Saturday, January 29, 2011

Matcha cookies

I have been busy baking the past couple of days. Of course it wasn't the non-stop baking type. It was done at a leisurely pace. I prefer to give homemade cookies to family and friends rather than buy them off the shelf. It's just a sense of satisfaction I get. Pineapple tarts and chocolate chips are a must. However, I'm a bit more adventurous this year. I still have a batch or 2 of tarts to do but as I went around the blogs looking for a 'melting moments' recipe, I came across this simple to do matcha cookie and it just called out to me, 'try me, try me'. Which I did as you can see. :) It's a cookie for matcha lovers but I'm not one. However, it's not too bad really, although the next batch I make, I might cut down on the powder used, so it doesn't come out too strong. I got this recipe from sweet decadenze. This recipe is for Peony by request.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

School bento #7

Blog hopping is not doing me any good. I'm trying to lose weight, but the tummy is growling from checking out blogs for cookie recipes. I think I had better continue with updating my blog.

The week is full with after school activities. The girl comes home early on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. By early, I really mean 2pm. We are in the midst of preparing for ballet exams, therefore Tuesday are tied up with writing class and ballet. Wednesdays are good as we have a 45-min piano lesson right after she comes home. She had not been having piano class for a few weeks' now due to her being sick. On top of that, she hasn't been practising on her piano at all. I'm glad she still remembers her work.

I made her a bento to eat just before the teacher came, and put it at a side table so she could reach for something while her lesson was going on. Timing is tight as the teacher's schedule is also jam packed. Girl had requested for a salmon onigiri which I wrapped with a Hello Kitty seaweed sheet that I purchased in Tokyo. She also loves the inarizushi with ebikko. There is a seaweed shape of Usahana on top of the ebikko. Usahana is also a Sanrio character that she loves. There are cherry tomatoes and broccoli as well as a stick of chicken balls.


When the girl was absent from school, her Science teacher started them on a project on growing beans. She missed the visit to the Ecogarden in school. I think she is going to enjoy Science, as there is a lot of hands on activities to look forward to, I hope.

Her partner grew some beans for her, but we prepared the cardboard for it while she was recuperating. We had fun designing and colouring her garden, and bringing the baby beans home and taking care of them. Here they are 2 days old.

By the 4th day, the beans have sprouted. Can you see the little plant? So cute. It's grown even taller now. I need to take another photo of it.

School bento #6 + CNY baking

A cutey rabbit char siew bun features in this recess bento. I had seen a bunny chocolate bun at Breaktalk but I think this one is way cuter. I got this from Four Leaves Bakery. It looks more like a rabbit than Bugs Bunny. My sis is born in the year of the rabbit and I know she will love this. Unfortunately I can't do one (bento) for her. Little oranges are seen here again (I have a whole basketful!). Normally, princess doesn't like oranges but she loves these as they are cute, sweet and seedless.

I've also been busy baking for CNY gifts. I really marvel those who bake to sell. Just making tarts for gifts and own consumption yesterday already zapped me of all my energy. From making the dough (thank you Kenwood), to rolling out the jam balls (no KW or KitchenAid can do this job unfortunately ;P), to wrapping dough over jam, to glacing, to finally baking. Remember those who eat tarts - think of the person doing them, the amount of hard work that goes into one ball. Please don't pop them like peanuts. It's a plea from bakers like me. Savour every bite and eat them with love, as much love as was put into making each and every ball, then you will feel the love of those who made them. :D

To get the ball rolling on my baking, I started with the very simple chocolate chip cookie. It was quick to prepare, bake and cool, thus making them great as a night time bake, which was the only time I had in the past few days. Afternoons are occupied these days with homework, tons of it. I'm glad that the girl has finally caught up on her hw. There is still one major compo to do and 3 short ones. Those are optional as she only needs to choose one out of 4, but she hopes to be able to complete all 4 at her own pace. Her bedtime has also been adjusted to 9pm, not by choice, but by her heavy workload. She has been quite good last 2 days as I was busy with work (my hubby will have you know that staying home is not work) - cleaning house, doing laundry, baking, cooking etc. Although having to do lots of hw, she did complain once or twice about her aching hand, but I just let her rest a few minutes here and there before continuing. There really wasn't enough time to waste. She sometimes completes them around 8-9pm, and it's off to bed. She gets a sheet of Maths problem sums to bring home every day, and that is on top of a few sheets that they do in school! For Chinese, there are also pages of hw. :( She doesn't have a life anymore! Why do they push them so hard? :(

Well, anyway, so here is my chocolate chip cookies. A big portion = two recipes.

My first batch. :)

This is the reason I hate making pineapple tarts... rolling them jam balls. They are sticky eeky and so time consuming.

Perfect circles.

Here they are, all ready to be packed.

School bento #5 + Muffins

This bento was very hastily put together in minimal time. The only things that needed to be done in the morning were to put the McDonald chicken nuggets in the oven and cut up some dragonfruit.

I had baked some muffins for the girl the day before. Had planned to do them to put in her bentos, and I so happened to receive a mini silicon baking tray then, so it got me excited to try it out. The muffins were really cute, definitely mini! I made them in three flavours - blueberry, chocolate chip and banana. It's literally bite size so just pop them in your mouth and they are gone.

Thank you for the gift, dear friend. I love it to bits! Making more today to take to the nurses at the hospital as a thank you gift. :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

School bento #4

Good morning. :) A new week has begun. I'm really not used to waking up at 5.45am. It just makes me so tired, with zero energy, but the thing with me is that unless I am super exhausted, I can't fall back to sleep after sending the girl off in her school bus. So here I am, with time to spare, updating my blog.

The girl starts her conversational Malay class today. She had showed some interest in the language when we visited the Peranakan Museum a couple of years back, and had picked up a book on learning the language. This is an optional MOE programme to get pupils to learn another language other than their mother tongue. I think it's a great move. Costs are covered by MOE. Being half a baba, I never was spoken to in Malay. My maternal grandmother spoke Hokkien and English to us, maybe for the fact that it was easier for us since we had a Hokkien paternal grandma. Therefore, I was glad that my girl showed an interest, and decided to sign her up for the class. I hope she has fun, and can soon be my teacher. :P

In the picture above is her lunch bento for after school. Malay class begins this afternoon for 2hrs after school. I decided to boil her some cha soba and put the sauce separately in a covered container so she can dip the noodles in. The instruction is for her to throw out the sauce after she is done. Hope she remembers. Sitting atop the noodles is Snoopy. There is a cuttlefish ball panda, leftover from a birthday party we attended yesterday. A little Mandarin orange, a cherry tomato and a packet of sweets from the goody bag complete the bento.

This below is the section for recess. There are two slices of leftover pizza from party, 2 pieces of homemade chocolate chip cookies, a food pick with several blueberries, and 2 pieces of papaya.

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, January 21, 2011

School bento #3

The girl has gone back to school! Her MC ended yesterday and she was back today. As her health isn't that well yet, I decided to pack her bentos starting today, after all the beatings that her body has taken lately. Somehow, I can't trust canteen food, especially when the body is still weak. It still isn't as clean as when we prepare them ourselves. It was tough getting up this morning to prepare this, but thank goodness I did most of the preparation last evening. The onigiri was made after dinner and I made her some fresh salmon flakes in teriyaki sauce. While at the supermarket, the salmon looked really fresh, thus I decided to do that since I couldn't find any canned ones on the shelf. It was really easy to do. I just put them in the oven to bake, then flaked them and cooked in diluted teriyaki sauce till dry. She loves that. And I'm glad. :)

This is a new bento box which was a gift from her godma. So pretty it is.

She has to stay back at school three times a week, so not only do I need to prepare snacks for recess, I also need to do a lunch one as well. For recess, I made her a jam sandwich wrapped up in Stitch foil, some fruit balls using honeydew melon, papaya and dragonfruit. They are so adorable. I want them for myself. :) All three fruits fit nicely into the bean silicon cup. Spy the little piggy? That's a homemade pineapple tart which didn't turn out all that well, and was a lot of work. Doubt I'd be making those again in a hurry.

Hospital stay

There are 2 viruses in the air now. One of them is a microplasma bacteria and the other is stomach flu. It has become an epidemic in Singapore. Lots of people, especially kids are susceptible to them. A number of friends' kids are either down with cough and cold or vomiting and diarrhoea. So, to be safe, try to keep away from crowded places, especially since Chinese New Year is round the corner. Both are contagious.

Unfortunately, mine happened to be one of those unlucky ones. After almost a week of being sick, she became dehydrated and had to be admitted to the hospital. We took her to the Emergency Room on a Sunday as she threw up after a cup of water. I knew how she felt throughout, to throw up till nothing is left but gastric juice. It was what happened to me many times during my pregnancy, and it broke my heart to see her experiencing what I went through. She could even joke that lucky I didn't throw her up. Hahah!

She threw up on Sunday morning after gulping down half a bottle of water. I decided we should send her in to put her on the drip, but that too was my greatest fear... having an IV drip going into her hand. I think hubby wasn't too keen on the idea at first, but I reasoned that she was not getting any better, and by sending her to the hospital, professionals were around to give her proper care, but he still wanted to hold on to one last hope. He finally relented after some persuasion and also seeing how weak his daughter had become.

Knowing that she'd most likely be admitted, I packed a sleepover bag and took it along. A big box of tissue for her runny nose, which was just flowing non-stop. And her little pink kitty to accompany her. :)

We chose the hospital which her paed services, as we decided that he would be the best person to take care of her, the only doctor 'that she trusts' (in her own words). Therefore, when the doctor at the ER heard that princess was Dr S's patient, he offered to call him over to have a look at her. The girl also requested that her paed fix up the IV for her, something which the ER doc said was what these paeds are used to, as we felt bad that he had to come back personally just to set up the drip.

I was really nervous about it and was afraid that there'd be screams when the needle went in, so I was happy to make my disappearing act to the admissions desk to do the necessary paperwork. Alas, I was not let off easy, as the princess called for me to be there by her side. Daddy alone wasn't enough. I have to say I was extremely proud of her. She had asked to look while the doc was putting the needle in, but Dr S told her to look the other way instead, so we distracted her by chatting with her, and he did it so well and skilfully that she didn't even feel it go in. For that alone, I'm eternally grateful to him. Personally, I hate having that done to me, so can you imagine a child?

Due to her condition, she could only stay in a single room. And because they had a limited number of single rooms in the kiddies' ward, we had a converted double ward which they turned into a single. We got 2 beds, one for the parent (non-chargeable) as well as a meal for the accompanying parent. As the girl couldn't eat and wasn't allowed to, meals were only ordered for me. Knowing how horrible hospital food tastes, I opted for Malay food which usually comes with some form of chilli in it. The first meal that evening was a fried bee hoon dish that was mildly spicy. It wasn't too bad actually, although french fries and bee hoon seemed like a weird combination. The fries tasted awful of course, as it came with no salt at all. I left it all. Dessert was honeydew sago. The soup? I did not touch.

For the next day's lunch, I ordered seafood fried rice which was bland, and the rice grains weren't fully cooked.

Didn't manage to take a photo as we had visitors that afternoon.

The girl didn't sleep very well that first night due to her hand being uncomfortable and she had to sleep in a sitting up position. I, on the other hand, could hardly sleep. What with worrying about the girl accidentally dislodging her IV, the nurses coming in and out to check on her, the beeping from the IV drip to signal the need to change the glucose bag, to the little eerily irritating sounds in the corner of the room where the blinds met the control. I managed to dose off for about an hour or two, but I knew I'd suffer terribly in the day. When hubby went over in the afternoon to take over the shift, I went home and got 2hrs of sleep. That night, hubby stayed with her and I got to come home to sleep in my comfortable bed. It didn't help one bit. I tossed and turned in my bed all night. I can't remember when was the last time I had slept alone.

The paed was late in dropping in to check on her. He only managed to do so around noon time. Apologized that he was stuck in ICU, probably with a little baby, poor child. He said she was ready to go home, but princess protested and wanted to stay one more night. By that time, she was well enough and had gotten used to the call button for the nurses, people to wait on her hand and foot, giving in to her whims and fancies, and having many visitors to make her feel all special, she wasn't ready to give all that up. :)

The day that she was discharged, I had ordered mee siam for lunch, so here it is... it wasn't too bad actually. The best meal of all the other meals the two days before.

For the hubby, I prepared a quick bento which had more fruits than food. It was really quick and easy. I only really needed to make the tamago. I put his food in my newest Yoshinoya bento. It's a CNY promo that they have. You get it for $5 with any value meal purchase. Usual price is $12.90.

There's sausage wrapped in tamago, bak kwa and white rice with furikake.

In the top tier, there were little mandarin oranges, celery sticks with a Caesar salad dressing, slices of apples (turned brown due not enough salt to soak in), and some strawberries.

IV removed. Yay!! We could go home!

Thank you aunties, and uncles for visiting, and for the many gifts, stuffed toys etc.

The bestie's birthday

The bestie shares the same birthdate as princess. I had planned to celebrate for the two of them by taking them both to a lovely lunch. However, since the poor child was ill for her birthday, I had to rush out these cuppies. Had planned to do them anyway, but there was no motivation to kickstart the process till the very last minute. Most of the decor was made 2 days in advance. The thought was there, but the execution took a lot of effort. I just had to surprise her!

I found a courier service that said they do delivery of cakes but when I called them up, they said they only did frozen cakes. Oh well, I had to send them personally to her. I had hoped for a much more 'wow' factor.

I'm not very creative and if friends have received cuppies from me, they will realize it's usually the same few designs haha. This one, however, has a wannabe Kate Spade tote that she was eyeing, as well as a pretty present all wrapped up.

I'm missing her now, but I know she is having a fun time in HKG. And she'll be back tomorrow! How fast the week has flown by. Can't wait to see what goodies she has bought. :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Taxi drivers

I had a bad spell with taxi drivers during the week. The first happened when I was rushing my girl to the paed. I usually like to go early in the morning so that I don't need to wait too long for her turn. When I left home that morning in a hurry, I had just changed my bag and thus forgot to take my umbrella along. It started drizzling when we got out of the lift but as we were in a rush, I didn't bother going back to get it. However, when we got to the main road to catch a cab, a queue had formed with approximately 4 people in line. I didn't think we'd have luck getting one and I wasn't going to take the girl out in the rain (she was running a fever at the time). Thus, I called for a cab and was lucky to get one with a 3-5min arrival time. When the guy arrived, I went out from under the block and waved at him. He didn't even look and just drove his cab along. I waved and shouted and still no response. He just went on. It got me really mad and I caught up with him and banged on the boot of his cab, with my girl trailing me in the rain. He really got it from me good. However, he apologized. I let it go at that. Important at that time was getting to the clinic on time, and besides he already said he was sorry.

On Tuesday, I had gone to get groceries as well as the cake for my girl. In my right arm were 4 heavy bags as I had to free my left hand for my bag as well as the cake. This driver of the cab I was about to board had a real attitude problem. Seeing that I was struggling, he just glared blankly at me. I signalled for him to help open the boot and he didn't budge. I shook my head at him and he reluctantly got out and said to me, 'don't shake your head lah'. I told him he was very rude and that I wasn't going to go in his cab. He then said to me, ' I also don't want to take you'. I was fuming by then and got the next cab driver to open his boot. In my anger, also due to a breaking arm and shoulder from the weight of the groceries, I had not thought of it, till the driver said to take down the number plate of the previous cab to lodge a complain. I have taken it down but due to taking care of the sick child, have not had a chance to call the company yet, which I definitely will do this coming Monday. I'm not letting that one off.

Sick + School bento #2

Sunday was the start of our nightmare that has lasted till today. She had high temperature the entire Sunday and Monday, at times reaching up to 40.2deg C. I took her to the paed first thing on Monday morning, and with suppositories and panadol, managed to clear the fever by Tuesday, which was her birthday. However, that wasn't the end of it. She woke up with a very bad nosebleed which lasted from 8.30am till 4pm. It wasn't heavy flowing all the way, but because of her runny nose, it seemed to go on forever. That was also when her cough and runny nose started. :(

Poor dear was ill throughout her birthday but at least we managed to get her a cake and she was able to eat that. She went back to school on Wednesday and Thursday but when she got home from school that second day, she looked really terrible so I decided to take her to the GP for anti-biotics. She wasn't getting any better and was suffering terribly. She couldn't do her homework and was listless. There was no way she could have managed to absorb what she was taught at school. Thus, we got the anti-b and started on one dose. That night, she threw up a few times. It was really worrying so I took her again to the paed and this time he prescribed supps to stop her vomiting. The medicine did not work, so again I rushed to the paed that same evening, 7hrs after he had last seen her, and who thankfully had a night clinic 10mins from my house. He gave her a jab and poor girl cried. She normally is good with jabs but her senses must be really sensitive as she hasn't consumed anything or drank any fluid for a day. Poor child. She slept through the night without throwing up, except sleep was disturbed by coughing.

Hubby started her on 7-Up, which is what his mum used to give him growing up. So far, fingers crossed, she is responding well to it. She has just been sipping that slowly the whole afternoon. We hope that she will be well enough to start on some soup or soft food by tomorrow.

Everything has been on hold since this illness started. The house is in a mess from Christmas, till New Year till her birthday. I had hoped to do some tidying up after the girl went back to school and hubby went off back to work. I really hope everything goes back to normal soon. This has dragged on for too long and is draining me of whatever energy I have left.

This second bento was for last Wednesday when she returned to school after being sick. There were tuna pizzas made with half a hotdog bun, blueberries, strawberries and some flower biscuits. She usually wipes her bento clean but on that day, she returned with one slice of pizza, 3 pieces of strawberries and one biscuit, and I knew something wasn't right. She never leaves fruits.

I hope to return to do more blogging, but meanwhile, the most important thing at present, is to get the girl back to health. I also can't wait to start baking pineapple tarts and some CNY cookies. Have you started your baking yet? 20 days to CNY.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

11111 + School bento #1

This is my very first post of the year 2011. But of course, the date's been rigged. How could I not take advantage of this date to remember my girl's very special birthday. :P The year has started off not too well, with the princess being sick. It all started with a high fever on 9 Jan. She woke up with a grouchy face and I asked her what was the matter. She refused to answer me at first but later said that she wasn't feeling well. We took her temperature and it registered high, somewhere around 38-39deg C.

I wanted to cheer her up, so while I was out to run errands, got her a cake from Four Leaves (she had requested for a strawberry cake for her birthday but I had no time or energy to bake her one). I had ordered Jewelpets icing a few days earlier thus I decided to improvise on the store-bought cake by decorating it with the sheets. It turned out a success except that I should have placed the sheets on just before serving the cake, as they had started to sag in the 3hrs the cake was left to sit in the fridge. But at the end of the day, it was still a joy for her to see her favourite pets greeting her on top of her favourite cake. :)

For this new school year, I made her 2 bentos. On the first week of school, this was what she got... a mini bagel with ham roll and a slice of cheddar, strawberries and a cherry tomato.

Happy birthday princess. Get well soon!