Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Glorious Crown

Just like that, my hair was chopped.

By choice.

To those who know me, you must have already known that its a love-hate relationship when it comes to cutting my hair.

I will contemplate about it for days. Post on Facebook that I'm going to cut my hair and get all pumped up. Do a little research as to what style I want. Head to the salon. Chat with the stylist. And walla, chicken out. End of story.

Been doing that for about 10 years. Haha!

You see my friends, I have a problem letting it go. Especially when its been a part of me and my identity since...forever. I can't even remember when I had really short hair, probably when I was 9-10 years old?

I love having long hair.
I like it when Bubs plays with it.
I like how it gets all over my face (and the husband's face haha!) when I wake up in the morning.
I like the fact that its not high maintenance.
and of course I like how it crowns gloriously on my head. Hee.

This is me in January 2013. Flight attendant getting spoiled in Sephora NYC.


Well now, things have changed.
After all those years of tying my hair in a bun for work, accompanied with sleepless nights and weather changes, it started falling and looked limp.

Apparently hair drops even more after having a baby. Honestly I can't really tell the difference because it's been falling quite a bit since last year.

So yes it's been bugging me. To chop or not?

One fine day, which was last weekend, we went Christmas tree hunting. As we were walking up to a lot that sells Christmas stuff, I randomly decided to just do it cause there was a salon right in front of me.

The husband has heard this one too many times and he's like ok. 

I'm really going to do it.

I walked in, asked the stylist what style is suitable for me.

Now the husband was smiling, and be like I'm telling the stylist to make sure he cuts your hair once you've decided on the style.

But wait, what about Bubba? I have not gone to the salon since I gave birth. Yup. Pretty long eh.

Husband reassured me that Bubba will be fine with him, so off they went shopping.

After whinning to the stylist how long I have not cut my hair and this is pretty traumatising and I dont know if I should do this and...oh boy I was just blabbering, lets fast forward to the part the stylist chops of a chunk off my hair!!
Bahhhhhhh I felt faint. Nauseous.
The stylist, unfazed, however told me to relax and continued cutting.

Can't believe this is happening.

Ok woosa it off. Closed my eyes. 

Washed. Cut. Blow.

Dangggggggggg I am lovin it. 
Light. Bouncy. Neat. 

And did I say bouncy already?
Heeee I'm glad I chopped it off!!

Refreshing. 
Plus someone else washed my hair. That was awesome too.

I posted my new look in Facebook because I was pretty stoked about it hah!

ThatSkinnyElephant

As I'm writing this blog, I thought to myself, there are many mothers out there who fall for edited photos thinking it's real.
I fell for it too when I was younger, I thought those women in magazines where naturally flawless. BS!!

Plus one of the reasons I blog is to tell everyone that it's ok to be real. 

So here's one picture of a zombie eyed, no-facial-for-more-than-a-year skin, make-up free and a proud mama face.

* Dear sister, I know, I know, promise I'll get my eyebrows done this week.

I do look pretty tired haha!


Join me in real world ladies & gents!!!

Kisses of happiness from That Skinny Elephant.






Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Have a cookie

I bet you saw this coming, lactation cookies.
Tee hee.

Of course I have to try it myself. See what's all the hype about.
I've never actually had lactation cookies, when it comes to increasing my supply, it's usually these stuff I consume once in awhile, here's the link -  Loading...breastmilk

I'm on some dessert streak this week, from chocolate chip spiced pumpkin cupcakes to quinoa brownies to this, a good ol'cookie with added benefits, hehe.


I like recipes simplified and with loads of pictures. Therefore now that I have my own blog, I shall try my best to do just that.
I must say though, taking pics through the baking/cooking process is quite a challenge when the whole idea is to do something fast!
Nevertheless I do what I can because blogging is my quiet time, just my very own me time :)
Quick shoutout to all the parent bloggers, sure does require some skill!

Recipe adapted from - Belly Belly.Com.Au

Ingredients
1 Cup    Wholemeal flour
1/2 Tbsp Baking powder
2 Tbsp   Flaxseed (I grinded mine to powder form and soaked it in 4 tbsps of water)
1 Tbsp   Brewers yeast
1/2 Cup Butter
1            Egg
1/2 Cup  Brown sugar ( you may lessen the amount even more if you opt out the brewers yeast)
1 Tsp     Vanilla extract (optional)
1 Tsp     Salt
1 Cup    Oats
1/2 Cup Chocolate chips

*Note : for my Muslim friends, I'm not sure if brewers yeast are halal as its a by product of beer making process. Instead you can opt to add 1-2 tbsps of fenugreek powder.

1. Preheat oven to 180 C.

2. In a large bowl, add flour, baking powder and brewers yeast. Set aside.

3. Cream butter and sugar. (You can do this using a mixer till its light and fluffy,  I used a wooden spoon and fork cause I was too lazy to wash more stuff).

4. Add egg and vanilla extract. Using a spatula, mix well. Pour in flaxseed and mix well again.

5. Finally stir in oats and chocolate chips. This is where you can add in any other toppings you fancy.

6. Take about a spoonful in size and place on the cookie tray. I added raisins on top cause I felt like it, tee hee. 

7. Pop it in the oven for about 12 minutes or till golden brown, leave it longer if you like em' crispy. Don't crowd too many cookies on one tray, might affect the heat distribution. Bake about 9-12 cookies at a time.

Oh happy days says the cookie monster.

Can you imagine what it would taste like with peanut butter?? Homagoshhh.I just thought about it while drafting this post. Lightbulb.

Leave a message on my 'Contact me' tab or buzz +6 010 366 7793 for orders if you ain't got the time to bake :)



Kisses of freshly baked cookies from That Skinny Elephant.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Homemade Baby Cereal - Brown Rice

Packaged cereals.

How does that sound?

Preservatives. Thickeners. Artificial sweeteners, Fortified with vitamins and other stuff which I can't pronounce.

Thank goodness for organic versions these days. Gives all the mamas and papas some peace of mind. Especially when we are travelling and working parents.

My brother reminds me once in awhile,  'if you can't understand the ingredients,  are you sure you would want to put it in your tummy?'
I of course went blah and straight to my koko krunch thank you very much.

Now I have a baby.
And I'm a stay-at-home-mama.

Got me thinking, I should use this opportunity to make homemade food for Bubs whenever I can.

Hence I joined this group on Facebook called Healthy food for babies. Such a great group with friendly advises and nutritious meals for little ones.

I was inspired by Jennifer Lee (a nutritionist who started the fb group) to make my own cereals.
To grain or not to grain?
If you are skeptical about whether or not to introduce grains, here are links to two very different opinions;


Bubs has been on breastmilk, fruit & vegetables pure√® the past 2 months. I'm comfortable at the idea of introducing grains now as a another complementary meal, emphasising more on broths, yolks, fruits and vegetables. 

I start by purchasing organic brown rice. Brown rice are unpolished hence it nutrients has not been stripped down. Some of the nutrients it carries are as follows:


  • Fiber
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin B (various)


Took out a cup full and soaked it at room temperature for about 7 hours.


Later, I gave it a rinse, spread it on a tray and popped it in the oven at 180 C  till it turn brown. Other options are to dry pan-fry it or leave it out under sun.


Finally cool it and blend. Store in a air tight tupperware in the fridge for a week or so.

Blend longer if you wish to achieve a powder form. I want it grainy.

Easy!
It's pretty simple, only the soaking takes up time.
Why I soaked? The brown rice cereal will be easier to digest for lil gentle tummies. Soaking applies to any grains introduced e.g. brown rice, millet, quinoa, etc.
To cook, all you gotta do cook it like you normally would do with rice. Add water according to your preference, how runny or thick you want it to be.

Brown rice and broccoli puree
In this era, it's really a challenge purchasing food as natural as possible. Organic fruits, vegetables, oils, cereals, etc., are all pretty expensive in this part of the world. Plus with some unreliable sources from the medical professionals and I-just want-to-make-money marketing & advertising schemes, we really are on our own aren't we?
As parents, we all do our best, and I feel it's okay if we succumb to random purchases once in awhile. I wasn't a breastfed baby, ate all sorts of stuff and I turned out fine...or at least I think so. Tee hee.

I'm sending a virtual pat on your back for always doing what you can for your lil gems. All Mama's and Papa's only want the best.

Have a wonderful Sunday.

Kisses and warm hugs from That Skinny Elephant.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Breakfast Quiche?

These nutella puff pastry dessert fest has got me going crazy.
Haven't seen or tried it yet? Hover your mouse over this > Nutella, my Quickie.

There is no reason not to make it because of the fact that it's so simple to make...unless of course like me, you have gone on some Nutella overload. Heh.

So I thought let's use this puff pastry for breakfast instead. The aim here is to make it fast, pretty nutritious and filling.

While I was nursing Bubba to sleep, I started planning what to make, I'm thinking eggs, bacon, cheese, celery, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms with puff pastry...oh yummm!! Quiche-ish?

Yes I do think about food when I nurse, and probably most of the time :p

So as soon as Bubba fell asleep, off to the kitchen I go!
Opened the fridge and noticed I did not have all the ingredients available. Plus I should spend more time eating rather than chopping.

Time is of the essence here people. Starts when Bubba falls asleep and stops when he's  up! Hahah!

Here's the recipe:

*I did not add in some measurements as I gauged how much I would like each ingredient in my quiche.

Ingredients
A sheet of puff pastry, big enough to cover the ramekin of your choice
I used this puff pastry














Tomatoes, chopped
An egg
Onions, chopped
Cheddar cheese
Parmesan
Pepper
Chilli flakes


Method
1. Preheat oven at 180 C. Butter a ramekin dish.

2. Place a sheet of puff pastry at the bottom of the ramekin dish. Spread out the onions, tomatoes and other additional vegetables, if any.

3. Break an egg on top of the vegetables. Add pepper and chilli flakes. Line the cheddar and sprinkle a little parmesan.


4. Pop it in the oven for about 15 mins or until egg is cooked/pastry has browned.



Have a cuppa while waiting for it cook, I'm still very much a hot chocolate-in-the-morning-kinda-person. And yes my lil ball of sunshine has woken up, busy shining his light around the house.

Ting!! Its ready.
Now eat. While the boy is still pretty occupied.

Tee hee.

This is just a basic do. Add in some celery, bacon, minced meat, spinach, mushroom, avocado,..the list goes on. I bet some pre soaked quinoa or millet would be awesome too. Try it and share your thoughts!

Happy mornings!

Kisses of sunshine from That Skinny Elephant.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Loading...Breastmilk (1)

During my confinement, I got thinking if my milk was enough for Bubs.

Can you imagine, the feeling of not knowing how much milk is your boy drinking, for all the 100% DL mums.
Plus all that random crying makes you wonder 'Is it because I don't have enough milk??!!'

In the beginning it drove me a crazy.

BUT honestly, I didn't need to know. As long as Bubs was putting on weight, has about 4-6 wet diapers a day and active, I ain't got nothing to worry about.

A few were and are getting worried for me. I say 'don't let the worry, worry you' (a wise quote from my cousin brother) and just keep going.

The on-going crying could be anything from colic, teething, hot, cold, soiled diaper, missing someone, restlessness or they just want to be cuddled.

Some fully breastfed babies are thin. Some are super chubs. Both are normal. Obviously their genes plays a role right?

The only time I started panicking was when I was stocking up breastmilk before heading back to work. The pressure of trying to collect as much breastmilk as possible was driving up the wall.

I was trying to figure out when do I actually pump? If it's before Bubs feeds, will there be any left for him? If it's after Bubs feeds, nothing much is left, plus I got to keep the other boob for his next feed.

Bahhhhhhhhh!! 

Stressed. 

These anxious feelings obviously does not help in my supply. Just makes it worse really.

So the first thing I told myself to do was calm down (yeah that was a joke cause by that time I had two weeks left to head back to work,lol!). Then I pumped out what ever that's left after Bubs finished nursing.

I went back to work with only 3 days supply of breastmilk. And it was perfectly fine.
Gradually built up my supply by pumping 3 - 4 times at work. Some days the yield are awesome, some days not so much.

Certain food or drink I'd consumed affected the amount of breastmilk I produce. It might work for you, or it might not. Have a browse and give a try, it's healthy anyway!

Chia Seeds
I add about a teaspoon into my shakes, oats, yogurt or rice. When I was working, I use to mix a teaspoon of Chia seeds in a bottle of water (appx 1.5 litres) to drink throughout the day.


Red Dates & Dried Longans
Love these!!
I use to drink this mix frequently during my confinement as it helps retain warmth in your body.
All you got to do is take a handful of red dates and dried longans, add them in water and boil for an hour or so (Low fire).
Or add them in the slow cooker as an addition to your soups. It produces a sweet flavour.

When purchasing these dried ingredients from your local chinese shop, look for the ones that are not extremely dried. The red dates should look like the picture below, however I think I could do better with the dried longans on my next purchase, tee hee.



Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
This is a must have in your kitchen. Extremely versatile, from increasing milk supply (works for me) to prevention of nappy rash. I would have to write up in a different post to share with you how beneficial coconut oil is to your home.

I take, or I should say I try taking a tablespoon a day. I can't really handle the taste of coconut oil by itself, gives me the shivers. Solution? I mix it in shakes, drinks and sometimes cook with it.

Oh yes one more thing, ensure you get the cold pressed version, and preferably organic, Cold pressed oils retains more of its existing nutrients just like cold pressed juices!



Various ingredients affects one's supply, not forgetting pumping frequencies too. Hence I will be sure to keep sharing what increases my production in hopes that it will help you.

All the best and latch on!

Kisses of galactagogues from That Skinny Elephant.



Monday, 3 November 2014

Nutella, my Quickie

It was 2130 hours.
Dishes, laundry, dinner done.
Time to sit back,  relax and join the man and Bubs for a movie.

Haha. Who am I kidding.

Time for dessert people!

My sis in law is the best. Spent halloween at her place and had the most amazing simplest simplest dessert that she whipped up in minutes!

Okay I'm exaggerating on the 'whipped up in minutes' part, but it was still pretty quick. I should re-phrase, a dessert that required the least amount of work and ingredients. Yeap that's better.

I made sure I added the ingredients required on my groceries list this morning. Well it was just one thing really, Puff pastry squares. 
Oh plus a jar of Nutella. I bought it a few days ago..but well, it doesn't last very long in my lil home. Heh.

So you my dear friends, have to try this out. JUST DO IT. hah!

First here are the ingredients. Really. That's it.
Yes the pic is not proper, I'll fix it later. Too hyped up now.

Turn that oven on. 180 C or follow the instructions on your puff pastry.

Cut into squares. Size? Up to you hun!

Butter that muffin/cupcake tray.

Place pastry on tray and gently press the middle down.

Add sliced bananas onto the pastry.

Drop a teaspoon of happiness (Obviously I'm talking about Nutella! tee hee) in it.

I felt a little creative so I shaped a few into mini wantons. The result? Will have a look shortly.

Bake it for about 10-15 minutes or till the pastry turn golden brown.

Now, the best part. Eat it! 
I love mine with a glass of fresh milk.

And of course not forgetting the help from my Sous-Chef Bubs.



p/s: That shaped pastry turned out looking like a fat wanton! haha!













Enjoy that sweet thang.

Kisses of Nutella from That Skinny Elephant.



Sunday, 2 November 2014

Solids - Bubba's 7th Month

Puree combination month!
Its all about mixing it up.

Annnnnnd we've discovered Bubba's favourite fruit, Golden Kiwis!

Bubba is much more acceptable to the idea of solids and spoons this month. So that means he is finally eating, yay!!

In my previous post, I've mentioned that he liked the taste of bananas. So instead of giving him a single fruit puree, we mix in some bananas.
He's not such a big fan of sweet potatoes and pumpkin puree, but after lining the spoon with banana, he ate more than usual. Yes, we are tricking him just a little bit and it works! Tee hee.

During one of our baby store visits, I came across the most ingenious tool, Kidsme food feeder! Bubba loves chewing on it. Just stuff a fruit in it, and walla, chomp chomp time!

Fruits I've put in ;
  • Bananas
  • Plums
  • Avocado



Best part about it, no need for steaming or cooking, just good ol' fresh fruits.





Now the Purees, I pretty much started combining fruits and vegetables that he had tried previously and introduced some new fruits.
The following are his 7th month solids menu :



  • Pumpkin Puree + Mashed Banana


 





  • Pear Puree + Mashed Banana






  • Mashed Avocado + Banana








  • Golden Kiwi
This was his first time tasting Golden Kiwis, he sure did love it! Thanks to my Ms Babyclopedia (Sis-In-Law), for the suggestion!
Green Kiwis are tart and may be too sour for Bubs to handle. Golden Kiwis on the other hand are sweet. Among other benefits, kiwi fruits are a great source of vitamin C and potassium.


When introducing a new type of food, I like to let him get a feel of what he's having. Before doing that I have got to mentally prepare myself for the aftermath. Refer to picture below, lol!



thatskinnyelephant 



thatskinnyelephant




  • Purple carrot puree + Mashed Banana







I still feed him once a day because he'd just started familiarizing himself with the idea of eating and chewing. Occasionally I stuff a fruit into the food feeder and let him chew on it in the mornings.
I want milk to be his primary source of food hence will continue with once a day meals for now.


Today we have stepped into Bubba's 8th month. He really is comfortable with solids now, even gets excited, tee hee!


So till the next post, (I'm thinking homemade brown rice cereal :D ), I'm sending all the sweet momma's a whole load of tissues, baby wipes and a mop! Meal times has just got even messier, haha!


Kisses of mushy pumpkins from That Skinny Elephant.