Don't Throw Away The Broccoli Stems!

~ Posted on Monday, October 20, 2014 at 7:07 AM ~

During my earlier days when I started to cook for my family, I always discard the broccoli stems and only make use of the florets part for stir-frying and steaming broccoli dishes. That all changed when my mother-in law caught me throwing away the stem and told me not to waste the stem as we can use it when preparing soup.Think of all the stems I have thrown away in the past! Horror! Guilt!

Since then, whenever I bought broccoli, what I do is:

* Clean and wash the broccoli

* Use up the florets part for stir-frying / steaming dishes

* Keep the stem part in freezer if I am not using it immediately

* Use the stem part for my soup making days (just add into the pot before preparing the soup)

Benefits of broccoli stems:

Broccoli stems are as nutritious as the broccoli crown. One hundred grams of broccoli stems contains 28 calories, 2.98 grams of protein, 48 milligrams of calcium, .88 milligrams of iron, 25 milligrams of magnesium, 325 milligrams of potassium, 27 milligrams of sodium and 400 IU of vitamin A. One hundred grams of broccoli florets contains identical nutrition information, making broccoli stems just as healthy and vitamin-packed as the more visually appealing broccoli florets. ~ Source

 

Now that you know this, do give it a try! Keep the broccoli stems and use them when you prepare soup next time!

Further reading:

* Conscientious Cook: Good Uses for Broccoli Stalks

* 7 Ways to Use Broccoli Stalks

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Blanching Meat Before Preparing Soup

~ Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 7:41 AM ~

If you are planning to venture into soup making recipes, read up on my post today on why we should blanch the meat that goes into the soup. It is an essential step to follow if you are planning to make soups as this will produce clearer broth (soup).

 I normally use pork bones with some pork meats when I prepare my soups though there are the occasional times I used chicken meat as well. After buying the meat for soupmaking, I will wash it one time while preparing a pot of water about an inch high. Once the water starts boiling, I will slowly put in the meat into the pot and blanch them until they turned white. This normally takes a few minutes. Once done, you can take the meat out and give it a quick rinse in cold water again then drain them before continuing on with your soupmaking process or for storing (I normally do this as I buy in batch and freeze them)

Benefits of blanching:

Certain types of meats and fish, including organ meats, chicken breast and some seafood, benefit from blanching. You blanch organ meats to remove some of musty taste and begin the breakdown of the dense connective tissue that can make offal chewy. ~ Source

Many chefs, wanting the clearest possible broth or stock, begin the process by blanching the meat and bones they're using. This means bringing them to a simmer and stirring them once or twice to ensure all surfaces are exposed to the water. Proteins from the meat's surface and juices cook out and coagulate, making the familiar gray foam you'll often see forming in a soup pot. The chef drains the pot and rinses the meat, washing away these proteins, and then begins making the stock. With these proteins gone, the stock will be clearer and require less skimming and straining. ~ Source

 

Some of my past soups outcome:

ABC Soup

Lotus Root Soup

Szechuan Vegetable Soup

Szechuan Vegetable Soup

And to show you how it looks like if you did not blanch your meat, this is one of the recent soup I made. I forgot to blanch the meat!!! Notice the impurities floating on the surface of the soup? Of course you can still drink the soup, just need more work to filter out and scoop the impurities away first. Sigh...

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Our Thoughts on KidZania Kuala Lumpur

~ Posted on Monday, October 13, 2014 at 7:03 AM ~

We recently went to KidZania Kuala Lumpur. What is KidZania Kuala Lumpur you wonder? It is an indoor family edutainment centre which offers an interactive learning and entertainment experience for kids in a kid-sized city to deliver the first-of-its-kind edutainment fun. It is about real-life experiences, empowering, inspiring and educating kids through role-play. There are over 60 establishments and more than 90 activities available for your kiddos to choose from, but do note there are age and height requirements for these activities.

I won 4 tickets (2 adults and 2 kiddos) from a bloggers contest and we can only use the tickets on 4th October 2014 so we got prepared with our first visit there. We delayed our visits prior to this outing as we personally feel our kiddos are still too young to go to this place but since we have free tickets, why not?!

 We arrived around 10.30am, redeemed our winning tickets and 4 free T-shirts for the family as well and proceeded to go into this place. We were given our boarding passes and each of us had a wrist tag to wear. I gotta wear 2 wrist tags (one for myself, another for baby Carolyn) which is pretty heavy since I am a skinny mummy.

Each child is given a bank cheque to cash out 50 kidzos (their currency) which they can spend once they entered the place. Our kiddos gotta go into the CIMB bank inside Kidzania to cash out their kidzos. Pretty cute watching them zig-zagging the empty queue lines in order to get to the bank staff to get their money.

KidZania Kuala Lumpur

Our 5.5 years old boy wanted to be a policeman but we couldn't find the police station at first. We toured around the place to get a feel of what is popular, where to eat, where to rest and then plan our routes.

We settled for the sushi making job, paid about 8 kidzos for him to learn this job and waited about half an hour for our boy's turn to try out his first job. He has to wear the cap and apron and took his seat (6 kids at a time) and listened and followed the instructions and tutorials on how to make sushi. He gets to bring back the sushi he made! Once he got the hang of the job, he seems more excited and eager to try out others (instead of harping on to be a policeman)

KidZania Kuala Lumpur

We then went to the next job which has no queue at all! Amazing! And our 3 years old Alyson can join in as well! They donned on safety helmet and safety vests and followed a staff to spray water and sponge and wipe and clean windows. Hubby and I were chuckling at the side while we watched the staff patiently guiding Alyson to spray water at the designated windows. Kudos to the patient staff! This is the first job that our kiddos both get paid for doing something! Hubby was excited when they ran back to us clutching their newly earned kidzos! Hubby said it feels good holding money that he doesn't have to work hard for! Hahahah!

KidZania Kuala Lumpur

Right next to the window cleaning job, we got our kiddos to join in the brick laying job. Off they go while we continue chuckling and snapping pictures from far. The so-called bricks are actually foam-puzzles in the form of bricks, pretty cute and creative! They get paid as well after completing the tasks. Ka-ching!

KidZania Kuala Lumpur

Right after that, we continued walking and decided to let our boy join in the electrician team. So-called electrician since his job is to actually stand straight and hold a signal light to warn people of repairing in progress. I was telling hubby this looks more like operation human shield as 2 kiddos need to stand in front to guard the technician. But still, look at Benjamin's serious face while he does his job! Our boy got paid as well for this job.

KidZania Kuala Lumpur

Then our boy said he wanted to pump petrol and off he goes with a bunch of kiddos of different ages and stood patiently listening to the instructions. We can't hear what goes on (about 10 feet away from the queue line) and I had to walk away to a nearby bench to nurse Carolyn. Ben got paid for this job as well. You can also choose to drive cars in the driving range, work in the tollbooth, repair cars and so on.

KidZania Kuala Lumpur

We then decided it is time to face reality and got our kiddos to queue up for the popular firefighting jobs. Took about 40 minutes to get to their turn. They wear the helmet and firefighting jackets and sat for a brief tutorial and the alarm sounded and they all ran off to this cute little fire truck. The fire truck made a round trip and stop at this mock hotel building which was on fire (red color lights indicating fire) and each kiddos ran to the available fire hose to help aim and spray water to the 'fire spots' to stop the fire. While everyone was busy spraying water on top of the hotel building, our 3 years old can't push the water pipe down (it is heavy for her) so she ended up spraying the potted plants near her hahahahaha...

KidZania Kuala Lumpur

Our cute little firefighters!

KidZania Kuala Lumpur

Hubby then got Benjamin to become a cashier at a supermarket store where he gets to scan the items and match according to the pictures on the barcode chart. There is also a packer (also children) assigned for each cashier and you can pay kidzos to be customer in the supermarket and shop for stuff there. You were given a list of things to shop for and then put them into this cute little shopping cart and push the cart to the cashier lane.

KidZania Kuala Lumpur

We then went upstair to the upper level and our boy joined in this water bottling factory where he sits through the tutorial on how water bottles are made and each child get to push the buttons which will go through steps vital to make the water bottle. The child also ended up bringing back their very own water bottle at the end of the job. A lot of jobs on this level are more suitable for 8 years+, I was very tempted to sneak into the chocolate making factory hahahaha...

KidZania Kuala Lumpur

My handphone battery died at this point onwards so I did not managed to snap any pictures after that. We rested at the Globe Disco Lounge, lots of nice comfy sofas in there and the staff tried getting our kiddos to dance on the dancefloor but they were not interested at all. I was feeling kinda weird to be in this place and don't quite agree a disco lounge to be set up for kiddos since I personally never been to one in my whole life. We were only there to make use of the comfy sofas anyway.

After resting, we found the police station and waited 20 minutes for our boy's turn to be a CSI policeman. Hubby said this job is pretty lame as they just walk around trying to look for clues to solve a crime. I didn't tag along as our 3 years old fell asleep at this point and we waited at an eatery outlet. Once done, we also took some pictures at the mock prison cell next to the poice station.

We went to the last activity where our boy decided he wants to be an airplane passenger. Not pilot, not flight attendants, but passenger. Hahaha... I think he wanted to experience how is it to be in an airplane. A staff helped him to wear a black suit (kinda like he pretended to be a businessman) and ushered him into the mock airplane). Parents are not allowed in and I can only glimpse a tiny sliver area of the walkway in the mock airplane. We waited outside for about half an hour and saw our boy running out happily clutching his kidzos money.

With that, we wrapped up our very tiring family outing at KidZania Kuala Lumpur at 6pm. Some things to take note if you are planning a visit there:

  • If you plan to go with your child, wait at least until they are 4+ as they will be able to enjoy the jobs more and understand instructions better at that age (also less chance to throw tantrums seen in younger tots).

  • Adult cannot go in KidZania Kuala Lumpur by yourself so if you think you are young at heart and want to join in the fun and relive your childhood, make sure to bring a child along hahaha..

  • Kids under the age of 8 are not allowed to enter KidZania Kuala Lumpur without being accompanied by an adult, so don't even think of leaving your child on his/her own!

  • Kids between the age of 8-17 are allowed to enter KidZania Kuala Lumpur without being accompanied by an adult, but an adult must be present during the child’s check-in and check-out process (for safety of course, you wouldn't want a child to go missing right?!)

  • Adults are welcomed to enter the following places – Theatre, Urbano’s House and Parent’s Lounge (spa, massage etc). However, children are not allowed to enter the Parent’s Lounge so this pretty much defeats the purpose if you think you want to relax there while still holding on to your young child/baby.

 

To sum up my review on KidZania Kuala Lumpur:

PLUS POINTS:

  • Bearable queue line despite us visiting on a Saturday and during a long weekend holiday

  • Stroller-friendly walkways and kiddos below 3 years old can play at the ABZ Elementary School

  • Proper signages with details on requirements for each job areas (maximum pax per activity, duration, age requirements, whether need to pay to participate job or being paid for the job)

  • You can bring your own camera in and snap pictures to your heart's content but there will be photographers in the place to take professional looking photos of your kiddos while they were doing their jobs. You can later view these pictures and choose to buy.. or not..

  • The Kidzos currency never expires, so if you have spare left, you can keep it and reuse in your next visit.


BAD POINTS:

  • Tickets quite pricey especially if you have a child below 4 years old (RM35) as there are not many job activities that they can participate in

  • Not enough benches for people to sit and rest

  • Foods and beverages sold in there are pricey (example: a jumbo hotdog for RM6.50 and 3 fishballs for RM4.50!)
  • More attention to details needed, for example, I appreciate that each kiddos were given new plastic gloves to wear during the sushi making activity but the gloves are too big for their tiny little hands. I can see some kiddos simply wearing the gloves and not able to roll the sushi nicely.

 

MY PERSONAL TIPS FOR YOU:

  • Go early in the morning, if possible as soon as the place starts as there are tons of job activities to participate and each ones take time to complete.

  • Go during weekdays if you can to avoid crowds.

  • There are staff who will check your bags and strollers before you check-into the place so if you think you can sneak in some foods or snacks, dream on. You can still have your food and snacks by buying them in the venue. Just no bringing in your own ya!

  • No such thing as temporary exits (meaning going out for a while to have lunch etc). Once you go in, you stay in until you decided it's time to go back home. Once you exit, that's it.

  • Try to minimise your belongings, don't lug so many things. The goal is to move fast and you do not want to lug heavy stuff (and sleepy kids) while stuck in queue!
  • Most of the activities takes about 15-20 minutes to complete, so do plan your activities properly. The popular ones are fireman and airplane flight attendant and pilot.

All in all, KidZania Kuala Lumpur is a good place to expose your child in the 'working world', open up their eyes, mind and senses to adult world, how each things you do can earn you money or make you spend money, how the jobs affect your daily lives and others, how to use your hard-earned 'money' and spend them wisely (you redeem toys with your 'money' before you exit the place)

** Note: I have disabled the commenting feature on my blog engine thanks to all the spammers who happily spam my blog every day. If you wish to ask me any questions, you can find me at my Facebook page (I'm there almost everyday) or just drop me an email if you wish to maintain some anonymity.