Baking made easy with Bakestarters Kits

Bakestarters

We unwrapped our box from Bakestarters with much excitement this week, since all of us are big pineapple tart fans. Since I had some time before our projected baking day (Friday), I was thinking of ways to make our tarts look dog-like, in keeping with the Year of the Dog theme. Then I remembered an old milo-doggies cookies recipe I had tried a few years back, and it was perfect!

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After the flour has settled…

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Gorgeous flower art done by David above; mosaic flower and leaves decor done by the boys and I hanging below.

Boy, what a week it has been! Cleaning the house from top to toe, decluttering the storeroom in a major way, changing new notes and stuffing our stash of red packets for loved ones and friends, and of course, baking up a storm in the kitchen. (I also had my first formal drum lesson, ran 3.2km for the first time in years, and intercepted many fights over Lego… Yes, it’s been a hectic few days!)

I’m really pleased that, for the second year running, we didn’t buy any CNY goodies for ourselves – everything is homemade with much love. 🙂 During the early years of marriage, we racked up pretty hefty bills shopping for CNY goodies for ourselves and our loved ones, and often bemoaned the fact that all we had to show for it in the end were rounder tummies and emptier wallets.

Over the years, I began experimenting with baking my own treats, using recipes which had good reviews online. Last year was the first year that we managed to do everything ourselves, so I knew we could do it again this year. This time around, I tried a couple new recipes, with pretty satisfactory results!

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Four ways to fight from home

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With the ongoing season of haziness that has descended upon our little red dot (and surrounding countries), there have been many opinions circulating online about who is at fault, what needs to be done, and how to protect ourselves from the harmful effects of the haze. (I’ve compiled a list of helpful links at the bottom of this post.)

This is not just “someone else’s problem”, as we are increasingly aware. Consumer demand has a huge role to play in this ecological drama, which makes us part of the problem, as much as we would not like to admit it. (Read this) It also means that we can be part of the solution – long term. Here are four ways our family is seeking to do our part to make a difference in the fight against the haze.

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To Market, To Market: Bedok South

Like many others of my generation, I grew up accustomed to shopping in air-con comfort at the many NTUCs, Cold Storages and then Giants islandwide, and didn’t step into a wet market until I was a young adult. I wasn’t impressed – in fact you could say I was downright terrified. How was I to decide which stall to patronise? How would I know if the fish was fresh? How could I tell the vendor what I wanted with my half-past-six Mandarin and zero dialect? I felt intimidated and didn’t venture back to the scene until early last year.

Flash forward to now, about 18 months later, and the wet market at Blk 16, Bedok South Road, is now my weekly pit stop for most of our groceries and fortnightly bunch of fresh flowers! Daryl especially loves our morning trips to the market, because he’s made friends with all our favourite vendors AND gets to drink milo-冰 AND sometimes even gets a short play time in the playground! It’s a win-win situation. 😉

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It’s a wrap!

In our family, we try to eat home as much as we can during the week. I like being able to (somewhat) track with what we’re putting into our tummies, and it’s slightly easier on the pocket as well. To keep the boys interested in their food, which is pretty-much an epic task on a general basis, I’m always on the lookout for new and quick recipe ideas to try.

We normally all eat the same thing, to avoid any comparisons of “How come you have that and I have this?”, but occasionally I crave for something unusual like tom yam, curry or instant noodles (or a combination of the above) which the boys can’t eat. I’ve learnt that, as long as I prepare something that they like for that meal, they’ll be more than happy to let Mummy enjoy her “spicy adult stuff”! 😉

So, this week, I got to satisfy my cravings for a little spice with the new Mission Curry Wraps!

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Eating healthier

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I wanted to say “eating healthy”, but in all honesty, our diet ain’t quite there yet. For example, granola isn’t THAT very healthy when you consider how much oil goes into the mix! Haha… that said, it’s definitely heaps healthier than your average biscuits, chips or chocolate! Plus making it ourselves at home means we decide on the quality of ingredients that go into the mix, and don’t add any preservatives or chemicals.

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Festive food art

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Chinese New Year is just around the corner, and many households are gearing up for the occasion by planning festive menus and baking up a storm! Like many busy housewives, I am happy to find new ways of making the preparation process that much more convenient and efficient, and I’m glad to say I’ve found a tool (two actually!) that is really handy to have in the kitchen – not just at CNY, but all year round…

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Achievement unlocked!

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I love the smell of freshly baked bread. Still, it took me 4 years of marriage before I ventured to attempt my first loaf, when David was less than a year old. But the dough never rose after many hours, and I stubbornly put it into the oven to bake, only to be rewarded with a rock. Failure #1, and I threw it into the bin and wept from frustration.

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Bitten by the bento bug!

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Recently, my FB feed has been flooded with P1 mamas packing all sorts of pretty lunch boxes for their children, and after ooh-ing and aah-ing and gazing wistfully at merchandise in Daiso, I’ve decided to take the plunge too! Well, I’m not that ambitious to attempt this with every meal, so I’m just going to try to make one bento meal for the boys every few days.

We are thankful that Daryl is a pretty good eater, and normally chows down his food with little fuss and great focus 🙂 Our little foodie loves his fruits and veggies (Hurray!), but doesn’t like meat (Huh???). Meanwhile, David loves all kinds of meat, especially chicken, but abhors his greens, although he has “improved” significantly from a year ago. Well, hopefully these bentos will motivate the boys to eat their food well!

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Ryouri shimashou!

Weekends are a great opportunity for us to spend time as a family, both at home and outdoors. Last weekend, we visited the dazzling Mystica, and this weekend, we’ll be staying home to work on a a special piece of art as a family. Next weekend, we are looking forward to a new kind of experience! David and I will be attending a ramen and gyoza workshop organised by Spoonful, an exciting new cooking events company which seeks to highlight the value of food and encourage us to develop a greater understanding and appreciation of the food that we consume.

“Creating awareness one spoonful at a time.”

Let’s get cooking!  料理しましょう! Read more