Sweet dessert soup (糖水)

I love sweet dessert soup very much. When I cook sweet dessert soup, I will scoop out my portion with less sugar, then I will add in extra sugar for my husband and my girls. I just need to have a little taste of sweetness. Too sweet is very fattening.
However, my husband and my girls won't eat if it is not sweet enough. They will complain my sweet dessert soup tasteless.

Almost every weekend, I will boil sweet dessert soup.

1. Pumpkin, white fungus, red dates, lotus seeds and rock sugar.

2. Sweet potatoes, barley, green beans and rock sugar.
3. Purple and yellow sweet potatoes. Rock sugar and a slice of ginger for better taste.

4. Sweet potatoes, red beans and gula malaka.

5. Barley, green beans, red beans and rock sugar.

6. Purple sweet potatoes glutinous rice balls, orange sweet potatoes, and brown sugar.

7. Red beans, lotus seeds, pumpkin and rock sugar.

8. Orange sweet potatoes, dried longan, white fungus and rock sugar.

9. Barley, green beans, lotus seeds and rock sugar.

10. Sweet potatoes glutinous rice balls, dried longan, red beans and gula malaka.

11. Red beans, peanuts, pumpkin glutinous rice balls, and rock sugar. 

Please remember to boil sweet dessert soup with a few screwpine (pandan) leaves tied together. I will put in screwpine leaves only when the soup is starting to boil. Let it continue to boil for another an hour, then  I will off the fire.

April and May like only certain sweet dessert soup and dislike certain types. Unlike me, I like almost all types of sweet dessert soup. What about you? 


Purple Sweet Potato Rose mantou (Rose Chinese bao)

I never did anything successful in my first attempt, but this one was exceptional.

I tried for the first time, and I got the most perfect Rose shape mantou that I ever expected. These rose mantou made me happy for a week, I tell ya!

I took many pictures of them, I just love looking at my rose pau. They are so beautiful. My first rose mantou. After that, I tried making yellow pumpkin rose mantou too.  I have blogged about it here.

I still find this purple roses look better than the yellow one, may be the purple dough proofed much better than the yellow dough. The proofing could be vary by the weather and the air temperature.

Purple Sweet Potato Rose Mantou
(Recipe is adapted from http://www.yummylittlecooks.com/2012/06/purple-sweet-potato-rose-mantou.html)
250gm steamed purple sweet potato
200gm water
500gm pau flour
1 tsp baking powder
100gm sugar
50gm shortening/Crisco
1/4 tsp salt
11gm instant yeast

Mash sweet potato, or blitz sweet potato with almost all the water to get a fine paste. Purple varieties tend to be firmer than orange ones.
With balance of water, mix with yeast.
Combine everything except shortening and mix to form a dough.
Put in shortening and knead until dough is smooth. Add slightly more flour is dough is way too sticky to handle. If the dough is sticky but can retain its form, like not slacking down, just continue to knead, the gluten just hasn’t form, there’s no need to add extra flour.
Cover and let dough proof until double, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough and knead for 1-2 minutes.
Divide dough into 50gm portions and form as you wish. For rose bud formation method, please read instructions below.
Cover and let the formed dough proof until doubled for another 45 minutes.
Steam on high heat for 12 minutes.


I may not be perfect .....

 .....but when I look at my children, I know that I got something in my life is perfectly right.

My big sister came to my house, she stood in front of the cabinet and said something like this,
"Yan,  your children are so young and they go to school just a few years, they have got so many prizes and trophies eh!"

To be very honest, they got them so easy and I might not as appreciative as what others would think that I was.

Their papa bought this new cabinet just two weeks ago. He took three continuous evenings to organized his daughters' trophies and medals. He arranged as such that the prizes from kindergarten are put in the old cabinet; the prizes from the primary school are put in this new cabinet

These big trophies are mostly won in Ping Pong tournaments. The small trophies are won from many different competitions which held in the school, such as singing, drawing, spelling, story telling, poem, mathematics, and many other academy related subjects and sports day events.

Little did you know, I was so harsh to them. I remember that I caned April when she wrote "Piano" as "Piana" in her first BM test paper. I threw May's English paper on the floor when I saw her missing out two questions because of careless. I know that I am a very demanding mother.

In year 2015, I wish that I will have a little more wisdom and patience to deal with my life as the mother of my daughters. I want to be my daughters' biggest fan, encourager and supporter because I love my daughters.

I am a proud mommy of April and May. 


Tomato rice

I am a lazy busy mom. So when I saw everyone cooking tomato rice and sharing tomato rice recipes on FB. I also tried cooking tomato rice.

Luckily my two girls can accept tomato rice. It is so easy to prepare and it tastes good as well. Needless to say tomato provides many health benefits.

First attempt is tomato and prawns.
I put in prawns, tomato, rice, oil, salt, pepper and water.
When cooked, tomato rice looks like that.
I stirred and mixed everything together. I actually removed tomato skin before mixing.

Second attempt is tomato, prawns and sausages.
I used 2 sausages here.

After cooked, I peeled off the tomato skin.

Then, I mixed everything together and served.

Third attempt is tomato and corns.
After cooked, I put in 10 teaspoons of vinegar, as I was going to make onigiri.

My girls enjoyed these tomato rice balls. They had it with Japanese sweet sauce and soy sauce.

I have to try cooking tomato rice with different ingredients, so that they won't get bored of eating tomato rice so soon.

I love this type of recipes. I can put everything inside the rice cooker at one go, and I just need 10 minutes of preparation time. So convenient and no hassle at all. 


I can't run because of Achilles tendinitis

The story began when I came back from Malacca trip, I felt terribly guilty for having feast on so much Malacca food.  I arrived home at 5pm, I unpacked and packed again, I reached gym at 7pm. I ran with full force and strong will power, trying to burn all the calories which I gained in 5 days at one shot. I was so greedy to achieve the intensity by increasing the speed and also the gradient of the treadmill. I felt pain at my right ankle half way through the run. I ignored the pain, and continued to reach the targeted mileage and calories that I had set in my mind.

After 1.5 hours run, I  burned 900 + calories and completed 13km. I was so satisfied but I came down from the treadmill with my right leg limping. I thought the pain would go away after I got up from the bed on the next day. I skipped my run for one day, but my right foot still hurt when I walked. So, I walked a bit and ran a bit for the subsequent few days until I went to Penang to get foot massage at the beach. The foot massage didn't make me feel any better. I still limped when I walked. It was getting more painful especially when I stepped down the staircase.

 Finally, I decided to see the panel doctor. The panel doctor referred me to see orthopaedic surgeon. After X-ray and diagnosis, doctor confirmed that I had Achilles tendinitis.

I search in Google, the definition of Achilles tendinitis is as below.

"Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone.
Achilles tendinitis most commonly occurs in runners who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their runs. It's also common in middle-aged people who play sports, such as tennis or basketball, only on the weekends." 
Doctor prescribed me anti-inflammation/pain relieve medicine and suggested me to go through a series of physiotherapy treatments.  

I applied Fastum gel at my ankle, as it could heal the pain faster.

My gym buddies told me to use compressive elastic bandages or ankle guard to wrap my foot. It can help reduce swelling and reduce movement of the tendon.

Besides, doctor also advised me to rest. Meaning, I need to avoid exercise for several days or switch to an activity that doesn't strain the Achilles tendon, such as swimming. T____T

I told you all right? I am a gymaholic. I felt upset for not being able to run. I felt uneasy and I couldn't be my normal self especially I needed to limp whenever I walked.

It was the most saddening part when I needed to miss my virgin run on the road. I had registered myself long ago for the Taiping Run on 21 December. Because of this run, I trained myself to complete 6.5km in less than 40 minutes. When the day was here, I couldn't make it .

G-7277, I like this number, but I couldn't wear it on that day. I felt so sad. On 21 December, my right ankle was still very stiffed. I guess I need to wait for the next year. I wanted so much to do my first run in my own town.

When I typing this post, I am no longer limping, but I still feel a bit of pain at the side of my ankle when I walk. I will resume my run after the next check up appointment. I can't wait to run again. I have already stopped running for 3 weeks. During these 3 weeks, I still went to gym everyday to do strength training for my upper part of body.

Apparently, there are ways to prevent Achilles tendinitis. I have to keep the following prevention steps in my mind.

While it may not be possible to prevent Achilles tendinitis, you can take measures to reduce your risk:
  • Increase your activity level gradually. If you're just beginning an exercise regimen, start slowly and gradually increase the duration and intensity of the training.
  • Take it easy. Avoid activities that place excessive stress on your tendons, such as hill running. If you participate in a strenuous activity, warm up first by exercising at a slower pace. If you notice pain during a particular exercise, stop and rest.
  • Choose your shoes carefully. The shoes you wear while exercising should provide adequate cushioning for your heel and should have a firm arch support to help reduce the tension in the Achilles tendon. Replace your worn-out shoes. If your shoes are in good condition but don't support your feet, try arch supports in both shoes.
  • Stretch daily. Take the time to stretch your calf muscles and Achilles tendon in the morning, before exercise and after exercise to maintain flexibility. This is especially important to avoid a recurrence of Achilles tendinitis.
  • Strengthen your calf muscles. Strong calf muscles enable the calf and Achilles tendon to better handle the stresses they encounter with activity and exercise.
  • Cross-train. Alternate high-impact activities, such as running and jumping, with low-impact activities, such as cycling and swimming.


MiKu (Pink tortoise mantou)

My two daughters love mantou. I love miku (in Hokkien), miku is actually a pink tortoise pau that Chinese would make to pray to ancestors on altar at home, or bring to temples.

I actually made this during the Nine Emperor Celebration (九皇爷诞).

My pink tortoise mantou were in mini size one.

I used raisin to make their eyes. 

They were actually very soft and nice.

Next time, I must try to make yellow tortoise mantou by using pumpkin.

Miku Recipe

1kg plain floor
11g instant yeast
200g sugar
100g corn oil (1/2 cup)
460g water (2 1/2 cups)
4 pandan leaves (screwpine)

1. Boil pandan leaves with sugar in water. Leave to cool.
2. Mix flour and yeast together.
3. Knead flour mixture, water and corn oil together for 15 mins.
3. Scale dough to 100g each and leave to rest for 10 mins.
4. Roll dough with rolling pin and fold in both ends. Roll again and fold in the other 2 ends. Place each dough on a piece of grease proof paper, or you can make your own tortoise shape.
5. Allow dough to rise for 35 min.
6. Brush surface with (diluted) pink colouring.
7. Steam over high heat for 15 mins.

The above quantity makes 18 pieces of "Miku".

Happy New Year 2015, folks! 


Golden Sand, Penang

My husband booked a Family Holiday Package of 3D2N at Golden Sand, Penang in December.

It was indeed a very good offer package of MYR 660 per night.

Upon checking into the hotel, we were served with one lunch consisting of two wood-fired pizzas.
The two pizzas cost about RM 70, inclusive in the offer package.

While enjoying the pizzas, we were entertained by the Penang Japanese Choir club with Japanese Christmas carol.

The girls had four hours of daily admission to Adventure Zone with kiddie lunches. The lunches for two children cost about RM65.

3 days of entry fees and 3 lunches for two children were also included in offer package.

The girls were complimented by two polly the parrot soft toys .

Besides, daily buffet breakfast for two adults and two children below 12 years old at Garden Cafe
Complimentary one extra bed for a child under the age of 12 years old. Daily dinner (either buffet or set dinner) for two adults and two children at Garden Cafe inclusive of free flow of beverages (soft drink, juices, house wine and house beer) for the whole family.

My husband was so happy, as he could enjoy the free flow of beer and wine at the buffet dinner during our stay there. He said to me that he is going to book another family fun package with Golden Sand again.

And I, enjoyed the full body massage (RM60 for an hour) and foot massage (RM30 for half an hour) at the beach side, the pool, the jacuzzi, and also the gymnasium.