Friday, November 29, 2013

Foodie Fridays - Perfectly Porridge using the rice cooker


I'm so honoured that my recent Kasutera Cake baked using the rice cooker have inspired the admins of Singapore Home Cooks to start a contest for members to encourage them to make full use of their rice cooker.  So in support of this contest, I am sharing with all of you my version of a perfect porridge.  

I am very particular about my porridge, not the watery kind of porridge but the sticky kind which we usually call chok.  Thanks to DinoPapa who cooked the most delicious chok a decade ago, since then I feel in love with it and will only home cooked chok.

Since chok is also consider a one pot dish/meal, you can basically add in anything that you like.  I have added different ingredients including canned peanuts, salted eggs, canned salted vegetable or canned cai xin, pork, chicken, fish, prawns, eggs, preserved beancurd, fishcakes and many more.  Its all up to your imagination and your cravings, really.

My chok today is a vegetarian version as I decided to cook this at the last minute and couldn't wait for my meat to defrost.  My rice cooker have an "congee" option but I think normal rice cooker will do just good.  My chok took about 3 hours to be cooked to perfection, an hour for the rice to be cooked and 2 hours for it to turn sticky and chok-like.  I almost faint with hunger because the thought of tasting my delicious chok is too over whelming!  Despite the time taken to make the chok, I think I will use this method so that I do not need to stand at the stove, watching the fire and stirring the pot non stop.

DinoBoy's chok laced with shredded dried seaweed.


My chok with light soy sauce (don't know why my light soy sauce is so dark), century egg, cut chili padi and dash of pepper.


Do you know that besides cooking rice, the rice cooker can be used to cook many other dishes?  My rice cooker has a few options, it can cook rice or congee (and something else which I cannot remember) and bake, it also have "quick cook" - the rice will be cooked in about 5mins, and "small portion" - for like half or 1 cup of rice options. The "quick cook" option is very useful as some times I need to prepare meals in lightning speed, I can serve dinner with steaming rice in short period of time.  What other functions does your rice cooker have?




Ingredients
* 1 cup of rice
* 2 to 3 cabbage leaves
* 1 carrot
* a handful of dried scallop
* a cup of corn kernels
* 1 or 2 century eggs
* 1 or 2 eggs

Seasoning
* 1 teaspoon Sesame oil
* 1 teaspoon of light soy sauce
* a dash of pepper 

Method
1. Soak the dried scallop till its soft and break them up into shreds
2. Cut the cabbage into strips.
3. Cut the carrots into small pieces.
4. Boil the cabbage and carrots till they are soft.
5. In the meantime, put the rice to cook.  After its done, add a cup of water to it and all the ingredients into the rice cooker pot.  Stir to mix them up evenly and cook again.
6.  Add in eggs (if desired), a dash of pepper, sesame oil and light soy sauce.
7. Serve while hot but eat it with care unless you want to burnt your lips.

Are you swallowing your saliva and craving for chok now?

~ ~ ~

This linky is for anything that is FOOD related. It could be a restaurant you visited recently, meals you cook with your family or for your family or recipes you wish to share with every one.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard - Review & Giveaway

Ghost Leopard - Blog Tour Button

About the Book

Title: Ghost Leopard (Zoe and Zak Series, Book #1)
Authors: Lars Guignard
Publication Date: July 21, 2012
Publisher: Fantastic Press
Pages: 338
Recommended Age: 8+
Summary (Amazon): Zoe and Zak are lost in exotic India, where gods and magic still exist. Before they can find their way home, they just have to do one little thing… … Save a mythical creature from an ancient evil that wants to rule the world. When Zoe Guire goes along on her mom’s business trip to India, things get very weird, very quickly. An elephant god speaks to her from the bottom of a swimming pool… She and her classmate Zak get locked in a trunk and shipped off to a strange city near the foothills of the Himalayas… and a crazy snake charmer tells them they’ve been chosen to protect a mythical creature called the Ghost Leopard from an ancient evil that wants to take over the world. As they travel deeper into the majestic mountains known as the Realm of the Gods, things get even weirder. If she and Zak want to make it back to their parents, they’re going to have to tap into powers they never knew existed. Because if they don’t, things will never be the same for any of us ever again.

My Review

Ok, to be honest I got kinda irritated at the start of the book because of Zoe's non-stop "self talking" but then I reminded myself that she is a 11 year old girl and we all know tweens have lots of opinions about a million of things.  And it is through her rambling we know that besides Taj Mahal; one of the Seven Wonders of the World, India has many other things that are as wonderful as this magnificent building.

Shortly after I found myself with Zoe & her mum in an auto-rickshaw travelling down the crowded, noisy and dirty road in India on the way to a 5 star hotel.  The way Guignard describe the scene instantly makes me feel that I am really in the middle of a very busy street in India.  I can almost smell the stench and feel the heat that is so typical of India.

From the moment Zoe stepped into the hotel lobby and saw "supermega majorly annoying boy" Zak, she knew that her wish to have a peaceful and relaxing holiday will be vanished.  However, she soon found out that being stuck with Zak is nothing near to boring as his love of adventures leads both of them onto an eventful journey to try to save the Ghost Leopard, discovering that Zoe possess a special power and have a special connection with the Ghost Leopard.

Having spent years in India during his younger days, Guignard has gained a vast knowledge about India and its colorful culture that he is able to incorporate them effortlessly into the story through the perspective of two 11 year olds.  Be prepared to travel on a journey filled with talking Elephant God, magical blue butterfly, floating sadhu, massive flood, snakes and jungle danger while exchanging fights with Rhino Butt, Monkey Man and their endless gang of evil goons.

I love this story and have difficulty putting the book down every time I picked it up, I am sure my 7 year old will enjoy this book as much as I do.  I am definitely looking forward to the next Zoe & Zak adventure! 

Purchase


The Buzz

"Awesome! ~ I am 11 and I liked the book because I love adventures. It was a different kind of adventure from what I usually read and it was funny too. " ~ 5-Star Review from J. Olsen, Amazon

"This was a fun read. This book was like a kid's version of Indiana Jones. It's also very educational as Zoe tells you real facts about what she sees and the history. I enjoyed it immensely. If you have a 10-12 year old child that loves adventure books, this is definitely a must read. " ~ 5-Star review from Simone Lilly-Egerter, Amazon

"I'm sure this book was written for children who are around the age of the two children in the book, 11 or so. But, this 35 year old loved this book! It had action, adventure and imagination galore! It was exactly the kind of adventure that a lot of kids that age dream of." ~ 5-Star review from The Novice Christian, Amazon

About The Author: Lars Guignard

Prior to writing novels, Lars Guignard wrote for film and television. As a teenager he attended boarding school in the Indian Himalayas and his experiences there provided the inspiration for the Zoe and Zak series which now include: Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard, Zoe & Zak and the Yogi’s Curse, and Zoe & Zak and the Tiger Temple.

He lives in the Pacific Northwest where he dodges bears and cougars while hiking & skiing the magnificent Coast Mountain Range.

For news about new releases, please join his email list here: http://www.larsguignard.com/contact/


Ask Lars Guignard a Question on Goodreads
Fantastic Press is pleased to announce that Lars Guignard will be answering questions about Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard throughout the day on Monday, December 16th, 2013 on Goodreads. If you have any questions for Lars or just want to introduce yourself, you can head on over to Goodreads and say hello now. Also, everyone who joins the Forum will earn an entry into the Ghost Leopard Blog Tour giveaway (see below for more details).

Click on the Goodreads Button below to go to the Mon, Dec 16 - "Ask Lars Guignard about Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard" event and leave a question for the author anytime from now until December 16th, 2013.

Goodreads

** Be sure to look for the upcoming Blog Tour for Book 2 in the Zoe and Zak Series, "Yogi's Curse" coming December 15, 2013. **


* Ghost Leopard Blog Tour Giveaway *


Ghost Leopard - Zoe and Zak by Lars Guignard


Prize: Three winners will receive a print (U.S. & Canada) or electronic (international winners) copy of Ghost Leopard by Lars Guignard.
Contest runs: November 15 to December 17, 11:59 pm, 2013
Open: Worldwide
How to enter: Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. The winners will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winners will then have 72 hours to respond. If a winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author Lars Guignard and Fantastic Press and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions - feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com. 
Disclaimer : We received a pdf copy of the book Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard for the purpose of giving our honest review on the book.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tale of the Messed Up Talent Show - Book Blast & Giveaway

About the Book

The Tale of the Messed Up Talent ShowTitle: Tale of the Messed Up Talent Show (Madison and GA - My Guardian Angel)
Author: Melissa Perry Moraja
Publication Date: November 15, 2013
Publisher: Independent - Melissa Productions Inc.
Number of pages: 156
Recommended age: 6-12
Summary: Madison Wunderkind is a sweet, honest girl, who always seems to find herself in trouble with the principal. But this time she's not alone. It all started three days earlier, when Sophia, the most popular fifth-grade girl at Gator Elementary, asked Madison to hang out and plan this year's talent show. Instantly, Madison had become Little Miss Popular. But what Madison soon discovered was that being Little Miss Popular wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Her best friends were ignoring her. Her brothers were angry at her. And her guardian angel, GA, was irritated by her snobbish attitude. And if things couldn't get more messed up for Madison, everything that could go wrong at the talent show did, sparking Principal Dimples to find out why! Find out what happens at Gator Elementary's Talent Show. Will GA be able to help Madison? Or will Madison become Little Miss Lonely? Also, try and find one of GA's feathers in each picture!

Purchase


You can purchase the first book of the series (e-copy), Tale of the Slimy Spitball for only 99 cents until Christmas, December 25, 2013 from Amazon. Just click on the cover below!

Madison and GA The Tale of the Slimy Spitball by Melissa Perry Moraja

About the Author: Melissa Perry Moraja

Melissa Perry Moraja, Founder of Melissa Productions, Inc., is an entrepreneurial mom, a multifaceted business woman, a creative producer, and an author/illustrator of numerous modern-fantasy children's books and self-help books. Melissa also has published articles, appeared on television, been interviewed on radio, has spoken in front of hundreds of people, and held workshops at local schools, discussing creative learning, publishing and parenting. Her desire to make a difference in her four young children’s lives inspired her to leave her six-salary career at IBM in 2007 to become a full-time mom and children's author. Melissa spends her personal time coaching soccer and softball, painting, and coming up with fun art projects for her kids. She also blogs for Working Mother blog, has guest blogged for Charlotte Observer Mom's Charlotte, and has her own personal blog at Not Your Ordinary Psychic Mom. Melissa is also committed to building awareness and support for Type 1 Diabetes. Her twin daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes November 4, 2011. To learn more about Madison's type 1 diabetes disease please read Madison's Story.


* $100 Book Blast Giveaway *

Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner's choice)
Contest runs: November 25 to December 24, 11:59 pm, 2013
Open: Internationally
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Melissa Perry Moraja and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions - feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


MDBR Kid Lit Book Promotion Services - Button FINAL

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The SockKid Meet Lincoln - Review & Giveaway

The SockKids Meet Lincoln

About the Book

Title: The SockKids™ Meet Lincoln
Authors: Michael John Sullivan and Susan Petrone
Illustrator: SugarSnail
Publication Date: August 14, 2013
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 40 (print)
Recommended Age: 3 to 8
Summary (Amazon):  Where do our missing socks go? Readers find out in our children’s series, The SOCKKIDS. We follow the Socker family through many adventures; from encountering the slobbery mouth of the family dog to meeting Santa as he comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve to helping a fireman save a baby to the most shy Socker going to the school dance for the first time. Thanks to the time-travel opportunities afforded by the spin cycle of the washer, they learn about some of the most important humans in the world. Children two and up and their parents will be drawn to the diversity of the family and the universal and timeless lessons they teach: don’t be afraid of new experiences; treat others as you would like to be treated, and of course, beware of the spin cycle!

Purchase

Amazon Buy Button

My Review

This series of books revolves around a sock family and this time it's about the adventure of one of the sock kid Stretch where he "got lost" and had a chance to meet President Abraham Lincoln.  This is a good read a loud book to a 3 year old or younger because the colorful illustrations will catch their attention, with the right tone when reading to them I am sure they will sit through the book and finish the story.  

I am not familiar with American history but I do know about President Abraham Lincoln and I know that he is one of the greatest USA president.  This book is a fun way to introduce him to the kids and all the great things he had done for American, find out more about the speech in Gettysburg where Stretch first met President Lincoln, perhaps it can be followed by a little bit of American history after Lincoln.  

There are a few unit studies that the parent or teacher can explore with the kids, adjusting the level of creativity and difficulty according to the kids' age.  You can explore the history of socks, different ways of washing laundry back then and now, find out why do socks get "fuzzies" on them, the clothing worn by people during Lincoln's time and now.

This is my first Sockkids book and I am already liking it.   

The Buzz

"I love the creativity of the story as well as the many lessons that can be discussed after reading this, including President Lincoln and what he stood for. (I enjoy books that allow you to start a dialog with children who read them, and this book does not disappoint.) The book is easy to read, which makes it appealing because children can read it with an adult or on their own. I even giggled a few times while reading this, and any story that can put a smile on someone's face has my approval!." ~ 5-Star Review from ksen, Amazon

"A unique, well written, highly creative story, bringing socks to life in this sweet tale of a family of socks who time travel through the washing machine. Laundry never sounded so colorful and fun, with the added bonus of teaching children about history in an amusing, loveable and magical way. Intertwining well developed characters, plus a real historical figure (Abraham Lincoln) in a story that will not only introduce children to this president, but also teaches them what Lincoln stood for, and the lessons that will resonate with adults so they may be able to share this time in history with a young child (children) in their life, creating reading memories they will always treasure. The SockKids is beautifully illustrated, colorful and the cute Socker images will bring a smile to your face, and the dialogue is sure to elicit laughter from both the reader and the child. " ~ 5-Star review from Selena Robins, Amazon

"The SockKids Meet Lincoln is a fun way to introduce young kids to an important historical period and figure. The tone is lighthearted yet informative--perfect for the target age group. I found myself chuckling along too! I've always wondered where my socks went when they disappeared..." ~ 5-Star review from A. MacLean, Amazon

"This is an adorable story with a wonderful message. I loved the illustrations, so colorful, every child will love these pictures and love this story. We all have lost socks in the washing machine and how cute to picture them talking to each other. I also loved the journey to Lincoln and how it didn't matter to him what color the socks were, his didn't match, a hidden message which you will have to read the story to find out what all that means. I hope to see many other wonderful sockkids adventures from Mr. Sullivan. I would give this more than 5 stars!" ~ 5-Star review from Cynthia A. Springsteen, Amazon

About The Authors: Michael John Sullivan & Susan Petrone

Michael John SullivanMICHAEL JOHN SULLIVAN

Michael John Sullivan is the creator of the SockKids. Constantly searching for his socks, he wondered whether the missing foot comforters had found another pair of feet to warm. Before his interest in socks, Sullivan started writing his first novel while homeless, riding a NYC subway train at night. Sullivan returned to his subway notes in 2007 and began writing Necessary Heartbreak: A Novel of Faith and Forgiveness (Simon & Schuster, Gallery Books imprint). Library Journal named Necessary Heartbreak one of the year’s best in 2010. His second novel, Everybody’s Daughter (Fiction Studio Books, 2012) was named one of the best books of 2012 by TheExaminer.com. Sullivan has written articles about the plight of homelessness for CNN.com, The Washington Post.com, Beliefnet.com, the Huffington Post, and America Online’s Patch.com service.

Susan Petrone 
SUSAN PETRONE

Susan Petrone’s short fiction has been published by Glimmer Train, Featherproof Books, The Cleveland Review, Muse, Conclave, and Whiskey Island. Her first novel, A Body at Rest, was published in 2009 (Drinian Press). Her short story, Monster Jones Wants to Creep You Out (Conclave,2010) was nominated for a 2011 Pushcart Prize. She also writes about her beloved Cleveland Indians at ItsPronouncedLajaway.com for ESPN.com’s SweetSpot network. In addition, she is a regular contributor to Cool Cleveland.com.


*** The SockKids™ Meet Lincoln Blog Tour Giveaway ***

SockKids Grand Prize Blog Tour

Prize: There will be a Grand Prize consisting of a $25 Amazon gift card (or PayPal cash) + a SockKids t-shirt. There will also be four secondary prizes consisting of a SockKids t-shirt.
Contest runs: November 5 to December 2, 11:59 pm, 2013
Open: Worldwide
How to enter: Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. The Grand Prize winner and secondary winners will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winners will then have 72 hours to respond. If a winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the authors Michael John Sullivan and Susan Petrone and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions - feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MDBR Kid Lit Book Promotion Services - Button FINAL

Disclaimer: I received a free pdf copy of this book in exchange for my open and honest review about the book. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Foodie Fridays - Kasutera (Castella Sponge Cake) in a rice cooker

Alright, I may have bitten off more then I can chew when I jumped head on for Mama Sue's What's Cooking blog train - Japanese cuisine.  For a cuisine that the DinoFamily love so much and with dishes that looks so simple to prepare, there is nothing simple about it.  For starters I am clueless about the Japanese seasoning let alone where to get them.  I was really late in submitting my dish and was almost on the verge of giving up.  However, that is not an option for me, plus I do not like to join a blog train only to back out later.

I actually picked a dish in my newly purchased Japanese cookbook but it is still missing some ingredients.  Time is running out and I am really like an ant on hot pan, translated to 热锅上的蚂蚁 in Chinese.  Then I chanced upon Ochikeron's youtube, baking a Kasutera or Japanese sponge cake using a rice cooker and I immediately decided to do this instead.  I have just started to get interested in making different dishes using the rice cooker, dishes besides the usual plain white rice or one pot rice dishes and this looks like one recipe to add to my list.

According to the all mighty wiki - Kasutera is a popular Japanese sponge cake brought by way of Portuguese merchants in the 16th century. The name is derived from Portuguese Pão de Castela, meaning "bread from Castile". Castella cake is usually sold in long boxes, with the cake inside being approximately 27 cm long. It is somewhat similar to Madeira cake, also associated with Portugal, but its closest relative is pão-de-ló, also a Portuguese cake.  All these names are so foreign to me but its good to know where the cake originated.



Well, the video makes the baking of the cake looks easy-peasy loemon squeezy~ but being a noob baker there are a few things that leaves question marks in my mind.  How long should I whisk my egg & sugar mixture till its white and fluffy? Or until the batter drips back into the bowl like a ribbon?  I did not have time to find out the answer then but managed to find a good site at Just Hungry that explains clearly the taste of a Kasutera cake with a detailed step by step guide and tips on baking this cake.

Anyway, my cake turned out ok; since I have not tasted the Kasutera cake before I wouldn't know if its anything close to the real thing.  According to Ms Maki of Just Hungry, the cake should be "moist, with a very fine texture, and is very light... It is sweet yet not cloyingly sweet."  Alright...

moist - checked
fine texture - nothing near that
light - not really, it has a springy bread like texture
sweetness - checked!

So half good?  I really don't know!  Who will be so kind to bake or buy a Kasutera for me to taste???  Next time I am trying Ms Maki's recipe in my oven, then I will know if its a success this time.





Kasutera (Castella Sponge Cake)

by DinoMama (adapted from Ochikeron's recipe https://www.facebook.com/ochikeron)
Prep Time: 30mins
Cook Time: 45-50mins
Keywords: bake dessert cake Japanese

Ingredients:
* 3 eggs
* 90g (3.2oz.) sugar
* 45g (1.6oz.) cake flour +
* 45g (1.6oz.) bread flour (strong flour) +
* 2 tbsp. milk
* 1 tbsp. honey
* butter
+you can use 90g (3.2oz.) all purpose flour instead

Instructions
1. Warm the milk in a saucepan. Add honey and mix well.
2. Place the eggs and sugar in a large bowl. Beat them with an electric mixer until white and fluffy.
3. Add 1 in 2. Place the bowl over a pan of hot water. Mix until the batter continuously drips back into the bowl like a ribbon when you scoop it up.
4. Sift in flour and gently cut through the mixture with a spatula until combined.
5. Butter the pot of the rice cooker and pour in the mixture. Drop the pot lightly on the counter to raise the air bubbles out of the batter. Place the pot in the rice cooker, close the rice cooker, then press the button to start. *When it is half-baked, press the button to start (cook) once again.
6. When it's done, let cool on a wire rack until warm. Then place it in a plastic bag (to keep it moist) to cool completely. It tastes even better the next day after the flavors have settled!

How to bake in the oven:
Bake in an oven at 170C (338F) for 10 minutes. Then turn down to 140C (284F) and bake for 40-45 minutes.

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Linking up with


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This linky is for anything that is FOOD related. It could be a restaurant you visited recently, meals you cook with your family or for your family or recipes you wish to share with every one.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Our 1st Airfried Meal, Philips style

I had the opportunity to attend the Philips Avance XL Airfryer launch event recently and had a blast of time.

At the event, Philips set up a photo booth with some props for us to take photos with our mobile phone and post them on instagram.  This is like heaven for us bloggers coz we simply love to pose for photos, take photos and share them in our instagram.  What's more, we can print our insta-photos on the spot~  Instaprint Singapore printed our photos onto these palm size cards.


I was squealing with delight when I saw these 2 celebrities at the event!  The ever funny, sharp tongued, quick witted Bryan Wong and the famous founder & owner of I Love Philips Airfryer facebook community Dable Kwan!  Be sure to hop by her facebook page and join her community, you will be awed by the many airfryer recipes shared over there!


AIR IS THE NEW OIL - What a cool tagline

We all know that Philips Viva Collection Airfryer that was launched in 2011 has taken the world of home cooking by storm, enabling the home cookers the chance to serve oil-less and healthy fried food.  With the new Philips Avance XL Airfryer besides frying you can grill, roast, gratinate or au gratin and bake your food.  One Machine, Five Ways of Cooking, now that's a useful gadget I want to have in my kitchen.


And the group of us, the proud members of Singapore Mom Bloggers, jived, dined, laughed and enjoyed ourselves to the max at the event.  


As all of you know, I've been cooking on weekends and starting of this year I've even managed to cook on some weekdays too but it's a little bit challenging since I have about an hour plus to get dinner on the table before the little man screams "I'M DYING OF HUNGER" into my ears.  Even with marinated meat and vegetables all cut up earlier that morning, I still have to spend roughly about 30 to 40 mins to cook and serve them.  So most of the time I will prepare one dish and have it with steaming white rice, simple and boring to a certain 7YO.

On a particular day I decided to use my new kitchen gadget Philips Avance XL Airfryer to prepare dinner.  I bought a salmon fillet, a packet of marinated pork belly and a packet of vegetables from Cold Storage after work and headed home.

After washing the salmon fillet, I cut it into 3 smaller pieces, rub on some sea salt, sprinkle some pepper and Italian seasoning, let it sit for about 5 mins while I preheat the airfryer.  I am glad that the airfryer comes with a large basket (1.2kg capacity), this means that I can cook my salmon fillets all at the same time instead of cooking them in 2 batches.


My salmon and pork belly took about 8 mins each to be grilled to perfection and while these 2 dishes are cooking, I stir-fried my vegetables.



Dinner is served under 30 mins!  Amazing isn't it!  Now I am sure that I will be able to cook dinner more often during weekdays, plus there will be no more one dish dinners!

*** *** *** *** ***

Now here is a great deal for all of you wonderful people out there!

Cook with Air today! Quote DinoMama and buy the Viva Digital Airfryer at $399 (Usual price: $459), FREE $50 SHOPPING VOUCHER and Avance XL Airfryer at $479 (Usual price: $539), FREE $50 SHOPPING VOUCHER at the PHILIPS EXPERIENCE SHOWROOM. This promotion is valid from 1st December till 31st January 2014.

Limited to 1 Airfryer per person. IC must be produced.

PHILIPS EXPERIENCE SHOWROOM
Address: 620A Lorong 1 Toa Payoh Building TP4 Level 1 S(319762)
Tel: 6882 5800
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 9.00 am – 7.00 pm 
Saturday: 9.00 am – 1.00 pm. 
Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.

The Viva Digital Airfryer and Avance XL Airfryer are also available at regular prices in leading electronics stores, department stores and supermarkets island-wide.

Disclaimer : I received a Philips Avance XL Airfryer from Philips for purposes of this review, all opinions are 100% based on my experience as a first time user of the airfryer. All photos in this review were painstakingly taken by me so they belongs to me.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets


Celebrating 

Stanley and Katrina von Cat the Master of Wisdom and Knowledge are celebrating their one year blogiversary (click here to read their inaugural post) by hosting their very own "Book Blasty Tour". Thank you for taking the time to visit this special stop along their tour. 

About the Book

Title: The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets
Authors: Stanley & Katrina, Pet Authors
Illustrator: Miro Chun
Year published: 2012
Updates: This book was updated in September of 2013 with a new cover, interior illustrations, and a sneak peek of book #2 in the series.
Publisher: CreateSpace
Number of pages: 106
Recommended ages: 5+ 
Summary (Amazon): After three years of living under the same roof as the dog in the house, Katrina von Cat the Master of Wisdom and Knowledge decides to write a letter to her canine housemate, Stanley. Katrina loves treats, naps and bossing the dog around. Stanley loves snow, attention and turkey. The diva kitty, Katrina, will have none of Stanley's antics and most certainly will not stand for him eating her food. The only reasonable solution is to take him to Kitty Court.


~ ~ ~

My Review
I love love love this book!  The bickering between the cats and dogs written in a form of letters, in such a light-hearted and hilarious way that I often caught myself smiling while reading.

The story of the playful destructive 3 years old puppy Stanley and the cool calm wise 8 years old Katrina will definitely catch the heart of any readers.  There are a few other characters; a bluebird, Zorg the guinea and of course the Narrator that adds snippets to the already witty story.  The kids will enjoy reading from the perspective of a cat and dog, perhaps will get to know better about their pets if they have one at home and understand the reason for them doing what they are doing, like playing and running aimlessly in the snow.


I especially like the part when both of them goes for training, you can see how each pet view the whole experience, their thoughts about the reward "treats" and how their human owner treat each pet during the training.  Make a guess, who is the greedy one and who receives more tummy scratches.


I also like the illustrations by Miro Chun which look simple but not too kiddish.  Her sketch of Zorg the guinea pig catches my heart, I used to have 14 guinea pigs as pets and the expression of Zorg reminds me of them fondly. 

The Buzz

"The book is really humorous. It is unique in a manner where you see the cat and dog communicating with each other about themselves, their likes, and dislikes in a letter form. The narrator's tidbits add to the charm of the book. The contrasting characters and their individual personalities have been etched well. The author has put the perspective of the pets in the forefront and written a unique and excellent book for children." ~ Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

"We enjoyed this book tremendously! It charmed us, made us laugh, and kept us wanting to read more. A tip of the hat to the pair of pets whose rivalry leads the story along its delightful course." ~ Amazon Reviewer

About the Authors: Stanley & Katrina

Stanley is a three-year-old black Labrador/Rottweiler mix who does his best to ignore Katrina.

Katrina von Cat the Master of Wisdom and Knowledge is an eight-year-old grey tabby cat who loves her toy mouse.They would love to tell you where they live but all they know is that they live in a tan house. For more information about Stanley & Katrina, please visit their website, www.StanleyAndKatrina.com.


Stanley & Katrina are currently offering a free 15 Minute Skype Session as a Thank You to their readers!

* Free Printables For This Book! *

Kid Lit Printables has created fun and FREE printables for The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets. Click here to view all available printables, now.



* $25 Book Blasty Tour Giveaway *

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner's choice)
Contest runs: November 8 to November 30, 11:59 pm, 2013 
Open: Internationally
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget above or by clicking here.
Terms and Conditions: A randomly drawn winner will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest or any other entity unless otherwise specified. If you have any additional questions, feel free to send us an email at stanleyandkatrina (at) gmail (dot) com.
* This giveaway is sponsored by the authors, Stanley & Katrina. *

Disclaimer: I received a free pdf copy of this book in exchange for  my open and honest review about the book. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Starting Primary One #21 - Its finally the end of Primary One

Its finally November 2013, it also means that its the end of Primary One journey for DinoBoy.  Pardon me while I hide in the closet to cry my happy tears, not only because we survived the year but also we have encountered many hurdles and we managed to conquer them, slowly but steadily we take them down one by one.  One of the greatest hurdle we faced was DinoBoy's temper and outbursts, we are definitely relieved that we were able to finally to find a solution to that (more on that later) too.

I went for the Parent Teacher meeting this morning and I received positive feedback from DinoBoy's teachers.  When I sat down at the table, his form teacher Ms J started by saying "Its not a surprise that he scored well in my class as he is one of my brightest student."  Oh wow~ surprise surprise~  "He is always participating in class and always the first few to give the answer when I asked questions." she continued.  Not bad~ Still the enthusiastic despite the several issues he was facing/handling.  Ms J said that she is happy to see that DinoBoy is able to control his emotions and has not been exploding as much, this has improved a lot since starting of the year but still need a little bit of fine tuning.

She cited an example on the recent incident where she told DinoBoy that she will not pick him to be one of the 20 students from the class to perform in one of the school's event as he misbehaved and did not listen to her instruction that day.  She was expecting a major meltdown with screaming, shouting, crying from him instead he was calm and told her "I know you did not pick me because I was not behaving well." then proceeds to sit at a corner.   Now everyone, please join me to pump my fist up in the air, jump up in joy and shout at the top of my lung "WOOHOO!!!"  On top of that, he's seeing the school counselor lesser during the last term, double WOOHOO!!!!

However when I met up with Ms H, the Chinese teacher later she mentioned that DinoBoy was unable to contain his anger during her class.  Bummer... just when I was starting to celebrate...  I did not elaborate more about DinoBoy's issues to her since its the end of the year, I'll just have to build rapport with the new Primary Two Chinese teacher next year.  That aside, Ms H did have positive feedback about DinoBoy's Chinese, she said that his oral and reading is good but just a little bit careless when doing his written work.  He tends to finish it fast and fails to check his work or test paper, sometimes this caused him lose some marks in the test/exam paper.  She also said that she was afraid he may fail his Chinese due to this but surprisingly he fared quite well.  Having said that, we both agreed that it is important that he must build up his foundation so that it will not affect his overall result during streaming in Primary Three.

So there, this is DinoBoy's report book and I am extremely proud of his Chinese result which he achieved under our coaching.  I am extremely pleased with myself, with us, that despite the tears, anger and high tension on several nights and weekends, we succeeded!


It has been a year of expectations, new experiences & routines, anger, tears, stress, hardwork and achievements.  After a one month plus of "rest"we shall be back to some routine and putting in some efforts to tackle Primary Two school work.  Till then, we are going to play the fullest and the hardest.  We are deserved it, especially DinoBoy.

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I am sharing DinoBoy's Primary One experiences in this series.  I hope it will serve as a useful guide to parents when its their time to get their child ready for the new journey and have an idea how Parent Volunteer works.

Click the button below and you will be able to see all my posts on this topic or grab the badge if you are sharing your thoughts about this topic.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Foodie Fridays - One Pot Meal Cabbage Rice

So today I am on medical leave as my stomach wasn't feeling good, its been bloated for the last 2 days, doctor's diagnosed as stomach flu (whatever~).  Earlier some of you saw that I shared my lunch in instagram; Mcdonald's Ebi burger and banana pie, definitely something that I should not eat given my current condition but I can't help it.  I don't feel like eating noodles or rice from the nearby food court.

Anyway, I have to settle dinner and with this bloated stomach and a weird taste bud going on, I decided to cook something different.  I suddenly have a craving for mum's one pot dish; Cabbage rice.  Its been a while since I had that and I tried to remember what are the required ingredients and headed off to the NTUC to grabbed them ingredients.

I soaked the mushrooms, dried shrimps and dried baby scallops till its soft, about 15-20 mins and then starts to prepare the dish.  Took about an hour for the cabbage rice to be done and served on the dining table.




Ingredients
* 2 to 3 cabbage leaves
* 1 tablespoon of dried shrimp
* 1 tablespoon of dried baby scallop
* 2 to 3 dried mushrooms
* 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
* 1 packet of pork or pork belly
* 2 cups of rice

Method
1. Soak the dried mushroom, dried shrimps and dried baby scallop till its soft, save the mushroom water and shrimps water for use later.
2. Slice the pork or pork belly into thin pieces and marinate it for about 15mins with a dash of sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of corn flour and a teaspoon of light soy sauce.
3. Cut the cabbage leaves into strips.
4. Break up the baby scallops into shreds.
5. Heat up a wok and stir fry the pork or pork belly till cooked.  Remove and put aside for use later.
6. Add the garlic, dried shrimp, shredded dried baby scallops and mushrooms till fragrance.
7. Add the pork or pork belly back into the wok and stir fry for another 2 to 3 mins.
8. Wash the rice and put in the required water to cook it.  I added in the water that I used to soak the mushroom to make it fragrant.
9. Add the stir fried ingredients into the rice cooker, mixed well and start the rice cooker.
10. Once the rice is cooked, dribble some dark soy sauce or fried shallots or sesame oil on the rice before serving and eat while its steaming hot.

I am sure you have your own version of cabbage rice cooked using the rice cooker, I will be happy to read about your special cabbage rice.

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This linky is for anything that is FOOD related. It could be a restaurant you visited recently, meals you cook with your family or for your family or recipes you wish to share with every one.

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