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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Back In Ipoh

We're back in Ipoh yesterday with 9 people in the MPV (my parents and younger bro, hubs and me, the mil and our 3 girls), traveling from KL to Ipoh 😃

The moment we hopped into the car, we have been eating non-stop - our first stop was at Rawang where we tucked into some yummy Ba Kut Teh, which cost us a bomb - close to RM300 for  9 pax, expensive?  We had Ipoh 'Ngar Choi Kai' for dinner. Breakfast this morning was all my favorite food since my childhood days from the Kg Simee wet market. 😋😋  From morning through noon, we have been snacking non-stop. I'm glad the holidays will come to an end soon, which gives me the motivation to start exercising again 💪💪  Yup, I have been slacking a wee bit in my exercise regimen ever since the school holidays to catch up on my much needed beauty sleep 💁

Below - the girls lending my dad a helping hand with the laundry.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Whatsapp Message

The hubs had bought some Christmas decor for his catering events. Cass saw the cute decor and sent a Whatsapp message to her dad to ask if she could keep the decor.

I can't stop laughing each time I read their conversation.   Check out their conversation on Whatsapp below 😁

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I have retyped their conversation here for your ease of reading...

Cass - Dad, take these ok?

Dad - Who? (are you)

Cass - Somebody...

Dad - Who? (are you)

Cass - The cheekiest one

Dad - I know the naughty one

Cass - No. You are only naughty and fat.

Dad - 😡

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

I Found Her!

For years I have been searching for my erstwhile roomie, CC on Facebook but to no avail.  I first met CC when I was 18 and she was 19. That was in early 1991. We both stayed at the college hostel along Jalan Yap Kwan Seng for a week but the environment in the hostel was so terrible that we packed our bags and looked for another place to stay.  We both shared a tiny room in a double storey terraced house in Jalan Ipoh.  If you have been following my blog, you would have read my stories on my 6 years stay with Madam Yap, the landlady of the house.

CC was my best friend for almost 2 years. She was my confidante.  We did everything together. We would walk to the bus stop on some mornings to catch mini bus no. 10 to college. On some afternoons, we would take the same mini bus back to our rented room.  Our favorite mini bus song then was 'Joyride' by Roxette.  Every evening, we would walk to a nearby stall to eat 'chap fan' (mixed economy rice). We shared our fruits, our junk food, we laughed, we did homework on a small rectangular foldable table together every night and slept on two mattresses on the floor every night.   CC is amiable and easy to confide in. It is not easy to live with a stranger but we just hit it off and hardly fought.

The last time we met was in December 1992.  I had taken a bus to Kluang, Johor to visit her. We then took a bus to Singapore and had a short holiday there. That was it - 24 years ago. I can't recollect if we had met or contacted each other after that.  All I know is that she went to the UK for further studies.

In recent years, I often thought of CC.  I remembered our bitter sweet 2 years staying together. I really missed her.  Whenever I had time on hand, I would type in her name (in all order that I can possibly think of) on Facebook to search for her but it was like searching for a needle in a haystack.

Last night, one of my customers informed me that she had sent me a Facebook friendship request. These days, I am not sure why I don't receive email notification anymore from Facebook each time someone sends me a friendship request on Facebook. When I went to my Facebook page setting on friendship requests, I saw a name very similar to CC's.  I clicked on the name but could not find any familiar photos.  CC ain't active on Facebook, thus the lack of update on her page.  I accepted the request anyway. Within minutes, I received messages from CC.  We were both SO SO SO overjoyed and excited that we had found each other!  CC had also been searching for me for years.   I am not going to lose contact with her anymore. Good friends are hard to come by and I'll treasure this one forever.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Shopping

We spent our Sunday fun day at The Gardens Mall and Mid Valley Megamall yesterday to do some last-minute shopping for Christmas gifts yesterday.  Traffic into Mid Valley was horrendous as expected.  But we were lucky as hubs found a spot to park almost immediately  upon entry into the car park ✌   Brunch was dimsum at Han Room and we had an almost 30-minute wait for a table.

The Christmas decor at Mid Valley Megamall this year is pretty enchanting.  When we were there, we caught a bedazzling Christmas carol performance with the singers dressed up to the nines in gowns.

Mid Valley Megamall

After 3 hours of shopping and calorie burning (I love love shopping coz I burn calories while indulging in my hobby!), we were hungry again, though we've had a heavy brunch just hours earlier 😆.  We had a very early dinner at Alexis where the adults tucked into local spicy delights and the girls walloped a large pizza themselves. I told you that they are piranhas in disguise, didn't I? 😨

Our big princess had her socks knocked off when her dad bought her a pair of Nike shoes of her choice!  That pair of shoes cost much, much more than my shoes and must be her most expensive pair of shoes ever!  It's her belated birthday present - for officially entering teenagehood 💗

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Homemade Pancakes By The Girls

Someone was craving to eat pancakes since days ago. So she asked Drama Queen if she would like to make some pancakes on Saturday.  Drama Queen couldn't be happier to undertake another masak-masak session in the kitchen!  😋😜  While Drama Queen was at the tuition center in the morning, the someone googled for some fluffy pancake recipes and got ready the ingredients. Once Drama Queen was back home, the 3 sisters started their pancake-making project without further delay coz someone was super duper hungry 😆

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The 'head chef' supervising her 2 charges at work...

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This time, the girls got the pancakes right. They were fluffy and pillowy and not burnt. They tasted as good as the ones sold at cafes. Good job girls!! 💪

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Can you see how pillowy and soft the pancakes are?

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Carbo and sugar overload oh gawd!!  Can you see the ice-creams and maple syrup on the table to go with the pancakes? Gawwwwwwd!!!

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The girls had great fun and bonding in the kitchen while I sat back and relaxed and surfed the internet on my relaxing Saturday. I can now entrust Drama Queen 80% with supervising her 2 sisters in the kitchen for teeny weeny cooking and baking projects 😉😁

Friday, December 16, 2016

Ostrich Egg

I had seen ostrich eggs from books and TV but had never seen and felt a real one before until recently, at age 43!  When the girls' grand aunt showed me an ostrich egg that she bought recently from an ostrich farm, I was awestruck.  The ostrich egg looks like a ball and the shell is very hard and plasticky, as if it had been coated with a layer of paint or shellac...

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The seller drilled a hole on the tip of the egg and sealed it with masking tape, so that pouring out the egg for cooking is made easier.

It would require about 60 - 90 minutes in order to hard-boil one of these monstrous eggs, which weighs about 3 pounds (1.4kg) each.  At 2,000 plus calories per egg, it takes about 15 peckish adults to finish 1 ostrich egg.  And you'll probably need a chisel or electric drill to break the shell too as it is very hard!

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Ostrich eggs are proved to be a healthier alternative to chicken eggs. When cooked, these eggs are fluffy in texture and mildly sweet in flavour.  Besides their common use in decorations and other artistic creativities, they make for some excellent baking items like pastries and egg dishes.

Health benefits of ostrich eggs:

1) Ostrich eggs are much lower in cholesterol than chicken eggs, and a little lower in saturated fat, making them a healthier choice

2) Ostrich eggs serve to be a much better heart protector with raised amount of omega-3-fats.

3) These eggs are rich in magnesium and iron.

4) Despite being the largest edible egg (one ostrich egg is equivalent to approximately 24 chicken eggs!), you get only 1/6th the times of calories than chicken eggs.

5) The best part is that you get enough fiber as an added bonus.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Jungle Retreat @ Ratu Rening Residency (10 - 12 Dec 2016)

Our jungle retreat at Ratu Rening Residency over the weekend was the girls' first ever wilderness adventure stay. We were upclose and personal with  nature for 3 days 2 nights. There were bitter sweet moments but more sweet than bitter :)

Our family and friends (total 17 of us) stayed at Ratu Rening Residency, which is an Air BNB villa. We had never heard of this place before and had initially planned to rent an Air BNB bungalow in Fraser's Hill but it was fully booked. So the next Air BNB property available that met all our busy schedules was at Ratu Rening Residency.   We had no frigging idea what we would be expecting nor where this place was. What enticed us were the charming pictures of the rustic villa set in a forest reserve in Ulu Yam, Batang Kali (near Genting Highlands).   We had no idea that this stay would be like a camping trip... but in style.  We read from the Ratu Rening Residency Facebook page that there are only 2.5 bathrooms for the 17 of us and this dampened my enthusiasm right from the start, to be honest.  Despite the inconvenience and creepiness of having to walk up and down slippery steps in the rain in the forest at 1am, 3am and 7am to visit the bathroom, we enjoyed ourselves very much, especially the kids.  Cass was terrified of all the jungle insects that stayed with us in the bedroom and bathrooms throughout our stay there.  On the bright, Cass had sort of overcome her phobia of flying insects as she had no choice but to sleep on a bed with visiting insects, as well as to pee, poo and bathe in a bathroom with lizards, moths, ants, dragon flies, jungle roaches and other insects all over! hahaha!

Enjoy the pix that we took during our stay at Ratu Rening...

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The gazebo-like hut on the left is an open bedroom (much like a luxurious tent with Jap style bed).  Our couple friend took up the challenge and occupied the bedroom. I bet they had a great time enjoying some suspense in the open :D

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We had to cross this jiggly bridge to get to the kitchen and bathroom from our bedroom... even when it rained.  However, umbrellas are provided.

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Fruit platter - some of the them were provided by the host.

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Kids playing badminton outside the villa...

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On the right is an open bathroom. When it rained, we had to shower in the rain!  We had to cross the bridge from our bedroom to use this bathroom.

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The kids had a blast playing 'masak-masak' cooking eggs and instant noodles.
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K helping the kids retrieve a frisbee from the pond.

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The water looks muddy but the kids and adults couldn't resist jumping inside to swim. Thankfully, no one had itchy body after the dip.

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The hubs was the cook throughout our stay there. He brought along an MPV loadful of food and essentials to last us for 3 days.  Everyone enjoyed his superb BBQ ribeye steak, lamb chops, chicken chops, prawns, sausages, etc.

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Almost ready for dinner...

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View at around 6ish pm...

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View around 7ish pm... we occupied the bedroom on top. Below is another bathroom, which we had to climb down some steep steps to reach. It was a hassle at night and especially in the wee hours of the morning when it rained and the steps were really slippery.  On the left is another open bedroom, which another adventurous couple occupied.

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The kids enjoying their BBQ dinner and indulging in lots of forbidden food - sausages, instant noodles, fried nuggets, fries, chips M&Ms and other junk haha!

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My dinner, cooked by my man...

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My big princess helping to wash the dishes. Really a rare moment for her to wet her royal fingers in dish washing liquid ha!  But everyone had to help out during our stay there.

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The adults enjoying a sumptuous BBQ dinner while it drizzled. It was pretty chilly that night with lots of jungle insects joining in the fun with us!

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Drama Queen helping to cook...

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Supper was super spicy Korean Udong noodles where the kids and adults had a 'spicy noodles challenge'.

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The kids had a funtastic time in the wilderness, albeit the discomfort of having to queue up to use the bathrooms, walking in the forest in the wee hours of the morning in the rain to use the toilet, sleeping with annoying insects on our beds and a grueling 3-hour hike to a magnificent waterfall.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Kitchen Helper

Thank God for Drama Queen. Without her, I would have to slog even longer in the hot and humid kitchen each day. Wish I can say the same for the other 2 girls, who prefer to do their own things instead of helping out every evening. Each day I would have to holler at them to come and help out, like today. And all the big girl and littlest one did was to help me peel the shells off 6 hard-boiled eggs. That's it. Can you beat that, can you?! And to them, it's a big deal *shake head*!!!

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On days when Drama Queen is in a cooking mood, she would help me to cook the rice, soak the vegetables, chop /slice / grate the vegetables, cut spring onions and lime leaves, peel garlic and onions, fry omelette and saute the meat.  I wish our kitchen was bigger so that I can drag the other 2 girls into the kitchen too, to do the rest while I put my legs up, sit on my massage chair under the fan, do my own work and just holler at them, giving them instructions to do this and that. I am very good at delegating jobs. But dream on la...

Monday, December 5, 2016

My Precious Baby Is Officially A Teenager Today!

I can't believe my eldest, a precious baby, officially turns 13 today!  Since yesterday, I have been relating the blow by blow account of how Alycia was 'created' to the girls, who were totally amused, albeit hearing the story umpteen times. From the day the hubs and I went to see the fertility specialist to the day Alycia was delivered, the girls couldn't get enough of the beautiful story :)

5 Dec 2003 will always be the happiest day of my life.  Alycia is the baby that I longed for so badly.  The sound of her first cry was the most mellifluous sound to me.  My pregnancy was fraught with never ending problems, threats, worries and loads of jabs and meds. I was very negative and moody throughout my pregnancy. I was also put on bed-rest for several months and had to take no pay leave from work. But when I saw Alycia for the first time, all the pain that I went through just melted away.  Alycia is the most beautiful baby I had ever seen and she still is beautiful up until now.

Below - Alycia only a few hours old with me, the happiest mum in the whole wide world.  Check out her deep dimple. She has a very deep dimple on each side of her cheeks. Her skin was white as snow, lips were red as rose bud and she had blond hair as a baby. She's just perfect from head to toe.

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Our simple celebration for her today was at BRU Cafe. We chose this cafe simply because Alycia is a pizza lover and BRU has one of the best pizzas in town.

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Baked escargot and pasta...

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Two types of pizzas...

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Seafood pasta...

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Lamb chop...

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Happy birthday to you my precious baby girl. I know you hate it each time I call you precious baby but you will always be daddy and mummy's precious baby girl, Alycia. You will also always be your grandparents most adored first granddaughter, their pride and joy.

Dearest Alycia, may God bless you with good health, wisdom, obedience and happiness always. I know you'll be reading this post ;)  Smile :D  xoxo

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Homecooked Mee Siam / Tomyam Noodles

I cooked mee siam / Tomyam noodles for the first time recently and I must say that it was a huge success. So yummy was the mee siam that I must claim that it is my signature dish now :D

Mee siam is everyone's favorite in our house.  This recipe is a stunning showstopper that is not too difficult to prepare if you are not in a rush.

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Refer to written directions at the end of this post. Pictures come first...

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1) 1 packet of Way brand Tomyam paste
2) Taucheong - around 1 tablespoon
3) Chopped garlic
4) Chopped shallots / onions
5) Carrot - julienned / sliced thinly
6) Tofu pok - 1 packet and cut thinly
7) Sugar to taste
8) Salt to taste
9) Chicken fillet - marinated with Thai fish sauce and pepper
10)  Eggs
11) Cooking oil
12) Dried shrimps (har mai) - blitzed in blender
13) Kaffir lime leaves - cut thinly
14) Bunga kantan and lemon grass - I did not manage to get these 2 items. If you can get hold of them, the mee siam will taste even better.
15) Kaffir lime - for the juice

1)  Fry the eggs and remove from the wok
2)  Pan fry the chicken fillet and remove from the wok
3)  Blanch the meehoon / vermicelli in another pot for about a minute. Remove from the pot of water.
4)  Brown the garlic, shallots and ground dried shrimps (har mai)
5)  Add in the entire packet of Way Tomyam paste and mix with the garlic and shallots
6)  Add water, sugar and salt and let simmer for about 15 minutes
7)  Add in the tofu pok and let the tofu pok soak in the sauce. That will take 10-15 minutes.
8)  Add in the meehoon into the sauce and using a spatula and pair of chopsticks, mix the meehoon well with the sauce.
9)  Add in the julienned carrots and kafir lime leaves and cover with the meehoon for about 1 minute.
10) Add in the cooked chicken fillet and fried eggs and mix everything well.
11) Add in the kafir lime juice and mix well.
12) Plate up, decorate and serve immediately.

You can go to You Tube and watch how mee siam is cooked. Visual helps a lot for me.

My mee siam recipe is tweaked from a few recipes that I googled.  It tastes like a million dollars and yet is pretty simple to make and made with ingredients that are inexpensive and easily available. I can't wait to cook this again. Now you really got to try cooking this too!