Thursday, April 30, 2015

Family Time @ Juicy Grill & Bar

Remember the dating parents who go out for nice sinful food, leaving the kids home with their grandparents? It is sometimes hard to bring the kids dining out at places they are not familiar with. It's either a certain venue is not suitable for kids, or the kids are not crazy about the menu.

Juicy Grill & Bar has been in Bandar Bukit Tinggi for more than a year now. We did visit them a while ago, we had some western dishes which were really good. Not to mention friendly staff and prompt service. But one thing that caught our eyes was the pork knuckle in the menu, which we found out, had to be booked 2 days in advance.

On one fine Saturday when we were pressed for energy, but needed some fun/time/dine out with the kids, we wanted to try the pork knuckle. At 5.30pm I called them up asking if we could get the pork knuckle at 7pm and as luck had it, it was available!

We were so excited that we left home at 6.30pm itself. We tried to drive the slowest possible, walk up the stairs the longest possible, so that we wouldn't reach there too early. But, we did.

The kids were so excited (more than hungry) that they were acting like hooligans banging the table and looking like predators, somehow we caught the best we-fie of our lives.

Once the pork knuckle arrived. We went crazy. And so did Sanju. Suddenly he turned out to be this huge pork knuckle fan! While it was a lovely moment seeing him enjoy our favourite food, and it felt a tad bit sad knowing our portion became smaller. Note to self: Order 2 sets next visit!
See their happy-shappy faces once the food arrived!

A closer look at the pork knuckle.

Thankfully the place was relatively empty, so the kids had ample of space to play once they were done eating, leaving us parents to continue on our happy hours. Pure bliss! Except the fact that the restaurant had ceiling to floor windows overlooking a funfair opposite the building. The kids kept asking to go there, to which we had to make numerous excuses such as 'it is under maintenance', 'no one is playing', 'oh, that dude is a worker there', 'you don't see any kids, do you?' (secretly hoping they don't look further!

It was definitely a good experience and a wholesome dinner having pork knuckle in Klang. That is the good thing about eating out in Klang, it never fails to surprise you!

For now it definitely appears in our top list of best pork knuckles ever, the best being from Bier Haus in JB. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this picture is worth a million words after tickling and appeasing thousand taste buds. *swooning* I think we need a trip there soon!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Accidentally On Purpose

Sometime last week, a quiet afternoon rendezvous to Mr DIY prompted the sweet mother in me to indulge my kids with some face paint. Ok, honestly, I was put on the hotseat by Sanju who wanted to buy stationary set he already had (hundreds of). And I did not want to buy sub-standard quality toys either, and something caught my eye. 'Look face paint! We could paint you and Jeev to look like the Avengers!'. The rest is history.

The packet looked harmless, and the boys are hardly into putting things into their mouth.

Came home and I got quite busy with my usual routines, and the boys wanted to face paint, and I thought, it couldn't be so bad. They could also practice some artistic skills while at it. I briefly looked over the manual and saw the words 'washing with suds'. I was like whatever, go ahead, paint your faces red!

Minutes later I saw Sanju painting Jeev's face green. I went 'aww' for a second thinking elder brother has taken responsibility to get his brother done into Hulk.

By the way the photo so happens to catch such a surprised face of Jeev's. Otherwise he was having a ball. Don't believe me? Look here.

Then they went on, saying the body needed to be green too. And that is when I secretly started wishing the paint does come off easily.

And it did not stop there. While I was putting my artistic skills onto Sanju's face to make him Ironman, Jeev continued to paint his hands and legs, claiming he can't be Hulk without all that green.

So while I did this:

Jeev came to me with this:

By now the floor started to take after Hulk's colour and it was not easy to wipe. And that is when I decided fine, fun-time is over. All into the bathroom. Then I started to wash. And I realised the paint was oil based, because it started clumping, no where leaving the skin of my kids. 

I panicked. I quickly took the manual out again, and I went 'WHAT DO YOU MEAN OIL?' GOSH how could I have not noticed the bad bad English. When I finally clammed down, I read the badly written manual word by word. Ok so now you tell me to wipe paint with paper then washing with suds?!

I quickly devised a plan B from my years of make up removal experiences. Wiped them dry, and used coconut oil all over their body, and it slowly started to come off. Washed them with soap yet again, and it was slightly still there. I was horrified of the thought that Jeev might spend the weekend with green temples and tummy and hands!! Plus the kids were in the shower so long, they were already down with cold, and I could not afford to make it worse.

Then off I went to grab a bottle of lotion. After drying them down, I lathered generous amount of baby lotion all over them and wiped of with dark coloured towel. Oh, the bliss of seeing my kids in their original skin tone.

In a way I was furious with the kids for overdoing it, then I also got furious with myself for overlooking the manual. It really was not their fault because I allowed them with it. Once done, it was a funny incident on the whole that I laughed off with my sisters and mother the next day. 

Lesson of the day: Always always read the manual no matter how busy you are!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Bringing Up Boys

It has been 5 years and counting. Bringing up two boys is an experience on its own, its practically a whole career out of that. A career we call Parenthood.

It is a whole roller coaster of emotions and tantrums. A heart warming 'awww' moment in one minute, and eyebrow raising moment at another. Sometimes it is just plain jaw dropping awe, and at others, plain horror of having to clean-up a massive mess, that is to say the least.

Sometime we think we give in and let them do as they please, wonderfully smiling at them creating carefree childhood memories, and sometimes you just want to pull your hair out and scream for some peace. And sometimes I do just that. Scream. And lots of it. So much that the kids probably think 'there goes another scream-fest and then we are back to normal'.

During a difficult outing, you try to wind down and think the worst is over. You get them Happy Meals (plus free toy, yeay for kids and for our pocket). While you are giving yourself a break indulging in Ronald McDonald happy time, suddenly you hear a scream! Someone had accidentally bite his finger while eating, and needs TLC pronto! Or the more mundane case, is fighting over each others toys, which by the way, looks exactly the same. In fact it is exactly the same toy. We call it the 'What can go wrong' analysis, anything can go wrong!

What does it mean, bringing up boys? Here's a short list, from my half-sane mind:

1) Every time is play time, play time is every time. Playing water before shower, playing towel after shower. Playing while awake. Playing before bed. Playing is play. And play is playing. And if that is not enough, they ask 'can I play some more upstairs after I play downstairs?'

I mean, how much more can you play, or how much less can you NOT play?

2) Playing dress up means changing heads on the Lego tiny men, which by the way, we have got lots by now. Not in pic are the rest of the population of Lego-ville.

3) Colouring session lasts approx 3 mins. After that its free colouring outside the lines or even outside the book, the couch, and you get the gist.

4) Buying toys means buying Lego figurines, and more and more of them. Its never enough to have Ironman Lego dudes, and its always better to have them in all possible colours/marks possible. And not to mention those other figurines.

5) In time of conflict, super heroes make a great distraction subject. What do you mean you don't want to eat, don't you want to be strong like Hulk? You are tired? Come on, you are the Ironman, you are always energetic. You don't want to share? Think of the Avengars, they are a group and they share.

6) Gone are the days we keep up with the Joneses. And since the past 5 years I no longer Keep Up With The Kardashians. It is the age to keep up with Marvels and Transformers, through their movies, comics, cartoons and not to mention toys. If I get one wrong they go 'Amma you don't know?'. Ouch, how can I not know? I am their go-to for every whats and whys. So I have to know. Even if it means going through gibberish pictorial manual to transform Bumbleebee the bot into the cute yellow car. Like at 8am minutes before leaving home for work & kindy. Nothing is impossible.

Here's me joining the crowd at a recent Avengers exhibition. 

And then here's hubby aka HULK carrying his minions.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Burger-cum-Meatballs Recipe - Killing Two Birds With One Stone

Ever since being a working mother, I always find ways to maximize my output in the kitchen. I try to cook or at least prep for multiple dishes in one kitchen session. With 3 kids to take care of (yes, hubby included), I do get some limited amount of time or even energy to spend cooking/baking.

Homemade burgers are an excellent weekend food, as you have the kids at home, wanting to eat something different (compared to the weekday routine). Also burgers give you plenty of space in spiking the food with veggie & herb goodness, and your audience won't know what hit them.

So when I announced to the boys 'Amma is going to make burgers for dinner tonight', I told myself 'lets prepare some extra meatballs for some meatball curry for the weekday'. And do I did.

Here is me sharing how to make the most out of burgers, as far as cheating them with goodness, of course!

You Need:
some minced meat - I used pork + chicken
some mixed dried herbs
half cup of instant oats
3 tbsp of tomato pasta sauce
onion, garlic, spring onion - chopped
carrot - grated
worchester sauce
1 egg
salt & pepper

Mix 'em all, and let it chill for 30 minutes or so. Shape your burgers or meatballs accordingly. Pan fry in little oil until done.

My excuse for the shoddy burger tops? Rustic look ala Jamie Oliver!

Sanju and hubby enjoyed meaty burger goodness, while I had to give the vegetarian kid burger buns filled with Japanese mayonnaise and mashed potatoes, whatever rocks their boat!

As for the meatballs I just made some creamy curry and let them soak in it before serving. For the coming weekday that is!

At the same time I also made some yummy soup. Boiled chicken carcass for 2 hours while prepping for the burger & making them. Took out the carcass and added my desired vegetables and seasoned with miso, kimchi & tom yum soup, my reward for myself.

Not in picture is mashed potatoes. Simply boiled and mashed with some cheese, milk & salt/pepper. I had my plate full, literally.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Salmon Pie Recipe

It has been a while since I experimented something new, well if you don't include the bread/buns, of course! I have been stuck in routine of making similar rice & curry/stew dishes because the kids dig rice. And there is nothing better than seeing them enjoy their dinner of rice after school every day.

Back to trying something new, it always happens in the spur of the moment that I get triggered to try a new dish, and then off I go rummaging for the ingredients. It is a bonus if I find them right in the pantry, and if I don't, I have to plan a trip to the store which means I would have to plan the dish for another time.

Which is why its always fun to be able to make something new with the ingredients readily available at home. 

I have been following the blog Table for 2, and been tempted to make salmon pie. However, it is always a turn off when I see the recipe calling for whipping cream. Which not just means an extra trip to the store, also possibly unused leftover in the fridge later on, and not to mention it costs so much. 

So I gave a try using my regular UHT full cream Dutch Lady milk, and guess what, it worked! However the steps in the blog seemed a little bit elaborate. My lazy-self prefers to just use one pan, do the sautee, roux and creaming all in the same pan. I even cook the salmon in the same pan before doing the sautee, all the more flavour. Minimal mess, minimal clean up. And it sure is a blessing when you are your own cleaner/cook.

Also to make it a one dish meal I added in some boiled potatoes for extra nutrition and quantity.

So here goes, the recipe.

You need:
500gm salmon, marinated with salt and black pepper
leek, chopped
garlic, chopped
mushroon, chopped
spring onion, chopped
potatoes, diced
cooking oil
1tbsp butter, some extra for brushing
1tbsp flour
1.5 cup UHT milk
1 piece of frozen prata
1) Boil the potatoes in a pot full of water, for 15 to 20 minutes. Once done set aside.
2) Heat the pan with little cooking oil, and slowly place the salmon pieces and sear on both sides. Pour in about half cup of water, and cover the pan to let it cook at low heat. Keep turning the pieces every 3 mins to cook evenly. Cook for 10-15 minutes.
3) Take out the salmon, and flake it, carefully take out every bone. Save the water for later.
4) Sautee the leek and garlic in cooking oil, for 5-10 minutes. Add the mushroom and cook some more.
5) Add the butter and once melted add in the flour, and keep stirring to create the roux.
6) Then you can add in the balance water (from salmon) and milk. Keep stirring while it cooks.
7) Add in the potatoes and keep stirring.
8) You will see the mixture to turn really creamy. You can add in the salmon, and season with salt and black pepper according to taste.
9) Once done pour into baking dishes. Sprinkle some spring onion. Cover with frozen prata and give a little brushing with butter.
10) Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes at 160C.

Mine turned a little brown because I left it in the oven to keep warm for hubby and we got dark brown crust. Oh well, it still tasted just as good!

Try it, easy peasy one dish meal!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Little Artist

The boys have picked up a new hobby, cultivating a new talent. Aside from collection little lego man, they have started drawing them! Sanju, in particular, has an eye for detail, and he remembers the unique feature from each character and puts them on paper.

Here's presenting Spongebob & Patrick. A while later Sanju even drew Squidward, but I did not catch a snap of it.

Here is the family heirloom workbook from late 90s that Sanju inherited from my sister, proudly wrote his name over it. This book has now been honoured to house doodles by Sanju.

Can you guess this? This guy's hands and head are on fire, and his bike too, is on fire.

Yes, it is the Ghostrider. And this is the antagonist of the Ghostrider, notice the gothic kohl-eyed look?

This is the black Spiderman from the third sequel.

And here is the octopus-look-alike villain from the Spiderman movie. Notice the goggled eyes?

 Here is Green Lantern, but don't ask me about the hair.
*Note: I showed this post to Sanju and he corrected me. This guy is actually Loki, hence the fancy illustrations on the head.

Wolverine is next, check out the wolf-like ear details, and the claws, man!

And the Incredible Hulk!

The blond Thor, and his hammer, and check out the packs.

And this one is no brainer, Ironman!

And here is Captain America, with some sort of antenna.

While Sanju draw all kinds of superheroes, Jeev is in his own world writing random word he learns everyday. And he gets very intense in it too.

And proudly writes the title of the movie, PK.

While the kids are at it drawing and coloring, mummy has to be on her feet every time cleaning the mess, especially from vigorous erasing that I had to procure workhorse heavy-duty minimal mess erasers. Happy kids make mummy happy.

Homemade Granola Recipe

Welcome to another episode of I-can-make-it-at-home-for-nothing. Today we will be making nutritious and yummy granola right in the comfort of your home. By the end of this blog you will realise how easy it is to make healthy snacks or breakfast on-the-go right at home, for nothing, well not exactly nothing. With ingredients price going up (plus GST & inflation) this is surely not that cheap but for sure cheaper than buying outside. Also you can avoid unnecessary preservatives and artificial flavours. 

Now, spoken like a true Aunty! I don't know if you are familiar with the British TV comedy show Goodness Gracious Me. It's a hilarious show on the integration of Indian and British cultures, in short, of NRIs! There is always one Aunty who pops out of no where and tells 'I-can-make-it-at-home-for-nothing', and lately I have been feeling so much like her, minus the white hair and haggard suit of course!

So here is the long & proper recipe for the granola by Chef Michael Smith. I had shared this before on my blog, but this time I realised how boring and lengthy it gets to read a well formatted recipe. 

Over the times, I have stopped bothering over the recipe though. I have come to devise my own formula for it. I substituted the vegetable oil with virgin coconut oil (you can never go wrong with it). 

The wet ingredients are 1 part VCO, 1 part honey (or more if you like it thicker), 3-4tsp of brown sugar, half tsp of cinnamon powder. Mix this in a saucepan over low heat till it dissolves, and turn off the heat, set aside. Then mix in a mixing bowl whatever nuts/flakes you have. I like to go with almond flakes, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, corn flakes, cashew nuts, peanuts, walnut and rolled oats. Pour the wet ingredient over and mix it well.

Then line your baking tray with baking paper, and pour the mixture over it. Flatten and compact it nicely. Bake in a preheated oven at 160C for 30-40 minutes. Once done bring it out and let it cool down and harden up. Or if you can't control yourself with the lovely aroma, just pig-in right from the tray itself.

Here is a short video of the said aunty in case you are interested. And let me warn, you might get addicted and end up watching the rest of the episodes on Youtube!


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