Banana Chia Pudding (Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegan)

img_3427-640x427Recently I had 4 gorgeous days to myself. The whole zika virus in Singapore and Malaysia means I was advised not to travel. The decision did not come easy as the trip was to celebrate my brother in law’s wedding. It was meant to be a family affair, one that hubby and I looked forward to for months. Still, being pregnant means there are more risks- one that we are not willing to take with reported cases of mircophely associated with the zika virus. After giving it some thought, we decided to have hubby and Ash travel without me. 

I mentioned in my previous post that this pregnancy has somewhat been different for me. The first one was full of excitement and joy. I was sick but happily sick. I might be spewing in the toilet and looking grey for most of the pregnancy, but the idea of having a baby- one that we were told we could never have, just seem so overwhelmingly blessed. I struggled big time with working then as the nature of my work means long hours and travel in the car. 

This pregnancy is our 2nd miracle. We have defy odds. With the pregnancy comes joy in the first second and panic in the second. Many thoughts flew through my mind. I have just settled back to regular work. One that I enjoy going to, feeling challenged and stimulated. As most would agree, the people you work with are just as important as the work. I was beginning to feel like I am settling. Then bam. Pregnancy means I would have to take time off and with much uncertainty to where I will go when I return. 

Then it is the awareness. The awareness of what will come ahead. The sleep deprivation, the thoughts of juggling with a pre scholar and a baby, the labour process- or in my case, awareness that the doctor would recommend c-section the 2nd time round, the cries that you may never soothe, the concern that I may not be able to give this baby as much as I did with Ash… img_3430-640x427

It also came with a lot of nos and rejections. The no travel to Asia to see my parents/in laws/bil wedding, the no you got to rest because you have some spotting and cramps, the no you have to stop doing so much, the no you have to reduce intensity of the workout, the no the darn pants won’t fit anymore… and of course, the no to Ash when he wanted me but I had no more fuel to give. Then we were put on a ‘higher risk” list as bub came out positive with one indicated of down syndrome. Suddenly, the focus was more on knowing that his heart will be ok, and there are no deformities. When that happened, the guilt set in on how can I worry with SUCH LITTLE things when this little life may not have even existed? 

This verse struck firmly in mind. 

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7 

God is good and our prayers have been answered. Things will work out eventually. Right now, we are back to being at the low risk marker. I’m feeling better. And the trip? It was a blessing in disguise because I have not experienced 4 whole glorious days to myself … in what I cannot remember when. 

What did I enjoy?

-HOT drinks and meals

-On my own agenda. A quick duck to the shops? No problems! 

-Groceries done in 30 minutes

-Shopping. Proper shopping

-Silence

-Sleep

-Concentrating on a friend’s conversation

-Clean house

-Less laundry

-No crumbs

-I can play the music I want to hear! 

-Being by myself in the toilet and shower

-Hot long showers

-Did I mention sleep? 

So the 4 days ended and I’m definitely feeling more refreshed. The madness will begin and it will be a long time till I get this freedom again. 

I’m sharing this lovely pudding that I have been having for a snack (or post dinner 4th meal of the day). It’s quick, easy and definitely healthy and tasty. img_3433-640x427

[yumprint-recipe id=’148′] 

 

Travel workouts + Back to Basics Chocolate Cupcakes with Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting

IMG_3053 (427x640)

Holidays are awesome. A time to recharge but also to catch up with family and friends. Recently our family went on a 3 weeks break. Little Asher relished in grandparents’ care and attention while we just love having some down time. 

While I love our break, the first thing that I miss would be my regular workout sessions. This time round, I decided to go with the flow, opting to rest when my body needs to but aim to move daily. This was what I did

Day of departure Friday- Morning working. 5 TGU 12kg each side, 5 rounds of 10 reps, deadlifting, cleans, rows, push ups and sit ups

Saturday- No workout. Went for family walks.

Sunday- Walking the dog and carrying Asher while walking. That was a workout itself! The humidity means I was drenched with sweat. 

Monday- HIT Mum Plyo Hell

 

Tuesday- Modified workout from my usual group that does a metcon on Monday evenings. I did 14 mins 12 PU twist, GS and burpee with a jump over a mat. (I did 10 rounds), and then 7 min of 10 pairs of mountain climbers, 12 sit-ups and 20 bicycles (I did 7 or 8 rounds)

IMG_0630

Wednesday- HIT Mum 10 for 10 workout (Asher joined me)

Thursday- 10 rounds of 10 reps burpees, pushups, jumping squats and dips. (Asher joined me as well)

IMG_0686

Friday- HIT mum  Legs nd The trim tummy 10 mins

Saturday- Staycation. There is a wonderful gym at the resort. I did 1.2km run, 2×2 TGU, 5 rounds 10 reps, deadlifting, dumbbell squats and dips. Then I went for a few laps in the pool.

IMG_0766

Sunday- Rest day.

Monday- HIT mum All over BB 17 mins

Tuesday- Rest Day (travel day to Singapore)

Wednesday- 4 chin ups and 2 pull ups. 8 rounds of 10 reps burpees, push ups and sit ups 

Thursday- 5 chin ups. AMRAP of 17 minutes of 8 reps dips, burpees, pushups and heel squats. 

Friday-Nike App 15 minutes Advanced workout by Carili Lloyd (Metabolic Kick HIT workout)

Saturday- Hubby and I worked out together to his NAME. We had a “Name workout” I think in total I did 65 burpees, 200 star jumps, 40 sit ups, 40 dips and 20 push ups. I managed 5 chin ups with breaks. 

IMG_0997

Sunday- Rest Day (Travel to Johor)

Monday- Hotel Jen’s gym! 1.2 KM run, 4 rounds of 20x trx rows, 4 rounds 10x 40 kg deadlifting, 20 kg squats, followed by leg curl and shoulder press machines 

IMG_1211

Tuesday- Rest day

Wednesday- (Still feeling off) Managed HIT mum Tabata Power Shred 21 mins

Thursday- GYM day! around 1km run as warm up to the gym and 4 flights of stairs. 10 kg dumbbell TGU 5 each side. 4 rounds 16kg 10x reps squats. Leg press 188Kg PB (5 reps max increasing to 188kg), Chest press, shoulder push press, and leg curl. Walk home for rest. 

Friday- HIT Mum- The big 10 workout. 

Saturday- Rest Day

Sunday- Rest day. Travel back to Australia

In all, my workouts are around 15-20 minutes with 5-10 minutes of warm up and cool down. I’m usually back having a shower within 30 minutes. If I’m feeling like I need a rest, I would either take a rest or do a gentler workout. Everyday, I would climb the stairs to my parents apartments (around 16 flights with 10 steps each). Depending on the day, it would be at least once.  

Holiday workouts to me are a way to keep the momentum moving. I see benefits of doing quicker and shorter workouts than my usual ones (e.g. boxing) as it provides the body a break. I did try to see if there are any Muay thai or cross fit classes to go to- just for something new, but it just didn’t work out in the end of schedules and some places requesting for long term memberships. 

If you do participate in holiday workouts, what do you do? 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~IMG_3046 (640x427)

Holidays aside, I shared this once on Instagram where we walked past a cafe and Asher wanted the chocolate cupcakes! I promised him that we would make some when we return home which was exactly what we did. Oh the look on my little boy’s face is precious. What I was even more surprised was that he ate the frosting which consisted of a little cream cheese and yogurt! Both which he generally does not like to have it on its own. I guess the power of chocolate is great. IMG_3050 (640x427)

[yumprint-recipe id=’126′]

Eating Clean while Travelling- We went to Hong Kong! Plus Coconut Banana Ice Cream (Paleo, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar free)

IMG_4728Travelling is one of our biggest passion. We are very privileged to be able to head back to see our family in Singapore, Malaysia and even take a short trip to Hong Kong to see my Grandaunt recently.  IMG_4812

I have often said that eating clean is a lifestyle. What happens then on holidays? My family and I subscribe to the 80/20 rule mostly. During the trip, I ate carefully. Being on holidays means we have our indulgences. I’m all for a good egg tart or dim sum, but generally I try to stay clean as possible (with allowances). IMG_4746

In Singapore and KL, My mum and mother in law are wonderful cooks. Chinese cooking can be quite healthy. We had steamed fish, plenty of broths and soups, stir fry vegetables like bitter gourd and sambal eggplant, steamed chicken with mushrooms. Eating at home, where I didn’t have to cook was a luxury. 

When we do eat out, hubby and I tend to share certain treats. Instead of having a bowl of herbal jelly each, we shared one. We drizzle honey onto our bowl rather than pouring into it. (We had one! The other one in the photo belonged to my mum)IMG_4665

We came across one of my favourite- Pierre Hermes Macarons. Given that it has been nearly 6 years since we went to Paris, and it brought us lovely memories, we indulged-Sharing one between us every few days. IMG_4710

More importantly, we stayed active. Nearly everyday, we tried to move. We walked a lot of course (especially in HK), but I did body weight workout and used the weights at the hotel gym. I didn’t go over excessive. I just moved. It was probably of a lower intensity that my normal workout but that’s alright. My body needed to rest and so I rested. There was at least 2 days I did not workout. I simply felt tired. 

Other things?

– I packed small packets of nuts. It’s easy enough to buy roasted unsalted nuts at groceries stores.

– I pack my muesli. I try to start my day having a healthy, clean breakfast. Sometimes I would have eggs but I really enjoy my muesli with some greek yogurt.

– Mum makes cold pressed juices at home which I quite enjoyed!

– Taste. If I really like it, I will have the whole thing without guilt. 

– Stay hydrated. We purchase plenty of bottled water.

– We brought our vitamins. However, we find that it is more helpful taking them at least before the trip to build our immunity up.

– Instead of watching TV, we were usually in bed by 10 or 11pm. Sometimes even 9:30! It was actually quite nice to take advantage of not having to do household chores and just catch up on sleep!

– On the plane, I would either order the low carb meal or have the meat and vegetables portion. I would skip the dessert (as it is usually not as nice!) and have a piece of dark chocolate if I feel like it. 

– Don’t forget to have some fruits. We enjoyed bells apple, guava, jackfruit… Asher loves his fruits too! IMG_4753

With Asher, we mostly allowed him to have what we eat at restaurants. Thankfully, he likes his vegetables and would attack the broccoli with gusto in Hong Kong. In KL, he had cucumber and jiacama as snacks. 

All in all, we had a great trip and I can’t wait to visit Hong Kong in the future again. IMG_1608 (640x427)

I know we are in autumn but I cannot resist not sharing this Ice cream recipe with you. It’s so quick and simple. You can do it with or without the ice cream machine. I find that with the machine, it is creamier. 

IMG_1606 (640x427)

[yumprint-recipe id=’25’]

Sambal Egg Prawns

I would have never thought that sambal sauce from a can, tastes good. As the Ayam brand Sambal sauce was on special,  I thought I would give it a go.

Frying some onions and then prawns… pouring the sambal sauce over it…letting the egg set over it.. The creamy eggy yet spicy taste goes very well together. One thing though, this sambal is hardly what I know.. it’s on the sweet side. Still, it tastes good.





Sambal Egg Prawns
1 can of Ayam brand Malaysian Sambal Sauce
300 grams of shelled prawns
1 red onion sliced
4 eggs beaten lightly.

Sauté onion. cook prawns till nearly done. Add sauce and wait for the aroma to hit u. When it does, pour beaten eggs over it. Let it set for around 5 minutes. Serve with rice.

I’m Back!!


I’m BACCCCKKKKK!!!!!

Wow! What a 3 weeks. I can’t believe it has been THAT long since I posted a post. AR and I spent 10 days in KL/SG last week and it was a blast. Wedding planning + good food + Chinese New Year celebrations = Happy Daphne.

It has also been at least 2 years since I last celebrated CNY at home. Sitting at our round table, enjoying our steamboat dinner, laughing, joking…and then my customary walk with grandma to the flower markets. Life is simple but oh so good.

Meeting up with my girlfriends was so much fun. How I miss their company and our girly chats.


This trip back, AR and I were reminded that we have 3 more months till we say our vows.


I will be back with more food posts soon! =)

Mee Mamak-Mee and My Malaysia


Over the past year or so, I have taken food blogging more seriously. This blog started with lots of whinging and de stressing moments. Then I decided to grow up and blog about more positive things- Food came to mind.

One of the first food blogging events that I participated in was MUHIBBAH-an annual event organized by Babe in KL. This event invites Malaysians from all over the world to celebrate Merdeka day. Now, I’m not Malaysian but I do have some family ties to Malaysia-and given that I’m getting married to one, my mother is married to one (i.e., my dad) and even my auntie is married to one (Irene!), I asked Babe for permission to participate in that event.

*Ok, by this time you are probably wondering what is it about Malaysian men and Singaporean women in my family. I have no answer to that!*

This year though, I asked AR to contribute by giving me a suggestion on what should I prepare for this event. So to push it-it’s really his contribution but I cooked it. Teamwork! LOL

Looking at my past entry, it did struck me that I have gradually learned how to improve in my photography/lighting skills. Long way to go but I’m happy that I have progressed over time.

The theme this year is “Mee and My Malaysia“. AR first response was “MEE MAMAK!” and my response was… “what’s that?!” What a good start hey? So I goggled it up and even that hardly revealed any answers. AR patiently tried to explain it to me and said that the dish is usually eaten at Mamak stores (which I have grown to love!, pass me that plate of thosai please!). It features balachan and have ground nuts sprinkled on top of it.

So that got me intrigued. Is that not Mee Goreng? He said they are not quite the same. Firstly Mee Goreng does not have sambal belachan or ground nuts sprinkled on it. Secondly, Mee mamak also have a more tangy/sour taste to it. Thirdly, Mee Goreng is more tomatoey.

Since he has such an emotional response to the topic, I decided to go with Mee Mamak. His smile was worth the research… I think!

With that answer and some adaptation of versions that I found online, I came up with this recipe. I’m really not sure if this is the authentic version but AR claims that it is as close as it can get. He did say was that the mamak version doesnt have squid, the noodles was slightly too soft and the home cooked version is less oily.

I’m happy though that he reckons it is close to the real thing. Seriously, I have NO idea if this is or not because I was cooking blindly!

So Malaysians out there! Let me know! =)

Mee Mamak (Serves 4-5)

500 grams of yellow mee
A
7-8 baby squid

B
1 onion chopped finely
3-4 tablespoons of sambal belachan
4 pieces of dried chilli chopped
1/2 cup of dried shrimps chopped
1 red chilli chopped

C
2 chopped tomatoes
1 cup of bean sprouts
3 fried tofu sliced

D
4 tablespoon of light soya sauce
3-4 tablespoons of tomato sauce or tomato paste (diluted with some stock)

3 eggs lightly beaten
ground nuts
lime
shallots
green chilli

1) Score squid. Fry on high heat quickly till done. Set aside.

2) Heat wok with a little oil. Add in B and stir till the mixture gets fragrant. Add about 2 tablespoons of water to in. Simmer till done.

3) Add C and fry briefly till the tomatoes turn soft. Add the yellow mee in.

4) Mix D in a jug. Toss the mee with D. Taste and see if the taste is sufficient. Add more soya/tomato sauce if it isn’t.

5) Make a well in the middle and add the eggs. Toss it through. Don’t forget the squid!

6) Serve it with green chilli, deep fried shallots, ground nuts and lime juice.

I’m sharing this with my Malaysian friends at Mederka Day Open House 2008 hosted by Babe in KL.

Adventures of the Thosai and Chicken Curry

(the 8th attempt)

flip

and

flip

and

aRghhhh…..

I tested out my flipping skills recently by indulging in the art of thosai making. Rather than grinding the thosai mixture myself, I decided to take a stepwise approach and use a packet of thosai mix.

Flipping thosai is like flipping pancakes right? Easy peasy stuff. but nooo.. flipping thosai isn’t as easy as it seems (for me anyway).

(see the broken pieces)

After the 8th attempt, my thosai finally resembles one. Almost anyway.

Now, I have a greater admiration to thosai makers and their flat, round pans!

(6th attempt, looking slightly decent)

What’s that in the pink bowl? Surely I haven’t gone out of my mind and serve ice-cream with thosai? Rest assured I didn’t. It was easy chicken curry that I have there. Ar and I are blessed with helpful and great parents/grandma and our fridge has like a year supply of curry pastes. This one was made by AR’s mum.

I would have made some dhal but I was craving for some spicy hot stuff hence the chicken curry.


Easy Chicken Curry
(serves 4)
4-6 generous tablespoons of AR’s mum curry paste (obviously it will be your choice of curry paste =) )
1/2 of lite coconut milk
1 cabbage sliced
500 grams of chicken cutlet/breasts diced
1 onion.

1) Saute curry paste till fragrant. Add onions.

2) Cook chicken till through. Add cabbage. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.

3) Add coconut milk. Taste. Season if required.

4) Serve with broken up thosai.

Summary Kl Trip May 2008

I’m so glad to be blogging again. My hands are itchy after a month of “suitcase blogging”. Instead of individual posts, I managed to consolidate the photos into mosaics and I’m really proud of myself! Considering that I can be a technology idiot, this is huge for me!

So I’m starting where I left off. THE KL trip. Besides eating and meeting up with Malaysian floggers, we did heaps of wedding stuff..and I’m proud to say our outfits have been settled. Nothing like the photos I have posted previously but it is a lace gown. Reception venue was inspected as well.

The amazing thing about KL is the variety of food there. The stomach flu episode left us weak with little to no appetite but we were determine to eat!

1) We stopped by at Du Viet for a late dinner.

My creation

Ah..a warm bowl of pho shared between the two of us calmed our tummies. I ordered a hot honey drink and AR took the soya bean drink. The soup was terrific. I was surprise to see the thick sauce that went with the paper rolls but we weren’t complaining. I was disappointed by the durian pancakes though as they tasted more whipped cream than durian!

Du Viet
Damasara Uptown
Petaling Jaya
Selangor

2) I have previously arranged a meeting with a girl from the bridal forum at Fong Lye, The Gardens. Unfortunately, for some reason, we missed each other despite being there at the appointed time. Well, I still enjoyed the food at Fong Lye though!

Malaysia 1

Seriously. We had the rice vermicelli beef noodles (see the soupy noodles trend here?), Taiwanese sausage on glutinous rice and this spicy flaky beef pastry item. What impresses me most was the accompaniments that went with the beef noodles. The marinated lotus root, fried dumpling and tofu were addictive. While the food was a tad too salty for our tastebuds, it was certainly delicious. One of our best finds in Malaysia so far.

Then we decided to go healthy.

3) Lei Cha (Thunder tea) to the best! From my aunt Irene recommendation, we traveled to Puchong just to taste this. The ingredients were pounded finely-hence the name Thunder. A green tea soup was provided and u can pour the soup over the rice. We had the brown rice Lei Cha.

KL-Ho Boh Lei Cha

One thing I like about Ho Boh was their 60s style decor. While their menu wasn’t extensive, the thunder tea rice served was filled to the brilled with ingrediants. The tea wasn’t too strong and was palatable (unlike others that I have tried). I had the sour plum drink which was refreshing for sunny Malaysia.

Restoran Ho Boh
21A, Jalan TK 1/11A,
Taman Kinrara Seksyen 1,
Jalan Puchong, Batu 7 1/2,
47100 Puchong,
Selangor Darul Ehsan
Tel: 012 2797312

See also
A Whiff of Lemongrass

So here we go! The Malaysian food done! We have the Singapore one next!

Floggers and Food!

A few more days and I will be back in Perth. Yikes, so many more posts to go. I think I might do a summary post instead of individual ones.

This one has to be backdated to a few weeks ago, where I met the Malaysian Floggers. How can I NOT meet them when I’m on their turf? We decided to meet at Pick N Brew at 1 Utama. Being a coffee lover, I wanted to try what Jackson has recommended.

Alas, Ar and I fell ill with stomach flu the day before we met. Still, we refused to cancel the meeting. Brave smiles and cramping tummies, we managed to last through the session and boy were we proud of ourselves. The welcoming smiles from the floggers and wonderful conversation helped as well.
My coffee- probably against doctor’s orders but how can I resist? Beautifully brewed and I simple love the little pot that keeps the coffee warm.
Ar’s main and Lianne’s– Please beg my pardon because I can no longer remember what we ordered (must be the mixture of sickness + nervousness!). I think this was seafood pasta? Look at the jumbo prawn! To be honest, I found this dish lacking in tomato flavour-perhaps, i was too pampered and always used fresh tomatoes in making a similar dish like this. AR said he felt quite thirsty after having this as well.
My order- oat crusted fish I believe. I love this. The spinach mixture underneath the fish was soo soo good….The fish was on the dry side but the spinach made up for it.

Teckiee’s order- How did it go Teckiee?

WMW’s n Ashley’s main. It certainly looks good!

What’s a gathering without alcohol? *wink*

And a lovely slice of cheesecake by LifeVsAnime.

Weren’t we pampered?

Pick n’ Brew
1 Utama

Fast forward 2 days later.. and we met up with MORE floggers!
This time round, we met at at a roadside stall..and ate this fabulous fried noodles. I have no idea where were we then though.. LOL.

I couldn’t stomach (pun intented) anymore food. But couldn’t resist…

Apple Cheesecake from BigBoysOven

and the long awaited…

Macarons from them.

NOW, we were really pampered!

Just Heavenly

As the name implies, the desserts from Just heavenly were….. just heavenly. We made our way to the bansar branch of Just heavenly desserts and got lost mid way. Turns out that we printed the map to the residential branch of just heavenly desserts instead of the shop front! yikes! A quick phone call followed by some directions, we arrived.

Difficult decisions were made.
I decided to order 2 portions of the Chocolate Durian and Death by Chocolate. Seriously, who can resist that combination?
This was gobble down quickly by Ar’s mum, myself and AR. It was soo good and rich. SErIOUSLy GOOD! Generous chucks of durian flesh covered with proper dark chocolate. Not the FAKE milk chocolate that u get out there.
Death by Chocolate- We were more impressed with the Chocolate Durian than this one. If you are a chocolate lover, this will be one for u. Choc mousse encased in a shell of dark chocolate.
A chocolate éclair for AR and I.

Yum!

Allen and Nigel- nicely done!!

Just Heavenly Pleasures
G1.05 & G. 1.06, Epicure
Jalan Medan Setia 1
Bukit Damansara
Kuala Lumpur