Friday, September 27, 2013

Today, Babycakes turns TWO!

Babycakes turns TWO today, 27 September 2013. Gosh time sure flies. We will be having a small birthday party for her tomorrow just for close friends and family but her friends and teachers at the nursery deserves to celebrate with her as well because she spent so much time with them, grew up with them and her teachers took care of her while Mummy and Daddy are at work.

So last night I decided to bake a cake and sent it to her nursery this morning so she can have a little party with her friends and teachers. Recipe from here. I started baking after finished cooking dinner. This was the cake after it was turned out of the cake tin and cooled on a rack. Thank God for baking paper (some call it parchment paper, cookie sheet) the bottom of my cake was near perfect.

I made frosting differently this time. Normally I would melt cooking chocolate and mix with butter, condensed milk and icing sugar but this time, I made chocolate cream. I have just enough butter and icing sugar and thankfully it's enough to cover the whole cake. The chocolate cream was a mixture of butter, icing sugar, cocoa powder and milk. I also filled 6 cupcake casings for me to try the cake because I won't know how the cake will turn out, how the taste is like because I won't get to taste it.

I bought NIPS chocolates and decorated the cake. The kedai runcit near my house only sells small packets of m&m so NIPS chocolates will do. Besides, they're cheaper than m&m. :P The cake must be cooled completely before frosting or it will melt. You sure don't want that to happen now, do you?

It's not the prettiest of cakes but I bet and I hope it will be a hit amongst the kids. I sent the cake together with two candles and a cake knife. I hope Babycakes and her friends and teachers will have a good time today.
I also packed some sweets in small clear plastic bags for the kids.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

weekend project part 32

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. If you love apples (who doesn't, anyway?) and desserts, why not make your dessert healthier a bit by adding apples into them? I love apple crumble and apple pie but I've never really tasted apple muffin. Last week I bought some apples from Cold Storage and decided to make some apple dessert. I also bought a packet of frozen puff pastry but I just had apple pie the week before so I searched for a recipe for apple muffins. I always go to Best Recipes to get my recipes because I find the recipes reliable and easy to follow. I also would read through the reviews and if the reviews are rave, I get more confident and excited to try it out. I found a recipe for Apple Sultana Muffins and started making it.

I have had the muffin cases for the longest time and never got around to making muffins. Honestly, I prefer baking a whole cake because it is much easier and faster. I only have one muffin tin so I had to wait for one batch to bake and then bake the subsequent batch(es). I love crunchy, tangy apples like Fuji apple. I don't quite like Royal Gala apples or those cottony apples.

I added a bit more ground cinnamon into the batter because I love cinnamon and cinnamon and apples go well together. I also sprinkled some ground cinnamon+sugar mixture on top of the muffins. Always remember to fill about 2/3 of the muffin case because your muffins will rise. I don't mind muffin tops on my muffins but not on my waist! But at the rate I'm eating and not exercising, sigh my muffin top has spilled over ughhh.

This is the first batch of muffins, just out of the oven. The cinnamon+sugar mixture gives it a golden brown top and it looks so pretty with the crinkle effects. The smell of cinnamon wafting through my house when these babies were baking was divine! This recipe is definitely a keeper. The muffins turn out so well, fluffy and moist and the apple bits give it a crunchy texture. Love it! With those apples in these babies, at least I don't feel that guilty having them. Right.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Holiday Activities for Babycakes

Who doesn't love long weekends, right? And what could be better if the Monday itself is also a holiday! That means no Monday blues for all of us. Hubby had some work on Saturday so as usual Babycakes and I stayed at home. Before the weekend, I planned to take her to one of the indoor gyms but I know it will be packed considering it is a weekend. I've taken her to JKids Playground at Tropicana City Mall twice so I thought I wanted to take her to other gym and somewhere nearer. There is one gym called Jungle Jungle at Plaza Damas. I read a review online and saw the pics and it looked more or less the same as JKids Playground. The only difference is the color scheme and the theme. The Jungle Jungle gym is more greenish with jungle-like decos and colors whereas JKids Playground is more like a candyland. As I read the review, I learned that the entrance fee on weekends and public holidays is a whopping RM50 per kid! I find it very expensive. Even Jkids Playground's RM30 fees for weekends is already considered expensive to me, what more RM50. That's it, scrap the idea. We shall do some other activities instead.
I went on Pinterest and found so many great ideas for activities for toddlers and most of the activities are very cheap and they promote the exercise of fine motor skills. One of the ideas that intrigued me was painting with q-tips or cotton buds using home made paint. It is very easy to make and it requires the ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Of course you can buy the paint but make sure they are safe and non-toxic but if you make your own, it is much cheaper and even if your child swallows it (which they will try and lick some, you know how curious they are) you won't have to freak out because the stuffs you use are toxic-free. In fact, they are edible. Only thing is, they are salty.
What you need to make the paint are:
  1. Flour- I used tepung gandum. So cheap!
  2. Salt- Who doesn't have salt in the kitchen, right? I've no idea the purpose of the salt but one thing I know is that it won't make the paint moldy when it's dried.
  3. Water.
  4. Food colorings of your choice- I bought Star Brand orange and blue solely for this. I already have red. Too bad Cold Storage ran out of Star Brand green food coloring. They do have other brands but they're imported and more expensive. Another local brand is selling at RM7+ per bottle. Why would I need a RM7+ or Wilton's food coloring when I can get one at only RM2.99?
  5. Q-tips of cotton buds- Any brand will do. Go to Daiso and you can get a huge container of cotton buds for RM5. Cotton buds are perfect for little hands. Plus, I don't have any paint brushes.
  6. Recycled papers/boxes/card stocks and some newspapers and scissors to cut.
  7. A bib to protect your child's clothing.
I set up a work station for Babycakes. I covered the desk with newspapers and tape the papers to the desk. I made the paint by mixing the ingredients and I poured them in an egg carton. Cut boxes/card stocks etc into shapes and get your child to paint with the cotton buds. At first Babycakes was a bit hesitant to paint until I showed to her the how-tos.

She was also a bit hesitant when the paint touches her fingers but I assured her that it's ok, we can wash our hands later. She had so much fun and she likes it when the paint drops onto the paper and made 'bubbles', according to her. I prefer to use cardboard or card stocks better because they are thicker and they don't fly easily and they don't get soft when wet with paint. You can cut up cereal or biscuit boxes for example. Babycakes really enjoyed the activity and we painted for more than an hour. It was well worth it. After she has painted, I let it out to dry.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Stride Rite Friday Shoe Giveaway

Last month, Stride Rite held a shoe giveaway every Friday for a whole month. All you have to do is answer a simple question on Stride Rite and you stand a chance to win a pair of Stride Rite shoes. I entered the 2nd week but didn't win so I tried again for the 3rd week and I was chosen as the winner! They announced it on their facebook page. My sil informed me that I've won and sent me a picture of the announcement.

I was glad that I won! That means Babycakes will get a spanking new shoes. The people from Stride Rite sent me an email on the shoe redemption but it went into spam. The email was sent earlier and I was supposed to redeem the shoes at Stride Rite Paradigm Mall before a certain date but since I opened the email late, they were kind enough to extend the redemption date. That's what I call a good customer service!
 We went to Paradigm Mall on one Saturday evening to redeem the shoes. Babycakes was happy to go into the shop and we had a hard time choosing the shoes for her. We can choose ANY ONE pair of shoes that we like. There were so many designs but the designs for her age are quite limited. So we opted for a bigger size and chose one from the new arrival, the ones with glitter and lights. Woohoo! Babycakes has a few pairs of shoes that she is currently using so we shall keep this one first until her feet are big enough to fit them. I love how colorful and glittery the shoes are and it'll look even more awesome when she wears it and the lights come out. Thank you Stride Rite!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

weekend project part 31

As usual, when I'm back at my parents' house over the weekend, mum would ask me to bake a cake and she likes plain butter cake. Recently I found a recipe for basic butter cake so I gave it a try. The recipe received rave reviews and it is in the Top 10 cake recipes so it is definitely worth trying. I read the reviews and lessened the sugar to a little under 1 cup because I wanted to make frosting. I also added extra milk and some orange juice to the batter.

The cake baked and browned nicely. However, it cracked on top. :( but I love seeing the even golden-brown colour and it's so sayang to cut the top of the cake. I know bakers do this to have an even top but I can't bring myself to waste about 1/4 of the cake. I then cut the cake into two (obviously uneven) and let it cool Earlier I made orange buttercream frosting by mixing butter, icing sugar and orange juice. Since I am not the most patient person in the world, I put the icing on the cake even before the cake was completely cooled. Obviously the icing melted and when I cut the cake, the icing oozes out which looks like the batter of an undone cake. The cake was nice but it would be nicer if it is softer and fluffier. This type of cake is simple and perfect for tea and you can use the recipe for a base of any cake.

I was in Muar last Thursday and I bought a packet of Mee Bandung paste at Tanjung Emas. I had a plate of Mee Bandung for lunch which was good so I bought one packet. I then made the gravy on Sunday. The instructions were so easy. All I have to do is boil some beef to make a stock. We still have beef in the freezer from last raya so I cut the beef into small pieces and boiled it until it becomes tender. After that all I had to do was put in the paste and it's done. Of course you can add some veges eg sawi, tomatoes and also egg and tofu.
Well, it rained that day so my gravy was a bit too runny (alasan). I should have let the beef stock reduced a bit more before adding the paste. It should be thicker. Since the gravy is a bit runny, it tasted like Mee Udang but it is good nonetheless.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Cadbury Dairy Milk Share Bag

During the fasting month, Cadbury held a contest on its Facebook page where they gave a list of 11 situations in which you want to share your Cadbury chocolates with. Contestants must come up with list no 12 and are required to email the no. 12 list. Little that I know, my entry was chosen to be one of the lucky winners. I was excited when they emailed me to give my details.

 Last week, a courier guy came and gave this box to me. He said it was a cake. I didn't know there was a chilled option for couriered items.

I opened the package and there was a brown box. Inside the box were 2 packs of Cadbury Dairy Milk. You know how exciting it is to receive a parcel but the happiness is doubled when the parcel contains yummy chocolates! The next day, I gave 2 bars each to my colleagues and staffs. Such happy day.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Babycakes' First Birthday

OMG i couldn't believe that I did not post about Babycakes' FIRST BIRTHDAY and she'll be TWO end of this month OMG OMG OMG!!! This post has been in my draft folder for so long gaaaaahhhh! Oh well, I know it is basi but what the heck.

I started making preparations months before her birthday. I started buying things progressively so that I don't splurge at one time. I did not have a specific theme for her party simply because it is her 1st birthday and she doesn't have any favourite cartoon character just yet. Plus, it was also a belated raya open house. I printed the cupcakes and cut the circles and made my very own toppers. Tedious, but very satisfactory knowing that you made it all by yourself.

I am proud to say that I made her tutu myself. There are so many tutorials online and it's so easy. It's just a matter of rajin & malas, nak atau tak nak. Of course I can just buy one off the shelf but when she grows up, I can proudly tell her that Mummy made your tutu for your first birthday! I bought the material from some flower shop in Kajang and started working on it and even had Babycakes to try it on a few days before her party. I bought a pink sleeveless romper for her to wear with the tutu to create the ballerina look. Not that we're going for a ballerina themed party but I couldn't find any t shirt that is suitable for her so the plain pink romper with 2 butterfly appliques will do.

Most of the party deco and stuffs were diy. I know how easy it is to have a party planner do everything but it comes with a hefty price tag too. Plus, we don't have an exact theme going on so it's a matter of mix and match. I cut some coloured papers in cupcake shapes and made a little guestbook for it.

Party favours were all diy too. Bought some party loot bags, balloons, balloon sticks and some other stuffs including a small square face towel which comes in handy to wipe off sweat and stuffs from the kid's face and hands. The stuffs were bought at a shop somewhere in Taman Manja. They're much cheaper than Balloon Buzz, Party World and the like. I had a hard time looking for the sugar biscuits but eventually found a kiosk in Giant Sek. 13 Shah Alam. The kiosk sold them by the grams but the owner sold by the tin too so I ordered one tin from her and bought some small clear plastic bags. SIL bought some small puddings to put in the bag as well. I also printed some thank you tags and stapled it together.

I bought a deal from one of those deal websites for 6 pieces posters. Of course they're Babycakes' pictures. The big frames were from IKEA (love the vibrant green & blue frame) and I added Babycakes' name and Happy 1st Birthday wordings on it. SIL also bought marshmallows and we made marshmallow pops the night before the party.
I bought a few pieces of '1st birthday' balloons in pink and purple, which are so adorable. They can be found here.   We used an old blackboard for the deco, and other deco were all diy. Everybody helped to hang the balloons, even my dad helped blow the balloons the day before.

The menu include nasi minyak, ayam merah, dalca, roast lamb, mashed potato, salad, some kuih, apam polkadot and of course, Babycakes' birthday cake in the shape of Pinky Polly. We also celebrated my dad's birthday, which falls a day before Babycakes' birthday.
Overall, it was a huge success. We have friends and relatives and Babycakes received a ton of gifts.We are so looking forward to her 2nd birthday but this time it will be more small scaled and intimate. I am in the midst of doing some crafts for her party and I will share it once the party is over, hopefully not as long as I take to write this post, insyaallah.

bake a cake

I have always loved baking however I can't bake fancy schmancy cakes. I can bake a decent cake for a small party (or makan2) or to bring as a favour when visiting or just to simply eat. There are times when my cakes don't turn out as expected and there are times when my cakes turn out perfectly. It is never a 'sure case' because each recipe is different and sometimes things just don't go your way.
On Monday evening, as I was picking up Babycakes from the nursery, her sitter told me that they will be having a raya open house on Wednesday evening and she said parents are welcome to bring some kuih  raya. Irene kept on saying 'esok malam raya! esok malam raya!' Anyway, I thought kuih raya is a bit too boring so I opted to bring a cake instead. So on Tuesday I bought a box of Pillsbury Devil's Food cake mix. I don't think I want to bake a cake from scratch, on a weeknight so this invention comes in really handy.

That night, I set to work when hubby took Babycakes out to the nearby shop for a while. I get to bake in peace and not fear of Irene playing near the hot oven. After the cake is baked, I let it cool before I began frosting it with some homemade chocolate frosting. I have a bar of cooking chocolate and I used half of it mixed with some butter, icing sugar and condensed milk and melted it in a double-boiler (a bowl on top of a pan with boiling water- make sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water though).

I started frosting the cake past midnight when Babycakes has gone to sleep with her daddy. If I were to do this when she was awake, I bet the process will take much longer and messier. I don't need to deal with such thing on a weeknight no less. Past midnight, the house was quiet and serene and I get to work at my own pace. Btw, I read a tip on the internet to put some parchment paper below the cake before frosting so any frosting that drips will drip onto the paper. See the 1st pic, you can see strips of parchment paper below the cake. After you are done, remove the paper and you will have a clean, mess-free cake board. Thank God I found this tip on the internet. Why didn't I ever think about it before? *slaps forehead*
Once the cake was done frosting, I put it in the microwave oven (to store because the cake might invite ants) and the next day, I brought it to Babycakes' nursery. I wish I have some m&m to decorate but that will do.