Cameron Highlands Tea Plantation, Malaysia

Friday, January 30, 2009

Chinese New Year breakfast

In Chinese culture, food symbolism plays an important role in Chinese New Year. Being a Hokkien, it's been a long standing tradition to take rice vermicelli noodles for breakfast on the first day of the festivity. The old folks believe that this meal is particularly prominent because it symbolize longevity. My need to continue with food traditions has always been relatively strong. I guess there is a part of me that secretly believes that I'll have an unlucky year ahead if I don't make this dish, but I know, it's not about observing in such practices as much as believing in myself.

This is what we had for breakfast on the first and second day of the ox-picious occasion. And yay, my hubby loves this tasteful traditional dish.

rice vermicelli noodles topped with egg, chicken drumstick, fish maw, fish balls

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Reunion dinner

I've been over indulging on food lately, like there is no tomorrow. I guess during Chinese New Year, it is virtually impossible for all of us not to overeat and to avoid weight gain, right? But no matter how much I exercise, that bulging tummy seems determined to stay on me. DUH!

I was extremely busy preparing food for the CNY's eve. As always, I'd usually do all the cooking and my sister in law in the house would help. I've to confess I am pretty lazy when it comes to cooking, especially on a big day like CNY. But then, all relatives would gathered at my MIL's place for a steamboat reunion dinner on Chinese New Year's Eve. Here we are, it's that time of the year again where everyone enjoys a great get together and the children gleefully accepting angpows (the amount of money they get in red packets).

The fun part of having steamboat is when everyone digs in to fish out the ingredients of their choice from the bubbling stock. Somehow, it took us more than half a day to prepare the ingredients and cooking. The ingredients were easily available at the wet markets and supermarkets but the tasks of preparing them seemed to be laborious. The chicken stock entailed a lot of work with all the ingredients simmering in the pot for hours to get that rich and tasteful flavour. Some of the food items to savour include prawns, squids, clams, fillet chicken, fish, vegetables, fish maw, mushrooms, abalones, and some assorted fishballs. Yup, nothing beats having the fragrant aroma of the items sizzling hot from the wok. Emmm, yummy......

I hope everyone had a fabulous time during the CNY season and another great week ahead...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year 2009

With a couple of days to Chinese New Year and it seems like everyone is already in a festive mood. Many have begun leaving for their hometowns for the festive period. It's that time of the year again to rekindle family ties and enjoy quality time together. I'm so looking forward to a great break, seeing outstation relatives and friends, reveling in the merry atmosphere. During this time, there will be an abundance of glorious food and cookies I'll be able to devour. Having said that, this is probably the only long weekend of this term where I can afford to relax and unwind. Aside from this, I believe many people will take the opportunity to go for a perfect getaway with their loved ones too.

So, here's wishing my friends and fellow bloggers abundant blessings of health, fortune and happiness in the Year of the Golden Ox.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sweet desserts for Chinese New Year

I've always loved this delicacy since I was a kid and my mom made my all time favorite dessert last weekend. This is one of the quintessential Chinese ever popular dessert soups and often served at special events such as weddings and the Chinese new year. As we already know, the Chinese New Year is associated with common traditions and practices when it comes to food.

Not only is this dessert soup enticing it is actually good for general well-being as well. This recipe has been passed down for generations as a nutritious dessert. The old folks believe it is good for the complexion and boost your memory. Apparently, everyone has their own version of making this dessert. Most of the time, white fungus, ginkgo nuts, longans and sea coconuts are preferred in my mom's list of ingredients.

So, here's wishing everyone a sweet year with reasons to smile all year round!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Annual PAP SMEAR test

Getting a pap smear is not cool for me. If you have not experienced a pap smear test before, you are most likely nervous, apprehensive and anxious about getting it done for the very first time. That was how I reacted a few years ago, a combo of all three. Suffice to say, in my entire life, I had only two PAP Smears done. I used to dread the idea of going for my yearly routine so much and I would conjure up all kinds of lame excuses. I'm constantly putting my needs aside and more often, there's always bound to be some family affairs to attend to. Fortunately, my path to healthy lifestyle got the better of me.

Yesterday was the day indeed. Until this point, I was expecting the discomfort of getting on the bed under glaring lights, taking off my pants, bending my knees outwards and exposing my lady part to a male ob/gyn. As usual, the doctor would asked about my symptoms and medical background. The male doctor was friendly and he kept trying to get me to relax. He conducted an ultrasound and a pap smear with an internal complete with an instrument in my vagina to scrap cells off my cervix.

After my pap smear was taken, my cell sample will be sent off to a lab to determine if there are any cervical abnormalities. I'll be receiving my pap smear results in a few weeks time. The results will either indicate negative or positive. In case you are not aware, a negative test means that your cervical cells are normal whereas a positive result indicates the presence of some abnormal cells in your cervix. Causes of an abnormal pap smear include:
  • inflammation
  • infection
  • cancer
As I would imagine, a trip to the ob/gyn can be a source of anxiety and stress associated for most women but I also believe a few women would diligent in scheduling their pap smears. The only good thing I can say is it only happens once a year. MEN should be thankful they don't have to endure such hassles on a yearly basis.

So ladies, even it is not a fun thing or coolest thing to do in the world, do take it seriously, because it is a serious matter, don't take for granted. Prevention is better than cure.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Music Monday

So another season of American Idol has begun with an extra judge. For the next few weeks, we get to see the never ending stream of auditions of many promising talents and some incredibly bad hair which can be truly humorous and entertaining. And, in honor of the return of American Idol 's new season last week, I thought that it would be great to share an American Idol performance from last season for this week's selection of MM. I love David Cook's acoustic and sense of style version of "Always be my baby" (Originally sung by Mariah Carey). Happy listening!

Lyrics | David Cook lyrics - Always Be My Baby lyrics

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chicken Satay, anyone?

My son had this sudden craving for satays and he has been bugging me for weeks. It is quite the norm to have an overwhelming desire when it comes to particular food. I have my food cravings too from time to time, hehe. If you've not tasted this delicacy before, it's a must try, a local favourite food here, where it is eaten as an appetiser, snack, or main course dish..

’s Pulau Tikus has one of the best satays in town with their own unique variations of satay. Even though the queue was freaking long for take away orders but the satisfaction of this particular cravings made it all worth while. Some of the varieties include beef satay, mutton and even pork satay, but the most popular version is undoubtedly the chicken satay. Apart from being freshly grilled over a charcoal fire, this delicacy is accompanied by a tasty peanut sauce, cucumbers and onions. With each stick of chicken satay costs 60sen, you get a good sized portion of delicious skewers of meat.

It was lip-smacking good. very shiok!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Taj Mahal

The famous Taj Mahal has got to be one of the fascinating places we've ever visited. The monument was incredibly magnificent. It was much bigger than I had ever imagined and it would be a place that I 'd always remember. We often talk about this trip to my family, even though it was a few years ago since we last visited this beautiful wonder.

both the outside and the inside of the monument are decorated with inset precious and semi precious stones in the forms of leaves and flowers

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Google Page Rank is 1

After noticing numerous blogs indicating changes in their Google Page Rank , I decided to check mine. As I was checking the status of my blog yesterday, I was pleasantly surprise to see my blog has obtained a whopping Page Rank of 1 out of 10. It's not too bad for a 4 month old blog, and this is good news indeed. I guess it is something which I never expected in such a short span of time. It may sound awesome to begin the brand new year with PR1. No doubt it is a tiny milestone, but it is only the beginning. Since I'm still new to the world of blogosphere, it has never crossed my mind to think about page rank because I spend most of my time concerning about how to explode my blog and delivering content. :D

I am also thankful to all my readers, advertisers and droppers who visit my blog, read my posts and leave comments. This blog is nothing without you.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Music Monday

It's my first Music Monday post of the year. Being a great fan of music, I figured it would be fun to participate in Music Monday. I 'm not certain if it would be a weekly affair, but somehow I feel inspired today and I'm absolutely delighted to share this number for your listening pleasure.

I have been a big fan of Alicia Key’s since her days of “Fallin” and her songs are truly inspiring and give me strength. She's undoubtedly one of the most talented divas in this age and the way she plays the piano is simply awesome. I love this soulful rendition of Alicia Key's If I Ain't Got You and it mesmerize me every time I listen. Enjoy!

Lyrics | Alicia Keys lyrics - If I Ain't Got You lyrics

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Shopping spree

With Chinese New Year (CNY) fast approaching, yup, it's a brilliant excuse to indulge in my shopping spree again. I know, I know, in these tough times, we are constantly reminded to tighten our belts. Having said that, when we hear that things aren't looking bright, our immediate response tells us to be more frugal in our expenditure. As it turns out, it's either you save and don't spend or spend and don't save. No matter how ironic it can be, I still need to spend and not save, save, save, our way out of our present economic blues.. LOL!

Let's get real here. It's all about the feel good factor which I strongly believe is a winning factor. Nevertheless, trust me, I'd definitely set a budget for my shopping spree before hitting the road. If you're like me, then you've probably started thinking about doing your CNY shopping. From clothes, shoes to bags, I actually buy things which particularly caught my eye at affordable prices, of course.

I went to the mall and bought a bunch of new clothes today. When it comes to fashion trends, my personal taste is not just about following fashion blindly but tailoring it to my style. I also believe it all depends on where you live, work and the lifestyle you lead. As long as my body shape maintains, I'll continue to dress the same way. Ultimately, it's also a matter of knowing my limits, so I'd never flaunt to irritate.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Hello Kitty and friends in Penang Safari

I dug through some photos which were taken in 2007 and I thought I would share them for this week's Wordless Wednesday. The Lantern Festival in Auto-City, Juru, Penang comes bustling with a spectacular display of colourful lights, vibrant colours and intricate designs of amazing lanterns.

my son and bro in law

Have a Wonderful Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Preparing for Chinese New Year

With Chinese New Year falling towards end of this month, I believe many homes would be cleaning out all the junk and clutter all over the place. It has been my usual practice to get that spring cleaning urge right after Christmas. Who doesn't love their surroundings to be clean, pleasing to the eye and sparkling for the festive mood?

The festive season will be the next big affair after welcoming New Year. It seems that the local supermarkets are getting prepared for the incredibly big celebration that occurs in less than a month's time. This year the auspicious occasion will celebrate the Year of the Ox.

Apart from the spring cleaning, many homes will be exquisitely adorned with somewhat glittering.......... I mean overpowering red, red, red decorations to usher in the Chinese New Year. Apparently , red is considered a lucky color, and it is prominently featured in Chinese New Year decorations. Somehow, my hubby and I not particularly fond of flattering decorations that ended up looking too busy and disturbing. Don't get me wrong, spreading the chinese new year spirit is absolutely fun and great but we prefer to keep it simple. We usually keep the decorations to a minimum, we just don't overdo it. Sometimes, less really is more.

We like simple, meaningful themes to adorn our home. I decorate my home with this chinese character 'Fu' (as picture above) because it's associated with good luck, good fortune and is believed to usher in prosperity. Incase you don't know, 'Fu' is one of the most popular and common Chinese characters used in Chinese New Year. Apart from that, I adore the idea of displaying flowers to symbolize a healthy beginning in the coming year.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Hello 2009!

This is my first ever post for 2009 and this being the third day of a brand new year. I love new beginnings. Despite the tough economic times, I remain optimistic and excited about this year. My instinct just tells me that some of the great things will happen in near future.

I know I really should post something profound for the brand new year, but I just don't have it in me at the moment. But seriously, the word 'school' seems to be lingering on my mind so, I will just post this.

There are only a couple of days left before the new school semester opens which means a new class, new teachers, new lessons and everything new. This will be the last few days of the kids to indulge in cartoons and video games before homework starts piling up. It seems my kids are now enjoying every precious minute of their remaining holidays. On the other hand, I guess they are enthusiastically looking forward to the new semester to start, and so begins another year of fun, challenges and excitement. Needless to say, the past few weeks have been a great escapade for the kids away from their stressful moments, thoughts, and concerns.

Orientation session begins today but this time it is for my daughter's brand new year in school for the Secondary 1 classes. My hubby drives her to school today and hopefully she'll adapt to her new environment and everything will work out fine for her.

The first week of school has always been the toughest moment as everyone struggles to get back into a routine and remember the daily activities that help make things work smoothly. As school begins, I guess I would need to wake up early with the help of my alarm clock, of course and ferry them to school. That said, there will be the usual morning rush hour when school is open. Of course the school bus schedules play a major factor as well.

Anyway, here’s to another incredible 365 days of:

Much to be thankful for
Much to look forward to…

Cheers to 2009!