Monday, October 28, 2013

What my two mothers taught me

No, my dear father did not re-marry. And at this very moment, my parents are enjoying growing old together.

Anyway, my workaholic mum once told me that I could be anybody - a doctor (which got me dreaming to be a gynaecologist), a teacher (which inspired me to be a tutor in school), or a nurse (which turned me off completely). Anyways, her reminders are still loud and clear that whoever I choose to be, whichever job I end up with - be the best at it.

“Yes, even if you end up being a janitor,” she would say, “be the best janitor ever.”

My mum taught me to study hard (2.5 decades ago, there wasn’t such a thing as work smart) and work hard for a brighter future. As much as I am prescribed with short-sightedness, back then my vision was truly as far as my arm's length. I couldn’t see that far off to a bling-bling future. What I did see was studying hard and getting scholarships every semester to help lessen my parents’ financial burden. So I made it my goal and nailed it.

Lesson from my mum: I can have anything, so long as I set a goal and fight for it.

My go-getter personality is balanced out by what I learn from observing my homemaker mum (in law). She teaches me about patience and making peace, and while career is important, so is family.

I think her “kungfu” in the kitchen does reaffirm the saying that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. But truth is that besides being healthier and cleaner, cooking is one of the languages of love. Some buy jewelries, some pick flowers, some make cards as an excuse to drop by. Hence, I bake (sometimes).

And by taking care of the family, you learn more about each family member - their likes and dislikes, their personalities and moods. And by understanding their behavioural patterns, you can be more than just a wife or a mother or a grandmother. You can be a friend whom they can turn to... No wonder mothers (in general), they can sniff you out in an instant.

Lesson from my mum (in law): I can have anything, but if I don’t, I still have my family to fall back to.

Of course, I’ve learned a lot more than this work-life balance from two of my mothers. This is merely one piece of the overflowing nuggets of wisdom I’ve pocketed so far, and still pocketing. *blessed*

Here's to my awesomest mothers and all the great mothers around the world… you are the queen of my heart!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

How to eat clean with sweet potato

Honestly, I'm not much of a cook. The thing I dislike most is cleaning up after. Not just the dishes, but the floor. OMG! The floor feels yucky, but cleaning up has to be done anyways, after a tiring cooking feat.

Hence I resort to steaming and oven-baking. My meals may look as if it took me hours of hardwork in the kitchen to prepare them but truth is, all are prepared under 45 minutes, and sometimes a mere 15 minutes.

Many of you asked about the oven-baked potato or sweet potato.

Oven-baked sweet potato

A friend or a page posted it on Facebook and I thought it was easy enough to make.

Sweet potatoes or potatoes
Extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 200 degree Celsius.
2. Clean to potatoes thoroughly Remove skin to your preference.
3. Slice the potatoes (as thin or thick to your preference).

I place a chopstick next to the potato so that I don't slice it all the way down.

4. Rub the potato with a pinch of salt.
5. Place on a baking pan and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil.
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, the longer you bake, the crispier the outside of the potato.
7. Allow it to cool and enjoy!

Simple or what, right?!?!

While the potatoes are in the oven, you can prepare the main dish. In my previous post on making Fish 'n Chips, I sliced the sweet potatoes into strips to make them look like chips/fries.

The other evening while the potato was already in the oven, I made a simple Garlic Shrimp Steak, just because I have left over shrimps from my attempt to cook Fish 'n Chips.

Garlic shrimp steak

3 cloves of garlic (sliced)
2 eggs
Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce

1. Season the prawns with Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce and garlic.
2. Boil the eggs until cook. Drain and let it cool.
3. Drizzle a pinch of salt over broccoli and steam until cook.
4. Put the prawns into the cooker and steam until cook.
5. Shell off the eggs and serve together with the cooked items.

Even after cooking the main, I still had more than enough time to slice up 2 pears for dessert. So dinner was served within 40 minutes. I believe we all have 40 minutes to spare to cook for ourselves or our family. Because they deserve this littlest touch of love. Try it and tell me what you think.

Enjoy cooking and have a great weekend with your family!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Eat clean without cleaning out your wallet

In general, healthy eating quickly reflects higher expenses. While it may be true if you opt for organic produce, leading a healthy lifestyle doesn't necessarily clean out your wallet.

I grocery-shop at AEON and all in all, it amounts to about RM6-RM7 per meal (including snacks: fruits, baked sweet potatoes and 3 loaves of banana bread). That amount may be the same as if we lunch at coffee shops with drinks, without fruits or banana bread. Imagine how much more you'd be spending at fast food or restaurants.

I'm still rather new in clean eating and I'm still looking for new recipes weekly to keep our meals creatively balanced. For now, half of each prepped meal is vegetables, a quarter of protein and a quarter of protein, complete with a serving of fruit.

Last week's recipe was brown rice with baked garlic chicken, steamed carrots and broccoli.

Rectangular lunchbox for him - bigger portion of everything

This week calls for brown rice with everything steamed - purple cabbage, carrots, broccoli and garlic chicken.

Square lunchbox for me

The accompanying fruits (not shown) for brunch/preworkout snacks are bananas (1 whole per serving) or dragon fruits (a quarter per serving) or pear (halved per serving) or grapes (12 pieces per serving).

We decided to dine like the royals once a week, so I made this for one of our dinners this week. Well that was my excuse because I was craving for fish 'n chips *wink* It tasted nothing like fish 'n chips but I think my mind managed to pull a few strings and I was satisfied with this steamed peppered salmon (750g) and shrimps (2 pieces) with steamed vegetable sides (recycled from lunchbox) and baked sweet potato (as chips).

Homecooked at approximately RM7.50 or maybe RM8 only.

Giving. I think it runs in my blood. My family finds joy in being able to offer food to others. Whenever my mum cooks petai curry or any of her signature dishes, at least 3 of her friends/our neighbours will savour a share, and my dear sister will never fail to treat us lunch/dinner whenever we meet to catch up.

I believe that the people who give you their food, give you their heart. To the many friends and family members whom I have cooked or baked for, thank you for putting up with my occasional imperfect servings. I give you my heart - rare, medium and well-done.

Happy serving and enjoy eating!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cravings for health

I have a sweet tooth. An extremely sweet tooth. Like, I would shamelessly attack the dessert line first at buffets.

The thing is, I started clean eating last week and my body is not as strong as my will. And I'm craving for sugar.

I had wanted to bake the regular moist banana chocolate chip muffin which calls for ingredients such as chocolate chips, butter and milk. But it will not serve my current health/fitness goals.

So I opt for the low sugar, low fat wholemeal banana prune bread.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
4 ripe bananas, mashed (I use DOLE bananas)
100g pitted prunes (I use Sunsweet)
2 cups organic wholemeal bread flour (I use Radiant Whole Food)
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
*I got all the ingredients from AEON, Queensbay Mall.

1. Preheat oven to 175 degree Celsius.
2. Grease the baking pan with extra virgin olive oil.
3. Mix sugar, oil and egg until creamy.
4. Add mashed banana.
5. Fold in flour, baking soda and salt.
6. Stir until completely smooth.
7. Scoop the batter into the baking pan.
8. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the inserted cake tester comes out clean.
9. Allow it to cool before removing from pan.

Perfect as breakfast or tea time snack ;)

Now who says clean eating is tasteless and unappetising?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

L'Occitane releases the all-new Immortelle Divine Lotion

I have to admit... I love, LOVE L'Occitane products after my first encounter with the brand. Mostly for being made from natural ingredients.

Some of us, bloggers and media, were honoured to be invited to the casual meet-the-press session and tour the new L'Occitane boutique at Gurney Paragon.

After the luncheon and introduction of the brand, company and the recently launched Immortelle Divine Lotion, we were impressed with their generosity of presenting us full-sized products for use-and-review!

Can't wait to use them all... and slow down my skin's aging. I hope this will not be just another affair but will develop into a worthy relationship.

Stay tuned for the review but in the meantime, if you have been thinking of trying L'Occitane products, today (12 Oct 2013) is the day! Because their Grand Opening specials at Gurney Paragon ends today. Or if you're loyal lover of L'Occitane, get more out of the promotions today.

The outlet is located on Level 2. I'm not sure which wing or zone, but you'll find it if you walk one round, nearer to the side where Debenhams is.

Happy shopping!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Find your balance

As a little girl, I had always dreamt to be thin. I started the no-food diet from as young as 10 (as vain as I was!). Then, there was the weight rebound when I started to eat normal again.

Oh, on a side note (lucky me!), I was at my heaviest and "roundest" self when I met my then bf, now husband.

Anyway, over the years as a teenager, I developed gastric and constipation from the inconsistent eating habits. Those health issues became so much a part of my life that I thought it was normal. It was until I met Herbalife that my health took a turn to better. In the process of getting healthier, my weight did too. So if you ask me if Herbalife works, I would say yes. After all, it's a nutritious drink.

But if like me (I don't believe in luck, I believe in hardwork), you prefer something more conventional and challenging and if you have the time, why not invest in fitness?

It doesn't need to be a gym membership, it can be running in the park/beach, hiking the mountain/hill, swimming in the pool, training in your garden, walking/running up the staircase, lifting bags of rice/sand or Yoga/Pilates on YouTube... whichever fits your schedule and your liking.

It's a great pasttime, a healthier hangout option, it may give you the curves and develops the stamina (depending on the type of training) that no diet plans nor pills nor meal replacements ever will.

Try it for 30 days consistently and tell me if it didn't make you feel better in any way ;) *mwah*

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