Friday, July 27, 2012

Blueberry Choc Chip Muffins

It was last week during my visit to the fruit stall that I noticed the packets of blueberries.

RM9.00 for a packet seemed reasonable at that moment but I still hesitated, did I have the time to bake?

I called up the hubby and asked if he still wanted me to bake him something with blueberries. He mumbled "I guess so" and so I grabbed a packet.

He has been suggesting to me to bake something with blueberries since he adored them during his time in London. I kept telling him that blueberries were hard to find in KL, and they were expensive! =P

I probably skipped with glee my way back to the office after my purchase while my mind buzzed with ideas and recipes.

The very next day, I packed 3 to bring to work. I only managed two for breakfast!

The last one was cut in half and given to 2 of my colleagues who enjoyed it.

The To Die For Blueberry Muffin Recipe.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar (I reduced to short of 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk (I added 1 - 1 1/2 Tbsp more)
1 cup fresh blueberries 
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
Note: I also added a 1/4 cup of choc chip, to add a tease of sweetness, since I reduced the sugar.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder.
Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup.
Mix this with flour mixture.
Fold in blueberries.
Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

(I omitted the toppings.)

To Make Crumb Topping: 
Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon.
Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

Mine took less than 20 minutes, I think. I can't remember!
I was pretty worried that I overmixed the batter but thank goodness they turned out moist and wasn't sweet at all. I guess I shouldn't have reduced the sugar?

But nah, we liked it that way! =)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dutamas Runners : Michelle Looi

Michelle recently won the Intermark Charity Tower Run held on 7th July 2012, conquering 1200 steps (59 levels) in about 11 minutes.

She is regularly seen as one of the podium finishers for many running events, escalating her into the level of 'elite' runners. Well, for humble runners like myself and many beginners, she IS definitely considered an elite! =))

1. What was the first running event you participated in, signaling the beginning of your 'running' career? ;D 
I’m a late starter and I started off with a goal to race in a triathlon which became IRONMAN. Running is part of it. Officially, I started running in the year 2008 and the first event I participated was Great Eastern's 20km. 

2. You have achieved so much since then. Do share with us your usual weekly training schedule! 
I run at least 5 times a week with a variation of speed work, speed endurance, LSD and trail running. I begin my week with an easy run or swimming on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday I will be at Kg Pandan track for speed work or speed endurance. Friday or Saturday is usually reserved for trail running as I have more time to do it. Sunday is for LSD or a race day for me. 

If Sunday is a race day, Monday is usually my rest day. 

3. Who is more competitive, you or Tomatoman? 
 Depending on the race, I would say both of us are equally competitive. However we don’t race with each other. :D 

4. You have a knack for altering or modifying your running vests and t-shirts. Please show us a picture.
 Oh well, first of all I would say this t-shirt has a sentimental value to me. I joined the race and I would like to wear it as I’m really proud of it. Unfortunately most of the time I get an oversize t-shirt, it is dull and boring to wear and can’t bring out the femininity. That’s the first reason why I'd alter it. Another reason is, it is FREE and I’m more daring to cut it. 

5. Some say that women shouldn't run too much (for health reasons), but what's your take on this? 
 Women tend to have differences in muscular and skeletal structure than men; we are more prone to injury. It is important for women to do some weight training. Easier said than done - I’m still procrastinating on this matter. 

Another thing that I would like to highlight is that it is harder for us to run at certain times of our cycle. As for me I notice my heart rate is higher a few days before my menstruation and I tend to breath harder too. Good thing about it is that if you monitor it for few months, you can adjust your training based on your cycle. Example 3 weeks hard and 1 week easy. You can also plan your race base on your cycle. Tips from me, I will usually choose races that require speed during the beginning of my cycle as my heart rate is lower and breathing is easier. 

6. Is there a major event this year which you are currently focusing on? 
 It will be Penang Half Marathon as I’m aiming to go below 1 hour 49 minutes which is my current half marathon record. 

7. If you could change one thing about you, what would it be? 
I’m quite happy with what I have now and haven’t thought of what I want to change. 

8. When injury prevents you from training too hard, how do you work out? 
I will rest or change my training to swimming or cycling. If things are getting better, usually I will start again with 30 minutes easy run. 

9. Any dietary tips for us to be as lean and mean as you? ;D 
Emm.. Less meat ,more vege and eat less carbo at night. I would love to advice ppl to eat more fruits, unfortunately I don’t like to eat fruits except durian and banana.

Michelle is also the top female runner for the mixed category of last year's KL Rat Race, completing 4.5km in about 22 minutes! 

I was hoping to dig out some secret tips from her (in order to be a faster runner) but alas, it seems like there's no secret to it - all you have to do is train and train and train. Don't stop running!

To know her better, you can follow her blog. ;)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Post Holiday Blues

A short trip away from the office was definitely what I needed - bliss!

We went to Tioman Island during the last weekend in June and man, it was a long drive from KL.

We got our nitrogen fix after a year away from the sea. (We dive only once a year. Sad but true!) Visibility was bad and I can safely summarise that the dives were mostly disappointing.

Through the hazy waters, I can see why Tioman boasts a beauty of corals. If only the waters were clearer, argh!

We spotted a hawksbill turtle at one of the dive sites. And I also finally spotted my first ever cuttlefish! It was mesmerising to see it change colour to camouflage into its surroundings as it swam by. Love!

I was looking forward to see dolphins in the evenings as our boat took us back to the shore but I wasn't lucky enough to catch sight of them. *Sigh*

Anyway, if only scuba diving wasn't such an expensive hobby (for some of us!) that YB and I would love to go diving at least twice a year.

Can you believe it's already mid-July?
I'm telling myself that I'll need to lose 4kg by September ... it's not going to be easy!

And yes, I think it'll help to improve my speed to be 4kg lighter! ;D

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday in Perth

Monday, 7th May 2012 - Perth

The day before (Sunday) began with a 15km run along the Swan River, followed by a lovely steamboat lunch with the mates at home. Tea was spent up at King's Park with an old schoolmate.

We were left to our own devices on Monday so we decided to check out the town.

Of course, we didn't realise that there wasn't much to do in town. Shopping was out of the question because after converting into Malaysian Ringgit, no way was I willing to part with my money!

A poster outside a pub.

We walked in a take away shop (I think it's called Saigon something) and was amazed by the variety of Chinese / Asian food!


We bought some food for lunch and decided to head towards the Swan River for a nice bench to sit and enjoy our lunch.

Really, don't these people need to work?

Lucky people, enjoying nature during the day!

You don't expect to see us out on the streets in KL enjoying the day, do you?

Lunch was a chicken schnitzel sandwich and avocado + char siew spring roll. Both were sadly disappointing.

YB enjoyed his Coke Zero, which he has been missing since he returned from London for good a few years ago.

Seagulls everywhere.

A plague outside the town hall.

Clearly a coffee drinker's mantra!

 Oooh, I told myself I was going to check out this shop before I leave Perth!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cappuccino Muffins with ...

No, don't ask me when I baked these because I cannot, for the life of me, remember!

It must have been MONTHS ago.

Maybe even last year!

Loved the chocolate chunks in them, mmmm...

I am itching to bake something with coffee or chocolate but because I can't recall which recipe I had previously used, here I am, digging through my archive for a clue!

Cappuccino Muffins with Choc Chip, Walnut & Raisins

Instead, I come across pictures of previous experiments.

I'm glad to say that I'm pretty sure I achieved one of my 2011's resolution of at least 24 cooking experiments, despite the fact that I don't have the pictures to prove them.

I don't think I'm fantastic at baking and I would probably prefer cooking. It's just much more satisfying to taste all the ingredients that come together to create that perfect dish. ;)

Time does not permit, unfortunately. I demand shorter working hours!

And did I mention that we no longer have a fridge??

Yep. It makes it harder for me to buy all the cooking ingredients and if I decide at the last minute that I don't want to cook, there goes the perishables. Sigh.

I don't mind living on instant noodles, though. =D

Off to bed!
Am feeling a bit under the weather.

But I hope I'll wake up early and whip up something from the oven!