Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Daiso items around the house

Who can resist buying stuffs at mere SGD2?  Not to mention most of the stuffs are oh-so-pretty, useful, innovative, delicious, special, unique etc.  Yes, we are talking about DAISO, where every thing is SGD2, an "Evil" or "Heaven" to all, depending on your position.

I have been shopping at DAISO many times in a year, that's for staying near one of the outlet, bought many stuffs from there for storage, organising cabinets and shelves but never really a serious DAISO fan or DAISO-fanatics (as some of them call themselves).  Nonetheless, I am a DAISO patron and this couple of months my trips to DAISO had increase after I join a DAISO facebook group where they share tried and tested DAISO products which I never paid any attention to prior to that.

So, here's sharing what I have bought during these couple of months and since I cook frequently so I shall start off with food related items.

I was introduced to this microwavable vegetable box but instead of using it for its intended purpose, I use it ot keep food such as mushrooms, cut/sliced vegetable or cooked soba.  It comes with an inner container that acts as a strainer thus enabling water to drip down into the container and preventing the vegetables or noodles from touching the water thus causing it to rot.  Vegetables were kept fresh for about a week in the fridge.

Sometimes I will prepare cold soba the day before, either as DinoBoy's recess in school or food for DinoPapa.  I drained the cooked soba, let it cooled down and store them in this box before popping it into the fridge.  DAISO's noodles are delicious and chewy, the price does not compromise the quality, there are 3 bundles of noodles in each pack, quite value for money. I used their noodle sauce to make cold soba sauce and store it in the screw top round container.  I also used their mirin and vinegar in my cooking too.  

Here is DinoBoy's typical cold soba bento for his recess.

Spot the Daiso items - Soba, seaweed, sauce bottle and bento food pick
Not so long ago, our hand soap bottle was faulty, something broke and we can't pump out the soup, I did not have an extra empty bottle to change which resulted in the bottle was unscrewed and we have to pour out the hand soap every time we have to use it.  Imagine the inconvenience and wastage when we accidentally poured too much. I chanced upon this pump bottle and immediately bought it.  Can you guess the reason?

This citrus acid is for cleaning our electric pot, thermal pot and pots, sure we can use baking soda but I prefer to use them for my baking, plus this packet is only SGD2 and will most likely last me for a good 6 months.  I'd say its Value for Money.

We have this huge drawer underneath the stove where we will keep the food stuffs such as instant noodles, dried goods, spices, packet of seasoning etc.  It can get very messy especially when we are short of time in meals preparation so things got tossed around in the big drawer often.  Recently I got hold of this stackable plastic containers to separate the used and new packets of spices, packet of seasoning and dried good.  Now we can see where they are and can pick them up to use easily.  I probably have to get a couple more to keep the instant noodles and dried noodles/bee hoon just for the sake of keeping the drawer tidy.

There was a major craze for the Maison series of container and stationery, people are fighting over it, no joke about that!  It not only caused some people to quarrel in the store (Ya you heard me right!) but also in the facebook group too!  It was so bad that people are queueing outside DAISO, waiting for it to open just to be the first few to sweep the series off the shelves.  Some were so impatient that they told the staffs not to waste effort & time to unpack them to put on the shelves, they will just grab the whole box and pay for it.  

I was lucky to be able to get my hands on one of the container, yes I was bought over by the sweet color and design, I used it to put all my sauces & condiments that are used for cooking lunch in the office.  It not only look pretty on my table, I can keep them neatly and not afraid of any accidental spills onto my work table.

There are some other DAISO stuffs that are around the house but these are a few that I thought are more worth mentioning.  If you have any other ideas or usage on DAISO items, do share with us.

This is part of DAISO 101 blog train hosted by Mum in the Making. Check out what the other mummy blogger does with DAISO items, from crafting to learning ideas, organising to favourite buys, they really have a lot of ideas!

Next up on the train is Bumble Bee Mum who is a stay-home mum who doesn't stay at home. She blogs about her adventures with her kids all around Singapore and also outside Singapore. Tomorrow, hop on over to her blog where she will bring you on a tour of a Daiso store in Japan.

Monday, October 12, 2015

6 drinks & soup to fight the SG Haze

Since 2013 (or perhaps earlier) The Little Red Dot's sky will be overcast with bad air twice a year, all thanks to our "friendly" neighobour.  We lost our clear blue sky and Mr Sun for months, it was replaced with hazy sky and red Sun, the air quality is bad and on days its bad.  This year, the #SGHaze got worse (but it's still not as bad as in 2013) with PSI (Pollutant Standard Index) hits over 300 and the PM2.5 (Particulate Matter 2.5) hits over 200.  

With dust particles floating in the air at such density it can cause short-term health effects such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath.   Long term exposure to fine particles can also affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. (uh-oh!)

Both DinoPapa and DinoBoy have sensitive air way, on top of that DinoBoy's body is on the heaty side (in the Chinese medical terms), thus he will get fever, constipation, indigestion,  tummy upset easily.  Therefore I have to take extra care to make sure that they do not develop any of the symptoms above or even if they have it does not get any worse.  There are drinks and soup that I will prepare that will bring down the body's heatiness, nourish the lungs and lubricate the eyes.

I was very lucky that one of our relative gifted us this 2 liter Electric Glass pot which enables me to boil such drinks in a convenient way.  I can throw every ingredients into the pot, set the timer and temperature , leave it to boil and it will cut of the power once the timer is up.  Beats standing over the fire watching the pot boiling and ensuring that the water in the pot does not evaporate during the hour long boiling.

In this post I will share with you the recipe of the drinks and soup I prepared for the family.

Food For the Lungs
White Fungus 白木耳 or it is also called Snow Fungus, White Tree-Ear, and Tremella Fuciformis is gelatinous, translucent, soft, elastic, form the shape of chrysanthemum, peony form or Hydrangeal. It is a well-known valuable nutrients, rich in collagen protein and vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and vitamin C. In Chinese families, it is commonly used in soups cooked for soothing purposes like nourishing the bodies, healing dry coughs and clearing heat in the lungs.

There are 2 types of white fungus as shown in the photo below I am not sure why (next time I will ask the lady boss in the Chinese medical hall), I will use the smaller compact and thicker white fungus for soup and the other bigger and thinner one for drinks.  The smaller compact white fungus will be able to withstand couple of hours boiling in the soup and will not disintegrate.

I learn this drink from a friend in a facebook cooking group, the ingredients needed are white fungus, dried lily bulb and lotus seed.  For my Electric Glass pot I'm using slightly more than half a palm size of white fungus, a handful each of lotus seed and lily bulb with a thumb sized rock sugar. I let it boil at 600deg for 45mins, cool down and serve.

There are a few soups that I like to boil to nourish the lungs too, one of my favourite is to buy a packet of White Fungus herbal soup pack from the supermarket.  This is convenient coz I just have to buy soup bone or spare ribs to boil together with it.

Another favourite is the Papaya White Fungus Soup.  Papayas are loaded with vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. These tasty tropical fruits offer benefits to the digestive system by providing ample dietary fiber and a protein-digesting enzyme called papain. Papayas also benefit the lungs and immune system. More generally, every organ in the body uses the vitamins in papayas to neutralize free radicals, synthesize energy and heal damaged tissue. Whether you're seeking a specific benefit or eating well to promote overall well-being, papayas are a good choice.

Papaya White Fungus Soup - 
* 1 green or semi ripe papaya
* 400g spareribs/soup bone
* 20g white fungus
* a handful of sweet & bitter almond 南杏 北杏
* 2 preserved dates 蜜枣
* 1 pot water, about 2 liter

1. Remove the papaya skin and seeds, cut them in to pieces, not too small otherwise they may disintegrate during the boiling.
2. Soak the white fungus for about 20mins, pour away the water.  You may choose to cut it into smaller pieces for easier consumption.
3. Bring a pot of water to boil to blanch the meat for about 15mins.  I like to do this as it removes the  impurities that I discard as scum.
4. Put a pot of 1 liter water to boil, add in the soup bones/spare ribs, sweet & bitter almond, preserved dates.  Cover the pot and boil for about an hour.
5. Add papaya and boil for another half an hour.

Food & Herbs For the Eyes
The air particles in the air not only irritates the eyes but they made the eyes dry and sore.  Besides washing them with saline to get rid of eye irritation caused by the micro dust I also boil tea to help them feels better too.

The easiest and common tea that every one is boiling should be the Chrysanthemum and Wolfberry Tea.

Chrysanthemum tea is a natural coolant and helps in lowering the body's heatiness or when one is suffering from fever or even heat stroke. It helps to relief sore throat, redness in the eyes, itchiness in the eyes, dryness in the eyes too. It also strengthen the lungs and helps in providing relief to respiratory problems such as shortness of breath. And, get this, it calms your nerves, sooth the anger and relief stress. This haze is sure stressful for all and the humid weather is causing us to be short temper, we all need some chrysanthemum tea to cool our head and calm ourselves.

Wolfberry or Goji 枸杞; both the seeds and the leaves, is one of the most antioxidant rich fruits and it helps improve vision or eye sight. It also nourishing the liver and is a immune system booster.

I am using a small handful each of chrysanthemum and wolfberries with a thumb sized rock sugar for this tea.  Boil it at 300deg for 30mins and it is ready to drink.

Another ingredient that I like to use is Cassia Seed or better known as 决明子 or jué míng zǐ.  Cassia seed clears heat and soothes liver.  It is an essential herb for treating a variety eye infections, such as hot eyes, swelling and pain eyes, blurred vision, photophobia, excessive tearing, and more.  Cassia seed pillow can tremendously improve sleep quality by removing heat and soothing the nerves; furthermore, it can be used as a laxative to relax bowel and treat constipation; finally, it can also make herbal slimming tea that really work thanks to its purging activity, which can interfere with the absorption of fats and carbohydrates.

I found the Chrysanthemum Wolfberries & Cassia Seeds Tea recipe from the web is for a person's share by pouring hot water into the cup with these 3 ingredients, soak for 15mins and its ready to drink.  This method is convenient to make to drink in the office, a cup a day while we face the computer doing out work.

* 10g wolfberries
* 3g chrysanthemum
* 20g cassia seed

For my pot, I uses a pinch of 30-40g each of the ingredients with a thumb size rock sugar in 1200 liter of water, boil at 600deg for 45mins.  For easier cleaning I put the tiny cassia seeds in tea bags to put into the pot to boil.

Food for Heaty Body
One of a drink we frequently made is the barley drink, because barley helps bring down the heatiness of the body.  Sometimes I add candied winter melon if any of us have a serious case of heatiness that resulted in heaty cough and fever.

I also like to boil the Winter Melon soup where I will put winter melon, pork ribs or soup bones, candied dates and wolfberries to boil.

Winter melon has cooling properties, it has dietary fiber and Vitamin C that helps in constipation and helps to clear up mucus & phlegm and improves digestion.

Both barley and winter melon have diuretic effect, that means it causes increase passing of urine which in turn helps to detox the body.

There you have it, 6 drinks and soup the DinoFamily frequently consume to stay healthy during the hazy daze days.  I hope you find them useful and beneficial too.  Remember to hydrate yourself often, mask up on bad hazy days and stay healthy & safe!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Celebrating DinoBoy's Birthday, the Sentosa Way!

This is a rather late post, with all the haze going on, its not fun having headaches, feeling sleepy & tired most of the time, besides that I have to cook dishes or prepare nourishing soup and drinks to ensure the family don't fall sick at such unhealthy weather.  With a few good clean breathable air in the past few days, I finally found the energy to churn out this post.

DinoBoy's birthday falls on 12 August, to break away from our usual celebration of having a birthday party and BBQ gathering, we decided to do something different by keeping it within the family.  Yupe, just the 3 of us, simple but fun filled no doubt.

A Day Before
The birthday celebration started a day before the actual day. We decided to dine in his favourite restaurant Sakae Sushi even though it eats into our budget because the joy of seeing our child enjoying the food and appreciating the things we provide to him is far greater than any price.

He is a picky eater since young; not those who picked on food and rejects those that taste weird but one of those who prefer food that are of better quality.  Since he started to eat sashimi earlier this year, he always asked for one of them whenever we visit Sakae Sushi, this time I ordered a plate of Rokushu Sashimi Moriawase where he can enjoy more of it.  I top up my Kaisen Ramen with a few dollars (forgot how much it cost $2.50 maybe?) and it comes with a chawamushi and 2 slices of salmon sushi, more sashimi for the boy to enjoy.

Look at his satisfying look while savouring all his favourite dishes.

On the Actual Day
I made the boy ponteng or skipped school, because I wanted him to enjoy this day to the fullest.  To start off the day, we decided to have a full breakfast at one of the neighbourhood coffee joint as we will be out for most of the day in Sentosa.  DinoBoy had his favourite egg and toast set with ice milo, DinoPapa had lasi lemak and I had longtong.  The food was ok but they filled our tum-tum to the fullest.  

We thought we could set off right away but... it started to drizzle!  We sat around, waiting for the rain to stop but instead it rain slightly harder!  After 30mins of waiting, I decided to call up Singapore Car Cable to see if it is raining heavily over their side and whether they are still operating despite the weather.  I received good news that the rain is smaller and yes the cable cars are still working, we quickly made our way down to Harbour Front Station.

We made it to Harbour Front Station, the drizzle was much smaller than at our place. There was a crowd at the ticketing station, just show how popular our cable cars are with the tourists and locals.  We collected our complimentary tickets and headed off to take the lift up the the 15th storey where we waited eagerly for our turn to hop into the car.   

This cable ride was specially requested by DinoBoy, which is a surprise because a year ago when he first took the ride he was freaked out.  He sat frozen to his seat and dare not move, even when his cousins encouraged him and even moved around the car to show that it is really safe to do so.  I was sure that was our first and last ride at that time.  Look at him now, peeping out of the glass panel, looking down at the beautiful scene outside, he was obviously very happy and excited to be in the cable car.

Photo complimentary from Singapore Cable Car
We alighted from the cable car and ended up at the top of the Sentosa Skyline Luge where we took the skyline down to the bottom to meet some one special.

This is the 1st time DinoPapa is taking the skyline so its family portray time!

Meet the guy who made this day happen (I'm going to keep his name a secret hehehe~). He knew DinoBoy is a Luge Addict and he didn't even think twice when I asked if he could give us complimentary rides.  Thank you so much Mr J, you have no idea how happy you made a 9 year old that day!

Even though it was a wet and cold day...

spirits! Yupe there were still many people who still want to luge. And as long as there are no lightning warning, the skyline luge will still be in operation for all the thrill seekers to dash down the 2 tracks at high speed in the luge carts.

All thanks to the Sentosa Skyline Luge crew who made the fun possible. They group of people not only have to work under the hot scorching sun, the wet cold rain, they also have to flex some muscles too. They have to bring the heavy luge carts out from the convey belt to the front and make sure they are lined up properly so that when the thrill seekers sat on them and ready to go, they do not knock into each other. They also have to give the simple verbal instructions to first time lugers on how to control the luge carts. Tough work and back breaking lah I tell you, so the next time you are there, please give them a smile and say Thank You for a job well done!

DinoBoy can't wait to get his butt onto the luge cart, he looked so bored when we were riding the skyline and kept saying he wish the chairlift will go faster.

Before we went onto the luge cart, I warned the boy to go slower because the tracks will be wet and probably slippery due to the wet weather.  I was confident that he will heed my advice and instruction, but an accident still happened that day.  A man stopped his cart right after a curve in the middle of the track for god knows what reason.  It was too late for when DinoBoy turned the curve and saw him, to prevent him from crashing into that man, he had to pull back the brakes hard and turn the handle hoping to go past him but this caused the cart to overturn.  I was a few seconds behind him and when I rounded the curve he was just getting up and trying to get his cart straighten up.  And what did that man do?  NOTHING!  He just sit in his cart, look at DinoBoy and try to look that he has got nothing to do with it. (Cursing and swearing inside me!)  Lucky DinoBoy only suffered some slight abrasions on the palm, nothing serious, after I gave the man a few hard stares we continued our way to the bottom of the track.

Due to some miscommunication, we were only given 2 sets of tickets instead of 3, thus we ended up with 3 skyline rides short because we used it to come down from the top earlier.  This does not stop us from our fun, we decided to take the Bus 1 up to the Imbiah Station which is just 1 stop away from Beach Station (remember to take Bus 1 instead of Bus 2 though these 2 buses goes there but Bus 2 takes a longer route to reach Imbiah Station).

We looked like a peculiar Mum and Son pair racing from Luge towards the bus terminal with the Luge helmet and poncho screaming "Mum!!! Hurry!!! Bus 1 is leaving!!!" "Son! Wait UP!!! Be careful! Don't run into people! Don't fall down!", not once, not twice but THRICE! Man! that was tiring but FUN!

And we attracted a few stares and smiles like from the Sentosa staff below, he must have seen us dashing like mad from far far away, only to reach Bus 1 berth and found that the bus have left.  The short 5-7 mins ride up the hill in the air conditioned bus to Imbiah Station gave us time to rest our feet and cool off a bit.  Of course, the min we hop off the bus its mad dash to the Luge line again. 

Sentosa Skyline Luge never fails to give us the endless thrill, fun and excitement every time we visit.  Read about our past visits over here and here.

We took a break in between our Luge rides for lunch at Tastes of Asia, located near Beach Station where the restaurant serves flavourful dishes from around the region, get a taste of countries such as India, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.   We ordered different types of food and were satisfied with them, the food was tasty and I especially like my refreshing cucumber tea.

We wanted to continue our fun at the 4D Adventureland but we missed the show screening time by 5mins and its about 30mins wait for the next one, so we decided to give it a miss.  Me & DinoBoy went back the following week coz I was determined to keep my promise to my boy.  We took all 4 rides and had a blast of time!

Have you been to 4D Adventure Land?  What is your favourite ride?  We love Desperados though my shooting skill needs a lot of practice hahaha~

We headed back to the main land and off to buy some birthday presents at Popular Bookstore. We made use of the coupon for Geronimo Stilton books coupon in the Welcome Booklet for the Limited Edition 25th Anniversary POPULAR Card.

Last stop is to look for his birthday cake.  We went to the 3 bakeries in the mall, he couldn't decide which one to get but eventually he picked this chocolate mousse cake from Polar Puffs.

With that big smile on his face and the chocolate mousse cake in our tummy, we ended our birthday celebration for him.  I can vouch for the 3 of us that we enjoyed ourselves and had a great family time though the day started a little bit gloomy and wet.  

We would like to specially say thanks Singapore Cable Car and Sentosa Skyline Luge for making this day a memorable birthday for my little boy.  THANKS A BUNCH!

Disclaimer : We received complimentary tickets from Singapore Cable Car and Sentosa Skyline Luge in exchange for a blog post, no other forms of compensation were received. All opinions are 100% ours and all photos in this post unless otherwise credited, are copyrighted and belongs to the DinoFamily, you may not use any of the photos for any purposes without seeking our approval.

Monday, October 5, 2015

DinoBoy's Chinese Books Recommendation #4 - 小零钱 大妙用(小学生实用成长小说)

Note : This is not a sponsored post. DinoBoy's Chinese language standard is not as great as I wanted him to be nor is it as good as his English language. Since he started his primary school journey I have pushed doubly hard on introducing more Chinese story books to him and ensuring that he read much more Chinese story books than before. Since many parents have voiced out that their kids are struggling with the language, I thought I'd share the books that I exposed DinoBoy to since day one in primary school. I hope these books will help parents choose the ones that are suitable for their kids' reading level and eventually help them conquer Chinese.

You can usually find these books at the neighbourhood public library, or if you prefer to get a copy to keep you can easily find them from local bookstores or overseas online bookstores such as 当当/dangdang

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I saw this book at my favourite spot in our neighbourhood public library, at the Recommendation Corner (that's what I called it).  Since I taught DinoBoy about money awareness earlier this year I thought this book will further enforce what he knew or learnt so far.

I especially like this book because it touches on the Entitlement Syndrome so commonly found in kids these days, they wanted the latest electronic gadget, the more toys the merrier, actually the more of every thing is the best.  They do not cherish the things their parents bought; sometimes with their hard earned money, and perhaps think that they deserve every thing they lay their eyes on.

Look at the photo taken from the book below, it is of the main character Duo Bin 多彬 being idolized by his classmates.  I think that perhaps kids these days have this secret lust that they will be admired and worshiped by their friends when they flaunt an expensive mechanical pencil, pencil cases/school bags or latest cartoon character or latest electronic gadgets. (Haha!)

So the story started off with Duo Bin 多彬 and his parents doing their grocery shopping in the supermarket.  At the check out counter they discovered that besides the usual household and food items each of them have put items that they may or probably would not have any use of it into the trolley.  Things like medicine for ailment for older people or 10 bottles of shampoo just coz it was on promotion or even hair dye product.  Instead of removing them from trolley, they buy them giving excuses that they may have a use of them in future.

Ok truth to be told, my mum (God bless her soul) used to do that, she will buy many bottles of shower foam because "Its on sale and its much much cheaper.  Anyway you people will have use for that later so buy and keep, it won't turn bad too." she said, that's my mum *grins*

The story takes us from the supermarket scene to Duo Bin's school where he tries to show to his classmates how rich his family is by giving gifts to his classmates and treating them snacks, from there it was also slowly revealed that Duo Bin's wish is to become a millionaire, living a lavish & chic life and to spend money like water.  The story also revealed his unrealistic idea about money and that happiness & loyalty will comes along with it.  I think most people harbours the same thoughts too for the longest time.  Duo Bin learned it the hard but educational way about the true meaning of money, wealth and happiness from an elderly gentleman whom the kids called him Grandpa Beggar because he was dressed shabbily and was seen always picking things up from the recycle bins.  It turned out that this elderly gentleman is not only rich but is famous too (never judge a book by its cover eh?) and he's been living frugally.

We set aside an hour each day for our bedtime reading and we spent a few days reading the each chapter because it is quite a wordy book with words & idioms that DinoBoy is not familiar.  We also discuss about the many misconception of money & wealth by the main characters.

This is how the inside of the book looks like, a handful of the pages are filled with of words and some in long sentences.  The other pages will have some illustrations on it or full page illustration like the photo above.

Things like using credit cards which I explained to him that it is consider future money because we are paying for things with the money that we do not have now and pay for it when we have the money (salary) when we receive the bill.  We discuss the danger of spending future money, what if we over looked and over spent?  Then we will either have no money for our daily expenses or we have to pay a high interest rate per month which rendered the food we enjoyed or things we bought at that time more expensive than before.  So it is best to buy things that we truly need them necessarily and to pay for them using cash, in this way we will be get ourselves into unwanted or unforeseen debts.

We also talked about the pros and cons of credit cards, yupe there are pros in using credit cards too, such as during holiday in another country, instead of carrying wads of cash, a card would be a safer option.

One of my fear is that DinoBoy will fall into the Credit Card debts so I made it a point that he understands the consequences of using credit cards

I like that at the end of each chapter there is 2 pages of Duo Bin's diary, writing down the day's event which are written in short simple sentences, some are good thoughts and some are misconception and we talked about that.  Such as when Duo Bin wrote in his diary "将来, 我要赚很多的钱, 随便花。In future I will earn a lot of money so that I can just spend them as and when I like."   What do you think is a more appropriate way to motivate one to earn more money?

I also like the yellow bubble section at the end of the page where he will ask himself a question for him and readers to ponder upon.  Don't worry if you are unable to come out with a clear and appropriate explanation on the questions asked because you can find the answer at the end of the book.

The recommended age group for this book is 11 to 14 years old but I think younger kids of age 8 to 10 years old can be exposed to the contents of the book.  Although it is a chapter book, the words used are a little bit challenging for their age plus the chapters are long so to keep them interested in the book perhaps you can read a loud to them a page or two at a go, have a short discussion after that. 

The other titles in this series are
* 我也能是优等生
* 我也是小书虫
* 有计划可以让我更优秀

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出 版 社:华夏出版社
读者对象:11-14 岁
出版时间: 2013-1-1

Friday, October 2, 2015

Beef with Broccoli + Sunny Side Up = Healthy Balanced Meal

I love surfing the net for recipe and meal ideas, there are so many wonderful home chefs around the world whipping up dishes and meals that feed a whole village (I am not kidding!), I really admire them!

So anyway, while searching for recipes for the meat, I always look out for ways where the home chefs uses the greens in the recipe.  One of my favourite greens is broccoli, can't believe that I used to hate then when I was younger (kids really does not fanc super green veggie I guess), and what not to like about broccoli?

Info taken from wiki

Besides that, they help to lower cholesterol level, improves digestion, is a natural detoxification, fights cancer, improves bone health etc.

I was eager to try out this Beef & Broccoli recipe that I found at coz she's cooking it with soy sauce and brown sugar, something different from my usual chicken stock powder or oyster sauce for stir-frying.  If you want to try this dish, remember to use low sodium soy sauce otherwise it will be very salty. Her original recipe is for 1.5lbs or 680g of beef, I am only cooking about 250g so I sort of half the sauce used.

I put this recipe in my Copy Me That Meal Planner and a day prior I marinated the beef, I like to marinate my meat at least over night so that the meat absorbs all the flavour from the sauces.  I took it out from the fridge the minute I reached home from work and start to prepare the broccoli.

Instead of stir-frying we prefer to blanch our broccoli because it not only soften it but also maintain most of the nutrients.  Its very easy to do it, bring a pot of water to boil, add in a heap teaspoon of salt follow by the broccoli florets and stems, let it boil for 4-5mins, remove and set aside.

This is the first time I am buying steak flank and woah~ they don't come cheap even at NTUC supermarket, this slab of around 200g cost me a whopping $6.90, though its money well spent because the meat is so soft and tender.  I sauteed the beef for 3-4 mins, add in the broccoli and every thing else, cook for another 2-3 mins.  Don't they look beautiful?

Since we are going to eat with steaming rice, a sunny side up will make this a complete healthy balanced meal.  30mins later dinner is served, this is truly a recipe to keep for weekday dinner, it is not only balanced meal, its healthy and full of flavour.

We do not have low sodium soy sauce so I kinda diluted it with water so even though it uses so much soy sauce the saltiness is just right.

The verdict of this dish is of course double thumbs up from DinoPapa and even DinoBoy who is not a fan of broccoli but he managed to finished his portion.  After that he said that he changed his mind about broccoli and "they are actually very tasty after all."  (This Mama did a major rolling of eyes in front of him)

Beef with Broccoli

by DinoMama (Adpated from
Prep Time: 15mins plus 1 hour marinating
Cook Time: 15-20mins

Ingredients (3-4 serves)
* 250g flank steak, sliced into thin strips
* 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce (Do NOT use regular. The final product will be way too salty)
* 1 tbsp brown sugar
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 tbsp flour
* 1 tbsp sherry (I used shaoxing wine instead)
* 3 tbsp vegetable oil
* 1 broccoli, crowns only
    Marinate Sauce
    * 1/2 tsp baking soda
    * 1 tsp sugar
    * 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
    * 1/2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
    * 1 tbsp water
    * 1 tbsp vegetable oil
      1. Whisk together the marinating sauce in a large bowl. Toss the steak with the marinade to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or even overnight.
      2. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, flour and sherry /shaoxing wine until smooth. Set aside.
      3. In a large wok or saute pan, heat 1 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over high heat until shimmering. Add broccoli and saute 3 minutes, stirring often. Transfer broccoli to a plate.
      4. Reduce heat to medium-high. Carefully add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the hot pan. Add the marinated meat and half of the sauce mixture and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink. 
      5. Stir in the broccoli and remaining sauce. Saute 1 minute more. 
      6. Serve.

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      Friday, September 25, 2015

      Garlic & Lemon Chicken Chop

      After I discovered the wonderful app Copy Me That, for meal planning, recipe keeping and organising which I blogged about recently over here, I have already planned our meal for these 2 weeks.  One of the recipe I wanted to try is the Garlic & Lemon Chicken with green beans and red potato found in and I made it last Sunday.

      The original recipe is for chicken breast meat but we are not really a fan of breast meat, I rampaged our freezer and found 2 chicken thigh and decided to use them instead.  Red potato? What is that?  Never mind that, I have russet potato, they will do too.

      Well, the chicken chop turned out beautiful and perfect, skin brown and crispy with meat soft, tender and juicy.  The green beans and potato.. hmmm.... well, that's another story *chuckles*

      As you can see in the photo below, my one and only baking pan is HUGE, my corning ware pot is too small for the 2 chicken thigh and greens.  No choice, I have to use the baking pan but that did not compromise the taste of the chicken thigh though I think if I use a smaller baking dish with all the ingredients snugly tucked into and against each other, the taste will be even better.

      My green beans are grilled dry *opps* and some of russet potato were not fully cooked *double opps* , a friend suggested that I boil the potato first before putting them into the dish for baking.  Good idea!  

      Note to self - get a smaller baking pan/dish.

      Anyway, since the chicken chop are seasoned with garlic & lemon, I thought I should just make a simple spaghetti tossed with olive oil to go with it.  It would have been a perfect dinner if the side dish were ok but nonetheless it was still a great dinner.

      The next time I make this dish I am going to add MORE greens such as broccoli and carrot, I will probably use new potato too and of course to use a smaller baking pan.

      If you would like to try this recipe and using chicken thigh too, I grilled it for 40mins instead of 50mins as stated in the recipe because thigh meat are tender than breast meat thus needs shorter cooking time.
      And if you want to do it in your air fryer, I think you can do it at 200 deg for about 20mins, open up to check on the chicken thigh and air fry it for another 10mins or so.  I am basing the cooking time on the Philips Air Fryer that I have, I have not done this in the air fryer before and using my experience with my air fryer to give a guage, you may have to adjust the cooking time.  In any case, pull out the basket to check on the chicken and see if you need to cook it longer or not.

      Till the next recipe sharing post, have fun cooking!

      Garlic & Lemon Chicken Chop

      by DimoMama (Adapted from
      Prep Time: 20 mins
      Cook Time: 50 mins
      Keywords: grill roast main gluten-free low-carb Diabetic Friendly chicken vegetable American
      Ingredients (serves 3)
      • 4 chicken breasts (bones left in, with skin) or 3 1⁄4 lbs chicken breasts (bones left in, with skin)
      • 6 tablespoons olive oil
      • 2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced, 1 juiced
      • 4 garlic cloves, minced
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
      • 3⁄4 lb fresh green beans
      • 8 small red potatoes, quartered
      1. Preheat oven to 400°F or 200 °C
      2. Coat a large baking dish or cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
      3. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer in the bottom of the dish or skillet.
      4. In a large bowl, combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper; add the green beans and toss to coat.
      5. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the lemon slices.
      6. Add the potatoes to the same olive-oil mixture and toss to coat.
      7. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, arrange the potatoes along the inside edge of the dish or skillet on top of the green beans.
      8. Place the chicken in the same bowl with the olive-oil mixture and coat thoroughly.
      9. Place the chicken, skin-side up, in the dish or skillet. Pour any of the remaining olive-oil mixture over the chicken.
      10. Roast for 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dish or skillet.
      11. Place the beans and potatoes back in oven for 10 minutes more or until the potatoes are tender.
      12. Serve warm.

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