Thursday, March 31, 2011

SOCKS FOR JAPAN.......ALL MAILED OUT


Today is the 'd' day that the socks were on its way to Japan......yes!!! I'm so excited and so were the kids. I told them that I will be heading to the post-office first thing in the morning to get it mailed out to the attention of Mr Jason Kelly.
It was drizzling in the morning and the urge to get to the post -office was so great that I left the house early so that I get a parking somewhere near to the post-office entrance, as you can see, I have 2 boxes of it.......though it's not really big, but it sure does keeps both my hands occupied.
I reached the post-office at 8.10am and already it was packed with people waiting in line with their numbers. I quickly grabbed the consignment note that was ready at the counter and quickly filled it out, while waiting for my turn. I'm so glad and relief after I have safely sent it all out. The officer told me that with "Pos Eskpress" to international, it will take about 10 days as the situation in Japan is not that good now, some of the areas that was badly affected by the tsunami or the earthquake, actually makes transportation a bit difficult.
But, I've made it this far, and I'll keep my fingers crossed that these packages will reached Mr Jason Kelly safe and sound in about 10 days. I will monitor my emails to see the acknowledgment from him, as he promised he will do that to all senders. God bless!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

SOCKS FOR JAPAN....WE DID OUR PART

As promised to update you guys on the progress of our mission to participate in the "Socks For Japan" activity, here.....you can see my 4 kids doing their part in contributing not only their savings $$$ but also their effort to make it possible. I felt truly proud of each of them , as with a word of complaint , they efficiently completed the task that I assigned to them ^-^ Praise the Lord !!
75 pairs of socks for "Socks for Japan", Care Messages and Ziplock Bags
I think "One will feel most happiest , is when One has done something that One thinks that it is truly meaningful, not to Oneself, but to OTHERS."

We accumulated our money contribution and I headed to "SoxWorld" to pick the socks. I chose different sizes for different age group and colour and for both Female and Male. With the amount of money, we managed to buy 75 pairs of socks altogether. Then, I received the 'Care Message' that I sent earlier (2 days ago) to Jason Kelly's website to have it translated to Japanese. I duplicated 75 pieces of it and have it printed out.
The translated 'Care Message' in Japanese Language     
Ian, Daniel, Dylan and Angelica doing their task of inserting each pair of socks into the Ziplock bag......
...attached a Care Message, compressed and sealed it, then lastly, labeled it.
All nicely packed 'With Love" from the kids
And so the packaging is done. Now, I will have to go search for box to store these socks for sending out soon. As I will be leaving for overseas on the 1st April, I will need to get this done within these 2 days.....Hurry!!

Stay tuned for the final chapter of 'Socks for Japan'......from US!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

CAN YOU HELP?..................SOCKS FOR JAPAN

 
I'm sure everyone heard about the great breaking news of the recent March 11, 2011- Earthquake and Tsunami hit on Japan. It's so devastating and heartbreaking when I saw the waves quickly swallowing up the lands of many farmers, houses to thousands and millions, cars and trucks of every drivers, and even pushing the ships onshore like it doesn't weigh a hundred tonnes.
Until today, they 387,000 and even more living in the 2,200 shelters , man and women, babies and children of all ages, young and old. I don't know if you have ever thought of ever lending a helping hand to them.......maybe you might think that we are a world apart, and that is not possible? Or maybe, you doubt that what you contributed will not make any difference compared to others? But have you ever think that sometimes, it's not contribution that comes in the form of money or food that is the most important and useful........of course there are.....but sometimes, very little and basic daily necessity (especially to the Japanese) we overlooked such as "a pair of clean warm socks" will give them the moments of comfort on the spot when they put in on.
This is a website that one of my friend in Facebook posted and it really caught my attention as I was feeling very down since the natural disaster struck Japan ......I don't know why and what connection I have with them , but I felt deeply sorry and sad for them. I really wish I can help even though it the form of a very small 'token'.....and this is exactly what I found meaningful and heartwarming  - "SOCKS FOR JAPAN".
Please kindly take a moment of your time to click on the link and see what you can do .........even 10 pairs makes a big difference to these people. Below is a paragraph that I extracted from the official "Socks For Japan" website that explains "WHY SOCKS" and not other things ? which I think might actually help you to realize and understand, your participation makes a difference to this world.......even though its only "SOCKS".

WHY SOCKS?
Several reasons. Many of the victims ended up barefoot after fleeing in a hurry. In the disaster zone, feet get wet and then extra cold at night, especially in currently freezing weather. People often forget about socks in favor of more obvious items like blankets and jackets. Receiving a new, fresh pair of socks provides a moment of comfort. If those socks arrive with a caring note as well, it’s very heartening for victims. If you’ve ever been stuck in a pair of wet, cold socks or no socks at all, perhaps you remember how soothing it felt to pull on a warm, dry pair. Victims have already requested socks on TV news.
Socks aren’t primary support, but a token of care that will last beyond their small mid-crisis comfort. All supplies exist here in Japan, so we wanted something that delivered meaning past the need of the moment, something more special than what people get from emergency teams and government supplies. Military socks are not the most comfortable. Small joys matter. A March 17 CNN article observed about the victims: “It was the little things that helped them retain their sanity as an end to crisis still seemed distant.”

THANK YOU, GOD BLESS!!

p/s: I have received a reply from "Socks for Japan", Ms Machiko on the Care Letter's translation this morning, and my kids (each of them willing to contribute their daily savings (Pocket money) to buy as many pairs of socks and I'm in the midst of preparing the 'Little Warm Message' to be attached to each pair of socks. Next, I'll head to the store to buy some 'Ziplock Bags' and lots and lots of colourful SOCKS for all ages.....take the first step like I did, I promise you that you'll not regret ;)

Stay tuned.......will update you on the progress.....later! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

CHOCOLATE BOTTOM BANANA SQUARES


I know what you have in mind......exactly what I have in mind too when I received these 'ugly-dark skinned over-riped bananas' from my FiL. According to him, a friend gave him like.......4 to 5 bunches few days ago, and they were already a bit ripe at that time......so after a few days has gone by you can see how ugly they got.....LOL
I personally don't fancy bananas especially if you ask me to eat them like that.....I mean as a fruit. I would choose anything else but bananas. The funny thing is if they were bake into cakes.......then its different, haha.......crazy woman you might think. Ya, well, I totally agree to it myself :P


Anyway, I got these bananas last Saturday from my FiL, and I already baked a 'Banana Walnut Cake' for my sister and also my Hubby's Tai Yee the same day. Unfortunately, I was in a rush to fetch my son from his basketball practice, so once the cake got out of the oven I quickly packed it and sent over to my in-laws house where the two ladies are having their weekly 'dry-swimming' session there. My bad, I did not snap a shot of the cake, it was actually a very fluffy, rich and nice one though. Don't worry, I 'll definitely bake it again someday when I was being given 'lots of over-riped bananas' by my FiL, hehe.....
The reason why I baked banana cake again today is because I still have some of the bananas in the fridge from the last bake. Since my FiL complaint yesterday that he did not get to taste the Banana Cake I baked yesterday, because the two ladies quickly wrapped up the cake and kept it away from him,  LOL........I told him I'll bake another one for him today........and so I did :)

Instead of baking the same Banana Cake I did on Saturday, I decided to bake this one as I just got this awesome recipe few days ago from here. Now that I have a good excuse to bake it, why not, haha!! Seriously, you must try it, the cake texture is awesomely 'soft and fluffy'....almost fragile I would say, :P

Here's the recipe that I did with a little changes, however if you want the original one, you can kindly hit on the above link ;)

CHOCOLATE BOTTOM BANANA SQUARES
130gm Butter, softened
140gm castor sugar (I reduced it from the initial 225gm)
1 egg , lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 -4 medium ripe bananas, mashed or pureed
190gm plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
A pinch of salt
30gm good quality cocoa powder
1/2 cups chocolate chips (I reduced from the initial 1 cup)
2 Tbsp milk 

Method: 
  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add in the egg, vanilla essence and then the mashed / pureed bananas, beating thoroughly.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda and salt. Slowly add into the mixture in a few batch until well mixed.
  4. Divide the batter into half.  Add the cocoa powder to one portion of the batter and mix well.
  5. Evenly spread the cocoa batter on a lightly greased and lined with parchment paper 8" inch square baking tin.
  6. Spread the remaining plain batter on top and gently swirl it with a knife. Lightly  sprinkle the top with chocolate chips.
  7. Bake at 180 degree Celsius for about 30 minutes or the tester comes out clean when inserted to the centre of the cake.
  8. Cool on the wire rack before cutting them into squares and serve.

Happy Baking!


Monday, March 7, 2011

CRISPY 'NIEN GAO YAM ' ROLL


Hey, it's been a month now that we have just celebrated our Chinese New Year, time flies? Yeap, I'll say that again, and again. I don't know about you guys, but every year, I told myself that I'm not going to stock a huge amount of snacks, junk foods, goodies, and whatever that is needed to serve your guest during the festive season.........but no matter how hard I try to stay low in the volume, after the CNY celebration, I was always left with heaps of food in the cupboard 'untouched' and 'unopened', hmmmm..............
Well, I cleaned up my cupboard and found a lot of food, and I cleaned my refrigerator, and found one 7" inch and one 4" inch 'Nien Gao' given to me by my MiL and my Hubby's 'Tai Yee' before the CNY. When I opened the fridge drawers, I found 3 packets of Spring Rolls wrappers, nicely intact, untouched. Ok, I know that if I don't start thinking what to do with these two Nien Gaos, and the Spring Roll wrappers, it's going to end up in the trash very soon....:P

You wouldn't believe that Wendy of 'Table for 2 or more....'  saves my life more that once and that include this time too.......LOL , thanks Wendy ;)  I was browsing her blog the other day and bumped into this recipe that she posted - Nien Gao Taro Rolls.......I found it really innovating and interesting too when i saw it. I told myself I'm going to tell my MiL that there is another way of frying the Nien Gaos........as my MiL normally used to fry it with egg or sometimes, if she is not lazy, she'll sandwiched it with slices of Yam and fried it.
But , this is going to be so different and quickly jotted it down, I promise I'll inform my MiL....hehe. Well, who would know that I get to try out the recipe first and then sent some for her to taste........hehe

The following is the ingredients required, and as I have mentioned, I got this awesome recipe from Wendy, so hop into her blog and the original are there. Thanks again, Wendy, for the awesome recipe :)

  
Ingredients (Makes about 33 rolls)
500gm Yam , Cleaned and steamed to cook, mashed it while it's hot;
2 Tbsp of castor sugar
Add salt to your taste
100gm fresh grated coconut (However, as I don't have this at the time of preparation, so I didn't use)

300gm Nien Gao , cut into about 2" inch strips
Spring Roll wrappers , the size of 125mm x 125mm
Some egg whites for sealing 

Method
  1. Cleaned, sliced the yam and steamed to cook, it should be soft. While it's still hot, use a potato masher or the back of a fork ( that's what I used)  to mash it up.
  2. Put in the sugar , salt and if you have the grated coconut into the mashed up yam, and stir to combine.
  3. On a flat surface or a big round plate, place a slice of the Spring roll wrapper, take a spoon full of yam, lightly spread in at the edge of the wrapper. 
  4. Place a piece of the Nien Gao strip on top of the yam, and roll it up, wrapping it up.
  5. Lightly brush the sides of the wrapper, and seal it. Repeat  until all the ingredients are used up.
  6. Heat up your frying pan / wok with cooking oil at low medium heat.
  7. Fry it until it's golden brown and  drained the remaining oil with kitchen towels, ready to serve.

 Enjoy, you'll love it!!


p/s: I sent some to my MiL for afternoon tea, she rang me back and told me that she loves it very much, and that she has now learnt a new way to fry her Nien Gao, LOL.