Monday, June 30, 2008

Baked Mushroom Chicken Drumsticks

A hit with adults, too, a no-sweat way to cook your meat is to just marinate them and have them baked in the oven the next day.

For the above: (half it or divide to your desired proportion if you are making less)

15 chicken drumsticks

4 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 sticks of lemongrass
2 tablespoon of wolfberry (aka kei chi in Cantonese)
10 pieces of fresh Shitake mushrooms, sliced

  1. Put the drumsticks in a shallow ovenproof dish
  2. Combine all ingredients of the marinade and pour over to drumsticks
  3. Baste mixture and drumsticks
  4. Set aside to marinade for at least 30 minutes (would be great if kept in fridge overnight)
  5. Preheat oven to 180 C and bake, with the marinade, for 30 minutes or until tender, turning once
  6. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes

**Remove the chicken bone for young toddlers

**Extra cooked chicken can be covered and refrigerated for up to one day

**Have a small fridge but wish to leave the drumsticks to marinade overnight? Just keep in airtight container and transfer to baking dish when ready to bake

Cheesy Cocktails

It is funny how food on sticks does appeal to little ones.

This was put together for Arthur's second birthday party.

Simply wrap the cocktail sausages with sliced cheese (previously divided by four strips per slice) and assemble with cherry tomatoes and zucchini. A hit at the party ;)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

'Tools and Gadgets'

If you happen to have a tot, like me... chances are, you will be trying out different gadgets/utensils that can make meal times easier...

Most essential on the list happens to be a high chair. Not the typical have-meals-together family? Whether or not, it is good to have your little one on the high chair (best if the little one can have the meals with you) everytime they are to eat something. Start as soon as they are able to sit without supprt. Yes, even when it's just 2 spoonfuls of cereals or 2 pieces of cookies.

I find that this is important to get them understand the idea of needing to sit 'still' (they won't be running around... legs still shake... still try to move around) at meal times.

Some friends and relatives of mine often complain that they cannot go out for a meal with their toddler or the only place they could go would be somewhere with a play area as the little one won't be eating but playing... When asked about how meal times go at home.. it's the typical Malaysian Chinese - little ones eat first (spoonfed around the house), adults later. This is mostly done in fear that the little ones will not have enough to eat... Anyway, that is another topic altogether.

Where highchairs are concerned, the Ikea Antelope seems to work best for us... they seem to be everywhere nowadays. As such, no complains about being not familiar to it during the early stages.

Just so you haven't noticed, the highchair is made of all plastic... means, washable from top to bottom. This is especially handy when I use it for Arthur's haircut sessions :)

Also, take a closer look as you will see that there's nothing for their legs to rest on... means, nothing for them to 'stand' on. I just love this high chair to bits!

Next on the list is something to keep the clothes clean. I am a huge fan of bibs.. from little ones for 6 months-old to toddler ones that can keep the food from dropping to the floor. These are the 2 recent ones that Arthur's been using:
From Ikea (in Sydney), this is meant to be a children's bib (I guess) since it is too long for Arthur. The fold-over bottom does not catch much as the opening lays flat with the back layer... not a worthy bib :(
Looking for a Tommee Tippee Catch it All... I can across this Sunny Lion bib which basically uses the same concept. This is great for when eating dry food such as cookies and rice... catches most of it. With squishy food, you might want think twice and consider your little one's behaviour... will they try to scoop the food from the bib and put it inside their mouths?

Letting your little one feed themselves would also require some feeding set. This one from Ikea is the very first feeding set that Arthur's got. It was a full moon's gift from one of his aunty. The plate is good as it has anti-slip bottom. Spoon is just nice for him to handle but the cup... didn't really use much of it as it is not spillproof :( What a waste. So cute, too.

As the menu for my little one grows, so does his bowls and cutleries. The one on the left is a suction bowl from Anakku.. too small, really, to eat anything with. Few pieces of fruits or a couple of cookies is all it could take.

The one on the right is from Toys R Us... their housebrand... also a suction bowl. This is a good size and the curves make it easier for Arthur to scoop his food :)

One thing about suctions, though, is that you shouldn't be thinking that the suction will be strong enough for prevent the toddler from taking over the bowl and pour the contents out. It is really more for so that the bowl doesn't move around as they try to scoop/poke their food ;)

Then, comes cutleries... again, as the menu increases, so does the size of his cutleries...
Left-most is the first and truly easy to use spoon-feeding spoon from Nuk. Comes with heat indicator but faded as time passes. Still, a worthwhile investment due to the unique shape. You've got to try it to believe it.

Second from left is Braun's learning cutleries. Slightly slanted to ease toddlers to feed themselves at the early stages as they are often unable to bend their wrists like we adults do. Works great. Would be greater if the spoon bowl is not so narrow.

Third from left is Take 'n Toss Cutleries. Graduating from the slanted cutleries, I got this for Arthur to train him to bend his wrists. Too small spoon and food ends up falling all over... and thus, this led to the latest in Arthur's cutlery collections... the adults cutleries, in plastic.

Last but definitely not the least is the Edison Chopsticks. Been Arthur's best buddy for noodles and sushi since March 2008. I got them for him when I noticed him showing interest in chopsticks and wanted to take ours for use. No. The adults version are too dangerous to play with. Even knowing he won't really be using it for months to come, I bought them just so he could hold on to them whenever he sees us having chopsticks in our hands.

Now, whenever he's given a choice between rice or noodles, Arthur will most likely opt for noodles. Could it be the chopsticks?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Oats and Cereals

One of the good things about oats and cerels, other than many of their nutritious benefits, is that it is easy to make...

Lucky me, my little Arthur is very into the basic food. I seldom have to add any flavours to anything at all.

In fact, even if I were to serve him plain oats, he would finish them all. As he grows, just to make things a little more interesting as well as nutritious, I have been adding fruits to his breakfast routine and what better than oats and cereals to go with them?

Almost all fruits/food squishy is ok to go with oats and cereals though the pictured fruits are Arthur's all time favourites (i.e. blueberries, banana and kiwi).

Imagine squishy food, think mango, papaya, peach, plum, ripe pear, strawberries etc. etc.

If adding to just cooked oats, just remember to make sure the oats are cooled enough before giving to your little one as oats can contain heat pretty well.

Appropriate age to start oats? Well, from the day your little one starts on solids, you can slowly start introducing oats. Do start with the fine and easily digestable ones, though and do start a bit at a time... gradually build up the amount and add a type fruit a week or so.