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DIY Busy Bag Ideas

DIY Busy Bag Ideas
DIY Busy Bag Ideas

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I have launched a series of blog posts called Featured Mommypreneurs in collaboration with mommypreneurs (i.e. mommies entrepreneurs). Let me know if you're interested to join me to feature your products / services. :)

 

 

Cheddar Corn Bread (Bobby Flay)


Cheddar Corn Bread

I have always wanted to bake corn bread. And so, I try to search online if Bobby Flay has a nice recipe. He does - and here's the original recipe's name - Venison and Black Bean Chili with Toasted Cumin Creme Fraiche and White Cheddar Cornbread.

O_O

Then, I look at the list of ingredients.

O_O

If I spend half a day cooking that dish and ignoring my toddler, he will declare "war" on me. So, I just bake the corn bread. Hahaha.

So, here's the original recipe's link.

I've adapted the recipe to bake my first humble corn bread. :)

Ingredients:
(Serves 3-4)


Note: I have halved the ingredients' amount

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature (I used 120g)
1 cup ground cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
1/2 tablespoon honey


How to:

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease a loaf tin.

2. In a food processor, combine butter, cornmeal, flour, baking powder, egg, and salt. Process 20 to 30 seconds, until just mixed, fold in half of the cheese.

3. Pour in the buttermilk, remaining cheese, and honey, and process for 20 seconds more.

4. Pour into the prepared loaf tin, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until firm to the touch and golden. Cut into squares.


Aiya, cracked top.

I plan to make cornbread stuffing with these! :)



I'm linking this post to Cook like a Star (Bobby Flay) organised by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids, Yen from Eat Your Heart Out, and Grace from Life can be simple.


8

One-pot cheesy pasta stew recipes for toddler and adults


My 15-month toddler likes cheese. However, I don't feed him cheese everyday. He gets his cheesy dosage perhaps once a week or so. This time, I cook this double cheese pasta stew for him.

Double Cheese Pasta Stew

Ingredients:
(Serves 2)

Vegetables of your choice (I used chopped English spinach, carrot, onions, potatoes)
Uncooked pasta of your choice (I used organic fusilli, image at the bottom of this post)
2 tablespoons grated Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon rice bran oil
Some water

How to:

Heat up oil in a frying pan. Stir fry chopped onions until fragrant. Add in chopped carrots and potatoes, stir fry for a few minutes. Add chopped English spinach and uncooked pasta. Add enough water to cover the ingredients and simmer until pasta is soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in both cheeses and cook until melted. Serve warm or according to your kid's liking.



This one-pot dish is an excellent choice when I need to cook something quick and easy for dinner on a busy weekday night.

Chicken & Vegetables Cheesy Pasta Stew

Ingredients:
(Serves 2)

1 medium chicken breast, cut into slices
Vegetables of your choice (I used carrot, onions, potatoes, green peas, chickpeas)
Uncooked pasta of your choice (I used organic fusilli, image at the bottom of this post)
3/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons rice bran oil
Some water

How to:

Heat up oil in a frying pan. Stir fry chopped onions until fragrant. Add in chicken breast and stir fry until they turn white. Add in all vegetables and stir fry until fragrant. Add uncooked pasta and enough water to cover the ingredients and simmer until pasta is soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in cheese and cook until melted. Serve hot.


Bought this from iHerb.



2

Mini Spinach & Cheese Quiches, Homemade Banana Chips


Mini Spinach & Cheese Quiches

It's family outing time! Hubby has chosen the RMAF (TUDM) Museum and our 15m2wo toddler has the time of his life with his grandparents! :D

About his food, I make these easy-to-make-and-pack mini quiches. They are perfect for outings because they are easy to handle and eat.


Ingredients:
(Makes 10 mini quiches)

1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped spinach
10 ready-to-use tart shells (can be bought from Bake with Yen shop)

How to:

Preheat oven to 200°C. Mix all ingredients until well combined and scoop into tart shells. Place all quiches in a baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes until top turns golden brown. Cool them down before packing.


Homemade Banana Chips

My parents-in-law made these wonderful homemade banana chips for their grandson. He loves munching them! He has 8 teeth, with 2 molars and 2 canines coming out. 12 teeth soon!

How to:

Get a bunch of unripe/green bananas. Slice with a good-grade slicer to get even slices over boiling oil. The other person help to scoop up once they become crispy. Let cool in a colander. Sprinkle with organic fine cane sugar (optional) before keeping in airtight container.


In the end, here's a summary of what I packed:

1. Orgran Multigrain O's with Quinoa (can be bought from Village Grocer at Bangsar Village 1)
2. Mini Spinach & Cheese Quiches
3. Jam Doughnut Muffins
4. Homemade Banana Chips
5. Breastmilk (not in photo); he direct latched :)

Future pilot? :)



2

Jam Doughnut Muffins (Nigella Lawson)


Jam Doughnut Muffins (Nigella Lawson)

These sugary lovelies are so addictive. You know what? They are rolled in butter and sugar. Brilliant recipe by Nigella. If you put aside calories for once, these muffins are heaven-sent. I kid you not. Anyway, in the end, I only roll one muffin in butter and sugar. I keep the rest naked and they all taste just as good.

I bake these muffins because I'm joining Bake-Along #71! I missed the previous two sessions, i.e. maple pecan pie because I couldn't afford to spend a fortune and end up with an inedible pie (I fear making pie dough. The steps are complicated. Any fail-proof recipe?) and macarons (anything that involves beating egg whites to get stiff peak is out of my league). :'(

Anyway, back to these muffins. Recipe is adapted from the suggested link here.


Ingredients:
(Yields 12 mini muffins)

Note: I used a 6-square-hole normal-sized muffin pan, so I made 6 muffins

125ml milk (I used 1/2 cup fresh milk)
85ml corn or other vegetable oil (I used 5 tablespoons rice bran oil, plus more for greasing)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g self-rising flour (I used 1 & 1/3 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon baking powder plus 1/4 teaspoon salt)
100g caster sugar (I used 1/3 cup molasses sugar)
12 teaspoons strawberry jam (I used 6 teaspoons homemade chia jam)
100g unsalted butter (I used 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted)
150g granulated sugar (I used 1/3 cup demerara sugar)
1 well-greased 12-cup mini-muffin pan (I used a 6-square-hole normal-sized muffin pan)



How to:

1. Preheat oven to 190°C. Grease a 6-square-hole normal-sized muffin pan generously with oil.

2. In a bowl, beat together milk, oil, egg, and vanilla extract with a fork. In another bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in sugar until combined. Fold the wet ingredients gently into the flour mixture until just combined. Do not over-mix or you will get tough muffins.

3. Put a spoonful of mixture into each muffin cup until 1/3 full. Then, add a teaspoonful of jam, followed by another spoonful of mixture.

4. Bake for about 20 minutes until the muffins are gloriously risen and the tops feel springy to touch. Let cool before unmoulding.

5. Roll the muffins in melted butter and sugar. Serve.


Adding a dollop of jam to each hole.

Ready to be rolled in butter and sugar!

Unmoulded from the muffin pan after cooled down.

I roll one muffin in butter and sugar.

Gooey jam inside.

The insides.

Cut into bite-sized pieces before eating.

These muffins are so easy to make. Preparation takes about 10-15 minutes and baking time is 20 minutes. So, why don't you bake some too? :)



I'm linking this post to the event, Bake-Along #71: Theme - Jam Doughnut Muffins organized by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours, Lena from Frozen Wings, and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.


8

Cream Cheese Horlicks Hazelnut Bread (baked in bread maker)

Here's my latest loaf of homemade bread baked in my Cornell Bread Master bread maker.


Cream Cheese Horlicks Hazelnut Bread


Last week, I baked a loaf of Cheddar Cheese Bread. This week, I use cream cheese and I add some Horlicks powder and hazelnut meal to get that lovely malty and nutty flavor!
 
Recipe adapted from here.


Ingredients:
(Makes a 2lb bread) 

2/3 cup fresh milk
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened & cubed
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons molasses sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Horlicks powder
1/4 cup hazelnut meal (ground hazelnut powder)
2 cups bread flour
1 cup wholemeal bread flour
1 & 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast


How to:

1. By following the bread maker's manual, I have listed the ingredients' sequence correctly - in terms of which ingredient goes into the bread maker first - in the list above.

2. Close the lid, select the "basic" setting, loaf size (2lb), crust type (light), and press start.

3. Once the baking cycle is done, remove the bread pan from the machine to cool down.

Note: Please add the ingredients into the bread pan by following your bread maker's manual.


The freshly baked loaf.

To be sliced soon!

I love the aroma of freshly sliced bread.

Close-up view of a slice.

Breakfast is perfect today: eating fresh homemade bread with my fresh dragon fruit & cranberries chia jam.


If you're interested, here are some reference links:

1. How I retain the bread loaf's freshness and softness. 

2. Personal tips about using Cornell Bread Master bread maker (at the end of the post).

3. My homemade bread recipes archive. 

4. Functions available on Cornell Bread Master bread maker.


0

Fresh Dragon Fruit & Cranberries Chia Jam (adapted from Bobby Flay's recipe) - #breakfastseries


Fresh Dragon Fruit & Cranberries Chia Jam

This is very delicious. I can just scoop and eat it like that! The original recipe by Bobby Flay is called Fresh Chia & Berry Jam. I substitute berries with dragon fruit and dried cranberries. I think the colors should do alright. And they do look good! My little one loves it too, he eats 3/4 of a little jar on his own this morning. :)

Ingredients:
(Yields 1 & 1/2 cups)

2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 small purple dragon fruit, chopped into cubes
1/4 cup dried cranberries, soaked until soft & drained
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


How to:

1. Put chia seeds in a small bowl, add 4 tablespoons of water and stir to combine. Let chia seeds sit until water is absorbed and mixture becomes soft, about 10 minutes.

2. Put the dragon fruit, cranberries, honey, and lemon juice in a bowl and mash with a fork until jam-like consistency. Taste for sweetness and add more honey or a pinch of molasses sugar if needed.

3. Spoon the hydrated chia seeds into the berry mixture and stir to combine, using fork to break up lumps of chia until evenly combined.

4. Let sit for 30 minutes to allow the mixture to thicken. Can be made two days in advance and stored, covered in the refrigerator.

5. To serve, spoon over Greek yogurt and top with fresh fruits and/or granola.


Look at those teeny-weeny seeds.

I love the colors. They are just so pretty!

I keep them in the fridge. They are best eaten cold.



I'm linking this post to Cook like a Star (Bobby Flay) organised by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids, Yen from Eat Your Heart Out, and Grace from Life can be simple.


8

Chicken Baked with Sweet Potatoes, Olives, Lemon & Garlic (Diana Henry)


Chicken Baked with Sweet Potatoes, Olives, Lemon & Garlic

A drizzle of liquid gold, sweet cloves of garlic. How poetic! So, this week's theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs features garlic, olives, and/or olive oil. My husband is a big fan of garlic. So, I'm pretty sure he will be happy with this dish. So, here's last night's dinner!


Recipe adapted from here or Diana Henry's Pure Simple Cooking.

Ingredients:
(Serves 2)

2 medium chicken thighs, chopped into 8 chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
8 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges
1 cup sweet potatoes, cut into chunks (I use both orange and purple variants)
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges
1/4 cup pitted black olives, drained
Salt and pepper to taste


How to: 

1. Marinate chicken thighs in olive oil and crushed garlic cloves for about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a roasting pan with baking foil.

2. Arrange the chicken chunks and garlic on the prepared roasting pan. Tuck lemon wedges between the chunks.

3. Scatter sweet potatoes and onions around the chicken. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Drizzle with more olive oil.

4. Bake for 30 minutes, then toss the chicken chunks and sweet potatoes to coat in oil evenly. Add black olives and bake for another 15-20 minutes.

5. Serve hot.


Before going into the oven.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) for this week's theme, Sweet Cloves and Liquid Gold.


16

Recent life snippets with my 15-month toddler


*drum rolls*

The little one turns 15 months! Major milestones include teething his molars and tottering around the house like a mini zombie. :)

So, what about me? How's my life at this juncture?

So far so good. At work, I meet project deadlines. At home, I bake & cook, and make smoothies while the little one enjoys growing up day by day. Okay... I think I'll just write whatever that comes to my mind.

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Warning: Long post ahead! :)

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I like packing his snack boxes when we're going out for road trips.

The latest snack box prepared last Saturday.
He doesn't like the cranberries. Next time, I'll soak in water before packing. He eats 50% of the rest except the cranberries, which I eat all.

This is an earlier snack box. Blog post here.
This is an earlier snack box. Blog post here.

Sometimes, I pack my own lunchbox. Here's one - Pasta Salad with Chicken, Chickpeas, Black Olives & Feta Cheese. There's also seaweed soup in the small food thermos. And of course, a cup of my favorite Nescafe Latte Caramel. :)

Pasta Salad with Chicken, Chickpeas, Olives & Feta Cheese

To maintain my milk supply, I cook Green Papaya Soup with Fish, Red Dates & Goji Berries once a month if I manage to get some nice green papayas.

Green Papaya Soup with Fish, Red Dates & Goji Berries

Here are some recent gems on cyber-world that I find worth exploring.

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Quoting the article: Many of the people behind the social media platforms, gadgets and games that are consuming our kids' time and minds aren't actually allowing their own children to waste an entire Saturday afternoon playing Minecraft on the iPad.

A quote in The Times from Chris Anderson, father of five and chief executive of 3D Robotics, pretty much defines why Anderson and his colleagues are limiting technology at home. "My kids accuse me and my wife of being fascists and overly concerned about tech, and they say that none of their friends have the same rules," says Anderson, formerly the editor of Wired. "That's because we have seen the dangers of technology firsthand. I've seen it in myself, I don't want to see that happen to my kids."

So, how? I have to agree. I can't live apart from surfing the Internet on my smartphone. And < insert curses > the latest Candy Crush Soda game, it's hard to come out of it. If an adult like me has problems limiting the usage of technology, it'd be even harder for young kids. Monkey see, monkey do, you know. I'm trying my best not to be glued to my mobile phone when I'm with my toddler. I still need more practice. It's hard, I admit.


******************************


The Last Time
Poem from Belle Bebes
 
 From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,
you will never be the same.

You might long for the person you were before,
when you had freedom and time,
and nothing particular to worry about.

You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
and days will run into days that are exactly the same,

Full of feedings and burping, nappy changes and crying,
whining and fighting, naps or a lack of naps,
it may seem like a never-ending cycle.

But don't forget...
There is a last time for everything.

There will come a time,
when you will feed your baby for the very last time.

They will fall asleep on you after a long day,
and it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.

One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down,
and never pick them up that way again.

You will scrub their hair in the bath one night,
and from that day on they will want to bathe alone.

They will hold your hand to cross the road,
then never reach for it again.

They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
and it will be the last night you ever wake up to this.

One afternoon, you'll sing "The Wheels on the Bus",
and do all the actions,
then never sing them that song again.

They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
the next day they will ask you to walk to the gate alone.

You will read a final bedtime story,
and wipe your last dirty face.

They will one day run to you
with arms raised for the very last time.

The thing is, you won't even know it's the last time,
until there are no more times, and even then,
it will take you a while to realize.

So, while you are living in these times,
remember there are only so many of them,
and when they are gone,
you will yearn for just one more day of them.

For the last time.


******************************


 I really love this article! Thanks Meg for writing this awesome piece!

Reason #1: Cups and his ability to eat and drink things besides my milk has nothing to do with weaning.

Reason #2: The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding exclusively (so no other liquids or solids foods) until my baby is six months old and then to continue breastfeeding until they are two years of age or older.

Reason #3: Breastfeeding is not just about nutrition, food and drink.

Reason #4: Breastfeeding is the best way to stop a tantrum, bring comfort to a scared, overwhelmed child, help prevent and heal illnesses and bring pain relief. Breastfeeding meets virtually every need he has, day or night.

Reason #5: I see first hand how powerful mothering through breastfeeding really is.

Reason #6: I have breasts so I can breastfeed.

Reason #7: Human milk is made for humans.

Reason #8: The ingredients in my breastmilk do not suddenly disappear after my baby reaches a certain age! 

Reason #9: My body continues to make milk because my child continues to need it.

In short, breastfeeding into toddlerhood is so much more than just the nutritional values and immunological properties. It's about mothering through breastfeeding.

For more info and reference sources, please visit Meg's original article.


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What to do with toddlers?


Now that the little one is getting more mobile, I need to find more activities for him to do so that he doesn't ask to watch nursery rhymes on mobile phone so often.


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What to bake next?



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Latest mantra

Photo source

So true! The less you respond to negative people, the more peaceful life becomes.


4

Wild Rice, Chicken & Tofu Stew and Easy French Toast Sticks


Wild Rice, Chicken & Tofu Stew

 It's really easy to cook this delicious stew for my 15-month toddler's lunch.

Ingredients:
(Yields 1-2 servings)

One handful of unpolished wild rice from Sarawak, washed and soaked overnight
One small chunk of chicken breast meat, minced
One small cube of organic silken tofu, chopped
One egg, lightly beaten
Two broccoli florets, chopped

How to:

I use my SEED electric lunch box to steam-cook this stew. Put everything (except egg and broccoli) into the electric lunch box's stainless steel pot. Add in water from the soaked rice (add more water if needed) and set the timer to 45 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add in broccoli and egg. Let the lunch box continues its steam-cooking process for another 15 minutes until the cycle ends.

Finally, I pack the steaming hot stew in a good quality thermos and add a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil before passing it to my babysitter.

Unpolished wild rice grains.


Easy French Toast Sticks

For his snack, I prepare these easy French Toast sticks. My toddler can hold and eat them easily and with minimal fuss.

Ingredients:
(Yields 3-4 servings)

Three slices of bread, preferably a few days' old
One egg, lightly beaten
One tablespoon raw honey
Enough unsalted butter and vegetable oil to pan fry

How to:

Cut the bread slices into thick sticks. I use my leftover homemade Cheddar Cheese Bread and can get 5-6 sticks per slice.

Meanwhile, beat the egg and honey until well combined. Soak the bread sticks in the egg-honey mixture until well coated.

Heat up some vegetable oil in a frying pan over low heat and melt some butter. Pan-fry one bread stick at a time until golden brown.

Note: I follow Gordon Ramsay's suggestion about melting butter in vegetable oil to prevent the butter from burning.

The ingredients.

Done!


4

Date, Apricot, Chia Seeds Tea Bread (baked in bread maker)


Date, Apricot, Chia Seeds Tea Bread

In her original recipe, Diana Henry said this, "My favorite tea bread: moist, fudgy, and completely moreish. It takes just minutes to put together. Wrapped in foil, it keeps for days – if you can manage not to eat it." Lovely, isn't it?

In this month's IHCC - Mystery Box Madness Challenge, we can choose a dish from Diana Henry or any previous ten IHCC chefs. This chosen dish must contain at least three of these mystery ingredients: harissa, eggs, saffron, pumpkin, maple syrup, dates, rose water, spinach, oranges, chickpeas.

I looked high and low and finally decided to bake Diana Henry's Date, apricot and pecan tea bread. Sue from Couscous & Consciousness had baked hers previously - Apricot, Date & Pistachio Loaf - which I read for reference as well.

So, here's mine: Date, Apricot, Chia Seeds Tea Bread. I omitted nuts and substituted with chia seeds. Oh, and I baked mine in a bread maker. The three mystery ingredients in this bread are: dates, egg, and oranges (orange zest in this case).


Ingredients: 
(Makes one 8" x 4-3/4" x 3" loaf)

(A): 
150g dried pitted dates, chopped
75g dried apricots, chopped
1 cup water

(B):
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted & cooled to room temperature
1/4 cup rice bran oil
1/2 cup molasses sugar
Grated zest of one orange
1 egg, lightly beaten

(C):
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup wholemeal flour
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon mixed spices
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chia seeds

(D):
Sesame seeds and chia seeds, for sprinkling


How to: 

1. Put ingredients (A) in a saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Then reduce heat and simmer gently for about 10 to 15 minutes. You will have something that looks like a purée. Leave to cool.

2. Mix ingredients (B) together and set aside. Add in dates & apricot puree when it's completely cooled. Mix well.

3. In a mixing bowl, sift both flours. Add the rest of ingredients (C) and mix well. Make a well in the middle and stir in the date and egg mixture. Mix with a rubber spatula until well incorporated.

4. Pour this slightly sticky batter into a well-greased bread maker pan (remember to take out the kneading paddles), smooth the top gently with a spoon, and sprinkle sesame seeds and chia seeds generously on top.

5. Turn on the bread maker, close the lid, select the "bake" setting, loaf size (2lb), crust type (light), and press start. This cycle will end in an-hour's time.

6. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the bread pan, then turn out on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.


Look at those seeds!

Moist, fudgy, completely moreish.

Best served with your favorite cup of hot drink!


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) for this week's theme, Mystery Box Madness November '14.


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