Monday, December 23, 2013

Pumpkin Cubes - Easy Pumpkin Recipes

Hihi friends of Hazelnutt House (",) 

The pumpkin cubes that I bake is always a hit with kids and adults alike.  Some kids turn up their noses at the mention of pumpkin but once they start popping these cubes into their mouths, they come backing asking for more (",) 

The first time I baked these pumpkin squares, I followed the  Pumpkin Bars recipe from Food Network.
It was atrociously SWEET!  Well, to be fair, not everyone has a sweet tooth... so I decided to cut, cut, cut down on the amount of sugar since pumpkin is already sweet on its own.   I also added chocolate chips coz I think it'll go well with the pumpkin.  So here's my take on the pumpkin bars.  I cut mine up into cubes so I'll call mine 'Pumpkin Cubes' instead.

I make my own pumpkin puree so, if you are interested to DIY, click here.

Wet Ingredients
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 can of pumpkin puree (appx 2 cups)

Mix the wet ingredients together.   

Dry Ingredients 

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Mix dry ingredients and add to wet ingredients.

I did all the whisking and mixing with a whisk instead of an electric mixer.

  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Once the wet and dry ingredients are nicely mixed, fold the semi sweet chocolate chips into the mixture.  Pour mixture into a baking pan (13 x 10 inch).

Set oven to 180 Degrees Celsius and bake for about 30 minutes.

Once the pumpkin mixture is in the oven, you can start prepping the icing.


  • 250g cream cheese (soften) 
  • 1/2 cup butter (soften)
  • 1 cup confectioner' sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder

I used a handheld mixer for the icing.  Mix everything together at low speed until combined. 
Set the icing in the refrigerator while waiting for the pumpkin mixture to bake. 

Once the pumpkin mixture is baked, allow to cool for at least 30 mins. 
I shaved off the sides and started cutting it up into cubes.

Start pipping the frosting on each cube (",)

Kim the opportunistic pooch waiting around as usual... I gave her some roasted pumpkins.. though (",)

Mashed pumpkin for my pumpkin recipes

  Here's a short entry on how I prepare my pumpkin puree. 

I usually use a whole pumpkin and keep half of for pancakes or waffles.  The types of pumpkins I use depends on what is available in stores.  I use both the local as well as the Japanese pumpkins.  Both are good in my opinion.  

So, I wash and remove the skin from the pumpkin and cut them up into small chunks.  Set the oven at 200 degrees Celsius and pop the pumpkin chunks in there for about 20 mins.  

I used to use a blender to puree the pumpkin but I find that a fork does the job as well.  So I have been manually mashing up the pumpkins instead of pureeing them in a blender.  I prefer using the fork coz I like my 'puree' to have texture and bite to it instead of being too smooth. 

So, here's the end of this simple pumpkin puree entry (",) 

Click on the titles for pumpkin recipes that I've tried out:

Sandwich party

Hello Friends of Hazelnutt House (",) 

When I invited my pals over for a get-together, I scoured the world wide web in search for some easy recipes.   

Simple recipes were abundant and I noted a ton of them on a notepad.  I couldn't decide which recipes to choose!  After thinking for days, BINGO!  A sandwich party!  
So, I decided to put together three different sandwiches for that day. 

Egg mayo croissant:

  • croissant
  • eggs (hard boiled)
  • mayonaise (I used my favourite Kewpie Mayonnaise
  • pepper (to taste)
  • leaves

Ham & cheese focaccia: 

  • focaccia
  • sliced ham
  • sliced cheese
  • tomatoes 

Cucumber on baguette:

  • baguette
  • cucumber
  • cream cheese
  • butter
  • salt
  • dill weed

Three selections of sandwiches using different types of bread.

I added these fairy flaggies just for fun (",) 
It also helps hold the sandwich fillings in place instead of having them slide around as I cut through them.  I poke the flaggies into the focaccia loaf before slicing it with a serrated knife.

Easy to make, and fun to have... although my friends were poking fun at me for adding this lil' finishing 
touches to the sandwiches. 

Fairy flaggies: 
  • office labels (narrow strips)
  • toothpick
  • fairy stamps & ink

Hope this entry helps in one way or another when you are planning a lil' get-together with friends this holiday season... not very Christmassy but it should be a suitable occasion for a sandwich party (",)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Simple, easy to make Christmas gift.

Ho ho ho! 

Well, this isn't exactly a gift... but I definitely can't call it a greeting card.  So I thought I will just call it a gift.

Kiddo and I made some Christmas canvas boards today.  Instead of giving her teachers at the art school a card, we made these holiday themed boards. 

Whenever I spy these small canvas boards in Daiso, I will load them into my basket, knowing that they will definitely come in handy.  

Before I go on to show the simple steps that is involved in this quick project, I wanna talk about this compass cutter that I found at Daiso.  I have been wanting to get a circular cutter/puncher despite having circle dies for my Sizzix Big Shot machine as well as a Silhouette Cameo machine that practically cuts any shape in the world.  This cutter is easy to use and very portable.

Here is a close up of the compass cutter.  Using the mathematical compass concept, instead of a pencil, there is a blade - instead of drawing circles, you cut circles (",) 
You get to cut a variety of sizes by simply adjusting the compass needle to the left or right.

Kiddo chose the patterned paper and I went ahead to cut out some circles.  This $2 compass cutter worked fabulously!  The only drawback with such cutters it that you will end up with a hole in the middle of the circle due to the needle point.

We gathered some sequin strips and bows...

and some colourful magazine pages.

Kiddo is allowed to use the hot glue gun under my supervision and we glued the sequin strips, circles and bows in place.  For the holiday greetings, we cut out a rectangular background and proceeded to stamp out, 'Merry X'mas!' on a less colourful cardstock.

All done! (",) 
Simple and quick and definitely not too shabby - Christmas ornament balls canvas boards.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Gift ideas for men ...

Hihi friends of Hazelnutt House (",)
Guys are really hard to shop for, don't you agree? 

I have 4 possible gift ideas that you can consider when shopping for a guy. 

I bought this Chill Factor Slushy Maker at FairPrice Xtra.  It usually retails at $19.90 but there was a discount on this item when I was there.  I've seen this item selling at some Cold Storages as well as FairPrice - not every branch carries it though.

You'll need to store the slushy maker into the freezer until it is frozen before you can use it. 
Once frozen, pour in a chilled drink and SQUEEZE!  It's really fun and of coz before I could even slushify the entire cup, my hands were already frozen cold!  It works better if you use a chilled drink (",) There is a thick liquid filled chamber within the cup and when this surrounding chamber is completely frozen, it works its magic on your chilled drink, turning a boring liquid into slushy! 

Comes in 4 different colours. 

I was REALLY skeptical initially, but the product did not disappoint me!

Here's a cup of 7Up slushy (",) ... so many possibilities!  Chocolate milk slushy?  Coke slushy?... Apple juice slushy? Frozen Margarita perhaps?...  endless possibilities (",)

Next up, on the guys' gift list is this SodaStream - 'set the bubbles free' machine. 
The Hubs and I used to buy bottles of sparkling water to fizz up apple or grape juice; turning the juice into sparkling juice.  We hate it that the water becomes flat when we are 3/4 through.

With this SodaStream machine, all you need is a couple of seconds to get yourself a bottle of sparkling water.  The bottle is smaller than the store bought sparkling water, so we use up the carbonated water faster, thus there is lesser chance for the water to go flat on us.  There is an aluminium carbonator in this system and you should be able to use one carbonator to fizz up 60 - 130 litres of water.   

"When the gas in the carbonator finishes, consumers exchange the empty carbonators for a full one, paying only the cost of a gas refill." extracted from . 

This red one costs $168.  The other colours, black and white cost $155.  
I got mine at the Cold Storage at Kallang Leisure Park.  It is also available at Tangs VivoCity, Tangs eStore as well as Takashimaya. 

Third on the list is a compact massager.  I paid $69.90 for it at Giant Hypermarket at Parkway Parade. 
My friend was complaining about lower back aches and I decided to get this for her birthday after trying it out at the store.  She really loves this gift and I am very tempted to get one for myself too (",)

Not only is this compact massager small and light, the rollers really kneads deep into your muscles.  Soothing away your aches and pains.  Did I mention that the rollers heat up too?  Such a soothing touch especially for lower backaches. 

Fourth item on the list is a digital photo frame.  You load the pictures into a memory card and slot it into the digital photo frame and it'll screen the pics that you have loaded.  Good for office table space or on a display shelf at home (",) 

Guys are really hard to shop for IMO... hehee... hope this helped a little (",)


Hihi friends of Hazelnutt House (",)

I bought two sets of these Expand-A-Shelf thingy at Howards Storage World Singapore  .  I can't remember exactly how much it costs.  If I am not wrong, it is in the $28-35 range.  

Mine does not come with the nonslip surface.  There is a version of this shelf with nonslip 'steps' and it is slightly more expensive.  There are two options for the depth of the 'steps'.  I have both the wider and narrower steps which I use for different purposes.

I place this Expand-A-Shelf on a shelf in my kitchen.  I like to 'display' what I have so that I do not have a stockpile of repeated products which tends to happen when I store them in the cupboard... out of sight, out of mind.

Here's how the shelf looks like on the side.  The shortest that the shelf goes will be the exact same size as the box that it comes it.  If you wanna expand it to fit your area, simply slide it apart.  

In my room, I place this shelf at the far for my fragrance bottles to sit on.  

This Expand-A-Shelf has narrower 'steps' as compared to the one that I use in my kitchen. 

Most of my perfume bottles are short and by displaying them on the 'steps' I get to see all the bottles at one glance, instead of having them crowd on level ground, clamouring for my attention and blocking each other's view.

Talk to you ladies soon!!

Some gift ideas for ladies - Yankee Candles, Mt. Sapola and a SHELF?

Dearest friends of Hazelnutt House (",) 

Getting gifts for lady friends isn't much of a problem, for me at least.  There are tons of beauty gift boxes to choose from at most malls.  However, if you have friends who aren't exactly into beauty products, this entry might come in handy.  I've three gift ideas as well as a gift card deal from Yankee Candle to share with you.  

Yankee Candle has "buy 4 gift cards at $39.90 each and get the 5th gift card free" deal.  The nice people from Yankee Candle told me that they have this promotion all year round.

In total you spend $159.60 for 5 gift cards. Which means you pay $$31.90 for each card.  
You can make use of each gift card to exchange for, "a Large Jar Candle($39.90), Large Tumbler Candle ($39.90), Large Vase Candle ($45.90) or Jar shade...." (extracted from the clause in the gift card). You do not have to top up the difference if the item cost more than $39.90.

I prefer the tumbler candles as there are two wicks (strong scent when burned) and it is easier for me to stack them up when I need to store them, since the lid is flat.  With the jar candles and their bulbous lids, I am unable to stack them up.

Here are the candles that I took home after getting the Buy 4 get 1 free gift card deal.  I decided to cart only 3 home for now and use the other 2 gift cards for later since the gift cards are valid for a year. 

(L) - (R) : Vanilla Cupcake, Fresh Cut Roses and Guava 

The Vanilla Cupcake and Fresh Cut Roses are large tumbler candles and the Guava is a Large Vase candle which retails at a higher price of $45.90.  Therefore, you're definitely get a better deal when you use your gift card  to exchange for these large vase candles.  And nope, you do not need to top up the difference.

You'll find Yankee Candle at these locations.  The buy 4 gift cards and get 1 free deal is only available at Yankee Candle stores and not at the small space that also sells Yankee Candles in Takashimaya.

Here's the gift card...

Please take note of what you can exchange for with the gift card. 

"This gift card can be used to redeem one Reed Diffuser, Large Jar Candle, Large Tumbler Candle, Large Vase Candle or Jar shade...." redeemable at all Yankee Candle stores.

This gift card is valid for a year from Date of Issue.  So you can buy them as gifts or just keep them for yourself to enjoy (",)

Ok, enough on the candles...

Yet another place where you can get something lovely for a girl friend would be at Mt. Sapola. 


Check out this Mt. Sapola link for the various locations in Singapore.

I especially like the electric diffuser... it uses an energy saving bulb to heat up the water and essential oils instead of a tea light.  I prefer an electric diffuser to one that uses tea lights coz I am absolutely lazy when it comes to replacing those tiny tea lights.

This is the small electric diffuser which I bought last year and it cost about $70ish.  It comes with the bulb but not the essential oil.

This is the bigger electric diffuser which I got for a friend's new place and it costs somewhere around $110... the peppermint and lemongrass oils are sold seperately.

Now for the final item that I think will bring a smile to a friend who loves loves loves organising.  
It's this Expand A Shelf organiser.  Click here to read more about this expandable shelf. 

Talk to you ladies soon!  
Hope these gift ideas will come in handy (",) 

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