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Childhood Chap Chye With Red Fermented Bean Curd – Grandma Would Be Proud

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When I was growing up, besides the other fabulous food and snacks and angbaos, what I looked forward to the MOST on the first day of Chinese New Day was the chap chye borne out of my grandmother’s kitchen.

Most kids who grew up in a Chinese family would have grown up with chap chye in some form. There are plenty of ways to make chap chye, and they all differ in taste – some are made with stock, some have taojio (salty fermented soya bean), some add flour, some add belachan, some make it soupy, some make it thick.

The one made by my grandmother was a meatless version. My dad said eating vegetarian chap chye on the first day of Chinese New Year represents a cleansing of the system, the welcoming of a brand new year. Something like that.

Despite its origins being a vegetarian dish, there are plenty of recipes that incorporate prawns, dried shrimps, pork belly, sotong. So whatever makes you and your family happy! =D

The Peranakans have their own methods, the Cantonese have their own dish origins, the Hokkiens seem to have their own secret theories too. But to me, it matters not the origins of the chap chye, but the taste of childhood.

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Why We Don’t Celebrate Valentine’s Day

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Yesterday my husband and I finally got to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, at the place we got married one year ago. Correction – technically it should be 1 year and 5 months. But that’s okie since we’ve never been big on dates and anniversaries. We’ve been together for so long we don’t even remember when we actually got together 11 years ago.

Here’s a little story on our childhood romance if you’re interested. 😉

Depending on your current status, I guess Valentine’s Day can either can a loving or cursed day. As far as I can remember, I never understood what the fuss about Valentine’s Day was, why people bothered buying gigantic overpriced bouquet of flowers or getting stacked like sardines next to a ton of other couples or why all these only happened on one day of the year. It always seemed a bit contrived and quite unromantic. Obviously the pressure to conform comes mostly from advertisers and retailers who created the need, making it sound like if you don’t shower your lover with gifts on February 14, then you’re not expressing your love well.

But shouldn’t love be celebrated and exhibited every day?

Mr Mode and I tried celebrating Valentine’s Day on the actual day a couple of times (back when we were young and carefree lol), and to be honest they didn’t feel any more special than any other day. Just more expensive, more forced, more pre-packaged.

As his 32-year-old self replied ‘just another day’ when I asked what Valentine’s Day means to him, I too feel that Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean anything except for the meaning we give it. It should not be a way to gauge your self worth or commitment to your partner. I’m not saying that Valentine’s Day is bad, but it shouldn’t make you feel less assured of your love or that buying expensive gifts and dinner means you’ve done your part in the relationship.

Instead of professing eternal love on that one special day, I would think fostering romance every day and sprinkling little surprises into daily life is the stuff love is made of.

When you are tempted to complain that he isn’t romantic (I do, sometimes), try making a list of things to remind yourself that he does, in his own quiet ways. This is particularly effective if your husband is shy and introverted or a hopeless non-romantic, like mine!

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Salted Egg Yolk Cookies In Octopus Man-Heart Shape

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Salted eggs are most commonly found at tze char stalls in Singapore as people like eating them with rice or porridge. The yolks are also an important ingredient in mooncakes. I like the yolk while Mr Mode likes the white. In recent years salted egg yolks have gained so much popularity they can now be found in anything from chicken/pork/ribs/crabs/prawns, fries, pizza, pasta, ice-cream, vegetables, etc. Not forgetting liu sha bao! 😀

I wondered if anyone would make cookies with salted eggs, and indeed there are! I researched on a few recipes to conclude this one that I’ll be sharing today. 😀

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Salted Egg Yolk Cookies

Makes about 70 cookies

Ingredients

Pastry:
85g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
40g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
3 cooked salted egg yolks, mashed
125g all purpose flour
10g corn flour
1/8 tsp baking powder

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Easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chunks Walnut Muffins Recipe

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Well, I wouldn’t call it a ‘new year resolution’, but one thing I want to do in 2016 is to venture into the world of cooking and baking. It’s been a dream come true to have my own kitchen and space and every day I just want to come home and spend hours in the kitchen making something. It’s such a stress reliever and mood lifter. When I’m sad I bake, when I’m happy the more I want to bake! 😀

I love pumpkin, and it was such a joy to find that pumpkin makes a great ingredient for muffins. Incorporate a little bit of cinnamon and nutmeg to further enhance the taste of pumpkin for a perfect combination! Use chocolate chunks so they melt in a imperfectly beautiful and rustic manner, and add walnuts for crunch. Yum yum!!

Here’s my version of Pumpkin-Chocolate Chunks-Walnut Muffins, adapted from 2 recipes. I tried three times in total, the second time I failed coz I forgot to put baking powder so they turned out like Japanese mochi instead HAHA.

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Putting Together The Best Memories Of 2015, That’s How I Cope With New Year Blues

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I don’t know how they do it – celebrating, joyously bidding farewell to the year just passed after the clock strikes twelve, with great fanfare and pomp. I wish I could be that happy about the new year too.

For the first 2 weeks of 2016 – I hope I didn’t show it too much – but inside I was feeling incredibly dull, uninspired, bored. :(

I’ve been through 31 new years, but the transition into this year felt especially depressing. While many indulge in retrospection and prepare in advance their new year’s resolutions, I ruminated on 2015 and then felt like I didn’t achieve much. Like I wasted a whole year of my life achieving nothing. It was just a general feel of dread, lack of confidence, self-criticism, and probably exhaustion from a 365-day run.

To get out of the slump, I forced myself to behave positively, by doing things that make me happy, and you know what they say about doing the opposite of what you feel like doing? IT’S TRUE.

All I wanted to do was lie in bed and mull at how boring I felt my life was, but I made myself do things that would make me happy, keep my mind running, my hands moving. So I cooked, baked, went grocery shopping, bought kitchen ware. LOL. My friends have commented that ever since I got moved into my new home I have become very domesticated. I guess that’s how owning a house changes you.

I started moving forward with tiny little steps. Moving forward when you’re not feeling motivated helps you push through your fears, get out of your comfort zone, and win the mental battles you have with yourself.

Some people make resolutions to spur them on in the new year, I think that alone exhausts me, so instead I shall look back on the happy memories of 2015, which I hope will motivate me to create even better ones in 2016! ^_^*

A Place We Call Our Own

Finally, we moved and settled into our own home! It’s such a wonderful feeling to have your own home, and a dream come true to have my own room which is a study, studio, walk-in wardrobe, beauty arena, all in one.

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From: Non-Makeup Gifts That Will Make Your Makeup-Obsessed Friend Just As Happy

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I had one chance to take this set of photos for Scholl Pedi Foot File. The next day, Mr Mode’s built-in wardrobe went up.

I realized I love hosting parties at my house. As much as possible, I prefer to cook for my guests because it gives me an opportunity to try out dishes that can feed more people, otherwise it’s just Mr Mode and me on most days.

Here are some Dayre posts with pictures of our new home and hosting parties!

Cooking & Baking

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I’ve always been interested in cooking and baking, but never had to chance to really cook at my parents’ or in-laws’ coz… you know, it’s ultimately not my kitchen and I don’t want to go around messing up other people’s systems.

Now that I am the mistress to the house and chef (a term used very loosely lol) to my own kitchen, I spend long, long, long hours in there trying new recipes, failing, succeeding, experimenting. There’s so much science to it, and I love reading up on techniques and tricks. It feels very much like how I would spend countless hours reading up on makeup tips and practising when I first got into this beauty industry. Absolutely LOVE embarking on this new journey.

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Non-Makeup Gifts That Will Make Your Makeup-Obsessed Friend Just As Happy

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WOAHHH too fast, it’s 6 days to Christmas!! Anyone still scrambling to get presents? HOHO.

The other day my friend asked me what makeup product should she gift a makeup lover. It’s such a nightmare buying for the person who seems to already own everything you can think of to buy her, isn’t it? You run the risk of buying something she already has, something of the wrong shade, something she’s allergic to, or something she doesn’t like.

I told her, from personal experience, that the last thing a makeup lover / beauty junkie / beauty addict needs is more beauty products that she doesn’t need. Well, unless she tells you specifically what she wants. But that would spoil the element of surprise, and if the beauty obsessed already knows what she wants, she’ll get it faster than you can. From here on, I shall refer to this group of people as ‘us’, ‘we’ coz I would think myself as part of this group. 😆

So I thought I’d come up with a list to help people get gifts that their makeup-obsessed friends will LOVE AS MUCH AS MAKEUP and that are easy to buy!

Muji Storage

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As makeup hoarders, we sure need a proper place to store all of those eyeshadow palettes, eyeliners, foundations, brushes, lipsticks, skincare, etc. Huge points if they’re pretty too! My first Muji storage was the RPP 6-drawer case, then later the 3-drawer without the partition in the middle. I like that the translucency hides the mess. Then late last year I bought the 2-storey and 5-storey acrylic ones and it’s a total joy to be able to see what each compartment contains without touching it. So then I bought 2 more for myself and 3 more as gifts!

Actually, regardless of whether one is a beauty junkie, every woman should own one of these beautiful and useful acrylic drawers.

Innisfree Diffuser / Jo Malone Diffuser

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Unlike candles, reed diffusers offer aromatherapy without fire risks. There is no fear of messy wax deposits; no aerosols or artificial fragrances involved and no external power is required to make the product work. I like how they add beauty and a touch of luxury to homes, and elevate the mood and spirits with different fragrances chosen. The beauty-obsessed usually has a keen sense of smell. 

See, I bought the Christmas limited edition scent named Snowy Time and placed it in my bathroom. I received Rose from my Secret Santa too! (Anyone uses the generator too? Pretty cool, I feel!)

If you have a higher budget for a special friend for Christmas, or as a house-warming gift, you can consider Jo Malone Candles. I love English Pear & Freesia. And a lot of makeup lovers like to turn the beautiful candle glasses into brush holders.

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