29 and counting

Life, Thoughts, Wisdom
Five years old and surrounded by Barbie Dolls #blessed

Five years old and surrounded by Barbie Dolls #blessed

I am turning 29 pretty soon (TOMORROW!).

29 feels older, not old, but definitely older.

I don’t know what it is but I don’t feel as frenetic as before. I know I would like to change certain things about my behavior/personality but I know that it will take time. I know I’ve got to work on my career but again, time, luck and a little/a lot of hard work, should get me there. I know I want to continue to cultivate the relationships I have with friends and family but I also know that time will change the nature of these relationships and that’s okay too.

So this year, I have a few birthday resolutions but it’s with an in-breath and an out-breath that I genuinely know that these are aspirations for the next year and yeah I’ll probably do them all. But I should be kind to myself in the process. Can you tell I’ve been doing yoga?

So let’s look at last year’s birthday resolutions and I’ve gotta say I did it all except the volunteering bit. Which is pretty shit. But you know at least I can sleep now and I’m quite bendy – which takes me into my resolutions for this year.

1. Build on my YOGA practice

One of my resolutions last year was to start doing yoga regularly and I cannot tell you how CRAZY different my body and mind are before and after I started. It’s not like I’ve suddenly turned into a crazy hot yogi (not that I would mind looking like her) but I’m much stronger physically, sitting-at-the-computer-related pain is a thing of the past and I’m much more positive about my body image. I haven’t achieved a state of zen either but I am able to sleep better and I can let stuff go. If you know me – you know that’s crazy. So, maybe yoga didn’t take away my anxiety but it helps me channel it or deal with it better. Whatever it is, yoga has changed my life and I want to keep building on my practice and making it a daily part of my life.

2. Curb excessive-ness

I wrote a post last week about how I wanted to let go of excessive shopping this coming year and I realized it’s more than that. I want to let go of excessive-ness and it’s not that I want to go minimalist either – coz that sure as hell didn’t work for me. Instead, this next year I want to work on a) curbing the amount of superfluous shopping I do b) curbing the amount of excessive eating I do and c) curbing the amount of over-exercising that I do. Superfluous shopping is hard on my wallet, my sanity and the planet. Excessive eating, especially when it’s fried or unhealthy food is just well, unnecessary. And over-exercising has led me to feel terrible and also look terrible from exhaustion. It’s time I took a breath and was more mindful about what I buy, eat and do.

3. Focus more time AND energy on the blog

I love this blog. I haven’t made money from it but it has enriched my soul and it has been an outlet when I desperately needed one. I love how it has changed the way I view food. I love that it’s brought me closer to people both through the Cooking with column and also just through readership feedback. And I love that it helps me clear my mind. I think it’s time that I devote a little bit more time to the content, look and feel and more than anything else, the pictures that I curate for this blog. Photography isn’t something I’m particularly good at but I know that if I get a decent camera and work on it I can do better. And in this visual day and age, that’s going to count for a lot.

So there you have it – three resolutions for my last year as a twenty-something year old. Wish me luck!

28 years later

Thoughts

Keong Saik Living
It’s that time of year again, where I find myself counting white hairs (I have two beautiful white hairs, fyi, in the center of my crown and I REFUSE to pull them out) and wishing candles.

It’s been a good AND (quite) bad, eventful past year, for myself and the world.

I tried making resolutions at New Years but I didn’t really stick to them. I think that maybe since I view the world through my point of view, the new year, for me at least, has always been my birthday. So here are my resolutions this year.

All of these resolutions are a culmination of my experiences and things I’ve learned over the past year.

1. Be less anxious overall which I think I can achieve through…

2. YOGA – By practicing consistent yoga breathing and poses
I’ve already jump-started that by signing up for a yoga class at work and the next steps are:
– practicing breathing in the morning for 15 mins (at least)
– doing a series of poses every other day for 30 mins (at least)
– attending a yoga class once a week, at least till my next birthday

3. Actually doing something for the world aka volunteer at a green NGO.
I recently signed up as a volunteer at the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) because honestly guys, the world is coming to an end. We need to try and stop being such inconsiderate and irresponsible jackasses.

4. Re-angle the blog.
Having a food blog has been incredibly rewarding, I am a better photographer and a MUCH better cook. Still, I cannot help but feel that I am SO much more than just food. This blog may be a bit schizo, but bear with me, I will take these next few months to find the right combination of my cooking, eating and my life to share.

Don't worry, cooking is still on coz I got this birthday present from THE best flatmates/friends EVER?

Don’t worry, cooking is still on coz I got this birthday present from THE best flatmates/friends EVER?

5. Say what you mean and mean what you say
I suffer from the, you-should-be-able-to-read-my-mind syndrome which then usually develops into full-blown passive-aggressive disease. I want to take this year to think about my feelings and intentions before I say and commit to anything, so that I fully know what I mean, and so that the parties involved need not interpret what I have left unsaid.

Resolutions that didn’t make the list:
1. Say yes, less
2. Do Tabata workouts
3. Be less busy
4. Get my eyes assessed/fixed/LASIKKKKK

*Black and white photo courtesy of Hattie!

Thank you, everyone, for coming. I’m turning 28 today and it’s funny because many years ago, when I was 16 I was living in Korea and that was when the 2002 World Cup was taking place in Korea. I remember thinking how when I turned 20 and the World Cup was in Germany that would be a great time to go to the World Cup because I’d be so young and then the next time in 2010, I would be 24 and that would be great too.

I completely ruled out the Brazil World Cup in 2014 because, of course, I couldn’t attend the World Cup by then. I would be 28 and have children and be far too OLD to attend a World cup.

What I’m trying to say is that even though life didn’t turn out the way that I thought it would, I find that I am so happy to be where I am today.

And honestly, I look way better during this World Cup than I did during any of the previous ones!

It has been a good and also hard past year and I can truly say in this past year I have learned which friends make me feel alive and I am so blessed to have all of you.

Thank you for everything!

My beautiful and super tasty Strawberry Birthday Shortcake from Flor Patisserie

My beautiful and super tasty Strawberry Birthday Shortcake from Flor Patisserie

Birthday Toast at O Batignolles

Thoughts

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

Baking

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

It’s cupcake time at DiniBlini and you know what that means – it’s birthday time.

This time it was the birthday of my longtime friend and apartment mate – Melissa.

I have known Melissa since I lived with her sister, my good friend Priscilla, while we were all doing our undergrad at McGill.

All those years ago, I really only knew her as my friend’s sister, that girl who really liked watching The Hills.

She would come over once a week, without fail, to watch the show that marked the beginning of MTV’s transformation into a reality TV black hole.

I really didn’t know much about her except that she was reserved, wore really big sunglasses and suffered from a bad case of resting bitch face.

Fast forward to now, some eight years later, and I live with her halfway across the world.

All the things I thought defined her are still true (she still suffers from chronic resting bitch face, has quite big sunglasses, enjoys her alone time) but I also now know she is kind, considerate and has a wicked sense of humor.

I’m so happy that she is now my good friend and I wanted to make something she would enjoy for her birthday.

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

Cue this mess (and it really was A MESS) of cookies and cream cheese.

Melissa’s favorite ice-cream was cookies and cream.

Unfortunately, it really isn’t mine.

SIGH.

But I made these cupcakes anyway. And surprise, surprise.

They was good.

Cake bit
24 Oreos, you will halve them – see recipe for exact method
16 Oreos, chopped into small pieces (almost bits or pebble size)
12 Oreos, chopped into halves, for garnish (optional)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 egg whites
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract

Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting
8 Tbsp butter
8 oz. cream cheese (1 Philadelphia pkg)
2 Tbsp sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar

Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 175C/350F degrees.

Line two muffin tins with 24 paper muffin cups.

Using a knife split the first 24 Oreos in half. Leave the cream filling attached to one side. Place those halves, with the cream filling side up, at the bottom of each muffin cup. Set aside.

Place the cream-less halves into a Ziploc bag. Seal tightly and bash with a rolling pin until a fine powder. I used a peanut butter jar. You will sprinkle this “cookie dust” on the cupcakes at the very end.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In another larger bowl, mix together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. If you’re using a mixer it will take you 3 to 4 minutes. If you’re using your hands you better just resign yourself to pain.

Add in egg whites, one at a time, mixing after each addition to combine.

Measure 3/4 cup milk another bowl. Add sour cream and vanilla to milk and whisk to combine. It will be a bit lumpy initially.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture. Mix.

Add milk mixture to butter mixture. Mix.

Mix in 16 chopped Oreos.

Divide batter among prepared muffins cups (pouring it on top of the Oreo halves), filling each cup about 2/3 full.

Bake in preheated oven about 24 to 26 minutes until the toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean(ish).

You may take them out of the pan after resting 5 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Frost with Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting.

Sprinkle with cookie dust!

Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting
Mix the butter and cream cheese until fluffy. If you’re doing this by hand, it won’t become fluffy if using a mixer it should take a minute.

Stir in sour cream and vanilla.

Add in powdered sugar and mix until smooth, light and fluffy. Again by hand, just do it till it’s not lumpy. With a mixer, it will take 3 minutes.

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

Look at that MASTERPIECE.

*Adapted from Cooking Classy.
**Photography by Hoi Yee (paper_shins).