Sunday, February 24, 2013

The LORD is my light and my salvation

Psalms 27

vs 1:The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

vs 4: One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.

vs 14: Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

new cookie cutters...

very cool cookie cutters.. sesame street characters!!

Will be baking cookies out of these new cuties and update this blog later.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Primer on Prayer

If you have ever asked the question, "why does God need me to pray?", we have asked the wrong question. The right question is, "why does God command us to pray?" God desires our prayers not because He needs our prayers (God is complete/without need), but because we need to change our hearts from their self centered perspective to a God centered perspective. Prayer is something that we need, not God.

Form should not be our primary concern with prayer. A desire to seek God's face and encounter His truth and the truth about ourselves should be our primary focus. But, fallen man is lazy and selfish by nature, so form does serve the function of keeping us focused and disciplining our hearts and our minds.

There are numerous forms of prayer. I like this one, and it does serve the purpose of focusing our hearts and minds on the things of God and disciplining us.

A.C.T.S - is an acrostic that stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
1. Adoration: We are to praise God when we pray. We praise Him not for what He does for us, but for who He is.
2. Confession: We need to be truthful with God so He can prepare the truth in us. There are 2 methods on sin. Commission - where we either thing or act in a manner that doesn't glorify God. Omission - where we fail to think or act in a manner that would glorify God. Tell Him all.
3. Thanksgiving: We praise God for His mercy and grace towards us. It's this "attitude of gratitude" that leads to humility.
4. Supplication: We petition God for the needs of others and for our own needs. We shouldn't be afraid or ashamed to ask for God's help. He knows we need Him. Just remember that He understands our needs better than we do. Trust in Him.

We need to understand completely that prayer is for our benefit. We don't just go to God when we desire His approval or a pat on the back. We don't just go to Him when we desire His blessings or His protection. The most important time to pray is when you don't want to pray. If you're mad at God - tell Him!! If you're feeling doubt about God's leading in your life - tell Him!! If you feel like God doesn't love you and is a thousand miles away - tell Him!! he knows that's how you're feeling (He's God remember?)! He desires your honesty so He can deal with your weakness.

almond flakes cookes

This is my first time on baking these cookies. These are really healthier cookies than most cookies that use lots of butter and sugar. Light tasty cookie, what else can you ask for in a low calorie cookie? They are pretty easy and fun to make them. If you have leftovers egg whites, use them on this recipe. I have learned to bake them much faster and simpler (I will do better next time).

2 egg whites
60g sugar
50g flour
70g almond fakes
25g melted butter
( I will convert the cups on the measurements later and update recipe).

Line pan with parchment paper. Heat oven 350 degree.
Beat egg white till light. Gradually add in sugar and continue to beat mixture till dissolved.
Add in melted butter. Add in flour. Stir in almond flakes and combine well.
Spoon thin layer round shape on pan (make sure cookie are 3/4inch apart. Top with a few pieces of almond if you like. Bake at the top / higher level of oven as cookie bottom tends to burn first. Bake for about 13 mins, should be golden brown. Cool and store in air-tight container.


Friday, February 15, 2013

pickle orange grapefruit peels

When I was in my elementary and high school years, I always love to eat pickled fruits as snacks. I thought they were in so many ways tasty treats :)

Since I have got some oranges and gratefruits and I thought I will pickle the cut out peels after I used/ate the fruit. In a glass jar, I trim off the inner white behind the peels as much as can, then julienne the peels, throw them into the jar. Pour in vinegar, add some lemon juice to the mix and 4 packets of splenda. Close the jar and leave jar in close dry place in the kitchen. The pickle peel is ready anytime after 3 days. Enjoy!

Update: Orange Marmalade
  • 1 medium navel orange  (use orange with thinnest peel)
  • 2 tablespoons water 
  • 1/2 cup sugar (should use half sugar and half splenda)

  • Directions:
    Wash the orange thoroughly.
    Cut off both ends of the orange.
    Cut the orange in half, cut each half in about eight sections.
    Place the orange sections in the food processor and pulse until the peel in is tiny pieces.
    In a medium saucepan place the processed orange, the water and the sugar and bring to a gentle boil.
    Boil for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
    Let cool, then place in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid.
    Store in refrigerator and ready to eat when cold.

    Thursday, February 14, 2013

    I feel good ... I love one of those days!

    Today is day I feel really good. And I want to shout out! 

    It is good when you have a good night sleep. I want to give credit to the Ash Wednesday's evening service. The soup and bread was warm and delicious, it hit the spot and more. The Ash service was beautiful and the congregation was blessed.

    This morning I woke up and did a very good run on the threadmill. I walked out of the shower feeling fully energized and refreshed.

    I want to truly enjoy and soak in on this good day while it lasts.... hope that this good feeling will last a long long time :)

    Oh btw, Valentine's day today has nothing to do with my feeling good today. It is good Valentine's day is today anyhow :) and this reason I wish all who read this blog a very Happy Valentine's Day and may your day be a GOOD day too !

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    kickstart noteworthy expectations..

    I am tired of feeling sluggish, tired and fatigue and going to bed way too early and still couldn't get in the morning. I do not have as much energy in my morning workout like I used to have. What is wrong with this picture??

    Listing some of my new expectations:-
    I would like to gain more energy and don't get fatigued so easily or quickly.
    I like to feel better over all physically and mentally, which means I need to be healthier and have a positive attitude in life.
    I need to be vigilant in eating right, eating healthy, and oh stay away from those goodies.. they are junk food, bad for me. Perhaps, I should have banner of some sort hang within my visual reach :). I will come up with something creative.. let me give this some thought.

    Be more productive.

    Set new attainable goals and document those goals.
    Set up schedule and follow the schedule.

    Schedule and progress on this chart below: ( to be added later).

    Nice to have to do list: -
    • Blogs frequently.
    • Declutter and get organized in my spare room, get rid of junk / old stuff that are useless
    • Learn to see the positive side of everything.
    • Stop beating myself over more small stuff
    • Love myself more.

    Monday, February 11, 2013

    observing the season of Lent

    In 2 days, it will be Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Lent will go on for 6 weeks, after which it will be Easter. This is very special and holy period in Christianity.

    On several occasions the last 2 weeks, the Ash Wednesday and Lent topics kept popping up on me; one of which was I was asked to help put together some collages for Ash Wednesday for a church member and that led me to do some research online for ideas and images. At last Sunday school, the topic was brought up again and we had a brief discussion on what we did during Lent, somebody mentioned one year she did a daily journal on her daily devotional. And I thought, it would be a good idea I write a blog on this topic.

    During the Lent season, I hope to set aside more time on devotion, in prayer and on reflection of God's grace and be very thankful during this Lent period. A time to reflect, repent and renew. A time to grow into holiness and wholeness that God wants me to be. Watching my steps, ... I should make repairs and amends with God ... stay true and focus at the Cross.

    In observance of this holy season, I pray that I will grow in my faithfulness and stay renewed and I pray for God's grace and forgiveness and renewal of Jesus Christ.

    Let his light so shines! AMEN.

    Event updates:
    2/13 - first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday - “Remember from dust you were made and to dust you shall return.”. Attended Ash Wednesday service at the Christ Presbyterian Church. Service was so beautiful, the Holy Spirit was with us all, we were blessed.
    2/14 - Second day is moving along pretty good. The effect of Ash Wednesday's service still lingers.. praise the Lord. This morning, I had good talk to Jesus (at least I try, my way of trying to stay closer ). St Valentine is enjoying Valentine even though there is no goodies or junk food.
    2/15 - 3rd day. Listened to the 'I love you Lord by Maranatha Vocal Band' (thanks Sue on your FB). I love you Lord ... a sweet sweet sound. O worship and sing praises under our Lord Almighty King.

    2/16 - 4th day. I thank God to be God's chosen and  for a fresh new day. 'One thing I have desired of the LORD, that I will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, and to inquire in His temple.' - Psalm 27.4. In my father's house are many mansions, and there is a place for you, My child. 

    2/17 - 1st Sunday Lent message at church - Christ in the wilderness. Temptation enters at his weakest point. Christ understands God's role. His faith is strong in his understanding the Scripture. TJesus said "It is written, One does not live by bread alone. ... Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him. ... Do no put the Lord your God to the test". Temptation is in our reality as well and much more subtle. Temptation is resisted by preparation: - devotional Scripture reading and Prayer. Our Lenten Journey relies on God ... working our way towards the Cross!

    2/18 - Psalm 34:1 I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
    2/19 - Psalm 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. in the midst of each painful experience God's spirit is always at work fashioning beauty in the the soul. In God, I am joyful and content.
    3/6 - devotion on Learn to Listen 'In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise' - Proverbs 1:19

    3/7 - Song - Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, Calling for you and for me; See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching, Watching for you and for me. O for the wonderful love He has promised, Promised for you and for me! Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon, Pardon for you and for me. Come home, come home, You who are weary, come home; Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, Calling, O sinner, come home!

    3/21 - Devotional reading and inspiration from Our Daily Bread - - Jesus’ death forgave my past sins and inspires my present obedience. To use our suffering to make our lives count for eternity. Let us reflect on Jesus’ suffering and death to inspire us to accept the spiritual conflict and persecution that would result from bearing the name of Jesus. Our love for Jesus will lead us to live with enduring suffering as normative. Jesus’ suffering was to serve as motivation to give up sinful passions and to be obedient to the will of God (1 Peter 4:1-2). If our lives are going to count for eternity, we need to stop indulging in fleeting pleasures and instead exhaust our lives on what pleased God. Remembering that Jesus suffered and died to forgive our sins is the most important thought we have to inspire us to make godly choices today and to make our lives count for eternity. 

    Journey to the Cross .

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

    first mini quilt on a pair of hotpads & placemats

    I completed my first mini quilt project in 2 sessions. The hotpads were done before my trip to Penang, so that would have been last October. I started on the placemat quilt while traveling to and from my trip Penang in November. Good way to spend my long hours in my 8 hours stopover at Hongkong (to Penang). I finally and officially completed the entire project in early January I believe.

    I started with working on my first hotpad.

    I had enough materials to work on something else. hmmm, what should sew with what I have?? I didn't want to sew more than 2 hotpads that I just completed and I like to try something else to go with the hotpads. Ok, how about a pair of placemats? Sure, why not, lets do it .... And I sew every stitch on those placemats... so proud of myself. I use couple of my used flimsy placemats as the base / batting (have to find out what that is called ).

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

    CNY cookies collage

    I have been struggling in taking nice decent pictures. This morning after taking a picture on platter of cookies, I kept thinking to myself something did not look right.

    At noon, I met this sweet lady and talked to her about my picture taking frustration and showed her all the pictures in my camera. She pointed out and showed me a couple of pointers. We tried a few pictures with my camera.

    So here it is, I put together a collage, a bad picture I took earlier on the cookie platter and a few others. these are all the cookies I baked the last few nights. I think the new pictures showed some improvement ... maybe???? What do you think? I tried ... practice makes perfect..

    Friday, February 8, 2013

    Tau Sar Cookie Roll

    Tau Sar:
    I had prepared a tub of tau sar just a few days ago. I soaked some mung bean overnight, steamed in a double boiler pan for 40 minutes. Added and stirred in some sugar. This process will smash the mung bean into tar sar. I decided not to pan sear the tau sar with oil, 2 reasons, I didn't want more oil to the tau sar mixture and also I didn't have enough time with my hectic schedule.

    Cookie Roll:
    So, tonight, I made some dough enough to made a batch of 30 these cute guys cookies. It sure is good enough on my first try on this recipe I created and made it my own. Ok sort of my own, I stole couple of recipes and add in my modification here and there (adapted recipes: cookie dough, tau sar pheah crust and/or pie crust). There you have it. I will put together and write the recipe and update to this page later.

    As of now, I still have tau sar ingredient enough to make another 60 to 70 of these little guys!

    I am satisfied with my tonight's baking trial :)

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

    my chronic right shoulder pain... months after months

    if only a simple visit to the Orthopedic and a prescription can do the trick, I already tried avail. I have changed the way I sleep on my bed. I have switched to sleeping on no pillow to different kinds of pillow ... including my travel pillow. I made myself also sleep in one position, that is on my back. ... pain still exists each day, more profound pain during night or wake up on a slight movement or shifts.

    I do get reliefs with lots of stretching exercises. though it hurts to hold weights of  8 pounds (or more) to move and lifting them up and down and backwards.. yikes!

    here is what I am thinking, I like to try ice cold pack next... I hope this will in some ways help.
    or hmmm...  Physical Therapy or Chiropratic ????

    Anyways! ... that is my whinning for today :)

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

    look what I baked last night .....

    I am determined to be doer and not just talker ... therefore, I experiment baking 3 kinds of cookies... peanut cookies, cranberry cookies and coconut cookies... yep, here they are. I am happy on how they turned out, granted I had not been successful on several attempts with my cookie baking. well, take your pick and take a bite ( I mean take a look)  what you think? I will add the recipes later on.

    These are peanut cookies, 2 different design cut-outs, just dissolve in my mouth instantly.

    Here are cranberry cookies. I patiently cut each individual cookie with special care as I wanted every piece to be a piece of good cookie.
    these are before being baked

    these are fresh out from the oven.

    Coconut Cookies! Frankly, of all the 3 kinds, coconut cookie is the least hassle to make.. and could possibly be tastier... I will let my cookie tester (Terry) to let us know. I am sure he will too :)

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

    so where is the snow as predicted ....

    how many times have the weather predicted and forecasted and get it right?? ok, maybe at least one time out of 100. Updated 3/6/2013, it finally come, snow is really coming down!

    Snow is pretty and nice and so pure, especially seeing it coming down live right in your face!!! Here is picture taken on March 6, one big snow storm of this winter.

    So you are stuck in the house as road conditions do not permit you to be out there. What do you do to avoid the cabin fever??!!! and please, please behave better than 'Calvin and Hobbes'

    Here are a few suggestion on things/ideas to do when stuck in the snow:
    • play with your cat
    • bake cookies
    • go shovel the snow
    • read a book (perhaps may I suggest .. Calvin and Hobbes )
    • take pictures of the snow.
    On the flip side, one big snow storm will last for awhile.. frankly, I am not one that loves snow. After all, snow can be big nuisance... and I mean it is not fun driving with all kinds drivers out there in a slippery slide road condition. Also, the car takes a bad beating from all the elements and chemicals applied on the roads.

    I will add a Pic of dirty car when snow is gone. Who would like to have a dirty raggedy car parked in front of their house ( a day or 2 after the storm) ???

    Monday, February 4, 2013

    all I want for CNY this year is to successfully ....

    baked a few CNY cookies.

    Here are a few recipes I like to bake in the next few days...yikes! It is a lot pressure and why do I wait till the last hour to think about this, huh???

    List of cookies ... again in no particular order. I have gathered all the ingredients and recipes below.

    1. Crispy Almond Flakes cookies  - - Looks interesting and pretty simple.
    2 egg whites
    60g caster sugar
    50g all purpose flour
    100g Almond flakes (sliced almond pieces)
    25g butter (melted)

    1. Lightly beat egg white and sugar till sugar dissolved.
    2. Add in flour, almond flakes and melted butter, combine well.
    3. Spoon mixture on a non-stick baking sheet, and use the back of spoon to spread the mixture to round thin shape (make it as thin as possible).
    4. Bake at pre-heated oven for 13-15mins at 160c or until golden brown.

    2. Golden Coconut Cookies

    70g butter
    40g icing sugar
    1 egg yolk
    140g cake flour
    1/8tsp baking soda

    50g Golden bake desiccated coconut

    3. Cranbrerry Cookies (kueh bangkit ??? )
    Ingredients:180 gram unsalted butter – room temperature
    140 gram icing sugar
    1 egg yolk
    260 gram flour
    40 gram cornstarch
    1 tsp baking powder
    ½ tsp salt
    chopped dried cranberries
    1 egg – for egg wash

    1. Sieve flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt together. Set it aside.
    2. Line parchment paper on baking pan.
    2. Beat sugar and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg yolk and continue to beat until combined. Add in the chopped cranberries. Mix well.
    3. Lower down the speed of the mixer and slowly add in the flour mixture until the dough comes together.
    4. Transfer the dough to a work surface that is lightly floured, roll out the dough to about ¼”, cut into desired shapes and transfer it to the baking sheet.
    5. Brush the top of the cookies with egg wash and bake in a pre-heated 325 degree oven until the edges are lightly brown. Transfer to cooling rack and store in an airtight container when it is cool.

    4. Cranberry Cream Cheese Scones
    125 gm flour
    125 gm cake flour
    1 Tbsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    80 gm dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
    120 gm cream cheese, room temp
    30 gm butter
    90 mil milk
    1 egg , 1 Tbsp removed for glazing
    1 Tbsp egg mix with 1 tsp milk, extra melted butter for glazing

    1. Preheat oven 200C. Mix up flour, baking powder, salt
    2. Beat cream cheese + butter till smooth, mix in flour mixture, resembles fine crumbs.
    3. Combine egg and milk, pour to #2
    4. Lightly mix in cranberries
    5. Roll dough, cut up in heart shapes.
    6. Glaze scones with egg mixtures
    7. Bake for 9 mins.
    7. Remove from oven, brush melted butter.
    Put them back in oven to bake another 5 mins.

    5. Dried Cranberry, Walnut, and Lemon Scones
     2 tablespoons plus 1 cup sugar
     2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
     3 cups all purpose flour
     1 tablespoon baking powder
     1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
     1 teaspoon salt
     3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, diced
     1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
     1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
     1/2 cup (or more) chilled half and half, divided


    Position rack in top third of oven; preheat to 375°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
    Whisk 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in bowl for glaze.

    Whisk flour, baking powder, lemon peel, salt, and 1 cup sugar in large bowl. Add chilled butter; using fingertips, rub in until coarse meal forms. Mix in cranberries and walnuts. Add 1/2 cup half and half and1 tablespoon lemon juice. Toss with fork until dough comes together in moist clumps, adding more half and half if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; divide in half. Press out each half on floured surface to 6-inch-diameter (1-inch-high) round. Cut each round into 6 wedges. Transfer to baking sheet; brush with glaze.
    Bake scones until golden and tester comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    6. Cranberry Scones
    2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
    1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar
    2 1/2 teaspoons baking powde
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/3 cup (76 grams) cold unsalted butter
    1/2 cup (50 grams) dried or fresh cranberries (cut fresh cranberries in half)
    1/3 cup (50 grams) mixed candied fruit and peel
    2/3 - 3/4 cup (160 - 180 ml) milk
    1/4 cup (25 grams) sliced almonds
    Powdered (Confectioners or Icing) Sugar

    Cranberry Scones Recipe: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in middle of oven. Butter or line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
    In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Gently stir in the cranberries and mixed fruit, making sure not to crush the berries. Add the milk and stir until just combined. Do not over mix.
    Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough four or five times and then pat, or roll, the dough into a circle that is 7 inches (18 cm) round and about 1 1/2 inches (3.75 cm) thick. Cut this circle into 8 triangular sections. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and then brush the top of the scones with milk or cream. Sprinkle with sliced almonds.  
    Bake for about 15 - 20 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.   If desired, serve with Devon cream and/or your favorite jam.
    Makes 8 scones.

    Mincemeat Cookie Tart

    My first attempt on making these cookie tart. I have a jar of mincemeat sitting in my pantry for sometime, so I thought I try making some cookie. I scooped out the mincemeat onto a skillet and seared in low heat them and added some sugar. I was hopefully that sugar will help thicken or dry up the mincemeat texture as good easy filling to this cookie dough.

    Ingredient for filling:

    Jar of mincemeat.
    1/4 cup of sugar.

    Ingredient for the pastry.

    2 cup flour
    2 Tbsp corn flour
    1/6 cup of sugar
    2 stick of margarine
    1 egg yolk
    1 tsp baking powder.

    2 cup flour
    1/4 cup water

    1 egg - for egg wash


    Oil based dough:
    In a blender, beat sugar and margarine. Add in egg yolk to incorporate.
    In separate bowl, mix together flour, corn flour and baking powder.
    Gradually, fold a little of flour mixture at a time to margarine.
    Mix and knead until all flour blend together to form a nice dough.
    Set dough in refrigerator at least 15 minutes or more.

    Water based dough
    Add small amount of water add a time to flour, mix and knead till dough allow to pull and stretch.

    Preheat Oven at 350 F
    Line out parchment paper over baking pan.

    Work with a small badge at a time, tear out a small fist size water dough and another oil based fist size dough. Roll out water dough, put oil based on middle of rolled out water dough. Fold together and press out flat, do this several times ( 3 to 5 times).
    Roll out flat the dough, cut out strip of 1 1/4 inch wide. Cut strip to 3 inch long.
    On each 3 inch strip, add 1/2 tsp of filling and roll up filling completely.
    Arrange individual log on parchment papered pan, (spreading an inch apart from each other of the log cookie).

    Brush with egg wash over each cookie. (optional)
    Bake in preheated oven approv 20-25 mins (or till golden).

    Leave to cool on a wire rack and store cookies in containers.

    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    Cappuccino with dark chocolate biscuit.

    There is no excuse on a day like today, snowing flakes falling from the sky, temperatures struggle to reach 30 F. I decided to crack open a can of Pillsbury biscuit and pop them into the oven.

    Terry is good in using his new espresso/cappuccino maker, just like Spain. He likes to say, like being in Barcelona all over again. So, he whipped us a couple cup of his specialty cappuccino to go with freshly piping hot dark chocolate filled biscuits!

    And here is the recipe on:-
    Mini Biscuit with Dark Chocolate

    1 can of Pillsbury Grand Biscuits
    16 mini Hershey Dark Chocolates

    Preheat oven to 350 F.
    Cut up into half on the length/long sides each of chocolate.
    Line parchment paper on large baking pan.

    Open can of biscuit of 8 pieces.
    Cut each biscuit into 4 small pieces.
    On each small piece, roll flat using rolling pin. Fill each piece with a piece of chocolate, roll up, place on pan, let the end sit on bottom.
    Baked for 8 to 10 mins.