Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Making Tang Yuan (汤圆)

I made the same mistake I made last year, bought the wrong rice flour. The dough made from normal rice flour is much harder, and couldn't get cooked even boiled for a long time, it looked cooked outside, but raw inside.

Only around 10:15pm last night I realised I made this mistake again. And quickly we went to the nearest supermarket when they were closing, but they had their glutinous rice flour sold out. We then went to an indian grocery shop and fortunately they still have a few packets left. To make it more dramatic, it started raining when we stepped out of the house.

Remember, use Glutinous Rice Flour, there're 2 types of rice flour.

I do not have a particular recipe for this. I mix the flour and water gradually to get the desired dough texture (Firm enough to roll and do not stick). Add and mix in coloring when needed. Roll the dough into small balls. Cover them with cling paper (to avoid losing moisture from the dough balls) and keep them in the refrigerator for the next-day's use.

Today is Winter Solstice Festival, 冬至. Chinese celebrate it, family members gather togather and eat Tang Yuan, symbolizes reunion.

In the morning, I boiled the Tang Yuan in a pot. When the Tang Yuan floats onto the surface of the water it means it's cooked. I scooped the cooked Tang Yuan and into a bowl of cool water to avoid them from sticking to each other.

I used Gula Melaka (coconut sugar), boiled in water, made the dessert soup to eat with the Tang Yuan. Too bad I did not prepare some Pandan leaves to go with it, if not it will be more fragrant. Again, no complicated recipe, just boil a small pot of water, stir in the Gula Melaka bit by bit until I get the desired sweetness.


Monday, December 20, 2010

How to lift in Purvottanasana

I can't seem to lift my hips higher in this pose, was it because of my shoulders aren't opened enough?

Try to pull shoulder blades close to each other to support the chest.

Another thing that we should try is to lift through our feet. Step our feet firm into the mat and not merely supporting our body on our arms. This will help to reduce risk of hurting our wrists.

Most importantly is to keep our neck relax in this pose. Keep it neutral to the spine.

Feel the strength and stretch on the thighs and the spine.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Morning vs Evening

Most people think that one should not exercise on empty stomach. But Yoga is different. I love practicing on empty stomach in the morning. It awakens my drowsy body, clear my mind, nourish my brain with lots of oxygen (rather than be used to digest my food in the stomach). A morning practice prepares me for my day ahead.

I love to end my day with an evening practice, before dinner. It releases body fatigue from a hard day, brings peace to mind, makes me sleep through the night and wake up to a brand new, hopeful and positive day.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

One month has passed...

I've learned to organize a class without refering to my sequence notes, everything is in my mind.

I've learned to not use the "I want you to..." instructions too much. Thanks to Jaclyn, simpler and straight-to-the-point instructions are easier to be catched. And my instructions now don't sound so demanding (like a kid).

I've learned how to observe and take care of the elderly in class.

I've learned that, it's not possible to please everyone. I'm utterly greatful to those who allow me to spread the goodness into them.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A new start

Today is a great start.

It was a beginner's class, I felt more nervous than attending my TTC exam and teaching all other classes I had previously. I wasn't sure why. It could be the expression on the faces, it could be the merely-2-feet-distance with the teacher coordinator (the examiner), it could be the surrounds of all total strangers, or it could be a bit of everything.

I received compliments and criticisms. I accepted them with an open heart because both are motivations to reach further and achieve more. This is how one can grow stronger.

I believe therefore I am.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Baked macaroni and cheese

200g Mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/2 of it, another 1/2 diced
1 1/2 cup macaroni
1 broccoli, diced
2-3 Shitake mushroom, diced
Olive oil, salt and pepper


1. Boil macaroni.

2. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil and fry broccoli and mushroom until half-cooked. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to deep baking try (I do not have casserole dish so I used baking tray).

3. Preheat oven to 180°C.

4. When macaroni is almost cooked, drain and add to fried broccoli and mushroom. Add the diced cheese. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper and gently mix together.

5. Cover with the sliced cheese and bake until cheese is melted and the top slightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Enough for 3-4 servings.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Marina Yoga @ Krabi, Thailand

Marina, the owner of Marina Yoga, has a strong accent, I didn't know which was it until she told us she's from Germany. (That explained why our day tour agent who called her on the phone helping us to book for a class started with "Sawadee Ka" but ended up speaking broken English).

Her yoga place is a hut, an airy and quiet hut surrounded by plants, 2 doors away from her house. There's a gazebo beside the hut, a whiteboard hanging in front of it noting the time of classes and names of registered students. And, her 2 pet dogs and some stray cats walking around guarding the place, in peace.

I enjoyed her Hatha class very much. It was an evening class so there weren't any vigorous steps or series. We had a smooth flow of warm-up, arm strength series, abs exercise, standing balancing, stretching, twisting, and ended with a short Yoga Nidra.

Her instructions were clear with demonstrations. Her encouragement words were strong and powerful, yet fun. Her words during Shavasana had calming effects. Our evening class was a fun, satisfying workout. She's a friendly lady and likes to chat. She told us how she came to Krabi, how she loves Krabi and how she built up her Yoga business there.

I wonder I will go back to Krabi for my future vacation, but I do hope we will meet again, maybe in another part of the world.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Stay firm

Time changes things - people, places, perspectives, life.

Regardless of the changes under your feet, stand strong and stay firm in your beliefs.

Tree pose at Ao Nang beach

PS: Wave comes and hits your leg, the sand fades away under your foot making your standing ground loose, your mind must be strong, your focus must be sharp, in order to stand firm - great balancing exercise.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Cheese Tarts



125g butter
65g castor sugar
1 egg yolk
250g plain flour
1 tbsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla essence


250g cream cheese
20g butter
60g castor sugar
1 egg


1. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla essence.
2. Add in egg yolk and water. Continue creaming.
3. Fold in flour and mix.
4. Wrap pastry in plastic bag and chill in refrigerator for 1/2 hour.
5. Roll chilled pastry to circular shape and cut with pastry cutter and line in tart molds.
6. Prick some holes on the base of the pastry using a fork. Bake at 180°C for 15 minutes or when the pastry starting to turn yellow.

Filling (while baking pastry in oven)
1. Beat cream cheese, butter and sugar together till light, add in egg and beat till well mixed.
2. Spoon mixture mixture into baked tart shells.
3. Mix 1 tbsp cocoa powder with a small amount of water (I add bit by bit until I get the correct paste texture). Mix into a paste.
4. Dip the tip of a chopstick into chocolate paste and draw circle on top of the cheese.
5. Bake at 180°C for 10 minutes or when the pastry turned light brown.

Either my tart mold is too big or I made my pastry shell too thick, I'm only getting 11 tarts with the ingredients above (15 is the number suggested in the original recipe).

PS: best eaten when chilled.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Neck stress during ab crunch

This is one thing that bugs me when I do ab crunches. Most of the time I gave up because there's too much stress on the neck. That's also one of the reason I don't enjoy Pilates class.

Last month I attended Min's Pitales class at Chayo Studio. Her class was very enjoyable, it was like a mixture of fast-pace Yoga and slow-pace aerobics. With the music playing at the background her movement was like a graceful dance. And the most important thing she had taught me - the head/neck position during ab crunches.

Previously I always did it with my chin tucked in.

Now I tried her method, keep my head and upper back neutral and neck relaxed.

I now look at the ceiling instead of my belly during ab crunches, and avoid pulling my upper body up using my hands. It helps a lot.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chayo Studio

I'm looking for a (new) nice place to practice, without having to commit for a long time period, convenient for me to reach the place after work, with convenient parking facility and lastly with class schedule that have classes I like and have convenient timing for me.

All factors considered, I decided to go for a trial at Chayo Studio.

I like the location of this place, its located in the Kelana Mall, opposite Giant. Ample parking space in the building, cost RM0.50 per hour for the first 2 hours, and RM1.00 per hour for the subsequent hours. Giant free parking is another choice, but it'll get a little messy if it rains.

At ground floor, it's a vegetarian cafe - no eggs, even our strict-est vegetarian friend can dine here :) The studio is at the first floor. It's a serene place. Small and cosy. Consist of a reception area with notice boards and chairs for registration/waiting/resting, a small office and 2 studio rooms. The bigger studio can fit around 12-15 students, with an elevated seat in front for the teacher and mirrors on the right hand side. The room is equiped with projector and screen and sound system I think to be used during workshops. The teacher's seat is decorated with religious/spiritual statues and paintings, but nothing too intimidating.

Entrance & reception

Merchandise corner

Waiting for the previous class to end outside the studio.

I just had a quick peep at the other small studio, it can fit around 6-8 students, a nice place for a quiet small group.

The only drawback of the studio is that it doesn't have windows. Although during class the aircon is switched to room temperature, I still prefer feeling and listening to the natural sound of wind outside the room.

Today was my second class there and I'm totally enjoying (exhausted by) it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Oreo Cupcakes

It's been a long time since I last baked. I've prepared the packet of Oreo in my kitchen a while ago and have been waiting for the right mood for baking.

I adopted the recipe from here. I prefer vanilla cupcake so I used 100g self-rising flour instead of 75g flour + 25g cocoa powder and castor sugar instead of brown sugar.

I followed the method for making the frosting but I couldn't get the correct texture, so I spread the frosting onto the cupcakes instead of piping, but I really would like to try to pipe pretty frosting onto my cupcakes one day.

The frosting has the correct sweetness that I like, and the crispy base is a brilliant idea. Simply yummy~

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Handbag organizer

Sometimes I have trouble finding the thing I want from my handbag. A big handbag is useful as I can put everything inside. It becomes a problem when I have to search for something from the mess.

I came across something called the 'handbag organizer', but the price is not something I'm willing to spend on. So I tranformed one of my many woven bags I got for free during shoppings into a handbag organizer.

Not only that my handbag is now more organized, it's easier when I switch handbags.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Strawberry cheese (cup)cake

I only left with 250gm cream cheese, so I scaled the original recipe to make only 6 cupcakes.

250 gm Philadelphia cream cheese
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup castor sugar
3 disgestive biscuits
1 tbsp (melted) butter
3 strawberries
strawberry jam

1. Crush the digestive biscuits. Combine the biscuit crumbs with melted butter. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom of each cupcake mold.
2. Mix cream cheese, sugar, pure vanilla, egg and beat till creamy.
3. Fill each cupcake mold (3/4 full) with the cream cheese batter.
4. Bake at 175°C for 15 mins.
5. Remove cupcakes from oven and cool individually on wire rack.
6. Place half strawberry on top of each cupcake and drip with strawberry jam.
7. Refrigerate the cupcakes before serving.

Homemade Strawberry Jam

I bought a lot of strawberries from Cameron during the weekend trip. Besides eating them fresh, I used some of them to made strawberry jam.

I used:
12-13 big strawberries (cleaned and halved), smashed with a potato masher.
1/3 cup of castor sugar.

1. Pour the sugar into the smashed strawberries, mix it, then pour into a sauce pan.
2. Keep on stirring over medium heat.
3. Boil the mixture till it's slightly thicken (the mixture will get further thicken when it's cooled down).
4. Pour the mixture into a sterilized bottle (I re-use a preserved vegetable bottle and boiled it in hot water).
5. Close the bottle tight, place it in the fridge after the jam is slightly cooled down.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Using towel in Yoga class

A small towel comes in handy in class not only during perspiration.

1. Use it as a prop (if you do not have a belt).

Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) - Hand

2. Use it as padding for knees.

Crescent Moon

3. Use it as blind during Shavasana, so you don't squeeze your eye lids to close your eyes.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Think positive

Because I believe in Law of Attraction, I like to think positive.
Only with our heart and mind open, we can keep more beautiful things.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Spaghetti with homemade sauce

200 ml Cream
125 gm Pamersan Cheese (I think it's too cheesy, should have just use 100 gm)
Some chopped Broccoli, Shitake Mushroom and Onions.

1. Oil the sauce pan with 1/2 teaspoon butter.
2. Fry the onions and mushrooms. I prefer the vegetable to be fresh and crispy so I didn't fry it together with the ingredients here.
3. Pour in cream and bring it to boil.
4. When almost boiling, lower the heat and pour in cheese (I should've chopped it into smaller chunks so that it's easier to melt), keep stiring till all mixed well.
5. Pour in boiled spaghetti and broccoli.
6. Mix well and serve.

I love the creamy texture. I tasted it while cooking and it was just nice, but it was too cheesy when mixed with the spaghetti and eat it mouthful. Seriously have to reduce the cheese the next time I make this :p

Monday, January 11, 2010

Abs workout

The simple and effective abs workout I've tried recently...

Can do it with alternate-leg,

Both legs,

And sideways.

Resting lower back on the mat to prevent the back from arching when lifting the leg(s), thus prevent aching or injuries on the back.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Strong like a Tree

Someone asked why his foot of the standing leg in a Tree pose (Vrksasana) is hurting so much causing him couldn't stand for long.

I had the same problem. The method I used is similar to what we need in Arm Balancing poses, in the opposite way.

Instead of putting all the weight on the standing leg, try 'claw' the foot firm into the mat - press the ball of the foot and all toes into the mat. And micro-bent the knee of the standing leg, using the strength of the thigh to take some weight off the foot and this will be less stressful for the ankle.

By doing so, the thigh is more tiring but it's a good workout for the leg.