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Friday, September 28, 2012

Foodie Baby

This baby girl of mine has the foodie genes in her.  I eat to live but she lives to eat, just like her daddy.  She appreciates good food and savors her food.

Check out what she likes to do...

She likes to dip her food into some tomato ketchup on a small sauce plate. She must have been greatly influenced by her grandma who always dips her food in soy sauce with cut chillies on a sauce plate.

But dipping fish balls in tomato ketchup??  It does not really go well but oh well, she enjoys the dipping part more than the taste I guess.  Yesterday, she did the same thing.  She poured out some tomato ketchup into a small sauce plate and dipped her steamed salmon fish and long beans with it! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Homecooked Dinner

Here's another simple homecooked dinner by the mil :

Steamed chicken drumsticks for the girls, chicken cooked in rice wine, wood fungus and ginger for the adults and stir-fried leek with roast pork

Quinoa salad (boiled quinoa, pine nuts, carrots, celery, cucumber and multi-colored bell peppers) prepared by the girls' koo por who lives a few floors beneath ours:

Very healthy indeed eh?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Healthy Instant Noodles For Dinner

Sunday is usually a no-cooking day for me. It is normally an outing day for us and without a maid's help now, we normally take away food for dinner too after our lunch outside. But hubs was busy yesterday and will be busy for the next few days preparing for the Rat Race mega catering function, so he has not much time for us. Feeling lazy, I told the girls that we should just have dinner at the Japanese restaurant at our condo but Alycia suggested instant noodles which got strong back up of approval from her 2 sisters. So instant noodles was what they had for dinner yesterday!

Instant noodles for the girls, cooked with a healthier twist yet, tastes just as syiok as MSG flavored ones. I added Bunashimeji mushrooms (brown beech mushrooms), organic tomatoes and 3 free-range chicken eggs. I used home-boiled fun kok soup as the soup base.  My most pernickety and critical daughter had absolutely no complaints and slurped down her big bowl of noodles.  When I was about to bring the pot to wash, she stopped me, then used her chopsticks and fished out the last few strands of noodles still sitting in the pot and slurped it tastefully into her mouth ! :D

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Silly Me

Yesterday evening, the girls waited very impatiently for daddy to fetch them to Cass' pre-school lantern party.  After a long wait, daddy finally called my mobile phone to ask us to meet him at the lobby. I, as usual was busy on the computer, trying to reply some emails. 

Alycia - mummy, it's daddy!  He said to go down to the lobby now.

Me - OK, let's go quick. We are very late... and left the PC, grabbed the house keys and walked to the door.
(I was still in my nightie - yup I work in my nightie and it's the most comfy clothes ever!).

Alycia - but you haven't changed!!

Me - who hasn't changed yet ?! (my mind was still scattered everywhere in the house and was not listening to Alycia 100%.  And I could feel fangs descending from my gums as I thought that it was Miss Dilly Dally who hasn't changed yet and wanted us all to wait for her again)

Alycia - YOU!! You are still wearing THAT!

Without saying a word, I quickly walked to my bedroom, feeling  really stupid on one hand, yet wanted to burst out laughing my heart out! MUAHAHAHAHAHA!

Sherilyn with her bestie, Berlyn.  I think they had earlier planned  to wear identical dresses to the party but none of them wanted to admit that.  Sherilyn and Berlyn were classmates for 3 years in the same kindy and are now classmates.

Photo: Deline Coco Noir - Sherilyn and Berlyn wore the same dress at the lantern party last night :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

My Earnest Helper

In our house, there is a very reliable helper.  My 4yo baby girl loves helping out with the laundry and can even wash her own cup.  She is also in charged of helping me watch the water level in the kettle whenever I fill it up with filtered water.  Have I ever told you that I need to boil water 4x a day in a large whistling kettle?  Yup, we all drink water like a camel.

Yesterday, I did not ask Cass for help as she was doing something else and the result was disastrous!  The entire kitchen top and cupboards were flooded with water.  The problem with me is that I am always too ambitious and want to do several things at one time.  After I had turned on the tap and switched the water filter to alkaline water mode, I  went to the PC to answer one of my customer's query.  When I was back in just less than 2 minutes, the entire kitchen top was flooded, shiats!! I had forgotten that the hubs has just changed the filter and thus, the filter is working more efficiently and takes a shorter time to fill up the kettle.  As I was cleaning up the mess, I told Cass what had happened and she responded thoughtfully : "why didn't you ask me to help you?!"  I told her that I did not want to disturb her, to which she said that she does not mind helping me at all.  What a thoughtful and sweet little girl my baby girl is!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Clumsiest Girl Ever!

Rascal #2 is the clumsiest 7-YO girl ever. She drops practically everything that she is not supposed to drop.

These are some of her boo boos which I can recall:

1) My iPad!! She was keeping the iPad several days ago and then all of a sudden,we heard a loud thud!! I SHOULD NOT have asked this clumsy pot to keep my iPad of all the girls!

2) My celo tape dispensers and she broke all 4 of them over a span of 1 year! The latest boo boo was last week when she dropped the tape dispenser right in front of my eyes. I could not believe what I saw as she broke all the previous celo tape dispensers too! A record-breaking of breaking 4 celo tape dispensers in just 1 year, LOL!  Thank God the heavy dispenser with a sharp teeth did not land on her feet, else....

3) Knocking off drinking glasses filled with water whenever we dine out, thus causing a mess on our table.. not to mention causing a scene too.  And yes, she always spills drinks and drops food at home too.

4) Just a moment ago, she dropped a Chinese soup spoon and miraculously the spoon did not break as the drop height was not very high. I should take a closer look at the spoon later, just to ensure that there is no crack on the spoon.

5) Just a moment ago, she dropped her mechanical pencil cover into her bowl of sweet potato sweet dessert.

6) Last night, she wanted to pack some biscuits into her lunch box for recess today. I normally pack for her but since I was busy, I allowed her to pack her lunch box herself but had a strong hunch that she will drop the biscuits. A mother's instincts are always correct. The moment I walked out of the kitchen, Alycia announced on top of her voice "mummy, Kay Yi dropped the whole packet of biscuits on the floor!!!" I went back to the kitchen and was raging when I saw the mess. I told her to clean up the mess herself but her indulgent daddy helped her clean up the mess.   That's one of the reasons why my girls are disobedient as daddy hardly reprimands them and this is driving me bonkers!

7) Dropping her tumblers and cracking them

8) My mobile phone. She is now banned from touching my Samsung Galaxy Note.

9) Cups and plates

I know there were more fragile things which she had broken in the past but I cannot recall them at this moment.  Sherilyn oh Sherilyn, when will you ever stop dropping things huh? Mummy hates to call you clumsy pot and butter fingers.

Do you have a child who keeps dropping things too?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dragon Door Steamboat @ Taman Segar

A few Saturday nights ago, we had charcoal steamboat at Dragon Door Steamboat, aka Yit Sing Restaurant @ Taman Segar, Cheras. Initially we planned to have dinner at Farmland Porridge steamboat again but hubs' friend suggested Dragon Door for charcoal steamboat, which is steamboat with an ancient Chinese touch! We were all already very famished as we left home at 8ish pm and luck was not on our side -- the traffic jam was horrendous. By the time we reached Dragon Door, it was already 9ish pm. And the restaurant was still packed with steamboaters at that time.

When the pot of steamboat was finally ready with an assortment of balls and meat in the clear but tasty soup, our tummies were  growling ferociously and we were gobbling down our food and burning our lips with the piping hot balls and meat, haha! There was no regret. The steamboat ingredients, soup and dipping sauces were all worth the traffic jam and long wait.
Dragon Door (Loong Moon) restaurant is designed and constructed to resemble a motel during the ancient China days. It's a hidden gem - good environment and good food.  Even the toilet  has an ancient China touch to it.


 The interior decor, with a bamboo staircase to the floor above....


The restaurant setting and ambience are similar to those eatery cum motel in the olden China days, just like what we see from those TVB fighting shows.


Steamboat using charcoal.  If you have young kids, make sure your kids are seated far away from the pot as the initial flame to heat up the soup can grow big and really hot, as shown in the pic below.


Some of the raw ingredients. Our pot of pork soup cost RM18.



 My bowl of yummy balls with lots of chopped spring onions and coriander leaves.


Tasty sauce for dipping.  There is a counter just for sauces and you can mix a concoction of sauces of your choice.



At the end of the steamboat meal, my jaw almost dropped when hubs told me that there was still more meat for the BBQ and pan fried style on the side table next to our table!  Our friend did the cooking on this traditional mini stove using charcoal but I was too full to try.  And it was already way past 10pm.  Health freak mummy does not eat after 8pm, what more fried and bbq meat!  The next time we decide to go to Dragon Door again, I'll make sure we leave our house at 6ish pm as this place is pretty far from where we stay.


Lastly, the damage for 6 adults and 3 kiddos was RM351.45. This included drinks and beer. I think it's pretty reasonable as we ordered quite a bit of raw ingredients and there was beer too.    


Would I go again? Most definitely but we must make sure we leave our house early this time.  And oh yes, be prepared to leave this place with a souvenir of oily smell of BBQ meat and steamboat on your hair and clothes after your meal. So do not even bother to have your nice smelling bath before you go to this place :D  We all had to shower again when we reached home, close to midnight!

Dragon Door Steamboat
No.18-1, Jalan Manis 4 (Taman Segar), Cheras, 56100 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel : 03-9130 1062
A-La Carte Charcoal Steamboat, Fresh Ingredients With Tasty Soup, Ancient Style With Excellent Environment!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Our Merdeka Day - 31 Aug 2012

This is a way overdue post, a post which I have kept forgetting to post due to busyness, as usual.

We had lunch at our favorite Casa Del Cocco Cafe on our country's Independence Day on 31 Aug 2012.  Casa Del Cocco @ Taman Danau Desa is a cafe that serves delish Italian food, cooked the healthy and wholesome way -- with fresh mushrooms and herbs used generously in most of the dishes.  If you are a regular reader of this blog, you would have read my earlier post and review on this cafe :)

Can you recognize who the leng jai in the background is who is talking to Alycia?  Anyone??

While waiting for the food to arrive, I taught my 4.5YO baby girl how to do addition.  She was hooked on it for a few days!

Health freak omelette.  Smoked salmon and fresh herbs are some of the ingredients used to cook this egg dish.

Wood fired in stone oven thin crust Formaggi pizza.  I did not quite like the strong flavor of the white cheese on the pizza (not sure if it's Ricotta or Feta).

Yummy and creamy Classic Carbonara, specially for the girls.

Chicken chop served with mushroom sauce.

Pork chop served with mushroom sauce.

Love this biscotti which has loads of crunchy pistachios in each slice.  We first ordered 3 slices but was hooked on it and ordered another 4 slices to nibble with our coffee.

Miss Storybook worm munching on a pistachio biscotti whilst reading Diary Of A Whimpy Kid...

For 4 adults and 3 kiddos - here's the damage. Expensive? I think it's pretty reasonable, given that we ordered quite a number of dishes.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Full Time Maids vs Part Time Maids

I have been calling maid agencies for the past few days. From my findings, I am rather perplexed with the structure of the agency fees imposed by these agencies. From what I have gathered, different agencies charge different rates on the agency fee, some of which charge vast differences in the fees.  Most of the agencies charge between RM7,000 to RM10,000 for agency fees (to be shared between the Malaysian agent and Phillipines agent).  Monthly salary of the Filipina maid is fixed at a minimum of RM1,000 and some RM1,200 per month.  Most of the agencies have advised me to hire a Filipina as maids from this country do not create as much trouble as Indon maids. This I have to agree as I have hired Indon maids for 10 years and so far, only one maid was truly efficient with not much attitude problem BUT she had a boyfriend, whom she befriended just over our house gate every morning!!  Can you imagine how they can fall in love without even going out with each other and can even exchange kisses on some mornings? All done at my porch and they were caught in the act locking lips by my nosy parker neighbor!

Yesterday, I called up another maid agency. I was perplexed when they told me that they charge only RM4K+ for agency fee to hire a Filipina maid and the maid's salary is RM1k a month.  For Indon maids, they charge close to RM9,000 for agency fee and the maid's salary is RM808 per month.  When I 'reported' my findings to the boss, he said "cheap things surely mean no good!  If they can charge us  a fee which is so low as compared to what other agencies normally charge,  surely the maids are of sub quality and who knows, the agency may be one of those agencies reported in the newspapers that teaches the maid to run away after the 3-month guarantee period!  When this happens, the employer will surely go back to the agent to source for another maid and another RM7k has to be paid upfront to hire a new Filipina maid.  And behind our backs, who knows, the unscrupulous maid agency  will be recycling the runaway maid and  we will never find out about their illegal modus operandi. 

Did you know that a prospective employer has to fork out an average of RM12,400 to hire a Filipina maid?  This amount comprises of RM10k NON-REFUNDABLE agency fee and 2 months advance salary of RM1,200 per month.  Renewal of work permit after 1 year is about RM1k. Now bring out your calculator and start counting.  The average monthly salary of a Filipina maid on a 2-year contract is RM1,616 per month!!  That is equivalent to the starting salary of some fresh graduates??  

After discussing with the hubs, he still thinks that hiring part-time maids who come in several times in a week is the best solution.  I need part-time maids who can come between 6pm - 8pm as this period is the busiest time for me -- preparation to cook dinner, piles of dishes, wok and pots to wash and scrub and messy floor to mop after dinner.  I have called 3 part-time maid agencies today and only 1 agency (working on a very tight schedule) can provide a part-time maid to me, who can come in on Monday and Thursday from 6-8pm.  Cost is about RM260 for 8 sessions (twice weekly, 2 hours each session).  For other days of the week, I will have no choice but to slog like a dog for the sake of my 3 angels.  If not for the 3 of them, I would have eaten out everyday, just like what I did before they came along.  But back then, life was a tad lonely and incomplete without them and they are my missing pieces to my complete jig saw puzzle now :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Life Without A Live-In Maid

Without a live-in maid, I have begun to dislike cooking.  Being not only a health freak but a clean freak, I totally cannot stand a kitchen with oily tops and floor.  So after each cooking, there will be a lot of cleaning up to do.  To top it all up, I have extremely dry and sensitive skin, which, if in contact with soap, especially detergent and dish-washing liquid, will peel, turn red and feels really 'tight' and itchy.  All these 'obstacles' are making cooking seem such a painful chore for me.  The thought of even packing food back to eat at home does not seem favourable to me because after eating, there will be bowls, plates and cutlery to wash, table to wipe, floor to wipe (the 3 rascals will surely drop food onto the floor) and table cloths to wash.  Sometimes I will wear a pair of rubber gloves but I do not like wearing gloves as I find that I cannot feel what I am washing -- so whether the plate is thoroughly clean or still soapy, I wouldn't know.   Above all these reasons, cooking takes up a lot of time -- preparation, cooking and the big washing and cleaning up after each meal.  I need to allocate at least 1.5 hours - 2 hours of my time if I cook dinner..  People think that a WFHM has the luxury of time to do her work and to cook up a storm all the time but it is not true.  It is still manageable if I have only 1 child. With 3 kids who need supervision in their school work (and the most dreaded final exam is just several weeks away), an online store to run, ads to write, blogs to update, house work to carry out, I  have not much time and mood left for cooking.  Fortunately my mil is now with us to help out in the cooking but very soon, she will have to leave for Hong Kong again.

Ever since my maid went back to Indon, the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) on my hands is slowly rearing its ugly head again. I first had severe CTS about 2 months post giving birth to Alycia about 9 years ago.  After a course of antibiotics to treat the Bronchitis that I was suffering from, the CTS co-incidentally vanished, albeit not 100%.    Since then, I have been having numbness and feeling of 'pins and needles' on my  hands, especially on my right hand every morning around 3am right through the time I wake up at around 5:30am.  I find that the CTS will be aggravated if I use my hands to carry heavy things or use my hands vigorously without resting them.   Without a live-in maid, I now have to do more house work and carry heavy stuff too, thus I think I am giving the CTS a wake-up shake.  The feeling is not exactly painful but one that is very uncomfortable.  If you have gone through a surgery under GA, you will know what I mean.  The feeling of CTS is akin to loosing feeling and energy on your hands, peppered with pins and needles.  It ain't a nice feeling to have.

After more than a month of being maidless, I am sad to admit that I still prefer having a live-in maid, albeit I do not fancy having a stranger living under the same roof with us and especially sharing our bathroom.  If not for the current pathetic maid situation in our country, which is turning from bad to worse, I would have immediately gotten a replacement Indon maid right away.  There is only a trickle of Filipino maids to hire now and the agency fee of RM10k (non-refundable) is the main reason why we are not hiring one just yet.  I do not mind paying RM12,400 (RM2,400 consists of the Filipino maid's 2 months' salary in advance) for a Filipino maid if there is replacement for a runaway maid or an incompetent maid, with no expiry of guarantee period.  If you have read the newspapers a few days ago, you would have read that the Government is now planning to curb the employment of Filipino domestic maids in our country too!

I admire SAHMs and even FTWMs without live-in maids who can still whip up scrumptious dishes, elaborate bento boxes for their kids' and bake a galore of cakes, pastries, snacks and desserts for their kids.  Sheoh Yan, Elaine Lee and Chew Lee -- how do you do it?  How does everyone else do it without a maid? I need to learn!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Home-cooked Dinner - 6 Sept 2012

This was our home-cooked dinner last night...

Happy Call Pan fried Mackeral fish, stir-fried cabbage with julienned carrot, steamed chicken drumsticks (which were super long and the girls gnawed on them like hungry pups!) and herbal soup.  Simple, wholesome, heart and tummy warming :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Homecooked Chicken Porridge

I do not really fancy eating porridge, especially thick, gooey porridge as the texture tends to tickle my throat and makes me want to puke at times. When my mil cooked a pot of chicken porridge the other day, I could not resist chomping down a bowl as the aroma of the sesame seed oil wafted through the entire house when the porridge was still bubbling inside the claypot.

This is my bowl of chicken porridge with coriander leaves and pepper. The deboned chicken breast meat was marinated with sesame seed oil and thrown into the boiling pot of porridge about half an hour before it was served. This way, the meat will not be overcooked but  will be very tender and juicy. The consistency of the porridge texture was just right - not too thick and not too watery.

As I was savoring this bowl of simple yet delightful porridge on a typical busy weekday, I could feel how much comfort it can bring me -though simple yet heartwarming! Nothing beats homecooked food.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Ying Ker Lou Hakka Cuisine, The Gardens, Mid Valley City

We wanted something not so heavy for dinner and were all gamed to dig into some heart-warming Hakka dishes, so the hubs brought us to Ying Ker Lou @ The Gardens 2 Saturday evenings ago. It was our 2nd time at Ying Ker Lou and this time, it was much more satisfying and everyone enjoyed their meals thoroughly.

These are what we picked from the menu this time:

Shun Pun Zi (Stir fried yam balls), which was very flavorful because of the fried dried shrimps used to prepare this Hakka delicacy.

Yummy fried rice for my fried rice craze eldest daughter...

Hong Kong style flat rice noodles aka Chee Cheong Fun...

The mil's Lui Cha with brown rice.  Lui Cha is a healthy Hakka dish consisting of an assortment of chopped veggie, nuts, fried anchovies and refreshing mint broth.  You can opt for brown rice which  is a healthier alternative to white rice.

Pan Mein...

Chicken cooked in Chinese Rice Wine @ RM39 a pot, which was my order that night. I love this wine soup and can never get enough of this dish, though I was fed a total of 3 months with it during my 3 confinements :D
I think it's pretty expensive @ RM39 a pot and there were not more than 10 small pieces of chicken. With such a small portion, I could only have 2 small pieces of bony chicken to gnaw on. How pathetic eh?  I think half the price of this dish went towards payment of shop rental.

For 3 adults and 3 kis, this is the burn to the hubs' wallet.  Expensive?

As it was a pretty light dinner, our tummies were rumbling again about an hour later after burning off some calories shopping and walking around the mall.  At the request of my fast-food deprived girls, their daddy took away McD and some sinfully delish Crepe cakes before we left The Gardens and had a late supper of carbs at home.

Ying Ker Lou Restaurant Lot S 231 & 232,
Second Floor The Gardens Midvalley City
Lingkaran Syed Putra
59200 Kuala Lumpur.
03-2284 8480.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Nothing Beats Home-Cooked Food

Nothing beats having home-cooked food for dinner everyday and I am thankful that my mil has passion in cooking and baking. Though these are pretty simple dishes that she whips up, we all enjoy her cooking.

 This is one of our typical dinners when the mil is around to cook up a storm:


'Kon Jeen Har Loke' aka pan-fried prawns dry style with Chinese cooking wine and soy sauce. On the right is stir-fried chives with roast pork slices. Above the chives dish is stir-fried petai aka stinky beans with minced meat and chopped preserved veggie.


 This is the famous salt-baked chicken which we bought from Ipoh.


Quinoa with herbs-roast chicken from the girls' koo por (grand aunt) who lives a few floors below ours.

And the downside of having a great cook who stays with us? My weight is slowly but surely creeping up again! :(