Long Bean Omelette

The little one fell sick just the weekend that has passed. Since she had fever on Saturday night, I decided to cook something light and easy for our lunch the next day.

Most of the time when she's down with fever, I would feed her with porridge water till her fever subsides. Since she only had 1 dose of paracetamol the night before, I suppose cooking the porridge with some dried whitebait fish and corn should be ok too :p

And porridge without the old-school canned food doesn't seem right for the junk foodie husband (lol). So we had the canned 5 spice pork cubes with braised peanuts for the adults, along with omelette.

This combination seems the perfect comfort food for the husband, since he said it reminded him of his granny who has passed away.

I never knew the various ways of cooking omelette, because I grew up with just the plain o' omelette. My mother also wouldn't use certain processed food like cai por, hotdogs etc. Our diet was mainly light also. I think the "heaviest" kind of food would be stir fry dark soy pork liver hahaha. I think the 80s Hokkien kids mostly grew up with this dish.

Anyway, so my husband actually gave me the names of certain Hokkien or Nonya dishes, and for me to explore them :p

One of the dishes is this long bean omelette. I have always used french bean, but one of my friends corrected me that it should be long bean. (Thankful for Hokkien friends! lol)

Long Bean Omelette with Cai Por
(Serves 2-3 adults as side dish)
- 2 eggs
- Long Bean (or french bean if you like crunchier bite), sliced thinly
- 1 clove of garlic, diced
- Handful of cai por (Chinese dried radish)

- Dash of white pepper
- A few drops of fish sauce
- 1 tsp of water

1.  Rinse the cai por about 3 times. If you would like it to be less salty, soak it for about 1-2 mins. Crack the eggs and beat it lightly with a fork. Add in dash of pepper and a few drops of fish sauce, mix well. Add in 1 tsp of water, mix well.

2.  Heat up oil in pan. Make sure the oil is enough for omelette, so it won't stick later on. Add in the diced garlic before the pan gets hot, so your garlic wouldn't get burnt easily.

3.  Sautee the garlic till fragrant, add in the cai por. Stir fry for a while, add in long bean (or french bean).

4.  Stir fry till the long bean turns greener in color. Spread out the long bean and cai por on the pan.

5.  Pour in egg mixture to cover the entire pan. Cook over medium-low or low heat. Flip over only when the omelette seems set. Cook for 1-2 mins further before you dish up.

* I have used about 1 tbsp of cai por because that's the husband's favorite, and added in about 5 or 6 drops of fish sauce (less sodium version). You can use lesser if you want it to be milder in taste.

[Guest Post] My Breastfeeding Journey

Today’s post is a breastfeeding guest post by Su Ann. I have first “met” Su Ann on Twitter when I wanted to let go of my booking of Goodwood Park Hotel’s Junior Suite, due to clash of schedule. I wouldn’t have guessed that such a friendship would blossom over time and I really enjoy reading her wellness posts on social media these years.

Su Ann would be sharing about her breastfeeding journey and beliefs. When I was pregnant, I admit that the entire pregnancy and baby caring process can be quite nerve-wrecking and overwhelming. Su Ann details out some ways for you to find out more about BF, and making your choice. While BF is acknowledged to be the best for our babies, whether BF or FM, it does not define you as a mum! Remember, all mums are great mums!

* * * * * *

I will admit. I am passionate. I am *almost* sanctimonious. I am all for breastmilk feeding.

We're new parents to an almost 6 month old little girl and I'm very grateful for a few things that took place along the pregnancy journey till now, so let me share some of my personal thoughts.

1.  Read Up Before Delivery
Each (new) mum needs to be armed with as much knowledge and rally as much support as possible to enable her to breastfeed (hereon referred to as BF) or breastmilk (BM) feed her child. Breastfeeding does not begin only after birth. You would need to understand the entire concept of breastfeeding and how it works.

For example: opt for less drugs during delivery to assist with immediate latching, insistence on skin to skin right after birth, supportive hospital staff, scheduled lactation consultant (LC) visits, family & friends who will help with and support the BF journey - not bombard mum with myths, etc...

You must read, read, and read. Bump up your knowledge on how and why to breastmilk feed. I agree with you - there's SO MUCH to read, it's information overload - but that's the beauty.

When you read, you're broadening your horizons and understanding things from both sides of the coin, and thus you can make an informed decision. Still confused? Join forums & BF advocate pages with real time answers and help. This will lead me to my next point.

2. Social Media Detox For BF Support
Way before pregnancy I had this "urge to purge". I got tired of seeing nonsensical posts on my Facebook timeline. I decluttered and deleted. Kissed 800+ friends & useless pages or groups goodbye & kept family members.

It was refreshing - I now have access to relevant posts on fitness, world news, nutrition. Slowly I added pregnancy into the mix, and now BM feeding too. I was fortunate that I did have time to read a lot. Husband and I shared information, made decisions on delayed cord clamping (higher iron stores for baby), skin to skin (increase chance for first latch & breast crawling), etc...

Now, I am an active member in a couple of groups, and a silent reader of some. Very rarely do I miss posts and whether a relevant topic or not, I'll at least have a glance at it.

I strongly believe that many (new) mums out there may fall into the "ignorant" trap or "take the easy way out" route without trying to first solve the problem at hand. A good example would be latching on is too painful.

Or, sometimes we fall ill & supply diminishes... Sometimes we can be "made to believe" we're low supply, or more accurately, self-diagnosed low supply… Sometimes our families cast a huge cloud of doubt on us saying the BM is "too watery, too thin, nutrition-less"... Sometimes we start pumping too soon causing oversupply issues and pain... Other times, we fall into "top up traps" by following what nannies or other care-givers advice... Occasionally we forget to wake up to do a pump, leading to supply problems, etc.

Have we not heard all those before? From what I’ve read up on, the problems we, as mums, face seem to be all so similar. And these questions keep on repeating.

This is why it is essential for mums to be on their toes and read up constantly on BF even before delivery, if you're serious about it. Understand that "human milk is for human babies", so don't ever doubt your body's capabilities to feed your own flesh & blood!

We grow a whole new organ in our bodies for our babies - the placenta - that keep our babies alive and nourished in our wombs. So why stop there? Continue to persevere in providing BM that's specifically tailor-made for your baby!

3.  Why is the 4th Trimester Important?
In my humble opinion, the 4th trimester (or the first 3 months) is very crucial as baby is still very, very young and needs the consistent reassurance of the mum and probably the breast as well. This is also the period where BF routine can be established - direct latching if possible – and time to get to know each other (yes, you and baby. No rushing to get back to work if you’re on maternity leave).

You might have no need for pumping (yet), and have time to try overcome any potential issues (because there's time, no pressure to switch to bottles), etc. Providing BM is even more important if one has a pre-term baby with immature or underdeveloped organs, gut. BM will be the kindest to them.

4.  Future Support for BF?
My hope is for the countries that we reside in, and the companies we work with and for, to have a better BF support - encourage and support mums (and dads) in their BF journey. It probably won't be overnight, change never is.

For mums, we went through 30-something weeks of gestation period and growing a human being in us. From there, we continue fighting for our children and providing the best we can, as long as we can. BF can deplete our body's nutrition storage so we must eat well to compensate. We must try to be the best version of ourselves so that we can be our best for others.

I do hope to continue breastfeeding my child until she self-weans, whenever that may. I am confident that my body can give my child a lot of things that none others out there can. Happy breastfeeding dear mums. Self-believe is the one thing no one can take away from you!

Su Ann is a firm believer in mindful, healthy living through fitness, nutritious food and consciously being happy everyday.

Currently based in Indonesia and a full time mum to an almost 6 month old little girl, she’s grateful for all the support and opportunities to fully breastmilk-feed her child, with no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Follow her on Instagram or Twitter @endorphynn

Beginner Tips for Toddlers' Quiet Book

A few months ago, last year, I was searching for activities for the little one.

And I came to this "quiet book" activity, where the toddlers flip through felt books. Inside the books, there were a huge variety of sensory items for them, eg. beads, ribbons, different kind of fabric, zips, velcro etc.

And so I started to gather ideas to sew my first quiet book!

I also decided on a "fruits" theme, so I could reinforce her learning at the childcare centre :)

Opps, I didn't realise the green ribbon came off lol..

Velcro on butterfly, attached to ribbon, because I was afraid that the little one would misplace it.

 One of the apples were missing - obviously misplaced by the little one already haha!

On the left were velcro fruits with a basket; on the right is more of a nature/greenery page,
with velcro rabbit, button flower and velcro cloud.

And that's the last page of my little quiet book!

Tips for Starting Your Own Quiet Book

1.  Plan & Sketch 
When I knew I wanted to sew a quiet book, I didn't know where to start with. You can decide if you want a theme, and then check the Internet for ideas.

For me, whenever I see nice quiet books on the Internet, I will pin them on my Pinterest board. And it's very useful, because you can see all images at a glance. It would definitely help in planning your pages, if you are new like me :)

Since I am more of a "planner" and someone who works better when I "see" than visualise, I decided to sketch the pages down in details.

Be prepared that you might make changes along the way - I changed my entire cover page!

2.  Cute Pictures
Once you have decided on the layout and theme, it would be easier. For the individual items to be attached to each page, I would sketch them out. You can also check out the Internet for nice clipart.

3.  Supplies
I wrote down the supplies that I would need under each page of my sketches, eg. white felt, blue buttons, thread etc.

This would help you see what are the supplies you have at home, and what you would need to buy.

All of my supplies were bought from Daiso. I would recommend Vivocity's outlet because I've found them to carry more sewing and craft supplies.

Some of the basic supplies you might need (which I got from Daiso):
- Felt in various colors or patterns
- Washable fabric pen
- Pins
- Needles (you might need thicker / longer ones if you have quite a few layers of felt on a page)
- Velcro
- Decorative buttons
- Thread in various colors
- Scissors

4.  Cutting & Sewing
For my book, I am using the size of a half A4 paper. So I would use the fabric pen to trace the outline before cutting it out. The side with traces of the pen would be the back side of the page (so that it can be concealed later on). 

For some items, you can simply hold the paper and cut it out. For some smaller ones,
you might want to use the pins to secure it in place before cutting.

For sewing by hand, you would need to know blanket stitches mostly.  For some of the letters, I use stem stitch to sew.

5.  Variations in Sensory Play
You can add different elements in your quiet book. For me, I stick to using mainly velcro because it was easier for me to plan and sew.

Other fun elements include using zippers, using a variety of beads and decorative buttons, ribbons etc.

6.  Binding
There are also various ways to bind the quiet book, after you have completed the pages. Most frequently used method would be using the eyelet puncher (like our paper hole puncher), and bind together using metal rings.

For me, I simply sewed the sides together, since it was not all that thick, and added a small piece of felt on top of the stitches to conceal it.

Have Fun!

Easy Potato Salad (Overnight)

Sometime in November last year, I happened to see this book on salad and appetizers online, and was quite amazed by the variety of salads the book has.

The first salad to try would have got to be potato salad, since it's the hubby's favourite!

Potato Salad
This was packed for my husband's breakfast box, to be eaten in his office :p
Potato Salad, served along with Kyoho grapes and sandwich.

I simplified the recipe because I am not sure if the hubby likes a splash of vinegar in it. I would prepare this salad the night before, and store it in a glass jar, sealed properly, and serve the next morning :)

So it's easy breakfast too!

Potato Salad - Recipe Adapted from 美味常備菜120道:是沙拉,是小菜,也是便當
-  4 to 5 Potatoes
-  5 Slices of Ham
- 3 Hardboil Eggs, shelled *I omitted
-  1 Japanese cucumber
-  150g Japanese mayonnaise
-  1/2 tsp salt + some salt for sprinkling
-  Black Pepper
-  Chopped Parsley, optional

1.  Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into quarters, place into pot. Add water till it covers the potatoes.

2.  Turn on the stove and cook over medium heat till boiling. Once boiling, turn down the heat to low. Add the pot lid to continue cooking for 15 mins, until the potatoes are soft enough for a skewer to poke through.

3.  In the meantime, slice cucumber thinly. Sprinkle with salt. Set aside for a min before washing off the salt. Squeeze out excess water with kitchen paper towel.

4.  Tear the slices of ham roughly (about 1cm squares). Mash 2 of the hardboiled eggs roughly. Cut the remaining hardboiled egg into pieces (so that presentation looks nicer).

5.  Remove potatoes from the pot and mash it while it is hot. Let cool slightly, and add in the mayonnaise. Mix well.

6.  Add in the cucumber, ham, mashed egg, salt and black pepper. Mix well, and top with the cut-up hardboiled egg.

7.  Garnish with chopped parsley.

- Choose freshly cracked black pepper for deeper flavor.
- I use Kewpie's mayonnaise because according to my "potato salad expert" husband, this makes the best potato salad ever lol...
- If you would like, reduce the amount of ham; add in diced pan-fried bacon pieces the next morning, just before you serve :) Remember to blot off excess oil from the bacon before dicing it!


Baked Prata Rolls with Otah

A couple of months back, my group of mummy friends fell in love with baked prata wrapped with sausage or otah.

And I finally got to try it out after much "tempting" from them!

I made this for breakfast yesterday, since the hubby was on leave and I wasn't in a hurry to make breakfast. This has otah as the filling.

If you have some time in the morning, you can make this as a quick and yummy breakfast! Although I am sure it's not super healthy, this baked version can be considered a "healthier" treat compared to actual pratas!

Baked Prata Rolls 
- Frozen Prata Pastry
- Frozen Otah or Sausages
- Egg, beaten

1.  Preheat oven to 180C.

2.  Take the frozen prata pastry out to thaw slightly (about 2 mins or so). The pastry should become slightly softer, and does not crack when bent. If you thaw it out for a longer period of time, the pastry will become sticky.

3.  If you are using frozen otah, divide and cut into portions. If the sausages are too long, you might want to cut it too.

4.  Cut the frozen prata pastry into half with kitchen scissors. Place the otah or sausage in the middle and wrap it up. Place onto a lined baking tray.

5.  You might want to snip a few openings on the surface of the prata pastry using kitchen scissors.

6.  Apply egg wash. You can also sprinkle some white or black sesame seeds as garnish.

7.  Bake in preheated oven at 180C, middle rack, for 30-40 mins, until prata pastry is puffed up and golden brown.


* I've used New Moon frozen Muar mackerel otah, cut into 4 portions.
* There are different brands of frozen prata, but I've heard better reviews from Spring Home and Chinatown. I am using Spring Home (my favourite childhood brand lol).

And previously, I also made the sausage version, and packed it for hubby's breakfast. For the sausage, I chose those with lesser additives and with no nitrate. It's more expensive, but definitely worth it for occasional indulges :)