Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Baked Lobster with Cheese

Hubby bought some lobsters recently. Well, I wouldn't call them lobsters... more like crayfish. Crayfish look somewhat like lobsters, albeit on a smaller scale. However, I did use a baked cheese lobster recipe for this dish. And they turned out really good!

Hubby bought the crayfish from a friend. I was really quite nervous about handling such an expensive crustacean. First up, cleaning it. Place the crayfish belly side up on a clean tea-towel to prevent slipping. Using a sharp knife, cut it in half lengthwise. Leave the meat within the shell as it will infuse the dish with it's flavour and prevent drying out. Next, take the crayfish and pose it for pictures! *chuckles*

Why hello, Mr Crayfish!

A cleaned crayfish.

Just to give you a feel of size.

Check out those pinchers! Can't beat a lobster, but I don't fancy being bitten by those pinchers anytime soon!

Here's the recipe, adapted from Rasa Malaysia. This recipe is for half a lobster, so I doubled the recipe for 6 crayfish. I did not use bacon (of course) and spinach. The recipe calls for the use of light cream. Since I usually get stumped every time I am in the dairy aisle, I actually googled it before my trip to the grocery shop. Light cream has a fat content between 18-30%. It will not whip, as whipping cream will have higher a fan content (between 30-40%). In the end, I used my favourite Emborg cooking cream.

Baked Lobster with Cheese

1/2 lobster
2 teaspoons melted butter
2/3 cup light cream (I used Emborg cooking cream)
1 clove garlic (chopped finely)
2 slices cheese (I used Cheesedale slices)
Salt to taste
A pinch of sugar
Some flour
Dried parsley flakes

Method of Preparation:

Heat up a wok/skillet and add in the melted butter. Saute the garlic until aromatic, then add in the cream and bring to boil. Add salt and a pinch of sugar, and a little flour to thicken the sauce. Dish out.

Preheat the oven to 190degC. Spread the mixture onto the body of the lobster and its head evenly. Break the cheese into small pieces and top the lobster with them. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese turns golden brown. Sprinkle dried parsley flakes on the lobster and serve hot with lemon wedges.

Officiating my Le Creuset baking dish in Empire Red.

Fresh out of the oven.

Since I placed this in the oven barely 15 minutes before iftar, everyone was anxiously waiting for it to be ready. Once I took it out of the oven, I didn't have enough time to sprinkle dried parsley nor garnish it with lemon wedges. It was such a hit - everyone took one crayfish each and soon the baking dish was completely empty!

Maybe I should try it with an actual lobster next time! Selamat berbuka!

500K Reader Giveaway!

*Sticky post... scroll down for latest blog entries!*

Happy June!

In celebration of my 500K reader mark... I am giving away ONE gorgeous Rouge Allure Gloss from Chanel, as a massive thank you from me to you for taking the time to read my blog. 

The giveaway begins at midnight 1st of June, and will end midnight 5th of July, so you have a whole month to spread the word about Lizzieasamummy and get your friends to join the giveaway too! 

Beautifully wrapped. The SA even included a mini Chanel paperbag to go with it.

Colour and shine lipgloss in one click!

Love the subtle yet classy packaging.

The colour is Innocent (#14) and it is a lovely, shimmering neutral colour. Perfect for Eid!

Nah... here's a picture of my excited face in the Chanel makeup boutique. I felt like a kid in a candy shop!

All you have to do is:

1) Leave a comment below. No hate comments, please. *chuckles*
2) Like the Lizzieasamummy Facebook page.

That's it! Have fun entering!

*The winner will be chosen by Random.org. Lizzieasamummy will bear the cost for prize shipment. The winner will have to disclose his/her address for prize fulfillment. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Ian at 15 till 18 Months!

Oh my, I have certainly been behind on Ian's milestone reviews. So here goes:

Ian at 15 Months

This month was all about imitating. We taught him how to do a "high ten", and he was able to imitate it like a pro. We taught him how to do the fist bump, but instead of giving us his fist, he would point his index finger to our fist instead (but at least, that's a start). We showed him how to play peekaboo, and he had a fun time doing it back to us. We also taught him how to kiss our cheeks,  and he was able to do so easily. Of course he forgets everything pretty quickly, but since their mind is like a sponge at this age, I'm sure if we practice it a few times, he would have no problems remembering it.

Playing peekaboo with a food menu!

He also loves to imitate our cough. If we give him a sip of water and cough afterwards, as soon as he swallows his drink he would also imitate the cough. Super cute! I even have it captured on video.

Loves banging on my tummy. He would even push my t-shirt up to bang on my tummy! Sometimes he would put his mouth to my tummy and even blow to tickle! *manebelajarnie* And he would push my tummy up whenever he wants to - in public, at my in-laws home... I always have to push his hands away in panic whenever he has the urge to bang on my tummy! *grin*

Loves to use his index finger to point at things, such as a book, or a menu etc.

Knows how to get on the dump truck by himself, and push the truck back and forth with his feet. He also knows how to get into (but not out of) the yellow Mini Cooper car by himself. Once we found him in the Mini, and he was turning the steering wheel and working the gears - just like a real car!

Had his first major cough/flu/fever combo this month. It was his first time using the nebulizer, and he was screaming and struggling to push his face away. Then he resorted to being quiet for half a minute to collect his strength, then he struggled with all his might the next half minute. It was quite heart breaking for me to see him in that state.

The two brothers.

Likes to say "Shhhhhhhhh", whatever that means! He also likes to say "oh ohhhhhh" (his version of oh oooooo), whenever he drops something.

Loves to go out. He would cry whenever we leave him at home. If he knows we're going out, he would run up to the car and attempt to open the car door. When we open the car door, he would even climb onto the seat!

Imitating what his big brother is doing, first time having fries and hot dogs. Look at his legs dangling, not even touching the floor. So cute!

Chilling on the swing.

Ian at 16 Months

This month was all about achieving independence. For instance, he didn't like being forced into the baby chair. Instead, he prefered to sit on a proper chair like any other adult. So nowadays during meals, we make him sit on a chair just like everyone. For dinner, he would have his own chair and own plate (filled with crackers, cereal or even telur dadar), and he would happily munch quietly in his seat. (Unlike Aiden who dislikes having to sit at the table during dinner. He prefers for the maid to suap him food in the living hall while he watches TV *shakes head* sigh...)

Hence, with all the meals that Ian has spent with us, this month he said his first word! Unfortunately, it wasn't Mummy nor Daddy, but rather "Nak!". When he sees food on the dining table, he would say "Nak!", even using his index finger to point to the food. (Sometimes instead of "Nak!", it becomes "Mak!" Does that count as Mummy? *grin*)

Loves to laugh!

Usually when he's sitting on an elevated surface (chair, bed, slide), I would help him down while counting "One, two, three". He's starting to copy those words and I can actually hear a faint "theeee" at the end of a whole mumble jumble of words (usually "aiii aiii theeee")!

Continuing his love for imitation, he enjoys imitating Aiden. Monkey see, monkey do! If his brother roars at him, he will roar back ("Aaarrrggghhh!!") If Aiden shakes his head, he would imitate. Ian definitely adores his big brother! When Aiden received a wrist watch as a present from my SIL, Ian received one too, and as soon as he saw Aiden put it on, he wanted the same too.

Loves to ransack my shoe cabinet and try out my shoes. Once we caught him wearing my high heels (both feet) and walked click clacking in the living hall. Still enjoys opening kitchen cabinet doors, he would even peel off the sticky tape holding the doors shut. Sometimes he even ransacks the freezer, opens the ice compartment and then munches on small pieces of ice!

Wearing a wrist watch, and his Mummy's shoes...

If he sees the stairs gate open, he would run up to it and try to climb it. Once he gets pass the gate, he would actually turn back and "close" the gate, because that's how he sees us do it all the time.

If he sees me working on the computer at the dining table, he would walk up beside me, then stamp both his tiny feet (in a cute way!) which is his way of telling me he wants to sit on a chair too.

Intently drawing.

Doesn't drink milk as much as before. Probably about 4 times a day. He even sends his bottle to the kitchen after finishing it. *goodboy* To compensate for the (lack of) milk, he eats a full bowl of porridge every meal. Unfortunately he still hates rice so we're still depending on Cerelac complimented with puréed vegetables. Loves macaroni and cheese - so potentially looking at a Western baby, this one!

He has finally (sort of) grown out of the phase of putting things in his mouth! Although he still cannot resist putting bottles and interesting knick knacks into his mouth. He can also sit still while I cut his fingernails. He will even help by holding out his hand! And last but not least, to wrap up the month, his 8th tooth sprouted!

Ian at 17 Months

This month was all about communication. We discovered that he was able to understand us better, and he was actually able to tell us what he wanted.

For starters, he now knows how to say Hi (his second word!)... Nothing is more satisfying than coming home, getting out of the car and being greeted by an enthusiastic "Hi!!!" from Ian. Just the other day, he had a tummy ache so he cried out, walked up to me, lifted his t-shirt and started hitting his tummy. After applying some minyak, he calmed down. He can also point out to things too. Like pointing to the light switch or lift button to press it. When we ask him "Susu?", he would point to the fridge (cos that's where we store sterilized bottles). He can also point to something that he wants while saying "Nak". And if we hand him the wrong thing, he would shake his head to indicate no. It's much easier to understand what he wants nowadays.

Loves to cheer for himself by saying Yeay!!! (his third word!), and even clapping his hands enthusiastically. In fact he says Yeay for almost anything. Once, at bedtime he was drinking his milk quietly on the bed while hubby was praying. As soon as hubby gave the salam, he sat up and said "Yeay!!!" while clapping his hands. It was so funny! Same thing happens when we arrive home (happy to see us), or parking at a shopping mall (happy to get out of the car), he would say "Yeay!!!" gleefully!

He also understands what we say to him. Once, Hubby got "angry" at him for doing something naughty, and he just sat still looking at his Daddy, while being reprimanded. In the end, Hubby said "Pegi depan" and pointed his finger to the living hall. And we had to stifle our laugh when he actually walked away and headed to the living hall. He also recognizes the name of our family members. Once he walked up to me and showed his hands stained with cookie crumbs (usually his way to tell us he needs help to get his hands washed). I told him "Go and wash your hand with Kakak", and he immediately walked to the kitchen and held his hands out to the maid!

Loves to sit on my lap after solat. He would then raise his arms with palms open facing up, as if to doa and then quickly wipe his palms to his face when I say Amin. He also knows when I'm done with my solat, as he would tug on my telekung to pester me to take if off. And when I take off my telekung, he would then tug on my kain pulak insistently.

Aiden wanted to colour... so Ian wanted the same too!

He can now play with Aiden's toys. Sometimes, he would say "Cheeww cheww", as if making a shooting sound. Sometimes he says "Shhhh" as if the toy is flying in the air!  He also understands how to play peekaboo. When I say "Peekaboo?", he would immediately bring his hands (or hand) to his eyes and close them. And when I say "Fist bump!" and offer him my fist, instead of giving me his fist, he would push my fist up (like Baymax's balalala).

Starting to show signs of bergaduh with Aiden. Aiden loves to kiss, hug and hold Ian's hand. Ian would get angry and push him away and yelp in irritation. Sometimes Aiden would take it to heart. Ian also doesn't even allow Aiden to hold his hand when walking in public. But if Hubby or I do so, he would oblige easily. On the other hand, sometimes when Aiden is lying down, Ian would then pull Aiden's hair or tug on his hand. Aiden would then get angry. So yeah... Expect sibling fights to start soon!!!

That being said, Ian kuat merajuk! He would push his body back and lie on the floor (actually anywhere... even the garden, on the porch) for the slightest things. But the thing is, he doesn't throw a tantrum. After just a few frustrated cries, he would just lie there motionless until one of us go pujuk him. But sometimes we just leave him lying on the floor. Cannot layan sangat hehehe!

Can you believe it.. that middle pictures actually shows a silent cry. Then he laid down and waited for someone to pujuk him. *chuckles*

Sometimes, when Aiden and Ian share the same bed, Ian would start his habit of sleeping sideways and start getting into Aiden's space. Ian also has a bad habit of poking his feet under the body or putting his hands into the clothes of the person sleeping beside him (usually me!) so when they are on the same bed, Ian would do the same to Aiden. It irritates Aiden immensely!! I don't know how I'm going to transition them into the queen sized bed in the next room. (Dulu Aiden only puts his hands under my ketiak. But with Ian, he brings it to a different level - he puts his hands under my clothes and his feet IN my pants to keep warm!!!)

Insists on having his own air kotak. Doesn't want to share with his brother. Even if his brother graciously passes the drink to him, he would hog it! So to prevent "fights", we would end up buying one for each child. At the dinner table, he also insists on holding his own cup! This one certainly has a feisty personality. *smiles*

Ian at 18 Months

Ian now understands more basic instructions. He knows how to "kiss" (he will offer his cheek to your cheek), "salam" (he will take your hand and pull it towards his cheek). When he sees a pair of spectacles, he knows how to put it on, on his own. Having said that, he also knows how to wear his own Crocs (although usually it's on the wrong side)!

I am also starting to teach him basic words, such as eyes, nose. But when I ask him “Where’s your nose?” he would point to the back of his hand instead! *epicfail* In fact, if you ask him anything, even "Where's Ian?", he would point to the back of his hand! He also recognizes words and points to it while saying "aiiii aiiii" as if reading it!

Future piano protege?

Ian also understands that certain things belong to certain people. Once he took Hubby's tafsir Quran and walked around the house in search of his Daddy. He refused to pass it to the maid or even to me when I offered to take it. He insisted on passing it to only his Daddy. 

Ian now knows how to open doors. If the front door is left unlocked, he is tall enough to reach the door handle. Once unlatched, he would use his nimble fingers to push through the small opening of the door and crank it wide open. Whenever he hears the doorbell, or the familiar horn of Aiden's van, he would quickly walk to the front door and open it! 

Hugging his brother and posing on his favourite dump truck. He can now whiz confidently around the house, maneuvering accurately and swerving to avoid obstructions!

Sometimes Aiden 'bullies' his little brother by asking Ian to push him on the dump truck. 

Unlike Aiden, Ian is fearless and more adventurous. I was dumbfounded when I saw him hanging off the kitchen table, fingers holding the counter top and swinging his legs back and forth like a monkey. *giggles* Since he can now open doors, once he opened the store door and accidentally closed the door behind him. But instead of wailing in fear or panicking in the dark, he just said "ehhh ehhh", until the maid found him and rescued him. Tsk tsk tsk *shakes head* It's funny how the two brothers can be so different! However, we did discover one fear that miraculously manifested itself this month - Ian is scared of loud noises. He would cry (real tears) whenever the vacuum cleaner is turned on, or the maid is using the blender in the kitchen.

Fearless Ian - doesn't mind being swung in the swing without any adult support!

The two best buddies.

And that brings us to the close of Ian's 18th month. Happy 19 months old, baby!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Week 4 of the Friso Yes Experiment!

I must admit, when my shiny new little boys were brought into this world, I certainly had my reservations about allowing their soft and innocent bodies be exposed to anything that could have germs. Hence for Week 4 of the Friso Gold Yes Experiment, I was encouraged to let go of my fear of germs.

In Week 3, Aiden asked for a cat. If you haven’t read that post, here’s the link. Initially, I was quite resistant to the idea. Growing up with a cat (that slept on my head!) through my teens, I know that pets are a great carrier for germs; unless with regular grooming, proper litterboxes… the whole works!

However, a mounting body of research suggests that exposing kids to germs may help their bodies prepare their defenses that offer them greater protection from illnesses later on in life. This is, of course, within reason. We simply need to use our common sense, as not all germs are bad, after all!

In order to start small, we babysat our neighbor’s pet for the day. It was an adorable rabbit with floppy ears. It was extremely tame – it allowed Aiden to carry it out of the cage and Aiden simply couldn’t resist giving it a cuddle too.

But having a pet isn’t just about giving it love, cuddles and playtime. I wanted Aiden to understand that having a pet means having to take responsibility for it too. Caring for an animal can take a lot of time and energy. So for starters, I decided to let Aiden try cleaning the rabbit cage. Of course, certain precautionary measures would have to be taken. My common sense tells me that in this case, hygiene cannot be compromised, hence I told Aiden that he needed to don gloves and face mask before he is allowed to clean the cage.

Gloves and mask on, Aiden started cleaning the cage by clearing the bedding and throwing it into a bin for disposal. Next, I helped him remove the cage tray and showed him how to scrub it using a stiff brush and some soap. He enthusiastically mimicked my moves and soon the tray was sparkling clean! He even cleverly commented that if cage is not throughly cleaned, it might pose a health risk to the rabbit.

Next, I showed him how to disinfect the cage. Using a mixture of vinegar and water, he sprayed the cage down and wiped it dry. Finally, we reassembled the cage, placed fresh bedding and let the rabbit back in the cage. It was wonderful to see how involved Aiden was in the whole activity, and how it increased his understanding of responsibility. Of course, the time I spent with him during this pet care session was a great bonding experience and an opportunity for me to offer positive affirmations and motivation. Hence, having Aiden do chores like these, can help build his self-confidence and reinforces independence.

Isn’t it amazing how “Saying Yes” to a simple activity like this can be so beneficial for my child?

Of course, Ian wanted to be part of the experiment too. But I have never allowed Ian to touch any animals, what more an outdoor pet. It is simply my way of protecting him from diseases, bites and such. After mulling over it for a while and seeing that the rabbit was so tame, I decided to let Ian touch his first rabbit. Lounging on the patio sofa, I cradled the rabbit in my arms and gingerly extended it towards Ian. Guess what he did? He pulled the rabbit’s ears!!! The poor rabbit squirmed, but it was the look on Ian’s face that enthralled me. It was a look of pure joy and excitement. I thought to myself, “Oh my, Ian’s touching his first rabbit!

I then took his hand and showed him how to stroke the rabbit. After a few tries, he understood the concept and started stroking the rabbit too. My heart melted… it was such a special moment for me, and a major milestone for Ian!

Check out the Week 4 experiment at the Friso Gold Yes Experiment microsite, to watch those beautiful moments I shared with my kids.

Wrapping up my 4 weeks with the Friso Gold Yes Experiment, I realize now that my parenting style is largely influenced by how I was raised. Being an only child raised by a single mother, I was my mum’s world. Her love was boundless and her energy unmatched. Growing up, my mum was my rock – she was with me through my good and bad times. She protected and cared for me. She always wanted the best for me, and I am what I am now, because of her. And I want to be the same mother for my kids.  

And I can be the same mother for my kids. By “Saying Yes”, there are so many things that I can discover about my children just from letting go and allowing them to take reasonable risks. I now regret overprotecting my kids and assuming that Aiden is not big enough to handle responsibilities. He’s become a big brother, who is able to look out for his little brother.

Thank you Friso Gold, for allowing us to be part of the Friso Gold Yes Experiment. It was truly an insightful journey which has certainly taught me much about my children, and allowed me to reflect on my parenting style. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Meet Fungus!

We have a new pet!

Nope, it is not a cat nor is it a rabbit. Too conventional lah. We have a pet caterpillar!!! And Aiden named it Fungus. *krik*krik* Well, you wanna try explaining to a 6 year old what a fungus is? Cos I tried and in the end I gave up and settled with calling it Fungus too. *chuckles*

In case you're wondering, this is not a cacing nor an ulat bulu. Naive me had to google caterpillar in Malay okeh! This is an ulat beluncas. (Did you just learn something new here today? Hehehe!)

To be perfectly honest, I have never seen a caterpillar up close and personal. So here are close up pictures of our new pet. I was absolutely in awe over it's smooth texture, the legs, its cute eyes and those adorable spots!

Check out those captivating eyes!

This is truly a magnificent creature. I never knew caterpillars had white spots on them!

Caterpillars also produce green poop... that thing on the right.

And thanks to Fungus, habis gondol this bush in our garden. Apparently caterpillars are 'eating machines' and can eat voraciously! 

Aiden had this whole dream of waiting for Fungus to spool a cocoon (yes, he specifically said cocoon) and turn into a beautiful butterfly. So instead of leaving it with the bush, we took the caterpillar in and fed it with plenty of leaves plus tender loving care. Unfortunately, it didn't last long. Just a few days after Fungus made our home his home, it shriveled up and died. I guess I need to read up on how to raise caterpillars!

But Aiden wasn't sad for too long, because just a few weeks after that, we found another caterpillar. As I am typing this, Fungus V2.0 is sleeping beside me in a microwaveable plastic container, content and full after his fresh batch of leaves. Let's pray hard that this one lasts!

Update: We found 4 new caterpillars the day after I wrote this post, to make a total of 5! And overnight, somehow two baby caterpillars sprouted in the container (how did that happen???) to make a grand total of 7! A neighbour enthusiastically volunteered to take them in, as she wanted to expose her kids to the beautiful life cycle of a caterpillar to butterfly, so I quietly donated them all (and told Aiden that they all died). *chuckles* But fret not, we now have Fungus V3.0, which Aiden just rescued from our garden. Wow, they sure multiply pretty quickly!!!

Some of the 7 caterpillars that we gave away.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Happy Father's Day, Daddy!

Happy Father's Day, dear Daddy. Sincerely, from your two little monsters!

Little monster #1.

Little monster #2.

We love you Daddy!

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Last Pre-Ramadhan Lunch Splurge at Iketeru, KL Hilton

I know I really shouldn't be posting up pictures of food during Ramadhan. But yesterday (the day before Ramadhan), I started spotting. But it was so light, hence I rushed home to shower and got ready for the first terawih. Oh I was so excited to kick start my Ramadhan... but somehow I wasn't completely convinced that I could solat (if you know what I mean). So as I was walking to the Surau, I texted a couple of neighbours and asked for their opinion. All of them said "Mane boleh solat!!! You dah kira start cycle dah nie..."

Dejected, I walked back home. In the background, I could hear the bilal giving the call to terawih prayers. And my eyes welled up in tears. *sigh*

Anyway, layankanlah saya yang hormonal nie. Here are pictures of our last pre-Ramadhan splurge at Iketeru in KL Hilton. Iketeru is located on the 8th floor of the KL Hilton, on the same floor as the hotel's swimming pool. I was very impressed with the facade of the restaurant - they even had their own waterfall! I don't think many restaurants in KL can boast that!

Iketeru is reputed as one of the best Japanese restaurants in KL. Reviews I read claim that their fish is air flown from Japan, and is exceptionally fresh.

Iketeru KL Hilton

The beautiful waterfall.

We didn't make any reservations, so we had to wait a few minutes before they could assign us a table. If you are coming with a big group, suggest you book well ahead. The ambiance of the restaurant was very pleasant. It was quiet enough for a conversation, even as the restaurant started filling up. 

Apart from seats inside overlooking the waterfall, you can also choose to dine outside - which is rather romantic in the evening. They also have private rooms that offer traditional floor seating. Since we went for lunch, we decided to have their lunch set (and there were at least 20 sets to choose from)! You can also supplement your lunch set from the ala-carte menu, which offers an array of sushi, sashimi, teppanyaki, tempura as well as desserts.

The private rooms for those who prefer a more intimate setting.

The menu.

Service was efficient and courteous. I was especially impressed, because when my sashimi arrived, it included octopus (Tako).. and I don't eat octopus! Considering it had already been served, I decided to still risk asking whether the chef could change it with... erm salmon? And they graciously conceded! 

The edamame was exceptionally good, lightly salted and just nice.

We ordered soft shell crab maki to supplement our meal. It was really good.

My lunch set - Beef Teppanyaki with Sashimi (~RM123). Sashimi not seen here,

The beef was good. But I preferred the sashimi.

I am usually quite hopeless at identifying sashimi, but at the very least I identified Salmon, Tuna... and White Fish? With wasabi at the side.

We also ordered mochi for dessert. I was shocked when the mochi arrived... such small pieces and it tasted so plain. Only the red bean paste offered some sense of sweetness to the meal. Kampachi Mochi wins, hands down!

My verdict? The sashimi was soooooooooooooo good. It was so fresh, and with a dollop of wasabi and soy sauce, it literally melted in my mouth. If I come here again, it would definitely be just for the sashimi. Probably with Hubby to take advantage of the romantic night setting.

Just be aware of the hefty charges. In their defence, top grade food deserves a top rank price tag. Just to give you a feel - our green tea was charged at RM12 per serving. Good news, if you pay with a CIMB or CIMB World card, you get 10% or 15% off respectively.

Now back to Ramadhan. Selamat berpuasa everyone!
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