NN’s daddy came across this 2-ingredient, flourless banana pancake recipe so I thought, why not give it a try? I’m not a gluten-free fan and I don’t think I ever will be because I love bread, all types of bread. Anyways, so I gave this flourless pancake a try and as predicted, the texture of the pancake was extraordinary fluffy. In fact, too fluffy. I definitely prefer the original pancake. But don’t get me wrong, I might still make this pancake again because, surprisingly, NN loved it. Not sure whether it’s because of the sweet banana flavor or the fluffy, cotton candy texture. Whatever it is, he kept asking for more. So for mommies who are looking for breakfast ideas for your little one, feel free to give this recipe a try!
Fluffy Flourless Banana Pancake (Kids friendly)
Makes 6 pancakes (2 servings)
1. In a bowl, mash the banana with a fork.
2. In another bowl, whisk the two eggs.
3. Mix the banana with the eggs.
4. Heat a pan on medium heat and put 1T of oil in the center. Spread the oil evenly around the pan.
5. Pour 2T of batter on the pan and turn the heat down to low. Cook until the bottom appears set, approx. 30-60 seconds, then flip the pancake and cook for another minute. Remove from pan.
6. Repeat Step 5 for the rest of the batter. Ready to serve.
Thanks to my friend A who gave me the idea to cook this Pumpkin Seafood Risotto today. Well, I actually bought half a pumpkin few days ago but didn’t think of how to cook it until this morning. The secret to this risotto is the seafood stock made from boiling heads and shells of prawns with onions and celery. I often keep a bag of frozen prawn shells and heads in my freezer incase I need to make a seafood stock from scratch. Anyways, if you’re looking for an easy and delicious one-pot meal, try this recipe!
Pumpkin Seafood Risotto (Kids friendly)
Makes 4 servings
Optional– A small pumpkin (approximately 900g) to serve the rice
½ small pumpkin (approximately 500g before skin and seeds removed)
3 cups Homemade Prawn Stock (see Notes for recipe)
2T olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 cup Arborio rice
1 fillet of white fish (I used Tilapia), coarsely chopped
8 prawns, shelled and coarsely chopped (head and shell used in the stock)
3 large scallops, coarsely chopped
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1. If you plan to serve the risotto in a pumpkin, first preheat the oven to 180°C. Then cut open the pumpkin from the top and spoon out all the seeds. Wrap the bottom of the pumpkin with a piece of foil and place on a baking sheet to bake for 50mins on the lowest rack. This process is to ensure that the pumpkin meat is soft before serving with the risotto.
2. With the ½ pumpkin, remove seeds and skin. Dice the pumpkin into 1cm pieces. Steam until soft, about 10mins.
3. Heat the Homemade Prawn Stock in a pot on low heat.
4. In another pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add onions. Sauté onions until translucent, about 2mins.
5. Add rice and continue to sauté until evenly coated with olive oil.
6. Pour in the steamed pumpkin and stir to prevent sticking.
7. Add a ladle of stock to the rice and stir until liquid is absorbed.
8. Repeat Step 7. until the rice is nearly al dente, approximately 15mins.
9. Add the prawns, scallops and fish into the rice. Add another ladle of stock and stir to prevent sticking.
10. When the rice is cooked, add ground black pepper to taste.
11. Turn off heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. Carefully spoon the risotto into the pumpkin. Ready to serve.
12. To prepare risotto for younger toddlers, feel free to cook the risotto longer, about another 3-5mins or until entirely soft.
Homemade Prawn Stock
1T olive oil
Shells from 16 prawns
5 cups of water
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
2 bay leave
1T dried thyme
3T tomato puree
1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot on medium heat. Add prawn shells and sauté for 5mins.
2. Pour in water then turn the heat up to high. When the water boils, add the remaining ingredients. Let the stock simmer for 1hr.
3. Put a colander above another pot. Pour the stock through the colander and keep just the liquid. Now your stock is ready for making the risotto. This should yield approximately 3 cups of liquid.
Knowing that NN is a huge fan of nuts, I decided to make White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies today. A lot of recipes online ask for white chocolate chips but I like my white chocolate chunky for a more rustic look. If you are offering these cookies to younger kids, feel free to chop the white chocolates and macadamia nuts into smaller pieces. I used less sugar than asked for, and the results were not bad. I will attempt another time. Hopefully, will make a low-sugar version of Mrs. Field’s White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies.
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
Makes 20-30 cookies
1cup white chocolate, coarsely chopped**
1cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped**
120g unsalted butter, softened
1/2cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2cup white sugar
1t vanilla extract
2cup plain flour
1t baking soda
** Place the white chocolate and macadamia nuts in separate zip-lock bags before chopping to make cleaning much easier.
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a baking pan with baking paper.
- In a big bowl, beat butter, brown sugar and white sugar together until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla extract. Beat to combine well.
- In another bowl, mix together plain flour, baking soda and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Beat until smooth and well combined.
- Finally, add the white chocolate chunks and macadamia nuts to the batter. Mix until the white chocolate and nuts are evenly distributed in the batter.
- Drop spoonfuls of batter on the baking paper. Bake for 10mins, or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let the cookies cool down before serving.
Now that NN is taking his nap, I can type this up to share with you all. It has become much warmer lately so I decided to make a salad. I actually made it last night and refrigerated overnight to have it for lunch today so some of the photos might be a bit dark. But anyways, this dish is great because of the combination of different flavors, textures and colors. Feel free to add other ingredients to the couscous salad. I chose beetroot because I happened to have it at home. Feta cheese? Well it goes well with beetroot and couscous so why not toss it in. Just a heads up that it can get quite messy after offering couscous to your toddlers. Well in my case, NN tried to self-feed couscous with a spoon so you could imagine the mess around his area after lunch today.
Couscous Salad with Beetroot and Feta Cheese (Kids friendly)
Makes 4-6 servings
1 beetroot, diced
1T olive oil
1 cup couscous
1 cup boiled water
juice from one lemon
2T olive oil
2 small seedless cucumbers, diced
2 tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
4 spring onions, chopped
½cup raisins or sultanas
100g crumbled feta cheese, plus extra for garnishing
¼cup finely chopped parsley
¼cup finely chopped mint
extra mint for garnishing
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- In a bowl, coat the beetroot evenly with 1T of olive oil. Then pour onto a pan that is lined with baking paper. Place the beetroot into the oven and roast for 40mins. Remove from oven and set aside to cool down.
- In a large bowl, add water to the couscous and cover with a plate. After 5mins, remove the plate and use a fork to fluff up the couscous.
- Combine lemon juice with the 2T of olive oil. Pour the mixture over the couscous. Stir to combine.
- Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, spring onions, raisins, crumbled feta cheese parsley, mint and beetroot to the couscous. Gently mix to combine.
- Garnish with extra feta cheese and mint.
- Feel free to serve immediately or refrigerate for 1-2hours and serve cold.
What to do with leftover rosemary? I thought of making my own rosemary infused olive oil, but ran out of containers to store the oil. So decided to bake a loaf of bread since Jamie Oliver said it’s all about baking this month. Rosemary pairs great with a lot of things such as garlic, apple, mushroom, tomato, and onion. Today, I chose to pair rosemary with onion. Below is the recipe to the bread that I baked this morning. Enjoy! And don’t forget to serve it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar because it makes a whole lot of difference!
Rosemary and Onion Bread (Kids friendly)
Makes 1 loaf
2¼t active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1T olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2T fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1½c whole wheat flour
2c plain flour
Extra rosemary for garnishing
- Pour the warm water into a large bowl and sprinkle yeast over the water. Cover with a plastic wrap and set in a warm area for 10mins to activate the yeast.
- Put a frying pan to medium-high heat and sauté the onions until golden brown, around 5mins. Remove from heat.
- When yeast is activated, you will see foam formed on top of the water. Now, you are ready to add the rosemary, salt, and sugar to the yeast. Stir until combined. Then add the two types of flour and onions. Mix to form a soft dough. Add more plain flour if needed.
- Turn the dough to a clean countertop to knead for around 5mins. If not, feel free to just knead in the bowl to avoid the extra cleaning.
- In the same bowl, cover the bottom with a thin layer of olive oil. Place the dough into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm area for 1hr, or until doubled in size.
- Line a baking pan with baking paper.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for another minute. Form a ball with the dough and set on the baking pan. Let rise for 20mins.
- Preheat the oven to 205°C.
- Coat the bread with a thin layer of olive oil and sprinkle the extra rosemary on the top.
- Bake the bread for 30-40mins, or until golden brown.
- Let the bread cool for 10mins before cutting.
For busy moms who have just one hour to cook a meal for the family, wouldn’t it be nice if you can cook the entire meal in just one pot? Tonight, I made this one-pot meal in less than an hour. And guess what? I added no salt yet it was still very flavorful. The secret was cumin and homemade chicken stock. Not sure why NN was not a big fan of this dish, but luckily his daddy was.
Rosemary and Cumin Chicken Rice (Kids friendly)
Makes 3-4 servings
500g of bone-in dark chicken meat (approx. 2 thighs, 2 wings and 2 legs)
2T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
1T olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 cup long grain rice
½ cup raisins or sultanas
5 dried dates, coarsely chopped
1 cup water
1 cup homemade chicken stock**
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
**You can easily make homemade chicken stock by boiling the bones of one chicken in 6 cups of water. Simmer for around 3-4hrs, or until you get around 2 cups of chicken stock. Feel free to add celery, onions and carrots before you boil down the stock.
- Mix 2T of olive oil, garlic and rosemary in a bowl. Then pour over chicken meat and mix thoroughly. Let to sit for 1hr.
- Put a large pot on medium heat, drizzle 1T of olive oil. Sear the chicken until slightly brown. Remove the chicken.
- In the same pot, add onions. Sauté until slightly brown, around 2mins.
- Add rice, cumin, raisins or sultanas and dates. Sauté for 1min. Add the water and chicken stock. Turn the heat to medium-high and wait for the liquid to boil.
- When the liquid boils, turn to low heat. Cover and simmer for 15-25mins until the rice is cooked.
- Sprinkle parsley over the cooked rice. Ready to serve.
Whenever we go out for dimsums, we would usually order steamed barbecue pork buns so that we could give NN the outer part of the buns and eat the fillings ourselves. There are very few dimsums that we could serve to NN since majority of them are high in sodium. With that said, I started to think of different dimsums that will taste good even if no soy sauce was added. I’ve tried not adding soy sauce to dumpling fillings and that seemed fine. Furthermore, if needed, I could always serve the dumplings with Chinese black vinegar. With the same concept in mind, I decided to make soy sauce-free Steamed Pork and Shrimp Buns. I gave them to NN’s daddy and he thought they were good because the bun absorbed some of the flavors from the meat and mushrooms. Since daddy approved and NN couldn’t resist shoving pork and shrimp buns into his mouth, I decided to share this recipe here.
Steamed Pork and Shrimp Buns (Kids friendly)
Makes 15-20 buns
1/2cup warm water
1T active dry yeast
3cups plain flour
1/2t baking powder
1/2cup warm milk
300g minced pork (select a cut with a bit of fat like pork collar 梅头肉)
1T sesame oil
200g prawns, deveined and coarsely chopped
1T ground black pepper
8 Chinese mushroom, soaked overnight then finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
3 green onion, diced
1/2cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1 cup finely diced bak choy or Napa cabbage
- Put the 1/2cup of warm water into a small bowl and sprinkle dry yeast over the top of the water. Stir to incorporate the yeast into the water. Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm area, such as inside the microwave, for around 5-10mins. It is ready for use when the yeast has become foamy.
- In a big bowl, mix together flour, sugar and baking powder. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the activated yeast, warm milk and oil. Mix until the dough becomes slightly firm. Then turn it over to the table to knead for 3-5mins until soft. Add flour if needed to prevent the dough from sticking.
- Cover the bottom of a large bowl with a thin layer of oil. When the dough becomes soft and elastic, place the dough into the oiled bowl. Cover with a plastic wrap and let stand in a warm area for approximately 2 hours, until the dough doubles in size.
- When the dough has doubled in size, punch down on a floured surface. Roll out the dough into a cylinder shape. Divide into 2-inch thick nuggets.
- Roll each nugget into a ball and flatten with the center of your palm. With a rolling pin, roll the edges of the dough out evenly while keeping the center at least 3/4-inch thick.
- Repeat step 5 for the rest of the dough.
- In a large bowl, add cornstarch and sesame oil to the pork. Mix well.
- Sprinkle black pepper over the shrimp and mix. Then add the shrimp into the pork along with the rest of the filling ingredients. Mix to combine.
- Before you start wrapping, cut baking paper into 30 2-inch x 2-inch squares. The buns will be placed on these squares to prevent from sticking.
- Take one of the flattened dough and place it on your palm. With a spoon, put approximately 1 heap tablespoon of filling in the center the dough.
- With one hand, pinch the edge of the dough with your thumb and index fingers and pull the dough towards you while using the thumb and index fingers of the other hand to form pleats. Continue doing this until you have a swirl pattern on the top of the bun. Place the bun on a baking paper square.
- Repeat Steps 2 and 3 for the rest of the buns. It takes a lot of practice to form these lovely swirls. I had to look at a few YouTube links before I could make my swirls to look a bit more like a pattern.
- Place the wrapped buns on a plate or in a steamer basket, leaving sufficient space in between the buns as they do expand a bit after being steamed. Steam for 12 minutes. Remember to remove the lid before turning off the heat to prevent the water from dripping over the buns. Ready to serve!
- If needed, adults can serve the buns with Chinese Chinkiang black vinegar (镇江醋) for an extra bit of flavor.
Notice how they expand a bit after they are steamed.
Got up early and was in the mood for baking today. Since the bananas were finally ripe, I decided to make banana bread. Instead of using the recipe that I usually use, which asks for sour cream, I used another one that is more catered to toddlers—a recipe relatively low in sugar and high in fiber. Perfect breakfast or snack for kids. It takes just 10mins to combine all ingredients together and another 50mins to bake. In just 1 hour you get your own freshly baked banana bread. Easy, huh?
Easy and Moist Banana Bread (Kids friendly)
Makes 1 loaf (6-8 servings)
150g unsalted butter, softened
1/4cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2t vanilla extract
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1cup plain flour
1cup wholemeal flour
3/4t baking soda
1/2cup raisins, optional
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with baking paper
- In a big bowl, beat butter and sugar together until smooth. Add eggs, honey, vanilla extract and banana. Beat until combined.
- In another bowl, mix together plain flour, wholemeal flour, baking soda and cinnamon.
- Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Stir until smooth and combined. Finally, if you are adding raisins, pour in the raisins and stir until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
- Pour the batter into the baking tin. Bake for 50mins.
- Check the bread to see if it is thoroughly baked by inserting a toothpick into the center of the bread. If the toothpick comes out clean, then the bread is ready to be removed from the oven.
- Let the bread rest for 10mins before serving.
Happy Valentine’s Day! My original plan today was to make chocolate-covered strawberries because strawberries were on sale and I bought 4 boxes of them. But because NN is starting to walk, it’s impossible to cook in the kitchen while keeping an eye on him. So instead, I made Strawberry Crumble because this is something I can put together outside of the kitchen. Love this recipe because it’s low-sugar, light and meets the Valentine’s Day theme of today.
Valentine’s Day Strawberry Crumble (Kids friendly)
Makes 6-8 servings
500g fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
150g unsalted butter, softened
1cup plain flour
1cup rolled oats
1/2cup packed brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Layer washed and cut strawberries in baking dish. Set aside.
- If the butter is still a bit hard, cut them into small cubes. This will help to quicken the softening process.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. When all the dry ingredients are mixed, add the softened butter.
- Use your fingers or a spoon to press the butter into the flour mixture to form small lumps. For a bit more crunchiness, form larger lumps.
- Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the strawberries.
- Place into the oven and bake for 30mins or until golden. Serve warm!
Today was one of those days that I didn’t feel like cooking. So I aimed for something easy. Something that required the least amount of effort and ingredients, yet healthy and flavorful. So I made my favorite Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breast. This recipe guarantees juicy chicken breasts. I’ve made it for over 8 times(?) and it never failed me. I’m not sure what it is but I’m guessing the breadcrumbs create this outer layer that lock the juice in the meat. Whatever it is, after having this dish for the first time, I have trouble accepting chicken breasts that aren’t juicy.
It’s salt-free and moist, absolutely kids friendly. For younger munchkins, just shred up the tender pieces of meat, mix with the crust and serve. Busy moms, I’m sure you will love this recipe because with just 30mins, you can prepare a meal for daddy and toddler! While, the chicken is baking in the oven, cook some vegetables and rice. When the chicken is finished, you will have a balanced meal of protein, vegetable and carbohydrate ready to be served.
Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breast (Kids friendly)
Makes 2-4 servings
1/2c Panko breadcrumbs
1T dried parsley
1/4c shredded Parmesan cheese
500g skinless chicken breasts
3T mustard (Yellow or Dijon)***
1 clove garlic, minced
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- On a plate, combine breadcrumbs, dried parsley and Parmesan cheese.
- Rinse and dry the chicken breasts. Place the breasts in between two layers of wax paper or baking paper. Use a rolling pin to pound the breasts until the breasts have flattened to approx. 1-inch thick. By pounding, we are creating a consistent thickness throughout the breasts so that they will cook evenly.
- Rub the chicken breasts evenly with mustard.
- Then cover both sides with minced garlic.
- Coat the breasts evenly with breadcrumb mixture.
- Line a baking pan with baking paper. Place the breasts on the pan. Sprinkle the remaining breadcrumb mixture over the breasts.
- Bake in oven for 15-20min or until the breast is fully cooked.
- Let the chicken breast cool for 5-10mins before serving.
***Feel free to substitute mustard with 3T mayonnaise. I’ve tried that before and it worked just as good.