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Friday, August 31, 2012

Women’s Vitamins

My very first online purchase was made about 10 years ago, out of desperate means of trying to conceive and battling with severe hormonal imbalance. I had ordered some women’s vitamins from the internet after reading about how effective it was to restore my wacky hormones. After popping the first bottle, I saw some positive results. Instead of getting menses about once every 4-5 months, I was getting my menses almost every month. I ordered a few more bottles of women’s vitamins to pop and also tried Vitamin ACE to rid the sudden acne which erupted on my face, especially on the chin. While the vitamins helped to prevent the symptoms of the problems that plagued me, the root of the problem was still not discovered and treated. And my weight was eerily creeping up though I was on diet. I suspected something was seriously wrong inside me.

Towards the end of 2001, I made my first visit to a gynae, who performed an ultrasound scan of my ovaries. The diagnosis blew me away when the doctor told me that I was suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and this was the reason why I only had menses about 3-4 times a year, had those big acne on my chin, was gaining weight for no reason and most critically, could not get pregnant. For those of you who are regular readers of my blogs, you would have read the sequence of events leading from that visit to this gynae, that changed my life.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Of Lunch Bags And School Canteen

Rascal #2 has an appetite as big as a horse! She eats more than rascal #1 and even me. Almost everyday, I pack 3 - 4 slices of bread with homemade kaya (coconut jam) into her lunch box and yet, she has been telling me that she is still hungry during recess. On most days, she will still buy something else from the school canteen. I suspect she is sharing her food with her buddies, hence she does not have enough food to eat, knowing this little social butterly of mine.

Here, I have packed 2 thick slices of homemade pandan chiffon cake, 3 pieces of Tiger Susu biscuits and 1 packet of chocolate flavored milk into her lunch bag. Yet, this rascal came home and told me that she was still hungry and spent RM1 to buy fried rice. RM1 fried rice? That cheap!?  I can imagine that the fried rice is heavily flavored with MSG to 'lure' kids to keep buying them. My girls love the RM1 fried rice and RM1 maggie mee (fried instant noodles) sold in their school canteen. Sometimes they buy nuggets too. And I wonder why their school is still allowing the sale of fried nuggets and sausages when I had read from the recent newspapers that the Health Ministry is banning the sale of such junks in school canteens!?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Visit to Sam Poh Tong Caves, Ipoh

I finally made it a point to bring the girls to visit Sam Poh Tong Caves during our recent trip back to Ipoh.  This place sure brought back a flood of sweet memories for me. I remember very vividly that dad would bring the whole family, including my late maternal granny to the temple in Sam Poh Tong to pray and to eat vegetarian food on the first day of CNY. This was the norm during CNY for many years and I remember how packed the place was with people during CNY.  And I remember vividly feeding the tortoises with kangkong (water spinach) at the compound inside the caves every year during CNY when I was younger. Every year too, my brothers and I would drop some coins into a Wishing Well next to the tortoise enclosure and I would make a long list of wishes. Sadly, when we were there, the Wishing Well was filled with trash and it's a shame that the maintenance of the tortoise pond area is in shambles .

Sam Poh Tong, discovered in 1912, is a Chinese Buddhist Temple within a natural limestone hill.

Sam Poh Tong Caves, Ipoh with beloved granny

The Angels watching tortoises. A small pathway inside the cave leads to a tortoise pond where feeding is allowed if you purchase some "Kangkong" vegetables at the entrance. This place brings back sweet memories of my childhood :)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dad's 69th Birthday Dinner @ Kok Thai Restaurat, Tasek, Ipoh

Every year, we would make it a point to travel back to Ipoh to celebrate dad's birthday.  On some years, he would decide to travel to KL and celebrate his birthday with us.  This year, we had his birthday dinner at Kok Thai Restaurant in Ipoh.  We tend to pick this restaurant most of the time for birthday celebrations as it is located near my parents' and the food served is good with a reasonable price tag to it.

Our 4-Seasons dish, which is my all-time favorite restaurant dish. For most birthdays and special occasions celebrated at Kok Thai, my dad would be certain to order the 4 Seasons (Sei Yuet Fun) dish. This dish alone costs over RM200. It comprised of baked crabs with cheese, stir fried fresh scallops with asparagus and macadamia nuts, deep fried prawns coated with almond flakes and braised fish maw with baby abalone and baby siew pak choy.

Succulent deep fried prawns coated with almond flakes, which is one of the dishes in the 4-Season dish

Braised fish maw with fish paste, baby abalone, also one of the dishes in the 4-Season dish

Steamed white pomfret fish...

Pork Knuckle with Sea Cucumber, mushrooms and mustard green @ RM12 per bowl.

Longevity Birthday Noodles (Cheong Sau Mein) with long strands and uncut chives. The chives are deliberately not cut and meant to be long to signify long life.

There was also a very crispy and delish deep fried chicken (Sing Lei Kai) but picture was not taken as yours truly could not wait to grab the best part to devour on. Kok Thai serves very delish Sing Lei Kai too.

'Kwai Lin Koh' with Snow Frog Dessert (RM 6 per bowl)

Mirror Chocolate Cake from RT Pastry House, which we bought from KL.  Everyone loved this cake as it ain't too sweet.

Kok Thai Restaurant (Tasek) 国泰酒楼 (打昔)
37-49 Laluan Tasek Perdana, Medan Tasek Perdana, Ipoh, Perak 30010, Malaysia

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

We Are Back From Ipoh!

We're back in KL and here's a picture of part of the goodies from Ipoh!

8 pomeloes, 10 packs of Gunung Rapat Heong Pneah, mooncakes, fruits, 6 bottles of divine homemade  kaya which my parents made (which the girls and I are hooked on), homemade strawberry jam, perishables from the wet market,  etc, etc...

My mil and I spent the whole afternoon and evening unpacking, storing stuff, washing bathrooms and cleaning the house. The girls helped with the laundry - keeping the laundry, hanging out the laundry, folding clothes, keeping clothes and Alycia helped to clean her room. Laundry washing continues tomorrow with a few more loads!

Good Bye Pomeloesville

Our holiday is almost coming to an end. After 3 enjoyable days in my hometown and indulging in glorious Ipoh food, we are heading back to KL today, with a car loadfull of Ipoh goodies to distribute to friends and for own consumption too. My 'To Eat and To Visit List' has not been fully crossed out yet, no thanks to the horrendous human traffic at almost all the well known eateries in Ipoh. It's a norm for road traffic and human traffic to be formed in major roads and well known eateries in Ipoh during major festive holidays. After all Ipoh is the haven for good food, so long queues and traffic jam are not a surprise during such periods. I am praying that the traffic on the highway will be smooth today, with holiday makers and balik kampung makers planning their journey back home on other days this week. Once back in KL, what await me are the house chores and laundry. And I have not been exercising for 4 days already! In times like this, I wish I still have a live-in maid with us to help out.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ishin Japanese Restaurant @ Old Klang Road

We finally managed to get a table at Ishin Japanese Restaurant for lunch, after a couple of unsuccessful trips there. Each time we were at Ishin, it was full-house and the waiting queue was long. This time, we went there a slightly over noon on a Sunday and we needn't have to wait a minute! Situated along Old Klang Road, Kuala Lumpur, Ishin is a fine dining Japanese restaurant that serves genuine Japanese and Kaiseki style cuisines. Ishin is touted to be the first Japanese restaurant in Malaysia to present its menu on iPads! On our table alone, there were 3 iPads for us to browse the menu.

From the moment you step through Ishin's doorway, you'll experience a warm and cozy ambience as Ishin's interior design and lighting will set the mood right to get you started on an exquisite Japanese culinary journey. 

Ishin's oval sushi counter is also one of Malaysia's biggest counters that gives you first-hand experience to witness the chefs' meal preparations and it also encourages face-to-face interaction with the chefs.

Here's what we had:

Tofu salad...

Tempura Soba set.

Unagi Make. The outer layer of green stuff is avocado. I would rate this 6/10.  This is not a patch on the one at Nihon Kai Japanese Restaurant located just a stone's throw away from Ishin. 

Cold Cha Soba for the MIL.

Sukiyaki Zen set.

Tempura Udon set.

Saba Shioyaki for moi who take low or no carb. 

Phoenix  Roll. We find this not up to par in terms of presentation and taste.

And this is our damage:

My angels choosing their lunch from the iPad!

Food rating on HFM's food scale : 6/10
Ambience and cleanliness of restaurant on HFM's scale : 9/10

Would I go again? For this price, I will definitely gravitate towards Nihon Kai Japanese restaurant that is located just a minute's drive from Ishin. They serve tastier and more affordable Japanese food there.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Happy Call Pan Finally!

Most of my blog friends and Facebook friends have a Happy Call Pan (HCP). I have been amazed with what the HCP can cook with minimal oil splatters and wanted to online order one too but kept procrastinating until my mum bought me one when she saw them for sale at a morning market in Ipoh. When she told me about it through Skype, I was doubtful about the authenticity of the HCP. She bought it for me anyway, as a gift (thanks mummy!).  Price of  our HCP is almost the same as the price if ordered online from a website in Singapore.

The first dish that we cooked using the HCP was fried fish. My mil and I both tried our hands with the HCP and  we were both a tad lost on how to use it to fry fish LOL! We both handled the HCP as if it was our new kitchen toy!  Good MIL-DIL bonding too!  I should have gone to You Tube to watch some videos on how to use the HCP first.

That's the outcome of our fried fish.   I am just wondering why the skin wasn't as crispy as it would if pan fried using the conventional  wok or non-stick pan.  Could it be because the lid is covered, thus evaporation is formed and the evaporated water causes the skin not to be crispy?

Summary of Benefits for HappyCall Pan:

  1. No more oily and messy kitchen (It does not spill) 
  2. No more smoke and odour
  3. Cleans easily (No more scrubbing, even better than Tefal) 
  4. Cooks fast. Far Infrared (Yes! Cooking frozen food straight out of freezer!) 
  5. Cook healthier food (Grilled. Less or no oil) 

My review of HCP:
While the HCP helps to keep the kitchen almost free from oil splatters, I find that the pan is too heavy to handle.  My mum got me the biggest size and I find it a tad heavy to turn the pan to the flip-side.  I had to use both my hands to carry the handle to flip the pan to the other side.  Anyway, this is just a minor down side.

What I find really troublesome is washing the pan, especially for those with a small sink in a small kitchen for condo dwellers.  Placing the HCP in the sink to wash is a challenge. As the pan opens up into a V shape, washing it is really tiring for me on our tiny sink.  As it is, the pan is already  very heavy, so turning it back and forth to wash and rinse it zaps my energy! It ain't easy to turn it back and forth to rinse away soap as the opened-up pan is wider than my sink.   The next time I wash the pan, I think I will need to climb onto a stool for better handling of the pan. And oh yes, the rubber strip surrounding the pan needs to be removed for washing too and boy was it greasy and tough to get the oil removed. For someone who absolutely hates to wash dishes (I have very dry skin and dish washing liquid exacerbates the problem), the washing part turns me off in using the pan.

For HCP buffs, do you have a better way of washing and cleaning the HCP?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I Need DHA And Gangliosides too!

As I was reading the Star newspapers in the gym while working out on the Air Walker this morning, I read an interesting ad from Anmum Essential. I read that in order for the brain to function optimally, not only does it need DHA. Our brain needs Gangliosides too. No wonder I have such a terrible memory lately as I have stopped popping on fish oil ever since I stopped breastfeeding Cassandra a year ago. I also find that I cannot think of multiple things at the same time, especially when I am tied down with too many things at the same time. If I do, I tend to have fleeting moments of ‘brief memory lost’! Is this an early symptom of dementia? I hope not. I better fix this problem before I have pre-matured dementia LOL!

I must remember to stock up on some fish oil tabs with high DHA to nourish my aging brain. Or perhaps I should just add a few teaspoons of my daughters’ Anmum Essential into my coffee every morning LOL! Well truth is, I really like the taste of Alycia and Sherilyn’s Anmum Essential milk formula. It tastes very much like the milk powder that I am currently drinking plus it has very high amount of DHA and Gangliosides which gives us the ‘brain power’!

I read that the new Anmum Essential formulation has DHA and Gangliosides levels that are even higher than other brands of GUMP. It has 80% more DHA and 25% more Gangliosides. High amount of DHA alone is not as effective in optimal brain cell function. It is only when Gangliosides is added that the amazing synergy brain cells work optimally, just like how you need Vitamin D to be present with Calcium in order for the body to absorb the calcium more effectively.

If you want to find out more about Anmum Essential, you can hop over to www.anmum.com.my. You will also be able to watch the ad on Anmum Essential in most of the TV and Astro channels. The below video is the TV commercial currently being aired. So make the smart choice with DHA and Gangliosides, specially combined in Anmum Essential. Because, together, great things can happen !


Ginger Almond Thins From Ikea

Ikea's ginger almond thins are by far the tastiest ginger cookies I've ever tasted. I used to buy other brands of imported ginger thins and ginger biscuits but they were all too hard for my liking, as well as my kids. The ginger almond thins (Pepparkaka Mandel) from Ikea is only RM5 a pack and it's made in Sweden, really value for money, iLike!

Even my kids love em to bits! Can't wait to make my next trip to Ikea next month to replenish my stock and to get some for my dad, who likes em too.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

An Open Sandwich For Sherilyn

I have not had the time to prepare interesting dishes for the girls ever since the helper left us about 3 weeks ago. More so for the past one week until now as I want to spend more time to do revision with Alycia who is sitting for her exam this week. When the girls' aunt and cousin from Hong Kong were here last week, revision was put aside for bonding. Now that they have left, it's time to bring the books out and I only had a few hours on Saturday and Sunday to do some quick revision with Alycia.

Several days ago, I prepared this open sandwich for Sherilyn, which took me only several minutes. It's an open sandwich with homemade bread, crunchy meat floss that the MIL bought from Taiwan and mild mayo for kids.

What made Sherilyn beaming with joy was her name written on the bread with mayo.

Sherilyn's lunch : crunchy meat floss mayo open sandwich, organic cherry tomatoes, pink grapefruit yoghurt and fresh coconut water.

Double mayo with her name on the bread - first on the bread, then on the crunchy meat floss, which is Sherilyn's favorite. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Down And Out

The last time I was down with a bout of flu and cough was when I was still breastfeeding Cass about over a year ago.  During my 3 years of  breastfeeding Cass, I was sick many times. I think that's because I was sucked dry of all the nutrients, thus my body was deprived of nutrients and became more susceptible to sicknesses.  Ever since the maid left 2 weeks ago, I have been sleeping even later, have no time to have a power nap in the afternoon and now even have to wake up 20 minutes earlier each day to prepare the 2 older girls for school. Whenever I am lack of sleep, my body's immune system is compromised and I get bitten by flu bugs easier.  First the hubs got it, then Sherilyn, next Alycia, Cass and now me.  I lost my voice about a week ago. Today, I got the flu and my cough is really bad with thick greenish phlegm too. I was terribly exhausted and sleepy last night but I just could not sleep as my throat was irritating me so badly and I was coughing my lungs out!  If I avoid taking meds like I normally do, I am going to suffer for the next 1 week.  And I cannot afford to fall sick given the current situation with no maid and Alycia will be sitting for her exam next week. Oh God, why does it have to pour so badly when it rains?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What Makes Me Happy

What can really make me happy for the whole day is when someone rings my doorbell and hands me some homecooked food, enough to last me not only for one meal but several meals.

This is a bowl of Chinese style stir-fried spaghetti with chicken fillet, squids, baby bak choy, eggs and julienned carrot. The girls' grand-aunt who lives a few floors below ours was kind enough to help me cook and sent it to my doorstep.  I gave her all the raw ingredients and she happily whipped up a big bowl of yummy noodles that was enough to sustain us for 3 lunches. The following day, she helped me whip up a stewed chicken dish.  Now that I have no more live-in helper, using the wok or pan to do stir-frying and deep-frying is a hassle for me. I am a clean freak and who likes a spick and span kitchen that's oil-free. So engaging in frying would mean lots of washing, wiping and moping which I hate. 

On another note, my mil is finally back from Hong Kong. Now, we can all have homecooked food again :D