working mother


This is one of my go-to recipes when the kids and I are craving for pasta but:

a) I’m too tired.
b) I’m feeling too lazy.
c) I don’t have any fancy-schmancy ingredients in the freezer/pantry.
d) All of the above.

This recipe so easy, you’ll find that the hardest part is actually boiling the pasta.

Quick & Easy Sausage Pasta


– 1 pack of pasta (I prefer spaghetti for this recipe)
– garlic, crushed & chopped
– 1 tin of button mushrooms, drained & sliced thinly
– mixed herbs of choice
– 1 pack of sausages/hot dogs, sliced thinly into discs
– salt & black pepper
– olive oil
– knob of butter


1. Cook the pasta al dente. This is important. If you overcook it, it will turn to mush later as you try to mix it. Drain and set aside. Do NOT throw away the pasta water as we will need some of it later.

2. In a large non-stick pot with handle, pour in some oil olive and a knob of butter. Swish the oil and butter around to melt the butter over medium heat. The butter adds a nice flavour to the dish; it’s totally fine to omit it altogether.

3. Saute the garlic briefly in the oil/butter mixture. I deliberately did not specify how much garlic to put in because it all boils down to your personal preference. My family loves garlic, so I can use easily half a head of it for this recipe!

4. Add in the mushrooms and lower the fire. Sprinkle generously with herbs of your choice (I use mixed herbs, or oregano, or basil, or whatever I have on hand). Cook just long enough for the mushrooms to absorb the taste of the butter.

5. Add in the sliced sausages and stir around just to brown the sausages a bit.

6. Dump the cooked pasta into the pot and stir away. You might want to add some of the pasta water to make it easier to stir the pasta. Add olive oil as needed.

7. Season with salt and black pepper and continue stirring just long enough for the flavours to come together. (Remember, everything’s already been cooked, so there’s no need to cook it any further too long!)

8. Serve and enjoy. You’re welcome! 😉

A few quick notes:
– Linguini and angel hair will probably work with this recipe, also.
– Fresh mushrooms will surely taste better.
– If you’re doing Meatless Mondays, try making this with ONLY the mushrooms, omitting the sausages.

SleeplessInKL proudly, excitedly, and deliriously presents to you — The Ultimate Chocolate Chocolate Cake For The Chocoholic’!

The Ultimate Chocolate Chocolate Cake For The Chocoholic

As you can deduce from the photo, making this cake is as easy as counting from 1 to 5:

1. Buy/bake a cake, preferably chocolate so that it will go with the whole chocolatey theme — something like Moist Chocolate Cake or American Chocolate Cake (no sponge cakes, please).

2. Unwrap Kitkat chocolate wafers and arrange them around the cake. (I used 44 wafers, i.e. 22 pairs of Kitkat for a 1/2 kg cake.)

3. Tie the Kitkat wafers loosely with a ribbon, then adjust/straighten the Kitkat as you slowly tighten the ribbon and make a bow.

4. Open up two large packs of M&M’s and pour all the contents on top of the cake.

5. Serve the cake on top of a nice cake stand to complete the look.

I swear there’s a chocolate cake in there somewhere…

For such a smashing yet easy-to-put-together cake, how I wish the idea were mine. But I’d have to give credit where credit is due — I got the idea from ’50 Easy Birthday Cake Ideas’ by the Six Sisters Stuff, pointed out to me by trusted-and-tried Sir Google. They call it the ‘Kitkat Cake’ but ‘The Ultimate Chocolate Chocolate Cake For The Chocoholic’ sounds much more exciting, n’est-ce pas?

It so happened that my OnlyGirl’s 14th birthday 11/11 fell on a (working) Monday right after a blur of a weekend that involved a term paper the previous Friday and two midterm exams on Saturday and Sunday and there was simply no way in the world I could have come up with a decently decorated cake that day, let alone bake one even from a boxed mix. So on my way home from the office, I dropped by a nearby bakery and picked out a 1/2 kg American Chocolate Cake, then bought two packets of Kitkats and two packets of M&M’s from a nearby supermarket. So yeah, I guess you can also dub this cake ‘The Working Mother’s Ingenious Solution To An Unforgettable Birthday Cake For A Chocoholic Teenager’.

How did the birthday girl like it? Like it?! Are you kidding? She LOVED it! Her seal of approval came in the form of a Facebook post with a photo of the epic chocolate-covered cake.

Now my only problem is: how can I possibly top a cake like this next year***??!

***P.S. Previous birthday cakes that I’ve done for my kids include a Castle Cake, Beach Cake, Ice Cream Cone Surprise, Spaghetti Cake and a Pizza Cake. I’m no professional and this shows in the lack of polish in my decorating efforts but as long as the kids can identify the concept and it’s funny and/or surprising, they love it all the same!

Twin1 (left) and Twin2

Twin1 (left) and his younger brother (by 15 minutes), Twin2

I was driving one evening, with the twins sitting in the backseat. Out of the blue, Twin1 blurted out a question that totally caught me by surprise.

Abang: Mama, bila kita nak ada swimming pool? (Mama, when are we going to have a swimming pool?)

Adik: A-ah!

Me: Umm…we don’t have enough money for a swimming pool lah. Sebab tu Mama kena pergi Jakarta selalu — untuk cari duit. (That’s why Mama has to go to Jakarta frequently — to look for money <i.e. to earn money>.)

(A few seconds of silence)

Abang: Abang tak nak swimming pool lah! (I don’t want a swimming pool!)

Me: Kenapa? Sebab Abang tak nak Mama pergi Jakarta? (Why? Because you don’t want me to go to Jakarta?)

Abang: A-ah.

Adik: Alaa…Adik nak swimming pool sebab Adik nak cannonball. Abang! Nanti Mama boleh beli apa-apa. (But I want a swimming pool because I want to make like a cannonball when I dive into the water. Big Brother! If Mama goes there, she can buy us all sorts of things.)

Abang: Abang tak nak Choki-Choki. Abang tak nak Nyam Nyam. Abang nak Mama je. (I don’t want <brand names of food stuff from Indonesia>. I only want Mama.)

A few days later, I asked him if he wants a swimming pool. He answered: “Tak nak! Sebab swimming pool tak best!” (I don’t want one. Because swimming pools are not nice.)

Now you know why I haven’t been to Jakarta for quite some time now…


Postscript: “Antara Mama Dan Jakarta” — which means ‘between Mama and Jakarta’ — is a wordplay on the title of a song called “Antara Anyer dan Jakarta“, popularised by Malaysian jazz queen, Sheila Majid.