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How I am coping with not eating dairy.

Those who know me know that the bottom of my food pyramid is actually dairy. When I was living abroad at one time, my diet consisted of just blue cheese + grapes and muesli + milk for a whole year cause I didn’t have anyone to nag me.

I love everything dairy – real butter, full cream milk, whipping cream, whipped cream, clotted cream, all cheeses, ice cream, yogurt, as long as it’s dairy I will love it.

Often times, I tried to substitute milk in recipes with whipping cream because I crave for that milky aroma. When it works, it works like a dream but when it doesn’t…it’s really quite horrid. So, please, do not use whipping cream to make custard and do not pour it into tea. Sorry I have digressed.

Then I started breastfeeding Liam. He would puke after every feed, more often than not, projectile style. At first, I suspected it’s the chillies I had been eating, so I cut that out of my diet.

Still he was vomitting. It was always accompanied by a pained expression on his face, stretched-out back and he would also throw his arms and legs out a lot, all signs of pain :(

I think I kind of suspected dairy as the main culprit but I didn’t want to believe it. As a matter of fact, I had been eating an unusual amount of dairy shortly after giving birth to him.

A slice of red velvet cake almost daily, milk with my tea everyday, hot cocoa with whipped cream several times a week and the worst of it all, I was spraying whipped cream into my mouth multiple times a day because I LOVE IT.

Yeap, this scene in Mad Men was me. I hear you Betty Draper.

So yeah, it’s time to cut dairy out.

I mean I could always use soy milk and coconut milk to replace cow’s milk. Heck I’ve even used coconut cream as a substitute for whipped cream and as for butter…I’m using this amazing brand of margarine called Nuttelex. I swear it tastes better than our regular Lurpak!

Why Nuttelex? All the other cheaper local margarines have some kind of dairy derivatives in them. Nasty stuff.

I can’t believe it’s not butter.

Anyway, I could find replacements for most dairy except for ice cream. I thought of sorbet, but it’s just not the same is it?

I really, really missed ice cream :(

Then I remembered this appliance that I bought on a whim from a group buy site that’s been sitting collecting dusts in our cabinet.

It’s the Yonana! FYI, the one I got is an OEM model, but am pretty certain it’s the same exact machine.

The Yonana.

I’ve had it for more than a year but only took it out to play recently. All that was needed were two frozen bananas and some frozen strawberries. Thaw the fruits for about 5 minutes.

Then, put them through the machine. It came out slightly mushy at first…

And then the magic happened.

Perfectly cold, soft-serve ice cream minus the sugar, dairy and additives. The best damn soft-serve ice cream I have ever had!

So I think I can finally believe myself when I say I could do this dairy-free diet for a year more. Who knows, I might even stop eating dairy then.

Hmmmm, maybe not.

p/s: You can check out all my recipes with dairy here.

Posted in: Parenting, Retail/Services Reviews - Continue Reading

The most magical thing since running tap water….

…..is my Babyliss Pro Miracurl!

It is a haircurler made for uncoordinated, clumsy, accident-prone women and men, just like myself! Husband gifted it to me at Xmas, I guess obsessively showing him Youtube videos of Babyliss Miracurl got through to him :)

Babyliss Pro Miracurl

 

I have bought conventional hair curlers before, but could never master using it. I always ended up either burning myself or at the verge of burning my hair off.

Too scatterbrained to estimate how long I should leave the hair on the curler and all the turning and twisting of my wrist and hair without burning my face off….wow, how do people even do it!?

Anyone remember this girl?

 

In the end, I just opted to tie my hair up coz I didn’t know what else to do with my frizzy mop.

My default hairstyle pre-Babyliss.

 

Thank goodness, those days are now over, thanks to this nifty gadget with a weirdass name – Babyliss.

The best hair curler ever.

 

It has three time settings, three heat settings and three curl settings (left, right or alternate). I find the best setting for me is medium heat with 10 seconds….my curls could last for 2 full days regardless of sweat, cold and sleep.

All the settings on the Miracurl.

 

# – First, you need to do is get about an inch thick of hair, comb it out (I use my fingers only).

Grab about an inch of hair and smooth them out.

 

# – Then, slip the Babyliss Pro Miracurl over where you want your curls to start.

Put hair between the Miracurl where you want your curls to start.

 

# – Then you clamp the hair. It will begin to wind your hair in. No turning the device manually.

Clamp the hair.

 

# – After that, it will start to beep slowly and when it’s time to release your hair, it will beep quickly. Easy peasy.

Tada!

 

# – The trick for the curls to last long is to allow the curls to completely cool down before styling.

Right after…the curls are tight and I look like a Jewish man.

 

# – After hair cools down, run fingers through to loosen curls and style.

After hair cools down, run fingers through and style. More sexy, right????

 

This is not an advertorial, I just really love this gadget and want to share it with the world! It can be bought at Shins in Malaysia at about RM700 or slightly more. I know there are a lot of OEMs out there at the fraction of the price but I think better buy a legit brand like Babyliss lah…

If you’re not into spending that much money, you can check out my hair curling technique using socks here. Yeap, socks…as in the ones you wear on your feet.

Hubs also bought me a Babyliss hair dryer later on hehe. The motor is designed by Ferrari (not joking), will probably blog about it soon.

Posted in: Hair, Retail/Services Reviews - Continue Reading

1st Wedding Anniversary trip to Malihom, Penang.

Our first wedding anniversary fell on 27 October 2013. We decided to go on a quick getaway to celebrate a week later.

I had looked around for a couple of weeks for the perfect place to go – we wanted somewhere not too far, secluded, comfortable and peaceful. We wanted to do absolutely nothing.

A few places appeared on our list and after more research, we decided to go with Malihom in Balik Pulau, Penang.

We left KL around 3pm and reached the foothill of Malihom at about 7.30pm. We forgot about the Deepavalli and Awal Muharram long weekend when we booked the place, so traffic into Penang Island was pretty heavy.

Malihom is truly a secluded place, if you don’t have GPS or Waze you might have trouble finding it, especially at night. The drive up the hill might also be quite challenging for some as the private road was only wide enough for one car. Malihom does have a proprietary traffic control system though, where you press a button at the top or the bottom of the hill which would turn on a light to warn oncoming cars. And I believe they provide transportation service for a nominal price.

We arrived at Malihom about 8pm and greeted by a few smiling staff. We were immediately served fruit juices and then whisked off to dinner. They had already set up a table on a top deck, our view was the faraway cityline and the Penang bridge.

I was really expecting food to be mediocre at Malihom as meals were included in the rates. How wrong was I! We looked forward to every meal!

# – Prawn salad, pumpkin soup and salmon with tomatoes. Dessert was lime cake, made daily by Malihom’s owner.

Soon enough, we noticed we’re the only guests at Malihom.

We retreated to our room, which was really a re-purposed traditional Thai rice barn. Our barn’s name was Sripartum or Source of Knowledge in english. We went to the library and picked up a few DVDs. There were plenty of books too but we had our Nooks with us.

Then we got serious….we switched our phones to airplane mode!!!!

# – Our bed. The balcony opens up to an unobstructed view of the sea.

Woke up early the next day. We were excited to check out the rest of Malihom as it was too dark to see anything the night before.

# – The view that greeted us in the morning. Missing it already!

# – The view to the right from our balcony.

# – Our barn…the Sripartum. It’s a split level villa with a bathroom below and the bed upstairs.

# – Breakfast was fresh fruits and egg in the hole for me.

After breakfast, we basically relaxed around Malihom.

# – Hubs enjoying the fish pond.

# – On one of the cool viewing platforms.

# – A beautiful path.

# – The viewing deck.

# – Chilling with my legs.

# – The resident sleepy cats.

# – The infinity pool.

We went swimming of course. We had the pool all to ourselves as the other guests wouldn’t check in until late afternoon.

# – My sweet husband helping me fix my bikini. The string had slid out.

# – My hilariously unappetising swimming face.

# – Hubs’ swimming face.

# – Have made this my Facebook cover photo.

After the swim, we went for lunch.

# – Fresh fruits, fried mushrooms and smoked duck.

After lunch, I drew a bath and had a long relaxing soak :)

# – Our tub with a view.

# – After a bath, I relaxed on our balcony.

We had the balcony doors and main door opened, creating a nice draft in the room. There was no need for aircon or fan. Hubs drifted into a nice nap while I read my book – OJ Simpson’s If I Did It, hehehehhehe.

# – My husband sleeps.

# – Woke him up in time for sunset.

And then it was dinner time. We were served amazing Burmese food! Most of the staff at Malihom are Burmese and after chatting with them, I found out that while they have a dedicated chef for other cuisines, for Burmese cuisines, they all contribute to the dishes.

# – Started with nutmeg soup (my first time – very nice) and an array of chicken and fish curries, salads and vegetables. Dessert was sweet sago.

And then it was time to sleep. We snuck in a few episodes of CSI (our choice of tv and books were unintentionally grim considering the context of the holiday :P) and dozed off to dreamland.

We woke up to Burmese breakfast called Mohinga – a traditional Burmese dish of noodles in fish broth. So, so, so delicious!

# – Mohinga with a fresh passionfruit and passionfruit juice. Passionfruits were available throughout the resort, the plants grow amazingly well at Malihom.

After breakie, we went for a swim again.

# – We made it 1 year! Decades more to come :)
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We had lunch after the swim, our final meal at Malihom.

# – Deep-fried okra, cracked black pepper salmon, chicken schnitzel and homemade lime cake.

While having lunch, it rained really heavily. So we sat at the deck for a couple of hours sipping tea and coffee waiting it out.

And then it was time to leave. Our initial plan was to have a food jaunt around Georgetown after we’ve checked out but because we were so relaxed, we decided to head home straight, avoiding the hustle & bustle. It was a good decision. We were in Penang but it didn’t feel like it. We felt like we were in a different country entirely – that’s how wonderful being at Malihom was.

# – The only thing Penang about our whole trip.

We’re definitely going back.

Posted in: Malaysia, Retail/Services Reviews, Travels - Continue Reading