Sunday, November 30, 2008

Not All Are Sweet

I guess I was wrong. Bitter and painful punches also came along with sweet things that passed by. It's only life just like Kate Voegele's song "It's Only Life". So right, but as usual, it is easier to sing than to do..... As long as it is life, you can't possibly have the sweet things only. There are sadness in the family and friends and nations of the people that were killed in recent Mumbai attack, there are worries around the family and friends of those there are stranded in Bangkok, people that live in the war zones, people that were born in the poor regions in Africa. There's no smooth sailing-everything is good as depicted by many celebrities when asked by reporters.

I have been shocked by the voices I heard this morning from the two intelligent, sweet and wonderful teenagers that for the first time revealed their opinion about certain things. They have grown up. Conveniently they omitted the facts that could backfire them, but pointed out the mistakes made by the parents. Sure, I wish they were mistakes. They were not! When asked back on the solution, the answer was simply, "I don't know!" Yes, let the parents scratch their head! Let the parents talk like a broken gramophone, but never ever yell. Keep on supporting the choices made by their children, irregardless how unreasonable they are?? Tell me how to keep a parent's sanity!

My mother made it looked to easy, she had nine children, none of whom was a problem growing up. Everyone worked hard without having to be asked. Someone cooked, someone did the dishes, another did ironing and another cleaned the house. Everything was taken care of even though we did not have much. Nobody had a room on his/her own. I don't recall my mom being mad at any of us or having to repeat her order, if she ever did. So I got all these wrong ideas about having kids. Throw in the ipod, computer, games, internet and all the current things into the picture, and life as parents now can't be more exciting. Or, might take you to become a resident in a mental institution...........

This is now about the good mixture of sweet and lemon, I utilized the remainder of the buttermilk that I had in the fridge. This is Buttermilk Pound Cake, with a lemony twist added, because we like lemon. The cake is really flavorful and moist.

I halved the recipe and used a ring baking pan and that cut down the baking time to around 45-50 minutes. The full recipe could use a bundt pan.

Buttermilk Pound Cake
Adapted from Allrecipes. com


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease one 9 or 10 inch tube pan. Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar. Mix in the eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the lemon and the vanilla extracts. Gently mix in flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 90 minutes (45-50 minutes if you halve the recipe). Do not open oven door until after one hour (or 30 minutes if you halve the recipe). When cake begins to pull away from the side of the pan it is done. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sweet Things Are Coming

It will be December in a few days and sweet things are coming our way. December is a month of goodies. Finally, I made use of Martha Stewart's Cookies that I bought over the Summer, I only managed to look through them, not thoroughly though, a couple of days ago. I do not exactly know what I have been doing all these times, but here I am, surviving all the punches, ups and down, the excitement in life.

My eyes have been set on these Chocolate Crackles since I saw them for the first time and with the need to get new ideas on what to give to others, I was more than happy to bake them. Of course, it is always the love that I have for my family that keeps on pushing me to the kitchen and bake or cook something, which therefore qualifies me further as the mother of the year... ha!

These cookies are not too simple and straigh forward to make. It's messy and it takes times, but it is definitely worth the effort.

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies, the book. The website's version is slightly different.


Makes about 5 dozen.

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup(1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups light-brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  1. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring. Set aside and let cool. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in eggs and vanilla, and then the melted chocolate. Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk. Divide dough into four equal pieces. Wrap each in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F. Divide each piece into 16 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar to coat, then in confectioners' sugar to coat. Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  4. Bake until surfaces crack, about 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Good Morning...?

What was I thinking, agreeing to prepare hashbrown and french toast for one child's breakfast only, in one morning?

Good morning, sunshine.... at 5:40 in the morning? No sun yet. This zombie mom headed straight to the kitchen and start peeling potatoes and grabbed the grater and began her wonderful and fulfilling day. Kid No. 2 is a breakfast eater, a BIG breakfast eater. She wanted hashbrown again for breakfast, after having them on Monday. But mom offered her french toast since we had an untouched healthy hi-fibre wholemeal bread. She wanted both and I agreed to that. My bad!

As for my sweet smiley morning sunshine kid No. 1 (hmm.........), I prepared her usual over easy egg and toast. I began to feel like I was working in a Club Med restaurant. These kids make me feel so useful and needed around the house..... Thank God that my No. 3 had the common sense to prepare her own breakfast. Looking at things from the bright side, I learned a very good lesson, no more different fancy breakfasts in one morning! Evah!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's Worth ...

It was so worth the wait... we finally got a box of delicious juicy mangoes courtesy of a very nice friend who who is in mango business in Indonesia. Mango ice cream is in the process as we write. senyum

Sunday, November 23, 2008

16 Years Ago

It was sixteen years ago today, I gave birth to my second daughter at 12:40 PM. I remember being at home around 7AM, getting ready for work with my gigantic belly when I started to notice the sign that my baby was coming. It was 2-3 weeks earlier than the expected due date, just like her sister, she could not wait to see the world. My suffering from contraction was "merely" a few short hours. Thank God!

What a joyful addition to our family. My firstborn was only 20 months old, she was up and running and excited to becoming a big sister. My mom was still healthy enough to travel and visited us with one of my sisters. My mother in law also came with one of DH's sisters and her young daughter. Those were the great days......

The whole thing did not seem to happen that long ago, but there she is now, taller, bigger, older, wiser .... smart and witty, working hard at whatever she does and will be leaving for college in two years ....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Steamed Fish

I got myself a couple piece of cod fish from the market across the street, they were on sale but still very pricey at S#39.90 per kg. The two pieces that I bought were about $12, not bad compared to restaurant prices.

Steaming fish is really fast and simple, it easily took about 15 minutes including steaming time of 10-12 minutes. While steaming, I prepared the garlic sprinkles, sauteed with sliced chillies and ginger. Top the dish with sesame oil, fish sauce and spring onions and it's ready to serve.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Firing Begins....

The harsh reality of bad economy began to hit me a while back, but it gets more real upon getting the news that someone that we know has been let go. He is a close friend of DH, a great guy, a father of two, someone that we know for many years. He worked for a US-based big corporation. He knew it was coming, he was worried about it and finally it happened.

On the worrying department, he was not alone. There are so many others in the same club, so many people are worrying about losing their jobs. People that run their own business, worry about surviving, worry about making sure that there's enough business to keep things going.

Things have been going down the hills, and it looks like they are still heading down further. It's suffocating to see how bad things can be. There are way to many layoffs, everywhere around the world.

So when I read "Big Three auto CEOs flew private jets to ask for taxpayer money" on CNN, I couldn't help thinking, "Geezz..... people....."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pasta With Swedish Meatballs

Our dinner last night was this pasta with Swedish meatballs or Swedish meatballs with pasta? Whichever.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What A Cake!

Let me say this ahead of time, it was all well intended. We wanted to have a cake for DH. After so much arguing between myself and me, I decided to bake a White Cake with cream cheese frosting. The children and yours truly would decorate 1/4 of the cake. No coordination required, it's all from the heart and in the spur of the moment. So we ended up with, sorry to say, a rather-awful-looking cake. Three of the decorators seemed to forget they they were decorating a cake for a grown man. fikir

Irregardless of the decorating flak, the cake remained a tasty cake and cream cheese frosting was finger-lickin' good! No one really cared about how it looked. DH was relieved to have sliced the cake and ate a piece. Done and over with! Back to business.

I Remember Her

Today marked the 6th year anniversary of the death of my eldest sister Maria. It is a sad day to remember, but it was the day that she was set free from the pains and sufferings that she had to endured. Lymphoma took her life but not the memory of her She was the best daughter anyone could have. She cared for our sick mom for so many years and looked after her other siblings as if they were her own children. She was really selfless and always put others' need before her. She was a peacemaker and a generous caregiver. She deserved so much more than she got. I could never found a better sister than her. Rest in peace, you are always in our hearts!angel

Monday, November 17, 2008

And The Day Is Almost Gone!

Here I am at nearly 10PM.... I do not feel that I have accomplished much today, but in two hours it will be another day. It's been a busy day and your truly was under the weather again.... I am getting I had an appointment this morning and here are a couple of Christmas-ey pictures. The street has been decorated since the end of last month, and this particular mall's Christmas decoration has been up since around early of the month, maybe. It's a bit quite at the mall. The economic condition certainly contributes, aside from maybe it was Monday and it was raining outside. Certainly. it didn't look like a good day for business.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sushi Lunch Again!

This is what happened when I let the birthday boy pick the venue for his birthday lunch, we went back to the same place that we have been a hundred zillion times before. tension I just do not understand his real reason, for sure he likes Japanese food, another possibility was that he was trying to please his daughters. Not his wife, obviously. There are so many other restaurants in the city, there are plenty of other Japanese restaurants too. Why Sushi Tei again???????

So we headed to to Sushi Tei (again! and again!!) and on the way there after church, my brain tried hard to work out what to order, I tried to be a good sport. Without looking at the menu, the kids ordered their usual salmon mentai and gyoza. I decided to order something different than what I normally would have. I went with the grilled teriyaki cod fish and a potato croquette. I also ordered my usual sashimi salad with sesame dressing, sharing it with my usual partner in crime, the little one. I had green tea ice cream, served on shell shape wafer for dessert. Two of the kids shared vanilla ice cream, coated with chocolate and wafer. Cute and yum! A healthy meal overall! It was quite a nice lunch, but I really do not want to return there in the near future. Pray for me please, people! I got an obsessive family! babai

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What's The Man For?

Aside for being the head of the family, the man is a free and safe human storage aka keeper to look after all the bags and the jackets, while the rest of his family members are jumping up and down and taking pictures. Thank you for being there!


In a day, we need more hours.... so many of us feel this way. I hate to admit that, I am behind with so many things that I do, I could do more but I just couldn't make myself do more than I can handle. It is hard enough to keep up with the "basic" things that I do on daily basis, moreover to catch up with my neglected and semi-abandoned WIPs. I can't pick up a new hobby, I do not have enough time to work on regular basis because my priority has been and will always be my family first.

I can't remember how I discovered this book by Allison Pearson "I Don't Know How She Does It" about the drama of dilemma of a working mom. A few years back when I found the book for the first time, I quickly read it and passed it to a someone close to me who was in a very similar situation and I thought, was in danger of heading to a broken family, I urged her to read it. I do not know if she ended up reading it although she returned the book a couple of years later, after I got myself another copy.

Her story ended quite differently than the one in the book, unfortunately. Her ex-husband cheated on her for years with at least another woman and had another child with that s&#%. The arrogant man was never remorseful and only interested in his pride. He was begging and begging for forgiveness and was unwilling to proceed with the divorce and the next minute he started delivering insults and punches on his wife's family. busuk This jerk said that he wanted no interference from any family members, then shortly after he asked for help to reconcile from his wife's sister. He bribed the judge so that the divorce case was messed up, he was also not co-operative during the hearings. I have more than enough reasons to call him a jerk, although he is more than qualified to be called a cheater and maybe a lot of other names that I might use some other time, whenever deemed necessary. I still possess some self control!

Remember "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"? This jerk will be paying it, if not now, maybe later. Justice is sweet. Let the nature takes its course....... We do not have to do anything much, yet.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tough Day

This was how I felt nearly the whole day : cry . Yes, things went downhill nearly the whole day and my body ached too. I could not get out of the sucking mud, although I tried. The chocolate toffee in the picture was long gone, they were made more than a week ago..... they could have sweetened my day a tiny bit. They were sweet, nice and crunchy. Butter, sugar, chocolate chips and slivered almond that are put together, they brought a heavenly taste to your taste buds.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Birthday Wish

Here's to you, my best buddy over the past 20 years:
Have a super happy birthday!!!
May the economy recover soon, for you.
May the stock markets rebound shortly, for you.
May your investment funds gain a gazillion % in the next years or 30-40% will do.

More importantly, may God bless you and your family always and may you be given strength to deal with whatever comes your way and solve ALL the problems before you have the time to tell your wife about them. Wishing you good health and all the success in your career and the ability to tolerate your wife's nonsense, in case she has any, but she doesn't have any and take her all around the world in at least business class, preferably first and to stay in all fantastic five star hotels when you travel with her and buy her all the Chanel bags that she likeswink , and the shoes toowink . Have a pleasant birthday!! lol

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chocolate Dipping Madeleines

They are just same old madeleines, except I dipped them into warm chocolate gnache left by big miss baker who baked some chocolate cupcakes last week and still had some gnache left. They are yummy. I kept on dipping for more and licking the mess on my fingers.

I was under the weather yesterday, mainly contributed by lack of sleep for many days and a couple of weeks or so. I had a nap after the kids left for school because my head hurt so much and again after lunch, because I felt so week and tired after doing some works. I made those madeleines in between my napping time, maybe baking madeleines was just a dream? I am getting

Monday, November 10, 2008

She Spells Her Name Out!

So, this little miss baker wouldn't stop at me making initials of the three princesses' name with the bread, she outdid me by spelling her own name and decorating the baking pan too, with the bread. I think she had a good time doing it and eating them as well. She used cheese bread dough.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Bready Initials

The initials of my three super good kids, made from cheese bread dough. They will be eaten shortly,......... the breads, not the kids. I really should find a more productive outlet for my "creativity". Maybe I should start looking for some doctorate programs that I have been thinking of?.... But I still do not know what to do when I grow up.... soal

Friday, November 07, 2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Picking Taco

On the fridge door, I put up a list of food that we all want to make or to have them made. Anyone is welcome to write what they want in there. We cross them out after the mission is accomplished. We have around 15 there, some are cookies, some are cakes. Some can be for dinner or lunch. One of which was Taco and we had them last Monday.

One name was crossed out, some others might pop up soon..... It's a nice list to have, it helps when I ran out of ideas while at the same time, I do not really have to prioritize those that are on the list.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Lemon Inspired

What a historical moment it is right now, today. Barack Obama will be the next US President, the first African American President ever. A real intelligent leader has been elected. Racial barriers fell and he proves that anybody, irregardless what race a person is, can be anything they want to be. Such an inspiration!

Talking about inspiration, I was inspired to bake a lemon sponge cake yesterday and I did it. My intention was for DH to take some with him as he was flying overseas, but he took an earlier flight instead and my cake didn't make it in time. The cake turned out just fine, but the next time I make this, I will use more lemon juice, as it was not lemony enough to our liking. While I like it plain, the kids love them with lemon sugar icing drizzled all over it. Either way, they are wonderful.

( Recipe used was adapted from Better Homes & Gardens, New Cook Book, 14th Edition)