Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Little Apple Adventure

There was a request for me to bake an apple crumble pie last week, but after buying some green apples, I decided to wait a little while, because there was still enormous amount of food, good enough for many days. I thought of trying a new cake recipe instead of making my usual pie, that can be mostly attributed to my lack of interest in rolling the dough for the pie crust.

I came across a German Apple Cake recipe from and modified it to suit my likings and healthier result. The original recipe calls for a full cup of oil which I gladly halved and the amount of sugar was reduced to 1.5 cups instead of two cups, which again for two cups of flour, I thought, was still a bit too much.

I also added more cinnamon and more apples to intensify the taste.


2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
5 cups apples - peeled & thinly sliced


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one bundt pan.
2. In a mixing bowl; beat oil and eggs with an electric mixer until frothy. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat well.
3. Combine the flour salt, baking soda, and ground cinnamon together in a bowl. Slowly add this mixture to the egg mixture and mix until combined. The batter will be very thick. Fold in the apples by hand using a wooden spoon. Spread batter into the prepared pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) until cake tests done (30-45 minutes). Let cake cool on a wire rack. Once cake is cool, serve with a dusting of confectioners' sugar or with a Cream Cheese Frosting.

For original recipe, click here.

For me, this is a delicious-yum-yum cake! Did I say yum? It's yummy!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Guitar Hero, Anyone? It's David Archuleta

In Twenty Two Days

Three weeks to go, my hotels and itinerary to US are pretty much confirmed, I have been busy with other things that I left the planning elsewhere for a while. In between, there will be a violin exam, a string concert, an SAT test, a couple of dentist visits and perhaps organizing a birthday party, which I hope to my dear God, please, please, please, not to happen, because on the day I can't possibly be the decorator, the cook, the host, the game leader, the photographer and the mother of the birthday girl, all at the same time. Traditionally, I would have some accidental double booking in June, hopefully not not this year. I also can expect a shopping trip for South Africa trip and frantic packing. Stress level is on the way up. Arghhh... think positive!

Meanwhile, I am having my eyes on this: To buy or not to buy? Anybody?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I was a little obsessed and a bit paranoid about even a small change in my body, upon discovering that one of my sisters had lymphoma some eight years ago. I diligently have been going for routine medical check ups and that sorts. So far so good.

Less than two years ago, my cholesterol level passed the normal acceptable level of 200 and hit 219. My GP, however, stressed it out that it was not an alarming level and I was in perfect health and I was satisfied without doubt, but still tried to work my way to improve it. Typical perfectionist!

Another blood test was done last week, not that it was due, but more of me trying to get this done before my trip to the USA. I am going to Maine and I want to have my sweet juicy lobster or maybe another delicious one from the Rockefeller Center in July. Yum! A small sweet victory to find out that despite all the stress I am having, my cholesterol level is now 167 and I am in great health. All those diet and supplements undeniably paid off. Yay!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

New Fave - Mushroom Risotto

I bumped into a very dear friend who happens to be my neighbor as well, in the supermarket about two weeks ago. It's a nice surprise, considering both of us have totally different schedules and seeing each other in the neighborhood rarely happens. It was Thursday and I remember that I was buying ingredients for my vegetarian Fridays. She mentioned that she was going to make risotto with mushroom, a dish that I have longed to make, but never did, for one reason or another.

The next chance I got when I was back doing my groceries, I bought everything I need for that and made mushroom risotto with Arborio rice that very evening. Within a short time, this dish becomes a family favorite. Well, three out of five love them, very much and always want more. In two weeks, I made them three times.

Easy to make and really delicious, served with lemon and topped with sliced parmesan cheese.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Planting Chilies

I love hot stuff, I am crazy about spicy food and I almost always have these chili peppers inside my fridge. After chatting (YM-ing) with one of my sisters, I found out that three of them have planted chili seed and grew the plants in their yard. We live in an apartment now here, partly because I do not want to have a garden that I have to look after, considering how often I have to leave home in a year, which averages to about 8-10 weeks.

Anyway, they got me started. I have got some pots for the plants, of course, having some plants before) and got some soil and started the whole process. I am excited with the progress, but not looking forward to seeing what happen when I'm on my holiday in less than a month. We'll figure out some way, I am a little embarrassed to ask someone to look after my one pot.

Day 1: merely seeds.

Day 5
: started to grow.

Day 9
: more, right?

Day 14
: getting more exciting!

Day 18: Looking good, aren't they???

Payback Time

I have been sleep-deprived, but finally my body just decided to take action and gave me a 12-13 hour sleep that I deserved more than anything. Do I feel fresh? Not really. I did feel better when I woke up this morning, but I think my body still need a little bit rest.

There has been so much tension everyone, life this day is really crazy. We are talking about the oil price hitting $135 per barrel, stock prices declining, massive earthquake in China with thousands and thousands people losing their life and millions being homeless, cyclone in Myanmar?? Poor people suffer more than ever.

Oh, well. Life goes on. Try my best to help.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Back To Bread

Looking at Kitt's blog a couple days ago has taken me back into bread baking again. Had the salami sandwich for lunch yesterday.

Yum! The crust was crusty, crunchy & delicious! Umh...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Thoughtful Gesture

I haven't been to any birthday parties for a while, the kiddies' ones, the ones that serve creamy colorful birthday cake and everyone would get an exciting slice of it. The one that has around 4000 calories per piece. I don't know what happened to my children's social life, I don't know why they don't get invited to these kind of parties anymore. They grow up, I guess. It was a hundred years ago since my kids were 1-9 years old.

A few days ago, I mentioned that I missed having birthday cake and unexpectedly, someone or two listened and decided to take action. Surprise, surprise! The next day, after school, my first two girls brought a little cake back home. They got it from a bakery across the street. Isn't that just the sweetest thing to do??????? My worry was unfounded, they have no trouble hearing!! They just have a little trouble doing things they are told to do and we will continue working on it.

Loving Google Maps

Thanks to google maps and internet, planning a trip that caters to our liking has been made a lot easier. Of course we could appoint a travel agent to do this, but based on our "bad" experience with them, planning it ourselves still tops them all. There's so much satisfaction with the outcome despite many hours that need to be invested.

See that blue line with some alphabets with "A" pointing at New York, that's where we are planning to go to this summer. Plus a flight to Orlando from New York and a drive to and from Miami as well as another flight to New York. By all means, we need to catch a flight from from Singapore to New York. It's quite an ambitious plan, but doable.

It will be a very long trip for sure although it look like a small round, we are talking about some 3000 miles of driving and approximately 30 days of being on the road. Along with some 20 hours times two of flight, our butts will probably be really flat by end of July. Perhaps, I should take picture of them, before and after!

After booking nearly 75% of the hotels, we have now some small revisions to make. Some domino effect expected! I still love google maps but dislike making changes at this point. Canceling reservations, more research on the hotels, more bookings.... sigh... I fell so tired before even embarking on the trip!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Gimme Me More Time

I really wonder how minutes, hours, days, years just zooming through really really fast, right in front of me. It feels like only yesterday the year changed to 2008 and it was January. Now, suddenly it's May and we are heading towards mid year. When I was small, I used to think that time was extremely slow. I couldn't wait til I grow older and leave home. Now, I wish I could have more hours in a day. I hardly have enough time to do my things, I barely have enough hours to sleep. I stay up late so I could do more things in a day, but still there's not enough time ever.

I know there's nothing much I can do to change it, I just have to enjoy every second of it. Unfortunately, just like most wise words, this is much easier said than done. So little time, so much to do.

I bought this little piano clock a few years ago when we went to Vancouver in 2004. It was only C$10, and is still working after all these years. It was only 2-inch wide. It was merely a small souvenir that caught my eyes when I travel. It's a nice reminder of the places that we have been to, although that particular one doesn't scream "Canada!!!!" The kids were four years younger and were so much more wonderful!!!!! Teenage tantrums have not kicked in yet back then! They are wonderful now too, different kind of wonderfulness.

Feeling like an old lady, walking down the memory lane, sigh.......

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Quick Char Siu Chicken

There was no big enough appetite in the house tonight. DH is away until Saturday and No.1 was a bit down with flu and was a little down with her appetite as well. On top of that, she has activity outside until 9PM. I found myself wanting a small dinner, more like a small supper. The two junior members left, claimed to be "quite full" after having some tea after school, but I was aware that there was always a slight possibility that it could change, depending on "the smell" of what I cook.

I wanted my meal to be ready in around 15 minutes. With that in mind, I only needed: a couple tablespoon of Char Siu sauce, around 1 cup of sliced chicken fillet, 2 tablespoon of honey and some 1/2 tsp of chilli powder. Mix all of them in a bowl and leave it for 5 minutes. I cooked white rice while waiting for the chicken to be ready for cooking. Heat a tablespoon of cooking oil in a skillet, put the chicken in, stir well, cover and occasionally stir.

Turn off the heat when the liquid nearly runs out.

My supper was served. Of course, the two juniors sniffed, followed the smell of the food and grabbed some as well.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Banana Pancakes

The weather over the past few days has been really punishing, hot, hot, hot and humid. 33C and 66% humidity. B-)Air-con helps. These poor machines, they have been working extremely hard to cool us down. I am not looking forward to seeing the electricity bill this month and I suspect this furious weather is going to continue for a while. And our electricity bill will escalate too!

Seven more weeks to go before the end of the term, which means that seven more weeks to go before we take off to New York. Wir gehen nach America. I am still working out the route we are taking, since we will be mostly driving. I practically have been eating, drinking, sleeping, breathing of the distances to go to, the hotels to choose from,their locations, the places to visit. Researching and more researching. So far, one hotel at Universal Park, Orlando has been booked, this will be a part of the last leg of our trip.

I hope to wrap the prep up in two weeks, it will be a miracle to get them done within a week. I am more inclined that it's going to take longer because I have things booked on my calendar over the next two weeks. With only one child going along, I anticipate everything to be less complicated. It should be simpler to make arrangement for three people compared to five, our usual number. One will be heading to South Africa, another will be dropped off at Brown University and will only join us to go Florida later.

It was too hot for hot cakes, but DH bought some bananas last night and indirectly implied, like in many cases, that he was going to have banana pancakes this morning, served with caramel sauce. (This never ever means that he is going to get up earlier and make the pancakes!!! Never!) I still have plenty of caramel sauce in the fridge and am more than happy if anyone makes use of them. And typical of me to grant his wish without even him asking. Unfortunately this is not exactly a two-way thing. :(

Friday, May 02, 2008

Lunching Shanghai

It has been a long while since all the five of us had lunch together here, 1 and 2 have been extremely busy with their school. We had a really long weekend this week, kicking off yesterday(Thursday), all the way to Sunday, that's a big fat 4-day off.

After morning mass for Ascension, even though it was only 11 in the morning, the princesses were hungry and wanted to have some decent lunch. I knocked off the idea of having meal at Sushi Tei (again) and with everyone being so indecisive about what to eat, we ended up with Shanghai cuisine. We had Crispy Eels for appetizer, which was sweet, and crunchy, 15 pieces of Xiao Long Bao, Sauteed Spinach with garlic, Sweet and sour chicken balls and some spicy noodles. Great lunch, or brunch!?! :)