Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Meal For 1 - Vegetarian Tom Yum Pasta

Lately I've been cooking a lot more of my lunches at home, especially when I have jewelry work to catch up on and can't meet my mum for lunch. The children hardly come home from school till after 3pm and so there's only one tummy to fill. Yes, mine!

I've decided that I would like to experiment with cooking (food that my family may not like to eat) since there's only myself to feed. And at the same time, making it as fuss free as possible so that I need not spend more than 20 minutes to prepare my lunch. Ley cheh (inconvenient) to cook for one, you say? Well, I think it's more ley cheh to get changed, blow my hair, put on some light make up, make sure the windows are closed, doggy's water is filled and head out to a nearby mall for lunch of which I'll get fried in the hot sun.

I plan to make this "Meal For 1" a series on the blog and I'm excited to share with you a quick fix fusion meal - al dente vegetarian tom yum pasta.

What you need :

- one portion sphaghetti (not in pic)
- 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
- a handful of golden enoki mushrooms (or any other kinds of mushrooms)
- 1 tomato, sliced into wedges
- a handful of coriander
- half a tablespoon of tom yum koong pre mix (you can use your preferred brand for this)
- 1 tablespoon of coconut cream (or you can substitute with cooking cream)
- 1/2 rice bowl of water

(Many of the ingredients above were pre-existing in my fridge so what better way to make use of them in my lunch before they expire!)

Method :

Cook the pasta in your usual way about 5 minutes before hand so that by the time the sauce is ready, lunch  will also be ready!

1) The garlic were lightly fried and set aside. I like mine to be added as a topping on the pasta which gives it some texture when I bite into it. Or you can just fry it together with the tom yum paste to cut down cooking time.

2) Using the same pan with leftover oil from frying garlic, add and stir fry the paste till fragrant. Followed by vegetables, coconut cream and water. Let it simmer for about half a minute.

3) Now that the sauce is ready, your pasta should be almost ready to be tossed together with the tom yum sauce.

4) Toss it well in the pan till the sauce is fully absorbed into the pasta.

5) Serve and enjoy!

Till the next post, have a wonderful day!

Friday, April 10, 2015

What Motherhood Is To Me + Mother's Day Giveaway

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. ~Sophia Loren

Before my children came along, many decisions made between my husband and I, were really for selfish reasons. There wasn't a need for us to think about time or how we spend money. We packed our bags and go for road trips whenever we felt like it. We ate what we liked at any time of the day. We bowled till the wee hours of the morning on weekends and slept in without a care. Nothing could hold us back.

When I became a mother, my life completely took a turn. There wasn't anymore staying up late for leisure because tending to babies can be tiring and every opportunity to catch up on sleep was important. I picked up cooking so that my young children would not be exposed to unhealthy dosages of MSG and also to save us some money since I became a stay-at-home-mum. I (still) don't go grabbing an ice cream even though I happen to have a craving because they have a cough or cold. And I would always rather spend whatever extra I have on them than on myself. It always seemed that it was more important to keep them happier.

Even though my children are in their youths now, I still think about their well-being, needs and wants before mine in anything that I do. It comes to mind that very soon, they will no longer be children I can "boss around" so these sacrifices are just temporal. Very soon, the children will take full charge of their lives and won't need me to poke my nose into their affairs. But on a positive note, I also look forward to find more opportunities to reconnect with the man I love again when that time comes.

Such is the way of motherhood for me.
Image extracted from HERE

Because Mother's Day is around the corner, I would like to take this opportunity to bless a mother with this freshwater pearl ball cluster pendant necklace and earrings, to celebrate YOU - your love and sacrifices you have made for your family.

Pearls are said to symbolize purity, honesty, wisdom and integrity. It is all the best we should ever be within us.

The chain on the necklace is high silver plating with a special heart and the earrings are with stainless steel posts, to suit those with sensitive earlobes.

This set is worth S$46.

To win this precious set for yourself, do share with me in the comment box on 
how motherhood has changed you 
and fill in the necessary entries in the Rafflecopter widget below to better your chances of winning this giveaway.

Other Terms & Conditions :

* This giveaway is open only to mothers residing in Singapore.
* Winners of previous giveaways done on my blog within the last 6 months will not qualify.
* No further request on the design will be entertained.
* It is mandatory to leave a comment with a valid email address, so that I can contact you if you win. Otherwise your entry will be considered void.
* The winner will be contacted via email after the draw has been made. If there is no response within 24 hours, I reserve the right to draw another winner.
* This giveaway ends on 16 April 2015.
* The necklace set will be sent out by standard mail.

All the best and Happy Mother's Day in advance!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Till the next post, have a wonderful day!

Monday, April 6, 2015

[Product Review] ZTE Blade V5 Lux

Although I would like to think I have a little tech geekiness in me, I found out I was not so much as I thought I was. It was a little challenging in the beginning, for me to try out one of the latest android smartphone model, ZTE Blade V5 Lux. Mind you, it is my first time dabbling with an android phone but I am so thankful that my 15 year old son kicked start this phone for me to use so that I can work on this review. And strangely, I actually got a hang of using it!

Have you heard of ZTE?

I'm not going to bore you with it's history but here's a short introduction about them :

ZTE it is a well-known multinational telecommunication equipment and network solutions company in Shenzhen, China. They are among the top 5 largest smartphone manufacturers worldwide to offer a complete range of mobile devices and aims to be the leading affordable smartphone provider in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

The V5 Lux is a comfortable size for my hand.
ZTE Blade V5 Lux is one of 4 ZTE's flagship models that was launched not too long ago in Singapore. The Lux V5 is a dual-SIM quad-core smartphone and is marketed to be a "great camera for the constant traveler".

I love big phone screens (because my long sightedness has kicked in) without the need for the phone to be bulky and the V5 Lux meets my need so the size is just right. It is equipped with a 5 inch IPS screen display by Sharp and boasts an impressive 1280 x 720 resolution. With a 1GB RAM, it allows users to multitask seamlessly by viewing videos at the same time while browsing the internet or even sending a message. Very useful for people like me, who likes to multi-task.

The other significant selling point for me, would be the dual-SIM feature. This means both SIM cards can be used at once - SIM card 1 being the active SIM card and SIM card 2 is the standby card.  In other words, you have two different SIM cards and you can use them both from one phone. It translates to using SIM cards from different service providers and even from different countries. You can also make and receive calls and text messages from either card at any time. This feature is a must-have for travelers, for staying connected even when overseas.

Probably one of the other important feature that I look for in a smartphone, is it's camera function because I really like to have fun with my phone camera on the go. Let me share some technical information gathered from it's original source :

"It has a Sony 13MP BSI rear camera with LED flash and f/2.2 aperture to capture scenic shots when traveling. The camera function is also preloaded with ZTE’s industry-leading Neovision photography technology that supports independent control of focus, light metering, white balance, electronics aperture and slow shutter speed."

Did you get all that jargon? I had to experience it for myself to be sure.

(Note : the photos below captured from the phone was slightly enhanced with contrast on the phone's built-in photo editor.)

This one was taken indoor in yellow lighting.

This one was taken indoor with some natural lighting.
This one was taken outdoor.
(note : the colors in the photos were not enhanced.)

In my opinion, the photos here were neither too shabby nor too great. Then again, we should not be expecting high end photos coming from a phone camera so I would just say that the photos turn out pretty decent. The colors are not compromised and it is as vibrant as we see it here.  

As for storage space for photos or videos, apart from the internal storage of 8GB, it also has an expansion slot that can take up to 32GB of storage space, which is absolutely good news for phone photography buffs like me!

By now, you would probably be interested to know about it's battery life. In the beginning, upon fully charging the phone, the children and I explored with it via wifi connection at home, without any SIM card. We surfed the internet a fair bit - probably about an hours' usage each day. We snapped many silly photos/videos of each other (no, am not showing you), watched some youtube channels and downloaded some game apps to play. Surprisingly, the battery only started to drain on the 4th night, despite not having it turned off the whole time. Therefore in my opinion, it is safe to say that the battery would definitely last a full day before charging is required.

What I Like About the Phone

It is a great looking phone, affordable and functional mid-entry level smartphone for daily usage. The resolution is rather impressive and it is quite easy to navigate. Anything beyond this can be quite subjective because it really depends what a consumer is looking for. Though I can definitely say that it is a very conventional smartphone if you are considering an Andriod based device. The dual SIM support is an extra plus point when considering this phone.

The ZTE Blade V5 Lux is available at S$329 (w/o contract). Please refer to ZTE Singapore facebook page for store listing.

Till the next post, have a wonderful day!

[Disclaimer : The said product was given to us by Polaris Ltd, the exclusive mobile solutions distributor, for the purpose of a review. There is no other monetary compensation involved and the opinion in this post is purely my own]


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