A Year Ago, On This Date

23 Oct

A Year Ago, On This Date

It’s Deepavali here today and reflecting back on this very same date a year ago brings tears to my eyes because it was the day my dad had to go through something so horrific which set the tone for the dark months ahead. It was the start of everything dwindling down for him and us as a family.

Reading this right here remains as emotional as I first wrote it a year back.  We were all thankful that he came out of it and the subsequent attack but when I look at it whole, I keep asking myself,why did this terrible thing just had to befall us and put us through so much as a unit.

I still have no answers why despite it being close to 8 months now. 8 months on the dot on 27th of October. On my Birthday.

I still remember on my birthday last year, my dad who was the type to show more love with actions instead of words actually sent me this:

‘This is the happiest birthday present you gave me. This day I am alive. Thank you, happy birthday, mom and I love you, Sairah and Anand.

I wish I was back to one sometimes.

Bothers me that I”ll never get a wish from him again. Which is why I will cherish this forever.

Sometimes I’m so afraid Sairah will forget her grandpa that it bothers me. Which is why I remind her of him everyday and she starts and ends the day by wishing him a good morning and good night. Because I do want her to have him in her thoughts at the start and end of the day.

She misses him I’m sure. But I’m just afraid eventually memories of her grandpa might fade away or become a distant memory and that thought frightens me.

8 months on, we are living and getting through each day at a time. I think we all are just pushing forward, for the sake of it. It’s tough.

It’s so unfair how his life ended when we were just about to start a new life here.

But I’ve been told,that’s how life rolls sometimes and you can’t do anything about it except march on.

Sometimes, it really feels like you’ve not left and you appearing in dreams looking all healthy and happy and telling us that you are gives us some form of comfort. Because it is indeed, some form of closure. You are without a doubt, next to GOD.

We miss you Daddy. We really do miss your I-Know-It-All character, you were always right and so confident about everything you spoke about  that I never knew it was possible for a person to be that spot on.

And keeping up with the tradition, we went to the temple yesterday here and I hope you heard our prayers.

Some South Indian food to reflect home

Come end of October will also mark my one year of turning vegetarian coz it was during dad’s attack last year that I took a vow to turn vegetarian for a year in exchange of him pulling through the episode. Many have asked why am I still continuing this since he eventually did pass on, that I should just break it. But I’ve always believed that what you promise HIM should be kept, despite the changes in situation and technically my father did pull through the first two attacks when I made that vow then.

I am still undecided if I will break away from being vegetarian come month end.

But more importantly, I cannot fathom how one year has since gone by so quickly.

Time.

How I wish I could rewind you.

Rich Spinach Pesto Pasta Recipe

10 Oct

Rich Spinach Pesto Pasta Recipe

So there’s this one recipe of mine which gets made in our household at least once a week coz we all tend to crave for it at some point, hehe. It came about after I was inspired to become more of a ’sneaky chef’ thanks to someone’s resistance over vegs. So if you have a toddler who’s in the same boat as mine, I highly recommend your try this recipe out. If you love rich pasta with creamy sauce, I also highly recommend you try this recipe out. If you love cheese, I highly recommend you try this recipe out. If you prefer simple and easy cooking, I highly recommend you try this recipe out.

In short, try this recipe out la wei.

The ingredients are pretty basis. You only need onions (or garlic will do), one cup or whole bottle of thickened/ whipping cream, milk, baby spinach or spinach, shredded cheese, prepared pesto (feel free to make your own) together with some additional spices. Its amazing how these simple ingredients can put together such a rich comfort food. But at the same time, simple ingredients sometimes can be the hardest to make-take aglio olio for instance – the recipe screams EASY as stealing candy from a baby yet its not exactly the easiest recipe to put together. The irony.

Also a note, I’ve prepared these using both full cream option and also using low-fat whipping cream and skim milk option – both ways have come out decent so if you’re concern with calorie count, try the low-fat/skim option!

I didn’t really take a full pictorial guide but nevertheless, first step is to add one tablespoon butter with some olive oil and fry about one small chopped onions until aromatic. I would suggest white onion as they go better with Italian cooking.

Good old red onion (oh bawang merah!) would do too otherwise.

Once done, add in one cup baby spinach and fry until its soft! Though most times I use this method, I have also added one small clove garlic, baby spinach , olive oil and some water into the food processor before I bring it to the pan because that truly dissolves or leaves (pun har har) no spinach trails but I noticed with this method, the end results become less thick so if you prefer your sauce not thick,I would recommend this method.

This is how green your pot will look like before adding it the whipping cream with the food-processing method! Bound to scare any toddler away, lol.

Back to the other method, once your spinach is soft, add in one cup whipping cream or the whole 300ml bottle into the pot. Then add in one cup milk. You can add in some pepper, very little salt (salty bits will come from the cheese), generous amounts of garlic powder coupled with some dashes of oregano leaves. But if you don’t have these, just good old black pepper and salt will do.

Stir the pot and after 30 seconds, add in 5-6 tablespoon of good quality prepared pesto. You may opt to make your own pesto if time and hard-working-ness is on your side. You may want to taste along as you go, sometimes even 4 tablespoon will do depending on the quality of your pesto. Let it all simmer on low heat for a bit.

Then add in 1-1.5 cup shredded cheese and stir stir stir for a good 10-12 minutes until the sauce thickens up. I usually put in one cup cheese first and then follow up with another half if I feel like it.  The key is stirring the sauce and to let it simmer with low heat until it thickens up. For this sauce to taste well, it has to thicken up. Easy as pie.

Taste along and adjust with black pepper, salt and more cheese if necessary.

This is the type of sauce consistency we’re going after. THICK and RICH. Coz which woman doesn’t like that combination :lol:

Of course don’t forget to boil your favorite pasta and once that’s ready, pour it into the sauce and coat all the pasta together.

And serve, like so:

This is what usually happens when I make this:

Oh, are you cooking what I think it is?

Is my pasta ready yet?? Is my pasta ready yet??

I do think the best pasta for creamy sauces are penne so that’s what we usually have it with. Because the sauce is rich, it basically soaks up into the penne and you don’t really have to put lots of sauce onto the plate.

Yay, mom made my favorite pasta!

Yum! I usually boil more penne so that there’s leftovers for the hubby to take to work and for Sairah to have for lunch the next day, which she gladly eats em all. And because the spinach becomes pretty soft from all that boiling, the rich thick sauce masks its existence in the plate making any veg hating toddlers an instant fan.

Like so. She always asks for second helping!

And this is how the sauce looks from the food-processing method…topped it off with some ham for the hubby or if you prefer some meat into the pasta.

I read somewhere that true Italians believe that pastas are best eaten plain only with the sauce because the focus is with the freshness of the pasta and the star which is the sauce and Sairah and I cannot agree more.

Yup, we were probably Italians in our former birth.

Then again, the Italians will probably  hate me for over-boiling the sauce and for not preparing fresh pasta. Heh.

All in due time I say.

For now *pats belly*

Buon Appetito!

Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park

7 Oct

Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park

I can never say no to voucher deals so even though I”m miles away from my Groupon and Living Social in Malaysia, I still keep myself updated with the deals back home AND I’ve started subscribing to the local Groupon and Scoopon deals here as well! Might as well right? :D

I spotted the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park deal on Scoopon sometime ago and decided it was a good start for Sairah to check out some animals and the fact that it’s a sanctuary also means that you’ll see some animals roaming around freely.

Victoria in every essence is really HUGE so even if you drive close to 1.5 hours you’re still in the same state. Which is why, the husband says every car here carries a high mileage for obvious reasons.

Anyway, after 1.5 hours drive with an overly eager toddler and her ‘are we there yet to see the animals’ and ‘why so longgggg’, we arrived the sanctuary.

First animal to welcome us were the dingoes.

Followed by Mr Koala.

Yay, we’re finally here!

I love how open the sanctuary really is with birds roaming about the area. They are friendly, tame and definitely most welcome you into feeding them with bird food which you can purchase at the counter.

It wasn’t a busy day so we had the entire sanctuary to ourselves.

A cute lil fattie wombat

So cute that the lil one was tempted to take him home. And no you can’t buy em at the pet shop either – had to remind her several times they were not up for sale, lol.

The sanctuary stretches for about only 1.2 km and there were trails at every corner for you to explore.

Oh look a Kangaroo just chilling in the middle of the trail and waiting for food!

Sairah was brave enough to offer some food with her hands…

And that was the look of disgust after she realized how much saliva the kangaroo left on her hands in return, haha.

CLEAN THIS UP NOW MOTHER!

The husband getting cosy with the kangaroos.

Can’t say I’ve seen birds of this blue shade…it was pretty electrifying.

Can’t recall what bird this was but it must be a very old one coz it looks shriveled and grumpy :lol: Just like our Indian men after a certain age, oops, haha.

Had a good laugh when I saw that sign coz I turned to the husband and said, hey look, your twin is here :lol:

Can’t say he was pleased :eek:

Malaysian devil hanging out with the Tasmanian Devil

Not the most productive devils around I gotta say.

Open space!

And a lake!

Where to explore next?

To feed the ducks it is.

I’ll just chill here while daddy feeds his relatives.

Sairah ending the trail walk with a cat-walk, haha, they say practice makes perfect and anywhere makes a perfect spot to practice, haha.

And what more to end the sanctuary trip by playing in their playground…

Esp when the weather was perfect.

Peace out!

The Best Healthy Home-Made Smoothie…

5 Oct

The Best Healthy Home-Made Smoothie…

You will ever make at home for the kids and yourself. Sumpah beribu kali! (I swear I swear I swear).

If you have a child who’s a real hantu Boost Juice, you’ll know what its like…because a kid who’s obsessed with Boost Juice WILL make you stop by a BJ (heh) counter whenever you’re at the mall. When we were back in KL, I managed to successfully claim close to 8 FREE drinks from them in a short time, but only because we must have bought close to 80 cups of drinks from them (you get 1 point awarded for each drink and when you reach 10 points or  10 cups, you get one drink free).

That’s how crazy she is over their juices, esp their banana buzz smoothie.

The obsession continues here given Boost Juice is an Ozzie brand and the kids size here comes in a bigger size compared to back home.

This is happiness.

Anyway, since visiting their stores for god knows how many times, I’ve been keeping a close watch as to how they make their smoothies, in particular the banana smoothie.  And with great determination (or not), I’ve managed to come up with a home-made version that’s about 85-90% almost mimicking BJ’s banana buzz, except it automatically becomes 100% in my eyes given the additional love and care put into the smoothie, heh.

What you’ll need (esp if you have a Boost Juice crazy toddler at home).

One cup milk, some honey, one BIG banana and Bulla’s Wildberry Frozen Yogurt. I understand that BJ uses their own formulation of yogurt, but this comes close enough to me given its creamy texture and how tasty it actually is even on its own. For those in Malaysia, I do believe you can get this in Tesco (packaging differs a lil), check out the link here The frozen yogurt is about AUD4 here during their special deals :) Its definitely on a high side back in KL but an ‘investment’ nevertheless.

You are welcome.

Without further ado, Sairah will show you how it’s done coz it’s THAT easy.

Step 1: Pour one cup milk into the blender. If you prefer a thicker smoothie you can pour in less milk and add in some ice. We decided to skip the ice though I know BJ uses ice in their blends.

Step 2: Whip out the honey bottle and squeeze in some honey, to taste.

More honey for a honey.

Step 3: Break the banana in half and dump it into the blender. Use 2 bananas if you can’t find a big one. This IS a banana smoothie after all.

Step 4: Using a tablespoon, put 6 HEAPED generous portions of frozen yogurt into the blender. The more the betta.

Step 5: The fun part, as you can tell from that face. Choose the ’smoothie’ option and press away….

SUCCESS – the look of evil seeing everything blended away. Die you banana, dieeee

Muahahaha soon you’ll be in my tummy!

Step 6: Stop the blender and taste! If you feel anything’s missing, add in MORE frozen yogurt. We generally use 6 heaped tablespoon and find that it works well for us.

Step 7: Clean up clean up everybody clean up….though it’s quite tempting to drink up first before cleaning up.

Step 8: What else, pour your smoothie in a glass or tumbler

Cheers each other for the good mother-daughter effort….

And BOTTOM’s UP people!

May look like milk, but I assure you it’s not. The berry bits from the yogurt gives a nice kick to the smoothie.

The look of satisfaction without a doubt.

A pic I took last week of her with her smoothie – she looks so grown up here.

Feel free to jazz up the smoothie too. You can add in frozen berries to the mixture, strawberries and heck even baby spinach like what I used to do a while ago for her.

Had to obviously put in a nice pink tumbler so she didn’t see the green mixture, lol

This is definitely a healthy treat for the kids and best of all, soooo yummy and tasty that even mommy and daddy will want a taste of it!

And if you’ve forgotten what ingredients go into the smoothie, here’s Sairah walking you through and reminding you what you’ll need. Enjoy!

How To Make Really Good Coffee At Home

2 Oct

How To Make Really Good Coffee At Home

Like seriously.

This post might be the silliest post ever written by me on this blog (wait, am trying to think back what more can be more condescending than trying to teach someone else to make coffee) but I’m a believer that if it works for you, then share it out! I’m sure you can totally tell that I’m in an experimental mode as well.

Besides, I am convinced that surely there are adults out there who  might not know how to make a good cuppa coffee since their mom, husband, grandmother or maid might be the one making it for em.

So here’s a post on how to make good coffee! At the comfort of your own home of course. No more trips to the anneh’s shop coz this just about mimics it :D

Anyhooo,  I confess. I am a horrible coffee and tea maker. I’m only good at drinking it. When I used to wake up at home, I would wait for the husband to make tea  and when I was living with mom, I would wait for her to put coffee into the pot. I could never get the whole coffee, water, sugar ratio thingie right.  Then again, I never did try and I still can’t.

But that doesn’t matter coz I found a BETTER way to make awesome coffee.

You like coffee now you say? Whatever happened to teh tarik?

Well I still love my teh tarik without a doubt, but I find that coffee gives me that little edge to put up with whatever shit that gets thrown into my way on a daily basis. My love for coffee started when I gave birth to Sairah.

And it has been a 4 year love-love relationship since, since it takes me through days like this:

Mogok in session:

We ‘argue’ quite a bit these days but I take comfort in knowing she can’t stay mad at me for too long. Nobody can, hehe.

I *think* she has her dad’s zen temperament in nature,which is a good thing. But occasionally it goes off-tangent.

Hmpfff, go away mommie!

Back to coffee. I’ve always loved my coffee on the  milky side. The husband says I shouldn’t call myself a coffee drinker since a real coffee  connoisseur drinks it black and neat.

I say, meh – let’s live life a lil dangerously shall we? A lil bit of milk doesn’t hurt old bones.

SO – coffee recipe time people! These are the easy-peasy 3 ingredients needed. No condensed milk, no evaporated milk needed (though its totally a Malaysian style of making it).

Milk -check, white sugar- check, coffee powder of choice- check. And try to use good quality milk if you can, it makes a whole difference. Since I drink coffee up to 2-3 times  a day, I usually use the ‘light’ fresh milk option but we ran out of it today so I had to use my back up milk stored in the pantry.

Step 1: Put one cup milk in a milk pan.

Step 2: Put 2 teaspoon coffee powder into mug or according to self preference.

Step 3: Add in 2.5 teaspoon of white sugar into the mug. (or one if you worry about sugar intake).

Step 4: Taking a teaspoon of milk from the saucepan, add that into the mug.

Step 5: And get mixing these 3 ingredients with a spoon until…

Until it reminds you of your toddler’s poop! A horrible comparison but you’ll see what I”m trying to achieve by the end of it :D

At this point it will be clumpy to mimic a healthy’s toddler poop. But healthy poop isn’t what we’re looking for people.

Also at this point, you can start heating up your milk because it takes about 5 minutes for the milk to warm up.

Add in another teaspoon milk into the mug. And stir like a crazy female on heat for a good 5-8 minutes until you actually achieve this:

Oh look, my mug has a bad case of  diarrhea!!  Boo hoo. And yuppp….stir stir stir until your mug reminds you of your toddler’s diarrhea, coz hey, that’s the look we’re trying to achieve to make a great cuppa coffee.

I won’t lie, your right hand will hurt like a bitch at this point for mixing this continuously but hey, think about the end results coz no pain = no gain ok.

So to recap: get everything mixed up well for a good 5-8 minutes or until it changes color and it becomes a smooth paste. But bear in mind, you will still see some sugar granules around so don’t get all OCD about it not disappearing completely. So long you reach the diarrhea phase, you’re good to go my friend.

Wheeeeee, DRINK ME.

Step 6: Pour in your warm milk into the mug and stir up well and WALA:

I present you the best possible type of milky coffee you’ll ever make at home! This totally reminds me of the coffee they make in Indian restaurants. Smooth to the taste, milky to the core…this my friend, will totally make your day bearable and a jolly good one (now say that in a thick Indian accent). I make this twice daily coz I’m addicted to it.

I obviously didn’t come up with this method (I’m flattered if you think I did) so credit goes to this video here. Original recipe calls for 12 minutes of stirring but with a toddler around, nobody has time for that so for me, 5 minutes will do.

Mmmm cooffeeeee! The best type of coffee you’ll ever make at home and I shit you not, heh.

Try it.

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