happy gal 88

This blog is about all things that make me happy. Why happy gal? Because I strongly believe that life is short and we must treasure every second of it. Why brood and live life unhappily?! I hope every reader finds some happiness on this blog : ) See my Korean blog - Seoul Far Seoul Good - @ http://www.seoulfarseoulgood.blogspot.com/

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Durian Yogurt Cake vs White Chocolate Slices

This was another crazy baking weekend.

Yesterday, I made an eggless chocolate muffin for kids in my yoga class. It was the first time that I tried this muffin that was just made of flour, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, water, vinegar and sugar. I think it was a bit too moist but they kids love it ; )

Since it’s the durian season, I’ve been thinking about baking a durian cake for some time. So, yesterday, I bought two boxes of durian for $5 and they yielded half a kilo of durian flesh. I adapted a banana cake from Do What I Like blog. The whole house was filled with the heavenly aroma of durian 10 minutes into baking ; ) The durian cake came out moist and not too sweet. But I think the next time, I’ll put a bit more flour so that it’s not too moist.

My next bake was a white chocolate raspberry slice. Being a lazy baker, I never like anything that I have to bake twice or spend too long doing it. This slice had to go into the oven twice. Still, I decided to be a bit more hardworking and make it as I have a lot of white chocolate in the fridge. And I didn’t regret it. The slice was crispy at the top ‘cos of the almond slices and chewy throughout. I hope my colleagues will like it when I bring them to the office tomorrow.

I think I’ll take a break from baking in the next few weeks before I put on too much weight. I’ve still got to train for the Army Half Marathon.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sushi or Cheong Fun?

Our local hawkers are getting more innovative each day. Call it competition or creativity – it doesn’t quite matter ‘cos it makes me happy as I get to try new types of food.

I happened to chance upon this stall at the People’s Park Food Centre (opposite China town). I call this Japanese fusion… it looks like a sushi roll but it’s actually cheong fun (made of paper thin layers made of rice flour, steamed and rolled up), Japanese style.

There are three outer layers – rice flour roll, seaweed and crepe. You can choose either Ja Jiang or Pork Floss versions. – followed with healthy filling of either zha jiang meat, or pork floss. Both versions have lots of carrots, cucumber and shredded vegetables and meat (depending on whether it’s the Ja Jiang or Pork Floss version), followed by a generous topping of delicious black ja jiang garlic sauce.

While some people may complain it’s expensive at $3 per roll (especially since it’s only at a hawker centre), I think it’s reasonable given it’s innovative, extremely healthy and delicious too!

PS: The stall serves a healthier version of Western food with brown rice ; )

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Rum ‘n’ Raisin Muffin vs Green Tea Cupcake

And the winner is... ME 'cos these bakes have made me really happy today!

It’s amazing… I’ve been quite busy past two weeks coping with a new workplace which requires me to take an hour to get to work (compared to the past when I take only 10 minutes by foot) and new challenges, and yet, I’ve had the time to make two different bakes every weekend ; )

Today, I decided to try out a new recipe which a friend found on the web – quick muffins which uses ice cream and self-raising flour. I decided to use Bud’s Rum and Raisin ice cream – this originates from San Francisco and uses skimmed milk – yes yes, I’m trying to lessen my guilt of over indulgence on fattening food and skimmed milk is definitely not as sinful as full cream milk. I also replaced 25% of the ice cream with non-fat yogurt. The recipe required sugar which I omitted ‘cos I thought the ice cream was a bit too sweet. And then, alcoholic me decided to add half teaspoon of rum so that the muffin will have a nice and strong rum taste. As a result, the batter was a bit too stiff and the muffin turned out soft but not sweet enough. Since it’s so easy to make, I won’t mind trying again and add some honey and white choc chips instead.

My next bake turned out much better. It’s the first time that I’ve attempted to make cupcakes and I decided to go for healthy green tea cupcakes which use egg whites (yes, less fattening) instead of whole eggs. Very little butter is also needed. The results were great – while the cupcake isn’t that pretty, it was fluffy and the sweetness was just right. So, I was glad I didn’t beautify it with any icing or it would have been too sweet. Will try added some cooked red bean and do a swirl green tea red bean cupcake for my next attempt ; )

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Dog’s Life

Having seen quite a number of postings on French Macarons and doggie cookies, I have been inspired to try out these new bakes myself. Yesterday, I attempted Macarons for a third time and the Horlicks doggie cookies (my second try).

The Macarons were not that good – there are just too many things that I have to improve on. First, the piping technique – there was just something very wrong ‘cos I dunno what is the correct of way of doing this. (Since I’ve never even attended Home Economics when I was in school, everything I’ve made have been DIY and what I read in books and the Net.) Needless to say, my Macarons came out in all shapes and sizes. Second – I think I baked it for too long, resulting in a rather hard cookie and a bit too brown on the underside. Third – this green tea option is not that sweet – so, I won’t down the sugar the next time I try it. Fourth – the white chocolate filling was too watery resulting in the filling dripping out. Quite a failure, isn’t it?

I was definitely happier with my doggie cookies. I made two types of batter – using horlicks and the other, milo. Since Happy Home Baker’s website stated that milo was sweeter, I added some cocoa powder to this option to cut down on the sweetness and make it darker. Since no two dogs are similar, I decided to mix some of the batters – and I was really happy with the little doggie faces staring at me when I took out the bakes from the oven. They all look so cute! Even my brother complimented me ; ) I think a couple of them looked like the Starhub doggie… Even though it took me about three hours to make just 51 cookies, the effort was worth it. But I’ll only do this once in a while ‘cos they’re just too tedious. Will give some of these to the kids at my next yoga lesson and hope they like it.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sweet Burgers

Even though I’ve been quite busy lately, I tried out two new bakes this weekend – the doggie cookie and French macaroons. All because I wanted to bake something nice for my colleagues whom I’ll not be seeing for at least a year.

Both these new bakes are not easy to make. The doggie cookies require quite a bit of effort to shape and ‘design’ it so it looks like a dog. And I was inspired by the French macaroons I’ve been reading on Evan’s Kitchen Ramblings blog.

Since I have never tasted these before (the closest I’ve baked are coconut macaroons), I bought three from Bakerzin (cost me $4 – which was already an offer price ‘cos its normal price is $1.60 each). And my first reaction was – it’s really SWEET!

After doing some research on the Net, I tried out a chocolate French macaroons recipe which had the least sugar. Still, I reduced the sugar by another 20%. And I decided to use a mocha filling from another recipe.

As this was my first attempt at piping, it’s natural that my ‘burgers’ had different sizes and some couldn’t ‘sit’ properly : ( And they’re definitely American size ‘cos they’re really huge – double in height! Certainly not the petite pretty ones found at Bakerzins or Evan’s blog.

Nonetheless, I liked it – my 'American' macaroons were crispy on the outside, and soft and chewy and of course, sweet on the inside. Even my mom liked it and she’s not easy to please when it comes to bakes. She even gave me the idea that those made by others probably used a mould.

May try out green tea burgers filled with azuka beans tomorrow.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Muffins… are still the Best!

What have I been up to lately? Well lots… busy helping a friend with a magazine, trying to spend more time to study Korean and learn about IR – no, no, it’s not integrated resorts but investor relations, plus my marathon training.

So, some things just have to go… like baking, Korean dramas and shopping. I really miss baking though… since it’s really therapeutic, I try to do it once a fortnight.

I must say I’m quite happy with my last two bakes – yogurt banana muffin and triple chocolate muffin. All thanks to a friend. In the past, half my muffins always turn out a bit hard, or not as soft as I had wished. What's worse, they sometimes feel like a stone the next day.

While I’ve had a few successes,I wished for more. As many bakers would know, many recipes use cup as a measuring unit for most ingredients like flour, sugar etc. I usually use 155gm per cup of flour. But a friend showed me a website that gave 140gm for each cup of flour. So, I cut down the flour used and so far, these two muffins were soft and nice. So much so that my mom ate two of the triple choclate muffin at a go. That’s the best compliment I get from my mom and it's really rare.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Singapore Re-Discovered

No, no, I have not changed job nor started working at the Singapore Tourism Board. But I decided to share some of the photos that I’ve taken on my long walks doing street shoots… all thanks to a friend who has been helping me to improve my photography skills. These were some practice shots I took when I bought my new digital SLR Canon 350D and idiot proof Fuji F31.

No doubt Singapore is very small, but there are nice things to see and great photos to take if we open our eyes big enough ; ) Found this nice grafitti at the Red Dot Museum (above)... cool isn't it?

More pixes here: http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/sandyl808/album?.dir=86cdscd

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Best Lunch of the Week

Just one week back from Korea and I could not believe how much I miss Korean food. So much so that I had to specially make a trip to Hyang To Gol at Amara Hotel to buy kimchi (unfortunately, it was too sour and not as fresh and sweet as I would have liked it). And I missed 떡볶이 (Spicy Rice Cake) so much so that I took a cab down to TOGI Korean Restaurant at Mosque Street (Chinatown) to try their 라볶이 (Ramyeon with spicy rice cake) as recommended by a friend. While the rice cake was a bit too soft for my liking (I still prefer the street food in Korea which were much more chewy), it was still the best lunch I’ve had this week. But this is getting me a bit worried… I can’t be dining at a Korean restaurant every week. Looks like I have to learn how to cook more Korean dishes ; )

Lunch tomorrow will be home-cooked mandu kimchi soup, asparagus namul and bean sprout namul. Will have to wake up specially early to cook my kimchi soup tomorrow. That will be a great start to the work week ; )

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Back to Reality

[Top: Peak of Soraksan; Above: Jeju island - street lined with cherry blossom trees]

16 wonderful days in the Land of the Morning Calm. Spring time in Korea is really beautiful but cold. After studying Korean for one year, I plugged up enough courage to go to Korea on a free and easy – semi-backpacking trip. When some friends heard about it, they wished my girlfriend and I good luck. Everyones know travelling in Korea on your own is tough ‘cos majority of the locals do not speak any English.

Yet we decided to be adventurous and took up the challenge. The trip took us to Seoul, Jeonju, Pusan, Jeju and Sokcho (Soraksan). Main modes of transport included intercity bus and plane, and subway within the city. We even drove in Jeju… but had to spend half the time trying to figure out how the traffic system works and it was difficult having to read the Korean road names quickly while on the road.

Nonetheless, it was a really great trip -- I’ve learnt and discovered many things about Koreans and their way of life during this trip. Besides savouring many great Korean dishes, we also experienced not one but two demonstrations (over the Korea-FTA), the dreaded sandstorm and climbed Hallasan and Soraksan. Mountains, rivers, waterfalls, cherry blossoms, canola flowers, lava tubes and snow… we saw them all! Great, isn’t it?!

More details on my travel blog… 지금 신간이 없어서 기다리세요. (I don’t have time now.. so please wait.)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mad About Korean Food

Finally, my ratings of Korean restaurants I’ve tried is out. Apologies for taking so long but I kept trying new restaurants and the list just kept growing. There’s one more which I tried last week… but I’ll keep that for another posting. Please note that these are my personal opinion based on the dishes that I tried. It's rather long... read on if you are as crazy about Korean food.

Two years ago, ask me anything about Korean drama, singers or food and I’ll just stare at you blankly. But ever since I watched Dae Jang Geum in October 2005, my life has changed. And Korean food is one of those things that I’ve grown to love so much so that I must have it at least once a week. Crazy, isn’t it?

All thanks to a friend too who brought me to Han Ka Ram at Heeren more than a year ago. Still, it wasn’t until late last year that my love for Korean food deepened so much so that I’ve even started cooking Korean dishes and I must have kimchi in my fridge.

Recently, I’ve been really lucky to be given the opportunity to contribute an article in a local magazine. In the process, I tried out more restaurants in Singapore. Here’s a review of the 15 Korean restaurants I’ve visited. As I was not planning to do restaurant reviews when I dined in some of these restaurants, you’ll notice that some of the descriptions are not that complete – that’s because I was there too long ago to remember the details. For these restaurants, my review is simply the lasting impression on that place or food. I will try to do more postings with details and pix of those I visited more recently.

As for the ratings used, I gave 1 for poor and 5 for excellent. Factors rated include the quality of food, price and quality of service. For price, 1 would mean very expensive and vice versa. Each review will end with short write-up on whether I’ll recommend to friends or visit the restaurant again.

Top 3 Favourites:
1. Jang Shou Charcoal BBQ (pix above)
2. Ju Shin Jung
Korean Charcoal Barbeque
3. Togi Korean Restaurant
(pix below)

Worst 3 Restaurants:
1. Sera Bel Authentic Korean Restaurant
2. Crystal Jade Korean Restaurant

3. [Yet to be found]

Auntie Kim’s Korean Restaurant (265 Upper Thomson Road Singapore 574392 Tel: 6452 2112)

Dishes I tried: Seafood Pancake, Grilled Pork Rib, Bibimbap
Complimentary side dishes: 4-6

Food: 4
Price: 3
Service: 3

Would I recommend to friends?
Yes, this place is certainly worth visiting – the Grilled Pork Rib is thick and juicy and quantity given is generous given the price that you have to pay. But the restaurant is not easily accessible and finding a parking lot will be quite difficult especially on a weekend.

BQ Korea (70-74 Telok Ayer Street, #01-01 Far East Square. Tel: 6536 7703 Closed on Sundays)

Dishes I tried: Set Lunch – Bulgogi that came with Kimbap
Complimentary side dishes: 2

Food: 3
Price: 4
Service: 3

Would I recommend to friends?
Guess it’s ok if you need a quick lunch.

Chang Korean Charcoal BBQ Restaurant (18C Dempsey Road Tel: 6473 9005)

Dishes I tried: Seafood Pancake, Marinated Pork Rib, Bean Paste Stew
Complimentary side dishes: 6-8

Food: 3
Price: 2
Service: 2

Would I recommend to friends?
Unlikely. The restaurant is parked in some ulu place which is not easily accessible unless you drive. Plus the service is slow and the food quality wasn’t not that spectacular.

Crystal Jade Korean Restaurant (Ngee Ann City #04-20. tel: 6733-3229)
Dishes I tried: Bibimbap, Ginseng chicken soup
Complimentary side dishes: None. You have to pay $6 for a set of 6 little saucers of side dishes that didn’t taste good.

Food: 2
Price: 2
Service: 3

Would I recommend to friends?
No. This was a big disappointment. The Ginseng soup was quite blend and the bibimbap didn’t quite taste like bibimbap.

Han Ka Ram (The Heeren, #05-02A, Orchard Road, Tel: 67340422)

Dishes I tried: Seafood Pancake, Stir-fried ginseng chicken
Complimentary side dishes: 2-3

Food: 3
Price: 3
Service: 3

Would I recommend to friends?
The quality is so-so but too few side dishes. And they’re nothing to shout about. But it's been about two years since I dined there, so things may have changed.

Hyang To Gol (Amara Hotel 165 Tanjong Pagar Rooad, Level 2 Tel: 6220 7160)

Dishes I tried: Seafood Pancake, Kimchi Pancake, Barbequed Pork Steak, Beef bulgolgi (marinated and unmarinated), Bibimbap, Bean Paste soup with seafood, kimchi hot pot, Grilled Mackarel, Grilled Cod fish, brisket, raw beef, chapjae (fried sweet potato noodles with vegetables)
Complimentary side dishes: 12

Food: 4
Price: 3
Service: 3

Would I recommend to friends?
Yes. While the price is a bit on the high side, this restaurant has one of the most extensive menu compared to many others that I’ve been to. It’s also one of the few which serves raw fish probably ‘cos it caters to a large number of Japanese hotel guests. The food is tasty but they seem to use quite a bit of msg in their soups. And I think they have one of the best bibimbap and pajeon (seafood pancake) among the various restaurants here. While I have not encountered bad service delivery, one of my friends had a very bad experience.

Jang Shou Charcoal BBQ (Esplanade Mall, 8 Raffles Avenue, #01-13A/B Tel: 63378880)

Dishes I tried: Brisket, Jang Shou Special Pork Rib, Bibimbap, Arrowroot cold noodle, beef ribs bulgogi, beef bulgogi, kimchi stew, beef rib stew
Complimentary side dishes: 10-12

Food: 5
Price: 4
Service: 5

Would I recommend to friends?
Definitely! While I’ve only been there twice, it has become my favourite Korean restaurant! Why? Not only ‘cos Rain was there when he came to Singapore. The food is really delicious – no msg is used, the service is excellent and the owner is really friendly and nice. Look out for more detailed posting and of course, photos ; )

Jang Won Korean Restaurant Pte Ltd (44 Mosque Street #01-01 Tel: 6532 6949)

Dishes I tried: Chicken bulgogi set, gimbap, bibimbap
Complimentary side dishes: 4

Food: 3
Price: 3
Service: 3

Would I recommend to friends?
Not really. Compared to its neighbour opposite (TOGI – see rating below), it’s a far cry. The bulgogi was too oily and the bibimbap looks and tastes like those in food courts. Gimbap was nothing to shout about.

Ju Shin Jung Korean Charcoal Barbeque (27 West Coast Highway #01-18/19 YESS Centre, former 88 Restaurant Tel: 6464 0872 or 1018 East Coast Parkway #02-01 Tel: 64479279)

Dishes I tried: Seafood Pancake, Barbequed Pork Steak, Bibimbap, beef ribs bulgogi, beef bulgogi, chicken bulgogi, seafood hotpot
Complimentary side dishes: 10-16

Food: 5
Price: 3
Service: 4

Would I recommend to friends?
Yes, if you order any two grilled dishes, the side dishes that come with it is the most extensive in Singapore. But if you order other main dishes, there are slightly fewer dishes. But I wouldn’t enjoy the seafood hotpot. The octopus meat was so tough that it can hardly be chewed.

Manna Korean Restaurant (101 Telok Ayer Street Tel: 6227 7425)

Dishes I tried: Assortment of Pancake, Bibimbap
Complimentary side dishes: 7

Food: 4
Price: 3
Service: 3

Would I recommend to friends?
I love the kimchi but found the pancake a bit too oily. Bibimbap was not bad too. But I think they use quite a bit of msg.

New Seoul Korean Restaurant (72 Peck Seah Street Heritage Court Tel: 6324 3009)

Dishes I tried: Chicken Bulgogi set lunch, Beef Bulgogi set lunch
Complimentary side dishes: 4

Food: 3
Price: 4
Service: 3

Would I recommend to friends?
This place is frequented by many Korean tourists. I found the bulgogi too oily. The beef set tasted better than the chicken. But I enjoyed the side dishes. Worth considering for a quick and cheap lunch.

Sera Bel Authentic Korean Restaurant (60 Eu tong Seng Street Furama Hotel/Shopping centre #03-01 Tel: 65350336)

Dishes I tried: Seafood Pancake, Beef Bulgogi, Kimchi jjigae
Complimentary side dishes: 4

Food: 1
Price: 2
Service: 2
Would I recommend to friends?
Definitely NO. It’s the worst Korean restaurant that I’ve gone to. I should have guessed when I saw food that was almost untouched left on a table with Korean newspaper – the Koreans who were sat there probably found the food too terrible to be eaten.

Su Korean Cuisine (14 Scotts Road, #01-21, Far East Plaza Tel: 6235 0420)

Dishes I tried: Spicy Rice Cake, Seafood Pancake, Assorted Grilled dish (Pork, beef, octopus, squid), Rice Cake Stew
Complimentary side dishes: 6

Food: 3
Price: 3
Service: 2
Would I recommend to friends?
The spicy rice cake didn’t have much veggie or meat (my friend said what I cooked was better, ha ha) and the rice cake stew was too blend. The rest are not too bad. Unfortunately, they don’t refill the side dishes.

Togi Korean Restaurant (11 Mosque Street, Chinatown Tel: 6221 0830)

Dishes I tried: Ginseng Chicken Soup, Spicy Octopus, Bibimbap
Complimentary side dishes: 7

Food: 4
Price: 4
Service: 3

Would I recommend to friends?
Yes, if you want authentic home cooked Korean food. Very reasonable price. While the eatery is small and the décor is nothing much to speak of, I could feel the warmth and coziness, just like dining at home.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mad about Cookies

In the past one week, I baked 6 different types of cookies. And all for the excuse of Chinese New Year. Frankly, I didn’t have to do it. Simply ‘cos no one visits my house (we don’t really celebrate New Year) and I can buy them readily everywhere.

By right, people would have finished baking their New Year goodies at least 1 week before the big day. But because I started so late, I didn’t have a choice but to sacrifice my precious leave to do it. These were what I made:
1. Tee off (above and below left) – I first saw these golf-ball sized pineapple tarts at a Selegie Road bakery and they were really good. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to make my own pineapple filling and bought them from Sun Lik instead. But they were a little sweet and too big.
2. Nutty Nuts – Chinese peanut cookies usually sold during this time. They’re really easy to make.
3. Snowy Melts – Almond sugee cookies that melt in your mouth
4. Green with Envy – Hazelnut sugee cookies flavoured with green tea
5. Hunky Chocky – my all-time favourite chocolate chip cookies
6. Rugged Hunk (below, right) – Really crunchy corn flake cookies

I’m planning to bake more during this long weekend break. Watch this space for fresh bakes from Yummy Chewie’s kitchen. [Yummy Chewies is the brand name of the cookies I sold a charity event ; ) ]

Here are more pixes...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Last weekend, we had a gathering at a friend’s house. There were four of us, two with spouses and kids. Usually, the host would cook or it would be potluck. Because I didn’t have my own place, it was not that convenient inviting them to my house. So, this time round, I offered to prepare a few Korean dishes for everyone.

This was the menu:
Appetizers/Side dishes:
Kimchi (from Food Republic)
Seasoned Mushroom
Soft Tofu with Spicy Sesame Sauce (pix below)
Simmered Lotus Roots

Main dishes:
Kimchi Soup
Spicy Rice Cake
JaJang Myeon

Cinnamon Ginger Tea

And my own verdict? Not everyone likes Korean food. And the dishes can certainly be improved. The mushroom was a bit overcooked. The spicy rice cake wasn’t spicy at all while the kimchi soup was too spicy. (I've cooked the spicy rice cake, or ddeobuki 4X and it has never failed me before... 섭섭해요) And the jajang sauce was a bit too thick – the dark clumps simply weren’t attractive at all. (Next time, I'll add some mixed veggie bits on top to add some colours to it.)

There was quite a bit of leftover jajang sauce and since I didn’t want to waste it, I brought it home. And came up with Jajang salad instead (pix above). This is just right for me as I don’t really like to take carbo food like noodles or rice. Doesn’t it look a bit like Bibimbap? Maybe I should call it Bibim Salad ; )

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Meet My New Babes – Ms Miserable Oaty, Ms Sweet and Sour and Little Ms Corny

It was a busy weekend as usual. But the highlight was my three new bakes. This time round, I scored 2 out of 3, an improvement over the pathetic 1 out of 3 two weeks ago. These were all new babes, uh.. bakes, I mean -- oat bran muffin, lemon squares and sweet corn cup cakes.
As the name says it all, Ms Miserable Oaty failed miserably. I’m still not sure why… somehow, my lucks with muffins have not been good recently. I followed the recipe to a T but the sides and top were burnt and the inside just couldn’t be baked fully. It was edible but just didn’t look good. Maybe next time I’ll add some flour since the recipe only called for oat bran, egg white, sugar, oil and applesauce. Or maybe I think I may have set the temperature wrongly – an absolutely no no for any baker.

Anyway, let me move on to happier bakes – yes, my first attempt at making lemon squares while not perfect, was nice (the real verdict will be out when I get the guinea pigs in my office to try them). But Ms Sweet and Sour (left) can certainly do with a makeover or some stitching up. Parts of the topping cracked and some parts were too ‘wet’. And even though I cut down the sugar by 30%, it was still too sweet. I realised I should have waited for the base to cool down before I put the white chocolate chips so that they will not melt and result in the topping being too wet. Or I could add a bit more flour.

The last bake is sweet corn cupcakes. This was supposed to be a corn swissroll. But I was too lazy and decided to just pour the batter into paper cups – and voila, Little Ms Corny (below) was born. To confess, I’m a terrible baker, I couldn’t fold in the flour properly and didn’t stir the melted butter evenly so much so that there was too much butter at the bottom of the bowl. But through the mistake, I realised those at the top with very little butter tasted much better and lighter. This means I can cut down on the butter by at least 30%.

Even though I’m really tired, I’m really happy. No time to try new bakes as I’ll have to concentrate on baking cookies for Chinese New Year ; )

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Mad About Salad

Two years ago, I chanced upon Carol Vorderman’s Detox For Life cookbook and it was unlike other detox recipe where all you eat or should I say drink is water, juices and nothing else.

While meat is not recommended, there are some recipes with fish which you can eat for maintenance. And that’s when I started falling in love with salads. Since I’m perpetually trying to lose weight to no avail, and ‘cos of health reason, I usually don’t put any meat in my salad.

There are two types of salads that I particularly like – grilled and raw salad.

1. Grilled/roasted salad – you can use mushroom (button or portebello) eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, beetroot, sweet potato, potato (though not encouraged in a detox diet). Cut the veggie and put them into an oven proof dish, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle some dried herbs (I usually use basil, rosemary or oregano) and add a dash of ground black pepper and salt to taste. Put them in a preheated over (200 – 220 degree C) and roast for 30 min for softer veggie like zucchini and 60 min for roots such as beetroot and potato.

2. Cut raw salad – This is really easy to make. Simply cube half a Japanese cucumber, small carrot, one stick of celery and an apple. (I like my salad to be colourful so if there’s no carrot, I’ll use red or yellow capsicum instead.) Put the cubed food on a bed of Romaine lettuce or baby spinach leaves. Sprinkle cinnamon and squeeze 2 limes into salad. Mix well and top up with nuts or mixed dried beans, and dried fruits such as raisins, dried figs or apricots and voila! A super healthy salad. Sometimes, I add two tablespoons of unflavoured low fat yogurt if I need the extra carbo. Or I mix my own salad dressing – Juice from two limes, 2 tablespoons of low fat milk, 1 teaspoon of honey mustard, some pepper and salt, mix well and pour onto salad.

My latest love is wasabi coleslaw (pix above). Finely shred two purple cabbage leaves, 1cm thick of green radish, 1/3 carrot, half an apple or shinjo pear. As the dressing goes well with seafood, sometimes I’ll add shredded crab sticks (or you can add steamed prawns if you like). And as usual, I’ll add my favourite dried fruits of raisins and wolfberries as well as some toasted black sesame. For the dressing, mix 2-3 tablespoons of lime or lemon juice and half teaspoon of honey with one teaspoon each of mayonnaise and wasabi paste (I used Japanese mayo and S&W wasabi paste sold in supermarkets and some Japanese restaurants). Add to salad and mix well.

If you like salad, there are really lots of variety and options that you can try. And some vegetables can help people with health problems. For example, celery is wonderful for people with high blood. Fennel and asparagus are great for those with water retention. But people with gastric and flatulence should avoid too much raw food, especially cabbage and certain root vegetables which may aggravate the problem. Whatever it is, consult a doctor if you are unsure and never never stop any medication without doctor’s approval.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

정말 좋은 주에 이에요 (A Really Great Week)

No, no, it’s not because I met my Prince Charming (or Korean Dream Guy?) or because I’ve struck toto. I just felt that it’s been a great week and wanted to count my blessings.

Great #1: The weather was much better… well, at least it behaved itself when I went for my runs. I clocked 59.5km this week (partly ‘cos I’m desperately trying to lose weight but it’s tough when you try out new bakes or dishes every week), played tennis for 2.5hours and had 3 yoga sessions. That should have burned at least 6,000 calories this week ; )

Great #2: My two-week leave for my Korea trip has been approved - yes! Even though the trip is in March/April, it’s great news ‘cos I can finally book my tickets and firm up my plans. My friend and I can’t wait for the trip… wish I’m going next week. But I'll have to study very hard or I'll end up drawing so that I can communicate with the Koreans (especially in the more remote villages and not so touristy places).

Great #3: I cooked kimchi ramyeon finally. I’ve had this craving for a few months but never got down to it. Partly ‘cos instant noodles are really fattening and high in trans fat. Even though I’m trying to lose weight, I decided I needed the extra calories after my long run. Furthermore, I didn’t bake the new oat bran muffin and chocolate cake as planned or as I rationalised ; )

Great #4: I got very good results for a project that I was working on and it received front page news – felt like jackpot.

Great #5: I won some money – it’s not enough to buy a suit from G2000 but nonetheless I’m still happy since it’s something that need not happen.

Let me end off with pixes of my homecooked kimchi dishes… enjoy ; )

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Mad about Kimchi

More than one year on, my craze for Korean stuff has not abated. In fact, it has become worst. As my friend says, 我中毒很深 (the poison goes deep). I can’t agree more but I’m sure I’m not the only Singaporean with such an ‘illness’. I think the worldwide craze for Korean VCD dramas and so on will make a very interesting behavioural case study for psychologists.

Now I cannot go by a week without eating kimchi or Korean food. This is quite ridiculous given the fact that I’ve never even tasted Korean food before I started watching any K drama. Well, as Korean food is not cheap in Singapore, I’ve started cooking Korean dishes. And I think the best thing and most basic ingredient one needs for any Korean meal has to be kimchi. You can eat it as it is, or cook kimchi soup, kimchi ramyeon, fried kimchi with beancurd etc etc.

So, I went in search of kimchi. In the past, I usually buy packaged kimchi (see pix above) but these are usually quite sour as they would have aged quite a bit. Now, whenever I go to a Korean restaurant, I’ll ask if they sell kimchi and how much. This is where you can find good kimchi if you’re a kimchi fan like me:

1. Restaurants – Jushinjung @ Pasir Panjang; Hyang To Gol @ Amara Hotel; New Seoul @ Tanjong Pagar; Auntie Kim’s @ Upper Thomson The price can range from $13 to $25 a kilo; and $5.50 to $13 for a box. I like Hyang To Gol’s best.
2. Food courts – Most places sell them for $3 for a box. So far, I think the best buy is from the Korean eatery at Food Republic, located at 5th level of Wisma Atria. It only cost $6 for a box which I think is definitely more than 500gm. And the quality is quite good too.
3. Selected Cold Storage and Korean supermarkets – $3.80 to $4.20 for a 200gm pack.
4. Isetan Supermarket @ Scotts – freshly made kimchi flown in from Korea - $3.20 per 100g – I bought the radish kimchi but didn’t quite like it as it was a bit bitter. It could be due to the type of radish used.

Unfortunately, most places only sell the common cabbage kimchi. If you want cucumber or radish kimchi, you’ll have to try Isetan Supermarket or buy the packaged ones which come in 500g or 1 kg pack with cost ranging from $10 to $18 depending on the variety chosen.

Look out for the next posting on Mad about Korean Food where I’ll list and rate the Korean restaurants I’ve visited in the past year ; )

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Mad about Baking

Valentine's Day comes early this year... these heart-shaped shortbread shows how crazy I am about baking now ; )

Recently, I’ve been very inspired by a friend, a homemaker who got hooked on baking, and a few bloggers who seem to be full time bakers! What they post on their blogs were really nice and looked so delicious… so much so that I also went a bit crazy and baked three new things this week. This is something which I’ve never done on a working week except during festive occasions or the President’s Challenge where I usually sell my bakes. [One of my new year’s resolution is to cook or bake something new every month. I’ve far exceeded my target for this month, having baked/cooked 8 new items!]

Unfortunately, only one of the new bakes turned out nice. My new shortbread. And I made it heart shape with some raspberry jam in the centre in celebration of my hot hot passion for baking ; ) Well, it’s not perfect yet. The dough was too soft but it tastes buttery enough and it’s not too sweet. This is the third shortbread I’ve made and the only that’s ‘successful’ even though I’ll probably put a bit more flour in future. Shall try using rice flour which some books claim to help improve the taste.

The other two bakes I made were chocolate banana muffin which was not moist enough. I think it’s because I tried to marry two recipes for a chocolate muffin and a banana muffin and it was a mismatch! Plus I probably overmixed the batter, resultig in many holes in the muffin. Fortunately, it was still edible. Next time, I will add more oil and milk to improve it. As I’m very weight conscious, I usually try the ‘healthier’ recipes or low fat options which requires very little oil or butter and eggs. Unfortunately, things that are delicious are usually unhealthy with more butter and fats.

I saved the worst bake of the week for last. Yesterday was a disaster – spent 40minutes kneading a bread that turned out inedible. Wasted my whole afternoon and got a scolding from my mom for wasting ingredients and my time. Sigh… My recent encounters with bread has not been good. Last week, I tried to make foccacia which also turned out to be a failure which I had to throw away. Maybe I need to attend a one month course on bread making. But it’s pretty expensive and since I’m planning to start my kids’ yoga class again on Saturdays, I will not have any time for baking classes. Nevermind, I shall try again next week and see if I give up baking bread forever.

When I took these chocolate banana muffins out of the oven, I thought they smelt and looked good. Alas, looks can deceive. But I'll certainly try again ; )

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Making New Year Resolutions is Easy, Keeping them is NOT so Easy... 아니?

Today is the last day of 2006 and it’s that time of the year again…. yep, time to reflect on what I’ve done. Have I kept all the 2006 New Year Resolutions I made?

Well, I did a half-year review in June and when I just checked, I realised I only did 1 out of the 6 that I had listed in June. That’s not very good, is it? Sigh… Guess the consolation is I achieved 7 out of 8 resolutions I listed in January (although one is only half completed).

This makes me wonder if I should set next year’s resolution. Would I be able to fulfil and keep them? Nonetheless, I think I should still do it so that at least I’ll have some targets for 2007.

So here goes:

1. Be Happy, really – even though I’m generally happy, there have been a few times this year when I kept thinking about the past. Sadly, some things are back to haunt me.
2. Be my parents’ good girl – they’re growing older each year and I really should spend more quality time with them and do more housework so they won’t nag at me too often.
3. Do a marathon – after completing my half marathon this year, my initial aim was to do a biathlon and marathon. But I’ve had to give up my biathlon dream ‘cos I can’t meet the swimming trial of completing 50m x 30 laps in 40min. My current timing using my breaststroke just will not do. I’m over 8min above the approved limit. The plan is now to learn free style so I can go for it in 2008. 4. Be more patient with traffic, people and things that don’t go according to plans. I must learn to like a bit of untidiness and not be so organised ; ) And learn to take things slowly.
5. Take better care of my health and lose at least 3kg. I have not been that healthy this year... some illness just will not go away.
6. Learn two new skill (?) This will contradict with item 4, wouldn’t it? I think I’ll cut down to one – either Japanese or html.
7. Bake or cook something new every month. This will be really fun but I’ll have to find friends, colleagues and neighbours to give them away ‘cos my parents refuse to be my guinea pigs.
8. Read more management books. I think 80-90% of my collection of books are on hobbies -- cooking, baking, photography, yoga, aromatherapy, massage and yes even keeping fishes (he he, yes, this is an ex-hobby).

Here’s wishing everyone I know and their family a Fabulous and Fantastic 2007. May it be filled with happiness, joy, peace, excitement, great health and fortune.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Cooking Korean Food is Fun

With long weekends and more time on my hand, I’ve been trying out a few new dishes and new bakes. I must say my craze for Korean food is back. Been trying out new Korean restaurants and cooking new Korean dishes.

On Christmas Day, I tried 삼계탕 (Ginseng Chicken Soup) and two new appetisers -- Stewed Lotus and pickled radish (don’t know their names in Korean). But I think떡볶이 or spicy rice cake is still my favourite.

But today, I tried a new dish – zucchini kimchi. It’s something I adapted from a recipe I got from My Korean Kitchen – a fantastic blog with step-by-step guides for those who loves to cook Korean food. The original recipe uses tofu instead of zucchini.

It’s more a side dish but I had this as a main dish for my dinner tonight. It’s really easy to make. Cut zucchini into 0.8 cm thick slices. Blanched in boiling water for a couple of minutes. Leave it aside. Put 1 tsp each of sesame oil, hot pepper sauce (I bought some from Auntie Kim’s Kitchen at Thomson and it’s really good) and sugar in pan, fry kimchi (about 200g) for a few minutes. Add enoki mushroom.

Put kimchi mixture on top of zucchini and add toasted black sesame seeds as garnish.

Enjoy ; )

Sunday, December 24, 2006

What is Christmas?

Time really flies… 2006 is ending soon and tomorrow is Christmas Day. What would I be doing? For some, Christmas is partying the night through… for others, it is a time to get together with family or old friends. And for the religious ones, it’s a time of giving and sharing.

What’s it to me? Many years ago, it was a time of giving and sharing, going to church to confess for all the sins that I’ve made during the year. Now, it is just another normal routine ‘weekend’ day. Frankly, I think Christmas has become quite meaningless in our society. Many offices have little celebrations, gift exchange, feasting etc. Many end up with gifts which they have no use for… some probably recycle them. Then there’s the endless feasting, of which, people (like me) will be quite stressed over losing all the excess calories taken.

And it’s sad that people are only thankful at this time… Seize the Day is what I believe in. Let me share two stories:
A girl gone mad
There is a girl who lives in her own world of grandeur. Let’s call her Jenny. She’s very clever and has many friends. But she has a bad habit – gambling. No one knew when it started. When the problem became known, Jenny had become a compulsive liar and gambler. After dropping out of varsity, she borrowed money from friends, family and associates. She bought expensive gifts and luxury items she didn’t need. When no one lent her money, she started stealing from her own family. No one believed what she said anymore. Those close to Jenny were angry at how she had changed. Sadly, soon she became deranged and finally ended her own life at a very young age of 25. I was there after it happened. I can still remember the cries and how everyone blamed themselves. I wondered if this tragedy could have been prevented… guess it’s something that I’ll never know.
An unfilial son turned good
The second story revolves around a son who somehow didn’t like his father. Let’s call him Ben. Ben is married with 3 kids and lives with his nucleus family. The father loves him very much and would call him regularly to keep in touch and check if the kids are alright. For no good reason, Ben rarely wants to talk to the father. One day, the father was sick – not very seriously but Ben’s brother sent him to the hospital as the clinics were closed. Ben was told in the morning but didn’t go down. In the late afternoon, the father, while waiting for the doctor, fell off the wheelchair and what was a simple fever, became fatal. While in the emergency unit, the brother called Ben. But again, Ben didn’t go down. When he arrived, the father had already passed on. Ben was really sad. But it was too late. Nonetheless, I think Ben learnt his lesson. Now, he visits his mom regularly and helps out at her hawker stall. So, all’s not lost.

These two incidents taught me two things :
1. Life is very fragile. Whether it is mine or those around me… you’ll never know when you’ll be asked to hand in your identity card. So, don’t wait till it’s too late to tell someone you love ‘I love you’. Or say ‘Sorry’ when you should. Don’t cry and think about doing this and that with the person when he or she is gone. ‘Cos it’s too late.
2. Seize the Day. Since the life we have is given to us and not ours to keep as we wish, do what you want to do NOW… seize the day. I’m thankful for each day that I wake up in good health, able to breathe in the fresh air and feel the warmth of sun or the light breeze on my face. Guess age does these things to you… Now, I appreciate the simple things in life more and I’m thankful for each day that I have.

Merry Christmas to everyone and may all your wishes come true.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Making Sushi is Really Fun ; )

Two weeks ago, I was at a friend’s house for a pot luck party and learnt how to make sushi. It was something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time but was too lazy to do it on my own.

For those who are keen, these are the simple steps:

What you will need:

* Japanese short grain rice
* Sushi seasoning
* Toasted seaweed
* Sushi soy sauce
Bamboo mat for rolling sushi
Cling wrap for reverse sushi
Ingredients for sushi toppings/ rolls: anything you fancy – Japanese omelette, roe, sashimi, wakame, pickled daikon, etc or try some local favourites – pork floss, luncheon meat, hai bee hiam (spicy prawn bits?? Hmmm, don’t really know how to translate this hokkien name); and sesame/salt mixture or salmon roe for reverse sushi

Cook Japanese short grain rice (readily available at Cold Storage). Realised that the amount of water used to cook the rice should not be too much or they’ll be too sticky and look like what’s in the photo.

2. Add sushi seasoning (again, readily available at Cold Storage or you can make your own with rice vinegar and sugar) and fan the rice at the same time so that they don’t stick in clumps.

3. Once you think the sushi rice taste is right, you can start making your sushi:
* For those with topping, just shape the rice using a palm and two fingers. Dab some wasabi and top it with sashimi, omelette or luncheon meat
* For rolls, lay half a piece of toasted seaweed on the bamboo mat, spread rice on seaweed (dab fingers in diluted vinegar so that the rice do not stick to your fingers), leaving a gap of 2cm at the end. Put your favourite ingredients – crab stick, cucumber etc – across the centre of the rice. Use the bamboo mat and roll the rice tightly. Once done, cut the sushi in swift movements using a sharp knife.

4. Serve with sushi sauce and wasabi.

Really easy, isn’t it?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Yes, I did the Singapore Half Marathon!

Things of sentimental values to me... my shoes, my number tag and medal (on my Korean blog)

After training intensively for more than 3 months, I finally did it. Yes, I completed the Half Marathon, the first one in my life. Crossing the finishing line was a bitter sweet feeling.

Of course it was great to complete 21.1km amongst 6,800 runners. But my timing was worse than I had expected. In my past three 21km training, I had always managed to do it under 2hours. Today, I took 10 more minutes than usual to cross the line at 2:00:11. But I guess with a fall (luckily it wasn’t a bad fall and there was only a slight abrasion) and more up slopes than I had expected, the timing’s not surprising. After the first 5km, I started doubting if the officials had measured the distance correctly! Because when I did the 10km Sheares Bridge Run which covered the same part of the route, I managed to do 5min for every km or less. And I had expected to be better after intensive training… But today’s run just felt very tough.

Anyhow, I’m glad I made it and the following are three lessons that I had learnt from my first competitive event:
1. Go at least 45min before flag off and warm up for at least 15min before going to the starting point. I thought I could warm up at the start pan (like my previous 10km run which didn’t have that many people)… little did I know it would be so sardine packed this time round!
2. Lose weight and try to be in tip top condition – this is a wish but something hard to control. I’ve been having an ankle problem for a month but I just couldn’t stop training.
3. Always try out the actual route before race day. At least you can be prepared and know what to expect.

What’s next? Well, I’ll be signing up for the Singapore Biathlon happening on 17 Mar 2007. And I’ll be training for my first full marathon next year, wish me luck : )

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Back from the BIG Apple

Yes! I’m finally back to sunny Singapore. Been back since 14 November but didn’t have time to blog till now… Wish I’m still on holiday but guess I have to be realistic especially when I’ve already burnt a big hole in my pocket.

This is my fourth trip to the States – it’s been an annual pilgrimage since I stepped foot on Hawaii four years ago. We set a number of records during this trip – it’s my longest trip there even though we covered more than the US. We also drove the most number of hours – 28 hours in total and enough miles to take us from Singapore to Hong Kong. Amazing, isn’t it! All thanks to a very good driver – not me of course ; ) The 1,600 miles took us all the way from New York to Atlantic City, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Montreal and back to New York.

Other records -- think I bought the most things of all my trips and worst of all, I came back with the heaviest luggage – went with a 27 kg load and returned with 36 kg. One of the drivers who carried it called it a ‘rock’. And it was really embarrassing to have to transfer some things to a friend’s luggage at the check-in counter as it had exceeded the limit per luggage. It’s also the first time I had a ‘heavy’ tag put on the luggage to warn baggage handlers. Plus, it went through security check – officers probably thought I had some gold bar hidden.

That’s all for now… Will have to find time to write the full story for my travel blog and put up my photos ; )

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Getting my life back

Yes! After being busy for a month including working on weekends, I finally found my life back.

It feels kindof weird that I don’t have to work this weekend. Is that how people become workaholics? Well, I’m not complaining…. I finally went shopping and didn’t have to rush. But still have lots of things to do. Have to finish my yoga report and most importantly, study my Korean. Didn’t touch my books for a week and I couldn’t answer a single question that my teacher asked. ‘Cos my brain was really half dead : (

정말 슬펐어요. [(I was really sad.)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I wish for clear blue sky

It’s been some time since Singapore experienced such a bad haze. The index today reached 150PSI : ( It’s been climbing up by the hour. And it’s making me feel sick… with a sore throat and breathing problems. Being optimistic... hmmm, or unrealistic... I'm still hoping to go for my weekly long run tomorrow. Planning to clock 20km. My dad says I’m crazy. I think so too. But I have to... what with all the mooncakes I've been eating and more importantly, I need to train for my half marathon. 어떻게? 어떻게?

Sigh... hope the PSI will drop by 6am.

Monday, September 25, 2006

A Sad Start to the Week

I haven’t had much time to blog. Whatever time I have, I’d rather update my Korean blog because I need to practise my Korean.

But something happened today… a colleague, let’s call her Rose, lost her sister last week. In less than a week, she lost her father. I felt really sad when I heard the news… Imagine having to grief for one but two family members who are close to you. I really cannot imagine how it painful it must have been.

Hours later, I heard from another friend that he may have gotten a terminal illness. So, it was a really a sad start to the week. Life is so fragile, isn’t it? Once again, I’m reminded that life is really short. And this came at a time when I was telling myself I have to slow down and cut down on the many activities that I’m immersed in. But when I hear news like this, how can I give up on the things that I want to do? What if there comes a time when I want to do but no longer have the ability to do? Would I be depressed then?

Guess I must simply find the right balance…

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Nike Vs Addidas

I’ve always been a loyal Nike fan (actually… since I was in school, gosh, such a long time ago). But of late, I’ve been thinking of switching over to Addidas because the recent Nike models weren’t that happening. As Addidas is the sponsor for the Singapore Marathon and I get 20% off as a participant, I finally bought my first pair of Addidas running shoes. My friend says it looks fierce… hope it lives up to its look and gives me excellent timing. Unfortunately, their running apparel aren’t that great, so I’m in quite a fix ‘cos I can’t be wearing Addidas shoes and Nike running gear – my body parts probably won’t be able to coordinate properly cos of the ‘conflict’. Yeah, call it pure vanity but that’s me. No conflicting sports wear brand on me. This is why I did not switch my tennis shoes to Addidas cos I’ll have to invest in socks, tennis skirt… all the way up to caps. Was at Queensway to buy a pair of tennis shoes (stuck to Nike cos the Addidas models weren’t nice) and saw another pair of Addidas running shoes that’s quite nice… hmmm, may just buy another pair if this pair performs well. Oh no! Gonna be broke.

Vanity aside, since I signed up for the Singapore Half Marathon, I’ve been reading up materials on preparing for the big race… well, I guess to some, it’s not that big, since it’s only a half marathon. But it’s big to me. And I’ve got exactly three months to prepare for it. A few websites have advised rest days in between training. This week, I’ve increased my distance to at least 7.5km finishing the week with 13.5km today. On average, I clock about 35-40km per week. But I don’t believe in rest days cos my body just doesn’t feel right if I don’t run or do any form of cardio exercises. I know my current schedule’s kindof crazy right now:

Monday – 1-1.5km swim – this is part of the training to prepare me for my biathlon
Tuesday – 7.5km run
Wednesday – 8.4km run in the morning and lunch time yoga
Thursday – 8.4km run in the morning and 1 hr power yoga at night
Friday – 8.4km run in the morning, lunch time yoga
Saturday – 1.5hr of tennis, followed by ½ hr gym and 20 -30 min swim
Sunday – 10-15km run

But I’ve decided to listen to the experts and set aside two days in a week for low impact exercise like swimming and yoga... so that I can last longer and take part in more marathons ; )

P/S: Can't upload photos of my pretty shoes... again... hope blogger.com corrects the problem soon : (

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Crazy Week

My Toy Boy and Heartbreaker - Quite tough to sell these gingerbread 'cos not everyone likes them

Indeed, crazy is an understatement. I’ve not been so busy for a long while. Everyday was filled with meetings after meetings, meaning work can only be cleared after office hours. As a result, I had to cancel my kids’ yoga class yesterday so that I could clear some work. But I’ve still got some way to go.

Anyhow, it was a great end to the week. My cookies sold out in 2 hours and my brownies sold out in 20min! Called my brownies – Nutelicious and Devil’s Delight… hmmm, maybe I should start an online business like what some entrepreneurs are trying to do.

And today, I did my first Sheares Bridge Run. Took part in the SAFRA 10km run and it was great. Despite having to run on the road (when I usually train on the track) and there were some slopes, I clocked 50min 12 sec. My target was 55min since I usually complete it in 52min during practice. Luckily, it rained only after I crossed the finish line. This is the 2nd run I’ve done and I’m looking forward to the Singapore Marathon on 3 December. Whilst I still can’t do the marathon, I’ve signed up for the half marathon. And my target? Under 2 hours will be great! Wish me luck ; )

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Food Business is Tough Business

Spent another 8 hours baking today. Baked four different type of cookies. I’m kindof regretting sending out my promo email for the 7 different types of cookies I’m supposed to be selling next week. And I was still planning to bake brownies and banana cake. I think I’m FAR too AMBITIOUS.

Last year, I baked 5 types of cookies and told myself I will not do it again this year and in the end, I’m baking 2 more types of cookies. Crazy, right? Thank goodness my mom helped me for a while, else I think I don’t need to sleep tonight. It's not just the baking, there's also the washing and packing which have to be done. While I love to bake, I think I’ll stick to it as a hobby and not my next career. (Teaching yoga is a better career choice.)

Ok, ok, no more ranting for the weekend. It’s for charity afterall… Tomorrow will be another back breaking day… two more types of cookies to go and maybe a brownie too.

P/S: Either something's wrong with Blogger.com or something's very wrong with my blog. I can't seem to upload photos anymore. HELP! So sad, everyone of my posting is supposed to be have a photo to go with it. 어떻게? 지금 섭섭해요 ; (

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My Fair Lady Rises to the Challenge

It’s the time of the year again to raise funds for the President’s Challenge. Last year, I baked cookies and they sold out in two hours, bringing in $280. I think it’s partly thanks to the sexy names I gave my cookies – My Fair Lady (simple sugee cookies), Sugar Babe (butter cookies with white and dark chocolate as well as butter scotch chips), KNockOUT Hunk (mocha cookies) and Muscle Man (oats, raisins and white chocolate cookies). Much as I hate to admit, sex sells. Anytime. I think it’s sad but it’s gotta one of the biggest and everlasting industry in the world.

Anyhow, over the past two weeks, I’ve made new cookies and again, I’ve given them rather sexy names – Nutz about YOU (peanut butter cookies with a healthy dose of chopped peanuts and walnuts), Hard Rock Squeakie (chocolate cookies with hidden marshmallow), Toy Boy and Heartbreaker (both are gingerbread cookies).

So far so good. I sent out my marketing email this morning and I’ve received $160 worth of orders so far. Will likely have to stop taking orders else I’ll have to work 48 hours this weekend!