Monday, January 27, 2014

Recipe: Homemade Freezer-Friendly Tomato Pasta Sauce

Nothing beats homemade tomato pasta sauce. It's easy and quick to make, it's nutritious, and it tastes good! This recipe is very freezer-friendly. You can make a big batch of it and freeze some for future use. Very convenient for those busy days.

Ingredients

Tomatoes, pumpkins, butternut squash, and carrots (amounts to your liking)
Onion
Garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Dried oregano leaves

Directions

1. Heat the oven to 180 Celcius. 
2. Cut the garlic, onion, and vegetables into chunks. Place them on a baking tray. Sprinkle some oregano leaves and extra virgin olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes. 
3. Blend them together in a blender. You can add some homemade stock if it's too thick. That's it!
4. If you like to freeze them, put them on muffin trays, that way you can take as little or as much as you want when you need them.





Bon app├ętit!

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Encouraging Our Loved Ones to Eat Healthy


As I try to eat healthily, I also would love for my family to do the same. But sometimes, the hardest to convince is those who are closest to us. Partly because we really want them to change for the better because we know the health improvements from eating healthy, we love them, and it hurts to see them eating things that can be harmful and damaging to their health. It's hard to change other people's diet unless they themselves realize the importance and understand why they need to do so. To encourage them, here are some steps I've tried in the past with my family:

- I show them how my health has improved (healing of eczema, improved eyesight and immunity, lower LDL/higher HDL ratio, etc.) so they can really see that eating healthy actually works. 

- I buy fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) for my parents and tell them they have to consume it everyday, otherwise they have to pay for it ;p It gives them incentives to consume it. Of course they know I'm joking :) 


- When I see my parents eating unhealthy food, I often joke to them that if they continue to live this way, they will not see their great-grandkids. We laugh, but they understand what it means. 


- No snacks at home. The first line of defense is avoiding having unhealthy food at home, so when my parents come to visit and they are hungry, they will not find processed food at my home, so they have to eat fresh fruits or other healthy snacks instead. 


- For breakfast, I don't give them options of eating refined bread and cakes. I cook them soaked oatmeal and that's what they eat. I also proactively take a spoonful of coconut oil and a serving of FCLO and make them take it. (ha!)


As a parent myself, I always want to give the best for my family. I try different ways to make my little one eat healthy food. I give her the best milk available to my knowledge, even though it is inconvenient to get and more expensive. I plan for every contingency there can be and so we can be as prepared as possible whenever we go out. Life would surely be easier if I choose to be ignorant, but I choose not to do so out of love and obligation to be good stewards of our bodies, taking care of them the best we can while we are able to do so. And that is how our God is too, He can just give us an easy life, without problems and worries of life, but He chooses to give us struggles so that when we overcome it, we can experience His love, mercy, and blessings even more. I love this song by Laura Story titled "Blessings." It's one of my favorite songs of all time. May it be a blessing to you!

How have you tried to encourage your loved ones to eat healthily?


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Keeping Singapore and This Earth Clean. Every Litter Adds Up!


I love Singapore. If you've been on my blog long enough, you may have noticed that I regularly attach photos of the marina bay in my posts. These photos are taken by my husband on his way to or from work as he is biking each day. Isn't it pretty?

Many of us, including me, often take Singapore's cleanliness for granted. We throw a litter here and there and think that it doesn't make much difference. The truth is every little litter adds up. Even the smallest litter like a cigarette butt, a plastic spoon, and a pair of chopsticks will add up, which then ends in marina reservoir and destroying this beautiful place where many of us spend time walking by, biking, relaxing, playing water sports, etc. If our attitude doesn't change, it is only a matter of time that litter will accumulate, and not to mention, many of them are not going to decompose anytime soon and may even release toxic chemicals to the grounds and water, which then affects wildlife and ultimately ends up right back at us. 

Check out this video from Keep Singapore Clean. It's a campaign to get people involved in helping to clean up Singapore's waterways:



We are all responsible to keep and take care of this very earth that God has entrusted us, especially Singapore - because this is where we live. 

Did you know? (source)

Using the clothes dryer for an hour is equal to making 160 cups of coffee with a coffee maker.

The energy saved from reducing the use of a storage water heater from 8 hours to 1 hour can power a fridge for over 24 hours.

It takes 170 liters of water to produce 1 pint of beer.

Leaving the water running while you brush your teeth can waste over 6 liters of water.

Up to 60% of the rubbish that ends up in the dustbin could be recycled.

One recycled plastic bottle would save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 3 hours.

52.1% thinks that leaving litter by the side of a bin is NOT considered littering.

A cigarette butt takes 5 years to decompose; a plastic bag 20 years; an aluminium can 500 years and a glass bottle 1 million years.

Let's join hands to help keep the environment beautiful and protect local wildlife, for our sake as well as the future generations. Do support the community through Keep SG Clean Facebook page, where you can get updates and tips on how to keep our environment clean. You can also volunteer to the different environment campaigns through the Clean & Green Singapore website.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Travel: One Day in Istanbul, Turkey

The view from the rooftop of our hotel

We had a one day layover at Istanbul, Turkey, before our Israel tour started and because I have never been to Istanbul, I wanted to see as much as I could in that one day that I was there. So here it is: places we visited, the hotels we stayed in, and information on how to get around. Hopefully it will help you plan your trip when you get a chance to go to Istanbul. It is just a lovely city.

We flew Singapore Airlines direct from Singapore to Istanbul and stayed overnight at Hotel Nena, which was conveniently located near an MRT stop. Just like Singapore, you can take the MRT from the airport (Attaturk Havalimani) and go pretty much everywhere. To this hotel, the route will be Attaturk Havalimani - Zeytinburnu - Sultanahmed (train towards Kabatas). 



The hotel was small, but it was clean and strategically located to the main tourist attractions, including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia Muesum, and Topkapi Palace.



What did we do and go during our one day stay in Istanbul?

1. Hagia Sophia MuseumI love the colors of this museum and oh, look at those chandeliers!










2. Topkapi PalaceI just love the mosaic tiles all over the buildings. They are so intricate.







3. Blue Mosque






4. Handicrafts Center and shopping streets within walking distance from the Blue Mosque (you will see the signs nearby). The handicrafts center had shops that sell dolls, glass, porcelain, calligraphy, fabric painting, etc.



handicrafts center





5. Took the Bosphorus River Cruisethe body of water that passes along the shores of Istanbul and is the physical divider between the continents of Europe and Asia, and watched sunset (you can book on the spot in front of Hagia Sophia or Topkapi Palace). It costed about 15-20 € for a two-hour cruise, viewing a lot of the important places along the Bosphorus strait with English guide. The views, bridges, and sunset was very nice for photography.











We even saw Costa Atlantica cruiseship docked here. Reminds me of my Costa Atlantica cruise to Malaysia. So if you're interested, you can take a cruise to Istanbul too!



6. Grand Bazaar (2 stops from our hotel: Beyazt-Kapalicarsi)










What did we eat and drink there?

1. Tried fresh pomegranate juice. Full of antioxidants!







2. Ate kebabs near our hotel for lunch.




3. Tried this hot milk mixed with spices. Interesting taste.




4. Tried Turkish Delights that were made with pistachio and honey (not sugar) and brought some home (vacuum packed) for souvenirs.



5. Had a really nice Turkish dinner at The Han Restaurant. Highly recommended! They make their versions of prata using a hot stone. Everything we ordered were delicious!








One thing that we didn't try is the Turkish Baths. We were too tired to try one as we had an early morning flight to Israel. We'd love to go back and explore other parts of Turkey next time. :)