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When Life Gives You Bananas Instead

20 May

Recently the pandemic SOP restrictions for travels and visits have been lifted. So we visited my aunt and cousin – it was a fruitful visit, literally. We came home with papayas and bananas. So wonderful! It wasn’t a case of getting lemons and making lemonade, but bananas and making a bunch of yummies!

The papayas tasted very different from those from our garden, but nice nevertheless. We couldn’t figure out what species was the bananas, so we had to wait for them to ripen. And when they did, we still couldn’t pinpoint the species. Lol! Oh well.

We discovered the banana tastes best when combined with something. Eating it on its own does not taste as good. So what do you do or make when there are so many bananas?

First, there was the banana smoothie, which was so good and filling. I used lactose intolerant milk so that I could drink the smoothie too. Then there’s the banana bread baked by hubby. Delicious! After these two efforts, there were still a lot of bananas left, so I made a banana sorbet, which tasted simply heavenly.

Banana galore!

It’s such a simple recipe that I found online using just three ingredients. Bananas, which we had plenty of, and lime and honey! Blend them several times to be as smooth as possible, then freeze. Best eaten during hot days. So now you know, when life gives you bananas, make bread, smoothies, and sorbet!

A Bag of Air

10 May

We love snacking on chips, and now and then, a bag of chips would be out, and we’ll be munching away. It’s not the healthiest snack, but we’ll close one eye on this.

Recently, M1 brought a bag of chips home for us to try. And try we did. When I opened the bag, it was a bag of air more than chips! Eesh, I was irked to encounter this! The audacity of the manufacturers to puff up the bag to make it look plentiful when in reality, two-thirds of the bag contains more air than chips.

The bag of air

But certain brands are a little better, packing less air and more chips. So either we eat and not complain, or not eat at all to avoid being irked.

A Fairy Tale Setting

6 May

It looked like a scene from a fairy tale fable. It was not too late when we came back from dinner earlier this week. The frog was sitting so upright and rigid in front of the tree. Three mushrooms were growing next to the tree trunk, making the scene more fabled. I think the street light played a role in the dreamy scenario.

My feeble attempts with my iPhone XR

The frog did not even flinch when hubby crouched so close to it to take its picture. He managed to capture a few spectacular shots with his Samsung phone. I did not go as close as I was afraid the frog would jump. My photos taken with my iPhone XR pale in comparison to his attempt.

Hubby’s shots with his Samsung phone
Night and day difference for the three mushrooms

Once in a while, it is okay to appreciate a frog if they could sit there quietly, and create a surreal fairy tale scene, instead of being in the garden choir ensemble.

A Welcome Celebration

29 Apr

What a difference with another year passing by for birthday celebrations! The existence of Covid-19 makes it hard for us to predict what can happen with its spread making daily situations so volatile. We cannot plan special occasions so far ahead because things are constantly evolving. Even as I write, the SOPs will change again come next month.

Two years ago, my birthday dinner celebration was a muted affair. We stayed home because of the pandemic and had food delivered. There were scores and scores of containers for the meal. It wasn’t the best in presentation, but being at home made up for it, given the virus fear and lockdown circumstances. Last year, it was a blur, and honestly, I don’t remember what we did on my special day.

This year, things are a little bit different. A spontaneous four-day gastronomic journey that began on Sunday to celebrate instead of a golf getaway like we usually do. Moreover, we just went on a golf trip to Forest City recently, so another trip now is too soon. This mission to discover new food to savor in the run-up to the actual birthday is much appreciated for the chef in me to have the week off from making dinner nightly! Woo hoo.

Lovely fine dining Japanese dinner
We ate to our fill!
We came home to cut my yummy Lemon Pistachio birthday cake
We played a post-birthday round of golf!

The birthday dinner was also a welcome change for various reasons. It was the first fine-dining experience after the many lockdowns we had during the pandemic. Secondly, it’s the first year with M1 joining us, being away for her education, and missing my birthday celebrations for the last six years. All in all, a welcome celebration. A toast to a good year ahead for me, and be in the best of health and mind.

A Symbolic Growth, Part 3

15 Apr

So the mini pineapple was left on the kitchen counter to ripen, and it did. It took a few days for this process, and during this time, we could smell its fragrance in the kitchen. What a lovely smell! We were looking forward to savoring it.

The mini pineapple

When we finally cut it, it was not as sweet, unfortunately. A day or two more on the stem would have been better. But it was weakened by the excessive rain and water – we had to harvest it. Otherwise, the squirrels would get to it before us. Oh well. Let’s hope the next pineapple will survive the wet weather.

An Unexpected Scare

4 Apr

Last week, I had a Covid scare. It was a sudden attack of severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, and joint aches, symptoms akin to being Covid-positive. It never occurred to me that it could be food poisoning because, with the current pandemic, any illness contracted points to the possibility of being Covid-positive.

The joint pains threw me off as I don’t remember food poisoning having this symptom, and I was in too much pain to bother to google, hence the fear of being Covid-positive. Although I was not running a fever nor having any sore throat, these symptoms were on the Covid-positive watch list. Yikes.

I felt terrible as I lost my appetite, and it was hard to muster up any energy to stay afloat because the cramps were very intense. So off to bed early after downing charcoal pills and pain killers. What other medications could I take? And sleeping off the discomfort and agony was the only solution.

The next day after feeling slightly better, I did a home self-test to assure myself I was not C-positive. And thank goodness, the result was negative. I merely had a horrid case of food poisoning.

The positive from this unpleasantry other than the self-test result is the loss of several pounds! I have been trying to shed some pounds over the past month with morning walks, and this happened instead. Not the proper method to lose weight, but I survived, so yay. I hope from here on I don’t gain them back! And I should be even more careful with my food intake to avoid a repeat of this unexpected scare.

It’s a Small World

29 Mar

When we went to Forest City Golf Resort, we thought we had the perfect getaway from it all. Little did we know, we would bump into two golfing friends who were also there for golf. It’s a small world!

The first encounter was a brief one in the pro shop when the friend was heading out as we were walking in. A quick chat was all we had. The second encounter was equally brief, but we made plans to meet up for dinner as the friend had just checked in.

On Friday afternoon after our morning tee-off, M1 and I decided to visit Legoland, located not too far from the resort. Hubby opted out since he had work to do. So the arrangement worked out well.

Both of us spent the hot and humid afternoon wandering through the attractions at Legoland. The Day Pass ticket was not cheap. But we were upgraded to an Annual Pass as the theme park is trying to retain or attract visitors. So would we visit again with the Annual Pass? Perhaps.

No crowd, no queue, it was ideal

The plus side of a semi-post-pandemic situation is no crowds in a theme park. There was no queue at all the rides, not many wailing kids to contend with, and no icky arms close to us because everyone had to maintain the one-meter social distancing. It was perfect save for the humid weather.

The mini wonders at Legoland
Sealife at Legoland

After completing the outdoor attractions and rides, we moved indoors to Sealife aquarium. I think we enjoyed the air-conditioning more than the attractions! The rain came down when we came out from Sealife. It was a short drizzle, and the umbrella came in handy as we headed to the car.

That evening, we had dinner with our friends in the next township from Forest City, followed by a bottle of lovely French wine in the hotel lobby. It was a good getaway for us to rejuvenate and reset to face our daily routine.

Forest City Golf Resort

28 Mar

Forest City Golf Resort is a lovely golf resort. But I have to say there aren’t many choices within the resort as far as dining is concerned. Nonetheless, food is not the main highlight of this trip, as there is much to share of the two golf courses – the Legacy Course and Classic Course.

Each course has its characteristics, appeal, and challenge. Being there for the first time, we were unaware of the layout at times, as we did not have a caddy to guide us. But since buggies are allowed on the course, this predicament was not a big issue. We had all the time in the world, and at times, a short drive up to see the layout was necessary before hitting our shots.

Both courses had very pristine fairways, even the roughs along the way. The ball floats nicely on top, and it is not difficult to get out from the rough. The tee boxes were a joy as they were even and had carpet-like quality grass. As for the greens, it wasn’t as fast as touted. But all in all, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

There is hardly a blade of grass out of place on the fairways. The only thing messing up the perfect condition was an unexpected bird poop I spotted on our second day. It was indeed jarring to the overall greenery of the golf course. Even the wasteland features were immaculate.

The eye-sore bird poop on the fairway!

The only thing we did not enjoy was the annoying crows. They were very aggressive, following us throughout each game and coming in packs to hoover in our buggy, looking for food, which we did not have. I suspect they have honed their senses to zero in for grub. After all, the resort is four years old, and the crows have been around since its inception. I was glad for the sanitizer provided by the resort, and I used it on the buggy each time after shooing the crows away.

The golf course is as good, if not better, as some of the golf courses in Thailand without the price tag and long journeys that include flying and taxi rides. For us, it’s only a four-hour drive with allowance to detour for a meal and time to spare to settle down before the allotted afternoon tee-off slot on the first day.

We will make another trip down south again soon, very soon.

Some Good Cheese

21 Mar

I love cheese, and I used to eat it a lot. But sadly, in recent years, my body cannot handle the cheese intake. The dairy is too much for my tummy because of my Endometriosis issue. Sometimes it is not just uncomfortable bloating – there are accompanying aches of varying degrees.

So I stopped eating cheese to protect myself from the unnecessary pain, avoid pizzas especially, burgers with melting cheese slices, fries with gooey cheese – you get the idea? Last year, this changed.

When M1 returned from the US, she introduced lactose intolerance supplements to me, something we were unaware of before. And what a lifesaver this supplement has been for me!

When I feel like having cheese for my meals or even a big cup of boba milk tea, I will pop the supplement first before consuming the food or drink, and it helps. There is no bloating or discomfort. My life has changed for the better when it comes to having dairy.

Recently, we bought some good cheese to eat. Creamy, rich, and bursting with flavors, the cheeses are just heavenly. Thanks to the lactose intolerance supplements – I eat happily without pain or discomfort.

Good cheese these two

On a New Mission

18 Feb

I have been snacking a lot lately. Too much, in fact. Two days ago, I stood on the bathroom scale, and the numbers horrified me! I need to do something about it.

Mind you – we have stopped our Intermittent Fasting (IF) regime ever since the pandemic broke. And it’s been a little more than two years already. Initially, my weight was stable, and it even dipped. I was pleased. But it has crept up again recently. I suspect it’s all that after-game beer and snacking on Chinese New Year cookies.

So right after the Chap Goh Meh dinner, I have embarked on a new mission to shed all those extra pounds. On top of playing my regular golf games, I will do a half-hour morning walk on days when I am not playing golf. It will be beneficial for my legs, muscles, and abs.

Let’s see how my number will be after a month on this new mission. Oh, I should also reduce my beer intake after all the golf games. Stay tuned for my progress!