Thursday, 27 September 2012

Stir-Fried Hairy Gourd

* Hairy gourd is also known as winter melon, ash gourd, white gourd, winter gourd, fuzzy gourd, fuzzy melon. It is NOT the same as the wintergreen plant! Wintergreen oil (derived from the wintergreen plant) is used like aspirin. It has 98% of methyl salicylate!
*Unfortunately, I do not know the hairy gourd's level of salicylate. I eat this in moderation. Be VERY careful if you would like to experiment with this gourd.


1. 1 relatively large hairy gourd (skin peeled and sliced into thin slices)
2. 1/2 clove of garlic (sliced into thin pieces)
3. 2 big onions (sliced into thin pieces)
4. 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil
5. 500gm of minced chicken (marinate with sea-salt and a dash of brown sugar)
6. 4 large eggs
7. Sea-salt
8. Brown sugar


1. Heat the wok/frying pan and pour the sunflower oil once the pan/wok is hot.

2. Add the garlic and onions and stir-fry until they are slightly browned.

3. Break the eggs in a bowl, add a dash of sea-salt and beat the eggs.

4. Add the minced chicken and fry until it is 90% cooked.

5. Make sure the minced chicken are broken into fine pieces.

6. Add the hairy gourd and pour the beaten eggs onto the dish.

7. Continue to fry until the hairy gourd has softened and the eggs are fully cooked.

8. Scoop up onto serving dish once everything is fully cooked.

9. Serve piping hot with rice.

Bon appétit!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Happy 1st Bloggersary!

It has been 1 year since I started this blog. Time truly flies.

This blog was the thing that brought me out of the deepest period of depression that I was in. I could express my deepest emotions and feelings which I could not vocalize. This blog has helped me to find people like me all cross the world which I cannot not do physically.

I have met so many wonderful people who are in the same boat as I am in. I have learnt so much from them. I have been encouraged much by them. I have grown so much where this area of my life is concerned. And yet after battling this condition for 42 months, I am nowhere near being healed. Yes, I have grown stronger. But I still react to salicylate in foods at different points in life, chemicals in daily products which have smells/scents. Even certain foods. But life goes on.

This year has been an amazing journey for me. Traveling approximately 50 kilometers everyday from Monday to Friday is no small feat for someone like me. But it is totally worth it as we have seen Joel grown in courage, confidence and boldness. Though he is afraid, he still manages to overcome his obstacles. Yes, he takes more time than other children. But he is an overcomer. Thus, that 50 kilometers a day for 5days a week, 4 weeks a month that I go through  is worth it. And Joel could not have done it without the help of the school's principal, Joel's teachers and counsellors. 

I have grown all the more sensitive where smells are concerned. I have even become sensitive to sanitary pads. And that has caused much misery, pain and frustration for me. For 5 months in a row, I have had infections after every period. The pain in the bladder was just too excruciating. The pain drained all my energy. And when the infections finally stopped, my period decided not to stop for 2 weeks. And when it did stop, I was exhausted. And it came again in 2 weeks.

My low blood pressure at times has given me hard times. And it has prevented me from driving as I could only lie in bed waiting for the plunge to be over. 

There have been times where I just crash in front of the TV till the wee hours of the morning and cannot get up to go to bed. It is as if I have been weighed down by shackles, strapped with an anchor the size of Titanic and thrown into the sea. The will to go on just sometimes get sapped out of me and I feel so trapped. At times, the gnawing desperation gets me. And when I sleep, I sleep in a phantom void and wake up more exhausted than ever. And when I do finally sleep, I have the same recurring nightmares. 

I'm exhausted at this point. Exhausted of fighting. Of not giving up. I had thought that being in the battlefield everyday would have somehow numbed my senses. But yet, my skin crawl every time I hear the sound of the battle horn. The weariness of putting on the armour, of arming myself. It came to a point where the armour had become me. I had become a warrior and nothing more. I lost my 'human' side. Somewhere along the line, other than fighting, I have forgotten how to live. I have somehow 'lost' myself. I had forgotten how to feel.

Thus, I became trapped in quicksand with everything being swallowed by the sand except my head. 

The thing about being trapped in quicksand is that the more you struggle, the faster you will sink. The trick is to stop flapping and flailing one's arms and legs. 

Therefore, I will stop flapping and flailing my arms and just relax and breathe. And by doing so, my body will float and once again, I will have found myself and be ready for another round of journey in the right to be alive. 

Not all that glitters is good. Not all rejoicing is real. Not all triumphs are triumphant. Not all pain is detrimental to one's soul. Not all quicksand will drown you. And many times, death does not kill you. 

Therefore, here's a very happy 1st blogger-sary to 'The Right to be Alive'. You deserve the birthday cake, candle, presents and the birthday wish. 

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Instant Noodles!

I am sure the title caught your attention. I mean instant noodles for people like me = instant DEATH! Haha!

Every time I walk past shopping aisles which are screaming with packages of instant noodles, I feel frustrated. Many days when I am too exhausted to cook, I wish that I could just boil a packet of instant noodles and EAT!

So I came up with a simple recipe which requires minimal fuss (though it is not INSTANT!).


1. 250gm of spaghetti
2. A pot of water
3. Sea-salt
4. Brown sugar
5. Sunflower oil
6. Fried garlic/shallots (for garnishing purposes)


1. Heat a pot of boiling water. Sprinkle some sea-salt.

2. Once the water is boiling, add the spaghetti and stir the pasta constantly.

3. In a large bowl, pour some sea-salt, brown sugar and sunflower oil.

4. Once the spaghetti has softened, scoop it up immediately into the large bowl.

5. Stir the spaghetti until the sea-salt, brown sugar and sunflower oil are mixed evenly with the spaghetti.

6. Garnish with some fried garlic/shallots.

Bon appétit!

I was too hungry and only remembered to take a picture after eating a few mouthfuls! Thus, the disappearance of the garnishing! Hehe....
The whole process roughly takes about 1/2 hour. And that is INSTANT to someone like me!!! Happy experimenting with this dish!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Low-Salicylate Baked-Garlic-Salmon


1. 1 slice of salmon
2. Garlic (chopped finely)
3. Sea-salt
4. Sunflower oil


1. Preheat oven at 200C.

2. Pat dry the slice of salmon with paper kitchen towel.

3. Place on a baking tray (lined with baking paper) and rub some sea-salt on both sides of the salmon.

4. Sprinkle the finely chopped garlic on the salmon and add a dash of sunflower oil.

5. Bake for about 25 minutes.

6. Serve with rice and a dish of vegetables.

Bon appétit!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Salicylate-Free Black-Eye-Peas Chicken Soup


1. 250gm of black eye peas (washed and soaked overnight in a bowl of water)
2. 1 whole chicken (cut into 4 parts and skin-less)
3. Water
4. Sea-salt

1. Put the peas and the whole chicken into a very large pot.

2. Fill the pot with water until the chicken is submerged.

3. Boil for 2 hours.

4. Add sea-salt to taste.

5. Serve the soup hot.

Bon appétit!

For lunch, we had the soup with rice, steamed cod fish and some stir-fried nai-pak vegetable.
For dinner, we had rice with the soup, peas and the chicken from the soup.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Salicylate-Free Organic Wholemeal+Buckwheat Bread


1. 300gm organic wholemeal flour
2. 250gm organic buckwheat flour
3. 1 1/2 tablespoons of active dry yeast
4. A teaspoon of sea-salt
5. A teaspoon of soft, brown sugar
6. 1 1/2 cups of warm water
7. 1/4 cup of sunflower oil


1. Sieve the wholemeal flour and the buckwheat flour into a very large mixing bowl.

2. Add the yeast, sea-salt, sugar, sunflower oil and water to the sieved flour.

3. Mix all ingredients thoroughly.

4. Knead the dough until it is smooth. If it is too soft, add some flour and knead until it is smooth. If it is too dry, add some warm water and knead until smooth.
(*Buckwheat flour is more sticky than the normal bread flour)

5. Cover the bowl with a cling-wrap or a damp towel for about 2 hours until the dough has doubled in size.

6. Knock the dough back down and knead it again for about 20 minutes.

7. Divide the dough into half and allow it to rise again for about 1 hour.

8. Preheat oven at 190C.

9. Grease 2 loaf tins with some sunflower oil.

10. Put the dough into the loaf tins and bake for about 45 minutes or until slightly browned.

11. Allow to cool

Bon appétit!

Note: The usual buckwheat bread recipes use milk. I substituted milk with sunflower oil instead as I have lactose intolerance and am somewhat sensitive to something in the fresh milk. Salicylate is negligible in sunflower oil.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Salicylate-Free Egg-Li-Cious Dish!


1. 8 eggs
2. Sea-salt
3. Sunflower oil
4. 1 cup of water


1. Break eggs into a large bowl.

2. Add the sea-salt, approximately 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil and 1 cup water into the eggs and beat all the ingredients together until the mixture is thoroughly mixed up.

3. Pour the mixture into a bowl or casserole dish.

4. You can either steam the eggs in a wok with the dish/bowl set on a rack, or in a steamer. You can also cook this egg dish in a microwave.

5. Cook for approximately 30 minutes or until the eggs are cooked. You can cook it using medium heat for the first 15 minutes and then turning it to low for the remaining 15 minutes.

6. Serve hot with rice.

Bon appétit!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Container Garden - An Update (2nd Anniversary)

A very happy 2nd anniversary to the container garden! I have learned much by just gardening and planting my own vegetables. The garden has been a place of refuge (and stress too when things just die!).

The exceedingly 'long' ladyfinger/okra!
The end of the year is drawing near. The year-end monsoon will be here soon. And the garden is in the process of winding down. I am not sowing anymore seeds EXCEPT some leafy vegetables which thrive in rainy weather.

The large sunflower was one of the triplets. At the back of its huge head, were two of its siblings. 
The unopened Zinnia!

Ladybird feasting on the aphids!
Cherry tomatoes!
Look at who was feasting on my cherry tomatoes! Death to them all! :P
Capsicums! I was surprised as I thought they had died in the freak storm. :)

This is my first time planting pumpkin. And I was so surprised that this too survived the storm. This is the male flower.  
This is the female.

I helped the pumpkin to have 'sex'. I was afraid that the ants and insects would not be 'helpful' enough in transferring the pollen from the male to the female. 
Look at how 'saturated' the female is with the male's pollen.
This was the 2nd male flower which I used. There was some polygamy going on. I had to make sure 'she got impregnated'! HAHAHA!
I even clipped the flower closed to make sure the pollen stayed intact in the female! 
Plenty of stink bugs who were busy mating!
The third tomato plant is fruiting. 
Oleander Hawk caterpillar! Joel calls this as HIS 'CATTER-PIE-LEE' pet! Oh my! His pet! HAHA!
Another harvest of cherry tomatoes. The yellow plate in the background is filled with kitchen waste which will be turned into compost. 

Friday, 7 September 2012

Salicylate-Free Barley+Chicken Soup

Soup is also sometimes called broth.


1. 1 cup of barley groats
2. 1 whole chicken (cut into 4 parts)
3. 4 cups of water
4. Sea-salt


1. Put the barley groats, chicken in to a large pot. 

2. Pour the 4 cups of water into the pot.

3. Add about 1 teaspoon of sea-salt.

4. Bring the soup to a boil then allow it to simmer for 2 hours.

5. Serve it hot. You can have it with rice and a vegetable dish.

Bon appétit!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Wheels of the Car Go Round and Round

It was bound to happen. The Little Engine had been humming consistently for an extended period of time. It went on and on and on over the bumpy roads that had potholes here and there. 

Many had thought that the Little Engine would have worn out its engine a long time ago. But it surprised everybody. In fact, the Little Engine surprised itself at how far it had gone. The Little Engine could not even see the starting line from where it was now.

Yet it was certainly far from the finish line. 

But the inevitable happened. 

It started with a tiny, squeaking sound.

And then a little clunking here and there.

Little engine thought little of it and continued on with its journey. 

And then the clanking began.

Trouble getting the engine to start in the morning ensued. And when it finally started, the engine coughed out a thick, black, cloud of smoke. 

'Woe is me!' said the Little Engine.

The mechanics said that the Little Engine was suffering from a severe burnout. Replacing the engine would take time and that the time to rest would be good for Little Engine to recuperate.

What Little Engine did not realise was the fight to go on and on had taken a toll on its wheels. The depression in the tyres was obvious to everyone who had eyes that could see. Little Engine had felt the depression creeping into its wheels. But it choose to go on, thinking that going on would help the wheels from sinking further into depression. Oh, but it was wrong! The depression ate into the wheels and almost caused Little Engine to have an accident from burst tyres. It was truly a blessing in disguise that Little Engine's engine burnt out. 

Instead of resting, Little Engine became agitated. It felt that time was being wasted. It could have covered hundreds of miles by now if it had not stopped. But as Little Engine rested, it realised that it had been fuelled by exhaustion and not determination to move forward. 

And that made Little Engine to be even more depressed. 

And then reality set in. Little Engine realised that it could not cross that wide chasm in this journey called Life. And for the first time in its journey of Life, Little Engine wondered whether it will ever reach the finish line.

Little Engine had fallen into the cracks of depression and was slowly sinking in quick sand...

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Low-Salicylate French Beans Chicken Nuggets


1. 500gm of minced chicken
2. 200gm of organic french beans (cut into small pieces)
3. 1/4 cup of organic all-purpose flour
4. 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
5. Sea-salt

1. Mix all the above ingredients until all blended well.

2. Make into small nugget shapes.

3. Heat the wok with just a little bit of sunflower oil.

4. Once the oil is hot, place the chicken nuggets into the wok.

5. Once one side is slightly browned, turn it to the other side and fry till it is slightly browned too.

6. Allow to slightly cool before serving.

Bon appétit!

I had mine with sushi rice!