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Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness
Health & Wellness



Overnight Lactation Oatmeal with Chia Seeds & Flaxseeds

Overnight oats/oatmeal in mason jars seems to be the latest new food craze on the web recently. So, I jump on the bandwagon as well.

Since I'm still breastfeeding my baby, I look up for recipes good for lactation. In fact, oats/oatmeal is a wonderful milk booster for me.

Here's my version, adapted from here and here.

Overnight Lactation Oatmeal with Chia Seeds & Flaxseeds
(Serves one)


1 cup rolled oats (not instant or quick-cook oats)
1 cup milk (either fresh milk or non-dairy milk such as almond milk and rice milk)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon flaxseeds
1 tablespoon black sesame powder
1 teaspoon Brewer's Yeast (not regular bread yeast)
1 teaspoon molasses sugar (can use brown sugar or muscovado sugar)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

How to:

1. The night before: Mix oats, chia seeds, flaxseeds, black sesame powder, Brewer's Yeast, sugar, vanilla extract, and milk in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly to ensure the chia seeds do not clump together. Cover mixture and place it in the refrigerator overnight.

2. The next morning: Give the oats mixture a few turns with a spoon. The oats and chia will have absorbed the milk overnight and should be the perfect consistency. If the oats seem to be a bit too thick, add more milk until you reach your desired consistency.

3. You can eat it plain or with your preferred toppings* (e.g. berries, dried fruits, nuts, cookies, etc.)

* Toppings that I have tried: Dried apricots, crumbled digestive biscuits, sliced bananas.


Rice Cooker Challenge - Chunky Apple & Banana Bake in Milk

Chunky Apple & Banana Bake in Milk

I have some old apples and bananas in my kitchen. There's also some leftover ice-cream bread. So, I look up for some dessert recipes that I can make with apples, bananas, and bread. In the end, I decided to make Chunky Apple & Banana Bake in Milk in my trusty 4-year old 10-cup conventional rice cooker.

The original recipe is Chunky Apple Bake from Martha Day's book: A Year of Desserts - 365 Delicious Step-By-Step Recipes (page 290-291).

Original ingredients (serves 4) from the book:

450g cooking apples
75g wholemeal bread, about 3 slices, without crusts
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
3 tablespoons light muscovado sugar
200ml skimmed milk
1 teaspoon demerara sugar

Note: Please click the image above to view baking instructions.

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

2 red apples
3 small bananas (pisang emas)
1 & 1/4 cups overnight ice-cream bread*
1 cup Tesco Muesli (contains oat flakes,wheat flakes, barley flakes, sultanas, raisins, hazel nuts)
1 cup Farm House fresh milk
2 slices cheese (sliced cheddar)
Some butter (to grease the rice cooker)

* Here's how I made ice-cream bread the night before: Combine 1 cup of Nestle's Pecan Almond Praline ice cream (or any ice cream of your choice) with 3/4 cup of self-rising flour. Bake at 180°C for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.


How to:

Cut apples into chunks. Cut bananas into halves. Crush the ice-cream bread into coarse chunks with hands.

Put apples, bananas, crushed ice-cream bread, and muesli in a large bowl Toss and mix thoroughly with a wooden spatula.

Grease the rice cooker with butter. Pour the fruits-bread-muesli mixture into the rice cooker. Pour in milk. Mix well with a wooden spatula. Tear cheese slices into small pieces and add into the rice cooker.

Switch on power. 

Note: Since I'm using a 10-cup conventional rice cooker with only the "Keep Warm" and "Cook" buttons, I need to keep an eye out. After 5 minutes, the button switches itself to "keep warm". I wait for 5 minutes before switching back to "cook". It pops back after 30 seconds. I wait for 5 minutes and switch to "cook" again. All in all, I do this repeatedly for about 40-45 minutes.

Alternative method: Bake in a preheated oven at 220°C for 30-35 minutes.

Cool down and serve warm.


This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up (May 2014: Milk) organised by Bake For Happy Kids, and My Little Favourite DIY, hosted by Tze of Awayofmind Bakery House.


Baby Luke is 9 months old!

So... what can baby Luke do nowadays?

[Source: Developmental milestones record - 9 months]

Physical characteristics & motor skills
  • Gains weight at a slower rate - about 15g per day / 450g per month
  • Increases in length by 1.5cm per month
  • Bowel and bladder become more regular
  • Puts hands forward when the head is pointed to the ground (parachute reflex) to protect self from falling
  • Is able to crawl
  • Sits for long periods
  • Pulls self to standing position
  • Reaches for objects while sitting
  • Bangs objects together
  • Can grasp objects between the tip of the thumb and index finger
  • Feeds self with fingers
  • Throws or shakes objects

Sensory & cognitive skills
  • Babbles
  • Has separation anxiety and may cling to parents
  • Is developing depth perception
  • Understands that objects continue to exist, even when they are not seen
  • Responds to simple commands
  • Responds to name
  • Understands the meaning of "no"
  • Imitates speech sounds
  • May be afraid of being left alone
  • Plays interactive games, such as peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
  • Waves bye

Play time
  • Provide picture books
  • Provide different stimuli: Go to the mall (people), go to the zoo (animals)
  • Build vocabulary by reading and naming people and objects in the environment
  • Teach hot and cold through play
  • Provide large toys that can be pushed to encourage walking
  • Sing songs together
  • Avoid television time until age 2
  • A transition object may help decrease separation anxiety

More photos

Baby Luke is very active. He loves playing with bulky things, especially those with shapes such as baskets and boxes. He also loves colorful cards and books.

He has six teeth now!!!


Mocha Muffins Topped with Chocolate Chips and Chopped Almonds

Mocha Muffins Topped with Chocolate Chips and Chopped Almonds

Aren't they cute? This is my first attempt in baking muffins in an oven. My oven has been sitting in my kitchen collecting dust for the past two years. My baby is nine months old now and I decides to pick up a new hobby for some much-needed me-time. I have started making steamed cupcakes and today, I bake these sinful muffins!

By the way, those cutie wutie animal toothpick looking things are from Daiso. I tell you, I can't walk out of Daiso with nothing right? Lol.

Recipe adapted from here. Enjoy!


1 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup molasses sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1 egg
Some chocolate chips
Some chopped almonds

How to:

1. Heat oven to 200ºC. Line a 6-hole muffin pan with paper baking cups.

2. In medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

3. In large bowl, beat brown sugar, milk, oil, coffee, and egg with a wire whisk.

4. Stir in flour mixture and mix with a rubber spatula until combined. Batter is thick and sticky.

5. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle some chocolate chips and chopped almonds onto each cup.

6. Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven to cool.

7. Decorate with cute toothpicks before serving (or taking photos :P).

8. Eat and be merry!


Steamed moist chocolate cupcakes

I'm very new in making cakes, cupcakes, muffins, etc. I've just picked up this hobby about a month ago. I made some steamed moist chocolate cupcakes last Sunday. Hubby and I were back in Kuala Terengganu for Mother's Day.

Recipe adapted from here.


180g unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
200ml full cream milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder

How to:

1. Combine sugar, milk, and butter in a pan over low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and butter melts. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.

2. Add beaten eggs into the mixture from step 1 and stir well until evenly mixed.

3. Sift flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder into another mixing bowl. Pour in the egg mixture from step 2 and combine until evenly mixed. The batter should be runny in consistency.

4. Spoon batter into cupcake holders up to 3/4 full.

5. Steam over medium heat for 15 minutes in a preheated steamer (water is boiling).

Note: Next round, I want to add cream cheese frosting on top.


Fuss-free Chocolate Cake in A Mug

Recipe adapted from here.

Cake in a mug. Fuss-free and easy to make. It's a good alternative if you want some desserts right now but lazy to drive out to buy. The ingredients are so simple and everyone's kitchen should have them.


3 tablespoons melted butter / any vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons milk
4 tablespoons plain flour
tablespoons brown sugar
tablespoons cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt

How to:

1. Choose a mug. Put butter/oil into mug.

2. Add in beaten egg and milk. Lightly beat with a fork until combined.

3. Add in flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Beat with your fork until evenly mixed. Batter's consistency is runny.

4. Place mug in the microwave and cook for 2 minutes on high heat.

5. Serve with your favorite toppings (optional).

Note: Microwaved cakes are drier than their baked cousins. So, they are best eaten fresh once they are done. The longer they are exposed to air, the drier they become.


What is tongue-tie?

Tongue-tie in newborns. Heard of it before? I bet most of you don't. I didn't, until I gave birth to my son almost nine months ago.

Here's my experience of coping with my newborn at that time: Behind the scenes: First 4 weeks of motherhood

What is tongue-tie?

Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) occurs when a baby's frenulum (the piece of skin between the underside of the tongue and the floor of the mouth) is short and tight. This causes the baby's tongue movement to be restricted, making it hard to latch effectively to his mother's breast.

Tongue-tie is a birth defect that runs in families and affects 3-10% of newborn babies. It is more common in boys than girls.

To breastfeed successfully, the baby needs to latch on to both breast tissue and nipple, and the baby's tongue needs to cover the lower gum so the nipple is protected from damage.

Babies with tongue-tie are not able to open their mouths wide enough to latch on to their mother's breast properly. They tend to slide off the breast and chomp on the nipple with their gums. This is very painful and the mother's nipples can become sore, with ulcers and bleeding. Some babies feed poorly and get tired, but they soon become hungry and want to feed again. In most cases, these feeding difficulties mean the baby fails to gain much weight.


For my case, the following symptoms are the ones that prompted me to contact a lactation consultant and pediatrician to check on my boy's tongue at that time:

  • Persistent very sore or damaged/blistered nipples
  • Compressed nipples (change in shape) after feeding
  • Very frequent feeds
  • Baby wants to feed/suck very frequently
  • Baby swallows infrequently/sporadic
  • Baby doesn't seem satisfied after feeding
  • Low milk supply
  • Mastitis/blocked ducts
  • Baby rarely settles to a deep restful sleep
  • Latch trouble, i.e. as though struggling to remain attached
  • Clicking sound when feeding and may pop on and off
  • Restricted tongue elevation when crying 
  • Slow weight gain


The following video reminds me of what my boy went through when he was 14 days old.

He had frenotomy (also called a frenectomy or frenulectomy), i.e. snipping, dividing or clipping of the frenulum (which has few nerve endings and blood vessels) with a pair of blunt ended sterilized scissors done by a trained pediatrician.


Croque Madame Muffins

Croque Madame Muffins
(recipe from

According to this link, Croque Madame is a Croque Monsieur (toasted ham and cheese sandwich) with the addition of a fried egg. For a more decadent and gorgeous presentation, Rachel Khoo's Croque Madame is done in muffin tin/pan.

Ingredients (3 servings):

For bechamel sauce:

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
100ml milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I use Heinz's yellow mustard)
Salt to taste

For muffins:

3 eggs
3 slices white bread (I use Gardenia's bran and wheatgerm bread)
3 slices ham/bacon (I use chicken roll)
Some grated Gruyere cheese (I use grated Cheddar cheese)
Some butter
Mixed herbs and pepper to taste

Note: If you want to increase serving sizes, you can modify the amount of the ingredients.

How to make bechamel sauce:

1. Melt butter in a saucepan.

2. Add one tablespoon of flour and stir with a wooden spatula.

3. When all are combined, slowly pour milk in while whisking.

4. Add mustard after the mixture is smooth sauce.

5. Season with a pinch of salt.

6. Whisk till combined, switch off heat, and let it cool. Set aside.

Note: If you use Dijon mustard, your bechamel sauce will be creamy white. My bechamel sauce becomes yellow because I use Heinz's yellow mustard (yellow).

How to prepare the muffins:

1. Cut off all the crusts and flatten the bread slices with a rolling pin (I use a mug to do so because I don't have a rolling pin).

2. Grease muffin pan with butter. Stuff the flattened bread slices in the muffin pan to form cups.

3. Then, put a slice of chicken roll into each bread cup.

4. Crack an egg into each cup.

5. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of bechamel sauce into each cup.

6. Sprinkle grated cheese and a dash of mixed herbs and pepper on top of each cup.

7. Stick the muffin pan into a preheated oven at 180°C for 20 minutes.

Kimberly's tip: 13 minutes for runny yolks, 15 minutes for soft yolks, 20 minutes for firm yolks.



Rice Cooker Challenge - Steamed Moist Banana Cake

My first steamed moist banana cake done in a rice cooker! Thanks to Miss B's recipe from this link on her blog.

Here's what I have done.


3 eggs
110g sugar (I use molasses sugar)
110g melted butter
200g very ripe bananas, weight without skin
160g plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder (I use 1 teaspoon)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda (I omit this because there's none in the house)
A pinch of salt, less than 1/8 teaspoon

Note: I add 1 tablespoon of black sesame powder.


1. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and black sesame powder in a big bowl, set aside.

2. Melt butter and molasses sugar in a non-stick pot and set aside to cool a while.

3. Mash bananas and set aside.

4. Lightly beat the eggs and add into the cooled mixture of melted butter and molasses sugar. Mix well with a rubber spatula.

5. Add in mashed bananas and mix well.

6. Finally, fold in sifted flour mixture (over 3 times) using a spatula.

7. Pour the cake batter into a greased rice cooker bowl. Press "COOK".

Here's what happened:

In my case, I'm using a traditional (manual) rice cooker without any cake-baking function. It only has the normal "COOK" and "KEEP WARM" functions.

My rice cooker is a bit old and it gets heated very fast, it switches itself from "COOK" to "KEEP WARM" after about 20 minutes. I check my cake and find that its middle is still raw. So, I use a plastic spoon and secure the button in place so that it stays at the "COOK" mode for another 15 minutes. At this point, I insert a skewer into the middle of the cake at 3-4 different places. All come out clean. So, I remove the plastic spoon and let the button stays at the "KEEP WARM" mode for another 15 minutes.

Total time: 20 + 15 + 15 minutes = 50 minutes

Miss B's tip: Don't ever force the cook lever to be pressed down otherwise your cooker will be damaged. Just let it switch automatically "keep warm" and wait 5 to 10 min before pressing "cook" again.

Note: Cooking time may vary based on the type and capacity of your rice cooker. Mine is a 10-cup capacity rice cooker.

8. Allow the cake to cool for a while before turning it out.

Here's what happened:

The cake's top is shiny and soft. The sides are dark brown and very "crusty". The bottom is a bit burnt.
Perhaps it's time to change my rice cooker to a modern one if I want to make more rice cooker cakes! Gotta tell the hubby. LOL.

Miss B's tip: You can follow nasifriet's tips on how to prevent your cake from getting burnt, she lined her cooker with layer of alum foil and another layer of parchment paper.

Soft, moist, and fluffy!


Baby's millet porridge with free range pork and vegetables

What is free range pork? According to An Xin's Healthy MEAT Shoppe's website, free range pigs are grown in a spacious and airy outdoor field next to a large pond. This outdoor farm is within their farm in Perak which is accredited by SALT (Certificate for Good Farm Practice Scheme). Their free range pigs are free to run, play and exercise to build muscle naturally. They are Happier and Healthier.

These free range pigs are free to forage on the earthy plants on the farm. They are fed on natural food such as organic selenium, sweet potato leaves, Ginseng and other herbal extracts. This special natural feed is designed to strengthen their immune system naturally and therefore they do not need any drugs.


 In summary, An Xin's pork is free from any antibiotics and growth hormone injections given to commercially harvested pork. Therefore, it's safer and healthier for babies' consumption.

I bought some free range lean pork to cook baby's millet porridge. Vegetables include green peas, carrot, and broccoli. I have also tried adding zucchini and parsnip.

I cook everything in one pot with my Seed Lunch Box. I set the timer to 40 minutes to make sure the pork is cooked thoroughly.

Finally, I blend everything to get a thicker, textured porridge before packing into a thermal container to bring to babysitter.