Saturday, April 30, 2011

A quick laksa

This was our dinner tonight. The soup base tasted almost as good as what you get at Katong Laksa! It took me less than 20min to cook it and it was all thanks to........
.......Tean's Curry Laksa paste!!! The instructions are short and simple - add 1.5L of water to the paste and bring to a boil.
While soup is boiling....add dried tofu puffs and cook till soft.
Add approx 150ml of coconut cream and reduce heat to let the soup simmer.
Your laksa soup base is now done (yes, it's quite spicy!).
While the soup is boiling, cut the fish cake into thin slices.
Blanch the beansprouts in hot water to cook them slightly.
I bought this dried thick bee hoon that kinda resembles the laksa noodles.
Boil the noodles till soft.
Drain the noodles and put into a bowl. Add beansprouts, fish cake and then pour the hot soup (with tofu puffs) over the noodles and serve hot.

Slurp loudly!! :P~

Friday, April 29, 2011

No more sticky mess!!! (Teflon roller presser foot )

I was having a hell of a time trying to sew on vinyl with my regular presser foot. Then I learned to put paper over vinyl when sewing....but that too was a mess as little bits of paper kept getting stuck below the stitches.

So I bought the teflon roller foot...again from ebay.
It's amazing how this little thing can take away all my blood, sweat and tears when sewing on vinyl before. I tried the foot on my SUPER sticky clear vinyl and it was a breeze!!!
Stitches were nice and even. And not once did the vinyl get stuck on the presser foot.
LOVE IT!!! A must-have presser foot for all those who work with vinyl, leather and any sorts of "sticky" fabrics/materials.

How to attach ruffler foot on Brother sewing machine LS-2125

So I bought the ruffler foot (for low shank machines) to fit my Brother LS-2125 machine from a seller on ebay.

Took me awhile of fiddling around before finally figuring out how to attach the ruffler foot.

Here's a pictorial tutorial on how to attach the ruffler that you don't have to kill your braincells over it like I did :P

If you have the LS-2125 machine like I do, you should first remove your sewing needle and presser foot.
Next, unscrew the "foot catch".
Here's what it'd look like after you've unscrewed and removed the foot catch.
Now see this "U" part of the ruffler foot......
.....hook the U-part onto your needle clamp.....
....and for this part of the ruffler foot...... it over here.
So here's how your ruffler foot should fit on your LS-2125 machine.
Place the screw back and tighten it in place.
Attach your needle back, make sure it feeds nicely into the needle plate and then start ruffling away!!!
I tried ruffling on a thicker fabric like this one (fabric for men's coat) worked.
And then, I ruffled on this really thin tshirt fabric.....worked too!
I'm now officially....a ruffler! :P

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rojak post.....

The bambis have been coming almost everyday....sometimes twice in a day.
This little fatty is one of my neighbor's cats. She loves to roam the neighborhood and pounce on herons that are twice her size :P
Here's her sneaking around amongst the reeds. She's quite fun to watch.
The forsythia in the front yard is looking oh-so-pretty!!!
My fabric stash is growing and growING and GROWING......and not to mention the gigantic heaps of old clothings and other materials that I'm keeping for repurposing!
I store my fabrics in huge plastic containers and a fabric holder that I've sewn (but not completed if you notice all the frayings at the edges!). And I still have more fabrics back home in Singapore. If we have our own house, I'd wish for my own sewing room with lots of shelvings/drawers for fabrics *dream*
RG and I love to eat porridge with dishes. Here's what our typical porridge meal looks like! *slurp*

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bambis in my backyard

I have been seeing this group of 4 bambis feeding in my backyard. The other day, they came in the late afternoon just before sunset but today, they were here early in the morning for their breakfast feed.

I usually try not to startle them by avoiding big sudden movements or loud noises...otherwise, they'd start darting away very fast.

Today, I opened the sliders and started coo-ing like I usually do at little dogs and kitties. The bambis heard me, looked at me and then went back to eating whatever they were eating without moving an inch. It seemed like my coo-ing worked in making the bambis less nervous around me :)

On a side note, the temperatures have been inching up everyday. New leaves are starting to sprout, the forsythias are looking beautiful and the lawn is looking greener. Soon, it'll be time to open up all the windows and sliders to let the seabreeze into the house. I can't wait!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Me, machine & the view

RG snuck up on me while I was sewing and took this photo of me looking a little dishevelled and wearing my unglam sweater. Anyway, there's my little sewing corner and that's my sewing machine. I managed to crop out from the photo all the messy piles of fabrics that were lying around on the floor! :P
And here's the view from my sewing nook.....soon the bare branches will once again be covered with lush green leaves. It's nice to raise my head once in awhile from what I'm doing at the sewing machine to look into the distant sky/sea and watch the trees sway gently from side to side whenever the wind blows.

Exchange students

I was asked to join RG and his colleagues in hosting a bunch of exchange students from Shanghai for lunch yesterday. RG drove all the 9 of us in the school's van to Boston Chinatown. It was raining but we were all looking forward to some yummy dim sum. The chinese kids have not had a decent chinese meal since they've arrived in the states a couple of months ago.
We brought them to the very popular China Pearl restaurant at Tyler Street. The place was PACKED with asians as well as americans at lunch hour. The kids looked like they could eat a lot so we just grabbed a few plates of everything off the dim sum carts that came by our table. There was so much food and we all got to try a little of everything.
I took a photo of them totally engrossed in the food! :P
After lunch, we brought them to a nearby chinese grocery shop where they shopped to their hearts' content. I noticed that they were buying all sorts of tidbits, cookies and candies. Of course, I also took the opportunity to do my own grocery shopping. I bought vegetables, noodles, sauces, dried goods, century eggs and a whole lot of other stuffs. Everything came up to 2 big bags full! I also popped by the chinese bakery to pick up some lotus paste & red bean mooncakes and char siew polo buns for RG.

On our way back from Boston, we stopped over in Plymouth for some nice coffees at Panera. We had a really nice chat with the kids. They were telling us about the education system, work opportunities and life in general in China. The kids are all 20 years of age....while they do appear quite mature, they are afterall still quite young and would occasionally say the darndest things to crack us up. Everyone had a great time.

Satisfying my crave for ban mian......

Bought some noodles from a chinese grocery shop in Boston yesterday and decided to make some ban mian for lunch today 'cos I miss eating it SO MUCH!

I used 1 rotisserie chicken carcass, handful of ikan bilis, salt, sesame oil, parsley flakes, chive flakes and several bowls of water to make this huge pot of soup stock (2.5hrs in the 300F oven).

I didn't have minced pork so I used mashed meatballs instead!! haha. Actually, it turned out to be a good thing 'cos the soup didn't have that porky taste. I also added some chye sim, mushroom, fishcake & egg to the noodles.
Below is the thin noodles that I had bought for USD1.29. One packet is good enough for 4-5 persons.
Here's my piping hot bowl of ban mian (actually, it's you-mian!). I didn't add more ikan bilis 'cos I don't really like to eat them...I just like the smell/taste of ikan bilis in the soup.
I don't normally drink up the soup bases of those ban mians that I buy from the SG food stalls 'cos I find that the soups are often ladened with MSG....but mine isn't so I slurped it to the very last drop.
Now, that's what I call a very satisfying meal!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Atlantic Coast Roadtrip, Day 1-6 : Princeton (NJ), Arlington (VA) & Washington D.C. (DC)

We finally set off for our month-long roadtrip down the Atlantic Coast on the 15 Jan 2011.
We decided to track our mileage for the entire trip. We had started off at the 17,464-mile mark.
From our home in Southern Massachusetts, we drove past Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York without stopping. The very first stop of our trip was Princeton (NJ) and it took us slightly less than 5 hours to reach. After we had checked into Hampton Inn Princeton, we had a very quick lunch before joining the Princeton campus tour which was at 2.45pm.

Below are some of the sights during the 1.5hr walking tour around the campus.

On day 2, we spent the earlier part of the morning exploring the Princeton campus district where we saw many interesting sculptures and monuments.
We started heading towards Arlington (VA) before noon time on I-95.
When we reached Delaware, we decided to drop by the Delaware Tourist Info Center which is located on I-95 for lunch, refuel and to grab some maps/brochures.
By the time we reached our hotel (Hilton Garden Inn Arlington), it was already getting dark and we were a little tired. So we decided to just grab dinner at the nearby Ray's Hell Burger before turning in for the night.
We figured if Ray's burgers were fit for President Obama and the Russian President Medvedev, they should be really quite good.....and indeed they were tasty and very reasonably priced too! The sweet potato fries were especially addictive. The portions, as you can see, were HUGE. We both weren't able to finish our burgers.
On day 3, we left our car in the hotel and took the subway to Washington DC so that we don't have to worry about parking and being stuck in traffic. We spent the entire day walking around the National Mall and the memorial parks.
We also visited The Old Post Office Pavilion as we read that it's a good place to have a bird's eye view of the area from the Observation Deck.
Well actually, even the interior of the Old Post Office is a sight on its own!!
From the 270-ft Observation deck, we had nice views of the US Capitol and the Washington Monument.
A kind tourist helped to take a photo of me and RG.....the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool are in the background.
Since we didn't make an advanced request to tour the White House, we decided to just drop by the White House Visitor's Center to view photos of the White House as well as learn more about its history through the exhibits.
Of course, how can a trip to DC not involve taking a photo of the White House.
Right outside the White House, we saw people picketing for various causes.
We also saw the Obama motorcade!!!
Lincoln Memorial
Korean War Veterans Memorial
Sad but so true!
The Three Soldiers - Vietnam Veterans Memorial
War World II Memorial

We spent Day 4 exploring Arlington (VA). Despite the lousy weather (we had an icy storm the night before!), we stuck with our plan to visit the Arboretum.
To our surprise, the ice covered plants actually looked very beautiful!!
We also visited the Arlington National Cemetery.
Eternal flame at the grave of JFK.
Iwo-Jima Memorial
We were back in DC on day 5 to visit some of the national sights and museums. Our first stop for the day was the Library of Congress. It is such a magnificent building and a true piece of art!
We also made a stop at the Supreme Court.
Again, as we hadn't made an advance request to visit the US Capitol, we could only tour the surrounding grounds and took pictures of the building.
There were many people picketing (health care issue) right outside the US Capitol.
Next up was the US Botanic Garden.
It was amazing to see a "rainforest" within the building!
Ulysses S Grant Memorial
RG wanted to visit the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and so we did. We also watched the Legends of the Flight on 3D at the museum's IMAX.
By the time we were done at the Air and Space Museum, it was already quite late. While strolling through the park to get to our subway station, a brave little squirrel came up to us to say "hi"!
We managed to capture some of the pretty night scenaries with our cameras. Below is the silhouette of the Smithsonian Castle.
The sun setting behind the Washington Monument.
We chose to visit the Newseum on our last day (Day 6) in DC. Unlike most of the other DC museums that are free admissions, there's an entrance fee of USD21.95 (+tax) to visit Newseum. However, we figured it would be well worth our money.
The exhibits and shows turned out GREAT!!!
The below is a portion of the antenna on one of the twin towers.
The belongings of a reporter who was killed in 911 while trying to photograph the twin towers after the planes crashed into the towers.
Photos of a truck that reporters had used while covering stories in a war zone...the black dots are bullet holes!
All the reporters who had died while on their job.
There were exhibits that we could touch and play around with.
Here's a game where you try to take the best photograph that can capture the essence of the headline story. Here's my photograph (on the right)....not bad huh?! It was all great fun!
You can also try your hand at news reporting! No....we didn't try....we were too shy :P
I really enjoyed the Pulitzer Photograph Exhibition.
Hee hee.......a girl can dream right?!!
One of the exhibits is a huge World Press Freedom map...and it depicts the level of "freedom of press" in each country.
And here's how Singapore fare in the rating.....NOT FREE! haha
On level 6 of Newseum is an outdoor terrace where you could get very nice views of the US Capitol and the surroundings.
We also got to watch informative and tear-jerking documentaries on the Holocaust and Katrina. I must say my money was very well-spent at the Newseum and I'd recommend everyone to visit it if you have the chance.

After leaving the Newseum, we headed over to the National Gallery of Art which is just opposite the Newseum.
And with that, we ended day 6 of our tour in DC.