Importance of Pretend Play

~ Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 7:19 AM ~

I remember blogging about our 1st kiddo having pretend play at 3 years old. And now, our 2nd kiddo is following suit, also at 3 years old. It started when I printed and laminated some princess paper crafts for our girl to play with. The paper crafts didn't last long (due to everyday being played with) and after I saw one of those McDonalds' Happy Meal that came with free mini Barbie toys, I can't resist myself to get one for our girl.

Pretend Play

And weeks later, hubby's turn to fell into the temptations and got our girl her 2nd mini Barbie toy from the Happy Meal. So, with the 2 mini Barbie toys, I noticed everyday she will be having pretend plays with them.

Pretend Play

Cooking, dancing, playing house and all. Together with her brother's soldier toys and whatever toys that come in handy at that time hahaha...

Pretend Play

If you have some time to spare, do read up on the following articles:

"Young children learn by imagining and doing. Your child is using an object to represent something else while giving it action and motion. But this pretend play is not as simple as it may seem. The process of pretending builds skills in many essential developmental areas. ~ The Importance of Pretend Play"

"We often use the terms pretend play or make-believe play (the acting out of stories which involve multiple perspectives and the playful manipulation of ideas and emotions), that reflect a critical feature of the child’s cognitive and social development. Over the last seventy-five years a number of theorists and researchers have identified the values of such imaginative play as a vital component to the normal development of a child. ~ The Need for Pretend Play in Child Development"

"Engaging in pretend play (also called symbolic play, imaginative play, dramatic play, or good old make-believe) means your toddler understands that she can choose one object (the block) to represent another (a camera just like Mommy’s). That’s a big concept, and a valuable one. Just think: Numbers and letters work the same way, with unique squiggles and shapes standing in for concepts of number and language. ~ Toddler Pretend Play: Tips for Boosting Your Child's Imagination"

 

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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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