Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Would You Be My Date

I am dating a lot these days, going out of my way to make new acquaintances and treading the path I should have long taken. I haven't been treating myself right with the intoxicating relationship in the past. Although they were many cherishable, beautiful moments but deep inside I just knew it would not be good for my heart.

When I made the decision to move on, I took the pledge of not allowing myself to be enticed by the sweetness of it all. It was harder than I thought, it was for me life changing. And now that I am dating again, I feel free to choose who is the best suitor for this heart of mine. I trust myself enough not to fall again for titillating looks and piquant appearances, instead choose one for the better.

I am always on the look out for the right balance of highs and lows and today I found one. I am dating this fellow for now. :o)

Date Bars

original recipe adapted from here

1 and half cup of diced pitted dates.
2 tablespon of orange juice or any juice you have
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 and a half teaspoons baking powder
3/4 brown sugar
½ teaspoon rock salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon low fat spread, melted
1 tablespoon hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, chopped

1. Toss the dates in the fruit juice and let them sit for at least 30 minutes(I just left them for 15 minutes)

2. Preheat the oven to 175 Celsius. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil and coat the inside with non-stick spray; set aside.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, and eggs until smooth. Mix in the butter, hot water, and vanilla, then stir in the flour mixture. Use a spatula to stir in the dates (and any liquid) and the pecans.

5. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let date bars cool, then lift out the bars. Peel away the foil and cut into squares. The bars will keep for up to four days at room temperature, or can be frozen for up to two months.

Since the doctor has cautioned me about my cholesterol level, I am now embracing the low fat and low calorie dessert diet. So from time to time I would feature recipes which are in this category and hopefully convert more people to the healthy way of eating.

Come, let's be my date for this project.

The Elixir

Almost always at the end of the month when I look into my purse, there isn't much left for me. There is always enough to go around alhamdulillah, but not enough for me to buy myself a good set of skin care products. My sensitive mengada2 skin needs brands such as Seba Med or perhaps Clinique and I can't afford all those. I used to ignore the rashes and the itchiness after using the normal soaps but at times it became intolerable especially when your work got postponed just to attend to the scratching of your skin all over.

After much reading, I learnt that there is an inexpensive way to looking and feeling good. I have been using it for more than a year now and within that period of time I met friends who noticed the difference in my skin's texture. It is funny everytime when friends ask me if I was using any special brands like SKII or at least Olay Total Effects. And I don't know how to break it to them about my new skin care regime. It's because all I have sitting on my bathroom sink is this...

The Himalayan Rock Salt. This is what I use to substitute my soap, my cleanser and my scrub. I bathe in salt water, exfoliate my skin, cleanse my face and brush my teeth with it everyday. I have found this very comforting in ways that are befitting to my budget as well as to my sensitive skin. My kids use it too and it is as natural as natural can be. Other than that, I use rock salt for my cooking and cakes. It tastes so much better and the kids have also acquired the taste.

It is a remedy to a host of problems, internally and externally. Ladies should soak themselves with salt water and rub the salt around the fatty areas as it is believed to melt the fat away. It soothes your aches and and rids the negative energy simultaneously installs some positive ones. A lot can be said about this natural wonder and if you have the time do read up about it. Below are some of the benefits gathered from the internet.

The Himalayan Rock Salt that I use. A kilo is around RM5. Buy the unrefined, unbleached, pink salt available at any supermarket. The mineral content of Himalayan Rock Salt is more superior than Fleur de sel, the expensive gourmet version. For those like me who do not have much extra, this is just as good.


Natural salt in general contains the minerals in the same proportions as the human body does. It is necessary for the normal functioning of the metabolism, the absorption of water, the electrical communication between the cells, and also for mineral nutrition.

Himalayan crystal rock salt is the cleanest salt available anywhere on the planet and contains all of the elements that are found in the human body. This salt is absolutely pristine and is identical to the ancient oceans, as it was dried up by the sun millions of years ago.

There are many benefits to Himalayan crystal rock salt. These include:

re-mineralising the body with 84 minerals and trace elements that are essential to good health
it assists in the cellular absorption of minerals
it replenishes the body’s electrolytes and balances the body’s pH
it brings about significant improvements in the respiratory, circulatory, and nervous systems
it improves the connective tissue in the organs

Himalayan Salt has a higher level of latent energy, which eventually will be transmitted to the water we bathe in, drink, or cook with.

When bathing, it also gives an antiseptic effect to the skin and reduces histamine that causes inflammation and itching sensation.

- Salt bath can be very efficient in eliminating the toxins of the body while enriching the skin with vital minerals.

Salt Benefits for gums and teeth

- Salt makes the perfect mouth wash - you can use it to rinse your mouth after brushing or even as a more natural tooth soap directly on the brush. Use it in a 1% salt brine.

Dry Salt naturally soothe allergies, asthma and congestion.

- By inhaling salt-infused air, you can calm, regenerate and flush the entire respiratory system for easier breathing. In Europe (mainly Eastern Europe), asthma sufferers are often treated in salt mines - the salt air kills airborne pollutants. Salt, in fact, has been known as the "the first antibiotic.

- It is effective as an inhaler, without the toxicity

- Crystal salt lamps naturally improve the quality of air we breathe by generating negative ions

Salt can also stop persistent dry cough and clear the lungs of mucus plugs and sticky phlegm, particularly in asthma, emphysema and cystic fibrosis sufferers.

- Put it on the tongue after drinking a glass or two of water.


More information can be obtained here.

So Ida, I think I have given you the answer to my Elixir. I think you have a packet of it too. Now, all you have to do is use it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ribbon Me Happy

Thanks so much Rosdiana!

We could only choose from these three colours of blue, white and black to adorn our hair. Colours were such a big thing then and being deprived of them was accepted as an abuse to our rights as children. But since blue was my favourite colour, I didn't mind the rule at all. I had my ribbons in many shades of blue, there was navy blue, light blue, sky blue, electric blue, midnight blue. And when I was feeling a little bit adventurous I would use a few types of blue to tie on my ponytail. It was either the ponytail or the pigtails, even though I would do anything to have someone do my hair in french braid.

I went to school taking the bus with my best friend at that time, Liza. She was the fairest of them all. She had the longest hair to the envy of everyone including me. Her brown hair attracted attention from friends to teachers to boys. We were just 8 years old then and all we knew was what ribbon to wear to school the next day. Having the fairest of them all as a friend didn't boost my confidence. In comparison to her, I was the darkest of them all. It wasn't the first thing on my mind then, but the people around us were the ones who made the fuss. When we walked around together, they would say things like "black and white", "day and night" and a few others not good to say them here. I refused to pay much attention but sometimes when those were the only words you heard even when you were at home I eventually withdrew from the crowd. Liza too somehow didn't come by as much, as her popularity grew over the years.

Being self conscious at such a young age was honestly miserable. I became somewhat contented confining myself in my room with my fairytale books. I did not read that many books only these few ones which I memorized from page to page. I was in my mind the Cinderella with my brothers as the evil step sisters, the Sleeping beauty with me falling asleep most of the time after rounds of Tedrals, the Rapunzel sans the long hair,but I always imagined all the ribbons I could put on my hair if I was Rapunzel. I was all the fairytale characters except for Snow White of course.

Thanks so much Yanie!

As I wore my blue ribbon on my ponytail one morning, in the guestroom downstairs looking forlorn as my hair wasn't behaving that day, I heard him sing. He was next to me, sitting on the edge of the bed holding on to his cane, just about to disembark his bed when he crooned ...

"...hitam manis, hitam manis, yang hitam manis, pandang tak jemu, pandang tak jemu, yang hitam manis pandang tak jemu." "Hitam manis tok ni nak pergi sekolah dah?"

I felt better instantly and I smiled with the biggest of smile so I could make him see as he was partially blind and straight away took his hand and salam and cium tangan. "...kakyang nak pergi sekolah dah tok! Nanti kakyang balik, tok cerita ayam togel lagi and Sang Kelembai lagi k" He chuckled like he always did with his small eyes behind those thick glasses.

Other than my ribbons, Tok made me happy.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Long Entry

First of all, I would like to offer you these flowers. You can pick your favourite colour and wear it on your hair k. Pak Kordi, mintak maap banyak2, bunga ini untuk wanita2 shj.

My right shoulder hasn't been cooperative lately. Simple chores like laundry, cooking and typing words here can be quite a challenge for me. Sometimes it hurts to even stretch out my hand to wave goodbye to the kids. If you haven't seen me wave, just know that it is always a frantic gesture, nothing subdued or melancholic in nature, hence the pain. So now I just flank the kids with a more princessy one, the kind that would make the late Princess D proud.

I am a familiar face at this friendly clinic to where I go for my shoulder therapy. The doctor suggested that I go under the red light and also do some ultra sound treatments to relieve the pain. When I smsed by better other about the ultra sound thingy, he jolted. Of course I had to say the doctor wanted to check if the baby was fine and that he had given me some vitamins, iron pills similar to the ones a pregnant lady would have to consume. He was more than alarmed, he was scared. I think I knew where he was coming from. He didn't want to go through it again with me in the OT battling for my life. It was a difficult pregnancy and labour the last time around and he was there to witness it all. I knew I should have just made him stay outside.

Due to the persistent pain, not subsiding after the many treatments, the doctor asked for my blood sample. It came out that I am hypoglycemic, anaemic and with a high cholesterol level. It only means that my sugar level is constantly low even after meals and cake consumptions around 3.8 to 4.2,yeah I know! and according to the doctor my shoulder pain is due to the insufficient blood flow. He ordered me to take a lot of carbo,maintain a low fat diet and also to take sweet things and food that is high in iron like meat, cockles, more often. Agak keliru di situ kerana saya patut menjaga tahap kolestrol saya tetapi saya perlu mengambil makanan yg tinggi zat besi yang selalunya tinggi kolestrol juga. Since I am allergic to seafood, I end up eating lots of spinach, oats bread and fruit juices in between. Dan pada sebelah malamnya saya berjalan, tahap lari2 anak untuk menurunkan tahap kolestrol saya. Sekarang ini ketembaman saya sangat terserlah. Tanya kawan saya Yanie.

Other than that, I am good alhamdulillah. I have been baking despite the pain but so much less now. I take only what I can do, I know my limits. The shoulders still hurt and I constantly smell like minyak hijau 24 hours a day. When that familiar smell tickles my olfactory I think a lot of my arwah grandfather as he smelled like that all the time with the biggest toothless smile on his face. That thought of him makes me happy.

Time spent with kids the last school holidays also made me happy. We travelled north all the way to Alor Setar to see paddy fields. My son asked me, "pokok beras tu tinggi tak Mama?" He is a big rice eater, so I knew I had to bring him to see how "pokok beras" looks like.

As we entered Kedah, paddy fields were a big spread of green carpet along the way. We pointed to him, tu la pokok padi, with our fingers pointing to the greens. Later he said, "...satu padang ni ada sikit jer pokok padi ke ma?, then we knew he thought pokok padi were the trees spotted di tepian sawah padi. Of course kakak had to scream "No! Adnin, tu ha yang macam rumput tu lah pokok padinya eeeeeeee! " tak pasal2 kena tengkin hahaha.

The Paddy Museum was a must visit for these kids. It was an interesting visit and a must go if you are in that region. What we liked best about the Museum was perhaps the 360 degree mural on the top floor. I could just sit there for hours all day long with that panaromic view rotating in front of me. On our way to my uncle's house the adorable CikTan, we made a quick stop to visit a baker friend of mine. We have never met each other so it was a surprise for me as it was for her. She greeted us with cakes and brownies and the warmest hospitality. We talked for quite a bit and she was excited to tell us about her new guesthouse venture. If you do not have a place to stay when you are in Alor Setar, her guesthouse is the perfect treat for you and family. Thanks so much Zue for having us that day. It was lovely meeting you and kids.

This is my baker friend Zue.

After a quick reunion and the scrumptious meal provided by our favourite uncle CikTan (thanks so much Ciktan !), we headed to Alor Setar tower to capture the sunset. The view from the top was breathtaking! We initially thought of having dinner there but after reaching for our wallets and realizing we didn't have that much to splurge on, we came down and settled for some leftover food we bought earlier.

CikTan and Nawal and hubs.

The Alor Setar Tower

The school holidays ended brightly for the kids. We purchased the iCity tickets via Groupon. The idea was to bring the kids to see snow, in the big refrigerator :o). My sister convinced me that her friend had advised her it wasn't that cold. Rasa macam peti ais jer. So we only wore a jacket each, declining the thick coats that were provided upon entry. Mentang2la my sis tu dulu blajar kat negara yg selalu snow, so she just put on a flimsy shirt on. Masuk2 jer we chuckled at those with thick clothing and scarves around their neck with the attitude "Relaxla bukannya sejuk sangat" and giggled again. Haish.

After a couple of minutes, I felt like strangling my sister who was looking half frozen already. Tetapi disebabkan saya tidak boleh mengeluarkan tangan saya akibat kesejukan yang melampau, keinginan saya itu tidak tercapai. The kids were ok running around waiting for their turn to go on all the snow rides. I on the other hand could not take it anymore, so I took my niece and ran for the exit door which was waayyyyyyy at the other end. I seriously thought I had to amputate some of my toes due to frostbite since I was just wearing crocs. The kids could not stand the extreme cold any longer, they too ran for the exit abandoning all the rides.


they had to settle for the rides outside.

iCity Shah Alam.

Itulah sahaja cerita-ceriti saya setakat ini. Will share with you some cake pictures in another entry soon k.