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Monday, October 28, 2013

Alayna's Lunch



Grilled salmon with sweet potato chips and steamed broccoli and sweet potato


I posted this picture of Alayna's lunch recently and someone asked me to share the recipe so here it is:


Ingredients:

Salmon
Italian herbs
Rosemary
Pepper
Broccoli (or any vege of your choice)
Sweet potatoes (normal potatoes also can)
Butter (I use unsalted butter)
Olive oil


To make grilled salmon:

1) Make small incisions on the salmon

2) Season with italian herbs, rosemary, pepper (you can add salt but I personally do not add salt to Alayna's food)

3) Pat on a bit of olive oil

4) Grill it until its done

5) Melt a bit of butter on top of it while it's still hot



I use an indoor grill that looks something like this



To make sweet potato chips:

1) Peel off the skin

2) Cut the sweet potato into thin slices (if you want the chips to be crunchy then make sure the slices are really thin)

3) In a bowl, toss the thinly sliced sweet potato with oilve oil, pepper and some italian herbs (again, you can add salt if you want)

4) Bake the chips in the oven until they turn golden brown. I can't really remember the exact temperature or duration. I think 180 degrees celsius for 20 minutes. I waited in front of the oven the whole time and kept poking at the chips to see if it was done (you can also fry them but baking is a healthier option).



To make steamed veges:

1) Just steam la. 

2) Oh and I also melted some butter on the veges while they're still hot, like what I'd do with the salmon.


Anddd we're done!


I loveee cooking for Alayna. It's so rewarding to see her eat what I have prepared and watch her make the "yummy" sign whenever she takes a bite, while knowing that she's getting all the nutrition that she needs. I can't afford to cook everything from scratch on a daily basis (like this salmon dish) so usually I will cook her pasta sauces/soups/meatballs/fishcakes/nuggets in big batches and freeze them. 


Ok now I'm hungry.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Forbidden Shoes



You can always tell whether Alayna got dressed by Nadri or me.

If she wears a halter dress + sequinned mary janes = Me.

If she wears a t-shirt + shorts + sneakers = Nadri.

Usually while I'm getting ready before we head out, I would ask Nadri to help change her diapers and her clothes. But in the end I have to change her again because most of the time he would dress her up in mismatched prints and colours (sporty purple t-shirt with pink Adidas lettering paired with yellow and green floral pants, seriously?).

I should have known better than to let him go shoe-shopping with Alayna without me.

He got her this:



Crocs



I will not let you turn Alayna into a mini you.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Robot Face









I caught myself drooling over the Celine Trapeze these past few weeks. I think it's a great everyday bag. It's roomy, understated (no flashy logos or monograms), comes in gorgeous colours and it has a shoulder strap! Which is vital for us mommies because we need our hands to be free since, you know, sometimes we need to carry our toddler using one hand, and hold a sippy cup in the other. 

I almost bought one last week but i changed my mind when I saw these pictures:






Apparently the Trapeze tends to slouch if you carry it by the top handle (because the handle is attached to the top flap, not the bag itself) or if you carry too much stuff in it.

This just doesn't work for me because I carry a LOT of junks in my bag and I am a structured-bag kinda girl, which is why I loveeeee Chanel flaps.

The Celine luggage totes would be better suited for me because they're sturdier and holds their shape better.




There's just one problem though. For some reason, every time I look at the luggage totes, all I see is a robot face sticking it's tongue out at me, mocking me.





No offense to Celine luggage lovers. They're truly gorgeous bags. It's just me.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Bakers, I Salute You

I fasted last Monday on the Day of Arafah. And usually when I am hungry, for some weird reason, I would stare at pictures of food for hours. So there I was, lying on my bed with my phone and searching for #beststeakever and #cheesecakefactory on Instagram.

Pure torture I tell you.

Then I stumbled upon a picture of this:




Oh. My. God. I NEED THAT!!!

I straightaway searched for online bakers who would take an order for this for me to pick up the next day but who was I kidding? Everyone was back to their hometown for Raya Haji.

Maybe it was the hunger from fasting, I just could not let this go. Come to think of it, this dessert actually looks pretty easy to make. I mean, basically you just have to assemble a few ingredients in a jar. How hard can that be right?

So I googled the recipe and I found it!

    ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 12 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), chopped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons almond extract, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 7 ounces Boudoirs or Champagne biscuits (crisp ladyfinger cookies),* divided
  • 1 cup raspberry jam, melted, divided
  • 1 1/2 12-ounce packages frozen unsweetened raspberries, partially thawed, divided
  • 2 6-ounce containers fresh raspberries
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted


preparation


Bring 1 cup cream to simmer in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate; whisk until smooth. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 10 minutes. Beat 2 1/2 cups cream and 1/2 teaspoon extract in large bowl to soft peaks. Fold in white chocolate mixture.
Stir sugar and 1/2 cup water in small saucepan over medium heat until sugar melts. Mix in 3/4 teaspoon extract; remove syrup from heat. Quickly submerge 1 biscuit in syrup; shake excess back into pan. Place dipped biscuit in bottom of 14-cup trifle dish. Repeat with enough biscuits to cover bottom of dish.
Spread 1/3 of melted jam over biscuits in dish. Top with 1/3 of partially thawed berries with juices. Spread 1/3 of whipped chocolate cream over. Repeat layering with dipped biscuits, melted jam, partially thawed berries, and whipped chocolate cream 2 more times. Mound fresh berries in center of trifle. Sprinkle almonds around edge. Cover and chill at least 5 hours and up to 24 hours.


Hmm, seems doable.

So off I went to the supermarket.

The recipe calls for heavy whipping cream which is confusing because all they say on the box is whipping cream/cooking cream so I googled and found out that heavy cream contains at least 36% of milk fat I bet you didn't know that too! Hehe.

After I got home from a wedding that night, I dragged my youngest sister to help me out.


The ingredients


First, I grated some chocolates to make chocolate shavings. It's not in the recipe, I was just feeling a little bit creative.


I used this thing. Dunno what it's called.

Tada!


Next, making the white chocolate mixture.




White chocolate mixture mixed with the whipped cream


It didn't look quite right though. I thought it was supposed to be less liquid


We moved on anyway.

Next, we proceeded to make caramelised almonds. The recipe only requires almond flakes but I am a sucker of caramelised almonds and I think that the dessert would be absolutely divine with them.

The best part is, it is super easy to make. You only need almonds, butter and brown sugar. And all you have to do is melt 4 tablespoons of salted butter, add in 2 cups of almonds (or any nuts of your choice) and then add 4 tablespoons of brown sugar. Stir until it caramelises.


Easy peasy!

We had 1 cup of almonds so I had to cut down the other ingredients in half. So I melted 2 tablespoons of  butter and  then added the 1 cup of almonds while my sister stirred. Then I confidently added 1 cup of brown sugar into the pan, and halfway through pouring the 2nd cup of brown sugar, my sister said:

"Whoa, so much sugar!"

I said, "Yeah. Actually the recipe requires 4 tablesp----"

Then something clicked in me.

Oh shit.

4 tablespoons of brown sugar!!! Not 4 cups!!

I was supposed to reduce it to 2 tablespoons but I already poured in 1 and a half cups.

Idiot!

We started freaking out. I added more butter. Don't ask me why.

We ended up with this:




We stopped panicking because it looked kinda right and it smelled heavenly. My sister continued stirring.

There was another problem though. The recipe said to continue stirring until it caramelises. How do we know? What is it supposed to look like? I should have youtube-ed it but no time for that. So I told my sister to keep stirring.

And then in a split second, the whole mixture started to darken really fast. It was starting to burn.




We quickly took it off the stove and poured it onto a baking tray (we were supposed to pour it on a wax paper but we didn't have any) and we ended up with this:


T_T


Our caramelised almonds have become burnt almond brittle. Sigh. How did things get so wrong so fast?? Stupid recipe. They should have specified how long we were supposed to stir. Not say something vague like 'until it caramelises'. 


Trying to make the almonds cool down faster


The caramelised almonds started to harden. Since there were too much caramel (from the excess of butter and brown sugar), the whole big piece was stuck to the tray. We had to get my brother to help us scrape it off using a spoon. 




Used my hand as a cover because pieces of almonds were flying everywhere.


The aftermath


We ended up with small squares of caramelised almonds. We needed them to be in really small pieces so that we could sprinkle them over the dessert. Since the almonds were rock hard, I figured the only way to break them into small pieces was by using this:


Lesung batu


I felt bad for our maid. Her room is just next to the kitchen. And there we were banging away at 12.40am.




It worked! Ha! 


Finally, time to assemble everything and be done with it.




I was so excited because this jar (borrowed from my moksu) is almost exactly like the one in the picture that i found.

Okay. First layer: Biscuits. Second layer: Jam and strawberries.




Used up half of the biscuits and strawberries that we had and it was still at the bottom of the jar. There was no way we had enough ingredients to reach the top. Sigh.

My sister suggested that we use a smaller bowl. I was reluctant because the other bowl is not as nice and it has lines around it people won't be able to see the gorgeous layers (wishful thinking) of my dessert.

Suddenly my brother said, "Did you know that moksu used this bowl as an aquarium last time? The fish died in it."

That was the deal-breaker.


Transferred the ingredients into a smaller, less attractive bowl.



My other sister joined us. I guess she must have heard the commotion that we were causing in the kitchen.




Layering process continued.


White chocolate cream

Chocolate curls

Caramelised almonds

Biscuits again

Jam and strawberries

Supposed to be almonds first then white chocolate but I was so confused already at that point.

Final layer of white chocolate, then sprinkle with chocolate shavings

Raspberries for garnishing

Top view

Side view. Gorgeous layers la sangat. 

Added more chocolate shavings.


We shoved it into the fridge and went to bed.



8 hours later. 



Despite the disastrous attempt and the fact that it looked nothing like the picture that I found, it still received positive reviews from the family and it was wiped clean by the end of the day.

Will I bake again?

Errr probably not.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bed Hog

One of the things that I look forward to everyday before I go to sleep is to stare at Alayna sleeping. 

(*cough* creepy mom *cough*)

Seriously. I could spend hours just watching her sleep and smelling her and stroking her head. Up to this day I still can't believe that I have a daughter. I actually carried this girl in my tummy for almost 10 months! 

(As I'm writing this Nadri just spoke to me in his sleep. He looked up to me, eyes still closed and told me that I don't have to cook because he's not hungry and then went back to sleep)

Anyway. It really is the nicest feeling. If I had a bad day or if I was upset about something or if I merajuk with Nadri, hugging Alayna while I doze off just calms and soothes me. Best. Therapy. Ever (retail therapy is a close second).




I just wish that she's not such a bed hog though..


Now where shall I sleep? -___-


Yup. This mini boss takes half of the bed while Nadri & I have to share the other half. No matter how we place her at first, she will toss and turn until she is in that exact position. 

One time, she pushed us right to the edge of the bed and Nadri actually fell on the floor. And he continued sleeping!! I had to wake him up to get him to get back on the bed.  

I know we should start to teach her to sleep in her own bed but I'M not ready. 

(*cough* clingy mom *cough*)

So I guess in the mean time we need to put a mattress on the floor next to the bed, you know, just in case.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Reminder

I haven't been blogging lately because things have been pretty hectic, especially when my grandmother fell really ill 3 weeks ago. Her condition got so bad that at one point we really thought that she was not going make it. All of my uncles and aunties came and we all took turns reciting the Yassin to her. 

It was quite a traumatising experience for me because I am very close to my grandmother. As I cried watching her in so much pain, I couldn't help but to think of all the times that I could have spent with her (she lives with my aunt just next door) but I didn't because I had something else to do.

I felt so guilty and I prayed for more time. Alhamdulillah my grandma got better. I am very thankful that I am getting another chance to make the most of my time with her. No matter how busy I am now, I will make sure that I at least see her once a day, even to just say hello.

Sometimes we get so caught up with our lives that we forget about the things that truly matter.

I love you nenek.






Monday, October 7, 2013

Hormonal Parents

Scenario 1

Nadri and I were in bed watching "Mama". Before I go on, you need to know that I am a complete chicken when it comes to horror movies.

  • When we're in the cinema, I would put my legs on Nadri's because I am scared that something will grab my feet under the seat (I heard it happened at one of the TGV outlets). I get the same fear when I am driving. Or when I am lying on the bed. Shit I am scared now.

  • I would peek through the teeny weeny gap between my fingers when the scene gets eerie. Sometimes I don't even peek at all. Then I'd ask Nadri what happened or what did the ghost look like and he wouldn't know either coz he's a chicken just like me bahahahahha.

  • And I am that girl who would jump and scream when I get startled, causing the popcorn to spill over onto the person sitting in front of me.  So.. If you're at the movies and I am sitting behind you, it might be a good idea for you to move.


Anyway, the "Mama" movie was already towards the end. I was buried under the covers, barely peeking through as the ghost flew around scaring the crap outta me. We later found out that the reason the ghost could not rest in peace was because she had an unfinished business; which was to find her infant child.

Hundreds of years ago, her newborn baby was taken from her. She found the baby and escaped with it. She was chased through the woods until she came to the edge of a cliff. She and the baby fell to their deaths. The baby's remains were taken and kept in storage. So that's why she started to haunt people all these years, she just wanted to find her missing baby's body.

I felt so bad for the ghost..

I started to sniffle quietly under the covers.

Nadri looked at me incredulously and said, "Are you crying??"

I started sobbing and exclaimed, "She lost her baby laa!! I get her pain okay.."

Nadri rolled his eyes and called me a drama queen.



Scenario 2

Nadri and I were watching Les Miserables at home. We came to the final scene where Hugh Jackman was dying and his daughter and husband came to see him. He was so happy to see her and his daughter kept saying "I love you Papa" or "Please don't leave me Papa" or something like that, I can't really recall.

Nadri started to sniffle quietly under the covers.

I looked at him incredulously and said, "Are you crying??"

He couldn't answer me because he was too busy trying to wipe his tears.

"It's because his daughter called him Papa isn't it?" (Alayna calls Nadri Papa)

He timidly said yes.

I burst out laughing and called him Nancy.






Thursday, October 3, 2013

Anywhere, Anytime


We were at the clinic and Alayna was just doing her thing.




Ran around..





Stared at the TV..




Got stuck behind chairs..





Suddenly she stopped and just stood for a while as if thinking of something.




Then she squatted and stared into space.

I said, "Alayna, what are you doing?"

No answer.




"Sweetheart?"

Still no answer.




OH.