Thursday, June 27, 2013

Salmon Potato Cakes

It is always fun to learn making something new. And even more fun to add in my own additions to make it more nutritious or perhaps just simpler. My quest is always just two. One, trying new dishes for the kids and hubby. And two, hiding nutritious ingredients in the meal for the three kids (yes, hubby included, because he is the one to avoid his vegetables).

The original recipe calls for breadcrumbs to absorb moisture but I decided to cut the breadcrumb preparation instead grinded some instant oats for the same purpose. It does work for meatloaf and I was pretty sure it will work here too.

Below are the ingredients for the salmon potato cakes:

Steamed Salmon fish, deboned - about 500gms
Broccoli - steamed
Boiled & mashed potatoes  - about 4 large ones
1 onion - chopped
4 garlic - grated
some dried parsley (fresh better)
some spring onion - chopped fine
half cup of instant oats - grinded fine
2 tbsp tomato pasta sauce
1 egg
half cup of grated cheddar cheese

Simply mash and mix the above ingredients. Shape into patties. You can be creative and use large cookie cutters to get cool shapes. I sprinkled some cheddar cheese on top of each patty. I even made one batch more special by filling it with cheese. You can shallow fry them on the pan but since I (unexpectedly) made such a large batch, I just baked them in the oven. Plus the cheese sprinkle works better when baked. It is too tiresome to do it one by one. I was worried it might not turn out as good, but it did indeed come out firm to the hold.

I totally love my stockpot, that allows me to boil and steam at the same time. I did cut down a lot of cooking time with it, yet I was a tired mummy at the end of it. And since it was a large batch I was able to freeze some for the kids.

For every action there is a reaction. The reward for being good boys eating their fish and vegetables, I baked some chocolate chip muffins. Special one in the ramekins for the BIG boy with Cadbury chocolate inside for some molten-like effect. Recipe from joyofbaking.

And later I did a Anna Olsen style switch up with the leftover salmon potato cakes. Made a simple pasta sauce with tomatoes, milk and ground almonds. 

Spread the salmon potato cakes at the bottom. One layer of pasta sauce. Then some cheese. And then one layer of pasta. Topped with another layer of pasta sauce and cheese, and voila!

As usual my picture was taken slightly later, once the kids started eating.

I hope you enjoy making it as much as I did! Happy trying!

Friday, June 21, 2013


Now that he is a preschool-going boy, Sanju has now officially joined the TGIF group. He started his preschool two weeks ago, and he is still going through a love-hate phase as far as school is concerned. And the by the time he is getting into the routine, Friday comes!

One thing we did to make him accept the idea of going to school is bringing him for a couple of visits to the school that we chose. He met the teacher and had already spotted the nice playground that he can play. Even during the short visits he took a slide or two at the playground.

One the night before first school day, we had Sanju doing his dress rehearsal, because there was a chance that he might not wear it on the actual day. To make things more real, he even put on his tiny backpack, and pretended to ride his bike off to school.

School's first day was pretty good. He was excited with the sudden prep and the short walk to school. But I must say all my paparazzi-ing got him grumpy. That is why I only did it on the first day, none after. Upon reaching the gate, teacher brought him in and he let out a short cry when teacher distracted him. And I thought to myself 'phew, that was easy'! After school Sanju looked happy and was talking about school.

Jeev too got his shoes on, wearing his pajamas, to send big brother off to school.

Come second day, hubby was around and we all drove to drop him. This time, Sanju did not expect to go to school yet again. He must have been like 'we just came here yesterday, you can't be serious?!' And needless to say, there was some crying and running around. We brought him back. Hubby left to work, and Sanju took off every single piece of his uniform. After a short while of being himself (read throwing the toys around), I talked him into wearing the uniform, and told him we are going for a walk. Once at the school gate, he insisted Jeev and I come in, which we did. But once he got busy with the reading, we made a clean escape! Later when we picked him at noon, he started crying seeing me, and I told him 'please show ma happy face', and he stopped. That drama-boy!

Third day was almost the same, but he was hesistant in entering the school. Even cried a bit as I walked off, heavy-heartedly. Thanks for the teacher, she manages to handle him well during this time, and always assures me he is fine later on. Sanju's reactions and stories after school always gives me double assurance that he is doing fine there.

The next two days he would fake cry all the way to school, saying 'no school, I want ma, I want mummy (he learnt saying mummy from the teacher'. Once reaching the school he would follow the teacher in. 

Through these times, every night before bed he tells me 'no school, no school' and I have to agree. Yet he tells me 'school nice' and sings me the songs that he learnt. Next morning as I get him ready for 'no school' I have to talk to him and assure him that he is a smart, handsome, and good boy, who will go to school, play with friends and teacher and come home with ma later on.

Now into the second week, morning prep rituals still include some forced cries, and no school chanting, and then me coaxing him. As this week is over, I must say he has improved tremendously. We talk about fun things as we walk to school and I promise him to make his favourite food. And he does not cry once at the school gate, instead waves out to his friends and teacher. Instead, another drama-boy showed some reactions. After the first week of entering the class, Jeev gets upset in this second week when we turn back at the gate itself. He cried and refuses to move, followed by more talking and coaxing from me. I am amazed at the amount of patience I seem to suddenly have. I guess it is a part of the motherhood package I got.

Come Friday, it is indeed TGIF for Sanju. Tonight he told me 'no school' and I gladly told him 'no school, it is the weekend so we will all go out and enjoy, until Monday'. I try to refrain from using the 'S' word and don't want to get him all upset. And I just pray that he continues being good, smart and handsome boy the next week.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Man Of Steel

You remember the saying 'you can't have your cake and eat it too'? Well in our case it is 'we can't have our movie and watch it too'.  We have been taking the boys for movies recently but most of the time we hardly get to watch even 50% of the movie to understand what is going on.

This time it was 'Man Of Steel' and something went differently. We actually did have our movie and watched it too! I actually understand the storyline, and the whys and whats of the movie. And before I get on with the kids' story, I want to say Man Of Steel is totally awesome. A lot more into the background of Krypton and the Els. A lot more into Clark Kent's childhood growing up with super powers. And his relationship with daddy Kent, is very touching. Although we see his fellow Kryptonites having similar powers, Superman just stands out. Definitely a must watch during this hot hot season.

The little boys of steel were dressed to the occasion. And at the cineplex we saw plenty of dudes of steel wearing similar t-shirts, but hey the little boys looked cuter pretending to be Superman and even got comments from young girls who were enchanted with their macho-ism. Ok that's pushing it but you get the idea.

In the beginning the boys were anxious and asked 'I want Superman' as much as donkey asks 'Are we there yet?' in Shrek 2. We were trying to hush them before the others decide to lodge complaints against us for not turning down our 'ringtones'.

And finally once Kal-El came, and slowly started practising his powers (for once we do not see effortless flying and weight lifting like in those older movies) the kids knew their hero was here. They were pretty engaged throughout, and just to curb any possibilities of boredom, we decided to move to the floor right behind our couple seat. At least Jeev had some space to walk about. And he even stole a popcorn from some stranger.

Once the movie was over Sanju walked out with a new glow, as though he is The Superman. He did not once change his serious face, and gave us glances from the corner of his eyes. And during bedtime, he slept hugging Superman dolly. Such moment are just so priceless! Not to mention we actually got the full value of our RM26 spent on the tickets by actually watching the movie!

Go see Man Of Steel, he is back in a new avatar. They got rid of the curly bangs and the red undies on the outside. But the glasses remains, for the clever (?) disguise!

The Man Of Steel with the two boys, comfy on the carpeted floor while I took over the whole couple seat.

When I sent this picture to my bro in law, he replied 'Real Steel'! And come to think of it, he does work in the largest steel company in Asia!

Reward for the Men Of Steel, this midweek snack, chicken ham and cheese rolls.

The recipe is same as my bacon and onion rolls except I arranged chicken ham slices diagonally. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Boys' Little Dollies

The boys love to play with their little dollies. Well of course the dollies are rather action figures, which they cannot get enough of. And since we always forever saying Iron Man, Superman, this-man, that-man, I take the pleasure of using the term 'dolly' in this post, because this is perhaps the only time I can say it that way. Here is the current line up of dollies. Missing from the picture is the latest addition, Man Of Steel.

They play with them, fight with them, even fight for them. Go to sleep with them. Wake up with them. Or wake up talking about them. These days they even carry their 'dollies' to our outings. At one time, after having his claypot chicken rice, Jeev had Iron Man swimming all over his claypot rice. True story. 

During our weekly porch washing activity (yes, it is an official event of sorts because kids get to do everything they are not allowed to at normal times) they even bring their dollies along, even if it meant spoiling some audio features. Affected badly is IronMan. But what the heck, he always says 'I am Iron Man' and we are like 'duh! Like we don't know already'. At least now in our home he has turned more humble.

Jeev in particular, is obsessed with Iron Man 2. Yes, he specifies it to Iron Man '2'. As soon as he wake up from his nap or sleep, he asks for Iron Man 2. Or if he wakes up moody and about to cry, all I have to ask is, do you want to play with Iron Man 2? And he cheers up instantly and starts his baby talk about Iron Man 2. I usually guess he dreamt some action scene involving the iron dude. See what I mean?

He also seems to have caught the gist that some superheroes do not mind wearing their underwear outside, hence, this picture.


These days the kids are crazy over Man of Steel promos and even got a Superman t-shirt each to boost. This was taken right before we went to watch the movie 'Epic', or rather 'not watch' it. Because I did not, instead was busy attending to bored Jeev who preferred to play at the corridor making me enter random cinema halls to catch sneak peeks.

 Notice how Jeev is doing the Hi-5, something that he caught from the Hi-5 show which he never forgets to show whenever we snap any pictures.

This is another superhero costume for Sanju, hubby's work jacket (notice the reflectors, cool stuff, grabs attention wherever he goes!). Whenever he gets tired of me in the day, he says he is going to 'wert' and grabs papa's jacket.  And no, hubby does not work diverting traffic.

And the latest superhero costume is Sanju's playschool uniform! Yes, he is enrolled for playschool and is attending daily, with lots of coaxing, tears, promises, more tears, and heartaches. From both parents and the little school boy's side. True story. But more on that later! Happy super costume day, just because I feel like it!

Monday, June 3, 2013

My Simple Happiness of Life

I am a SAHM and what makes me happy? It is just those simple things in life that makes my day.

A trip to the Japanese store Daiso is like my vacation. Daiso is a store that sells each item at rm5. Every single piece on sale is a useful item for the household and being a SAHM the house is all you think about. Every time I buy something from there, life feels complete, till the next visit, of course, I get to buy another item. My favourite buys are the ramekins and little casserole dishes suitable for baking, and recently more baking silicon stuff!

My weekly baking, is like my drug, an addiction that gives me the pleasure to plan and shop for the week's coming baking plans. I can't do without it. Nothing beats the satisfaction of having fresh and aromatic bakes out of the oven on a quiet afternoon with the mischievous kids. Ok so it is ironic that our afternoon can be quiet with the kids, but one can always use the word to our effect.

My cooking experiments and ventures make me happy. Apart from baking, I take a great pride in my role as the home chef. With a very receptive (and eager) audience, I have a lot of space to try new dishes every time. In fact if I ever get into a routine, the kids and hubby will show it. So I do my best to avoid routine of any kind, as far as food is concerned.

The excitement and thrill on hubby's face or rather reaction on the phone every time I tell him I am cooking something new keeps me going. And I know he is secretly wishing it is something rich in cheese and meat. And contains bacon and more bacon. And comes in a bottomless bowl that magically refills once you eat it. I shall fulfill the last wish once I get my magic wand, for now, good food rocks!

Seeing the kids having a great time eating my home cooks and bakes makes me smile. Every delightful chuckle of theirs makes me want to please them again and again. The best feeling is when they start asking for the muffins or buns right after I get them out of the oven.

My ginger tea in the afternoon while the kids nap, over the yummy cooking shows on food network is my luxury. This is also the time I get to swoon over the dishes and plan what I want to try next. For the above said reasons.

My trips to baking supply shop is my much awaited weekly event. My life literally changed after I discovered the baking supply shop because there are all baking goodies, ready made pizza crust, frozen puff pastry and even tart shells. On top of that they also have cheese, butter, milk and nuts cheaper than most retail shops. Not to mention premix for all types of cakes and muffins. The possibilities are endless. Its my candy store than I cannot leave easily, empty handed.

And last but not least, my 3 minutes of silence and solitude when they sip on their afternoon drink, is just priceless! After the whole half day of playing, running, fighting, shouting, singing, and everything else to that effect, they finally rest and rejuvenate on their drink, while I just lay back thinking what I should do once they nap!


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