March 17th, 2015

Winter workwear

Winter workwear 2015

 

Now, if I have a job and I have money, I would totally go out and get this for work. 

But I am far from it. Right now, I am still wearing my PJs with the kid clinging on to me. It’s 4pm now by the way. Oh, so glamourous!

I love these stuff I pulled out at Polyvore because instead of the standard dull colours, I chose things that add a pop of colour to what is normally a subdued weather. I also quite like the coral based colours. Funny, I am not normally a person who would choose colours like these off the shelves but when putting it together like that, I like them. I like the shoes. I don’t do well on heels. I am a klutz even on bare feet so heels are hazardous for me. I believe you can get the flats from The Iconic. 

Winter isn’t here yet but it’s beginning to feel like it. We are now into the first month of Autumn and it’s getting chilly. Infact, I wore a sweater while hanging clothes outside at 21°C. What the heck! How will I survive winter? And I LOVE the cold. What’s up?

What are your winter essentials? Hit me up on Polyvore!

 

p/s: If you want to purchase makeup, you can get $10 OFF at Luxola when you spend $80! Only for new customers. SHOP NOW!

March 4th, 2015

SMB Chocolate and a Millenium Falcon CAKE!

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Chocolate Cake with gradient orange swirls

I had wanted to post this in like FOREVER but I kept postponing it for unknown reasons. I don’t quite know why because I sure was excited making them. So I decided that I had better get this up before the kid turns two in a month’s time! TWO!! TWO! Warp speed I tell ya!

At one years old, the kid did not have anything that she can closely relate to. She had no favourite toy, no favourite cartoon character and no special security item. So instead of deciding on a cartoon character for her birthday cake, I decided to make a figurine of the kid and her “favourite” pal, Rosco, our four year old Westie. I’ve made plenty of figurines with polymer clay before so yes, I’ve got this covered!

Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMB). Ahh, the very word that makes plenty of people quiver with fear. SMB, if you are not familiar is not the same as your normal buttercream. SMB is made of egg whites, butter and sugar. It’s quite temperamental so it has to be handled with care. One wrong move and you could waste your whole bowl of egg whites (which you have PAINSTAKINGLY separated!). If you want to know how to make SMB and all the steps to make sure you do it right, visit Sweetapolita. I was an absolute newbie to SMB so I googled for it and this website was the only one I needed. Thankfully, I got my SMB right on my first try!

I didn’t particularly want a one coloured SMB cake nor do I want the typical pink coloured one for girls. I wanted something bright and cheerful so I chose a gradient of orange colour. I loved making the swirls! It is really so easy to make but you would need a turntable for this. If you would like to find out how to make this, please check out this video.

Birthday cupcakes with swiss meringue buttercream

I used the extra SMB from the cake to ice my cupcakes. As you can tell, I still need a lot of work with my piping skills. Not exactly a masterpiece there. :)

The cake was a hit with everyone! The chocolate cake was amazing and combined with the SMB, it was heaven. What I love about SMB is that it is light and not too buttery. It’s a perfect combination with banana cake too! 

A few months, 50 boxes and a flight later, it was the husband’s birthday and for the longest time, I have been dying to make him a Millennium Falcon cake because I can’t exactly afford the Lego ones. I’ve searched online for an easy, not too advanced one to “copy” but it was hard to find one that I have in mind. It has to be two things; Lego and Millennium Falcon. Finally, I just had to imagine it by looking at the actual Lego set online.

Millennium Falcon Star Wars cake

Introducing my homemade Lego Millenium Falcon Chocolate cake! I had a lot of fun making this! I had thought that it would take me a long time to make it but if I combined all the hours, it was probably only a day’s work. I used piping tips to make the round lego bits and the figurines were real Lego ones. This was my first sculptured cake. In fact, I was actually pretty nervous about making this one but I am quite impressed with how it turned out!

I have only ever used fondants from Bake With Yen which I found too be too sweet. I wanted to try another brand while I am here so I used Bakels fondant and I liked it. It was easy to handle with the cold temperature, didn’t crack easily and and most importantly, it wasn’t too sweet. 

For this chocolate cake, I used the recipe from Sharon Wee’s cake book. It was as great as the one I made for the kid.

Since it was just the three of us at home, I made the husband take the rest of the cake to work and I am glad that they liked it!

Millennium Falcon Star Wars

It was such fun designing, sculpturing and baking the cakes. I would have love to turn this into a business but the hassle of getting the approval is just too much here. Still, I am no where near making perfect cakes. I’ll just have to make do with my home audience. :)

And the next time I’ll be baking is when the kid turns two! She has more interests now so I would probably make her something that she can relate to but I still can’t decide which one I would make. Hopefully I will remember to document a step by step of the cake making process this time. I can’t wait to make it!

March 2nd, 2015

Recipe: Soft and Fluffy Shokupan

Soft and fluffy Shokupan

For the longest time now, I have been searching for a soft and fluffy bread that I am satisfied with. I had one that I used to use back when I had a breadmachine but since moving here and buying the Thermomix, I have been manually making my bread by first mixing in the TMX then baking it in the oven. A little more work than the breadmachine of course but it really doesn’t take up that much of your time. 

Then I came across this bread recipe in Cookpad.com and oh boy, there is no turning back with this winner! It is the softest and fluffiest bread I have every made! And it stayed soft for FOUR DAYS in my Sistema container. Absolute keeper.

Soft and fluffy Shokupan

I would normally eat this bread with soft boiled eggs, the way many Asians do, I think. What I found out recently is that this bread does absolutely well toasted with a bit of butter then topped with Parmesan cheese. Then you eat that with the eggs. Heavenly, I tell you!

Cookpad is a fantastic place to check out awesome bread recipes because like most Asian breads, Japanese have really good soft breads too. Many of the recipes are in Japanese but there is an English section where they’ve translated some of the recipes from the main site. I have my eye on the white Shokupan recipe there but I don’t quite have the ingredients to try it out yet!

If you are looking for soft fluffy bread that’ll last for days, you should really try this out. 

Soft and fluffy Shokupan

Soft and Fluffy Shokupan
Serves 1
An absolutely soft and fluffy bread loaf that'll last for days!
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Ingredients
  1. 250 grams Bread (strong) flour
  2. 40 grams Butter
  3. 2 tbsp Condensed milk
  4. 2 tbsp Sugar
  5. 12 grams Skim milk powder
  6. 4 grams Salt
  7. 175 grams Water (cold)
  8. 4 grams Instant dry yeast
Instructions
  1. BREADMACHINE INSTRUCTIONS
  2. -------------------------------------------------
  3. 1. Put all the ingredients in a bread maker and set it to make the dough and let it complete the 1st rising (double its size or at least 1.5 hours).
  4. 2. Once the dough is done, take it out and place it on a floured work surface, and deflate. Divide the dough into two pieces and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  5. 3. Now to shape the bread. Start by rolling out the dough into a big oval using a rolling pin.
  6. 4. Fold the bottom one third up...
  7. 5. And the top one third down.
  8. 6. Turn the dough so it is perpendicular to you and use the rolling pin to roll out a bit more (until it is the width of your bread pan).
  9. 7. Roll it up from the bottom and then seal the end.
  10. 8. Place each piece of formed dough in the corners of the pan. Place the closed seam side on the bottom so that they face each other.
  11. 9. Let the bread rise a second time until it has risen up to a bit less than 80% of the pan.
  12. 10. Put on the pan cover and bake in an oven preheated to 200°C for 30 minutes. Once it is done baking, take it out of the pan immediately and let it cool.
  13. TMX METHOD
  14. --------------------
  15. 1. Put all except the butter into the TMX in this order; water, yeast, skim milk, condensed milk, sugar, flour and salt.
  16. 2. Mix on dough mode until all incorporated. Throw in the butter and knead it for 12 minutes. Once done, let it rise until double its size or at least 1.5 hours. Make sure to remove the cover and cover your mixing bowl with a loose cling wrap.
  17. 3. Now to shape the bread. Start by rolling out the dough into a big oval using a rolling pin.
  18. 4. Fold the bottom one third up...
  19. 5. And the top one third down.
  20. 6. Turn the dough so it is perpendicular to you and use the rolling pin to roll out a bit more (until it is the width of your bread pan).
  21. 7. Roll it up from the bottom and then seal the end.
  22. 8. Place each piece of formed dough in the corners of the pan. Place the closed seam side on the bottom so that they face each other.
  23. 9. Let the bread rise a second time until it has risen up to a bit less than 80% of the pan.
  24. 10. Put on the pan cover and bake in an oven preheated to 200°C for 30 minutes. Once it is done baking, take it out of the pan immediately and let it cool.
Notes
  1. I used the bread tin that I bought in Malaysia (Bake with Yen). I bought the wrong size so the recipe for this one does not rise up all the way to fill up the tin. I made two times this recipe to get it to fill up instead. I saw bread tins in Victoria Basement here in Sydney.
teresaling http://teresaling.com/blog/
February 8th, 2015

Kuih Bangkit Recipe

The great thing about the world we live in today is the Internet. Everything we want and need are just literally at our finger tips. 

So when I needed to find a foolproof recipe for Kuih Bangkit that is good and melts in your mouth, I turned to the internet; well, Google to be more precise. But the thing about the internet is that you can have many hits in your search. So how would I know which one is good and which one is not? 

This is when you thank bloggers like Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids, who does an in-depth review on which recipe is the best in her opinion (and others who’ve tasted it) out of the recipes she tested. Without a doubt, I went with her suggestion and used the recipe from Kimmy at Cooking Pleasure. Man oh man, were they melt in the mouth fantastic!

Kuih Bangkit

Every Chinese New Year, I fondly remember having Kuih Bangkit that my Ah Ma makes. If I am not mistaken, she does this over charcoal from my earliest memory of her and the biscuit. The result is always wonderfully crispy on the outside and then it melts in your mouth. I am not a big fan of the biscuit, in fact, I get a little thirsty after a few, but I can’t resist eating this once a year. Since this is our first Chinese New Year away from home, I decided to make them to remember us of the celebrations back home. I am also going to pack a few of this for our Australian friends and the kid’s educators at daycare. This would make a wonderful thank you gift because I find that this is a uniquely Malaysian Hokkien delicacy. I am always quite proud of my roots. :)

Kuih Bangkit

This is a simple recipe and really quite easy to make. The only time consuming part is shaping the dough but once you’ve got a hang of it, you can move quite fast. Unfortunately, I was constantly interrupted by a pair of small arms wrapped around my legs crying, “Carry. Carry!” Her poor Papa will have to save me from her clutches and distract her with Disney movies and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse reruns. 

You start first by frying your tapioca flour to reduce the H2O properties because you need really light and fluffy flour to make that melt-in-your-mouth moments that is usually what makes Kuih Bangkit so great. You just need a wok or a deep frying pan, measure out your flour, throw in your pandan leaves (screwpine leaves) and dry fry it till the leaves are crispy and flour is light. You can tell when the flour is light comparing it  to when you first started frying it. Kitchen Tigress explained this really well in her blog. I used her calculations when I weighed my flour again after frying to make sure my flour is just right. Kitchen Tigress also explained why we should use coconut cream instead of coconut milk so make sure you buy the right one.

Kuih Bangkit

I mixed and pre-kneaded my dough in my TM5. Such a handy little thing! But really, you don’t need gadgets for this. You can use your hands and knead them to make sure everything is well incorporated. If your dough feels too dry, add in a little more coconut cream but not too much! If it’s too wet, shaping your kuih bangkit will prove to be really difficult. 

Kuih Bangkit

Make sure to dust your moulds enough so remember to fry a little extra flour for dusting. It’s no fun to see your dough sticking to the tiny parts of your mould! I did not have the traditional wooden animal moulds so I used these ones that are actually meant for another biscuit but it totally works! I am searching for the wooden ones for Kuih Bangkit and Angku kuih in Australia so hit me up if you know where to get them!

Kuih Bangkit

Once you’ve shaped your biscuits and sliced off the excess, gently tap your moulds on the counter or on your hand so that they pop out easily. If it’s dusted well enough, they should come out alright. If your dough sticks then make sure to dust your moulds properly and if that doesn’t work, you might need to add in a little more flour into the dough. Remember to mix it well. Line up all your biscuits on a lined baking tray. The biscuits will not expand so don’t be afraid to put them a little closer.

Baked Kuih Bangkit

Here are my baked Kuih Bangkit! The oven heating here in my rented unit is a little uneven, which explains the slight browning on one side. I had to pay close attention and rotate the tray whenever I bake in my oven.

This recipe comes pretty close to my Ah Ma’s one so I am happy with the results. The aroma is just amazing. If you follow the recipe closely, you should have a perfect balance of pandan and coconut flavour. We gave some to a friend of ours and he loved the taste and smell of the pandan. In fact, he says he wants to try to find a plant and grow it in his house! I would want one too! 

I had no problems finding all the ingredients here. All you need to do is walk into an Asian grocer and you should be able to find most of your ingredients if not all of it there. I bought frozen pandan leaves which are better than the fresh ones I get from Fresh Corps in Hornsby. So don’t worry if frozen pandan leaves are all you have. Happy baking!

Kuih Bangkit Recipe (Coconut Screwpine cookies)
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Ingredients
  1. 500 gm tapioca flour [or 250 gm Sago flour and 250 gm tapioca flour]
  2. 5-6 screwpine [pandan] leaves - washed and wipe dry, cut into half
  3. 100 gm icing sugar
  4. 1 whole egg
  5. 2 egg yolks
  6. 150-200 ml thick coconut milk
  7. 3/4 tbsp butter - room temperature
Instructions
  1. 1.Place flour and pandan leaves in a wok. In low heat, fry the until the flour is light and the pandan leaves turned crispy [stir lightly as the flour will be very light]. Cool, discard the leaves and scoop the flour into a big sieve. Lightly sift the flour into a big deep bowl. Transfer sifted flour in a plastic bag until required. The flour must be cooled thoroughly. This step can be done days ahead.
  2. 2. Cream butter, eggs and icing sugar until light and creamy. Make sure the sugar is totally dissolved.
  3. 3. Slowly add in the flour and creamed the mixture. Gradually add in the coconut milk to mix [you may not need all the coconut milk, kept balance for use when the dough is too dry].
  4. 4. Knead until the dough does not stick to the hand. Cover the dough with a damp cloth, rest for at least 30 minutes. You can use this time to line your baking tray with parchment paper, extra fried flour for dusting and a little pink colouring for decoration.
  5. 5. Dust the wooden moulds with some tapioca flour [fry more for dusting], pinch off some dough and press it into the moulds one by one, then cut off any excess using a thin sharp knife.
  6. 6. Knock out and arrange the cookies onto the baking tray. This cookie does not expand but will be very fragile after baking.
  7. 7. Bake in a preheated oven @ 180 degrees C for about 12-15 minutes or until it's slight brown at the base.
  8. 8. Cool completely on a wire rack before storing them in a cookie jar.
Adapted from Cooking Pleasure
Adapted from Cooking Pleasure
teresaling http://teresaling.com/blog/
 This is my first submission to an organised cooking event. I am submitting this to the Cook and Celebrate: CNY 2015 event organised by Yen from Eat your heart out, Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.

January 28th, 2015

Summer beach days

We’ve been hitting the beach lately making the best of the Australian summer and we are loving it! Clontarf is our favourite spot, especially with the kid around because there no big waves and enough sand for digging and building sandcastles. I am not exactly a beach bum nor am I a seasoned beach goer but I definitely love the beach and hanging out inside my cheap Kmart tent. :)

What I hate about the beach is how much sand you come home with. I have a love hate relationship with sand. I love the sand at the beach, that’s it. That’s where it belongs! And no matter how much I try to brush off, those pesky little bits of sand still makes it way back to my home!

I am new to this bi-monthly beach outing so I don’t exactly have the best fashion items when I go to the beach. I just make sure that I have enough water to hydrate, a change of clothes, diapers, fresh fruits, sunscreen, our Kmart tent, our Kathmandu picnic blanket, and my sunglasses. That doesn’t mean I can’t ogle at nice bikinis and beach dresses online! :) I mean, online shopping is the best you can do when you have a clingy kid. Window shopping with one is horrendous!

Here are my favourites from my online window shopping adventures. I have a similiar dress from Roxy that I wear but that Ted Baker bandeau bikini top is lovely, huh? Hit me up with your favourite styles on Polyvore!

Also, I am obsessed with stripes! So nautical!

 

Summer beach essentials
 
 
 
 

And also, not forgetting a map to Clontarf beach. 

PARKING

If you are lucky, you can find free parking but at $8 for two hours, that isn’t so bad. Just make sure you time yourself!

January 22nd, 2015

Toddler eats: Morning breakfast #1

I posted this on my instagram today.

If you know me, you know my kid isn’t the best when it comes to eating. So more often than not, I rack my brains trying to think of new things for her to eat. One thing I am absolutely happy about is that she eats her breakfast almost fuss free. One of them that worked really well almost all the time is yogurt.

I keep the yogurt variety pretty much a healthy one by just throwing in a number of fruits like berries, mangoes, apples, pears or peaches, drizzle a little honey and a pinch of cinnamon and she’ll down that all in a jiffy! *phew*

Talk about a happy mama bear! She’s happy, I am happy!

Share your toddler yogurt recipes by tagging #toddleryogurt on Instagram!

January 12th, 2015

Summer ready

This is my first summer, ever. I’ve heard about how hot summer would be and didn’t think it would be anything like back home but man, is it HOT!

It’s not entirely the same as back home. You don’t sweat as much but the heat is so intense on the skin here. I sweat a lot and I hate it. It’s horrible to walk out of a nice shower sweating. Back home, it’s like that almost 365 days a week. I prefer the dry air here.

So, I like dressing lightly on hot days and summer is also my favourite time to wear dresses! Unfortunately, as I am typing this, it is raining and has been for three days now. So much for nice breezy summer, eh?

Here are some of my favourite summer picks. It’s a little unconventional with a little black dress but I thought that pop of colour from the watch and ring is a nice little touch. Enjoy!

IMG_1022.JPG

Dress: Tory Burch Soraya dress
Sandals: Bucco Vallettsa Gladiator Sandal
Watch: Lacoste red monochromatic watch
Bag: Anna Field across body bag
Ring: Gripoix Long Primary Fractale ring

January 6th, 2015

And a picnic we will go!

Panograph Dee Why BeachHappy 2015!!

We started the year with a very enjoyable trip to Dee Why beach to celebrate the start of the year with skin lathered up in sunscreen! I think the kid had a lot of fun playing with sand and whatever water that was in the hole we dug that she fell asleep the moment she sat in her car seat. Talk about a successful trip to the beach! Normally she takes about 30 minutes to fall asleep which is just in time for us to park our car at our destination. That’s absolutely no good because once we take her out of the seat, more often than not, she’s wide awake and would kick up a fuss all day long.

Panorama Dee Why

So we reached Dee Why at about 9am and there was already quite a crowd there but our friends managed to book a spot at the picnic table. The weather was great for a fun day out at the beach.

We all had a quick bite from our amazing spread of food and then the dads took the kids to the sand for some fun! The kid was a little apprehensive of the waves and the feeling of sand at her feet but after a while, she got used to the sand and was digging about with her new bucket and spade, all that time being close to her papa. She’s not quite a fan of the sea water yet. At one point, we left her by the edge of the water and coaxed her to join us in the water but all she did was cry, much to our amusement. I wonder if the people around found us cruel to leave her there crying while we stood and laughed.

IMG_1020.JPG

Beach bucket bought at Kmart (AUD$6)

The sun was very hot and harsh, so unlike the sun we have back home. Good sunscreen is important! We are currently using the Nivea kids sunscreen but I am looking for a more organic option. Buzz me if you can recommend one for me!
Playing on Dee Why beach

So since the kid isn’t keen on playing in the water with the waves and all, her papa dug a little hole in the sand and filled it up with water so she has a little pool for herself and her friend to play with. She did have fun digging and splashing about in whatever water that was there.

I left them for a bit and wandered around the beach to see if there was anything interesting that caught my eye. Well, this did.

Underwear on the beach!

Not quite sure what to make of it. 

On the far right of the beach is where the rock pools are. Right next to it are rocks which will make a perfect site for kids to explore and find hidden treasures. 

Rocks by the beach

The rocks were covered in beautiful green moss. The photo isn’t doing it any justice unfortunately. But it was definitely beautiful. 

Rocks panorama Dee Why beach

Rock pool Dee Why beach
All in all, it was a fun trip to the beach that I am already planning our next beach outing! The one thing that I didn’t quite like about the beach is that  there were a lot of seaweeds! Not that it will do any harm. 

Seaweeds at Dee Why beach

I reckon if you head far left of the beach, it should be fine but since we had a picnic at the benches near the playground, that side of the beach was filled with seaweeds. The waves are ok but still a little bit too strong with little kids. 

If your kids are tired of the sand and sea, they can play at the relatively small playground nearby. Don’t let the size of the playground fool you because it has quite a bit of a punch in terms of the equipment. Enough to let the kids run around and get them out of you hair for a bit. :)

There are also plenty of cafés around for you to get your coffee and food although we didn’t try it out. Toilets are near the rock pool so you are all good if you want to go to the beach for some fun time! Make the most out of your summer!

Location

 

Dee Why Beach

186 Pacific Parade
Dee Why NSW 2099
 
-33.755063, 151.297669
 

Parking

We circled around the area and found free parking on the streets nearby. Go early if you wanna snag one of those up. If you are willing to pay, you can park at Dee Why beach carpark. On New Year’s it was $5 an hour. Not sure if it was a discounted rate for New Year’s or if that is the standard rate. 

November 7th, 2014

Jiuzhaigou in winter

If you have been following my blog, you would know that my whole family (including the little one) went on a trip to Chengdu and Jiuzhaigou (JZG). We went in December when it was cold but not entirely snowing heavily there. In my opinion, going to JZG in winter was a great decision because the tickets are cheap and you have the least amount of people in the park. For someone who doesn’t do well in crowds, this will be the best season to go and check it out. But I must agree, the park would look absolutely beautiful in autumn!

Heading for the entrance

You’ll see a lot of JZG if you walk instead of taking the bus but of course, if you have kids with you, it’s best to take the available buses to the checkpoints and walk around the area before hopping on the bus again to the next spot. JZG is definitely not pram/stroller friendly as with any nature parks so it’s best if you babywear or prepare a carrier/hipseat for a tired toddler. My niece got tired after a while and was begging for her father to carry her so it can be tiring for an adult as well. 

Arrow Bamboo Lake

Our first stop was Arrow Bamboo Lake (箭竹海, Jiànzhú Hǎi) in Rize Valley. We took the bus all the way there and walked around the lake and down towards Panda Lake. They have plank roads around so it’s not like you are walking on dirt tracks so you don’t have to worry about slipping and falling. Just watch out for ice!

Panorama of Arrow Bamboo Lake

It was really cold so remember to wrap up well. My kid was strapped on to her daddy so the warmth from his body helped. She slept almost all the way, getting up for milk and water. Since you are high above sea level and it is winter, be sure to keep your baby (and yourself) hydrated. 

Plank walkways

Iced sculptures

The beauty of winter is the natural “ice sculptures” you see along the way especially at the waterfall areas. There are a lot of waterfalls in JZG but the most famous one is Nuorilang Falls (诺日朗瀑布, Nuòrìlǎng Pùbù) which I will get into later in the post. The above was taken at the waterfalls at Panda Lake. I love how the ice forms along the waterfall creating a very magical feel to it.

Slow shutter waterfall at Panda Lake

We then hopped on the bus and travelled downwards to Five Flower Lake (五花海, Wǔhuā Hǎi). This is a really beautiful lake. So blue and green with visible tree trunks under the still waters. 

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Five Flower Lake

The lake here is so clear you can see everything under the lake. The beauty of this lake is the blue and green hues. It was here that we decided that the kid needed a diaper change. Don’t expect to see baby changing rooms in a nature park so you gotta do what you gotta do, change them in the open. It was cold and freezing so we were really fighting against time changing her. 

This area is really big with plenty of steps to sit around while enjoying the beautiful scenery. If you are hungry and did not pack lunch, you can get instant noodles here from local sellers. They provide hot water as well so you don’t have to use yours keeping it to make hot drinks instead! Of course, they are expensive. I can’t remember how much they were but they are definitely not cheap!

Since we were already running late eating lunch here and not taking lots of pictures, we promised ourselves to come back here first thing the next morning. We then continued our journey downwards towards Pearl Shoal  (珍珠滩, Zhēnzhū Tān)  which is basically a big area where a wide stream with thin flowing water runs through into the Pearl Waterfalls. 

Pearl Shoal

pathways in Jiuzhaigou

Random waterfall in Jiuzhaigou

Then we took a bus for a quick look at Mirror Lake before heading off to the famous Nourilang Falls. 

Nourilang Falls

It was crazily packed here! It was very hard to find a good spot to take pictures here so I had to settle with a side view, obviously too close to the falls because my lenses kept getting wet by the waterfall sprays! This is one of the widest highland waterfalls according to Wikipedia. It is really wide and beautiful. I think if you want to take beautiful pictures here, you have to come right when the gates are open to get a good spot with as little people as possible. 

Tibetan Village

On the way out, we stopped by one of the busiest Tibetan Village within the vicinity of the park. Here you can get souveniers and local delicacies all for a slightly higher price than outside but not by much, I believe. There wasn’t much to do here, honestly, other than just walking around and looking at the goods for sale. We bought a couple of keychains and some peanut tidbits and then headed off to watch a Tibetan show to end the night after a hearty dinner!

The next day, we started off by heading to Five Flower Lake first and it was packed with people. Obviously a very popular spot for the morning, unlike the afternoon before where it was almost empty. It was rather hard to find a spot to take pictures so, be prepared!

After that, we took a bus all the way to the top of the other side of the mountain to Long Lake (长海, Cháng Hǎi) in the Zechawa Valley. Today, it was my turn to strap the kid on me so hubby could get a rest from carrying. The kid isn’t exactly light. :)

Long Lake

After a quick look around at the lake, we hopped on the bus again and headed to Five-Colour Pond (五彩池, Wǔcǎi Chí). This is another one of those beautiful lake with gorgeous blue and green hues. Sigh. So beautiful! This is a really small lake and it’s absolutely clear. Even though it’s so cold, the water does look inviting.

We spent the second day walking around and taking our time with photos and hanging out before heading off downwards Shuzheng Lakes (树正群海 Shùzhèng Qúnhǎi). I think this where we headed off to. After a while, all the lakes and waterfalls looks so similar, I can’t tell which is which! This waterfall below was taken at one of the lower lakes nearer to the entrance. I was a little tired of walking around with the kid strapped on to me so the husband went ahead with my sis and parents to check out the other sceneries. 

Eventhough everything looks the same, it is still the most beautiful place I have ever been to. I am glad I went during the winter because I am not one who does well in crowds and so, I much prefer this. The best part is, since it wasn’t the most popular time for JZG in winter, tickets are cheap! It costs 80 Yuan! You have to purchase tickets for the buses as well but it’s so well worth it especially travelling with kids. If you prefer to be adventurous and walk around, you can. There are man-made pathways so you won’t get lost but be prepared to walk a LOT because the place is huge!

Shuzheng Lakes

I would definitely recommend JZG if you ever think of coming here. If you are travelling with kids or a baby, don’t be afraid! If your baby or kid has existing health issues, it’s best to ask your doctor first and discuss with them as the high altitude can be tough. This goes for adults as well. I’ll share my travel adventures with my seven month old in another post since that could also potentially be a pretty long post. 

I hope you like this post! It took me well over a week to write this and as I write this last sentence, it felt like I rushed through the commentary but really, writing this post is like a race against time. I only have 1.5 to 2 hours while the girl sleeps before I am needed again. :) Oh the joys of motherhood!

 

DETAILS

 

Off peak ticket price: ¥80
2nd day entrance ticket: ¥20
One day bus ticket: ¥80 (if you are going back the second day, you need to purchase another ¥80 ticket for it)

Is it baby friendly: No. If you bring a stroller, be prepared to lug it up and down the stairs and buses. Preferably travel with a hipseat or a baby carrier. 

*you would need to purchase insurance as well but I couldn’t remember the price. According to wikipedia, it’s ¥20.
Sources: http://wikitravel.org/en/Jiuzhaigou_Nature_Reserve#Get_in

Where did we stay?: InterContinental Hotel

Review: InterContinental Hotel is beautiful! It is also very comfortable, a big difference from where we last slept in at Songpan. If you travel during the winter, many of the resorts/hotels/motels are closed for the season so I would suggest spending more on a better more reputable hotel to ensure you have heating. It’s especially important if you are travelling with children. 

 Where did we eat?: Honestly, I can’t remember but it was relatively near the entrance of JZG Park. We followed a private tour so we ate based on recommendations of the tour guide. 

 

September 12th, 2014

Toddler Eats: Chicken fingers

I haven’t shared much on what the kid eats and there is a huge reason for that.

For eight months, the kid never ate more than two tablespoons of food. I know, what more is this girl hiding up her sleeves? She doesn’t like to sleep and she doesn’t like to eat. It was frustrating during that eight months. I’ve cooked and prepared all sorts for her. From purée to rice to noodles to baby led weaning to self feeding but nothing interest her enough to eat more than two tablespoons. On really very good days and as rare as a blue moon, she does eat more than two tablespoons.

Ever since we arrived in Sydney, her appetite has increased and I am glad that she’s eating more, definitely more than two tablespoons! It does help now that I have an open kitchen and can watch after her and cook so I have been making nicer food other than just steaming and frying.

For the longest time, she was never interested in what we eat. Whenever we have something edible in our hands, she really couldn’t be bothered but now, she pleads for a bite. It’s a little bit difficult when you are bingeing on unhealthy snacks. Usually I eat my chips over the counter much to the amusement of my neighbours, I am sure!

So enough of how pathetic and frustrating my last eight months of trying to feed the kid. Today, I am gonna share something the kid does like to eat.

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This is a really easy dish to make and not very messy with the kid. You get your proteins and vitamins in a go with the chicken, egg and spinach. You can add in more ingredients like more veggies but I am still experimenting with the kid in terms of taste so I’ve decided to keep it simple.

Since it was those three ingredients, I quickly pan fried the corns and peas for her to eat with since I knew she eats that well.

I did throw in a bunch of crushed Weetbix for taste and added crunch as well as added nutrients.

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There are several types of Weetbix out there so I was looking for one with lower sodium and came upon the kids version with minimal salt and sugar. Works perfectly!

I am a wing it kind of person when it comes to cooking and never really believed in proper measurements except when it comes to baking. I like a little adventure in the kitchen! So come along, wing it with me!

Chicken Fingers

Chicken Fingers
Easy peasy chicken fingers that you can change any way you like by adding more ingredients or cutting down some! Either way, it's a great way to make sure the kid eats! This is great as just normal lunch at home or for a picnic. It's little to no mess at all making it a great take away meal when going out.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. Chicken mince (or any meat you want)
  2. 1/2 - 1 egg (depending on how much chicken mince you use)
  3. 1/2 - 1 tbsp tomato paste
  4. 1/2 tbsp of honey (no honey for kids below the age of one)
  5. a bunch of crushed Weetbix (optional)
  6. chopped spinach (or any veggie you want)
Instructions
  1. 1. Mix all the ingredients except for the egg together in a bowl.
  2. 2. Crack the egg in a separate bowl. Depending on how much you have in the bowl, put in half an egg of the whole egg in. The egg binds all the ingredients together. It also creates a softer tecture to the chicken fingers so if your kid does now like a harder texture, you can put in more egg.
  3. 3. Heat up a frying pan with enough oil to just coat it.
  4. 4. Take a tablespoon of the mixture and put in it in frying pan, flattening it to whatever shape you want. I find that making my chicken fingers in an oblong shape gives the kid a bit of space to hold it.
  5. 5. Once it's cooked, put it on a plate and let it cool down before letting your kid munch on it!
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