Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Braised Pork Belly with Gula Melaka

This is what we had yesterday... another experiment: Braised Pork Belly with Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar).
Found the recipe here.

I didn't know how it was going to taste. But in the end, it was really nice. My little girl really liked it and even had 2 helpings of rice for lunch. She kept asking for more of the pork belly. This is the little girl that would usually chew meat and spit it out, and throw half her rice away. Yesterday, she ate everything up.

I didn't cook it as dry as the original recipe coz' I know my family loves gravy. The sweet and slightly sour taste of the gravy goes very nicely with rice. Okay, so here is the recipe:

  • RM12 worth of pork belly (that's a little under 1kg)
  • 1 tbsp of preserved bean paste (tau cheong)
  • 8-10 shallots, sliced (I like lots of shallots, you can reduce this if you want)
  • 2 chilli padi/bird eye chillies, cut (I didn't put this in because of the kids but DH says next time I mustn't omit)
  • Gula melaka/palm sugar - Original recipe said to put in 25g. Sorry, I don't know how to measure it. So I just boiled like 3 blocks which I had with a little bit of water to melt it. I think I added about 6 spoonfuls (tbsp) when I was cooking. If you're not sure, just put less first. Before you're done cooking, just have a taste. If you don't think it is sweet enough (need to balance with the sour assam), just add some more.
  • 2 tsp light soya sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soya sauce
  • 3 pieces tamarind skin
  • 1 cup water
How To Cook
  • Marinate pork belly with salt. I did mine overnight but 1 hour is good too.
  • With some cooking oil, fry the shallots and bean paste.
  • When it is fragrant, add in pork belly and fry for a bit.
  • Add in water, gula melaka, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and tamarind skin.
  • Turn heat down to low and let simmer. Cover the wok.
  • Do a taste test and adjust accordingly.

You Decide How Much You Pay When Shopping at Galoo

If you need to buy something, let's say a baby carseat, what would you do?
  • You could go to a shop that sell baby carseats and purchase one there.
  • You could also go online and buy from a merchant that sells it online.
  • To try for further savings, maybe you could search online auction sites and try to win the bid at a good price.

Well, there is now another shopping option for you:
Say what you want at the price you want for products and services at

So back to the baby carseat. Let's say you browsed around Amazon and are interested in buying this brand: Evenflo Tribute 5 Convertible Car Seat. You can go to Galoo and put that item up as a buyer request. You decide how much you want to pay for it. So maybe you can knock the price down another $10-$20 (up to you to create your own discount) from what you saw at Amazon. Sellers will see your request and decide if they want to sell it to you for the price you want. Galoo has a network of sellers all around the world. So Galoo hooks you up with an interested seller and the both of you negotiate the price, how the payment is made and the shipping methods too.

If you want better discounts, you can invite your friends to join you in buying that same product or service. If more people want to buy, then sellers will be more willing to lower the price.

This is an interesting new way to buy things/services online that will help you save money. Instead of you chasing after the best deal, you set your price and let the sellers compete to give you the best deal. I like that.

This is not just for people who want to buy, it is a place for people to sell too. You can sign up as a seller and list your products/services for free. However, once a deal is made, you have to pay Galoo 8% of the item's final selling price. This is only fair since they helped you find your client.

So give Galoo a try and have fun haggling!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Healthy Eating for Kids

With all of the debate surrounding childhood obesity and healthy eating habits for kids it’s easy to get lost in what your kids should actually be doing and what they shouldn’t. While food companies have taken notice of the rising trend in feeding kids healthy foods and have created lower calorie food options at restaurants and fast food joints, and are now packaging 100 calorie snack packs and other lighter fare, there is still a problem with these foods not having a high nutritional content, thus teaching our kids portion control without nutritional value. So what do you feed your kids? You can start with these five foods:

1. Oatmeal: Plain oats provide kids with a good dose of whole grain carbohydrates that will keep them energized and satiated for hours. The plain variety is easily sweetened with cinnamon and a small amount of brown sugar, and you can top them with fresh berries or fruits and low-fat milk to add some extra vitamins, nutrients and flavor. They’re also a versatile breakfast that can be served hot in the winter or cold in the summer.

2. Vegetables: Vegetables are nutrient dense foods that kids can eat in mass quantities without worrying about consuming too many calories. They are the perfect addition to any meal, and you can easily add in extra servings by adding them to spaghetti sauces, quiches, lasagnas, or eggs. Or they can be eaten raw for an afternoon snack in place of chips or other unhealthy options.

3. Low-fat milk: Kids need plenty of milk to help support their growing bones and keep them strong.  Whole milk can be calorically heavy, so try to stick to low-fat or skim milk to get kids the calcium and protein benefits they need without too many extra calories. Try serving a glass of milk with dinner each night or swapping out soda with milk. But beware of the flavored milk options, as they can add in a lot of extra unnecessary sugar.

4. Lean proteins: Chicken, fish, and eggs are all great sources of lean protein which help support your child’s growth. Try to avoid serving too much fried food, and stick to grilling, boiling, broiling, and baking lean proteins instead. While the fried food may taste good, it does nothing nutritionally for your kids, and often times experimenting with different spices or marinades can result in an even more delicious option than their fried counterparts.

5. Greek yogurt: Yogurt is a great snack or breakfast option for kids, but is often loaded with extra sugar. Try replacing their daily yogurt with a low-fat Greek yogurt instead. It has an even creamier texture than regular yogurt and has an almost dessert-like consistency, not to mention it’s got a ton of extra protein.
Though poor eating habits are a standard occurrence for kids these days, your kids don’t have to fall victim to these types of bad habits. Teaching your kids to regularly consume foods like these early on sets the stage for healthy eating habits for life. When it’s possible, try to stick to food in its most complete form, as this will offer the most nutritional benefits for your child. Make cooking meals a fun experience, and cook at home whenever possible, making healthy swaps like serving baked chicken tenders instead of chicken nuggets and homemade pizza in place of carryout. When food is made at home you control the portion size and the ingredients, and you can teach kids how to cook healthily at a young age.

Author Byline:
Kelsey is the editor in chief for findananny. She loves to write article and ideas that parents & nannies would be interested in hearing. She helps society on giving information about nannies through online nanny finder. She is a professional writer & loves writing on any thing.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

5 Ways to Ease Back into Shape after Pregnancy

The media has single-handedly done an excellent job at telling the world that celebrity moms have one-upped us regular folks yet again by bouncing back to their pre-baby weight in no time at all after pregnancy. However easing back into exercise isn’t that easy for many of us, and it’s unlikely that we’ll shed all of that baby weight in six weeks, and maybe not even six months. That doesn’t mean you’re doomed to carry it around with you forever though. Use these five tips to ease back into working out and shaping up:
  1. Don’t do too much too soon:
    It might be tempting to want to jump back into hard workouts as soon as you get the go ahead to start exercising from your doctor, but it’s important to remember that taking any amount of time off effects your strength and endurance, so doing a little bit at a time is much more beneficial than going crazy and then burning out or getting injured.
  2. Make a schedule:
    Find a time that works for you, your spouse, and your baby and try to stick to it as best as possible. Maybe you have 30 minutes before your significant other has to leave for work where he can watch the baby and you can sneak in an exercise DVD or a run, or maybe you have an hour over lunch time where you can walk around the neighborhood and push your newborn in a stroller. Prioritizing time for exercise is the only way that you’ll get back into it.
  3. Remember that you deserve me time too:
    New moms often are worried about leaving their babies for any amount of time, and have trouble justifying taking any time to themselves to do something for their own benefit. Despite any misgivings you may have though, you’re going to be a better mom for taking some time for yourself every day than not. You need that time to decompress and relieve some stress.
  4. Clean up your diet:
    Many women indulge more than a few times during their pregnancy, and this can cause some less than stellar eating habits. Start to clean up your diet now that you’re only eating for one again, and try to consume as many healthy, whole foods as possible. Your baby needs you in optimal health to provide the best care for him, so start eating better for both yourself and your baby.
  5. Be flexible:
    Try not to be too rigid in any routine, as you’re likely still sleep-deprived and adjusting to being a new mom. Prioritize time for your health, but also realize that it’s OK if you can only fit in two or three days of exercise at first. You’ll develop a steady routine over time.

Returning to healthy food and exercise habits after pregnancy is something that many new moms struggle with, so don’t think you’re alone. Try not to get hung up on any particular time frame you have to lose the weight by. With a healthy mindset you’ll be able to bounce back from any pregnancy weight gain in a time frame that’s right for your body.

Roxanne Porter is a freelancer & a regular contributor for part time nanny. She helps in providing knowledge about nanny services & love writing on nanny related articles. She helps in giving a fair knowledge about nanny Jobs to the community. You can be in touch with her at “” .

Friday, July 13, 2012

Guess What's Cooking?

I thought I'd do something fun today. Take a look at the picture above and guess what dish I'm going to cook.
 List of ingredients:
  • Oil from pork fat
  • Lean pork
  • Green mustard (choy sum/sawi)
  • Prawns 
  • Chicken stock
  • Garlic - minced
  • Eggs
  • Flat noodles (Hor Fun/Kuey Teow)
  • Corn Flour (To thicken the grave, hint! hint!)
So, make a guess. What do you think I'm cooking today?
And the answer is... Wat Tan Hor / Kuey Teow Cantonese Style

Friday, July 06, 2012

Vietnamese Noodle Salad

This is what we are eating today: Vietnamese noodle salad.
I admit that it is not very authentic but it is yummy.

Last Saturday, I had a church activity and a vietnamese sister prepared all the ingredients to make a vietnamese spring roll. She taught us how to put it together and roll everything up. However, we were in a small room and space was limited. So we all had to take turns to prepare our own roll. Some of us very hungry ones (including me) decided to skip the "rolling" part and just put everything on our plate and started eating... like a noodle salad. And so that is what's on my menu today.

Here's a quick look at my recipe.
  • Chicken leg
  • Vietnamese noodle (Found in Tesco in the area where they sell "bihun". This one had vietnamese  words on the packaging, so I assume it is vietnamese noodle).
  • Cabbage (shredded)
  • Carrot (shredded)
  • Taugeh or bean sprouts. I bought Ipoh taugeh.
  • Prawns
  • Mint leaves 
Sauce (I believe they call it nuoc cham. You can look online for the recipe but this is the one I used):
  •  3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 lemon grass, chopped and pounded
  • 3 tbsp water
How to:
  • When I followed the sauce recipe above, it was not enough for me. So if you need more, just add more water, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice. Experiment a little and try to get that balance of sweet, salty and sour. 
  • With the chicken, I rubbed some salt on and let it sit for a while. Before frying each piece, I first dipped it into some egg and then coated with corn flour. I usually end up burning my chicken when I fry them. So now, what I do is fry them for about 5 minutes and then pop them all into the oven to bake until cooked (about 45 minutes). Comes out perfect this way. Chop the chicken into bite size when it is done.
  • Soak the Vietnamese noodle in water until soft. I quickly blanched them in hot water to cook it. Drain and set aside.
  • Shred and cabbage and carrot like you're doing coleslaw. Set aside.
  • Peel and wash the prawns. Cook in boiling hot water. Take out and set aside.
  • When it is time to eat, just put everything onto your plate/bowl and add the sauce. 
That's it! My 2nd son really enjoyed it. He loved the sweet and sour taste. And it is a very healthy dish too.
Oh, feel free to add whatever other ingredients you like. This is a pretty versatile dish. For example, instead of chicken, you could do pork chops.

p.s. Another Vietnamese roll recipe - I did this in 2008.  Check out the ingredients I used then.