Friday, 19 September 2014

It's A Shrimpy World!

A little bit more than a month back, we sold the old tank and the fishes and got Joel a 50L planted tank equipped with a chiller and canister filter. He wanted to have shrimps. The only Rili shrimp that was left, was finally eaten by the upside down catfish. Joel was devastated. Our climate being so hot, we needed a chiller in order for the shrimps to thrive and multiply. Well, between a puppy and shrimps, I would choose shrimps in less than a heartbeat.

The tank needed a month to be cycled in order for the good bacteria to build its colony. Also any living thing would die with all the ammonia, nitrate and nitrites spikes. I never knew this when we first bought fish for Joel more than a year ago. No wonder the fish would always get sick and died. The shock was just too much for them.

The Blue Diamond shrimp!
The Fire Red shrimps! They really are fiery red!


The Fire Red, Blue Diamond & Orange shrimps!
A very pregnant Fire Red. She has just given birth. The babies are just too small to be captured on my camera. 
Gluttons in a tank.



Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Cooking For Joel: Rice & Millet Milk

I went out the other day to get some 'wheat-free' flour a.k.a 'gluten-free' flour and decided to look at the rice milk that was sold. 1L of organic rice milk was selling for RM15.90! It was like buying gold. I did take a look at the ingredients and rice was only 15%! The bulk of the drink was water. The rest was sugar, and some added vitamins and non-coagulant ingredient which I can't remember what it's called.

This is my second version of home-made rice milk. Even I drank it. And it worked very well for the stomach. It soothed it.

Ingredients:

1. 1 cup of white organic fragrant rice
2. 1/4 cup of organic millet
3. Brown sugar

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1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Pour 1 cup of rice and millet onto baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. (This makes the milk to be more fragrant).

3. Once it is done, allow to cool.

4. Wash the rice/millet and soak it overnight in the fridge.

5. Pour the water away and give it a rinse.

6. I used my Philips soya maker for the next step. If you do not own one, you can blend the mixture with the water and then strain the liquid out. You can also blend the mixture, boil it and then strain it. Or you can boil the rice with water until everything becomes mashy and then strain the liquid out.

7. The soya maker pulverized the rice/millet and boiled it for approximately 25 minutes.

8. Once it was done, the milk was sieved.

9. I added some brown sugar to the drink.

I found that the white rice milk becomes even thicker than the brown rice once it cools down. It became one big blob of goo. I poured water into a mug, added the milk and stirred it whenever we wanted to have a drink. I kept the remainder in the fridge in an airtight container. I am experimenting with all sorts of wheat-free (gluten free) food now. But I won't be making white rice milk anymore. Brown rice tastes better and it's healthier too.

Bon appétit!


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Apple Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

1. 1 whole free-range chicken (cut into 4 parts and skin removed)
2. 3 Red Delicious apples (skin removed, core removed and cut into 4 parts)
3. Filtered water (Approximately 10 litres)
4. Sea-salt (amount is up to you)
5. Goji berry (optional)

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1. In a large pot, add the chicken, cut apples, water and sea-salt. (goji berry too if you're ok with it)

2. Boil on high heat until it bubbles.

3. Then simmer on low heat for 2 hours.

4. Serve hot with rice or noodles.

Bon appétit!


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Cooking For Joel: Brown Rice Milk

Since Joel is unable to take soy, cow's milk or even almond, that leaves him with very little choice where milk is concerned. He needs a drink before he sleeps. I dare not try oats as it is very frequently cross contaminated with wheat. So rice milk is the safest.

As this is my first time in making rice milk, I scoured the internet with the intensity of looking for a lost kin. There were many recipes and methods. I combined a few of them. So here's my own way of making Brown Rice Milk.

1. 1 cup of brown rice
2. 1 litre water
3. Brown sugar

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1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Pour 1 cup of rice onto baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. (This makes the milk to be more fragrant).

3. Once it is done, allow to cool.

4. Wash the rice and soak it overnight in the fridge.

5. Pour the water away and give it a rinse.

6. I used my Philips soya maker for the next step. If you do not own one, you can blend the mixture with the water and then strain the liquid out. You can also blend the mixture, boil it and then strain it. Or you can boil the rice with water until everything becomes mashy and then strain the liquid out.

7. The soya maker pulverized the rice and boiled it for approximately 25 minutes.

8. Once it was done, the milk was sieved.

9. I added some brown sugar to the drink.

Honestly, it tastes very bland. But we will get used to it. It also thickens when it cools down. If it gets too thick, you can add water to it. I kept the remainder in the fridge in an airtight container.

Bon appétit!





Saturday, 13 September 2014

Cooking For Joel!


Little boy has been having itchy and very inflamed skin reactions for awhile now. At first we thought it was something in the water. Then we thought it was the bathing liquids that he was using. The variety of bathing liquids that we have now is akin to opening a pharmacy! After that we thought it was something he had touched. A few months back his school had sports at a stadium and the kids who sat at a particular area had severe itchy skin reactions. Joel had to be brought to the ER for a steroid and anti-histamine jab.

It has been escalating and not getting any better. The doctor ordered a blood test and the results came back today.

He's very allergic to soy bean, peanuts, eggs, and wheat. He's also allergic to kiwi, carrots, tomatoes, almonds, shrimp, garlic, cow's milk, crab, cheddar cheese, some types of pollens, dust mites and mold. His IgE is a whooping 378. He had a normal level of IgE all these while.

I don't know how or why his system suddenly became like this. I have been asking myself what did I possibly do wrong. Did I feed him something wrong? Did I expose him to something? He was never allergic to any of the food which he is now! What had happened?

So now I will embark on another journey in learning how to cook for him with so many limitations. I guess we will even join him in going wheat-free. 

I will experiment even more now and learn of even more new ways of cooking. May he recover from this somehow and be strengthened!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Bitter Gourd & Bean Curd Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

1. 1 packet of bean curd skin (fu chok) (There are two types of fu chok. One is for chicken soup/stew. The other is for sweet desserts.) (Washed and broke into smaller pieces)
2. 2 packets of square tofus (cut into 6 equal parts)
3. 1 whole free-range antibiotic-free chicken (skin removed and cut into 4 parts)
4. 1 large bitter gourd (filling/seeds removed and cut into 8 parts)
5. Sea-salt
6. Filtered water (approximately 10 litres)

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1. In a large pot, add the chicken, cut bitter gourd, bean curd pieces, fu chok pieces, water and sea-salt to taste.

2. Boil on high heat until it bubbles.

3. Then simmer on low heat for 2 hours.

4. You can boil some spaghetti noodles and stir-fry some bean sprouts to serve together with the soup. Break some of the softened chicken meat to add to the noodle soup. You can also boil some hard boiled eggs to serve with this soup dish.

Bon appétit!


Monday, 8 September 2014

Bitter Gourd Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

1. 1 medium-sized whole free-range chicken (antibiotic-free) (cut into 4 parts, skin removed)
2. 1 large bitter gourd (filling and seeds removed and cut into 8 parts)
3. A handful of barley
4. Filtered water (approximately 10litres)
5. Sea-salt
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1. In a large pot, add the chicken, cut bitter gourds, water and sea-salt to taste.

2. Boil on high heat until it bubbles.

3. Then simmer on low heat for 2 hours.

4. You can boil some spaghetti noodles and stir-fry some lettuce iceberg to serve together with the soup. Break some of the softened chicken meat to add to the noodle soup.

Bon appétit!





Friday, 5 September 2014

Lightning Flashes in the Eye

It started yesterday morning. I thought I had some 'eye booger' but there was none! And then it happened again and AGAIN! I then realised that I was having some lightning flashes at the end of my left eye. It progressed as the day went by and the flashes were becoming more and more rampant. I knew something was wrong with my left eye. And I knew it was the concussion that I had two weeks back that was causing this.

I went to the ophthalmologist today and he confirmed that a part of the jelly which is surrounding my eyeball has become detached and the tugging of it on the retina is causing these lightning flashes. This condition is called 'posterior vitreous detachment'. Nothing can be done as of now as there is no tear in the retina. Hopefully when it fully separates from the retina it does not cause a tear. If so, I would need laser surgery to close the tear to avoid losing my eyesight.

Other than that, he said my eyes are at its healthiest compared to 5 1/2 years ago when he first saw me. No allergies, or even dryness. And everything behind is healthy and good. He said that I have come so far! HOOORAY!!!

He also said that I should be grateful as this is the only side-effect that I have after the concussion considering the way I fell and hit my head. He said I had a 'side-way-whiplash'. So the brain bounced sideways inside the skull and this detachment is very common for this kind of fall. I told him that I was and am very grateful. I could be dead or in a coma. Truly grateful to be here typing this!

May my retina not tear!

Click on LINK to read up on this eye condition.



Thursday, 4 September 2014

Emperor Porridge

Ingredients:

1. 2 cups of white rice
2. 1/2 chicken breast (skin and bones removed)
3. 3 large eggs
4. Chives/spring onions (chopped into tiny pieces)
5. Sea-salt
6. Filtered water

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1. Wash the rice thoroughly and set aside.

2. Fill a large pot with approximately 10 litres of filtered water.

3. Pour the washed rice into the pot. Add the chicken breast.

4. Boil for 1 hour. Begin boiling on high heat until it starts bubbling and then lower the fire and allow it to simmer.

5. Remove the chicken breast and break it up into very fine strips.

6. Add the fine chicken strips. Add some sea-salt (the amount of salt added is up to you).

7. Beat the 3 large eggs and while continuously stirring the porridge, slowly add the beaten eggs.

8. Drizzle the chives over the porridge.

9. Simmer for another hour.

10. Serve hot with either home-made salted duck eggs (click on LINK)and some stir-fried vegetable. Or you can even eat it on its own.

Bon appétit!


Thursday, 28 August 2014

An Outing, A Fall & A Concussion

On Saturday, hubby and I brought Joel to a farm in the city. It was a surprise for him! He didn't know where we were heading to until we arrived there.

It was a small farm in the city and there was a huge tortoise sitting in one corner of the farm as we entered. We were handed water spinach to feed it and it was so very exciting for Joel. I took a few pictures of some tortoises in some small ponds. There was a still, small voice which said to be careful and I took it to be careful not to fall into the ponds as I took pictures.

We then moved on to the snake area. After taking some pictures, I kept my phone in my pocket and walked on to catch up with the two guys.

And then IT happened.

My right leg somehow slipped and then I flew sideways. I tried to break the fall and somehow managed to regain some footing before slipping AGAIN! This time I knew I wasn't going to break my fall. I tried with all my might to somehow twist my body and used whatever body parts I could to somehow cushion the fall. I knew my head was going to hit something. I tried jerking my neck up. But everything I did wasn't enough. My head hit the rock that was on the side of the pathway.

Joel who had heard a 'BOOM' sound (in his own words), turned around and saw me lying on the ground with my head on the rock. He thought I had died. He screamed, 'Oh my god!!!!!' And then hubby turned around and saw me gingerly pushing myself up.

The thought that was in my mind after hitting my head on the rock was, 'I need an X-Ray! My head hit a rock!!!!' I didn't think of whether my face was scarred or whether my clothes were covered in soil. All that I was thinking of was my brain.

I immediately felt severely nauseated. And I felt that I was on the verge of blacking out. And I had a ringing sound immediately in my right ear. Joel was crying telling me not to die. And hubby kept telling me to stay awake and to breathe in and out slowly.

A family who was in front of us stopped and the wife came over and told us that she will go and get help. To this family, thank you.

A worker came over and helped us. When I got up and turned around, I realised that the area where I had fell was cordoned off and the group of pre-school kids who were behind us were stunned and they were all so quiet. I washed my wounds with water and we left after that.

The journey to the hospital took about 25 minutes according to Joel and throughout the journey Joel was next to me asking me how I was. I was on the verge of throwing up in the car. And I felt very woozy and everything was very fuzzy. Thinking became an effort. And my right ear became blocked.

Upon arriving at the ER, the nurses took my BP and asked me about the fall. My brain became fuzzier and it took effort to think before I could answer them. I was sent for a CT scan. As I was wheeled into the examination room, they asked me when was my last period. And then it became scary. I couldn't answer them as I was confused. I couldn't figure out when was July and when was August. It was like I was in a fog and couldn't tell my right hand from my left. I panicked and told them that I couldn't think. And I kept repeating that I couldn't think. They calmed me down and told me that it was alright and to relax and not worry about it and that I would be asked about it later in the examination room.

The scan showed no bleeding, cracks or swelling in the brain and skull. But I was ordered to rest and that the during the next 48 hours I have to be checked on every 2 to 3 hours. Even though the scan showed that everything was normal, a clot or aneurysm could happen within the next 48 hours. If I had severe headache, started vomiting or become confused or delirious, I would have to go back to the ER IMMEDIATELY.

Today is the fifth day after the fall. I went back for a follow-up on Tuesday evening and was given a thumbs up. I am still having some left over side-effects from the concussion. At times my brain jams up and I can't think of names or things which I normally am able to think of. The doctor said it could take a week or two to be fully normal again. As of now, I am not to drive. I am glad that Joel is still on his summer break. The cuts and bruises are all healing too.

I'm truly grateful to be fine. Extremely grateful and thankful.





Saturday, 23 August 2014

A Freak Accident

Today during an outing, I slipped and fell and banged my head on a rock. Had a concussion and currently on bed rest as ordered by the doctor. CT scan is clear but I have to go back to the hospital on Tuesday for a follow-up. Will write in detail once my brain is better.

Singapore Pictology 2014 (Part 2)



So the trip to the beach was cancelled as it rained every time we went there. Well, we finally did go during the 2nd trip in July!
We went to the Underwater World instead. Via the cable car. 



















Dolphins!

Giant sized crabs!

Mr. Octopus! 




Jelly fish!
Open Sesame!


The extremely huge tank!








Sea urchins! 


JAWS!