Thursday, September 29, 2016

Making Pandan Mochi Rolls (Kue Ayas Gulung)

A couple months ago, Mochi Rolls were trending in my Instagram news feed for few consecutive weeks. It was so HOT I just had to join those Instamoms in the Indonesian baking communities in making the mochi rolls/ayas gulung myself.

I don't know why they call this traditional bite-size snack as mochi because its chewy texture, fragrance and taste are more like Kue Ayas, which was one of my childhood favorite snacks commonly sold in Indonesia, or Steamed Soft Cake Rolls or QQ Cake in Malaysia and Singapore. Texture wise, it is not as soft nor delicate as Japanese Mochi.

Anyway, whatever the name of these pretty little steamed rolls, they taste yummy and best of all, are very easy to make. The only caveat is probably you'd have quite a bit of dirty utensils to wash once you are done making these cute bites.

Here's the recipe that I use to make my Mochi Rolls, based on Anncoo's version.

Pandan Mochi Rolls(Ayas).

Pandan Mochi Rolls (Kue Ayas Gulung)

Ingredients:

150gr Glutinous flour
40gr Wheat flour
10gr Corn flour
125gr Sugar
200gr Pandan water
1 tsp Banana essence, optional
1/2 tsp Green food coloring, mixed with 2 tbsp of water
30gr Glutinous flour for coating, toasted in the oven with Pandan leaves for 10 mins at 180C before using

Methods:

  1. To make the Pandan water: Boil 300gr of water with 4 fresh Pandan leaves. Leave the water to cool and measure 200gr of water for this recipe.
  2. Sift all the flour ingredients into a big bowl and mix well with sugar.
  3. Pour the 200gr of Pandan water and banana essence onto the dry ingredients and stir with a whisker to form a thick batter.
  4. Run the thick batter in a strainer when pouring the batter to a square (9" or 20cm X 20cm) greased tray (use vegetable oil to grease the tray).
  5. Steam the Mochi for 15 minutes.
  6. Once removed from the steamer, immediately brush the Mochi surface with green coloring. Let it sit for 10 minutes before rolling it and removing it from the tray.
  7. Evenly coat or dust the Mochi with the toasted glutinous flour.
  8. Cut the rolled Mochi with a knife that is already thinly greased with vegetable oil.
  9. Serve immediately. Store the leftover in an air-tight container and consume within 2 days.

Step-by-step instructions.

Simple and easy recipe, right? Almost fail-proof.

My childhood delicacy.

My biggest challenge when making this Mochi the other day was the fact that I only got my right hand to work with. Literally. My left hand was busy carrying Brennan. OMG this fella. I thought he was sound asleep when I started weighing all the dry ingredients. When I was nearly done with the measuring work, he wailed and demanded to be carried. I got no choice, I could not just quit making this snack halfway through so I just carried on to make this Mochi while carrying my son. My kitchen felt extra warm that afternoon. #story_of_my_life

Just a small advice, if you prefer to coat the Mochi with toasted sesame seeds instead of the toasted glutinous flour, it's best to coat the Mochi with the sesame seeds when it's still piping hot; else the sesame seeds won't stick well or evenly.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Four Years Old

Earlier this week, Naomi turned four and she had a small birthday celebration with her friends and teachers in her school/day care. Initially, my husband was against the idea of me throwing her a birthday party again this year because he deems such party is not necessary and Naomi is a big girl now. However, I was very adamant about holding the celebration because this year is Naomi's last year in her playschool (Taska) and the party really didn't cost me much.

I don't know about you but I like my kids to have little birthday rituals or celebrations when they are young or in still kindergarten age, because these happy once-in-a-year occasions will be preserved in the childhood happy memory amber somewhere in their little brain.

This year, planning Naomi's birthday party in her school/day care was way less stressful than last year's. In fact, I didn't do much planning at all ahead of time. I booked her cake five days before the D-Day and shopped some birthday party favors for her friends the weekend before her birthday party. I didn't set any specific theme for her birthday either. For simplicity, I decided that her birthday cake for this year should either have Disney Princesses or Mickey Mouse element which she is familiar with. I just let our regular bakery decide which theme they should go with her cake based on their availability on the cake toppers or edible cartoon images in their shop to decorate the cake.

Naomi actually is borderline obsessed with Oggy and the Cockroaches, Dinosaurs and Superheroes but I couldn't grant her those themes this year because Dinosaur was already the theme of her birthday party last year. Oggy is a blue cat which doesn't exactly look like a cat and not a cute cartoon character so I could not have it on Naomi's cake. Moreover, I didn't want to feature the secret identities of Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker on her birthday party especially since she's a girl. As such, Disney Princesses or Mickey Mouse theme would still be the safe bet.

This year's 1 kg birthday cake.

Naomi birthday party last Tuesday was planned to start around 4.30pm. By then, the kids in the day care were already bathed and probably had taken their milk too so it's a good timing for everyone. My husband could not join us this year because he was busy at work. It was just Mommy and Brennan who attended Naomi's mini birthday party.

Just before I drove to Naomi's school/daycare, I vividly remember I prayed to God to give me a strong heart during Naomi's party because my all-time nemesis, balloons, would be there. PLENTY of them! God, Thou knew'st too well how this child of Thee frets these helium filled rubbery bags so please make her pretend that they did not exist throughout the celebration. Amen. Not to mention that day I was nursing a fever so I was not at my tip top condition to be 100% excited and energetic during the party.

As predicted, when I reached Naomi's school, her teacher was busy pumping balloons for the kids... Since it was my daughter's big day, I tried my best to ignore the balloons around me even though I could not totally disregard the balloon's irritating squeaky sound when the kids rubbed them.

Before the party started.

The sequence of Naomi's birthday celebration was similar to last year's:

Teacher ordered the kids to sit in front of a small table where we placed Naomi's cake. Since all the kids were so thrilled to celebrate their friends' birthday, teacher had to threaten them to stop running around and quietly sit down in front of the table; else the party would not start.

Teacher's threat worked like magic. All the kids sat down while we took photo of the birthday girl with her cake.

Birthday girl and her cake.

The birthday girl was very shy becoming the center of the attention that day so she looked rather stressed when we asked her to smile with her cake.

Family picture with the birthday girl.

Naomi didn't bat an eyelid and found it hard to even smile when her friends sang the birthday song out loud for her. One of Naomi's friends knew that her friends' heartfelt singing would make her eardrums ring so she covered her ears with her hands even before the song was sung. It was so funny I could not help but notice this.

Happy birthday to you!

Then came the candle blowing moment... Teachers arranged all the kids to stand surround the table with Naomi. Naomi's teachers purposely asked the kids who have lifelong history in blowing other kids' birthday candles to stand farther away from Naomi's cake so the birthday girl had the opportunity to blow the birthday candles. However, since Naomi was not comfortable and too shy to blow her four tiny candles, we had to ask some of her friends to volunteer to blow the candles on her cake.

Then, Naomi accidentally popped her balloon, which made me jump a bit but it was actually a great thing. I didn't have to bring her dreadful balloon home. #evil_mom

Little man was so well behaved during his sister's birthday celebration.

Once the candles were blown out, teacher asked Naomi to do the ceremonial cutting of her cake. While all the kids eagerly waited for the cake to be cut, at this point, Naomi simply could not handle the stress being the birthday girl anymore, she broke down. LOL. What kind of birthday is this? It boggles my mind that the birthday celebration was apparently very stressful for Naomi. In the end, we held the plastic knife together to cut the cake.

Cut the cake, Naomi!

Moving on, teacher made the kids to take a seat on their dining tables and began distributing a slice of cake to each child for their tea time.

The cake was quite yum!

After eating the cake, Naomi's job for that afternoon was not finished yet. She still had to distribute the birthday party favors to her friends. Last year, Naomi totally refused to do this. This year, she concluded her birthday celebration by happily passing each kid a stationery set that I bought as her birthday party favors for her friends.

Naomi distributed her birthday party favors to her friends.

Not long after that, Naomi requested to go home after her birthday celebration ended. I thought she'd like to hang out with her friends first after the celebration but no, I guess she was very tired being the birthday girl she just wanted to go home ASAP. I relented. We thanked and said goodbye to her teachers and just before we left, Naomi's teacher also prayed for her.

Baby was not sleepy, ok!

So that's how we officiated my girl's graduation from a threenager to (hopefully) Four and Fabulous. I really hope going forward, Naomi'd go easy with her temper, stubborn tenacity, confusion and mood swings. And of course, I look forward to see her talking longer sentences too!

Naomi only smiled widely during #wefie.

Happy Birthday, my darling daughter.

Here's wishing you happiness and health,
And many dreams come true
Not only on your special day
But always, all life through.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Things My Kid Says #4

Someone is going to celebrate her 4th birthday in a couple of days... She is recovering from cough and runny nose at the moment and I hope she will be all healthy again next week for her birthday!

Funny but annoying sometimes.

Speaking of a four year old kid who is a late talker, even though Naomi can finally speak many words in three languages now, she is practically still catching up with her vocabulary and ability to produce language. For example, if her friends of the same age can talk non-stop, relentlessly pose whole lot of questions to adults using all the Five Ws, answer to adult in long sentences and create proper conversation with their peers and parents, Naomi is still not there yet. Naomi still speaks using simple four or five word phrases. Sometimes she mixes two different languages in a sentence, probably not knowing how to differentiate those languages appropriately. She can pronounce certain things very clearly, but there are other words too that she can't pronounce very well just yet.

My Mom often tells me that when Naomi's language skill eventually blossoms, there will be days when she bombards me with "Why?" on everything and by then, I'd be exasperated handling her questions. I always respond to my Mom's statement with the same old comment, "Can't wait for that day to come. I have been waiting for it all these years but it's not here yet, Ma." #mother_of_a_late_talker

Anyway, here are few instances when we encountered Naomi's funny verbal missteps recently.

1. WTH

One night, Naomi was playing Lego on the floor while my husband, Baby Brennan and me were relaxing on the bed. Suddenly we heard Naomi said the following:

👧: Wet de het?

We thought Naomi was talking to herself or her toys like she usually does. Sometimes she does talk to herself out loud when she pretend plays with her Lego, animal toys or soft toys. When she does this, normally we let her play alone and don't disturb her.

👧: Wet de het?

We were still quiet, watching the show on TV and not responsive to Naomi.

💁: Why suddenly Naomi is saying 'What the Heck'? Who taught her that? Did we often say 'What the Heck' in front of her?
👨: Hmmm... I don't know...

Naomi was still busy with her toys.

👧: Papa! Wet de het?
👨: Huh?
👧: PAPA!! Wet de het? Wet de het?
👨: ???

💁: *talking to my husband* Why is she keep on saying What the Heck? What does she want?
👨: I don't know...

Meanwhile, Naomi was growingly impatient waiting for assistance so she repeated the same question louder and louder.

💁*still confused* Seriously, what does she wants, ah?

My husband then joined Naomi to play her Lego on the floor and after a while, he finally had his light bulb moment.

💡💡💡

👨: Ooooohhh.... I know! I know! She is saying "Where is the hat?" lah.. She is looking for her toy's hat!

Dang it, you hat!

😑

Say no more, say no more.

2. Mermaid

Today is Sunday and I had a very late morning shower because I had to settle some house chores first before I could have a shower.

Our bed room has an attached bathroom so when Naomi is in the room and shouts something while I am in the bathroom, I usually can hear her. This morning, when I just started showering, I heard Naomi whined and shouted something.

💁: *couldn't hear the outside noises very well because of the showers* 🚿 🚿 🚿
👧: Mami. I want Mami...
💁: *always get a bit panicky when the kids want something from me urgently* Naomi, Mommy is showering now.
👧: Mami. Mami. I want Mami.
💁: Wait, Naomi. Mommy is showering....
👧: *frustrated, almost cried* MAMI... I WANT MAMIII....
💁: Almost done. Very fast, very fast.
👧: MAMI MAMI...
💁: *grrrrr* HAIYAHHH... YOU WAIT LAH! MOMMY IS SHOWERINNGGGG!!!
👨: *shouted at me in front of the bathroom's door* Nobody is not looking for you! Naomi was saying "I WANT MERMAID!" (read: choosing a cartoon show on TV)
💁: *slightly embarrassed* 😀

Now you understand how important proper pronunciation is? LOLOL.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Baby #3 At 3.5 Months Old

Baby Brennan is exactly 3.5 months old today. He had his 3 month's vaccination last week and luckily he didn't develop any fever like last month although his thigh was mildly swollen hours after he took the jab.

I still breastfeed him exclusively and this little chap is getting rounder and cuter by day... Excuse the latter since it is obviously one very bias and cheesy opinion coming from his Mom.


Last August: Baby at 3 months and 3 days.

At 3.5 months old, Brennan sleeps for a stretch of four or five hours at night and only wakes up for feeding around dawn and in early morning, provided if he starts sleeping soundly by midnight. He only catnaps during the day so I barely get to nap during the day.

Mr. Pimple had a pimple.

Nowadays, he begins to smile a lot and giggle when we tease or talk to him.

He also constantly babbles particularly when he hears his own voice or giggles on the recorded videos on my phone. Sometimes, when I replay his videos for my own entertainment, this dude happens to pay attention to his own voice and babbles non stop when he hears this as if another baby is talking to him.

Devastatingly handsome: Stealing aunties and grandmas' hearts since May 2016.

He loooooves putting his hands into his mouth of late. In addition, he has started drooling heavily since a couple weeks ago so I let him wear his bibs to prevent wet shirts. Since he is blessed with a sensitive skin, recently his rashes have come back again. He has rashes on his chin, cheeks and chest which I suspect are triggered by his saliva. As such, every time I see him bringing his hands to his mouth, I try to stop him in that instant. I wipe his face very often too especially his chin with a wet cloth to prevent his rashes getting more serious.

Brennan can hold his head steadily and unsupported sometime after he turned 3 months old. Somehow he is so amused at his own feet when he is lying on his back. He still can't hold a toy like teether properly just yet but is able to notice and admire dangling toys, especially those with music.

Tummy time with his old man.

Yesterday, he surprised his Dad and me by attempting to roll over from tummy to back on his own. He was unsuccessful though... He was nearly there in making it happen and I did make it happen by giving him a tiny little push from his back. Fret not, son... Failure is nothing but a delayed success! Don't stop trying. LOLLOL.

To the left, to the left!

I don't remember if Naomi had this problem when she was a small baby but this Brennan always demands to be carried ALL THE TIME and whoever adult who carries him must stand up or walk around. He cries the moment we sit down or put him on his cot. Basically he doesn't allow us to sit down when we carry him. On some days, my arm can barely take this 'carry-me-don't-you-dare-to-put-me-down' marathons anymore.

Further, he is still a very much cry baby in the car. He really gives me such a headache when he starts crying in the car and I am driving! He cries so bad when he doesn't feel like sitting down or sleeping in his baby car seat and I get very nervous when this happens because I can't comfort him either until we reach our destination. Naomi was not like this. This one I remember very vividly. Naomi was an easy baby during car rides, although perhaps this was attributed to her sucking pacifier back then - which I don't plan to introduce to Brennan.

I am not sleepy.

One more thing, I am aware that my son has the typical Asian or Chinese small eyes. Somehow, his eyes' shape is not only small but also comes across as sad puppy looking at times. #asianproblem When people just meet and see him awake, they always tell me, "Hey, your baby is sleepy." "I think your baby wants to sleep already." or "Is your baby sleepy? He looks sleepy." I nonchalantly answer them, "No. He is not sleepy. In fact, he just woke up so he can't be sleepy. His eyes are just small." To be honest, I get this remark A LOT in English, Mandarin and Bahasa Melayu and am already numb to this comment or question. Funny but true, his eyes shape is in stark contrast to his sister's. But then again, each child is different although they came from the same parents.

Sometimes I wonder where the time went. Naomi is such a big girl now and Brennan is no longer a newborn and will soon have to wear M size diapers.

Slow down with the growing up business, kids.

😂

Friday, September 2, 2016

Five Reasons Why You Should Explore Cameron Highlands

Cameron Highlands, despite its distance from where we live (read: five-hour car drive), is still one of our favorite local holiday spots here in Malaysia.

On average, my husband and I go to Cameron Highlands once every two years. Based on this math formula, we should be going to Cameron Highlands again for a smashing and memorable (presumably not so relaxing) holiday with the kids next year. However, I will go there again on one contingency: IF... and ONLY IF Baby Brennan develops better behavior and cries less in the car. Otherwise, I will likely request my husband to make a U-Turn back to Seremban even before we reach Ipoh and be more than happy to rain check the trip to 2018.

After going to Cameron Highlands three times in less than 6 years, I think here are the top reasons why (my husband) and I fancy visiting Cameron Highlands for our short family getaway:

1. Cool breezy weather with refreshing air

Since we live in a city where the weather is generally very hot and humid, not to mention once in a while we are forced to inhale the suffocating haze, it's not a bad idea at all to retreat to a cold place like Cameron Highlands for a short escape from the hot climate and opportunity to breathe fresh air throughout the day.

Cameron Highlands in the morning.

I think the only chance for us to wear our jackets here is when we (Heaven forbid!) catch a very bad flu or go to Highlands areas like Genting or Cameron Highlands.

Look how I wrapped my kid in a thick jacket 
during cold rainy night in Cameron Highlands.

The weather in Cameron Highlands can get extremely cold in early morning or at night, especially during the rainy season. My teeth chatter every time I am reminded of the cold weather there.

2. Strawberries and lots of strawberries

Yep, strawberries are bountiful and relatively cheap in Cameron Highlands, especially during the Ramadhan period. What a shame I didn't take the photo of the boxes of fresh red strawberries that my BIL and SIL bought when we went to Cameron Highlands last year. They literally bought few kilograms of these juicy heart-shaped delights.

Strawberries heaven.

I must say that unlike the imported Korean Strawberries, Cameron Highlands' strawberries taste sour and lack of sweetness... same like the local strawberries from Indonesia.

I remember last year we purchased a big box of strawberries from Cameron Highlands. There was just too much strawberries in our fridge we had to keep eating them for few consecutive days until Naomi, the only strawberry aficionado in the house, absolutely had enough of them and refused to eat them anymore for a while.

3.  The Markets and Flower Nurseries

We take great pleasure in checking out both morning and night markets when we are in Cameron Highlands. When I go to Cameron Highlands' night market (pasar malam), I particularly love to shop the fridge magnets for myself and my family in Indonesia. My husband likes to get the vegetables shaped key-chains for souvenirs for his colleagues. Sometimes, I also like to buy the steamed sweet corns at the night market too. Crunchy bites of steaming hot corn on the cob are perfect company on a chilly night.

Me hunting for magnets in the night market as usual.

During the day, occasionally we explore the bustling vegetable and fruit markets in Cameron Highlands as well. People like my Mom and MIL never fail to cart some fresh produce from these markets, especially the sweet corns. The fresh vegetables that are sold there somehow just look bigger and more tantalizing than those we see at the supermarkets back home.

Someone got a new toy from the market first thing in the morning.

In addition, I never forget to buy some mini cactus and succulents from the flower nurseries in Cameron Highlands. They are so cheap! If I am not mistaken you can get 6 mini cactus or succulents for only RM 10.

Shopping some cactus with Naomi.

Previously, I bought many potted plants like orchids and hydrangeas from the flower nurseries or farms in Cameron Highlands. The flowers grown in places like Cameron Highlands are undoubtedly Instagram worthy. It's so hard to resist not to bring some of these beauties home. However, after I realized that those flowers don't last or can't grow healthily in a hot place like Seremban, I quit buying them.

Must buy mini succulents.

Nowadays, each time I go to Cameron Highlands, I only buy lots of mini cactus and succulents because they survive and thrive just fine in hot cities.

4. Tea Plantations

Cameron Highlands is the largest tea-growing region in Malaysia so it's a no brainer that if we go to Cameron Highlands, we might a well visit one or two of the tea plantations there.

Looking at green is good for your eyes.

Some of them are open for tourists and these plantations run a pretty large cafe or restaurant too, albeit the food they sold at their cafes or restaurants are usually not that fantastic and slightly expensive.

Daddy, you are too slow.

Our favorite Tea Center in Cameron Highlands by far is the BOH Tea Plantation.


This place is simply scenic, huge and best of all, it's free entry. Adults and children would certainly have a good time here.

Someone had fun in BOH Tea Center.

The restaurant cum massive viewing deck is a perfect place to sip a hot tea and eat a nice cake while enjoying the cold breeze and majestic view the lush green tea estate.

Breakfast in BOH Tea Center's restaurant.

5. Sightseeing

Cameron Highlands is a famous tourist attraction and offers numerous tourist attractions which mostly lie within the major townships of Brinchang and Tanah Rata.

Kids having fun at the Big Red Strawberry Farm.

When we are at Cameron Highlands, we normally don't mind visiting the same tourists attractions twice or three times.

I love Lavender garden like that.

Some interesting tourist spots we patron regularly are places like the Strawberry Farm, Bee Farm and Lavender Farm.

Beautiful flowers for Kodak moments are plenty in Cameron Highlands.

Before we travel to Cameron Highlands, we always book our hotel online in advance just to ensure that our accommodation is all set by the time we are there. You can check hotels on sale in Cameron Highlands at Traveloka Malaysia.

Also, Traveloka is currently doing a Great Sale Promo that you surely won't want to miss. If you already plan to have a vacation in the near future, now it's the best time to make it come true. Save money, enjoy great fares, fast and easy booking to various destinations in this special promotion!

Book your flight and hotel for your trip today as this Great Sale only lasts until 12 September 2016!

**Terms and Conditions apply for this promotion.