This week can easily be summed up in a few words: food, books and check-ups. Starting clockwise from the top:
Superb summer steals and splurges. A new Le Creuset oval stoneware casserole in a soothing shade of kiwi green has replaced my broken cherry red version. Although there was no option over color (only the kiwi green one was on sale), I’m not complaining given the deep discount (
$99 $48 only!). The savings on the cookware were negated, however, by the splurge on a new bottle of balsamic vinegar – Il Borgo del Balsamico of Modena (orange label). This is the real deal, with certification status. I bought this to accompany a new bottle of EVOO Hamm bought from Perth (Mount of Olives, garlic). With a small 100ml jar costing $25, I’ll treat each drop as if it were liquid gold – to be used sparingly and wisely!
Health check-ups. I made visits to both the dentist and the optician, and the results could be regarded as both good or bad news, depending on how you look at it. An x-ray of my teeth showed that I did not have any tooth decay, but some early stages of teeth “osteopenia” is clearly evident, especially at the bottom front two teeth. My short-sightedness, though somewhat stabilized, is still crawling up inexorably (+50 on each eye).
Oatmeal! The creative juices on oatmeal concoctions are still going strong, culminating in combinations of all sorts – the wild, weird and wonderful. This includes (from left) Strawberry Pear & Macadamia, Strawberry Coconut Macadamia, and Banana Sweet Potato Souffle. The latter was really the ultimate. Here, steel cut oatmeal was cooked as usual except egg whites was used instead of the usual protein powder. After whipping in the mashed banana/sweet potato mix, I slid it into the oven then the magic started to happen. The oatmeal rose, and rose, and rose, till the bowl could no longer contain it and juices started dribbling down the sides (a happy mess). The oatmeal souffle stood tall and proud, deeply infused with the natural sweetness of caramelized bananas and sweet potatoes. That definitely is worthy of many repeats!
Pancakes! Still on the quest for the ever elusive perfect pancake puff. This time (#Round 3) I decided to test two recipes at once: real egg whites in one batch, and egg replacer (Orgran) in the second. The conclusion is that you can’t mimic the real stuff; real eggs win hands down. Recipe and detailed analysis is in a separate post.
Quinoa. The advantage of quinoa over other carbohydrate staples like rice is that it is so easy and quick to cook (15 mins only!). I’ve enjoyed my box of red quinoa (Ancient Harvest) in sweet breakfasts (banana coconut) and savoury salads. Versatile, nutritious, nutty, crunchy, protein-packed, what more could you ask? Next in mind is cocoa quinoa granola.
Burgers & sammiches. I once used to be a fan of Amy’s frozen burgers and would buy a box every other week or so. While I still love Amy’s products, I now practice restrain due to health and money reasons. No matter what, frozen burgers are a sodium bomb and Amy’s brand is particularly unkind on the wallet. This week, Chickpea & Sunflower Seeds Veggie burgers from Eatwell (an Australian brand) were on clearance sale and I succumbed. It’s my first time trying this brand and it’s not bad. It consists of 62% vegetables (carrot, potato, sweet potato, green peas, zucchini) and 15% chickpeas; in other words, the bulk of the burger was actually quite veggie-ful. They had a nice chewy texture, and tastewise, the herbs and spices were a little too strong especially on the garlic and onion, and a tad salty too. Arugula and salad leaves pairs well with this veggie burger by cutting through all that seasonings. Each patty is 177 kcal, packing 9.4g protein, 2.0g fat (0.9g sat) and 25.9g carb. I’d still prefer to make my own veggie burgers if I have the time; but you know what a hassle it is to open so many cans of beans and slice all those veggies, so this really appeals for its convenience.
Fruits! It has been a kaleidoscope of colourful juicy fruits, from wang zhong wang durians to Thai mangoes to red dragonfruits.
Job search. Still searching and keeping my options open, and listening for God’s voice on this matter. Some options include (1) further studies (MA/MD/PhD) in public health, epidemiology, health administration or clinical research (but I’m not really into statistics so I don’t know if this is the right choice), management programme with NHG or work and travel programme. The latter is quite far-fetched as I doubt Mum would ever agree to it, given the state I’m currently in. Still, it’s nice to dream.
Books for the soul. Call me cheapskate, but the past few days I’m been making trips down to Kinokuniya just to read Dan Brown’s latest Inferno for free. This calls for standing on your feet for hours on end, but you get to save $40 plus the entertaining book will make time fly by and you wouldn’t notice your aching feet at all. Currently at chapter 38 and more visits are in order in the next few days. At the Library’s book exchange, I managed to grab (literally, as you know how kiasu and pushy Singaporeans can be) some good books, including Fountainhead (Ayn Rand), White Devils (Paul McAuley), Bones to Ashes (Kathy Reichs), A World of My Own (Graham Greene) and Grey Eminence (Aldous Huxley). These books should keep me busy for quite some time.
Despite my seemingly busy week, and while I love being busied with reading, cooking, and going about town, there’s still this sense of lingering emptiness. Which brings me to the title of today’s post: Stop the world, I wanna get out . This is actually quoted from the lyrics of the same (beautiful) song by Matthew West.
The TV is talking
The telephone’s ringing
The lights are all on
And the radio’s screaming
A million distractions are stealing my heart from You
I’m tired and empty
This life is relentless
It weakens my knees
And breaks my defenses
It’s wearing me down and I’m desperate to hear from You
Stop the world I wanna get out
I need an escape away from this crowd
Just to hear You speak to me
Too many distractions in life, too many golden calves, and not enough silence.
I recognized this is a rather disorganized post but that’s what happens when you accumulate a week’s worth of thoughts to write about.