[Banana Mango Coconut] Pancakes for Your Thoughts

Banana mango pancakes

Round #4 came a little sooner than expected because of the deluge of bananas and mangoes (Honey Thai, Thai rainbow, Philippine Chanook) that have flooded the kitchen. That set my brains whirring on the next pancake recipe, no doubt featuring these fruits. And I think I’ve got the basic batter nailed down! These were everything you could wish for in a pancake – fluffy, airy, even bordering on being squishy, and loaded with the tropical delights of caramelized bananas, mangoes and coconuts, which I would say, are The Tropical Trinity of Fruits. Mashed banana and mango puree were incorporated into the batter and to take it further, banana slices were added to the pancakes while cooking. Finally, the proud pancake stack was topped with more fresh mango cubes, a medley of nuts (macadamia butter, crushed cashews and almonds) and a crumbled coconut macaroon. These will definitely bring you to rise beyond paradise (hey, it rhymes!). Unbelievably, there is NO added sugar and NO added fat (apart from the oil used to coat the skillet).

Psss…want to know the secret? Well, truthfully I can’t nail it down to a single ingredient or trick because there were many changes to the recipe this time. But I’m all happy to share some tips that probably contributed to the birth of these scrumptious babies:

  • Increased egg white ratio in batter
  • Chia seeds
  • Food processor? I mixed the dry and wet ingredients using the processor this time. However there seems to be two contradicting ideas: on one hand the high speed blending may help to incorporate air into the batter and thus makes it fluffier but on the other hand, it may also result in overmixing and burst the delicate air bubbles. The results support the former, though I shall test the two hypotheses justly next to see if mixing by hand would make a difference.
  • Getting the batter consistency right. It should be consistency of single cream.
  • Pouring the right amount of batter onto the skillet. For my mini 10 cm-skillet, slightly less than 1/4 cup works best.
  • The importance of the afterworks: drizzling syrup or milk onto the pancakes will obviously help soften them. To improve permeability, I used a satay stick to poke holes through the pancake stack before drizzling coconut milk over.

Banana mango pancakes stack

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), there was nobody to share the pleasures of today’s almost perfected pancakes. Since it’s a school day Mum has to rush to school, and Hamm is off to Manila. Having pancakes alone is a little sorrowful, though I enjoy my quiet, undisturbed breakfast mornings.

Banana Mango Coconut Pancakes
Serves one. Yields 4 small pancakes.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (32g) 10-grain pancake mix [Bob’s Red Mill]
  • Dash of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp chia seeds + 3/4 tsp water
  • 1 (real) egg white, beaten until frothy
  • 2 tbsp soy milk (Silk, unsweetened)
  • 1 tbsp light coconut milk (Native Forest)
  • Few drops of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 (48g) medium banana, sliced thinly and divided into two portions
  • 2 tbsp mango cubes, and extra for topping
  • Toppings: macadamia nut butter, crushed cashews, almonds, crumbled almond coconut macaroon (Laughing Giraffe), homemade cacao honey chocolate spread

Directions

  1. Make the chia egg and let stand 15 min or until it forms a gooey film.
  2. Measure the dry ingredients (flour and ground cinnamon) into a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Place the chia egg, beaten egg white, soy/coconut milk, vanilla extract, one portion of sliced bananas and mango cubes into a food processor and blend for just a few seconds. The consistency should resemble that of single cream.
  4. Coat a heated skillet with oil and wipe off excess with kitchen towel.
  5. Pour batter onto heated skillet in ~3 tbsp portions. Immediately add some banana slices (3-4). Cook about 1 – 1.5 min per side.
  6. Get creative with your toppings, serve and savour!

 

Banana mango pancakes food for thought

Incidentally, today’s Bible reading was along the lines of food, albeit metaphorically, and I though it really spoke to my thoughts. In John 4:26-38, Jesus had encountered the Samaritan woman at the well and as she goes back to the town to testify about the man who knew her inside and out, the disciples are concerned that Jesus needs to eat something ((31)”Rabbi, eat something”). Yet, Jesus’ response was “(32)I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” He then explains to his disciples of another kind of food he lives off of – God’s work and God’s will. Jesus begins to open their eyes to his (and our) mission, using an agricultural metaphor of the harvest and reaping and sowing. “(37)Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. (38)I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

Like the disciples we sometimes get so caught up on getting our own food that we fail to see the big picture and mission of our lives: to do God’s will and finish what God started; His work for you. Yet, it’s discovering this that’s the hard part. For each of us has a different purpose. Where can I sow seeds? Are there any seeds that are ready to be harvested?

I pray: What is your will for me, God, and what is the work I need to finish?

This is especially pertinent in my life right now, as I decide stand at the crossroads of working vs further study, and Masters vs PhD. Is my calling really in neuroscience, Lord?

A Veggie Casserole for the Le Creuset

To break into my new lovely kiwi green Le Creuset casserole, I decided to bake a veggie casserole, specifically a trio of eggplant, zucchini, sweet potato. The ingredients are almost what you can find in a veggie lasagna, sans the pasta sheets. I did a very successful vegetarian moussaka before, but decided to go completely vegan this time (part of the reason being my laziness to create a “bechamel” sauce). The resulting dish is light, befitting for these hot summer days, but no less flavourful given the abundance of herbs. I mostly adapted the recipe from the genius Angela at OhSheGlows.

Veggie casserole

Layered Veggie Casserole
For one casserole.
Vegan.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplants, sliced
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced
  • 1 large sweet potato, sliced
  • Large bunch of baby kale leaves (spinach or arugula would also work well)
  • 3/4 jar pasta sauce (I used Alce Nero brand, tomato with basil)
  • 1 can (15oz) haricot beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano (if pasta sauce does not already contain herbs)
  • 1 tsp dried basil (if pasta sauce does not already contain herbs)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil (I used avocado oil)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Place sliced eggplants on a lined baking sheet and pre-cook for about 15 min, or until shrivelled (see picture below). Remove from oven and cool. Once cooled, you can easily peel the skin from the eggplant slices (if you’re finicky like me).
  2. While the eggplant is cooking, prepare the bean filling. Place the drained beans, herbs, garlic, and oil in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Layer the casserole. I did mine in the following order: pasta sauce, eggplant, bean mix, sweet potato, pasta sauce, kale, bean mix, zucchini (see picture below). The order doesn’t matter much though although on hindsight it is probably wise to have layered the harder veggies (ie the sweet potato) at the bottom where it would have cooked better. In total, the veggies were sufficient to yield two of such layers.
  4. Bake for about 40-50 minutes at 200C. (Hunger got the better of me; I was impatient and removed the casserole nearing 40 min but some sweet potato slices were still crunchy, so I recommend 50 min to be safer.)
  5. Let cool and dig into the amalgam of mushy beany goodness!

 
Veggie casserole layers

By some sort of unexplained science, the bean mix, which was very pasty and difficult to spread pre-bake, had “melted” and “melded” together with the pasta sauce into a wonderful mushy beany combination. If you like beans, you gotta love this.

Veggie casserole served

I have to say that having a cheesy bechamel topping would certainly elevate this casserole up a notch. Nevertheless, it was still very tasty and pizza-ish (thanks to the pasta sauce). I reheated the leftovers for lunch today and it was even better after all the flavours melded together overnight. Hooray for the first recipe in the new LC casserole!

Still on the Quest for the Perfect Pancake Puff: Egg vs “Egg”

Blueberry pancakes

I tested two recipes this Round, one with real egg whites and the second using egg replacer (Orgran).

Perfect [Blueberry] Pancake Quest: Round #3

Version 1 using egg whites

  • 1/2 cup 10-grain pancake mix [Bob’s Red Mill]
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg white, beaten until frothy
  • 3/8 cup soy milk [Silk, unsweetened]
  • 2 tbsp light coconut milk [Native Forest]
  • Fresh blueberries

Version 2 using egg replacer (Vegan)

  • 1/2 cup 10-grain pancake mix [Bob’s Red Mill]
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 “egg” (1 tsp powder reconstituted in 2 tbsp water)
  • 3/8 cup soy milk [Silk, unsweetened]
  • 2 tbsp light coconut milk [Native Forest]
  • Fresh blueberries

 
Essentially, the recipes for the two versions are identical except for the egg. Clearly version 1 with real egg whites was the unanimous favorite (the bottom two pancakes in the picture). It came out fluffier and cooked better too, in terms of its “flippability.” In contrast, the version 2 (the top pancake) suffered from a lack of leavening and the batter tend to stick, resulting in deformed pancakes due to failed flipping. In fact of the 4 “egg” pancakes (version 2) I only had one slightly round one whereas all four egg pancakes (version 1) came out nicely. Overall the difference between the two (apart from aesthetics) was slight but still discernable. However, I still feel there is much room for improvement. The best was actually Round #1 (which I did not post) where I used 1 chia egg and 1 real egg (both whites and yolks). I wonder if the added fat from the yolk is the trick. Maybe my next tweak shall be to add oil.

Also, unlike most recipes, I did not fold in the blueberries into the mix but rather added them directly onto the skillet after pouring the batter. Part of it was because I felt the need to ensure that there were equal number of blueberries per pancake (6) – perhaps a manifestation of my OCD? I loved how the juices squirted out with every bite!

Round #4 coming up soon!

Stop the World, I Wanna Get Out

Weekend thumbnails

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.

Dear Mum,

Happy Mother's Day

No words, gifts or acts of kindness can fully and adequately return your unconditional love, selflessness and care. Through the years, especially after the ravages of ED, our relationship had its ups and downs. Many a times I was defiant, stubborn and even downright rude. But you never gave up on me. Although I (hopefully) had made you happy on this special day, I will try my best to be the good daughter to the bestest mum in the world. For Mother’s Day should not be limited to just an annual affair.

Many woman do noble things, but you surpass them all.
Proverbs 31:29.

Happy Mother's Day frame
Blue frame [Ikea]. Pearl string, Prima flowers [Made With Love]. Photos [self].

Failed banana pancakes
Banana pancakes topped with raw cacao chocolate “sauce”, fresh strawberries and cashew nuts
I chose to experiment with the newly bought egg replacer which turned out to be a nasty decision. The pancakes, if they could be named pancakes in the first place, were thick, stodgy and not even round. Clearly there was not enough leavening power this time round. The chocolate “sauce” faired slightly better. Although I was aiming for a sauce, the consistency turned out to be a thick spread instead. I used manuka honey as the sweetener which probably wasn’t the best choice because of it’s strong profile. I believe agave nectar, maple syrup or a milder type of honey would do much better.

Infinite recipes can be found online for the ideal fluffy pancakes but I think it is important to know what constitutes a failed recipe to know the mistakes to avoid. So you want a recipe for failed pancakes? Here’s one.

Failed Banana Pancakes
Yields 9 pancakes.
Vegan.

  • 1 cup 10-grain pancake mix [Bob’s Red Mill]
  • 2 tsp egg replacer [Orgran]
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/3 cup mashed bananas [1 medium/large]
  • 1 cup almond milk [Silk, unsweetened]
  • 2 tbsp water

    Raw chocolate spread
    Makes about 1/4 cup

  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder [Pacari]
  • 1.5 tbsp hazelnut oil [vom Fass]
  • 1/4 cup manuka honey
  •  
    Since both recipes still need much tweaking, I won’t put up the step-by-step instructions yet.

    Did you do anything special for your Mum today?

    Salt Tapas & Bar: Tastebuds Assa[u]lt

    I am extremely blessed to have such a doting and generous sister. It was the culmination of my undergraduate years and possibly the last exam that I would ever take in my life, and she agreed that a celebratory meal was in order – and that she would treat me. As we all know, tapas and “small plates” is all the rage now (Esquina, Foodbar Dada, Bogeda Y Tapas, Morsels etc). While I’m not a slave to food fashion, who doesn’t like variety? Salt Tapas & Bar is the casual sister restaurant of the upmarket Salt Grill & Bar, the Salt group being the brainchild of celebrity chef Luke Mangan. They have an attractively priced set lunch at $24.50, which include two tapas of your choice.

    Salt tapas & bar

    Our experience took on a rocky start. While I settled for the tapas set lunch, my sister preferred to go a la carte. To utter incredulity, we we told that it was the kitchen’s policy that both of us had to order the either set lunch or from the a la carte menu. I couldn’t think of one sound reason under the sun that would justify such a policy. Although there was much displeasure, we didn’t want to kick up a fuss and my sister kindly switched to the tapas set instead.

    Salt tapas & bar food

    My two tapas choices were: Tuna tartare, ruby grapefruit, wasabi mayo from the Sea selection and roasted pumpkin with dukkah, Spanish blue cheese, caramelised pear & walnut from the Garden selection. My sister got the Taco of tempura prawn, pineapple salsa from Nibbles, and Salt & pepper squid, lime mayo from Sea. As you can tell, we love our seafood! Tomato bread was provided too. With its plain Jane looks, you’d never imagine how tasty tomato relish + olive oil on toast could actually be. The charred edges imparted a nice smokey tone.

    Tuna tatre

    I found both the tuna tatare and tempura prawn taco rather pedestrian, given the expectations that this was supposed to be a celebrity chef’s restaurant. Both were too heavy-handed on the dressing. While the first bite of the zippy tatare and the tangy taco awoke the tastebuds, it soon got monotonous as the copious amount of sauce and salt weighed in. To give credit, the seafood was fresh and the prawns huge and crunchy.

    Taco of tempura prawn & pineapple salsa

    The favorite dish was unanimously the pumpkin dukkah salad. I mean, just look at those little pillows of golden, gooey, melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin, coated with some secret honey-like dressing. The blue cheese was pretty strong, but it provided a nice salty contrast to the otherwise sweet tapas. Along with pears, walnuts and a few straggly pieces of rocket leaves (which would be better if there were more) I loved the interplay between the myriad flavours and textures. As before, the amount of dressing was quite overboard, but being the pumpkin lover that I am, I cleaned up every piece of golden goodness 🙂

    Dukkah pumpkin, cheese, pear & walnut salad

    Overall it was a hit-and-miss affair. I would really appreciate if they could review their unfanthomable tapas-or-a la carte policy. I wouldn’t mind returning just for the pumpkin salad alone, and probably some of their dessert items like the churros and chocolate. Most importantly I enjoyed the company of my sister for the afternoon. Thanks Hamm for the treat!

    I felt quite uncomfortable and guilty about eating almost the entire plate of pumpkin, thinking about the oil, sugar and cheese, as well as the sodium bomb from the other dishes. I don’t know why, but it gets me anxious when I develop a bloated stomach. A few hours later I did some business in the toilet and by dinner time everything was back to normal and I was actually slightly hungry. This probably shows how distorted my portion sizes are and should be a learning point and starting point to tackle. (Reminder to self: do not worry about bloated stomachs. After all I’ve to gain weight and this would inevitably entail some bloatedness.)

    Bible verse for the day: on Love (since we’re talking about sisterly love and it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow!)

    Do everything in love.
    1 Corinthians 16:14

    Short, sweet & simple.

    The Skeleton Is Out of the Closet

    Starting is always the hardest part. How does one condense one’s life history into mere paragraphs? The answer is… you don’t. You use pictures.

    Through the years

    7 years ago, July 2006 – the journey into the devil’s lair begins. It was an innocuous, harmless intention that I’m sure could have bloomed in any normal 16-year-old teenager’s mind: I wanted to bake a birthday brownie cake for my junior’s birthday. Back then, I had limited zero kitchen experience and so turned to the WWW for guidance. The floodgates opened. Recipes, Allrecipes, FoodNetwork, individual blogs – I was bombarded with innumerable permutations of brownies, but most importantly was the “nurtition information” that accompanied some of these recipes. I was horrified by the copius amounts of calories, saturated fat and sugars of some recipes, yet enthralled by others that appeared so healthy. Being the perfectionist that I am, I started my quest to devise the healthiest brownies ever. In short, a simple idea of a birthday cake morphed into a complicated task. In the process, the Medusa monster called Eating Disorder reared her ugly head.

    I think my condition could be described as “orthorexia,” otherwise known as healthy eating disorder. I started a food diary which made me aware of how much junk there was in my teenage diet. Then I started eliminating the fast food, the processed food, “unnecessary” drinks like bubble tea and snacks like cookies, chocolate and biscuits. I became conscious about serving sizes and started comparing my intake to others. Nevertheless, I never harboured an intention to lose weight but with such a minimal diet, the weight came off expectedly and unsurprisingly.

    I was born with a small built, and remained skinnily scrawny as a child and teenager, despite my weekly McDonalds/KFC indulgences after band practices and snacking without care. At my heaviest I was barely 40 kg (1.6 m), and by December 2006, I was a ghastly 35 kg.

    Through these trying years I am most grateful and indebted to my mum, although our relationship has been tested many times by ED. I was inpatient only once, in December 2006, where I nearly had to spend Christmas in hospital (the horrors!). Staying in that ED ward was a living nightmare: you could feel tensions and competitiveness in the air, among all the bulimic/anorexic girls. Furtive glances would be cast around during communal meal times, brawls and tears over food were common occurrences. It was a dreadful place and I wonder how could anyone really recover phyically and mentally under such depressing environments. I emerged from the hospital a couple more kilos, but mentally, I was still adamant that I did not have an ED.

    Since then I have been switching dietitians and doctors as frequently as one changes one’s clothes (okay, maybe it’s a stretch of an exaggeration, but you get the idea). I’ve been to the doctors at SGH, RH, a naturopathic and currently a gasteroenterologist at GH. Clearly, something was not working right. The problem was I wasn’t fully committed to recovery. Each visit to the doctor was a chore, a dreadful task that I did on my mum’s behest, and each visit was uneventful, like a broken record on rewind mode.

    Doctor: How are you doing?
    Me: Uh, ok.
    Doctor: Let’s review your meal plan.
    Me: [describes meals)
    Doctor: Let’s check your weight.
    Me: (stands on scale)
    Doctor: Hmmm… you’ve not gained weight. Do you think you could drink one more packet of Ensure every day?

    So basically what they do is to prescribe more supplements when things aren’t right, though I can’t really blame them since on my part I wasn’t putting in much effort, or any effort really, to eat more.

    And so 7 years later, I’m still stuck at square one. Actually, that’s a lie. Physically, I’ve regressed further to square zero. I hate to type the numbers out but I need to face reality bluntly and in the face: I’m 30 kg now and it’s horrible and dangerous (I think most of my weight loss is due to bone mass loss). Mentally, I like to think I’ve progressed a fair bit, in the sense that guilt no longer overwhelms me after consuming a cookie or chocolate or whatsoever. Still, that’s 84 months, or 30, 660 days wasted, and counting. I’m 23 now, just graduated from university, and have to face the working world soon. Yet I don’t look a day older than a secondary school kid. From an employer’s viewpoint, I understand that no right employer would even hire me. Reality has finally caught up and hit me in the face.

    Not wanting to border on effusive prolixity, I should sum up my life story. Today and from now on, I am fully committed to recovery, to put in my best effort to earn back what was snatched away from me – physically, mentally and socially (yea, I barely have “true” friends since I excused myself from most social events). And so this blog will document this effort. It will be a test of discipline, determination, strength, hope and faith, but I know it is possible and I will show that it is possible. Apart from weighty (pun intended) issues, this blog shares my other loves in life too: good food (mostly vegetarian though I’m a great fish fiend as well), travels and of course, spiritual wellness. So expect recipes, restaurant and product reviews, travel photos to populate this space!

    I would like to start a new habit, that is to end each post with a (relevant) verse from the Bible. And so for this seminal post, a good reminder is to have faith in the Lord.

    Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
    Isaiah 58:8

    Oh, in case you are a complete voyeur (which I unashamedly admit), you can view my previous blogs here: