Saturday, April 19, 2014

Weekend Menu #61: Pork belly and bean curd stir fry

Another cooking weekend. What is on your menu tonight? 

No, this is not in my menu tonight.  Few evenings ago, I were cooking all my favourite dishes. *wink* I had stir fried sawi, fried mackerel, pork belly and beancurd stir fry and chicken in curry and dark soy sauce. I am going to share my pork belly and beancurd stir fry recipe here.


This recipe is passed down from my mum. We do eat a lot of beancurds at home. In soup, deep fried, stir fry with vegetables, braised dishes and so on. They said the Hakka is famous for beancurd recipes. *wink*

This pork belly and beancurd stir fry is very easy and delicious. You can use sweet soy sauce if you like it sweet but here, I used the salty dark soy sauce. 

Ingredients:

300g pork belly, sliced thinly and blanch for few minutes before cooking
2 beancurd (you can buy the ready fried beancurd but I prefer to fry my own)
Few pinches of salt
2 -3 tbsp dark soy sauce (sub with sweet dark soy sauce if you like sweeter version)
Cooking oil

Methods:
1. Rub few pinches of salt onto beancurd and leave for about 30 minutes before cut them into smaller cubes.
2. In wok, add in cooking oil enough to deep fried the beancurds. Under small fire, when oil is hot enough, slowly place beancurds cube by cube into the wok. When bottom has turned brown, flip over and brown the other side.



3. Dish out the beancurds and drain the oil.
4. In wok, leave about 2 tbsp cooking oil to stir fry the pork belly. Stir fry for few minutes till pork belly is almost cook. Add in the beancurds and mix them for few seconds.


5. Turn off the heat, toss the dark soy sauce and mix them around.


Remark: For added flavour, you can add some black bean paste too, about 1 tsp.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Good Friday

It is going to be a long holiday as tomorrow is a Public Holiday.  No school, no work and it means everyone would be at home. More tv fight, lazy on beds, brunches outside and spontaneous activities.

This Friday is a special day for us because exactly a year ago, my 2 kids and I were baptised and accepted to the house of God. The ceremony was still vivid at the back of my mind. A big moment in my life.

I love Good Friday. And grateful and blessed for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ done to mankind.

Let's pray for peace, happiness, and salvation.

Source: Google image


Happy Good Friday and Easter Sunday to all my friends and readers!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Not so fried-tastic!

My kids love fried food. Who don't?

Last Friday, I brought them to Anson in Wong King Huo road for dinner. Saw this outlet and meant to try it out as everytime we were at this area, this outlet was always packed and people patiently waiting to find seats. This Anson café is the same row with Pelicana Chicken outlet.

So last Friday, we were early to avoid the crowd. We reached there around 6pm but after finished our food about 45 minutes later, the place was crowded! Business was so good. I do not understand why as the food was so-so, but maybe it was cheap and service was fast that attract people to eat here.

They serve Western food only. Mostly fried food, pizza, pasta, and ice cream. With my kids, we would not go wrong by ordering fries and fried food for them. I think I would not come back so soon for its food as nothing fancied me other than the pizza maybe. Will try it out another day.

Our starter is a Caesar salad. A rather pitiful sight of salad if you ask me, but cannot expect much for RM4.50.

Next came the breaded fish with chip for the kids. RM6.20 for this plate. The kids finished up the fish and after that they could not finished the chicken nuggets (RM3.50).

Fish and chip

Another kids' fave - nuggets with mayo sauce

We also ordered cheesy wedges, which was yummy and sinful but once a while I do not mind having this RM5.30 plate of cheesy wedges.

My pork burger (RM6.20) came last and I thought they forgot this order. Wanted to cancel itbecause I were full from the other fried food, but it was out of the kitchen right when I asked to cancel it. Well, I tasted better pork burger in Kuching and this burger was nothing special. The minced meat was rather hard. Again, fries. We hardly can finish them. Or maybe it was not as tasty as McD's. Lol.


Wonder how many calories that I have gained from this dinner!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

6 money saving tips to stretch your salary

(This is a guest post by Ryan Del Villar. Ryan is a content strategist for MoneyHero. He is also a freelance writer who specializes in Online Reputation Management)

We’re all guilty of overspending or going over our budget every now and then, especially in situations such as when we’ve just received our paycheck, there’s a big sale at the mall, or we simply can’t resist a good bargain. If you always find yourself broke before the end of the month due to your wayward spending habits, the following money saving tips might be able to help you stretch your budget:

Share your dilemma with a friend.

The first step towards reform is to admit that you’ve a problem. Actually voicing it out is a good first step toward realizing your wish to modify your spending habits. If you know that you won’t be able to make a change on your own, letting others—a friend, a spouse, or anyone who cares about your financial welfare—in on your goals to save more will probably reinforce your resolution and push you to work harder on your goals. 

A confidant may also help ease all the stress and anxiety you’re feeling. Talk to someone whom you know can offer words of advice and support as you try to cope with your money problems. Another good idea is to seek the help of a non-profit organization regarding your financial situation. They can give you expert advice on how you can manage your money better.

Make gradual changes.

If you really intend to save, don’t hesitate to make even the slightest lifestyle modifications. Start with small things, such as walking or riding a bike instead of driving, bringing packed lunches to work, decreasing instances of dining out, using discount coupons and vouchers, and cancelling magazine subscriptions or gym memberships that are not used, among others.

Track all your spending.

It’s easy to declare that you’ll start saving more money and avoid overspending, but actual implementation is not so easy and might take a little time. To motivate yourself, note down every purchase you make—no matter how small. You can use a notepad or download free mobile apps for keeping a record of all your spending. Proper tracking can guide you in creating a realistic budget and help you see areas where you tend to overspend.

Talk to your loan provider.

If you’re having a problem paying off your debts, it’s best to talk to your loan provider or lender to explain the situation. State the reason why you can’t make the repayments required. Your bank may be willing to make a special arrangement to make it easier for you to pay; just as long as you let them know before you incur further penalties and high interest rate charges.

Refrain from using your debit and credit cards.

As much as possible, minimize using credit and debit cards in your daily transactions. Budgeting and making payments using cash may be an easier way to track your spending. Nowadays, you can easily compare credit cards online. Because of this, people tend to be tempted with the idea of using credit cards than actual cash. Of course, using credit card is good as long as we do it in moderation. Taking trips to the ATM may seem like more trouble than it’s worth, but if using your cards has so far given you nothing but heartaches, this is one strategy you can definitely apply.

Pay your bills on time.

Always prioritize your monthly utility bills: gas, electricity, water, mortgage payments, rent dues, internet subscription fees, telephone bills, credit cards, and other necessary bills. Paying these should be a top priority as failure to do so can result in grave consequences.

Remember these money saving tips and try to apply as many—if not all—of them in your everyday living. With discipline and strict compliance, as well as the support of family or friends, you will start noticing a big difference in your personal finance. Keep at it and in a few years’ time, you will begin to reap the rewards of having financial freedom.

Monday, April 14, 2014

How we spent our Saturday

A wonderful but tiring Saturday.

Princess has her replacement class last Saturday so I had to woke up early for her. Then at 9.30am, the school had its parents-teachers meeting, so I were attending since hubby was in Kuching. The meeting ended around 11am with briefing from headmistress and meeting with class teacher and other teachers. Most feedback I got was Princess was obedient and hardworking student but she needs to improve on her Chinese as she was the student with lowest mark in that subject. Once a while she tended to forget to do her homework and has lack of understanding in Chinese. Her teacher was concerned on her mastery of that subject and may cause her to transfer to another class if she did not do well in the next semester exams. Well, thank you teacher for that encouraging word. Hhmmmpphh! I personally think that it is not a good practice, placing students in a better class based on their academic score. And when below the expected score, the students will have to be placed in another class. Why need to move students here and there? The move may has adverse effect on the affected students. Don't you think that is not fair and very stressful for kids nowadays??

I don't mind my kids score averagely in their academic, as long as they try their best and do not fail miserably in the exam.  I never expect my kids to be the top in the class.  Well, of course a little push, motivation and reward are needed but I think as long as they try their best, it is good enough. 

In the afternoon after lunch, I brought the kids to bookstore to get some story books. Need to fill up more Chinese books for the kids. And I bought stationery for them. Sigh! Jay always have missing colour pencils or erasers and I lost count of how many I had bought. Some days, he brought back new eraser or pencil, and some days, his pencil case was half empty.

Then in evening, we went to airport to pick hubby up and heading straight to bowling alley for a family bowling tournament organised by hubby's office. Staff and family gathering of sort. I haven't been bowling for many years. Of course, I am not a pro, but did manage not to "cuci longkang" (wash drain) that frequently throughout the games. I think 128 score was good enough for 2 games. The kids also get chance to try their hands on the games as well.

The bowling started with buffet dinner then proceed with the games. Lastly prize giving to winners. I did not win anything but have chance to give out 1st prize to the female champion. A 2-hours affair in Sibu Superbowl.

The day ended well and everyone was tired from the day activities. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

8 Magic Words to Say that Makes Saving Attractive to Kids

(This is a guest post by Tina Beltran, a blogger and writer of moneymax.ph)

“Money doesn’t grow on trees,”parents always say. It’s the sort of thing that echoes in your head every time you’re about to spend our money on something you’re fairly certain your ma will not approve of. Now that you’re the adult, it’s your responsibility to educate your little ones on the value of saving. Not quite sure how? Here are some “magic words” you can use to help them better understand how and why they need to save:
  1. The sooner you save, the more your money grows.
You know how easy it becomes to postpone saving for another day. As soon as they start receiving an allowance, instill in your children a sense of urgency; show them that they better start saving now. Monitor them closely at the start, until saving becomes a habit for them. For example, at the end of each day, have them account for how much in total they spent and saved, and show them where to put their savings (such as in a piggy bank).
  1. Wait before you buy.

Impulse buying is the greatest enemy of saving. While our urges are something that are difficult to tackle head on, teach your kids to use another approach: to wait at a much later time—say, a day or a week—if they face the temptation to buy something that isn’t a necessity or not listed on the budget. Hopefully, they’ll wake up to their senses and stay on track toward their saving goals.
  1. Paying on credit is spending money you don’t have.

Credit cards are extremely useful and convenient, but misuse could result to grave financial consequences. The earlier you teach your children about debt and interest, the more responsible they would be in handling their finances as grown-ups.
  1. Save first, spend afterwards.

In teaching children how to budget their allowance, show them how it’s easier to save if they set aside part of their money for saving first, before they spend the rest on their needs. Motivate them to spend by helping them plan for a major purchase such as a new phone or a new toy. Being able to buy something they want from their own savings would make them see that saving has its rewards.
  1. Save for the rainy days.

Ideally, we don’t want our kids to experience poverty or deprivation. However, it’s one of the realities of life. Even if they’re raised in comfort, unexpected things happen and they need to be prepared, both emotionally and financially. Remind them everyday why they shouldn’t stop saving: so they have a safety net for whatever emergencies arise in the future.
  1. Money is only a tool.

Telling this to your kids will build in them a better mindset about money. They shouldn’t see it as something that give them happiness, but rather as a tool that they can use to reach goals and achieve their dreams. Emphasize that they should control money; not the other way around.
  1. Every cent you save and spend adds up.

Every penny saved is a penny earned, Benjamin Franklin once said. Children should be made aware that any amount they choose to either spend or save adds up to a meaningful sum in the long run.
  1. Money doesn’t grow on trees.

Of course you shouldn’t miss this one: because there’s truth to it. Our parents knew it. Our grandparents knew it. Kids should learn the value of hard work and be taught to make sure that any amount of money they spend must go to something that adds value to their lives, and not just on a passing whim.

Money may not grow on tree, but it can with investment. Now, as that concept is still too complex for the average kid, you can, in the meantime, encourage them to open a savings account of their own, where they can grow their money bit by bit. Teach them how to avail of a kiddie savings account and watch them grow up to be financially responsible and money savvy individuals. It’s a form of investment as well and not a bad way for them to get started.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Skin care for the little one

When a blogger friend, Claire wrote about the wonders of this product on her daughter last month, without hesitation I asked her more about it. She recommended me to try this product for my 7 months old baby, who is suffering from ezcema and dry skin.  He has been having ezcema since a baby and on and off, he has red patches on his face (mostly on his cheeks), itchy rashes on his body and dry and flaky skin on both legs and hands.

I tried many products on baby Jamie, mostly organic and ph-balance products from the supermarket shelves, pharmacies and MLM companies but none really works well.  On cooler weather, Jamie's skin will look better, but lately the weather has been soaring, so his skin condition getting slightly visible with more patches and redness.  It is frustrating and I do not know what to do to help him. Sometimes he will scratch his face and neck, mostly because of itchiness.  Pitiful looking at him frustratedly scratching his face and neck.
Thanks to Marine Elements, my baby's skin is getting better! Briefly on Marine Elements, they consist of a range of non-steroidal, paraben-free skin care products with active ingredient, patented technology in the form of ZonaseX to help improve the appearance of dry, itchy, irritating and inflamed skin conditions, such as eczema and dermatitis. What makes Marine Elements different from all the others is its natural proteins and enzymes derived from the pure and clean marine sources in Norway.

Zonase X is the latest innovation, scientifically proven to help improve skin conditions, including regenerating fresh skin cells and strengthening the skin’s natural barrier, therefore reducing the recurrence of eczema and dry skin conditions. Zonase X works in 3 ways to improve the appearance of the skin:

1. It breaks down the connective tissues between the dead skin cells on the outer layer of the skin.  The dead cells then are naturally detached.
2. It allows other active ingredients to transport moisture and nutrition to the deeper layers of skin creating a moisturizing effect.
3. It elevates healthy cells to the surface of the skin, creating a rejuvenating effect.

Marine Elements products are hypoallergenic and suitable for people of all ages, including babies, children and people with sensitive skins.

  
 First, wash his body using Marine Elements' Body Wash

Secondly, apply body lotion all over his body and face

What I like about the body wash is that I do not need to use much, just one or two pumps of the body wash is enough for my baby.  And the body lotion is none sticky and easily absorbed into my baby's delicate skin! 

Before - red skin on his face

Before - dry and flaky skin on both legs



Before - visible redness on his hand

After 2 days, I see some improvements in his skin. 

After - smoother appearance with no more visible red patches. 

Skin on legs are also getting better although still have some flaky dry skin, but no more redness and irritation 


And so is hand. 

After 1 week, the result is even more visible.
 
Beautiful and smoother just like a baby!  *wink*

Visible result on his leg

Better on both hands


Am going to continue to use Marine Elements for Jamie and hopefully his skin condition will get better soon.  Glad that I tried this product on him and am grateful that it is able to deal with Jamie's skin condition. 

If anyone would like to try this product, it is going to be available in pharmacies soon!  Meantime, it is now available in www.plincco.com or you can visit www.marineelements.com for more information.