2018 Week 33 Update

This was an interesting week, both in terms of work and my social life.

On the work front, as I mentioned last week, I have started freelancing and this week, I signed on my first client. This is not the role I would take if I had a choice, but it could be the start of something different, something I could be proud of. That time will only tell.

I also hosted a cousin this week at home. She had come to Singapore for an interview at a local university (she is an academic) and between her interviews and public lectures, it was fun catching up with her on family news and gossip. She hit off with GG and they’ve become quite close friends. If she gets the position she interviewed for and comes to live in Singapore for a period, she and GG have made plans to have sleepovers and holidays together. I really hope she gets the job, so it’ll be nice to have someone from my family close by.

This week will be a mid-week public holiday in Singapore due to the Eid-ul-Adha or Bakri Id as its called in India. It’s always nice to have mid-week holidays as it splits the week in half and so the work week does not seem so long!

Have a wonderful week folks!

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2018 Secondary 3 Week 33 Update

GG was back from her Vietnam trip at the beginning of the week and though the trip was fun, it was super hectic and she was exhausted by the time they landed back in Singapore. For someone whose bedtime is usually 9-9:30 pm, having to sleep close to midnight daily really took a toll on her. But as children and young people are, she is resilient and bounced back very quickly and was back in school the next day!

The rest of the school week was uneventful. BB has been home most of the week since half his cohort is away at the OBS camp and since his half of the cohort will be doing their OBS camp during the September holidays, they were supposed to have their September holidays this week. But they had two days of school, followed by the protected days where they had holidays. During this short holiday, BB invited his friends over for the day, where they enjoyed their time playing games and just chit-chatting!

All in all, it was the usual week for GG, but BB  had a nicer week in terms of being at home and being able to chill.

 

 

 

In My Hands Today…

Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen – Marilyn Chin

6353906Raucous twin sisters Moonie and Mei Ling Wong are known as the “double happiness” Chinese food delivery girls. Each day they load up a “crappy donkey-van” and deliver Americanized (“bad”) Chinese food to homes throughout their southern California neighbourhood.

United in their desire to blossom into somebodies, the Wong girls fearlessly assert their intellect and sexuality, even as they come of age under the care of their dominating, cleaver-wielding grandmother from Hong Kong. They transform themselves from food delivery girls into accomplished women, but along the way, they wrestle with the influence and continuity of their Chinese heritage.

Ghee a Superfood?

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For centuries, Ghee has been an integral part of the Indian household. In ancient times, all food was cooked in ghee and no religious ceremony is complete without the addition of ghee to the sacred flames.

In most tambram households, no meal was complete without ghee. After the rice and dal were put on the plate, a dollop of ghee was put, after which you started eating. I also remember children getting extra ghee in their palms just because it is so tasty. However, a few years back, with the saturated fats controversy, a lot of people stopped eating ghee and switched to more healthier (or so they were told) alternatives.

Today, Ghee or clarified butter has gotten the status of a superfood! Shocked right? I was too and so decided to find out more and also check if the ancient Indians were correct in the usage of ghee.

So what exactly is ghee? Ghee is clarified butter where the milk solids in butter or cream which float to the top or sink to the bottom have been skimmed off and what remains is a clear golden product with a high smoking point and a delicate, nutty flavour. Ghee is liquid when you first make it and then solidifies to a whitish opaque creamy consistency. It hardens when you chill it, but regains its creaminess when it stays outside for some time.

235px-butterschmalz-3Because it has no milk or water solids, people with lactose intolerance can use this as a very good substitute for butter in cooking. It’s been part of the ancient medical system of Ayurveda for thousands of years, stretching back to at least 800 BC; Ayurvedic medicine claims that ghee is good for everything from sleep quality to semen health, joint suppleness, intelligence, memory and wrinkles.

Ghee is casein and lactose-free and so a great addition for those with dairy sensitivities. In addition, ghee is gluten-free and high in butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid used in the body as an energy source and anti-inflammatory. Ghee is also rich in essential fatty acids and Vitamins A, D and E.

Ghee contains medium-chain fatty acids which the liver can absorb directly and burn immediately, making it a healthier source of energy than most of the carbs we eat today. Ghee is packed with butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid that has several benefits, one of which is better digestion. Our bodies actually convert fibre into butyric acid, so eating it makes the body’s job easier. Butyric acid heals the digestive tract and keeps it healthy. The butyric acid in ghee also promotes immunity, by increasing the production of killer T cells in the gut.

Indian food contains several herbs and spices, each of which is loaded with numerous nutrients. Ghee absorbs these nutrients and helps them reach the correct part of the body, where they are most required. Also because of its high smoking point, ghee does not break down into free radicals while cooking, which other oils with a lower smoking point do.

800px-desi_gheeA 2010 review of ghee science in the International Quarterly Journal of Research In Ayurveda by scientists from Ohio State noted that animal studies of ghee have found a series of possible benefits, including decreases in cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins and triglycerides (which are associated with cardiovascular disease), and a potential link between ghee and lower coronary heart disease risk. One study in 2016 found that ghee was better for cooking than sunflower oil when looking at antioxidants and liver protection, while another in 2013 found that it helped to protect against the development of fatty deposits in arteries. Multiple studies in 2015 found that ghee, particularly low-cholesterol ghee, seemed to improve general cholesterol levels. It’s worth noting that virtually all of these studies were done on rats, not humans. But the qualities of ghee have attracted medical attention for other reasons; it was suggested in early 2017 that ghee might be a good way to administer chemotherapy, as it may help the chemo get into the body more efficiently.

Ghee is super easy to make at home. I started making ghee at home around two years ago and don’t look at store-bought ghee anymore. Buy unsalted butter and heat it in a heavy bottomed pan. Make sure your pan is deep as it will bubble a lot during the process. Boil it in a low to medium heat until the milk solids separate and sink to the bottom of the pan. The ghee will become a lovely golden colour and will have a lovely aroma. When the milk solids start to brown, stop the flame and let it cool. Strain the ghee and let it cool. Once it starts to solidify, you can start using it. It stores very well outside, it need not be refrigerated, but in the fridge, it can keep for years without spoiling.

Are you convinced about the health benefits of ghee yet? Go on and buy a container of it and start cooking with it, you will never look back and wonder why it took you so long to convert.

 

 

In My Hands Today…

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation – Lauren Willig

84351Deciding that true romantic heroes are a thing of the past, Eloise Kelly, an intelligent American who always manages to wear her Jimmy Choo suede boots on the day it rains, leaves Harvard’s Widener Library bound for England to finish her dissertation on the dashing pair of spies the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian. What she discovers is something the finest historians have missed: a secret history that begins with a letter dated 1803. Eloise has found the secret history of the Pink Carnation the most elusive spy of all time, the spy who single-handedly saved England from Napoleon’s invasion.

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, a wildly imaginative and highly adventurous debut, opens with the story of a modern-day heroine but soon becomes a book within a book. Eloise Kelly settles in to read the secret history hoping to unmask the Pink Carnation’s identity, but before she can make this discovery, she uncovers a passionate romance within the pages of the secret history that almost threw off the course of world events. How did the Pink Carnation save England? What became of the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian? And will Eloise Kelly find a hero of her own?