Thursday, December 11, 2014

Owl

#344

I made this owl from bread and cheese back in Perth when we visited and stayed with our niece around mid-November school holiday. The owl was made especially for Elly, our niece's daughter.  I did it before we drove to Bunbury, 90 minutes, South of Perth.  Seeing how she love to eat the piggy bread I prepared for her earlier, I just could not resist to make another one for her.  Without my bento tools, I got to be creative with spoons/cups and, even measuring spoons for the eyes! Basically, I just lay my hands on anything in the kitchen that could be used for bento making.   I drew the details with Nutella (chocolate and hazelnut spread) which was also Elly's favourite and dab a little strawberry jam for its beak. Add-ons were leftover fruits; strawberry and grapes from an outdoor BBQ. All were placed inside an bright orange bowl.  Covered with clingwrap and left it in the refrigerator.

My boy has a blast with his two little cousins. He enjoyed our second camping trip down south which I would be blogging later.

December was filled with warmth, love and surprises.  It was my birthday and a week later, my mum.  For Mommy, Papa brought us to a Halia restaurant at the Botonic gardens for dinner.  It was long time ago since my last fine dining.  All dolled up and dressed up for the occasion for our family of three! I enjoyed the ambience and the food.  We had truffle fries and various kinds of mocktail with the most unusual concoctions, jazzed up with ginger in the drinks.   For the mains, Papa chose the steak but was not able to appreciate it because it was cold according too him.  I ate halibut in a bag done in some sort of Japanese style, not truly authentic Japanese food but rather East meet West palate.  I like the clean and mild taste and not heavy on my stomach.  My son has mushroom fettuccine with a 62 degree egg which Daddy commented it was good!  Well, he could not finish the adult size meal and Daddy cleaned off the plate.  I was caught off guard when the restaurant staff sang a birthday song for me when they served the dessert we ordered.  A nice surprise! But I felt a little embarrassed though ;) 

Flower of fire
On actual day, we had banana chocolate cake from Awfully Chocolate.  A bit sweet from the layers of mashed banana. We were chocolate lovers and their cakes has thus far is the best in town.

Banana chocolate cake from Awfully chocolate

Birthday was completed with an awesome and yummy cake.  This year, it was even sweetened with a lovely handmade 3-D card from our niece, Christine from Malaysia.  I love the pastel colour and the patchwork design.

 

For Grandma's 71st birthday, it was a homely affair. We went for a hearty and simple Japanese meal in our neighbourhood restaurant, Sushi Tei.  Granny had her favourite premium unagi meal and sushi. A mini mango mousse from Yamazaki that literally pulled off pretty well as birthday cake since my mom is not a fan of any cake.  Despite it was not as 'glam' as mine, we all enjoyed the moment of being together.

Granny & Grandson enjoyed the mango mousse

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tofu salad with soft yolk boiled egg (also Last day of his Kindergarten)


I love Japanese flavoured soft yolk boiled egg (or Ajitsuke Tamago) that was not too runny.  Especially those that paired with a hot, steamy ramen.  It was heavenly!  To make it into a bento box, the egg yolk should not be runny and yet soft enough with brilliant bright orange.  Therefore, I decided to experiment it at home without flavouring it.  After a few (failed) attempts with different sizes of eggs and cracked eggs, I finally succeeded cooking the way we like it.  Large egg (around 58g to 60g) took 3 minutes and small egg like the first born egg need only 2 minutes. 

Method:
  • Take an egg straight out from the refrigerator and put it into a small pot filled with water at room temperature (Note: This stage is critical because the eggs may crack.  But I have no solution to it.  Just have to try our luck.)
  • Start the stove with a small fire and simmer
  • Once the water starts to boil, switch it off
  • Cover the pot with a lid and leave it for 3 minutes
  • Take the egg out and plunge into cold ice water
We had a simple and healthy lunch with fried tofu, lettuces, tomatoes and of course, the egg! And paired with our favourite Japanese sesame sauce which I learned it from JustCookBook.

Time flies, today was the last day of his school.   The children has a farewell party in his kindergarten with a sporty and healthy theme.  The party snack contributed by the school as well as potluck from the parents.  Whilst his kindergarten provides pizza bread, the parents were requested to bring one type of food be it grapes, blueberries, vitagen drink or halal jelly.  My boy dressed up as a footballer which I conveniently suggested since he has a full set of the soccer jersey which he played at the Junior Arsenal Club.  To show my appreciation for the teachers,  I had earlier baked some mini cranberry scones for his K1 teachers; Ms Alice, Fu Laoshi, K2 teachers; Ms Josie, Huang Laoshi and the Principal, Mrs Aw.

I am glad I have made the right choice of kindergarten when we decided to switch from his then premium preschool to the current one nearer to our home.  His current kindergarten focus on play and not so academic driven which I believe, that's the reason why my son enjoyed the lessons and always looked forward to go to school.  Not forget to mention that the teachers there were helpful, approachable and caring towards the pre-schoolers.  I did lament that it did not provide enough outings for greater exposure (which his previous kindy has at least 3 outings per term! Again, we paid a premium for it).  Nevertheless, my son did well and another milestone achieved!  Next year, he will begin his formal education and hope he will love and enjoy learning in his new Primary school.




Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Chicken Burger

# 343

My son gets to choose his brunch (that last him till his snack time 1.30pm in his kindergarten) almost everyday. It saved me the trouble of cracking my head and also I have a more willing child to eat his food happily since he requested it.  He wanted the same chicken burger I prepared previously.  This time, not in a lunch box but just lay out on a plate.  Four Leaves bakery has really nice multi-grain bun that I personally love it.  And it was just nice and the right size to make burger!  Sliced into half and spread some butter on both sides of the bread.  With the butter side face down, I toasted it over my Happy call pan still slightly crisp.  Then layered with low fat cheese, a piece of chicken thigh, a slice of tomato, onion and lettuces.  Lastly,  squeezed some Japanese mayo and ketchup. Then I decorated with a flag food pick. On the sides, he has some Japanese cucumber, tomato and green grapes.  Does it look appetizing to you?
 
Although he has just lost one of his front milk teeth and complained every bites, it was a satisfying meal.  He finished all of it! :D  Then, he asked me to collect all his milk teeth that since been fallen off to make a necklace for him.  Guess, that's my next DIY project!
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A happy Jack O' Lantern

Bento # 342
Halloween hits the shopping mall this year and seems to be quite appealing to young children in our neighbourhood.  There were some pop up stalls and the decorations were not so creepy.  Even the mascots; a witch and a bat were so cute!  The shopping mall also provide free pop corn and candy floss as well as kids friendly activity like face painting.  My boy was ecstatic when he knew that there would be blue candy floss. Whilst he enjoyed every bits of the candy floss,  he cheekily asked if his teeth turned blue too ;P 

Above bento, I made a Jack O' Lantern using a tiny mandarin orange gifted by my mum.  And added some facial details with seaweed and plonked a party hat foodpick on top of it.  On the left side were two cherry tomatoes eyes (made of cheese and nori). His main was teriyaki chicken sushi roll with tamagoyaki.  Happy Halloween!

How was your last weekend?  Last Sunday was such a beautiful sunny day! I could not stand my son idling and/or watching TV since we have been stuck at home for the last two weekends.   I just need to get outside and get into nature (sounds like the Dinosaur Train TV show)!  We decided to cycle to Sun Plaza for sand play and then to Pasir Risk park via the park connector together with Nitro.  It was quite hot in the late afternoon and Nitro was panting heavily although he did not walk much since I was his chauffeur. A jogger was quite amused and commented that "Your dog is so comfortable." Nitro was obedient and quietly sat inside the shopping bag as I pedalled which gave me a peace of mind to enjoy the sight and breeze.  Along the way, we spotted a couple of Egrets. My poor sense of directions actually got us lost going back home.  But I managed to find the correct way later (since Papa, my compass, did not come along this time).  My little man complained that I should heed his 'advice'.   Well, perhaps I should.  It was a good exercise indeed, he said.  Except I reprimanded him for not following the traffic rules because he cycled across a traffic light junction when it was still in red.  He explained that there was no car turning towards his direction.   This young man is too over-confidence.  Nevertheless, we were happy to cycle despite we were all smelly and tired.

Cycling with Nitro

Egret perched on the branch





Friday, October 17, 2014

Bat and Monster - Not-so-scary Halloween 2014

Bento # 341
We had Japanese food for dinner last night.  I used the leftovers to prepare the bento above for my boy's breakfast.  Yeah, not lunch but breakfast!  There's some changes to his daily routine.  My boy has been growing well and was fit like a fiddle.  At 6 years old, standing at 1.2m tall,  he's still on the chubby side and a round belly like a baby.  Lately, he began to feel conscious about his appearance especially his round stomach.  He has requested to skip lunch at home and just have the light snack the preschool provide.  In which case, he would stuff more than usual like woofing down two breads rolls at one go and kept asking for more, more, more food in the late afternoon after school.  There were times he over-ate and we have to delay our dinner time and of course, his bedtime as well.  Therefore, instead of a light breakfast in the morning, I prepared a full meal for him in the morning which could last him till 1 to 1.30pm before snack time at school.  Then he would not gobble his food like a hungry wolf when I picked him up after school.

In the box, he has tamagoyaki, chukka wakame (store-bought), pickled cucumber, fresh cherry tomatoes into half and an onigiri (with wasabi furikake) that I created a monster face for the Halloween theme.  Also, a freehand cut out bat from nori and cheese (eyes only).  Afterwhich, he gulped down a cup of cold fresh milk and a few blueberries.  What made my day was he actually said "I like it, Mommy!".   :)))


Finished his bento breakfast!
 
Halloween festive mood is in the air.  So is my boy.  He drew bats and ghost each on a discarded box with black and blue marker.  Isn't it nice!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ham and Cheese carrot sandwich

Bento #340
 
 
A simple ham and cheese (carrot blend) sandwich lunchbox to school on Monday.  I browned the bread slightly with some butter first on my Happy Call pan.  Then layered with low fat cheese, honey baked ham, tomato slice and baby spinach leaves. Cut into small triangles to fit into the bento box. Threw in a few raspberries that I bought from Cold storage which was on sale for buy 1 get 1 free.  This was the first time my boy got to try fresh raspberry because it was expensive here normally.
 
Since berries are in season and there are abundant in the supermarket with great discount, we made very berry overnight oats again.  To serve in the morning, I  topped it with some banana and drizzled some honey for sweetness.  We enjoyed the healthy breakfast except our Papa who frowned and questioned "What is that?!!"  Yeah, Papa does not like oats in any form even though Doctor advised to eat oats in the hope to reduce his bad cholesterol.  That was why we only have it once a blue moon and only upon request by little one.
 
 



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Shoebox Angry Bird Star Wars and a DIY catapult


 
There was a book sale at Giant last week. And I saw a very hilarious Angry Birds star wars book which creatively renamed all characters as Red Skywalker, Princess Stella Organa, Yoda Bird, Obi-Wan Kaboomi, R2-EGG2, C-3PYOLK, Terebacca, Chuck 'Ham' Solo, Lard Vader and Emperor Piglatine.  It was going for only S$5! Definitely a steal not to be missed. Needless to say, I bought it for my boy because I remember he asked me to buy a similar book at Times bookshop which cost me more thann S$20.  And I rejected his request flat.  He was elated to receive the book after school.
 

 
 
We did one of the activity - create a miniature model of a space scene.  Besides the characters we cut out from the book, all you need to have are :-
 
  • Shoebox
  • Paints - Colour black for the space
  • Star stickers       )- Decorate inside with star stickers or cut outs planets
  • Colour papers    )
  • Glitters - Create a meteror shower
  • Sewing Thread/tape)- To hang the pig tiefighters from the roof of the box using tape & thread
 
 


 


To inject more fun, I DIY a catapult using pencils, ice-cream stick, rubber bands and a bottle cap.   However, Papa disapproved the idea of using pencils and dismantled our first catapult.  I was quite pissed off with him for not able to show due respect of what we had built.  Afterwhich, my boy has been asking me about the catapult.  So I ransacked our kitchen and found some disposal chopstick which I thought could work equally well!  Not so excited as the scene in computer games.  Nevertheless, it was quite entertaining.  He has a ball of fun trying to shoot the targets using aluminium foil balls.




Built with pencils
Use disposable chopsticks