Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Honey banana muffin

I ran out of sugar at home, but I still wanted to bake some muffins for little fella's friends at school. So I searched for a recipe that uses honey instead. These turn out nice and sweet (sweet enough even with just 1/3 cup of honey), they are also nice when steamed (for 12min) instead of being baked. I steamed 3 cos the oven tray couldn't fit more in.

It's lunar new year day 7 today, also known as 人日, translated as 'people's birthday', or 'birthday of men'. So here I am wishing everybody 'Happy Birthday'. 

Here's the recipe I adapted, from Kitchen Treaty

Ingredients (makes about 15-18 small size cupcake) 
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour, sifted 
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 4 medium sized bananas, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil (instead of butter) 
  • 1/3 cup honey 
  • 1 large size egg 
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 

  1. Preheat oven to 175deg C. 
  2. In a large bowl, sift in flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. 
  3. In another bowl, combine oil, honey, egg, chopped bananas. Add the milk and vanilla extract and combine thoroughly. 
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient bowl, with a spatula, mix until just incorporated. I used a hand mixer to mix until just combined. 
  5. Divide batter between muffin liner, until about 2/3 full. 
  6. Bake for 15-18min. 
I'm linking this post to 'Cook and Celebrate CNY 2015' organized by Yen from Eat your heart out, Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Sweet & savory german cookies

When everyone is relaxing having done their 'bah bah sheep' cookies marathon, here I am just starting to burn midnight oil baking my version of CNY cookies. The pre-CNY period is usually quite busy as I tend to my businesses, ie 128 boutique and the organic shop, Just Health. CNY is usually the busiest period for us, but we never complain, cos it's a good sign. Due to time constraint, I am not gonna shape the cookies into sheeps nor any other animals' shape. They are just gonna be the conventional shape. This round, I made some sweet ones, using the same old recipe I've been using for these melt-in-the-mouth German cookies, and I have also made some savory ones, recipe adapted from Joyce's cream cookies cookies. I do like the savory ones cos they are not that sweet, yet its creamy and savory notes make it morish. I felt it would be a great gift to my in-laws as they don't favor sweet stuffs. Best of all, I wouldn't have problem letting my little fella munching on them when we are at the in-law's cos they are made by myself with less butter and less sugar, so they pass the 'toddler' cookies requirement. 

I have made these in different colors. Now that the little fella is at the age where he's recognizing colors, shapes and alphabets, I thought I could use this as an opportunity to reinforce his color recognition. For the pretty fuschia pink color ones (it was intended to be a light pink, I guess I went OD a little on the food coloring) I added about 2 drops of red food coloring onto half of the cookie dough. For the brownish color ones, I added about 2tsp of cocoa powder into the dough. 

Here are the recipes for the savory cream cheese german cookies. adapted from Joyce's 

Ingredients (makes about 70-80 small cookies) 
  • 250g salted butter, room temperature (I used 220g unsalted butter and added 2tsp salt to it) 
  • 50g icing sugar (I used brown sugar which I have blitzed into powder form) 
  • 100g cream cheese, room temperature (I used 120g cream cheese) 
  • 250g potato flour/ potato startch 
  • 160g all purpose flour (I used Japanese superfine flour) 
  • 2tsp black sesame 
For the sweet german cookies, here's the recipe I've always been using, from my old post
  • 125g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 40g icing sugar (I used brown sugar which I have blitzed into powder form) 
  • 125g potato flour
  • 80g all purpose flour (I used Japanese superfine flour)
  1. Beat butter and sugar till fluffy
  2. Sift in potato flour and superfine flour, mix to form a soft dough. 
  3. Roll into small balls (about 2cm in diameter), arrange on baking tray and press lightly with a fork, dip the fork in water so the cookie dough wont stick to the fork). 
  4. Bake in a preheated oven at 165degC for 15min. 
He loved the colorful cookies, he kept on stealing from my baking tray. 

I'm linking this post to Cook and Celebrate: CNY 2015, organized by Yen from Eat Your Heart Out, Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe, and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Easy 5 ingredients spaghetti bolognese

This morning for my 1breakfast1lunch project, I made a quick fry egg to go with multigrain and seeds bread as breakfast, and this easy 5 ingredients spaghetti bolognese for lunch.

To prepare the chicken bolognese sauce: 
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced 
  • 1/2 onion, finely minced 
  • 4 tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 chicken thigh meat, minced and marinated with dash of orange juice, pinch of salt and liquid amino 
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Seasoning eg balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper etc (optional) 
  1. Heat up a pan with 1-2 tbsp of cooking oil, I use a choice of rice bran oil or grapeseed oil. 
  2. Stir in minced garlic and onion, fry till aromatic, about 1-2min. 
  3. Stir in minced chicken. Stir fry for about 1-2min. 
  4. Stir in skinned and chopped tomato. 
  5. Pour in water. Gently simmer for about 15 to 20min for flavor to develop. 
  6. Season with choice of seasoning.  
  7. Serve with spaghetti or pasta. 

CNY themed art craft ~ dragon dance

It's been about a month Josh started going to his playschool, which is quite phonics class oriented. I was shocked that he has known about 90% of the phonics letter sound. I only realized when I wrote his name J.O.S.H, and he managed to recognize O, S, and H and pronounce them together with the phonics sound. So I tested him from A to Z, he basically managed all except that G and J sounds like alike and E and I sounds alike too, and there's no response from him when I asked Z says ... 

It's amazing to know how spongy toddlers' brains are. They absorb all that is thought, fast, and almost 100% of it. So, once again, I am reminded to spend more time with this little fella despite of the busy schedule I am in the midst of managing both Just Health and the boutique. 

Yesterday when I got back from work, he was still napping. When he woke, he was already asking me if he can do water-coloring. But I told him, we're gonna do 'crayon-coloring' today and we're gonna make 'dragon'. He has got no idea what dragon is. He kept calling it 'dragonfly' and 'dinosaur' cos these are something he knows. 

I printed the 'dragon' template that I downloaded from here. This was also something I saw from mommy Bear Lim's instagram and facebook. 

  • A3 paper for printing, you can also print on harder paper 
  • Red paper for the dragon body, I used two angpao 
  • Crayons 
  • Lollipop sticks 
  • Glue or doublesided tape 
  • Scissors 
  • 'Eyes' for the dragon (optional) 
  1. Print out the dragon template. The head and tail is double sided, so that the dragon looks ok on both sides. 
  2. I let Josh color the dragon head, tail and feet using crayons. Of course, I helped him out. 
  3. Then I folded the angpao while he's still coloring. When the coloring completes, I cut out the dragon head, tail and feet. 
  4. I let him stick on the double-sided tape and tear it off to adhere them together. 

He looks proud with his 'creation' 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

CNY themed craft for toddler

It's CNY in 7 days! I have been teaching Josh how important it is to say 'THANK YOU' when receiving ang pao from someone, and to accept them with both his hands. Now that he has started going to school, he has often come back with some crafts from school. I thought, why not do something interesting that's related to CNY, so we made a lantern using a paper plate, some cardboard box cut out and water colors. He loves coloring!

Organic pumpkin ramen with tofu and minced chicken

*about 300g minced chicken, marinated with seasoning (see below)
*3 pieces of soft tofu, cut into small cubes
*2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
*seasoning: salt, organic toasted sesame oil and organic "oyster" sauce, vegetarian (made from mushroom)
*bok choy, boiled for 2min in boiling water.
*Soft boiled egg (boiled for 7min)
*Organic pumpkin ramen


  1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook pumpkin ramen until tender. Drain and put aside. 
  2. In a wok, heat up 2tbsp of grapeseed oil. Stir in minced garlic, minced chicken and tofu. Cook through. Season according to taste. Add in water and cornflour mixture to thicken the sauce (optional). 
  3. Serve minced chicken dish with ramen, vege and soft boiled egg. 

Crispy hash brown

Every morning, I had to make a breakfast and a lunch dish for myself and for my little boy. Our lunch is gonna be a simple one, organic pumpkin ramen with minced meat and tofu, with soft boiled egg, so that leaves me more time to make something different for breakfast. We have loads of potatoes left in the fridge, so I wanted to make a potato cake or hash brown. I haven't made hash brown for a very long time, so I thought I shall make some crispy ones for the little boy, so he can bring one to school as tea-time snack too. 

*3 medium sized potatoes (I made 3 hash browns from this) 
*3 tbsp grapeseed oil (for panfrying the hash brown)
*2tbsp grated Cheddar 
*Salt and black pepper, for seasoning 

  1. Peel and wash the potatoes. Grate them. Sprinkle with salt. Drain and use a thin cloth or sieve to further press out the juice. (I drank the juice that got squeezed out, cos raw potato juice is very good for people with gastric. It heals inflammed stomach lining. I have been having gastric and bloatedness for a couple of days). 
  2. Combine with grated Cheddar, and season with salt and black pepper. Use the thin cloth to mould the grated potato and cheese mix into a ball shape. 
  3. Heat up grapeseed oil in a flat frying pan.
  4. Pan fry the hash brown. Press the potato ball and cheese ball mixture flat, till about 1cm thickness. Fry until it turns golden brown. Then flip to the other side until it turns golden and crisp as well. 
  5. Remove from pan and serve immediately. 

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