Kids-friendly pasta salad for a picnic

In this family, we all eat almost the same food which means no spicy dish as A4 does not take spicy food yet. Hence, I always try out different recipes that all would enjoy. We were planning for a picnic on national day and I made the following:

1. Oven grilled salmon fillet with mentai mayo dressing
2. Vitamin-infused water- strawberry, lime and mint
3. Kids-friendly ham, edamame and cheese pasta salad

Gonna share the salad recipe today as my kids love it. For A3 who doesn’t like cheese, he just pick it out. The good thing came out of it for me is both kids like edamame after this when previously they didn’t.

Kids-friendly pasta salad
(Makes 6)

Ingredients
200gm of organic macaroni
7 slices of mini honey baked ham, diced into 1cm slices
100gm of gouda cheese, diced into 1cm cubes
1 cup of edamame, shelled
Olive oil
Pinch of rock salt
Coarse black pepper

Method
1. Boiled the edamae with shells as per instruction.  Rinse with cold water to stop cooking process.
2. Cook pasata as per instruction.
3. Dice or slice the ham and cheese if you haven’t.
4. Drain pasta. Add edamame, ham and cheese.
5. Add salt and pepper for taste. Don’t over salt the salad as gouda cheese is slightly sharp n salty.
5. Drizzle the salad with olive oil and give the salad a toss to ensure there’s enough olive oil.
Another fuss-free dish for the family! This salad is delicious to eat either warm or cold. Not complicated on the taste bud as I had paired it with the salmon dish which was heavier. I think I will make this regularly for the boys’ lunch. 🙂

Some other combinations to try out, like  chicken or fish either poached or grilled. Feta cheese, eggs or avocado. Noms away!

Oh yes, the picnic. The weather was fabulous for Singapore’s national day which the rumour was it almost never rained on national day. We braved it out despite the overcasted sky. My boys first had good water play fun with a friend’s son. Then we proceeded to the top of the barrage where we laid out the mats and to have our dinner. Everyone was hungry and we finished our dinner in less than 30mins….

Luckily we had the apache helicopters and fighter jets to keep us entertained. The finale of the night was the fireworks which everyone liked. Overall, an enjoyable and fabulous time we had. Gonna have another picnic again soon!

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Ham and egg in a toast cup

Made ham and egg in a toast cup for our breakfast this morning. I have been planning to make this for a while and it was raining this morning thus I put together what I had in the fridge. My recipes are mostly adapted and improvised and this was adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe. It’s really easy to prepare and a dish that kids can help out. Washing up can be minimised too! 😀

I made 4 toast cups but it wasn’t enough for hb and me. On the hindsight, 2 would be better for adult. ;D

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Ham and egg in a toast cup
(Makes 4 portions)

Ingredients
4 slices of multi-grain bread
4 slices of mini honey baked ham
4 eggs
Olive oil
Coarse black pepper
Sea salt (I omitted coz ham is savoury)
Organic parsley flakes for garnishing

You also need a muffin tray or 4 paper muffin cups.

Method
1. Turn on the oven and set the temperature at 190c.
1. Flatten the bread with the bottom of a pan. I find pressing the pan down on the bread works better than banging on it. ; )
2. Hand-tear or use a knife to cut a slit on both sides of the bread slice at the middle. This is to fit the bread into the muffin tray.
3. Place 1 bread slice into a cup of the muffin tray. Overlap the sides to form the shape of a cup.
4. Brush some olive oil on the bread. If not, do what I do in the next step.
5. Drip a few drops of olive oil on the underside of a ham slice. Place it on the bread cup and give it a swirl.
6. Crack an egg on top of the ham and bread cup.
7. Add some pepper on top and pop the tray into the oven for 20-25mins, depending on desired texture of egg.

I have already planned what to try out next. Gonna grate some cheese on top of the ham for some goody gooey yums! Instead of bread, there’s alternative like tomato and capsicum cup. Instead of ham, can try bacon slice or mushrooms. Noms away. The possibility is endless! 🙂

Teriyaki salmon with onion

Cooked this dish tonight and my kids love it. Alas! Forgot to take photo of it before it was all gone. Will update photo when I cook this again.

Ingredients:
4 thin slabs of salmon fillet
1 and 1/2 onion, sliced thinly
5 cloves of garlic
3 tbspn of Teriyaki or bulldog brand sauce*
3 tbspn of mirin
3 tbspn of water
Dash of black pepper
Oil

*Bulldog brand sauce is the tonkatsu sauce that is similar in colour than Teriyaki and taste sweeter.

Method:
1. Heat oil in a pan and start frying onion til the slices are beginning to turn translucent.
2. Add garic into the pan and stir-fry till fragrant. Make sure that the onion slices don’t get burn.
3. Add in salmon fillets and then black pepper. Give the ingredients a stir.
4. Add mirin, bulldog or teriyaki sauce then water. Flip the fish fillets. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to lowest flame. Simmer for 2 minutes. Viola!

River safari

My mom wanted to bring the boys out and we had to decide on a place of interest.  It was either a musuem or zoo/river safari. My mom is more keen on the zoo so it was decided then. When we were there, I was pleased to find out that I only have to fork out $37.50 for River Safari tickets! There’s currently an amex credit card promotion of 1 paying adult for 1 free child ticket. Plus my mom gets her senior citizen discount. All in all, a good deal. 😉

The River safari, well, has more fishes than animals. Good for us is that the fishes are almost all different from the salt water species at the S.E.A aqaurium which we visited earlier in the week. Demystifying… woah… lolx.

Essentially, RS is build around the banks of the Mandai reservoir which is a big pond at its best and which brings me to the mind of Jurong Lake. Ha…. there is no lake in Singapore.  What a joke. The island on Lake Toba is bigger than Singapore… Ok. I get carried way. While RS is not exactly big, smaller than the zoological garden, it is sheltered for most parts and several strong aircon spots. It’s a nice option for sweltering hot weather and even rainy weather. A nice touch is as we walked into some aircon spots, we are enveloped in citronella scent as a measure to ward off mozzies.

Everyone seems to be excited by the pandas who really are just sitting there and eat and eat. I say the best attraction gotta be the big tank with manatees or the sea cows. Sitting in a dark room with soft ambience music and manatees swimming gracefully…. Unaware of time passed by…. I don’t think I will ever get tired of this view. 🙂

We’ll probably return when the amazon river section is completed and when the crowd dies down, or I’ll wait for some promotion. The eventual entrance fee for 1 adult is $35! I’ll say this. Make the entrance fees more affordable, not just for family with young children but for people across all age.

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Art garden

It looks like just about everyone has been to the art garden at the Singapore art museum. Its our 3rd annual visit and I say the exihibits are better and more interesting than our first visit.

Cost wise… Entrance fee is free for us. There is one kaleidoscope craft kit which is sold for $2 at the “Around the world in 80 days”. It was ok and perhaps more suitable for primary school children. Personally I like the exihibits even the eerie Les rêves engloutis – Glossy Dreams in Depths which teaches the children to understand what looks scary, can have a good side to it and not so scary afterall.

For the kids, the short animation clips garnered their biggest interest. Their fave gotta be the super feline clip.

Another thing is, as we were there early, I managed to park at front of SAM for free. Parking around the musuem is expensive as it’s in the city centre.

So would we visit again? Yes for sure!

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Photos by my friend, MN.

Another visit to S.E.A aquarium

The boys and I had visited the aquarium when it was newly opened. We visited today agian with A1 (that’s daddy-O or the husband) and some friends today.  Didn’t know that A1 had never visited any aquarium before, so at least the fact had justified the steep entrance fee.

I say it again and again. The entrance fee is not cheap. We paid for 2 adults and 1 child, as A4 is exempted. Plus the parking, we had already spent $100! No wonder they say Singapore is expensive. Out of the countries I visited recently (Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan), sightseeing in my own country is the most expensive. 😦 I do believe if the entrance fees is lowered, visitorship will go up. Also, the annual membership scheme has stopped. Bummer…

What’s new for me is the dolphins. While I delighted in seeing the dolphins swimming gracefully, I’m somewhat appalled with their habitat, coz it doesn’t look very pleasant to me. 😐

The kids played very well together and we had an illegal picnic infront of the ocean dome. 😀 We actually brought our own food and drink to have lunch. I even harboured the thought of napping on the bean bags… alas the bean bags are gone. We didn’t know that outside food is disallowed in the aquarium…. but that means the food purchased in the aquarium is allowed. Hiaks!

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Asparagus and ham macaroni

I cooked this for kids’ lunch yesterday. A4 loves this while A3 is not keen in the cheese in it. Sometimes I think A3 has weird tastebud. He likes aromatic n spicy food, but why not cheese?

Ingredients
1/2 onion, diced
Asparagus, 100gm
Shaved ham, 80gm
Macaroni or pasta of your choice.
Butter, 2 tbspn
Pure cream, 3 tbspn (more if you prefer)
Organic vegetable stock powder
1/2 cup of water (replace stock powder and water with chicken stock if you prefer)
Parmesan cheese

Method:
1. Melt butter and sautée onion till slightly brown. Medium flame will take abt 8-10mins.
2. Add in shaved ham and sautée for 1min.
3. Add in water and stock powder.  Using high flame, let the liquid evaporate until the desired consistency.
4. Add in cream and asparagus spears. Stir fry for 2 mins.
5. Add in macaroni.
6. Shave parmesan cheese before serving thw food.
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