Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Lessons I learned from Taekwondo Part 2

2. Expect the Unexpected
You may have perfected all your kicks during your training sessions but when you're down at the arena,your opponent is twice as fast, with legs so long you have totally no chance to get near him.You executed your kicks but none of them reached him,even if it did, you only managed to brush your feet off his padding. The real competition is totally different from what you imagined. Well, anyhow you have to think of some ways to fight through the bouts.I believe one's potential can be unleashed under pressure.

We can greatly reduce our stress if we learn to expect the unexpected. When life throws bricks at you,do you end your journey or start a new one by building a house? Worrying excessively saps one's energy which can be better used for enjoying life.

We can do our part well and get ourselves prepared by planning ahead, research extensively,equip ourselves with the necessary skills......but surprises will still pop up.

At this stage in life, I've learned to first PRAY,do my part and leave everything in God's Hands.

No,don't laugh.I said I prayed, did my part and believe that all things work together for good for those who love God.

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

If you think you're in full control of your life,you're wrong.Think again, this isn't the case because you can't even turn your hair black or white.If you think that we own our bodies,why is it that we can't even stop our health from failing.

Matthew 5:36
Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black.

I've learned that God is in control.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Lessons I learned from Taekwondo-Part 1

My elder son has just started his first wushu lesson with Martial House , not bad for the first lesson as he managed to learn some steps for this 五步拳, the coach also seems to be pretty friendly and patient with the kids. I feel excited for him as learning wushu is what my #1 has been asking for. But due to unsuitable timings, venues and dates for the lessons, we have been unable to accede to his request. Well, but the bad news is after his first lesson, they will be taking a 2 weeks break (slap forehead), there goes his 五步拳.

This makes me reminisce my university days. My uni life = Taekwondo (tkd). I have always been interested in tkd because I think their gi looks really cool. So when I joined the NUS tkd club, I did not expect that it would become a sort of obsession for me, I absolutely fell in love with it.

I'm actually quite a sporty person though my looks can be deceiving (petite, fair looking girl) and I'm not ashamed to say that I'm a Jack of some trades but master of none. I'm in the school cross country team in JC, though not among the fastest, I do have some stamina, I can run for as long as I like without any signs of tiredness. Running is a chance to spend time with myself and I only start to dread running when I need to run to win. I hate the feeling when I need to push myself to overtake other runners. Though I only hold a beginner certificate in swimming, I can swim 40 laps without taking any breaks. It's never about speed for me. So I guess, enjoyment is more important to me than achievements. 

TKD totally fits my bill. We trained 4 times a week for 3-4 competitions per year. To improve my stamina,I would also go for a 6 to 8 km run myself before joining the tkd trainings. I'm honored to be training under one of the best tkd coaches, Mr Henry Tan Kheng Juan, who was a 10 times National Champion and a SEA games gold medalist. The days of training with NUS tkd club is certainly one of my best memories. 

So what do I learn from tkd other than kicks? I learned about life too.

1. Less is more
When I was still a novice student, my kicks were really weak, there was no sound and impact when I kicked the targets. When executing front kicks, we were supposed to lift our knees, twist our bodies and snap our lower legs on the targets to produce a loud and bright "PIAK" ( someone please advise me on a better word ) sound. Power is generated primarily from the sharp extension of the leg and the speed with which the lower leg shoots into the target.

Why is it so important for us to pay great attention to our techniques and make our kicks sharp, accurate and impactful? That is because during sparring sessions, when there are opportunities for us to attack our opponents, we must ensure that our kicks land with impact on their paddings and produce a loud "PIAK" sound. That is when we score! We would really be wasting our energies if we send our legs flying around yet unable to score any points.

So I began to work hard on my front kicks. I was really attentive when my seniors demonstrated the kicks and explained the science behind the techniques to create powerful kicks. I observed how my team mates kicked and then I started to practise real hard, I kicked and kicked and kicked and kicked and kicked.........Until one day, my efforts finally paid off. I found myself drowning in happiness listening to the "PIAK PIAK Thud Thud" sounds when I kicked the targets. Perhaps being a long distance runner gave me more strength in my legs as well. I was quite satisfied with my front kicks!

But the bad news is, I was only confident in my front kicks. You would probably fall asleep watching my sparring sessions because it was so boring I only execute front kicks and nothing else. Also, I'm neither swift nor agile, watching me fight is just like watching a slow motion movie. However, if I had a chance to strike, my front kicks are still reliable.

Though front kick seems like a "boring kick",it is actually a safe, powerful and reliable weapon to be used during sparring. It can be used to attack and for defence and doesn't lose its potency at close range.It requires minimal pivoting and lends itself to combinations.You can do a front kick after a punch or transform it to a deceptive double kick.

Rather than putting up a fanciful show of thrusting,spinning,hooking and jumping kicks on the arena and yet not scoring a single point, I would prefer the player to keep both his feet on the ground and use his front kicks instead.

Since front kicks are such useful kicks,why aren't they used more frequently?Is it because they look simple and people tend to brush it off and spend less time perfecting it,moving on to other kicks instead?

Similarly,the "simple" and "small" things in life are actually the more important ones. There are many perspectives to look at this.I shall cite the teacher as an example. 

To manage a class, plan a lesson, deliver it well and to mould our children's character is like spending time to perfect the front kick,it never fails and is never wrong because this is the most important task on hand as a teacher. We should never stop honing our skills in these areas. But yet nowadays, it seems like these are the "little" things which we assumed beginning teachers know.Before they have time to test out their kicks on the arena,we convinced them that they have mastered it and should instead moved on to try other fancier kicks instead.

Why?Because it's boring to execute only front kicks on the arena. People are watching you,give them something more exciting to see please.

In this case,I would prefer to be a master of one and a jack of some trades.

I also learn that with perseverance and determination,I can definitely become better and that is all I need.I'm never the best and will never be the best player but yet I've succeeded in my heart.
This little achievement which means nothing to others weighed a lot to me. Besides, I'm contented to be a part of my club and celebrate successes with my team mates.Their victory is mine because we are one.

Shouldn't we have that mindset in life as well? At home,at school and at work?To celebrate others' successes and not mind about who has put up a better fight.To do our part well and watch others grow,or even better,to contribute to their growth.

To be continued......








Monday, 28 December 2015

Homestay at Taipei - South Island 南岛屿

When I told my mummy that we are going to stay in a minsu at Taipei, she thought it would be a very run-down, sloppy kind of place but mind you, was she impressed when she saw her room. She and her friend think that their room was comparable to,or even better than a hotel's standard.

I've considered hotels like Cosmo,Caesar,Westgate etc until someone from Kiasuparent forum recommended me South Island. She has such raving reviews of South Island that I decided to find out more. On a sidenote, I'm really grateful to the helpful souls from the forum, they made my planning so much easier. Sharing is caring! 

The website doesn't really provide me with much information except for some pictures of their rooms. But the rooms look really nice indeed! I also checked out reviews of them online, there weren't many reviews or blogs about them then but the ones that I read all gave thumbs up for their service.

I decided to email them to enquire on details of their rooms.


The price sure looks tempting. There's even a 5 percent discount if you stay there for consecutive nights.

I think hotel rooms is just a place for us to rest at night,so I feel that it's not necessary to pay so much as I'm not looking for something luxurious.As usual,there were many email correspondence between one of the owners, Ah Chang, and I. He was friendly and prompt in answering all my queries.

So finally,I decided to book one 3 pax (1 queen size and 1single bed for my mummy and her friend) and 4 pax room (2 queen size beds for my family of 4).

 Another owner, Xiaowei, whatsapped me the day before to confirm with us our time of arrival. The check-in time is supposed to be at 3pm but Xiaowei opened up the rooms for us at 12pm to put our luggages before we went off for our lunch.

It's pretty easy to find South Island, exit 1 at Ximen metro station and walk straight until Kunming street. They are located at a building between a 7-11 and a lottery shop. The walk takes around 7-8 min,maybe 10, bearing in mind we have 2 toddlers and lugging our luggages.

We waited at the 1st floor for Xiaowei. He was a very friendly young man, wearing a singlet, bermudas and a pair of slippers. I thought the building looks abit rundown,the lift definitely looks old. Surprisingly for such an old looking lift, we actually need to scan the lift with our keys before we can go up to our rooms on the 8th floor. (Security!)

This is our key,oh, now then I realized that we stayed at Room 3. The black object is the one which we need to scan the lift's sensor. 
This is our door, looks very sturdy indeed. We scanned the sensor to lock and unlock the door. There will be a voice which said: "锁门了", "开门了" so that we know if we locked our door properly.
Honestly,I do not know what is this for.  

When we opened the door to our room.......

Impressed when we stepped inside the room. It is huge and very clean. Looks just like the picture shown on the website  
The air con is working well and my boys leapt on the beds and got all excited! They loved their room. 
This is my favorite part. A washing machine for my laundry!

Okay,so now,more about South Island. They are run by 3 young guys, Ah Chang, Xiaowei and Xiaowu. Housecleaning, check-in and check-out etc are all handled by them. On the day of our arrival, Xiaowei is cleaning both our rooms alone.

Pros of South Island:
1) Reasonable price, full payment in cash upon check-in
2) Reservation via email,very convenient
3) Friendly owners who answer your queries promptly
4) Discounted price if you stay for consecutive nights
5) New, clean and spacious rooms. No carpeted floor. Great for kids as you know how dirty carpets are and my boys like to roll all over the floor
6) Provide toiletries, towels and Wi-Fi. They also gave us a few bottles of mineral water
7) Dustbins are emptied everyday but I'm not sure about arrangement of housecleaning if you stay for a few days straight. I only stayed for 2 days so it's not a concern for me.
7) Washing machine with detergent provided.
8) Convenient location. Located at the heart of Ximending, 7 min walk to Ximen metro station
9) Lots of eateries downstairs, there's a bakery which sells very nice breads and cakes
10) Have to scan the lift's sensor to get to the 8th floor. Sensor lock for added security. 
11) If you have any needs, can just contact the owner. (Note: The owner does not live at any of the apartments)

Cons:
1) You never know how safe is safe for these minsus. I have heard stories about people getting robbed and some are actually 黑店. I have the young and old with me and I feel responsible for their safety. When trying to search for a minsu in Taichung, I read on blogs that some minsu owners chided their customers for asking directions, as if they are afraid of people knowing that they are operating a minsu. 
Why so sneaky? Hence, I stayed in a hotel at Taichung eventually as I did not managed to find any minsu that I'm comfortable with.

2) Everything was good until my Mummy came over to my room frantically to inform me that her pillow has a stench and even has hairs on it! Leftover from the previous customers?Yikes! But our pillows and bed sheets looked fine and smelled quite (not very) okay too. 
So I whatsapped Xiaowei very politely about our problem and he replied very politely that he had changed all the bed sheets and pillow cases and that they were clean. But nevertheless, he would still change the pillow cases for me the next day. I thanked him and acknowledged his hard work.
If you have this pet peeve for don't-know-if-it's-really-clean-or-not bedsheets and pillow cases, then ALL minsus are not for you, it's better to stay in a hotel. 
I trust my Mummy's word absolutely so I honestly think that it might be an oversight on their part. Case closed.

3) On the next morning, our family of 4 went out at around 800am to grab our breakfasts. My very excited boys made some noises outside our room. Xiaowei texted me later that his customer feedbacked to him that we were noisy and disturbing his/her sleep.So Xiaowei politely reminded me to keep our volume low. I accept this because my boys can be pretty noisy, but I don't think I have to worry about this in a hotel. So I apologized and ensured him that we will keep our volume low.

4) It's good if all is fine but what if your tap bursts in the middle of the night?Or your air con breaks now? Or you are locked out of your door during the wee hours? Or your lift sensor just fails to work? Or there isn't any water supply? Will the owners be able to assist us or do we need to wait for hours? For hotels, you can always call the service line or just change a room if the problem is too serious. This is something to ponder about.

5) 7 min walk to ximen metro station is still not convenient enough for me. I would prefer to stay at Taipei main station instead so that less time is wasted for transiting.

Overall, I rate my stay at South Island a 4/5, it's certainly a gem in Ximending and I foresee that it will continue to gain popularity by word of mouth. My boys absolutely love the room, especially the TV...=s The one point deducted is the sense of insecurity and the mental stress that I have over staying in a minsu. 

So, are you tempted to book your stay with South Island? Do it fast because their rooms are grabbed pretty fast! Reservations opens half a year before your intended date of stay.

Address / 地址
台北市昆明街79号

Telephone / 电话
阿昌 (+886)928227066

Email: island0928227066@gmail.com








Bento #87 - Stove top pizza and veges



Made stove top tuna pizza for my hubby today following this recipe. Seems fine in the picture but the truth is I burnt the crust!!! Sigh, I should have been more careful and watch the fire. I would most probably use the oven for my next attempt, the cheese definitely looks more appealing when browned.



So this is my messy presentation. Wanted to roast potatoes for the sides initially but I thought hubby will appreciate the veges after days of eating out.


Close-up of my pizzas. I love the big, fresh, juicy prawns.


                                                  

Monday, 21 December 2015

Bento #86 - Thai Bbq Chicken + Spring Onion fried eggs with prawns


I woke up late today! Set my alarm clock at 4.30 am but woke up at 5.50 am. Fortunately I managed to get things done in 40 min but that leaves me little time for my work. Oh dear, the clock is ticking and holiday is ending but I still have much to clear for my to-do list!!!


Spring Onion fried eggs with prawns


I marinated the chicken overnight with Asian Home Gourmet Thai Bbq Chicken mix, its full flavor features garlic, lemongrass, tumeric and other local herbs and spices. Sounds good eh? Just throw the chicken into the oven for 20 min at 190 deg and it's done! Perfect for busy working mothers.



Friday, 18 December 2015

Definition of Success

As parents, we all want our children to be sucessful when they grow up. In fact, this might also be the reason given to our children as to why they need to study hard now - so that they can achieve academic excellence and be successful in future. But what does being successful really mean? I checked Merriam Webster and found this:

Success:
: the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame
: the correct or desired result of an attempt: someone or something that is successful 
: a person or thing that succeeds

My own definition of success does not really agree with the above. What about you? What does success mean to you? To be top in class? To be highly paid? When you achieve a high status? When everyone is in awe with you? When you're living a luxurious lifestyle? When you have fame? 
As parents, it is very important for us to have a clear answer as to how we define success because it'll greatly influence our children. Many children grow up trying to live up to their parents' expectations and try very hard to become successful in their parents' eyes. 
When we frown upon their PSLE aggregate score just because they can't get into a Special Assistance Plan (SAP) school,we're telling them that they have failed because they're not good enough.But we forgot that there is nothing special about SAP schools, the ones who are special are our children, they cannot be replaced. What parents value will be what their children value because we're their compass during their early years, directing their path towards our so-called success.
We placed high hopes on our children. We put in a lot of effort,time and money to groom them. They have to attend enrichment classes from young to get a head start in school.They are required to be all rounders, good in studies, music,sports and arts.
As we lament about the high cost and high stress of living in Singapore, we cannot deny the fact that we played a part in this.It's really an egg and hen question (though I know that the hen certainly exists before the egg), did the education system force the parents to succumb or did the high expectations of parents cause the system to be what it is now.I don't think we will ever find an answer but I do think that we can lead the change in our family. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to develop our children's talents, within our means and when we're clear of our intentions, without stripping their joy of learning. 
Do we still love our children if they do not top the class? Do we still love them if they can't play the piano,violin and just can't find the right pitch when singing? Do we still love them if they aren't good at any sports? Do we still love them if they are just not good in public speaking? Do we still love them if they do not win any awards? Do we still love them if they are not healthy? Do we still love them if they look different from others? 
Our children's worth and our love for them is not determined by their looks, talents, abilities or results. They should be confident that we love them just the way they are, just like God loves us the way we are. They should be confident that even if they are left with nothing, we'll still love them unconditionally. Jesus died for All of us sinners on the cross.That is how much we're worth and that is how much God loves us.
If being successful is only about achieving wealth, respect or fame,let us look at 2 successful persons.
Dr Richard Teo is a medical doctor from Singapore who had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at the pinnacle of his life.He had everything by the time he was in his 30s: wealth measured in millions of dollars, a thriving aesthetics practice and sports cars, including a Ferrari 430.
Money, by Dr Richard Teo Keng Siang's own admission, was everything. Since young, his driving ambition was to win, and through winning, reap the rewards of the good life.
In medicine, he chose the quick way to big bucks - by switching from ophthalmology to aesthetics. It paid handsomely. In the first year, his cosmetic surgery clinic "was raking in millions".
But in March 2011, Dr Teo, a light smoker, was struck down by terminal lung cancer. And his attitude changed.

When the "music's over", Dr Teo realised that happiness didn't come from enriching oneself.
Joy comes from celebrating life with those around you, whether with laughter or sorrow. Now it is his message, not his riches, has become his legacy.

What Dr Teo did was to place a mirror in front of those who ceaselessly chase riches, especially those in the medical fraternity.
Everyone will eventually die. The critical question he asked was: Are you going to make a difference to other people's lives in your lifetime?
"I'm a typical product of today's society," said Dr Teo, in an excerpt taken from one of his speeches last November.

"From young, I've always been under the influence and impression that to be happy is to be successful. And to be successful is to be wealthy. So I led my life according to this motto".

The story of Dr Richard Teo left me with a heartache even though I do not know him personally. I tried to put myself in his shoes and I would think it is definitely very tough to grapple with the feeling of remorse, regret and guilt amidst enduring his physical pain. And I really hope that he survives as I am sure that after this ordeal, he will be a very different person and will certainly be able to help many others with his experience. But the fact is he died, and I had a burning question in my heart which is if Dr Teo is a Christian.

 I found my answer from this article where he shared his encounter with God at the Dental Christian Fellowship. Because he had been so proud of himself, he felt that he did not need anybody else, there was no way he could turn back to God, but nothing is impossible with God. Dr Teo realized that he has to go through all these because this is the only way he will understand and wake up. God has been very kind to him, at least Dr Teo had a chance to realize his mistake, repent and return to God. At least he still had a little bit of time to do the good that he hadn't been doing. At least he understood the real purpose of his life in time. Some aren't so fortunate, they just died the next second.

I feel happy for Dr Teo that he has learnt that true joy comes from knowing God, having a personal relationship with God, which is the most important. And in this life, we must trust in the Lord with all our heart and to love and serve others, not just for ourselves. He has not lived in vain. 

You may also watch his presentation in front of the Singapore Medical Class here., in which he shared about his thoughts on life, wealth, success and happiness.

Let us also take a look at the last words of another giant of the century that has passed on, Mr Steve Jobs.

“I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world.
In others’ eyes, my life is an epitome of success.
However, aside from work, I have little joy. In the end, wealth is only a fact of life that I am accustomed to.
At this moment, lying on the sick bed and recalling my whole life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in, have paled and become meaningless in the face of impending death.
In the darkness, I look at the green lights from the life supporting machines and hear the humming mechanical sounds, I can feel the breath of God and of death drawing closer…
Now I know, when we have accumulated sufficient wealth to last our lifetime, we should pursue other matters that are unrelated to wealth…
Should be something that is more important:
Perhaps relationships, perhaps art, perhaps a dream from younger days …
Non-stop pursuing of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me.
God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth.
The wealth I have won in my life I cannot bring with me.
What I can bring is only the memories precipitated by love.
That’s the true riches which will follow you, accompany you, giving you strength and light to go on.
Love can travel a thousand miles. Life has no limit. Go where you want to go. Reach the height you want to reach. It is all in your heart and in your hands.
What is the most expensive bed in the world? – “Sick bed” …
You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you but you cannot have someone to bear the sickness for you.
Material things lost can be found. But there is one thing that can never be found when it is lost – “Life”.
When a person goes into the operating room, he will realize that there is one book that he has yet to finish reading – “Book of Healthy Life”.
Whichever stage in life we are at right now, with time, we will face the day when the curtain comes down.
Treasure Love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends…
Treat yourself well. Cherish others.”
Wealth means nothing to Mr Steve Jobs at his deathbed. Dr Richard Teo and Mr Steve Jobs had everything in their life, success, wealth, fame and maybe power. But they had something similar too, both did not manage to escape death. The bad news is none of us will escape either. 
Let us look at the parable of the rich fool in the Bible.
Luke 12:13-21New King James Version (NKJV)

The Parable of the Rich Fool

13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
14 But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” 15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness,[a] for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

True Success
We can never be successful without God in our lives. We are nothing without Him. 

Just like what Dr Teo said 

"There is nothing wrong with being rich or wealthy. I think it’s absolutely alright, cos God has blessed. So many people are blessed with good wealth, but the trouble is I think a lot of us can’t handle it. The more we have, the more we want. I’ve gone through it, the deeper the hole we dig, the more we get sucked into it, so much so that we worship wealth and lose focus. Instead of worshipping God, we worship wealth. It’s just a human instinct. It’s just so difficult to get out of it.

We are all professionals, and when we go into private practise, we start to build up our wealth – inevitably. So my thought are, when you start to build up wealth and when the opportunity comes, do remember that all these things don’t belong to us. We don’t really own it nor have rights to this wealth. It’s actually God’s gift to us. Remember that it’s more important to further His Kingdom rather than to further ourselves.

Anyway I think that I’ve gone through it, and I know that wealth without God is empty. It is more important that you fill up the wealth, as you build it up subsequently, as professionals and all, you need to fill it up with the wealth of God."

A successful person may or may not have wealth, fame and power. But his source of sense of self worth, level of confidence and happiness definitely does not depend on these.

Apostle Paul is definitely a successful person. He had learned to be contented in whatever state he is, even when he was in prison. He rejoiced greatly in the Lord.

Philippians 4:10-13New King James Version (NKJV)

Philippian Generosity

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me.

Last but not least, a successful person must have a clear direction of his life. He knows his real purpose in life and never lose focus of his goal. 

Philippians 3:14New King James Version (NKJV) 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Imagine a teacher who does not know what he is doing in life, how then is he able to guide and inspire his students? Education is really about life and not about acing your examinations. No matter how good or fast a runner you are, if you are not moving in the right direction, you will never ever reach your goal.Direction is so important in our life.
Let us work on giving our children the right outlook on life so that they can enjoy and live a rich and purposeful life without regrets. 
Do I have an answer? Yes, I do. Success is not a destination to me but a journey.It's always work-in-progress for our family.

Let us hear from the world's wisest man, King Solomon,the son of King David.
Eccl 12:8 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, "All is vanity.”
Eccl 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.  

My answer is in the Bible.





Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Bento #85 - Oyako Don Bento




Recipe for Oyako Don Bento

1 Chicken Thigh
1 white onion
1 egg

Sauce:

1 tbsp of soy sauce
1/2 tbsp of mirin
1/2 tbsp of sugar
2 tbsp of sake
80 cc of water

Mix the above to form sauce A

Method:

1) Pour the sauce into a pan and bring to boil and add the onion, simmer until the onion is soft.
2) Add in the chicken (cut into smaller pieces) and cook it under medium fire for about 10 min or until they are cooked.
3) Drizzle the beaten egg slowly and evenly all over the chicken meat.
4) Simmer until the egg is fully cooked,

Cool down and put them into your bento box. Enjoy!


Sunday, 13 December 2015

Bento #84 - Ginger Garlic Cod Fish and Chawamushi


After the somewhat unhealthy deep fried chicken kara-age,I decide to prepare something healthier this morning.

Recipe for Ginger Garlic Cod fish

1 piece of cod fish

5 slices of ginger cut into thins strips
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of mirin
A dash of sesame oil

Mix the above together to form mixture (A), personally I like to add more ginger and garlic.

Pour (A) into a saucepan and bring to a boil.Put the cod fish in and simmer for 7-8 min or until the cod is cooked.

Best served with hot piping rice!


I used Wokking Mum's recipe for my chawamushi.


Just another close-up shot of my cod.Enjoy!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

#Bento 83 - Tasty Chicken Kara-age


Today, I decided to be more adventurous and tried frying some chicken Kara-age for my hubby instead. They did not turn out too bad and look just like the picture in my recipe book...haa. They taste really flavorful, thanks to the marinade which will make the chicken taste as good even if they are not fried. I'm a amateur in frying and I can never grasp the right temperature to throw in the chicken. So I think I will buy a thermometer to measure the temperature of the oil as my area for improvement. But overall, I'm pretty pleased with the results!


Trying to focus on my Kara-age after a food art sharing that I have attended at Canon yesterday. 

Recipe for tasty chicken kara-age
2 chicken thighs cut into chunks of about 5cm
Marinade (highly recommended!)
1.5 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of mirin
1/2 teaspoon of grated garlic (can add more if you like)
1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger (can add more if you like)
Marinade the meats for at least 10 min

Method 
1) Coat the meat evenly with potato starch flour
2) Heat the oil till it's 170 deg
3) Place the meat into the oil and fry for about 3-4 minutes and the outside looks crispy
4) Take out the kara-age and drain the oil 

Let the chicken pieces cool down and they are ready to be put into your bento!




#Bento 81 - Chicken wrap with grilled potatoes and vegetables


This week is a tiring but happy and fruitful week for us,I spent 3 days ferrying my boys to a Church camp and stayed there to wait till they were done. I was exhausted, perhaps driving really consumed a lot of my energy, as I have to be really focused while worrying about not able to find my route to the venue or being late. But it is all worthwhile as the 3 days camp has been such a nourishing session for my son's spiritual growth. It's a joy to see him enjoying himself so much. When he returned home after the last day of camp, and a long day that was, he headed straight for his Bible and started reading it quietly. It is a really touching moment, I hope he will keep up with this good work and place studying of God's Word as the top priority in his life.

So......this is the second bento that I made for hubby for the entire week as I really need the sleep to concentrate on driving for such long distances!

A simple chicken wrap and grilled potatoes and vegetables. Ta-da!


#Bento 82 - Udon in Spaghetti sauce and teriyaki salmon


Udon is our family's favorite. I think it is pretty versatile and can be cooked and easily cooked in many ways. I usually buy Sakura brand udon as its firmness is perfect for us. Today is the first time I tried cooking it with spaghetti sauce, I know it will turn out nice as accidents rarely happens with ready made pasta sauce, they taste appetizing on its own, you just got to buy the right brand. I added some Tabasco chilli for that extra zest and it really helped to bring the flavor up to a new level. So, the secret is actually the Tabasco.

Teriyaki salmon is easy to prepare, sprinkle some black pepper and coat it with some flour. Pan fried both sides of the salmon until it turns brown and then pour in the teriyaki sauce (homemade). Flip the salmon until it is evenly coated with the sauce and we are done!

After preparing the bento, I started to work on my photobook. I have 2 to prepare this holiday and I really got to speed up as there are still many items on my to-do list. Whew!

Monday, 30 November 2015

#Bento 80 - Yakitori


Yakitori for hubby's lunch today. Used dark soya sauce, wine, mirin, brown sugar, grated ginger and honey to prepare the sauce and brushed some onto the rice for extra flavor.

Feeling excited because we are going to watch "A Good Dinosaur" later, which I am sure my boys will love. Being a Mummy is wonderful because I get excited over little things like this, feel very much alive again..haaa...Holidays are great but the bad thing is we will all have a hard time adjusting when school reopens.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Bento #79-Chicken burgers with curry mashed potato


Prepared chicken burgers for all of us because I'm bringing the boys to Kiddy Fun at Grandstand today. Chicken patties and bread were all bought from NTUC, though I wish I can make my own burger breads one day. Egg with spring onions, chicken patties, cheese and lettuce for the burgers. Curry mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli and some fried scallops and nuggets for the sides. Oh dear, I kept forgetting the name of the cylindrical looking thing but they taste something like cuttlefish ball.
Wanted to fry some fries actually to make it an authentic fast food set..haa..but we have been feeling under the weather recently so nope, decided to replace the fries with mash instead.


My lunchbox is full after stuffing in the burgers, I need to really squeeze the sides in.


The lunchbox on the left is for #1 and the one on the right is for #2. #1 loves mash while #2 loves tomatoes, he can easily pop 20 into his mouth. So, we got to keep the tomatoes out of his sight else he'll be too full for his meal after all the tomatoes. It's a joy looking at my boys enjoying their lunch. After eating, they still have half an hour more to enjoy the indoor playground. Thank God for blessing us with a wonderful Friday and keeping us safe on the road. Love our dear Father in Heaven.

Recipe for Curry mashed potato 

1) 1 potato
2) kewpie mayonnaise 
3) salt and black pepper
4) Curry powder

Method:

1) Put the potato into the boiling water and boil for about 20 min. Let it cool completely because if it didn't, it'll turn oily when mayonnaise is added.
2) Mash the potato with a fork and add in the mayonnaise. The amount really depends on your preference. Add some salt and black pepper to season.
3) Add the curry powder which does magic and gives the mash a very unique taste. I like to add in some parsley too.

Very easy to prepare and convenient to pack in lunchboxes. My #1 simply loves it.


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Bento #78 - Ban Mian with ginger sauce


I decided to cook something different for hubby today, dry ban mian with ginger sauce. I pan-fried the chicken and fish cake and took them out. Thereafter, I added fried ginger, one tablespoon of dark soya sauce and a bit of chicken stock to the juices left from pan frying the chicken pieces. Bring the sauce to a boil and add the ban mian and mix them thoroughly. The vegetables and mushrooms were boiled separately. I also added some spring onions for the added aroma.

My style of dry ban mian. =P

But the best is yet to come, after all my efforts and time spent on this new dish, my hubby forgot to bring his bento to work. A big sigh from me.

#Bento 77 - Sumptuous Bento


I have cooked grilled saba umpteen times so nothing really special. This combination is something which I will prepare on lazy days because it's really easy. Just pop the fish into the oven and use my air fryer to fry the sunny side up.

But I do think the bento looks pretty sumptuous today. Certainly worth a picture.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

#Bento 76 - Onigirazu with chicken patty

Only need to prepare food for #1 today so I prepared a simple onigirazu with chicken patty, omelette, cheese and crunchy lettuce for him. Onigirazu is really easy to prepare and is a good option to bring out for picnics or outings because you packed everything in and there is no mess at all. To me, it's like 'Japanese sandwich'.




For detailed steps on how to prepare onigirazu, you may wish to refer to Ochikeron's video. 



Monday, 16 November 2015

The last goodbye.

Before I took over the car and drives to work everyday (thank you hubby!), my hub would send me to school everyday. After he dropped me, we would kiss goodbye and I would stand outside my school gate and waved as I watched his car disappeared down the road. People ever commented that it was unusual for me to do that. I am not sure if that person is complimenting me or disapproving of my behavior. Well, our family kind of have this 'cultural' of saying numerous 'goodbyes' to each other and endless waving before we disappear from each other's sight. My boys kind of caught this virus too as they will often stand by the gate waving and tearfully saying 'goodbye' to me as I went off for my date with my girlfriends. Everyday after we drop off our #1 at school, there will be many kisses, waving at the gate and at the window before we drove off, as if we are never to see each other again. I have a reason for doing this.

I realized the fragility of life. People around me starts to fall sick, really sick and left us, some at a really early age. While I was looking forward to welcoming my #1 who was to be due soon then, I lost a sister-in-Christ, who was a mother to a barely 3 year old boy, to an illness I do not know of. Friends who were barely 30 passing on. Tragedies reported on the papers, especially in recent years, planes crashed, the Sabah quake which took away so many lives. We really do not know when will it be our turn. Sometimes, lives of our loved ones are taken away so suddenly it's really difficult to accept. 

My heart is also heavy with news of the terrorist attack at Paris. They are people going on with their everyday lives, going out to enjoy a match, a concert, planning to have a great time with their friends and perhaps have a chilling session at night to talk about their dreams. Perhaps there were mothers dead whose children were waiting for them to go home to kiss them goodnight. Perhaps there was a couple who quarrelled with each other and planned to make up with each other when they reached home. All of them thought that 'tomorrow' exists for them. 

Of course there are many other war torn areas where people are suffering and fighting for their lives everyday. People who do not dare to think of their 'tomorrow', children who do not have any future to dream about. I'm fully aware that the condition of this world will only continue to deteriorate. There is nothing much we can do for them other than praying. But we can do our part to make the world a better place by loving the people around us, regardless of their colors, status or backgrounds because every person has a soul which God loves and has an equal chance of receiving salvation. The person being ostracized by his friends today may very well turn to the wrong company for the wrong attention.
A person who is loved, I hope, will think twice before doing things that will jeopardize his family's and his own life.

Let us treasure each and every waking moments with our loved ones. We will do things differently if we know that we are doing it for the last time. This could be the last bedtime story you read together, the last movie you watch together, the last meal you eat together, the last hug you give your child, the last lesson you teach, the last time you take a stroll back home together......I never know when is the last goodbye with my loved ones, but if it is the last, I want to ensure that I remember their last look, their last smile and their last touch.


 James 4:14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If The Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that."