MM that mommy has been missing her too. At the same time the kids also get to know what's the grandparents and parents are doing there. And it works! Whenever MM cries, I will show her the video clips and pictures. At the same time, we also cross the date in the calendar every morning, telling the children how many more days their parents will be back. And whenever there is chance, my SIL will video call back us at home, so the children get to talk with them. Now after one week, MM will still cry looking for mommy but not as frequest as before and back to her normal self. She will talk with others now, play with them and laugh with them. No more closing herself though I can feel that she's still not quite like me. I guess maybe she relates with being forced to stay with me.

As for the older niece, YY. She's definitely happy to have playmates all the time. 3 of them (Lynn, Hao and YY) are very noisy whenever they are around each other. From morning till night they are not bored playing with each other. Do they fight? Sometimes they do but it won't last long, and mostly just small matter. 5 minutes later they will play together again. And oh yes, they always can't come into conclusion when time to bath! Either they will fight for number one to bath first, or none want to bath first. Sigh. One day I got irritated I set a sequence for them to take turn! Yes take control of 4 children is not easy! 

Having a 6 and 4 years old at home, life is actually quite easy for me. Both Lynn and Hao can bath themselves, brush their own teeth, pack their own school bag, basically I only have to keep an eye on them. But with the 2 nieces, the 2.5 years old MM still need someone to bath her. I make the 5 years old YY to bath herself. So I only need to bath MM. But last 2 days, I get just Lynn to bath her together when Lynn is taking her bath. As for food, MM can eat by herself. All I need to do is just serve the food in her bowl. Weekdays she has her dinner at nanny's place before I pick her up. Weekend she will eat with us. So far she's not too picky on the food. She will eat whatever I serve her. She eats both noodle and rice. 

Things are still pretty much stay in routine despite with my 2 nieces. Basically YY and MM are following our routine. 6 of us sleep in the same bedroom. Normally I get the kids to sleep quite early during weekdays even now it's school holidays. But we still need to wake up early as we leave the house at 7-ish to go to work. I do not have much problem getting 4 kids to go to bed. I usually will accompany them in the room until at least they have fallen asleep. Despite new environment, I'm glad both YY and MM have no much problem fallen to sleep. Maybe they are tired after playing too much. Hehe.

One week has pass and few more days, my parents and my bro family will be back. Taking 4 kids are not really that difficult as I would have imagined at the beginning. But YY is always fine with me around and she is kind of close with Lynn and Hao. The only challenge is just MM. It's been an exciting and challenging week for me. As for Lynn and Hao, I'm sure they have a very enjoyable time with their cousins! And I foresee very soon they will start requesting YY to come stay overnight more frequent...... :) 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Making Zongzi or chang

Zongzi, or Chang, is a special food that Chinese eats during the Dragon Boat festival. It is made with sticky rice that usually wrapped in pyramid-shaped with reed or bamboo leaves. I love eating zongzi, especially it is only available during the Dragon Boat festival, which is only once a year. In the past, where my mom will buy the chang from the market and I will happily eat it as much as I like. Sometimes my aunt will give us some of her homemade chang too. However these few years back I don't get to eat chang as much as I like. Why? The price of chang has increased so much that I will only buy few to eat, and still the filling is so little, far from satisfactory as compared to homemade chang. Last year, I was very lucky to get some homemade chang from Mamarazzi. And this year? I'm actually very lucky that I get a chance to learn to make the chang myself! 

When I get to know Mamarazzi has her change-making marathon started, good thing it is before my new job started, and after I just completed my freelance job, talking about just the right timing for me! 

Mamarazzi helped me buy all the ingredients needed, including marinating the meat for me. She also cooked the meat and mushroom, and fried the soaked glutinous rice with spices. So what I just need to do is to wrap them into chang. 

First, I have to learn to fold the bamboo leaves into con shape. Then fill it with the rice and other ingredients. Let me tell you, it's not that easy to make the leaves into con shape. But once I get the hang of it, it's not that difficult too.

Then wrap it to become pyramid shape and tie it tightly. 

And then put into a pot or rice cooker and cook for 2 hours.

These are all I get after 3 hours standing there wrapping the chang! Mamarazzi said me not bad because none of them burst inside the pot. Consider very good at a first timer. Hehe this is because I have good sifu here who shows me step-by-step and tips on how to wrap the chang. :D 

Before going home, Mamarazzi 'poison' me into making kee chang at home. Just need to soak the glutinous rice and bamboo leaves? Really that easy? Mamarazzi definitely know how to tempt me. LOL! Could not resist the temptation, I made the kee chang last weekend. :)

I soaked the bamboo leaves and glutinous rice the night before. Before I want to make the kee chang, add 2 tablespoons of the alkaline water to the soaked rice. Mamarazzi taught me to add some pandan leave into the kee chang to enhance the flavor. I make the simplest one, plain kee chang without any fillings.

After standing there for 3 hours, and additional 2 hours cooking time for 2nd batch, these are what I get. This time I was not so lucky, as without the fillings, the kee chang is smaller in size. Seems like I did not tie them tight enough. Quite a few kee chang bursting inside the pot during cooking. I managed to save some but still I lost about 3 of them.

Kee chang drizzled with honey, requested by hb. :D

As this is my very first attempt on making chang, I did not give to any friends, but only to family members. With the first experience, I know what I can improve next year. Though it's time consuming, but it's cheaper to make it myself and not to mention, I get to choose the fillings that I want to put. And not to mention I have improve on the wrapping too! Ok so I should not complain why it's so expensive outside, talking about the long hours and those kungfu on wrapping the chang. Hope next year I get to make more and better version that I can give away some to friends. Learn to make chang is always an item on my wish list for many years. Thank you Mamarazzi for making my wish come true! And this year, I get to eat the chang as many as I like. :D

Thursday, June 7, 2012

One Year Later

One year ago, I quit working full time. Since then on and off I took some freelance job on bookkeeping for some side income. I was not intended to quit working at all but due to hb's super long hours in his new job, I could not really go back to IT line. My initial plan was working towards flexi hours in year 2013 when Lynn enters primary 1. So quit working before 2013 was something unplanned.

Few months back, I stumbled upon a chance on a full time employment. Well it's not something in my plan, but seeing the opportunity to learn I thought maybe I can give it a try. The pay is much lower as I'll be a junior staff there. But as compared to my current unemployed status, it's still some small income to us. Better than nothing. :)

After so many years, now I'm back to a junior staff. Hehe. Do I mind? Not at all as long as I'm given opportunity to learn. I has a very interesting first day at work. As all seniors were out for a training, left only one junior staff for my department. There's another new staff together with me who started on the same day. So three of us had a very relaxing day at work. :)

I met the others in the following Monday. Throughout my more than 10 years of working experience, this is my 3rd full time job. A totally new environment for me. I has the smallest work station as compared to previous 2 jobs. Without compartment too so no privacy at all. No compartment is fine, but i really wish to have a larger table! I have to work on many files and documents at the same time, with the small table i really have to keep whatever I'm not referring away. The office is of old building and with all the cabinets it's not too spacious. I really salute my other colleagues who can work with stacks of files and papers on their equally small table!

And after so many years of smart casual wearing jeans to work, now I have to wear back office wear. Time to dig out those long sleeves and skirts from my wardrobe! Those are my working attire before getting married. Glad that I still can fit most of them, both tops and bottoms. And no one happier than my gal who loves to see her mommy wearing skirt. :)

New job starts at earlier time too. With the terrible traffic condition nowadays in the morning, I have to wake up earlier and leave the house before hb too. My body still adjusting to the new time to wake up. Besides getting myself ready, I have to get ready the breakfast for hb and kids too, which I have been doing all this while. So far I still manage to bake something at night before going to bed for our breakfast the following day. And just a week ago a friend passed us a bread maker that is left at the corner of his kitchen. It's a great help to me. Now we can have fresh homemade bread in the morning. Bye bye Gardenia and Massimo. :)

The colleagues in my department are all very nice people. I'm glad about that. I just hope I can cope and pick up as much as I can while I still can manage. It's good to be back to work again. :)
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy 6th Birthday!

Since Q3 last year, Lynn has been asking me when is her birthday. Besides her birthday, she also asks about the birthday of other family members. She will remember the birthday by month. For example, her uncle's (my brother) birthday in February, then her papa's birthday at March, her 'gong gong' Grandpa birthday at March too etc. And then she will ask or tell whose birthday next. And finally, her long awaited her own birthday finally is here. :)

Beginning of the year, she told me "Mommy, when my birthday I don't want you to make the cake for me. I want to go buy nice nice one." Is she hinting the cake that I make is no good? Feel a little hurt. LOL! But I thought she's just a kid and I did not really mad at her or question her about it. Hehe. Then in February, I made a carrot cake for my brother's birthday. In March, I made peanut butter torte for my dad's birthday. And orange cake for hb's birthday. During my dad's birthday, Lynn was not feeling well and eventually she did not eat the cake at all. And few days after that, she saw the carrot cake picture from the cookbook, and told me "Mommy, can you make this cake for me for my birthday?" "Oh, you want carrot cake for your birthday?" I want to confirm with her.  "Yes, I want carrot cake for my birthday this year. Then when I'm 7 years old, I want the peanut butter torte for my birthday." Wah this year birthday is not here yet, she started booking for her birthday cake next year. LOL! And talk about early of the year she told me not to bake birthday cake for her.

That was somewhere end of March. And then somewhere in April, one day Lynn told me "Mommy, I want the peanut butter torte for my 6 years old birthday this year." Hmm, changing mind? "I thought you said you want the carrot cake?" "No, I don't want carrot cake already. I want the peanut butter torte." Then few more times during the month, she kept on telling me to make her the peanut butter torte for her birthday this year. Reason being she did not get to eat it during my dad's birthday, so she wanted to eat it on her birthday.

Alright, that's the story of her birthday cake. :) On top of that, she also has been pestering me to have her birthday celebration with her friends at school. I did it once for her when she was 3 years old, at the infant and toddler child care. Since this year is her final year at kindy, even if she did not ask me I have actually also planned to let her celebrate with her friends at school. She also made me promise her to be there at the kindy on her birthday. "Mommy, you must come for my birthday also. All my friends' papa mama are there during their birthday." Wah, getting demanding. Well, since I'm freelancing now, I can be there. And from time to time since beginning of the year, she has been reminding me that I must be there on her birthday. Luckily her birthday is in May, I can't imagine if her birthday is in I can't stand people keep on telling me same thing again and again.....

Last week, after picking up the kids I went to the bakery supplies shop to get the necessary ingredients for her cake. Besides cakes, I also plan to make something for her party packs for her friends. Previously to save time, I just bought the junk foods and snacks to make up the part packs. But even I myself don't like my kids eating too much on the junk food, this time I decided if I can make something. After searching through my recipe books, I set my eyes on the coconut candy. I remember we used to get it from supermarket when I was young. Not sure now still selling or not.

 Made this Rum and raisin ice cream with brownie as her birthday cake celebrating with my parents and my brother family. Not sure if I put too much rum (read that rum will soften the ice cream), the ice cream was melting super fast. And I chose a very rich brownie recipe, after keeping in the freezer the brownie became very hard. The rum and raisin ice cream taste very good though. A very good lesson learn. Next time I will make this rum and raisin ice cream cake in different way.

Coconut candy for Lynn's classmates. Even though the coconut candy does not require baking, but need to chill in the freezer. So a week before the birthday celebration, I started making a pan of coconut candy a day. Btw I'm using strawberry flavor chocolate for the pink color.

I was told there are about 40 children. Worry if the cake alone won't be enough to share by all children, I made some chocolate fondant too. Also in case some children don't eat cheese or peanut butter. Since the birthday party is in the afternoon, I spent the morning and noon making the chocolate fondant. Lazy and greedy me. Instead of making 2 batches, I doubled the recipe. It was a mistake. My arms were so tired folding the batter. And the chocolate fondant also turned out did not look as nice as it should be. Some chocolate fondant the middle part was sinking. Not sure where went wrong. Also as I have forgotten to take out the butter from the fridge to keep it at room temperature, also lack of time, I did not frost it with butter cream. Just put something colorful on top of it to make it looks more presentable. :)

Since I keep the coconut candy in the fridge, so the packing also has to be last minute! Pack them right before I leave the house. :)

As for the chocolate peanut butter torte that the birthday girl has requested, I made it the night before. It has the best crust that I have made so far. Hehe.

Instead of sprinkle with chopped peanuts on top, I used the ladybird and make the number "6", and sprinkled with some chopped peanuts and sugar flakes. Lynn chose the candle herself.

She set her eyes on the cake only......

I'm quite happy with the outcome of the cake. This is my 2nd attempt and I would say presentation wise looks better than the first attempt. :) Taste wise if you like peanut butter then you will like it. Can't taste the cream cheese taste much though.

Some children only attended the kindy session and did not stay for full day child care. So there were less than 40 children there. Each children still can have a share of the chocolate peanut butter torte and the chocolate fondant too.

Alright, finally done all the baking for her birthday! Phew! 

Happy birthday my girl! Mommy always feels glad that you are a good sister to Hao, always taking care of him. But Mommy does have one wish - please don't make mommy telling you same thing again and again!

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Power of “Interactive” Play – Brought to you by Fisher-Price

Following a successful first time, Fisher-Price will be bringing child development expert; Ms. Carrie Lupoli, Founder of Live & Learn (Singapore) once again to Malaysia where she will be able to share the importance of interactive play with children come June 16th 2012.

Why play is so important?

Playing is the most natural thing to do for any individual, but what you may not know is that there's so much more to it than just having fun.

But in recent years, the amount of parents who have started to use technology as a substitute to spending actual quality time with their children is increasing at an alarming rate. Many disregard the importance of interaction or play with their children. Fisher-Price, a firm believer in the development of children through play and bonding notices this trend.

Play is the best means in helping children with brain development and learning. When children can actively manipulate and explore toys in their environment, they learn best. Adults playing together with children will enhance the relationship between the parent/adult and child which is pivotal in a child’s development.

Through The Power of “Interactive” Play Workshop, Fisher-Price would like to share the benefits of play through the five development stages (Sensory Stimulation, Sitting & Reaching, Speech Development, On the Go and Walker & Rider) and to further encourage adults to spend more time with children.

The Power of “Interactive” Play Parenting Workshop will exhibit the different kinds of activities and exercises that adults can have with children. It will further elaborate on the different tools that can be used to further assist with the different development stages of children. 

I'm a parent who prefer my children play with the toys for their age. I'm not a mother who will give my children to play with my smart phone or tablet or video games or pc games until my children are much older. I believe at their age now, they should be playing with each other interactively, but not sitting down in front of pc or PSP or smart phone. I'm glad that Fisher Price is holding a such workshop for parents. I'm going to attend it. How about you? 

The Power of “Interactive” Play Parenting Workshop:
Date:         16th June 2012 (Saturday)
Time:        10.00am – 1.30pm
Location:    Grand Ballroom, Empire Hotel Subang,
             Jalan SS 16/1, Ss 16, 47500 Selangor.

Entry Fee:    RM60 per person plus over RM100 worth of goodies.

For more information or to book your seats kindly contact 03-7803 5310/012-292 1378 or email to

Monday, April 30, 2012

Simplot Simply Good Meal with Chef Wan

Many thanks to Cleffairy for her invitation so that I can attend the Simplot Simply Good Meal Cooking Workshop with Chef Wan last Saturday. And also thank you very much to Little Sprout's papa for letting me follow their car considering last Saturday was a big day thus the traffic was not in our usual condition as other normal Saturday.

The workshop was held in BSH Home Appliances (Bosch) in Bangsar as a venue sponsor. Ah I was drooling at the appliances displayed there. The mixer, build in oven, build in coffee maker etc. How I wish I have a kitchen like this at home!

Since this workshop was brought to us by Simplot, thus the main focus of the day was on the launch of its new products, frozen Hashbrown and Popcorn Hashbrown. The frozen hashbrown and popcorn hashbrown are made from premium potatoes, with no cholesterol, no artifical flavors, no added preservatives and no artificial coloring. So it's definitely safe to serve to our children. If you have eaten the hashbrown from McDonald's big breakfast, it's actually Simplot product.

The other main ingredients used are Leggo's products. Very convenient especially for us to cook at home.

First dish of the day - Minestrone Beefball Soup with Simplot Hashbrown Popcorn. Love the herbs, chunk of vegetables, with the meat and the potato, a complete meal for us and our little ones!

Next we have Baked Seafood Casserole with Simplot Hashbrown. Alright, some of you know that I'm not a cheese or milk person. If possible I will not touch them at all. But let me tell you, despite cheese and milk are being used in this recipe, but sweet taste from the seafood is not being overwhelmed by the white sauce and the cheese! It's simply delicious and this actually is my favorite dish of all!

Third one we have Greek Moussaka. It's a bit like lasagna but instead of layering with the pasta, this one is layering the meat sauce with the Hashbrowns, fried eggplants, white sauce and cheese. Again, I walloped all except giving away the cheese topping to Mama Little Sprouts. :) How can I resist not to taste and finish up the food cooked by Chef Wan? It's so delicious that it's simply irresistible! Hb actually regretted did not follow me to go that day. Hehehe.

Last dish of the day - Simplot Hashbrown Potato and Shrimp Pancake. A dish that consists of eggs, vegetable (bean sprouts), prawn, potato and fresh herbs. Simple to make, delicious to taste and yet healthy for the whole family!

A group photo with Chef Wan.

Wish I have something for him to sign! Sigh. Well, at least I get to take a photograph with him. Chef Wan is fun and friendly. It's an enjoyable experience to attend his cooking workshop. :)

After eating and eating, we get to take some goodies home too! The organizers are very generous on the goodies bag for us. :)

I learn a lot that day. All the while I just fried the hasbrown and eat it plain with the ketchup. Now I know besides fried, it also can be baked, grilled and can be served as mains or side dishes. Thank you very much Simplot and Chef Wan for teaching us those wonderful recipes!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pan-Asian Buffet Dinner at Atrium Cafe, Pyramid Tower Hotel

 It was my dad's birthday last week. I make this Peanut Butter Torte for him. Wanted to add some strawberry as toppings but my mom said no need. The peanut crush is good enough. :)

The rich and creamy filling is made from peanut butter, cream cheese, beaten heavy cream (to lighten the texture to become like mousse), with chopped peanut and chocolate chips. The crust is made from Oreo biscuit crumbs. With simple Chocolate Ganache as toppings sprinkle with chopped peanut. Just the ingredients itself costs more than RM50. But more important, everyone enjoy eating it very much. It's simply delicious. :)

Besides getting a birthday cake for the birthday boy/girl, our usual way of celebrating the birthday is to go out and have a family meal together. Both me and my brother were running out of idea where to eat. So happen I saw this promotion from Facebook, and after checking with my brother we decided to go there to celebrate my dad's birthday. Besides the promotional price for the adults, the children get to eat for free for each paying adults. It's a very good deal for altogether 10 of us (6 adults and 4 children).

The two little one.... I like to see Lynn's hair in ponytail bunches. :) 

I like to environment of the restaurant. Very spacious. Not sure is it due to the promotion, most of the tables were reserved and later the restaurant was quite full when the crowd started to fill up the tables. So if you intend to go there before the promotion end, better make prior reservation before you go there.

Various selections for the salads and appetizers.They are very delicious!

 Breads and soup...

"Lok lok" steam boat!

Serving Malay, Chinese, Indian and Western style food

Various food stalls were setup on the other side of the hall. Penang style fried keow teow; Japanese sushi and shashimi, Chinese roast chicken/ roast duck rice; Satay; Thai salads etc. 

 Deserts and local kuih muih. 

Fruits, ice kacang and ice cream. 

The food is actually not that bad. Fresh prawn and fish. We quite enjoy the food. The services given by the waiters were excellent! They came to collect the empty plate promptly; refill our water without being asked; and even after we have finished reading, they will come ask if we would like to have our coffee and tea refilled. I think it worth to try out the food during the promotional period. But if it's the normal price RM90 per person for a buffet dinner, I think we have lots of other choices available. I probably will go for fine dining. :)

Overall, it's an enjoyable dining experience for us at Atrium Cafe, Pyramid Tower Hotel. If I was asked to give a rating, I would rate it 7 out of 10.

NOTE: This is not a paid post. This is solely my personal experience dining in this restaurant and it may not represent the truth.

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