Try to give toddlers some control over little things

“Children get the message that they ‘can’t’ when we do for them before giving them the opportunity to do it themselves. See what the child can do independently while assuring him/her that you’re right there and available. Allow accomplishments to belong to children whenever possible.” – Source:

We are in the phase where the 27m2d is trying to master the world but at the same time, not fully able to accomplish by herself. We learn that by trying to fulfill the need for independence and knowing her limitation helps.

Helping mama in setting up the bread slicer <Video>

Stew pork with pumpkin and carrot


Pork marinated with sesame oil and five spiced powder
Roasted garlic
Star anise
Molasses sugar
Firm tofu
Sunflower seed oil
Crab meat mushrooms
Enoki mushrooms
Stir fry cabbage and pea sprout

Celine Tan's photo.
Stir fry cabbage and pea sprout

Celine Tan's photo.
Lunch – udon in miso soup with papaya soup as base, added fresh shiitake mushroom and dried seaweed

Celine Tan's photo.

Celine Tan's photo.

“Parfait” for my 27m1d’s teatime


From bottom:
1. Fresh mango
2. Cheerios
3. Papaya
4. Farmers Union Greek Style Natural Yogurt
5. Kellogg’s cornflakes

I didn’t freeze it as ingredients were cold already.

Celine Tan's photo.
Lunch: Yellow zucchini mee hoon kueh in papaya chicken soup

Celine Tan's photo.

1. Stir fry cabbage and carrot
2. Pan fried vegetables popiah (steamed yam, yam bean and carrot)
3. Steam grouper with silken tofu, yellow zucchini, tomato and carrot (in pix, not steamed yet)
4. Soup: Papaya chicken soup

My fish after steaming for 12 minutes

Celine Tan's photo.
Celine Tan's photo.

Why is little 17chipmunks still given homecooked food during outings/holidays?


I personally feel very touched if my mum cooks for me (even sometimes I find it ‘annoying’ that she goes to the extent of stocking home cooked food in my fridge for us). In DHM, I feel the love especially from between Rachaelz Kwacz and her mama – where mama bakes and now cook for her. It is the same thing – I want my girl to feel the same kind of love in this form of providing her home cooked even if it is the simplest.

I know she is not a baby anymore – 27 months old, to be exact. She hasn’t even reach the mark of 3 years old where I could flex the rules more – in fact, I have been flexing some rules for her too – a slow adjustment to her and not a drastic one. I know the fact that this (providing home cooked during outings/holidays) can’t go on forever – but it has to be a transition plan.

While we eat out, she still does take home cooked that I packed. She doesn’t request from the table – except sometimes white rice, or if she sees sushi or bread, and of course, ice water. She knows which is her food and our food. We don’t bother to alter this routine yet, especially she has issues with her skin now. I even asked hubby if I need to pack food for our girl yesterday night (I was actually hesitating at first if my food goes into waste) since there would be sushi bar at our buffet – and he said ‘yes’. At the end, our girl still finish the food i prepared. Further more, when she is out there, she is more distracted with the surrounding and not really into her meals.

I know I have been repeating this many times. But, why do some people still see me as stopping our girl from enjoying meals outside (which she never asked for)? Why am I always seen as the villain who wants my girl to ‘suffer’?

While I packed her food, I never delay our “appointments” – I made effort to wake earlier or rush to pack – which never actually caused anyone to wait. The ‘trouble’ is not onto anyone but me/myself. I also ‘wish’ I don’t have to step into the kitchen for a day or two. So, why do they have so much to say?

Maybe most of the people around us are either foodies or in food business – they see meals outside greater than home cooked. Probably they never really evaluated the true health values of the food but just ‘tasty/very tasty’. Do they ever bother how some food contents do bad to young children? (I know DHM is not just about healthy food for kids, but any home cooked is definitely better than outside food). Or maybe, they like the ‘togetherness’ of everyone having the same meal – but as mentioned, our girl is still very much in her own world.

As always, many would say – just ignore/ one ear in and one ear out. But it is really annoying when someone is trying to stop a mama’s love for her daughter to provide home cooked. Motherhood is already tough; don’t add challenges to mummies’ life.

If you don’t/didn’t provide home cooked for your kids during weekends or outings, it is fine – but please don’t pester other mummies who do, to do as you do.

Stew lemon grass and tomato chicken & stir fry sweet potato leaves


Stew lemon grass and tomato chicken:
Marinated half chicken overnight with blended lemon grass, tomato & cornflour.
Stew with blended garlic, onion, garlic, tomatoes, carrot, apple & water for 30 minutes.

Stir fry sweet potato leaves – garlic, fresh chilli and dries shrimp

Initially we planned to eat lunch before going for movie. But the 27th month old woke up early, so I managed to prepare lunch ahead. As time allows, we rushed to the cinema (which was rather empty at 11am) and thus we watched “Home”. A nice cartoon that could keep the girl entertained for less than 2 hours. We were back home for lunch. We didn’t walk around as we were there already last night and we felt like knocking off during girl’s nap time.

Dinner for the girl is the same chicken but served with pasta

Celine Tan's photo.

Simple fried celery and zucchini rice for my 26m28d


– ingredients: Olive oil, garlic, celery, zucchini, white rice

We were going to Suki-ya for Japanese buffet tonight. I thought our girl will be taking the sushi from the bar. So I just prepared the rice just in case and the portion is quite small.

She finished all actually and didn’t really take the sushi…

Celine Tan's photo.
Very busy with ice cream cones… LOL

Celine Tan's photo.
For lunch, lazy mama – just heat up leftover creamy sweet corn sauce and pour on pasta

Celine Tan's photo.

Spaghetti in corn cream sauce and roast pandan turmeric chicken


Corn cream sauce – followed method here:

Ingredients used:
2 sweet corns
Stock based – carrot and tomatoes
Dried mixed herbs
Unsalted butter
4 big onions
Whipped cream

Roast pandan turmeric marinate – blend pandan leaves, fresh turmeric, pepper and water (marinated 6 hours and roasted for 45 minutes under 200 degree celcius)

Eggless cocoa banana cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting


To the daddy whose daughter is a minion freak!(lol! Save cost as I have remainder sugary paper)

His birthday is tomorrow, so got it ready today – it is eggless cocoa banana cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting.

Cake ingredients:
170g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
2 tbsp Farmers Union Greek Style Natural Yogurt
1 cup coconut milk
300g cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda

Frosting: Cooking chocolate + cream cheese + unsalted butter

I mixed the ingredients by stages, the flour fold in. Bake at 170 degree celcius for 45 minutes.

Deco: Minion sugary paper, Mark & Spencer animal biscuits

Before baking

Celine Tan's photo.
No crack when I removed from oven as I covered with aluminium foil

Celine Tan's photo.
The extras which were not covered with aluminium foil

Celine Tan's photo.
To cool

Celine Tan's photo.
First layer frosting

Celine Tan's photo.
Top view

Celine Tan's photo.
No talent decorated like ‘yat pek see’ but she accepted! Lol

Celine Tan's photo.

Encouraging an adventurous toddler


The little girl found a new way up today at her commonly frequent playland!

‘When you see your two-and-a-half year-old on a climbing frame your heart is in your mouth and that is normal but I think most parents realise that at some point their children have to take physical risks; most recognise the benefits of learning through play. We can be overprotective but it is impossible to wrap children in cotton wool.’

Nice write up:

Celine Tan's photo.

Bak Kut Teh without herbs and soy sauce



Bak Kut Teh without herbs and soy sauce (or Stew pork with garlic and mushroom)

The pork was marinated with sesame oil and five spiced powder

Ingredients to brown with marinated pork before transferred to pot to stew:
4 bulbs of garlic, skin removed (couldn’t find roasted garlic, so used normal ones)
One slice ginger
One cinnamon stick
5 star anise
Sunflower oil
1 tbsp molasses sugar

After transferred the browned ingredients to pot, add water, dried shiitake mushroom (soaked) and can button mushrooms. Let it stew for 30 – 40 minutes before adding tah pok, Enoki mushrooms and fu chok. Let it boil for another 10-15 minutes.

I served it hot and pour over Chinese lettuce.

*I accidentally slept while stewing (as my girl wanted to be nursed and I was having slight flu) and nearly risked burning the kitchen – plus killed myself and my girl – sorry, drama. Fortunately, I put quite some water and stove was low in fire. It boiled for close to an hour.

I was also pondering whether to put in herbs as I read toddler probably can take herbs after 3 years old. Then I asked for opinion from my friend – she said ‘if you are not sure, then don’t put, further more your girl has eczema, don’t risk it.’ Good reminder to myself! The garlic actually helps a lot with the taste.

The butcher got me the correct pork – it was quite soft and my girl likes it actually. I just told her, a little fat and for stewing.

Celine Tan's photo.