Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year Spaghetti

Happy New Year everyone! It's been a tumultuous 2014. Lets all pray and hope for a better 2015. My husband of almost 20 years prepared our New Year's Eve dinner yesterday. First time in 20 years! It was a wonderful pasta with minced pork and tomato sauce.

My husband got my two boys involved from the shopping to the cooking. We all squeezed ourselves in our small kitchen.

It was a memorable New Year's Eve. I will certainly remember this day and most grateful for it. It was just the 4 of us and my mum. Eating and having a great glass of wine.

I don't have exact ingredients. It was all by touch and feel!

What you need:

Pasta of choice - boiled and kept aside

1 Bombay onion, 3 inches of ginger and 1 pip of garlic ground
Bombay onion - one is fine

Minced pork (half a kg or so for 4 to 5 people)
A little butter

parsley chopped as small as possible

Oregano (fresh or otherwise)
Salt to taste
Red chillies if you like it spicy (we did not use any)
Chili sauce
1 bottle of tomato/pasta sauce

How to

Heat your wok
Melt butter - about 2 table spoons
Place the port - let it cook

Add in the blended ingredients

Let it simmer for some time

Add the pasta sauce and chili sauce
Teaspoon of oregano
Chopped parsley goes in
Add salt to taste

Serve hot.

A quick meal. Healthy and the family is together. We also had cake - 2 in fact - a fruit cake my mum baked and an ice cream cake from baskins robbins.

Ice Cream Cake
Fruit Cake from my mum

It was simply the best New Year's Eve ever for me and I hope for my family!

Happy New Year to all and Happy Teaching!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Safron Fried Chicken and Vegetables - Quick and Easy Dish Any Time

This dish is extremely tasty and easy to prepare. Its quick and great if you want to impress your guests too! Better for older children to help as it involves lots of frying. Some of you may argue that its not a health meal because of the deep frying but perhaps once a while, whats the harm. And we are using good quality products.

Preparation time:
1/2 half hour or so
Cooking time: 1/2 hour to 45 minutes

For 4 to 5 adults


For chicken 1/2 kg of chicken breast cut to small and think pieces
For marianate
2teaspoons of safron, 1 teaspoon of chilli powder, 1teaspoon of curry powder
2 onions, 3 pips of garlic and 1 inch of ginger ground
salt to taste
cooking oil

Vegetables (choose anything you like)

300 grams of long beans cut into 2 inches long and
carrot cut into thin slices
2 onions cut thinly
pinch of salt, which you can ommit if you like

Add the ingridients to the chicken.
I was cooking on the spur and had no time to leave it for too long. For 1/2 hour or so. But if you were planning your dish, leaving the marinated chicken overnight would add to the flavour and taste.

Heat the oil. I love my wok. It heats quickly and thus there is not too much wastage of gas or electricity if you are using the electric stove.
It will also good to use one of those laddles with holes which helps you drain the oil.

Deep fry the chicken.

After you have finished with the chicken, deep fry the vegetables. A quick fry will do.

serve with rice. Sprinkle some soya sauce on the rice.

If you wanted, you could make a little sweet or spicy chilli paste to go with it - 2 chillies, vinegar/lime/lemon, sugar and salt blended together.

And there you have it a beautiful meal ready to go.

Serve with your favourite juice. I served pink guava juice.

Happy Teaching and Cooking

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Teaching Kids to Cook Rice

Rice is an easy dish to prepare. Rice forms the base which can be accompanied by curry or soups or salads, fried rice, mixed vegetables, chicken, lamb,  and so many others.

Teaching children to cook rice will come in handy for them in the future.

Cooked rice with garnishing

At the same time, we are teaching them

- math - fractions
- how to estimate
- science

I recently tought my younger son who is now 8 to cook rice. Last week I had to leave him to cook it as I was extremely busy with other chores.

The cooking of rice is easiest and fatest with a rice cooker rather than over the stove. 

Rice Cooker


  • 1 cup water (or use estimates)
  • 2 cups uncooked white rice (for about 4 to 5 people)


Wash the rice. Drain. - The washing and draining teaches children to be clean and helps in their motor skills

Add water by estimating. The rule my mother tought me is the water should be slightly over the surface of the rice. Place your first finger on the surface of the rice and the water should more or less be on the first line of finger

On the rice cooker and wait for it to 'ting'.

Should cook within 15 to 20 minutes.

Some tips to make your rice fragnant:

- you could throw in 2 slices of ginger or

ginger slices

- throw in a pandan leave.

And done.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Helping Children Understand About Money

Children, under the age of 21 generally have a hard time understanding that money is important and that mum and dad’s ATM machine can run out of funds!

I also stumbled on a great article on the internet Its about teaching children the meaning of costs.

I thought i could share with my views on kids and money.

Kids and Money

What they need to know about money is:


As parents, we often tell our children, ‘no’ you cant have that, you cant have this, because its costs a lot. Children cannot comprehend ‘no’ nor “it costs a lot”. All they are thinking is, “so ”., They don’t know what it means.

I will admit I used to feel guilty when I did not get something that my sons ask for. I would explain by saying that its costs too much. My boys don’t usually throw tantrums and that would hurt even more, that they accepted my explaination.

After some time, I realised I must explain to them. I did not google this! I constantly have talks with them, usually when they are NOT asking for something, emphasing:

- The money we have is what mummy earns. Mummy has to go to work for earn the money
- Buy useful things
- Buy quality things
- Buy health things
- We will need money for the future
- It’s not about the costs
- Others don’t have what we have, lets not waste on frivoulous things
- Save – you may need it in the future

I have noticed that my boys, particularly the younger one, makes judgement on what an item costs and that it is too much. It may be working. But sometimes, Mum and Dad can in inconsistent with our actions. For example, i tend to be careful in places where we eat. It should not been unncessary an expensive place when we can get good food if not better in a food court, for instance. But Dad says no.

There are a couple of things we can do to help our children understand money

1. Give them an allowance, either weekly, daily or monthly

 Explain to them what the allowance means and how to use it properly. School going children should understand that the allowance is to purchase healthy food. Education of food becomes important and thus the use of the money.

2. Open a bank account

 Take your children to the bank to open an account. Take him or her through the banking in process and show him how the money grows.

For example, today you have $10 and in 6 months you will have $13.00. The power of interest and gradually teach them the power of compounding.

3. Say “no”

 There is no need to indulge our children with everything they ask for. Pick your battles. For example, some parents do not buy a particular toy or game to get their children to understand how it feels when someone else has it and they cant because money is not enough. Apply judgement. If the lesson is successful, perhaps we can reward him with the toy or game.

4. Invest in their knowledge

Teach them about money. How it is made. What are companies and how they are formed and how they make money. Where does mummy and daddy fit into the chain.

You can definitely teach them simple facts about the stock market, investments and similar areas of finance. .

Look out for money classes for children around you.

There are also games like MONOPOLY or RISK, that can help children understand what is money about.

5. Teach them to budget

I wrote sometime back about teaching your children to budget when going to the supermarket. Listing the items you want to buy makes a difference.

Getting children involved in the family purchases including vacations. Ask them their view on the expenditure.

Children will appreciate budgeting skills as they grow to become adults.

6. Business Plan

Get your children to write up their own business plan. Its about income and costs and the future. Review this for them. Have a look at my article on this blog on children and business plans.

Happy Teachning and Cooking

Monday, May 20, 2013

Refreshing Green Apple and Sour Plum Juice

On a hot day, this drink is a perfect thirst quencher. So refreshing and a beautiful drink and tasty.

Green Apple and Sour Plum Juice

Easy to prepare and you can get the kids to prepare it too.

What do you need:

1.    a blender/fruit juicer
2.    5 to 6 green apples (to make 3 to 4 mugs)
3.    sour plum powder (asam boi in Malay). You can get this easily in China town. But it is easily replaceable with lime or lemon. Some use calamansi too.

4.   brown sugar to taste (or white - its up to you)
5.  crushed ice
6.   water

Peel the apples. Juice the apples. Add some cold water because it can get quite thick.

Blend the juice with sour plum powder and the sugar in a blender.

Add crushed ice and serve.

Its a wonderful wonderful drink. Easy to prepare. And it tastes great. Some people tend to put more water because green apples are not naturally juicy. Do note if there is too much water, it becomes watery and looses the apple twist. I don't suggest adding colouring - keep it as natural as possible.

Teaching notes

As you peel the apple or as you blend and juice, the apple turns brown and the juice in fact is not even green.

Great teaching note for 12 year old and below - that the apple is oxidised. The flesh reacts with the oxygen in the air and turns brown. They will remember this when they learn it in school later on.

The other is of course, the children enjoy the drink and they enjoy preparing it with you.

This recipe is very versatile - you can add sour plum to your salads, fruits such as guava. Instead of green apple - try it with green guava. A little difficult to juice guava as it is a hard fruit. But you can try - it tastes as good.

Happy Teaching and Cooking

Thursday, February 28, 2013

What a Woman Means to a Home

I lost my temper the other day and made everyone miserable. My kids, my mum, my husband, even the neighbour's dog was upset. My kids asked what was wrong with me. And mum said something really poignant and needs to be remembered ...

I was home from work. All happy and calm. But when I saw my kids playing and watching TV and the games, it suddenly irked me that they were not studying or at least reading (which is a story for another time) something!

I snapped. I yelled and bellowed and said some awful words.  I found fault with everything.

I could hear my boys saying 'what is wrong with mummy'? all we were doing was playing

And then my mother said ... a woman, the mum, means the world to the home. if you are calm, all will be calm. the woman is the glue to place things and family together. there is solace. there will be solutions to every probelm. but when the woman of the house is chaotic, upset, or is ill, there is unrest.

I realise that I am upset, my husband gets uncomfortable and he becomes moody.

The mum sets the tone, the mood...

We lead and we maketh a home.

Stay calm fellow mums. And keep healthy. We mean the world to our children and family.

Happy teaching!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pomegranate for Children - It Works

The pomegranate fruit is lovely and great fruit for children. My kids eat the seeds or sacs as it is or we juice it. Pomegranate is quickly becoming popular as a superfood because of  high antioxidant content.


Its round and reddish-pink, leathery and hard skin with  hundreds of small translucent sacs, which are also called seeds, filled with red, or sometimes pink, juice. These sacs are the only edible part of the pomegranate.

Children are usually attracted by the bright color of the seeds and enjoy their sweet  taste.



Pomegranate seeds are a great source of fiber, and the juice contains, vitamin C, potassium, iron, and polyphenol antioxidants, of which 3 types are particularly high which are  tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid.


Eating Pomegranate

1.     Eat the fruit -  my children love the seeds


2.     Juice the seeds


3.    Buy pomegranate juice from the store – if possible with low sugar or no sugar – this is the easiest way and most enjoyable to quench your thirst.

Try this.  Click to find out more.  

4.     Sprinkle the seeds in yoghurt or salads or ice creams


5.     Marinate chicken and meat



Research has shown that the antioxidants in pomegranates may help prevent a variety of diseases and illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and high blood pressure. In addition, the B-vitamin folate in pomegranates aids the healthy growth of red blood cells and promotes good blood circulation. Also, the high content of fiber is extremely helpful.

A small reminder, the juice from the seeds can stain clothes. But its easily removable.

Like everything else, although there are lot of health beneifts, its always safe to consult a medical doctor before taking any execissive amount of pomegranate products, particularly if you are taking any prescription medication to avoid drug/food interactions.
How to Remove the Seeds

1.     slice the fruit into sections,

2.     submerge the sections in a bowl of water.

3.     with your fingers, roll the seeds from the fleshy interior.

4.     Scoop up the seeds with a strainer

Happy Teaching!