Snickers and Peanut Butter Muffins

snickers muffins

I love baking muffins. As Nigella Lawson said, the process of making muffin itself is relaxing. Last weekend I re-read my cooking book collections and drooled over Nigella’s ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ recipes. So many recipes are waiting to be cooked, but I finally tried out recipe from “Cooking for Kids” chapter. Yes, it’s weekend and it’s time to ‘spoil’ your lil one with sweet treats!

These muffins are seriously, dangerously good. Well, the name says it all 😀 They were ready right after my son woke up from his nap. He tried one and said: “Mummy, it’s good..!” That’s the highest compliment I’ve been waiting for 😀

 

Ingredients

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons sugar

1 ½ tablespoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

6 tablespoons chunky peanut butter

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 large egg, beaten

3/4 cup milk

3 1/2 full-size (50 gr) Snickers bars, chopped

 

How to Make

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add the peanut butter and mix until you have coarse crumbs.
  4. In another bowl, mix together the melted butter, egg, and milk, then pour this mixture into flour mixture, stir gently. I will repeat my golden rule in making muffins: DO NOT OVERMIX!
  5. Mix in the chopped Snickers bars, and dollop the batter in prepared and lined muffin tins.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes. It’s done when the tops are risen, golden, and firm to touch.
  7. Leave them on the wire rack to cool. Enjoy wholeheartedly!

 

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Hello Bebe from Lock & Lock: The Real Time Saver for Busy Parents

Being a working mum left me with little time to prepare my son meals every weekday. As you know that I always try to give homemade foods for my son, it means that every morning I have to cook his lunch and dinner before going to work. After using Hello Bebe glass food containers for about a month, I must say that I’m impressed. This product really is a time saver and a versatile cookware that allows easy cooking, storage and reheating of foods and leftovers.

Every morning I cook and divide the foods into my Hello Bebe glass food containers. One container is for lunch and the other is for his supper. Thank God for the borosilicate glass that can withstand sudden change in temperature, so they can go straight to the oven, steamer, or microwave! The 300 ml container is perfect for my son’s meal portion so he can eat from the container straight away. After the meal’s cooked, I let them to cool and then put on the airtight lids. I usually put the dinner’s food in the fridge, just in case the food can’t last until dinner time. When it’s time to eat, my son’s nanny just has to re-heat the foods in the microwave (Oh, my Hello Bebe glass food containers can also be heated straight from the refrigerator). After it’s done, I can’t leave my home happily and “peacefully” :D.

And about the Hello Bebe straw bottle, ah my son adores it! This bottle has a perfect size to be held by his tiny hands, and its one-touch cover is very easy and convenient to be opened by a 3-year old toddler. I’ve told you in my last post that it’s his favourite water bottle as he always asks: “where’s my blue bottle?”, every time he needs to drink :D. Well yes, we even brought along the straw bottle to our holiday in London! The bottle itself is BPA free and its straw made from silicone that is safe if kids chew it. And one more important thing is, Hello Bebe straw water bottle also comes with a special straw brush and one refill silicone straw! I love the brush because it really helps to keep the straw clean and hygienic.

All in all, I really recommend these products, especially for parents with little kids. They had been tested and met the FDA standards. They’re also BPA free, made from eco-friendly material, and very durable. If there’s one thing I could add, I wish that the straw bottle also came with a strap to make transporting it easier and more comfortable.

 

 

 

 

My Family Holiday Survival Guide!

Hello everyone! So, we’re just back from our 2-week holiday in London. How time goes waaay too fast when you’re having fun! 😀 This was my son’s first long-haul flights, and to be honest, he’s still having jet lag until today *typing with sore eyes*

Well, let’s forget the “post-holiday syndrome” and start gathering the beautiful memories (and photos!) from our last holiday. I started travelling with my son when he was 3-month old. To my surprise, he was an easygoing baby and made no fuss in the airplane. He enjoys holiday as much as we do! So when we planned to visit back London, I had no worries that he would be a cranky or fussy kid during the trip. But still, holidaying with kids mean keeping them amused (even if they have to visit some “adult” places like old museums or crowded souvenirs shops) while still maintaining their daily routines (meal time, nap time, and bed time) on track. Here are my survival guide to help you remain happy and (of course) sane during your holiday with kids 😀

  1. Pick the perfect holiday time and date

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We deliberately avoid travelling in summer time. The hotel and airplane fares (and just about everything else!) will be more expensive. The crowd is also unbearable in this peak season. I’ve never been a fan of summer time travel after all. If you’re going to a four-season country, spring or autumn will give the perfect weather.

Since we come from tropical country, we chose to travel in early September to avoid the “cold weather shock”. When the autumn season is setting in, the weather starts to cool down in London in September. At this time of year, London’s average daily temperature is around 16ºCelcius. We just need a light jacket and a scarf to protect us from chilly wind. But it turned out that my son loved the nippy weather and refused to wear his jacket 😀

We also decided to spend some more time for this holiday. Two weeks in just one country seems like a long duration. But believe me, when you’re travelling with toddler, you have to plan for a slower pace. You may only able to visit one or two places per day. Back in 2010 when we had our honeymoon, my husband and I could travel to three different countries in just one week. We had a full schedule from early morning till night. Now with a fully energetic 3-year-old toddler, a tight itinerary won’t work well for us. You simply cannot force a tired, bored toddler to enjoy your museum hopping. Most likely you will have a tantrum kid in hand. 😀

I had many wish destinations to be visited in London, but I strictly planned to visit maximum 3 places per day (as I know that my son would be too tired or bored), and tried not to be disappointed if we could not visit them all. I also spare some time in my itinerary to visit places that my son will love, like parks or playgrounds, or (my secret place to keep my son’s happy) a toyshop! *Hamleys to the rescue!* 😀

Furthermore, I also considered that we have to face the so-called “jet lag” (I will discuss about it thoroughly in second point below). That’s why I spared the first few days after our arrival to let my son adjusting his body clock to local time.

 

  1. Prepare the jet lagImage-1-4

As we had chosen to visit London, which is several time zones away from our home, I knew I would undoubtedly going to deal with jet lag, and (of course) deal with kid who are dealing with jet lag. To be honest, besides the long haul flight, the idea of crossing time zones with a toddler is one of my biggest worries. But after experienced and survived it (yeaaayy!), I’ll share you my jet lag survival tips:

  • The main key to help adjusting to the time change is the sunlight. Try to get your kids up in the morning and have as much daylight as possible. During night time, try to keep the lights out and the blackout drapes closed.
  • Offer your kids food at local mealtimes, and try to feed them during the day so that they’re not hungry at night. For big time changes, expect that your kids will wake up once or twice at the first few nights, most likely at their usual meal times. At the first few nights, I let my son wake up at his usual waking hour at our home. When he woke up, I tried not to give my son solid food, instead offered him milk and biscuits.
  • The first few days after your arrival, your kids will probably take some marathon naps during the day. I know that it would be tempting to keep your kids awake, hoping that they will sleep all night. But it can run down their immune system. So just let your kids to take a nap when it is nap time at your destination.
  • During the day, try to have lots of physical activity and encourage your kids to do a lot of walking. It will help them to have more sleep at night.
  • Expect that it will take three to five nights for your kids to adjust their body clock to a new time zone, so plan your trip duration accordingly. That’s why we decided to spend about two weeks for this holiday, because the first few days would be the “adjustment time”. In our experience, we have found that going back to east (from UK to our hometown in Jakarta) takes my son about a week to adjust, while going west (Jakarta to UK) seems to happen quicker (one to two nights).
  • And one more important thing to remember: Make sure to put yourself to bed early at the first few nights so that you have enough energy (and sanity) when your kids wake you up in the middle of the night. Try to have a nap when your kid naps. Eventually, everyone will adjust to local time naturally so there’s no need to rush things.

 

  1. Lower your daily standards to keep away the stress

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I know some mums who will freak out if their kids don’t have enough veggies and fruits. I also happen to know some mums who put their kids in a tight daily schedule like army. I didn’t say it’s not good. Every mum always knows what’s best for her kids. But when you’re in a holiday, you’ll also be in a “holiday mood”, and your kids are no exception! They tend to refuse to eat, skip their naps, and resist sleeping early. It’s normal, because it’s hard for your kids to keep up their daily routines in a new place, not to mention the time difference!

For some parents, persuading kids to eat is difficult. But getting them to eat (let alone a healthy food) on holiday is even more challenging. I always do “with the flow” on holiday. For example, my son usually has oatmeal with fruits as his breakfast. But he tends to refuse it during the holiday and wants to eat whatever his parents have. Knowing this habit, we always try to eat something healthy (and avoid junk foods) to encourage him eating healthy foods too. But this is not the end of the story. On holiday, my son also eats smaller portions than he usually has at home. Five small bites of cheese sandwich or five spoons of Hainan rice and it’s done (back at home, he usually finishes a whole portion). But it’s okay with me. As a compensation of the smaller portion, I offer him more milk and high-carb foods as his snacks (like cereal bars or jacket potatoes).

If you know you’re going to have to depend on local food that’s not familiar to your kids, before travelling, you can take them to a restaurant that serves the kind of food that you’ll get in the country or you can cook it by yourself. At least, your kids will have some idea of what they’re likely to eat at your holiday destination. But if in the end your kids still have eating difficulties on holiday, just do relax. If they won’t eat, you know they’ll be hungrier at the next meal and less fussy. Your kids also won’t suffer if they eat more chocolates, ice cream, or sweets than fruits and veggies while you’re away. It’s just for a few days anyway. You can back to your healthy, daily routines when you’re at home.

Oh, one more thing, don’t forget to pack your kids’ favourites in your suitcase (just in case it will be hard to find at your holiday destination). It will help you in “difficult situation”. For example, when my son had tantrum in a public place, I knew I could save the day by offering him Kinder Joy. And I felt so relieved that I brought some spares because, to my surprise, we couldn’t find any Kinder Joy in London! There is Kinder Surprise (or Kinder Egg) though, but it’s different. Copying from Wikipedia, Kinder Surprise is a hollow milk chocolate egg shell containing a capsule with a toy inside. While in the other hand, Kinder Joy is a plastic egg-shaped packaging that is internally divided into two halves. One half contains two soft creamy chocolate layers (one milk-chocolate flavoured and one white-chocolate flavoured), which are eaten with an included spoon, and the other half contains a small toy. We brought 7 Kinder Joy from home and all of them had saved us from many difficult situations like a boring long haul flight, cranky mood (mainly caused by jet lag) at the first few nights, or simply as a “bribe” when we had to visit our favourite but not-so-kid-friendly places. 😀

 

  1. Keep your kids healthy during holiday 

Repeat after me, healthy kid means happy kid, and happy kid means happy holiday! There is nothing worse than a late night visit to an urgent care in an unfamiliar place. And it’s no fun at all to be quarantined in a hotel room during the holiday. I’ve travelled far too many times to say that having an unwell kid will fail all your holiday plans. Even if my son’s just having a cold, his blocked (and sometimes runny) nose will make him cranky all day. And it’s very tiring to drag a fussy kid around. Once when we travelled to Palembang, my son suddenly had a high fever and literally slept all day in our hotel room. Thank God it’s just a 1-hour flight away from our home. The next morning we could catch a plane back and go straight to his paediatrician. But as you guess, we simply could do nothing on our holiday besides looked after our sick son in the hotel room.

However, being on the go often leads to illness, so here are some tips that can help keep you and your kids healthy while travelling.

  • Before travelling, I always do a pre-holiday prep. That includes having a check-up to my son’s paediatrician few days before we go, and packing a first-aid kit which contains:
  1. Digital thermometer;
  2. Fever and pain relief (acetaminophen/paracetamol and ibuprofen);
  3. Cough, cold, and flu medicines;
  4. Diarrhoea medicine;
  5. Plaster gel for fever;
  6. Microlax, to relieve constipation;
  7. Olbas for children;
  8. Sticking plasters (Band-Aid) and iodine solution (Betadine);
  9. Bruises ointment;
  10. Vicks VapoRub ointment;
  11. Insect repellents.
  • Taking multivitamins, starting a few weeks before holiday and keeping up until a few weeks after you get home. I know that the best source of vitamins for kids is a healthy diet. But when you’re eating habits change (remember that sometimes I let my son eat more chocolates and less veggies on holiday), a multivitamin can help fill in the gap.
  • Don’t forget the simple thing: Washing your hands! Dirty hands can lead to many diseases. So remember to wash your hands before touching food or feeding your kids (and make sure they wash their hands properly too), and keep hand sanitizer in your bag.
  • Know the emergency numbers for the countries you visit.
  • Too much sun can drain your energy and blister your skin. And if you’re going anywhere hot (beach or tropical country) remember that kids have thinner skin and it burns more easily that ours does. Encourage them to play in the shade and try to keep them out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day. And the most important thing, cover them with a high-SPF sun cream and keep reapplying during the day, especially if you’ve all been swimming.
  • Last but not least, keep hydrated. Most people associate dehydration with hot weather, because they just don’t feel as thirsty when the weather is cold. When you don’t feel thirsty, you may not drink as much and this can cause dehydration. We lose a great deal of water from our bodies in the cold weather due to respiratory fluid loss through breathing. Our bodies also are working harder under the weight of extra clothing, and sweat evaporates quickly in cold, dry air.Image-1-2
  • To encourage you and your kids to drink plenty of water, get one water bottle for everyone and keep it filled with water while you’re away. Individual water bottles will prevent the spread of germs and increases the odds of everyone staying hydrated. Speaking of water bottles, I specially brought my son’s favourite bottle so he could drink more. Yes, I carried along his Hello Bebe Silicone Straw Bottle to our holiday in London! This is his favourite water bottle as he always asks: “where’s my blue bottle?”, every time he needs to drink. This BPA free water bottle made of “Tritan”, a copolyester material that is safe for humans and the environmental and spotlighted as a new generation of safe plastics. It also comes with a silicone straw that is safe if kids chew it. Its one-touch cover and the tip of the straw (which has a tilt angle) are very helpful for him to drink by himself. Hello Bebe Silicone Straw Bottle also gives you a special straw brush and one refill silicone straw, which included in the box. The brush really helps to wash the parts thoroughly. I also brought the refill straw, just in case the original straw is broken when we’re on holiday. Image-1-3

 

With all the preparations and the above tips, I’m glad to say we’ve had a smooth, wonderful holiday and everyone (including my son) are stay happy and healthy till we get back home. 🙂

My New Favourite Baby Product: Hello Bebe Straw Bottle

Hello_Bebe_bisfree_straw_cup

Maybe you’ve already known about my concern to use BPA free plastic containers. BPA or Bisphenol A is a widely produced chemical used primarily for the production of polycarbonate plastics. The use of this chemical is so profound that it was detected in the urine in 93% of the population over 6 years of age. However, the health risks of BPA have been receiving considerable attention. A growing body of research links the chemical BPA to a range of human health problems, including a higher risk of certain cancers, reduced fertility, birth defects and diabetes. High temperatures can cause BPA to leach into the food or beverage.

IMG_1651I usually use my Bisfree water bottle from Lock & Lock. Now that Lock & Lock had introduced a special product line for babies, Hello Bebe, my son finally has his very own Bisfree straw water bottle that suites all his needs. Bisfree is a BPA free material made of “Tritan”. Tritan itself is a new material developed by a well-known chemical manufacturer, Eastman Chemical. It’s safe for humans and the environmental and spotlighted as a new generation of safe plastics. It has the plastic’s advantages of lightness and durability, plus high transparency similar to glass.

Not only BPA free, Hello Bebe straw water bottle comes with a silicone straw which is harmless to human body, a dedicated straw brush, plus one refill silicone straw! How thoughtful is that! I’ve never had a water bottle that includes a refill straw, let alone a special straw brush. It’s very, very useful to keep the water bottle clean and hygienic.

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This 360 ml water bottle comes in two different colours: pink and blue. My son always refers this bottle as “my blue bottle” every time he wants to drink. He loves it so much because it has a perfect size to be held by his tiny hands, and its one-touch cover is very easy and convenient to be opened by a 3-year old toddler. The tip of the straw also has a tilt angle so it’s very handy for him to drink. That’s why, when we travelled to London two weeks ago, this water bottle is one thing I can’t leave without!

Seri Kaya Bread Pudding

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Seri Kaya, or Srikaya, or some people just call it Kaya, is a coconut jam made from coconut milk, eggs and sugar. It’s sweet, thick, creamy and “rich”. The word kaya itself means rich in Indonesian. I really adore this jam. There’s always something nostalgic about this sweet spread. A couple of weeks ago, my husband was back from his business trip to Makassar. One of Makassar’s famous souvenirs is this lovely jam. Knowing that I love seri kaya so much, he bought me 6 jars of Makassar Seri Kaya! I’m a happy wife 😀 Well, turns out I’m not the only one who feels happy. After first taste, my son has become the newest fan of this jam 😀

This morning, I was thinking to make other than just ordinary seri kaya sandwiches for my son’s breakfast. Then I remembered that I have my beautiful Hello Bebe glass food container from Lock & Lock. Ha! I should give it a try, then. First recipe idea that came up in my mind is “bread and butter pudding”. Hmmm.. that would be lovely for breakfast! A warm, sweet, one-dish meal is hard to resist in the morning. I used pandan bread to make this pudding. Pandan and seri kaya is a very good combination.

But there’s sudden change in my plan, though. My oven was suddenly broken this morning! Arrrghh… I really didn’t know what happened. It just stopped working. Blah. Well, I finally decided to steam the bread pudding. After all, my Hello Bebe glass food container is made from borosilicate glass, which withstands high heat and sudden cooling. It could be used not only in a fridge, freezer, microwave, and dishwasher, but also in a 400ºC oven and a steamer! It really saved my day!

 

Ingredients

4 slices pandan bread

seri kaya

1 egg

200 ml milk

1 tbsp sugar

butter

 

How to Make

  1. Preheat the steamer, or if you want to bake the pudding, preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/350ºF.
  2. Grease your glass food container with some butter.
  3. Make sandwiches with the pandan bread and seri kaya (about 1 tablespoonfuls in each sandwich).
  4. Now cut the sandwiches to fit the food container.photo-13
  5. Whisk the egg with sugar and milk. Pour this over the sandwiches and leave them to soak up the liquid for about 5 minutes, by which time the pudding is ready to go into the steamer or the oven.photo-14
  6. Sit the glass food container in the steamer, or in the oven to cook for about 45 minutes or until the custard has set and puffed up slightly.

Hello Bebe: Say Hello to Easy Life!

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Okay, pardon me if I’m way too excited :D. So, few months ago I got my hands on Lock & Lock Glass, as you can read in my reviews in this blog. It’s perfect for busy home-cooks, because this product allows you to make an easy transition from kitchen to table. But back then; I wished they had the smaller size of the Lock & Lock glass. The 630 ml glass container, which I’ve already had, is actually too big for my son’s meal portion. It’s not a really big deal though, as I can always scoop out the food and transfer it to the plate. But it will be more convenience if my son can eat from the container straight away. Because it means less dirty plates to be washed later! 😀

I’ve had no idea that Lock & Lock already had special product line for babies. Let me introduce you to Hello Bebe. Hello Bebe is a brand that has been created by Lock & Lock with several icons representing the funny character and interesting storyline loved by children. I know there are a lot of health-conscious women out there (including me :D) who are trying to choose a safe product for their children. This product has been tested and has met the FDA standards. It’s hygienic, BPA free, and made from eco-friendly material.

imageOne of Hello Bebe favoured products is the glass food container, which comes in small size (300 ml). This size is perfectly fit my needs in feeding my 3 y.o kid. The container itself has the same advantages as other Lock & Lock glass containers. It’s made from high quality borosilicate glass, which is highly heat resistant. Borosilicate glass withstands sudden change in temperature, so it can be microwave or oven heated (up to 400℃ ) straight out of the fridge. It really is a versatile cookware that allows easy cooking, storage and reheating of food and leftovers. Hello Bebe glass food container is also equipped with the famous Lock & Lock airtight silicone sealed lid that seal in flavors and keep air out. This revolutionary four-lock mechanism and resilient seal is perfect to keep the freshness and hygiene of your baby foods.

So can’t wait to try my Hello Bebe glass food container! 😀 Wait for my new recipe hereee.. Toodles!

 

 

Hummingbird Bakery Banana Loaf

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I loovee baking with bananas, and in my opinion, banana bread, banana muffin, or banana cake actually tastes better the day after it’s baked. My overripe bananas usually end up in a baking tray, transformed into a batch of banana muffins. I’ve already posted about my staple banana muffin recipe here. It’s foolproof, and it’s very good. My blog wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t post about my favourite banana loaf recipe. It’s from Hummingbird Bakery, my food heaven in Notting Hill, London. You could find the original recipe in this book.

Here in Jakarta, brown sugar (I mean the real, imported, brown sugar) is rarely available in the supermarket and the price is very expensive. That’s why sometimes I use palm sugar instead. If you use palm sugar, your banana loaf will be darker (you could see at the photo above), and “stronger”. The brown sugar version, IMHO, gives a milder taste.

 

Ingredients

  • 270g soft light brown sugar/palm sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g bananas, mashed
  • 280g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 140g unsalted butter, melted

 

How to Make

  1. Grease a 23x13cm loaf tin and dust with flour, or line the tin with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 170C.
  2. Put the sugar and eggs in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until well incorporated. Beat in the mashed bananas.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda, cinnamon and ginger to the sugar mixture. Mix it thoroughly until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated into the egg mixture. Pour in the melted butter and beat until all the ingredients are well mixed.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and smooth over with a palette knife. Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour or until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool slightly in the tin before turning out to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

 

Makes 8-10 slices

Chicken Rolls

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My son is mad about deep fried foods. If sometimes he gets bored with his meal, I just have to offer him crackers, or any deep fried snacks, and his appetite will come back shortly 😀 That’s why I always have to keep my homemade frozen foods ready in my freezer. Forgive me, I’m that kind of mum who won’t let her kid eats crappy frozen chicken nuggets from supermarket. I choose to spend about 2 – 3 hours in the weekend for cooking and preparing homemade frozen food stocks, instead of letting my son eats something that even I cannot explain what contains inside.

So last week I made a batch of chicken rolls. I actually used shrimp rolls recipe but I replaced the shrimp with chicken mince because my son is allergic to seafood. Chicken rolls may look like chicken nuggets, but as they contain spring onions and sesame oil, they have distinctive flavour. They’re my son’s all time favourite! When I’m in a rush to prepare his lunch, I usually make him a “quickie soup” (I put whatever veggies left in my fridge and boil them in the chicken stocks) and fry some chicken rolls as side dishes.

photo-9Take a peek at my son’s lunch today. We got some chores to do so I had to bring his lunch on the go. I cooked chicken meatball soup with carrots and broccoli. I also added the chicken rolls to his lunch box, just in case he’s not in the mood to eat his soup. Everything’s contained perfectly in my Lock & Lock Lunch Box. This lunch box set is my favourite! 😀 It has perfect size for my son’s portions. It’s also leak-proof, so I don’t have to worry carrying soupy dishes inside. Those 3 containers really accommodate my needs. I used the 360 ml round container for steamed rice, the 220 ml dish container for the soup, and the 220 ml divided dish container for the chicken rolls. They’re all packed inside the insulated bag, which can keep them warm for several hours. So my bag is packed I’m ready to go!

 

Ingredients

–       250 g chicken mince. I used 250 g of chicken breasts and “minced” them with my food processor

–       2 spring onions, thinly sliced

–       25 g all purpose flour

–       1 tablespoon egg white

–       ½ teaspoon sugar

–       ½ teaspoon salt

–       ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

–       ½ teaspoon pure sesame oil

–       1 clove garlic, finely chopped

–       2 eggs, loosely beaten

–       oil to fry

–       aluminium foils

 

For Coating:

–       50 g all purpose flour

–       1 egg, loosely beaten

–       50 g coarse bread crumbs. I used panko crumbs.

 

How to Make

  1. Mix the chicken mince, spring onions, 25 g flour, 1 tbsp egg white, sugar, salt, pepper, sesame oil, and garlic into a bowl.
  2. Make 3 thin “crepes” from 2 loosely beaten eggs. You will use these egg “crepes” as sheets or wrappers. So, be extra careful to not making any holes.
  3. Divide the chicken mixture into 3 equal portions. Spread the chicken mixture evenly on the egg “crepe” and roll the “crepe” tightly. Repeat the same steps to the other “crepes”.
  4. Wrap the chicken roll with aluminium foils. Be sure that the chicken roll is fully covered with foils at both ends.
  5. Steam the chicken rolls for about 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Let them cool completely.
  6. Do the bias/diagonal cut to the chicken rolls so you will have 3 cm-thick pieces.photo-10
  7. Coat the chicken pieces in coating flour, shaking off any excess. Dip them into the egg, and then press them into the panko crumbs until well coated on both sides.
  8. You can now freeze them. Arrange the chicken rolls in a single layer on a baking tray, cover with cling film, and set in the deep freezer. Once frozen, remove the chicken rolls from the baking tray and store in Ziploc/freezer-safe bags. Return to the freezer and cook from frozen.

 

 

Lunch Box Heaven: The Way to Make Your Kids Devour Their Lunch

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My most memorable childhood memory was my mum’s homemade foods, specifically, her homemade foods inside my lunch box. Yes, she was that great in preparing my to go lunch. While my friends constantly had instant noodles or boring chicken nuggets as their lunch, I triumphantly ate various lunch menus from day to day. There was a great pride to unpack my lunch box and find the today’s “surprise” inside it.

Please do not imagine fancy bento or intricate shape sandwiches as my lunches back then. No, my mum was not an expert in doing “crafty” things like that. She just put her best efforts in cooking me various, and of course delicious, menu everyday. I used to have 6 different meals a week (yes, I had to go to school on Saturday). That, my friend, was my mum’s ultimate way to win my heart and make me clean off my lunch box, every single day.

I know that some of you, maybe, are totally freaking out about preparing your kid’s lunch box for his first week of school. What should I prepare? Will he eat it during break time? What if he doesn’t like it? And so on.. Please, do relax. And if I could give you my friendly advice: Do not take a peek on Pinterest for lunch box ideas, unless you want to feel like the most uncreative and laziest mum alive! 😀

Right, so how did I do to prepare my kid’s lunch box? As you know that being a working mum left me with little time to cook everyday, so here are several tips from me to save your time from worrying much about your kid’s lunch box tomorrow 😀

1. My son is not a picky eater, but you know how kids are. One day he randomly loves something, but the next day he can totally hates it. Strange, I know. The only key to cope this is “variety”. Try to pack a different lunch, or snack, everyday. You don’t have to cook a very distinct menu everyday; just a slight of modification would be perfect.

For example, I know that my son recently loves to eat bread for his snacks. So, for one whole week I will prepare different kind of sandwiches for him. Or you can prepare one staple recipe that can be transformed into many possibilities. I’ve posted here before about my versatile meat sauce. This sauce itself can be used to cook many other meals, for instance: pouring over pasta/rice/baked potatoes, layering up lasagna, or using this sauce as filling to make meat pies.

You can also encourage your kids to help choose and prepare their own lunch. They might like to make a list of the foods they enjoy. Kids who help choose and prepare their own lunch are more likely to eat it! 😀

 

bento-panda-pick2. Ask yourself, how does my kid eat his lunch at school? Please make sure that their foods are manageable and easy to eat. Some kids, like my kid, don’t like getting sticky or dirty hands while eating. You also have to consider that there are limited times for kids to eat during the day, especially at school. They may prefer to play with friends instead of eating. To subdue this problem, you can cut the foods into one-bite portions, and don’t forget to prepare a proper cutlery along with the meals.

For example, sliced fruits or peeled oranges are easier to be eaten by small kids. Cute toothpicks can be used to prick the fruits. Plus, they look nicer.

3. Invest in a good lunch box. No matter how much effort you put on cooking homemade meals for your kid, it will end up useless if they don’t come up with proper packaging. You really don’t want mushy sandwiches as your lunch, do you? A good lunch box will also last a long time and keep the food inside cold or warm, because in most cases, food is stored in lunch box for several hours.

These following tips from Wikihow.com give me some good considerations in selecting the right lunch box:

  1. Get a lunch box that is insulated, or one with a freezer pack. Otherwise, water bottle can be frozen to help keep foods in the lunch box cool.
  2. Consider how many pockets and divisions you want. Do you want to stack things or place them side-by-side? Do you want everything in one compartment or do you want to keep certain things separate? Do you need a separate pocket for a napkin or fork? Do you need features to contain an ice pack or keep a beverage bottle from tipping?
  3. Choose something sturdy. Plan to use it for at least a full year.
  4. Try out the handles, straps, and any closures. Make sure they will make a loaded lunchbox easy, comfortable, and secure to carry (won’t pop open or tip over).
  5. Choose a lunch box that can contain spills. If your soup or drink leaks, or if that nice, squishy fruits gets squished, at least the mess will be contained and not all over the rest of your stuff.
  6. Choose something washable. For heavy use, this may mean a hard-sided mini cooler, but many soft-sided lunchboxes have plastic or foil liners that can be wiped down and even removed for cleaning.
  7. Choose something with style. For kids, choose something fun. A favorite cartoon character might be worth the extra expense if it helps convince your younger one that what’s inside is fun. For older kids, it’s probably best to let them choose the style, so long as it fits everything it needs to. But don’t forget, kids’ lunch box should be easy to be opened by themselves. Believe me, I’ve dealt with series of cute lunch boxes that are so difficult to be handled by 3-year-old kid, and they all turned out useless.

 

 

photo-7Well, with several considerations described above, you may think that finding the perfect lunch box is far away from an easy job. Thank God I’m done with all the “researches” 😀 May I introduce you to my favourite lunch box: Lunch Box Set from Lock & Lock! This lunch box set contains:

  • 1 insulated bag. The inside of the bag is made of aluminum foil, which helps preserving the food inside cold or warm. It also comes with a perfect-size handle to help carrying the bag conveniently to the school;
  • 360 ml round container that has outlet of water vapor so that you can open it easily. Just lift up lightly and the water vapor will go out;
  • 220 ml divided dish container that has division inside it so you can put different meals side-by-side; and
  • 220 ml dish container.

The containers are airtight and have double locking system to keep the food fresh for long hours. They’re also leak-proof, highly durable, and easy to clean. And one more feature that will make you please, this lunch box material is safe for changes in temperature -20 °C to 100°C for use in microwave, freezer and dishwasher! Plus, the material is also BPA free. So, no more worries, Mum!

lock---lock-bento-multi-round-lunch-box-set-with-3-containers---small-bag---green-lock---lock-bento--leopjaThe size of this lunch box is so ideal for my son’s portion. His school time ends before lunchtime. So everyday, I just have to prepare some snacks to be eaten during his break time at 10 a.m. I usually use only the 220 ml dish container for mini sandwiches, or mini pies, and the 220 ml divided dish container for 2 different sliced fruits, or 2 different kinds of small biscuits. Because I don’t use the 360 ml round container, I have extra space inside the bag to put his water bottle.

If I have to carry his lunch on the move (yes, even he can eat table foods by his age now, I try my best that he eats my own homemade foods everyday), I usually use the 360 ml round container for storing steamed rice, the 220 ml dish container for soup, and the 220 ml divided dish container for other side meals or sliced fruits.

Healthy lunches and snacks are important for active kids. It is important to help them concentrate and learn at school. You know you could make your kids enjoy their healthy meals by creating the lunch box heaven…. We can do it! 🙂

 

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Mango Morning “Sangria”

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Have I told you that mango is my MOST favourite fruit? I guess I have 😀  Too bad we’re not having mango season in Indonesia right now. But as I’m easy to please, my mango craving actually could be cured by having a good shop-bought carton mango juice. In fact, I have to have this kind of juice sitting in my fridge on a daily basis.

Few days ago, I tried to make something “special” with this mango juice. I’m in the need of a good mood booster to face Monday morning, and this treat always helps. This easy-to-make recipe will cause no mess in your hectic morning. You actually just have to chop some fruits and plunge them in the mango juice, or whatever juice you like. Breakfast is served and everyone’s happy! Well who doesn’t love to have a glass of colourful fruits floating on sweet refreshing juice as their breakfast? My husband called this as mango “sangria”, cause the floating fruits remind us of the famous beverage from Spain 😀

I decided to bring this “sangria” to my office. Hope that it will avoid me from munching unhealthy snacks before lunch time 😀  To store my “sangria”, I use my trustworthy Bisfree bottle from Lock & Lock. This eco-friendly product uses BPA free material made of “Tritan”, a copolyester material that is safe for humans and the environmental and spotlighted as a new generation of safe plastics. Ever since my son was born, I tried my best to use only BPA free containers to store foods and/or drinks. There’s no doubt that we live in a plastic world. From the toothbrush, to the computer keyboard at the office. Everything is made from plastic. Until recently, the abundance of plastic wasn’t a pressing health concern, despite being on our environmental radar. Now a growing body of research links the chemicalBPA, commonly found in a variety of consumer products, to a range of human health problems, including a higher risk of certain cancers, reduced fertility, birth defects and diabetes ( source: Neimark, Zandonella ).

Lucky me, I finally found the Bisfree products from Lock & Lock. My 480 ml Lock & Lock Bisfree water bottle is a perfect companion for my outdoor activities. It is the ultimate way to keep my water fresh and clean wherever I go and whenever I want.

 

Ingredients of Mango “Sangria”

–       Chopped fruits. Berries would be perfect, but you can also use apple, grape, kiwi, star fruit, lemon, or orange. But please, don’t use bananas. 😀

–       Mango juice, or whatever juice you like.

 

How to Make

Still don’t know how to make it? Just chopped your selected fruits, plunge them into your preferable juice, and…. that’s all you have to do! Take a sip and enjoy your morning! 😀

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