Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Making Raisin Buns with Butter and Sugar

When my parents visited me last week, I spared some time to bake them some home-made bread so they know how my bread, that is kneaded with bread maker, tastes like. Previously, I could only show off my bread photos to my Mom via Whatsapp or BBM so I was quite happy that they were finally in Malaysia and I could bake something for them.

The first bread that I made for my parents last week was Raisin Buns with Butter and Sugar which recipe I adapted from here. My Dad and Mom enjoyed the buns for snack and my Dad was very excited to eat the home-made buns that used no preservatives at all.


So here's the recipe that I used:

Raisin Buns with Butter and Sugar

Ingredients:

200gr Bread Flour
15gr Condensed milk 
120ml Milk
1 Egg white
20gr Sugar
1/8 tsp Salt
1 tsp Yeast
20 gr Unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla extract
20-30gr Raisins
10gr Unsalted butter, cold and divided into 4-6 pieces (depending on your bread shape)
Some sugar, for sprinkle
1 Egg yolk and 1 tsp of Milk, for egg wash

Methods:

1. Double boil or heat fresh milk and condensed milk in a heat-resistant bowl until lukewarm.

2. As per the general bread maker function: Place fresh milk, condensed milk, vanilla extract, egg white, sugar and salt first in the bread maker.

3. Pour the bread flour then make a small hole in the flour.

4. Put the yeast in the flour hole (make sure the yeast is not in contact with the liquid ingredients before kneading).

5. Turn your bread machine on (I use the basic program). Once the mixture has turned into a dough, add the (room temperature) butter in. If you think the dough is too wet, add 1-2 tbs flour, as needed.

6. At the second kneading, add the raisins.

7. Take the dough out of the machine and divide the dough into 4-6 portions, depending on the loaf pan you use. Shape each portion into round ball then place each ball in the lined loaf pan then cover the loaf with a cling wrap. Let the dough proof for 45 mins or until double in size.

After proofing.

9. Slit the centre of each dough rolls with a sharp knife and place a slice of cold butter in the cut area. Egg wash the buns then sprinkle the top with some coarse sugar.

Ready to bake.

10. Bake the buns in a preheated oven at 180 degree Celcius for 20-25 minutes at the middle rack (turn the oven to fan forced for the last 5 minutes of baking).

11. Once done, remove the buns from the loaf and cool it on a wire rack before serving.

**This recipe makes 1 regular size loaf of buns.

The interior of the bread.

These buns was easy to make and the final results had very soft texture too, which my Mom and Dad appreciated. However, as these buns used no preservatives, they only lasted for about 2 days before they went bad - so consume the buns fast!

Days after I baked these buns, I made plain Potato Bread for my parents. You can check the recipe here.

Monday, September 14, 2015

EnviroHome for Happier, Cleaner and Healthier Home

As my husband has to work hard outside to bring home the bacon, being a SAHM, my daily life is unquestionably bound to cleaning the house, preparing the food, taking care of Naomi, doing laundry, tending my garden and feeding our pet fish, to name a few. Ensuring that my house, including what we eat and wear, is clean is my priority because clean house and body equal to happy and healthy family. I mean how can we promote a happy and healthy live if we lead an unhygienic life?

As such, when EnviroHome asked me to test their natural home cleaning products, I am more than happy to do so. If you are new to EnviroHome, it is actually an eco-friendly home and personal care brand which provides 100% natural ingredients, chemical-free, bubble free and unscented products. Their products are not produced with preservatives, antiseptic, surfactant and other chemical substances that are poisonous to us so their products are very safe for our entire family use.

EnviroHome products for me to test.

EnviroHome Food Wash

The first product that I want to review here is EnviroHome Food Wash. To be honest, I think Fruit and Vegetable Wash is not a novel product and it has been around in the market for a while now. I have seen such products every now and then but never tried any before. Before EnviroHome sent me a bottle of their Food Wash, I only used lots and lots of tap water to thoroughly wash vegetables and fruits before cooking or serving them to my family.

EnviroHome Food Wash for vegetables and fruits wash.

After I used EnviroHome's Food Wash that is non-toxic, unscented and derived from natural ingredients, I realized that it's actually better to wash our vegetables and fruits with a solution like the above mentioned to break down pesticides, wax, insecticides, bacteria and preservatives in vegetables and fruits before consuming them, especially if you don't purchase organic fresh produce.

Soaking my non-organic vegetables and fruits with Enviro Food Wash to clear all the harmful bacteria and pesticides.

How to use EnviroHome's Food Wash to clean your vegetables and fruits before cooking or eating them raw?
  1. Add 1-2 pumps of EnviroHome Food Wash into a large bowl or basin of water.
  2. Soak the vegetables and fruits into the solution for 2-3 minutes. Make sure that you put enough water in the bowl or basin to cover all fruits and vegetables.
  3. Rub the vegetables and fruits gently.
  4. Drain the dirty water.
  5. Rinse the vegetables and fruits with running or tap water 2-3 times before cooking or consuming them.
From what I understood, EnviroHome products are supposed to be bubble-free so when I noticed that the Food Wash created a bit of bubbles on the water that I used to soak my vegetables and fruits for the first time, I thought I pumped too much of the solution to the water. However, seemingly the product does create a bit of bubbles when used to wash fresh produce because I tried it to wash my green leaf vegetables with it and small amount of bubbles came out again.

Soaking my green vegetables on water plus a pump of EnviroHome Food Wash.

Anyhow, I found out that it is normal for the bubbles to appear when the Food Wash solution is in contact with running/tap water or when we stir the water in the basin with our hands. These bubbles don't mean anything as neither the colour nor the taste of the vegetables and fruits washed with the solution is affected and they disappear almost immediately. The main point here to remove harmful substances from the vegetables and fruits before putting them into our mouth. Just make certain that you rinse your vegetables and fruits again with running water for a couple of times after soaking your fresh produce with the water that is mixed with this Food Wash - and they are good to go!

 I turned the above vegetables into this. Yum!

Food Wash to clean vegetables and fruits is rather mainstream, isn't it? But what about Food Wash that breaks the bacteria and fishy smells from seafood and raw meat? EnviroHome Food Wash is ideal to clean seafood and raw meat too. To me, this is quite a revolutionary and amazing concept as I hate eating meat or seafood that has very strong fishy smell after being cooked.

EnviroHome Food Wash does raw meat too.

Try washing your seafood and raw meat with EnviroHome Food Wash because not only it kills all the bacteria and annoying smells from the meat but it also preserves the freshness of the meat so it stays fresh after you keep it frozen for days.

EnviroHome Laundry Detergent

I think I am a bit OCD when it comes to wearing clean clothes. I dislike wearing smelly shirts or stained clothes and because of this, I have the feeling that the amount of dirty laundry in our house is slightly higher compared to other small households'. In addition, Naomi's diaper sometimes leaks overnight and she tends to pee on her pants when throwing tantrums so these wet pants and urine-soiled bed sheets add up to the number of dirty laundry that my washing machine has to deal with.

Proofing the goodness of EnviroHome Laundry Detergent.

The second product that EnviroHome sent me to try was perfect to meet my need in providing my family with clean and fresh clothes day in day out. It's the 1kg unscented chemical-free liquid detergent that contains marine extract and botanical formula. Prior to this, I was a bit sceptical about using fragrance-free detergent as our clothes drying area is not under direct sunlight. That's why I usually only buy super fragrant detergent and occasionally pour some fabric softener into the washing machine as well to avoid my laundry having terrible smell after being hung dry indoor.

Chemical-free, colourant-free, bubble-free and fragrance-free detergent.

Although EnviroHome laundry detergent is fragrant free, to my surprise, it does not produce any odour problem on my washed laundry after I hang them dry indoor. The detergent cleans brilliantly and my laundry still feels clean and smells fresh like usual, just minus the strong fragrant smell.

It's safe to be used to wash kid's clothes.

The product's use direction mentions that it is enough to pour 50ml or a full cap of the liquid detergent into our washing machine but I pour two full caps of EnviroHome laundry detergent to my washing machine because my washing machine's capacity is 15kg and I always wash full load of dirty laundry into my washer to save electricity and water.

Mommy's laundry duty is always ON.

Speaking of electricity and water, EnviroHome Laundry Detergent will help us save our utility bills and protect environment too because it contains anti-foaming agent. Washing foam-free means using less water to rinse your clothes. See below pictures as a comparison of hand washing your clothes using EnviroHome Laundry Detergent versus Chemical Laundry Detergent. Notice the foam difference both products produce when mixed with water.

Soaking fabric in water and EnviroHome Laundry Detergent. No foam.

Hand washing your laundry or baby clothes with foam-free EnviroHome detergent is obviously less painful and utilizes less water because you don't have to rinse the clothes over and over again with gallons of water to clear all the foams.

Soaking fabric in water and chemical-based Laundry Detergent. Foam everywhere.

To conclude, I think EnviroHome products are something that you should think of buying if you are looking for effective, all-natural and eco-friendly household cleaning products. I must admit that their products are somewhat pricey. But then again, in general we need to pay extra to get anything that is made of all-natural ingredients in the market because natural products offer much safer and healthier benefits to us and environment. Having said this, if you have the budget and intention to create a 'greener' and healthier home, do consider switching your home cleaning products to EnviroHome's.

Learn more about EnviroHome products on their Facebook page here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

10 Free Green View Garden's Ice Cream Vouchers to Giveaway

If you still recall, last month I blogged about two places where you can see, smell, touch and take heck lots of pictures with Lavenders in Cameron Highlands. In that post, I also shared that one of my highlights during my latest Cameron Highlands trip in July was eating the Lavender Ice Cream with a beautiful Lavender beds as my background in Green View Garden.

My Lavender Ice Cream and I.

I guess I was lucky. The management of Green View Garden, Cameron Highlands noticed my blog post about their Lavenders and yummy ice cream. As a thank you gift, they gave me 10 free hand craft ice cream vouchers to be used in my next Cameron Highlands visit. I was delighted with their generous offers.

The blooming lavenders in Green View Garden.

Unfortunately, I just went to Cameron Highlands a couple months ago and still cannot confirm whether I will be going there again in the next few months or in the first three quarters of 2016. Cameron Highlands is 5 hours' car drive from Seremban so it's quite a long road trip for us to get there. As such, since I do not want to waste the vouchers should I not able to go to Cameron Highlands next year, I decided to give away all my ice cream vouchers from Green View Garden to my blog readers who are interested or have plans to go to Cameron Highlands before September 2016. Green View Garden is happy with this idea so here you go, I got 10 ice cream vouchers for you to enjoy in your next Cameron Highlands' trip.

Want this?


GIVEAWAY TIME!

TWO blog readers who are interested with the vouchers will each bag FIVE Handcraft Ice Cream Vouchers from Green View Garden.

HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:
  1. LIKE The Wanderer's Journal's Facebook Page, if you have not already.
  2. LEAVE A COMMENT below this blog post or this giveaway post on my Facebook and Instagram accounts and tell me: Your name, city where you reside and email address. (I will collate all the comments from all these platforms and choose the two winners).
This vouchers giveaway is open to readers in Malaysia only and ends on Thursday, 17 September 2015. Two winners will be picked and contacted via email (and announced here in this blog post). Please don't forget to state your email address in your comment so we can contact you if you win this contest. 

* The vouchers are valid until 9th September 2016
** Green View Garden will mail the vouchers to the winners directly

Good luck!

The kids exploring Green View Garden in early July.

How to go to Green View Garden, Cameron Highlands:

Address: 11 Taman Matahari Cerah, Kampung Raja, 39010, Cameron Highlands, Pahang
GPS location code is available here
Contact Green View Garden via Facebook
Phone: +60 5 4981 982

** This giveaway is now closed.

Updates on 20 September 2015

Congrats Dibba and Kirsten! An email has been sent to you shortly to claim the vouchers.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

31st Birthday in Pictures

September is a happier month for me because both my daughter and I are September girls.

Yesterday I turned 31. Officially in early thirties, I am now.

Happy birthday to me.

I always had the impression that if your birthday falls on Monday, somehow that'd be a real bummer. Although, my 31st birthday fell on Monday, I had a pretty memorable birthday celebration mainly because my husband put some efforts in celebrating my birthday and I received so many heartfelt birthday wishes in my social media accounts and messaging platforms from family and friends who live in different parts of the world. Usually, my husband is never too bothered with celebrating birthdays, especially his or mine. As such, for him to spare his time and celebrate my birthday with Naomi yesterday was indeed a nice gesture.

I had my normal quick and gloomy Monday breakfast at home yesterday (Like some of you, I experience Monday blues every single week, unless Monday is a Public Holiday. Haha.). No birthday breakfast. Just bread and milk. The bread was a bit bleh, if I may add.

Then, my husband invited me to eat out for lunch. Initially he planned to bring me to a nice cafe for lunch and a slice of cake. However, since I wanted to share my birthday cake with Naomi and she was at school yesterday afternoon, we rain checked this plan and started hunting for Malay food for lunch. We found a restaurant that seemed to sell Malay food we had never been to before but turned out, the restaurant sold Nasi Padang instead of Malay food. The food was good, just very very hot and spicy.

Birthday lunch - Tasted a little like home.

Moving on, we had a dinner out as planned and decided to go to a garden cafe in Nilai that serves Malay and Western cuisines. We visited this restaurant twice or thrice when we were still dating so last night's birthday dinner was literally at a nostalgic restaurant.

Came back to the restaurant as parents.

The food was just okay, not superbly fantastic, and kind of overpriced. I guess we paid more for the restaurant's ambience than the food itself.

My Shepherd's Pie. My husband liked this more than I did.

Talking about food, last night my husband informed the waiter that he wanted to change his chicken chop's vegetable salad side dish with potato salad. Thanks to language barrier, apparently the waiter crossed the chicken chop from the order list and replaced it with a bowl of potato salad instead.

Salad no 1.

Alas, two bowls of salad, worth RM 9 ++ each, landed to our table together with the food I ordered, Chicken Shepherd's Pie.

Salad no 2, which was way better than Salad no 1.

When my husband asked why we were given two bowls of salad, the waiter reassured that the potato salad was part of the Chicken Chop. We naively assumed that the accompanying salad serving for the Chicken Chop was very generous so we ate both salads.

The pie and I.

Realizing that there must have been a mistake since the chicken chop that my husband ordered never came to our table, he contemplated whether he should re-order his dinner of preference once more or just buy something else on our way back home later on. My husband was obviously a bit turned off with this mistake but since we had driven all the way from Seremban to Nilai for dinner, why should we go home half full? Minutes later, my husband called for the chicken chop again and because of this, our dinner took longer than usual.

Husband's chicken chop.

As expected, we had to pay for the chicken chop, pie, both types of salad and drinks. We had to bear the cost of the extra salad error due to miscommunication but we let it slide since it was my birthday and the salads had already gone to our tummies.

It was nearly 10pm when we reached Seremban. I was kind of tired and already full but my husband insisted to go for a cake. It's my birthday after all and a birthday is not complete without a birthday cake. In the end, we arrived to one of Secret Recipe's outlets near our house and bought a slice of chocolate cake to officiate me turning the big 3 and 1.

A slice of birthday cake for supper.

When I asked Naomi to choose a cake from the display, she actually wanted to get the Fruit Cake. But we didn't grant her wish as we thought that Fruit Cake is quite a typical cake that we can get in any bakery here at much cheaper price. My husband ignored Naomi's request and went with a Banana Chocolate Cake instead.

Grateful for a birthday with my cute Naomi.

Naomi was so angry and gave us attitude when my husband fed me, the birthday lady, the first bite of the cake as I was holding Naomi. Naomi was so crossed because Daddy didn't feed her cake and fed Mommy instead. Early jealousy suspected? This is what happens when there are two Virgo ladies in the house, I guess.

That's how I spent my Monday birthday yesterday. Not bad, not bad.

Anyhow, this year's birthday was certainly better than last year's. My 30th birthday was very sad and coloured with bucket of tears. This time around last year, I just lost my little Dylan and to cheer me up, my husband brought me to a Karaoke session for two to celebrate my birthday. Being an adult woman who's not so cool, barely listens to radio and not blessed with decent singing voice, I was not updated with the latest hit songs. Hence, I mostly chose and sang boy band's melancholic oldies like Westlife's or Backstreet Boys' broken heart themed songs for the Karaoke session. So 2000, I know. As a result, I ended up sobbing whenever a sad song was sung or played in the Karaoke room because at that time, my head was still full of Dylan. What a tearful 30th birthday.

Finally, for my birthday wishes this year... I wish for happiness, contentment and health for myself and my family. As for myself, on top of the above, I also keep an extra wish. I still very much wish for my Rainbow to come.