Sunday, March 31, 2013

Making Baby Food: Pumpkin Purée

Pumpkin is highly loaded with Vitamin A, Beta Carotene and also good source of potassium, protein and iron. It is known as one of the great first foods for babies, at any time of the year.

Today, I tried giving pumpkin to my baby for the first time. My challenges when preparing pumpkin before puréeing were slicing a smaller piece of pumpkin from the whole fruit and peeling its hard skin off the flesh. It required heck lots of my energy to slice a pumpkin while its skin was still attached to the fruit and peeling its skin using a sharp knife was equally not an easy deed. I really admire people in the USA on their skills in beautifully carving raw pumpkins as flawless Halloween decorations, without hurting their fingers. Click this article to learn how to cut pumpkin, it may be useful. Anyhow, once the pumpkin's skin was peeled, it's so much easier to slice the flesh of pumpkin into smaller chunks.

As much as I dislike pumpkin as food, my baby loves it. One small bowl was not enough and she started making a cat-like noise when her bowl was empty and could not patiently wait until I offered her the second round.

Here's how I made the Pumpkin Purée today.

The lovable fruit for babies.

Pumpkin Purée
Suitable for babies aged 6 months old ++

Ingredients:

A slice of pumpkin
1-2 cup of water to boil or steam

Methods:

  1. Peel the skin of pumpkin and cut the pumpkin flesh into small chunks.
  2. Make sure that the pumpkin's seeds are already taken out.
  3. Boil or steam the pumpkin chunks for 20-30 minutes until soft and tender. The pumpkin flesh should feel soft when pressed.
  4. Mash the steamed or boiled pumpkin chunks in a baby bowl or grinder bowl with a spoon or fork. A well-cooked/steamed pumpkin is so easy to mash with fork/spoon.
  5. Feed the mashed pumpkin to baby when it's not too hot.

I learn that pumpkin turns brownish orange when cooked so don't sweat about it when you're about to feed it to your baby. On another note, I often hear that after eating pumpkin or sweet potato, babies would pass motion more often than usual but their stool should not be diarrhoea-like. This possibly happens because pumpkin and sweet potato are easily digestible for their little tummies and high in fibre too. Knowing this, I would not to feed my baby with sweet potato or pumpkin every day. In addition, too much beta carotene consumption is not good to their bodies either.

Need more information about using pumpkin as baby food? Read here.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Making Our Own Baby Food

When my baby was slightly older than 5 months old, I was so eager to introduce solids to her but was not quite sure on how to make one or what to introduce. To satisfy my curiosity, I bought a jar of fruit purée from local supermarket which label says suitable for 4-6 months old baby. I must say that my baby could take her first solid food very well and from then on, I started giving her mashed banana and pear purée every once in a while.

Next, on Naomi's last month's appointment with the clinic, her nurse briefed me on what food I should introduce to Naomi when she hits 6 months old and how to prepare them. Also, she advised me to avoid feeding Naomi with instant baby food or instant infant cereal available in the market because they contain chemicals and told me that it's best to make home-made baby food for Naomi every day.

At that time, I thought I would just start feeding my baby with home-made soft rice porridge when she's 7-8 months old (because cooking rice porridge everyday sounded like another time-consuming and demanding task in my already busy life) and planned to just finish two cans of instant infant cereal that I've bought few months back. Nevertheless, after pondering over what the nurse said to me and my fellow Mommies' pearls of wisdom when it comes to feeding solids to baby, I decided to just use instant infant cereal during emergency or travels and instead, cook home-made soft rice porridge with different vegetables to my baby every single day.

Fast forward, in the past two weeks, my new morning routine after I brush my teeth, wash my sleepy face with cold tap water and put contact lenses on my blurry eyes is going straight to my kitchen to defrost a little bit of frozen beef and start cutting the vegetables-of-the-day for Naomi's rice porridge. I completely quit being lazy in preparing fresh home-made food to my baby and actually feel a tad of guilt every time I have to feed her with instant infant food when I'm not convenient to cook.

So, you ask, why bother making home-made baby food?

Truth is, making fruit purées or plain rice porridge for baby is not that difficult and complicated (although it does take 45 mins to 1 hour a day to prepare and cook a small pan of rice porridge). It is doable and the sky is the limit when it comes to varying the daily menu with different fruits and vegetables. I love exploring new recipes for my baby's food and am always excited in shopping and testing new veggies for Naomi's rice porridge.

The fresh produce I bought for my baby. 
However, I also cook part of them for my husband and myself 
as these are way too much to feed a young baby.

I can vary my baby's menu every day to make sure that she gets enough nutritions from various fruits and vegetables on her daily solid food.

I can save money by making home-made baby food. Fresh vegetables for a week stock cost less than or around RM10 and 250gr of beef worth RM5 can actually be frozen and then mixed with porridge for 10-12 days' feed. By making home-made baby food, I can control the portion of ingredients that I use every day based on how much solids intake my baby consumes in a day and minimize the potential waste of food. Home-made food is still the most economical food of all.

Buying various of vegetables for my baby.

Best of all, I know what I exactly feed to my baby. I've checked the nutritional values and safety of each fruit choice or vegetable that I put into Naomi's porridge in magazines or other reliable online sources. I can make sure that all the vegetables and fruits are cleanly washed before I cook or purée them. The skin and excess fat of the meat I use for cooking her porridge are always trimmed. I ensure that the porridge is soft enough before I feed that to my little foodie. I maintain my baby food's freshness very well by never keeping any rice porridge overnight. On top of that, I can confirm that I put no MSG, harmful chemicals, salt and other seasoning into my baby's food.

Lastly, I actually learn tons of new knowledge from preparing home-made food for my baby as somehow I need to do preliminary research before making baby food and am forced to read and ask around a lot of useful information about food, health, baby food preparation and recipes.

A happy and healthy baby is every Mom's wish.

To conclude, Moms, let's just go to the DIY route in making baby food! It's for our babies' ultimate well-being anyway!

Want to get instant updates on the various baby food that I prepare to my baby every day? Please follow my Instagram account. If you wish to know the recipes I use in making my baby's solid food, read them here.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Making Baby Food: Rice Porridge with Green Beans, Spinach and Beef

Green beans scream calcium. I tried mixing some chopped green beans into my baby rice porridge today and my baby didn't find any problem in accepting this veggie. Or maybe babies around 6 months old of age just don't understand much on tastes and are generally not so picky yet.

Loving green vegetables.

Rice Porridge with Green Beans, Spinach and Beef
Suitable for babies aged 6 months old ++

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of (organic) rice, well rinsed
  • 8-10 (organic) spinach leaves, cleanly washed 
  • 2-3 strings (organic) green beans, washed
  • 5-6 small chunks of (organic) beef/diced beef, cleanly washed
  • Water

Methods:

  1. Snap the tips of green beans and chop them into small pieces.
  2. In a pan, pour rice, green bean pieces, spinach leaves and beef chunks together. Add lots of water into the pan and cook the porridge in small-medium fire for about 15 minutes. Occasionally stir the porridge and add more water. Keep cooking this porridge for another 20-30 minutes until congee's consistency is achieved (rice turns soft and breaks down), the green beans become softer and the spinach leaves turn tender and all the vegetables' colour turn brownish green.
  3. Before serving this congee to baby, take few spoons of the congee (rice, green beans and spinach leaves) and place them in a blender or run them in a strainer. 
  4. Feed the cereal-like rice porridge to baby when it's not too hot.

Soft rice porridge with green beans, spinach and beef.

I don't have any blender at home so I always run the rice porridge in a strainer before feeding it to my baby. I use the beef chunks in cooking the porridge to extract its flavour and nutrients whilst also giving meat aroma to the somewhat plain rice porridge.

Need more nutritional information and recipes in using green beans for baby food? Read more about it here.

Naomi: 6 Months Old

Baby Naomi is 6 months old and 8 days today and it's been a while since I last updated my blog with her development milestones.

Exactly 6 months old when these pictures were taken.

Baby Naomi loves to blow a raspberry since few weeks ago and although we found this ability quite cute in the beginning; this skill is now pretty much irritating especially if there's food in her mouth.

She still loves smiling and her smile usually melts adults' hearts.

1,2,3...Smile!

Overall, she is still a camera-savvy baby.

I'm ready when you're ready snapping my picture.

She still sports two teeth on her bottom gum.

She now can roll her body over unassisted and effortlessly from back to front and back to front. In fact, the first thing she does when she opens her eyes every single morning is rolling over. Thank God there is a baby cot. Putting clothes or diaper on her has become a difficult task as she constantly rolls over. During the day, my husband or I have to pay a close attention to Baby Naomi as she rolls over very fast and we don't want her to fall down or hit something.

She is an expert in bouncing up and down. This said, she loves being held in standing position so she can repeatedly bounce and use my thighs as her platform.

She has yet to be able to sit all by herself without support. She'll surely topple after two seconds of sitting all by herself.

She grabs everything and anything she can get her eyes and paws on. Scary. Once she gets something on her hands, she will put that thing into her mouth in no time.

Baby Naomi's language skills are soaring these days. Her latest vocabulary is Pa Pa Pa Pa Pa and of course, this particular milestone makes my husband flies straight to cloud nine whenever he hears his little girl says this line.

Self-pictures with Dad.

Baby Naomi was famous for being a little social butterfly until last Sunday when we started noticing that now she can recognize people and cries bloody murder when strangers try to talk to her.

She's such a good hang-out buddy for my husband and me. I guess we are so used with her being around now.

She understands playing with toys and can entertain herself with some soft toys, rattles or teether during her tummy time. Baby toys and teether are now must-have items in my diaper bag whenever we leave the house.

She loves hearing me singing same-old baby songs over and over again so last night, I finally recorded my diva voice singing in iPhone's Voice Memo so either my husband or I can play the songs I sang whenever one of us is not free to sing.

Sing again, Mom!

She eats home-made soft rice porridge twice a day, fruit puree once a day (provided if I keep the fruit stock) and drinks formula milk 5-6 times a day. I spare 45 mins to 1 hour every morning to cook her rice porridge. I also let Baby Naomi munch a small piece of baby biscuit once in a while.

She naps once in late morning and once more in late afternoon. Her good night sleep usually begins around midnight andon some crazy nights, she only starts snoozing at 2am. Normally, she wakes up at 5am or 6am for milk before continuing her slumber again until around 9am.

Her weight is 8.6kg and length is 70cm as of yesterday.

Oh how much different she is from 3 months ago. No, from a month ago.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Making Baby Food: Rice Porridge with Sweet Potato, Spinach and Beef

Sweet potato is high in Vitamin A, Beta Carotene and Potassium. Spinach is an excellent source of Calcium and Iron. Marrying these two delicious golden vegetable and wonderful leafy green makes a palatable baby food that packs lots of nutrients.

I included sweet potato and spinach into my baby's rice porridge today and Wow. Just Wow. She finished her small bowl of porridge in no time. I guess it must have been the sweet tastes from the sweet potato that did the trick.

Give me more, Mama!

Rice Porridge with Sweet Potato, Spinach and Beef
Suitable for babies aged 6 months old ++

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of (organic) rice, well rinsed
  • 8-10 (organic) spinach leaves, cleanly washed 
  • 1/2 small (organic) sweet potato, peeled and washed
  • 5-6 small chunks of (organic) beef/diced beef, cleanly washed
  • Water

Methods:

  1. Cut or slice sweet potato into small chunks.
  2. In a pan, pour rice, sweet potato chunks, spinach leaves and beef chunks together. Add lots of water into the pan and cook the porridge in small-medium fire for about 15 minutes. Occasionally stir the porridge and add more water. Keep cooking this porridge for another 20-30 minutes until congee's consistency is achieved (rice turns soft and breaks down), the sweet potato chunks become soft and the spinach leaves turn tender and their colour turns brownish green.
  3. Before serving this congee to baby, take few spoons of the congee (rice, sweet potato chunks and spinach leaves) and place them in a blender or run them in a strainer. 
  4. Feed the cereal-like rice porridge to baby when it's not too hot.

Soft rice porridge mixed with sweet potato, spinach and beef.

Don't forget to stir the porridge as often as you can during the cooking process. I just made a pan of burnt porridge yesterday simply because I didn't stir it often enough and was too busy doing other stuff far from my kitchen. Needless to say, I had to throw all the porridge away. What a waste.

Need more information and recipes in making baby food using sweet potatoes? Check this article out. Also, read more about mixing spinach into baby food from this article.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Making Baby Food: Rice Porridge with Broccoli and Beef

I tried to use a little bit of broccoli as vegetable variation in my baby's rice porridge yesterday. Broccoli is undoubtedly a super food among super foods but I must say that it does smell pretty funky when processed as baby food.

Anyhow, although it's pretty smelly when cooked in my baby's rice porridge, I was surprised to learn that my baby apparently had no problem with its smell and still opened her mouth widely whenever I offered her this porridge.

Bro bro bro bro bro bro cco li.

Rice Porridge with Broccoli and Beef
Suitable for babies aged 6 months old ++

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of (organic) rice, well rinsed
  • 3-5 (organic) broccoli florets, soaked with cool water mixed with a bit salt then cleanly washed 
  • 5-6 small chunks of (organic) beef/diced beef, cleanly washed
  • Water

Methods:

  1. Remove broccoli stems and chops its florets finely.
  2. In a pan, pour rice, chopped broccoli florets and beef chunks together. Add lots of water into the pan and cook the porridge in small-medium fire for about 15 minutes. Occasionally stir the porridge and add more water. Keep cooking this porridge for another 20-30 minutes until congee's consistency is achieved (rice turns soft and breaks down).
  3. Before serving this congee to baby, take few spoons of the congee (rice and broccoli) and place them in a blender or run them in a strainer. 
  4. Feed the cereal-like rice porridge to baby when it's not too hot.

Naomi's first soft rice porridge with broccoli and beef.

Need more tips in using broccoli as baby food? Read more about it here. If you are not sure about the range of vegetables that you can begin to introduce to your little foodie, it's worth talking to your paediatrician first.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Making Baby Food: Mashed Papaya

Papaya is sweet, tasty and packed with folate and vitamin C. The fruit is widely available in tropical countries like Malaysia and Indonesia and considerably cheap. Papaya is quite easy to be processed into simple home-made baby food, such as mashed banana. No blender or other electrical machine is required to make mashed papaya, unless you prefer to steam the fruit first before offering it to your baby.

I made a little bit of mashed papaya to my little foodie and I am amazed with how quick baby Naomi finished her first small bowl of mashed papaya. No fuss and no playing with food in her mouth.

Little foodie enjoying her first papaya.

Mashed Papaya

Ingredients:

1 slice of fully ripened papaya, peeled and seeds removed

Methods:

  1. Cut papaya into small chunks.
  2. Mash the papaya chunks with fork or spoon in a bowl or grinder bowl. A really ripened papaya should be easy to be mashed with fork or spoon.
  3. Feed the mashed papaya to baby immediately to maintain its freshness.

Some parents prefer to introduce papaya as later baby food, so you might want to check with your paediatrician before feeding papaya to your baby.

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

Making Baby Food: Rice Porridge with Spinach and Beef

Today is the second day that I feed my baby with home-made soft rice porridge. I purposely woke up earlier than usual this morning to defrost the frozen beef before making my baby's rice porridge. I am not a big eater of pork and never actually keep pork in my fridge, so I used beef again for my baby's porridge. Also, since yesterday I already fed my baby with carrot bits, I chose to mix some spinach leaves in her rice porridge today.

Green veg is so good!

Rice Porridge with Spinach and Beef
Suitable for babies aged 6 months old ++

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of (organic) rice, well rinsed
  • 8-10 (organic) spinach leaves, cleanly washed 
  • 5-6 small chunks of (organic) beef/diced beef, cleanly washed
  • Water

Methods:

  1. In a pan, pour rice, spinach leaves and beef chunks together. Add lots of water into the pan and cook the porridge in small-medium fire for about 15 minutes. Occasionally stir the porridge and add more water. Keep cooking this porridge for another 20-30 minutes until congee's consistency is achieved (rice turns soft and breaks down) and the spinach leaves turn tender and their colour turns brownish green.
  2. Before serving this congee to baby, take few spoons of the congee (rice and spinach leaves) and place them in a blender or run them in a strainer. 
  3. Feed the cereal-like rice porridge to baby when it's not too hot.

Naomi's first soft rice porridge with spinach and beef.

I was a bit busy this morning so my husband helped me feed our baby with this porridge. I was so happy to know that Baby Naomi finished half a small bowl of this porridge.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Making Baby Food: Rice Porridge with Carrot and Beef

Baby Naomi turned 6 months old yesterday and this means that she officially can eat solids.

I have actually started feeding her with mashed banana, pear purée and instant cereal since a couple weeks ago, but I guess it's time for me to feed her with real home-made porridge enriched with various vegetables and meat nutrients.

Today, I made her very first introductory (very soft) rice porridge/congee, cooked with some carrot bits in beef broth. I understand that we are not supposed to add any seasoning to baby food until he or she is at least 6 months old, so I sort of made Naomi's rice porridge plain.

I made too much of this porridge, so my husband and I ended up eating almost half of the porridge that I made for our baby as her little tummy surely won't be able to take so much solids at the moment. Here's how I made the rice porridge for Baby Naomi this morning and I was glad to learn that she accepts this baby food very well.

Nom-nom. You want?

Rice Porridge with Carrot and Beef
Suitable for babies aged 6 months old ++

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of (organic) rice, well rinsed
  • 1 slice of (organic) carrot, cleanly washed then shredded or cut in tiny bits
  • 5-6 small chunks of (organic) beef/diced beef, cleanly washed
  • Water

Methods:

  1. In a pan, pour rice, carrot bits and beef chunks together. Add lots of water into the pan and cook the porridge in small-medium fire for about 15 minutes. Occasionally stir the porridge and add more water. Keep cooking this porridge for another 20-30 minutes until congee's consistency is achieved (rice turns soft and breaks down) and the carrot bits become very tender.
  2. Before serving this congee to baby, take few spoons of the congee (rice and carrot bits) and place them in a blender or run them in a strainer. 
  3. Feed the cereal-like rice porridge to baby when it's not too hot.

Naomi's first soft rice porridge with carrots and beef.

This recipe makes about half medium pan of porridge so if you plan to make smaller portion for your baby, reduce the amount of the above stated ingredients. I plan to change the veggie for my baby's rice porridge every day because too much beta carotenes from carrots does no good to our body. So let's keep carrot consumption moderately.

By the way, I stop feeding Baby Naomi with her porridge or any other solids once she starts playing with the food in her mouth in few continuous bites. I reckon that's how she says "Enough with the food, Mom! I am full already."

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Making Klepon

Klepon is traditional mini rice cakes popular in Indonesia. It is green in colour, usually flavoured with pandan paste, boiled, stuffed with liquid palm sugar and rolled in fresh grated coconut.

Now, picture a rainy afternoon and you sip a cup of hot tea accompanied by some delicious rice balls that burst with fragrant sweetness once you bite each and one of them. Heavenly, yes?

Anyway, I saw someone posted homemade klepon picture in Instagram last night and I instantly wanted to make some too! I quickly browsed klepon recipe in the internet and when my baby was napping this afternoon, I made my very own klepon.

My first attempt in making Klepon.

Klepon

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups Glutinous Rice Flour (Tepung Ketan)
  • 3/4 cup Lukewarm water/coconut juice, mixed with few spoons of pandan paste/juice
  • Few drops of green coloring
  • 8 tbs Grated palm sugar (Gula Melaka/Gula Kelapa)
  • 1 cup Fresh grated coconut, steamed for 15-20 mins
  • Some glutinous rice flour (Tepung Ketan), for coating

Tutorials:

  1. In a large bowl, mix glutinous rice flour with lukewarm water and green colouring and knead until the dough doesn't stick to the bowl.
  2. Take one teaspoon of dough; roll it to make a one-inch ball using palms of our hands.
  3. Press a finger into the centre of the ball to make a hole and fill it with a little bit of grated palm sugar. Seal the hole and roll back into a ball shape. 
  4. Coat each ball with glutinous rice flour so it doesn't stick to each other. Repeat step 2, 3 and 4 until all dough is finished. Set aside.
  5. Bring to boil a pot of water.
  6. Pour the balls into the boiling water. Once they float, take all the balls out and roll them into the grated coconut.
** This recipe makes about 25-30 balls and it takes about 1 hour to make them.

Home-made Klepon.

Easy, right? If you are Indonesians overseas, you might want to make klepon on your own to satisfy your cravings!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Let Me Sing-A-Ling-A-Ling for You

In my adult life, I never fancied and bothered listening to nursery rhymes songs. I always thought that most of the one-paragraph-long nursery songs' lyrics are so repetitive, meaningless and a bit silly. On top of that, I found that quite many of the songs' melodies are horrendously annoying, especially if sung by kiddos who have natural talents in shrieking or screaming obnoxiously and technically just can't sing very well.

Nursery rhymes songs are so cool!
Being able to sing lots of those songs makes me even a cooler Mom!

Who knows that right after I became a mother, I turned into a person who is obsessed with traditional lullabies and nursery rhymes songs? I sing to my baby every single day, except when I lose my voice due to severe throat infection. I ain't a good singer, never consider singing as a hobby and often sing in scratchy and off-the-key tunes but I think my baby loves my singing! My baby smiles when I sing to her and sometimes my singing magically lulls her to sleep too. Therefore, since I discovered that singing provides good mother-baby bonding, I was so keen in cultivating my singing baby songs skill. Also, I understand that singing may help the development of the child's language skills. So, why not singing baby songs? 

In the past few months, I started digging, researching and practising some old Indonesian traditional kiddie songs that were once taught during my kindergarten years. Although I still remember few of signature Indonesian kiddie songs' melodies but I already forgot almost all the lyrics. As a result, I had to ask my sister, Mom, best friends and Google to tell me the songs' lyrics so I can properly sing one whole song to my baby. If you ask me now, I already got the knack of more than 10 Indonesian kiddie songs, which mostly talk about animals, off the top of my head. Not bad, right?

Then, how about my abilities in singing English kiddie/baby songs? Growing up with English as second language and practically only learned this language for the first time when I was in junior high-school, I had zero knowledge of English baby/kiddie songs. I didn't even know the lyrics of Mary Had A Little Lamb until few years ago. Recently, I began downloading (and purchasing) iPhone English kid’s songs apps and trying to memorize every song's lyrics. I pushed my determination to the limit when it comes to learning English baby songs so my baby would be familiar with English baby songs at early age. With that, I now proudly announce that I can sing Do Re Mi, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Naomi's favourite ) and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star pretty well. I am also currently in the midst of mastering traditional lullaby songs, which actually are quite useful in soothing fussy little souls. Parenthood indeed involves lots of learning, doesn't it?

Last night, I heard Sing-A-Ling song for the first time and realized how cool this song is. Its melody is somewhat cute and the rhythmical lyric is so catchy. I played the song in my iPhone over and over again and rehearsed sing-a-ling-ing this song nearly ten times until my husband commented, "Hey there! This song is so annoying!" I ignored him and carried on with my practice because I wanted to sing-a-ling-a-ling some thing-a-ling-a-ling new for my baby so bad.

Seemingly, I've been sing-a-ling-ing this song way too much last night and I woke up with lots of sing-a-ling-a-ling words flying around my head this morning. I am so under the Sing-A-Ling spells and just can't get the sing-a-ling-a-ling out of my head.

Do you sing-a-ling-a-ling to your baby too?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Making Lemon Chicken

These days, I have spent more time in my kitchen cooking, not baking. As I am now quite busy with my baby, I only reserve weekends to bake cakes or cookies, provided if I have the mood and energy. So, yes, I thought it's probably a bad idea to waste my brand new kitchen for washing dirty dishes only. Thus, I explore cooking.

Anyway, before my husband and I moved to our new house, I didn't really fancy cooking and would rather eat outside. However, I don't know why, recently I found the joy in cooking - chopping fresh veggies and meat, mixing and seasoning them in a hot wok. Perhaps the only thing that I don't quite enjoy when cooking is washing a mountain of dirty cooking utensils.

Further, since I got an unused lemon in my fridge and it was going to rot any time soon, I wanted to utilize it for cooking something for our dinner tonight. Without much contemplation, I decided to cook Lemon Chicken for dinner and I adapted the recipe from Rasa Malaysia's recipe.

My first trial of making Lemon Chicken.

Lemon Chicken

Ingredients:


  • 1 Whole skinless chicken breast, cut stripes or cubes
  • 1/4 cup Flour mixed with 1 tbs corn starch
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 1 tbs Light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbs Shaoxing wine (Cooking rice wine), optional
  • 1 tbs Corn starch
  • A pinch of pepper
  • Fresh lemon juice from 3/4 small to medium lemon
  • 3-4 tbs Sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 5 tbs Water
  • 1 tsp Corn starch mixed with 3-4 tsp water

Tutorials:

  1. Marinate chicken stripes with light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, pepper and corn starch for 30 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Once the chicken stripes are marinated, coat them with flour and corn starch mixture.
  3. Deep fry the chicken stripes until golden brown. Transfer the fried chicken stripes in a plate covered with kitchen towels to absorb the excess oil. Set aside.
  4. Bring to boil fresh lemon juice, sugar, water and a pinch of salt in a sauce pan on small fire. Mix well. Then, slowly add the corn starch liquid into the lemon sauce until the desired consistency is achieved (not too runny, not to thick). Bring to simmer.
  5. Transfer the fried chicken stripes into the lemon sauce. Gently stir everything to evenly coat the fried chicken stripes with lemon sauce.
  6. Garnish the dish with some slices of fresh lemon and/or simple coleslaw salad. Serve the dish with warm steamed rice. 

Lemon Chicken served with simple coleslaw salad.

I consider that my today's cooking was generally successful. My husband commented that the Lemon Chicken I cooked tasted actually more original than the ones bought from Chinese restaurants outside. The only mistake I made today was using squeezed lemon juice from almost the whole lemon and my sauce was a tad too sour. Nevertheless, everything went pretty nice. The chicken was crunchy and not too chewy. The citrusy lemon sauce tasted fresh and tart.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Featured in BabyTalk Malaysia Magazine's March 2013 Issue

This whole week, I literally searched high and low for BabyTalk Malaysia Magazine's latest issue. I exactly remember I went to four different book stores in Seremban in four days in a row just to find out whether this magazine's March 2013 issue's already in the news-stand. To my disappointment, it was not. This month, BabyTalk Magazine arrived late in Seremban.

Anyway, I didn't give up searching and yesterday, I checked another book store once more and was so happy (plus anxious at the same time) to see that this month's issue is finally right in front of my eyes!

I was even more happier to see that my short opinion and picture are featured on the magazine's page 8 under the "Mummy Says" section.

Yay! Baby Naomi and I are featured under the "Mummy Says" again.

By the way, my husband already thinks that I'm crazy for not giving up in searching the latest issue of BabyTalk magazine and thinking about this magazine's arrival day and night.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

March Giveaway: 2 Sets of Baby Products

March 2013 is the month when I mark my 6th month of surviving motherhood that I truly enjoy and cherish (although on another note, I must admit that motherhood is not an easy job). Time flies very fast and my little first-born is turning 6 months old in a couple of weeks.

My little girl is getting bigger!

With that, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all my blog readers, especially those who have been following my first pregnancy and motherhood journeys thus far and those who've been sharing their experiences and parenting tips via blog comments or personal messages on Facebook to me (**Thank you for your friendship, guys!**).

To show my appreciation to you, I am giving away 2 SETS of Looney Tunes' Baby Bowl with Grinder and Teether. Psst... My Twitter and Instagram followers got the heads up of this giveaway last night, so if you want to be my Twitter and Instagram followers too, be my guest!

Join this giveaway now!

Anyway, if you are new Mom like me, you'd definitely find the bowls and teether that I am giving away useful. I personally love the Looney Tunes' baby bowl because its grinder is very useful for making home-made mashed banana or fruit purée for my baby, has cute design, comes with bowl lid and baby spoon too. Also, the teether is an important soothing tool for every baby during his/her transition in showcasing gummy grin to a mouthful of gleaming teeth, so parents should keep at least one teether for their teething babies.

Wait... What if you are not a Mom yet or you are a Mom of a toddler instead of a baby, should you join this giveaway too? Yes, yes, yes! If that is the case, you might want to just win this contest for your future baby and consider these as a small 'investment' for your coming little bundle of joy. Else, you might just want to win this set for your friend's baby or your nephew/niece. Good idea?

How to enter this mini giveaway contest:
  1. LIKE the Wanderer's Journal's Facebook Page, if you have not already.
  2. SHARE this giveaway contest on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email. 
  3. LEAVE A COMMENT below this blog post and tell me: Your name, the country/part of the country where you reside and selected set to be won (Pink/Blue) **One person, one entry please**
Easy peasy, right? 

Some notes:
  • This giveaway is open to Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia based readers only.
  • This contest ends on Tuesday, 12 March 2013, 11.59pm, Malaysia time.
  • Two (2) winners will be randomly selected and the names will be announced on 13 March 2013. Be sure to return to my blog next week to check the results.

Have fun with this giveaway and good luck, everyone! 

Thank you for your support!

[Added on March 13th, 2013]

Hello, guys.

I am pleased to announce the 2 lucky winners of this giveaway:

(1) Aulia from Indonesia
(2) Erlina from Singapore

Winners, please claim your prize by sending me your email address within 2 weeks' time (from this announcement's date) so I can send the prize to your mailing address.

Thank you for participating in this giveaway, everyone!

Making Baby Food: Golden Pear Purée

Last night I took a stroll at a local supermarket and bumped into the rack where the supermarket sells jars of instant organic baby food. I was so tempted to get one jar of Pear Purée (suitable for babies aged 4 months old ++) for baby Naomi, but then I remembered the advice from the clinic's health assistant who is in charge for Naomi's monthly health check. She said if I were to prepare fruit purée for my baby, it's best to make one at home instead of buying the instant ones because instant baby food in the market generally contains preservatives and other chemicals. She mentioned that I can use banana, (steamed) apple or pear as fruit choices for baby food.

In the end, I decided to put the instant baby food back to its rack and went to the perishables' department where I bought one golden pear home.

I made pear purée at home earlier today and fed it to Naomi. She loved it and angrily screamed when her bowl was empty. She wanted for more but I gave her no more. Pear purée is so sweet and delicious that is hard for any baby to resist (I tasted it and I actually liked it too). Pear is high in fiber, potassium, vitamin C and gentle on tummy too. To find out more about the pear benefits as baby food, read here.

Here's how I prepared the pear purée for my baby today:

Making home-made pear purée for the first time.

(Golden) Pear Purée

Ingredients:

A slice of pear
1-2 cup of water to steam

Methods:

  1. Peel the pear.
  2. Dice or cut the pear into small chunks and make sure that the pear's core and seeds are already taken out.
  3. Steam the pear chunks for 15-20 minutes until soft and tender. I tried to double boil the pear but it didn't work. Steaming is the best and fastest way to do this.
  4. Mash the steamed pear chunks in a baby bowl or grinder bowl with a spoon or fork. If the pear is hard to mash with a fork than it probably needs more time in the steamer. A well-cooked/steamed pear is so easy to mash with fork/spoon.
  5. Feed the steamed and mashed pear to baby when it's not too hot.

Can you tell how much she loves eating fruits?

Making pear purée for baby takes longer time to prepare than making mashed banana. Therefore, make sure  you start making this food about half an hour before your baby's meal time otherwise, he/she won't have enough patience to wait you finish steaming the pear.

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

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Making Lemon Chocolate Swirl Cake

After looking at My Kitchen Snippets' latest recipe on Pandan Marble Butter Cake, I was bitten by baking bugs again. Today, I finally managed to find the time and energy to quickly bake a cake again and am very happy with today's cake result. However, instead of making making a marble cake using pandan as per the original recipe, I used lemon. Why? Because my pandan plant in my garden is wilted and almost dry after my Mom transferred the plant into a new pot two weeks ago. Also, I missed the taste of Lemon Cake that I baked long time ago.

Here's the modified recipe that I used to bake my lemon cake today.

 My first attempt in baking lemon chocolate swirl butter cake.

Lemon Chocolate Swirl Cake

Ingredients:

  • 125gr Unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 125gr Margarine
  • 180gr Sugar
  • 5 Eggs
  • 250gr Flour
  • 1.5 tsp Baking powder
  • 80ml Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Cocoa powder for dusting
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • Squeezed juice of 1 lemon
  • Orange or yellow food colouring

Tutorials:


  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degree Celcius. Sieve flour and baking powder, set aside.
  2. Cream butter, margarine and sugar until light and fluffy using high-speed electric mixer, scraping the side of the bowl occasionally.
  3. Add eggs into the cake batter one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla essence, fresh lemon juice and grated lemon rind into the cake batter.
  4. Fold the flour mixture and milk into the cake batter in three batches, using rubber spatula.
  5. Divide cake batter into two portions: Plain portion and another portion with few drops of orange or yellow food colouring.
  6. Spoon few dollops of both cake batters in a greased and lined baking pan. Dust it with cocoa powder using a sifter. Repeat the same methods for the rest of the cake batter.
  7. Tap the baking pan on kitchen counter's top for few times to even out the batter.
  8. Bake the cake in a preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake's centre comes clean.
  9. Once done, remove the cake from oven and let it cool for 5 minutes before serving it.

Citrusy soft cake.

This cake is soft, fragrant and not so sweet. I used loaf pan to bake this cake but I ended baking two loaves of this cake as one loaf pan cannot contain the above cake batter. Therefore, one loaf of this cake will go to my Mother-in-Law later today.

When my husband was eating a slice of this cake, suddenly he stopped and said, "Hey, this cake is nice. You might want to keep the recipe." I grinned.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Home Tuition: Making the Best Learning Choice for Our Kids

After-school tutoring classes played crucial parts in my younger life. If I do the maths correctly, my parents constantly put me in after-school tutoring classes for the whole 12 years of my schooling time, right from elementary school to senior high-school. My after-school tutoring classes ranged from subjects such as mathematics, physics and chemistry which I was behind as I was never good with numbers, to additional foreign languages such as English and Mandarin which I eventually excelled. I vividly remember that when I was a child, I was so busy. On top of spending 6-8 hours sitting in school from Monday to Saturday, every day I had to spend another 2-3 hours in after-school tutoring classes to catch up with my morning school lessons.

Before I continued with my childhood experience on after-school tutoring classes, here’s my top secret embarrassing confession: I always brought home monthly bad report cards when I was in my elementary school and my Dad was always furious looking at my school report cards. Back then, I did not know the art of studying for tests or exams at home. I just did not know! My report cards tended to be on ‘fire’ (more red marks than blue marks) and I was always terrified to go home and see my Dad whenever the report card was distributed. My teachers often called my Dad to school to personally discuss my academic performance and this indeed made him really embarrassed too. Now you know why my parents had to put me in after-school tutoring classes, right?

Anyway, my parents changed private tutors for me countless times. Sometimes there were tutors coming to our house to give me extra lessons or help me cope with my homework. Most of the times, my Dad, riding his motor bike, had to send me to the tutor’s house which was quite a distance from our home – rain or shine. Finding the right tutors for me was not that simple - sometimes the tutors were fully booked, too expensive or their houses were just too far from where we lived! In short, surviving in a top private school Indonesia is not an easy business for both kids and parents. Everything was about grades and academic ranking by the end every school term. But hey, my academic life got better and brighter as I entered Junior high school; I did very well in school and was always in the Top 10 student list until my university years. And yes, you are now reading a scholar’s writing. *wink-wink*

Moving on, after spending more than 2 years in Malaysia, I noticed the same pattern between after-school tutoring programs in Indonesia and Malaysia. Children in primary school in Malaysia are, too, already bound to spend more hours in after-school tutoring classes every day to make sure that they cope well in their school. I bet they'd still have to do this for the next 10-11 years or so. My nephew and niece who are now in Primary 2 take extra lessons in after-school tutoring classes, from general academic lessons to art class. On weekends, one of them has to take extra lessons in Olympic Mathematics which honestly, I have no idea what it’s all about as compared to the common mathematics. Another instance, my neighbour’s kid who's just entered primary school earlier this year is sent to Mandarin classes every day after school because his family doesn't speak Mandarin at home and the parents want to make sure that the boy can survive in his Chinese primary school. Guess what, their parents have to take trouble in sending these kids to the tutors’ houses or tutoring venues every day and it’s not that easy to find good tutors for them either.

Recently, I came across a website called HomeTuitionJob where parents and students can find good quality home tutors. Say good bye to all the pains in finding private tutors for your kids and all the troubles in being stuck in traffic jam when sending your kids to the tutors’ houses or picking them home during busy hours.

HomeTuitionJob is a reliable online market place where home tutors and students meet and match. Parents or students can find good quality home tutors on various subjects (such as mathematics, English, swimming, music, etc.), within their proximity, in just few clicks away. 

For parents or students: 
Select your location, find tutors whose backgrounds, profiles and tuition rates 
match your needs then start hiring them.

On the other hand, teachers, tutors or graduates who are keen to earn more money can also post their profiles and tutoring services in this website to reach more students or parents who need their assistance. 

For tutors: After you sign up, 
start finding tutoring jobs within your area that are posted by parents or students.

Easy and convenient, yes? 

Is this website only available in Malaysia? The answer is no! HomeTuitionJob has recently expanded its reach to cover Singapore home tuition and India's home tuition industry too. Isn't it wonderful?

 HomeTuitionJob website for Singapore.

HomeTuitionJob website for India.

Therefore, parents, hesitate no more and start signing up at HomeTuitionJob website to browse and hire good quality home-tutors for your kids. Students, hop over to HomeTuitionJob website to find home tutors who can help you excel in school. Finally, potential tutors, do register your profiles in this website as soon as possible to view the available tutoring jobs within your location and earn extra money!

Last but not least, don't forget to connect with HomeTuitionJob in Facebook.

Good luck, everyone!