Friday, November 22, 2013

Monster Eyes Cookies 可爱单眼小饼干

My little ones are big fans of chocolate cookies, they chomped down quite some chunky Cookie Time cookies when we were traveling in NZ.

Since baking cookies only takes approximate 30 minutes (plus additional 15min for cleaning up), I don't mind to bake them cookies frequently;  no preservative and low sugar content, so better than store bought all the time. I bought a fabulous bilingual recipe book from the recent Popular book fair, The Secret of Cookies, 告诉你,饼干の秘密, it's a real keeper.

Modified based on one of the recipes, I made these Monster Eyes cookies. Perfect for snack time with my duo, or even for party. The little friends can have some good fun playing with these  monster eyes. @•@

The monstrous eyes and some snow ball cookies (soft some icing sugar once cookies are cool)

All packed and waiting to be eaten :)

These are the first version I made, simple button cookies, rolled into small balls then pressed using the back of a fork. Pretty and tasty none the less.

Preparation Time: 30 min
Cooking Time: 15 min
Serving for: 30 pieces (size of an old 50 cents coin)


Ingredient A:
95g unsalted butter, cut into cubes at room temperature  
35g fine confectionary sugar

Ingredient B:
110g cake flour (or super fine flour)
15g cocoa powder
2 tablespoon of almond nibs

30 chocolate chips

The Making:
1. In a medium bowl, mix the butter with sugar, beat until the mixture becomes creamy. I usually do manual mixing for cookies since there is no need for vigorous beating.

2. Sift the cake flour into ingredient A and mix well until it forms a course dough.

3. Separate the dough into half, and add  cocoa powder into the second bowl and continue to mix using a spatula until color are well blended.

4. Using a rolling pin, roll the cocoa dough into long rectangular shape. Place the dough onto a cling form over the kitchen worktop.

5. Using your hands, roll the other dough into long cylinder, and place it in the middle of the cocoa dough, wrap the cocoa dough around it to form a Swiss roll shape.

6. Wrap the cling form around the dough, let it chill in the freezer for about 15 minutes. This will allow the dough to firm up hence easier for cutting / shaping.

7. Preheat the oven to 180°c, lay a non stick parchment over the baking tray. 

8. Cut the dough into individual slices approximate 1" thick, then press 1 Choco chip into the center of each slice, this will be the pupil. Lay them flat on the baking tray with about 2cm apart, the cookies will expand lightly when baking.

9. Bake the dough for 15-18 minutes. The cookies may be slight soft when done, but once cool, they will be hard and crunchy.

Now you may admire, play and eat your monster eyes! Keep them in an air tight jar and they shall last for a week (mine had never last more than 3 days..)

• I hate cookie crumbs on my sofa, so I made them into bite size to avoid having crumbs all over the house. You may devied the size but do keep the thickness (or you will have to adjust the baking time).

Monday, November 18, 2013

Happy Meal: 5 Little Ducks

Want to make a breakfast that will brighten up the day? Why not try some simple food art, all you need is some ready ingredients and 5 minutes of cutting and arranging, and put your own creativity to test. 

I got my inspiration as I was cutting the banana for my little girl, and few minutes later, Ta-Da... We've got school of happy ducklings swimming under the bright blue skies, conttony clouds & a river full of fallen stars

"5 little ducks went out one day, over the hill and far away...". 
My duo were happily singing along when the breakfast was served.

Check out more homemade happy meals here, hope these bring your little ones many happy mornings. :)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

15 Minutes Mini Shell Pasta with Minced Meat Sauce #15MinutesSuppers

Little one and I were busy giving our car a thorough wash earlier that I nearly forgot it was almost lunch time. Good Lord that I remember to thaw the frozen minced meat before we began washing so I was able to cook up something decent. There was half a packet of leftover shell pasta, so shell pasta it is for lunch.

I have always like Shell pasta for its shape as it holds the ingredients in the pocket which makes it tastes rich and juicy; it's like hidden treasure in the shell. 

This is a simple yet satisfying dish, ideal for busy day such as today. 

Preparation Time: 5 min
Cooking Time: 10 min
Serving for: 3-4 little ones

1/2 packet of dried shell pasta (200gm)
A palmful of minced meat (approx. 100gm)
1/4 cup of onion, finely chopped 
2 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 table spoon of soya sauce
Few drops of sesame oil
A dash of salt
A dash of pepper
Few leaves of fresh / dried rosemary 
1/2 cup of Shredded cheddar cheese

The Making:

1. Boil the pasta in a pot of hot water based on indicated time (approximate 10 minutes), add a pinch of salt. Once cooked, drain the excess water and run the pasta under tab water for a few seconds, then set aside.

2. While the pasta was boiling, heat up a spoon of olive oil in the pan, sauté the garlic till fragrance, then toss in the onion, follow by the minced meat and all the remaining ingredients; stir well to mix. 

3. Let the minced meat cook for about 5 minutes (till it turns brown), then add the cooked shell pasta. Let it simmer for another 2-3 minutes with lid closed so the pasta will absorbed the sauce thoroughly.

4. Serve the pasta in a dish, add the shredded cheddar cheese on top (it will melts slowly) and decorate with some fresh rosemary leaves.

Just that simple... Bon appetite!

• add a spoonful of butter into the pasta if you like it really creamy, but I am happy with mine as-is.
• you may add some bacon bits for the added flavor.

15 Minute Suppers

Like this? Follow 15 Minute Suppers on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
and look for the #15MinuteSuppers hashtag too

Check out these scrumptious Thanksgiving leftovers and they only take 15 minutes:

Grandma's Turkey Soup from How To This And That
Turkey-Cranberry Panini from Better in Bulk
Sweet Potato & Turkey Hash from Around My Family Table
Mini Shell Pasta with Minced Meat from Food 4 Little Ones
Cheesy Turkey and Rice from Monzanita's

If you are a blogger and you’d like more info, please check out the 15 Minute Suppers website or ask to join the Facebook group to participate on Fridays…we’d love to have you join us.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mini Cheesy Egg Omelette 迷你乳酪蛋饼

My duo reject mushrooms till today, be it button mushrooms, brown mushrooms, Shiitake or oyster mushrooms. The only way to get them to eat is by cutting it really fine and add into sauce or patty. So  mommy has to play tricks again. 

I made them these simple cheesy egg omelette with mixed vegetables, mushrooms and cheddar cheese. Using the BBQ egg rings allow me to achieve perfect round, this forgetful mind only remember the newly bought gadget half way thru cooking. 

Serving for my little handsome, with the ingredients from the sweet corn pork ribs soup (pumpkin, pork ribs, tofu and sweet corn make really nice soup!)

Making these Omelete into mini size allows the little hands to grab and eat, hence making dinner more fun for them. My elder had 3 slices of these while my younger was more interested with the pearl sweet corn on Cobb. Anyway, so long they are eating well and happy, the mission is complete.

Preparation Time: 5 min 
Cooking Time: 10 min
Serving for: 12 mini omelette

3 medium eggs
1 slice cheddar cheese (or more), cut into small squares 
1/4 cup carrot cut into cubes 
1/4 cup fresh mushroom cut into cubes 
1/4 cup French beans cutlets
1/4 cup pumpkin cut into cubes
2 table spoons bread crumbs 
Few leaves of fresh basil, chopped 

The fresh basil and rosemary in my garden, side by side with my lemon grass.

The Making:

1. Mix all chopped veges and mushrooms in a bowl, set a side.

2. Beat the eggs till fluffy, add a dash of salt, pepper to taste, and toss in the basil leaves. Pour it over the vege mix, add the cheese and bread crumbs, then stir to mix well.

3. Add a tablespoon of olive oil into the pan, spread it out evenly; brush the egg rings with some oil, then put them into the pan with about 2" apart. 

4. Using a spoon, slowly pour the egg mixture into the egg ring. If you don't have an egg ring, just do it free style, about 3 spoonful will do. 

5. Cook the Omelete about 4 minutes on each side, or until it turns golden brown. Before flipping the Omelete, slowly remove the ring by using the spoon to  push the it downward slowly.

Garnish and serve warm. Bite, tear, or cut neatly, the choice is yours. :)


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tips to Introducing New Vege to Little One

Does your little one eats leafy veges? Not mine, they have difficulty chewing the fibers, while my 4 years old eats more variety of veges, my younger is very much confined to root veges or beans, like carrots, broccoli, cauliflowes, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, potatoes, sweet peas, French beans, corns, asparagus. All the leaf-less veges!

However, I'm determined to introduce more greens into their daily diet at young age. So here's my first attempt with Kai Lan.

Kai Lan (芥兰), also known as Chinese broccoli or Chinese kale, has high vitamin C, K and also a good source of acid folic. It is also one of my favorite vegetables. To make my duo accept this leafy vege, I stir fry the baby Kai Lan with mushroom, carrots and chicken cutlets, then cut the Kai Lan into small circular shapes before serving to my duo.

See the Froggiee face in the rice? My boy said it's an alien. Whatever, they ate it without any complain. *wink* My little girl just popped every pieces into her mouth and emptied the plate. Well, except the mushrooms. They still don't like mushrooms. *sigh*

Food art is one good way of introducing new food to the little ones by blending it into the art. They will not even noticed there is something alien on the plate!

This is the portion for big guy and me. Quite a lot, I know. I mentioned I like Kai Lan, didn't I? :)

Next, I will use the same method to introduce other leafy vege to my duo, like Pak Choy, Choy Sum, which are currently growing in my garden (finger crossed they can survive the rainy weather.). Besides, you can also add the vegetables cutlets into fried rice, extra nutrition and nice color blend.

Here's the Kai Lan fried rice served with honey glazed chicken drumstick, they chomped down the fried rice without realizing I've added vege in there. 

No recipe sharing for the Kai Lan as this is just a simple stir fry dish. However if you would like to know the method, do drop me a comment and I'm happy to share (when my duo would leave me alone..)

Lastly, when doing grocery shoppig with your little ones, do take the chance to introduce the vege to them; read the name aloud and let them touch, carry or weigh the vege, it helps them to understand what they eat and have a sense of involvement. This is all part of the learning experience in their growing years.

That's all peeps. Have a great Monday!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Tea Time Idea: Banana and Fruit Trees

Here's a really quick tea time idea that takes almost no time to prepare yet is healthy for the little ones. 

Banana & fruit trees... 

Consist of banana, organic raisins, organic pumpkin seeds (I used this for fried rice too!), crunchy cookie sticks and organic apricots.

My duo loved these snacks, so I had a peaceful time cooking without their constant interference thanks to these pretty treats and the sesame street.

A little close up.

Happy weekend!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

20 minutes Fluffy Tuna and Banana Pastries

This recipe is so easy that no prior baking experience is required! 

I am attending a potluck party tonight with friends and their kids, since I have a  koala baby who won't allow me to spend too much time in the kitchen, I need to prepare something fast and yummy (friends have their expectation!)

Luckily I bought a packet of ready-to-bake whole meal pastries during my grocery shopping earlier and I have some ready canned tuna and banana, so without wasting much time, I just whipped up these pastries while my younger is watching Patrick and Friends. It's an 45 minutes show so I know I have to complete before time runs out.

Here are the fluffy pastries. I made 3 flavors: tuna in light mayo, chili tuna and banana (child and vegetarian friendly!)

I marked a cross so the kids know they should not eat this, it's spicy tuna.

I let my kiddos decide which one they like. My elder had 3 of these while my little koala girl had 1. To my surprise, my big guy chomped down half a dozen while sipping his coffee!

Ready to bake some?

Preparation Time: 10 min 
Cooking Time: 10-12 min
Serving for: 36 pieces 

4 Ready-to-bake Puff Pastry 
2 ripe bananas
1 canned tuna in light mayonnaise
1 egg yolk

The Making:

1. Defrost the pastry by placing it under room temperature for about 20 minutes (for tropical weather). 

2. Preheat the oven to 180°c and lay a piece of baking sheet onto a baking tray. Set aside.

3. Cut the pastry into 9 square pieces, place your choice of fillings on top, about 1 teaspoon each. 

4. Fold the pastry into half to form a triangle or rectangle shape.

5. Use a fork to gently press the edge of each piece to let it seal tight and form a nice pattern too. Transfer them onto the baking tray using a non stick spatula, careful not to let them stick together.

6. Brush some egg yolk evenly on top each pieces, then bake the pastry for 10-12 minutes until it turns golden brown.

7. Let them cool down before sinking your teeth into this crunchy puffy pastry. Taste best while it's warm.

All packed and ready to go for the party!