Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Shopping is great in US of A!

For me, there are 5 reasons why I find shopping to be such a wonderful experience here in the states.

For a big gal like me (size L12/XL14), there are so much more options available here as compared to back home in SG where sizes tend to run small. I always felt like a big fat clown trying to fit into those ridiculously dainty little tight clothes that seem to work only for runway models when shopping in SG. However, over here, for once I actually feel like a regular size person....and it's so easy to find clothes and lingerie that fit me. I could even find stuffs that fit from the girls' clothing section!

I've kinda gotten used to the low prices here that I always baulk at the prices when I try to shop in SG. A fifty-dollar bill will probably get me 1 top in SG but here, I can easily use it to buy 2 pairs of denim jeans, 1 scarf and like 3-4 tops. I used to spend more than SGD100 on a pair of jeans in SG but now, every single pair of the jeans that I've gotten from here cost less than USD10 each....can you believe that? In case you are wondering if the quality is lousy for such low priced items.....I can confidently tell you that they are not. The key to good inexpensive shopping here in the states is to know where to go and what to buy when.

I love the sprawling malls, wide shopping aisles, plentiful and HUGE fitting rooms. One of the reasons why I hated shopping in SG was having to queue for the fitting rooms...especially during sale periods.

If you are in no mood to hit the can still shop at the click of your mouse! You can find almost anything and everything (new or used) online for purchase 24/7. Your orders can be easily placed online, payment made via credit cards/paypal and the items would arrive on your doorstep within days of your order. I don't understand why online shopping is not a big thing in SG. Considering how expensive SG rents are....running an online store makes so much more financial sense than having a physical store with exorbitant rent that would seriously eat into the profits (end of the day, consumers suffer 'cos the costs would inevitably be passed on).

Ok....I complained about it before....that the return policy in SG sucks. In the states, returning your purchases is like part and parcel of the entire shopping experience. If you had bought something and changed your mind (for whatever reason that you can think of!) and wanna return the item for cash/credit....NO QUESTIONS ASKED!

Like I just bought this top didn't fit so I had to return it. All I had to do was to print a free return shipping label online....fill up a short form to let them know why I'm returning the product....stick the return shipping label on the original the item to be returned in the packaging together with the return form and reseal the packaging and send it back to where it came from. Once the returned item has been received, the money gets credited back into my account. Easy does it!
The original packaging that the item was shipped in is reusable and resealable. I think it's really convenient and very thoughtful.
So now you know why I've stopped shopping when I go back home to SG - it's TOO EXPENSIVE and no fun.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Goodbye my friend (for now).....

We are starting to pack up all of our stuffs. Yesterday, I finished sewing all of our jeans & pants that required I think it's about time to pack up the sewing machine, my sewing supplies and fabrics. Today, I opened up the machine to clean and oil it before packing it away.
I also slipped in a small sachet of silica gel to take away any moisture that could possibly cause any rusting to the parts...especially in the humid summer climate.
It's time to say goodbye.....back into the box it went.....
....added another silica gel sachet just to be sure and sealed the box up with tape.
I realised the price tag is still stucked on the now you know that was what I paid for it (quite a steal huh?!). I've had it since 2009. One of my best investments to date....considering I managed to cover the full cost of it in the first couple hours of my very first yard sale :) It's a very basic easy-to-use machine....and it has served my needs really well.
See you again my September! I know I'll be missing you.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tihonet Village Market

We headed down to the Tihonet Village Market last Saturday for our regular supply of cranberry chocolates. They are our absolute favorite chocolates....the cranberries are grown locally and the chocolates locally made and packed. Sometimes, fresh farm fruits/vegetables are also available for purchase at the market. It was truly a beautiful day to be out at the cranberry bogs.

Some information about cranberry bog.
We couldn't resist the chocolate bomb at the market was awesomely delicious!
Check out the moussey inside..... :P~~~~
These chocolates are our dietary staple.....muahahaha
We are looking forward to the Cranberry Harvest Festival to be held at Tihonet on the 8 & 9 Oct 2011. We attended the one in 2009 and had loads of fun. If you are around the area during the celebration join in the fun!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Healthy oven baked crispy chicken chops

Several people have asked for the oven baked chicken chop here it is! :)
4 pieces of deboned/skinned chicken thigh (+seasonings)
1/2 cup mayo + 1/2 cup milk (I use no-fat type for both)
1 cup dried bread crumbs (I use panko)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika

First I seasoned the deboned/skinned chicken thighs with some garlic salt, onion powder and curry powder and leave them in the refrigerator to marinate for a couple of hours.

Then I whisk the mayo and milk together in a bowl.

Next I mix the bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, black pepper & paprika together in a shallow plate.

Now that all the preparation works have been done, I'd preheat the oven to 350F.

I use one of those disposable broiling foil pans that are not flat at the base. The uneven grooves help cook the chicken better and not cause it to be soggy at the bottom. Best if you've an oven safe cooling rack which you can place over a cookie sheet. That'll allow the chicken to cook nicely and crispy-ly on top and at the bottom.

I'd spray a tiny bit of oil on the pan and coat the whole pan with a brush.

Take a piece of the chicken thighs and dip it in the mayo+milk mixture (shake off the excess). If you find the mayo+milk mixture a little too thick....add a little more milk to dilute it. We want it to help adhere the crumbs...not have the chicken drowned in the mayo-milk mixture :)

Then, coat the chicken thighs with the panko+seasoning mixture and place it on the foil pan. Repeat with the rest of the thighs.

Finally, just pop the pan into the oven for about 60min. Just make sure to check nearer the 1hr mark to see that the panko crumbs aren't burnt.

Feel free to play around with the seasonings for both the chicken seasonings as well as crumb seasonings. You can add whatever you like to your taste. If you prefer more spicy...can add some chilli powder, cayenne pepper, cumin etc. If you prefer more herby, can consider adding thyme, rosemary, parsley etc.

As for the can use any parts apart from the thighs - like wings, drumsticks, breasts etc.

Serve the crispy chicken chops with chips, slaw, mashed potatoes, butter rice or even on toasted buns with lettuce (like a Chicken MacCrispy!).

Have fun making it and I hope you'll enjoy the taste of it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

When Calzone meets Curry Puff

Since we'll be leaving the rental soon....I have to start ridding the fridge of stuffs. I had a tube of frozen biscuit, cheese, frozen meatballs and pasta/curry sauces. And I thought - calzone/curry puff??!
So I microwaved the frozen meatballs and mashed them up real good.....
I chopped up some sweet onion, mushrooms & a large potato (cooked using microwave on POTATO function).
First, add very little oil to a heated pan and fry the onions till translucent. Then, add the mashed meatballs, mushrooms & potatoes and some curry and pasta sauces. I did not add any other seasonings 'cos the sauces already have salt/seasonings in them. Add enough sauces to bring all the ingredients together but not too much such that the ingredients are swimming in the sauces.
Flatten the biscuits into a bigger rounds. You can just use your palm or a rolling pin. Then, add some cheese and some filling in the middle and fold the rolled out pastry in half and press to seal the edges. Place them apart on a baking sheet.
Pop the baking sheet into the preheated oven to bake for 13-15min (or until the biscuits are golden brown) at 375F. I probably didn't seal the pastry the baked biscuits all ended up with opened "mouths" :P But no harm done....they might look ugly but still taste as good as closed puffs.
Come on now....I know you wanna take a bite!

Our 10th!!!!

Yesterday was our 10th wedding anniversary. I was so glad that RG didn't have to go to work and we could spend the entire day together :)

Here's a photo of us taken 10 years ago on our wedding day at the Raffles Hotel. It seems like just yesterday when we exchanged vows at the Registry of Marriage.
We may be different in race, skin color and personality....but I think we complement each other really well and I believe we have both become much better persons because of each other :)

Both of us aren't perfect.....we each have our flaws.....we have our occasional fights and squabbles.... as individuals, we can't accomplish much but as a couple, I feel that we've got a great synergy (defined as two or more things functioning together to produce a result not independently obtainable).

So yesterday, we celebrated the 10th year of our union.

He got me a card and a book in which he penned down some of his thoughts of me.....
It's such a cute of the bestEST presents I have ever received from him! In the book are questions like this....amongst many others...
There are also multiple choice questions....hahaha......
I on the other hand got him a heart shape decorative wall piece which was made out of recycled tin ceiling. You see.....tin is the traditional gift for 10th anniversary.
Of course, what's a anniversary celebration without a nice homecooked meal by ME! :PPP

I made healthy oven baked chicken chop served with chicken rice and sambal chilli.
Dessert was red bean with glutinous rice balls.....think it signifies "togetherness"?
Well that was it....a simple little celebration of our 10 wonderful years together. Wishing us many many many more 10 years to come my love! :**