Thursday, October 31, 2013

Crochet: Owl Giveaway #3

Ok ok, I know everyone is tired with this Owl Giveaway. Bah!

This is ... Batz. He's as blind as a bat. :P
Bwahaha! I don't know. Please rename him if you must. :)

He is dressed in manly colours of grey, dark red and a hint of lime green.

Size: 5.5cm in height, 4cm in width.
Material: crocheted with 100% acrylic yarn, stuffed with strips of flannel.

Now, to have a chance to win Batz, please answer the questions below:

1. My least favourite colour is:
A. Grey
B. Orange
C. Blue
(I really don't like orange *bleurgh* and if given a choice, I wouldn't wear an orange running vest! Except during the Bukit Damansara Fun Run.)

2. I made a total of 11 owls. What is the name of the last one?
A. Biscuit
B. Avocado
C. Cookie
(Cookies' pic is on Facebook page.)

3. Besides exploring the outdoors, running, baking, cooking and crocheting, I may be found:
A. Spring cleaning the house.
B. Reading a book or magazine.
C. Giving hubby a massage.
(I'm so glad no one said A or C. I would have laughed my head off!)

Terms and conditions:
1. Only one entry per person. You may delete your comment to insert another one if you change your mind with your answers before the closing date/time.
2. Answers to the question must be provided only in the comment section of this post.
3. The person with the most correct answers will be declared the winner.
4. If there are more than one correct entries, I will write your names on pieces of paper and have YB draw the winner out from the bowl/hat/box. You may try to bribe him haha! :D
5. The winner will be notified on my Facebook page and in this post. I will contact you thereafter by Facebook or email. :)
6. If there are no winners, I will provide another question. :D
7. Owl Giveaway #3 is closed at 3.00am Malaysian/Perth Time / 6.00am Melbourne/Sydney Time on Friday, 1st November  2013. Comments added after the time may not be considered. (See how lah.)

Good luck!
I think the questions are SO easy. :)

Update as at 1st November 2013:
Congrats to Kew CW for getting all 3 questions right!

OK, we're done with the owls. Now what shall I make for Christmas? :)

Related posts:
Owl Giveaway #1 - winner is Nick!
*Owl Giveaway #2 - winner is Amy!

*I have 4 caps where 2 are Nike and 2 are New Balance. I don't have a blue one - I borrowed it from YB.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Crochet: Owl Giveaway #2

I made 11 owls. 

I was just practising my crochet skills and had fun mixing the colours. I was REALLY hoping I could give them all away but out of the 11, only a few passed my critical quality control test. :P

This is ... Mike. 
(I really shouldn't name them, but it just came to me as I uploaded the picture!)

He is an insomniac hence the wide opened eyes.

Actual colours!

Measurements: 5.5cm in height, 4cm in width.
Made with 100% acrylic yarn, plastic beads for eyes, and stuffed with flannel.

He's a bit smaller than the other owl.


A. 3
B. 4
C. 5 
D. None of the above.

A: Nuu Muu

Terms and conditions:
1. Only one entry per person. 
2. Answers to the question must be provided only in the comment section of this post.
3. If there are more than one correct entries, I will write your names on pieces of paper and have YB draw the winner out from the bowl/hat/box. You may try to bribe him haha! :D
4. The winner will be notified on my Facebook page and in this post. I will contact you thereafter by Facebook or email. :)
5. If there are no winners, I will provide another question. :D
6. Owl Giveaway #2 is closed at 12.00am Malaysian/Perth Time / 3.00am Melbourne/Sydney Time on Thursday, 31st October 2013. Comments added after the time may not be considered.

Update as 31st October 2013:
No one managed to get both answers correct. As Amy, Lina, Tristupe and Andrew got the 2nd question correct, their names were considered for a draw this morning and YB has drawn ...

Congrats, Amy!

Related post:
Crochet: Owl Giveaway #1 - the winner is Nick!
Crochet: Owl Giveaway #3 - the winner is Kew!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Crochet: Owl Giveaway #1

I've never had a giveaway contest before because I usually have nothing to give away. Haha!

A few weeks ago, I started on an owl crocheting spree and now I simply can't keep all of them. I am providing 3 of them for this 'contest' and omg, I hope some of you will try this for fun, anyway (to make me happy)!

This is ... Dave. 
(Well, if you win him, you can always change his name!)

He's 5.5cm tall and 4.5cm wide. He's mostly blue and enjoys sleeping.

Material used: 100% acrylic yarn. Stuffed with scraps of flannel.
Workmanship: Er, I'm still a beginner, sorry!
Wash Care: Hand wash.


Terms and conditions:
1. Only one entry per person. 
2. Answer to the question must be provided only in the comment section of this post.
3. If there are more than one correct answer, I will write your names on pieces of paper and have YB draw the winner out from the bowl/hat/box. :D
4. The winner will be notified on my Facebook page and in the comment section below. I will contact you thereafter by Facebook or email. :)
5. If there are no winners, I will provide another question. :D
6. Owl Giveaway #1 is closed at 3.00am Malaysian/Perth Time / 6.00am Melbourne/Sydney Time on 30th October 2013.

Update as at 30th October 2013.
And the winner is ... Nick!

 Are you planning on giving it to the wife? :D

Related posts:
Crochet: Owl Giveaway #2 - the winner is Amy!
Crochet: Owl Giveaway #3 - the winner is Kew!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Steamed Yam Cake and Steamed Radish Cake

Steamed Yam Cake (Orh Kueh, 芋粿, 芋头糕)
Ever since I found out that YB was a huge fan of the steamed yam cake, I have always wanted to make an attempt at the recipe. I would often ask my mum why she hadn't made any of late, and she would tell me that the these days, yam (or taro) are are quite expensive.

Fair enough.

Although I was really hoping for her to share her recipe with me. :)

Honestly, I never thought I would come to this stage where I'd be making any of our Malaysian dessert delights but I suppose when you're up for a cooking challenge (and always planning to tickle your hubby's heart through his tummy), you'd get there eventually.

Yam or taro is sold here in Melbourne for AUD $9.99 to $10.99 per kg, and the tuber roots tend to be packaged cut into half, lengthwise. They are not the rounds one we have back home, but longish, possibly 5-6cms longer than your hand.

My description is awful. I forgot to take a picture, sorry.

I adapted the recipe from Rasa Malaysia's site based on what I had in the kitchen as I was too lazy to keep buying all the ingredients to complete the recipe. I tend to stretch my weekly grocery budget whenever I plan to try out a new recipe, so I really should stop browsing the Internet for ideas and do something productive like cleaning the house. :(

Instead of shallots, I used some red onions instead, since they are quite pungent aromatic anyway.

For the topping, I used chopped red chilli, chopped coriander, dried turnip bits and chopped dried shrimps. I definitely missed the taste of shallots!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Weekend Run: Kokoda Track Memorial Walk, Dandenong

The Kokoda Track Memorial Walk is located at Dandenong Ranges National Park Mt Dandenong. When the skies are a gorgeous blue and the sun is out, expect the place to be crowded with regular walkers/joggers as well as tourists.

YB brought me there for the 1st time on 31st August, gosh, yonks ago, and I honestly that I had blogged about this earlier.

We weren't on the track itself, but took Lyrebird Track instead, which leads up to the same peak, the junction where Ramu Avenue, Hill Street, and Lord Somers Road meet.

YB showed me what to do.

Starting at the bottom of the slope, the 1.5KM climb has an elevation of 300m±. Our aim for the day, was to do 2 loops of up and down.

The little cutie was very good, too.

You can opt to climb up the stairs on the right side of the track, or stick to the dirt. Bear in mind, though, that there are a lot of people running down the track, so you'll have to watch out for them.

People regrouping at a space where Kokoda Track Memorial Walk and Lyrebird Track meets.

I lost sight of YB on the way up but bumped into him on the way down. Had to tell myself not to run down so quickly!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

It's My Party And I'll Do What I Want To

Trying on clothes at
lululemon athletica.
They put my name on
the door of my fitting
*humming to Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop"*

It's a week after the Melbourne Marathon and life seems so empty without a goal to aim for.

Or so we think.

After 2 days of wincing at every step, the legs are back in action and I am hopping with excitement, hoping to have a splendid time up in the Victorian Alps. We are taking part in the 31KM run of Lake Mountain Skyrun which is on tomorrow, i.e. 20th October 2013. I'm soooo relieved to know that the weather is going to by bright and sunny, so I don't need to be wrapped up like a marshmallow to run!

It was initially expected to be cold (and a wee bit of snow?) as the winds went crazy around Melbourne on Thursday. But looks like it's all clear now. Yessss!

I do hope, however, that there will be a few snow capped peaks dotting the horizon for a picturesque run, as I am looking forward to be trigger happy with the camera! :)

First attempt of Cantonese Fried Kuey Teow ... I would give myself a fail, with so many things
wrong with it, but erm, it was regardless, still edible!

Besides posting of pictures of food and talking about running, I honestly have nothing else to talk about. Nothing exciting is happening in my life as the Housewife Bum, that I am starting to sink into my shell, completely embarrassed that I am hopelessly unproductive and unambitious.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

2013 Melbourne Marathon - Race Report

Target Time:
Achievable With Ease - 4:15
Would Be Satisfied With - 4:10
Intended Target Which Would Make Me Very Very Very Happy - 4:05
Otherwise - Anything below 4:31 is a new personal best

Race Strategy:
1. To maintain at least a 5:45 min/km pace. Max pace at 6:00 min/km.
2. To complete each 10km in at least 57 - 58 minutes.
3. To consume a power gel at every 8KM, except that the 5th one shall be consumed at KM38.
4. To refill water bottle with electrolytes at least twice.

Sunday, 13th October 2013.
We woke up at 4am and got ready. Breakfast of peanut butter sandwiches, muesli bars and bananas were packed and to be consumed along the way. Upon arriving at the MCG parking lot at 5am, we sat in the car for an hour, trying to get a bit of shuteye but we ended up people watching while listening to the radio.

Made sure we first used the loo before dropping off our baggage.

It was funny to see a long queue outside the Men's when there was none for the Women's!

We took a peak of the MCG from the aisles and it felt so surreal, especially knowing that the skies will soon be light.

The Warm Clothing / Baggage Drop-Off area was located at the basement car park of the MCG. Bustling with marathon runners, we deposited our plastic bags* with our change of clothes before making our way to the start line.

 *It was stated in the information booklet that we had to use plastic bags. I felt like a bag lady AND a bloody noob runner when I noticed that not everyone used plastic bags. In fact, duffel bags were also used. Sheesh. 

Oh, I read it wrong. Oops, my mistake. You are allowed to use duffel bags. :D

There were mobile toilets available near the start line called Rows-A-Loo. Made me chuckle.

It wasn't as packed as I thought it would be, seeing that there were 8000 over people expected to run the marathon category. Everyone was just chilling out, chatting with friends, warming up, etc and I was praying for no rain for most of the run.

A few minutes before we were flagged off, the Australian national anthem was sung by a girl with a lovely voice. I don't remember her name, but it was good. (Malaysian event organisers, take note!) Otherwise, the atmosphere was pretty quiet with only the emcees yakking away, without enough music booming from the speakers.

We needed a party atmosphere!

I received some odd looks, not sure whether they really liked my running dress,
or they thought I was overdressed for the run. Dang, I forgot my diva pose! :)

Long sleeve top from lululemon athletica. Running dress from nuu-muu.

Oh, they didn't have warm up exercises led by fitness instructors either, in contrast to our Malaysian events. (Good!)

7am came and we were off.

Before I reached the start line, I had to watch where I was going lest I tripped over piles of sweaters and hoodies scattered on the ground. After keeping warm, runners tend to discard their warm clothing just like that.

Discarded items would be collected and given to the Salvation Army or other op shops, I don't remember which one. sorry. A good way to donate your old/unwanted clothing! :)

I must have crossed the start line at 7:03am, with YB alongside. We shuffled together for the first 50m before I weaved my way through the crowd. 

It was 10'C that morning, but without the breeze, it wasn't as cold as I thought it would be. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Marathon Training is Almost Over

We just had the daylight savings thingy over the weekend so Melbourne is now officially ahead of Malaysia/Singapore/Perth times by 3 hours. The world is quiet when we wake up. :)

I had a wonderful run last Saturday over at Albert Park and once again, we were amongst the regular runners attending their weekly Saturday runs. Oops.

You should see how fast they run and without sounding out of breath at all!

Skechers meets Brooks.

Two weeks ago, I had a bit of discomfort in my right foot which developed during the long run. It got me worried as to which shoes I was going to wear for the Melbourne Marathon. I had to be sure whether it was the GR2 or just me, and with thicker socks this time (and I suspect running on the sandy track as well) the discomfort was not present.


That being my last long run (19KM) for the week, I was am confident that a PB for the marathon would be doable, provided that all things are smooth sailing. *cross fingers*

I have decided on which cap, sports bra, shoes, waist pouch, water bottle, power gels (and how many), running dress, shades and pair of tights to wear, but I am still deciding on which pair of socks and running dress to wear.

Talk about diva issues! :D

We're at Week 16, finally!

When I first started on this training plan, I knew it wouldn't be easy to follow. With trail runs peppered in and taking up our weekends, road runs were hard to muster up enough excitement for. Bleurgh.

On weeknights, I would just run for the mileage but with this fussy running buddy who'd lament about how boring the route was, we have designed various routes for the varied distances. *roll eyes*

All out for the last interval!
Last Tuesday, we couldn't find a gentle slope which should take us 2 minutes to jog up for our hill reps, but we found one which was only half that time and it was along a main road. *giggles* Like fools with nothing better to do, we doubled the (intended) reps to be done as the distance was shorter and kept on going. Oh man, we were so glad when we completed every single rep and it was time to jog hobble walk home!

400m intervals are fun as we can just do it on our street, including the 100m jog/rest time. The sidewalk is generally flat with no holes or uneven ground to catch you unawares.

A lot of people were taking advantage of the brightness at 630pm yesterday! Had to swerve around some of them, too!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tapas Dinner At Home

I was so excited when I informed YB that one of these days, we'll be having tapas for dinner. I drafted out the menu while we were in Perth about 3 weeks ago (ideas kept swimming in my head so I needed to get them out and on to paper!) and boy, I realised that some shopping was required for tapas dishes/plates and plenty of ingredients which we do not stock up at home.

It's too easy to spend money in a jiffy. Hmmfh!

If you're new to this like I was, and before you head off the supermarket and buy whatever you need in excitement, please do the following:

First - browse the Internet for ideas and dishes you may like to try.
Second - choose your recipes and list down the ingredients to buy.
Third - decide which day of the week to execute the plan.
Fourth - tableware is not important, unless they're really cheap! (E.g. Daiso)

I had initially jotted down 7-8 dishes (and one fake Sangria) for the menu but after careful Internet browsing, the menu was planned for:
Gambas al Ajillo (Garlic Prawns)
Calamares a la Romana (Fried Squid Rings)
Patatas Bravas (Potatoes in tomato sauce)
Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Omelette)
Vegetarian Albóndigas (Spanish Chickpea balls)
Champiñones, Pimentos y Ajo (Mushroom, Peppers and Garlic)
Well, we can always do it the Chinese way by stir-frying everything and just presenting them in tapas dishes and voila, you have your tapas! :D

Spanish feast for the night from top left and clockwise:
couscous (additional), calamari rings with aioli sauce, chickpea balls,
plate of four: potato in tomato sauce, smoked paprika prawns, garlic & pepper mushrooms
and a non-Spanish omelette.

Anyway, this was dinner on 25th September (Wednesday) and boy, it was tough!

It was tough as there were so many mini dishes to prepare and I couldn't keep everything warm while cooking another dish! By the time it was served on the table, everything was cold.

So the recipes for the above dishes were adapted from:
Calamares a la Romana
Patatas Bravas
Vegetarian Albóndigas
Champiñones, Pimentos y Ajo
Gambas al Ajillo
Since we we running late, we skipped the Spanish omelette and made a normal omelette. It was almost 8pm and we were starving!

Our favourite dish that night, yums!

I loved the calamari rings the most because we cleaned up the squid and cut the rings ourselves so we knew it was fresh and not the store bought frozen ones. It was springy!

The prawns with smoked paprika was delicious, due to the smokiness in its flavour. I haven't cooked anymore smoked paprika dishes but ooh, the aroma was lovely!

I should have made lamb meatballs instead!

The chickpea balls were not great, as the scent of cinnamon was too strong. We added dashes of Tabasco when we ate it and did the same for the leftovers the next  day. (I really don't like cinnamon!)

As for the sangria, I had initially intended to make a non-alcoholic version but decided to wing it and make do with whatever I had in the fridge. I sliced half a lemon, orange and red apple, soaked them in 1 cup of red wine (Shiraz) with 1/2 cup of orange juice for a couple of hours. Then poured in 1 cup of lemonade before serving. Be sure that your glass/mug has some ice cubes!

Twenty minutes into the meal, we were stuffed. 

I love my Spanish-like plates so much, that I'm tempted to buy a couple more. I mean, I tell myself that I need to, as we mostly have a pair of each item so when we have guests over, our tableware doesn't match!

Since Monday this week, it has been the start of our Vege & Protein vs Carbs Dinner Challenge. I do hope that this way, my belly will be a wee bit flatter and in time for the Melbourne Marathon! I really can't afford to look like Humpty Dumpty in my running dress, you know!

And why must it be chilly and crazy windy again??
We missed our run last night because we felt it was too cold. Brrr!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

12 Days and Counting

With the mad surge of Facebook updates about the 2013 Standard Chartered KL Marathon over the weekend, I am getting edgy. Some friends have achieved their personal best times, and some had bad runs. Nevertheless, I wished I had been there to welcome them across the finish line!

Without me running, of course. :D

Melbourne Marathon is taking place on 13th October 2013 and I wish I could say that I am as well prepared as I was for the Malaysia Women Marathon in April 2013. The extra kilos (tsk tsk), lack of mileage and lack of discipline to stick to the training plan are sure factors of a very worrying run come that faithful day.

I need more spice jars.

YB and I sat down after dinner on Sunday, going through our individual strategies for Race Day. He and I have different views and ideas, which means that we will probably be racing each other. Not running side by side, I suppose! :P

I don't mind, really, as I'd rather not have someone breathing down my neck every time I stop to walk for 5 seconds!

Although it makes sense to run together when we have the same target time ... but nah, like I said, we have different strategies to approach our run so best we run on our own and bump into each other along the way.

(I hope I'll beat him, though!!)
(But highly unlikely ... )
(Ooh, but who knows? Since he is a bit injured ... )
(I am so mean! What a wife! LOL)

Leftover from our tapas dinner was made into my lunch the next day - patatas bravas,
chickpea balls and couscous covered with some mozzarella cheese.

If there had been no distractions whatsoever, I believe I would have stuck to my training plan as strictly as possible, like what I did the last time. This time, I didn't do any time trials (as per the training plan) to gauge my strength and the chances of attaining my target time, and this makes me very unsure of myself.

I do believe that it will be a good run, no doubt, and a possible PB (*touch wood*), but things can happen and one can never be too sure.

Sushi balls were slightly flattened and grilled for a while.

I asked YB who would he dedicate his Melbourne Marathon to. He asked me in return, and I already knew my answer.

Argh, I really hope it's a good PB seeing that this is the last marathon I want to train for and run!

I'd rather toddle along the trails, sorry. :D

Steamed banana cake is yummy!

Anyway, it is supposedly Spring but this morning I was woken up by the winds howling crazily and the tree branches crashing at our bedroom window. We had something like that last week and the week before, so sometimes, it's really hard to gauge how you should dress up before you leave the house.

Granted, it is not that cold anymore. Yay!