Saturday, 25 October 2014

Macarons

It has been a while since I last baked - okay, food for baby is not included! Ha!!

As I would be ending my work this coming week, I am still not quite adjusted for the new lifestyle and routine ahead. I guess I am still feeling uncertain at times, but I'll take it to the Lord. I know God will grant me His strength :)

Sometimes I miss the earlier days during the OMYSG best cooking competition and SCS competition - for my never-say-die spirit. I am thankful for some invitations, but I will be also cutting down on these "voting competitions" and at the moment because I don't think I have much time on hand now - handling a cute 10 month old, plus shifting house and doing reno works. I also want to focus more on the food and enjoy each time I bake.

Because I am planning a dessert table for my baby's birthday.... I had wanted to make macarons, but I was just so afraid of failing! Thankful that the hubby encouraged me, else I wouldn't have the courage to try haha.

The steps are very easy, however, we wouldn't know if there would be feet only until after baking. And I guess I over-baked them! They became crispy macarons with not much chewy bite feel. LOL.



I was also thinking of a mini bake sale. However, the temporary house that I am going to move into, would not have an oven.. So, I was wondering if I should buy a new one now, and then in future I'll have 2 ovens lol. I am imagining the reaction of the hubby already :p

Macarons - Recipe from SkinnyMinhy
(I made about 12 sandwiches from these, with each 1.4" diameter)
Ingredients:
- 1 egg white, room temperature
- 1 pinch meringue powder if you are using large eggs (I skipped this)
- 4 tsp white sugar
- 50 grams powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup almond meal 

Optional coloring:
- Just 1 or 2 drops of gel based food coloring, powder is preferred though difficult to find.

Optional Flavoring:
- 3/4 tsp matcha green tea powder or 1 earl grey tea bag, grounded
- 1.5 tbsp dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1.5 tbsp grounded unsalted pistachios or various spices, such as cinnamon

Method: 
1. In a food processor, combine the almond meal, powdered sugar, and flavorings. Pulse, stopping frequently, for about 1 minute. Alternate from chop and grind, you just want to get everything as lump free as possible, as well as completely combined.

2. Sift if needed.*I skipped Step 1, and just sifted my powdered sugar and almond meal together.

3. Beat egg whites + a small pinch of meringue powder to a soft peak. Add sugar, (and optional gel coloring) and beat until it is nice and glossy, and is stiff. When you turn over the mixing bowl, the meringue should be able to hold up.

4. Fold in the dry to the whites. Be gentle. You don't want to deflate all your egg whites. Just fold until almost all combined. Don't overmix!

5. Load the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip (Wilton #12 or larger.) Pipe to desired size.

6. Rap the tray on the ground many times to remove the bubbles and make it more flat. Use a toothpick to poke out the bubbles when they arise. Let dry for 15 minutes-30 minutes, longer if you want it to be shinier.

7. The tops should be dry. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake for 11-12 minutes. When you touch the center of each macaron it should be hard and dry. When you try to wiggle the cookie, it should give just a little, not be really loose.

8. Let cool on the tray, then remove to a rack. Fill with buttercream, ganache, or whatever you like.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Baby-Led Weaning

After starting my baby on her weaning foods, she kind of enjoyed eating.

I usually kept to 1 ingredient fruit or root vegetable puree, with baby cereal. When she was around 7+ months, she start to select food that she likes, and food that is not so "tasty", she would reject.

It was quite stressful for me then, and I was quite concerned to at least have her eat something other than milk (although nutrition comes mainly from milk for babies).

So I started to find ways and means to let her eat more, like put in more ingredients for puree and porridge, have her seated in her high chair during meal times, let her self-feed, put puree on teething rusks so she would eat. 

I guess her bad habits developed because MIL didn't have any set routine for baby during meal times. It was quite nerve wrecking to correct the bad habits because baby would just wail loudly or refuse to take food from the spoon.

That was also when I started to let her self-feed partially. I was surprised that she actually enjoys it!

I started partial baby-led weaning by using steamed fruit wedges, puffs and diced bananas rolled in baby cereal. It was easy and manageable!

An easy BLW tip: dice ripe bananas and roll them in baby cereal,
so that it won't be too slippery for your baby to grab.

Put the diced bananas on the high chair tray or suction plate.
I used a plate to contain the mess for easy clean-up.



We were happy to realise that her pincer grasp is quite good compared to her peers. So, never mind the mess, bring it on! Haha!

If you are interested to do partial baby-led weaning for your baby too, do take a look at this basic baby-led weaning post that I've written for Sharekool :)

Will be posting up more finger food recipes soon!

Monday, 13 October 2014

A Little Update

It has been quite a while since the last blog update!

Things were not easy, and sometimes I just wonder why would the genuine concern for our babies be misconstrued as something else. 

Anyway.. We are expecting some changes to our lives. Which probably is a good one for the baby.

Will then be considering some little baking project :)

In the meanwhile, I hope to be able to update about our partial baby-led weaning experience soon! If you would like to read about some basic baby-led weaning information that I have shared on Sharekool, click here!


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Easy Pancake for One

After the easy french toast for one, I am really glad to have found a pancake recipe for one!

Hubby commented that the pancakes are soft and yummy - he thought I bought these hahaha :)


I didn't have time to dust icing sugar for the Hello Kitty face though :p
And the mooncake - hubby was clearing our stash of mooncakes lol.

Pancake for One (Recipe Adapted from Love Swah)
Makes about 5 Pancakes 10cm each


Ingredients:
- ¼ cup plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp oil
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 egg
- Maple Syrup / Jam

Method:
1. Sift dry ingredients into a jug and mix.

2. In a separate bowl (I just use a mug), whisk together the egg, milk and oil until combined.

3. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until well combined.

4. Lightly grease a non-stick fry pan and heat to a medium temperature. Making this mixture in a jug will make it easier to portion out the batter – make this to your preferred size.

5. Cook until bubbles form on surface, flip and cook the other side until lightly browned. Serve either with a garnish of extra berries and drizzle of maple syrup.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

How to Start Baby Weaning

Following my Top 5 Weaning Products post, I am writing about baby weaning now!

Had been wanting to blog about this, but I just didn't have time. I might have forgotten most of the details and how I felt when I first see my baby eat food :( Reminds me that I should blog about her development each month. Hee hee.

Her first food: pumpkin puree
 





When to Start: This depends on individual baby's cue. Your baby should be able to sit up straight without help; head should not be wobbly anymore. He/she would also express interest in food while the adults eat.

I intended to start weaning when baby was around 5 months 2 weeks (in case she can't really swallow), because I believe in exclusive breastfeeding for first 6 months. However she fell ill that particular weekend, so I had to start only around 6 months. Thankfully she takes to food quite well!


How to Start: Most resources that I've read through encourage mothers to start weaning using baby cereal first. I can't remember why (hahaha when will my memory power ever return to me ;p), but I start giving baby pumpkin first.

I recently went for a weaning talk, and a doctor from the NUS recommended weaning by introducing food in this manner: baby cereal, vegetables, fruits. That is, start with bland food first.

This is because as baby start to learn to eat, we are training them more on their swallowing skill. Not so much as to "eat" and get nutrients from the food.



What Kind of Baby Cereal: I chose organic baby cereal, because I am trying to stay off those GMO stuff - well, we wouldn't really know what goes into the food these days right? As baby is still developing and is more vulnerable than older children and adults, I choose the safer kind of food - my personal choice :)

I also know of mothers who are not comfortable with commercial baby cereal, so they choose to dry and grind grains on their own. I think it's pretty cool, but I am kind of lazy to do that hee hee.

So far, I have fed baby with 3 kinds of baby cereal - Hipp White Rice Cereal, Happybellies Brown Rice Cereal and lately, Healthy Times Oatmeal Cereal.

To start, it is always better to choose a single grain cereal. I started with white rice cereal because it can be digested easily, compared to brown rice.


After 2 weeks of settling down with white rice, I introduced brown rice cereal to mix with the white rice cereal.



The First Time: You would need to choose a time of the day when baby is not fussy - that is neither tired nor hungry. I start feeding baby near to noon time, a while after her morning nap, and just before her next feed.

Some mothers would feed cereal in the evening. Again, I think it's up to your own comfort level :)

You wouldn't need to feed baby a lot for the first few times. If I remembered correctly, I mixed 3 small spoonfuls of baby cereal with enough milk to make it into a thin (watery) cereal mixture.

We also need to be mentally prepared that baby might not eat at all, or eat a lot for the first few times. As parents, it's good for us to always remain patient and relaxed during meals. It's ok for wastage because ultimately baby still depends on milk for his/her main nutrition.

Have a fun time planning and preparing for your baby's first food! It's really a joy to see our little babies start eating - a major milestone :)

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