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Sleep … and Breakfast with Corn Fritters

I wonder:  Do we start of being parents by having a “mindset” of what a parent should be like? Or “just go with a flow”? In today’s society, most parents are well read- we have “dr google” and countless pregnancy and parenting books around. None though, can replace your values and beliefs about parenting.

For the past week or so, hubby and I decided that we have to let Asher get used to sleeping in his bassinet. At night, he has no problems sleeping in there, but hates it in the day time. My dad and I have been taking turns cradling him and rocking him to sleep every morning and afternoon. Since I will not have the luxury of my family being around soon, I needed to change some things. It’s not exactly sleep training as I have no intention of leaving him in the bassinet and crying it out for 20 minutes or more or follow a strict exact time routine.

We read books such as Babywise and Save our sleep by Tizzle Hall. We also like Baby Love by Robyn Baker. While we do not think we follow a particular method exactly, we found it useful to read about settling techniques and learning how to read baby cues. What we did was a combination of methods- having a routine after tracking what Asher does, reading his cues, being persistent and being consistent with our approach.

I will admit that we tried letting Asher cry out in his bassinet for 5-10 minutes at the start, testing out if he would self settle when we put him in the bassinet. This is especially so when we know he does self settle at night. It didn’t work as he would cry himself to a frenzy and we concluded that he is still young (7 weeks when we tried) need us to help him soothe himself before he could sleep. In the end, we did a feed, play and sleep routine. We found out from feed to play, Asher would take approximately 1+ hour before he shows signs of dis-engagement and yawns. Once these signs appear, I would wrap him up in a swaddle and rock him gently. Once he is drowsy or close to asleep, I will place him in his bassinet. Sometimes he would require us to rock him or pat him a little more, but after a few days of doing this, he seem to understand this routine.

My only issue though, is that he wakes after approximately one sleep cycle and would require us to soothe him to sleep again. This would happen more often in the afternoon, where he finds it even harder to self soothe- and once his bottom touches the bassinet he would wake. In fact, he would protest if we leave him in the bassinet. I’m not sure why as at night, he is able to sleep for quite a few hours. At the moment, I would try to rock him to sleep after his first sleep cycle for approximately 20 minutes. If that does not work, I would assume it is sufficient for the time being and proceed to feed or a diaper change. I’m hoping it is an age related thing and as he becomes older, he would be able to soothe himself more in between sleep cycles.

Asher does not like the pacifier or using the traditional method of sarong to rock him to sleep.

The advantage is, in the evening, we started to wind him down at 6pm. We would give him a bath, a massage, say a prayer for him and proceed to swaddle and rock him to drowsiness. He would sleep in his bassinet from 7+ to usually 11ish or even 12:30. Then, his cycle will repeat itself every 3 hours following the long sleep.

My conclusion so far? When it comes to sleep, read as many articles and research as you can but adopt the method best for your child. I am sure my journey has just started but I feel strongly about not forcing any particular method. It is just as important to read the child. 😉

All this talk about parenting and sleep makes me feel like… breakfast!! I made corn fritters when a friend came by for breakfast one morning. I really love a good corn fritter or any fritters for that matter. I used cream corn for this instead of egg to bind it. It really seems to make it more crispy on the outside. I also made a simple dip with chives, yogurt and lemon juice which worked really well with the hot crispy fritter.

Corn Fritters (makes around 12) 

1 tin of creamed sweet corn
200 grams frozen sweet corn.
2 rashers of bacon chopped
100 grams plain flour
25 grams of corn flour
pinch of paprika

Mix everything together. Heat a pan with oil. Drop tablespoons of mixture to the pan. Serve hot with a dip.

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Roasted Eggplant, Pumpkin and Bacon Frittata

Asher is going to be 7 weeks young tomorrow! Just one more week and he is going to be 2 months old. Woah, that’s massive. Is it september already? It seems just yesterday when it was July and I was waddling around the house, pottering around the kitchen.

My baby boy makes cooing noises and when I place Mr Eeyore near him, I swear they were having a conversation. I am sure every mum says that, but I can’t believe I can be so in love with a baby. Every small milestone makes me happy.

What has changed since we had him?
– Sleep. We can never have enough..NEVER.
– Meal time. Usually one of us is caring for him while the other eats.
– Identifying a change room wherever we go!
– My relationship with my mum. A greater appreciation of how she care and loves me.
– My routine is around his feeding/resting time.
– My going out bag has grown twice the size than it normally is.
– I can sing heaps of silly songs!

My kitchen still belongs to my mum, but I have attempted to bake a few things in the past weeks. It’s nice to be cooking again.

I’m a fan of eggs. I can eat eggs anytime! Scrambled, fried, poached, soft boiled… It’s a good hit of protein and so easy to use. I had a jar of roasted eggplant on hand- (even though we could have easily roasted one on the stove top, it’s nice to have some handy jars around!) and left over pumpkin. I combined them together with some grilled bacon, grilled onions. eggs and chives, and here we go..a simple dinner done. The star I felt was the grilled onions, it added a sweetness to it!

This recipe was created before I delivered and no doubt, I will be digging it out again after my family return to Singapore and I have to start making meals again (Horror!).  This will even make a good breakfast the next morning.

Roasted Eggplant, Pumpkin and Bacon Frittata 
1 eggplant roasted and slice or a jar of pre roasted egg plant
around 200 grams of pumpkin roasted
2 red onions chopped
2 slices of bacon chopped
6 eggs
1/4 cup of almond milk or milk of your choice.
hand ful of chives
Salt and pepper

Salad to serve

Grill off bacon. Chopped it into small bites. Saute red onions till nice and caramalised. Whisk eggs and milk with seasoning together. Sprinkle bacon and onions base of baking tin and place slices of pumpkin and eggplant on it. Pour eggs over it and sprinkle chives. Bake 180C oven for 25 mins.

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Asher’s Full Moon Celebration and Ginger Wine Chicken

They say parenthood seems to make time goes faster. I never quite get it till it happened to us. I’m not sure how the time flies. Perhaps it has got to do with the daily routine of changing diapers, feeding, burping, playing and sleeping. Or that soothing a baby can sometimes take longer than expected. Or perhaps, just staring at a newborn seems to make time stop (or go faster!).

Even before my family arrived in Perth, discussions about the full moon party for Asher has already begun. Grandma even brought the dye for the red eggs. After all, it’s a party that announces our baby boy- their grandson/greatgrandson. Full moon celebration is a tradition where family and friends gather to see the baby and feast on food. I think it’s something to do with how babies die easily in the olden days, hence reaching a full month is a milestone.

The day arrive faster than expected. What happen to our newborn fresh out of the oven? Already he is longer (6cm!) and his hair has grown. He knows who will cuddle him the way he likes it and who is his food source (me!).

My mum and Asher 

The kitchen buzzed the day before and madness emerge on the morning of the event. Grandma’s arm isn’t exactly healed so mum and I made her famous Yam Cake. The house smelt of vinegar as we cooked the confinement special of Sweet and Sour Vinegar with ribs rather than pork trotter. Ginger was peeled and grated for the Ginger Wine Chicken. I  threw in a mix and made a salad by roasting some pumpkin (to my grandma’s horror!) and prepared a batter for my clean eating Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Yogurt Frosting.

Mum was the chef, I was the sou chef and Grandma was the supervisor.

Asher eyeing the food before the party.

My dear friends came early to put up some decorations for us. Love these poms poms! So much so that I’m going to recycle and use them to decorate Asher’s room.

Food and more food.

It feels great to “show” Asher off. They say a baby brings joy to the family and now I know why. We had 54 guests. Asher is very very blessed- like his name. And it shows. Aunties and uncles love and cuddled him. Gifts were showered.

You know how they say kids seem to behave well for others but not for parents. Well, no one told me that it starts THAT early. Asher slept pretty through the whole thing (just not really the night before) and behaved like an angel… except before his feed.

I shared recipes before I delivered in previous posts- very irrelevant to Asher. This time round though, I thought I would share my grandma’s version of Ginger Wine Chicken that we served at the party. My mum makes an equally delicious version as well. While it is laden with alcohol and not recommended to have it just before breast feeding (Preferably at least 2 hours before), the dish is meant to nourish the body and increase warmth. Warmth helps remove any “wetness” and helps the uterus contracts back. Certainly I felt weak the days following the birth and was glad of nourishing food that helped. I’m sure all the guests enjoyed a mix of traditional and not so traditional (sushi!?) at the party. Asher though, was the star.

Ginger Wine Chicken (enough to serve 8)
1 kg of chicken thighs or drum lets
1 kg of ginger- 500 grams sliced and 500 grams grated with juice squeezed.
about 2 cups of raw peanuts
a handful or 1/2 cup of red dates (deseeded)
250 grams of fungus hydrated with some water water
2 litres of water
1 cup of DOM (or Brandy)
Drizzle of sesame oil
Salt, pepper

Saute half of the ginger. Brown chicken quickly. Adding the red dates and water. Simmer it to a boil. Add in peanuts. cook till peanuts turn soft. Then add in black fungus. Simmer for another 15 minutes or so. Add in Dom and cook for another 5-10 mins. Taste and adjust salt accordingly. Drizzle with sesame oil before serving.

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