Friday, May 6, 2016

Creamy & cheesy triple mushroom pasta for kids

This is the perfect pasta dish for any mushroom-lovers-little-ones. It is creamy, it is cheesy, no one would resist this. It is bursting with lots of good fats and protein, just the right nutrients a growing toddler needs.


*Cooked wholegrain pasta

*2 cloves garlic, minced

*Half an onion, minced

*Pepper and salt (season accordingly)

*3 fresh brown mushroom, quartered

*3 brown button mushroom from the can, finely chopped  

*A bunch of Enoki mushrooms

*A dollop of cream cheese + 1 cup of full cream milk (heated up in microwave to melt the cheese)

*2 tbsp of grated Cheddar (add into heated cream cheese and milk mixture)

*Water to adjust the consistency



1. Heat up 2tbsp of oil in a pan. Stir in minced garlic and onion and fry until fragrant.

2. Stir in all types of mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes.

3. Add in ½ cup water and let simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Add in cream cheese and milk mix.

5. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Adjust consistency by adding water, if needed.

6. Season with salt and pepper.  

7. If you prefer a creamy consistency, bring to blend leaving some mushrooms behind so there is still bite to the sauce. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Kiddie's curry - Pumpkin, chicken and tomato curry

I may be a multitasking mom, but I do not take my cooking lightly. I love my cooking to be flavorful (flavored with naturally available spice and ingredients) and presentable, as it improves one's appetite. I make effort in cooking nice delicious food for my family, especially little J. Even if it means waking up at 5am to prep for our lunch, I would still think it's all worth the time and effort. I am a working mom, so I try my best to wake up earlier everyday to prep my own breakfast and lunch for both little J and I. I am very fortunate that I get to take long lunch break to enjoy nice homecooked lunch at the comfort of our home. 

I prep for this dish ahead (the night before) by 
  1. Marinating the chicken with dash of liquid amino (or soy sauce), pinch of salt and sesame oil 
  2. *Mincing the garlic, shallots and onion in blender and store in fridge for use the next morning. 
Ingredients (serves 2-3): 
  • 1 chicken leg or half a chicken, chunked 
  • 3 cloves of garlic* (See prep no. 2 above)
  • 4 shallots* (See prep no. 2 above) 
  • 1/2 onion* (See prep no. 2 above)
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes, quartered 
  • 150g pumpkin, cubed 
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves 
  • 1tsp turmeric powder
  • 2-3 tbsp tomato puree (if you dont have this, then use more tomatoes) 
  • 2-3 cups of freshly squeezed coconut milk (or stock) 
  • Salt and pepper (season accordingly) 
  • Optional: 3x Fresh brown button mushroom and a small bunch of enoki mushroom
  1. Heat up 2-3 tbsp of cooking oil (I use grapeseed oil for cooking for LO) in a wok/ pan. Pan fry cubed pumpkin and curry leaves till pumpkins turn golden color on the outisde. Set aside. 
  2. Heat up 1tbsp of cooking oil in a wok/ pan. Stir fry garlic, shallots and onion mince with chicken until chicken turns brown. 
  3. Add in mushrooms, tomato, pumpkin and curry leaves. Cook for 2-3 minutes. 
  4. Add in turmeric powder, tomato puree with coconut milk (or stock). Simmer for 20-30 minutes. 
  5. Season accordingly. 
  6. Serve with rice. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Homemade kid's burger

Few friends have been asking me for recipe for burger bun, I thought we shall have burger as lunch today, so I can take pics and share about my burger bun recipe. Unexpectedly, when I was preparing for lunch, he told me he doesn't wanna have burger for lunch. He wanted rice instead. Therefore, instead of serving his pork patty and egg in a bun, he has them with rice, whereas I have mine as a burger. 

The recipe for my burger bun is a recipe that I have been using to bake buns and loaves for our family for the past 3 years. For those of you who've been following my posts and blogs, you'll have come across this soft scalded dough recipe that I have been adapting from Alex Goh. I love it as it is versatile, it requires no advanced preparation and most importantly, it yields soft bread that stays soft for the next 2 days, without the need to add any softeners nor improvers. 

The only variations that I have been adopting for this recipe is the liquid (which can varies from milk, to soy milk, pandan milk, pumpkin puree + water, black sesame powder + water and etc) and its sugar and salt content. 

The patty was a recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver's. I have sneaked in chopped onion and carrots into it for my little one who is in the phase of 'no green veg except for green beans'. I have also marinated my minced pork with extra ingredients to add to the flavor, including 1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger and oyster sauce. 

Recipe for the burger bun 
*This scalded dough method are specially adapted to create buns that are soft and fluffy in texture and remain soft for at least 24-48 hours. The method of pre-scalding a portion of the dough also helps to loosen the gluten in the bread, making it able to create more volume. This bread is soft and easy to digest, making it a perfect nutritious snack for babies and kids. 

Scalded dough
  • 100g bread flour 
  • 70g boiling water 
To prepare the starter dough, pour boiling water over flour and stir with folk until combined into a slightly tacky dough. Set aside while preparing other ingredients as per following. 

Main dough
  • 40g grapeseed oil / other cooking oil 
  • 160g water / milk
  • 1tbsp brown sugar (if you prefer sweeter bun, may increase to 2-3tbsp) 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 200g bread flour
  • 50g rye flour 
  • 2tsp active dry yeast
For the main dough: 
  1. In a big bowl, combine bread flour, rye flour, liquid, oil, sugar and salt. Add active dry yeast and mix well.  Tear the starter dough prepared ahead and knead into the main dough. Knead for 10-30 minutes until smooth and elastic. 
  2. Once nicely kneaded, the dough should be able to be pulled and stretched into a thin membrane - Window pane test: Grab a ball of the dough and try stretching the dough until  it is as thin as a membrane without tearing). 
  3. First proof - Form the dough into a round ball and let it rise until double in size. Cover with cling film (should take about an hour in warm weather). 
  4. Punch down, knead and form into a ball shape. This recipe makes about 8 buns. Brush top of buns with water and sprinkle with white sesame seeds. 
  5. Second proof - Cover buns loosely with cling film. Let rise in a warm environment for about 30-45min. I usually do this in a preheated oven. 
  6. Once the buns have doubled in size, bake in a preheated oven at 180deg C for about 13min, or until golden brown. Oven temperature and time may differ according to make of ovens.
Recipe for pork patty
  • 250g minced pork, marinated with oyster sauce, soy sauce, salt, grated ginger, dash of sesame oil, black pepper powder, pinch of corn flour 
  • 1/2 onion, finely minced 
  • 1/2 carrot, finely minced 
  • 2 slices of bread, lightly toasted and blitzed to turn into crumb 
  • 1 egg, beaten 
  1. In a frying pan, heat up a tablespoon of oil. Add in chopped onions and carrots. Fry until the onions have softened. Set aside to cool. 
  2. Combine minced pork, fried chopped onion and carrot that has cooled down, bread crumbs and beaten egg. Divide into 6 equal balls. 
  3. Roll the balls into burger-shaped patties about 1cm thick. Store the patties onto oiled tray, cover with cling film and leave in fridge for at least an hour, or until the patties firm up. I did this the night before. 
  4. To cook the patties, heat up a frying pan with 2 tablespoon of oil. Cook the patties for about 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. 
  5. Serve patty with sliced cucumber, tomatoes, cheese or egg, in a bun, or alternatively with rice.  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Fun activities and busy bag when flying with a toddler

Little J was merely 5 months old when he first flew. Our first flight experience with him was a disaster. A memorable disaster. He cried sooooo loud a lady came forward to offer kind tips to help us calm him down. Both hubby and I were doubting ourselves for ignoring our parents' advice of not bringing him on-board. 

From that moment on, I never bat an eye lid or even turn my head towards any crying baby or toddler in a plane, and I would frown whenever I hear any of my friends make nasty remarks about crying babies in plane. You'll never have the empathy for them, not until you become a parent. 

Now that J is turning 3 year old. I am proud to say I have no regrets ever, for making him an early flyer. Not only it gave both hubby and I more confidence as a parent, we have also had amazing memories and experiences flying with him all across the globe. Many friends reminded me that he will never remember much of the trip. Yes I KNOW THAT! But I would! 

Despite the fact that he's quite well-behaved in planes now, and he usually nap if the flight time is in between noon to 4pm, I still make tonnes of preparations ahead. I must also emphasize that we do not need to rely on ipads, smart phones or anything of that nature for him, as yet, which I guess, would explains the need of these busy bag activities. 

I know a lot of you will be travelling over the coming months, I decided to share some of my fun and educational activities that kept J happy on a few hours plane journey. 

A new toy wrapped in a present paper (so the fun begins from the anticipation and the present unwrapping stage) 

My brother bought him a new airplane kit by Emirates that came together with an airport mat. The mat were too big to lay on the tray table in the plane, so I folded it in half. The plane, the vehicles and the mat were no doubt his 'highlight' of the trip. 

I made the game more educational by making laminated nomenclature cards for all the vehicles found in the kit. It was definitely a fun one as they are all the vehicles seen in an airport. 

Laminated tracing cards, marker pen and pom-pom as eraser

Make a book

I designed this sticker and 'make-a-book' activity by using stickers by Melissa and Dough. One of its theme was animals, so I have prepared so that he will be making a book about the animals that he will see at a zoo. We were going to visit the Singapore Zoo, so it was definitely a great idea for him to have a brief overview of all the animals we would be seeing. I printed the animals name on the paper and upon seeing the names, he would look for the animal from the sticker pad and stick it on the correct page.

More sticker workbooks (info from here)

Alphabet road tracks and his favorite vehicles
Printables from Gift of Curiosity

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Salmon and Quinoa Pasta / Pie (Gluten free)

Salmon & Quinoa Pasta

It's been some time since I've last blogged about recipes for my toddler son. I think I have been less adventurous with recipes now and more occupied with his daily activities. Happikiddo had recently launched a contest searching for an all-time thumb-up recipe for our little cutie pies. I have decided to enter my son's favorite fish pie recipe into the contest. It's a very healthy and balanced meal as each serving alone meets the recommended vegetable intake for a child aged 1 to 4 years. In addition, I incorporate 'quinoa' the illustriously known supergrain in making the creamy pumpkin sauce for the fish pie. It is so creamily delicious no one would suspect it is actually this 'healthy'! At least my husband never suspected it. 

I am sure I have written or blogged about quinoa some time back, but there's no harm talking about this good stuff, as good stuff like this always need a gentle nudge. Quinoa (pronounced as 'keen-wah', is in fact not a grain, but a complete protein in the form of amino acids, in other words, they are very easy to digest and are essential for development and growth. If your diet lacks of protein eg fish, tofu or meat, then consider adding quinoa into your diet.

Quinoa for babies and kids 

Quinoa is hypoallergenic (less likely to cause an allergy), thus making it suitable for young infants. Quinoa may be introduced to baby from 8 months onwards although many babies do tolerate it prior to 8 months. This nutritious-dense ingredient makes a great addition to your little one's diet and it is very versatile. You can cook and serve it as puree, or congee (porridge) or in this case, a creamy sauce. It is packed with fiber, calcium, iron and folate, making it a great option for parents who find it tough to get their kids to eat vegetables.

I have made this creamy quinoa and pumpkin sauce many times and have served it with mashed potato topping (as salmon & quinoa pie - somehow the presentation makes the entire dish very attractive to a little kid), or pasta or even rice.

There is no need to add thickener like cornflour to thicken it up as the addition of quinoa turns it into a perfect consistency, somewhere between a creamy soup and a sauce.

If you like this healthy and delicious recipe, kindly give me a LIKE on the following facebook photo link. Huge thank you in advanced.

Here's my recipe for my salmon, quinoa and pumpkin sauce
(By all means, replace salmon with other fish or meat)

  • 150g salmon, cubed 
  • 1/2 small onion, cubed
  • 100g pumpkin or butternut squash, cubed 
  • 1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed 
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable stock, homemade 
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced 
  • 1 knob of butter / grapeseed oil to pan fry the garlic and fish 
  1. Steam-cook cubed onion, pumpkin, and quinoa in a pot / rice cooker with the vegetable cook (about 20 minutes). Once cooked, transfer all to a blender, pulse for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce turns creamy. Set aside. 
  2. In a frying pan, heat up butter or oil. Stir in finely minced garlic and sautee till fragrant. Stir in cubed salmon. Cook for about 2 min. 
  3. Pour in creamy pumpkin and quinoa sauce. Simmer for another 2-5 min. 
  4. Serve with mashed potato, pasta or rice. 
To make the salmon and quinoa pie: 
Boil potato till tender. Mash with salt or pepper (optional) and butter, milk and cheese. 

To assemble the pie, divide the salmon and quinoa pumpkin sauce between 3 ramekin dishes. Top with mashed potato. To achieve a nice golden color, brush top of pie with beaten egg mixture and bake in a preheated oven at 180deg C for 10 to 20 min. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Crafts for tots: Moon and mid-autumn festivals

It's mid-autumn festival soon! It occurs on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month each year. It is also known as the “Moon Festival” as it is observed during a bright, full moon. Other than lantern, we have also done a couple of crafts for this upcoming festive celebrations, I love these crafts, they are such a pleasure to the eyes. J and I had done so many beautiful (they are probably just beautiful in our eyes, LOL) crafts I am having problem to store / frame them. Space issue. Still good issue nontheless. 

Highly recommended reads this month: 

  1. Papa please get the moon for me by Eric Carle
  2. A taste of the moon by Michael Grejniec
  3. Happy Birthday Moon by Frank Acsh 

Moon and star craft
We did this one a month back when we were reading 'a Taste of the Moon' by Michael Grejniec. Refer here for its detailed instructions. 

Last few days, these are the ones we have done. 

Moon Craft

Refer here for instructions. This was my favorite. 

Mid-autumn festival craft 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

DIY String Lantern / Owl Lantern

It's mid-autumn festival next week.Over here where we are, it is an occasion for reunion among friends and relatives to eat mooncakes and watch the moon. The 'chefs' at home would cook up storm to celebrate the mid-autumn festival. My favorite part of the festival is the carrying of brightly lit lanterns around the neighborhood with the other kids. This is again, another, brilliant opportunity for J to relive some of my fond childhood memories. 

Earlier this month, I have decided that this year, we'll be making J's first ever lantern. I thought we can easily have it settled with no more than 20 ringgit. It turned out that I eventually spent about 50 ringgit making this cutie lantern, but I'd also made two beautiful rustic and mystic looking lampshades out of it. So it wasn't too bad then. 

J is turning 3 next month. You know everytime I had my big Pablo Picasso's ideas and had our whole room laid out for our big projects, there'll be at least 2 or 3 that would squint their eyes, frowning and opposing at my "big" ideas. But there will always be one person, my buddy, my partner-in-crime, my supporter, my protege who'd stick with me, who'd be more than happy to be involved in our endeavors - my little J. He's such a positive person he exudes great energy and is such an encouragement in all the things we do (the qualities he'd probably gotten off his dad, these are actually the qualities that I should learn from him). We went to the stationary shop 10 minutes before the shop closed to top up our glue, he helped me prepare the glue mixture, he helped me reel out the yarn and was a great extra pair of hands as this is indeed a very messy project. It wasn't a difficult one, just messy! But we enjoyed it very much. I hope you would enjoy them as much as we did.

Here's my buddy, in charge of the glue mixture, so proud of him! 

You'll need: 
**I used three batches of the following recipe to coat 3 balloons, one small size and two mediums. 
  • Balloons, blown up to whatever size lantern you want to make, the bigger the balloon, the more oblong it becomes 
  • Hemp or cotton yarn (I used yarn, refer to pic above)
  • 60ML basic white glue (refer here for pic) 
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch 
  • 1/4 cup normal room temperature water
  • Vaselin (Instead of this, I used leftover lip gloss that is not usable or had gone past expiry date)
  • Clear, fast-drying spray paint (I did not use this)
  • Lantern light or white twinkle lights 
  1. Blow up balloon and hang so that its sides are not touching any areas. Remember to prepare work area by laying down old newspapers on floor. 
  2. Mix white glue, corn starch and water in container until all lumps are removed. Its consistency is like a thick creamy mushroom soup. 
  3. Smear vaseline (or used leftover lip gloss for my case) all over the balloon. Little J helped me out with this. 
  4. Dip the yarn into the glue mixture and twine all over the balloon. I had no drawings or instructions to follow to twine, just did it the way I liked them to be. 
  5. Leave to dry for at least 24 hours or until twine is completely rigid. 
  6. Pop the balloon and discard remnants. 
  7. Spray with a clear coat or spray paint (I opted-out this step). 

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