Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ginger Chicken For Baby

I am getting more and more obsessed in cooking and preparing different types of food for my little one. After his intro to fish, anchovies and egg yolk has been successful, I decided to introduce him to the taste and goodness of chicken. My first chicken preparation was a simple one, without ginger. Only during the second batch I decided to include ginger for extra taste & fragrance.

The method is pretty simple. Cut chicken breast meat (boneless and fat removed) in long/small pieces and boil in water with crushed ginger. Boil until cooked, remove the cooked chicken and shred into pieces and freeze. Put them in porridge or other meals as you like. You can choose to keep the ginger to be eaten or remove it. My little chicken in stock for Sanju:

The resulting chicken stock can be used to cook porridge, with or without the ginger, it retains the nice smell & nutrients. Alternatively you can also prepare chicken in powder form. With share that another time.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Awards from Sheena & Mei Hooi

Thanks Sheena and Mei Hooi for the beautiful beautiful blogger award. The award makes me blog much more beautiful indeed! Sheena and Mei Hooi are beautiful and wonderful mamas I got to know through forums of 'common interest' and now developing further into blogging interest.

This is how we go about doing it:

1. Thank the person who gave you this award and the link of the person
Thanks to Sheena and Mei Hooi both for giving me this award!

2. Need to choose 15 awesome bloggers and their blog!!
I have a short but very important list of blogger buddies... they are:

3. Tell 7 things about me
  1. A FTWM who does overtime mama tasks to make up for the lost time *sob*sob*
  2. Hubby thinks I am a CD addict, but I have a very humble stash
  3. I love experimenting while cooking, and I have an 'always ready & hungry' guinea pig, no prize for guessing who
  4. I am a new but avid blogger - love sharing informations and ideas with friends
  5. I get extraordinarily excited doing perl scripting
  6. I secretly love dunking cream crackers into ginger tea
  7. I need my daily ginger tea fix, or at least, just tea
Lets keep this award going, I hope the bloggers I chose will post the same on their blog (except Sheena & Mei Hooi).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Giveaway: The Pat-a-Cake-Baby Wet Bag

Q - What does a stylish mama need in handling modern cloth diapers when on the move?
A- The Pat-a-Cake-Baby Wet Bag!

Another Pat-a-Cake-Baby stylish products giveaway by Spinkie!

It comes in 6 designer patterns to fit your wet bag needs, either for cloth diapers or cloth pads. Whats more, it comes with a snap handle that makes it easy to be hung or attached anywhere while on the move. Say bye to those boring plain wet bags!

My favourite design has to to be the Blue Zoo (image from Spinkie website)To get your own entry for the giveaway, rush over to Mummysreviews now! And remember again, you heard it from me *wink*

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Powdered Anchovies for Baby

As a FTWM, I steal time from my baby's sleeping hours in order to prepare food that can be frozen and used up to 1-2 weeks, at the same time add nutrition and variety to his daily meals.

One such food is anchovies. I decided not to cook it in the porridge as it tends to get smelly, and also by preparing powdered version in a batch, I could put it in anything else that I prepare, be it cereals or potato meals. Thanks to the friendly mama who gave me this idea.

The method is first to wash and toss the anchovies. Next, fry it in a dry non-stick pan (without oil), till it becomes totally brown. Alternatively, you can also cook/roast it in the microwave oven till it browns. Let it cook down, and grind it in the dry grinder.

Here's my first batch of powdered anchovies, it tastes great in Sanju's meals... yeah I do taste them since they seem to smell better than adult foods!

Potato Baby Food Recipe

Sanju's daily lunch is porridge of either rice, brown rice or millet, teamed with 2 types of vegetables and lentils/cheese/fish/egg yolk for protein. Hoping not to bore him with the porridge routine, I started off with cereals for dinner time, mixed with different combinations of vegetable/fruit puree. After sometime, I myself got bored of the cereal/veg routine, and looked out for different alternatives for dinner feeding which I could add into the menu for variety.

Potato and pasta turned out to be great alternatives to cereal or rice. Here is one potato recipe I make for Sanju:

1-2 potatoes - diced
1 carrot - diced
1 clove garlic - cut long

Instructions - Cook the above in water or chicken stock for 15 - 20 mins. Once done, you can ma
sh it, or puree in the blender to the desired consistency.

Being a FTWM I do not have time to cook his dinner daily. Therefore I prepare the potato meal for 2-3 days in advance, and store it in the fridge. For quick and effective daily variety, I simply add in some cheese or egg yolk or powdered anchovies.

Here's what Sanju's meal looks like after blending:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Giveaway: The Pat-a-Cake Baby Blanket

Q - How to be a stylish mama without losing essence of motherhood?
A - Get the Pat-a-Cake Baby Blanket, Stylish Mum’s Essentials from Spinkie.

The great bonus about this giveaway is that, you don't just participate and do some eye-washing on the lovely baby items from Spinkie, you also learn (and hopefully win) to be a stylo mama...

My favourite print of them all has to be the Spa Damask & Plush Chocolate Minky, image from Spinkie:

To participate click on MummysReviews page, and try your luck, or just get one of your own for a discount. And do remember you got to know from me...!

Who says motherhood is boring and aging? Lets get stylish!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Things I learnt from Zee Soap Dramas

  1. There is no such thing as identity card, fingerprint recognition or DNA test to confirm one's true identity to clear the confusion for once and all.
  2. The dead always come back, alive, even if their death was in a horrible accident where they clearly could not escape even with the best luck in the world.
  3. Age gap between mother and daughter seems barely 5 years, however grandmothers are usually shown 100 years of age with grey hair beyond control.
  4. All the ladies in the soap dramas are often very traditional and wear nothing less of complete Indian costumes together with jewelleries and makeup, even if they are going to bed or are terminally ill.
  5. Ladies in soap dramas dress up equally grand to hospital, who cares if the loved one is in coma.
  6. Love triangle doesn't just happen between lovers, but also among married couples, and it is perfectly fine with the traditional family.
  7. Multiple marriages for a person is common, sometimes with the same person.
  8. A day's event in the drama can take over 1 month to complete.
  9. Bad people can turn good, and good turn bad, in a blink of an eye.
  10. We, the audience, will watch anything on TV granted it has masala contents!

Monday, October 18, 2010

When to start baby on solids

Once Sanju was nearing 4 months, I had a lot suggestions from people to start solids for him. Being the excited & eager new mommy, I was ready in picking up gears to start solids for him. Even the little one was showing keen interest in savouring his first bite - by watching us while we eat, and pretending to move his mouth as we chew. As I consult the pediatrician and a few other experienced mothers, I was advised to wait till 6 months to avoid allergies and allow full development of baby's digestion system.

And now, 3 months down the line, I am glad that I waited him to turn 6 months before giving solids. He's been enjoying his solids pretty well, and it is an achievement seeing him agree with his diet of nutritious (read boring & bland) baby food.

Which then, made me think back, apart from showing interest in food, there are other more important signs to know that baby is ready for solids. The ability hold head up and sit up unsupported or at least supported, is rather important. Like us adults, it is important they are at least in a sitting position while eating, to avoid choking, and also have a comfortable movement of the solids into the stomach. We should also wait for the baby's tongue-thrust reflex to diminish, sometime around 4 months of age, to give way for the solids to be consumed.

More signs that your baby is ready for solids here.

Introducing solids too early on your baby might cause him/her to develop allergies to vegetables and other foods that are important to their diet in the future. Not very pleasant, neither is the heartache seeing the little one having a hard time savouring their baby bites. If in doubt, always consult your pediatrician.

Basic guidelines I followed when introducing solids at 6 months:
  1. First meal time must be around 11am-1pm - in case there is any allergy or other problems, there is time to seek medication attention
  2. Rice cereal as first solid - I bought Heinz for the fortified iron and no sugar contents
  3. First feeding 1tbsp, runny consistency. Prepare it less running in the next subsequent days, with increase of 1tbsp on the 3rd day.
  4. Every new food to be introduced for 4 consecutive days, to monitor for any allergies, and get baby used to the taste/texture
  5. Only 1 new food to be introduced at one time
  6. After 1 weeks of rice cereals & oats, introduce vegetables & fruits one by one. Refer to #4 & #5.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

10 things to do when stuck at a traffic jam

On average, most Klang Valley-ians spend abt 2 hours daily in the traffic jam, based on the statistics of my own experience. Apart from getting stressed and angry over the traffic, why not use the time and mood for something more therapeutic, such as:

  1. Do a 5S on receipts, bills and whatnot in the glove compartments, and pockets on the door, arrange bank notes neatly, and count the coins in the designated compartment
  2. Pluck your eyebrows and/or other facial hair
  3. Pick your nose, ear, whatever while (you think) no one is looking
  4. Mime or sing along to the latest Bollywood song while imagining being in a duet with Salman Khan
  5. Touch up your make up, or put on some if you haven't yet. Always make sure you have a spare set of make up essentials in the handbag, comes handy in times of heavy traffic.
  6. Admire pictures of your loved ones in your handphone.
  7. Read the news RSS feeds on your handphone.
  8. Organize your handbag - its time to throw away the receipt from 4 months ago
  9. Look into the cars next to you, try to figure out what the others are doing
  10. Plan the topic for your next blog!

Commonwealth Games 2010

Despite much bad press from Delhi's preparation for the much awaited games, India pulled off a mindblowing opening ceremony. The theme music was composed by Oscar-Grammy-Golden Globe winner AR Rahman. Delhi is the second country in Asia to ever host the CWG.

It was reported that the original version of the song got a lukewarm response from the audience when it released on 16th Aug and was criticised by CWG Organising Committee's executive board member for "falling short of expectations". Many compared it with the song 'Tamil Semmozhi Maanadu' composed for the World Classical Tamil Conference.

I believe ARR then pepped up the song and later the theme song, 'Jiyo Utho Badho Jeeto' was unveiled at the glittering opening function. Here is the video:

And for your watching/listening pleasure, the 'Tamil Semmozhi Maanadu' video:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The problem with Malaysian express buses/operators

I was a frequent express bus traveler (how come they never have frequent flyer kind of benefits) during my university & working years, travelled >300km every fortnight and I have had all kinds of bus experience... so I guess I quality to list out some problems from my observation:
  1. There are way too many bus operators, and I believe only a small fraction of them are registered or legal.
  2. With many bus operators, a lot of bus drivers are needed - is there really a way to access these drivers for their competency? We are not just talking about driving license, but road ethics, driver-passenger rapport, professionalism, emergency response, drug/alcohol abuse and many more. If you have taken an express bus, you would know what kind of irresponsible drivers there are out there.
  3. Bus 'ulat' (jargon for illegal bus operators) take up most of the ticket counters. The moment we step your foot at the bus station, numerous 'agents' will chase us to sell their ticket. Ok we think smart, and look for a bus operator counter to buy, only later to find out, the 'agent' is also affliated with the bus counter. If the bus is already 'ulat', imagine how much 'ulat' would the driver be? I dread to even think about it.
  4. Drivers' attitudes are sometimes too carefree and don't give a damn about the comfort and safety of passengers when speeding, or sometimes dropping them further from the drop-point.
  5. Drivers fail to realise that driving the bus is more than just a job. The passengers' lives are placed in their hands throughout the journey, some compassionate and consideration is needed.
  6. Drivers not just speed and drive recklessly, they also tend to bully smaller vehicles on the road by tailgating. This is another disaster waiting to happen, in case there is any sudden reaction from the front vehicle.
  7. Most bus conditions, as we can see from the outside, is not always pleasant. I just wonder how are the conditions of inner working mechanical parts.
  8. There is no customer service or satisfaction in their objectives, these bus operators just treat this as a business. With slight hike of diesel price, the ticket prices are hiked as well. But the comfort and safety features or the bus is NEVER upgraded. Neither are the standard of the drivers. Where exactly is the money going?

Faking it!

No fake handbags, neither fake anatomies... I am referring to fake accents.

I listen to the FlyFM's Pagi Show on a daily basis (while being stuck in massive Subang & Federal Highway jam). I noticed that there are a lot of callers with some sort of accent, which is definitely not Malaysian. Ok so I've met a few teenagers from international schools, who inherit accents from their school, but what are the possibilities of 90% of the callers being international school students?
Even some of the advertisements aired on radio stations have speakers with some weird fake accent. Wonder what is that trying to promote... or why are they faking it, are they ashamed of their natural Malaysian accents, or just trying to be 'US mari'? Well to me, it just sounds like they have been watching too much of channel E! on Astro...

If you are wondering about me, it is not an accent, I just lisp :P

10/10/10 Tragedy

On a date that is witnessed only once in a century, Malaysia has it marked with the worst highway accident ever. With a total of 12 deaths and numerous others with severe injuries, human life seems to be cheaper than the price of a bus ticket. Encounters and stories by victims and their family members yet again remind us of the value of life.

So who is to be blamed for the loss of precious lives? Investigation into the incident has started the blame game among the authorities. Apparently the driver had a good record, and the bus brakes and types were said to be in a good condition. And then there were claims that the guard rails were not strong enough, which is absurd, regardless of the guard rail strength, the bus' speeding cannot be justified. Even if the guard rail was super strong, at that speed driving, similar damage would have occurred had the bus not swerved into the opposite side of the highway. The last I heard on the radio news update, they are now going to probe into the physical conditions of the driver. Wonder if they have not performed the last rites yet.

Whatever it is, I just pray (I say pray, because it is somewhat of a miracle to happen) that the authorities take necessary steps to avoid such tragedy in the future. It is not uncommon to see such reckless and speed driving of a heavy vehicle on the road. So what if they have the LPKP contact numbers for complaint, how many times have we taken initiative to complain? Even if we did, what is the guarantee that action will be taken.

Seeing the conditions of some heavy vehicles on the road daily, it is a wonder if there are any auditing or preventive maintenance done on them. Most are overloaded with heavy goods, strapped with flimsy looking ropes, and lean on broken and soft rails, being driven on the fast lane! What are the traffic police doing about it?

To think that my mother's express bus to KL just passed that area minutes before the crash, and a friend of my sister was in the bus, but escaped with minor glass cuts, it all seems to be to close to me.. and I am sure the same for others out there too.

My heartfelt condolences to the families that lost their loved ones. Here's hoping that authorities finally have got their eyes open and step up on their enforcements, and to us civilians, lets do our part in reporting to LPKP on reckless drivers (don't report me, I don't drive a heavy vehicle).

Read the news on the accident here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Memorable Monday

It was our regular Monday. Got up at 6am, got ready and sent Sanju to the babysitter on time. Went to work late (as usual), but with one difference. There was an underlying evil plan.

My better half was eagerly anxious to get the tickets to Endhiran (review in my earlier post), and although we planned to go for the afternoon show on a Monday, he still was so concerned it might be sold out... yea yea I know the Rajini power, but how many people (other than us) will be crazy enough to take leave on a Monday just to watch a movie? Ok not exactly take leave just for the movie but we both made our schedules work for this evil plan.

We were rushing so much that for the first time in our lives put together, we actually forgot to check out which level is our car parked at, and we are talking Sunway Pyramid here... anyways we decided we'll figure it out later, we'll go to each floor if we had to!

Somehow hubby spotted the sign for Bubba Gump out of nowhere, and this is one western food place that he's been eyeing to try ever since I raved about it after reading it on a friend's blog. So this time there was going to be no escape, we are going to stuff and feast ourselves with shrimp, cholestrol and diet plans can just go fly kites! And a feast is what we had, after we got the tickets to Endhiran of course (otherwise hubby would lose appetite altogether).

We decided to go for the Chilli's Triple Play equivalent, Run Across America Sampler, and the waiter looked at us and suggested it might be more suitable for 3 or 4 people, well he doesn't know our capacity. And to satisfy the my burger-junkie half, we got the Sweet Home Burger, and yeah, for the chocoholic, that Chocolate Thing and the rest is history.

The sampler plate was so yummy, and I was worried too much of shrimp might put me off, but heck, I was like 'bring it on'! Then the burger was heavenly, tasted so good and yet healthy (with the mayonaise, yeah rite), and had addictive fries (I am craving for it right this moment).

OK so I am not good in taking pictures before eating, with the confusion in my brain cells induced by hunger, but I managed to snap That Chocolate Thing. Oh yeah, which by the way, is heavenly, literally! The whipped cream on top, ice cream, and rich chocolate brownie at the bottom. Every bite comes with melting chocolate pieces (chips maybe?) and gosh, it even beat the Haagen Daaz chocolate fondue we had for Father's Day. Maybe we need to revisit the fondue to re-confirm this!

And oh, movie later was awesome, and we managed to find the car, thanks to hubby!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Endhiran Review

Superstar Rajinikanth is back with his a new film for his fans that not just idolise him but also worship him like their God. Just when you think, what else can be new? A super entrance scene for Rajini, countless Rajini punch dialogues, and stunts with glasses and cigarettes, who wants to see those things again? Definitely not me, that is why I was super sceptical about watching Endhiran in the first place, furthermore his last film, Shivaji didn't exactly earn good reviews.

With countless positive reviews on Endhiran buzzing around, it got me curious to see how exactly can Rajini be different this time. This movie has been raved for the special effects & sci-fi content, on par with Hollywood standard. And not to mention hubby who has been losing sleep (ok, maybe that's a little exaggeration, but somewhat to that effect) over catching the movie ever since the trailers were released.

How can Rajini triumph himself? By himself, of course! That is how Shankar's latest offering, Endhiran seems to have been conceived. Shankar has always shown his mastery in direction and highly imaginative song picturisation. He has always come up with the most unique special effects and amazing skills in his film song picturisations. It is high time he put his visions into a film that actually justifies the use of special effects.

The good news is, there is no lame Rajini super-entrance scene. It all starts with Dr. Vasi creating an andro humanoid (not to be confused with android), Chitti, to work with the military and help the society. Chitti is configured with the most advanced specifications and has the ability to do what human can and can't do, minus feelings. Vasi has a girlfriend, Sana, vying for his attention, so he lets his Robot spend time and help her out, eg bashing up thugs in the train, rescuing her from rape and even cheating in exam. While trying to get Chitti qualified with the Artificial Intelligence Research Department, Vasi gets influenced by his mentor Bohra, into programming feelings into Chitti, which is when the trouble begins. Like most Indian films, we have a love triangle situation, with a twist! Once Vasi realises the repercussions, he finally destroys and disposes Chitti, later falling into the wrong hands, and voila, you have the super-villain Chitti version 2.0.

Rajini has definitely outdone himself in Endhiran. He does a wimpy Dr Vasi, comedian Chitti, and villainous Chitti v2.0 (here we get to see some of Rajini's usual style, I believe infused to satisfy die-hard fans of his). And not just that, Rajini also plays the thousands of henchmen Chitti v2.0 creates by himself as his army. You also see multiples of Rajini in one song sequence, which is done nicely without looking like copy and paste of Rajini images. It is amazing the kind of acting and action Rajini can do in his 60s, a feat not many actors can stand up to.

Aishwarya, with not much acting to do, looks gorgeous throughout, and looks almost goddess-like in the songs. I like her hip-hop rapper image in 'Boom Boom Robo Da' song. She looks younger for her age, but does not look like a student, heck, if you have a 60 year old Rajini playing much younger role, why not her? She has, perhaps the best, body language and dancing skills in the industry. AR Rahman's music is just OK, but watching the film, it really grows on you.

Not much scope and attention is given to the other characters, perhaps to keep the storyline emphasized between the main characters. Most amazingly, you would feel more chemistry between Sana and Chitti than with Vasi himself.

Some unnecessary scenes and situations are added in to accomodate the chartbusting songs, which could have easily been omitted to keep the pace. The two comedian acting as lab assistants for Vasi, are avoidable, as Chitti himself provides us with plenty of laugh and light moments.

The moral of the story, andro humanoids can have all abilities, but humanity is not something to be memorised, but to be understood. The evil in humans is what creates evil and suffering in the world.

I have always believed in not comparing Indian films with Hollywood because both the industries produce movies of different genres to server their respective audience. And with Endhiran, it is the dawn of a new film genre, masala sci-fi action. It is in a category of its own with fantabulous effects and action. Watch out for the 25 minutes climax action scene, it got a non-action-lover like me gawking with out-of-the-world awesomeness! There are going to be countless film makers following this genre after this.

Finally a movie that can justify Rajini's super-human actions, and it does not disappoint. Endhiran, it is! What humans can't do, Rajini, I mean, Robot can!


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