Shop healthy at Cold Storage and be Rewarded!

Friday, 28 March 2014


I took the opportunity to shop at Cold Storage last weekend to give you a first-hand account of how easy it is to pick out healthy items off the shelves and receive a cashback of up to 15% as an AIA Vitality member.

Look out for the “V” tag which indicates that the item is eligible for the AIA Vitality science-backed wellness programme.


The best part is, you don't have to scrutinise each item to ensure that they fall within the 'healthy foods' range! Did you know that Cold Storage offers more than 6,000 HealthyFood™?


I picked out a healthier alternative to our regular butter spread for sandwiches, among other items.


I even roped in the boy to identify items with me, and he totally enjoyed scouring the aisles looking for tags on his favourite items!


While I couldn't resist grabbing a pack of my favourite pistachios, guilt free!



I shopped for more items to make a healthy soup for dinner, and it was all too easy to grab and go because I only needed to check for the tabs on the price tags to make my choices!

At Cold Storage outlets which have electronic price tags, look for the "V" indicated on the tag itself. This indication is also present on the regular price tags.



When you purchase HealthyFood™ items from Cold Storage, there will be a "V" indication on your receipt as well. Present your AIA Vitality Membership card to the cashier prior to making your payment, and with a swipe of the card, the amount spent will be submitted into your account. They will then be converted into Vitality points.


Your points should be updated within 2 weeks of completing an activity. They can be checked on your Vitality Points Statement or AIA Vitality mobile app, available for download on Apple or Android mobile devices.

So what is this 'AIA Vitality' membership?

AIA Singapore has introduced 'AIA Vitality', a programme which is focused on helping you live a healthy life. It provides support for members by helping us understand our bodies and motivating us to work on improving our health through 3 ways:

Knowing your health
Improving your health
Enjoying the rewards as you get healthier 

How does 'AIA Vitality' work?

'AIA Vitality points' are earned when healthy choices are made, and these points contribute towards your overall 'AIA Vitality Status'. The higher your status, the more rewards you earn, such as discounted movie tickets, air fares, as well as percentage cashback on your purchases at Cold Storage, just to name a few.

As an AIA Vitality member, you are entitled to:

- 5% cashback* on HealthyFood™ items upon completing Vitality Health Review online

or

- 15% cashback* on HealthyFood™ items upon completion of the Vitality Health Check at selected Guardian stores.


Cashback and points

Monthly cashback and points are calculated based on a spending cap of up to $160 per month for HealthyFood™ items. 

Cashback will be given in the form of Cold Storage e-vouchers in $5 and $10 denominations, which will be emailed to you in the following month.

5% cashback x $160 = $8/month (max)
15% cashback x $160 = $24/month (max)
Max Vitality points earned = 400

Any rollover amount will be shown on your spend statement until you have accumulated additional cashback amounting to a $5 / $10 voucher value.



Sounds exciting, doesn't it? Do contact the AIA Customer Care hotline at 1800 248 8000 or email sg.vitalitysupport@aia.com to find out how you too can start making a difference to your health, and reap the rewards for being and staying healthy!

AIA Vitality Membership Programme FAQ

***

Here I share with you how to make quick and easy Fish Maw Soup - a family favourite, recipe courtesy of my Mum-in-law. A robust and flavourful soup, made using HealthyFood™ ingredients!

Fish Maw (Hu Piao) Soup | Nonya Style

(Mrs. Jessie Moo's recipe)

Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Serves 4 - 6 adults

Ingredients
  • 50 g fish maw (calorie count here)
  • 2 litres of low sodium chicken broth
  • 500 g cabbage, cut into squares
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Baby carrots (optional, I added in because the boy loves them!)
  • A bunch of Chinese celery (or cilantro, if you prefer)
Prawn Meatballs
  • 200 g minced pork or chicken (calorie count here)
  • 250 g shelled prawns (calorie count here)
  • 6 water chestnuts, peeled and chopped roughly
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
Method

1. Prepare all ingredients, and prepare the fish maw ahead of time.


2. Soak fish maw in hot water for about ten minutes, and drain. Soak again in cold water, draining the water once it turns oily and cloudy. Repeat this process till the water runs clear and almost oil traces are no longer present. By then, the fish maw would be soft, pliant and porous. Drain well, squeezing out any water present in each piece. Cut fish maw into slices.


3. Pound or process shelled prawns. Mix all the prawn meatball ingredients together and leave to stand for about 5 minutes.


4. Meanwhile, bring chicken broth to the boil over high heat. Add in a tied up bunch of celery in the stock. The celery is put in simply for flavour, and is not to be eaten, hence it is necessary for it to remain in a bunch rather than float all over the soup. Add the cabbage and baby carrots in, along with salt and pepper to taste.

In a separate heavy bottomed pan, bring 3 cups of water to the boil.


5. Roll the prawn meatball paste using your palms. Make sure that your hands are dampened prior to this, or else you will not be able to shape the balls without it sticking all over your hands.


6. Put the meatballs into the boiling water, and simmer until they float to the surface.


7. Drain, and set aside.

Check to see if cabbage is done (they should take on a translucent tinge). Add in prawn meatballs, and simmer for about ten minutes.


8. Here it is - a healthy, clear consommé which is quick to do, but packed full of flavour!


Healthy doesn't need to look boring or taste bland. I am of the belief that everything should be consumed in moderation, and when you make an effort to be healthy - the most natural thing after that will be to stay healthy.

***

In other news: join me tomorrow at the United Square Atrium, where I will be participating in a Bento Making Challenge organised by AIA Vitality, from 12.00pm - 12.30pm!


Now... for BETTER news!

5 (FIVE) readers will stand a chance to win 5 sets of Choice Vouchers worth $20 each, redeemable at any of these outlets: Cold Storage, Market Place, Shop and Save, Giant, Guardian or 7-11.

Simply follow the steps below to participate!


Website: AIAVitality.com.sg
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AIASingapore
***

Disclaimer: 

This is part of a series of community awareness messages brought to you by AIA (Singapore) in collaboration with MummyMoo.

All items marked with an asterisk (*) are governed by existing Terms and Conditions as set by the respective company and / or supporting partners. Please check www.aiavitality.com.sg for further details. 

All information is correct at time of print. AIA reserves all rights to discontinue or amend existing clauses without prior notice, and its sole discretion.

In no event shall I be held liable or responsible for any membership disagreements arising between AIA and any parties. Neither shall I be liable for any indirect, consequential, incidental, special or punitive damages or losses of any kind. 

The (only) chocolate cake recipe you'll ever need!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

If you grew up in the 80s and 90s, perhaps you will know of a certain Chocolate Fudge Cake from Lana Cake Shop. It was the 'in' cake to have for any kind of celebration, and it made a welcome change from the usual buttercream laden sponge cakes with eerie artificial colours which were the norm back in those days. Started by a Mrs. Violet Kwan about 50 years ago, they are still in existence now, although with many other almost similar options (read: Awfully Chocolate) these days, not many will make a trip down to the cake shop at Greenwood Ave to pick up a pre-order when they can get a cake conveniently at a nearby location.

I still remember the decadent taste of the rich, chocolate cake when I first tasted it. That was way back when I was in Primary School, but I have since come to associate a good chocolate cake with that memory. Not overly sweet, moist and its buttery texture is enhanced by the rich coat of  fudge which leaves a bitter-sweet taste, the way good chocolate does. If you are looking for a strong chocolate taste - then Lana's may not be for you, because it's not like eating a baked chocolate bar. It's subtle, delicate, and back then, it was the closest thing to chocolate heaven.

I hardly bake with chocolate because many recipes don't measure up to what I look for in a chocolate cake, but then I stumbled upon this recipe. I had all the ingredients in my pantry. No mixer required. One bowl to wash. One bite to seal it all.

It may not look picture perfect, but its taste will win you over.
Never underestimate simplicity.

Gâteau au Chocolat Fondant de Nathalie

or, Kate's Winning-Hearts-and-Minds Cake
Adapted from Je veux du chocolat!, by Trish Deseine
Makes one 8-inch cake or two 6-inch cakes

Ingredients
  • 200g dark chocolate (I used Ghirardelli because I don't have Valrhona at hand!)
  • 200g unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 215g caster sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tbs all-purpose flour

Method

1. Preheat oven to 190 deg C (375 deg F) and line pan base with parchment paper. Butter all sides, including the parchment paper. 


2. Melt chocolate with butter in a double boiler or in a microwave. Stir constantly, making sure that it is thoroughly mixed. Add the sugar to the chocolate-butter mixture, and whisk well. once it is well incorporated, set aside to cool.


3. Add the eggs one by one, stirring well after each addition. Add the flour. The batter should be glossy and not have any lumps.



4. Pour batter into cake pans and bake for 25 min, or until the top is shiny and its surface is crackly.


5. Allow cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes after removing it from the oven. The cake will deflate slightly. Run a knife around the edges, and invert the cake so that it slides out. Revert the cake so that the crackly side faces up.


7. Serve in wedges at room temperature. Cake keeps well, and in fact tastes better the following day. Perfect for midnight bakers like me!







Celebrating Friendship

Monday, 24 March 2014

Diana and I have been friends for over 23 years now. I got to know her from a mutual friend, and our friendship developed from there. We lost contact for quite some time as life took over (she stayed overseas, taught in a school, while I worked crazy hours) but we were fortunate to have regained contact via the same mutual friend's sister, who said hello to me on Facebook because we shared the same wedding videographer!



To cut a long story short, I'm glad that we can still pick up where we left off, because even through life's ups and downs, we are still the same two girls who can look at each other, not say a word, and know exactly what the other is thinking. Which usually has us in gales of laughter after that! (no pun intended, D!)

Now Caden has hit it off with her son, Aden. Even their names are almost the same, and we met again after both boys were born!

Hopefully, this will be a start to a great friendship, too.

Pages of Memories

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Looking back upon the words written over the past two years... I recall.
I remember.

It's amazing how so many things can happen in such a short span of time - and it's equally wondrous how each and every experience brings us to new levels of consciousness, realizations, and perhaps even make us understand a little more of ourselves. It's wonderful to be able to look back and chart milestones, how BabyMoo has grown into the little boy whom we love so dearly, and the challenges that come with parenting at different stages.

Looking back through what I've written - across a blank canvas of time and space, I see so many changes, so many things that have happened. Some good, some sad, a cacophony of emotions written across the pages; a reflection of all that I am as a mother, a wife, a friend - and all that I have been through.

A myriad of colours bound together on the pages of the screen... in a rainbow hue of oranges, blues and greens - some as dark as my moods, some as bright as the summer sky. Rays of colours bound together by a single thread called faith, brought together by people and places that have influenced and shaped my life as I know it.

I embrace the words that have given me the power to remember events and experiences, feelings and emotions. The single silvery teardrop that reflects sadness in my heart during difficult times, and the peals of laughter that have overshadowed the darkness.

Life is full of so many possibilities, and it's pretty amazing how our choices determines where our life leads. This is what we try to impart to the boy, too.

It's okay to mistakes,
to fall down, scrape our knees,
We painfully get up, cringe - and wait for the pain to subside.
and eventually the wound heals.

If we walk the same path again, sometimes, we are more aware of the potholes, and the sharp incline that caused us to slip and fall the last time round.

Through the pages of my memories, I live and learn, I smile through my tears, I face each day looking forward to what lies in store. Life is full of infinite possibilities, and it's wonderful how we can all be the masters of our own destiny.

I remember writing about love, loving, hurt and despair.
I remember people, faces and places I've been.
I love the melody that the memories bring to me.

I love being a Mum.

I look back in awe and wonder...
at the tapestry of colours that have made my life worth living.


3-ingredient Japanese Soufflé Cheesecake

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Yes, you read the title right. You need just 3 ingredients to make this cheesecake, and it's absolutely perfect for days when you have to live up to the supermum image but you are just too tired to move a muscle!


The Moo boys aren't exactly fans of cheesecakes, whether baked or otherwise, because I think cheesecake tends to get 'heavy' on the palate after the 2nd or 3rd bite. I, on the other hand, am a big fan of any form of cheesecake, but I hardly order a slice when we're out because I usually can't finish the entire portion (read: must watch the weight!) and it will just be a waste.

When I first saw this recipe on YouTube, I actually watched the video three times because I wasn't convinced that it will work.

  • 3 eggs
  • 120 gr White Chocolate
  • 120 gr Cream Cheese

That's all to yield this awesome cake? Surely there must be magic involved somewhere.

Anyways, I tried it out.

3-ingredient Japanese Soufflé Cheesecake

Recipe from: Ochikeron, on YouTube

Prep time: 20 min
Bake time: 30 min (add 15 min cooling time)
Yields: One 6-inch awesome cake


1. Melt white chocolate over a double boiler or in a microwave. If you choose to use a microwave, heat on high at 20 sec interval and stir (so as to not accidentally burn the base) until you get a smooth consistency. Add softened cream cheese and mix together to form a paste.


2. Separate the egg yolks from the whites, and keep the whites chilled while you work on the other things. Mix in the 3 yolks to the cheese and chocolate paste. There is no need to use a mixer.


3. Once that is done, prepare a 6-inch (15cm) cake tin. Grease parchment paper lightly and line both the base and sides of the tin. This is so that when the cake slides down the sides while baking, it can do so smoothly and not crack at the edges.


4. At this point, I preheated the oven to 170 deg C (338 deg F), and proceeded to whisk the egg whites using an electric mixer till firm peaks form.


5. Fold in the whites into the yolk batter in three parts, until you get a creamy mixture.




6. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, and drop the pan lightly on the table to eliminate air bubbles.


7. Place the cake pan on a baking sheet or a larger pan, and pour hot water onto the baking sheet.



8. Bake at 170C (338F) for 15 minutes, 160C (320F) for 15 minutes, then stop the heat and bake with the remaining heat for 15 minutes. Place cake pan on a wire rack to cool completely.

Ok... so I forgot about the cake in the oven and left it in there after baking for almost 45min because I was distracted by the boy. When I took it out, it has lost a bit of height (I refuse to say 'sink'!!) but the texture was still great! A little denser than a regular cheesecake, I suppose, but perfect as afternoon tea for a small family!




MummyMoo





Child Label - Review and Giveaway!

Monday, 10 March 2014

I remember when I was back in school, the highlight of every school year was getting the brand new books and seeing each and every single one emblazoned with my name. Of course, back then, there were no such things as printed names or stickers, and my Mom painstakingly hand wrote each exercise book and text book with my name. There's just something about seeing my name on the new books which made me happy, and I dare say it contributed much to nurturing my sense of identity and self esteem.

I hankered after one of those 'ticker tape' type of label maker - perhaps some of you would be familiar with it - which comes with a round disc complete with the letters of the alphabet. You had to rotate the disc to find the required alphabet and punch it out so as to form an embossed text on the sticker tape. It looked something like this: 

'Dymo'! It was the closest thing to having 'professional' looking name labels back then! I had to google 'VINTAGE Name Label' for heavens sakes!

My mom wouldn't get one because she said that the tape does not last over a few washes (for water bottles and lunch boxes) and it's much faster to hand write instead! I remember wanting one so badly, and 30 years later, I still recall writing to Santa asking for a 'Dymo' label maker when I had to label the boy's stuff before he started school. 

A year ago, I purchased name labels from a non-local site, and while I was happy with the product, I didn't like that the lead time for production was pretty long. Furthermore, they couldn't process Chinese characters, and this was a major drawback for me because I couldn't write the boy's Chinese name! (Please don't judge) 

So when Child Label contacted me and offered to provide Caden with some awesome labels, I was more than happy to do a review because:

1. I have a thing about supporting Mumpreneurs 
2. It is a local based company 
3. Their labels look pretty awesome to me!


The options at Child Label range from circle labels to rectangular ones, birthday labelsbook labels, and Chinese name labels. The same choices are available as iron-ons as well. The 'Get Me Started' pack is great if you want a few basic stickers and iron-ons. If you can't decide, there's always the 'Give Me Everything!' Pack, which has just that. A little bit of everything! 

Ordering is as easy as choosing the packchoosing the design, and entering the name required. Payment is via Paypal (credit card payment is thru Paypal) or bank transfer. Local shipping is free, unless you opt for registered mail, and international shipping is at a flat rate of S$3. 

Choose your pack
Choose the design, and enter in the name!
So this is what I got in the mail!

'Vroooom!' design (photos are non edited to showcase actual colours)

Oh look! His Chinese name!

Multi functional labels for everything and anything!
So neither the husband nor I am able to write Caden's Chinese name, right? This is how we ordered: 

Handwritten by the boy's Grandmama
The people at Child Label were kind enough to do up the labels based on a photo of the characters, courtesy of my mum-in-law! I ought to be embarrassed but... well - Chinese was not what I opted for my 2nd language at school back then, so I have to look for ways around it!

I then had fun labelling all his stuff!

There something about this label that makes the Queen song go on repeat in my mind...
Yay!! Got too many Cadens, but I think only one with this Chinese name!
This is the lunch box he carries when Mummy and Daddy feels like *NOT* having Chinese food over the weekend! It will have the mandatory rice, meat, and fruits. (Uh huh... the boy is super 'traditional' when it comes to food!)
I'm so tempted to get some for myself just because I think they're cool!
Round stickers for his stinky shoes ensure that no one else will wear his pair by mistake (if the 'aroma' doesn't alert them first)
Totally love how the round stickers fit over his Avent Natural Bottles!
It sticks nicely over a concave surface, too!
These labels are made of high quality vinyl and are waterproof, microwave safe, and freezer-proof, too. They are scratch resistant, but peel off with relative ease when you'd like to change the sticker position, or if you are like me - a bit OCD about the stickers being aligned straight. They adhere to the surface even after I repeatedly peeled and re-stuck them again, without leaving any stubborn sticker marks.

The iron ons are handy for labeling his school uniform too - and comes with detailed instructions on the procedure for clueless people like me! 

Of course, I made the husband do it, because I needed someone to blame if something went wrong.
Peel off the correct side! He peeled off the wrong side, and guess who had to clean the iron? Remember what I said about having someone to blame? :)
Let's see if this works...
Ten seconds (or till the sides peel off cleanly)
Ta-DA!!! Pretty awesome, isn't it?
I believe that for parents of two or more kids (especially if you have twins!) these labels will definitely come in handy. There will be no confusion as to which items belongs to whom, and these labels are not only aesthetically pleasing, they also make it easier for kids to identify their belongings in an environment where many other items, some of which can be of the same make and design. I'm big on labelling Caden's school things because it not only gives him a sense of identity, but it keeps things organised for his educators and caregivers, too.

Child Label 
Shop here: http://childlabel.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/childlabel


Thanks to the kind people at Child Label, 
we have TWO sets of 'Get Me Started!' packs to giveaway!




This contest is worldwide and ends on Monday, 17 March 2014, at 00:00.
Results will be announced thereafter.

Good Luck!

CONTEST ENDED

Congratulations to Kaye Wong and Diana Bok!! 
We will be in touch with you shortly :)


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