Friday, 28 June 2013

My 5 Uses of Baking Soda

Baking soda is powerful AND odourless. Apparently you can use it in 51 different ways!

Here are my 5 uses of baking soda:

1. Toothpaste

Mix the baking soda with a pinch of sea-salt and brush your teeth with it. Voila! You're good to go with white teeth and fresh breath.

2. Facial Scrub & Body Exfoliant

Mix baking soda with water until a paste is formed. Scrub your face with the paste. I use this two to three times a week. And I use it after washing my face.

3. Residue Cleanser

By mixing a small amount of baking soda to your shampoo, you're helping your hair greatly. It helps remove from your hair residue that the styling products leave behind. I do not use any styling products, but I find that it leaves my hair feeling really clean!

4. Refrigerator Deodorizer 

Place an open box of baking soda in the fridge to neutralize odours. Place the box at the back of the fridge.

5. Deodorize Containers

I soak containers which have lingering odours with baking soda and hot water overnight. If the odour does not disappear overnight, I leave it for a day more. Works like magic. I get fresh smelling containers!


Click here to read more.


Thursday, 27 June 2013

Spring Onion Pancakes

This is a Chinese dim sum staple. It was made with spring onions, but I also tried it with some big onions. I personally like it with big onions rather than spring onions.

Ingredients:

1. 225gm of organic all-purpose flour
2. 150ml of filtered water
3. 2 tablespoons of butter (melted)
4. 4 tablespoons of sunflower oil
5. 6 spring onions (scallions) (trimmed and finely chopped)
6. Sea-salt

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1. Sift the flour and sea-salt into a large mixing bowl.

2. Pour in the water, melted butter and oil, a little at a time while stirring to create a smooth dough.

3. Knead the dough for about 5 to 10 minutes until it is soft and pliable.

4. Set it aside and cover it with a damp cloth for about 20 minutes.

5. Divide the dough into small round balls about the size of a large marble.

6. Roll the balls of dough into small rectangular shapes.

7. Place some chopped spring onions onto each pancake.

8. Roll up the pancakes lengthways and seal the ends to ensure that they will not open up during cooking.

9. Preheat oven at 190C.

10. On a baking tray lined with baking paper, place the pancakes and bake for about 20 minutes on one side and another 20 on another side. Bake until golden brown.

11. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Bon appétit!



Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Some Respite!

It finally rained yesterday. The first round in the evening wasn't that great as we could still see the haze after the rain. But then, during the middle of the night, it POURED! That was great and cleared MUCH of the haze though not all of it.

It just rained again though it wasn't a 'tsunami-cal force' kinda rain. But it did rain.

The air is much better. At least we can now open up the doors and windows and let the fresh air circulate the house. I was going crazy of being locked up in the house for 4 days with just air-cons and purifiers.

A brief respite before another round of onslaught is very much welcomed!

I miss fresh air so much!!!!!!!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Haze Attack!

The haze was so bad today that I perpetually have the 'haze-smell' imprinted in my BRAIN! I have developed an allergy in both my eyes. I have chunks of gooey membranes in my eyes. My eyes have been itching so badly. And I have a migraine. So did Joel. Air-cons and purifiers have been working overtime.

IF you don't breathe, you would think that you are actually walking in the clouds. That will end the moment you start breathing. Cause you would then CHOKE!

A friend of mine who works in KL posted this up on Facebook this morning. We had THIS kind of air the whole of today.
My husband took the photo above at 9.45am from his office. The picture below was at 10.45am.

That's me with my N95 mask (my respirator is still in the process of  'off-gasing') and goggles. I had to have these in order to water my veggies in 'turbo-speed-mode'. The N95 mask really works. The goggles did too. But boy, it was HOT and stuffy wearing those two. The N95 mask cannot be worn for long periods of time. You'll suffocate. 
Some VERY good advice as we're facing a shortage where masks are concerned! HAHA!

How I miss skies like this! *SOB SOB!*
Joel's school is still closed for tomorrow. Even if it is not closed, I'm not letting him out of the house!

We NEED rain!


Sunday, 23 June 2013

Crazy, Hazy Days!

That time of the year has arrived again.

We are a tropical country. This means that we have two seasons: sun and rain. But we have been promoted to a third season: HAZE!

The haze is back with the vengeance. As Indonesia's illegal mass burning continues, we WILL continue to suffer.

Click here to read about the Emergency! that has been declared in the southern state of Malaysia.

Meanwhile, we folks in the Klang Valley have been having a-not-so-severe haze attack. But that all ended today. I thought I had awoken in some highlands resort where the mist and clouds had enveloped the outsides of the house. Well, reality came crashing in when my sense of smell kicked in and slapped me awake with the horrible and foul acrid, burning smell which had somehow seeped into the house.

We have been hiding in the house the whole weekend with air purifiers and air-cons blasting 24 hours a day. No doors or windows were opened at all. Hubby had been sealing ALL gaps that he could find at all the windows and doors. After sealing whatever gaps that he could find, the smell has reduced tremendously. Not 100% smell-proof, but definitely much better.
For some of the windows which had smaller gaps, hubby used the double sided tape. Only one side of the adhesive tape is used. The other side is left unused. 

For larger gaps, hubby used these.

*This picture was taken from Facebook. This picture was taken in Bangsar.

I bought a respirator and goggles to protect myself from the haze. The respirator is currently being left aside to 'off-gas'. The plastic smell is terrible. The goggles and respirator have been washed thoroughly. 


It's all gloom and doom at the moment. So here is something light to lighten up your smoggy and hazy days. (By the way, Pi Sai can be translated literally as 'nose shit'!)
The haze is currently so bad at our state that all schools have been given orders to close tomorrow. Click here to read more.


Thursday, 20 June 2013

The Wheelbarrow

The little wheelbarrow was rusting life away at a faster pace from being exposed to the elements of the earth: sun, air and water. Life can be a paradoxical journey.

It all began 51 months ago.

It had been kept in the garden shed for a very long time. When the door to the garden shed opened and flooded the shed with the glaring sunlight, the wheelbarrow flinched in pain. It had been kept and was unused for such a long time that it had forgotten what it felt like to be bathed in sunlight. But instead of warmth, a stinging pain seared the wheelbarrow.

The owner brought the wheelbarrow into the courtyard and scraped the old paint and rust off its body. It hurt the wheelbarrow real bad but it had to be done. If the owner had just painted new paint over the rust and old paint, it would not last. It was off with the old and on with the new. Even its wheels were oiled.

The wheelbarrow was used daily to cart earth, pots, manure, compost, even new born kittens and puppies, the fruit of the garden and every other imaginable thing under the sun. It was exposed to all the elements of the earth everyday: the sun scorched, the rain drenched and the air breathed over it.

The thing with being exposed to all the elements of the earth, it caused the wheelbarrow to rust all over again at a faster pace.

One quiet evening, the wheelbarrow sat under the porch and watched the pouring rain with the booming thunder and flashing lightning. Mud and water splashed on the wheelbarrow. It then noticed that certain parts of its paint were peeling off. It also noticed that its wheels were squeaking again.

But the wheelbarrow realised that without the sun, water and air, life would be confined in the garden shed with cobwebs and spiders as its companions. It would definitely rust at a slower pace. But it would not have met the different plants that it carried and hear their different stories of life, smell the horrifying manure, feel the worms and ants (and every other bug) crawl over it while it ferried the dirt to another part of the garden, experience the warmth of the morning sun or the cooling effect of the rain, see the leaves rustle as the result of the wind or even experience the force of the gale that sweeps across the garden occasionally.

And that is the paradoxical journey called Life.


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Better Than Fries!

I saw this on Facebook sometime last week and thought that this is a very good idea.

Here's my low-salicylate version.

Ingredients:

1. 5 old potatoes (skins scrubbed clean and cut thinly until almost all the way through)
2. Sea-salt
3. Sunflower oil

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1. Preheat oven at 220C.

2. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

3. Place the sliced potatoes on tray.

4. Sprinkle sea-salt and drizzle sunflower oil on potatoes liberally.

5. Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes.

Bon appétit!



Thursday, 13 June 2013

And It Goes On....

And on.

And on!

The migraine is still my constant companion.

And insomnia has dropped by.

So did nausea and reflux.

I'm just trudging on, one day at a time.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Cashew Nuts Stir Fried Chicken

Ingredients:

1. 1 whole chicken (Chopped into about 12 pieces. Season with sea-salt overnight in fridge)
2. 2 big onion (sliced into thin pieces)
3. 1 garlic clove (Outer layer removed. Bulb sizes)
4. 1 1/2 cups of roasted cashew nuts
5. 1 bunch of chives/spring onion (cut into 3cm long)
6. 1 cup of chicken broth
7. Sea-salt
8. 1 teaspoon of soft brown sugar
9. 1 red capsicum (optional)

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1. Heat a wok on high heat.

2. Pour about 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil. Then add the garlic and stir fry until fragrant on medium heat.

3. Add the chicken pieces, chicken broth, sea-salt and soft brown sugar and allow to simmer on medium low heat until 90% cooked.

4. Then add the big onion slices, spring onion/chives and cashew nuts to the dish.

5. Stir fry until the chicken is throughly cooked.

6. Scoop onto serving plate. Serve with hot, steaming rice.

* If you can tolerate capsicums, add 1 sliced, red capsicum at step 4.


Friday, 7 June 2013

The Fatigue Syndrome

I started thinking that the 'always-feeling-tired', 'fatigue' and 'exhaustion' was a hallucination of the mind. I mean, c'mon, how can I always be feeling exhausted? I wake up exhausted. I go to bed exhausted. Driving makes me exhausted. Even cooking makes me feel exhausted. I am exhausted ALL THE TIME! What the hell is wrong with me? What am I doing wrong?

This fatigue syndrome started after I had the anaphylactic attack 4 years ago. And it hasn't left.

I know that it could be part of the pre-menopausal phase that I am going through.

Or could it be something that my immune system has developed because of my 'condition'?

I have not met anyone like me in Malaysia. So I can't relate to anyone here.

To my fellow online friends who are in the same boat as I am in, do YOU have this fatigue?

And if you do, what has your doctor advice you? How do you go about your daily life fighting fatigue?

Do share.



Wednesday, 5 June 2013

A Plateaued State

I think I've hit a plateau. Or rather plateaued.

Plateaued where my endurance and strength to keep on going is concerned.

I'm seriously E.X.H.A.U.S.T.E.D.

Maybe it's because of the mothball attack/exposure. And also because of the pre-menopause period where the hormones are causing the periods to play hide-and-seek with me. And the irritation that is constantly gnawing on the insides like a trapped animal clawing, trying to find a way out.

I am just so very tired. I'm seriously so, very tired.

And sometimes I wonder why do I even bother.

And that smiling face leaps to my mind. His face lighting up behind my irises.

It's because of the little young man. And so I continue to plod on.

I trudge on.

With my eyes closed, with my arms flailing and with my mind in shut-down mode.

And move on in search for the next oasis.



Monday, 3 June 2013

The Mothball Attack!

I went to the market on Friday to stock up on chicken and fish. After placing the raw food in the car, I smelt something funny the moment I went in the car. It smelt like MOTHBALLS! But then again, why would my chicken and fish smell of mothballs? The chickens were slaughtered on the spot. The fish were fresh from the port and I certainly did not smell any moth balls while I was selecting my fish.

Upon reaching home, I immediately smelt all the food and discovered that the smell was coming from the plastic bags!!!!!!!!!!!!

I poured everything out and discovered that they had no mothballs smell.

And I discovered that the new reel of plastic bag which I asked chicken lady to get for me was soaked in mothballs smell! It was placed outside of the house IMMEDIATELY!

After washing everything with salt and triple-checking to make sure the food REALLY had no smell, my brain was soaked in mothballs fumes.

My sense of smell was gone. My mouth, lips, tongues were burning. My eyes were itchy. And my nostrils were totally numb.

I kept asking Joel the whole day whether the house had a peculiar, stinky smell. Of course the little fella could not smell a thing. 

I am glad it did not progress to something more serious. I was fine in a day. Thank god. 

I called my chicken lady and she felt extremely bad. (Do not condemn her! She did not realize that I was this super-sensitive. She is a very kind lady who has been blessing me with free chickens here and there! The moment she hears that I am unwell, she'll give me a free chicken! Even when I am well, she blesses me! Bless her!) She changed a scent-free reel of plastic bag and apologized profusely. 

I went salicylate-free immediately and have been trying to be as scent-free as possible. This exposure has caused me to be a bit more sensitive again. 


Sunday, 2 June 2013

Stir Fried Minced Chicken+Potato+Cashew Nuts

Ingredients:

1. 500gm minced chicken (season with sea-salt)
2. 5 large potatoes (skin removed and cut into slices)
3. 1 cup of roasted cashew nuts (click here for recipe)
4. Sunflower oil
5. Sea-salt

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1. Pour 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil into a heated wok.

2. Add the potatoes and cook until soft.

3. Push the potatoes aside and add the minced chicken and cook until it is throughly cooked.

4. Break the minced chicken into pieces.

5. Mix the potatoes and minced chicken thoroughly.

6. Add the cashews and season with sea-salt to taste.

7. Continue stirring for about 3 minutes.

8. Scoop up onto serving plate and serve with hot rice.

Bon appétit!