Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mango Smoothies

I love mangoes.

It's now mango season in Australia. Yum yum! The price is getting cheaper and cheaper since it's at the peak of the season now - we can get $2 for 1 mango, or sometimes less if buying in bulk! So, I've been cutting mangoes for our fruits pretty often for the past week. Last week, my friend from church gave me another 3 mangoes! *Drool big time*!

I try not to give the girls mangoes too often - Chinese believes that mangoes are heaty and might cause cough (especially since Nat has been coughing occasionally), but I can't keep them for too long as they might get overripe. As I was wondering what else I can do with them, I then came across this super simple smoothies recipe in a magazine.

We're having simple pizza for lunch today and I decided to make this drink to make the lunch more complete (lazy mum - I know!). I didn't follow the original recipe 100% but tweaked by using whatever I have in my pantry. Result? Oh, it's very very yummy! And it's very refreshing. Eunice had 2 cups. I didn't have almond meals so I didn't put into my drink. Now I know what to do if I have more mangoes. :D

Mango Smoothies
Mango & Honey Smoothies
1 mango
400ml of fresh milk
1/2 cup of Greek Yogurt
1 tbsp of honey

1. Peel and chop mango into small pieces and place into a blender with milk, yogurt and honey.
2. Blend until smooth.

As simple as that. Yum! I must go buy almond meal one day and try with it. It should add extra flavor to the drink. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A day in Melbourne City

In Penang, EG and I worked in the same company for the last 5 years. We spent a lot of time together when going to work, having lunch together almost everyday, and leaving office together to fetch kids. Ever since we moved here, we've been really busy with all our daily chores and spending time together is almost mission impossible - maybe only after kids are asleep at night, but by then, both of us will be exhausted too.

I actually miss those times that we can talk and chat with no distraction from the kids. EG works in the city and has been asking me to go with him one day just to tour around or see how he travels to work, and have a look at his work place.

So, we both took a day off from work, sent the girls for full day childcare, and I went to the city with him.

We spent a lot of time in Melbourne Uni, where he showed me around - things that he learnt from his orientation, had coffee at his favorite coffee house, walked around the gardens, etc. And we took the city loop tram a bit, and went for Vietnamese lunch, and off to QV and Emporium for some window shopping. Time passed very quickly and we needed to rush home to fetch our two girls from childcare.

It was a good time spending time together just between two of us. As usual we both enjoyed each other's company a lot. I guess it won't happen very often, but I believe now we really should make an effort to have some times for ourselves once a while. :)

Melbourne Central. Stopped for a while to watch the clock "sings" :)

Different corners of a part of Melbourne University

House of Cards Expresso in Melbourne Uni
EG insisted that we should have a cup of coffee at his favorite cafe in the uni.

Did a we-fie :P

Me @ different corners of the Uni

EG brought me to this place and asked me to guess what it is. It's a very special car park. Above the car park is a nice lawn where ppl will sit/lie down to read/rest/eat. In EG's orientation, he was told that each pillar in the car park is either the tree trunk or some drainage for the lawn/garden on top.

The very special car park :)

This is the South Lawn on top of the car park

We tried to be "artistic" and went for to the Ian Potter Museum Art for some art viewing. But sadly, we don't really know how to appreciate those art... :P

There's a story about this Leckie Window, since 1935.
Apparently it's from some hall that caught fire, this is the only piece that they could save.

I love this part of the of the Uni - love those plants around the buildings

The best thing about this outing is that I didn't plan anything. :P... I let EG do all the planning by himself. Whatever he asked me what I wanna do or where I wanna go, my answer is, anything, up to you. Hehehe..! It's always nice to just relax and have someone to plan the trip for you. :)

My tour guide checking the itinerary :P

EG said this sun dial still works... Trying to figure out how to read the time :P

After we left the uni, we took the free City Loop Tram, and decided to stop by Parliament building to take some photos, and not going for the rest of the journey as we're running out of time

Exploring the city in the free City Loop tram - but completed maybe 20% only :P

Time passes very quickly as we walked around. We went the famous Lygon street for food hunting and decided to have Vietnamese food for our late lunch. Yum yum!

Went Lygon street for Vietnamese food. Ordered a big bowl and both of us share

Now, our adventure is over. And we're back to our usual routine, with our two lovely girls. :)

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Picnic @ Tim Neville Arboretum

Our small group (cell group in Malaysia context) has family gathering about once a month (or maybe once in 2 months). Most of us have young children, and I love my small group leader as she's so detail in choosing a safe park for children to go.

A few things that she took into consideration including number of exits in the park (in case kids run out while parents are busy chit chatting?), the park landscape (any obstacle where kids can hide and we might miss them? like behind the tree? can we all watch the kids at a distance at a glance?), safety (river? stream? pond?), etc. I feel so "safe" for her to choose the place because I know all that I worry will surely be taken into her consideration - So I can relax. :)

The previous gathering we had it at Greythorn Park @ Bawlyn. I love that park (hope I can blog about it next time). And this round, for a difference, we decided to go Tim Neville Arboretum @ Ferntree Gully, Knox.

The park is quite a distance from where we live - about 30 minutes drive. Kids were very very excited (oh, they love parks!) and were behaving well in the car. I told them to take a rest or a short nap if they want, and they did sit down quietly in their car seats to take a rest throughout the short journey.

It's a nice park, with big trees with shade everywhere. My small group members and friends put the picnic mats on the grass under a big tree for shelter. The weather is good, sunny and windy. Park is amazing - so many things for children to play. Needless to say, my kids (*again*), hardly ate anything, they just snacked on crackers, potato chips (argh!), and fruits while they kept playing.

I didn't take much picture this round comparing to the first outing as the play area in this park is a distance away from where we sat - so I couldn't really stand or sit around eating while watching my kids (like the last round). I needed to bring them into the play area and watched and played with them.

We did have a great time. Thanks to friend's children who actually helped to watch over them. It was a public holiday yesterday in Melbourne hence the park was crowded. My kids didn't play with other children, but only with the familiar faces - my another migrant friends' children who were also invited for the outing.

Overall, it's a good outing. Girls were happy. And parents had a good time catching up and chit chatting with other parents. I just love going outdoor activity like this in Melbourne. Very relaxing with the good weather here!

It's supposed to be a bring-your-own-lunch event (quite common here apparently! :P).. But as Asians, it turned out to be a pot luck session! But some of the Caucasian friends really  just bring their own lunch for their own family. I actually love this idea - food is not the most important thing during the gathering, but it's more for the catch up.

Anyway, took some pics of the yummy food.

Gado gado by my Indonesian friend

Putting the nice crispy crackers yum yum!

Curry beef with hard boil eggs

Nasi lemak - Very very authentic!

Homemade Sambal! Been craving for this big time :D

And now, some pics of the children - Like I said, I didn't take much. And I actually let Eunice went around freely with another Eunice (friend's daughter) and she really likes her. So, she told me what she did later on while I was busying chit chatting with my friends with Natalie around me.

This swing is really cool! Like a car seat on a swing!

Don't be deceived by her sad face - She actually quite liked it!

All kids love swing!

Daniel bringing Natalie for flying fox!


Eunice's turn!

She's actually quite terrified - hence the tension face :D

My fearless baby going for her 2nd ride!

Another side of the park - my kids haven't explored this yet!

Families around, with their children. Mostly fathers yea?

Enjoying the hammock..

I didn't know that there's a pond with ducks at the other side of the park.
Eunice actually took some bread from our picnic table and fed those ducks. She told us there's a mother duck, and some little ducklings around. Must be big Eunice che che told her this. :)

A small stream for the kids to play. My girls didn't play here (I quickly walked away) and I was too lazy to clean up wet children!

Location of the park:

Monday, November 03, 2014

Baked Chicken Nuggets

One of the biggest challenges after moving to Melbourne is the need to cook every meal everyday. Well, my family, especially the father, he doesn't really like to eat out. I have been cooking almost 3 meals a day, 7 days a week since I came. I could count with my fingers on how many times I've eaten out so far. But I am not complaining. My family is not complaining. In fact, EG is such a happy man that he could eat at home for most of the meals. Simple logic - he happy, I happy, kids happy, everyone happy. :D

Cooking here is simpler - ingredients are easily available, weather is good - I cook with my sweater on most of the time, like cooking in aircond room haha! (I'll soon share when I have to cook during summer). Because of the different culture here, I can find many different types of food - greek. asian, japanese, korean, etc. Some of the cooking websites, like or Jamie Oliver's website, have all their ingredients available in the major grocery shops here.

So I decided to document down some of my recipes in my cooking journey. I am a full time working mum, with two clingy children, so my recipe is not going to be the super canggih one - but mainly the simple, quick, and easy recipe that can whip up a meal in 30 minutes or less. Maybe slightly more complicated ones during weekends or holidays.

To start of, during the weekend, I found chicken breast in my freezer and decided to make baked chicken nuggets for my girls as a treat. I surfed around for the internet to find the easiest recipe and I found one in, with most of the ingredients available in my kitchen. I tweaked it a bit to suit the ingredients I have.

1 pc of chicken breast (about 250g-300g)
1/3 cup of plain flour
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

1. Whisk egg in a small bowl
2. Mix breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in another small bowl
3. Put the plain flour in a 3rd bowl.
4. Cut chicken breast into bite size pieces (not too thick).
5. Dip chicken breast pieces into the flour, dust off the excess, dip into the egg wash, and finally coat with the breadcrumbs and cheese mix. Press the crumb mix onto the chicken pieces. Place the chicken on the baking tray with aluminum foil (*Note 1).
6. Refrigerate the chicken pieces for 30 minutes.
7. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Put in the chicken pieces in for 20 minutes (*Note 2) until cook through.
8. Serve with ketchup.

*Note 1: The original recipe uses baking paper but I used aluminum foil. It still works, but the chicken pieces stick to the foil. I probably should have sprayed some oil on top to prevent them from sticking.
*Note 2: The original recipe only asked to bake for 10 minutes but I baked for 20 minutes as I worried the chicken pieces are not cooked through.

I am pretty happy with the final result. The Parmesan cheese makes the chicken pieces really flavorful. Girls love them so much that I have to keep it aside so they will eat the rice instead of keep biting on the nuggets.

Chicken pieces, flour, eggs and crumb mix

Ready to go into the oven.

Yum yum healthy nuggets!