Life's like that!

June 30, 2009

'I want Pa Pa!'

Since husband returned to Texas on Sunday, daughter has been asking for him everyday.

I kind of anticipated this before we came to Dayton, so I told husband that we will be talking to him on the phone more often so that daughter can have more opportunities to hear his voice.

Allah SWT willing husband will be back in Dayton on July 3rd. We are looking forward to seeing him soon.


Shopping in Dayton, Ohio

Yesterday was almost a whole day of shopping for us.

First we visited one of the thrift stores to browse. The huge collection of clothes and houseold items in the store is quite impressive. In the end I bought three preschool games and some books for daughter.

Then we went to a Target store where my sister bought household items.

We also went to a Bed, Bath and Beyond store where she bought a set of pyrex containers.

Before we went home, we went to one of the three Korean grocery stores to get some Korean food items. I chatted with the owner and found out that he has been in Dayton for 15 years.

I told him that we are from Singapore and he said that we look like Koreans! I guess maybe he thought that we might be from Korean because we love to eat spicy Korean food! We greeted him goodbye in Korean and he replied back in Korean. How cool is that! I am now so motivated to learn to speak Korean, Allah SWT willing.

Today my sister and her family are planning to visit the nearby Montessori school for the kids. Should be interesting to find out more about the school's Montessori program.


June 29, 2009

The Lehman's Store

Before I left Texas, I told my sister that I would love to visit the Lehmen's Store in Kidron, Ohio.

Since we drove 1019 miles from Texas to Ohio, it doesn't make sense to me to not visit the place where I can buy an oil lamp and wicks. I think it will be an interesting place for the kids to visit and learn about non-electrical equipment and tools.

Allah SWT willing we'll have to make the trip some time this week.


Home Alone! With 3 Kids!

Yesterday my dear sister went to Ikea, Whole Foods Market and Walmart with her husband. They left me with three kids at the apartment for SIX hours!

Thanks to my experience at the school, I was able to keep them busy for the first 3 hours with games. But atlas! my energy level went down after 12pm and I got them play puzzles and visited to read online stories.

I think I am still recovering from the two-day trip from Texas to Ohio, so my energy level is lower. Although I love to travel, I'll have to admit that age is catching up with me!


June 28, 2009

Pop music icon's death

When husband and I heard about the death of Michael Jackson, we were both surprised by the news.

When his song 'Beat It' was playing on the radio in early 1980s, husband was recovering from a surgery in a Los Angeles hospital while I was still in primary school. Generally his songs are quite well written and have good melodies.

I just hope that successful singers and performers today learn some valuable lessons about doing something good with their fame and fortune, and learn to avoid the pitfalls of success.


Awaiting my darling's return...

I miss husband already...

He left early this morning to drive back to Texas. I prepared coffee and Chinese lotus seed buns for his breakfast. Before he departed I reminded him to rest as much as possible along the way and to call me whenever he stops to rest.

It's weird not having him around. Daughter will miss him very much when she doesn't see him tonight. Allah SWT willing husband will be back in Dayton, Ohio on Friday, July 3rd.


June 27, 2009

We are in Dayton, Ohio!

All praise be to Allah SWT, husband, daughter and I arrived at my dear sister's 3-bedroom apartment in Dayton, Ohio safely.

Husband enjoyed driving across Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio. The curvy route was a challenge for husband to manevour.

Last night we stayed at La Quita Inn and Suites in Jackson, Tennessee. We bought ingredients to make sandwiches from Kroger. After dinner we were all so tired that we slept at 9am.

Tomorrow morning husband will drive back to Texas. Daughter and I are looking forward to seeing him on July 3rd.


June 25, 2009

Zoombies at my place

My dear sister and her two kids are still having jet lag on the third day of her arrival in Texas.

Thanks to the wisdom of our mother who advises them to eat rice porridge to help them cope with the jet lag, they are in good health. It is kind of tough to hear about my dear sister's emotional departure with family and friends at Singapore's Changi International Airport.

Allah SWT willing tomorrow morning we will be driving to Jackson, Tennessee.


June 24, 2009

My sister is here!

After surviving a 20+ full flight on Korean Air with her two kids, my sister finally arrived at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport yesterday morning.

It was a coincidence that Sr. Irina, a teacher who works at the school where I subbed, was at the airport waiting for the arrival of her father, sister and niece. They were flying from Indonesia and were on the same flight as my sister's.

It is great to see my niece and nephew who have grown much taller and are just adorable.

Since Asian food items are likely to be more expensive in Dayton due to the smaller demand for these items, my sister will be buying some of them here e.g. soy sauce, fish sauce, Milo, sesame oil etc.

Allah SWT willing our two families will be driving to Dayton Ohio on Friday. We will stop in Jackson, Tennessee on Friday night and continue the rest of the journey on Saturday. Husband will drive back on his own on Sunday while daughter and I will stay in Dayton for one week.


June 22, 2009

Best Indian Snack - Amma's Kitchen Madras Mixture

I have been looking for one of my favorite Indian snacks for a while. Since there are so many brands on sale at the Indian grocery store, I couldn't make up my mind on what to buy.

Thanks to Sr. Nor, she introduced this brand of Indian snacks to me when we were at the Indian supermarket in Irving last week.

I really like this madras mixture. It is flavorful and not too spicy. Even husband and daughter love to snack on this treat too.


Ice Kacang (Snow Cone) - My Dream Come True!

I recently ordered a manual ice shaver from Ebay. I am trying to cut down on energy consumption, so this manual equipment is just what I am looking for.

All praise be to Allah SWT for $15, this equipment works really well. It came with 2 containers and shaves ice quite finely. I added sweet condensed milk and rose syrup to the bowl of shaved ice and it tasted great!

Allah SWT willing I will have to stock up on atap seeds and grass jelly to make this treat complete. Instead of spending money on premium ice cream, we will be having this cheap and cooling treat during summer!


Keller Homestead Farm

On Saturday husband wanted to spend the morning with daughter before he got busy with work. So I suggested to him that we could visit the nearby Keller Homestead Farm.

The farm was about 20 minutes drive north of our city. We took the highway and traffic was really light on weekends.

Top: Greenhouse for vegetable and fruits.

Horses on the farm.

Left: Chicken coop for young chicks and ducks. Right: Hen house.

Rabbit hutches.

We spent about half hour at the farm and daughter enjoyed looking at goats, horses, chickens and rabbits.

Before we left, we bought Amish butter, sweet potatoes and fresh goat milk. We also found out that they have a 2-hour day camp for children 4 years old and older. The goal is to show children goat milking, egg picking and how to grow vegetables and fruits. I like the family-oriented service on the farm and the camp costs $50 per child. Allah SWT willing next year if they have the camp I will sign up daughter for it. I feel that we should support local farms as much as possible so that our children have the opportunity to enjoy local produce.

Allah SWT willing we looking forward to visiting this farm soon.


June 19, 2009

Living a Simple Life

Husband and I have one common interest - not buying anything that we don't need.

While reading the blog Our Compact Life about a couple's one year journey of cutting down on unnecessary shopping, it reminded me of our spending habit.

Recently I have been buying used board games and books for daughter and I am constantly amazed at many cheap and fantastic finds at the Texas Thrift Store and Goodwill Store.

All praise be to Allah SWT I am thankful that husband and I think alike in terms of spending money wisely. We do not hesitate when it comes to spending money on healthy and nutritious food for our family, but will think many times over about spending on clothes, gadgets and big ticket items.

Allah SWT willing we hope daughter will practice good money management skills when she is older.


June 15, 2009

We Have Vine-Riped Cherry Tomatoes & Soy Beans!

This morning I spotted three vine-riped cherry tomatoes and 'invited' husband and daughter to pick them.

Daughter picked them and gave one to husband, one to me and ate one herself. All praise be to Allah SWT the cherry tomato tasted soooo goood!!!

I am so happy to see baby edamames! I hope the hot weather will not cause too much stress on the plant. Will have to add mulch on top of the soil soon.

Baby cucumbers are not growing anymore, I think it has to do with the hot weather (98 degree F) since last week. If they are still going to stay the same size, I will have to pull them out and grow bell peppers in the pots.


The loveliest kite for me!

Husband made this kite out of a wooden stick, bamboo strip and plastic from his jacket protective cover.

He flew it with daughter at the park on Saturday and it flew really high!

All praise be to Allah SWT for husband's kite engineering skill!

On a different note, I bought a fascinating toy, Marble Run, at a thrift store for $2 and daughter has been playing with it enthusiastically. We love to watch the marble rolling down the ramp and into the red funnel.

This toy has been listed as one of the best toys for kids, according to the information listed on Dr. Toy's web site.

'The Quadrilla marble run is a truly “open-ended” toy that can help a child assemble structures that will demonstrate some fundamental – but fascinating – principles of construction. A child may not know it, but Quadrilla can help her or him experience the process of design as they build their own marble run, understand cause and effect and see first hand how kinetic energy differs from gravitational energy. Of course, the most important principle the child will experience is the fundamental principle of fun. Each Quadrilla set comes complete with an extensive assortment of beautifully crafted, solid wood rails. Each set also contains a variety of colored wood blocks that serve as connector channels. Together these pieces allow the child to construct either simple structures or complex, multi-tiered structures.'

Allah SWT willing I hope to find more interesting toys at the thrift store soon.


Oh No! Last Week of Spring!

Boo Hoo Hoo...

This is the last week of spring and already temperature has reached almost 100 degree F last week.

Better enjoy the cool morning now before it get sticky and muggy...


June 10, 2009

How to make a Kite

Husband took daughter to the park last weekend to fly a kite. When he came home he told me that the strong wind blew the kite away before he had a chance to catch it.

Since he is hands-on person, I asked him to make a kite for me.

I then went online to find videos and web sites that provide step-by-step instructions on making a kite. Here is a really easy to follow instructional video on YouTube.

Photo source:

I also found a book (on one of my bookshelves) that I bought at last year's Euless Public Library book sale: Dynamite Kites: 30 plans to build and fly. This book has a range of simple to complex designed kites and I am fascinated by the delicate designs and measurements to make the kites fly.

This morning I went to the nearby craft store 'Joanne' to buy some long sticks for husband. Allah SWT willing I will wait patient for husband to make a new kite for us!


7 Lessons from the World's Greatest Minds

Received from a homeschooling mailing list.

Have you ever wished you could go back in time and have a conversation with one of the greatest minds in history? Well, you can’t, sorry, they’re dead. Unless of course you’re clairaudient, be my guest. But for the rest of us, we can still refer to the words they left behind.

Even though these great teachers have passed on, their words still live, and in them their wisdom. I’ve made a list of seven what I believe are some of the greatest teachings by the world’s greatest minds.

1. Realizing Your Dreams

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” - Lawrence J. Peter

In order for us to achieve our dreams, we must have a vision of our goals. Writing down our dreams and creating a list of actions helps us stick to our plan. As it’s said “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. When we turn our goals into measurable actions, we gain clarity and are able to see the necessary steps we must take in order to achieve them.

Action: Visualize a life of your wildest dreams. What did you dream of doing when you were a child? What would you do if you had a million dollars? Create a vision for your goals and start breaking them down into small actions that you can take on a day by day basis.

2. Overcoming Fear

“It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, “Always do what you are afraid to do.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The best way to learn something is to dive right in to it. When we overcome our fear of failure, we learn that only those who are asleep make no mistakes. Fear is the only thing keeping us from experiencing a life of love and fulfillment. If we make a commitment to an uncompromisable quest for truth, we will realize that as we grow more into the truth, our fears start to disappear.

Action: You must define your fears in order to conquer them. Create a list of everything you’re afraid of and start facing them one at a time. Make a commitment to yourself now to not let fear rule your life.

3. Intention and Desire

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.”- Guatama Buddha

Our thoughts determine our reality. When we stop thinking about what we don’t and begin thinking about what we do want, our lives begin to transform. Instead of working against our desires and intentions, we move into alignment with them.

Action: Create a list of your intentions and desires. Wherever you go, take this list with you. Read it when you wake up and before you go to sleep.

4. Happiness

“Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances.”
- Benjamin Franklin

Happiness comes from an inner peace, understanding and acceptance of life; a perspective of truth that opens your eyes to the beauty of life all around us. Happiness cannot be achieved by external status, it must be an internal state that we realize when we see our innate perfection.

Action: Realize that happiness is a choice. In every decision you make ask yourself “how can I respond to make myself happy and fulfilled?”

5. Self Acceptance

“If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” - Jesus

When we stop trying to be what we are not, we realize our authenticity. Before we had knowledge, we were completely authentic. We learn to use knowledge to measure and judge, which is a powerful tool we have as humans. However we create an image of perfection in our mind of what we should be, but are not. We confuse knowledge for nature. We believe in the lie of our imperfection. When we realize this we can reclaim the truth of our perfection and live in love and acceptance.

Action: Make a commitment to never go against yourself. Practice non-judgment and realize that the same part of your mind that condemns you is the same voice that caused you to take the action in the first place. We don’t even have to believe what we say to ourselves.

[Note: In Islam, Jesus refers to Prophet Isa (peace be upon him). and he was a messenger of Allah SWT.]

6. Appreciation and Gratitude

“So much has been given to me, I have not time to ponder over that which has been denied.”
- Helen Keller

How many times do we count our misfortunes rather than our blessings? When we take time to open our eyes to the miracle of life we can see the many gifts that have been given to us. Remembering all the beautiful aspects of life and all the reasons you are blessed can immediately shift our mood. We can move from sorrow and despair to appreciation and hope.

Action: Each time you find yourself complaining about something, re-direct your focus to something you are grateful for. Make a habit of transforming your awareness of troubles into an awareness of abundance.

7. The Art of Simplicity

“I made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it short.”
- Blaise Pascal

Perfection is not when there is nothing to add, but when there is nothing more to take away. As Bruce Lee once said “the height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.” True mastery of our lives is realizing the simple joys of life, removing distractions and clutter from our lives.

Action: The art of simplicity is knowing what to take away. Practice recognizing when you’re spending your time on unimportant tasks and re-focus on the important.

This list is by no means exhaustive. There are other many great teachings that I did not include here because I felt like they were already expounded on thoroughly elsewhere, such as Einstein and Gandhi’s timeless classics. There are also great teachings to be found from our parents or friends.


June 09, 2009

OrgraN Gourmet Natural Vegetable Rice Pasta + Organic Soy Bean

After suffering from seasonal allergies since I came to the US, I have been reading about ways to relieve allergies symptoms the organic way.

I have to admit that I have been eating lots of wheat product e.g. cakes, brownies, cookies, pasta etc, more than what I would normally consume in Singapore.

Recently I did some serious thinking about my past diet and the type of food that I grew up eating, and realized that I should return to a rice-based diet instead of sticking to a wheat-based one.

So last week after reading some online reviews about rice pasta, I ordered a box of OrgraN Gourmet Natural Vegetable Rice Pasta from

All praise be to Allah SWT it arrived pretty quickly.

This product is:
- gluten free
- wheat free
- dairy free
- egg free
- yeast free
- GMO free
- easy to digest
- suitable for vegans
- made of brown rice (94.3%), spinach, beetroot (5.7%)

This morning I cooked a bag of vegetable rice pasta for breakfast and husband's lunch. The rice pasta shape held up well after cooking.

Then I stir fried the cooked pasta with onion, golden needle mushroom and red bell pepper. I seasoned the dish with soy sauce, sesame oil and Worcestershire sauce. For garnish I added some fried shallots. After stir frying, the rice pasta did not get mushy and the dish tasted quite good!

On a different note...

Since I am also making homemade soy milk, I ordered organic soy beans from The Chambers Farms located in Iowa, USA.

Allah SWT willing I am going to purchase more rice and beans products for my family.

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June 08, 2009

Let's Make Sushi!

This morning Sr. Basira and her three kids came to my place to hang out with daughter and I.

While we chatted, our kids played together in the living room. Daughter had a terrific time playing Lincoln Logs with Sr. Basira's boys.

For lunch we decided to make sushi and I showed her how to fry thin rice noodles with eggs and bell peppers.

I really enjoy cooking with her and enjoying the shrimp and cucumber sushi with the kids. Even her kids liked the food that we prepared.

Since she cooks Italian food often, I hope to learn some tips from her soon, Allah SWT willing.

All praise be to Allah SWT I hope we will have more chances to hang out and cook together during summer.


June 07, 2009

Text Messages Shower Curtain (LOVE IT!)

This morning I was browsing at the Bed Bath and Beyond store and saw this shower curtain with text messages.

Since our existing one needs to be replaced, I couldn't stop myself from running to the cashier with this shower curtain.

All praise be to Allah SWT the 20% store discount coupon that I received via snail mail definitely helped me to keep within my budget.

My favorite:

(let's party!)


June 06, 2009

Mua Chi 麻滋

All praise be to Allah SWT and thanks to Fen Ying's Kitchen Diary, I finally made one of my favorite Singapore snacks, Mua Chi!

Even husband who has never eaten this snack before gave two thumbs up!

Mua Chi
Ingredients A
Shallots : 6 nos. (sliced)
Oil : 5 tbsp

Ingredients B
Glutinous Flour : 300g
Water : 450g
Shallots Oil : 3 tbsp

Ingredients C (grind finely)
Fried peanut : 250g
Fried white sesame seeds : 50g
Sugar : 100g

1) Heat up oil, fry shallots till golden brown, remove shallots for later use.
2) Mix Ingredients B till well combined
3) Strain into an oil-coated steaming tin
4) Steam over high heat for 45min.

5) Remove steaming tin, use wooden spoon to stir in one direction till smooth
6) Sprinkle a handful of sugar on top to prevent it from turning dry
7) Sprinkle fried shallots
8) Cut into small pieces, roll over the peanut sesame mix and serve


Marigold, Eggplant and Cherry Tomato

The eggplant seedlings took 5 days to sprout from seed. All praise be to Allah SWT they are growing well for now. I will probably transplant them into bigger pots two weeks later.

Top: Bell Pepper seedlings; Bottom: Eggplant seedlings

I went to the Bedford Farmer's Market this morning and bought two tall cherry tomato plants ($3.50 each) at half price! The marigold plants that I grew from seed are not doing well, so I decided to buy two plants ($0.70 each) at the farmer's market.

Then I went to the nearby Ace Hardware store to get 1 cubic feet bag of garden soil ($4 each) and two large pots. I transplanted the tomato plants after I watered them thoroughly. Allah SWT willing tomorrow I will add some liquid fertilizer when I water them.

Left: Marigold; Right: Tall Cherry Tomato Plants

Hot pepper plants are flowering now. We planted more hot pepper plants this year to freeze the excess for winter.

Temperature for this week is going to be in the upper 90s degree F (upper 30s degree C).

Allah SWT willing I'll have to water the plants every morning.


June 05, 2009

'You cannot hug Pa Pa.'

Daughter has been really possessive of husband since she can talk.

She has been saying 'You cannot hug Pa Pa.' to me every morning when husband leaves for work. I keep reminding her we have to share everything, including Pa Pa.

Being the only child, I have to remind her that we need to share things in the house. Sometimes I will purposely take her toy car and ask her if she can share her things with me.

Nowadays when she wants to play with my things e.g. camera, sun glasses, blanket etc she would remind me to share my things with her. If the thing that she wants is fragile and expensive to replace, I explain to her that those things cannot be shared.

Allah SWT willing when we have another child she will have to do a lot more sharing!


Goodbye Beans & Peas, Hello Bell Peppers!

Yesterday evening I pulled out all the beans and peas plants and transplanted bell pepper seedlings.

I took the bell pepper seeds from red bell peppers that I bought at the Bedford Farmer's Market. It took them about 5 days to sprout on top of the fridge.

As I was busy with the plants, two neighbors passed by and commented they love to stop by our patio to look at the plants. One of them said that he is interested to grow some tomatoes, so I gave him a small tomato plant. I don't know whether it is a Roma or Cherry Tomato plant, but I encouraged him to give it a try and see what comes from it.

I had to stop planting 45 minutes later because mosquitoes were attacking me. I had at least 6 big mosquito bites on my arm in just that short time!

All praise be to Allah SWT for Axe Brand Oil to relieve the itch!


Chinese Steamboat - Finally!

It has been soooo long since I have Chinese steamboat.

All praise be to Allah SWT I ordered a portabler burner from that arrived yesterday. I told husband that I ordered it to have Chinese steamboat for dinner today.

The ingredients that I prepared for tonight's dinner were really simple. I prepared beef stock this afternoon and we cooked the following ingredients in the soup:
- Napa cabbage
- Bean sprout
- Shitake mushroom
- Golden needle mushroom
- Tofu
- Parsley
- Thin rice noodle

For seasoning we had hot Thai chili mixed with fish sauce and lemon juice.

Husband and I took turns cooking the ingredients. While I was eating yummy veggies, he feed daughter so it took him longer to finish his dinner.

During dinner, I shared my steamboat experience with husband.

When I was grewing up in Singapore. eating hot steamboat outside a coffee shop on a cool breezy evening was one of the best experiences I have. We had our own soup scoops and we decided what we wanted to dip in the soup. Of course we had to following dining etiquette e.g. not fighting with chopsticks and cooking what we could eat only etc.

I am really looking forward to having Chinese steamboat with husband and daughter regularly!


June 04, 2009

Self-Sustaining Through Gardening Stories

It is always inspiring to read about people's self-sustaining journey through gardening.

Read the stories here.


Rochester Roots

School Gardening - Rochester Roots

Seen it here - Sustainable Dunwoody.


Homeschool Chat

This morning I brought a friend to visit her cousin to chat about homeschooling.

She is planning to homeschool her 2nd-going-to-3rd grade son next school year, and would like to find out more about the process.

I enjoyed chatting about my research on homeschooling experience with her. For me it is always a pleasure to share information and knowledge with others. I am relieved that daughter was quite well behaved during our stay.

Allah SWT willing I hope that more parents will consider homeschooling their children if they can afford to do so.


To go or not to go.... that is no longer the question....

The annual American Library Association (ALA) conference is going to be held from July 9-15 in Chicago.

When I worked at TTU, I was sponsored to attend the 2005 conference in Chicago.

Husband had work at that time so he couldn't travel with me. All praise be to Allah SWT I did not have any trouble exploring the city of Chicago alone. I shared a hotel room with my ex-colleague, Minerva, and we had a wonderful time there.

I loved the dynamic, energetic and informative conference programs that I attended in 2005. Even though I am not a full-time librarian now, I still want to keep myself updated on the latest library trends.

When I saw the conference program on the ALA web site, I am soooooo tempted to go.

But with a daughter now, I don't think I can attend the conference this year. I am looking forward to future opportunities to attend it when daughter is older, Allah SWT willing.


Goreng Pisang (Fried Banana)

Husband has been 'hinting' me to prepare fried banana every time we go to the Vietnamese grocery store. He grew up eating this delicious snack in Cambodia.

When I was in Singapore I also love to eat this snack. I remember the best ones are from a hawker stall at Bedok Bus Interchange food center.

Husband bought a bunch of small, short and fat bananas on Tuesday. So this morning I fried them for breakfast.

Goreng Pisang (Chinese Fried Bananas)

8 bananas, peeled
1/2 cup flour, self-rising
1/2 cup rice flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp brown sugar fine
vegetable oil for deep frying

1. Slice each banana lengthwise.
2. Sift flours and add to water. Stir until consistency of cream.
3. Add salt. Heat oil and, when smoking, dip each piece of banana in batter.
4. Shake off excess and lower into hot oil. Fry until golden brown and roll in brown sugar.
5. Serve with ice cream.

This delicious yummy snack taste so good with fresh homemade soymilk!


June 03, 2009

Vegetarian Kway Chap - Singapore Style

My dear sister taught me how to cook vegetarian kway chap when she was here last year.

It is a soupy dish and I love to eat it with flat rice noodles.

Here is my own Singapore version that I am cooking for today's lunch. I eyeballed (estimated) the ingredients' portion, so here is a rough guide.

3 shallots, diced
4 large Chinese dried mushroom, soaked
4 large Black ear fungus, soaked and cut into strips
2 Firm beancurd, cut into cubes
3 stock Dried beancurd skin
4 Garlic, whole
4 sliced fresh ginger
Small dried shrimps, soaked (optional)

1 tbsp Light soy sauce
2 tbsp Dark soy sauce
2 tsp Ground black and white pepper
2 tsp Sugar
2 tsp Fish sauce
1 tsp Chinese five spice powder

1. Soak Chinese dried mushroom and dried shrimps separately in warm water for at least 1 hour to soften. Slice mushrooms thinly.

2. Fry diced shallots, mushroom and shrimp in sesame oil in a stock pot until fragrant.

3. Add mushroom liquid to pot. Add black ear fungus, beancurd skin, ginger and garlic. Add more liquid if needed to cover ingredients.

4. Add seasonings.

5. Simmer in pot covered for 1 hour. Add beancurds and continue simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped green onions (scallions).

6. Serve with cooked rice or flat rice noodles.

Here are the places where you can find Kway Chap in Singapore.


I am Yoda

On another quiz on Facebook about 'which Star Wars characters are you?', I am Yoda:

Yoda: When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not.

My twin sister is Luke Skywalker.



I am Gonzo

According to a quiz on Facebook, I am Gonzo:

You are a positive person who has an optimistic outlook on life. Your life motto is 'try everything - have no regrets', which cause people to see you as a daredevil, which, let's face it... you know you are!!! Your intellect is one of your strong points, this keeps you ahead of the pack! You have a unique sense of style...Peace out Gonzo!

Well, my twin is 'Miss Piggy',

Your inner Diva causes you to steal the spotlight! You ooze charm and poise, however you are easily angered and not afraid to show it! Your vulnerable side is over-shadowed by your need to take centre stage. Your out-going personality and perseverance will win people over, once they get to know the true you, which is sweet, caring and sensitive..


June 02, 2009

Twins Psychic

Last week I thought of drinking homemade soymilk and almond milk.

Well, this week my dear twin sister told me that she is also thinking about the same thing.

The freaky thing is we never told each other about our similar thoughts until she mentioned it.

Since young we share a lot of weird experience when both of us thought of the same thing at the same time. As we hardly know any other twins, I always feel that it is weird to have this type of experience.

When we fight all the time as we were growing up, I have to thank our mother for reminding us that blood is thicker than water. She always told us to make up and not bear grudges towards each other.

Well it's a good thing that we don't look alike, or else it will really be freaky.


Carrageenan in Store Bought Soymilk

After reading about carrageenan that is commonly found in store bought soymilk, I told husband about it. I am going to use my Soymilk Maker to make our own soymilk.

Carrageenan is extracted from seaweed and has been used as food additives for hundreds of years. According to

There is evidence from studies performed on rats, guinea pigs and monkeys which indicates that degraded carrageenan (poligeenan) may cause ulcerations in the gastro-intestinal tract and gastro-intestinal cancer.[14] Poligeenan is produced from carrageenan subjected to high temperatures and acidity. The average carrageenan molecule weighs over 100,000 Da while poligeenans have a molecular weight of less than 50,000 Da. A scientific committee working on behalf of the European Commission has recommended that the amount of degraded carrageenan be limited to a maximum of 5% (which is the limit of detection) of total carrageenan mass. Upon testing samples of foods containing high molecular weight carrageens, researchers found no poligeenan.[15]

A recent publication[16] indicates that carrageenan induces inflammation in human intestinal epithelial cells in tissue culture through a BCL10-mediated pathway that leads to activation of NFkappaB and IL-8. Carrageenan may be immunogenic due to its unusual alpha-1,3-galactosidic link that is part of its disaccharide unit structure. Consumption of carrageenan may have a role in intestinal inflammation and possibly inflammatory bowel disease, since BCL10 resembles NOD2, mutations of which are associated with genetic proclivity to Crohn's Disease.


Salad for Summer

I used to wonder why people lose their appetite during summer while they gain weight in winter.

Now I know.

Since the temperature started to rise above 75 degrees F two weeks ago, I just don't feel like eating. All I want to eat is ice cream, ice cubes and drink ice water to keep myself cool.

Yesterday's high temperature was 90, and I just couldn't make myself stand in front of the hot stove to stir fry for 10 minutes. So for lunch I prepared a cucumber, corn and tomato salad for daughter and I.

I never thought that this type of salad can be so filling! And eating lots of veggies actually helped to cool my body temperature down.

All praise be to Allah SWT it's a good thing that I can get cheap and fresh veggies at the Bedford Farmer's Market. I am definitely going to prepare more salad for lunch this summer.


Summer Reading Program

On Sunday I brought daughter to visit Sr. Mulki and her kids.

All praise be to Allah SWT her eldest son, Ziakariya, obtained 90 for his TAKS math test. I am really glad that his mother's constant guidance on his weak areas paid off.

Since their last day of school is tomorrow, I told them that I plan to start a summer reading program with Ziakariya and his sister, Amina, next week.

Allah SWT willing once a week we will read books at their grade level, do fun craft activities and play games with them.


Accidental Adventure of Baby Turtle

Last Saturday husband wanted to do BBQ at the nearby park.

So the night before I marinated chicken meat in:
- soysauce
- rice vinegar
- Worcestershire sauce
- ketchup
- ground black pepper
- green onions (scallions)

To intensify the marinade I should have added minced ginger and garlic, but I omitted these ingredients. Anyway the chicken tasted really good (according to husband).

Husband grilled chicken meat, red+green bell peppers, mushrooms in banana leaves. Initially I thought of preparing kebabs on bamboo sticks, but decided that the banana leaves actually enhance the flavor of grilled food better.

While the food was left grilling on our portable grill, husband and daughter took a walk around the park's lake. They found this baby turtle lost in the park and brought it to me.

Daughter kept looking at it and wanted to play with it. I told her not to touch the poor little guy and thankfully she followed my instruction.

Well, husband wanted to keep it with my Betta fish to 'teach' daughter about wildlife, but I said 'NO!'

First of all, I don't want to get into trouble with the law for 'kidnapping' a wild animal.

Secondly, I don't want my Betta fish to be this turtle's supper [in case it got hungry, you know].

In the end, common sense took over so husband put the poor little guy back to the lake.

Before they had any chance of picking up 'lost' animals, I told them we need to leave before it got too hot. I guess I'll have to keep reminding husband about not picking up wildlife from the park.