Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

If there is anything that I love to do, it is to browse through old photos especially the ones that we had taken during our stay in Australia. I guess you will have also guess by now that my hubby and I enjoy bringing our boys out and that one place my boys love is the Zoo.

Therefore it is not surprising at all that our very first outing in Australia is to visit Koalas at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

708 Jesmond Road, Fig Tree Pocket Qld 4069, AUSTRALIA, Telephone: +61 7 3378 1366 , email: koala@koala.net

See my boys all geared for the activity.

Left: Clemens; Right: Damir

From the name of the place, of course you will know that what we are seeing are non other than the:

KOALAS and ……

KANGAROOS!!!

But that was also the 1st time I saw kangaroos who are not afraid of humans and can roam freely around the sanctuary. And if you were to look at the above photos, you will realized that the kangaroos seem to striking a pose while we start snapping the camera at it.

Because they are so friendly, you will be able to hand-feed them too which is what my hubby did.

And I did of course cuddle a koala which is of no free-will of mine. I seriously nearly freak out when I saw those sharp claws. But because I do not have the enough strength to carry both struggling 2 year old and 6 month old then, my hubby had to do it. I did not want to risk my hubby carrying 1 of our boy in 1 arm and the koala in the other arm in case my boy suddenly have the urge to pull whatever parts of the koala and the koala scratching my boy’s face in ‘self-defense’. Ok I know my imagination is too much but still…. anything may happen.

Other than the 2 local animals shown, there are of course other local animals to see.

Hmm… well although the boys were still young when we went to this place, I believe the boys will love this place because, each time they saw these photos, they will get so excited that a lot of imaginative stories pertaining to the place has been spun from them. They have also requested for us to re-visit this place if we ever go to Australia again.

As for this last picture, I thought it will be such a waste not to share a baby as adorable as this. 🙂

My Damir at 6 Months Old

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Old Cucumber & Dried Scallop Soup (老黄瓜干貝汤)

Just as I thought I have missed out the Tasty Tuesdays organised by 33 Shades of Green, I realized the link is open for a week. Well I have been busy these days going for a bridal fitting with my bestie who is getting married this coming November and enrolling myself for school for year 2012. But aside from personal stuff, even though it is Wednesday today, I shall not miss out posting a recipe (as cooking is what I love to do).

What I will be sharing is a very common recipe in the Chinese Family. It is not from any books that I have learnt how to cook this but a recipe taught to me by my mother.

This is perfect for me as I have mentioned that I have been ill with cough and green mucus (a sign of heatiness in the body) running from the nose . The old cucumber, being a ‘cool’ properties melon can help counter the ‘heat’ in me and they are also a good source of potassium, beat-carotene and vitamin C.

Nutritional Fact

This soup helps to helps to cool and revitalize your body. It is good for the skin and has age-defying properties despite the wrinkled and ugly appearance of the melon. Looks can be that deceiving ain’t it? Before I forget, dried scallop can help replenish the kidneys and because it has a strong distinctive flavour, no seasoning (eg. salt) is needed to be added into the soup.

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium size Old Cucumber (approx. 400g)
  • 1 Chicken Breast on Bone
  • 1 Medium size Carrot
  • 3 to 6 Pcs of Dried Scallops ( I used the Japanese dried scallop)
  • 6 Pcs Red Dates
  • 2L Water

Method (With Step-By-Step Photo)

  1. Blanched the Chicken Breast in a pot of boiling water. Remember to do it quickly just scalding the surface of the meat. You don’t want the chicken to loose its flavour.
  2. Start boiling the 1.5L of water. By the time, you finish preparing the rest of the ingredients, you will be all ready to cook the soup. The concept is like pre-heating the oven before you start baking.
  3. Flatten the piece of old ginger with the back of your knife. Ginger helps to dispel wind in the body, get rid of the poultry smell and add a refreshing fragrance to the soup.
  4. Peel and cut the carrots to pieces. Carrots add a subtle sweetness to the soup and my Damir loves carrots that are cooked with soup.
  5. De-seed the red dates. Red dates are good for blood circulation.
  6. Wash and scrub the skin of the old cucumber really clean. This is important as we go not peel the skin of the old cucumber. We cook them together. So…. unless you like some traces of mud, soil or whatever in you soup.
  7. Cut the them into elongated pieces and scrap the seeds out with a spoon or the knife. (See Picture 7 & 8 )
  8. Add in chicken, ginger & dried scallops to boiling water. (From Step 2)
  9. Follow by adding the carrots next.
  10. Add in old cucumber and lastly the red dates.
  11. Bring everything to a boil, skim away debris, lower fire, cover & simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

There you have a really good pot of nutritious soup without the need to add any seasoning because there is the subtle and refreshing fragrance from the old cucumber and ginger, sweetness from the ckicken, carrots and red dates; and the scallops that brings out all the flavours of the other goodness from the ingredients that have been extracted out into the soup to another higher level.

This is simply heavenly that glides down the throat and slowly warms up the tummy.

And have I mention that this is my favorite soup especially scrapping out the soft flesh of the old cucumber that melts in the mouth? Yummm……….

Try it and I believe you will love it as much as I do. 🙂

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I Thought I Will Try To Be A Domestic Goddess For A Day

*Note: This is a no photos entry today. just a certain rambling of mine.

I have been ill for the past month with a cough and a cold that goes on and off just like the crazy weather these days. It finally got full blown last night and hence I was made to stay at home today.

But the thought of me lazing all day long in bed doesn’t seem to go with the mood I am in today (most days, I will wish I can laze all day in bed). So I thought I will clean up the house a little this morning (Those who knows me, knows that I hate cleaning up. They are usually done by my hubby and of course with the very-much occasional help from my mum). Today is the 1st time in ages since I pick up the mop and start mopping the house and dusting the cabinet of my kids’ room.

By noon, I was already picking up my kids, sent them to my mum’s place where we had a quick lunch before I headed home myself (have I mentioned that I stay only a block from my mum’s place). It was to rest but again I have this sudden to bake a vegen chocolate cake (no eggs/ no butter). This was a trial test as I have decided to use this to make cake-pops for children’s day this year. The texture turned out kind of alright and the vegen chocolate glaze tasted great. However I guess because my vegetable oil has turned a little rancid and this leaves a not-so-nice after taste in the mouth. Will try it again.

Then by evening I was back to my mum’s house to have dinner and pick my kids up. Yesh, I have always brought my kids out and tried to let them have all the childhood they want and can have as much as possible before they go to primary school. However I guess, I had not strike a proper balance, often indulging my kids too much of play that Clemens, I realize has been quite lacking in terms of academic works compared to his peers. I tried to do a little catching up this evening and in fact, there were bouts of frustrations and anger that I threw at him and even told him that there will be no more TV time for him again. He was of course upset but I guess being young and ‘helpless’ there was not much he can retaliate even though I know jolly well that it is my fault for not being consistent. But we of course managed to get thing through and I wish I am more discipline in consistency.

All in all, I thought it was not a bad achievement for me today despite my condition. I at last feel like a domestic goddess for once (minus the temper thrown at Clemens) and it is back to work tomorrow.

1/2 Cup Empty: Ever since I am back at the work force, I feel more like a material mum to the boys more than a REAL mum.

1/2 Cup Full: At least, my hubby managed to smile at what I have done though he wishes that I can be more consistent.

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Loosing Weight Is Such A … …

COMPLEXITY! Yup it is indeed.

Those who can remember from my last post, I actually lost 7kg in 6 months and manged to maintain it at 63kg till July. However in these recent months from July to September, not only have I not made any decrease instead I made a ‘progression’ by 2kg (63kg to 65kg)! Yesh I have gained weight. That is why I said loosing weight is such a complexity through my trial & error experience. And this made me conclude that loosing weight is 80% careful diet & 20% exercise.

Why I say that, it is because:

Part 1: I was careful in my diet (as listed here) but hardly exercise and yet I lost 7kg.

Part 2: I have been letting loose on my diet but I was exercising regularly (brisk walk 3km 3 times a week and leisurely swim 30 laps for 1 hour) and yet I gained 2kg.

That is why, isn’t it ironical? Now I wonder, when will I ever be discipline to proceed to Part 3: Careful diet & regular exercise. Perhaps the up and coming company dinner & dance in November?

Right now I have to get rid of the evil from my mind. I have been on a binging mood of carbohydrates and meat and fried stuff. Worse still images of McDonald’s cinnamon melts, Kettle’s honey dijon chips, Cold Stone Creamery’s dark chocolate and peanut butter ice-cream, and Spinelli’s chocolate heaven cake has been popping out all over my mind and driving me absolute insane.

Things are not looking at all great. Not when I have been having the Pizza Hut’s cheesy bites treats for supper twice this month.

Turkey Bacon Shroom

Have it piping hot dipped in those tangy creamy cheese is sure the devil of addiction.

I guess I need more than a miracle to proceed with Part 3: Careful diet & regular exercise.

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New Additions To Our Family

Nope, nope, nope I am definitely not pregnant (although at times I wish I am, yet at times I am afraid). The big bags, the wailing baby, the big bulky bag, milk powder, diapers, the cost of raising another human being, etc…. if you get what I mean.

Anyway back to the topic. I guess it is a kids’ things to love to have pets. There are times, which I had wished to do an impulse buy for them but have been rejected by my hubby because:

  1. I am not a pets person. This will mean my hubby will have to do the training, clean-up and others either with the boys or by himself.
  2. He thought a pet’s life is quite a miserable one, waiting for the return of their owner the whole day long. So he feels we will be doing more harm instead especially if we do not have time to walk the dog or what-so-ever.
  3. and of course the Vet’s fees.

So the pets that have not passed the list are actually the puppy, kitten and a bunny.

However last week he finally relented and that is how we have Sissy & Rory (my boys name them since it is their baby).

Bed room to them is a nice pinkish tank (chosen by Clemens)

And here are all their cutesy pictures and look at those beautiful shells and them basking in the sun.

Care for them now is:

  1. Some food pellets, fresh greens and the occasional pieces of apples.
  2. Change of water every alternate days.
  3. The boys reading books to them.
Well for now, I hope Sissy & Rory will be able to teach them love, care and concern.

Japanese Red Apple & Loin Pork Soup

If you can remember, I once bake some Kiss Cakes with Damir for his school project when the term’s theme was about how fruits can be made into food.

Well actually fruits can be used to be cooked into soup too. That is what exactly I am sharing with you today. This recipe has been adapted from one of the recipe books I have – Eric Teo’s Simply Soup. It has since been Clemens’ favourite soup.

The only thing I have changed from this recpie was the cut of the pork. It has specified to use Pork Shoulder but I had substitute it to Loin Pork (since that is the only cut of meat I have in my freezer)

Nutritional Fact

The soup claims to calms the mind, nourishes the lungs and other internal organs. It also quenches thirst. The best thing is I think it is very good for those who are watching their weight because it has minimal trace of fat and oil in this soup since loin pork is one of the leanest park of the meat.

Ingredients

  • 2 Big Red Apples (I used the Mutsu Fuji apples from NTUC)
  • 2 Medium size Carrots
  • 400g Lean Pork
  • 30g Yoke Choke
  • 30g Dried lily Bulbs
  • 2 pcs Honey dates
  • 10 g  Dried Tangerine Peel
  • 2.5L water
Things to Do Before Hand
  • Boil the 2.5L of water

Method (With Step-By-Step Photo)

  1. Blanched the pork loin in HOT water and cut into cubes. Cutting the meat into smaller pieces, enables the meat flavour to be fully extracted.
  2. Cut and de-seed the apples.
  3. Peel and cut the carrots into cubes.
  4. Soak and rinse dried lily bulbs in hot water for a couple of times. This removes the bitter taste from the lily bulb.
  5. Rinse tangerine peel, yoke choke and honey dates.
  6. Remove lid from the pot of boiling water.
  7. Place cubed pork loin in, bring to a boil and skim away all debris.
  8. Put all the other ingredients starting with carrots, apples and then the others (yoke choke, tangerine peel, lily bulbs and honey dates). Bring to a boil, then lower fire, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
  9. Season with a little salt and serve hot.

Personal Note:

Initially I thought that we do not need to simmer for 2 hours as the apple is a soft fruit. Hence after an hour, when I went to try the soup, I was a little disappointed with it being a little bland. At the end of the 2nd hour, I was rather surprise that the soup yet again taste different with a stronger and much more full bodied taste. I can taste the sweetness of the apples, and the refreshing smell of all the dried stuff like tangerine peels. It was indeed a really refreshing soup.

And I hope that you guys after trying it out will enjoy it just as much as I did.

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The Night Safari

The 1st Time My Boys Visited the Night Safari (More than a year ago)

This is another place that we have been to several times already. All thanks to my previous company who most of the time host their dinner events here at the Ulu Ulu Court: A sumptuous spread of international buffet and a private tram (to take us around the Night Safari) which do not require us to Q-up.

After a year of not visiting this place, my boys were totally excited when my dad gave us the tickets from his Organization’s Family Day. For myself I am not a keen goer to The Night Safari as I prefer the Day Zoo alot much more. Each time I got onto the tram and they start dimming the lights (so as not to alert the animals) to make their round and with the cool breeze, I only felt my eye lids go heavier.

Anyway as I have mentioned since the past 6 times I have visited to the Night Safari with my boys, it was always with the company’s privilege of having a private tram so we do not need to Q-up. Therefore this is the 1st time I visited the Safari as a normal visitor. I never knew that we have so many interested visitors visiting the place and hence the massive Q. We entered the place 7pm and started Q-ing for the Creatures of the Night Show which starts at 7.30pm. This is a show which my boys have enjoyed as they can see how smart those Asian Small-Clawed Otters are, demonstrating the simple feat of the 3Rs; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Of course there are some other more acts that makes the audience clap with joy and from being impressed.

By the time the show ended, it was already 8pm plus and we proceeded to Q for the tram ride. The Q was a like a massive human chain and by the time we boarded the tram it was already 9pm. The ride was a slow one as we stoped at ever animal we saw and the guide on the tram will explain what the characteristic, habits, etc of the animals are. These are the time when my boys will ask endless questions and going woooo……… arrrrrr……….. mummy look at this, mummy look at that! by the time the ride is done, it is already 10pm.

Q-ing For The Tram Ride

All Ready For The Ride

By now I am no longer very interested in going for the Trail Walks but being outnumbered by my boys, I am always dragged to walk the trails against my wishes.

I guess because I felt a lot of time was spent on Q-ing, I do not think I am very willing to pay for the ticket of $32 per adult to visit the night safari.

Yet again, kids being kids always full of curiosity for the animal kingdom and energy, this is a good place for them to expand their energy and be exhausted.

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