One awesome gift for this Mama from Kitchen Aid

[Review]:

[Photo Credit: Kitchen Aid Singapore]

My eyes did a double blink when I saw this email from the folks at Kitchen Aid. They first invited us to an upcoming Mother’s Day workshop and then asked if we would be open to reviewing their items as part of the collab. I was really quite excited.. “A Kitchen Aid! WOW!!!” But of course, I’m the sort who didn’t want to count its chicks before they hatch, so I just waited to see what they would offer and lo and behold, they did offer the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer from the Artisan Series in Empire Red. The pastel colours in the range are really to die for but the red did stand out and hold its ground. Plus, it would also look just as fetching when placed next to our Nespresso coffee machine also in red. So that was the one we received!

[Photo Credit: Kitchen Aid Singapore]

When I was aggressively baking years ago, holed up in a small kitchen in our apartment in Geneva, I did lem for a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. After all, it’s THE Mixer of all mixers and this gorgeous device is often seen in many gourmet kitchens and kitchens of aspiring home-cooks. But I got scolded by the Man for even harbouring the thought of purchasing one as we moved from place to place then. It would not be pratical to lug it from one country to the next. So I just relied on my handheld mixer for many of my bakes. Till this fantastic opportunity came along!

After the initial unboxing of this gorgeous device was done (the kiddo helped too), I wondered hard and long what am I going to start baking/ cooking with this helpful kitchen device? My baking skills have somewhat become dusty along the way and the kid doesn’t quite have a sweet tooth so she might not appreciate the sweets like cupcakes and muffins that I whip up for her. I decided then to try using the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer for another purpose instead.

We all have our fave dish that is reminiscent of our childhood. Something special that our moms have made that would warm our hearts along with our bellies. For me, it was always the oyster chicken with mushrooms dish and the salted vegetable duck soup – my mom’s speciality dishes. My mom was not a home-maker, she had a full-time job and in fact, juggled a few jobs when we were growing up but she did try to cook for us occasionally and now, she really does make it a point to cook for us at least once a week when we go back home on Sundays. Her meals are always simple but I really appreciate the time and effort that she put in to cook the many dishes to feed the entire family of 8 or more when the troop goes over.

For the Man, it would always be his mom’s Mee Hoon Kueh (hand torn noodles). My mom-in-law makes the mee hoon kueh from scratch, kneaded the dough mixture by hand and cooking the broth from scratch. The side dish to be accompanied with the Mee Hoon Kueh is a simple, broiled pork belly with sesame oil because growing up, they really didn’t have a lot so pork belly was considered a treat for the Man and his mom. Last but not least, the condiments such as fried shallots, pepper and ikan billis that will generously be sprinkled on this homemade and simple noodle dish.

This Mee Hoon Kueh dish is always the dish the Man would request for after a long trip away from home and this dish would also be the dish that Sophie would also request for from her grandma if she’s feeling poorly or as and when she wants her grandma to cook her a happy meal My mom-in-law would always oblige when it came to cooking for her son and granddaughter.

Years back when we were living in Geneva and because we were away from home, the Man actually recreated his mom’s Mee Hoon Kueh dish. Now that we are back home, we hardly have to make this dish from scratch but I did want to learn how to do this as my mom-in-law travels quite a fair bit now and on days when Sophie actually requests for this when she’s not around, I find myself telling her to have something else or to resort having to run out to the hawker centre to buy a bowl for her as we don’t have the ingredients stashed at home. Even though it’s the same type of noodles, the taste is not quite the same. Nothing quite beats the home-made “feels”,  if you know what I mean. Maybe it’s the way the noodles are rolled into small pieces of dough, mashed and then torn to make up little pieces of cooked and starchy goodness.

Well, it does appear that the recipe of making the Mee Hoon Kueh has been simplified and kneading the dough by hand would be a preferred method but having the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer do the job in half the time was this lazy mama’s hack in putting the meal on the table. We  started prepping our meal (together with the little one at 6.30pm) and made the hand torn noodles in under 20 minutes. The broth was prepared in advance and dinner was served at 7.10pm. To prep a meal with a kid in tow, I’d say we did well on time!

Mee Hoon Kueh (Hand torn noodles)

Ingredients:
For the noodles:
4 cups of rice flour
1 medium egg
1/2 tsp salt
250 ml of cooled water

For the topping:
Fried shallots
Fried ikan bilis

For the soup stock:
150g ikan bilis, rinsed and drained
1.5 litres water
A bunch of spinach, trimmed
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp deep-fried ikan bilis
Onion oil, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Method:
1) To make the noodles, mix the flour, egg, salt and water evenly in a mixing bowl. Using the dough mixer attachment, turn on Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer on low speed (ie: Speed 1) before gradually increasing it to a slightly higher speed. We used up to Speed 3.

2) Once the dough mixture comes together to form a ball, transfer the dough mixture into another mixing bowl.

3) Place some rice flour on your fingers and continue to knead the mixture in the bowl until it doesn’t stick to the hands.

4) Peel the dough into small balls of about 1 to 2cm. Press and flatten each ball till about 2mm thick. Set aside till ready to cook.

5) To make the soup, add the ikan bilis to 1.5 litres of water and bring it to bowl. Simmer over low heat for about 20 mins. Remove the ikan bilis and then add in spinach and egg (if desired).

6) Add the mee hoon kuey. When the noodles rise to the surface, scoop out noodles and broth in a bowl and serve.

This simple soup dish is extremely versatile and you can also add additional ingredients such as mushrooms, prawns and even minced meatballs to accompany the noodles.

Seriously, it is quite simple to make the mee hoon kueh with the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer using the dough attachment. Even my kid could do this as you can see. Well, you may ask why even bother using a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer to do something that simple? True, but if you are going to be investing in a piece of machinery only to use it for rare occasions then is this a worthy investment? The idea is that this device is supposed to help you around in the kitchen and to help put out dishes quick and fast for the family. That’s my rationale of a worthy investment.

Thanks Kitchen Aid Singapore for sending this lovely Stand Mixer to us. It really is a beautiful piece of machinery which is now a permanent fixture on our kitchen counter. Can’t wait to try out other recipes with this. So stay tuned!

——–

Disclaimer : We received the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with Meat Grinder attachment to test and review.  No additional monetary rewards were given.  All views expressed are purely of my own and written according to my experience in using the product. Any queries on the product  should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

New routine for Saturdays

Most of our Saturdays used to be filled with play-dates with our BFF but since the start of the year, the Bub decided that she wanted to learn ballet. Since the Man has his round of golf on Saturday mornings often leaving us both to our own devices and coupled with the Bub’s desire to learn ballet, I decided that maybe it’s time to let her take on a new activity to fill up our weekends. Trying to find things to keep a toddler occupied can sometimes be quite mind-boggling as well.

Thanks to a recommendation from another Mom, we managed to find a ballet school that’s quite close to home and the timing also suited as well as it was in the morning. The Bub did a trial class with the school last year and had a great time prancing around in her tutu skirt with the rest of the other girls. Right after the lesson, I asked if she wanted to continue, to which she answered “YASS!”. So I signed her up.

It’s been about 3 weeks since we formally started her on lessons and she is having a good time at class. Her coordination seemed to have improved but she can’t still exactly articulate fully what she is actually learning during the class so I’m hoping when it’s time for the parent to sit in and observe what the child did during the term, I am able to see how the Bub did.

One thing I did notice that has improved for the Bub is that she is usually famished straight after ballet lesson which finishes at 11.30am. It actually is a good timing for we head off to lunch and I don’t need much cajoling for her to finish off everything that I place on her plate until she tells me she has enough. Win for me!

Now, the next part of my post relates to a “What in the world am I thinking of?” kind of moment. The Man and I often talked about this.. letting the Bub have a care-free childhood, one that’s filled with play so we really did refrain from signing up on too many enrichment classes. But then, there’s swimming where it’s an essential life-skill that she needed to have. There’s also Berries. That’s non-negotiable as the Man strongly felt that learning Mandarin and having the ability to speak it fluently is an essential skill in today’s world. So for the past year, those were the 2 classes we have signed the Bub up for.

Then, there came Ballet. That was what the Bub really wanted and given that we often have to fill up Saturdays with things to do, I might as well let her take something she really wanted to do.

And the last class that I am now thinking or rather have signed her up for is Phonics. Why phonics? Although it’s already built in to her new school curriculum, I realised that her foundation to phonics isn’t quite as strong yet. She recognises all the letters in the alphabets but not the sound that each letter makes. If she possess a basic understanding of phonics or have a foundation in phonics, she would be able to go on to reading and recognising the words faster when she starts formal primary education. Or so I thought.

We recently did a trial session for phonics at School of Concepts and parents had the option of sitting in for the first lesson with the rest of the sessions being a drop-off class subsquently. I appreciated the fact that parents could sit in the first session to understand the principles behind the school’s methodology; understand how the teachers ran the lesson as well as to observe how the chilid would behave during the session.  Sophie attended the lesson with 2 of her friends from her previous school. There were loads of screaming throughout the 45 minute session but the teachers were very patient and managed to draw their attention using interesting props to teach them about the letter ‘A’ and the sound that it makes.

We’ve decided to let her try out a term at SoC for a while and see how that goes. From the looks at how she is enjoying herself during the first lesson, I’m really hoping that this will get her all excited about learning something new in a non-threatening manner.

 

Show and tell: Caring for your teeth

This post is super overdue but I thought it would still be nice to share as a fun craft project that you can do with your child when it comes to getting the young ones to pay attention on caring for their teeth.

Let me tell you, it ain’t easy at all. We started the Bub on brushing of her teeth when she was about one but we are still not very diligent about brushing of her teeth in the morning when she wakes up and the no milk rule after she has brushed her teeth in the night. Maybe we are not ‘strict’ enough when it comes to enforcing rules.

The school does a good job of introducing proper dental hygiene as part of their learning journey. This is usually coupled with craft work, story-reading and of course, getting the child to actually brush their teeth after their meals in school. Ending the month-long feature on dental hygiene would be a home project that parents should work with their child to showcase why proper dental habbits are important.

Well, the topic was hard and I was kind of scratching my head, wondering how we will be able to pull this off. But a quick trip to Daiso with my fellow Mama pal, Libby, one evening sorted my dilemma.

I got these sponges that resembled pink healthy gums and the mouth as well as black/ white glass tiles that I stuck on the sponge using craft glue. I would say apply a generous layer of craft glue on the sponges and then leave it overnight for the glue to dry.

To show the difference between a set of healthy teeth and a set of “rotten” teeth, I stuck some black glass tiles alongside some white ones on the other side of the sponge also using craft glue.

Before the Bub did her Show-and-Tell segment, we let her watch this particular episode of Storybots “Why do I need to brush my teeth?” (Season 1, Episode 3) where the Storybots travel into a stinky mouth infected by bacteria to showcase the importance of brushing and flossing your teeth. It does help the Bub with adding of some keywords that she could share with her friends during the segment.

Armed with her toothbrush, this was what she did for her segment of Show-and-Tell to her little friends. Her teacher also captured the words/ phrases that she used and it’s nice to see what she could articulate and share:

  • I brush my teeth in the night time
  • Brush teeth.
  • Mummy and Daddy (help) to make it.
  • Barbie doll (referring to toothbrush).
  • Never mind! I brush it (referring to the black spot) away.
  • I need some toothpaste.

 Hope you found this post useful!

Show and tell: Memory Project

The June holidays are typically a long break for Primary going school children or for some younger kids, their schools would be closed during this period as well. As the Bub goes to full-day childcare, her centre is open almost a good part of the year. That said, her June’s Show and Tell is centered around what the child did for the month of June. Submission of photos for the project would suffice but I wanted to make something memorable for the kid while she did her story-telling to her friends.

I guess June is also extra special since it’s her birthday month so after an idea suggested by Mama Gwen to draw a cake and then get the Bub to stick the photos of what she did using the stickers created by the Sticker Maker from Stickie Mail, I decided to embark on a cake craft project for the Bub instead (another idea seeded by the bf@w).

Majority of the cake craft photo project can be sourced from Daiso, the trusty shop to head to if you needed to get craft materials readily. As the Bub’s favourite Disney Princess is Belle, I deliberately chose the styrofoam bricks in blue and yellow, stuck them together to form her Belle Birthday Cake.

For embellishments or rather the icing on her cake, I got a box of these decorative pom pom balls and basically stuck them around the cake. The Bub helped me out here and we had fun coming up with the colour scheme – pink, followed by white, yellow, etc, on how her craft birthday cake should look. It’s not easy to get these decorative balls to be stuck o the styrofoam boards, I think I must have used up a bottle of craft glue for this project alone!

I also printed some photos (passport sized) so that it would fit nicely into the sticker maker. The Bub helped to then stick these stickers all over her craft cake. As we stuck the photo memories on the cake, I also took the opportunity to ask the Bub what are some of the actions or the people she hung out with in the pictures to jolt her memory a little.

I guessed that worked and looks like she was all excited about sharing her tales and adventures with her little friends. 🙂

Try it.. this does make quite a fun bonding project to do with your child.

Shop Small Saturday Market (24 June)

It completely slipped my mind to promote this communit event that I have been working with Mamas Libby and Gwen – Shop Small Saturday Market happening tomorrow from 10.30am (typo up there) to 6pm at Stamping Ground Coffee!

So by any stroke of luck, if you are reading this and are free tomorrow, please do come by and support us at the event.

What’s lined up at Shop Small Saturday? It’s an event that supports small, local and handmade shops. Participating brands include: The Little Bow Co, Tulle Love by Gwen, Pickabag, Cote Maison (featuring Bruno Hotplate SG and Bumwear), Da Prayer Designs, Sea Apple Shop and Happie Tings.

We’ve also arranged for a special workshop hosted by The Lettering Workbook for the children happening between 11.30am to 2.30pm using Stickiemail products so Mamas can all shop in peace.

It’s going to be an exciting Saturday so come by and say HELLO to me if you do stop by at Shop Small Saturday. 🙂

Travel with kids to +852

Wait a minute?! Didn’t I just come back from an all girls trip from Hong Kong? Yea, I did. But it’s not like I’m loving Hong Kong so much to want to bring my kid there. I still think while Hong Kong offers a lot in terms of shopping and food, but for kids (especially toddlers), I’m not quite certain about it being a holiday destination.

So this Mama and girls only holiday was a bit of an impromptu trip as our fave Mama-and-girl duo was due for a trip to visit her family and because I’ve been yearning to bring Bubba for a mom and bub holiday so on a quick whim (on my part actually), we booked our tickets, accommodation to Hong Kong for an all-girls trip only to Disney.

The Dad was happy when he heard this, he thinks I’m the real Disney Junkie here hiding under the guise of the Bub and he thinks that this trip should allow me to get Disneyland out of my system once and for all.

Well, we just returned from our amazing holiday and we have so much to share about the trip. Not so much in terms of shopping but what we have achieved in Disney. Just give me a couple of days to recover from just the 4D/3N holiday with the Bub. Once I get sufficient rest, I’ll fire up the keyboard and share the tips. But first, I really need to SLEEP!

Show and Tell: The Healthy Plate

One of the Show and Tell activities that the Bub had to do revolved around Healthy Living. The school introduced the concept of healthy eating to the kids and the parents are encouraged to reinforce the messages back home. For instance, get the child to identify the different types of healthy food so as to instill good eating habits. This culminated into a Show and Tell activity where parents are supposed to create a Healthy Plate collage/ poster for the child to share with their friends.

Well, we did acquire several shots of the Bub eating and I did have some free time on hand when she went to bed. So I decided to put together some of her fave healthy snacks and stick photos on them as part of her Show and Tell segment.

It wasn’t too difficult to do really. All I needed to do was to keep aside her fave snacks when she finished them, clean them and then stick the photos of her enjoying her fave milk, fruit, yogurt, cheese, etc on the snack.

The finished product! We had some fake fruit – grapes – lying aound too so that served as a prop in her little box (which was also recycled). 🙂

And to get the Bub all excited about her little segment, I found some fruit and food stickers lying around so I got  her involved in the activity by dressing up her snackbox with some of these stickers.

Now, this wasn’t too hard and in fact pretty fun to put together. Try it if you need to put together an activity with your child to encourage healthy eating/ snacking habits. 🙂