Monday, January 29, 2007

Its Holiday Again!






Had a kaleidoscope of a weekend recently. Many many good things happened, but not so good things happened too.

Lets talk bout the bad first:
1. I didn't get to go for the whitewater rafting I so wanted to for the year. But Nell suddenly made it OK this morning, when she told me bout the May plan in Grik. Yay!!
2. I didn't get to go on any of the Outdoor Themepark rides and the Flying Coaster in Genting. It was raining day and night there. I guess I could always go back next month.
3. Food was BAD!

However, aside all this, I had a great time with my family in Genting. We set off early, for the 10am bus to Genting and Skyway (cable car). We arrived at the peak by 11.15, and walked to the hotel, which was conveniently attached to the cable car station building. At a glance, you couldn't really distinguish the place from the station. Everywhere was as crowded as the last, and the only indication that First World Hotel was a hotel at all, was the long looonng reception table. We took a number, and within minutes, I was attended to. Lucky we set out early; the crowd was minimal (really aa?), so we were happily checked in by 11.30am! That's what I call good service. The room was OK too, for the price paid, its clean and very straight-forward.

We rested a bit, and set out for lunch and jalan-jalan tanpa haluan. This turned out to be quite an experience. Genting reminds me much more of China than Malaysia, actually, when it comes to halal food. Such a hassle when it comes to just getting a restaurant with a halal sign. Our only option in the end were the food court, McD, KFC, Burger King and Marry Brown. And these restaurants were ridiculously, bloody expensive. Imagine this; ice cream bodoh from McD, which costs only RM1.05 here, is RM2.10 there. How crazy is that! Anyway...we settled for the food court, and went round and round till almost 6pm. That night, Boyz 2 Men was superbly energetic, the sound system of Arena of Stars was fantastic, and the crowd was happening. In conclusion, I had a fantabulous time at the concert and am definitely going back for more.

Next morning, we set out early in pursuit of the rides we missed yesterday due to rain. But the fog took over this time, and so we didn't have a chance at all. We were desperate for entertainment, so we settled for the Indoor rides. Fun but kinda dumb. hehe.

All in all, I loved the:
1. Cable Car ride - Skyway
2. Weather - it was 12-15 oC there. Cool...
3. Convenience of the whole place - everything is within walking distance. If you ever forgot your sweater, the Plaza is also attached to the hotel. Buy a new one!
4. Starbucks in the Plaza...Gorgeous setting...Surrounded by a small river, comprising the gondola ride. The lighting and the weather compliments this setting even more..Such a Kodak moment.
5. Whole idea of Genting. No need for air conditioning. Just cool fresh air.

Friday, January 26, 2007

TGIF and Hello Beautiful Weekend

Its my favorite day of the week again, and this time I'm really looking forward to my weekend, coz I'm going to Genting to catch Boyz 2 Men!!! I adore their voice and songs and am definitely looking forward to the cool temperature of Genting. No driving this time, public transportation all the way. More on this next time.

Recipe 7: Lemon Pound Cake

Tried and tested recipe from Nigella's. For the sweet toothed, coz its really sweet and rich in flavour. I had this with the girls during the Baby Shower, and even brought it to the office coz it turned out to be quite huge. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
For Cake:
335 gm (2 1/4 cup) flour
1 tsp baking powder
180 gm butter
495 gm caster sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
Juice of 1 lemon
Finely grated rind of 2 lemons
1/2 cup yogurt or milk
For Lemon Syrup:
2 extra lemons, juice and rind
1/2 cup sugar

Method:
Preheat oven 160C
1. Sift flour, baking powder into a bowl. Repeat 3-5 times.
2. Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar till light & fluffy
3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition
4. Add vanilla and lemon rind
5. Stir in yogurt & lemon juice, alternating w. flour mix till just combined
6. Bake for 40 minutes
7. Stand in cake tins for 10 minutes, drizzle with 1/2 of lemon syrup, before turning out on wire rack to cool completely.
8. Brush remaining syrup.
Lemon Syrup
1. Combine syrup ingredients and put in a pan over low heat
2. Simmer till sugar is dissolved
3. Set aside to cool.

Tips:
1. I think that the cake alone is sweet, so I skipped the Lemon Syrup. But its totally up to you though. Instead of the syrup, you could opt for cheese frosting.

Justice Prevailed

I went to court the other day...No, I didn't do anything, but it was a case I brought up due to some greedy cheepo caterer. In all my years of living, I never knew that simple words could bring such powerful difference to the court of law. Who would ever guess that the word 'deposit' is totally different than 'wang pendahuluan', well that was just the case that I brought up and won. Not many are aware that they've been duped all this while if deposit is not refunded due to cancellation of events. Hear this; the deposit is all yours, given that you give the opposing party enough time, and if the term 'non-refundable' is non-existant in the payment receipt. The judge was backing us up 100%, we didn't even have to say a word! Best part, payment was made immediately, I guess to uphold their 15-year-capability-yada-yada. The whole procedure turned out great, and I now encourage anyone who feels that they've been hacked as users, to come out and go for the Tribunal Tuntutan Pengguna. They only charge RM5 for Stamping Duty (that is all!!). Excellent justice for claims of RM1 to RM25,000. More than that? I guess you should try the High Court.

check this out: http://www.kpdnhep.gov.my/index.cgi?pub=tuntutan

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bora Ombak Cafe & Restaurant

I had a great time last night at Bora Ombak with one of my greatest crowd - my school buddies. I know its pretty slow for someone who lives so close to Ampang, and yet have not the opportunity to go there. The restaurant was formerly known as Bora Bora, and used to reside much closer to Ampang Point. It has moved, and revamped into a much more fantastic place. I loved the ambience, the lighting, the soft Balinese instrumental, very good service, and good food. There were the four of us; Han, Saza, Shikin and myself. I ordered Chicken Chop (had to give up the lovely looking curly fries to Saza - still on my Atkins) and Lemon Tea, Han had Ginger Beef with Rice and Badrik (an ethnic Balinese drink, made from the brew of fresh ginger, lemongrass and palm sugar - yummilicious especially taken hot), Saza had their signature Kueh Teow Goreng and Orange Juice, and Shikin had a Chocolate Shake (seems like it, but I think it has another name - I guess I need to go back to check out). We were pretty surprised of the helping though. Huge. They offer lauk2 from the region (Thai, Malaysian, Indon) and I think the serving is huge enough for 3. Serving for individual orders, however, was just nice. The place also offers good quality live music and singing from 9pm onwards. Last night was Poco-Poco night, so the floor was open to all to join. Fun aye. I'd recommend this place to anyone, and double recommend it to couples. Nice dating venue indeed.

check it out: http://www.superpages.com.my/superhome/restaurants/bora-ombak-cafe-and-restaurant-42877.html

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Baby Shower 1



From top: The Deco, The 3 Godmothers and The Future Mommy (notice that I'm not in any of the pix - very bad hair day!!) and The Future Mommy, happily admiring her bag.

Notice the title? Baby Shower 1 just shows that this is actually my very first Baby Shower. My uni roomy's second shower, within a year! We had her Wedding shower, last year somewhere in March I think, and a Baby Shower just last weekend, on Saturday. The difference this time is that she had no idea that we had this planned at all.

Venue: Han's condo
Time: Right after we'd grabbed the balloons from Bangsar and house keys from Han (who was having breakfast with Parv and Zai) and Parv too, to help around with prep.

Best part of all this was, none of us three were really sure of how to get to the condo. Parv and I've only been there once, and Nell hasn't at all. Crazy makciks. By some miracle, we managed to get there anyway. We set up the place as fast as we could, and within minutes, the guest of honor arrived! We screamed 'SURPRISE!!!' took pictures of speechless Zai, and got the party started. Zai looked happy with the wish list present she got from all of us (all 7 and Huda) - a Gin & Jacques Baby Bag, and other small gifts from the individuals that came. Though the party was minimal, we managed to have a good time, just lepakking with each other, gossipping, recalling our dorky past stories and all are looking forward to seeing our first Godson. To Zai, all the best with the nearing delivery. InsyaAllah, everything will go smoothly and don't forget to call us to menyibuk there as well. We love you!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Top 10 Detox Food

Another clipping I managed to get for the dieting freaks. My nutritionist used to tell me that Detox dieting is good, and recommended to be done at least once a month, for 3 days. No protein and carbo, just plain old fiberous goods. These foods provide lots of super-healthy liquids to flush out the body while pouring in nutrients, fiber to keep your GI tract fit and cleansing enzymes in the liver, your body's built-in detox center. I usually do it on Friday till Sunday, to ensure I don't binge during the weekend. Flush away!

1. Green leafy vegetables. Eat them raw, throw them into a broth, add them to juices. Their chlorophyll helps swab out environmental toxins (heavy metals, pesticides) and is an all-round liver protector.

2. Lemons. You need to keep the fluids flowing to wash out the body and fresh lemonade is ideal. Its vitamin C - considered the detox vitamin - helps convert toxins into a water - soluble form that?s easily flushed away.

3. Watercress. Put a handful into salads, soups, and sandwiches. The peppery little green leaves have a diuretic effect that helps move things through your system. And cress is rich in minerals too.

4. Garlic. Add it to everything - salads, sauces, spreads. In addition to the bulb's cardio benefits, it activates liver enzymes that help filter out junk.

5. Green tea. This antioxidant-rich brew is one of the healthiest ways to get more fluids into your system. Bonus: It contains catechins, which speed up liver activity.

6. Broccoli sprouts. Get 'em at your health-food store. They pack 20 to 50 times more cancer-fighting, enzyme-stimulating activity into each bite than the grown-up vegetable.

7. Sesame seeds. They're credited with protecting liver cells from the damaging effects of alcohol and other chemicals. For a concentrated form, try tahini, the yummy sesame seed paste that?s a staple of Asian cooking.

8. Cabbage. There are two main types of detoxifying enzymes in the liver; this potent veggie helps activate both of them. Coleslaw, anyone?

9. Psyllium. A plant that?s rich in soluble fiber, like oat bran, but more versatile. It mops up toxins (cholesterol too) and helps clear them out. Stir powdered psyllium into juice to help cleanse your colon, or have psyllium-fortified Bran Buds for breakfast.

10. Fruits, fruits, fruits. They're full of almost all the good things above - vitamin C, fiber, nutritious fluids, and all kinds of antioxidants. Besides, nothing tastes better than a ripe mango, fresh berries, or a perfect pear.

Top 10 List: Be Healthy

I discovered this article in Yahoo! this morning, and thought that it'd be a good clipping to keep and share. By Gabrielle Reese.

What does your checklist look like? I started thinking about my list of areas to focus on when I'm trying to be healthy, keep stress at bay, and stay in shape. Here's my list...

1. Exercise. I find this to be the one medicine that works well with all ailments. Even when I'm tired, exercise is my cure-all. Crazy husband or kids, stress at work, my time of the month psychoticness, questioning my existence and wondering "what does it all mean?" -- exercise gives me some grounding, a release and clarity.

2. Lean, real food. Real food (not from a drive-thru window or a microwave) can influence my mood. I feel so much more energized and level when I eat living food. What does that mean? Something that hasn't been deep fried to a yummy tasting death, zapped or frozen to the point of non existent nutrients. Is it tricky? Does it take more effort? Yup! Are there times I would rather have a meal that tastes so good, arrives so quick, and hurts after the fact? Yup! But we're living beings with organs working hard on our behalf. Food with nutrients and enzymes helps all of that flow so much smoother. My blood sugar levels (influences things like one's energy levels, mood and ability to concentrate) stabilize. Eat something green with every meal and don't be afraid of food and calories. Yes, watch the portions, but not to the extent where you starve yourself. We all have to eat to be healthy.

3. Sleep. We can't recover if we don't get some rest. I'm not going to tell you how much sleep to get, but you know for yourself how much you need to feel rested. I suggest getting to bed as early as you possibly can. Remember, they use sleep deprivation as a form of torture during wartime, and there's a good reason why. New moms and dads, it's going to pass.

4. Feelings of happiness. I'm not the type of person that walks around "la la la." I'm just saying within your personality type, can you find the smile? The joy? Search for the happiness in your own way, and express it in your own way. Find the peace. Believe me, the top 3 make this easier.

5. Have a passion. It helps me to be healthy if I have things in my life that I like to do and that challenge me. Gets me fired up to get out of bed on the days I feel hum drum. Find a passion that is just for you and is yours. It can be something that benefits others, but it's your passion.

6. Love. Friends and/or family. Someone to love and who loves you. We all need nurturing in this world. I'm not talking about romantic love. I'm talking about another spirit to connect with and offer support.

7. Fun. I have to remind myself that we're not here on this planet to just grind away. Laugh. Enjoy. Hang out. Be silly. Just have some fun...

8. Water. I gave water its own number, because I think it's that important. Oh, by the way, I read a great stat. We get 21% of our calories from what we drink. Last time I checked, water didn't have any calories. So by just drinking water, you could cut down on 1/5 of your caloric intake and do your body, skin, and butt a huge favor. Beware of the sugar drinks -- even the "healthy ones."

9. Spirit. We're all in this together. I find that if I'm nice to my fellow human or do something for someone else, it's good for me. See? Even within your unselfishness, you can be selfish.
I know it's gross, but we can't forget going to the bathroom. We need to go regularly. If stuff is going in, then it has to come out. The water and good food help with this.

10. Balance (this is the bonus checklist item -- extra credit if you will). That's right, the "b" word. I'm just trying to keep it all balanced, because it feels the best when I even get close to working the balance act out.

Friday, January 05, 2007

My Baby

Well...not that baby la...I just sent in my car for service yesterday, and agak terkejut coz the whole thing was free! I know I got this voucher for free service, but I didn't expect free parts as well..Cool aye..Anyway, next agenda for my baby is to go for tinting...Got myself a voucher for a free that as well..Next week...skirting and spoiler...Huhu..I love freebees...Nanti dah siap semua, I amik gamba kay...till then...

Healthy 2007

As per resolution number 13, I should lose weight. I met a friend recently, and I was surprised at how much she'd lost! She took up the Atkins diet, but a few minor twists to it, thanks to her dietician. I've started on it since Wednesday, and I think its working! Here's how:

1. For the first 10 days, just eat boiled protein; no salt, no sugar, no oil. So the doctor recommended sausages and eggs (minus the yolk), steamed fish and chicken etc. For breakfast, always include a glass of non-fat milk. If you hunger for sweets, eat fruits or get a no-sugar fruit juice.

2. Before bed, have a glass of non-fat milk.

3. Exercise!

4. Drink plenty of water.

5. After the 10 days, maintain on the protein diet, but salt may be added, till I get to my target weight! Gradually, I may add brown carbs.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Recipe 6: Easy Tofu with Oyster Sauce

Ingredients:
1 packet soft tofu
4 cloves garlic - chopped
2 tbsp cooking oil
3 tbsp oyster sauce
a bit of spring onion for garnishing (daun bawang)

Method:
1. Remove tofu from packet, and place in a deep microvaveable dish with cover. Heat up oil in wok, and cook the garlic till golden brown. Immediately pour over tofu, along with oil.
2. Pour the oyster sauce over, cover the dish and heat in microwave on High for 3 minutes.
3. Just before serving, sprinkle over with spring onion.

Tips:
1. Tofu can be bought at most supermarkets.
2. Tofu may be cut up into smaller squares like I did, to ensure flavour is distributed evenly.
3. Juice from tofu will ooze out when the garlic oil is poured over. This is normal cooking reaction of the tofu.

Nurelisha Sofea

Elisha is my very petite niece, third child to my elder sis. She's 1 year old, very shy, but once you get to know her, she'll be talking to you non-stop in gaga language of course, and if you do get lucky, you'll catch one or two familiar words. I loved this picture so much and would love to share with everyone, coz it is 1 in a million pix that she actually smiled back at you when you take her pix. This was taken in the chalet at the Firefly Park Resort. She was beeming non-stop when we got there, and my sis settled her onto the stool, just seconds before this pix was taken.

Visit Malaysia Year 2007 - Firefly Park, Kuala Selangor






(From top to bottom: Heikal, my mischievous nephew, lotong at Bukit Melawati, Taman Alam nature walk, Firefly Park Seafood Restaurant, the Resort) I went away for a 2-day trip recently, with my family, to the Kuala Selangor Firefly Park Resort. Its about 1.5 hours away from KL, and the tolls in total was only about RM4.50 one way. The Firefly boat ride (RM10 per adult, RM6 per child) starts at 7pm till 10.30pm daily, so during the day, we spent our time at Bukit Melawati, after the check-in. The chalet (2 bedrooms, a living room and a simple pantry) we stayed in was in the Park itself, and I was quite impressed with it, since we only payed about RM130. Clean sheets, air-conditioned rooms, 29" TV, large bathroom.

Bukit Melawati holds the old fort of the Dutch, and the State charges only RM2 per adult for a fun tram ride uphill. The road is closed on weekends and public holidays, so we had no choice but to ride the tram. Gladly in fact. We hopped off at the top, took loads of pix, had ice cream, and went down on the next tram. Before the ride, actually, we went for a short nature walk at Taman Alam. That place is gorgeous. So serene and green, and we walked slowly through the swamp area.

After Maghrib, we headed for dinner at the Firefly Park Seafood Restaurant for a 7-course dinner (dinner package pre-selected by the restaurant) that was superbly delicious and cheap. All that, with free flow of rice and Chinese tea, for a mere RM110! Risau gak memikirkan lepas tuh nak naik bot, but I'm here typing away, so I guess the boat floated alright. The boat ride was peaceful and breath-taking. Fireflies everywhere along the river. Apparently, the boatman informed us that there are only 2 main spots in the world for fireflies; Brazil and Kuala Selangor, because only these 2 places have the type of plant that the fireflies are drawn to. Cool aye. To end the day, we had karaoke afterwards till midnight. Even Mak was singing away...All in all, the Firefly Park Resort was another great holiday with the family. Today's back to work, and a start to a whole new working year.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Hari Raya Haji & New Year's Eve



The government must've cracked their head trying to figure out how to deal with this situation. There's Raya Haji and the New Year celeb to consider both at the same time, and are both important for the nation. Raya Haji is definitely important for the Muslims, and the New Year celeb is also very important for the nation's Visit Malaysia Year 2007 and to bodek the young voters for the next election. What to do...What to do...I could say that the PM is really tested to the edge throughout his reign. Hehe. Anyway, they did the right thing in the end I guess. No fireworks for the major yearly spots, but OK with the other smaller spots. Fair enough.

Raya today was good. I started out early this time, for the Raya prayers. My Ustaz presented the khutbah and I came back to find the spread for the day all quite done by Nita and Mak. Mak decided that we should have Mee Kari this year, since she's been quite disappointed throughout 2006 with her findings of Mee Kari in KL. Nothing could beat the ones we get in Ipoh I guess. Her cooking is yummy of course, so we had that for breakfast. The rest of the day was visiting and entertaining here and there. I was in my black jubah I bought in Madinah. Pretty toasted, since its black, but I liked the whole effect of it with my black pants and high heels. Later at nite, I bought myself a diary, and a budget planner. Two small things to get me started with a big part of the year 2007 plans. Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir dan Batin...And Happy New Year!!!

New Year's Resolution and Plan 2007

Ok, its stereotypical, but hey, I'm a normal human being, and I still believe that everyone should have an aim at what they want to do every year. Whether I actually do it in the end is a whole different matter, but what is most important is that at least I have a list to lean on for the whole year. Here goes...

1. Go to UK to travel with Nik, or Bali with my family...depends on budget available
2. Go wall climbing
3. Go water rafting
4. Start piano lessons again
5. Survey umah (time limit till 30)
6. Perbanyakkan solat sunat
7. Have vitamins everyday
8. Regularize my gym visits ;p
9. Save up for a new handphone - Z610i Rose Pink please!!!
10. Do more savings (wonder how...)
11. Do daily recording of expenses
12. Blog more
13. Lose weight!
14. Become a better person
15. Read the newspapers more
16. Buy presents for my friends' birthdays
17. Become more tech savvy
18. Start saving up for that dream cafe