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Learning about body parts for preschoolers

LEARNING ABOUT BODY PARTS

After our episode of numbers, addition and subtraction, I’ve decided to change subject for a while. We will be learning about body parts! This may sound really simple but reading/spelling them isn’t. I don’t expect Sonia or Arnold to learn spelling at this tender young age but at least get exposed to those words. Learning about body parts can be really fun!

Learning about body parts for preschoolers

For Arnold’s sake (he’s only 2), I printed and laminated the body parts so he could fix them like a puzzle. Both Sonia and Arnold had so much fun with this and repeated the same activity at least 10 times. While they fixed the simple 3-piece puzzle, we talked about body parts and what they were used for. For example, I used my eyes to see; I used my nose to smell, I used my ears to listen, etc.

When I asked “what do you use your hair for?” Sonia’s answer cracked me up – “hair is use for making princess pretty”. LOL… too much princess movies already -_- I told her that the correct answer was “hair keeps you warm”, but she insisted that “hair is used to make girls pretty”. Well, that’s not wrong too!

See, simple activities can be really engaging!

Learning about body parts for preschoolers

My two-year-old has really short attention span. Not too long later, he went upstair to play with toys, while Sonia learns to write.

Learning about body parts for preschoolers

We practiced writing simple words…

Learning about body parts for preschoolers

And learned more about our head, eye, ear, mouth and nose.

Learning about body parts for preschoolers

 

CLICK, SAVE AND PRINT

Designing learning worksheets for my children has now become my new hobby! I love creating personalised activity sheets for them and wouldn’t mind the trouble as long as they learn something from it! If you are interested in the worksheets, you can download those printables below. I hope you have as much fun doing them with your kids as I had with mine!

Learning about body parts for preschoolers Learning about body parts for preschoolers Learning about body parts for preschoolers Learning about body parts for preschoolers Learning about body parts for preschoolers Learning about body parts for preschoolers Learning about body parts for preschoolers Learning about body parts for preschoolers

And here’s the 3-piece puzzle I mentioned earlier.

Learning about body parts for preschoolers Learning about body parts for preschoolers

Have fun!

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2015 11 23 - WESA Bakery - Pandan Cake

I’m not a big fan of cakes but I’m a HUGE fan of Chiffon Cakes! They’re as light as feather, as soft as cotton. Moist on the inside and a tad bit charred on the outside; just the way I like it. And, most of all definitely healthier than traditional butter cakes.

If you must know, chiffon cake was invented in 1927 by Harry Baker, a California insurance salesman turned caterer. He kept the recipe secret for 20 years until he sold it to General Mills, which spread the recipe through marketing materials in the 1940s and 1950s. (Yes, I went to Google that because curiosity got the better of me.)

Thankfully, he sold his recipe, else we wouldn’t even be talking about Chiffon Cakes today!

While there are many different variations of chiffon cakes, my favourite is still the Pandan Cake BUT I like Yuzu too! Lately, I’ve been drinking too much Yuzu drink. And what hub said got me thinking about the possibility of making a Yuzu Chiffon Cake!

As I was making yet another cup of Yuzu drink for myself one evening, he laughed and said “Yuzu AGAIN? Seriously? The amount of Yuzu you’ve been drinking could fill a bathtub! Why not take a Yuzu bath while sipping on your pipping hot Yuzu drink with a slice of Yuzu cake?”

“Why not?” I said. “Honey, you have no idea what goodness Yuzu fruit contains…” and so I went on. I didn’t went on and on just to annoy him, lah! There are some really awesome health benefits of this magical fruit!

HEALTH BENEFITS OF YUZU FRUIT

Yuzu-Fruit

  • Good source of antioxidants – Help replenish dead skin cells.
  • Great source of vitamin C (3 times more than that of lemon)
  • Contains vitamin P – Helps absorb vitamin C and promote healthy blood flow.
  • Contains collagen – Helps to rejuvenates maturing skin (like mine), activates cell and has fat burning effects.
  • Contains Nomilin (Yuzu skin essential oil component) – Aids in relaxation.
  • Yuzu is not only for eating, we can use them for a hot bath too! It is believed to ward off winter colds and flu, and healing of chapped skin.

YUZU CHIFFON CAKE RECIPE

So I started goggling for a recipe and found something from Everybody Eats Well In Flanders website. Her cake looked divine and I had to bake it!!!

Here’s how you go about baking one…

Yuzu Chiffon Cake

First, you will need a good bottle of Yuzu marmalade. You can easily get this from Korean or Japanese marts, or local supermarkets too!

Strainer-for-tea

Stir Yuzu Tea together with very little hot water, then remove the reside using a strainer. Make sure you have a total of 90ml of Yuzu Tea mixture. Set aside.

Yuzu Chiffon Cake

  • Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites.
  • Beat egg yolks with sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add oil into mixture and continue beating.
  • Add Yuzu mixture and vanilla extract and mix well.
  • Add dry ingredient (flour, baking powder, and salt), mix until just combined.
  • Set aside.

Yuzu Chiffon Cake

  • In another mixing bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy.
  • Add cream of tar tar and whisk.
  • Add sugar and whisk until stiff peak stage.

Yuzu Chiffon Cake

Yuzu Chiffon Cake

  • Mix 1/3 of the meringue into the egg yolk batter using a spatula.
  • Gently fold the remaining meringue into the batter until well mixed. Be carefully not to over mix the batter.
  • Transfer batter into a 23cm tube pan.
  • Bake at 160°C for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the stick comes out cleans.

Yuzu Chiffon Cake

Invert and cool completely before you remove the cake from the cake pan.

Yuzu Chiffon Cake

There you go… The perfectly charred on the outside, light, soft and moist on the inside kind of YUZU CHIFFON CAKE! Beautiful!

Yuzu Chiffon Cake

Perfect dessert for almost any occasion. Now that CNY is coming, I’m planning to bake some of these yummy Yuzu Chiffon Cake for my guests! They go well with a nice hot cuppa tea!

Besides baking a tasty light, soft and moist cake, presentation is also very important. Serving desserts on plates and bowls are way too common. To make my PERFECT Yuzu Chiffon Cake stand out, I’ll serve them on a woody chopping board and my guests will use woody utensils. I’m still looking out for some woody mugs for tea (that’s in the pipeline)!

Yuzu Chiffon Cake

In less than 10 minutes, this is all that’s left (no pun intended). I don’t tell tales. Go bake it yourself and you’ll know why they get snapped off so quickly!

Yuzu Chiffon Cake

Click on above image for printable recipe.

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Snowskin mooncake

Truth to be told, I’m NOT a fan of mooncakes with exception to Snowskin Mooncakes and particularly DURIAN Snowskin Mooncakes!

But today, I’m going to make Lotus Snowskin Mooncakes.

Why not Durian Snowskin Mooncakes?

I will only attempt to make Durian Mooncakes IF my Lotus Snowskin Mooncakes are successful.

But why only if the Lotus Snowskin Mooncakes are successful?

BECAUSE DURIANS ARE EXPENSIVE!!! Yes, they are! If I fail, the entire goodness goes to the bin. So why waste good food and money? I shall start with something less expensive and if it worked, I will buy some really good durain to make my favourite Durian Snowskin Mooncakes.

With such motivation, I went to buy the necessary ingredients and started working on my first snowskin mooncake.

I was expecting a very complex recipe but was pleasantly surprised at how simple it was to make one!

Here you go, the simplest mooncake recipe, ever –

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 g of snow skin mix from Bake King
  • 70 g  of shortening
  • 260 ml of cold water
  • 1/2 tsp of emulco or paste
  • 500 g of White Lotus Paste from Bake King
    (you can experiment with any paste of your preference)

METHOD

#1 – THROW THEM IN A BIG MIXING BOWL

Snowskin Mooncake

I bought this Snow Skin Mix from Gim Hin Lee shop. This saves you the trouble of frying the glutinous flour! All you need to do is to pour the entire packet of Snow Skin Mix into a mixing bowl. Add 70 g of shortening, 260 ml of cold water and 1/2 tsp of emulco or paste. I added pandan paste!

Pandan Paste

Snowskin Mooncake

Here’s how it looks liks after throwing all ingredients mentioned above into a big mixing bowl!

#2 – KNEAD THE DOUGH

Now you are so close to making your very own snowskin! Use your hands to mix and knead until well combined. It should look something like this after 10-15 minutes.

Snowskin

Leave it to rest for 30 minutes.

Snow skin dough

After 30 minutes…
When you press onto the dough and release pressure, the dough should bounce back to shape (not entirely but significantly).

#3 – DIVIDE LOTUS PASTE INTO EQUAL PORTION

I planned to make mini mooncakes, each weighing about 50 g. After some trial and errors, I realised that the best ratio is 1:1. Meaning, use 25 g of snowskin to wrap 25 g of lotus paste. Perfect!

lotus paste

This is optional but if you like, you can add some almond or melon seeds into your paste.

#4 – WRAP AND MOULD

Here are the final steps! Divide the snowskin into equal portion (25 g each), roll and flatten the snowskin such that it’s big enough to wrap the lotus paste.

mould

Now press it hard onto the mould. You want a clean and prominent print. Remember to coat your mould with flour by dipping your mould in a bowl of flour and knocking off the excess every single time you use it. You don’t want the snowskin to stick onto your mould.

mooncake

TA~DA! YOU ARE READY TO SERVE!

If you are not consuming them, keep these little green gems in the fridge. I personally like them chilled.

There you go, homemade Snowskin Lotus Mooncake in four simple steps! Too simple. Now I’m considering making Durain Snowskin Mooncakes!!!

 

(Click on image for printable Lotus Snowskin Mooncake Recipe)

Snowskin mooncake recipe

 

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, folks!!!

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WESA Bakery - Chocoffee Macarons

Macarons are the MOST famous cookies in the world! They crown our coffee breaks and tea times. Who can resist their colourful shells and luscious fillings?

As ‘upscale’ as they may seem to be, these cookies are not impossible to make, but they can be very finicky. And if you are about to stat web searching for the best Chocoffee Macarons, look no further. I’ve spent much time discovering this formula and da~dah – here you go, a recipe made to impress. Don’t worry, I will share some tips and tricks along the way.

Before I unleash the recipe, here’s why I call it “Chocoffee Macarons”. All because it’s a good blend of CHOcolate and COFFEE! Look, I’ve just coined this word! But having coffee in the macaron means it isn’t quite suitable for kids. So just replace the same amount of coffee powder with cocoa powder and your kids can enjoy the same (though, it wouldn’t taste as good as the Chocoffee version).

Alright, now back to my CHOCOFFEE MACARONS RECIPE. This is simple to make.
(Printable Chocoffee Macarons Recipe available at the end of the post)

INGREDIENTS FOR MACARONS

  • 1/2 cup of almond flour
  • 110 g of icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp of sea salt
  • 2 large egg whites (at room temperature)
  • 5 tbsp of caster sugar

DIRECTIONS FOR MACARONS

FIRST

Place almond flour, icing sugar, cocoa powder, and sea salt in a food processor and pulse for about one minute until fine and combined. Then sift mixture into a large bowl, set aside.

SECOND

Eggs

 

Place the egg whites in a clean bowl. I used 65 grams eggs. Make a meringue by beating egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add caster sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form and the whites are shiny. Do not overwhip.

THIRD

mix

Fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites in three batches until the dry ingredients are just combined. Do not overmix or the meringue will deflate.

FOURTH

chocolate in da bag

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag. Then cut a small hole at the tip of the bag and start pipping. Pipe out 1.25 inches rounds onto the macaron silicon mat.

FIFTH

macarons

Let the batter sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes or until a skin forms on top of the macarons. You can make macarons in batches of 18, 30, or 48. I bought the mat that allows me to make 48 macarons at one go because they are all gone too soon and I will have to make a new batch of Chocoffee Macarons again. Or maybe, I might try a new flavour later. Meanwhile, preheat your oven at 160°C and arrange rack in the middle.

(Click on highlighted text to buy)

SIXTH

macarons

Bake for 14 minutes, or until macarons are dry with “feet”. Do not overbake. Transfer the sheet to a cooling rack and cool completely.

INGREDIENTS FOR CHOCOFFEE GANACHE

  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 115 g of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp of coffee powder

DIRECTION FOR CHOCOFFEE GANACHE

mixture for filling

  1. Place the chocolate and coffee powder in a large bowl.
  2. In a small pot, heat the heavy cream over medium heat unit it just comes to a boil.
  3. Pour the hot cream into the bowl of chocolate and coffee powder. Allow it to stand for about a minute before adding the butter.
  4. Stir the mixture until the chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.
  5. Chill the ganache for at least 30 minutes or until it is firm yet still spreadable.

TO ASSEMBLE

chocoffee macarons

Remove the ganache from the refrigerator. If you choose to pipe the ganache, transfer it to a pastry bag and snip about 1 cm off the tip, then squeeze the ganache to about 1 tsp onto the centre of a macaron shell. I chose to scoop the ganache. It’s really up to you. Next top with another macaron shell and press gently. The filling should not ooze out the edges. Once you are done with the rest of the macarons, refrigerate, covered, for at least 24 hours before serving.

Macarons should always be stored in an airtight container and they should be eaten within 4 to 5 days. If storing for more than a day, store in fridge. Take them out of the fridge 15 to 20 minutes before eating so they come back to room temperature. That way, their flavour will be at its best.

 

Chocoffee Macarons Recipe

(Click on image for printable recipe)

 

You got to try the Chocoffee Macarons! The ultra rich chocolate flavour with a hint of espresso is THE perfect combination. This macaron shell is thin and crisp on the outside and divinely soft and chewy on the inside.

Happy baking!

Ciao.

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Almond and Chocolate Chip Muffin

I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet but this is the best ALMOND & CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFIN I’ve ever eaten. Even better than the Chocolate Chip Muffins I baked some two days ago. Light crisp on the outside, fluffy, soft and moist on the inside. So yummy, I couldn’t stop eating (I ate three muffins at a go). Everyone at home loves them, the young, the old. This is a keeper!

INGREDIENTS

  • 175 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 58 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 90 g caster suger
  • 1 egg (55 g)
  • 123 g whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup crashed almond

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C.
  2. Toss together the flour, baking powder, salt, crashed almond and chocolate chips in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla paste. Slowly add dry ingredients. Gently fold together until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into a 12-mini-muffin-cup-tray and bake at 220°C for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 180°C and bake for another 5 minutes.
  5. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and enjoy the mini muffins warm.

NOTE

  • This recipe makes 12 mini muffins (5 cm in diameter). Double ingredients when making 12 normal size muffins (7 cm in diameter).
  • Can store muffins in airtight container at room temperature for one week. However, muffins taste best when consumed on the same day.

 

Click below image for printable recipe

Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe

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Chocolate Chip Muffin

INGREDIENTS

  • 175 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 58 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 90 g caster suger
  • 1 egg (55 g)
  • 123 g whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C.
  2. Toss together the flour, baking powder, salt, and chocolate chips in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla paste. Slowly add dry ingredients. Gently fold together until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into a 12-mini-muffin-cup-tray and bake at 220°C for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 180°C and bake for another 7-8 minutes.
  5. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and enjoy the mini muffins warm.

 

NOTE

  • This recipe makes 12 mini muffins (5 cm in diameter). Double ingredients when making 12 normal size muffins (7 cm in diameter).
  • Can store muffins in airtight container at room temperature for one week. However, muffins taste best when consumed on the same day.

 

Click below image for printable recipe

Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

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2015 07 07 - WESAplay - Photographic Memory Game

In my previous post on DIY HOME ACTIVITY #1 | PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY, I shared some DIY learning activities that we can do at home at very little cost, or some times, no cost at all. But after a while, my kids got tired of the activities and so I started working on another photographic memory game. It is relatively low cost too.

I’ve created some printables you can download (scroll to the end of the post for printables), so all you need to do is to print them out, cut the objects, and laminate them. You can choose to use velcro tape or not at all. I used it anyway, because, for some reason (I don’t know what) Sonia likes pasting and removing them. I just thought it was practical since the velcro tapes kept the print-outs in place (less messy).

Photographic memory gameYou will need two sets, one for yourself, the other for your child. At Sonia’s Heguru class, her teacher uses a picture of a wardrobe with 4 hangers. I twist it a little and used a house with 6 windows.

Here’s how the game works:

  1. I started with 2 images, and increase it along the way. I pasted Sonia and Arnold on two random windows, show it to her for 10 seconds and flip my card over.
  2. Now she is supposed to paste the two pictures on the correct window.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After I showed her my card for 10 seconds, I covered my card and told her to paste the two images on the correct window.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When she was done, she proudly showed me her ‘answer’.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’d pass her mine and she did the comparison – “mummy, mine is the same as yours. I correct!”

Try to get your kids involved in every step. They like taking charge! To keep Sonia motivated, we took turns to be the “teacher”.

Sonia was comfortable with 2 images, so we moved on to 3, and 4 images. I realised she started pasting the images on wrong windows at ‘4 images’. She could do 4 images at Heguru but not at home, and I wondered why. It didn’t take long before I realise – in class, she was given 4 spaces and 4 objects; at home, I gave her 6 spaces with 4 objects. She needed to remember which window to fill and which to leave blank. This was more challenging but I felt it was doable. Anyway, I gave her some hints and moved on (I didn’t want to discourage her, she was waiting to paste the entire family on the house).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With some hints, she managed to paste the images on the correct window.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Proudly comparing her card with mine and declared that she had won! “Mummy, see, I win again, Sonia win, mummy lose.”

We eventually moved on to 6 images. By then, she required more hints. Even I find it challenging. I know, there were only 6 images, but after working on the same images so many times, I got confused.

I used pictures of our family because I knew Sonia would be excited to see people she knew in prints. You can do the same or used generic pictures of animals, vehicles or what not. Anything that engages your child, really.

You can do this activity with your child too! It is fun and works their right brain, why not?

 

Click below for printables:

Memory Game - Who's in the house Objects you can use

 

 

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I’m not sure if you know how incredibly, ridiculously easy it is to make your own Peanut Butter from scratch.

I never thought it was possible for me to do something like this until yesterday and I just have to share it with you.

Homemade Peanut Butter beats those commercial Peanut Butter as you need not worry about the presence of preservative or hydrogenated oil. It’s nice to know what you are eating and have control over them. The downside is a shorter shelf span (though this is not something I need to worry about because they will all be gone before it becomes a problem). However, don’t expect to get a repro of “Skippy” for example. But if you are one who loves healthy and nutritional homemade product, then try this!

And if you must know what’s in those commercial Peanut Butter, this is a good read.

2015 06 22 - WESA Bakery - Peanut Butter Recipe

Click on image for a printable A4 sized recipe

 

STEP ONE

Step 1 - Rinse nut

Rinse the raw peanuts under running water. Pat dry with kitchen towel and leave it to air dry. I used “Sun Kee” raw peanuts and you can easily get them from NTUC.

 

STEP TWO

Step 2 - Place it on baking tray and roast it in the oven

I baked the peanuts for 30 minutes and it was a tad bit over roasted. Check your peanuts often to make sure they don’t get over done, else you might end up with a jar of charred peanut butter. Ok, I exaggerated. Not charred, but a little bit of, just a little bit of bitter burnt taste. It was a spoiler but the overall texture was awesome! It didn’t stop my family from eating them. Will try this again and make sure my peanuts don’t get over roasted.

 

STEP 3

Step 3 - Stir peanuts every 10 min

Remember, do not overcook your peanuts like I did.

 

STEP 4

Step 4 - Remove from oven and leave to cool

Give it a taste check.

 

STEP 5

Step 5 - Remove peanut skin then grid

Remove the peanuts skin only after they are cooled. You don’t want to burnt your fingers, do you?

 

STEP 6

Step 6 - Peanut texture will turn from being coarse to fine and finally becomes sticky

Place 2 cups of peanuts into the blender and grind until texture turns sticky.

 

STEP 7

Step 7 - Add Honey, salt and oilIf you reserved some nuts for chunky peanut butter, add them in now and pulse a few times to incorporate.

 

STEP 8

Step 8 - Keep in jar

Transfer the oh-so-healthy-and-yummy peanut butter to a jar and store in the fridge.

 

BENEFITS OF PEANUT BUTTER

Adapted from Health Ambition

I don’t know why I feel the need to convince you that peanut butter is healthy and actually beneficial to our health, especially homemade peanut butter like the one above, I just had to do so.

It is absolutely a myth that peanut butter is unhealthy and makes you fat, because on the contrary, it actually aids in weight loss!

No. 1 – It Helps You Lose Weight

It may sound crazy but it’s not. Despite all it’s fat content, researches from all over the world had already established that peanut butter is actually good for you. Its protein and fiber content makes you feel fuller for longer. This means, you are less likely to crave junk food and it also means that you eat less overall, and thus make losing weight easier.

No. 2 – Source of Protein

Two tablespoons of peanut butter are what you should consume if you want to stay on the healthy end of the peanut butter consumption scale. These 2 tablespoons pack in 7 g of protein. This is why peanut butter on toast makes for a great breakfast or mid morning meal choice. As a protein-rich food, when you eat peanut butter, you feel full longer. Additionally, the protein is also good for building and repairing muscles, which is especially important if you work out a lot.

No. 3 – Heart Friendly

Asked the Harvard Medical School if the health benefits of peanut butter extended to heart health, their answer is a resounding “YES”. Peanut butter has its share of saturated food, but like olive oil, it also has a high percentage of unsaturated helping it qualify itself for the healthy camp. When consumed in moderate amounts, eating a healthy peanut butter like this can actually improve your heart health, especially when compared to those who seldom or never eat nuts.

No. 4 – More Potassium

Peanut butter acts as an excellent source of potassium, and potassium can go a long way towards countering the dangers of sodium.

No. 5 – Healthy Fat

A common worry about eating peanut butter is the fat content. However, as mentioned above, peanut butter contains more unsaturated fat than saturated fat. This means, it is actually a great source of “healthy fats”. A healthy body needs a good supply of healthy fats and like olive oil and avocado, peanut butter is a friendly fat food.

No. 6 – Energy Booster

As already discussed, peanut butter contains good amounts of healthy fats and protein. This means it contains plenty of calories that will give you lots of energy for your activities. Again, perfect for a morning meal as it gives you an energy hit for the day.

No. 7 – Fiber Rich

Two tablespoon serving of peanut butter not only packs in lots of protein but also gives you 2 grams of fiber. Adequate consumption of fiber is important for the healthy functioning of your body and of course you can get more fiber from other meals but peanut butter can help supplement this.

No. 8 – Packed with Nutrients

Protein, fiber, healthy fats, potassium and now antioxidants, magnesium and others too. The list of good things about peanut butter just go on. One serving of peanut butter will give you at least 3 mg of the antioxidant Vitamin #. Additionally, you will also get magnesium (about 49 g) which is excellent for bone building and muscle recovery and a small but still important amount (0.17 mg) of vitamin B6 that help bookst your immunity. You can also find a small amount of zinc in peanut butter and this too can act as a good immunity booster.

 

In the nutshell, it is healthy for you, your little one, and the entire family!

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Cheese lover?

If not, skip this post altogether.

My hubby and daughter love cheese and since Father’s day is around the corner, we have a reason to celebrate. And we need a cake! Actually, we need no reason to bake a cake but having a purpose makes baking more meaningful, no?

I’ve seen so many recipes on Japanese Cheesecake that promise a soft and fluffy texture but I’m not sure which to try. So I filtered a handful that looked intriguing, adjusted the ingredient portion based on my gut feelings (not scientific, I know, but I’m a cancerian), and with a stroke of luck, I present to you my virgin Velvety Smooth Japanese Cheesecake.

Japanese Cheese Cake Recipe

Click on image for a printable A4 sized recipe

 

To be honest, I’m not a big fan of cheese cake. In fact, this is my first time baking and eating one. But my hubby and daughter like it, and that’s all that matters. They like the velvety smooth, creamy and fluffy texture. Besides, my cheesecake isn’t too sweet, so it’s ok if Sonia wants a second serving.

 

TIPS & TRICKS: Read this before you bake

Which brand of cheese did you use

cheese

I go for the most popular brand – Philadelphia Cream Cheese. It had worked for many avid bakers so I took their recommendation. I always do my research before baking because ‘why go through the same heartaches, learn from their mistake, don’t make the same ones’. (wink)

What type of eggs you use

55g eggs

I’m not an egg professional. I can’t tell the difference between corn egg, carrot egg, omega egg, cholesterol free egg and what not, but from my previous experience with baking a Pandan Cake, I learn that using eggs of different sizes will affect the outcome of you cake. For this recipe, I used 55g eggs.

What kind of cake pan to use

8-inch cake pan

The recipe asked for an 8-inch one-piece cake pan but I only had a 9-inch springform cake pan, so I made do with it. But, really, save yourself the trouble and go buy the right cake pan. The result of using the wrong type of cake pan – (1) a too shallow cake, not tall enough, and (2) it leaked and allowed water to seep into the cake. Only the top 2/3 of my cake was nice and fluffy. I had to cut the bottom 1/3 of the cake away because it was a little damp. If you really have to use a springform cake pan, remember to wrap a double layer aluminium foil around your pan to prevent water from seeping in.

How to prevent the surface of the cheesecake from peeling and cracking

As you might have already noticed, the surface of my cheesecake wasn’t all smooth but thankfully there wasn’t any crack. So what went wrong? It was smooth when I took it out of the oven, de-pan and place it on the rack. But when I tried transferring the cheesecake into my cake container after the cake has cooled down, the ‘skin’ sticked on to the baking paper I used to transfer the cake. After much research, I realised that once the cake cools, the ‘skin’ becomes damp and sticks to whatever you are using to de-pan or transfer the cake. So do whatever you need to do when the cake is still warm.

Why didn’t my cheesecake crack?
Because I used a light coloured cake pan. A dark coloured pans will absorb heat easily and cause the sides of the cake to bake faster than the middle, thus resulting in a cracked cake. Also, try to avoid opening the oven door while the cheesecake is baking inside. Big cracks are often caused by drafts and temperature changes. Once the cheesecake is done in the oven, simply turn the over off and leave the oven door ajar for 10 minutes before removing. A sudden change in temperature will often cause cracking.

What do you mean by water-bathing the cake

It means that you have to use 2 pans for your cheesecake. Place the 8-inch cake pan that holds the cheesecake into a larger pan with hot water inside. Bake it with both pans, so the water on the second pan heats up to help cook the other. This method is used because the hot water steam will ensure even baking, thus reduce the likelihood of a cracked top.

When baking is done, remove the inner pan and leave the larger pan with water in the oven until it cools down completed. It is easier to move a pan that isn’t filled with near boiling water around the kitchen.

 

Have fun baking!

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WESA HEALTH TALK - Clean Your Child's Teeth

Toddlers will not brush their teeth if you don’t tell them to.

Toddlers will not know why they need to brush their teeth if you don’t educate them.

If you haven’t started brushing and flossing your child’s teeth, start today because you can keep your child from getting tooth decay by starting their dental care early, as early as possible.

Most of us don’t enjoy visiting the dentist every half yearly, yet we ask our child to open their mouth for us twice a day. No wonder they protest. Let’s brush our teeth, the fun way!

WHERE DO I BEGIN?

ROUTINE

I was wiping Sonia’s gum and tongue with a washcloth until her first teeth sprouted at nine-month-old. We have established a routine since birth, so it wasn’t too tough getting her used to the idea of brushing teeth. And when her first tooth sprouted, I introduced her to (1) a toothbrush and (2) a fluoride-free blackcurrant toothpaste. Not forgetting (3) dental floss picks. Only recently, I introduced her to a (4) fluoride toothpaste.

Toothbrush toothpaste floss

She brushes her teeth first thing in the morning and in the evening after drinking her milk. Do NOT put your child down to sleep with a bottle of milk because sugary liquid cling to the teeth, feeding bacteria that can cause tooth decay. If you must give your child a bottle to take to bed, make sure it contains only water.

SING A SONG

“This is the way I brush my teeth,
I brush my teeth,
I brush my teeth.
This is the way I brush my teeth,
So early in the morning.”

Singing is useful because it makes the whole brushing experience more FUN! And most importantly, you can assure your child that brushing time is limited, because they know that brushing time is over when the song ends. The key is to keep brushing SHORT! You can lengthen the brushing time as your child gets older.

GIVE THEM DECISION MAKING AUTHORITY

Let them have a say! Allow them to choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste. I realise that when I allow Sonia to make her own decisions, she is more willing to engage with me and brush her teeth.

WALK YOUR TALK

Set the right dental care example. If your kids see you brushing and flossing regularly, they are more likely to pick up the good habits. Tell them the benefits of maintaining good oral hygiene in their language. For example, Sonia and I happened to watch a MTV performed by some kids some months ago. One of the girls had a black tooth and I took the opportunity to ‘preach’ on good oral hygiene. I gave her my pocket mirror and asked her to look at her nice set of pearly white teeth. “THIS” (pearly white teeth) is the result of brushing teeth religiously. But if she doesn’t brush and floss her teeth thoroughly every morning and night, then “THAT” (referring to the black tooth) is the consequence. Being such a vain girl (fortunately or unfortunately), it irks her to think that she might look ugly.

USE A GOAL CHART

I did this with Sonia when she was younger but now, she’s good brushing her teeth without any reward. Her motivation comes from wanting to look good. Click below image for printable GOAL CHART.

GOAL CHART

 

Have fun brushing teeth with your little ones!

Brought to you by WESA Health Talk!

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My children attend Heguru (right-brain training) classes once a week and I see that they have benefited from them. If you haven’t heard of the Heguru Right-Brain Training programme, you can read more about their activities here.

One hour of right-brain training exercises is anything but dull and boring. In fact, Sonia enjoys her Heguru lessons there and looks forward to class each week. While I can’t replicate the entire programme at home, I can DIY some activities at home at very little cost, or some times, no cost at all (just use existing materials).

 

PM 1

In class, the teachers train the child to look at and recall images consisting of different colours and shapes. You can create your own Mandala image.

  • Create your own Mandala image (see below image ‘Sheet 1’).
  • Have your child look at the Mandala image for 10 seconds and memories the colours.
  • Ask your child to fill the colours in ‘Sheet 2’.
  • Have your child to look at the Mandala image again. This time round, she needs to remember both the shapes and colours. Ask your child to close her eyes and see the after image in the mind. Repeat this 3 times.
  • Then hand your child a blank piece of paper to draw out the image and colour it.
Mandala Sheet 1

Mandala Sheet 1

Mandala Sheet 2

Mandala Sheet 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PM 2

  • Use colour blocks or lego. You will need 2 sets of blocks or lego – one for yourself, another for your child.
  • Arrange the bricks and show your child, then give her a set of blocks or lego to replicate what she saw.
Colour blocks

You can use colour blocks or lego. I would recommend blocks for younger children and lego for 2 yrs and above.

Arnold tries to replicate what he saw earlier.

Arnold tries to replicate what he saw earlier. Concurrently, he’s strengthening his clumsy fingers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PM 3

  • Tell funny stories using flash cards – be creative. You can also use toys to tell a story.
  • I would do 3 cards with Arnold and at least 6 cards with Sonia.
  • Here’s a funny story I did with Sonia yesterday after school. Try to create a funny and dramatic story as it has a greater impact on memory. It will be easier for your child to remember the story and hence the cards.
    The tortoise gave a balloon to the zebra who took a rocket to see the queen eating a sock under the moon.
  • After telling her the stories, I will go through the key words with her and flip the cards over so she doesn’t see the pictures.
  • Now ask your child if she remembers the cards in sequence. Turn over the cards as she answers. Have fun!
  • Your child might need some cues along the way. Try to use connecting words to prompt them instead of telling them the category of the ‘word’. Example of connecting words “put on”, “flying to”, “see a”, “above the”, etc. Try to refrain from telling your child the category of the ‘object’, for example, “it’s a kind of fruit”, or “it’s something you can drive”.
  • Gradually increase the number of cards depending on the progress of your child.
  • After a few practices, ask you child to make her own story. You can start by making a story for the first 3 cards and get her to make a story for the next 3 cards.
Funny story

Funny story

 

Enjoy these activities with your children!

Learning can be fun!!!

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