Baked Cheese Fried Rice

I have about 10 minutes for this post before I make a dash to the kitchen to dish out yet another quickie dinner in under an hour before the final school run of the day.

Every evening is a mad rush in the kitchen and then to school.  Traffic is horrendous whenever it rains. Yesterday was such a day.   Back home, Drama Queen and I have 10 minutes to eat dinner before rushing off to the next destination ~ BM tuition.

The girls ordered baked cheese fried rice yesterday, which is something that’s so easy and fast to prep.  This is one for busy weeknights, lazy weekends and every other day in between.  When it’s this easy peasy to make something so lip smackingly good with ingredients that are basic kitchen essentials, frozen meals and home delivery aren’t even a passing thought. No matter how nuts your household is at dinner time (like mine!), no matter how tired you are (me too), no matter how irritating and incompetent your boss or spouse is, how bad the traffic jam home was, how miserable the weather is (like yesterday’s super wet evening) – you got this and your kids to praise you sky high💪🏻

You can fry the rice with whatever ingredients that you fancy. I fried the rice with lots of chopped garlic and onions, added broccoli and julienned carrots and 5 eggs to it.

Once the rice is fried, add in cheese and mix well. Then transfer the fried rice onto a baking dish or disposable aluminum baking dish. Top up with more cheese and some cherry tomatoes.

Bear in mind that the cherry tomatoes have high water content, thus your fried rice will be wet / soggy. So if you have the time, bake the cherry tomatoes in the oven till they are partially dried. Or cook your rice with lesser water. Or omit them if you don’t like soggy rice.

I’ve exceeded my time on this post by 10 minutes and I really have to go now! Happy cooking!

How To Look Youthful

If you are not endowed with youthful DNA, fret not. The main tools to combat ageing are food and exercise closely followed by skin care and hair care.

Cutting down on calories could significantly slow the ageing process, say scientists. They believe that the key to a better old age may be to reduce the amount of food on our plates, via an approach called calorie restriction. This diet goes further than cutting back on fatty foods from time-to-time; it’s about making gradual and careful reductions in portion size permanently.

Exercise slows cell aging. Exercise doesn’t just make you feel younger – it may actually turn off the aging process in your chromosomes. The powers of a steady fitness routine are impressive: regular exercise can help you build stronger muscles, stave off chronic illnesses and make your clothes fit a whole lot better. But there’s another benefit of physical activity that deserves a shout-out: the way even moderate amounts seem to shave years off your age, no matter how many birthdays you’ve actually celebrated.

Pamper your skin. As we age, our skin changes and we may not feel as confident with our faces. Having a young looking face and glowing skin can also be signs of health and vitality and influences how others react to us. By practicing good skincare, modifying your lifestyle (get enough sleep and eat clean), and considering medical treatments, you can make your face look younger and have glowing, youthful, skin.

Pamper your hair too. Just as our skin ages, so does our hair. We need to moisturise it more and pay more attention to it. The oil glands shrink with age and produce less oil, hence the lack of shine and moisture, and the diameter of your hair gets smaller so you have less body. If, like me, you have thin, dry hair to begin with, it’s a disaster. Thus, I have lots of bad hair days.

Cover up your greys and whites. It’s best to choose a color that is fairly similar to what your natural hair color is so that it appears more natural. You could choose to get your hair dyed at a salon, or you could choose the cheaper option and buy an at-home hair dying kit. You must remember, however, that all hair dye is damaging to the hair, so avoid dying it too often, and use products designed to care for damaged or dyed hair. An alternative to dying your hair is to don on a wig.  Modern technology has created wigs from human hair that gives you a natural look. You could choose blonde lace front wig or blonde bundles if you have fair skin and want lighter color wigs.  I don’t mind some blonde hair extensions clip in to give my dull hair a lift 😉

Banish stress. Finally, give yourself a break. I can never stress this enough – kick off the stress! I know I am guilty as charged. Recent studies show that stress causes physical changes in the body that can accelerate aging. It shores up inflammatory processes in skin that can exacerbate conditions like psoriasis, acne, and eczema. Social support plays a huge role in stress levels, so make sure you’re meeting up with friends. Or do anything that makes you happy. Also consider relaxation techniques like breathing exercises or journal writing. Whenever I blog, I feel de-stressed and happy 🙂

Grilled Chicken In Lemon Garlic Butter Pumpkin Sauce

Hello to my new favorite grilled chicken in lemony, garlicky, buttery and pumpkin sauce!

This recipe is not what I intended to prep in the first place. I had wanted to prep a lemon garlic and butter sauce for my grilled chicken but I didn’t have any chicken stock with me, thus I used my papa’s pumpkin soup that’s stowed in my freezer. He prepped it for us during his stay with us recently.

When I used the pumpkin soup, I took a risk ~ the sauce could turn out great or end up in the sink. Thankfully the combo was wonderfully paired and  delish! Thank goodness too that the sauce did not curdle on me or turn lumpy. Cass who was initially apprehensive (she hates pumpkin) took a small lick of the sauce and then we both let out a “told you it’s yummy” and “you are right mum, it’s yummy” giggle 😀


Also dished out a cabbage sauted with miso and carrots.

 

Grilled chicken
Marinate with organic soy sauce, black pepper and garlic powder for at least 2 hours.
Grill at 200C in the oven for 30 minutes (15 minutes each side)

Butter, garlic, lemony sauce
1/2 slab of butter
Chopped garlic – I used half a bulb. Actually, the more the better
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
2 to 3 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of multi-purpose flour. I used organic plain and unbleached flour.
Chicken stock OR
Pumpkin soup / puree
Fresh herbs of any kind, chopped

Method
Heat up butter in skillet
Add garlic
Add flour and whisk into a roux
Add in lemon juice, zest and honey
Add in pumpkin soup OR
Gently pour in chicken stock, keep stirring and ensure the sauce does not turn lumpy
Add in the chopped fresh herbs. I used coriander.

Pumpkin puree / soup
Cook 1 whole pumpkin with some garlic, onions and ginger.
Add chicken breast (optional)
Blend using hand blender.

Grilled chicken dinner with a perfect sauce for it along with conquering kitchen fears and rushing out to do school and tuition runs.  This was done on a hectic Friday evening 🙂

What’s Best for Long Hikes: Survival Hatchet vs Folding Saw

If you’re going on a long hike it’s essential that you are prepared and bring with you the best tools and gear. This will not only help to keep you safer, but it will also improve your experience and make the whole trip more fun and rewarding.

 Three hikers on the trail

Things that you should absolutely have in your rucksack to this end include: compass, first aid kit, torch, food supplies, rope, masking tape and blade.
But not just any blade. Bring the right blade and it will be able to help you in a large number of different scenarios and give you more options for feeling self-sufficient and resourceful. The ideal choice will be something that is versatile and that is portable. And this presents two interesting options: the survival hatchet and the folding saw.

Leatherman Rev Multi-tool Stainless Steel

Both will meet those requirements. But which is the best choice for long hikes? Let’s find out by looking at what you can use them for and what their pros and cons will be.

The Folding Saw
A folding saw is a saw that can be easily stowed away in a bag. The fact it folds means it will take up less space in your carry and at the same time, cover the otherwise-exposed blade so that nothing gets damaged in your bag.

From there, a saw will be able to cut pretty much anything you could possibly throw at it and no branch or log will be too big or thick. All that’s required is a little persistence on your part and you should be able to make your way through nearly anything. This is ideal then for splitting fire wood, for cutting logs to use for a shelter, or for removing shoes etc. in case of an injury.

The Hatchet
But while a folding saw might sound appealing, the hatchet is pretty much superior in every way for hiking, camping and survival.

The hatchet works like a splitting maul, making it perfect for chopping firewood in a single blow. While the saw will provide a straighter cut, that really doesn’t matter if you’re just going to burn the wood. The problem with a maul is that it’s too large to fit into a back, but a hatchet is much smaller – so there’s no such issues. A saw also requires significantly more effort to cut anything with and if you’re hiking long distances, then energy management is one of your primary concerns. You need to do everything as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Likewise, a hatchet has the significant advantage of being much more versatile. You can use it for hunting should you need to, you can use it as a hammer – to drive a tent stake into the ground for instance – and you can use it to chop through foliage and branches blocking your path (though a machete would be better for this). You can even throw a hatchet if you have to, though this is a very dangerous move and one you should never attempt unless you have had training and there is no alternative.

The point is though, that a hatchet has a lot more options and can therefore be used by more people in more situations – you should definitely take a survival hatchet.

deejo Wood 37g Knife Juniper Wood

That said, there is no reason not to bring both! And while you’re at it, you could also bring a knife of some sort or perhaps a machete. At this point, your ruckstack starts to become heavy and laden with sharp implements though, so you need to weigh up the likelihood of needing these items versus the costs of bringing them.

My Thursday ~ 11 Jan 2018

It’s been a cold and wet day the whole of today.  After 1.5 days of torturous chills, backache and fever, my  high fever finally broke last night.

The downside of being a WFHM (or SAHM for that matter) is that work has to CONTINUE whether or not you are fit or ill.  Donning on a shawl wrapped round my neck and shoulders, I still had to cook and do school runs in a shivering body.  Not to mention waking up at 4:15 a.m. to get the girls ready for school.  And hubs is not feeling too well too.

After gulping down many packets of Izumio hydrogen water and chewing on my homegrown Indian borage yesterday, I was right as rain again at night!  What would make a WFHM and SAHM happiest?  When she’s fit as a fiddle and  everyone in the household robust.

As I felt so much better this morning, I did some brisk walking at our condo grounds but had to cut short the exercise when it drizzled.   And it has not stopped drizzling since.

As I was in the mood to cook, I whipped up Taiwanese ‘Zha Jiang Mian‘ for lunch for Drama Queen and Cass. As this was totally unplanned, I had to make do with whatever ingredients that I had in the fridge. What’s missing was spring onion.

My Zha Jiang Mian is 80% organic cooked using organic pork, organic Mugi miso, organic seaweed noodles and organic cucumber. What’s not organic are the carrots, cooking oil and garlic.

This dish is very easy and fast to prep. If not for Drama Queen messing up the stove, this would only take 20~25 minutes of prep time.   That silly girl put the lid on the pot to boil the noodles and I only realized it much later when the fire was put off by the starchy lava that spewed out from the pot. Hubs had to dismantle the stove to unclog the gas holes and I had to do what I hate the most~ scrubbing the stove, the stove parts and the pot glued with starch!

First Sunday In 2018 (7 January 2018)

After church, I took Uber with the girls to Pavillion to meet the hubs.  Our lunch on the first Sunday of this year was at Din Tai Fung, the hubs’ favorite Taiwanese restaurant of all times.

In an article published on January 17, 1993, the New York Times rated Din Tai Fung as one of the top ten gourmet restaurants in the world (Din Tai Fung was the only Chinese-run restaurant to receive this accolade).  We have always been  very satisfied with the food at Din Tai Fung.

The first Sunday of 2018 did not start well for Cass and me.

After Sunday School, Cass flexed her biceps at the monkey bar at the church playground while waiting for me. She spent a good 20 minutes hanging like a monkey in the merciless hot sun.  After service ended, we walked back to the car under the sizzling hot sun. It was exceptionally hot that day, easily at 38~40C.  Puteri Lilin (Candle Princess) me suffered  first-degree burn on the cheeks, which made me looked like I had just returned from a tropical beach holiday that lasted for 2 days.

In the car on the drive back home, Cass complained of headache, stomach pain and leg pain.  The headache continued until the next morning when I woke her up for school.  Her body felt like burning charcoal. I checked her temperature and it was a burning 40.4C!  I quickly gave her a packet of Izumio and  a suppository to bring the temperature down pronto.

Then I remembered that Cass is exactly like me, a Puteri Lilin with fair skin and with a propensity to have fevers whenever exposed to the hot afternoon sun for prolonged periods. Even 5 minutes of exposure to the hot sun would cause me a throbbing headache.


Cass with an ‘ice cap’ on her forehead.  The ‘ice cap’ is a frozen wet hanky that Cass swears by in bringing her fever down. She would prepare the ‘ice cap’ whenever she feels feverish or hot.  When she has fevers, I would diligently ensure that an’ice cap’ is on her head / forehead throughout the day and night.  The last time that Cass had a fever was in February last year, after the first day of CoCo activity  in school after running in the field in the unforgiving afternoon sun.

Today is the second day that Cass is on sick leave and thank God the temperature has made a descent.  But after an entire night of checking on Cass, I am now beginning to experience chills and a back-breaking back pain. I am always at the mercy of sleep deprivation.

After a horrendous 11-hour bumper-to-bumper crawl from Singapore back to KL on a van during the school holidays recently, I have developed a bad backache.

On Sunday after we returned from Pavillion, Cass and I experienced a spell of insatiable thirst. We were gulping down packets of Izumio and plain water but no amount of water that we drank could quench our deep thirst.  Our lips were scarlet red and our cheeks were flushed.

I Googled to find out what the symptoms of a heat stroke are and realized that we may have suffered from a mild case of heat stroke.

Symptoms of heat stroke:
Heat stroke results from prolonged exposure to high temperatures — usually in combination with dehydration — which leads to failure of the body’s temperature control system. The medical definition of heat stroke is a core body temperature greater than 40C, with complications involving the central nervous system that occur after exposure to high temperatures.

Other symptoms may include:

Throbbing headache
Dizziness and light-headedness
Lack of sweating despite the heat
Red, hot, and dry skin
Muscle weakness or cramps
Nausea and vomiting
Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
Rapid, shallow breathing
Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
Seizures
Unconsciousness


Breakfast for everyone this morning :  pork ribs + carrot + millet + quinoa + rice porridge slow cooked in the crockpot for 12 hours.

Health And Wellness 101: Strategies For Success

Once you make the connection between great health and optimized living, it’s time to begin implementing wellness techniques that will help you take your life to the next level. Below you’ll find two health strategies that will empower you to lead the life of extraordinary wellness you deserve to have:

1. Incorporate More Veggies And Fruits Into Your Diet
One strategy you can implement to make wellness your new normal is incorporating more veggies and fruits into your diet. This strategy will help ensure that you don’t have any nutritional gaps that preclude your body from completing important regulatory functions quickly and correctly. Note that there are a wide range of nutrient-dense fruits and veggies you can start integrating into your daily meals so that your body can function optimally. One of them is broccoli. Some of the nutrients that abound in broccoli include vitamin K, chromium, vitamin C, fiber, folate, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6. One fruit you might want to consider consuming in larger quantities is grapes. Grapes have ample amounts of vitamin K, copper, and vitamin B2. Another fruit that will provide you with stellar nutritional support is bananas. Bananas come chock full of vitamin B6, manganese, and vitamin C.

As you begin your process of optimizing your eating habits, note that there are a wide range of products and services you can utilize to eliminate behavioral modalities that don’t serve you. An example would be overeating, a reality which can lead to unwanted outcomes such as weight gain, diabetes, and depression. Luckily, there are several natural remedies for overeating. Note that health practitioners such as Dr. Kshamica Nimalasuryia provide people with a wide range of all natural herbal supplements that can help them address and resolve their overeating issues.

2. Exercise Regularly
Another strategy you can implement to get healthy is exercising regularly. This technique will empower you to attain a wide range of wonderful wellness outcomes. Some of them include improved body composition, increased aerobic capacity, increased respiratory capacity, and decreased blood pressure (amongst individuals who have moderate hypertension). Some forms of exercise you can engage in to attain these outcomes include jump rope, cycling, and weight-lifting!

Conclusion
You deserve to lead an incredible life in which you have tons of energy and the mood stability necessary to complete your professional and personal goals with ease and passion. To get on the road to life optimization right now, start using one or both of the wellness techniques listed here!

7 Common Mistakes Made With Wine Coolers

Wine coolers are handy and last a long time when treated well. Below are a few of the more common mistakes people make with this appliance.

Tipping It When Moving
Tipping and upending appliances that use coolant is a bad idea. In fact, it can ultimately render the item useless. Always get help in moving your wine cooler from one area of the room to another, or to another location altogether.

Sub-Zero Wine Cooler

Setting the Temperature Wrong
If your wine is coming straight out of the cooler too warm or cold, check the thermostat setting. You should keep it an average of 50 degrees Fahrenheit for most wines. You will lose much of the body and boldness when it is off one way or the other.

Using the Cooler for Other Drinks
The temperature required for the perfect glass of wine is a little higher than for other types of beverages. Keep in mind that the wine cooler is for wine only. Place all other drinks to chill in the refrigerator.

Blocking the Vents
The series of vents located on the back, sides, or front of your cooler is there to intake fresh air and keep the motor from overheating. Blocking these can be a death sentence for your wine cooler. Keep adequate space and clearance for your cooler to breath through these vents.

Placing It Near Heat
Heat sources found in many areas of the home, and you need to avoid placing the wine cooler nearby. Keep the cooler out of direct sunlight, away from microwaves, toaster ovens, countertop ovens, coffee pots, and heater vents. Having this appliance too close to heat will make it nearly impossible to regulate the temperature.

Constant Door Opening
Take advantage of the clear glass door on your wine cooler and make a selection before opening. With the increased opening and closing of the door, the more the temperature climbs inside the unit.

Inconsistent Cleaning
Take a few minutes to clean the wine cooler inside and out. Cleaning should be done every week or two to keep it in excellent condition. Wipe the inside down with a damp cloth that has dish soap and water. Use the same cloth to rinse with pure water. Wipe the exterior with the manufacturers suggested cleaner. Vacuum the vents to remove dust. Clean the door glass with paper towels and window cleaner.

Sub Zero

Call on refrigeration specialists like Sub Zero Repair Centers if you suspect any problems and need Sub Zero wine cooler repair right away!

First Day Of School – 2 Jan 2018

For the first time, Cass was a tad reluctant to go back to school after her 5-week break. She lamented that homework is what stresses her out the most and she hates lining up for assembly in the hall every Monday. I know her other reason is the fact that she’s now in senior primary and remains in the top class, which gives her a great amount of pressure to excel. Other than that, she was excited to meet her besties again.

Alycia will be sitting for her PT3 and UEC exams this year.  But this girl is not much bothered or stressed out over the exams.  Alycia wasn’t too enthusiastic about going back to school too as her best friend has left this school for an international school. I hope Alycia will buckle up and pull her socks up as her grades have only been mediocre since she started high school.  This year is going to be tough and tougher as the countdown now begins to PT3 and UEC.  Also, the school sent out a notice on the first day of school notifying students that they will be asked to leave the school should they score an average grade of 60 and below 😵😱

Drama Queen’s new chapter begins on 2 Jan 2018.  She is in Form 1 this year. For the next two years, her school session is in the afternoon.  She appeared to be in a jovial mood when she got home on the first day of school, which is a positive sign that she’s starting to like the school, new friends and the whole new learning experience of studying in Malay vs. Chinese., albeit she told me that she finds it tough, for a beginner.  For 6 years, she studied in Chinese for all the subjects except for English and BM.  But I am confident that with daily practice, she will master BM.

On the first day of school, papa taught Drama Queen how to tie her school neck tie. She has never done this before. In primary school, the neck tie that she wore is readily tied.

Two days before school reopened, mum helped to sew badges onto the pinafores for Drama Queen and Alycia using the sewing machine.

I am totally hopeless in the sewing department. I don’t even know how to operate a sewing machine but thank God for wonderful grand parents for our girls, my tailoring problems have almost always been solved.

How has the first week of school been for you?  I hope it has been a walk in the park but if it’s not, take heart that soon, things will fall into place and you can then call your daily life a ROUTINE once again 👍💪

Happy weekend everyone 💗

Tips For Buying Wedding Dresses Online

When the hubs and I did our wedding photo shoot in a bridal studio 18 years ago, we spent the entire day there.  We reached the studio at 10 a.m. and the shooting only ended 8 hours later.  The hubs and I left the bridal studio feeling famished, exhausted and with achy jaw (from giving our best smiles for hours) and body.  It was definitely not a pleasant experience for us.

Thus, if you are one who has no patience for spending hours on end choosing and getting in and out of gowns with thick make-up and a hair-do thickened with hair sprays and colors, you can always opt to buy your wedding dresses online.

Shopping online for your wedding dress definitely has its benefits: you do not need to wait in line, leave the house or even change out of your comfy pajamas.  And while it comes with a lengthy list of pros, it can have a few drawbacks too… like those Backless Lace Wedding Dresses with Sash arriving two sizes too small.

To save yourself time and aggravation, here are some quick and handy tips for online shopping for affordable wedding dresses:

1. Know your measurements. Sizes vary depending on the brand and even the batch the products were made in.  Refer to the size chart and measurements provided by the seller and you’ll also need to whip out the good old measurement tape and take note of your bust, waist hips, inseam and your preferred length of dress.  If you are not sure how to do it, head to your tailor or seamstress and have them measure you.  This ensures that you’ll get the most accurate measurements possible.

2. Read the reviews. Customer reviews are extremely valuable pieces of info, since they give you real perspective on the piece you’re considering. Scan for comments touching on size, fit and quality of material to get a better idea of whether an item fits true to size, or if you’ll need to size up or down.

3. Know the materials. The feel of a material is just as important as the size. There’s nothing worse than finally receiving that dress you’ve been eying for months, only to find that the fabric is not the type that you want. Since you can’t touch the fabric and often can’t distinguish what the texture of a piece is like just by looking at a photo, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the fabric content. Get to know what satin, chiffon, silk, ice cotton, gauze, etc. feels like.

4. Read thoroughly the return policies. Even if you’ve followed all of the above steps, there still might be the occasional disappointment. Be prepared and familiarize yourself with the return policies before you order. Things to look for: free returns, how long you have to send the product back, whether or not you can make exchanges, if returns can be made in store and if there is a restocking fee.

5. Opt for a reliable website such as Dressywomen for purchasing wedding dresses.

unique off the shoulder wedding dresses, glamorous wedding gowns with appliques, elegant light champagne lace bridal dresses

sweetheart wedding dresses with appliques, a line ombre wedding dresses, unique the big day dresses

A-Line Sweetheart Court Train Ombre Chiffon Wedding Dress with Appliques

6. Watch the videos. If there is a video of a model wearing the gown that you want to buy, always watch it. You’ll get a good idea of the weight and quality of the fabric as they walk.

7. If you are also looking for elegant and cheap mother of the bride dresses like the ones below for your mum or mother-in-law, get them to sit together with you at the computer when you browse the websites. Discuss on the color, design, theme and sizes of the dresses together to save time.

A-Line Cap Sleeves Light Grey Chiffon Mother of The Bride Dress with Lace Beading A-Line Jewel Sleeveless Short Black Mother of The Bride Dress with Lace

mother of the bride dresses, off the shoulder mother dresses

Try not to be a last minute shopper. Plan the purchase of your wedding dresses at least 6 months before your big day. In case you are not too satisfied with the dresses, you can still return them to the seller and find alternative dresses.  With proper planning and sufficient time to shop for your wedding dresses, the photo shooting and wedding reception will be a beautiful memory  to last for a life time.