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Month: November 2012

Shepard’s Pie – My Way!

Shepard’s Pie – My Way!

I haven’t been cooking much at home lately. Well, strictly speaking, at most, I only cook once a week. So you can imagine how many number of weeks that has been. So Shepard’s Pie it was. As usual, no salt, no condiments etc. And you will be surprised that it can still be yummy (by my low standards. :p) filled with the natural taste of the ingredients.

Ingredients (basically whatever I can find in my refrigerator 🙂 )

Minced beef (1 Ntuc packet size)
2x potatoes
1x Onion (diced)
Mixed vegetables (corn, peas, carrots etc)
1x celery (I didn’t add this as I didn’t have it handy) (diced)
Tomatoes (I added a lot as this is 宝贝’s favourite) (diced)
4x fresh button mushrooms (diced)
Unsalted Broth (you can use beef broth. I just conveniently used one of the various unnamed broths stored in my refrigerator)
Unsalted Butter
Milk
Cheese

Boil a saucepan of water for the potatoes. Once it’s boiling, put in the potato pieces. Cook until soft. It will take some time.

Meanwhile cook the rest of the ingredients. I used my happy call pan that can retain the juices and flavor of the food. Cook the diced onions first. Once they are soft, add the minced beef. Next, add the rest of the ingredients – vegetables, tomatoes, mushrooms etc. Add the broth. Cover the happy call pan and let the ingredients absorb the the broth.

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Once the filling is cooked, line the tray with them.

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Spread cheese all over the top of the filling.

The potatoes should be done by now. Mash the potatoes with unsalted butter and milk. Spread the mashed potato over the top of the cheese.

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I wrote 宝贝’s name on it to surprise her. 😉 I brushed a layer of olive oil over the top so that it would brown in the oven. Unfortunate it didn’t quite work. The pie remained “pristine white”. Later on, I consulted some experts. The tip was to spread cheese over the top to brown it. That’s what I’ll do the next time.

Bake the pie in the oven for 15 mins at about 200 degrees Celsius. If you have spread cheese over the top, then bake til it’s slightly browned.

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Anyway it still earned praises from the family that it’s yummy!! That’s enough for me. I’m no Michelin chef after all. Hehe.

Tummy Talk at Bedtime

Tummy Talk at Bedtime

It’s that time of the day again. Trying to get her to sleep. She’s unusually chatty because she’s trying not to sleep although I could tell that she was really bushed.

宝贝:Mama you have *didi in your tummy.
Me : Yes. That’s right.
宝贝:You were in *popo’s tummy.
Me : Yes. You remembered!
宝贝:But I’ve nothing in my tummy!! (she looked quite upset and her mouth became a huge inverted U.)
Me : Erm.. Well.. You have food in your tummy!! Your dinner!! (I said brightly. To avoid it turning into a tantrum that would disrupt the sleep pattern.)
宝贝:I don’t want food!! I want somebody in my tummy! Like you!
Me : You are still young. Next time when you grow up and become a mommy, you will have someone in your tummy.
宝贝:I don’t want! I want somebody to be in my tummy NOW!
Me : O.o

It escalated into a wail with her chanting “I have nobody in my tummy. I want somebody in my tummy now.” So much for prevention. She eventually fell asleep in the midst of it. Phew.

I knew that I had to explain about the birds and bees one day. But never would I imagine that I have to do it when she’s 3?!

———————–

I told the hub about it when he came home.

Hub : aiya you should have explained to her about the reproductive system and she does have eggs in her. It’s just that they haven’t turned into babies.
Me : At bedtime when she’s about to sleep?! Such a *chim topic!! You must be kidding!! Since your bio is so good, why don’t you go through with her over breakfast tomorrow?!

Duh! Men!!

*didi = little brother
*popo = grandmother
Chim = profound

More of 宝贝’s bedtime stories.

Bedtime Massage

Bedtime Massage

The lights were out, everything was dark and quiet.

A little voice piped, “Mama! My foot is painful!” A little foot stuck out from the side of the bed.

“What’s wrong with your foot?”

“Pain.. I need a press press.”

“What’s a press press??”

“Like this!” She grabbed her left foot and pressed her sole with her little thumbs.

“Ah… You mean massage. Ok.”

I massaged her left foot very thoroughly. I could see her blissful smile in the moonlight. She sure was enjoying it. “Ok done! You can sleep now.”

“You didn’t scratch it.”

“Scratch?! You mean like this?!” I scratched her sole 2 times with my nails.

“Yes. Now my right foot. Pain!”

Hmmm… It sounded awfully suspicious to me. But I humoured her anyway, finishing it off with the little scratch.

“Why do I need to scratch it??”

“PoPo does it. PaPa also.”

“Hmpppff.. Ok” Weird I thought to myself.

“My hands.”

I did a quick one on both her palms.

“My face! Need forehead massage”

“Are you sure Papa and PoPo do this before bedtime?!?!”

She nodded.

Sigh.

Face massage.

“Mama. Now tummy!”

“Tummy?!” It’s never ending!! I rubbed her round tummy and ended it with a scratch.

“Nose, mama!”

“No one does nose massage!!! How do you do nose massage?!”

“Like this!” She squeezed her little button nose between her thumb and index finger.

“No I’m not going to do that! You are going to sleep now!!”

“Papa does it!!”

“Nonono! Sleep or you will miss your party tomorrow!!”

Later, in the evening I asked the hub incredulously,” Do you give her full body massage before bedtime, including her nose?!”

“Of course not. I only pat her on her tummy occasionally.”

DARN! Taken for a ride for a 3 year old!! Hmpf!! >.<

More of 宝贝’s bedtime stories.

Hairy Crab Escapade Part 2

Hairy Crab Escapade Part 2

A continuation from my “Hairy Crab Escapade Part 1“!

Hur Hur! All 5 were intact when I got home!! I prodded them with a chopstick, they looked quite feeble. The ice cubes I added before i left the house didn’t seem to have helped. Maybe I should have put them in the refrigerator. Hope they didn’t suffer a heatstroke.

But I still didn’t want to take the risk of being a victim of their powerful looking pincers. I dredged them from the pail, put them in the rice cooker’s metal tin, covered it and thrust it into the freezer for 15 mins.

They were in comatose at the end of it. I took the opportunity to scrub them clean. I lined them nicely on a deep tray, covered them with some thinly sliced ginger. I poured rice wine, sesame oil and light soya sauce over them, topped up with some water.

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Then I steamed them for 20 mins til they were bright red.

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Yes!! After all the hard work, they were finally cooked! The hub wasn’t interested to dirty his hands from eating crabs. So I had all 5 to myself. I put 2 and the remaining sauce into a container and chilled them in the refrigerator for tomorrow’s consumption.

Ha! I’ve 3. Little did I know that, it’s harder work to eat them than all the preparation work!

I pried open their shells with anticipation of overflowing orange roe. I was sorely disappointed that it wasn’t as much as I thought. Sigh! Ok lar. Better than nothing. I started to wonder if the 30 bucks ones had more roe?? Maybe that’s why they cost $30 each??

I didn’t need to dip the meat into any sauce, as they had gained a flavor from the condiments I had steamed them with. The meat was sweet and succulent. The only grouse was there were more shell for me to deshell than meat that went into my mouth. Sigh. It sure was hard work digging out all the bits and pieces of meat.

I polished off all 3 in 30 mins.

Maybe I really should just try a $30 one at the restaurant, to see if there’s any difference from these… Hmmm…

Meanwhile I’ve 2 more waiting for me tomorrow! Yums!

I still prefer the huge Alaskan crabs I had in Hokkaido though. I look forward to going back there one day.

Hairy Crab Escapade Part 1 大闸蟹

Hairy Crab Escapade Part 1 大闸蟹

I can’t remember when was the last time I ate the hairy crabs 大闸蟹. I vaguely remember eating them when I was very young, probably just a small spoonful of roe. The whole family had to share 2 teeny weeny crustaceans.

I’ve been seeing all these advertisements on the yummy crabs splashed all over the newspapers. They are in season now! Everyone’s talking about eating them, except me!! I feel so… Left out…

Someone posted on the munch ministry Facebook page on her home cooked hairy crabs!! (Munch Ministry is a cooking club where members share recipes. I’ve only been drooling over the yummy photos so far.) She even posted that Sheng Shiong (a local supermarket) has a promotion this weekend – 5 live crabs for a mere $16.80!!

So I announced to the hub, “We are buying live hairy crabs from Sheng Shiong! I’ve a craving!” (the prerogative of a Preggie, I’ve only 2 months more to this incentive and I’m determined to make the most out of it!)

“Are you sure? You know how to cook crabs meh???” he looked at me doubtfully.

“How difficult can it get? Just throw into the pot lor!! Do you know that you pay at least 30 bucks to eat one in a restaurant?!”

“Eee! So cruel!! You are cooking them alive!!”

“Hmmm.. I’m sure I can find a more humane way to cook them. Worst case, just google lor!!! Everything is on google now!” I replied him confidently. “I’ve a craving!! You know?! Craving!? It means your son wants to eat it??” pointing at my tummy.

“Whatever.. As long as you know what you are doing..” he replied resignedly.

So off we went to the nearest Sheng Shiong and came back with 5 live hairy crabs.

“Be careful! They are very aggressive!”

“It’s ok. I will just clean them with the strings on.”

“What string? They aren’t tied up. They are crawling around.”

I peered into the bag and shrieked, “you didn’t ask the Sheng Shiong people to tie them up!!”

“You didn’t tell me that I’m supposed to. So how?!”

=.=” (my face)

“Never mind. I’ll figure it out later. I’ll just dump them in the pail with some cold water first.”

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(10 mins later)

I heard the hub shouting. I was upstairs, changing to go out. “Hey! There are only 3 in the pail! Where are the other 2?! They’ve escaped!!!”

We found one in the basin. We looked high and low and couldn’t find the last one.

“Maybe you bought 4 only.”

“I counted 5 as I put them in the bag!! Do you think it went downstairs?”

I gave him the ya-right look. “The crab climbed the stairs huh?!”

“I wouldn’t want it to lurk around and pinch 宝贝.”

He leaned over the rails and exclaimed “There it is!!”

I peered over the rails and there it was. Lying downstairs on its back. It must have, somehow, escaped and fell from the kitchen window.

I went downstairs with a pair of chopsticks and prodded it. It’s still alive!!! I gingerly picked it up with the chopsticks and went back upstairs. I put it back into the pail with its brothers and sisters (I still couldn’t differentiate the gender yet).

“What if they all escaped while we were gone?!”

Horrors!

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There! If I come home to an empty pail, then I’ll concede defeat to the crabs’ resourcefulness in escaping….

It looked secure enough to me. The truth awaits me…. Will I still have crabs left for my supper?!??

宝贝 the Chinese Flasher

宝贝 the Chinese Flasher

We have plenty of flashcards – Chinese, English and even the maths dotted ones. We used to flash them at 宝贝 when she was just a few months old.

Now that she’s quite old we have stopped the flashing. (quite a while back actually, more due to the lack of time.) Instead, we try to devise games that make use of them. Why waste them since we have them anyway??

She recognizes quite an impressive number of words for her age, more Chinese characters than English words. All through the sheer diligence of my Mom who has been spending 1 hour of “classroom” time with her every day. I have been slacker in that aspect with her English vocabulary.

She likes playing these word games. This is one of the simpler ones. I jumbled up the Chinese characters and made her arrange them in ascending order.

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宝贝 hard at work. Hehe

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Progressing well…

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Sitting back, admiring her own work, feeling very pleased with herself.

I made her arrange them in descending order. From 10 to 1. Then we did some simple maths sums. Like what’s 3+3? Sums that add up to 10. I asked in English and she picked the relevant Chinese characters up.

That’s how we spent a leisurely afternoon.

Tango – Puppets @ Play

Tango – Puppets @ Play

I’ve wanted to blog about this for quite a while. Edited the photos and kept them in the photo stream. My iPhone just ran out of space (yes yes. I know people probably find this unbelievable that a 32gb iPhone can actually run out of space. But I’m a photo cum video hoarder), so I thought I should just blog about it and clear a little space for more photos. The immediate solution is to just buy myself an iPhone5!! :p

This was the first puppet show that I’ve ever brought 宝贝to. We have been catching plays and kiddy shows on and off. And I figured that this would be a refreshing change. I googled it and found pretty good reviews on it. It’s a one man show by an Argentinian puppeteer, brought in by Act 3 Theatre.

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We had to set out pretty early as this was the first time we were going to the Act 3 theatre. I’ve heard horror stories from friends on how tough it was to find parking. Sure enough, the car park was only just large enough to house 6 cars and the nearest car park was along Anthony Road which was quite a distance away. It would have been quite disastrous if it rained. Mental note: no more shows at this venue unless hub comes along.

We were dropped off and since we were early we joined the rest of the families on the wooden benches outside a small little wooden structure.

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宝贝 munching on her biscuit while waiting for the show to start. *nom nom nom*

I was wondering what the interior of the theatre looked like when its exterior resembled a pre war storehouse. My curiosity was finalized satisfied and yes it was a storehouse on the inside!!

The little stage was filled with the props, there was sitting space right in front of it and everyone rushed to grab the the best seat nearest to the stage. I preferred to sit on the first row of chairs so that I had an elevated, unblocked view and I wasn’t too keen to jostle for space.

The show started with the puppeteer recounting how he became interested in the art and his journey. With a heavily accented English, he spoke in a very animated way and soon infected the whole crowd with his enthusiasm and positivity. His props were simple yet imaginative, very colorful and brought to life by his acrobatic movements and well trained actions.

Every single part of his body could be used, to animate one, two or even three puppets at the same time. He made use of lights, simple every day items to produce various visual effects to wow the crowds. His shadow play was amazing. With a twitch of his fingers and parts of his body, he produced creative shadowy images that thrilled the minds with his innovation.

We were not allowed to take photos of the performance so I had to take photos of the brochure… Better than nothing lar!

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We are being exposed to all kinds of media every day. They tend to be very blatant and very “in your face”. You don’t need much imagination or creativity to absorb the imagery that is conveyed. You can’t help but wow at the innovative ways that the puppeteer has used to bring his puppets to life.

But what struck me as the best part of the performance was the last bit, his ending speech.

Children are the best things that can happen in your lives. Now they love you unconditionally and treat you as their whole world, worship you like gods. There will come a time when they will outgrow this and move on with their own lives. You, as parents should cherish this phase of their lives because it’s very short and once it’s gone you will never get it back. This is the time when you should spend the most time with them and it will be the best part of your lives. Cherish this moment and give them all the love you have. Hug Them, Kiss Them, Shower Them with all your Love.

I can’t help but wholeheartedly agree with him. Images of 宝贝 in her baby phase and now her toddler phase, the hilarious things she did or said. Yes. I can’t turn back the clock and she’s growing up in leaps and bounds every day. She won’t be making the same cute mistakes and she’s now talking more logically. She’s still adorable in her own more mature way now. But I couldn’t help remembering how she was like just months back or even 1-2 years ago.

I felt like quitting my job on the spot and spending all my time with her!! (hee hee.. realistically, I don’t think I can last more than 2 weeks as a Stay At Home Mum though…)  It’s never too late to manage my work life balance and make the most of these precious years when she still adores me unconditionally. (everyone tells me that she will soon start talking back and make me mad. :p)

Anyway, back to Tango – puppets @ play. If you have missed it this year, remember to go for it next year. Enjoy it with your children.  These are one of the simple things in life that can make you smile.   🙂

宝贝 – Floating Like A Starfish

宝贝 – Floating Like A Starfish

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It has never occurred to me that floating on the water can be so difficult. I’ve been totally at ease in the water for as long as my memory goes.

You need to be absolutely confident in the water (knowing that you won’t drown), get over the insecurity of not having someone’s hand supporting any part of your body. And of course, totally relax your body so that you can adjust your weight distribution to achieve the feeling of weightlessness in the water.

I’ve seen adults flounder in the water. Maybe it’s much easier for children who are still fearless and free of burdens at the back of their minds.

Here’s my little one, overcoming her fears, floating with ease in the pool.

My little starfish…

You Mean, You are Still Driving in Your Condition?!

You Mean, You are Still Driving in Your Condition?!

Yes… I get eyebrows raised and incredulous facical expressions when they asked, “You mean, you are still driving in your condition?!”
“Huh?! Pregnant cannot drive meh?”

“You should take a cab!”

“Why? Cab drivers drive more recklessly than I do and I get motion sickness from their tapdancing on brakes.”

“Won’t your bump hit the steering wheel?”

“No…” (I have only put on like 6kg, even during the peak of my 1st pregnancy, the bump was still far far away from the steering wheel)

“Can you still reach the brakes?”

“Erm.. Yes…” (Strange, do legs shorten during pregnancy?? I hope not, I’m already very vertically challenged. I would hate that to happen to me.)

“Can you reach the steering wheel?”

“No problem with that.” (Oh my goodness, now they are telling me that all my 4 limbs are growing shorter?!)

“You still shouldn’t drive!”

Huh…?! What’s the logic?! And put myself in the mercy of the cab drivers? I have tried taking the MRT.  Usually people would give up their seats to me, provided that I wasn’t jam packed at the entrance… I couldn’t even reach the seats for someone to give up his seat when I was squashed like a sardine at the door.

 

So being an internet person, I googled.. Driving, pregnant.  There is no scientific proof that pregnant women shouldn’t be driving.  Well, unless, you  have grown to such a distorted size that the diameter of your bump exceeds the length of your arms and legs.  Then of course, you can’t drive, because you can’t reach the wheel and the pedals! But that doesn’t usually happen.  For people who need to commute long hours like more than 1 hour to reach their destinations, they are advised to stretch their legs every hour to prevent blood clotting.  This doesn’t apply just to pregnant ladies, in fact, it’s applicable to everyone.  In Singapore, you hardly need to drive more than one hour, even taking into consideration the traffic jams.

 

So the good news is… Pregnant women can drive.  I have even googled the right way to wear the seat belt… which is the normal way… Just make sure that the bottom strap lies below the bump so that it stabilises your body during an accident, without exerting pressure on the baby.

 

So there! I CAN DRIVE!!! Stop raising your eyebrows at me! Bah!