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Archive for June, 2008

Don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning? 8 simple ways to motivate you.

Good evening, dear friends ๐Ÿ˜€

Ever woke up in the morning and the first thought that comes to your mind is, “I just don’t want to get out of bed….groan…..ย  ๐Ÿ˜ฅ ?”

Or this, “Arrrgh, I have to face the same old things today…..groan….,” and you hide yourselves further under the covers and refuse to budge?ย Despite the fact thatย you may be late for work or late in getting your kids to school? ๐Ÿ™„

At this point, it is very hard to try and motivate ourselves because we are already stuck in the rut. So, what I am going to point out here are some simple ways that you canย apply while you ARE NOT IN THE RUT YET because they are meant to be preventive measures. For me, it is imperative that I do this because everyday, day in and day out, it has been more or less the same type of tasks that I face for the lastย 8 years that I have been a full time homemaker. Sometimes, the monotony of it all can really get to me…

Now, on the term “homemaker” – I am going to loosely define that as someone (mostly ladies; well, men, too, are includedย if they are involved in this and I applaud them indeed! ๐Ÿ˜€ ) who manages and cares for the household, turning it into a cosy home and sanctuary where her family can take refuge in. This will include full-time stay-at-home moms like me, working wives, single moms, work-from-home moms and new wives, okay?

Try and adopt some of the ways mentioned below :-

1) when you go to bed at night, you should be in a positive frame of mind, with a good thought. If you fall asleep with the last thought being negative like, “Oh boy, tomorrow is Monday, it’s going to be the blues for me…,”, you are going to wake up the next day definitely feeling depressed and you are going to be stuck in bed for sure!

2) similarly, when you wake up, try to have a positive first thought, like, “Today is going to be a wonderful and beautiful day!” Do this even if you are going to be facing an onslaught of heavy workload that day, and I can bet you with this start up in the morning, you are in a better condition to face your new day. ๐Ÿ˜€

3) you can do positive affirmations like, “I am happy, I am healthy, I am prosperous,” in the morning and throughout the day because they will help to “prompt” your mood for the day.

4) remember that it doesn’t pay for you to be in a bad mood once you wake up. Have you noticed how come things can go even more wrong just when you are in a bad mood? Especially when you are angry? So, say no to bad moods and crankiness!

5) try to plaster a smile on your face! Now, I said “plaster” because when you are in a lousy mood, there is no way you can even bring yourself to feel like smiling. So, what you have to do is to force your mouth to smile, even if you have to bring up your two forefingers to the edges of your lips and lift them up into a semblance of a smile! ๐Ÿ˜† Hahaha! Isn’t this fun? It may feel ridiculous to you doing that, but trust me, it works after a few minutes, cos somehow, your mood is not as down as before and that smile of yours may just turn genuine! Or you will be uplifted by your own laughter, laughing at your silly antics! By the way, keep smiling as much as you can during the day. ๐Ÿ˜€


6) promise yourself a reward for the end of the day if you have tried your best to have a good day. I have different little rewards just for myself every day…..going to the mamak stall for a nice cup of lime tea (teh O ice limau), or just putting up my tiredย legs and watch aย good movie, or just having some quiet time to myself “vegetating” my brain, i.e. just not doing any thinking.

ย 

7 ) it helps a lot to laugh during the day. I alway believe that, “Laughter is the BEST medicine” because when we laugh, our brain produces endorphins, a feel-good hormone. Watch a sit-com, or read some jokes, or better still tell some jokes to someone and make them laugh instead! ๐Ÿ˜†

ย 

8 ) our body has auras which can accumulate negative energies during the day and over a period, the auras can become dull and heavy, thus making us feel lethargic, dull and sluggish. I like to call this condition “being in the Twilight Zone” because that is precisely how I would feel. The remedy is easy and all you need to do is a salt bath to clean your auras.

There are other ways that I can think of to help energise our life but I will stop here at 8, because I am hungry and I need to goย have my dinner now –ย my brain is screaming for food and refuse to think anymore! ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ™„

Good night and may you have a wonderful day tomorrow! ๐Ÿ˜€

With peace and joy,

choesf ๐Ÿ˜€

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My Dodgy-Looking But Real Yummy Wholemeal Carrot Cake


Happy Sunday, dear friends ๐Ÿ˜€

Late one night, I had a strong craving for cakes and I decided to bake a carrot cake at midnight! ๐Ÿ™„ Well, it was a Saturday night and my husband and kids were all staying up late anyway….and so, this was a real treat for them, a slice of carrot cake for supper!

I had some leftover cream cheese in my refrigerator and I decided to use all of it and somehow, I messed up with the measurements for making the cheese topping, and I ended up with a frosting that was a tad too watery…but…. it sure tasted great with the cake anyway. ๐Ÿ˜†

This recipe is really easy to follow and it only took me 20 minutes to prepare the cake batter from scratch all by myself and without any little assistants (hehe, my kids) helping out in the kitchen. I’m not very good with baking cakes and so, I was very happy with the results here. ๐Ÿ˜€

First, the oven is preheated to 180 degrees Celcius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is going, grease and flour a 8-inch or 10-inch round or square cake pan. Then, prepare the batter as follows –


Wholemeal Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients –


1 1/2 cups oil

2 cups brown sugar

2 tsps cinnamon powder

4 eggs, beaten lightly

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups wholemeal flour

1 tsp salt

3 cups finely grated carrots

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda or soda bicarbonate

Method – Mix the first five ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl. Then add in the rest of the ingredients one by one until they are all incorporated. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 50 minutes, or when the top of the cake is golden in colour and the cake is tested for doneness when an inserted toothpick into the centre of the cake turns out dry (without any batter sticking onto it).

While the cake is baking, prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting …

Cream Cheese Frosting –

Ingredients –

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

230 gm or 8 oz of soft Philadelphia Cream Cheese, at room temperature

2 cups or 230 gms of icing/Confectioners’ sugar, sifted

zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp vanilla extract


Method – Beat cream cheese and butter with a hand mixer until smooth and well incorporated. Add in the icing sugar bit by bit, then the lemon zest and vanilla – make sure to mix thoroughly. Frost this onto a completely cooled cake.

Bon Appetit! ๐Ÿ˜€

Note – Because I was using wholemeal flour, the cake’s texture is a bit heavy but if you prefer a softer cake, use plain flour and for a “more moist” cake, add in 1/2 cup of well drained and crushed canned pineapple with the wet ingredients for the cake and bake a few minutes longer. You can also add 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts or raisins, too, if you like. I didn’t put any in this recipe here because my family doesn’t really like them in their cakes.

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Optimism – Look At The BRIGHT SIDE

Good morning, dear friends, ๐Ÿ˜€

I was reading the The Star newspapers some time back and came across a very interesting article on some tips to help us develop the habit of staying positive. Contrary to what we think, optimism is not an inborn trait. Optimism, being a state of mind, can be worked on and improved. Optimism is not only essential when striving to realise our goals and ambitions, but it also improves our performance. It is powerful and contagious because when one is optimistic, we have a positive and confident feel to us and this energy can be felt by people around us, be it at home or at work. ๐Ÿ˜€

The picture above was printed in The Saturday Post, Pakistan and was painted by an artist named Hassan. He drew this artwork to show the value of optimism in life.

He said, “People have lots of bad things going on in life, which are shown by the rough patched building. It is a rough building which you can say is totally dead, as you can feel by looking at the texture on the walls. The best part of life is that there is always a ray of hope, and that is shown by the candle. So my concept is that you have to think positively and extract positive elements of life to live beyond the bad things going on in your surroundings. In a nutshell, optimism in life is the key to success for sure!” How true!

Sir Winston Churchill said in 1954, “I am an optimist! It does not seem to be much use being anything else.” According to research, optimistic people smile 38 percent more than the pessimists, so try to see the bright side of life’s little mishaps. Of course, there are grave occasions where seeing the funny side is clearly inappropriate.

Here are some of the recommended tips to be an optimist :-

* say something positive and good everyday. It can be anything like praising your children, pets, or the lady that is selling noodles at the coffee shop.

* be courteous. Always say “please” and “thank you” for integrity is a highly valued trait that we should have as our base character to go in line with optimism. So is being trustworthy, kind, respectful and grateful.

* be realistic and frank about our mistakes. Apologise to people we may have treated poorly.

* when things go wrong, take it on the chin and move on. Identify and implement the key learning points from the failure, but do not dwell on the situation.

Sir Winston Chruchill summed up the qualities of the optimistic leader eloquently when he said, “An optimist is someone who sees opportunity in every disaster. A pessimist is someone who sees disaster at every opportunity.”

Chin up, look forward, smile and be optimistic! Happy Friday! ๐Ÿ˜€

Much light, peace and joy to all,

choesf, happyhomemaker88 ๐Ÿ˜€

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Really Easy Fried Kurau Fish In Plum Sauce


Good morning, dear friends ๐Ÿ˜€

There are many times when I just simply ran out of ideas on what to cook for dinner or lack the inspiration to come up with something. I’m sure this happens to almost everyone who cooks. ๐Ÿ˜†

This particular sweet and sour fish recipe is really a breeze to prepare and this dish simply whet our appetites as it goes well with hot steamed rice. Have a look at the recipe and see for yourself –

Ingredients & Method –

a few fish steaks of your choice (I had used Ikan Kurau) – marinated with some salt and pepper, coated with cornstarch and fried until cooked, set aside in a serving plate

1/2 cup of bottled plum sauce

1/4 cup water to mix into the plum sauce

2 pips of garlic, minced

*** In 2 tbsps of the leftover oil from frying the fish, strifry garlic until aromatic and golden.

*** pour in the plum sauce and add in the water. Bring to a boil and let the sauce simmer for 2 minutes.

*** check the sauce for taste and adjust with more plum sauce or water or sugar and salt.

*** pour plum sauce over the fish and garnish with chopped green onions or coriander leaves.

Note – you can use more plum sauce than specified here to suit the amount of fish used or if you like this sauce

Voila! A yummy fish dish in a jiffy! ๐Ÿ˜€

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Time To Unwind For A Not So Happy Homemaker …

A Happy Saturday to you, dear friends ๐Ÿ˜€

What better way to unwind from a busy schedule or destress than listening to our favourite songs, especially retro songs that bring back fond memories…..just let go and tune out whatever is happening out there, …. relax and enjoy the music.

This week, the Malaysians got hit by 2 pieces of bad news – a 41 % immediate increase in the price of petrol and a 18 % hike in electricity tariffs starting on the 1st of next month. Needless to say, these will trigger a chain reaction in everything getting more expensive soon. In fact, the transportation companies for goods are already asking for a 40 % to 60 % increase in their charges. Just do a simple math calculation and we get a pretty grim picture of things to come. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ™„

As a homemaker who oversees the household/utilities, family and food expenses, this means I will have to be more frugal to adjust to the higher cost of living, while making sure that my family can still have a happy, comfortable and healthy lifestyle. Sigh….I am not happy this week and so are most Malaysians … never mind, it’s time for me to switch off these problems just for a short while, relax, listen to some of my favourite retro songs and things will surely seem brighter tomorrow …. ๐Ÿ˜†

1985 – Billy Ocean – Caribbean Queen

1985 – Stevie Wonder – Part Time Lover

1987 – Bon Jovi – Livin’ On Prayer

1984 – Rockwell – Somebody’s Watching Me

1986 – Wang Chung – Everybody Have Fun Tonight

1984 – Daryl Hall & John Oates – Out Of Touch

1979 – Electric Light Orchestra – Last Train To London

1979 – Kool And The Gang – Ladies’ Night


Good Night and Sweet Dreams! ๐Ÿ˜€

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My Family’s Favourite Chinese Pork Chops With Fried Potatoes & Onions

A mountain of pork chops on a bed of fried potatoes, topped with sauteed onions, garnished with sliced cucumbers

Good evening and Happy Friday, dear friends ๐Ÿ˜€

As promised earlier, here is the recipe for my family’s favourite Pork Chops which are served with fried potatoes and sauteed onions. My children, like most kids, just love potatoes cooked in anyway and because of that, I usually serve this type of pork chops in this style.

The pork chop recipe is very easy to follow and requires just a few ingredients but it is very delicious, and although there is no sauce, the pork chops go very well with white rice, too. I usually make a large batch of these and the leftovers are eaten with bread as sandwiches or “pork burgers” (with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes) the next day.

I first had a taste of these pork chops 30 years ago at my then boyfriend’s (now my husband ๐Ÿ˜€ ) house when his mother cooked them for dinner. Hence, this is another yummy recipe learned from my late mother-in-law.

Easy Yummy Chinese Pork Chops

Ingredients –

1 kg boneless pork chops or pork tenderloin

1 kg potatoes

1/2 kg big onions

Marinade to be mixed together in a large bowl –

6 tbsps soy sauce

4 tbsps oyster sauce

3 tbsps dark or thick soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

3 tbsps sugar

3 tbsps rice wine, or any wine

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp pepper

4 tbsps cornstarch

Method –

1) Slice pork into 1 cm thickness and use a mallet to tenderise both sides of the pork slices.

2) Put the pork slices into the marinade, rub them together thoroughly with your fingers.Set them aside (the longer the better).

3) The first thing to cook is the potatoes – they are cleaned, peeled, cut into slices or wedges and then deep fried until golden brown. Lay cooked potatoes onto the bottom of a large platter.

4) In a non-stick pan (I recommend using this because the pork chops will caramelise, which may stick to the bottom of a normal wok/pan and get burnt, not to mention that washing the wok/pan is harder)…..heat up some oil, enough to cover the bottom.

5) Cook the pork chops by frying them over medium high heat for 3 minutes on the first side, and 2 minutes on the other side. ( *** Warning – there is likely some oil spattering and you are recommended to use a pair of long chopsticks or tongs to cook the pork chops and during cooking, be sure to cover your pan/wok to minimise oil spatter around your stove ๐Ÿ’ก )

6) Set cooked pork chops on top of the potatoes.

7) Next, saute sliced big onions in the leftover oil from cooking the pork chops until they are soft and a bit golden brown. Adding a tsp of salt will enhance the taste and caramelisation of the onions.

8 ) Top the pork chops with the sauteed onions and garnish with some sliced cucumbers. The cucumbers act as a cooling food to balance the heatiness of the fried pork chops and onions.

Bon Appetit! ๐Ÿ˜€

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