28 May 2020

Motherhood in One Word (For Me).

So, recently I was asked by my church to share on what motherhood is to me (and how does having Jesus in my life helped) and I did.

I wrote the below for script and spent about one & a half hours talking to myself in front of the camera. It was intense. I had to go to a place that is quiet (which is obviously impossible with the children at home), and with "proper" background. I also had to record at a place where no cars or bikes can be heard.

So, I chose to do it just outside my parents' place. If you listen carefully, at the end of the video, you can actually hear Sofia.

Towards the end of it, I was sweating buckets (thankful it didn't really show in the video except for a shiny face heh). There were a lot of retakes because cars and bikes were driving by, our neighbor decided to wash like gazillions of plates and I forgot what I wanted to say. The camera was fully-charged okay when I first started.

Then, when the battery was left with 19%, I was like, "Game on!" because I do not have any other time to record video so this has to be it.

At the end, I decided to record it to three parts which was a lot easier than recording at one full take. I also did not really follow my "script" because I didn't want to read from it and record. I had to be a little bit spontaneous ma right.

Confidence is key. Hah.

So yeah. I had fun doing this video because it sort of allows me to think of what motherhood is to me and what it has done to me (all good things).

What is motherhood to you, I wonder. Everyone for sure has different definition of what motherhood is to them.

So here goes.

Hello everyone.

First, let me just wish all beautiful mothers and mothers to be out there - Blessed Mothers Day!

My name is Sarah Khoo and I have 2 minis - a soon-to-be-2yo-boy and a 4mo-baby-girl.
I also have a husband and a 9-5 job.

If I can choose one word that summarizes what motherhood is to me - it would be SACRIFICE.

  • We give up our body to grow a human for nine months. 
  • We go through labor for hours and hours, and we go through the set of emotions that comes with childbirth because of the hormonal changes.
  • We try to deal with our insecurities every time we look into the mirror because our body no longer looks and feels the same anymore.
  • We spend hours and hours trying to research on how to boost our milk supply because we want to continue breastfeeding for as long as we can.
  • By the time we get to eat, our food is cold but we had to swallow it anyways because we never know when the baby is awake again or wants to be held by you and nobody else. 
The list goes on and on. 

We basically put our life on hold just so we can live theirs with them. 

I struggled with that the most I think. When I became a mother, I felt that I had to give up more "things" compared to my husband. I don't know about you, but I immediately felt the need to "even-out" the sacrifices.

I felt that it was unfair that I had to sacrifice so many things (going out with my friends at night, hang out in the cafe or go watch a movie etc) and, it seems like he still gets to enjoy his daily activities. 

You know sometimes when I know I am not going to win in a debate/an argument, I will usually just casually say, "You know, I did gave birth to not 1, but 2 babies for you" HAHHA. 

I know it is wrong to be like this. Haha. 

Anyways, it was rough motherhood for me at first. 

But I was reminded of how Jesus sacrificed everything for us. How He also basically gave up his life just so we can live ours? I mean he died for us - like really literally die die.. 

When I look at just that, I think to myself - I don't even have to die for my children. I just need to put my life on hold for a while you know. 

And that's a strong reminder to myself every time emotions sweep in and it hits me again on how I am missing out in life with my friends and all. (My friends are amazing BTW, because they would come to my house and hang out there just so I can hang out too). 

Anyways, it is not like I did not already know about the sacrifices that Jesus did but being a mother myself made me understand really, what sacrifice really means. And I think because of that, I begin to "enjoy" motherhood even when Alex is throwing the biggest tantrum in the world. I begin to appreciate the struggles of motherhood because I then believe that motherhood is a calling. 

It is not a hobby. You cannot like decide you want to be a mother because you think it is going to be fun. It is not like collecting coins or something. 

Despite all that, of course, I still struggle because a human can only have this much patience right? And I think right, children is one of God's way to make us better people wan. Like I pray for patience to increase, the next day for sure my children will do something to test it. CONFIRM. 

And you know what works for me when I have rough days to deal with?

I pray- a lot - I believe that prayers can move a mountain - whatever your mountain is. 

And the song Goodness of God playing in loops. I play this song sometimes when I get to have a longer shower or when I get to have a me-time. Or when Sofia wakes up at 3AM and refused to go back to sleep - I will hold her and sing this song and then I realize that I can do it. 

So yeah, it will all be worth it.  

Putting my travel plans on hold. 
Laying down my desire to be recognized. 
Giving up the imaginary life that I could have had. 

Because motherhood is a calling. 

14 May 2020

Pad Kra Pao (Chicken Stir-Fry with Holy Basil).

I don't cook a lot (because one - I am a very lazy person actually and cooking is just too much work, and two - I don't like to wash the after-cooking-things).

But this MCO has "motivated" all of us to some sort of not be lazy in a sense.  

So, to make time pass faster and to do something other than putting my kids to sleep (back-to-back), I cook on the weekends. Or at least I try. 

My mother-in-law is someone who always makes sure that our kitchen/pantry is well stocked up (even on normal days before the whole #dudukrumah thing started), so cooking at home is already a step easier - no need to wake up early to go do the marketing.

I am a big fan of Thai food (shame on you if you didn't already know that - kidding!), so it only makes sense that I have always wanted to master cooking Thai food. 

This basil dish has always been my sure-order whenever I have Thai food. But it is so hard to find one that is really good and satisfying - with the right level of spiciness. Most of the times, it is just not spicy enough - no kick. 

So, I decided to try it for myself - since many people told me that it is quite an easy dish to make. 

This recipe is really simple okay. 

I like to prepare all its ingredients and sauce before I start so I don't like panic last minute (something I learned during this MCO). Heh. 

Preparations (step by step) for you guys. This is what I do but you can do it another way of course.
  1. Bring out the minced meat (or diced chicken or any protein) and let them be thawed first. Cannot cook the meat if it is still frozen okay. 
  2. Peel 5 cloves of garlic and put them into a blender. Don't blend/pound yet! Add in 5 red chillies and then only blend. You can use any chilli actually depending if you want the dish to be spicy or not. If don't want spicy at all, then no need to blend/pound anything - just chop the garlic. Once done, set aside the garlic & chilli paste. 
  3. Pluck the basil leaves and wash, then leave them aside. 
  4. Chop some onions (you can add long beans and any other vegetables too). I tried with long beans and cauliflower and it worked too!
  5. For the sauce: EQUAL amount of oyster sauce and soy sauce and HALF of fish sauce, a bit of sugar, a bit of water and a bit of dark soy sauce. I usually will use 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce and soy sauce, then half tablespoon of fish sauce - then sugar, water and dark soy sauce I put a little bit (no measurements wan). Mix all of it in a bowl. 

Once all is ready, then it's cooking time! 

Put in some oil and the garlic & chilli paste. Stir-fry until the aroma is everywhere and you find yourself coughing. Hah. Kid you not. 

Then, add the minced meat. 

If I have vegetables, then I will add in my long beans first. 

Once the minced meat is cooked, then add in the onions. I like to add onions later because I love that it is a bit crunchy and not softened. 

Stir them for a little while more and then add the sauce. 

Let it simmer for a while. At this point, you can put in more dark soy sauce if you would like it to be darker. 

The last step is to put in the basil leaves and turn off the heat. 

Stir the leaves in and the dish is ready to be eaten! 

I used the same recipe to make Thai Basil Fried Rice and Pad Kra Pao Spaghetti and they were bombs, please! So so good.

I don't use just minced meat all the time - sometimes cubed chicken meat and sometimes minced salmon. It can really be any protein you want to be honest that is why I love this recipe so much. It is so easy! 

The sauce is really applicable to all kinds of stir-fry if you asked me. It's like my secret sauce now. Not so secret anymore heh. Highly recommended for those who cannot really cook well but loves cooking. This is your go-to sauce please!

Go try them!

Till next recipe, bye now! 

30 April 2020

Homemade Pesto Meatballs.

The husband made pesto second-time (both without pine nuts because don't know where to get them nuts) and we kept some of the pastor sauce in the fridge so we can use them next time. Ain't nobody got the time to do pesto as and when one craves for it. Heh.

With the extra pesto sauce in the fridge, I thought of eating something other than pesto pasta for a change so I went to google to get some ideas.

TGFG - Thank God for Google!

Then, I saw the word 'Pesto Meatballs' and I was immediately sold - because I know how easy and mess-free it is to make meatballs.

So, I grabbed half of a chicken breast (with the other half, it looks like a butterfly. Since this is a first-time trial, I decided not to risk wasting my chicken breast. Heh.

I took half of the butterfly cut and grind it with our newly-purchased Tefal blender (because the previous one broke down in the middle of MCO) and we have for ourselves, a handful of minced chicken meat.

TGFOS - Thank God for Online Shopping!

Then using just one bowl, I mix all the ingredients:

- Minced meat (you can use pork, beef whatsoever meat you want - it is your meatballs after all).
- one whole egg
- pesto sauce
- bread crumbs
- salt & pepper

Don't ask me on the measurements okay because I just put according to how I feel only. HAHA.

Then, mix all of these ingredients together. I should have put in more crumbs so that my meatballs not too sticky but it was still okay. Mine just lack salt because I was so scared that it becomes too salty since the pesto was quite salty already.

Then, after that just shape them to however you like.

It can be mini patties too actually - because the second batch I made it flatter.


And we have ourselves some really yummy homemade pesto meatballs - the green colour is really a bonus! Loved it!

Definitely will be making more of these meatballs in the future.

Till next time. 

19 April 2020

Thai Duck Red Curry with Blue Elephant.

It seems like when the Movement Control Order (MCO) is lifted, many people would have expanded their cooking skills and menus.

I am one of them. 

But I am not those who cook from scratch - because I may very high likely waste the resources and those fresh ingredients that my mother-in-law get from the market. She is risking her life every time she goes to market okay. So we gonna use them wisely. Heh.

I would actually like to cook something really impressive during this MCO, but we all know that is never going to happen. What is impressive is I did homemade nuggets and 'roasted potatoes' with air-fryer and they were bombs. So yeah. 

Anyways, I am the biggest fan of Thai food and since it is also as risky to order food via DeliverEat, Foodpanda or Grabfood - it's best I learn to cook it myself. 

I made one visit to Jaya Grocer and intended to get everything I needed for the next 3-weeks but of course, the mission was only 90% accomplished. Even though I've written down on the to-buys, I still managed to forget other things. Hooray me. 

I spent quite a bit of time in the Asian Food area because I just wanted to get all things Thai food - curry, paste and whatnot. 

But I managed to pull myself together and got one, yes ONE thing. 

This Blue Elephant Thai Premium Cuisine - Red Curry edition (RM9.90 from GP's Jaya Grocer). They have green curry as well but I thought of doing something out of the norm. I have never ordered Red Curry before whenever I dine at a Thai place so I thought hmm why not. 

The packaging looks promising and I am a sucker for nice packaging one. Ask my husband. Heh.

Behind it, there is a simple recipe where you can follow (or not) so quite a win for me in that sense. I just followed the recipe and get the items listed.

The recipe says Thai Red Curry with Roasted Duck. We have smoked duck - similar. Heh.

The recipe also mentioned to add cherry tomatoes and cubed pineapples - nope, I didn't add those in. 

Anyways, I tried to keep it simple and edible. Heh. 

So here goes.

Red curry paste is made by pounding together dried red chilli, lemongrass, garlic, shallot and galangal. The texture of this paste is thick (as seen in the photo above), rich in its flavour and it is spicy.

The paste is the only thing that's in the packaging - unlike Marion's Kitchen Thai Red Curry Cooking Kit (available in Australia and USA only boohoo) wherein the cooking kit, you will get the red curry paste, coconut milk, dried herbs & chilli and bamboo shoots.


Anyways, back to this. So I didn't really follow exactly the recipe but close enough la. I got the duck, kaffir lime leaves and red chilli ready.

Oh and the fish sauce - such an important element in all Thai food.

First, I put oil in the pot and stir fry the red curry paste till the aroma comes out. Mine was almost burnt. Heh.

Then, I pour in half of the coconut milk and some water. This is the part where I so pandai go and cut the amount of water cos I thought too much water later too watery.

It ended up becoming quite a thick curry - but still yummy.

Then, continue to stir it until it becomes a legit red curry looking thing. I also realized at this point that I really do need the not-too-big-and-not-too-small-spatula to cook.

Let the curry boil for a little bit - then add the kaffir lime leaves and chilli and stir.

Lastly, add the smoked duck and let the curry boil a little while.

Then, garnish with some coriander (any nice-looking green leaves) and chopped chilli - ready to be served.

My husband and mother-in-law loved it so more cooking of this kind of this next time! Gonna try other types next time.

Till next time, bye now. 

13 April 2020

Koay's Love Language #42.

We were having a breakfast conversation this morning and I was handling Sofia's car seat.

Me: I think right - next time for sure Sofia won't be scared of me wan.
Him: Why eh?
Me: Alex for sure will listen to me like now since so close right. But Sofia..
Him: Hm..
Me: Because Sofia is your precious girl and you will protect her wan so she won;t be scared of me.
Him: But I am scared of you.


08 April 2020

Spicy Tuna & Egg Puff Pastry.

Yes, Sarah is cooking again. 

Because this one is super easy - anyone can do it. 

I've always liked eating puff pastries whether it is savoury kind or sweet kind. I tell you ah - I can have like a few times month cravings towards chocolate pastry one. 

Then, I found out from Jo Wyee how his mom makes sardines puff and that was it - I went to get the puff pastry sheet and "make" the ingredients.

I didn't make la.

I decided to start with tuna because it is so simple.

Step 1: Buy a can of tuna of any brand. My personal favourite is the spicy type from Tesco.
Step 2: Mix the tuna with chopped shallots (or any other ingredients that you like).
Step 3: I added some mayo into my spicy tuna mix because it was way too spicy.
Step 4: Mix together and wa-la, ingredients ready to be used.
Step 5: I decided to be a bit extra and got some hard-boiled eggs ready too.

Once the inti is done and ready, then it is time to take out the puff pastry sheets and start working.

Of course, you need to get the puff pastry sheets first before you begin this 'baking'.

I got mine from Tesco - the brand is Kawan (costs about RM5++ cannot remember the exact amount) but I just found out that you can actually get them online too. Click here to go to their website. They have more items there. Of course you have to order a total of RM150 and above for free shipping since Kawan is located in Shah Alam.

I kept them in the freezer because I found them stored in the freezer in supermarkets so I guess it must be the right way to store them ya.

So, if you plan to make this, remember to bring it out earlier to let it defrost nicely.

I am not artistic at all, so obviously I googled to see what kind of shapes I can do with tuna fillings, and I decided that I was gonna play safe and do one style. Square-ish kind.

The puff pastry sheets that I got are in squares so I decided to roll them and make it longer a bit then cut into half so my tuna puffs can be slightly bigger than bite-sized puffs.

So here goes.

Also, since there's like 10 sheets in a packet, I decided to use all and not keep. I took out a chocolate bar and cut them into small pieces and googled on how to make mini chocolate croissants - sort of.

I tried okay. Keyword: tried.

Last step after finish making into shapes and all is to brush egg wash on top of each pastry with a brush to have that golden brown effect after baking.

Oh, remember to pre-heat the oven first so you can actually pre-heat the oven while you make the puffs - can save time.



And.. everyone loves it! Except my mom because she doesn't eat tuna. Heh.

Adrian loves it so much he kept going back to the kitchen to get it. Super nice when it's served hot. I love the chocolate ones because it' so mini and I can just pop the entire thing into the mouth. Ahhh - o bestnya.

No need to spend so much money buy outside ones already.

Sendiri make can keep in fridge some more.

This recipe is really very easy. I think next time I am gonna try it with ham & cheese and sausages.

#dudukrumah be making all of us chefs by the time the whole thing is lifted.

Go away virus. Time for you to disappear already, Covid-19. You will not be missed.

Till then, bye now. 

03 April 2020

Working From Home Feels.

I have always thought that people who get to work from home are really blessed and their company so best kan.

Not until Coronovirus invaded the entire world and with Movement Control Order ongoing (strictly), working from home is tough. It's like you're on maternity leave but needs to be in front of your laptop most of the time. 

It's funny how I realized that ever since MCO started, Alex has been waking up awfully early every day and Sofia has been sleeping so poorly in the noon - means she wakes up every 15-30 minutes and wants to be carried. Excuse me, I love my daughter so much but she is 6.2KG (as I'm writing this) and that is one heavyweight to be lugging around in the house. 

For Alex, it's a lot easier to handle now that he is much older. I just need honey stars, chips (for desperate times) or any other adult foods that he can see. We had to hide snacks from him okay. This one just needs food - and sometimes, a fellow human whom he can play with. 

On not so good days, Alex wants to be glued to me and on that same kind of day, I will have a lot of emails to tend to and work-stress level is high. They always have to be on the same day wan. These kinds of days - I sleep at 8PM wan. 

Apparently, it has been 2-days in a row that we (Penang) do not have any newly reported cases so that's really good news. Really hoping that the Government is not going to extend another 2-weeks of working from home. 

So yes, my working from home is tough because I've got to handle two minis and work at the same time. It is physically very challenging. 

But I really do enjoy working with Adrian, from the same table. He sits in front of me so it's like so ideal man? Can see his face all the time. Can share snacks and drinks too. So lovely right?

It is getting easier because now I can sort of predict and plan accordingly with the two minis and Kelly - because I am using her laptop to work. Lots of research done and calls made so it does actually feel quite productive as the days go by. 

Our meals are getting simpler too. 

We all miss eating out really. 

But we are just gonna be good and stay home now. 

#dudukrumah #stayathome #notstuckathome #letsdothisworld #wegotthis #strongerthanbefore