Monday, July 21, 2014

SUPERSIZED Veggie Pasta!

Ever fancy a super-sized pasta bowl, but fear that the pasta goodness might add to your girth later on and leave you guilty?

Fear not, because here comes PASTA which needs no cooking, green to the Earth, cheap (for the amount of pasta produced), easy, low calories and cruelty-free!

I actually stumbled across the idea of vegetable pasta online when I was Googling for "Healthy vegan pasta". Man, the vegetable pasta looked awesome! There are many websites featuring such pasta, so I am not ripping the pictures off their site-you have to Google yourself for more. The idea of raw vegetable pasta left me intrigued. A huge bowl of pasta (just the pasta alone) that is more than double the amount of wheat pasta at under 150 calories? Filled of veggies? Can be prepped in college? Oh yes, please!

So I went to Tesco and got myself these whole bunch of ingredients...

The key of this pasta is long, firm vegetables. You can use zucchini, cucumber, turnip or carrot. I used two zucchini and one carrot for this.

I initially wanted broccoli but they were not fresh, unfortunately.

BELOW: this is the quintessential tool for pasta making. It is a papaya peeler from Fackelmann. The peeler will not tell whether you are peeling a papaya or otherwise, right? Granted, using this peeler is not as convenient as using a vegetable spiralizer, but considering the lack of space and limited budget, this peeler is definitely good for pasta making-at least faster than potato peelers or, God forbid, knives.

First. I have my "bowl" lined with an entire head of butterhead lettuce. The "bowl" was large enough for a loaf of bread or two, so you can imagine how big it is.

Here comes pasta...

... and here are the toppings. I used some of the butterhead lettuce, cherry tomatoes, broken zucchini and some of the carrot pieces. Raw carrot is sweeter and tastier than cooked carrot by the way :D

What's next? I mixed up the "pasta" so that it looked colourful and not just a whole bunch of orange noodles because I added the carrot last. I mixed in the toppings as well. As for the sauce, I made a sauce out of mashed banana, cinnamon and lemon juice. It rendered a creamy texture to the pasta without extra fat. 

I think I should have made more sauce though.

The nuts act as "bacon" because they add some fun crispy goodness to the pasta. 

Pasta is served, all at under 500 calories and it is a huge amount! I could only finish around 85% of it. God is sure going to punish me for wasting food.

Nevertheless, this pasta tasted beyond amazing. It was very, very refreshing and filling, and gave me a break from the hot pasta which tended to be high in sodium, and fat if alfredo sauce and cheese were used. I felt like eating my favourite Thai salad without the shrimp and at a Man vs Food show-awesome!

Om nom nom... pasta...

This is definitely a fun way to up your vegetable intake. I can guarantee that it has no greenish taste-just crispy goodness, provided that you eat your pasta IMMEDIATELY after serving or the noodles will get soggy and bitter. Plus, you can always change your toppings-frozen peas, broccoli, etc. As for the sauce, I will recommend sauces meant for pasta such as Avocado Cucumber Sauce and Tomato Sauce. It tastes more savoury and pasta-like. I have not tried it, granted (it is my first attempt at this pasta!)  but I bet it will taste awesome. This requires access to a blender and fridge, of course. Since I do not have a fridge, I will use fruit sauce instead. I may attempt mango, dragon-fruit, berries, or... how about durian? Maybe, some salsa for a tangy taste? I don't know-the possibilities are endless.

I am drooling now!

As for the cost, the entire serving is at around RM15. It is a little expensive, but you can reduce the cost by purchasing the vegetables at the farmers' markets instead. It is often cheaper than supermarkets, plus you are supporting families rather than huge corporations. If I had my own transport, the farmers' market is where I will go.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Homemade Ice Cream!

Who does not like ice cream? I don't think that there is anyone who does not love ice cream, right? What better way to chill in a hot, sunny day, especially in places with tropical climate like Malaysia?

Hang on... ice cream is full of fat and refined sugar-double whammy for the waistline and the heart! Cream, sugar and full-cream milk aside, there are lots of weird items in your summer dessert, such as artificial colouring, artificial flavouring, corn syrup, emulsifiers etc. Your body does not recognise these items, which add insult to injury on this already sinful, high-calorie dessert. Worse off, we love being very creative with our ice cream, hence the variety of ice-cream related snacks such as fried ice cream, milk shake, apple pie ala mode with whipping cream on the side...

So, does that mean that you cannot eat ice cream anymore?

Not for me, because I get to make ice cream which is

  • clean
  • healthy
  • cruelty-free (See HERE to unveil the true face of the white, so-called good for your bones drink)
  • low-fat
  • high in fibre and potassium
  • free from cholesterol, rBGH, antibiotics... all sorts of nasty things in the dairy industry that is
  • raw (although I am not going raw anytime soon)
  • cheap
  • most importantly... EASY!

I recently Googled "easy ice cream making" and I stumbled THIS SITE which features one-ingredient ice cream. What? ONE INGREDIENT? I could not believe my eyes. What magic ingredient is that to make ice cream?

You guessed it. The secret lies in this tasty fruit.

(Image from Google)


I was so delighted and intrigued by that idea that I froze four bananas during the holidays. However, I only made the ice cream today because I was quite busy during the holidays. Having visited Cameron Highlands during the holiday, I froze some strawberries as well because I was planning to make ice cream Neapolitan-original, strawberry and chocolate.

To protect the blender, I peeled and sliced my bananas into moderately-thick coins before freezing them.

For those who like banana, you can freeze them when the skin of the bananas are brown and spotty, i.e. the bananas are very ripe. For those who prefer a mild flavour, however, you can process them when they are just ripe, i.e. no spot on the skin yet.

I am a die-hard banana fan, so you know what I did.

When I was about to use them, I thawed them in the fridge for around thirty minutes so that they are blender-friendly and not too soft at the same time. There is just one step needed:


That's right! Just blend the frozen banana coins until they are frothy. Take care not to let your blender run continuously though, because your blender might burn. I paused the blender a few times.

I blended the entire batch first, then leave half of the batch for some added fruity goodness-10 strawberries. That explained why the strawberry ice cream was more than the original flavour ice cream.

The freshly-blended ice cream.
Left: original. Right: strawberry.
I attempted to use rolled aluminium foil to make "compartments but got busted by mum. Boo...

The freshly-made version had a consistency like a smoothie. Yummy! Plus, it tastes really like soft ice cream, minus the overpowering sweetness, just natural sugar from the banana.

To be honest, it beats the smoothies at the smoothie bars and cafes hands down, in terms of taste and nutritional value.

Next time, I am SO going to make fruit smoothies in place of my usual daily oatmeal for breakfast.

The ice cream after being frozen for three hours. The appearance reminded me of mustard and ketchup LOL

How wrong I was. The bananas were too less for three flavours, so I only made two flavours: original and strawberry.

I had the ice cream as a post-dinner dessert-well, just about two teaspoonfuls of each flavour because I cannot consume lots of cold food. My dad and mum sampled them. Here are the responses from my family members:

SISTER: This reminds me of the supersized version of mustard and ketchup for fries! No thanks, I hate bananas. (So sad...)
FATHER: Am I eating ice?

(No picture because mum does not allow me to take pictures of food, so I only get to take pictures when mum's not around. Shh...)

My ice cream was not very successful because it resembled ice pops or ice lollies rather than creamy ice cream. However, when I thawed it a little, it has the consistency of sorbet (at least it is a type of ice cream, right?), thank goodness. 

Mum told me to add in DAIRY MILK next time. Yikes! I will rather stick to bananas manifested in creamy frozen form than a dessert filled with pus, growth hormones and cruelty! Dad even asked me to add in sugar. As if bananas were not sweet enough...

Probably my family cannot accept the idea of dairy-free ice cream. It is alright, I will have them by myself, thank you very much!

I enjoyed it however, and I will definitely make this next time, though not in the near future. Probably if I live on my own, I will make large batches of this nice-cream (nice-cream because this ice cream is good for health and animals, took that nickname from FullyRawKristina) in different flavours. In this way, I can enjoy guilt-free ice cream for cheap, minus those icky additives.

I think I have to freeze the entire bunch of bananas next time so that I can get creative with them and have more healthy ice cream varieties to enjoy, guilt-free. This experience taught me to be patient too. I have to wait for the nice-cream to thaw so that I can actually taste the creaminess of this dessert.

By the way, you can adjust the ice cream to taste. Here are my suggestions:

  • For fruity ice cream, I suggest using berries because they are juicy and freezable, such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Frozen berries taste like candy on their own-well, they are INDEED candies, from Mother Nature.
  • You can add cocoa powder, Nutella or Milo for a chocolatey-kick. The last two ingredients will render the ice cream non-vegan though because they contain dairy.
  • Mix, mix, mix! Mix in chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruits or even any combo (how about ALL?) for a chunky ice cream.
  • Drizzle it with cinnamon and honey. Again, for vegan version, use maple syrup in place of honey.
  • Add in ground sesame for sesame ice cream which is high in calcium.
  • Add in nut butter for extra protein, healthy fat and creamy texture.

You can create your own flavours too!

Otherwise... just leave it as it is, or have several flavours combined for double scoop, triple scoop... How about a bona-fide banana boat, with triple scoops of ice cream and a ripe banana sliced lengthwise at the side, topped with dried fruits, nuts and cherries? Don't tell me that you are using hundreds-and-thousands or maraschino cherries. They are artificially coloured and God knows what is used to make them. Ew.

(Image from Google)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fried Rice Again!

Good afternoon everyone...

I am very happy because I did something...


Ha, probably you guys will be thinking: "Duh, it is just fried rice! Nothing special!"

Well, now you know this blogger here. I tend to get really happy over things that I do totally by myself, even if they are simple things like making a salad and frying rice. Being able to do things by myself means that I am a step closer towards independence.

Best of all, this time, I get to fry rice without egg a.k.a. chicken period!

I like to load up my food with vegetables. Here, I use cabbage, French beans, monkey head mushroom, tomato and one sort of green which I do not know how to call it (In Hokkien, I call it "kiu mo cai"), with some garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil as seasoning.

I think I need not go into the details of frying rice, no?

Here is my fried rice! The portion was just nice for me, but I found it a little bland. In fact, I reduced the amount of soy sauce used to cut down on sodium intake, so I think I need some time to adapt to the taste of low-sodium food. The rice is not too dry and I can feel the crunch in every mouthful, thanks to the cabbage. Who says only deep-fried food can be crunchy?

One thing I love about home-cooked fried rice is that I can always choose my own ingredients and control the nutritional value. I find the commercial fried rice to be so oily that I can squeeze out the oil using two spoons. Besides, the amount of veggies in the rice is pathetic. I should consider myself lucky if I can find three decent-sized veggie leaves in my plate. The portion size is also huge, which means that I end up with loads of oil and refined white rice. Refined carbohydrates and fats are certainly a recipe for catastrophic health!

Frying rice is a good way to use up leftover rice and learn cooking because it is really easy. One can get really creative with fried rice, otherwise there will not be food like "Nasi Goreng USA", "Nasi Goreng Kampung", Apple fried rice, pineapple fried rice, etc. Fry it to your heart's content, but enjoy this food in moderation.

P/S: Other ideas to use up leftovers and incorporate vegetables into your diet (for those who are too busy for a decadent meal or those who are novices in cooking, like me)
  • Fried noodles
  • Soup noodles-this is healthy because it has less fat and sodium
  • Oat porridge. Oats does not have to be always sweet.
  • The lazy pasta-just cook pasta and stir-fry or roast the veggies separately. Toss into the pasta and drizzle it with some olive oil, or sesame oil for an Oriental kick.

Of course, the ways of using up leftovers and consuming more veggies are endless. The sky is the limit.

Note to Form 3 Students

Hey all! 

It's nearly lunchtime at the time I write this post, so here's a plate of fried rice for you.

Just a simple and short post for today because I need to catch up on my lessons. Degree year is tough, really!

Okay, I just recently noticed a sudden surge in the page views of my blog (more than 200K now!), thanks to the Form 3 students visiting my blog for my essays which I wrote three years back. They mainly visit my blog for their PT3 (Pentaksiran Tingkatan Tiga), which is an assessment for Form Three students, replacing PMR. I am glad to be able to help those who are preparing for the exams. I had been there as a PMR candidate back in 2009 and I referred to blogs for essays samples, a LOT.

Here is my little shout-out to all of you:
  1. Feel free to request whatever essays you need help in, be it in English, Chinese or Malay.
  2. I will write the full essay IF I HAVE THE TIME, otherwise I will just write in point-form and provide related idiomatic expressions, "peribahasa" and bombastic words that you can use.
  3. Besides from being able to help, I need to practise my writing skills as well, being a future language teacher and a writer (hopefully).
  4. However, I will publish my essays in my second blog:
  5. This blog will be used for poems and diary from now on.

You can contact me through the chatbox or email me at

Please, please, please don't ask me on subjects which are not related to languages, such as Mathematics, Science and for God's sake, HISTORY! I am very weak in these subjects, and my future career will be very language-inclined. Thus, in order to help you and help me for my assignments, 


Thank you!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Language Acquisition vs Language Learning

This poem is actually one of my ELT tutorial project with some of my coursemates. Enjoy!

* “Sagen Sie mir, wo ist dein Song,
Sie können in der Klasse schlafen?“
How can I learn it,
When nobody speaks to me?
How can I learn Deutsch,
When all speak in English and French?
How can I write a song,
When I get my Subject-Object-Verb all wrong?
I was born in the country with the Sun to see,
And after a winter I learned my A-B-C.
“A is for apple, B is for boy;
C is for cow, and D is for donkey!”
Papa taught me ‘Alphabets Song’,
Mama taught me ‘Old Mc Donald’,
So I babbled in English as long as I grow old.

Then I want to make wedding gowns,
So I flew to Paris.
‘Bonjour!’ ‘ Merci!’ God, help me!
I even pronounced ‘croissant’ as ‘croy-sen’.
The Parisian gave me that stare (Ha Ha Ha),
But thank God, French words grace the streets.
When I speak in English,
They replied in French instead,
The French pronunciation is like a Rubik cube,
Fun to explore, pain to solve,
By rolling my tongue into a ball,
To talk more and erase my woes, once and for all.
The French pronunciation is like a Rubik cube,
But it is peanuts, as when I learn German off YouTube,
I talked to all but a huge eye piercing screen,
With no friend to talk to but a mirror to preen.
So I pranced down the streets of Berlin,
When I say *“Guten Tag”, they replied “How are you”!
* Translation: “Good Day.”
Like a wandering monkey in the alley,
I tried, in vain, to look for a German-speaking ally,
So I went to a class and bought many books,
And burned the midnight oil to get my language right,
Even a *“Zwei Frühstücks” cannot show its might!
“Sagen Sie mir, wo ist dein Song,
Sie können in der Klasse schlafen?“
To write a song, a city of aliens,
Is like me, drowning slowly, into the deepest seas.
Down, down, and down,
Unless if someone rescues me, speak to me. 

*1. Translation: “Tell me, where is your song,
              You can sleep in the class?“  
*2. Translation: "Excuse me?"
*3. Translation: “Good Day.”
*4. Translation: “Two breakfast.”

This is what I call BIG BREAKFAST!

I have never been a fan of McDonald's Big Breakfasts. To me, they are just too salty, expensive and unsatisfying. I feel hungry about an hour after eating them.

Not anymore since I am a vegetarian! In fact, the only time I ever ate something from McD as a vegetarian was on May 2013, when my friend treated me to a McFlurry. It was tasty but left me with a bad stomach discomfort. God knows what those guys use in the world's favourite fast food joint.

So, I had a BIG BREAKFAST on Sunday. It is vegetarian (and vegan too!), under 500 calories, tasty and packed with genuine goodness!

I have added too much water for cooking the oats, hence the oats almost overflows. It looks pleasant to me, regardless.
I did not arrange the fruits properly because I was just too hungry.

This is the nutrition fact for my breakfast. I counted the nutrition facts using this website.

I love my breakfast! Although it is nowhere low in calories, it is packed full with fiber (60% of daily intake!), potassium and low in fat. The fat comes mainly from the nuts. Besides, it covers the entire allocated quantities of vitamin C for the day. Who needs Vitamin C supplements? I am also pleasantly surprised that it has some calcium and iron.

As for the protein, okay, I admit it is a little bit low, but I will have rice and veggies later, so I think they can cover it up? (I can't eat beans and eggs for the time being for my injuries to heal)

My breakfasts are usually the same oat-fruit-nuts combo, so I think my breakfasts are quite carbed-up, eh? (Definitely nowhere near to Freelee the Banana Girl's, I can't afford to eat like that. Besides, I prefer moderate-sized meals and warm breakfasts.)

Fruits, nuts and nori salad

The rest are oats+fruits+nuts/seeds combo, using different ingredients :D

I know this breakfast is quite high in sugar (almost 50g), but hey, I need that sugar for mental alertness! Plus, it comes from fruits, not refined junk, so it will not spike my blood sugar.

The need for sugar does NOT mean that I can eat sugary muesli cereals , breakfast bars or sweet drinks. They only result in energy crash, and me eating more and more. This is bad for me, especially since I am quite sedentary as I cannot move around a lot.

Now let's see some breakfast favourites from fast-food joints:
(Just for comparison purposes, no slandering intended)
 I get the nutrition information from the official sites of the fast food joints in Malaysia, so the information is not really comprehensive because not all restaurants offer nutrition information.

I did this table myself, with the information from the fast-food joints.

My conclusion:
  • They are high in protein, mainly due to the meat and eggs used.
  • They are packed with sodium and fat.
  • They are calorie-dense.
  • The quantity is small for a breakfast. 

I don't think anyone will eat those food alone, eh? I believe that most of us will order at least a soft drink or coffee to wash the food down.

Good carbs make one happy, hence I call this a BIG BREAKFAST and a HAPPY MEAL.

I don't know if my breakfast is a healthy one, but I can swear that with the lack of ingredients that I cannot pronounce, it is certainly better than those at the fast food joints. Plus, I feel energized on my typical breakfast combo, and I can prepare and enjoy it without all those long queues and greasy smell. Best of all, it is cruelty-free.

What is your idea of a big breakfast?

Post-Holiday Holidaymaking at Pangkor Island

Hey guys! Sorry for updating my blog really late, especially on this post which should be updated three months ago! My assignments and examinations were keeping me busy! Oh well, the same ho-hum excuse?

By the way, since I don't have many pictures in hand, let me share my experience through poems instead :D

The sky crystal blue,
The soft white sand shows its virtue;
The svelte coconut trees, with long leaves,
Dance to form a picturesque.

Under a cloth roof, so strong yet so weak
Strong to the pegs but weak to the wind;
Close to being a blanket, with that eau de parfum inside,
To open our minds to treasure love more than gold.

Happy students jump into the water
Felicitating in the touch of Mother Nature,
The waves, like cradles, buoys with its cool, gentle arms,
As we talk to the glimmering fish, for the first time.

Up, up the slope
The eager and the faint-hearted 
Climb together with kinship as a rope
In search for hope.

Thirty-nine hearts together
To embrace summer and winter
With windy roads and falling rocks to encounter
And it is just now or later.