Monday, December 14, 2009

Yoga @ Yoga Now, Langkawi

Yoga Now is 15 mins walk from the Cenang main beach road (quite far, should have drove in), behind the Rasa Restaurant. There're signboards at the junctions so it can't be missed.

At the end of the road, we saw a small traditional malay house, with a big blue banner.

The temperature outside was killing, but practicing inside the house was peaceful. It was a traditional Hatta class. The class started and ended with 3 OMs and chanting, I couldn't understand the sanskrit chanting but it sounded different from the Invocation chants I heard in other classes. We rested in Shavasana for a few minutes in between each pose/series. During the class, we listened to the sound of the wind chimes hanging outside the house, and felt the breeze through the windows.

I love the Sun Salutations the most - the flow was graceful like a dance. I forgotten how many we had done, but it wasn't as tiring as I thought it would be.

A combination of ab exercise, inversions, arms & standing balancing, forward & back bends, seated twisting and a full 10-minutes Shavasana refreshed my body and mind. It was a great lesson for my asana practice, as well as my daily life.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Homemade yogurt

During our Korea trip, 1 of the morning we had breakfast at a hotel that served fresh strawberry yogurt. Not those individual can that we buy from supermarkets. It was served in a big bowl like soup, with toppings like almonds and nuts. I had it with pieces of fresh oranges.

After coming back home, I miss the fresh yogurt. I then searched for the recipe on the net, surprisingly it's so easy! The only thing I needed to buy was a food thermometer.

I reused a spaghetti sauce glass bottle for measuring the amount of milk I need and to store my yogurt. I do not have a heating pad, I wrapped the bottle of warm milk + yogurt starter with towels, then put inside a food warmer bag and left it at a corner in my kitchen.

I didn't want it to be too sour, so I left it for about 9 hours (overnight). I woke up in the morning, sliced some strawberries, mixed it in the yogurt, and placed it in the fridge.

Homemade yogurt is not as thick as the commercial ones. It tastes great with the appropriate sourness yet feels so fresh especially to eat it with (lots of) fresh fruits.

Monday, November 23, 2009

BREATHS, BANDHAS & DRISHTIS workshop with Azmi

The first session of the workshop was mainly theory, and seated breathing practices. It was relaxed yet energizing for a Saturday morning. Ujjayi breathing alone made my body feel warm. Breath is an important part in Yoga - always breath comes first before the pose; inhale to lengthen, exhale to deepen. Long and soft breathing helps in claming and stabalizing the body.

During the short break, we had fruits and vegetables juice for a light refreshment before going into a more physical session of the workshop.

Bandha means inner locks. Locks of energy in different parts of the body to acquire strength for more challenging poses. I still can't differentiate the feeling whether it's 'locking' or squeezing these parts, though squeezing the muscles seems like giving me the results that I wanted.

More than 1 hour of asanas in exploring different Bandhas, then we proceeded to the Drishtis session. It was a short 15 mins or so Sun Salutations and some Vinyasa poses emphasizing on our Drishtis.

It was a very 'Ashtanga'ish workshop, tiring to me. I skipped the last few Vinyasas and came straight to Downward Facing Dog. The most beneficial part is about breathing, learning to breath right with the poses makes pratices more joyful and enjoyable.

Waiting for Part II workshop.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cupcakes with orange cream cheese frosting

I found the best simplest cupcake recipe (I added vanilla extract but not baking powder). The texture and taste are both great!

There're left-over oranges in the fridge, so I thought of making some orange flavoured frosting.

I used the frosting recipe here, with some modifications. I used the whole block of PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese (which is 250g), fresh juice instead of extract, and added the icing sugar to the sweetness I like(around 3/4 cup).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chocolate chips cookies

After finishing a packet of Famous Amos, I felt like baking some chocolate chips cookies. I used the recipe from Joy Baking.

Why the recipe uses un-salted butter and salt? So that we can adjust the saltiness? Anyway, I used salted butter (that's what I have at home) and skipped the salt :p

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Humble warrior

Practice to build strength and confidence.
Learn to bow and down to earth.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Banana shake

After a week of eat-and-sit/sleep Korea trip, it's time to cut down on heavy meals. I bought a comb of bananas and a big bottle of fresh milk for dinners.

To make 1 cup of banana shake, I used
1 Banana (around 100gm or slightly more)
150ml fresh milk
1 tablespoon oatmeal

mix and blend for 1 minute.

The best thing of making juice/shakes for dinner - washing is so easy :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Honeymoon in Korea

We love the weather and scenery there. Mild sunlight with cooling wind blowing on the face was refreshing, but not in the night because it was like needles pricking into the skin. Trees were in mixed colors of green, orange and red. Many places in the outskirt were planted with big cabbages, oranges and paddy, which were ready for harvesting in this season.

Many said food over there is bland and got bored with it after a while, but we enjoyed it till the last day of our trip. Most of the time we had steamboat, with lots of cabbage in the soup and refill-able side-dishes. Meals always served with plain rice - Korean rice which are fat and round similar to Japanense Sushi rice. But I noticed that Korean seldom serve fruits with meals.

Besides sight-seeing, shopping was great in Seoul. The Skin Food outlets were crowded with people as though they were shopping for groceries - getting baskets full of skin products. The streets were busy and lighted up till late at night, and we feel safe walking around. Some shops were opened till 11pm, many people were eating at the roadside stalls which seemed like they just got off from work. Happening yet safe city.

It's definitely a nice place to visit, but it would be more romantic if not going with a tour group - everything wouldn't be in a rush, then would have more time for strolling, snapping photos and shopping!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Marble cake

The cake I baked always 'explodes' in the center. Some said is the way of beating (after adding the eggs because eggs trap air inside the cake), some said is the heat distribution of the oven.

Tonight I tested again with a Marble cake mix which I bought some time ago.

I used the middle rack in the oven. First I turned on the top and bottom heat mode. After 20 minutes or so, when the cake slightly expanded in the center, I turned the heat mode to bottom only.

And it turns out great! Should experiment with other cakes :)

By the way, the instruction states that divide the batter into half and mix the cocoa powder into 1 halve. I shall make it 1/3 cocoa and 2/3 butter the next time I bake Marble cake, too much cocoa makes the cake too bitter.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

How to check on Triangle pose

I've learned this method from a Iyengar class, to check myself in a Triangle pose (Trikonasana).

By gently turning head back to look at the back heel to 'feel' the lower hip is slightly pushed to the front making both hips straight (on top of each other).

Next have to work on elongating both sides of my body.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fruit juice recipe

Taken at a fruit juice shop. More ideas on making delicious and healthy juices :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stepping into yoga studio again

It's been a long time we since we last went to Sri Hartamas, the only thing for us to go there was YZ. Today we drove on the usual highway, stepped into the same studio, but everything has changed.

I showed the free passes I got from KL Yoga to a girl at the reception, she wasn't sure whether the passes were valid. She asked whether I have the original copy (I got the passes through email and printed out) and from which branch did I bought the passes. I told her a detailed story from what is KL Yoga and how I got the passes from the net. Another guy walked out from the office, discussed with her, and finally accepted the passes. They wasn't rude but weren't as friendly compared to previous YZ's staffs. No class cards were given out to people who have registered for the class and no towels provided (we went down to the supermarket to get 2).

We attended Thomas's Hatha 1 class (which was the only pleasant thing that I experienced during this visit). During the class, a few students raised and asked whether they have entered the wrong session. Apparently, the schedule was changed and no one informed the students, and there wasn't a Today's schedule board at the entrance like before.

When we were leaving the place after bath, there wasn't anyone at the reception. No one greet you 'good bye' after class and no one 'pester' you to join membership after a trial class, I wonder that was good or bad.

Maybe it was a day after public holiday so the atmosphere of the place wasn't encouraging and motivating. Not sure about other members (I did see a few ex-members around), but I miss YZ very much.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Free ENERGY Yoga Passes

KL Yoga has been a great source for me to find out new Yoga studios/teachers, Yoga events and great health tips. And now it got even better - giving away free Yoga passes!

No slogans/proof-of-purchases/registrations/photos/videos needed, just do 1 of the 3 simplest thing:
1. Subscribe to KL Yoga OR
2. Spread the word in your blog/website OR
3. Post in Facebook

Act fast as passes are limited! And help spread the word/love around :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Egg tart - part II

With the correct sugar and new molds (exactly like what Christine used) I bought from Jusco last night , I couldn't wait to try baking egg tarts again, and this time was a success, great improvement!

No wonder the Chinese saying: 工欲善其事,必先利其器 (If a craftsman wants to do a job well, he first has to select a tool well.)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tea time - egg tarts

Thanks to Christine's recipe, I've learned to make my very own egg tarts. The ingredients and steps are simple and easy to understand. I followed the recipe exactly except for:

Sugar: I used fine sugar (not icing sugar as listed in the recipe) because Giant ran out of icing sugar. I think that's why the crusts ware too crispy, supposed to be firm but soft.

Shaping: I don't have cookie cutter, so I used a jelly cup, traced the round shape on the dough, then cut it out with a Kiwi cutter (the cutter came with a box of Kiwi that I bought some time ago, 'knife' at 1 side, 'spoon' at the other side)

I didn't have toothpick to test whether it's ready. I baked it for the maximum time - 30 mins.
Some had burnt crusts because the egg custard overflown.

Another problem was, I should've mold the dough till the top of the egg-tart-cup, I thought the dough would raise a little so I kept some space, but turned out my egg tarts were all too shallow :p

Anyway, they were delicious. The taste of the crust and custard was good, the correct sweetness that I like. Well done - to me :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lemon cake

We contemplated for 30 minutes or more, on whether to get this oven. It has the right size for baking and roasting chicken. It has a nice design that I like (conventional oven but not too conventional design). It comes with trays and grills. The price is lowered (which is attractive) because it is a display unit and no more new stock (the reason we couldn't make up our mind).

After walking around the electrical section a few times, we decided to take it :) And glad we did.

My first project was Lemon cake. A simplest/instant recipe: Pillsbury Moist Supreme Cake Mix :p

@ 20 mins.

@ 40 mins. Ta-da~ I don't know why my cake always 'explodes' in the center. Why can't raise evenly?


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Seated forward bend

It's a busy start for August. Translation tasks at work are making me crazy looking and comparing Chinese vs. English sites. Not sure it's because I haven't restarted my system for a week or it's because of the heavy load of chinese characters in MS. Excel, it's giving me super slow respond time (hanged a few times) and made my work even more frustrating.

Bringing forward the class today, just want to shut down my laptop and enjoy the rest of the evening.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lunch today - Inari sushi

So glad to find that Jusco @ IOI mall is selling the frozen Inari skin. I guess this is the simplest Japanese dish I can prepare.

1. Steamed some rice using steamer. Didn't use Japanese rice because it's expensive. Didn't use rice cooker because I added slightly more water to make the rice sticky (than normal rice we eat with chinese dishes) and putting extra water to cook in rice cooker makes the rice stick to the pot - no good.

2. Hard-boiled an egg. Smashed it and mixed with some Japanese mayonnaise.
3. Cut some Japanese cucumbers into small sticks.

4. Opened the defrost Inari skin (it then looked like a small bag/pocket), put in some rice, topped with the mayonnaised egg and cucumber.

5. Itadakimasu.

Ate with some boiled Edamame.

Only had 4 Inari sushi with some soybeans and I'm feeling so full~

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara)

Previously some new comers joined the class so we've skipped Sun Salutations for quite some time. I want to make sure they build strong foundation of the basic poses before introducing them the sequence in a flow. Today we started our class with Sun Salutations again. 4 sets of Sun Salutation A.

Each time we place our palms on the ground next to our feet in our begining Standing Forward Bend, we don't move our palms until we raise up from our ending Standing Forward Bend.

Palms on the ground here is like our aim. Sometimes we move forward, sometimes we fall back. We never move our aim or lower our expectations. We move on, whether it's a big leap, or step-by-step, we work hard to reach for our aim.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cantonese style fried noodle

Dinner for tonight:

I used the instant noodle I bought from Jusco last night:

1. Boil the noodle till it's cooked, rinse with cool water and leave it aside.
2. Stir-fry some chopped garlic (for fragrance), together with some sliced capsicums (green, red and yellow), celery, and Shitake mushroom.
3. Add some water (depends on how much gravy you would like), add some soy sauce and pepper.
4. When it's boiling, beat an egg into it, mix it.
5. Add some corn starch to make the gravy thicker.
6. Pour the vegetables with gravy onto the cooked noodle.
7. Eat :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The story of Warrior (Pose)

A warrior went to a yogi wanted to learn yoga from him. The yogi told the warrior to stand while waiting for him to medidate. The yogi medidated for a hundred years and the warrior was still standing strong (in his warrior pose). He has learned yoga - he learned to endure to be strong and to be determined in doing what he has decided.

Yoga is not only about asanas, it's about the way we live our life.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Iyengar Workshop with Riana A. Singgih

First thing she asked the class was anyone practices Iyengar yoga. No one responded. She laughed. She explained briefly what is Iyengar yoga and started the class with the "Invocation to Patanjali", she said those who would like to chant can follow her line-by-line, but after her first line, everyone kept quiet and she continued till the end. Again she laughed, no one heard of it? I did, in Nicola's and Amanda's classes, typical Iyengar style of starting class. But I just followed the 3 OMs.

The first pose was Adho Mukha Svanasana, she spoke in Sanskrit. The class looked at her. Third laugh, you don't know the Sanskrit names? Dog pose :p She didn't sound too sarcastic, she was just surprise (at least to me), as this is a workshop, she must be expecting some 'serious' Yoga practitioners. But in fact, most of us treat Yoga as a form of physical exercise. Chanting, meditation or Mudras(hand gestures) are too religious or spiritual. Anyway, it was fun that everytime she said a Sanskrit name, she followed by the english name of the pose, and sometimes she asked "this is what you called right?" :D

A lot of corrections on alignments are done. She walked around the room with her 'forceful' instructions and I was very sure everyone only started to adjust themselves or looked themselves into the mirror when she mentioned something.

Some poses needed a partner, I went alone so I had to make friend with a girl seated next to me, but she's an extremely quiet girl, we didn't even exchange names, merely following instructions.

We did Downward Dogs, Standing Forward Bends, Triangles, Warrior IIs, a few Vinyasas and Seated Forward Bends & Twists. At our last 1/2 hour, we were out of time, we could choose to do either backbends or inversions. Eventually we proceeded with Headstand. Everyone in the class was adventurous, some did it in the center of the room, some against the wall. She spotted incorrect alignments in all these poses and explained how to adjust ourselves and how to help the others. Correct alignment is very important to prevent injuries and to obtain the benefits out of the poses.

Most sports (at least for those I've tried) are trained with correct postures before you attempt to score. Bowlers simply throw the ball to practice the correct style before learning to aim the pins; golfers swing their golf sticks hitting the air to practice the correct posture before learning to hit the ball with the correct strength. Correct postures in Yoga (and in our daily life) is even more important because that's how we score the game.

Finally we ended the class with, of course, Shavasana and 3 OMs. Tired, but very beneficial.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

First scarf

Thanks to Karen for her encouragement and thanks to Youtube for its great videos (videos from CyberSeams are the best!), I've completed my first knitting project - a simple scarf of Garter stitch. Videos made learning so much easier, I admire people who learned from books with just 2D images.

Garter stitch - every row, front and back have the same pattern.

The scarf looks OK on the whole, but I know a few flaws. I can't hide the frayed knots of the yarns, I can only 'adjust' them so they are only visible on 1 side of the scarf, that becomes the back of the scarf. And binding-off was the most tricky part, everything was good until the 2nd last stitch :( I didn't know how to save it. However, I learn from my mistakes, hopefully next one will be better :)

I used 3 balls of yarn for that, it's kind of short, so I've prepared 5 balls for my next project. Knit stitch on every row bores me, I'm going to try the Stockinette Stitch this time.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

For a better breathing

It's been hazy nowadays. Today's class emphasized on chest/lungs expansion. Most backbends do the trick.

Pigeon pose.

We ended our class with Kapalabhati, a breathing technique to cleanse our nasal passage and lungs, eliminate more carbon dioxide and take in more oxygen, giving ourselves a fresh mind to continue our daily routine.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Steamed beancurd with mushroom

It was a busy night. Work and meetings after meetings. So had to cook something really simple.

I love eating steamed beancurb. During my super-lazy days, I would just pour some oyster sauce on the beancurb and steam it. If not, I would add some 'toppings'.

1. Soak some dried Chinese mushroom until soften, slice it.
2. Add some seasoning to the sliced mushroom - I used vegetarian oyster sauce and a bit of sesame oil.
3. Spread the marinated mushroom on the sliced white beancurd. Steam for ... I didn't time it, but should be around 10-15 minutes (depending on how much water in the steamer and which type of pot/wok material is used).
4. Sprinkle some chopped spring onions and serve.

White and supple, mmm~~~

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Daidomon @ Great Eastern Mall

A friend showed me the Daidomon promotion e-flyer last Thursday. We spontaneously decided to go try it out today. We've tried Jogoya promotions for several times and we think their service is terribly lousy during promotion period, we were thinking whether it would be the same for Daidomon.

Amazingly, the food is nice and the service is even better! This was our first time having Japanese BBQ, we do not know what to order and the waitress kindly suggested and brought the food to be BBQ-ed to us in her most friendly smile. She explained to us how to use the stove/hot plate, and came to check on us (and other customers) from time to time whether we need anything else or any help. This is so different from other eat-all-you-can restaurants when having promotion where they usually are 'too busy' to refill or take your order.

Daidomon serves a full range of buffet main dishes, beverages and wine.

Got my main dish and salad from the buffet line.

Fried rice, fried noodle, stir-fried vegetables, Maki (a bit messy looking though), potato salad and deep fried vegetable pie

I love the japanese salad dressing.

It also provides a menu which we can order raw meat and vegetables for BBQ.

Too bad they didn't have the Yasai Tempura today.

After the BBQ, we had fresh fruits, fruit cocktail and ice-cream for dessert. And I have to say, all self-service ice cream gives me a hard time, regardless it's Walls or Häagen-Dazs, I always have aching fingers after scooping it.

Not worth paying 39.90++ for vegetables only? I enjoyed the food as well as the get-together and it was all worthed it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

My breakfast today

Keen Yee always complain about my heavy yet unhealthy breakfast. So this morning I prepared something 'considered' healthy.

There are many ways to make French toast. When I was young, the mum-way was dip the bread in beaten eggs, pan-fry it, spread butter/margarine on it and sprinkle some sugar on it. My way of doing it now is dip the bread in beaten eggs (sometimes I add a little fresh milk in it), pan-fry it with olive margarine (more fragrant) and sprinkle some sugar on it (raw brown sugar). A bit of oiliness and sweetness always make the food tastier but we can be eating healthier by choosing our ingredients wisely.

I did not add milk into the eggs today because I prefer to enjoy it just by itself. The Anlene Concentrate is my new favourite now. Those who dislike milk because of its cow-y smell should try this, vanilla flavoured milk.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

When migraine strikes

I love teaching (or should be sharing knowledge of) yoga. But there were times I felt reluctant to go to class, that’s when migraine strikes. While struggling with the pain in my head, I struggled to send out the class cancellation email. Skipping my own class is more guilty compared to skipping other's classes, especially they only got to practice once a week.

Most of the time I dragged myself to class during these moments. And I never regretted because I always feel good yoga-ing. Even though it’s merely 1 hour it makes me forget about the unendurable pain. The pain do comes back after class (saddest fact is only pain-killer subsides the pain), but I just wish to make myself feel good for as much time as possible in my life.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Wedding preparation and shopping

There are many chinese customs to be carried out before the wedding ceremony. We are all modern generations and have simplified many of them but some customs are not avoidable. Not to mention there's also a lot of shopping to do, all the auspicious but tedious things to prepare.

Thanks to RedBliss that provides one-stop service of everything related to wedding, saving our time of searching and shopping. Now they are having 30%-discount-promotion so more of a reason for us to get everything we need from them.

A set used for An Chuang (install the bed) custom and the actual wedding day.

A pair of modern 'oil lamp' to be kept lighted for 3 days 3 nights, have to get Duracell batteries for that :p

Tub for bathing baby (pre-wedding, and we are talking about babies here :| ).

Sewing kit replaced the sewing machine of olden times, representing the girl (bride) is good in sewing and other needle works.

Potty set - oranges and ang pao to be placed inside and sealed with red paper. A young boy to be asked to break the paper to get the oranges and red packet on the wedding day representing the couple giving birth to boys (not only babies, and must be boys :| ).

Anyway, being a chinese, I'm sure this a journey that every married couple went through, so I shall not complain too much and just comply.

The sales girl reminded us a lot on how/where to place, what to do with those things. So many rules~ I hope I can remember all of them.