5th Day Of School Holidays – 30 Nov 2016

The 5th day of our school holidays today was spent at Mid Valley Megamall and Gardens Mall.  Traffic into the malls was horrendous. All the car park entrances into the 2 malls showed FULL on the screen and I had no choice but to inch my way into the Premium car park and luckily got myself a place to park immediately.  I paid a frigging RM12 after spending 5 hours at the mall!

The reason why we were at the mall was because Drama Queen had a farewell party to attend at Mega Kidz.  Two of her classmates will be leaving the school – one of them will be returning to the UK and the other girl switching to an international school.

While my car was stuck in the bumper to bumper crawl, I saw a pedestrian bridge on my right side still under construction. It connects Mid Valley Megamall to Eco City on the other side of the road where massive construction of buildings are on-going.  I was thinking to myself just how convenient it is for residents and tenants of those buildings to just walk across the pedestrian bridge to the malls when it is completed later.  But…. a mere 2 hours later, I heard from the radio on my drive back home that the same bridge had collapsed! Just like that. Oh. My. God!!  One worker is killed and two others are still buried under the rubble. Please God, help them out!!

Life is so fragile, unexpected and fleeting. Now you see it but the next moment, it may be gone in a flash of light. It can be the life of a human, an airplane in the air or a majestic building standing strong, down to ground zero.

So live everyday as if it were your last.  Throw all your grudges, anger and worries out of your window at the end of each day.  Can you do that?

While Drama Queen partied away with her classmates, Alycia spent all her time at Borders with her grandma while Cass and I went for retail therapy 😀

Dinner was takeout KFC, burger and nuggets (swoon!), porridge with crispy yau char kuai and horse hoof (mah keok) (double swoon!) and my favorite Puteri Ayu kuih from Nyonya Colors.  We have not eaten these sinful holiday treats for so long, especially KFC and how the girls and I enjoyed them. Thank you to the mil for the treat.  After noshing down all these less-than-healthy yummylicious grub, everyone downed a packet of Izumio hydrogen and antioxidant water to wash away the heatiness.

gold backdrops

During dinner at home, the girls and I had some good tummy exercises laughing till our midriff hurt and eyes teared over Drama Queen’s antics and melodramatic-ness (if there’s such a word to describe her).  Life is never a dull moment when you have a Drama Queen or King at home. It would be a waste if she does not turn out to be an actress or stand-up comedian in future, I always tell Drama Queen that.

After dinner, Alycia and Drama Queen read through all the old postings from my blogs and had a good laugh.  Then I overhead them saying “why did mummy post all these in her blogs? All our embarrassing moments are exposed in her blogs. And my friends read her blogs. Evil mummy!!”

 

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School Holidays

The mil came back from Hong Kong after being away for 4 months. As usual, she brought back lots of goodies from Hong Kong, New Zealand, Korea and Japan.

We had Panettone Christmas bread for breakfast today. Panettone bread is something that we only get to eat once a year around Christmas, which my eldest sil from Hong Kong buys for us, thus is a holiday treat for us. If you’re new to Panettone bread, you’ll be shocked to see the price tag on it.

It has been a wet holiday the past one week.  Alycia’s tennis lesson had to be cancelled yesterday because of the rain and we couldn’t go to the park either. The past few mornings have been wet too, so I’ve had a good excuse to skip exercise. My bad, I must compensate and try to work out in the gym soon! Drama Queen is already planning on the next baking project in the kitchen and Cass has been spending hours on end doing art and craft.

prom backdrops/prom backdrops for sale/prom photo backdrops/

The mil ain’t feeling too well and my stint as sous-chef de cuisine has to be extended indefinitely.  Thankfully I have Drama Queen to help me out.

The girls have something to look forward to this school holiday. First is a 3-day-2-night stay at Ratu Rening with friends next week. Ratu Rening is a hidden ecological retreat near Genting Highlands, surrounded by a crystal clear stream and forest reserve. Second is our yearly end-of-the-year holiday at my parents in Ipoh where we plan to have several celebrations during this festive period 🙂

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Last Day Of School & Pie Baking

I received a little good news yesterday when Drama Queen came back from school. As she walked into the house, Drama Queen announced the news to me melodramatically, “and so the principal announced that we DON’T have to go back to school for UPSR tuition anymore during the holidays, YAY!!! Muahahahahahahahah!”

I was overjoyed to hear the news as that would mean a real holiday for me without having to wake up at 5am for 2 weeks during the school holiday. That being said, I wonder why her school has decided to cancel the originally scheduled extra classes. Other schools are still going ahead with the UPSR extra classes for the first 2 weeks of the school holiday. Could it be that the Government’s proposal to abolish the UPSR exam is now a step closer?  Perhaps it would be abolished as early as next year? Oooh, I am feeling hopeful!!

After lunch of homecooked porridge, Drama Queen quickly helped to wash all the dirty dishes including the pots and pans. This dawdler ain’t a dawdler when she sets her mind to do something that she has passion in. She has planned to bake a pie yesterday. She always has the itch to bake in the kitchen and spends a lot of time watching baking tutorials on You Tube.

After clearing the dirty dishes, she started to prepare the dough for the pie. I did not supervise her at all in the measurement of the ingredients. While I went out with Cass for an hour, she stayed home alone to work on the pie crust. Her maiden pie. We have both never baked a pie before so I could not offer her any advice. I only advised her not to turn on the oven or the stove while I was away.

She attempted to use her grandma’s new cake mixer but I told her NO NO NO!!  Coz we both have no clue on how to operate the machine.  Her grandma will be back from Hong Kong this Sunday and coming home to find a spoilt new cake mixer is the last thing she wants to know. With lots of creative juices flowing in her, she  found an alternative – by using an egg beater to mix the flour with the butter. Gawd, that is SO time consuming and I have zero patience for this. But this girl patiently mixed the flour and butter until a smooth dough was formed. All in, it took her over an hour to get the dough perfected.

When I came home with Cass, I cooked the pie filling, which is minced pork with tomatoes, julienned carrots, Bunashimeiji mushrooms and lots of chopped onions and garlic. I seasoned it with some leftover Baba’s rendang powder mix, some dried thyme, dried basil, ground black pepper and organic shoyu.

The ‘chaplang’ fried minced meat which turned out to be really delish.

Drama Queen putting the final touches on the pie with egg wash before it goes into the oven to be baked for 40 minutes at 180C.

Fresh out of the oven and baked to a tee!

After the pie was all done and all of us savouring the yummylicious pie, Drama Queen told me that she ‘simply tembak’ with the measurements of some ingredients and replaced several ingredients with what she could find in our kitchen and fridge. I am still amazed with how the pie could turn out so well despite her not following the recipes strictly.  Cass commented that her 2che’s pie tastes better than those from some expensive cafes.

By observing intently each time both her grandmas bake, Drama Queen has picked up basic skills needed to execute simple baking. She’s pretty good with baking cakes and now she has learned how to bake a savoury pie.

Drama Queen and Cass loved the pie so much that we skipped having breakfast of pork noodles at our regular Saturday coffee shop this morning. Instead we noshed down the delicious leftover pie.

Alycia, if you are reading this post now from Penang, take heart that we have kept a slice of pie for you in the freezer!  Can’t wait for you to come home to savour it 😉

 

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Cass Goes Up The Stage

Hubs and I were in school this morning to cheer on  our baby girl who went up the stage to receive a trophy.  The top ten students from standard 1 through 6 in the academic year get to receive a trophy.

Mighty proud of our baby girl 🙂 🙂

BABY SHOWER BACKGROUNDS UK

After we left school, hubs and I had a quick lunch, then sped home to send Alycia off with her aunt Krystle from Hong Kong (hubs’ sister) for a short holiday.  For the first time, Alycia will be going for a holiday without her parents or grandma.  Her aunt Krystle came back from Hong Kong for a short holiday and will spend the weekend in Ipoh and Penang.  Alycia, her aunt Krystle and Krystle’s friend will be visiting Ipoh and Penang for 5 days 4 nights. Gawd, that’s pretty long for my soon-to-be teenager to be away from her mummy and cosy home. Hopefully she’ll remember the long list of reminders that I’d asked her to do each day. Just 10 days shy of entering teenage-hood, I am constantly thinking of this girl now and wonder if she’s enjoying herself or missing home. Is she drinking enough water? Is she gobbling down junk food and fried food? Will she get separated from her aunt and get lost in a foreign place?  Hubs keeps telling me that she’s not a baby anymore, she’s a big girl now and capable of taking care of herself.  But still, she’s only 12 and still a baby in my eyes.

 

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Roselle Tea For Good Health

I made a big pot of Roselle tea for the family yesterday.   My late grandma used to boil Roselle tea for us when we were younger. We would call the Roselle tea “Ribena” as it tastes very similar to Ribena and has the bright red color of Ribena as well.

Roselle is a species of hibiscus native to West Africa. In Iran, it is typically known as sour tea; in English-speaking countries, it is called red sorrel. It is commonly used to make jelly, jam, juice, wine, syrup, gelatin, pudding, cake, ice cream and flavouring.

There are three types of roselle, identified by their colours – the dark red type has the highest content of anthocyanins, followed by the light red type, while the green type has only traces of the antioxidant pigment or none at all, reported the Journal Of American Science in 2010.

Anthocyanins are said to promote cardiovascular health. Roselle flowers, whether fresh or dried, have similar levels of efficacy.  The flowers should be whole and free of contamination during purchase.

I boiled the roselle flowers with screwpine leaves (pandan) for about 45 minutes.  Then sieved and poured out the roselle tea.  As roselle is naturally sour, I added raw honey to it. The lightly sweetened roselle tea is for the girls. I prefer mine sour and without any honey.

I read from some recipes that the seeds are removed prior to boiling the petals but busy lazy me gave up removing the seeds after I discovered that the process was pretty time consuming. I never like to spend too much time in the kitchen.  I  did a quick google search to see if the seeds are poisonous or edible and what I found was an eye-opener.  Roselle seeds are a good source of lipid-soluble antioxidants, particularly gamma-tocopherol. These seeds are even packaged for sale. So what the heck, after washing the flowers thoroughly, I dumped everything into the pot, filled up the pot with water and boiled it for 45 minutes or so.

The RM3.50/packet of roselle flowers bought from the organic shop managed to yield about 10 glasses of roselle tea.  What a cheap health drink this is and the girls loved it when chilled or with ice-cubes added. I am definitely going to prep this tea more often. I can also use it to make jelly for my jelly crazed girls.

Roselle pandan tea with raw honey is so refreshing, especially when chilled.

 

According to an article extracted from The Straits Times in Singapore, people with neutral or “heaty” bodies can benefit from taking a “cold” herb, such as roselle flowers, to balance their body constitutions. It is also suitable for those with hypertension and high cholesterol.

WHAT RESEARCH HAS SHOWN (excerpt from The Straits Times, Singapore)

Daily consumption of a tea or extract produced from roselle flowers has benefits for adults, according to a review of human and animal studies published in the journal for the study of medicinal plants, Fitoterapia, in March 2013.

Specifically, it helped to significantly lower one’s systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people with pre-to moderate primary hypertension and type 2 diabetes, based on results from randomised controlled trials.

In addition, the tea was as effective at lowering blood pressure as the drug Captropril, but less effective than another drug, Lisinopril. Both drugs are used to treat high blood pressure.

More than half of the trials showed that daily consumption of roselle tea or extracts improved one’s lipid levels.

Namely, it lowered participants’ levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol, and triglycerides. At the same time, it boosted their levels of high-density lipoprotein or “good” cholesterol.

The observations were likely a result of the antioxidant effects of the anthocyanins. These compounds inhibit the oxidation of “bad” cholesterol, hence impeding the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which can lead to cardiovascular disease.

Roselle tea makes for an excellent low-calorie healthy beverage for the entire family. I love the bright red color of this drink that packs a healthy punch too.

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Five Career Fields for Moms Who Are Going Back to Work

For moms who have those small pings of regret for not pursuing more from their careers, it’s never too late to go after your dreams. If you’re ready to enter the workplace again after staying home to raise your young children, there are plenty of opportunities that could be yours. While you may need to work a little to sharpen your skills and update your resume for today’s high-tech field, you could be rewarded with a high salary and a strong sense of accomplishment. Here are five hot career fields for moms going back to work.

1. Corporate Trainer
One job that has a promising outlook for the future is a corporate trainer. In order to be hired as a corporate trainer, it’s typically required to have an educational background in developing curriculum for adult learners. Today’s corporate trainers are also focused on creating interactive, computerized learning activities and assessments. For entry into this career field, you may need to take some classes in learning theory and instructional design.

2. Healthcare Management
Healthcare management is another hot career option that has plenty of growth potential for the future. This type of work involves managing healthcare facilities and medical practices. Because of the unique scope of managing a healthcare facility, organizations are usually looking for people with specific knowledge and skills. The Healthcare MBA from GW University is a great way to get into this field.

3. Software Developer
The constantly evolving field of computer technology is another sector to look into for your future career. Jobs in software development are expected to continue to grow for the next few years. This type of work is challenging, but many times a graduate degree is not required. For some positions, employers are looking more for specific types of industry training classes. You can investigate some of the ways to get certified and choose to take an online course for convenience.

4. Nurse Practitioner
If you have an interest in nursing and providing medical care, you may want to find out about becoming a nurse practitioner. This field is expected to grow like wildfire due to the country’s aging baby boomers and the population living longer. Enrolling in a nursing program takes hard work and dedication, but nurse practitioners make an impressive salary that could be the key to your children’s future. Click here to learn how to deal with some of the challenges in this field.

5. Management Consultant
The last type of career that may be a good fit for a new working mom is a management consultant. If you have experience in the management field before your kids were born, don’t bury your past and forget about it. Think of ways to use your previous experience and knowledge as an advantage. If you have insight and have kept up with your industry’s trends during your time with your children, offer your services as a consultant. This type of job may have more flexibility in working hours, which could be great for families with children.

Going back to work after a gap of several years of child rearing can be daunting, but if you have confidence in yourself, you could find success again. Learn about the top career fields that could be your next professional experience.

 

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Our Saturday – 19 Nov 2016

We had a light dinner at Seng Kee Kitchen, our favorite neighborhood Chinese tai chau restaurant on Saturday.  Prior to that, hubs brought home some roast leg of lamb from his shop for us to try. It was roasted using a new industrial combi oven that he had recently purchased. Thus, we were already half full by dinner time.  We  ordered a fried turmeric and minced ginger chicken dish (ayam goreng berempah), 2 types of fried noodles and 2 types of vegetables from Seng Kee.

After dinner, hubs suggested dessert of ice-cream at Inside Scoop @ Avantas Residences. I wasn’t too keen as I was having a very gassy tummy and not feeling in top form. But the girls were seconding their daddy’s suggestion…

At Inside Scoop, Cass bumped into her partner in class, Alyssa (the girl in glasses). Alyssa is also Cass’ bestie these days.  They will both go to the same class next year. They were so excited to have bumped into each other.

 

Our waffle with 3 scoops of ice-creams…

And hubs’ Root Beer float. OMG, I felt so cloy just by looking at how thick, creamy and sweet it was, thus didn’t try it.

After ice-cream, we bumped into a friend who is staying at a unit at Avantas. We commented on how impressed we were with the facilities, amenities and design of Avantas and she brought us to her unit for a look. She’s a property agent.  Our hearts were even more moved when we saw her tastefully designed her unit is and how well equipped, clean and beautiful the serviced apartment is – just like a 5-star hotel.

Avantas Residence, Old Klang Road, 692sf, RM1600 Partly Furnished

And then we toyed over the idea of purchasing a unit for investment!!

But at RM880,000 for a 3-bedroom unit (measuring only 1,200+ square feet), we can’t afford it!   There is a big plus point though of purchasing a 3-bedroom unit as the developer allows the unit to be divided into 2 separate units and for the 2 separate units to be rented out… which means double income for us!!

But still, it is RM880,000 without taking into account the cost of renovating and furnishing the 2 units!   That will be over a million Shringgit!

Check out the standing swing that the girls are on…

Dang my itchy hands and legs for wanting to take a spin on the swing and I ended up on the verge of puking when I got down from the swing!  Once this spinning swing moves 360 degrees, it is really hard to stop it (it’s like a toy spin) unless someone outside the swing stops it by force. Despite me screaming for help like a mad woman, the cheeky big girl who was video-ing us on the swing refused to help me stop the damn spinning swing!! I was fuming mad with her.  I was already feeling slightly nauseous with a gassy tummy  the whole day and after being spun around continuously for a whole 1 minute, I felt like all my innards were knotted and jumbled up. I felt sick the entire night.  The next morning, I puked after I ate an orange for breakfast, duh!  I should have trusted my twitching eye lids for the presentiment. Cass and I both had twitching eye lids on that day. I have told you before about the uncanny sixth sense that Cass and I have with our twitching eye lids, right?  The next time my eye lid twitches, I’ll just stay grounded for safety’s sake!

 

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School Exam Results & UPSR Results

My Facebook news feed has been flooded with mummies posting about their kids’ school exam achievements and UPSR exam achievements for the last few days.  UPSR 2016 results were announced yesterday.  This year the percentage of students who scored straight As is only 1.1% in the entire Malaysia vs. 17.7% last year! That’s a stark drop in straight As scorers, reason being change in format this year, where there are more HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills) questions.

It feels like it was only recently that Alycia collected her UPSR results from school and pulled a fast one on me over the phone.  That was exactly a year ago. In exactly a year’s time, it would be Drama Queen’s turn to collect her UPSR results!  She didn’t get  good grades for her final exam this time and yet her overall position is still within the top 25% of 300+ students in Primary 5. In fact, her grades are bad if I were to compare them with Alycia’s when Alycia was in Primary 5. Anyway, I should not compare as the format has changed this year and I must say that the syllabus now  is way tougher than in previous years.

The school holiday will begin next Saturday but Drama Queen would have to attend UPSR tuition classes in school for a whole frigging 2 weeks!  There goes my holiday. In fact, it’s worse than regular school-going days coz the transporter does not work during the school holidays… which means that I would have to be the driver *sob sob*

Alycia’s high school  has already started their school holidays on Thursday this week.  Her second semester grades are again only middling, with improvement of only a few marks for her Science subjects. Her Math grade is not good, thus she will have to start Math tuition next year.  I was warned to be prepared to see more of Bs, Cs and Ds when Alycia got accepted into this high school. Gone are the days when she would proudly show me her straight As marks in primary school.

For Cass, her position slid down from top 10 for the first 2 exams this year to top 20 this time (position in the entire Primary 2 of over 300 students). Nonetheless, she will still remain in the top class when she goes to Primary 3 next year. She will also receive a trophy from the school next week for being in the top 10 position for the entire year. Seven students from her class will be eliminated from the top class next year to ‘regular’ classes.  This makes me feel like the students in her class are contestants in the Amazing Race where those who do not make it in the long and stressful race get eliminated!  I wonder if Cass would be eliminated next year coz she is really not a kid with the materials of studying Chinese. She’ll fare well in a private or international school where subjects are taught in English.  But no, we can’t afford private or international school. It is SO stressful for me that Cass remains a ‘contestant’ in the ‘Amazing Race’ in the top class next year … but not for her. She’s a chill kid who couldn’t be bothered much with studying 🙁

After all that’s being said, I still think that UPSR and PMR grades are not that important… though they seem like life and death for some parents now. I am quite guilty as charged too.  When we shortlisted candidates for bank jobs last time, we never looked at UPSR or SRP results. What’s important was the SPM grade (grade 3 rejected outright) and uni CGPA. And of course soft skills, EQ, confidence and how vocal and convincing the candidate is.

 

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Tomyam Pork

I created this new dish for dinner yesterday!  Tomyam pork is so easy to cook and so yummy that you would think I am not revealing all the steps and ingredients.  Once you have all the ingredients, this dish is a total child’s play. Even Drama Queen can whip this out on her own.  She did help me in the kitchen – with chopping two big onions.  And after watching how I cooked this dish, I think she can cook this dish on her own in future.

Ingredients:
1.  1 packet of Way tomyam sauce or any tomyam paste. You could even prepare the paste from scratch with raw ingredients if you have the time.
2. 2 big onions, chopped
3. Cooking oil
4. Sugar and salt to taste
5. Ladies fingers, pineapple cubes, long beans, brinjal, potatoes or any veggie of your choice

Directions:
1. Marinate the pork slices with some pepper, salt and corn flour (optional) for a few hours.
2. Brown the chopped onions.
3. Brown the pork slices.
4. Add in the tomyam paste.
5. Saute for a few minutes and add water.
6. Add about 1 teaspoon of brown sugar (optional).
7. Let simmer for about 15 minutes.
8. Add in the vegetables and simmer for another 10 minutes.
9. Dish out and serve with hot rice or blanched vermicelli

I cooked an extra portion for the next day’s lunch (today’s lunch) and blanched some vermicelli to go with the tomyam pork.  Also boiled some hard-boiled eggs to go with the vermicelli.  The girls loved this lip-smacking and piquant dish. The tomyam sauce from Way is just right for us, which is very aromatic and most importantly, not too spicy and is preservative and MSG-free.

Also on the dining table yesterday was grilled Teriyaki saba fish.  We bought the saba fish from Isetan on Saturday.

Directions – grill saba fish with sea salt and pepper – 15 minutes on each side at 160C.  Drizzle some Teriyaki sauce on the flesh side of the fish 10 minutes before it’s done grilling in the oven.

 

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Alycia Learns Tennis

Yesterday was Alycia’s much-awaited first tennis lesson.  She’s been longing to learn tennis for a long, long time.  I finally asked the coach’s wife (who is a Japanese) about the lessons when I bumped into her in the morning last week.  A date for the first lesson was set.  The big girl was super duper excited!

When I was Alycia’s age, it was my dream to learn tennis but the lessons and tennis racket were beyond my parents’ budget. So I had to let the dream slip off. Now I am living my dream through my daughter!  Don’t get me wrong, I am not pushing Alycia to learn tennis at all. The fee ain’t cheap ok. It’s a frigging RM50 for 1/2 hour and RM100 for 1 hour.  It’s just that she wants to pick up a sports that she likes and she seems to have a thing with games that use rackets. So tennis it is for her! Plus it is very convenient for us as the lessons are held at our condo.

Thank God for the lovely weather. It was breezy and wasn’t hot at all though the lesson was held at 4:30pm. Since the weather permitted, I stayed at the tennis court and watched her learn tennis.

Alycia picked up the game pretty fast…

The 2 other sisters stayed at the court – Drama Queen took videos and Whatsapped it to my family’s chat group while Cass helped to collect the tennis balls.

Such a great helper she is by helping the coach to pick up tennis balls. Cass had a very good workout too running back and forth collecting the balls for a whole half an hour.

Alycia can’t wait to attend the second lesson next week. I’m just thinking if I should also let Drama Queen join in the lesson. It would be good if she picks up tennis too so that she can practise with Alycia.  But it would cost double if she learns too! I’ll have to relook at our expenses and do some calculations now or perhaps ask for a discount from the coach >.<

 

 

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Isetan The Japan Store @ Lot 10, KL

The foodie hubs and his foodie buddy went to the brand new Isetan The Japan Store @ Lot 10, KL early this week to take a peek at the much raved about newly refurbished Lot 10, which opened its door to the public on 27 Oct 2016. There are only two Japan Store concept stores in the world, the other one being its smaller counterpart in Paris.  My foodie hubs was very impressed and could not wait to bring us there.  Despite a heavy thunderstorm on a Saturday evening, we braved the rain to the heart of bustling KL to where Lot 10 is yesterday. Traffic was heavy as expected and we had to queue to the car park.

Each floor is designed to generate its own distinctive appeal:

LGF: The Market – experience the seasonal flavours
GF: The Museum – experience the ultimate japan
1F: The Studio – experience the fashion live
2F: The Room – experience the grateful lifestyle
3F: The Cube – experience the inspiring culture
4F: Restaurant Floor, will open in 2017

The Market:

What attracted the hubs the most is the food hall. Oh well, he is a gourmand isn’t he? He lives to savor the finest food and is happiest when his tummy is satisfied.

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The food hall was flooded with fans of Japanese cuisine.   It was hard to find a table. We spotted a table at Yakitori Hanabi and quickly got ourselves seated and ordered several yakitori items before the foodie hubster went to the individual stalls to order more food.

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Image may contain: one or more people and indoor

I never liked natto, a fermented soy superfood but over time, I have acquired the taste and have now learned to appreciate the distinct pungent flavor of the natto beans.  This bowl of natto + egg rice is very flavorful but the kids haven’t yet acquired the taste.

This skewer of humble grilled salted cherry tomatoes is so flavorful and juicy.

Yakitori with leek.

Teppan sirloin steak bought from one of those individual stalls.

 

 

We also brought home 2 packs of frozen saba fish at RM20.80 a pack. Can’t wait to do a grilled terriyaki saba for the girls next week!

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After our ‘main course’ of meat, we had desserts from Tsujiri.  The girls fell in love with the matcha ice-cream from Tsujiri when they tasted it for the first time in Hong Kong during our vacation last year. We had to queue up for everything albeit the prices of food there ain’t cheap. Well, if you’re a fan of all things Japanese, you wouldn’t mind the long queue and the price.

Part of our desserts from Tsujiri…

After a satisfying dinner, we walked around the impressive Japanese food hall.  For a moment, the girls felt like they were in Hong Kong. For me, I felt like I was in Japan as all the petite and pretty Japanese food stuffs that the mil and sil normally get for us from  Japan are mostly available here now.

**coughs**  Would you pay RM49 for a punnet of two apples flown in from Japan?  Not me!!  The most expensive apple that I am willing to fork out is Envy apples costing RM5 each.

Grapefruit juice right out from a fresh grapefruit! Total awesomeness!

A grapefruit only costs no more than RM2 each. Here, we paid RM10 more to suck the juice out from the fruit directly. I am in total awe with Japanese technology!  I am more in awe with the level of cleanliness of their toilets.

Fancy getting one of those grapefruit hole puncher thingy for yourself?

Frozen fruit popsicle sticks. If not for a tummy with Tsujiri ice-creams and desserts sloshing around, we would have tried these alluring colorful fruit popsicles.

A wide variety of sweet potatoes flown in from Japan. Some are designed to be low in sugar and high in nutrients but  at RM7.20 per 100gm, would you buy them?  Errr, my trencherman bought one to try and it cost a frigging RM12 each *choke*

We had the sweet potato for breakfast the next day (today) and it didn’t taste good anymore. It was bitterish and the skin was super hard. There goes his RM12 but at least we tried grilled Japanese sweet potato without having to fly to Japan 😀

As we walked into the hall where all the Japanese sweet delicacies are sold, I could not stop telling everyone that I felt like I was in Japan.

My connoisseur of food bought World Champion Financiers from Henri Chapentier.  He wanted to try the best financiers in the world listed in the Guiness World of Record, 2 years in a row.  At over RM50 for 3 super tiny financiers, I really think that the financier sponge cakes are over-rated. It is so small that our 3 girls commented that they can stuff all the 3 financiers into their tiny mouths at one go!   Well, at least we tried this award winning financiers without going to Japan! haha!

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Sake…

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Pick your choice of vege powder, freshly pounded for you…

A panoply of smoothie and fruits…

Vegetables planted in state-of-the-art LED lighting plant…

Many of the staff at Isetan The Japan Store are Japanese.  As we left the store at 9pm, which is the store’s closing time, the staff wished us good night and thank you while doing the courteous Japanese bow.  We were all truly impressed with this awesome Japanese store. This makes me want to visit Japan soon to immerse in the real Japanese culture. I love everything Japanese! 🙂

Isetan The Japan Store
Lot 10, 50 Jalan Bukit Bintang, KL
Tel: 03 2382 7777
Website: www.thejapanstore.mistore.jp
Hours: Daily, 11am-9pm.

 

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Compilation Of Easy & Healthy Home-Cooked Dinner

I realized that I have not cooked Chicken Adobo for 3 years when I referred back to my old blog post for the recipe!  Since it is pretty easy to prep and I have ran out of idea on what to dish out, we had Chicken Adobo early this week.

Chicken Adobo is a popular dish in the Philippine cuisine that involves meat, seafood, or vegetables marinated in vinegar, soy sauce and garlic, which is browned in oil, and simmered in the marinade. The chicken is then grilled briefly in the oven.  I added a handful of bay leaves into the simmer sauce for a more flavorful lift.

Below – braised pork belly with garlic, onions, carrots, potatoes and hard-boiled eggs in soy sauce. This is the Chinese equivalent of stew… my creation 😀

Below – sauteed Shimeiji and Maitake mushrooms with minced garlic and organic shoyu.

Below – sauteed organic cabbage with carrots; grilled sesame chicken drumsticks and boneless chicken thighs marinated with aromatic five-spice powder and garlic powder.

On busy or lazy days, grilled chicken is always my ‘trump card’ for this dish always gets the thumbs up from the girls. I could have the chicken marinated in any of the myriad flavors using only robust and healthy herbs and spices and the outcome is always pleasurable for everyone. It is so easy to prep and is a very forgiving dish. It can be a total child’s play too – just get your kids to help with marinating the chicken with whatever seasoning and spices that they like and a few hours later, pop it into the oven. While the oven does its job, you can sit back and relax and check your Facebook updates. I normally hang the fresh laundry while the chicken is grilling in the oven or stir fry the vegetables.

Below – sauteed spinach with minced garlic; braised soft baby pork ribs with homemade preserved sour plum (an aunt from Taiwan made this for us), organic miso, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, onions and sour plum sauce.  Braised for 1.5 hours in high flame and I had a very delightful and succulent almost fall-off the bone ribs, which the kids noshed down in a jiffy.

Below – sweet and peppery soft pork slices. Pork slices were marinated for several hours with white pepper, garlic powder, organic brown sugar, corn flour and soy sauce. Pan fry the pork slices until they turn golden brown, then add water and 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce and simmer until sauce thickens and reduces to your desired consistency. This will pair well with rice and vermicelli.

I cooked enough to give some to the girls’ grandaunt and kept some for  next day’s lunch, which I ate with some blanched vermicelli.

These are the dishes that busy working mums or dads can prep in under 1.5 hours.  Oil splatter is minimal too.

Lately I have been trying out new dishes and I have been very pleased with the outcome. I cooked Mee Siam (Tomyam noodles) for the first time two days ago and it was a success. Even the persnickety and critical foodie hubs gave his seal of approval. I shall write a new blog post on my Mee Siam next. Stay tuned…

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Should You Opt For Condominiums As Your Home?

There are loads of reasons why someone who opt for high-rise such as condominiums even when a condominium for sale usually come with a hefty price per square foot. When purchasing a condominium the buyer is agreeing to buy all the space within the walls. Everything outside the condo belongs to the building manager. Condos are a great buy, but to determine if they are right for you there are some pros and cons to consider.

The Many Advantages
Condominiums are usually conveniently located in places like downtown locations, or within walking distance of public transports, restaurants, shopping, schools, and medical facilities. It also gives a sense of security to many people who feel safer having close neighbors. This is especially true when some condos are heavily guarded with security guards, buzzers and gates with security codes. 


Low maintenance sounds like not the case when you need to pay more or less half a dollar per square foot but trust me, it is. You are paying a low maintenance price to get things like plumbing taken care of.  Moreover, you don’t have to worry about mowing your front law or backyard or taking care of the common area. The area under your own administration is just too limited which is a good thing.

Amenities are a good selling point for condos. Most places offer many types of amenities like a lifestyle gym, pool, playground and grocery stores. Not forgetting a close community goes by the name of condominium association. Each owner is a part of this association. The association has an elected board that is responsible for repairs and maintenance issues, along with enforcing policies or bylaws. They handle disputes between neighbors as well. 

Last but not least, you can pretty much lock the door and go whenever you feel like getting out of city for a vacation. Your condo is much less likely to get broken into because of the security condominium offer. More often than not, your condo will be located in the heart of the town or city or even close to great shopping center and restaurant allowing you to enjoy the life a little better.

You Can’t Have It All
Of course not everything can go in your favor especially when you as the unit owner never owns the land underneath them or around them. You will only own the space between the walls of your condo. Common areas are shared with others in the neighborhood. There is little storage space and bedroom does not typically exceed 3 per condo. The space is not too large either. Sometimes the rooms and restrooms are small. Consider how much space is needed in the home. Consider how much time will be spent in each room. 

Sometimes there is not a lot of privacy. Sharing a wall means hearing the neighbors’ next doors from time to time. Another thing to keep in mind is that condominium corporations can impose numerous monthly fees. Some of the fees may cater for electricity but more often than not, they will only include building insurance and property maintenance. The amount of the fees depend on the square footage of your condo so the bigger the unit, the higher the fees you will pay. In some instances, the fees can runs you an extra RM 500 per month. If moving from a home to a condo, the association might come across as weak. It is made up of homeowners not property-management professionals. At times they have been known to be inefficient. In addition, renovations of a personal unit might need the approval of the association. 

There you go on the many pros and cons of staying in a high rise like condominiums. When you are on the hunt for the perfect condominiums, consider everything involved from the location, security, parking spaces, layout of the unit and more. Fret not, I’m not asking you to go condo by condo to check all these out, you just need to visit property portal like PropertyGuru to look for condominiums for sale and you can get all the information hassle free.

 

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Ways You Can Help People With Cancer

A diagnosis of cancer can change a person’s life and turn their world upside down on the spot. In some cases, the diagnosis is not severe and the problem can be handled with medication or surgery. But then there are those cases where the outcome is not as certain and the future is not so guaranteed. People who get told that they have cancer are always in need of support and assistance, and there are plenty of ways that you can help.

Get Involved With An Active Group
Many churches do cancer crusades where they raise money and awareness for the need to fight this deadly disease. Sometimes getting involved with a group that is focused on helping with a problem can give you the determination you need to help. It can be difficult to really understand what cancer patients need from day to day, but being part of a crusade will help you to maintain contact with the people who need help the most.

Be Part Of A Support Group
Support groups are made up of a wide variety of people who want to help cancer patients to handle the day to day pressure of fighting such a disease. The misconception is that you must have some kind of experience with cancer to be part of a support group. The truth is that anyone who cares and wants to lend a shoulder for patients to lean on is welcome.

Visit Patients In The Hospital
You do not have to be a pro athlete or celebrity to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients. If you want to help brighten a cancer patient’s day, then arrange with the hospital to bring flowers or balloons and maybe a song to sing to help patients out. You may not be a doctor offering treatment, but you are doing the next best thing by giving patients something else to focus on for a while.

Be Active In Fundraising
Cancer fundraising groups can always use more volunteers to help bring in funds and get the word out to the public. If you want to help, all you need to do is volunteer your services to a local cancer fundraising group.

It is normal to want to help cancer patients, but not everyone knows how to get involved. Sometimes all it takes is a little of your time to make a big difference in the life of someone suffering from a horrible disease.

 

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Preventing Eczema Naturally

Our 3 girls had eczema on their faces during the first 6 months of their lives.  Alycia’s eczema flare-ups were the worst of the 3 girls. Being a first time new mom, I trusted our pediatricians fully.  They prescribed her with hydrocortisone cream and sure enough, the eczema would be tamed quickly as it contains steroid. But the moment I stopped applying the cream, the eczema would flare up again. It hurt me just as much as it hurt my babies to see their faces (especially on the chin and around the mouth) covered with patches of raw and red itchy skin.

Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis is a very common skin disorder in young children and even in adults.  Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition that commonly starts during infancy and continues through into childhood. Some people outgrow the condition while some people will continue to have it into adulthood.  Thankfully our girls outgrew eczema pretty quickly.

If your child or know of any child suffering from eczema, you may wish to introduce hydrogen infused water into his/her diet. The product is 100% safe even for babies and children.

Also do note that for eczema, if you have been on steroidal creams, it takes a longer time to heal as there is increased amounts of toxins within the body.  I have been told that if you truly do heal your gut, you CAN heal from eczema or at the very least keep it very controlled. Get rid of toxins from your body and your guts will heal.

Whilst hydrogen water can nourish and heal the body, if you keep abusing your body with junk, then of course you have to keep consuming more nutrients to fight off more free radicals, isn’t it? Common sense, right?  So eat clean, stave off stress (try ok!), get sufficient sleep and stop putting crap into your body. If you have been battling eczema all your life, maybe it’s time you re-look at your diet and lifestyle. Do a spring cleaning and revamp your diet and lifestyle and I am sure your eczema flare-ups will be gone or at the very least be reduced.

Here’s a little boy who had chronic eczema on his face. After consuming 1 packet of hydrogen infused water for 6 months and eliminating trigger foods from his diet, he now has tofu smooth baby skin. I am so happy for him and his mummy!

Image may contain: 2 people, baby

With permission from Patsy.

To find out more about the said product, please email shireenyong@gmail.com

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Living Hope Charity Bazaar 2016

We spent our Sunday morning at The School @ Jaya One to attend the Living Hope charity bazaar.  Living Hope is a non-governmental organisation for poor children. They hold charity bazaars every year to raise funds for the less fortunate children.

With over RM400 worth of coupons to spend, courtesy of the girls’ grandaunt, we bought cookies, cakes, Nyonya kuih, kaya, Cube tarts, nasi lemak, noodles, coconut jelly, soy bean green tea pudding, chicken curry, Thai beef and Pokemon toys.

We bought cheese cake and orea cake from this stall @ RM20 for two.

Also bought sesame seed cookies and almond cookies from Auntie Mey’s stall.  Love the homemade cookies from this stall as they are not sweet.

My roller skate girl clutching on to her pack of nasi lemak. This fiery girl can really eat spicy stuff but I have to clamp down on her intake of spicy food which stimulates her bladder.

The girls bought quite a bit of Pokemon plushies and Poke balls as souvenirs and gifts for their friends.  Remember I wrote about how disappointed Cass was when she didn’t get to buy or redeem any Pokemon plushies at our church charity bazaar about 3 weeks ago? Well, she finally got her Pokemon plushies this time. She left the bazaar a very happy camper.

The problem with the bazaar is that there was no proper place to sit and enjoy the food.  The gourmand hubs spotted this restaurant at the bazaar area and quickly got a table for us to place our loot. Then ordered more food!

 

Part of the girls’ Pokemon loot… and they bought more later.

Pokemon is the big Princess’ first love. She first got obsessed with them when she was eight.  Five years down the road and she still loves them Pokemon!

My foodie hubs ordered beef noodles, chee cheong fun and char koay teow from Lameeya.

Drama Queen and the big Princess are really chummy these days. They have so many things to talk about from school to diva to even politics! Last night I overheard them talking about the Clinton – Trump election!  They are both just as excited as our friends in the US on the outcome.

Dashing dance performance by some kids at the bazaar…

After attending the bazaar, we visited a close friend in the hospital who had just undergone a surgery.  I brought along packets of Izumio for her. This is our second visit in two weeks visiting friends in the hospitals down with kidney ailments.

 

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