12 June 2021

How To Make Your Own Jam With Only 3 Ingredients!

 If you were to tell me years ago, that I would be making my own jam in the future, I would have said to you, "You mad bro!"

I have never seen myself so domesticated before it is insane. This is what a full lockdown can do to you, and when people give you loads of berries and your children and husband are not big fans of those berries. 

It started because I didn't want the berries to turn bad - so I decided to make a jam out of it - that way, we can keep it for long. Coincidentally, our store-bought jam also finished liau - so perfect time or what. 

I started googling for easy recipes and many of them have pectin in them, but since I did not know then what pectin is, I googled, "Homemade berries jam without pectin" and the recipe came out and it worked! 

FYI - these berries also have got pectin in them naturally so when you cook them longer, they will get thicker over time and becomes jam after keeping in the fridge. 

So, all you need are your berries (can be just strawberry or mix berries), sugar, and lemon juice. SO EASY RIGHT. Ohh, and with lots of love heh. 

Because it is that easy! 

The first thing to do is you would want to dice your berries. Then, put them in a pot and your fire should be medium - not too big later your berries chau-weh-ta (burnt). 

After you realize that more liquid is coming out of the berries, taste to see if the combination of all the berries turns out to be sweet or sour. If sour, add in some sugar and stir. 

Then, add in a bit of lemon juice. Yes, even if the berries are sour, you still need to add a bit of lemon juice, because the lemon juice will lower the pH of the mixture. 

Then, taste again to make sure it becomes the kind of jam that you would like - not too sweet and not too sour. I always add sugar slowly to make sure it doesn't get too sweet. 

Oh, also remember to mash the berries to the consistency that you would like. If you like your jam to be chunkier, then mash less. 

Let the jam cools down, and transfer to glass bottles to keep. I'm not sure if you can keep in plastic bottles, because why not right? But I just follow what people usually do - so I also keep mine in glass bottles heh. 

The first batch that I did, I kept it in the fridge and almost finished. So I guess time to get more berries to make more jam. 

You can try to make your own jam because the store-bought ones - don't know what other preservatives they put inside. So, I guess you can say that this is a much healthier option for you and your family. 

And it is so satisfying to make it seriously. 

Here's a quick video :)

Till next time, bye now. 

31 May 2021

Alex is Three!

"Enjoy every moment because they will grow up so fast and you will miss it"

Someone said this to me when Alex was just born, and at that time, I find it hard to believe and accept that time will pass me by because it was so difficult being a mother for the first time to a colic baby. It was so challenging in every way. 

But now, I say it to new moms. Hah. 

Because they are so true. 

It feels like he turned three after I blinked my eyes ten times - so surreal because I still remember so clearly when he was born, and the struggles of breastfeeding him and him crying all night because of colic. 

Last year, we wanted to bring him to the zoo on his birthday but we were in our first lockdown, so we celebrated at home. This year, we obviously still want to bring him to a zoo, but we are also still in lockdown so we stayed home (where else can we go right?). 

Initially, the plan was to get him a really nice cake, order some of his favorite food and 'try' to allow him to do or eat anything he wants. 

The plan then changed to scheduling a Zoom call with family and friends, ordered a custom made cake that is affordable, some of his favorite foods ordered and paid for by our sisters (Adrian and mine), and I did allow him to almost everything he wanted to do and he ate whatever he wanted. 


I ordered the cake from Jasmine Cake House. I had no idea what kind of cake he wants so I went to Jasmine Cake House's FB and saved cake photos of which I think may interest Alex. Then, I showed him like 10 photos and he came back with this photo. I tried changing and convincing him to other cakes but he kept coming back to this one, so this one wins. 


We paid RM100 for the cake (including delivery to the house) so in my opinion, that is a pretty good price for a custom-made cake. The monster truck and remote control are not edible. 

We set the call to 6PM and we were struggling with the set-up because at first, we used Adrian's Huawei's laptop and realized that the webcam's angle is totally out and people won't be able to see us and the cake. So, we changed to my Mac and realized that I have not gotten the converter because of the need to connect the HDMI and we tried searching for ways to cast screen mirroring but how also need the HDMI cable. 

Then, we took Adrian's old laptop and after setting it up, we realized that the sound system was already kaput and what is a Zoom call if we cannot hear anyone. 

We then screen mirrored my iPhone but realized that we can only see 4 people on the screen. Problem I tell you. I wanted to go inside my room and hide under the blanket already at this point. 

So our only choice is to connect to the TV using Huawei's laptop and got creative in stacking up and arranging the laptop so the webcam can see all of us. Then, the sound would not come off the TV - so it was super soft and we could hardly hear anyone :( 

It was only after the whole sing birthday song thing that I suddenly realized that I needed to change the sound setting in the Zoom app! SHOOT ME NOW PLEASE. 


It was so hard to swallow this one because I always do it for my previous boss so how can I forget this time. Goodness me. 

There were more people who dialed in to be part of the birthday party, but when Eulene took this photo, many have left and I totally did not take any photos, please. And I was too busy trying to stop Sofia from finishing the entire cake heh. Also, apologies to those whom I forgot to send the link to - it was really a packed day for me, and Adrian had to work and all. 

Anyways, when it was time to sing the birthday song, Alex decided to not stand in front of his 'half'-eaten cake (by Sofia haha) and insist to sit on the sofa. 

I found out later that night that he wanted to sit on the sofa because he wanted to see everyone on the TV! I am guessing that he wanted to see everyone's face as we sing the birthday song for him! Oh, my heart. 

Although he didn't show it, I think Alex had a great time with everyone through Zoom - not our ideal way to celebrate but it's still something! I remembered feeling so happy and thankful when I was reflecting on it at night - feeling really blessed. 


THANK YOU ALL FOR LOVING ALEX. 


To my Alex boy, 

Happy Birthday and my constant prayer for you is that you will always find your strength in the Lord and your identity in Him. Never in us or the world. You are such a sensitive boy and that is okay. I know one day, you will be able to have more control over them. Now, you are just as confused as I may be at times. 

But remember that I love you, and you actually don't have to do anything more or less because I already love you so much. You also don't have to be like anyone for us to love you. 

Amazing how in one day, you can make me smile so hard and make me want to explode in frustration. You challenge me in ways I never knew is possible. And for that, I get to grow. I get to see things from another perspective. I get to be less self-centered. I get to be better. 

So, thank you for being my son. 

Thank you for loving me okay. 

Love you forever my little man. 

Till next time, bye now. 

29 May 2021

Healthy Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies.

 Gone are the days when I crave cookies and go look outside and buy - like from Subway and other places - because cookies that are too sweet are just a no-go. 

I know of people who particularly want sweet cookies, and yes cookies need to be sweet, if not tak sedap okay. Don't know what has gotten into me also, because I've been trying to eat healthier. Heh. I can almost hear Adrian laughing at me saying that. Hah. 

It's true la okay. 

The keyword is 'I try'. 

I was scrolling through recipes on Instagram and I saw the photo of these healthy cookies and looked at the recipes, and they are so simple!

So simple I decided to try it the next day! 

It's flourless and sugarless - so if you have bananas (better if overripe), rolled oats, and peanut butter, then you are set to go! It's so easy, quick,, and healthy!

Also, according to the website where I found this recipe, this recipe is vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, sugar-free, and naturally sweetened! "Nutritious enough to have it for breakfast". 

Here are the recipes and there is a video that you can watch too :) 

These measurements are meant to make about 60 regular size cookies okay, so if you would like to make lesser than that, then just divide all the number by half. 

If not, you can always make more and give them to your friends. I realized kids somehow love the cookies more than adults - because it's really very healthy kind okay. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups of mashed banana (about 5-6 big ones)
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter
  • 2/3 chocolate chip (optional)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Line a baking sheet over a baking pan. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix together mashed bananas, peanut butter, vanilla extra, cinnamon, and salt. 
  3. Add rolled oats and chocolate chips (or cranberries - optional) and mix until all is combined. 
  4. Scoop the dough into the baking pan and flatten it. 
  5. Bake for 15-minutes (for cherry texture). Anything more than 17-minutes will make the cookies quite hard. 
  6. Let it cool and enjoy! 

You can choose not to add the peanut butter if you want to be extremely healthy or something, but the peanut butter I feel makes it a lot nicer! Also, you can omit the chocolate chips. It's really very simple and you really can be flexible with any ingredients you want to add in. 

I tried making smaller versions but 15-minutes seems to be too long for them. So, I stayed with the regular size and 15-minutes is just ngam! :)

Enjoy this little quick video to see how it was done! 


Till next baking session, bye now. 

25 May 2021

Week One of New Role - SAHM.

My dad went for a bypass surgery a week + ago, and that also means that we (the kids and I) have not been going to their house for that long. Yes, I was already homesick by end of the week. Yep - overly attached I know and I take that as a compliment heh. 

So, with that I officially got to embrace my new role as a Stay-at-Home-Mom (not really because I have my Shop.com business), I realized that I cannot only just take care of them day-in and day-out - because, by the mid-second day, I was feeling lazier than usual. I was just chilling with them, have zero motivations whatsoever to do anything. I was literally counting the hours for my husband to come home so we could have dinner together and stuff. 

Then, on the third day, I told myself I need to find something to do - that I love, or would potentially love. 

So, I started searching for recipes for food items that I want to eat but don't want to order from outside. Soon, I find myself texting Adrian my bakery to-buy-list so he could get them for me when he comes home from work. 

The more I bake and the more I cook new food items that I have not tried before, the more motivated I was to do my work and take care of my children. 

And this is a true story. 

I have a higher tolerance and more patience towards my kids on days when I do bake or cook. I don't ki siau so fast and I actually spend more quality time with them, instead of just letting them watch TV to pass time by. 

So, when I say baking is my therapy, it really is. 

Now, some of you asked how do I even find the time and energy to bake and wash and handle the kids at the same time. The funny thing is I don't know. 

Because logically, it would mean I actually have to come out with extra energy & time to do the extra thing - but the funny part is although I do feel more worn out by the end of the night, I don't actually feel exhausted - as compared to when I do absolutely nothing else but taking care of the kids. 

Get what I mean?

Maybe you do, maybe you don't. 

But if you do, you should try to find something to do other than being a mom, because you will find that your everyday life becomes more interesting and less stressful. I don't even know if that makes any sense but yeah, please try them. You will at least feel less miserable and lonely. Hah. 

It could be knitting, arts and crafts things, gardening, cleaning, re-organizing, or creating Youtube videos. It could be anything you want! 

Except for anything that involves using your phone all the time I guess. 

Because watching Netflix just makes you feel lazier and you will feel extra exhausted after watching a TV show or a movie - also a true story. 

Maybe choose something that your kids can be involved in of some sort. Although honestly sometimes I want to be baking alone - while they are taking their naps. 

We foresee many more weeks of us staying in our own homes so there will be more recipes coming up - but after a few tries, I can be good at it - like my twisted cinnamon buns. I am still not happy with how it turned out, so I will trial and error with other recipes and see where I go from there. 

To my friends who live nearby, get ready to be my guinea pigs (hah). 

So yeah, the first week of full-time mom and I am already baking so much. I hope I don't end up eating all the baked goods if not people may start asking me if I am pregnant. Heh. I am not yet. 

Oh, and here's a tip on how to get your children to enjoy every meal - only let them watch TV or let them have screen time after they finish their meals. That way, they either have conversations with you during the meals or enjoy finishing up their food. 

I did a comparison and they took so much longer when they have screen time during mealtime. I also lost my sanity more times during that time. So, to make sure everyone is well-fed and happy by the end of mealtime, no watching TVs at all. 

Alex knows this very well by now. Sofia cannot really be bothered because every time she has food in front of her, she is 100% focused. No problem with that. 

Okay, enough of the end of week one thing. 

Till next time, bye now. 

18 May 2021

10-Ingredients Chocolate Brownies (One Half With Peanut Butter)!

Brownies are one of those dessert things that my family would crave randomly - quite often actually. And since we love to eat them so much, it is better if we learn to make them and be good at them. 

That way, we can use good ingredients that we can afford heh. and make it less sweet. 

I was very keen to learn to make brownies because I saw online a few recipes and they seemed so doable. I also know and read online that not all recipes will ngam you so try a few times baru tau. 

Then, one day I saw Pat K's IG and she mentioned that she has tried a few recipes and this is the one that she likes the most - so I decided to give it a try. Ingredients are simple enough so the trip to a bakery to get those supplies was easy. 

This is my third attempt (first time with peanut butter) and I am loving it! It turned out to be better than the first time I did it - the differences were I used a better cocoa powder and chocolate chips and I pre-heated the baking pan this time. 

So, this round of brownies was way better - crispy on top and gooey in the middle. In the recipe below, I minus the sugar content already so it is a little different than Pat K's. We prefer less sweet brownies because when brownies become too sweet, it's not nice (to us anyway). Actually, even after I lessen the sugar content, it is still sweet. I don't dare to lessen more because scared later the recipe will lari sikit. Heh. 

So here goes. 

10-INGREDIENTS CHOCOLATE BROWNIES (HALF WITH PEANUT BUTTER)

Ingredients:-

  • 225g salted butter (melted and cooled)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil 
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 200g white sugar
  • 4 eggs (room temperature)
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 140g all-purpose flour
  • 120g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 200g chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)

STEPS:-

  1. Preheat the oven (and baking pan with baking sheet lined) to 175 degrees Celcius. 
  2. Combine butter, oil, and sugar (brown and white) in a large bowl. 
  3. Add eggs, vanilla extract, and salt
  4. Whisk till everything is well combined. 
  5. In the same bowl, sift in flour and cocoa powder. 
  6. Add in chocolate chips (or chocolate chunks). 
  7. Gently fold the batter with a spatula till well combined. DO NOT OVER-MIX - that is why I add in the chocolate chips then only mix together to avoid over mixing. 
  8. Pour the batter into the preheated baking pan. 
    • This is where you add the peanut butter (if you want). 
    • Put a few dollops of peanut butter on top and straighten them out with a butter knife.
    • Or you can pour half the brownies batter then add the peanut butter and then 'close' it with the other half of the brownies batter. 
  9. You can add more chocolate chips on top (totally optional). 
  10. Bake the brownies for 35-40-minutes (my best is 35 minutes).
  11. Once the time is up, turn off the oven and leave the brownies inside for a good 2-minutes. 
  12. Remove from the oven and let it rest/cool down before you cut with a plastic knife (brownie hack: your brownies won't stick to your plastic knife). 
  13. Or even better if you can get those brownies cutter and then you will get even cut brownies - unlike mine. Every piece is unique hah. 
So there it is. 

I modified a bit on the recipe and steps according to what worked for me so yeah. You can go try and see. Maybe you would like to add more sugar to yours or use bitter chocolate chips etc. I used milk chocolate chips and they are so yummy, please. 


Till next cooking and baking, bye now. 

14 May 2021

Getting the Right Laptop!

 Why is it such a difficult decision to make when it comes to getting the 'right' laptop? 

We have talked about getting a new one after I officially resigned from HTT and until now, we are not ready to cross that bridge. We don't know which one to get! 

We wanted to get a tablet - I love (so love) the Microsoft Surface Go 2 (with red everything) but a friend shared that it is not worth the money. So, I am now back to square one. 

My mind was pretty fixed with Microsoft but after that review, I need to not go there anymore. Adrian tried to convince me to get Huawei (like his) - but the way they placed their webcam, umm I cannot. 

Huawei is definitely out. 

Apple laptops are out too - because they are ridiculously expensive and I don't need such a fancy laptop. I love how nice they look though. A for that. 

I am either for Dell or HP - because I have used both and loved using both. 

I was leaning towards Dell Inspiron 14 (2-in1) where they have touch screens and adjustable screens but Adrian said touch screens laptops are not very good. So, now I am back to the box - of no decisions made. 

So, if you are reading this, and have similar criteria like mine, and have made a very 'worth your money' purchase on a laptop, please share with this girl. I do not want to buy the 'wrong' laptop. 

Must-have criteria:

  • Lightweight (have to be able to carry out when with kids)
  • Preferably 14-inch screen size or smaller (don't want too big)
  • Budget not more than RM2,500 (below RM2,000 even better)
  • Backlit keyboard (because sometimes I have to work in the dark, so I need the keyboard lights)
I even googled 'Best Laptop for Moms' but I gave up going through the list after 2-minutes. All the comparisons between the processors etc. I cannot. 

I am currently using Adrian's old laptop and to be honest, it can still be used but there are 2 things that made us sort of want to replace it with a new one. First, its' sound system is a gone case so no watching movies or listening to Spotify, or trying to edit more videos (boo), and second, its battery is also a gone case so that means I have to always connect it with the power supply. 

And that is an issue because, with 2 kids at home, I have to be able to work anywhere (anytime), and not having to connect my laptop 24/7 is crucial. 

So, please help a friend out. Which laptop have you used before that is not super fancy? I just need a laptop for normal everyday use, and I don't want laptops that lag too please thank you. Or are there any laptops that I should avoid buying - also very important. 

Thank you in advance! :)

Till next time, bye now. 

22 April 2021

2D1N Hotel Jen Penang Georgetown by Shangri-La.

Big shoutout to Tourism Malaysia for making this staycation happen. I know you a bit blur now why I said that heh. 
Because Tourism Malaysia came out with a Stimulus Package alongside MATTA and Shopee - where they are sponsoring RM100 per person (discount) for any tour package purchased on Shopee that is in line with MATTA. 

Needless to say, Holiday Tours has a few packages lined up and one of them was a 2D1N staycation at Hotel Jen Penang Georgetown by Shangri-La! 



The selling price for the 2D1N Hotel Jen is RM115 per person for the 2D1N package, so with the RM100 discount voucher on Shopee, we actually only paid RM15 for a hotel staycation. 

Every account is only entitled to 1 RM100 discount voucher, and there were like 12 of us so we needed 12 people to buy and utilize these vouchers on Shopee - so we reached out to friends (haha) to help us out (only if they did not plan to use them) and finally, we managed to get all the vouchers and wala - it was staycation time! Heh. 

You can try this link (click with your phone app) and see if the package is still there - because I am quite sure the Hotel Jen's package is fully booked/purchased. But there are many other packages that you can use this RM100 voucher on. 

You can only enjoy this voucher thing via Shopee App - if I am not wrong. 




We emailed the Reservations Team days prior to the check-in and requested for all rooms to be on the same floor and if possible, to have multiple connecting rooms - and to have early check-ins. 

We were informed that early check-ins were not possible due to the high occupancy rate that week so that was a bummer that we had to only check in at 3PM - but being us, we went to the hotel early anyways, at like about 1245PM. 

We decided to try request for early check-in (again) and it worked! We managed to check into 2 rooms first and then by 2PM, all our rooms were ready! So, that works! Heh. Perseverance is key :)

This is the package that we purchased. 

It is inclusive of:-
> daily buffet breakfast
> entrance ticket to 3D Trick Art Museum

Oh, and we paid an extra RM10 per room for the weekend surcharge. 


Now, about the stay and the room and the breakfast. 

The staff was friendly and helpful. It was such a pleasant check-in experience with them. The lobby is nice and clean, even the hallway to the rooms. There were lots of sanitizers in the hotel so very convenient to wash your hands every 5 steps. Heh. 

The room (Deluxe Room with King bed) was quite spacious - and I love that they have an extra lounge chair by their giant window (which I love so much!).

Overall, clean room with a clean bathroom so I think I will give it a 4 out of 5 stars. 

The missing 1-star because of its location heh. I think it is a great hotel for those who prefer to explore the city and do some cafe hopping and for businessmen for sure. But for families with children, it is not very ideal - just because there were not many things to do in (around) the hotel. 

No beach and the pool are very basic. Also, cos Covid so no swimming for all of us so bleh. 


Only 2 rooms were connected - my grandma's and ours. So our room was the party/supper-room. Yes, we tapau food from Green House - like curry mee and tailok mee and steamed chicken. Heh. 

So here's a fun hack. 

Do you know that you can call the hotel and request bowls and cutleries from the restaurant and they will bring it to your room? We requested 5 bowls and cutleries and they delivered. 

Like legit super nice good quality bowls that they use in the restaurant okay - not those plastic bowls. 

That is why we could enjoy our curry mee and yee sang kai chok. Heh. 

So now you know ok. 

Here's a short video of the room :)


Till next staycation, bye now.