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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Someone Just Ruined The Mattress!

Ever since she was totally weaned off from bedtime diapers at night when she was 3 years old, she has never had any accidents on her bed at night.  But what happened last night?  When I woke her up at 5:30am this morning, she asked me groggily "mummy, why am I wet?!"   And I went "you PEED in your pants la!"  DUH!   And she just could not believe that she wet herself and kept asking me "why did I pee in my bed ah?"

So I had an extra load of dirty laundry to wash today ... sigh!

The MIL and I lugged the heavy mattress to our tiny balcony to wash it. We carried buckets of water from the bathroom and splashed it on the mattress and used a toothbrush to scrub the mattress.  We could hardly move around in the shoe-box balcony with the mattress propped on a chair.  Luckily, hubs has just asked his staff to bring the soiled mattress to his shop to have it washed again  and sunned thoroughly outdoors.

See girl?  The trouble you put your grandma and mummy through!  I told her that from now onwards she will be barred from drinking water after 9pm. But she told me that she's thirsty at night.   I double-dog dared her to do what her grandma and I had to do to clean up the utter mess and she dared not utter a word back.

So from today onwards, your bed will be like Cass' bed where a plastic sheet will be placed underneath the bedsheet!  Hopefully after this nasty incident, she will subconsciously try harder to hold her pee tightly in her bladder in her sleep, just like how we adults do it.  She slept pretty late last night (around 11ish pm) after dilly dallying in the house (and made me fuming mad!)  and I think she must have been so bone-weary that she totally lost control and woooosh, out came the water-fall of wizz!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Health Freak Cass

On days when I am too busy or lazy to prepare lunch for Cass, I'll pack lunch for her from the nearby coffee shops. Her favorite is mee siam (this fiery girl loves spicy food!) - as shown here...

As the mee siam is pretty simple without much ingredients, I normally prepare some raw veggies like Japanese cucumbers, organic cherry tomatoes and organic alfalfa sprouts. Oh yes, she eats an egg a day too.

Thankfully Cass has no issues chowing alfalfa sprouts now. She used to frown at them but with continuous training from a health freak mom, she's finally acquired the taste of raw sprouts now :)

A Barista’s Best Friend: Understanding Espresso Tampers

Most Americans fond of the uber-popular hot beverage known as the espresso know little beyond how delightful it can taste after a good meal. Yet, there exists a whole science of sorts behind what makes an espresso the drink so many of us love – and it all begins with pressure. A fusion of the pressurized water emanating from the espresso machine, and the resistance caused by what is referred to as an ideally "packed cake" of coffee grinds the water must navigate through to successfully brew, is what’s meant by “pressure” in this case…but this "coming together" of factors to create the perfect cup of coffee is often credited to the espresso tamper.

Why Do We “Tamp”?

A skilled barista, taking a light amount of coffee grinds and transforming them into an evenly-dispersed, tightly-compressed “puck” within the portafilter – where the coffee and water make contact when the beverage is brewing – understands that this process of tamping is necessary. Why? To begin with, the espresso needs to be compacted far enough to create significant room between the top of the coffee and the screen the water pours through from the espresso machine. Once wet, the coffee grounds exhibit a natural tendency to swell a bit, causing a sludgy mess if there’s no proper stopgap.

Secondarily, tamping is necessary because water is generally lazy – that is, it doesn’t want to engage in the difficult task of pushing through that coffee to sap out all the sumptuous magic inside. Indeed, water that's under pressure is even lazier in its habits, and if this element is forced through a loose pile of grinds, it inevitably will be drawn to all the channels, crevices and cracks it can zip through, ultimately avoiding all the good benefits we want it to absorb from the coffee. If those grinds are tightly pressed into a level cake-like formation, the water is left with no alternative but to squeeze through it evenly, all kinds of flavors hitching a ride along the way.

The Supply Chain

With espresso being so popular, not only in the U.S. but around the world, it is something of a no-brainer that a multitude of wholesalers exist to serve the tamper market. One such entity is Espresso Parts, which since 1993 has been supplying café owners, baristas and home brewers with a plethora of tampers and tamping products. Premium coffee drinks can only be served if the barista boasts the necessary tools, industry experience and expertise, and aiding in this are products such as the Compressore Espresso Tamper and Compressore Professional Espresso Tamp, both available in a dizzying range of colors and materials including Bocote Wood, anodized blue, Kino Wood, Walnut Wood and more.

The espresso tamper, one of the most important tools of the coffee-making art, should fit a hand like a glove…after all, tamping remains a major step in preparing that perfect espresso. 

Commercial Fridge

Hospitals, schools and restaurants are just a few of the places that need to have dependable equipment in their kitchens. Because these places are serving food to a large amount of people, they need a commercial fridge that can store a massive amount of food. They also need it to work properly, so all of that food does not go bad. Unfortunately, all commercial equipment is not created alike. The quality of this type of equipment can vary greatly. This is why you need to be very careful who you buy it from. So how do you figure out which suppliers are legit and which to stay away from? Here is where to find commercial kitchen equipment.

1. Talk to other people who manage commercial kitchens
The best place to start your search for commercial kitchen equipment is by talking to people who actually work with it every day. If you talk to some other managers of commercial kitchens, they will be able to tell you where they buy their equipment. They will also be able to tell you if the equipment is dependable, or if it breaks down on a regular basis. Finally, you should find out what they had to pay for each piece of equipment they have. This will give you some idea of how much you will need to spend to get your commercial kitchen up to date.

2. Look at the websites of equipment manufacturers
If you fail to get the amount of references you wanted from the commercial kitchen managers, you can simply start looking around the Internet to see if the websites of any of the manufacturers of these products catch your eye. You will be able to read detailed information about the commercial equipment they sell, as well as look at photos. If you have any questions, you can give the company a call to find out the specifics about each product that you are interested in.

3. Message boards and review sites
These are two more good options. Both message boards and review sites give the average person a chance to chime in with their opinions and reviews for just about everything. You may get lucky and stumble on some reviews of commercial kitchen equipment retailers. If you read some good things about a particular company from a former client, you should make a point of finding out more about that company.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Unique Coupon Codes For Health Freak Mommy Fans!

I can't believe that I missed out announcing in my blogs that Health Freak Mommy turned 8 in April this year! How could I?  Yeah, blame it on busyness again!!  Time really flies and it's sometimes scary knowing that time is zooming past me at lightning speed!  This means that I am also aging at lightning speed, OH NO! My kids are also growing way too fast and soon, they will leave the nest and pursue their ambition.  Oh no, I am feeling a tad corny now -- tissues please!

Anyway... I have some goodies for you, my dear reader :)

In conjunction with Health Freak Mommy's 8th anniversary, I am delighted to offer all Health Freak Mommy fans with a coupon code worth RM20 from Ensogo Malaysia!  The coupon code of RM20 can be used to offset your purchase of any item from Ensogo as long as the minimum order is RM60.

Ensogo is Southeast Asia’s premier online shopping destination, featuring an exclusive selection of products, services and travel offers at the most competitive prices available.  At Ensogo, shoppers will  find the best offerings from the latest consumer electronics, state-of-the-art gadgets, luxury accessories from world-renowned brands, stylish furnishing and accessories for the home or a 5-star hotel buffet dinner.

I like the Home & Living department the most. There are so many interesting and useful gadgets for the house.  I particularly like the Riddex Pest Repeller. It's a plug-in thingy and the electromagnets emitted from the gadget will repel pests. Ah, just perfect to repel my enemy - the hideous roach!

And this stainless steel folding sink drain rack is perfect for our kitchen sink.  With the RM20 promotional code, this item is only RM10, what a steal!

How To Use Coupon Code From Ensogo
The promotional code specially for Health Freak Mommy fans  is SHIREEN10
This code will be for a one time use only.
Key in the code during check out at the Ensogo Malaysia website.
Duration of the promotional code is one month, starting from 27 June 2015 and ending on 27 July 2015.

Wait, there's more good news!   There will be FREE SHIPPING for any item purchased with no minimum order from Ensogo but this will be for a limited time only.

So wait no further.  Quick hop over to Ensogo Malaysia, choose your item, check out, key in SHIREEN10 promotional code, make payment and await your goodie!

Happy shopping and I'd like to wish all Health Freak Mommy readers a BIG THANK YOU for reading my crap for the past 8 years! :)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Quirky Big Baby

My quirky eldest baby girl - working hard each night (err, with pushing from tiger mom) to complete the massive homework from school as well as from her private Mandarin tutor in preparation for the forthcoming UPSR exam in September.

Why do I say that she needs a lot of pushing? The moment I am quietly working on my computer, this quirky girl will secretly whip out her iPod and plug the earphones into her ears or she may be messaging her friends or watching a show.  Not that I am pushing her to jockey for the top student position in school (I know she can't be pushed to that level). I am only hoping that she tries her level best to score as many As as she possibly can in her UPSR. That will help her in her entrance into good secondary schools.

This week, I confiscated her iPod when she made me fuming mad with that evil gadget from Apple. See, right from the beginning of time, the Apple is the root of all evil!  And it still is I told my girls.  All the discord and disobedience in the house erupt because of the Apple gadgets - 99% of the time!   If you read the Bible, you will know what I mean.  So yeah, she will be deprived of the evil Apple gadget until UPSR is over.  She will definitely be thanking me secretly later, I can bet on that!

Oxidative Stress

Our body is made up of cells. Our cells have DNA within the nucleus that is bound by Hydrogen bonds. Can you see how relevant Hydrogen is to our cells?  There was a customer who drank Izumio and had her defected gene mutated.

The act of breathing produces free radicals, just like a car producing exhaust fumes when you add petrol into it (our food). When we are exposed to the sun, air pollutants, toxic fumes (newly painted walls), stress, bad food, our cells get attacked by free radicals. The more 'poison' we expose our body to, the higher our chances are of getting sick.  Yet, however healthy a lifestyle we lead, we will still have free radicals.

In order to prevent diseases, our healthy cells need to outweigh the damaged cells by far. Or we will get sick in various degrees. Izumio and Super Lutein get absorbed into your cells within 20-40 minutes to cleanse out the free radicals and get them back to being healthy again.

For more reading on Izumio and Super Lutein, please click on the following links:

 Dangers of Eczema Steroid Creams

Super Lutein and Izumio Hydrogen Water For Glaucoma

Effective of Hydrogen Rich Water On Metabolic Syndrome (Diabetes and Obesity) - from US National Library of Medicine

 I can be reached at shireenyong@gmail.com should you require more info on the products.

Monday, June 22, 2015

High School For Alycia - Making A Tough Choice

Guts feeling.   How many of you make decisions based on guts feeling vs logic?

For the past few months, I have been thrown into the crucial decision-making path  again.  This time, the decision is related to my eldest daughter.  This year will be her final year in primary school.  In 2.5 months' time, she will be sitting for her first major exam - the UPSR.   I will  have to make a decision on which secondary school to register her into.  Registration for secondary school starts in July through September.

Being a chronic worrier, I have a jillion what ifs to worry about for each school that I have in mind for Alycia.  I have 3 schools in my selection bag -- School A, School B and School C.  

School A - I worry that if Alycia goes to School A, she will have to spend a lot of time on the road traveling to and from school daily.    Traffic to and from school can be horrendous.  I am not in favor of precious time wasted on the road everyday.   School A is extra-curricular centered.

School B - this school is one of the best independent Chinese schools in the Klang Valley and I worry that Alycia would not be able to survive in the environment and will eventually have to opt out. Well, I actually had this unfounded fear many years ago before I registered Alycia in her current primary school, which is also a high prestige school (SBT status school).    School B is very academics and exams driven.  The school is well-known for churning out scholarship recipients and historically, only 'good students' are accepted into the school.  Yes, part of me is attracted to the scholarships! $$   :D

School C - this is a small private homeschool (housed in a shop lot)  and they follow the Cambridge syllabus.  School fees is about RM920 per month for the first 2 years, which is still affordable.   I am pretty open to home-schooling for my girls.  But I know that to change the hubs' perspective on home-schooling, well... the mountain would have to move a mile in a day!!

I was all for School A as I know that it would suit Alycia best.   School A is more sports oriented vs School B which is academics oriented.  However, in order to get into School A, one has to get straight As in the UPSR exam. School A is in PJ and we stay in KL.  KL students must obtain straight As to be accepted into School A.  Priority is given to students residing in PJ areas.   Alycia has no confidence in getting straight As in her UPSR exam just yet, especially in Chinese Writing.  She is in favor of School A but all her favorite buddies are going to School B. So she is in a dilemma as well.   Alycia has been tossing a coin to help her make a decision and the coin keeps referring to School A!

I wouldn't have to go through all these unnecessary stress if hubs and I can afford spending RM2k a month on each of our girls, making it RM6k a month just on school fees. Private or international school will definitely be our vote. I guess we can  forcibly do that and this would mean forgoing all the little luxuries that we have now and even much more.  Plus, hubs and I would have to work a hundred times harder to find the dough! Life for us will be a torture if we choose this path!     Nope, I can't do that. I love my health too much to have to put it through stress and more worries to earn more money.

Somehow, I just have this guts feeling that School B is the best option for Alycia though my head tells me that School A would suit her character more. Many times, most of my fears and worries are unfounded. My biggest worry would be Alycia would not be able to cope with the stress of academics and stress of exam should she be sent to School B.  Some subjects will be taught in 3 languages, ie. English, Chinese and BM.    The number of exams in School B are also more than a Kebangsaan / Government school.  Exams will be in both UEC and PPPM syllabus.   Biology and Chemistry will be using Cambridge University Press textbooks and lessons conducted bilingually in Chinese and English.

Hubs was telling me not to underestimate Alycia. She has proven to us that she has more sand in her life than we thought and have many times proven to us her mettle.

Yesterday hubs and I had a long discussion.  He is only rooting for School B and no other schools (yes he can be obstinate in certain departments).   Monthly school fees at School B for Junior 1 is about RM400 a month.  With tuition, hubs would have to allocate around RM800 or more for Alycia.  But he is not complaining. As I mentioned earlier, once hubs has made a decision,  the mountain would have to move a mile in a day for him to change his mind.  So I guess that School B it is for now. And we will have to get ready all the documentation  for registration in July.

Wish us lots of luck!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Easy One-Pot Dishes

I cooked these for dinner about two weeks ago...

Curry with prawns, fish balls, ladies fingers, tomatoes, long beans and brinjal. Yup another one-pot dish that we all love! I dumped whatever I could find from the fridge into the pot to clear the fridge and freezer before the MIL's return from Hong Kong after her 2-month long vacation :D

I used half a packet of instant vegetarian curry sauce from Mak Nyonya, half a packet of fish curry powder from Baba's, half a packet of turmeric powder and a handful of kafir lime leaves.   Again, I just used whatever curry powder that I could find in the kitchen.

My first time dishing out this egg omelette  combo consisting of eggs, minced pork, tomatoes (2 medium size), garlic, onions, spring onions, soy sauce, pepper and tomato sauce.

Brown the minced pork first, then the tomatoes (until mushy), onions, garlic (make sure you don't burn the onions and garlic, else the dish will be bitter), the beaten eggs, spring onions, add pepper,  soy sauce and lastly add a dash of tomato sauce and mix well in the wok.

Miss Drama Queen helped me to slice the cucumbers. Can you see the diamond shape cucumber in the centre of the dish? Yes, her idea, as well as the seasoned seaweed, to decorate the dish.

This dish was absolutely delish. And yes, it's another one-pot dish, complete  with meat, eggs and veggies (spring onions, tomatoes and cucumbers) in it.

I'll definitely dish this up (many times again!) the next time the MIL goes on her long vacation again. It's easy to cook, prep time is short, ingredients are easily available and not expensive and the girls love it!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Wedding Of The Year

Yesterday was the much-awaited wedding of our very dear friend, D. He is also our girls' 'khai yeh' (godfather).  Hubs and D have been buddies for over 30 years and I have known D since I was 13 years old!

The wedding was held at the clubhouse of our friend's house @ Sierramas.  The food catering was provided for by the hubby.  Oh yea, in case you do not know yet, the hubby is a caterer (Catermate Sdn Bhd).  So if you need to call a caterer for your function, do give him a tinkle at 019-266 4297 :D

This wedding dinner also doubled up as a very warm reunion for hubs and me with our old friends from Ipoh, many of whom we have known since we were teenagers in school.

The wedding dinner was held on a Sunday evening and the following day (today) is the first day of school for the girls, after a 2-week long school break.  I had wanted to skip the dinner for that reason  but how could we not attend this wedding that we have all waited  for decades?!  By the time we reached home, it was already close to midnight.

For almost 20 years, we (the buddies of D) have been waiting for this day to come! And for us to prank play D back on his wedding day!! :D

The hubby's evil idea....

For D to gobble down the sushi off his wife's foot :D

The pic below is deliberately scaled down as it may be seen as offensive to some la..  and D may be reading this post too *sorry D, can't help it!  We really enjoyed ourselves at your wedding dinner and kudos for being so sporting! :D *

D, I'd like to wish you many years of blissful marriage to J.   And may you and J be blessed with many  junior Ds and Js soon! :D

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Little Masseuse At Work

My darling Cass gave me a relaxing massage today, while I was working on my computer...

... with this roller-ball massage thingy that the MIL bought from Taiwan recently and it was so comfy!!

Not sure if you can get this gadget here but if anyone of you goes to Taiwan, it's worth getting this handy massage roller ball thingy. It's very soothing to roll the steel balls on your achy muscles and you can bring it everywhere with you.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Order Your Groceries Online From Happy Fresh

I received a surprise today!

The guard intercomed me this afternoon to inform me that I have a parcel from the courier delivery guy.  I told the guard that I ain't expecting any parcel today but he insisted that I have a parcel. Hmmm, who could the parcel be from?!  I love receiving surprises! :)

Door bell rang...

I opened the door and I saw the delivery guy in bright green  Happy Fresh uniform greeting me with a cheerful smile.  Aha, then I remembered that yesterday I had placed an online order at Happy Fresh but I really did not expect the delivery to be so punctual!  I totally forgot about my order.

Thank you so much Happy Fresh for the RM30 voucher for me to test the Happy Fresh app!  I am very satisfied with the whole experience as well as with the products received.

Downloading the Happy Fresh app into my Samsung mobile phone was a breeze and very fast. I downloaded the app from my desktop computer.  Next, I shopped for my groceries. During checkout, I keyed in  my preferred date and time of delivery and my discount voucher code and received an online order confirmation, as below...

With a complimentary RM30 to spend, thanks to Happy Fresh, I chose 3 items that I needed, which are a bottle of organic soy sauce, pesticide-free tomatoes and dental floss.

The tomatoes were plump and fresh.  The groceries came in a very huge bright green recyclable Happy Fresh bag.  Yes, I am indeed one very happy mummy today as I received my free groceries and those are the things that I had run out and wanted to replenish :D

Happy Fresh is an excellent app for busy parents and singles alike who just cannot find the time to make a trip to the supermarket to get essential items. The range of groceries and toiletries is wide.   And the delivery is punctual.  You can do your shopping anywhere (just find a place with free WiFi if your android phone does not have WiFi) and it won't take you more than 15 minutes, depending on the quantity of items that you want to shop for.   Do give this app a try and I am pretty sure you'll be HAPPY just like I am, with Happy Fresh!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Short Holiday In Ipoh (6-8 June 2015)

School holiday pix taken in Ipoh during our stay from 6 - 8 June 2015...

At the Kg. Simee wet market in the early morning of Sunday, 7 June 2015.

The girls waited patiently for over 20 minutes for their favorite 'woon jai goa' (small bowl cake) at this seller's stall. These traditional Chinese cakes come in 4 flavors - pure pandan, pandan and santan, palm sugar and red bean.  I think this grandma must be over 80 years old and you should see her line of loyal customers!  With only 40 sen a piece and comes with fresh grated coconut, it's such a steal!! We bought 8 pieces and the girls chomped down almost all the cakes in the car, on our way to the Ipoh Stadium food court for breakfast.

Next, we segued into the Putu Mayam stall and bought 3 pieces...

We later adjourned to the Ipoh Stadium food court to indulge in my favorite Hakka noodles and beef brisket at Stall no. 39.   They have a branch at the Simee wet market and that is the stall that I have been patronising for almost 40 years, every Sunday morning with my parents after our morning marketing!  I never seem to get enough of their Hakka fish balls.

Just before our departure from Ipoh to KL on Monday morning, we had Hakka noodles and fishballs at another of our favorite haunt - a corner coffee shop at Ipoh Garden East.

Hubs' all-time favorite noodles in Ipoh - Hakka noodles with minced pork and garlic chilli sauce.

Noodles are never my kind of food but I wolfed down the Hakka fish balls, meat balls and yong tau fu with the tangy garlic chilli sauce, mmmm, so yummy!

After a brief 2-night 3-day holiday in Ipoh at my parents over the weekend, we took the 12-noon ETS (Electric Train Service) back to Ipoh on Monday with hubs.  He took the night train from KL to Ipoh on Sunday, just to join us for breakfast in Ipoh on Monday and to accompany us back to KL.

Here we are at Burger King @ KL Sentral, having our late lunch at almost 3pm...

With just 5 more days of holiday before school starts again, we find that this holiday is really too short as we did not visit any new place this time. Alycia had to attend compulsory UPSR tuition in school during the first week of the school holiday.    I can't wait for her UPSR exam to be over!  And thank God that this is the last year that the UPSR exam will be held.  Sherilyn and Cass are spared but I think something even tougher will be in the offing for them :(

Friday, June 5, 2015

Grilled Pork Chops In Oven - So Juicy and Tender!

I've always loved pork chops. It's my childhood favorite. I love the pork chops that my dad cooks - they are simply the best. And you know what? My dad still uses a really seasoned black cast iron wok that's over 2 decades old!!  And being the down-to-earth person that he is, he does not believe in replacing the wok whenever there are scratches.  Our house in Ipoh has no Thermomix, no non-stick work, no air-fryer, yet my dad whips up incredible dishes.

So I was finally daring enough to buy some pork chop slices while doing our grocery shopping at NST recently, despite being unsuccessful in whipping up juicy pork chops in the past.  The pork chops slices that I bought from NST looked tender, evident from the marbling effect and bone on each slice. So I bought 3 pieces to try.  I have had bad experiences with buying pork chop from the butcher. I used to get really lean ones with no traces of fat on the meat and no matter how I hammered the pork slices with the back of the kitchen chopper, the pork chop still turned out like shoe-leather.  How frustrating!!

This time, I decided to use the oven to grill the pork chops and OMG, they turned out really juicy and tender. They were SO delicious and I scored a 10/10 from the girls!!

The trick to tender and juicy pork chops is to get pork chop slices with bone-on and marble effect (means with fat on them).

I marinated the pork chops with soy sauce, a few dashes of Lea & Perrin sauce, black pepper, a dash of Chinese wine and palm sugar syrup.  I left the marinated pork chops in the fridge overnight, which allowed the sauces to permeate into every slice of pork chop.

The salt from the soy sauce changes the cell structure within the meat, resulting in a noticeably juicer chop.  The salt brine also seasons the interior of the meat.   I had read that brining can tenderize meat besides flavoring it.

I grilled the pork chop at 180C for 10 minutes on each side.

While the pork chops were grilling in the oven, I sauteed some big onion rings in a non-stick wok.  I seasoned the onions with soy sauce, palm sugar syrup and black pepper.

Remove  the pork chops from the oven and pour the onion sauce over.

This is my first time grilling pork chops in the oven and it's a success!

I also made a quick soup using lean pork meat and anchovies.
I sauteed the anchovies with onions then poured in filtered water.  Next, add in the carrots and tomatoes and simmer in low flame for about forty minutes.  Add fish paste, eggs and bok choy and simmer for another 10 minutes.  This soup can even be a one-pot dish.

With the leftover soup from dinner, I used it to cook noodles for the girls for breakfast the next day.  I  cooked poached eggs using the soup.

And this bowl is mine -- with just a few strands of noodles and lots of organic alfalfa and radish sprouts :)