Dec 12, 2008

MEN ARRESTED FOR CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

The recent news about the 22 men who were charged over child pornography was deserving. Investigation on these Australians showed these men sharing images over the internet. They contained some of the worst images and as many as 500,000 images of child abuse and 15,000 videos have been seized. It was terrible when some of the pictures showed the victims that were as young as 12 months old!

According to the Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan, there will be more arrests to be expected this week. For possessing child abuse material, charges could result in a 10 year prison sentence. These information and investigation is the great teamwork of international policing network Interpol.

Great work fellas!

TOP LANDLORD

Parents worry about their children who live away from home when they are being sent to further their education. It is far and they are alone to fend for themselves. I've heard of how some students pay through their nose for a reasonable apartment that is safe and furnished with the basic needs. In UK, Pickard is a respectable student accommodation in leeds that had been voted No. 1 Landlord for its excellent reputation and for providing the needs of local and foreign students. This survey is being ranked by students who have completed the Leeds University Union survey as an objective to recognize quality and genuine landlords and with 40 years of experience in letting good quality homes, Pickard took the No. 1 spot.

UPGRADE

With the global economy downturn, many employees are now taking their chance to upgrade themselves. Some companies have seminars while some send their staff for short term course to uprade their skills. This should prove helpful so that when the economy and business picks up, one will be ready for a more competitive market and armed with more knowledge.

Education is highly stressed nowadays. It is an ongoing process and many of these who continue to pursue their education are not just youths but they form a large number of middle aged and those who already have families. Some of them include those who undergo a career change in their mid life while some is doing it for upgrading for betterment of their career.





Dec 10, 2008

INMATE RECORDS

I know of few good employers who sets aside a few jobs to help out those who may have some criminal records to help them get back into society and lead a normal life. Those who have been employed sometimes do not revealed everything about themselves for fear of being outcasted by those who work alongside with them. And there may be some who may have held some important information about their criminal history from employers. If you have doubts or would like to review more about any particular person, you can actually access records of prison inmates by using the Prison Inmate Locator. It is simple to use, just by keying in the name, approximate age and few other information to check on inmates' record.

GREEN TEA BENEFITS

Did you know that Green Tea is now a phenomenon? Besides for drinking, many cosmetics and products are using Green Tea as part of their properties after research shows that it has many benefits.

Since the olden days, the chinese and japanese knew the benefits of green tea for health. In the ancient china as far back as 4000 years ago, it was believed that it helped to relieve headaches and depression. Green tea also has very little amount of caffeine, compared with Black Tea and Coffee. Caffeine in tea sometimes cause certain people insomnia, nausea and frequent urination.

Some of the benefits of Green Tea:

Treatment and prevention of cancer
Stop Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases
Increase metabolisom
Increase fat oxidation
Reduce risk of heart diseases
Treat rheumatoid arthritis
Reduce risk of esophageal cancer
Lowers total cholesterol levels

Dec 9, 2008

GREAT SITES ONLINE

Sometimes when I am busy with my household chores and cooking, the kids demand attention too. That create some havoc and madness at home. And when I am not, the kids are busy playing their Video Games without the slightest idea that I am around. The advantage is that, it leaves me some time to surf the net and do some bloghopping. On the net, you get so much information even right up to products, services or looking for the right spelling in a dictionary. Review King is one site that sets you up with the right information, honest reviews and just about anything you are looking for. Right now, I would be looking for ways on how to make money online.

Dec 8, 2008

SUNDRIED TOMATO

I love pizzas. My kids do too. And each time I make a pizza, i have to use sundried tomatoes which makes the pizzas just so tasty. Unless I run out of it then I use the bottled tomato paste.

Have you tried making your own Sundried Tomatoes? Okay, firstly YES you can make your own Sundried Tomatoes, using a microwave oven. Also you can get them more instant than to sun it outdoors.


Here's what you need.

14 large tomatoes (ripe ones), Sometimes i get them cheaper because ripe ones are usually at sale price!
salt
seasoning salt (lemon salt is nice)

Rinse the tomatoes, and cut them lengthwise. Scoop out the insides that has the seeds with a spoon. Season with salt. Microwave uncovered for 15 minutes.

Pour away the excess liquid and turn the tomatoes over, and microwave again for 15 mins.

Remove from microwave and let it cool for half hour. Store them immediately in a zip lock bag and chill in the fridge.

If you find it too troublesome to use the microwave, you can do the same with a convection oven too. Yields similar results.

Dec 5, 2008

TRY CUP CAKES ON ICE CREAM CONES

I've been reading up on making cup cakes out of the ice cream cones. Here is a simple recipe that you can make using packaged cake mix. I intend to try it out using my own chocolate cake mix but if you are worried that it may be wasteful because the cone turns soggy, try the packaged mix until you are confident enough.

Here is what I usually do. I pre-filled the cone with just about half of the batter. This way, the cake mix is not overflowing when it rises when baked. If there are too much cake batter, it tends to leak during baking and cause your cones to be little soggy. Make your own chocolate mud cakes and fill 'em up with ice cream at the top.

Here is a simple recipe that you might like to try.

1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (16 ounce) package vanilla frosting
1 ounce colored candy sprinkles

DIRECTIONS
Prepare cake mix batter according to directions, or make any standard cake recipe batter (i.e. white, chocolate, etc.).
Place flat-bottomed ice cream cones in the cups of a regular muffin pan. Pour enough batter into each cone to fill from 1/2 to 2/3 full.
Bake at time and temperature as recommended for cupcakes. After they have cooled, frost with your favorite canned or home-prepared frosting recipe. Decorate with sprinkles or other decorations of your choice.

Dec 4, 2008

BEST BABY FORMULA

With the increased price on dairy products, parents struggle to meet the daily requirements for baby's needs. Everything has gone up and we pay more for everything from milk, diapers, medical, baby's accessories to even services.

Baby's milk takes up a large portion of parents' spending and there are many brands available in the market. We want to have the best for baby of course. We should read the labels carefully, especially the nutritional labels so that the milk formula we buy should always meet the strictest guidelines that is determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Parent's Choice Formula is one that not only meets these requirements, but it also has a selection of infant milk such as Sensitive formula, Organic formula, Lactose-free formula and more. Parent's Choice Formula is designed to meet each baby's digestion needs for growing up. You can sign up for a sample or read up everything you need to know about their different formulas.

In Walmart, Parent's Choice Formula is available at an affordable price yet not compromising standards and quality. So the next time when you shop at Walmart, pick up one for you baby.

Dec 3, 2008

WHAT IS FOODBUZZ?

I just had a chat with a friend. She has her cooking blogs all registered with FoodBuzz and asked me to do the same. I am still considering. What kind of blog determines if our food blog is good to be in FoodBuzz? Are there any criteria for it? Does it have to be a blog with recipes, a blog that recommends food outlets or anything like that? What does it do if I were to register it. Do they publicize my blog there or do I have to submit my food recipes?

What if you have a low traffic. I think i have to read about it before I register.

EYEGLASSES SO CHEAP

We always shop around looking for the best bargains for clothes and big ticket items. The reason is of course to save money. Many Americans, do not shop around as much when they buy their eyeglasses. However, many people who do not wear prescriptive glasses do own a pair of sunshades. Most of these eyeglasses and shades cost a lot. For those who needs to wear prescription glasses, they have no idea how cheap these items can be because retail shops sell them at a standard market price of at least $70 and above.

But lately, there is an online store that has tongues wagging about cheap prescription glasses. Yes, it is unbelievable because it is not easy to find eyeglasses as low as $8 for a pair! But at Zenni Optical, it is so true. You just have to find it out yourself. It was also been mentioned on a recent article from the Chicago Tribune.

The secret behind Zenni's low price is because they manufacture the frames right out of their own factory. And they also have many range of designs, colours, styles and even eyewear for all ages. If you require goggles, they can provide you one too. Selling direct to their customers without advertising budget and middlemen comission, they pass on their savings by keeping their eyeglasses at a low price.

CARAMEL APPLE

I first tried Caramel Apples when I went to a fair in school. It was the most delicious snack I've ever had. The one I had used green apples. Since then, I've been looking for the perfect Caramel Apples but till today I've yet to find one that taste as close as the one at the fair. Perhaps it is the Caramel or perhaps it is the combination of both the fresh apples and caramel. It was juicy, sweet and the caramel is not as gooey and does not really stick so much into your teeth.

I have this recipe that I've tried and the kids enjoy.

A Cup of Butter
2 Cups of brown sugar
A cup light corn syrup
A Can of Condensed Milk
2 Tsp Vanilla
Wooden Sticks
8-10 apples (red or green)

Insert wooden sticks into the apple.

In a saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and milk.
Bring to boil over med high heat. Cook them about 3-=40 minutes or if you have a thermometer that reads 248 deg, its perfect.

Remove from heat and add Vanilla.

Dip the apples one by one into the hot caramel and coat it by turning round. Set the caramel apples on wax paper to cool down. Butter the paper with butter if you want to prevent it from sticking.

Dec 2, 2008

PARTS FOR BIKERS

There aren't many cars on the road lately. Some of my colleagues have decided to switch to riding motocycles because they find that maintenance for a car is more expensive and also it was because of the fuel hikes months back.

When a friend dropped by my place, I was stunned to see how beautiful he had managed to put together, parts of motorcycles to make it looks so glamourous. He advised me to surf online for information on motorcycles and also different parts available based on the bikes' requirements. He even bought the helmet online and it is the most beautiful thing that I've seen, and not what you can get in those bike retails. His birthday is coming up, perhaps I should shop for one of those hip looking jackets from the website Cruiser Customizing. This website sells everything and parts motorcycle enthusiasts look for such as windshields, wheels and tires, books, catalogs and more.

BAKE OR NOT

Christmas Season is in! What are you planning? This year, I feel a little lazy. Not quite in the mood and I'm not sure if I will bake or make any cookies. I thought of just buying just enough for the kids. But I surfed into Nestle website and saw this Gingerbread cookie. The picture looks nice and the recipe seems easy but then it requires the use of Nestle TOLL House Gingerbread Tub Cookie Dough. I've not tried something like that before. I guess it takes away some of the kneading.
But the picture's perfect. If you want, hope to VeryBestBaking.com to get some nice recipes.

Dec 1, 2008

CHICKEN CURRY

There are so many variants of curry. Some are simply cooked using curry powder and some use pastes available in supermarkets. You need to make your own adjustments for your own taste preferance.

I found this recipe that is as good as from scratch but needs some work. But the recipe i have here is simple and should be easy to follow. After the first time cooking this, you should be able to judge how much chilly, how salty or the flavour you want for you next try.

Curry Chicken

# 1 chicken (about 600g), cut into bite-size pieces
# 300g potatoes, parboiled and cut into halves
# 2 1/2 cups coconut milk
# 3-4 tbsp chilli boh
# 3 tbsp coriander (ketumbar) powder
# 1/2 tsp aniseed (jintan manis) powder
# 1/2 tsp cumin (jintan putih) powder
# 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
# 1 cube belacan, toasted and pounded
# 2 stalks lemongrass (serai), smashed
# 1 sprig curry leaves
# 1 piece cinnamon stick(kayu manis), about 3cm
# 1 piece star anise
# 4 cloves
# salt and sugar to taste

(Pound these ingredients):
# 2 candlenut (buah keras)
# 10 shallots
# 5 cloves garlic

Method
Heat an earthen pot with four tablespoons oil. Saute the pounded ingredients, serai and curry leaves. Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Mix in two tablespoons coconut milk and blend well.

Add in the chicken pieces and mix well. Pour in half a cup of coconut milk and stir well. Bring to a boil. Add in the rest of the coconut milk and simmer till the chicken is cooked. Add in the potatoes. Add pati santan and blend well. Bring to a boil gently. Add seasoning.

Close the lid for a while to allow the oil to rise to the top. Serve with rice.

Nov 24, 2008

BRIYANI RICE

I love Briyani. Every Saturday when I bring my daughter to her enrichment class, without fail, I'll have lunch of mutton briyani at the regular stall nearby. It was then I decided that I wanted to cook the Briyani rice at home and I searched many sites for recipe. After going through many sites, I finally settled for this one which is simple and can be cooked with a rice cooker after frying the spices in the wok.

A very pakistan way of cooking rice is usually by boiling water first. When the water is boiled, you add the rice that has been cleaned and soaked. Cook for about 20 minutes, test to see if cooked and pour out the remaining water. I watched my landlords cooking their rice this way for 3 years but I've never tried. The chinese way of cooking is to put just enough water into the right portion of rice. Both yields different texture. But basmati rice is slightly firm compared to white processed rice or fragrant rice.

Here is a very simple recipe that I've tried at home. This recipe is by Amy Beh, a very popular food writer, consultant in Malaysia and Asia. You can't go wrong with most of her recipes.

Ingredients
500g rice, wash and drain
2 tbsp oil or ghee
2 3/4 cups water
1/4 cup evaporated milk or yoghurt
1 1/2 tsp salt

Spices (A):
6 cardamoms
1 star anise
6 cloves
2 stalks lemon grass, smashed
2cm piece cinnamon stick
2 pandan leaves, knotted

Fry in oil till crispy:
15 shallots, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

Method
Heat oil or ghee in a wok and fry spices (a) until fragrant. Add rice and stir-fry well for about two to three minutes, then transfer rice into an electric rice cooker.

Add water, evaporated milk or yoghurt, pandan leaves and salt, then switch on the rice cooker.

When rice is cooked, dish out to serve with a sprinkling of shallots and garlic. Serve this with your favourite curry dish.

Nov 20, 2008

SPINACH LASAGNE

I copied this recipe from the nestle recipe finder. Spinach is my all time favourite vegetable and I enjoy it with pasta, pizzas, pies and even a chinese stirfry or in a soup. Here is the recipe, copied word for word so I don't miss any thing but the original.

Easy to find ingredients are:
2 teaspoons olive oil
350 grams minced beef
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 cup pumpkin, chopped (use the australian orange ones)
1 potato, chopped
200 grams mushrooms, sliced ( i used fresh brown mushrooms, you can use button mushrooms too)
1 teaspoon MAGGI Beef Stock Powder (or chicken is fine)
1/2 cup water, hot
1/2 cup red wine
400 grams tomato pasta sauce or canned tomato puree

2 packets MAGGI Tasty Cheese Sauce Mix ( i used kraft cream cheese)
3 cups spinach, chopped
9 instant lasagne sheets ( i got the San Remo in a box)
1/2 cup tasty cheese, grated ( i used mozzarella)


Method: Heat oil in large saucepan, add beef, cook, stirring until brown. Reduce heat, add garlic, pumpkin, potato and mushrooms, cook, stirring 2 minutes. Add stock powder, hot water, wine and tomato puree to beef mixture; simmer uncovered 15 minutes, stir occasionally. Meanwhile, prepare sauce mix according to directions on the packet. Add spinach.

Preheat oven to 190°C.

Spread 1/3 cheese sauce over base of shallow ovenproof dish.
Place 3 lasagne sheets over 1/2 the beef mixture and another 1/3 cheese sauce.
Top with 3 lasagne sheets, remaining beef mixture, then remaining sheets and cheese sauce.
Sprinkle top with cheese.
Bake in oven about 40 minutes or until top is golden brown.
Stand 15 minutes before serving.
Serve with a leafy green salad.

Wonderful, this recipe!

Nov 19, 2008

MARSHMALLOW CRISPIES FOR KIDS

Before I lose this simple recipe that my daughter made in her school cookery class, I better key it down and post it here. She brought home some samples the other day it it tasted really good. So I shall let her make another batch of this easy yummy crispies during the holidays. And I have to remind myself to take that photo before it's all gone!

4 tbsp of butter
A pack of marshmallows, about 40pcs regular sized/ 4 cups miniature ones
6 cups of rice crispies/cocoa crispies


Directions
Melt butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows and stir it till it is all melted and mixed with the butter. Remove it from heat and add the rice crispies into the melted marshmallow butter. Stir until it is all coated evenly.

Scoop the mixture into large balls the size of a scoop of ice cream. Alternatively, you may like to place this mixture into a 2 inch pan that has been oiled or lined with wax paper. Let it cool and serve.

Nov 18, 2008

CARROT CAKE AND CHEESE FROSTING

I looked high and low for an easy carrot cake recipe. I found this very easy to make because the cake is baked using commercial cake mix. It is a yellow cake mix that you can get from the supermarket or bake shop in the pastry section. Do not underestimate pre-mix cake packs, they do wonders and is stress free

Here are the ingredients for this easy to make carrot cake with yummy frosting.

A box of 2 layer yellow cake mix
1 and 1/4 cups mayonnaise based salad dressing
4 eggs
1/4 cup cold water
2 tsp cinammon
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups finely shredded carrots
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts

Cheese frosting
3oz softened cream cheese
1 tbsp condesed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups of confectioners' suger, sifted

Method: Combine the cake mix, salad dressing, eggs, water, cinammon and vanilla in large mixing bowl, beating at medium speed. When it is all smoothed and well mixed, add the walnuts and carrots stir it till it is all covered with the mix. Bake this at medium heat till the cake comes out clean when inserted with a toothpick.

The frosting is simple, just beating the chees, milk, vanilla and sugar until it becomes smooth light and fluffy. When the cake is cooled completely, frost it with this creamy mix. Try it and you wont be disappointed.

Nov 16, 2008

CHAWAN MUSHI RECIPE

I think this receipe is something that many moms know how to make. Only slightly different in methods. This one is a favourite recipe and I got it on a receipe card when I bought the Maggi granule stock in a bottle. After trying it according to this recipe, I thought, hey that wasn't so bad. Exactly like the Japanese Chawan Mushi that I've tried in Japanese restaurant. Now I know that it is so easy to make.

You will need 4 medium eggs
Japanese Fish Cakes
Fresh Shitake Mushrooms
Shredded Chicken (this one i usually steam a large drum till just cooked and shred)

Stock - Mix together:
500mls of warm water
4tsp of Maggi Concentrated Chicken Stock
2 tsp of Mirin (you can get a bottle of these in supermarket in the Japanese section)

Method
Beat eggs and add the stock that has been mixed together. Blend it well.
Using a strainer, strain this mixture into the steaming bowl. Steam in medium to low heat for 8 minutes. If your egg has holes in them, it means you fire is too high.

Add the fish cake, chicken, mushrooms in and continue to steam for 5 more minutes and serve it hot. This is great for kids too. Mouth watering, melt in your mouth.

Nov 14, 2008

CHOCO TRUFFLES


Some women insist that chocolate is the next best thing, after sex, or the other way round.. Anyway, this recipe is simple and is very popular with adults and kids alike. It is easy to make and can be served in a party or served with an ice cream as a dessert.

You will need:
Half cup of unsalted butter, softened
2 and half cups of powdered confectionary's sugar
half cup of cocoa powder, unsweetened
quarter cup of whipping cream
1 tsp of vanilla extract

For center fillings, you can use marshmallow for kids, mints for adults or even nuts if you like something nutty.
You also need those powdered sugar for coating as well as chopped nuts.

Beat butter in a large bowl until it is creamy. Add powdered sugar, cocoa and alternate it with whipping cream and the vanilla. Blend to mix it well. Place this mixture in the fridge until it is firm.

Using an standard scoop, shape it into a ball but before you do that, add the centre filling of your choice and roll it into a ball. Once it is round, refrigerate it again until it is firm. This recipe is similar to rum balls too. If you like rum, you can add half a teaspoon of rum extract in place of half the vanilla extract. Don't forget to coat it in your powdered sugar too.

Easy to make and no cooking involved. You can even teach your children to make this!

Nov 12, 2008

BAKED CORNFLAKE MEATBALLS


Cornflake meatballs, anyone? Another yummy recipe using Kellogg's Corn Flakes. This is so simple you can actually mix the ingredient, shape it and leave it in the freezer. The sauce can also be cooked in advance and kept in the fridge. When you are busy, bake it in the oven and heat up the sauce.

2 cups of corn flakes
2 tbsp of ketchup
An egg, beat slightly
A pound (2.2kg)of ground beef, choose lean

Sauce
A can of tomato sauce
half cup of ketchup
50gm of brown sugar
50gm of onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp Pickle relish
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Vinegar
Pepper

In a mixing bowl, combine the cereal, 2 tbsp ketchup and egg. Add in the beef and mix it well. Shape it into meatball size. Place it in a baking pan that has been lined or greased. Bake until browned about 12 minutes.

In a saucepan, add all the ingredients for the sauce, and simmer it for about 15 minutes. Stir it frequently to avoid it burnt at the bottom. Cook for another 15 minutes and ladle it over the cooked meatballs and serve with pasta or rice.

Nov 9, 2008

CORNFLAKE CHICKEN


Have you ever tried Baked Chicken coated with cornflake cereal? I got these receipe from the Kellogg's website and it has been a favourite receipe since. It is actually very easy to prepare and the result is simply delicious too. Forget breadcrumbs, use cornflake!

Ingredients:
7-8 cups of Kellogg's Corn Flakes and crushed to about about 2 cups of corn crumbed flakes.
1 egg medium
1 cup of milk
1 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
Chicken Drumsticks, rinsed and dried with paper towel
4 tablespoons of margarine

Place the crushed cornflake in a shallow pan. In a mixing bowl, beat together egg and milk. Add the flour and seasoning. Mix the batter well. Dip your drumsticks into the batter and coat it with cereal all over evenly. Place it in a baking pan that has been lined with wax paper or oiled slightly. Bake it at medium heat until the chicken is tender. You may like to turn it if you think it cooks better this way.

No oil splashes and simple, right? You can try it on chicken fillets if you like to have a healthy part of the chicken instead of the drum.

Nov 7, 2008

PEANUT BUTTER FREEZE


Lately I've been looking for recipes that are either frothy ice blended, ice creams or cakes because I am trying to do something nice for my daughter's birthday instead of buying them.

So I discovered this blended dessert beverage that sounds so delicious and yummy so I am going to post it her and share with you before I lose it again.

Ingredients:
3 scoops of Vanilla ice cream
Half cup of cold milk
3 tablespoons of REESE's Chocolate Peanut Butter Topping

Simple method by just blending the ice cream, chilled milk, chocolate peanut butter topping together. Once it is smooth, you can pour it into your serving tall glass and serve with whipped cream (optional).

If you don't have the Peanut Butter Topping, you might want to use creamy peanut butter in it. I did that and it tasted just as delicious!
more recipes from hersheys.com

Nov 5, 2008

BANANA CHOCO POPSICLE


If you like bananas in your ice cream, this recipe from Hersheys is wonderful and yummy. I never knew you can make such an interesting ice pops using banana and my favourite brand of chocolate from Hershey's Cocoa.

The picture is taken from Hershey's.com of their original Banana Fudge Pops.

Here are the ingredients

A ripe medium banana
1 and 1/2 cups of Orange Banana Juice (see method below)
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of Hershey's Cocoa (i got the square box, rounded corners Hershey's Cocoa)
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp of evaporated milk (5oz can)
6 paper cold drink cups (disposable papaer cups for parties that holds about 5oz)
6 ice cream sticks

To make Orange Banana Juice, slice the banana, add orange juice and blend it till it is like a smoothie. Add the sugar, cocoa powder and continue to blend it. Add the evaporated milk and blend till all the ingredients are mixed well.

Pour them into the disposable cups and freeze for about an hour till it crystalizes. Pop the sticks in the centre and continue to freeze it until it is firm and ready to eat.
If you are not into bananas in your popsicle, you might want to try using strawberries instead. They taste just as great. Strawberry Chocolate Popsicles!

BASIC WHITE SAUCE FOR PASTA

Several times, some friends asked me what is the basic White Sauce that is used for creamy white sauce pasta. As each time I cook according to my taste buds, it is a little to pin point the exact recipe as I usually like to improvise. However I do have a simple and easy white sauce recipe that can be used as a basic white sauce and it is very simple to make.

This recipe was the first basic one before I learnt to improvise. It was actually taken from the back of a food label and I had it written down in my tattered book so I figured that i should post it online just in case I lose it.

Ingredients;

Half cup of butter
Half cup of flour
2 cups of Chicken Broth
Cooking Cream or Cream in Cans such as Nestle
Dash of nutmeg powder
Dash of pepper
Dash of mustard powder

Heat the butter but be careful not to let it burn. Stir in the flour and mix it well for about 2 or 3 minuts till it is cooked. Add the broth and stir it till mixed well and add the cream and the powder seasoning.

Stir it in low fire until the mixture is thickened. This is the basic sauce that you can use for your pasta. For instance, fry your onions, mushrooms and veg till cooked and add in this sauce to have a cream style gravy.

Nov 4, 2008

BAKED ALASKA - VERY RETRO



I'm not sure if it's still a trend to serve Baked Alaska these days, but in the 70s, Baked Alaska was consider a luxury treat for special occasions. What exactly is Baked Alaska, if you had not heard of it.

Ii is actually a dessert, with ice cream, cake and topped with meringue all around. Before it is served, it is usually either baked briefly or flamed and cut to serve.

Here is a simple recipe that I have:

Sponge Flan Case
A Block of Vanilla Ice Cream
2 tasblspoons Strawberry Jam
2 Egg Whites
4 oz (100g) Sugar

Spread the Jam over the bottom of the Flan Case. Place it in a dish that fits exactly. Put the Ice Cream into the Flan Case and mould to a pyramid shape using a spoon. Do not let it melt. Whisk the Egg Whites until stiff, then gently stir in the Sugar. Pile the meringue all over the Ice Cream, forming small peaks. Cook in the oven at 400F / 200C / Mark 6 for about 3 minutes - until the meringue stars to brown. Serves 4.

Oct 14, 2008

WAFFLE RECIPE

Waffles are really quite easy to make as the batter is about the same as what is used to make pancakes. The only real difference between the two is how they look; whereas pancakes are round and are baked on a griddle or frying pan, waffles are either square or heart-shaped with a honeycomb surface that are baked in their own machine.

I will say that waffles are thicker, more bread-like, and crisper and their grids do make ideal pockets for the maple syrup and butter. You have the choice of buying either an electric or stovetop Waffle iron and both consist of two metal grids, facing each other, that are held together with hinges.

To make a waffle you pour the batter onto one side of the iron, the second metal grid is then closed over the batter and the waffle is cooked until crisp and golden brown. (It is always a good idea to read your manufacturer's instructions before using your waffle iron as there can be differences between models.) Of course, waffles are perfect with a pat of butter and drizzling of maple syrup but they are also excellent with whipped cream and fresh berries.


1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted buter, melted

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
In another bowl, lightly beat the egg, then add milk and whisk the mixture.
Add the mixture to the dry bowl, and stir it until it is combined. Stir in the melted butter.

If you have a waffle maker, oil it lightly with a brush. Using a ladle, pour the batter into the waffle according to your waffle's recommended level. Close the waffle lid and wait for the waffle to bake to a nice golden brown and crisp at the sides.

Best when served hot! Serve with a scoop of ice cream or with maple syrup. I love mine with just butter!

Oct 3, 2008

SUGAR COOKIE

When I was a kid, I always loved Sugar Cookie. Perhaps it is because of the attractive colour frostings and sprinklies and also kids love anything that tastes sweet. The sugar cookie goes way back from as far back as mid 1700s when German Protestant settlers in the Nazareth area perfected the recipe. Then, it was also named Nazareth Sugar Cookie. Sugar cookies are usually baked till crisp although there may be different variations that are soft and chewy nowadays. Sugar Cookies are very popular during Christmas holidays especially in Northern parts of America.

Here is a simple recipe for Sugar Cookies

490 gms of all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
225 gms of butter, unsalted at room temperature
300 gms granulated white sugar
2 eggs large size
2 tsps vanilla essence


In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking powder together. Put it aside.

In another mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and beat till all mixed properly. Add the flour and beat till the dough is smooth.

Divide the dough into half and wrap in cling wrap. Refrigerated for an hour. It should be firm to roll.

Heat oven to 180 deg C. On a floured surface, roll the dough to a thickness of 1cm. Cut into desired shapes with a cookie cutter that has been floured. Place on the baking sheets on a pan and refrigerate the cookies for about 10 minutes to keep their shape. Using a fork, lightly beat an egg in a bowl. Brush the egg wash on the cookie and sprinkle some colourful hundreds and thousands on it. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges are brown.

Sep 28, 2008

BEEF PIE

I can never resist a good Beef Pot Pie. I've been cooking this for years and it's great when you are just too lazy to cook.

1 medium onion
5 tbsp butter
50gm all purpose flour
half tsp salt
300mls beef broth
300mls cubed beef (stewing), marinate with salt and pepper.
100gm celery (sliced thick)
150gm green peas and carrots (cubed and cooked)
dried parseley
puff pastry
evaporated filled milk

On a pan, saute the beef with some oil till it is sealed. Leave it aside for a while. Saute onions and celery in pan on butter until they are tender. Stir in flour until smooth. Add the broth, let it cook and stir to prevent it from sticking to the pan. Add the beef cubes that had been saute briefly. Sprinkle some parsley and let it cook till the beef is soft and tender. When it is soft, add the cooked vegetable and simmer a while. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Pour into a small casserole dish. Roll out your puff pastry over the casserolle and cut some slits. Brush with milk and bake for about less than 30 minutes on medium heat.

If you let yr beef mixture cool slightly, you can portion it up into smaller aluminium dish and place the puff pastry on top. Freeze it and bake when needed.

Sep 26, 2008

GRILL A MUSTARD STEAK

Have you ever tried a steak that has been marinated with mustard? It is just simply delicious. I love beef, everything about beef. Steaks, pies, beef ribs, you name it. A friend shared with me this recipe years back and I would make this when I feel like a good piece of steak. This is how it's done:

30mls olive oil
50mls red wine vinegar
50mls dry red wine
3 cloves garlic, chopped
dried basil
3 tablespoons of dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of ketchup
3 pcs of steak about 1 and half inches thick


Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl that is wide but shallow. Add the steaks into it, rubbing both sides with the mixed marinade. Leave it in the fridge for at least an hour. Grill the pan about 5-6 minutes for a medium rare steak.

Sep 25, 2008

BBQ BEEF RIBS

Ingredients:
2 racks of beef back ribs

Ingredients A
2 tbsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. ground oregano
1 tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

Ingredients B
Onions, 1 large and quartered
Carrots
Celery
Chicken Powder

Combine all spices in A. Rub over surface of ribs to coat well. Marinade it overnight leaving it in the fridge. The next day, boil a pot of water enough to cover the ribs, with the ingredients from B. Boil the ribs for about 1 to 2 hours, until the meat is soft. Drain away the water and place the ribs on a pan, brush with your favourite BBQ sauce and bake in the oven for about a hour on 170 deg C. Continue basting with the sauce every 20minutes till it is done. Serve with baked beans and potato wedges.

Sep 23, 2008

SPICY BBQ SAUCE

Everyone loves a good BBQ sauce. And everyone will have their own version of what the ideal BBQ sauce needs to be. Some like it sweet, some prefer it tangy and some like a little smoked flavour in it. I love mine with a little bit spicy.


This is something that I have altered according to my own preference. You may try it and tweak it if you want.


1 Onion, sliced
120mls Ketchup
120mls Water
60mls White Vinegar
60mls Vegetable Oil
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
2 tbsp Lea & Perrins Sauce
2 tbsp Molasses
1 tbsp Tabasco
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Liquid Hickory Smoke
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper


In a medium saucepan, bring to a boil the lemon juice, onion, tabasco, ground black pepper, vinegar, water, molasses, salt, cayenne pepper and vegetable oil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. When it is simmering, stir in ketchup, L&P sauce and liquid smoke. Bring it to boil briefly and remove from the heat. Once cooled, refrigerate or use immediately.

Sep 21, 2008

PRAWNS IN THERMIDOR/WHITE CREAMY CHEESE

I am a lobster fan, and I always love a good lobter thermidor. But you can never eat them all the time. Not that they give you unhealthy levels of cholestral, they are expensive too. Especially if you want to serve them when you invite friends over.

So I've resorted to using Prawns as they are easily accessible and also they do taste yummy too. This recipe was altered slightly from some recipes I used.

You will need:
2 tsp of butter
Half medium onion (sliced)
30gms of green bell pepper (diced)
2 cans of condensed cream of potato soup
200mls half and half cream

4 slices of cheddar cheese
3 tsp of lemon juice
dash of ground black pepper
dried tarragon
half tsp of mustard seed
350gms of cooked prawns, unshelled

Parmesan cheese


Saute onions and bell peppers in butter in a pan, until they are tender. Add the soup, cream and using low heat, stir till it is all blended and coming to a boil. Take the pan off the stove, add the cheddar cheese, lemon juice, herbs and cooked prawns. Mix them well and serve it on individual caserrole dish, sprinkle some parmesan cheese and gratinate in over for 5 minutes.

If you have some cooked rice, you can place a layer of cooked rice before you pour the mixture.

Sep 20, 2008

TURKEY BURGER

Meat patties are great. You can grill it for barbeques, grill it at home for a tasty burger or you can make little balls and eat them with spaghettis too.

If you can find some minced turkey, make a nice tasty turkey patty for burgers, turkey meat ball or grill it for a meal. This is what you will need.

2.5 kgs of ground turkey (more lean than fatty, for a healthy patty)
1 whole onions, chopped
2 tsp of kikkoman soya
1 tsp teriyaki seasoning
2 tsp of worcestershire sauce
60 ml tomato ketchup
Pepper
2 tsp lemon juice
120 gm of breadcrumbs (dry plain bread)

In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients together and make sure they are all equally mixed. Shape it in a small ball and press it down to form a patty.

On a griller pan, add 2 tbsp of oil for frying the patty. Alternatively, you may broil in the oven, or bbq grill.

Lightly butter buns and serve it with lots of lettuce, onions, tomatoes and some yellow mustard.

TEACHER'S DAY

I used to have a headache when Teacher's Day approaches. My girls get excited over a discussion over what they would like to get for their Teacher's Day present. This year, I decided that I shall browse early for gifts so that when they are near, I shall have no problems getting them. Most of the things I get are online so it would be great to purchase them ahead since delivery may take weeks!

Did you get anything recently on Teacher's Day? Last year, I got a lot of fridge magnets for Teacher's Day. And this year, I didn't know what to get so I got them each a box of chocolates! Each girl has 2 main teacher in a class. And not to forget gifts for piano teacher, ballet teacher and tuition teachers too!



GRILLED HONEY WINGS

Chicken Wings are everyone's favourite food. It is good at home, parties, barbeques or just as finger food. Here is a nice Honey Wings that is a favourite with my family.

2 kg pack chicken wings
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
60 mls oil, preferably olive oil
60 mls rice vinegar
60 mls australian honey
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp of thyme
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp tumeric powder

In a mixing bowl, combine the ingredients together, make sure it is mixed equally well. One way to do it is to place all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix it before it is spread on the wings. Place them in a zipper bag and refrigerate overnight.You can cook the wings in the oven, on the griller or barbeque them. If you intend to barbeque, omit the honey and only add the honey during basting to avoid it being burnt.

MAKE YOUR OWN PINA COLADA

This is a favourite in many drink joints and restaurants. It is very simple to make too. Everyone always ask for the perfect Pina Colada. There are many variations. All you need are:

A cup of ice
3 oz of rum
80mls of coconut cream
50mls of pineapple juice
2tbsp of crushed pineapple
15mls lemon soda

A simple recipe. Place all the above ingredients in a blender. Blend it for about 5 minutes until it becomes all frothy. Serve in a nice tall glass and serve with a pineapple and cherry for garnish. Using half of this recipe and top up wiht 7-up or Sprite makes a great quencher on a hot day by the pool. You can opt out the rum for a non alcoholic beverage, but add 2 tablespoons of any fruit flavoured syrup. Adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the non alcohol version is also yummy. Try it!



HOW TO LOOK YOUNGER

Okay I admit it. We all want to look younger than our age. Or at least have the perfect skin. I found this recipe years ago and swears by it. I make these whenever I have fresh bananas in the house. A comb of bananas are usually not finished so I use the remainder to make my own face mask.

You need to store up dairy products in the fridge most of them time. I always have whipping cream in the fridge because I use it for cooking sauces in some of my food and gravy. This face mask is suppose to make you look younger.

You need 60mls of heavy whipping cream
1 medium peeled and ripe banana
a capsule of Vitamin E

I always buy lots of vitamin E soft gels. I get the lower dosage ones as they are not only good for consumption but also helps to take away scar marks when applied directly.

Mash the cream and the banana till it is mushy. Break the capsule of the Vitamin E and pour it into the mixture. Smooth this creamy mixture onto your face and leave it on for about 15 minutes. Your neck will benefit from it too! Wipe it off and rinse with lukewarm water. Great perk me up before any events!

Sep 18, 2008

STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM FOR OUR FACE

I tried this and it's great! Did you know that Strawberries and Cream not only is it delicious as a healthy snack but it's good on your face too! This is a great homemade recipe for your face and it really makes it glow. Brightens up your skin. Try it once every 10 days. But instead of using cream, which is really expensive, you can substitute it with milk.

You will need about 2 ounces of strawberry for a cup of milk in this homemade recipe. In a small mixing bowl, mash the strawberries and the milk until it is mixed and mushy. Using a fine sieve, strain it till it become a puree. Using cotton ball, pat it on your face and leave it there for about 10 minutes. It is cooling and refreshing. Rinse your face after that. Left overs can be refrigerated for future use.

Sep 17, 2008

DIY HOT OIL TREATMENT

I used to visit hair salons to get my hair steamed as a treatment when I was younger. And when I don't do that, there are many products of hot oil on the shelves in the beauty stores, supermarkets and pharmacy. I've tried many brands and there is not really any in particular that i'd say works any lesser or better. These hot oil treatments also now comes in the shampoo or conditioner products you buy.

However, I also found out that instead of buying them all combined, you can also make your own hot oil treatment for you hair, at home. And it doesn't cost a lot either.

This is what you need:
1 tablespoon of honey and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Place your ingredient in a small bag or a small container that can withstand heat. In a cup, fill it with boiling water. Let your oil bag or container sit in it for about few minutes till it is warmed. With this warm oil, apply it on your head working on both the scalp and the tips of your hair that tends to get split, most of the time.

Cover the head with a towel or a cap for about 15 minutes. Wash your hair with the normal shampoo and rinse it well. There, that is a homemade hot oil hair treatment. Cheap and Good!

CREAMY MASHED POTATOES

Everyone loves a good mashed potato. My kids love the commercial ones because of the gravy. I found one mashed potatoes that tastes great and would do well for an outdoor gathering.

You will need:
5 potatoes (large size)
Small Onion, chopped till fine
4-5oz or cream cheese, i use Kraft
100gm sour cream
80-100gm cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
3 tbsp butter
Parsley and Paprika

Peel the potatoes, cut them into cubes and boil till tender. On a mixing bowl, beat the potatoes( mash with a fork first before beating), adding cream cheese, sour cream, onions, sour cream, grated cheese, salt and pepper. When it is creamy, scoop it out into a casserole dish. With the butter, gently dot the top part of the potato mixture and sprinkle with parsley and paprika on the top. Leave it in the fridge overnight. It is ready to be baked in the oven at medium heat till the mixture is warm for serving. You can place it in a thermal bag for your outing. Yummy!

MORE COOKING TIPS

Do you know how to make meatballs in an easy way and also one that is almost same in size or weight? Some uses those parisian scoop but what I do is, roll your meatball in to a long roll. Then cut them up into same thickness. When you are done, just roll them into meat ball shape!

Bacon that is rinsed in cold water before frying actually reduces shrinkage by almost 50%. Also it helps you to cut down on the salt content for a more healthier bacon.

Lemon and lime are great way to marinate your meat to make it tender. Vinegar is also a good choice. Such method will take about 2-4 hours of marinating. Is there a faster way of getting a tender piece of meat? Yes! You can try using kiwi. Mash or juice it and substitute it with the lemon, lime or even vinegar. And how long does it take? Only about half and hour! Last choice will be the tenderizer powder though I'd rather use fruits.




NURSES ARE ADMIRABLE



To be a nurse is not easy. You are at the beck and call of the patient and most of the time because they are not feeling well, nurses bear the brunt of abuse or complaints. Albeit all these, they pick themselves up, cheer themselves up and tends to another sick patient till the day or night of their shift work.

Dealing with patients involve a lot of patience and understanding. Some countries are short of nurses in the care industry. Nurses play a bigger role in the care of the patient and they are the first ones in the hospital or clinics that provide the image for the organisation. An impatient one will only turn their patients away.

Sep 14, 2008

WHAT IS YOUR COMFORT FOOD

Comfort food is something that you turn habitually. And you always feel good after eating it. Usually this is associated to a need during high stress situations. Some individuals travel far and wide and couldn't get used to the different types of food and longs for some familiar food. When they are back to their country, they usually will look for their favourite comfort food.

Majority of comfort foods comprised mainly those with high carbohydrate, high sugar, starch base nature. Some of these comfort food that are popular with many are: Bread, Apple Pie, Chicken Pie, Biscuits, Brownies, Chocolate, French Fries, Fried Chicken, Cheese, Ice Cream, Lasagne, Macaroni and Cheese, Pancakes, Rice, Roast Beef, Potato Chips, Beer, Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Milk and Tea.

Some of those who ate these feel calm especially during stress, depression and anxiety.

Sep 13, 2008

WHAT ARE THE FIVE SPICES IN FIVE SPICE POWDER

Have you ever wondered what are the spices in five spice powder? Here is a recipe for it. You can make your own and alternatively you can reduce a single ingredient lesser if you don't like it or add if you like a more of certain herb. A teaspoon of each. The spices are Ground cinnamon, ground cloves, fennel seed, peppercorns and star anise. Simple and easy to make your own five spice powder.

How about what is in the Italian seasoning that you get off the shelves? As usual, a teaspoon of each. They are made up of Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, Basil, Marjoram and Sage.

BENTO MEALS GETTING POPULAR

These days, there seem to be a lot of Bentos going around in blogs. Everyone is enjoying packing lunch in box the Bento way. Bentos come from the Japanese word Obento or what they call as packed meal very much like many cultures do. It's basically lunch in a lunchbox. Japanese revolutionize bento in a special way. Their meals are well balanced and appealing.

Bento lunches are now very popular in America and other parts of the world. The joy of creating a nice composition of a packed lunch followed by admiration from the peers during lunch time made Bento meals even more promising and gives lots of encouragement.

Some follow a general rule of Bento 321. This number is refered to 3 parts of carbohydrate, 2 parts of vege, 1 part of protein. Sometimes it is alternate as a 4321 with 1 part being a sweet dessert, for kids.

Bento meals are packed without gaps and packed as tight as possible to prevent the food from sliding around and getting all mixed up. Usually little cherries or fruits like grapes are filled into the gaps.

You'll be surprised when you see many people doing Bento artfully. Some Bentos are done in such a creative way that has a theme or picture of animals, cartoon characters and more. Pick up Bento now.

KIDS' MEAT BALL

If you kids are bored with nothing to do, get them to pick up some cooking tips. Here is a simple recipe for a child. It is so simple and tastes great too. This can be served as an appetizer for parties.

2 kilos of raw sausage, preferably pork
70gm of all purpose baking mix
70gm Grated cheddar cheese
Quarter onion chopped

With a large fork, combine these four ingredients till they are mixed well. Using a spoon, scoop it up and roll it into a ball of the same size. Place these balls on a greased pan or lined with grease proof paper. Bake it at medium heat or about 150 deg C until cooked. You can take one ball out, cut it open to see if it is cooked.

What is All Purpose Mix? It is basically a mixture of these ingredients, flour, baking powder, salt and vegetable shortening. You can buy them readily mixed for convenience or you can create your own. Here is a recipe I have.


6 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. With a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until it looks like coarse crumbs. Store this in a container and use when necessary.

BAKED CHICKEN, BACON, MUSHROOMS AND WHITE SAUCE

Another easy dish for kids and adults. This one has Bacon, Mushroom and Chicken and is absolutely yummy! It is very high in calorie so you can always serve this in a smaller portion with lots of vegetable.

4 oz of chicken breasts
4 tbsp of melted butter
2 tsp of chopped garlic
5 slices of bacon
5 nos mushrooms, sliced
40gm heavy cream
Cheddar cheese

Saute the garlic in the melted butter from the casserole dish from inside of the oven. Take the dish out and start layearing the bacon, two slices of it, and a slice of chicken and line some mushrooms on it. Layer these ingredients till they are used up. Then bake it in the oven until the juices of the chicken is clear and no longer pink. Put the cheddar cheese on the top and bake it for about 5 minutes till the cheese is melted.

Once cooked, scoop it out to a serving platter, but keep the juice from this casserole. In a saucepan, mix the juice with the heavy cream, whisking together till they are creamy and thickened. Pour this white sauce over the platter of baked chicken.

Sep 12, 2008

BAKED CHICKEN CHEESE CASSEROLE

On a busy day, sometimes we do not have the time to cook. We either eat out or order a take away. Why not try this recipe that is yummy and can be stored in the fridge in advance for that emergency busy day. It goes down well with your children too.

You will need:
4 boneless chicken breasts ( you can use leg or thighs but breasts are healthy!)
5 slices of swiss cheese
half a can of condensed soup (i use cream of chicken)
a little chicken broth (maybe 2 or 3 tbsp is enough)
half a cup of stuffing mix (you can buy this from the supermarket)
quarter cup of melted butter ( or about 30gms is also good)

Saute the chicken on a pan till to brown it slightly. Arrange it in a lightly greased baking dish. For each piece of chicken, you top it with a slice of cheese. in a small saucepan, mix the chicken soup with the broth, mix well and simmer it slightly. Pour it on the casserole dish. Next in a separate mixing bowl, mix the stuffing and the butter together. Place this mixture on the top most of your casserole dish. Bake this for about 45 to less than an hour in moderate heat.

Prior to baking, you can keep this in the fridge for about 2 days and bake it when you need to.

Optional: some prefer to use a puff pastry to get a creamy chicken pie effect. I normally prefer to cook my vegetables separate as the nutrition for freshly poached or boiled vege is much higher than a baked one. Unless you are just going to gratinate the top later and your chicken is fully cooked below, then vegetables in your casserole is alright. This way you can bake your dish according to the minimum cooking time that is just right for vegetables. Remember: meat and vegetable cooking time is different, you veg cooks faster so if you cook them together, you might end up with less or no nutrition from your vegetables.

THE NEED TO BRUSH OUR TEETH

Brushing our teeth takes care of the plaque that is a film that sticks to our teeth. This attracts bacteria and sugar. Bacteria loves anything sweet, of course. They feed on the sugar that is stuck in our teeth. It releases an acid that will eat the protective layer of our teeth. This layer is called enamel. When the enamel is broken down, our teeth will have holes that we call cavity. If this is not cleaned and patched up, it will then attact the gums and cause gingivitis.

The first thing we should take care is to clean the teeth and protect the enamel. Brushing your teeth regularly after meals takes care of it and reduce the bacteria on our teeth. Our teeth can last till our old age and we need it badly for cutting our food, chewing and managing food during consumption. If we lose our teeth, it would be stressful to eat and we may be stuck with soft diet that requires no chewing and biting.

Visit your dentist twice a year, preferably to make sure our teeth is in good condition and any treatment can be done before we lose our teeth.

DURIAN IS COMFORT FOOD

Durian is the king of fruit. It looks very intimidating with the spikes and the size. Many who live where durians are grown have two reactions to it. It is, either you love it or you hate it. Durian contains tryptophan, a chemical that raise the serotonin level in our brain. Serotonin is responsible for Euphoric feeling. Tryptophan is something that is good for those who are anxious and depressed and also insomniacs.

Thus, Durian is actually a comfort food. Many people cannot resist their urge to eat durian when they have developed an acquired taste for it.

More about Durian in posts to come.

Sep 11, 2008

RUB PAPAYA ALL OVER YOUR BODY

My grandmother plants papaya trees all over her garden. She loves the fruit and is rich in vitamins. It helps to rid of constipation blues for many. They can be bought at a very cheap price. This fruit has natural enzymes good for cleansing your skin. After slicing that papaya for a meal, keep the leftover skin with the remaining papaya and spread about 2 teaspoons of Aloe Vera Gel on the fruit part. Then, like a cloth, rub it all over your skin, and especially on your knee, elbows and where the rough spots are. You'll be surprised how smooth your skin will be.

So remember not to throw out the papaya skin. Leave a thin layer of the fruit for your beauty regimen each time you have a papaya.

BANANAS FOR YOUR HAIR

Bananas are good source of energy when I have a long day. Many gym fanatics love it. If you have dry hair or skin, you can use a banana mixture to moisturize your skin and hair. It contains protein and can be used for all types of skin. Lets make an easy facemask. All you need is to mash a ripe banana and apply it to yoru face.. EASY? Leave it on for about 15 minutes is good enough. If you add in a teaspoon of honey, you can use it for a hair conditioner for your hair. So don't worry if you are out in a faraway jungle with no cosmetics for face and hair. The fruits will serve you well. These are pure products and has not preservatives nor colour and smells great!

STRAWBERRIES FOR TROUBLED SKIN

In the previous healthy food and skin regimen, I have some fruits and how we can use it as a natural remedy.

Strawberry are sweet and tastes heavenly with cream or dipped in chocolate fondue. But did you know that it can be good for it's conditioning and skin toning treatment? It is rich in salicylic acid that many commercial acne creams actually puts in. If you have a trouble skin, try this method.

Mix half a cup of strawberries with a tablespoon of sour cream (oh yummy) and use it like a facial mask. Fresh berries help to whiten our teeth and keep our breath fresh too. But remember, fruit acids do cause teeth corrosion so remember to give it a good brush after meals and snacks!

Sep 10, 2008

LEFTOVER FOOD

Sometimes after a party, we have too much food. When the guests leave, we have so much leftovers. What should one do with it then. Most foods can be kept to a maximum of three to four days. To lengthen these time, the best thing to do is to pack them into clean dry containers and freeze them straight away. Smaller portions means you do not have to take out so much for each setting and throw them away because defrosted cooked food can cause food poisoning.

Always check for any spoilage. Sourish smell indicates the food is good to be thrown away. Keep the mean leftovers in portions so that it can be used as part of a salad meal, just add fresh lettuce and other vegetables.

Otherwise you can also take them out, thaw it and give it a good stir fry. Chinese love to put all the leftovers and boil them into a pot filled with lots of Salted mustard and boil it for a while. They call it Chop Suey.

OF CHEESES AND EGGS

I always have this problem with my cheeses. When the kids open the whole cheese, they usually leave some part of it opened and it leaves a hard edge forming at the sides. When it happens, those hard part gets thrown away and waste of a good chunk of cheese. Here is a handy tip that I learnt from a friend. You can actually rub the cheese with a little butter before storing and it prevents this hard edge forming.

Also I love to shred them from a large chunk instead of buying the pre shredded ones. To do it easily, I usually let it sit in the freezer for about 40 minutes. This way, it also doesn't stick on my grater and easier to wash too.

Eggs
A very common question about testing the freshness of the egg. How do you know if it is fresh? In fruits, we look for shiny and smooth. But in eggs, it is the total opposite! Smooth and shiney eggs are not fresh but the rough and chalky ones are. So remember to look for the ugly looking ones to ensure it is fresh!

The other way to test freshness is the place it in a cold salted water. If it sinks it is definitely fresh. Old eggs floats up.

Cooked eggs in it's shell will not wobble when spinned. It will be turning a smooth spin.

A PERFECT NOSE

Having a right image is something that is important to most individuals. Some of us are not satisfied with the way we look or certain parts of the anatomy. As medical science improves with technology, we begin to find ways to make ourselves look better or feel better. Medical science had made possible for many who seek to redefine their nose features for many reasons. This form of surgery is called Rhinoplasty.

Rhinoplasty is basically a nose job and can be sub-divided into Primary Rhinoplasty, Revision Rhinoplasty, Ethnic Rhinoplasty and more. In Primary Rhinoplasty, it is done to improve the appearance of the nose, that is symmetrical. Those who goes for these surgery include those who may have a bump on the nose, a large nose, an offset nose or if the tip of the nose is pointed downwards. These nose jobs are typically done within a day. There will be some swelling after surgery and my take months before the new nose takes it's optimum shape.

Revision Rhinoplasty is usually done when the person has had many procedures being done on his or her nose prior to this to achieve a better result. For patients opting for this, an in-depth evaluation is neccessary to determine the cause for his or her unsatisfactory results. While there are some who undergo Rhinoplasty surgery to achieve a pleasant looking nose, enhancing their looks, there are also some who may opt for Ethnic Rhinoplasty jobs instead. Ethnic Rhinoplasty is usually applied to patients who want to improve their nose appearance without sacrificing what is ethnic looking or characteristics that are unique to his or her race.

There are more information about various nose jobs at The Institute for Rhinoplasty and Nasal Reconstruction which is based in Beverly Hills, California.

Sep 9, 2008

FRUITS GIVE YOUR A HEALTHY SKIN

Is there any secret lotion to get perfect beautiful skin? This is something that leaves alot to be desired. I have read many books and skin care and I can only gather that the best solution is to control what you put into your mouth. Not only if you control your diet, then you get a beautiful glowing skin, your health and figure definitely improves too. Nutritions like vitamin are what keeps our body healthy and if you do not pop foods that are good for the body, how can we have a healthy skin and a healthy body.

Fruits are one of the best solutions for a healthy body and skin. The vitamins, the fibre, natural sugars, and all the properties that help you cleanse your system or detoxify it. It is the most natural foods and untainted by preservatives and seasoning like meats and processed foods.

Think about it. To look healthy, eat healthy. You are what you eat, as the saying goes.

ALFREDO SAUCE OVER MUSHROOMS AND PASTA

Alfredo sauce is my favourite. Goes well with mushrooms, crab, over pasta. This recipe is using alfredo sauce over fresh crab meat.

Half cup of butter
2 tbsp cream cheese
1 pint half and half cream
Half cup of Parmesan cheese
1 tsp of garlic powder
Salt and pepper

Onion
Fresh mushrooms
Fresh crab meat
Pasta

In a saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the cream cheese until soft. Add the half and half cream, the parmesan cheese, garlic, and seasoning. Let it simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, taking care it doesn't boil. In a separate pan, saute your crab meat and mushroom in onions. Cook your pasta accordingly to the packet instrutions.

Serve your pasta with mushroom and crab meat on the top. Pour the Alfredo sauce over it and serve with extra cheese, if desired.

Sep 5, 2008

OATMEAL MASK FOR BLEMISHED SKIN

If you find most of the moisturizers too oily for your skin, how about a mask to freshen up skin that is blemished with spots. You will feel refreshed after this and the best thing is that it is natural and no chemicals nor any preservative, fragrance.

Ingredients:
1 tomato
1 tbsp instant oatmeal
1 tsp lemon juice

Chop the tomato and blend it with the rest of the ingredients. The mixture should be thick. Apply it on your cheek, forehead, chin and blemished areas. If it is too watery, you may add more instant oatmeal. Leave the mixture on for about 10 minutes. Using a clean washcloth dipped in warm water, scrub of the paste off your face and rinse it clean with warm water. It works great for blemished skin.

Sep 4, 2008

BANANA YOGHURT MASK FOR DRY SKIN

Each time when I get a comb of bananas, the family eats only half of them. The other half is usually thrown away. It gets overly ripe too fast in tropical hot weather. In fact I have found a great way to use up the bananas that are ripe and no one wants to eat them. I use it as a mask for my dry skin.


Here is what you need:

1/4 cup of plain yoghurt
2 tbsp of honey
1 medium banana

Simple method
Mash the ingredients together with a fork. Yes, it tastes yummy too.. Smooth them onto your face generously and some on your neck for extra moisture.

Leave it on for about 10 minutes and rinse it off.

Sep 3, 2008

COFFEE REDUCES UTERINE CANCER

In a recent study in Japanese recently, it was found that women who drink alot of coffee may have less of a risk of developing womb cancer. This study was studied and monitored based on as many as 54,000 women from the age of 40 to the age of 69 in a life span of over 15 years of study. During this time 117 women developed cancer in the womb. in the study, the group of women who drank more than 3 cups of coffee everyday were 60% less likely to develop womb cancer of the uterine. It was compared with the other group who had coffee fewer than two times a week. According to the study, the possibility of coffee lowering insulin levels and curbing risk of cancer may be in effect when coffee is drank.

Uterine cancer is the forth most common cancer in women according to US Centers for Disease Control.

LOBSTER THERMIDOR

I never get bored eating lobsters! It's my favourite among so many seafood and probably because they are not cheap and not something you can gorge everyday. In a restaurant, the Lobster Thermidor is an expensive meal but it is actually quite simple to make.

You will need:
1 Lobster about 2 lbs
salt
black pepper
2/3 cup of olive oil
2/3 white wine
2/3 cup of fish or meat stock
1 tablespoon chopped onions
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
1 cup of bechamel sauce
3/4 cup of heavy cream, mixed it with 2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Melted Butter

Live lobster need to be split into half. Make sure you clean it well. Sprinkle it with salt, pepper and brush a light layer of olive oil.

In an oven bake it for about 18minutes in moderate heat. During this time baste it in additional olive oil.

When the lobster is cooled slightly, remove the meat from teh body and chop it coarsely.


To make the sauce.
Combine wine, stock, shallots and tarrogon. Cook it in a shallow pan until it becomes a glaze. Add this to the bechamel sauce and stir in the cream that is mixed with the yolks. Add in the mustard(optional) and taste for seasoning. Stir it till it thickens. Add the lobster meat that had been chopped and heat it.

Add this mixture back into the lobster, sprinkle grated parmesan cheese, brush with some butter and brown it in a low to moderate oven.

Sep 2, 2008

LIFESPAN FOR APPLIANCES AT HOME

In the posts of life expectancies, I posted information about floorings mostly. Here are some information for electrical appliances that you see in a normal household. If you are looking for a long term usage, quality is very important. Stretching the cost of the item over a certain no of years will let you gage how much your appliances will cost, per year.

A clothes dryer can last up to 14 years if it is being maintained regularly. Your washing machine is usually used often and will be good if it can last till it reaches 12 years of age. However these days, some do not even last more than 7 years, due to abuse and overloading. If you use a microwave oven, it might last you about 10 years. My National microwave machine is with me for 15 years now! I used it often especially in the last 8 years because I sterilised baby's bottle in a microwavable sterilizer. And I'm not complaining, yet.

A dishwasher should not really be used that much, actually. I'm more for green living.. it uses up lots of water and electricity. It can take you through about 10 years, well maintained.

FRESHEN YOUR CABINETS/WARDROBES

Do you wardrobe smell stale if you keep them closed all the time? I have a cabinet that I store my tennis racquets, balls, old shoes in. They don't smell good and I used to hang moth balls in them and they do smell awful!

I love the smell of soap bars! I discovered that storing your soap bars in your wardrobe/cabinet actually gives your wardrobe and clothes smelling great! And when you're in need of soap, you can always use them and replace new ones in your wardrobe. I also do the same for my drawers, and my shoe cabinet! I use the antibacterial Dettol soap bars for the shoe cabinets.

If you would like to really use it as a room freshener, you may also scrape them and place it your bowl of potpourri with some nice looking dry flowers. They smell great like a fresh out of the shower fragrance!

Sep 1, 2008

FOGGY MIRRORS AND GREASE STAINS

Do you know a trick to get rid of foggy mirrors? This is something I picked up and has been helpful. You will need shaving cream. Use the frothing ones. Spray them on your mirrors and rub them with a soft clean cloth. When the streaks are gone, it works like magic. Unless you clean your mirrors, you can reapply this method after the cleaning.

Grease on your Clothings.
If you have grease stains on your blouse, you can actually sprinkle some baby powder on it. I always keep some baby powder in my handbag because I can freshen up anytime. When you sprinkle these powder, the grease actually gets absorbs into the tiny molecules of powder. When you brush the powder off, the grease will go off too. Try it.

Aug 30, 2008

SAVE WATER TIPS

As part of saving the world and environment, we should learn about how to save water in our household. Some of the old washing machinese use up a lot of water. The amount can be up to 50 gallons of water for each load you do. Although it makes sense not to spend on a new machine, but you could end ups saving more in the long term. The new machines only use only 11-30 gallons of water. If you need to wash the clothes try to do it at full load or when you have enough for full load. Half loads are wasteful. Soak your dirty linens in a small pail before you wash them so that you don't use the presoaking mode which may take up loads of water and use up electricity.

If you need to water the plants, do it when it is not hot outside as the temperature and wind will reduce evaporation and you may end up watering more. Use the kind of plants that need lesser water. If you need to use sprinklers, limit the timing or use a timer. A hose is better than sprinklers, if you can change.

In the bathroom, take a shower instead of having a bath.

There are many other ways of saving water. Perhaps you might like to share it with me.

Aug 29, 2008

HOW LONG CAN A FLOOR LAST

Have you ever wondered what is the average lifespan for some home appliances, fittings that you have at home? Life expectancies increase when you take care of them well and may exceed the average number of years. But an abused usage will shorten it of course. Fittings in your home like your flooring has different life expectancy too. Take for example, if you fix a wooden flooring, your flooring will give you a good expectancy of about 20 over years. Yes. For some who does some maintenance, polishing would be able to see it exceed this number of years of course. But a hardy wood will make a lot of difference. In the older days, hard woods are used but lately most flooring are made of compressed wood. Wooden floorings made of oak and pine lasts a lifetime!

A ceramic tile in your kitchen or other hardy place is a good choice because they generally last a lifetime. So if you want to have a longer lasting floor, pick a ceramic tile, a homogeneous one for anti slip.

Plastic laminate usually lasts about 10 to 15 years, thus you see some of these laminate flooring suppliers give a warrantee of only 10 to 15 years. Granite lasts about 20 over years so granite tops for kitchen are great too.

Will post up more details about other home components too.

Aug 28, 2008

MAKE YOUR OWN ORANGE JULIUS DRINK

I was an Orange Julius fan in the 80s. I love their drinks and would try the few flavours each week. It was good till it lasted. Thought there aren't as many outlets, whenever I pass by, I get me the Orange Julius as they reminded me of Good 'Ol Times after school.

I found a recipe that is almost close.

A can of frozen orange juice (concentrated)
1 cup of fresh milk
1 cup of water
30gms of granulated sugar
1 dessertspoon vanilla essence
A handful of ice cubes.

In a blender, mix the ingredients except the ice cubes and blend it well until the sugar is melted. Lastly add the ice cubes few at a time until they become like an ice blended drink.

Aug 27, 2008

BEST CHEESECAKE I FOUND

After I drooled at the cheesecake Cooking Momster did in her blog, I decided to look for a Baked Cheesecake recipe. I surfed and read many sites. I found one that had so many comments on it and decided to try it out. For some whose cake didn't turn out well, they still complimented on the taste as the best tasting Cheesecake they've tried. So this is the recipe I have here.


INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups white sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream


METHOD
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly coat a 10 inch springform pan with spray oil. Note: You could use a 9x13 inch pan instead.

To make the crust: Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 egg and 1/2 cup butter or margarine. Spread to the edges of the pan. Prick all over with a fork, then bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Allow to cool.

Increase oven temperature to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C). In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, 1 3/4 cups sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, 5 eggs and the yolks and mix thoroughly. Add cream and mix only enough to blend.

Pour filling over crust and bake for 10 minutes at 475 degrees F (245 degrees C). Reduce temperature to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C) and continue to bake for one hour. Turn oven off, but leave cake in for another hour. Don't worry if it looks a little jiggly in the center.

Chill overnight. If the top doesn't come out nicely, you can always add fruits on top or whipped cream.

Aug 25, 2008

DIY HOME CLEANERS

How many of you spent a lot on Disinfectant Cleaners for your home? Perhaps it may be more convenient but did you know that you can make them yourself too? Here is a simple recipe you can use, provided you have some of these items at home. But at least you know what are the ingredients in your cleaner. Sometimes the commercial ones may have certain toxic ingredients..

You will need;
1/4 cup of your laundry powder soap
1 tablespoon of borax
3/4 cup of hot water
1/4 cup of pine oil

Firstly, dissolve the powder detergent and borax in hot water to dissolve them. Add pine oil and stir it to mix well. This mixture is good for hard surfaces including your toilet floor. If you are using it for your kitchen, you might like to dilute the strength down with water. This mixture is heavy duty.

Aug 22, 2008

CLEANING A COFFEE MAKER

Do you know that vinegar has many uses? Not only can you use it for cooking, you can use it to clean out the slime in your coffee machine. Yes, no joke.

This is what you can do. You will need white vinegar for it. Pour a quart of white vinegar into the water chamber in your coffee machine. Turn on the coffee machine and let it run a cycle of it as you would do when you are brewing your hot coffee in the morning. The hot vinegar will then flow into your coffee pot. Do the same again, using another quart of vinegar and leave it there for about 15 minutes. Once you have done this, you can throw away the vinegar. And this time, put water as you would brew coffee (minus the coffee of course) and let it run through brewing cycle, twice or three time to clean off the vinegar remains.

There, you are done.

DIY FURNITURE POLISH

Have you ever used Lemon Pledge to polish your wooden furniture? They smell lemony, don't they. If you have run out of them and would like to make your own, you can! It is important to know what is in you polish solution and also having your own DIY ones are very useful.

Here is what you need:
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of boiled linseed oil
1 tablespoon of turpentine

Yes, these are the three ingredients for you to make your own Furniture Polish! Isn't it simple? Make more if you need more, or make lesser as an when you need it.

The method are: Find a tight fitting screw top glass jar. Place all the ingredients in the bottle or jar. Shake the bottle jar until they are blended. Prepare a clean soft cloth and damp it with cold water, but wring out the excess water as dry as possible. Dip the cloth in some of the mixture and use it to wipe your furniture, testing it on a hidden spot first.

This mixture must be used on demand or it gets a little gummy after a while.

Aug 21, 2008

CHEESEBURGER AND FRIES IN A CASSEROLE

This is yet another yummy potato recipe that's great for the kids and couch potatoes!

Frozen french fries
Half cup diced Yellow Onion
2 tablespoon Dill Pickle/Dill Pickle Relish
450gms ground beef
1tsp salt
1tsp black pepper
A can of mushroom soup
2tbsp ketchup
2tbsp yellow mustard
5slices of cheese

Saute the onions, followed by the beef in a skillet. Add the salt and pepper. Stir in the mushroom soup in and mix untill it is well combined. Pour it in a casserole dish. Spread ketchup and mustard on the top, followed by layers of cheese. Arrange the frozen fries on the top layer and bake in oven for about 50 minutes. Serve with a salad.

Aug 19, 2008

BAKED BEEF WITH POTATOES

I was looking for ways of cooking potato when I found a recipe that is simple and can be done in 20 minutes! It's called the Beef and Potato Stroganoff and it is really simple and delicious too.

The recipe uses russets and according to the creator, you may use noodles instead of potatoes as an option too. How wonderful. Here is the original recipe.

2 med Russet Potatoes/4 small red potatoes is also fine
350gms Lean Ground Beef
1tsp Salt
pinch of Black Pepper
1 can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can of mushroom (brown fresh mushrooms or button is fine)
Half cup water
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard

Cut the potatoes in half, lengthwise, then slice it into 3cm thickness.
In a microwave safe dish, crumble the gound beef, season with salt and pepper.
Add the soup, mushrooms, water, mustard and potato slices. Stir them well until combined. Cover the lid with cling wrap. Microwave it for 20mins on high. Let it sit for 2 more minutes. Remove and serve.

Aug 16, 2008

PUMPKIN RICE



Pumpkin has been popular during Halloween for displays as lanterns. It is also popular with many in the kitchen as food. They are high in potassium, beta carotene and vitamin C. Pumpkin is also a good source of fibre and you also can obtain calcium from it.

Have you tried Pumpkin Rice before. It is very nutritious and yummy. Try this.

400g pumpkin
4 cardamon pods
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups of washed rice
Chopped Celery of a stalk
1 tsp sugar
salt
pepper
600ml water
grated orange rind
chopped chinese celery

Without seeds, pulp pumpkin
Rinse and Steam for about 7 minutes
Using a parisian scoop, scoop out the pumpkin flesh and leave it aside

In a wok, saute onions in oil, and add the cardamon just fry it briefly. Add the rinsed rice, the chopped celery, salt and pepper to taste, sugar and make sure they are all stired through and mixed well.

Once you have fried them thoroughly, you can cook the rice in the electric rice cooker with the pumpkin and water. Cook until it is done.

Serve with orange rind and chopped chinese celery as garnishing.

Aug 14, 2008

WHEN BABIES CRY

Some newborn parents who just got acquainted with Baby do not know what they should do when Baby cries. It's true Babies are not born with a 'manual' and every baby is individual and has a different personality. But here is an 'easy' checklist that as a new parent, what could be wrong when your little bundle of joy cries.

Milk
Babies cry when they are hungry. If the time is scheduled for her milk, this could be the first reason.

Diaper
Babies tend to pee and poo alot. As many as 7 times a day, or more depending on their diet. When their diaper is dirty, wet or uncomfortable, they do cry.

Mummy
Yes, Babies need all the loving and assuring that mummy is nearby. They can tell when mummy is in the room or not. They cry for attention.. they want Mummy!

Security
Babies in womb are kept warm so when he or she is out in the world, the feel is different. It helps to bundle them tight in their nappy cloth, just for the security and comfort of warmth.

Wind/Colic
Babies may swallow air when they cry. These sometimes may cause tummy aches or colic. Sometimes a good rub and pat may help to soothe them down.

Sound
The sound from inside the womb and outside is a drastic different. It helps for them to hear 'white' noise like the vacumm buzzing in the background. Or you can turn the radio on too.

So, there you have it, Mummys. This is not a sure answer to your baby's cries but possible checks that you can do when they cry.

CLEANING ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT

Look around you at home. We use many types of Electronic Equipment daily in our lives. From the television, microwave, personal computer, our mobile phone, the refrigerator running and even the radio that we play. How often do you clean these equipment at home. It is important to keep them clean. Some of us prefer not to clean them as often as we do not really know how to go upon doing that.

It is very simple, actually. Always use a soft cloth that wont cause scratches. Isopropyl alcohol is a the best liquid to clean, and not water or lightly soapy water. Do you know why. Because of the alcohol content, the liquid evaporates faster thus your electrical or equipment is not subject to risk of being electrocution nor rust. Oh of course don't forget to unplug from the power point, of course.

Clean out the equipment and make it a regular habit, and it will last you a very very long time.

Aug 13, 2008

PERSIMMONS

Persimmons look a little like a beef tomato, to me. But unlike tomato, persimmon is a fruit high in beta-arotene, Vitamin C and potassium. There are two types of Persimmons - Fuyu and Hachiya. If you love persimmons, you probably have tried the Fuyu versions which are sweet and can be eaten right away. But if you have eaten Hachiya and detest it, you probably have eaten an unriped fruit. The Hachiya needs to be ripen before consumption as it can taste as bitter as several cups of extra strength tea! It has a very high level of tannin and if you have tried a bitter persimmon, you probably will not eat one ever again.

The country that produces the most persimmon is none other than China. Other countries are Brazil, Japan and also Korea. Hachiyas should be handled with care as they are delicate when riped. Refrigerate them and eat them within those few days. The unriped ones can be kept at room temperature until they are ripe. You can place them with a banana or apple in a bag to accelerate it to ripe.

Fuyu persimmons should be firm and yellow orange in colour. They can stay firm up to 3 weeks in room temperature, and then become soft like the delicate Hachiya.

The persimmons peak during the months of October, November, December and January. These are the months where you get the abundants of Persimmons.

Aug 10, 2008

JAPANESE INSPIRED PRODUCT BLOG

If you love Japanese inspired products you might like to check out this blog that reviews items like kids accessories, cute food picks, tiny forks and spoons, bento lunch pouches, rice moulds, bento belts, silicon dish for bento lunch boxes and more. This site is new so you may not find that many items yet. But I'm sure as time progress, you'll find heaps of items that are just too cute or like that the Japanese word Kawaii. Navigation is simple, straight forward and layout is very simple and uncluttered.

I thought the portable Banana case was unique. I've never seen a banana case before so this is the first time. This blog is a 'widget' by itself, so instead of subscribing to the blog, you might like to copy down the html and paste it in your blog. This way, you can view the items added each time. It is all for your convenience.


The blog that I'm talking about is http://allaboutkawaii.com

EAT A BALANCE DIET

Learning to eat healthy is important. One should always follow the basic balance diet when it comes to nutrition and proportion of food. One should always start with having a regular meals and not eat at odd intervals. In order to eat healthy, one should first stock up on healthy food in their fridge or larder. Avoid processed foods, foods that high in salt and sugar and avoid junk food as they contain little or no nutrition. Store more fresh foods like vegetable, fruits, lean meat, dairy products. Avoid using a lot of oil like deep frying and grilling foods. Steaming, poaching and baking is a healthier option.

Many people who have been eating healthily continues to do so because they are so used to the fact and foods that are high in salts, sugar and oil do not attract them. Those who have been so used to choosing the unhealthy food options finds it hard to pick up good eating habits. Some become desperate when they find their weight ballooning and start to worry about their weight.

In order to lose weight quickly, they start to starve themselves, go on diet and hit the gym. Exercise is a good option but in moderation, supplementing with a good diet but starving themselves is out of the question. Some would hunt for the best diet pills in the market. It is important to remember that diet pills have health risks so it is important to read about it as well as learn the ingredients and effectiveness of the selection before consumption.

Aug 9, 2008

SPINACH GOOD SOURCE OF IRON

I love Spinach. It is the most widely used vegetable found in my weekly diet be it for lunch and dinner. There are many varieties of spinach. In the US, most of the variety used are the spade leaf spinach, with textures like flat/smooth leaf or the savoy spinach ones.

In Asia, very common ones are usually categorized as the sharp leaf, round leaf and also other varieties like the baby spinach, and the red spinach. These are most often used in cooking, like stir fry and in clear soups.

Spinach can be found in frozen packs too. Some are canned but I still prefer the frozen over the canned ones. Spinach can be eaten fresh as in your salads and sandwiches too.

It is very high in nutrition, and low in calories. A very good source of iron, vitamins A, C, some minerals and also fiber. There are about 3gms of protein in every serving of spinach.

















Did you know that spinach contains Oxalic Acid, a chemical that binds with iron and calcium. Iron and Calcium are not easily absorbed in our body unless it is accompanied with foods that are high in Vitamin C. So, remember that when you are eating spinach, try to add fruits like Oranges, Kiwis or even Tomatoes to maximise absorption.

Some suggestions you can cook spinach in. Pizza, pasta, soup, stirfry.

Aug 8, 2008

CARAMEL PEANUT BUTTER POPCORN

For those of you who happened to hopped into my blog looking for Caramel Popcorn, here is one recipe which is very nice. I've tried this twice at home and it tastes great! I got it from a little magazine from the gas station.. but it was months ago and I can't remember where I placed it.. lucky I did scribbled out the recipe though.

You will need:
80gms of popcorn (unpopped)
a stick of butter (salted)
half a cup of sugar
4 tbsps of yummy peanut butter of your choice. (i used Planters and tried Skippy too)
quarter cup of corn syrup

Oil a large flat pan(that comes with a lid). Don't use a shallow one, a deep one is the best! Place the popping corn on a single layer and cover it over medium high heat. Do not lift the lid and shake it occasionally and you will hear popping sounds. The pop corns will pop but do not peek, remember or you might get hurt from popping corn bullets!! When you don't hear any popping sounds, turn the heat off the stove. Pour the popped corn onto a large roasting pan.

Make your glaze (sugar coat)
In the saucepan, melt butter, sugar and peanut butter and stir well to prevent burning of sugar in butter. Butter burns fast. Once the sugar is melted in the hot butter, remove from heat and pour the mixture over the popcorn and stir or toss to get the corn evenly coated. Place it in the oven and and bake in the oven at 120 deg C for an hour. Stir the pop corn at 15 mins interval, to get crispy and well coated popcorn.

Remove, cool and store in airtight container.

Have fun and enjoy your Caramel Peanut Butter Popcorn!