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Moms Do Not Mince Words

8 May

Just when you think life is good with all these gastronomic adventures, long weekends for painting and living a sedentary lifestyle due to a sports injury, reality kicks in.

A few days ago, Mom commented casually that my behind is looking, err… wider than usual. While she did not specifically said that I was fat, she merely said that part of the anatomy was looking wider than normal, it was enough. Ouch and cringe.

Normally when such a comment is made by hubby, wrath will incur followed by a lengthy silent treatment. But one just cannot do the same with mothers who do not mince words. Reality kicks in.

Guess I better do something about this ‘wider than usual’ situation if I cannot play golf yet to burn all those calories gained.

Destination: Taiping, Part 2

25 Apr

Sleep wasn’t the most comfortable but I guess it wasn’t critical when thoughts of what we can eat made up for it. Honestly, it was the pillow and somehow, my little travel pillow didn’t help this time. Sigh…

The day started off early with a trip to the Casual Market for breakfast. Located in the middle of the town, this food court had plenty to offer. A friend highly recommended Stall 64 for the Curry Laksa but it was closed! Oh… disappointment kicked in.

But fret not, there were plenty of other choices and we had our fill. And the day was still young, so we headed back to Taiping Lake Gardens as the skies were clear and perfect to admire the trees.

It was indeed very pretty, all the trees leaning towards the water. The reflection and the surrounding was so peaceful and calming. We sat by the lake just to breathe in the fresh air and absorbed some Vitamin D (the sun).

Then we headed to Kuala Sepetang to visit the Charcoal Factory. It was very enlightening to learn how charcoal are made. After that visit, we went across the road and explored the mangrove forest to pass time so that we can have lunch at Lemon Tree Restaurant nearby (in Matang) for the recommended seafood porridge. Like last night’s dinner, the porridge was very good, and cheap!

Sated to the brim (burp), it was time to leave Matang and Taiping now filled with memories of cheap eats and wonderful discoveries. The drive back was pleasant enough and we decided to detour to Ipoh for coffee! After all, this was a gastronomic journey, why not cap it with some good coffee.

Now you see why the need for stretchy pants?

Closed! Not our luck this time.


But we had all these other options!

  

Feels like entering a long tunnel. Branches are so unique!




  
  

Mr Chuah has quite an impressive charcoal factory!


Mangrove wood are stripped of the bark, sun-dried first and then into the kiln they go


The backyard for all the wood supplies to reach the clusters of factories at this place

  

This kiln has been sealed to further smoke the 1,500 pieces of mangrove wood inside. 


This fella was getting some hot charcoal to actually bake some potatoes!

  

This kiln has yet to be sealed. Smoke coming out is actually the moisture from the wood. Foreground rubber wood are used for burning to smoke the mangrove wood


  

Laden with crab, prawns, fish, scallops and fishballs, best seafood porridge we had!


Iced coffee, iced milk coffee and toast before we head home!

Destination: Taiping

24 Apr

You know you’re courting fatness when you go on a foodie road trip and stretchy pants are intentionally packed along. All those food that will be eaten will surely go to the waist and the stretchy pants will accommodate this indulgence!

Well, with the tennis elbow limiting my exercise, an outstation trip this time is not a golf outing so a food outing is the next best thing. It’s an unexpected public holiday today and we made the most of long three-day weekend with Mom and M2 for the short getaway.

The destination: Taiping this time instead of Penang or Ipoh, our usual go-to places. The little town has a lot of cheap and delicious eats worthy to rival the two other famed destinations.

The drive on Saturday morning wasn’t too bad without the holiday-makers although there were some stretches that were slow and congested. When we finally arrived at Taiping, we looked for a place to eat for it was way past the usual lunchtime.

The Char Kueh Teow we had was good, at a ridiculously cheap price that you simply cannot find in KL – Four Ringgit. Even the Chicken Rice was Four Ringgit, and both had sizeable portions, not less at this price. Food prices in KL has soared so much recently and to find something good at this price was just amazing.

The rain was a spoiler especially when we wanted to see the famed trees at Taiping Lake Gardens. And came down even harder when we made our way to Matang for dinner but we took things in stride. No rush, no hurry, no stress, just go with the flow of the situation.

Our dinner was so so cheap. I seriously think if we ate the same things back in KL, it would cost twice the amount! The portions were big and the taste… Oh so good.

Towards the end of the evening, the sporadic rainfall prevented us from coming out of the car. So we just drove around the town, which had a similar feel to Ipoh. Hubby and I agreed that the town is worthy of a revisit plus a golf game thrown in at Taiping Golf Resort.

We called it an early night as the next day, we had a more comprehensive food trail to do and sights to take in.

   
 
  
   

A fallen raintree that was equally appealing

  

Dinner was so good

 

Butterbeer

10 Apr

At the height of the Harry Potter years, M2 like every other fan, was Harry Potter crazed. She would read and re-read the books and knew lines by heart. It was rather heart-warming to see her (and M1 as well) do so much reading.

But thank goodness the craze was limited to just the books and not any collectibles although there were some Lego sets purchased. And both girls have a magic wand each, gifted from a friend who went to the Harry Potter theme park. I remember one day, many years ago, M2 came to me with a butterbeer recipe and asked if we could make it.

The beverage was of course served in the wizarding world of Harry Potter and back then, she thought it would be awesome if she could drink what Harry and friends drank. I still have the recipe, dating back to 2012 in my iPhone. I think we tried making it only once but don’t recall the outcome.

Fast forward to two weeks ago, at our local grocery store, lo and behold we saw a bottle of butterbeer! Of course we had to purchase it to try. And I must say it was quite refreshing but once the coldness ebbed away, the sweet side of the beverage became too much. Well, if we never tried, we would never have known.

I just wonder will this lead to a renewed interest in reading the books all over again? Only time can tell.

  

Temptation is Strong

17 Mar

It’s a good thing that the gum ball machine is not directly in my line of view because I would want to dispense chocolate at every opportunity. Suddenly knowing and having a good supply of chocolate is very tempting.

So strong the temptation that I put out my container of coins right next to the gum ball machine to make life easy whenever I crave some M&Ms. Let’s see how long before all the chocolate is gone.

Look What I Did!

16 Mar

Stress can sometimes be decision makers. Last week was very stressful with a short bandwidth to work on some design work for an upcoming event. And things culminated to this week and finally the stress session was over.

I wanted chocolate last week but didn’t even have time to open the two bags of M&Ms that I have. Frankly I hid them away from myself. So this week after the work wrapped, I decided to reward myself by filling up my gum ball machine to enjoy my chocolate.

Initially, I opened the Crispy bag and filled the yellow dispenser and was happily dispensing M&Ms to treat myself. No discipline! 

Then I opened the Peanut bag, throwing out all concerns of dust and what nots, and filled the gum ball machine but it wasn’t enough. So I moved all the Crispy M&Ms over to it. And it’s looking really good and enticing.

Seriously I won’t be accessing it freely because I would need coins unlike the yellow dispenser. Controlled eating I’d say. While it’s nice to have easy access to chocolate, it’s not good to be constantly eating it.

Then again maybe I need more chocolate because the yellow dispenser looks so sad and empty. Hmm…

   

Looks like two is not enough!

 

The Big Debate

9 Mar

Now that I’ve concluded it wasn’t the chocolate’s fault and I have two bags of M&Ms, I am caught in between on a decision.

I actually have an M&M chocolate dispenser (a Christmas gift) in contention with my gum ball machine to be of service to store my chocolate supply. While it’s of purely sentimental reasons that I want to use the gum ball machine, the thing is so old, it may not be hygienic. On the outside, it’s rather dusty even after cleaning, what more the inside of its solid base? I dare not think beyond the dust…

But if I use the new and clean M&M dispenser, the thing is so plastic-ky and unauthentic, there is no joy in eating. Also, unlike the real gum ball machine, the thing doesn’t require coins to dispense, it’s no fun. Sigh…

It’s a silly debate seriously but a debate nonetheless.

  
 

It’s Not the Chocolate

24 Feb

Somehow marbles in a gum ball machine does not sound quite right. So I didn’t go ahead with the idea. I was mulling why I gained weight over the past three months. Yes there was the eating and drinking during the holidays and festivities which I don’t deny but I don’t think it was excessive. Maybe just richer and more hearty than my usual intake plus the lack of exercise played a part.

Then it dawned on me that the main culprit for the unwanted weight gain was the snacking on Chinese New Year titbits in between meals. Yes in between meals. Hah! I should know better that this is indeed bad but I couldn’t help myself.

Resistance has been futile towards the fried seaweed, pineapple tarts, peanut cookies and love letters! Oh… those love letters… so good. These once-a-year yummies are a must-eat during Chinese New Year whereas chocolates are not necessary must-eats but mood dependent. So laden with sugar those titbits, don’t expect to not gain weight.

Thank goodness the festivities are over and the cookies are almost gone, I should get back to shape in no time.

And to comfort myself that it’s not the chocolate’s fault, I bought not one but two bags of M&M’s because I know I will not eat them at the pace like I do with love letters. Thoughts of filling up my gum ball machine crossed my mind. Hmm…

  

The Gum Ball Machine, Part 2

10 Feb

After much thought about the M&Ms for my gum ball machine, I have decided not to fill it up. Sigh… A friend suggested to mix the plain ones and the peanut ones if I was undecided. What a brilliant idea! Tempting, very tempting but I have to go on diet and having a chocolate dispensing machine within my reach may thwart my plans.

The Chinese New Year celebration is almost over with one last Chap Goh Meh dinner with Mom and my sibling’s family tomorrow night, so I have to stay disciplined and go ahead with the diet intention.

I need to lose all that weight gained from the constant eating since December last year when M1 came home for Christmas. Also because I feel a psychological expansion of my waistline when I put on my only pair of Levi’s and it feels tight. Not good especially when the Levi’s is those stretchy ones. Thank goodness, I was back at the gym earlier in the week to get things going.

So for now, the gum ball machine remains a decorative item and not a chocolate dispensing machine. But… me being me, I couldn’t resist the chocolate temptation and gave in to getting a small packet of M&Ms. I reasoned that the diet starts only next week, a little now wouldn’t hurt. Weakling.

  

The Gum Ball Machine

9 Feb

I love my gum ball machine. It’s quite an authentic piece, made of metal and glass instead of plastic. I bought it in New York City during a blind date set up by my room mate dinosaur years ago. I agreed to the date only to oblige her. 

The date and I went to SoHo and ended up at the Cupping Room Cafe for lunch. Thereafter we browsed some shops nearby and I stumbled upon the gum ball machine. An unusual buy on a first date but what the heck? It’s a gum ball machine(!) just like the one in WBMG., Inc. albeit smaller. So the purchase was made.

Now, about the date… He was nice, polite and gentlemanly but too hairy for me. Gosh! Funny I can still recall the places we went and details like the hair at the back of his neck sticking out of his round-neck t-shirt but not his name. Ugh to the hair! There was no further second date. Thank goodness, otherwise I wouldn’t have tales of my M1, M2, hubby and Rooney to tell! 

Over the years, the gum ball machine has been in a discreet corner in the old office just collecting dust. Somehow I never considered displaying it at home, and it’s not like it’s a bad reminder of the date with Hairy Guy in SoHo. But I think it’s more of not wanting it filled with candy and enticing the girls (and myself) to have a sweet tooth.

Today, it sits proudly in a visible position in my office room! I will have to fill it up with M&M chocolate soon. The debate now is whether to have normal ones or with peanuts? Hmm… tough decision here.