Sunday, 28 December 2008

Ponder... and my new companion

I wonder how Sunday mornings would be like.... I say this not because I don't wake up on Sunday mornings. In fact it's the contrary. I wake up every Sunday morning to go to work - my full-time job.

For all the years (way before I was married), I've never really felt how the day will be like if I'm just lazing around with the family at home or sleeping in on Sundays. Because I work even on Sundays & holidays too.

Hmmm... especially this morning I asked myself again, how would my Sunday mornings be like if I'm not working. I see people having breakfast with their family at the nearby coffee-shop, going to the market, off to do something recreational, attend weddings & family gatherings. I'm definitely deprived of my Sundays.

But this is what I do and have been doing. My consolation would be that I manage to avoid crowds on weekends in shopping centres. I get to get things done at offices which only opens on weekdays from 9am-5pm (like bringing the kids for check-ups) without affecting my annual leave entitlement.

However recently I started thinking: for how long? The kids are growing up & I haven't been spending enough time as I work long hours. Anyways, I hope the new year will bring me more inspiration for my future in whichever path I choose.

Enough whining... I spent a 'fortune' on a new mobile phone today. I'm happy I got it but at the same time guilty for spending too much.

Introducing my new companion..... the Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot C905.

Companion because I'll be using it more often than my Kodak cam for food shots & other stuff (you'd better be worth it Sony...).

I hope to update as much as I can before the year ends (which is just a few days away), and to tell whether my new phone does justice for me.

Till then peeps! Nite!

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Potato & Egg Salad

Made potato & egg salad for dinner on Tuesday. It's simply boiling some potatoes & eggs and 'dump' everything in a bowl and toss. In this case, I arranged them in layers.

I especially love the dressing / dip. It's tangy sweet, sour, mustardy all into one. And I'm always putting in extra, fresh coriander leaves as I luuurrrrve the smell of it.

Potato & Egg SaladIdaho or Russet potatoes (boiled)
Turkey bacon strips (I didn't use these in the salad, but it would make a great addition)

Dressing / Dip

1/2 cup mayonnaise
Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
6 sweet gherkins (finely chopped)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 sprigs coriander leaves (finely chopped)
Salt & ground white pepper to taste

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Chicken Rice

Today we had takeaway dinner - Chicken Rice.

Went to Giant supermarket at Tampines as hubby & I had to get some stuff. We then bought the chicken rice on the 2nd floor foodcourt. This was our.... (lost count) time buying at the stall as we love the taste (not because it was convenient).

The rice has a fantastic aroma & the chicken is so tender. Of course you can choose whether to have roasted or steamed chicken. One pack cost $3.

As usual stalls will give you only one or 2 packets of ginger garlic chilli to go with a pack of rice, unless you ask for more.

So ever since I found out that Chng Kee has gone Halal, I begin to buy their ginger garlic chilli as a supplement whenever I buy or cook chicken rice (don't have to make my own if I don't have time).

This is my 2nd bottle I have at home. It's very spicy (even for someone who can handle spicy food well) and has thick consistency. If you want it runny, simply scoop the amount you want in a bowl & stir with hot water to the consistency that you want. Unless you want to use it as dip for your fish crackers (which is perfect too), then stick to the thick consistency. I've forgotten the actual price but it's between $3-$5.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Crispy Chicken Strips

For quite some time, I was inspired to make something like the Taiwanese Snack Bar here offers - Crispy Chicken (that's not what it's actually called by the way). A lot of times as I passed by the snack bar, I tell myself that I should try making this. It's a matter of getting the right seasoning (I think).

It's like a chicken cutlet using chicken breast seasoned with garlic & some other spices & fry till crispy. Then the cook will sprinkle more seasoning (I suspect it's garlic powder) before serving it to his customer. If you're standing very close to the snack bar, the whiff of the seasoning entices & awakens the saliva glands that I decided to give it a shot - my style.

Here's my Taiwanese-style-Crispy-Chicken-Strips:

10 pcs chicken strips or breast (I'm using strips this time)
1 egg (use egg white only)
Garlic salt
Mild Cayenne Pepper
White Pepper
Garlic Powder
*No specific measurement given as I'm seasoning it according to my taste.

1) Season chicken strips with garlic salt, cayenne pepper & white pepper. Marinate for at least 1 hour.

2) Heat oil for deep-frying.

3) Before frying season egg white with garlic salt, cayenne pepper & white pepper. Dip the chicken strips into the seasoned egg white and then into the breadcrumbs.

4) Be sure that the oil is hot enough before putting the breadcrumb covered chicken strips into the pan.

5) Fry till golden brown.

6) Drain cooked chicken strips. Season with garlic powder before serving.

Everyone likes it. Perfect for the kids' too as I'm using mild cayenne pepper and not too much of the white pepper. I'm definitely gonna repeat this.

Crispy Chicken Strips

Give it a try. These are easy & using only few ingredients. Great for snacking too.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Simply dessert

Went to the supermarket today to replenish the fridge. There were so many chocolates & goodies for Christmas. I was so tempted to buy all those chocolates & candies & stuff but I thought they will eventually end up in my kids' tummy. (My guess is I'll only get to eat 2 pcs & the rest will be finished by the little 'monsters').

When I passed by the fruit cocktails section, I thought of making a trifle. I've thought of it for the past few weeks but have forgotten how to. I remembered I need some sponge cakes, fruit cocktails & cream. Thing is, I'm not sure how much cream I should use to make one bowl.

I went ahead to buy 1 can of fruit cocktails, 2 cans of cream (175g each) and a pack of ladyfingers, hoping that they are enough.

When I lay everything in the bowl, I discovered that I'm lacking at least 1 more can of fruit cocktails & 2 more cans of cream (since I prefer the trifle to be creamier).

Well, experimental gastronomic adventure is something that I'm so used to. Next time I know exactly how much I should get.

Here's the result:

(If you noticed that I already have enough cream on my trifle, it's because I added some whipped cream to make it more. Too lazy to go back to the supermarket).

I didn't like the particular brand of fruit cocktails that I bought, cos there's not much fruit in there. Just pineapples & papayas; not even a cherry can you believe it?! And it makes my trifle look like some kind of potato salad instead, don't you think?
Tried to do some justice to the trifle by sprinkling some shredded chocolates on top. But I guess it didn't make any difference....

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Chocolate(y) Brownie for Naz

Even while I was preparing to bake the brownie, the idea still hasn't set in on how I should present it later. Not that I'm lacking of decorative items n the fridge. I just can't decide.

Eventually when it was time for me to pour the chocolate fudge on the brownie, I decided to go all chocolatey for this preggie lady. And making it as simple as possible.

She's on her way now to pick this up.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Zoo trip

Today I decided to go to the kids' school to get dear son's uniform (before it's out of stock or the school gets crowded during orientation). Since we were going to the zoo later, we thought we'd drop by at the school.

Tried the 'M' size on Zinedine but it seems tight. So next one size obviously is 'L', but it seems too big / baggy for him. I compared both sizes and found that there's a huge difference between the two. Anyways since 'M' is too small, I might as well take size 'L', considering that he's growing fast vertically. I'll just have to spend some time trimming the pants for him. For PE attire, the 'M' size seems fine.

After that we went off to the zoo. The rain has stopped so the weather is just nice for our walk. We decided to get this kiddy 'thing' for the kids, in case they get too tired from walking (we didn't get the tram ride tixs).

Excited little Ghazi posing for pics

Although the rain has stopped & weather is nice we are still gearing the kids' up with raincoats us, umbrellas. You never know...

We walked on until about 4pm, looking forward to a place to sit & maybe have a bite at KFC. Found that the old place was closed & we kept seeing this signage "Kidzworld" from the start of our walk. I thought that maybe the zoo has opened up a new place for the kids.

True enough. The new place is so much better & bigger. Especially the water playground (is that what u call it?)
The kids enjoying themselves

We were very lucky cos when we got to the Rainforest Kidzworld, it suddenly started to rain -- heavily. And we were lucky too to get a place to sit at KFC. I've to say that the weather was really unpredictable. Just when it stopped, it started to rain again 15 minutes later. And then it stopped & started again.

So in between I had to get the kids out & in & out of the pool until it was time to go home. The kids had more fun here than all the other places in the zoo.

By 5pm, we decided to leave. The kids did not take their afternoon nap (obviously) including Ghazi. So this was what happened when the kids, especially Zinedine, are exhausted & sleepy...

Although I really pity him when he gets too tired & fall asleep like this, I couldn't help myself from taking this picture. I tell you, there was once I brought him shopping. He was due for his afternoon nap but I thought I just stopped by one last store before going home. He actually fell asleep standing, while I was looking at some stuff. I immediately stopped & carried him to the taxi stand to go home. This kid is amazing!
Just before we leave the zoo, we gave the kids a little treat at Ben & Jerry's. And Zinedine is wide awake again.

I hope the kids enjoyed themselves. And they have something to share with the class when school starts in 2 weeks' time.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Brownie idea

Aahh... Time for me to unwind after getting home from work (it's always a relief to be back home everyday. As they say "Home is where the heart is"). Moreover I'll be on leave tomorrow, to spend some time with the family during the school holidays. Most probably will be bringing the kids out to the zoo.

It's gonna be a tiring day for me tomorrow. So I shall keep my entry (sweet & ) short for an early nite tonight.

Tuesday I'll be doing a barter trade with one of my friends. She's been wanting to try my brownie ever since she found out about sistabrownie. When she got married I was so sorry that I had to turn her request down for a solemnization brownie package, as I was too tied up with work & was so lethargic to bake anything. I wasn't up to it to do a good bake at the time.

Now that she's (5 months) pregnant, I'll make myself available to bake her one. Cos when I was pregnant with Ghazi, I badly wanted to try her puffs & pastry from Shahzah Confect (it's located at Joo Chiat). She & her then-boyfrined-now-husband went out of their way to bring some to work for me. It was so nice of them, really. So now it's my turn to give her something.

I hope she's really really really into chocolates, cos what I thought of doing is making the brownie as chocolatey as possible.

So that's it. If I'm not too tired tomorrow I'll upload all the pics from the zoo trip.


Saturday, 13 December 2008

Christmas gift

I'm feeling a little tired right now cos I went for a bit of Christmas shopping after work.

I've been wanting to get Christmas gifts for a friend & some colleagues but always wondered when I will have the time to shop. So I decided that I should get started now.

I don't usually exchange gifts during Christmas. But there are some colleagues who, unexpectedly, would leave a gift on my desk during Christmas. And particularly one colleague will always give me something each year. There was once (I think that was the 1st time) I was quite embarassed at not having anything to give back to the person who present me with a gift.

So since it has become a tradition at my workplace, I decided that I should buy some stuff, just to standby. But I specifically bought something for that colleague of mine who has been very 'faithful' in giving me something for Christmas each year (even when I was on Maternity Leave last year). If she doesn't give me anything this year, it's alright. I'm still gonna give her a gift cos she's such a wonderful person & we've been great working together.

While I was shopping, I particularly went into this store (C&E) cos I just lurrrvve their products (although it's a bit pricey). I thought I wanted to buy a set of hand cream miniatures as a gift but deep inside I know these miniatures will end up on my hands instead. I contemplated and stepped out.

Then I went to get a mug gift set & a box of nail polish set. Both at a very special price. After that before going home, I went back into the C&E store and thought that I've decided to get that hand cream miniatures set (for myself). There were two sets - one at $33 (same type of 3) & another at $58 (variety of 6). I'm more keen on the set of 6 but at $58??? Again I was contemplating. Hmm... never mind. I've the catalogue, so let me think about it.

Anyways, I find that almost all beauty stores have their brand of shower gel & lotion packed as Christmas gift set. Although they are priced very reasonably I was just wondering is it really okay to give someone a shower gel set as a Christmas gift? Will it indicate that "you-are-giving-me-a-shower-gel-set-cos-I-smell-bad" to the person yu're giving it to?

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Second attempt

I feel a little more energized after having 2 days OFF to rest & relax. Yesterday was a PH and today was my OFF.

Some(one) has been bugging me to try Lemon Meringue Pie again for the past few days. Although I promised myself that I will never ever ever ever make LMP again, somehow I've given in.

Today I was 50-50 in trying this (revised & improved) recipe. Not because I was not confident of it but because I was contemplating if I should just rest, take a nap, instead of moving about in the kitchen. Furthermore, I'm lacking certain ingredients, which means that I have to go out & buy the stuff.

Anyways, I came back & got started. This time I was really careful with the recipe. The last time I did LMP, it was a flop actually. Even I didn't like it either.

Then as I was close to finishing the LMP, I was very confident that "yes, this is it. I made it." Now the LMPs were sitting on the wire rack waiting for the 'person' to provide constructive critic. I hope I really made it this time.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Some pics for updates

I'll let the pics do the talking... (Before uploading the pics, I've a little difficulty picking up where I've left off).

To start off, these are the lovely kids - Zinedine, Ghazi & 'Ufairah. It is always a bit challenging every time I try to get a group pic. But in the end managed to but there will always be one of them not fully co-operate.

Latest in the 'production line'. This was taken months back.

Then we also went on a short cruise aboard the SuperStar Aqaurius. It was the weekend 3D2N cruise when we thought we just wanna relax, give the kids some kind of experience. This was 'Ufairah's second cruise & Zinedine's first. Ghazi was left at home with Mum cos I thought I wanna save on the cabin fare and Ghazi is stil too young at the time.

In our porthole cabin (left) and at the top deck after having barbeque dinner (right).

While waiting to disembark from the ship, 'Ufairah participated in a flower-making workshop.

One last pic before we leave the ship.

In May, we all celebrated 'Ufairah's 5th birthday with a PowerPuff Girls cake.

Not forgetting the goodie bags for her classmates.

Then in June, there was my brother's wedding. I decided to make him & his wife tiered cupcakes. The wife's theme was Pink & Black; my brother's Gold & Black.

Pink & Black for my sister-in-law.

Gold & Black for my brother (gave him some Mango & Chocolate Mousse as extras. I was unfair, I know)

It was quite stressful for me to pull this off as this was a virgin project. But thank God, everything went smoothly despite the heavy rain in the middle of the ceremony. Lucky that the 5-tiered cupcakes didn't tumble over.

From cupcakes, mousse, decor, flowers & the overall set-up. My challenge was the time taken to set everything up at two places in the short possible time.

Although I managed to pull this off, there is still room for improvements, definitely.

In August, decided to join hubby on a work trip to Dubai. It was actually just a stopover for a few days and I thought I wanna join him there to see the city of Dubai.

Didn't do much sight-seeing but manage to love the place. I enjoyed myself and will definitely return to this city in future.

The Museum, to me, is very unique as it looks like a fort. So ancient.

The things there are not relatively cheap due to the many expats there. Weather wise.... hmmm... it was a bad timing too as it was summer and the temperature actually rose to 46C! The night before I arrived, Dubai was overcome by sand storm.

I think the next time I come back, this building (burj Dubai) would have been completed.

I guess that's it. All the months passed by and I squeezed them into one full page summary. I'll try to update more often, when I can. But one thing for sure is that I'll be pretty occupied till end of 2008 as I'll be making preparations for the kid's school next year.