Thursday, February 28, 2013

Making Baby Food: Mashed Banana

One of the fruits that can be introduced to babies around 4-6 months old is banana. Banana contains potassium, fibre, vitamins, is easy to digest and naturally sweet - so in a nutshell, banana is great for babies and of course, adults too.

My husband happened to bring home two ripe bananas from Mother-in-Law's house last night and I thought of trying to offer them to Baby Naomi today. This afternoon, I halved a banana and mashed it. I fed the mashed banana to Naomi and guess what? She loved the very first home-made baby food that her Mom prepared for her.

Since I am just beginning to introduce solid food to Naomi, I try not to overfeed her with baby food and always make sure that the food texture is soft enough as I am not certain if her digestion is all set for solids.

Here's how I made the mashed banana for my baby today:

Making the Mashed Banana for Baby Naomi.

Mashed Banana

Ingredients:

1/2 Peeled ripe banana

Methods:

  1. Scrap the inner portion of banana using a spoon, leaving its core which contains seeds.
  2. Mash the banana with a fork or spoon in a bowl or grinder bowl.
  3. Feed the mashed banana to baby almost immediately to maintain its freshness.

Today's feeding session's aftermath was not as messy as two days ago
*Phew*

Since banana has very soft consistency and texture, there is no need to use blender or other machines to mash this fruit. When I am in the midst of feeding Naomi with baby food, I make her swallow one or two spoons of water as well before continuing with more spoons of solids. Also, since my baby is not 6 months old yet, I only feed her once a day with very small portion of baby food.

Need more information and recipe ideas on using bananas as baby food? Check this article out.

** If your baby is below 6 months old of age, please check with your paediatrician before starting solids on him/her.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Starting Solids

Baby Naomi is 5 months and 1 week old and I just tried feeding her solid food for the first time.

Some friends have started introducing fruits purée, such as mashed banana or avocado, to their babies when their babies were 4 or 5 months but I only started introducing purée to Naomi today. I could not find any banana or avocado that I can use as my baby's first fruit purée during my visit at the supermarket last night, so I decided to buy one small jar of Heinz Organic Baby Food for Naomi. I bought Heinz's Golden Vegetable Mash baby food made from pumpkin and sweet potato, that is suitable for babies aged 4 months ++. Another baby food variant I saw yesterday was made from peas and zucchinis but I thought this one may taste very funky so I didn't buy that. A small jar of Heinz' organic baby food costs RM 3.60.

26 February 2013: Baby Naomi's first 'dining' experience.

So here are more details of Baby Naomi's first 'dining' experience today:

Before Naomi's feeding time started, I heated her baby food jar in a bowl of hot water.

I put Naomi in her stroller and placed a bib on her neck (feeding baby is messy business, no?). 

I took 2 teaspoons of the warm purée into a baby bowl and started putting one spoon (baby spoon as seen in the picture above) onto Naomi's little mouth. She gave me a weird look when I let her taste the purée for the first time. She tried to push the food out of her mouth using her tongue after one bite. However, for the next bites, she happily explored the food's taste, swallowed (she could not stop smiling and kicking!) and constantly opened her mouth (like a fish!) whenever a spoon of her food travelled from her baby bowl to her mouth. She even showed me some 'chewing' motions when eating her purée though obviously there's nothing can be chewed from a purée like this.  

I took another teaspoon of the warm purée from the jar and put it in Naomi's bowl again. She finished it. 

In the end, she managed to eat 4-5 teaspoons of this purée and I made her drink some warm water after her feeding time was over. Lastly, I wiped her dirty face using a damp cloth and kept the remaining of baby food in the fridge.

In conclusion, I think Baby Naomi had a smashing good time eating her first solids and likes her first solid food very much.

Little spoon. Curious baby. Little lips and chin all well covered with baby food. Jolly smiles. Dirty bib. Feeding baby solids for the first time is, oh, so exciting.

Again, the joy of motherhood.

To find out more about signs that your baby is ready for solids, have some read from this article.

** If your baby is below 6 months old of age, please check with your paediatrician before starting solids on him/her.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Featured in BabyTalk Malaysia Magazine's February 2013 Issue

A little bit of my writing on motherhood was featured in BabyTalk Malaysia Magazine's February 2013 issue, under the Mummy Says section.

It was about the three must-have items I always bring when travelling with my baby.

Yep, that's Baby Naomi and me on page 10.

For me, I can't leave my house without carrying Baby Naomi's feed, disposable diapers and pacifier.

What about you? What items you must carry when going out with your baby?

*P.S: Want to see more of Baby Naomi and me inside local baby/motherhood/parenting magazines? Click here.
** P.P.S: Do LIKE my Facebook's page to stay in touch with me, ok?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tasting Seremban's Famous Crabs

One of Seremban's signature dishes is actually crabs from Seremban Seafood Village Restaurant. It is a MUST TRY FOOD when you happen to visit Seremban (By the way, I bolded, underlined and italicized these words not for nothing). I really should have put this dish in one of my favourite food list in Seremban. Although I really love it, I seldom dine here because it's quite expensive and normally, we only enjoy Seremban's crabs when we have special overseas or out-of-town guests visiting us, like my parents for instance. I believe their journey to Seremban was not complete if they had to leave Seremban without eating Seremban's crabs, at least for once. 

Last Wednesday night, my husband and I brought my parents to eat some crabs before they leave for Indonesia yesterday. Since there were just 4 of us, we were really moderate in ordering the dishes and rice but my husband went a little overboard with ordering the crabs: 2kg of crabs for 4 adults who usually don't eat much. I was like "Come on, man... What were you thinking?" I only realised how much crabs he's ordered when the mountain of crabs gracefully landed on our table. I really think my husband had some serious issues with calculating or estimating the needed amount of food (re: crabs) that night.

Anyway, here are the chronicles of our latest dining experience at Seremban Seafood Village Restaurant.

Once we're seated and orders were taken, some fried crackers and special garlic chilli sauce for the dip or to be eaten with the crabs later on were served. In the next 5 minutes after the crackers were served on our table, poof!, they're gone to our stomachs.

Warming up with the appetiser.

Moving on, our drinks and rice came to our table, followed with my favourite veggie dish, Baby Kailan sautéed in garlic.

Baby Kailan sautéed in garlic.

I also ordered Mapo Tofu. It was spicy, sweet and overall tasted really nice but a bit oily. 

The Mapo Tofu.

Much later on, when my husband's plate was somewhat clean, our 2kg of Grilled Crabs arrived. I am sure that that this restaurant's motto is "Save the Best for Last" as the best dish really came the latest, just in time when everybody's almost finished their rice and other dishes. 

The super delicious grilled crabs.

The grilled crabs were really, really, really nice. They were really tasteful that they don't even need to be eaten with the special garlic chilli sauce. The meat is so tender and flavourful as the crabs' shells were cracked before they were grilled with some sweet sauce. The crabs' slightly burnt shells were really sweet and I literally could not stop licking the crabs' grilled shells after I ate the meat. Everyone was really determine in finishing the 2kg of crabs on our table but really, it was just too much (in the end, our leftover was one crab without its claws). Actually, when the crabs arrived on our table, I still had about half plate of rice but once the crabs came, I was not interested in finishing my rice and other dishes on our table any more. My pearls of wisdom here is to finish your rice and other dishes first before the crabs come to your table. Once they're served, you'd be very busy picking its meat from their shells and putting whatever meat you could take out to your mouth and you'd forget that you still have some rice on your plate. My favourite parts of crabs are the big fat claws! What about you?

I've eaten this restaurant's crabs cooked in salted eggs and they're equally delicious as the grilled ones.

Speaking of expensive food, my husband paid RM150++ for our 3 main dishes, 4 rice bowls and 3 glasses of liangcha last week. Nevertheless, their food's really worth our money!

God, Seremban's crabs are so finger-licking good! We must thank the restaurant for inventing this divine food. 

 ** Seremban Seafood Village (芙蓉燒蟹海鮮村)
3720-3724, Jalan Tuanku Munawir
70200 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia

Friday, February 22, 2013

Checking Out Cameron Highlands with Family

When I visited Cameron Highlands with my husband two years ago, I pledged to myself that I would not go to this place again in the next few years, unless I bring my family from Indonesia and introduce the beauty of Cameron Highlands to them. Reason being is because Cameron Highlands is more suitable and fun for family trip than a dating place. Also, visiting the same fresh markets, flower farms or tea plantations in Cameron Highlands several times in a short period of time is not too alluring.

Last week, right after the Chinese New Year celebrations, my parents from Indonesia visited us. While they were here, my Parents-in-Law had an idea to have a weekend's 2D1N trip to Cameron Highlands together. I said, "Yeah sure, why not?" It was a really good idea to bring my parents to Cameron Highlands for sightseeing and enjoying its fresh mountain air while they were in Malaysia.

Without much planning (except booking the apartment for us to overnight in short notice), off we went to Cameron Highlands together with my Brother-in-Law's family as well. It was our first time having a long road trip and overnight stay out of town with Baby Naomi. Previously, I dreaded the possibilities that Baby Naomi was not going to 'behave' in a new place but everything went pretty smoothly. She kept throwing us her biggest sweetest smiles when we took photos of her and 80% of the time she was not fussy. My Mom was really a great help during the entire trip in taking turn with me in looking after Baby Naomi. Honestly, I didn't know what would happen to us without her during this trip. The real challenge we faced was actually when we were in the car during the road trip. Baby Naomi was just pretty hard to handle when she's sleepy in the car and at many points, she made us think, "Why can't you just close your eyes and go to dreamland when you're sleepy? Why is it so necessary to cry, shriek, scream and drive us crazy when you're sleepy?" A bottle of warm milk, pacifier, patting and soft kiddie songs often times didn't really work on her. *pulling-my-hair*

Anyway, the first place we visited once we arrived in Cameron Highlands was the Cameron Valley Tea House. We had some afternoon tea time at this place while giving a sneak peek of the massive tea plantations surrounding Cameron Highlands to my parents at the same time.

The green background is pretty amazing, huh?

 My parents, baby and I in front of Cameron Valley Tea House.

Baby Naomi trying to pluck the flowers.

Later in the evening, all of us checked in the Crown Imperial Court Apartment. There were 8 adults, 2 kids, 1 toddler and 1 baby in our gang so it made more sense to overnight in a 3-room apartment than staying in a hotel as it was cheaper this way.

 Sharing the bed room with my parents in the apartment.

My Parents-in-Law chilling out with the girls in the apartment's living room.

After we put our luggage in the apartment and rested for a couple hours, we had a steamboat dinner in Brinchang. While we're in a cold place like Cameron Highlands, nothing beats a boiling hot steamboat dinner. Too bad, that night I had irritating gastric pains that literally killed my appetite for the whole night. Duh!

Steamboat dinner: Before the mess began.

Moving on, we took turn with my Parents-in-Law and Brother-in-Law's family in checking out the night market opposite our apartment. When they're back from shopping some goodies and sweet corns at the night market, they helped us look after Baby Naomi in the apartment so my parents, husband and I could have some good time browsing souvenirs, fresh veggies and local food at the night market. God, it was the best arrangement not to carry the baby along when taking a stroll at the night market. It was a drizzly night, many people sold grilled food in the market (imagine the smell!) and the slope in front of our apartment made going down to the market such a really tricky journey (it was so steep!) and going back to the apartment almost felt like climbing a small mountain without a stick.

In the next morning, we had breakfast at BOH Tea Plantation's cafe. The tea plantation's view from the cafe was just surreal. My parents could not stop talking about this place which is actually Malaysia's biggest tea plantation.

Strawberry baby: Ready to beat the cold weather in Cameron Highlands.

Speaking about breakfast, their Nasi Lemak and warm Butter Bread were not bad, although they were a bit pricey. Sorry, forgot to take proper pictures of the food we ate. All of us immediately gorged the food when they're on our table. Very cold morning literally turned every one of us into a hungry bear.

The view from the cafe at BOH Tea Plantation.

Family picture minus Brother-in-Law.

After breakfast, Brother-in-Law took us to take a look at Kea Farm in Brinchang where local farmers and traders sell their crops, house plants and fresh flowers. My Mom and I had some 'aunty' time in sweeping mini plants and cactus in pots and fresh veggies there.

Can't get enough of buying the mini plants and cactus in the market.

See the size of the white radish that my MIL holds in this pic?

Once we're done with shopping at Kea Farm, we checked out from the apartment and continued our sightseeing trip to Big Red Strawberry Farm, which I've gone before. My parents really admired all the beautiful flowers and orchids that this farm sells and grows.

 Who is not tempted bringing home these pretty flowers?

They also had a really good time in exploring the strawberry and lettuce plantations. Who doesn't?

 The strawberry and carrot farms.

 The beautiful lettuce farms.

In the end, my Mom-in-Law, Mom and I went home with several new potted flower plants and orchids that we could not resist buying from this farm. Now and then, young and old - flowers are still every woman's real deal, yes?

 Shopping orchids: Our favourites.

My new orchids from my Mom.

Big Red Strawberry Farm marked the end of our Cameron Highlands trip with my husband's family and my parents before we finally hit the road to go home.

In summary, it was one meaningful short trip with family.

P/S: After 10 days stay in Malaysia, my parents went back to Indonesia this afternoon and I miss them already. Earlier today, I casually told my Dad that I felt a tad of sadness as they're going back to Indonesia today and I wanted to follow them. He responded "Why so sad? You got a cute company (re: Baby Naomi) already here." Fair enough. Can't wait to see them again in end of April.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Aloe Vera for Hair Loss Treatment

A while ago, I shared that I am currently experiencing serious post-partum hair loss. Weeks later, my hair loss problem isn't improving and to be honest, the amount of hair strands I shed everyday is really epic. Often times, I feel like crying because I really don't want to go bald!

Years ago, I've tried using various hair lotion, serum and cream to treat my mild hair loss but these commercial products didn't really work on me. Yesterday, I decided to try using pure aloe vera from my garden that is traditionally believed to work wonders in naturally promoting hair growth. No need to pay a bomb to get the benefits of this 'Mother of All Herbs and Plants'.

When I was a kid, my Mom, sister and I practised rubbing pure aloe vera flesh on our scalp (let's call it the cheap version of hair cream-bath at home!) and we had fun. I felt really nostalgic when I cut some aloe vera stalks in my garden with my Mom yesterday evening and apply their flesh on my scalp in front of her.

Fresh aloe vera from my garden for my hair.

Here are the simple steps to use pure aloe vera for hair loss treatment (external application):

  1. Cut some aloe vera stalks from the plant (or buy from a local supermarket or wet market, it shouldn't cost much!). The bigger/fatter aloe vera stalk we can get, the better. 
  2. Wash the aloe vera stalks. Slice off their thorny edges and leave the green skin intact so it's easier to hold them when applying them on our scalp.
  3. Cut the aloe vera stalk into smaller pieces and halve each piece open (see above picture).
  4. Gently rub its slimy translucent flesh on our scalp. Once done, massage our head thoroughly.
  5. Leave the aloe vera gel on our head for 20-30 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.

For best results, I think diligence is the key. I plan to do this regime once a week although I don't know whether this effort can cure my hair loss problem. Fingers crossed - hair loss, be gone. Forever.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Happy Lunar New Year!

The Year of Water Snake is finally here. I hope this year will bring prosperity, health, happiness and basically lots of good stars to everyone.

This year is our first time celebrating Chinese New Year with Baby Naomi. I dressed her in pre-loved bright pink cheongsam from my Sis-in-Law when we went to the annual Reunion Dinner with family two nights ago.

 Little Shanghai Doll just arrived at the Restaurant for the annual Reunion Dinner.

My Little Shanghai Doll celebrates her very first Chinese New Year.

And here are two pictures of food that my husband managed to snap during the Reunion Dinner. The rests of the dish went straight into our stomach way too fast, hence, no time for food picture taking.

Yusheng!

Five Fortunes Combination Platter.

In the past two days, Baby Naomi has been harvesting her angbaos from the elderly family members and other married relatives for the first time. Of course, her parents she happily received these red pockets.

Baby Naomi and her 2nd day red pockets harvest.

Anyway, Happy Chinese New Year everyone! Hope each and one of you have a good time with your family and friends during this holiday!

恭喜发财,身体健康,万事如意, 年年有余!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Teething

Babies sprout their first teeth since the dawn of time but do you know that a baby who shows her first white cap can really create breaking news amongst family and friends, as if teething never happened to other babies in this planet before this baby? Teething becomes a particularly top story to close relatives and friends usually if the baby is the first newborn, first/youngest grandchild in the family and considered an early developer when her first tooth appears for the first time.

8 February 2013 was the day when we found out that our baby was teething.

Baby Naomi is around 4.5 months old now and last night, I was so shocked when my husband screamed at me saying, "Ahhh! Baby has a tooth already! Come over and see this!". I quickly bent down and checked my baby's lower gum. Indeed, I saw her first tooth bud in her lower gum. I am not sure if I was supposed to be very happy with this milestone as I also felt a bit 'lazy' in entertaining a notoriously fussy teething baby. Anyway, teething will somehow happen to a baby sooner or later; so perhaps teething in such early age, although this is very common, might not be a bad thing after all.

Not long after my husband and I discovered our baby's first white cap, I texted my Dad, my sister and some close friends who are also new Moms. My husband dialled his Mom's cellphone and told her that her youngest grandchild is teething. Most of them are surprised to learn that Naomi sprouts her first tooth at only four months old plus of age. Significant milestone, eh?

My tiny baby is growing up so fast!

Anyway, heavy drooling and very excessive biting behaviour (teether to the rescue!) were some obvious teething symptoms that my baby experienced in the past few weeks. She's been having on-and-off mild runny nose too in the past week but this may not justify her new tooth arrival as when I asked the health assistant in the clinic last week - she says runny nose, low fever or flu are not the signs of teething.

When did your baby start getting his/her first tooth and what were the symptoms?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Making Snowy Peanut Butter Cookies

Chinese New Year (CNY) is coming exactly one week from today. Lots of people here in Malaysia have started shopping jars of cookies to usher in the upcoming Year of Water Snake.

My husband and I were browsing for some cookies for CNY in local supermarkets last week but we're a bit surprised to find out that a jar of cookies can be quite pricey. My husband suggested that perhaps I should bake a little bit of typical CNY cookies this year. These days, making pineapple tarts seems too troublesome for me to do; so this time around, I decided to make peanut butter cookies.

This afternoon I finally baked some peanut butter cookies for our home and the recipe I used is adapted from Anncoo Journal's Peanut Butter Cookies recipe.

My first attempt in making peanut butter cookies.

Snowy Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 200gr Unsalted butter, in room temperature
  • 160gr Peanut butter
  • 1tsp Vanilla extract
  • 150gr Icing sugar
  • 2 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 240gr Flour
  • 50gr Peanut, chopped and toasted (sangrai)
  • Some icing sugar for decoration

Tutorials:

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat butter, peanut butter and vanilla extract using low-speed electric mixer until everything is well mixed.
  2. Gradually add in the beaten eggs into the bowl, in few batches, and keep mixing well.
  3. Slowly pour the flour and chopped peanut into mixture and fold well using the rubber spatula.
  4. Mould the cookies dough into desired shape and bake the cookies in a preheated oven (160 degree Celsius) for about 15 minutes.
  5. Once the cookies are cooled, sift some icing sugar on top of the cookies to create the 'snowy' effect. If you prefer less sweet cookies, you might want to omit this step or reduce the amount of icing sugar for the cookies dough.
  6. Store the cookies in airtight container to maintain their freshness.

What do you bake for CNY this year?

I am submitting this post to Chinese New Year Delights 2013 hosted by Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover. This recipe can be seen in Sonia's CNY Delights Round Up (10).

Happy Lunar New Year, everyone. Huat Ah!

P/S: My Dad loves these peanut cookies and has been munching them whenever he has the chance.