Archive for September, 2007

Chinese Wedding Banquets

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Dear friends, πŸ˜€

Today, my husband’s nephew got married! πŸ˜€ For the Chinese, weddings and the birth of a baby are considered the most auspicious occasions in one’s life. It is a ceremony that is usually steeped in traditions and customs but in this modern age, most weddings have been much simplified in ceremony but one thing remains the same throughout the generations ===> a lavish meal for guests and relatives. After the wedding ceremony, there is usually a lunch followed by a dinner served by the bridegroom’s family.

However, this month is the Chinese lunar 8th month, a month that is traditionally as a very auspicious month to get married in and most restaurants are fully booked for wedding dinners. As such, this nephew has to hold a wedding lunch banquet instead of dinner. πŸ˜€

So, after attending the wedding ceremony at the nephew’s home, we proceeded to a restaurant located in one of the golf clubs in town, for a lavish 9-course sit down meal. Wow, this meant that I have been feasting from 1pm until 3 pm πŸ™„ πŸ˜† because the dishes are served one at a time at about 15-20 minutes intervals. This was what we had at the wedding lunch :-

1) Pearl Five Hot and Cold Combination (deep fried prawns, jellyfish salad, stirfried kung pao squid, fish rolls, crabmeat balls)

2) Braised Shark’s Fin Soup with Crab Roe

3) Fried Tiger Prawns with Butter

4) Steamed Mandarin Fish with Soy Sauce

5) Sesame Crispy Roasted Chicken

6) Sauteed 3-Type Mushrooms with Dried Scallops

7) Steamed Yam & Rice in Lotus Leaf

8 ) Sea Coconut, Jelly & Lemon Sweet Drink Dessert

9) Shanghai Pancake filled with Lotus Paste, Cendol Coconut Jelly

We are so stuffed full by the time the wedding lunch ended…we are all thinking that we are going to skip dinner tonight! πŸ˜† It is not usual for us to eat this much for lunch indeed!! πŸ™„ πŸ˜† There was no pork served because this restaurant is a “halal” one, i.e. Muslims can have their meals there. πŸ˜‰

Oh I almost forgot to tell you …. Here is another funny story. Laughing

This morning, my family and I were going to nephew’s house which was located in a new housing estate in the suburbs of KL to attend his wedding. We have only been to his house once last time but it was another nephew that brought us there due to the complicated route to their house.

Despite having some instructions on how to go there, we got lost. Rolling Eyes Even as I was calling my other nephew again on my cellphone, I was worried there as I didn’t even know how to tell him where we were because we were so lost. Embarassed Rolling Eyes

Then a strange and funny thing happened – we were stopped at a T-junction when suddenly we saw a wedding car procession whizzed by right in front of us!! Laughing Laughing It was our nephew and his bride!! We were saved! Laughing Laughing All we needed to do then was to follow the wedding car procession. Easy! Very Happy

My husband and children were all laughing so hard because of the sheer luck of it all. In my heart, I thanked the Pi Yao (a feng shui placement) in our car for coming to our rescue! Laughing Cool Cool

Much peace and laughter to all,

choesf Laughing

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Easy Steamed Egg Cake – Malay Style

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Good morning, my dear friends, πŸ˜€

Right now, I am sitting in front of my comp and having breakfast, which consists of 1 cup of Kopi-O (Malaysian coffee with sugar, no milk), 2 slices of unbuttered wholemeal bread and 2 half boiled eggs. Half an hour ago, I had a large Fuji apple. πŸ˜€

A Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) consultant once told me many years ago that whenever we have fruit, try to have it on an empty stomach to get our digestion juices flowing better. Also, he said that if we consume fresh fruits after a meal……imagine the fruit is sitting on top of the food in our stomach, which is slowly digesting the food that we had consumed. Because the fruit is sitting longer in the stomach before it can get digested, it is not in its optimal “fresh” state and would have been a bit decayed. This will not happen if we have fruits on an empty stomach and the fruit gets digested and moves on down faster. Anwywhere, I am digressing as usual….. πŸ˜†

While I am having breakfast, my thoughts now are mainly on making this Steamed Egg Cake as I have been having a strong craving for it for days now. I decided that I am going to make a different version than the standard steamed egg cake and this one is known as the “Malay Style” or called “Ma Lai Koh” in dim sum restaurants. Although this is sold commonly at stalls selling kuih/desserts, but nothing beats the one that we make at home because it has our loving touches in it! For me, I love to have a large slice of it with a cup of hot Milo. Otherwise, a cup of your favourite hot beverage will go very nicely with this cake, and you can have it for tea! πŸ˜‰

Also, my late mother-in-law would make a large tray of the steamed egg cake during Chinese festivals and yesterday being Mooncake Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival, I had miss eating her cake. 😦

Here is the recipe, hope you like it :-

Easy Steamed Egg Cake – Malay Style

Ingredients:

(for a 9-inch or 22-cm round cake tin)

  • 1-3/4 cup Plain Flour
  • 1 tbsp Custard Powder
  • 1-1/2 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 60g Butter, melted
  • 60ml Peanut Oil (Can be replaced by melted butter too)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 180ml Milk
  • 3 Large Eggs

Method:

  1. Sift flour, custard powder and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add in sugar and mix well.
  2. Add melted butter, peanut oil, vanilla essence and milk, mix till well-combimed.
  3. Lastly add in egg, one at a time. Keep stirring till a smooth sticky batter.

4. Preheat the tray by steaming it over high heat for 5 minutes. Then place a piece of greaseproof paper to line the tray.

5. Pour batter into tin/tray and steamed over high heat for 30 mins till cooked.

6. Cool completely before cutting.

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How to Age Well :D

Good evening to you, dear friends, πŸ˜€

One of the things that I like to do to unwind and relax is to read every page (except the sports and classifieds) of my newspapers. πŸ˜€ Today, I came across this wonderful article on aging well and I just had to write about it here for your reading interest.

Let’s be realistic – we all get older. So, we really have 2 choices – resent and moan about it – or try to find a way of staying fit and healthy for as long as we can. We can also try to be happy as much as possible ( I will write another post on How to be Happy later on) because when we are happy, then our face will light up and belies our age, right? πŸ˜†

On how to age well, here are some guidelines that we can follow :-

“Jan Etherington’s 12-Step Common Sense Guide to Growing Older”

1) Look after your teeth

Our gums are now receding faster than the Artic ice shelf. Better to take care of those teeth before they start dropping off faster than you can count 1, 2, 3!

2) Keep the stairs

If you are about to exchange contracts on a bungalow, DON’T! Keep the stairs in your life for as long as you can, for the sake of your legs, hips and knees and for great cardiovascular exercise.

3. Swim

Swimming is a life long exercise and the water cushions all your joints. It gives you stamina and flexibility. Get goggles. Learn how to swim properly and you can outpace all those 20-something lads, which is a great ego boost.

4. Accept invitations

Go out. Be sociable. Say “YES” to things that are out of your “comfort zone.” An opera, on a boat, in the North Sea? Fantastic! πŸ˜€

5. Stop moaning

Don’t complain about your health all the time. If someone asks, “How are you?” The answer should be: “Great! How are you?” It’s always the ones with minor creaks and ailments who never stop talking about themselves.

We all have friends with quite serious illnesses and, without exception, they deal with it with far more grace and humour than moaners.

6. Don’t join the gym

Nine times out of 10, you can get all the exercises you need without an expensive membership, a free towel and a huge amount of guilt (because you haven’t been since April!). Just get out your walking boots or a bike. πŸ˜€

7. Eat your greens

Yes, it does make sense, I’m afraid. In childhood, we were force-fed cabbage (along with cod liver oil) but isn’t it interesting that most of us are starting to like greens as we get older? Maybe this is Nature’s way of keeping us healthy. πŸ˜‰

8. Nag your husband

“One of the annoying things about Gerald,” said my friend Kate, “is that he drops off to sleep after the lunchtime news. He says, ‘Winston Churchill always take a power nap.’ I say, “Yes, well, he had power. He was running the country. All you’ve got to remember to do is to take the garbage out.'”

Women who nag their husbands are less likely to die of heart disease. Do you need another reason? It’s fun! πŸ˜†

9. Be Positive

We all know people who never have a good word to say about anyone or anything. They make my shoulders slump and my spirits fall. If you have friends like that, dump them. It’s tough getting older without being surrounded by negative miseries. 😦

10. Drink water

It flushes the system, it makes the skin look good and it’s free!

11. Moisturise

It doesn’t have to cost the earth but it should have a sun protection factor of at least 15.

12. Drink red wine

Common sense tells me that it is good for me. If it isn’t, I’ll let you know when I reach 100! πŸ˜†

– c. Telegraph Group Ltd, London

Jan Etherington is a woman who is in her 50’s, and last month, she spent a week together with her four younger sisters (who are also in their 50’s) learning how to sail a yacht in Greece. They were pretty impressed with their stamina and agility and thanked their lucky stars that their mother, who is now in her 80’s, set a good example and enjoyed “keeping fit” until only a few years ago.

Here is wishing us a good and joyous journey in aging well! πŸ˜€

Many blessings, love and light,

choesf πŸ˜€

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How to improve your Prosperity, Wealth, Luck?

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Good morning, dear friends πŸ˜€

Hehe, thus far this morning, I have been moving around in slow motion with my house chores after my husband has gone to work and the kids to school. I am still waiting for the caffeine to kick in. πŸ˜† It is okay to slack in our work a little bit once in a while as it is only human nature that we have our optimal times or down times. When this happens, just take the opportunity to rest a little while longer but bearing in mind that those jobs still need to be done. πŸ˜‰

So, I thought I would write something that should perk up your interest (as you can see by the title of this post) and wake you up this morning as well! πŸ˜†Β Β  (Added on 27 Dec, 07 ===> SEE HERE on “How to achieve wealth, success, luck in 2008”)

What is prosperity? To the Chinese culture, this term in the Chinese language is very important as it is used to signify a lot of auspiciousness and abundance, and often associated with luck and wealth. Contrary to the common belief that prosperity really means only financial wealth, there is the intangible part of it which is really also our wealth in love, friendships, health, knowledge, harmony, peace and spiritual growth.

For example, there is a Chinese/Cantonese saying, “Sek tak hai fook,” which means “To be able to eat is prosperity.” You may wonder what has eating got to do with fortune? Well, a person needs to be in good health in order to enjoy his food, and in this case, “health is wealth” (see the link to prosperity and fortune here?) , another popular Chinese saying. Remember whenever you are sick, and your appetite is practically nil and food is the last thing on your mind?

For prosperity to come into our life, the easiest way is to be born into a wealthy family…..but for this, we really don’t have a choice as we can’t pick our parents when we were born!! The second method is for us to work hard at whatever we do in life to earn a respectable income. Other than these two ways, we can also achieve good health, wealth and harmony through the application of an ancient Chinese art called Feng Shui or fengshui.

In fengshui, our Luck as we know it in our life is comprised of 3 portions, or Trinity Luck ===> namely Heaven Luck (Tie’n Chai’), Earth Luck (Ti Chai’) and Man Luck (Ren Chai’), which are briefly explained below:-

The 3 Kinds of Luck (Trinity Luck)

 

 

Heaven Luck
Heaven Luck is preordained and cannot be changed. In a nutshell, heaven luck will determine when you are born, the location, as well as which family you are born into. Thus, our life to some extent is determined by the day, time and place we were born whether we like it or not. Our parents and the country of birth will affect the quality of our life. The pattern of our luck cycles follows a predictable and logical pattern and not on a random basis. The state of our luck will affect our endeavors and quality of life at a particular point in time and not be the same throughout our life.

 

Bazi or Four Pillars of Destiny as it is popular known in the West, is a sophisticated art of Chinese fortune-telling based largely on the Chinese five-element theory, allowing us to investigate the potential and mysteries of our lives using our birth data.

BaZi calculations enable us to explore the cyclical influence of our ‘destiny’ in terms of important areas such as family, friends, relationships, wealth, fame, recognition, career, studies, partnership, business and every other important aspect of our lives. BaZi can be used to evaluate or to forecast the life path of each individual.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earth Luck
Earth luck relates to the kind of luck affected by our surroundings and is based on the balance and harmony around us and in our homes. Of course, we will not be able to make much change to the major scope of our environment, but we can apply feng shui guidelines as enhancers or cures. On a broader context, we can include the social, political and economic condition of the country and environment where one works at and this will affect quality of life. A more prosperous, stable and safe country with a cleaner or better environment will enhance one’s quality of life. Likewise, a poorer, politically unstable, war-torn country, or a dirtier environment will affect one’s quality of life. Again, even the physical landscape of our surroundings will play a part in the landscape feng shui of our surroundings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Man Luck

Man luck is created by our behavior, our attitude towards life, as well as the choices that we make along this journey of life. There should not be any doubt that personal effort can greatly affect one’s quality of life. Many people from poorer backgrounds or in a disadvantageous position have turned around their quality of life thru their efforts and attitude towards life. There are many stories of people who have become very successful even though they started off life in a somewhat unfavorable position. Yet there are also many stories of frustrated geniuses that did not make it, despite being given every advantage in life.

With Man Luck, it is something that we can take actions for ourselves, to change our life for the better, throw all our efforts into making things work for us….instead of being a sitting duck staring at our suffering and problems. In other words, Man Luck depends directly on us and our actions. It is what we do, choose and decide……and we are in control. If we want more prosperity, we just have to work harder at it.

 

 

 

 

 

The conclusion is that, even if our four pillars of destiny indicates a somewhat insufficient amount of luck, do not despair, as we can still improve our overall luck by adopting the practice of feng shui and ensuring that our personal actions and attitudes create additional luck.

 

 

 

 

For those of you that are interested in practising fengshui to improve your life, there is aΒ  fengshui forum, Dhealing Forum,Β  where you can get some free advice. However, you will need to register and log in at the forum in order to read about the unique or special feng shui techniques introduced by the Master there. Please note that I am not sponsored by this fengshui site nor am I being paid to talk about it. However, I am one of the many moderators there. πŸ˜€ It is just that my family and I have benefitted a lot from following the fengshui guidelines there and therefore, I would like to recommend this wonderful site to others, too . πŸ˜€

 

 

 

 

It is also very important to know that fengshui placements (cures and enhancers) are considered as External Fengshui, and the Master at this site has advised that we should also take care of our Internal Fengshui, which is really our mind and spirit. He said,

Perhaps the biggest key to feng shui has more to do with your mind and spirit than where you place your potted palm. “It’s very holistic, “Feng shui is the fourth leg of a table.You cannot practice good feng shui if you neglect the other three legs. If you have one strong leg and three weak legs, what’s going to happen? The table will wobble.You have to take care of your spiritual self, your emotional self, and your intellectual self, and then practice feng shui. The other three are internal and feng shui is external, but they all work in concert with each other.”

 

 

 

 

Here is wishing everyone here great prosperity, good health and success! πŸ˜€

 

 

choesf πŸ˜€

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Easy Bake Brownies with Frosting

Today is my eldest son’s birthday and because he loves brownies, I remember a while back, my second daughter has baked her first brownies for him, complete with a moist chocolate topping. Although it was her first attempt, the brownies turned out very delicious, although slightly overcooked (she forgot to watch to time! LOL!). Here is the recipe which is quite simple to follow :-

Easy Bake Brownies with Frosting

Brownies Ingredients

* 1/2 cup butter

* 1 cup white sugar (personally, I prefer brown sugar)

* 2 very large eggs (AA size) or 3 large eggs

* 1 tsp vanilla extract

* 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

* 1/4 tsp salt

* 1/4 tsp baking powder

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celcius). Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan. I prefer to line a piece of greaseproof paper in the pan and then grease the paper. Easier to clean the pan afterwards. πŸ˜‰

2) In a large saucepan, melt butter. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat in cocoa powder, flour salt and baking powder. Spread batter ito prepared pan.

3) Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on your type of oven. Be sure to check brownies often after 20 minutes to prevent overcooking.

To make Frosting

* 4 tbsps softened butter

* 4 tbsps unsweetened cocoa powder

* 1 1/2 tbsps honey

* 1 tsp vanilla extract

* 1 cup icing or confectioner’s sugar

Combine all the ingredients for frosting and mix well. Frost brownies while they are still warm.

Yummy!! Happy Baking…. πŸ˜€

Much peace, joy and laughter to all,

choesf πŸ˜€

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Cleaning tips using vinegar

Hello there, dear friends πŸ˜€

Here is a good way of cleaning our sinks and cups of stains, using vinegar! This method was told to me by my very good sister is Denmark and I will give credit where credit is due! πŸ˜† So, if anyone else out there that has her favourite cleaning tip, do let me know and I will post it here for you! πŸ˜‰

Terese’s Vinegar tip for cleaning.

A cleaning tip for making porcelain sinks, chrome and stainless steel sinks shine brightly after cleaning ===> scrub or wipe over with ordinary white (not the brown) vinegar! Try it out….but I bet you probably know this one already, LOL!

Vinegar is also used as a disinfectant and far less damaging to the health to use for cleaning. Sometimes I use it alone, on a scouring sponge, to shine up my stainless steel kitchen sink after dishwashing, chrome fittings in the kitchen and bathroom.

Even coffee and tea stains in cups or mugs can be removed using this method. To clean calcium buildup in kettles or electric jugs, use 2 Tbsp of vinegar to a full jug of water, then let it boil. Afterwards, I boil 2 jugs of water to clear away the smell…so that there will be no taste of vinegar when boiling water later to drink make your cup of tea or coffee.

Thank you so much for this tip, my dearest sister, I am learning as well here. πŸ˜†

Much light. joy and happiness to all,

choesf πŸ˜€

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Cures for Headaches and Migraines

Good afternoon, dear friends, πŸ˜€

One of the things that can put a full-stop to my work is when I have a headache or a migraine. I have suffered from migraines since when I was young and it was only a couple of years ago that I managed to prevent them from happening or recover faster from them. I have written down the many techniques that I have used and some of them are rather bizarre but if you are like me, when you are right in the middle of an intense headache or migraines, short of wanting to die from it πŸ™„ , you would do anything just to get rid of it!!

Try one of these methods, if it doesn’t work for you, go and try the next one. Some methods will work for me on some occasions while some will only work on others. πŸ˜‰ But there is a variety for you to choose from.

Here are some other techniques for headaches and migraines that I have tested on myself and found to be effective as well :-

1) have a shower – wash hair and head with cold water (only in tropical countries, for those in cold countries, then only water as cold as you can bear). Then shower or soak in a bathtub in very hot water for 5 minutes. This is to reduce bloodflow to the head and more to the body, and therefore, the pain will be less “pounding” in the head.

2) drink a caffeinated drink – strong Pu Erh Chinese tea would be good. Otherwise, coffee and teas. Even Coca Cola, too! πŸ˜€

3) drink an isotonic or sports drink, e.g. 100-plus or Gatorade, as sometimes we get headaches when our body lacks electrolytes.

4) drink something very cold and with ice very quickly to generate a “brain freeze” effect (hehe, this term is what my kids described to me as the effect they get when they gulp down a glass of iced soda/water in seconds!). For me, this is particular effective as the pain is gone in seconds but sometimes, the pain will return but at least I get some relief there. Laughing

5) if you have the time, have a nap in a dark and quiet room. Sometimes, we lack sleep and when combined together with stress, this can trigger headaches.

6) rub your scalp, especially the spots where the pain is, with a medicated/mint oil or a hair tonic (those that contains alcohol and gives a soothing coolness to your scalp?). Eucalyptus oil is good, too. This is even better if you have just washed your hair and came out of your bath. I would get one of my kids to give me a head massage while rubbing in this medicated oil. Oh, it feels really good then. Do try this! πŸ˜‰

7) drink 1 to 1.5 litres of water all within a 30-minute period, and you will start to feel the intensity of your headache go down right after 10 minutes. Sometimes, headaches or migraines are an indication that our body is dehydrated. I learned this method from my friend who has reported that many of her friends are using this method solely to cope with their migraines.

8) have a light meal or eat something. Although I have read about this method a few months ago, I never tried it until last week because when you are suffering from migraines, you will have nausea and food is the last thing on your mind. So, last week, I thought I would try this out, and hey, it really worked. But I don’t know the science behind it though. πŸ™„

9) try to watch for signs and symtoms that may warn you a migraine or headache may be coming – one of the is that you will have a craving for a certain kind of food. For me, I now know that if I eat too much fried snacks in between meals, it will lead to a headache. So, I try to ignore that strong craving and just have something else.

Another symptom that a migraine is coming – we have a tendency to yawn a lot. πŸ™„ Watching for these signs will help you to avoid the headache and take early preventive measures. πŸ˜‰

Hope these techniques will help you as well! Laughing

May you be well, happy and healthy always!

choesf πŸ˜€

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