Contact Me

Contact Me
Contact Me

Working Mom Blogger

Working Mom Blogger
Working Mom Blogger

Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness
Health & Wellness



Malaysian Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Training 2015 - A Special Project with Global Health Media Project

Malaysian Breastfeeding Peer Counselor (MBfPC) or Pembimbing Ibu Menyusu Malaysia (PIMM) is a project organized by to train Peer Counselors (PCs) or Pembimbing Ibu Menyusu (PIM) regarding technical knowledge about breastfeeding and its challenges in society nowadays.

The objective of this project is to incorporate PCs' roles and services in supporting breastfeeding mothers, starting from their peers and extending to the communities at large.

MBfPC's tagline: "Empowering Breastfeeding Communities".

In 2015, MBfPC is blessed to work with Global Health Media Project. In this collaboration, a training program is conducted with the following agenda:

  • A full 3-day Breastfeeding Peer Counseling training
  • A 2-month practical period
  • A post-training assessment

I'm blessed to receive an email from Pn. Kamariah about this special project. And so, I attended the 3-day training on 22nd to 24th May 2015. After the training, we were given two months to practice our skill as peer counselors to help at least four breastfeeding mothers. At the end of the practical period, we attended a post-training assessment / focus group discussion to complete the program.

3-day Breastfeeding Peer Counseling training

The training room at Hotel Bangi-Putrajaya.

The trainers.

My favorite subject: Breast anatomy.

Babies under one year old were allowed in the training.

A trainee's baby.

Important demos about breastfeeding positions.

Fellow trainees, trainers, little ones, and demo dolls.

Post-training assessment

Post assessment & focus group discussion.

I'm now a certified breastfeeding peer counselor!

Gotta put this cert in a frame. :)


More about MBfPC


Malaysian Peer Counselors' Convention for Breastfeeding and Natural Parenting 2015

Venue: Holiday Villa Subang
Date: 14-16 August 2015

Itinerary: Download PDF

Embracing Your Role,
Knitting Our Network,
Normalizing Breastfeeding.


Quick Korma with Quinoa Pasta

Quick Korma with Quinoa Pasta

Inspired by this Creamy Veggie Korma that I cooked for my toddler, I looked up for another korma recipe from among IHCC's listed chefs. Found one good recipe from Nigel Slater.

Recipe adapted from here.

(Serves 2) 

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium red onion
2 cloves garlic
5 green cardamom pods, shelled
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 bay leaf
4 lean chicken fillet, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 green chilies, seeds removed, cut into slices
1/2 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, cut into slices
2 small aubergines, cut into chunks
1/2 cup broccoli, blanched
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons crème fraiche

The aromatic spices.

How to:

1. Heat up butter in a deep frying pan until almost melted. Add onions and garlic.

2. Lightly crush the black seeds within the shelled cardamom pods. Add the crushed seeds to the pan with ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, curry powder, and bay leaf. Stir fry until fragrant over medium medium-high heat.

3. Add chicken fillet and stir fry for a few minutes. Add chilies, mushrooms, aubergines, and splashes of water to avoid burning. When the mushrooms and aubergines have softened, add about 1 cup of water. Stir, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. After 15 minutes, add broccoli. Cover and simmer for 2 minutes.

5. Turn down heat to low. Gently stir in yogurt and crème fraîche. Serve with cooked quinoa pasta.

Quinoa pasta that I bought from iHerb.

Dinner is served!

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) for this week's theme, July 2015 Potluck!


Fishy Meals for Toddlers (with recipes)

My toddler turns two years old next month.

He has been eating very well. He started to prefer feeding himself - grabbing food with fingers - probably around 10-11 months old. Then, there was a period of fussy eating between 13-15 months old due to teething (incisors and molars). By that time, he was already using spoon (and fingers) - by making the dining area a war zone. LOL.

By 19 or 20 months old, he could self-feed quite well, but still quite messy. Finally, by 22 months old, he could eat using spoon WITHOUT making a huge mess. I'm so relieved!


My MIL brought over lots of frozen ikan tenggiri cuts (from the east coast). So, my toddler is lucky to try out different types of fishy meals.

In this post I have three recipes:

Tomato Paprika Fish
Baked Fish & Veggie Stew
Steamed Fish with Leek & Shiitake 


By the way, I have also blogged about 7 wholesome meals for toddlers and 3 easy ways to cook creamy soups for toddlers.

You can also view the full list of baby/toddler meals and soups on my Baby & toddler menu page too!

Don't miss my latest blog posts by connecting with me on :) 


Okay, back to the fishy meals. :)

Menu #1:
Tomato Paprika Fish

This is a very delicious dish for toddlers who love tomatoes. By the way, tomatoes are only recommended for little ones over 1 year old. Tomatoes are considered an allergenic vegetable.

Paprika powder is a bright red powder made from ground dried sweet red peppers. It is mainly used as seasoning for its characteristic sweetness. Paprika releases its color and flavor when heated. Paprika powder is not spicy like cayenne pepper powder.

I have slowly introduced a few variety of spices to my coming-to-two-year-old toddler. This non-spicy creamy veggie korma - with ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, and curry powder - is very well accepted.

Note: Every child is different. If your child cannot tolerate spices at all, you don't need to introduce spices into their meals.

(Serves 2)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon paprika powder
1 small ikan tenggiri cut, seasoned with salt & pepper
1 medium organic tomato, cut into chunks
5-6 organic cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup hot water
1 teaspoon homemade ikan bilis powder
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

How to:

Heat up olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook red onions until soft. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Then, add tomato paste and paprika powder. Cook until fragrant. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Add fish and cook for 4 minutes. Turn to the other side and cook for another 4 minutes. Then, add tomato chunks and cherry tomatoes. Add hot water and ikan bilis powder. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes.

Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil before serving. Best served with steamed rice.

Menu #2:
Baked Fish & Veggie Stew

I love baked stews. They are so versatile and easy to cook. I can add in whatever meat and vegetables, especially if I want to clear "old" vegetables from my fridge.

Another thing about baked stews is that I can leave it to cook in the oven (as long as the temperature is correct) without worrying that it will over-boil until overflows (this happens very often when I use normal gas stove) and burns while my toddler takes his nap in my lap.

For this stew, I make it Mediterranean style with the addition of pitted black olives and garbanzo beans (chickpeas). If I have some feta cheese to sprinkle on top, this would make a perfect ala Mediterranean fish stew.

(Serves 2)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium ikan tenggiri cut, seasoned with salt & pepper
2 cups celery stalk & leaves, sliced
1/2 cup canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1/2 cup pitted whole black olives
1 cup cooked homemade pasta
3 cups hot water
1/2 tablespoon homemade ikan bilis powder
1/2 cup cooking cream
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

How to:

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Heat up olive oil in an ovenproof pot over medium heat. Add fish and cook for 5 minutes. Turn to the other side and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add celery, garbanzo beans, black olives, and cooked pasta. Give everything a good stir and cook until celery looks somewhat cooked. Add hot water and ikan bilis powder. Cover and bring to a boil.

Then, reduce heat to medium. Uncover the pot and stir in cooking cream. Simmer gently, without cover, until the liquid is about to boil again. Remove from heat, cover the pot, and place it in the oven.

Bake for 40 minutes. Then, reduce heat to 160°C and bake for another 10 minutes. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil before serving.

Menu #3:
Steamed Fish with Leek & Shiitake

Steamed fish is very easy to make and can be very delicious with the right ingredients. I don't have spring onions on hand, so I use young leeks. Add some ginger slices if you have fresh ginger. Or else, like me, I use ginger powder.

(Serves 2)

1 small ikan tenggiri cut 
1 teaspoon ginger powder
2-inch young leek, cut into round slices
3 fresh shiitake mushrooms, cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon goji berries, soaked & drained
1 tablespoon coconut amino (to replace soy sauce)
1 tablespoon sesame oil

How to:

Rub fish with ginger powder. Put it in the stainless steel pot of an electric lunch box. Add in the rest of the ingredients.

Cover and steam for about 35 minutes. Best served with steamed rice.

I hope you like all these recipes. Happy cooking!


Life gets better with handmade soaps! (featuring Soap Cart) {with Discount Code!}

Oh boy! Being a mom is hard. I mean, we moms are hard on ourselves.

We buy organic soaps and shampoos and what-nots for our babies. We use organic detergent to wash their clothes. We clean the house with environmental-friendly detergents. We buy and cook organic food for our babies. The list just grows longer.

Everything revolves around our kids, our family. But what about ourselves?

So, let's start with something small yet significant. Let's start with me-time or let's call it mommy-time.

And handmade soap bars take the cake!

Take a look at the selection of handmade soaps by Soap Cart. Love at first sight I call it.

Handmade soaps sound very rustic. And these colorful little bars are just so feminine. They kinda invoke an urge to pamper yourself silly. I can imagine myself indulging in the soaps' lovely scent and luxuriously smooth lather.

Shower time will never be the same again. Life gets better instantaneously! (Well, at least this is so until the toddler starts banging on the bathroom door, yelling, "Ma! Ma! Ma! Ma! Ma!" until I open the door. Lol.)

Okay! Now, I'm gonna share about these four bars that I have: Bugs Away, Frangipani, Poppy Love, and Soothing Chamomile.

Oh, and don't forget to find out the Discount Code at the bottom of this post. ;)

Soothing Chamomile

  • Best-seller
  • Soothes the skin while providing natural moisturizing effect
  • Chamomile: adds healing properties that reduces redness and inflammation on irritated skin
  • Oats: an exfoliant and great emollient; clinically shown to help heal dry, itchy skin; one of the more common ingredients used in treating eczema
  • Suitable for most dry and sensitive skin 
  • You can buy this soap from Soap Cart's Online Shop

Poppy Love

  • 100% biodegradable, free from animal fat, without harmful chemicals 
  • Great scent that makes you smell great! 
  • Inclusion of blue poppy seeds provides gentle exfoliation to remove impurities and dead skin cells
  • You can buy this soap from Soap Cart's Online Shop

I love, love, love this bar. Its smell is so invigorating and my whole bathroom smells so good I don't want to come out. LOL!

Bugs Away

  • Loaded with natural essential oils known to repel insects and mosquitos 
  • 100% natural handmade soap 
  • Great for outdoor as well as daily use
  • You can buy this soap from Soap Cart's Online Shop

This soap is perfect for my hubby before he goes out for his outdoor sports activities.


  • Lovely fragrance and beautiful colorful swirls
  • Note: Not for sale yet

This soap is perfect for my mom-in-law who has green fingers and a flair of creating beautiful flower bouquets/arrangements. Speaking of which, she did the entire flower arrangements for my church wedding! :D

Other must-buy soaps

Creamy Avocado - A natural soap that has an amazing woody aroma enriched with avocado oil and the flesh of fresh avocado pears, perfect for all skin types to gently cleanse and hydrate the skin. Especially great for dry and mature skin types as avocado oil is prized for its anti-aging virtues.

Milky Way - A 100% natural handmade soap with organic goat milk and bamboo charcoal. Goat milk soap is wonderful for people with dry or sensitive skin, or conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It is also perfect for healthy skin that wants to stay that way. Bamboo charcoal is a great additive to be used in facial soap to draws out impurities and toxins. The charcoal absorbs skin impurities by lifting dirt and oils from deep inside your pores. Great as facial and body soap.

Pure & Sensual - Made with simplistic in mind, this 100% natural bar is lightly scented with refreshing citronella essential oil. Great for those with fast and active lifestyle. No fuss men can even use it from head to toe! Suitable for normal skin type. Can be used as facial and body soap.

Rose Garden - This gentle soap is delicately scented with an elegant blend of tea rose fragrance and geranium essential oils. Enriched with cocoa butter, it gently cleanses the skin while leaving your skin moisturized with its high emollient properties.

Why Soap Cart?

Their in-house soap artisan formulates, makes, and sells handmade/handcrafted soap and other soaping materials with 100% natural ingredients without harmful chemicals. These are high quality handmade soaps that are not comparable to mass manufactured commercial bars.

Handmade soaps make great, thoughtful gifts too - for your spouse, mother-in-law, sisters, bff, etc. Soap Cart can create custom handmade soap, or a custom gift basket.

I like what they say, "We are sure that you will enjoy using them as much as we enjoy making them."

By the way, they also conduct soap making classes if you are interested.

And now..... *drum rolls*

Discount Code!

For all my readers, you can enter this discount code: JOYCE15 when you're at the Checkout page to get 15% OFF product purchase!

Just enter JOYCE15 at the Coupon code box and click APPLY COUPON.

This code is valid from now till 31 December 2015! So, hurry!

Contact Soap Cart

Contact no.: +6017-488 3908

Address: 2A-5-20, Lengkok Nipah, Taman Lip Sin, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia.

Thank you Soap Cart for collaborating with me for this post and for providing this discount code. :)

Soap Cart is listed on Featured Mommypreneurs on


Good Story Pitch campaign: Get your story told to change the world!

Our Better World, the digital storytelling initiative of the Singapore International Foundation is currently running an initiative/campaign called the Good Story Pitch.

Our Better World finds and tells stories of people doing good in Asia to inspire global action. Because they are convinced each of us has the power to make the world better.

In line with the organization's mission to tell stories to inspire action, the Good Story Pitch is an open-call to social enterprises, non-profits and individual do-gooders in Asia, to pitch a story about their work to Our Better World's community of professional filmmakers for a chance to have their story produced and then extensively distributed online internationally by Our Better World.

Besides Malaysia, the Pitch is also calling for story ideas from Singapore, India, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Shortlisted entries will be invited to a face-to-face pitching session in their respective country.

Why share your story? Because stories are inspiring, and yours could lead to support for the good work you do and the community you help. Told and shared, your story could inspire real, tangible change.

Deadline for entry submission: 31 July 2015 2359hrs (Singapore time).

Your story of social impact matters. Let the world know. And change the world for the better.


Macaroni & Veggies Gratin

Macaroni & Veggies Gratin

I love this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) cooking theme. It's about making sauces. There are five classic mother sauces: béchamel, hollandaise, velouté, tomato, and espagnole. I love the clear and concise explanations about each sauce, written by the admin on this page.

This time, I choose to bake Jacques Pépin's gratin dish that incorporates béchamel, a smooth white sauce made from combining butter and flour, then whisking in milk. His original recipe is called Gratin of Penne and Vegetables. I substitute penne with macaroni and I add in more types of cheeses.

Recipe adapted from here.

(Serves 2)

3/4 cup dried macaroni pasta
2 cups broccoli flowerets, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup red pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups frozen spinach, thawed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup grated Monterey Jack & Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

The béchamel sauce: 
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a medium baking dish. Set aside.
2. Boil 2 cups of water with some salt in a large pot. Add macaroni pasta. Cook until just tender (about 8 minutes). Drain (reserve 1/3 cup pasta water) and set aside.
3. In the same pot, add in the reserved pasta water and bring to a boil. Add broccoli and cook for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, red pepper, and olive oil. Mix well. Add spinach and cook until wilted. The water in the pot should be almost evaporated. Remove the pot from the heat and set aside.
4. To make the béchamel sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan. Add flour and whisk continuously to avoid burning. Stir in milk and bring the mixture to a boil. Continue whisking until the mixture is lightly thickened. Add heavy cream, salt and pepper, then return to the boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside.
5. When ready to bake, mix together the macaroni, vegetables, and bechamel sauce. Then, stir in the cheeses. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese on top.
6. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 25-30 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Before baking. See the lovely béchamel sauce.

Don't wait. Dig in now! Best eaten once baked. :)

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) for this week's theme, The Mother Of All Sauces!


Hearty Veggie Bean Chicken Soup

Hearty Veggie Bean Chicken Soup

This week, the members of I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) are making any Jacques Pépin recipe that can be made in 30 minutes or less! Oh yes, I love quick-cooking recipes; the less hassle, the better. This is especially true if you have an under-2yo toddler who demands your undivided attention. :)

Jacques Pépin has a really nice quick-cooking soup recipe called Hearty Vegetable Bean Soup, which can be ready in about 30 minutes. He uses whatever veggies he has in his fridge, plus canned beans. He also serves this soup with grated Gruyère and chunks of country bread.

Sounds really good, so here's my adapted version. I add chicken breast and homemade chicken powder to make this soup non-vegetarian. I don't have Gruyère and country bread in my kitchen, so I do an Asian twist and serve this soup with steamed red rice.

(Serves 4) 

4 cups water 
1 cup chicken breast, cubed 
2 cups leek slices 
1 cup orange carrot, diced 
1/2 cup purple carrot, diced 
1 cup celery, diced 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 tablespoon homemade chicken powder
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained

How to:

1. Combine water, chicken breast, leek, both type of carrots, celery, olive oil, and chicken powder in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and boil gently for about 20 minutes.

2. Add the beans and bring to a boil again. Boil for about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve with steamed red rice.

The soup's purplish color derives from the purple carrot.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) for this week's theme, Fast Food Jacques's Way!