Have you tasted a dragon……?

With the lunar calendar welcoming the new year of the Dragon on 23 January 2012, one reads, hears and sees everything about ‘dragons’… but has anyone tasted a dragon….?  A Dragon fruit, to be precise.

Most aptly, nature has coloured it in shades of reddish-pink and textured the skin of the fruit to slightly resemble ‘dragon scales’ – hence the name.

Contrary to what one might expect of a fruit named Dragon, the flesh is not fiery in taste, but rather plain  – to the point of being a bland sort of sweetness….in my humble opinion.

So while the welcoming of the Lunar New Year is celebrated on a large, loud, plentiful scale (all for the auspiciously-correct reasons) in many parts of the world, others may be just happy to have a ‘slice of the dragon…fruit’.  This shows you how to go about it, if the fruit is new to you…. http://video.about.com/thaifood/How-to-Cut-Dragon-Fruit.htm

In the meantime, while the norm is to celebrate the festive occasion with excessive eating, drinking and spending, try to spare a thought for the less fortunate, share from your heart, and pray for those who are in need of the Lord’s blessings, especially the world at large.

Wishing one and all, a Happy Lunar New Year.

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Mad about homemade ice cream (sans the ice cream machine…)

The basic ingredients to which you add the many flavours of your choice....

Influenced by cousin Pauline who is always on the lookout for ‘simple recipes’ (she happens to be a culinary whizz though is very humble about it all), we have been experimenting with Homemade Ice Cream – without the use of an ice cream machine) – and putting on a few extra pounds along the way.

Some say it is easier to buy luscious, creamy ice-cream off the supermarket shelves — but there is a certain sense of achievement in making it at home, especially without the use of a machine (as we don’t have one).

After experimenting with several recipes, the simplest ones boil down to the following bases, to which you just add the flavours of your choice:
1) Whipping or heavy cream + sugar   (2 cups cream: half – 1 cup sugar OR to your taste)  2) Whipping or heavy cream + condensed milk (2 cups cream: half – 1 cup condensed milk OR to  your taste)

The favourite so far, by popular poll (yes our friends and neighbours have helped share the calories):

Coffee + Kahlua Ice Cream (adapted from the following) http://therapeuticcrafting.blogspot.com/2011/07/easy-homemade-ice-cream-without-machine.html

2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup strongly-brewed coffee (or to your taste)                                                                                                                                                      3 tablespoons kahlua (or to your taste)

Whip the cream in bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, coffee and kahlua. Gently fold the milk mixture into the whipped cream.

Pour into a container and cover. Freeze at least 6 hours or until firm (please refrain from tasting it every half hour otherwise there will be nothing left by the time its ready for your guests). Serve with a biscotti or chocolate wafer (or anything else you might prefer).

Other recipes using cream and sugar, from these links might be of interest….

We tried the Lemon Ice Cream – yummy too …..http://thestonesoup.com/blog/2010/12/2-simple-secrets-to-making-luscious-ice-cream-without-a-machine-5-ingredients/

This recipe from Nigella – looks good….http:/www.nigella.com/recipes/view/no-churn-margarita-ice-cream-32

Happy experimenting…..!

Mary

87 going on 78…and always young at heart

This was created in 2010, but the words still ring true....

In addition to my keep fit routines, I do take care of  my diet and  enjoy the company of  friends, neighbours of all ages….. our diary is filled with visitors and outings, which in addition to our church activities and  my choir participation, all add up to what  the article below says about ‘remaining active with plenty of relationships’.

My daily routine starts with prayers and exercise before the day begins.  As outlined in this poster by my daughter when I was 86 going on 68 (the words can be sung to the tune of  ‘16 going on 17’)… I count my blessings each and every day. Praise the Lord.

I am happy to share some excerpts from an article by Steve Thompson  on  Keeping Fit in Your Eighties: The Octogenarian Fitness Club  

http://voices.yahoo.com/keeping-fit-eighties-octogenarian-fitness-539232.html

…”Physical fitness is important as any age,” says Dr. Jonas Nisbet of Conroe, Texas.

…..According to Fitness magazine, senior citizens will experience far fewer broken bones if they are dedicated to maintaining an exercise regimen, and they will also be less susceptible to organ failure, disease and other health problems.

…In fact, experts recommend that senior citizens exercise as often as they feel comfortable, while maintaining a healthy diet and visiting their doctors regularly.

….Researchers have found that senior citizens who live reclusive lives are more likely to suffer from depression and illness than those who remain active with plenty of relationships.

….If 80+ individuals can find the time and the energy to exercise, just about anyone else can do the same.

Amen….Suzanne

The secret to keeping youthful..?

87 but still youthful...

Many young people come up to me to say “I would like to be like you when I am in my 80s. What is your secret to keeping youthful?”

It is quite simple, really. There are NO secrets but…

  1. You  must truly want to keep fit and as healthy as possible… long into the future
  2. Make a commitment and adapt the routines as a part of your lifestyle, as opposed to ‘exercising because I have been advised to do so’
  3. Think positive and be always young at heart

Someone told me once, that I am obsessive about my routines, which most people cannot keep to so religiously. It might be true, but any effort is better than none at all…

Read on and see the excerpts of what experts say about keeping fit at any age…

1) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeanette-jenkins/healthy  living_b_1177880.html?ref=healthy-living

7 Steps to Make Healthy Living a Lifetime Habit

Jeanette Jenkins Founder and president of “The Hollywood Trainer”:…..”The key to life-changing results is to be committed and consistent to healthy living….. It’s never too late to get in shape. It doesn’t matter if you’re 22 or 72….”

2) http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/09/aging-well-through-exercise

Aging Well Through Exercise

Dr. Vonda Wright, an orthopedic surgeon and founder of the Performance and Research Initiative for Masters Athletes at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: … “We don’t know what kinds of exercise are best … What we can say with certainty is that any activity is better than none …and more is probably better than less. But the bigger message is that it looks as if how we age can be under our control. Through exercise, you can preserve muscle mass and strength and avoid the decline from vitality to frailty.”

3) http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/27/how-exercise-can-keep-the-brain-fit/

How Exercise Can Keep the Brain Fit

Dr. Laura Middleton, is an associate professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario: “Our results indicate that vigorous exercise isn’t necessaryto protect your mind….I think that’s exciting. It might inspire people who would be intimidated about the idea of quote-unquote exercising to just get up and move.”

Dr. Eric Larson, the vice president of research at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle:  “None of us wants to lose our minds….. so the growing body of science linking activity and improved mental functioning …is a wake-up call. We have to find ways to get everybody moving.

Until the next post….Amen

Suzanne

A whisk for my head!

Everyone could do with a light but effective massage of the head...

The whisk….

Recently, a good friend surprised me with what looked like a whisk – the difference is, that it is not for use in the kitchen (at least I have not tried whisking eggs with it)…but for the head. Yes, it turned out to be a head massager in disguise!

I happily put it to the test immediately, pushing it gently up and down on the top of my head, and yes, it ‘wakes me up’ after each session of about 10 ups & downs. I massage my head at least 3 times a day or whenever I feel a need to ‘re-energize myself’..

It is even more effective if I use two whisks at the same time – I bought 2 more when we chanced upon them at a vendor’s stall in the local market. What joy to find it here….I should have bought more.

Happy ‘whisking’….

Dressing up plain pedal-pushers

..what a few beads and a little paint can do.....

My hands are never idle, as I am always creating something – or – praying! In this case, I painted leaf patterns and gave them life with some sewn on beads, onto my pedal-pushers and here they are, eye-catching and original.

At the age of 87, I can still see the eye of the needle and thread it with ease – Praise the Lord for that. A box of paint with bits and bobs is always within arm’s reach, so when inspiration hits, it is easy to let the artist in me go to work immediately….most of all, it gives me such joy to see the end result. Amen.

Suzanne

Of Fresh Coconut Water, Curry Mee and….Durian Coffee

A mind-boggling concoction......

Sipping fresh coconut water out of its shell is one of the simple pleasures in life..

In cnngo.com’s World’s 50 Most Delicious Drinks the humble coconut water is included and rightly so. It happens to be our favourite refreshing drink in this hot and humid climate, especially when served in its own coconut shell. My preferred choice would have to be the coconuts from neighbouring Thailand, as the coconut water within the shell is usually gently fragrant with just the perfect natural sweetness.

While savouring a bowl of the best curry mee (curry noodles) in Penang (on the island at least) recently, and quenching our thirst with coconut water chilled in its shell, our contented gazes abruptly came to focus on a poster advertising Durian Coffee!

The mind boggles at the thought of Durian Coffee?? The first reaction was one of …. ‘eeeuuw, no thank you’ – inspite of the fact that we are all durian lovers. So if anyone out there has tasted this seemingly new flavor in instant coffee, please do share your opinions with us.

One wonders if the multitude of flavors found in the instant coffee sachets displayed on supermarket shelves do indeed satisfy the taste buds………. or are they just a constant ploy to entice the insatiable instant-coffee lover to continuously buy more ….?