Saturday, 15 July 2017

Mia's Recipe: Baked Oreo Cottage Cheese Cake

Well, I'm personally not a fan of cheesecakes in general (but I do enjoy eating those Hokkaido baked cheese tarts) but since it's the BF's birthday and the boy loves cheesecakes, I decided to bake some healthier options of cheesecake for him.
But well, in the end I still dumped in tons of Oreo cookies, so it wasn't that healthy after all. But hey, it's his birthday, we should both indulge. HEH!


To make these baked oreo cottage cheesecake (serves 18), you'll need:

15 pieces Oreo Cookies
200g Cottage Cheese (I've used 97% fat free)
25g plain Greek Yoghurt (I've used low fat)
25g melted butter
30ml honey
1 tbsp baking stevia 
(you may omit stevia and use a total of 45ml honey)
2 medium eggs
20g cake flour (or top flour)
18 pieces Mini Oreo Bites

First up, separate the cream filling and biscuits of the oreo cookies. Divide the filling into half (I got about 16g separated out) and crush up half the filling along with the biscuits in a food processor, along with the melted butter.
Your crushed oreo mixture should be of wet sand consistency. 
Pack the crushed oreo mixture into the bottom of your tin (I got both of mine from Daiso). I got about 2:1 cake to base ratio, but you can tweak the thickness as you wish. Perhaps just pack all into 1 tin if you're those type who loves a thick base crust. 

Then, back at the (clean) food processor, add in all the ingredients except for cake flour and blitz until you get a smooth mixture. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and fold in the sifted flour with a balloon whisk. 

Pour your cheesecake mixture over the oreo base crust and top it up with mini oreo bites.

Send to bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 180 degree Celsius.


Wait till they're cooled completely before removing them from the tin and slicing them up. 


The insides were still moist and soft while the edges slightly crisp. I guess as compared to a cheesecake baked with cream cheese, using cottage cheese gives your cheesecake a rougher, grainy texture and also greatly reduce the calories per serving. 


If you're on a strict diet, you may do away with the oreo base to further reduce the calories and sugars per serving (53.9 calories, 3.6g sugars, 2.5g fat and 2.3g protein).

ENJOY!

Till then,
Mia Foo



Saturday, 8 July 2017

Hokkaido Travelogue: Day One - Hakodate

Oh yes, finally I'm getting really started with my Hokkaido travelogue series! It might take a while for me to document my 10 days spent in Hokkaido, but I shall see this through!

Well, the actual first day of the trip was spent on Thai Airways, so I shall fix the 2nd day as Day 1. And guess what? My shoes woes was back to haunt me! My lovely yellow boots (bought in Taiwan, yet again) decided to abandon its mission the minute I stepped onto Japan's land. Like, seriously. The sole dropped off even before I cleared customs. Thank goodness I'm fully aware of my "luck" with spoiling shoes on trips and I packed an extra pair. So... yup, a change of shoes right after collecting my luggage from the belt, and let's move on!

And as mentioned in my prelude post, I've rented our car with Budget Car and has arranged to pick the car up at 930am.



Which is why I gave up on this.
Stumbled upon Doraemon Cafe at Shin-Chitose airport while searching for the car rental booth, but they open only at 11am. Anyway it was Shizuka-chan's birthday back then!

Anyway picking the car took a while, as we need to wait for their shuttle bus to pick us up from the airport and drive us over to the actual rental store, which is about 10 to 15 minutes drive away. After which we spent another 30 to 45 minutes going through a short briefing from the staff and an introduction to our car (Toyota Passo) before really setting off for our first destination of the trip, Jigokudani (Hell Valley) at Noboribetsu!


You'll know you're reaching Jigokudani when you see this big statue at the road junction. 


Jigokudani is a valley just above the town of Noboribetsu Onsen, displaying hot steam vents, sulfurous streams and other volcanic activity. It is a main source of Noboribetsu's hot spring waters. From the valley, there are a few walking trails that will lead you through the wooded hills above Noboribetsu. Following them will get you to Oyunuma, a sulfurous pond with a surface temperature of 50 degree Celsius and a smaller, even hotter, mud pond nearby. 
Following Oyunumagawa, the river flowing out of Oyunuma, for a few hundred metres will get you to a natural foot bath (ashiyu) along the way.

I was really pumped up for the walking trail and ashiyu at the end, but due to bad, rainy weather, we abandoned mission and headed down the street for lunch instead.


Lunch place on the itinerary is Sobadokoro Fukuan! Even though soba doesn't top my list of favourite Japanese noodles (I even prefer udon over soba, to be honest), this soba place has earned pretty itself a pretty high ranking on tripadvisor and other travel sites, so I guess it's a must try! 
Moreover, the area is actually pretty quiet and there really isn't much choices of food anyway (there's a ramen-ya nearby too, if you'll prefer that). 

Ebi Tempura Soba

Now, this is definitely a good (and affordable) tempura soba! Though I would personally prefer the ebi tempura to be all soaked in the broth (and soggy), the prawns were still fresh and springy, and the batter half crispy. Well, literally half crispy because only half of the ebi tempura gets dipped into the broth so if you're quick enough, you can still get half of it crispy.
The broth is flavourful and savoury, and complements the distinctive, subtle sweetness of the soba noodles very well.
SO GLAD I PLANNED THIS IN MY ITINERARY. :)


Chanced upon a Hokkaido Milk Soft Serve Shop on our way back to the carpark and picked up a caramel-hokkaido milk mix. SUPER YUMMY!

And even after lunch (and soft serve), the rain just wouldn't ease up (and actually got slightly heavier) and so we gave up on the walking trail and ashiyu, and embarked on our 2.5 hours' drive down to Hakodate instead. 

-www.hotelroomsearch.net-

-www.booking.com-

Pension Puppy Tail is a small, quaint hotel nestled at a 5 minute walk away from JR Hakodate Station. Decorated in a homely vintage style, it comes with either western or traditional Japanese rooms, and either ensuite or shared bathroom. There's also free wifi in the rooms and a free-to-use microwave in the lobby. 



And of course, I went for the western ensuite room that came well equipped with the basic necessities like toiletries (shiseido products), hair dryer, a mini fridge and a pretty small TV set. Bath towels, yukata (pyjamas) and comfy yukata jackets are also provided, so fear not if you do not do well with cold weathers. 
The hotel also provide free parking and is conveniently located next to a petrol kiosk (gas station) that closes by 9 or 10pm. Other than being very near to the JR station, the Hakodate Morning Market is also easily accessible by foot (just perhaps another 3 to 5 minutes walk from the JR station). 
There are two owners (father and son?) manning the reception, and they're both really friendly and chatty. While I conversed with the younger male wholly in Japanese (hence I can't tell if he speaks good English), the elder male does speak decent, basic English.


And shortly after settling down at the hotel, we set off for Hakodate Yama (Mount Hakodate) for sunset!


You may get to the observatory via a 3 minutes ride on the ropeway (cable car), bus, taxi, or self-drive. A round trip on the ropeway will cost you only 1280 Yen, which isn't that expensive. 


The observatory has an indoor viewing area (with a souvenir shop, a small snack shop and two restaurants/cafes) and an open air rooftop area for you to get an even better view. Even though we visited during the very end of May, it was still pretty cold (single digit Celsius temperature) with strong gusts of wind blowing at your from every single direction possible. 

And because it's so friggin' cold, the indoor seating area was packed and we had no choice but to brace the cold to wait for sunset.

We were there at the rooftop at about 5 plus and loitered around for 1 hour plus before the sun finally set at about 630pm. 

-tripadvisor.com-

And if you want to snap a picture of the famous Mt Hakodate night view, you probably have to do it before the sun fully set because the best angle to take this shot will be "reserved" by the phototaking booth. They came around 630pm to start chasing visitors away and sending them up to the viewing stand on the other (higher) side, which won't be able to give you this head on, frontal shot.
And of course, by hogging the best angle, they will charge you at quite a sky high price for a few shots.

So shortly after the sun set, we headed back down to the indoor area and picked up a few hot & cold snacks. Only managed to snap a picture of just 1 out of the 4 snacks we bought, but I do highly recommend trying out their ice-creamy cheese tart (??). 
Sorry for being a superficial bimbo when it comes to snacks/desserts. I chose to take a picture of this mediocre tasting ice cream puff with a cute bunny face on it instead of the true winner of taste (that cheesy tart) and so I cannot remember what is it called exactly. But it's sold at the chiller section (along with tons of other desserts) in the souvenir/gift shop, so do check it out!

And after filling our empty stomachs with a little bit of food, we headed back up to the rooftop, intending to check out the night view and was stunned to find it packed to the brim with tourists. There was so many people, that it's impossible to see any kind of view. It's just countless back-of-someone's-head, really. So if you're bent on taking a beautiful, unblocked view of Mr Hakotdate's night view, I highly suggest you brace the cold wind and "reserve" your spot before the sun set at 5 plus, 6pm and just wait it out until the darkness sets in. 
There's no other way.
And of course, we abandoned mission yet again and went off to find dinner instead.

For more information on visiting Hakodate Yama, visit their website HERE.


Dinner set on the itinerary was Lucky Pierrot, a fast food joint that's unique to Hakodate. So yeah, you can't find this anywhere else in Japan or even other parts of Hokkaido. ONLY HAKODATE!
There's TONS of Lucky Pierrot branches in Hakodate. And with such a fanciful, near crazy shopfront, you can never miss it!

Love their clown logo, but not that much of the milk tea. It was pretty washed down. 


The BF decided to go with their Ninki No. 2 (2nd most popular choice), the Lucky Egg Burger, which is a hamburger (beef patty) topped with a fried egg. He can be quite a food snob at times and he totally food-orgasmed at first bite, mentioning that the sauce was fantastic. 
Best of all, this was only 390 Yen. 

No wonder we hardly see any McDonald's around Hakodate. How to fight, like that? 


I went for their Ninki No. 3, the Tonkatsu Burger that cost slightly cheaper at 380 Yen. The tonkatsu was super crispy on the outside and still quite tender on the inside. I only wished they've chosen a leaner cut of meat for me instead of this piece with a glorious, nearly 1.5cm wide, strip of pure FATS at the side. 

After a hearty (and fatty) dinner, we decided to take a stroll to the nearby (and very nearby, about 5 minutes walk) bay area and found yet another (and bigger) Lucky Pierrot.


With a huge-ass hamburger for patrons to sit on,

This bigger branch also sells some snacks, cooking condiments and other novelty stuff like hamburger shaped pouches and so on. So do visit this branch instead if you'll prefer a fancier looking branch.

You can check out Lucky Pierrot's Menu HERE

And this marked the end of our Day 1 in Hokkaido! Day 2 shall be up soon enough, so do keep a lookout for it!

Till then,
Mia Foo

Friday, 30 June 2017

Day Trip to Johor Bahru!

I know, I promised a series of Hokkaido travelogue but it's tough job sorting out thousands of photographs! I NEED MORE TIME!
So in the meanwhile, let's make do with JB, okay?

The BF just suddenly decided that we should do a day trip to JB during Hari Raya PH and so we roped in Sa and DS for a eat-(grocery)shop-massage JB trip! Planned for a little jam on woodlands causeway and hence set off from home at about 630am, and reached our 1st stop of the day, Restoran Ah Piaw, unexpectedly early at about 8am for breakfast. 

Running 24 hours daily, Ah Piaw seems to be quite popular, especially amongst fellow Singaporeans, but for unknown reasons. Perhaps for the convenience of being open 24 hours and just about 8 minutes drive away from the checkpoint? I don't know. 
Supposedly being famous for their wanton mee, it was quickly shot down by Sa and DS for being just really normal. The abalone kway tiao does a little better with a lot more ingredients and a richer soup base as compared to some other abalone noodle places, but also at a higher price tag of RM $12 for a small bowl (with 3 slices of abalone, prawn, fishballs, wantons, fish maw and 1 small scallop)

Abalone Kway Tiao (big)

Those "abalone" slices doesn't taste real, either. That's the biggest problem. 

Anyway, after breakfast, we headed over to a friend's place and lepark (chill) for a while and the BF and I gymmed for about an hour to earn all the junk we're going to eat for the day. 

And after washing up (after gym), we set off for Sutera Mall for some egglet waffles, which their standard dropped, I supposed. They tasted more like the normal bakery waffles but in bubble shapes than the crisp HK egglet waffles I've been craving for. MEHH! We also picked up half a dozen of the Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tart before letting ourselves loose at Aeon Big Hypermart and burning like almost half of our day's money on some basic necessities and tons of tidbits!

After that, it was time to get some lunch! And we (actually, I) decided to check out this pretty cool looking cafe called Coffee Signature, which is pretty much "built" by stacking two containers on top of each other. 


 Cookie Cup with Chocolate Milk

Sweet Rain (Coffee)

Mini Sunshine

Fungi & Chicken Pasta 
It wasn't truly named so, but that's the most direct dish name I can give it. 

Grilled Calamari

The pricing of the food are roughly 1:1 to local pricing (meaning it's actually 1/3 of our cafe prices after currency conversion), which makes it really affordable, but I really have to say that the calamari was a huge disappointment for the RM $28.  I was expecting it to be those monstrous sized squid that the Japanese uses to make Ika Meshi (rice stuffed squid) but what came to our table was just normal sized, sliced squid cooked zichar style, which probably will just cost us RM $16 at any other zichar stalls.
Sweet Rain was definitely a creative way to add the sugar to your coffee (or tea), but also an extremely messy way to do it. Most of the cotton candy will not rain directly into your coffee but everywhere else on the table. Your coffee cup will also end up being extremely sticky with all the melted cotton candy residues that dripped onto it. And, the coffee wasn't that fantastic either. It's like McDonald's breakfast style of coffee.

The pasta was pretty good and so was mini sunshine (it's hard to mess up ham/bacon with eggs) but I think they probably forgot to top mine with the melted cheese. There was a wrong order sent to our table when we're done and it was full of cheese drizzle!
Would have tasted even better, I'm sure. *bitter*

Anyway, all these came up to a total of about RM $160, which was barely SGD $15 per pax!

Coffee Signature is located at 52, Jalan Serampang, Taman Tebrau Jaya, 80400 JB

After lunch, we planned to head straight to Holiday Plaza for some foot massage/and manicure, but the BF wanted to get a car wash and just so that our eagle-eyed Sa spotted one by the roadside while we drove past.
And so to spend an extra hour's wait (for the car wash), we headed to another cafe 2 houses away from the car wash shop.
Yeah, we just ate lunch and we are going to eat moreeee... So glad I've gymmed earlier in the morning.


The cafe's called Passion Food Cafe & Bakery, with a few parking spaces available (along the road). If not, it may be a good idea to leave your car over at the car wash for "parking". The car wash's signboard was stated RM $30 for sedan (car wash), and BF was charged about $80 or $85 for car wash with interior vacuuming and car waxing. 


And the cafe was TONS of mad cute character french macarons!

Taste wise, they were just okay. I had to pluck out all the fondant before eating them and it seems like they're all in one (sugary-chocolate) flavour only. 
It's either I've really started not liking sugar that much, or... they're really just very mediocre tasting macarons. 
But of course, full marks for the cute factor! 

And the BF specially requested for the "latte art" so that I can take a nice picture. HEH!
Coffee here was much, much better than what I had at Coffee Signature, I must say. 

And my virgin try at Escargots!
But it's a shame that it wasn't a very well done one. All the garlic and herbs flavour didn't really get sufficient time to seep into the flesh. So while the texture was still alright, they were pretty bland. The toasted bread tasted much better.

Passion Food Cafe & Bakery is located at  71, Jalan Serampang, Taman Pelangi, 80400 JB

And so with nearly bursting stomachs, we left the cafe to pick up the car (which was so clean and shiny we almost couldn't recognise it) and left for Holiday Plaza!

After looking through a couple of nail salons, I stumbled upon two sets of really cute Mickey and Minnie nail art designs on the signboard outside Unique Nail Palace and was quoted just RM $75 for either set of the nail art and RM $85 to mix both sets, which is really cheap!

And so, this set of gelish nail art set cost me only RM $150, which is only $50 SGD, can you believe it!
Every single detail on my nail (including the Mickey and Minnie heads) are HAND DRAWN. The manicurist was also very meticulous and even took it upon herself to redo Mickey's eyes because she herself found that she has drawn them a little too small on her 1st try. Big, BIG thumbs up for her awesome service!
There were only 3 manicurists around when I was there, and they had to reject some walk in customers, so it's better to make an appointment with them before dropping by.

Unique Nail Palace is located at F56, Holiday Plaza, Jalan Dato Sulaiman, Taman Century, 80250, JB. You may whatsapp them at +6016 768 9798 or call them at 07-3310201 for appointments. 

As the nail was estimated to take me about 2 hours, the rest decided to go for their foot and back massage at one of the massage parlour located at B1 (or was that L1). Not very sure of the shop name, but the BF was unlucky enough to get a very bad masseur with outright BAD massage skills. She has not only ate some of his time, but also just half-heartedly elbow-rubbed his back (for his back massage) and massaged his calves (and calves ONLY) for his 25 minutes of foot massage. Like, WHAT? Sa and DS were more lucky to get decent masseurs though, but their experiences were still only "just okay".
So, a big yes for nails, but no for massage.

The initial plan was to have Bak Kut Teh at Shoon Huat for dinner, but they were sold out for the night when we got there at 8 plus (they're supposed to be closing at 9pm). So we headed down a few shops away and decided to try out Restoran Teck Sing.

-credits to forumspp.vr-zone.net-

The restaurant has a find-your-own-table kind of free seating system, so just head right in and grab the nearest empty table when you get there. A quick check on all the occupied tables told us that their paper-baked chicken and fishhead curry are the must-try dishes.

And so try them we shall!

Paper Baked Chicken

Fish Head Curry

Stir Fry Di Huang Miao (Emperor Sprout)

Hot Plate Tofu

DS and Sa liked the chicken best, while I prefer to give the Fish Head Curry number 1. And the BF chose....
TOFU. =.="
The chicken had a pretty nice herbal taste and was relatively tender and juicy, but as i'm a spicy>>>herbal person, I naturally chose the curry as the best dish of the night. 
Prices were really reasonable and affordable, as the meal only set us back (in total, drinks included) by about RM $109. 

Restoran Teck Sing is located at 3, Jalan Sutera 1, Taman Sentosa, 80150 JB.

Till then,
Mia Foo

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Here's why I do my online shopping with ShopBack!

Well, have you heard of ShopBack


The annual Great Singapore Sale is here again and if you're still unsure of what this ShopBack is about, it's time you check it out (HERE) because you're missing out big time! 

Basically, ShopBack is your one-stop site to find the latest promotions and discount codes from over 200 renowned brands in our local online shopping scene, including Taobao, Lazada, Groupon and etc. And with the GSS season on-going right now, you can also find valuable info on the Great Singapore Sale at ShopBack to bring your GSS shopping spree online! Yes, that's right! You can enjoy GSS deals now even when doing online shopping! 

I first found ShopBack a few years back when I first got hooked on iherb shopping (all the affordable raw honey and supplements, yeah!) and was completely sold when I found tons of other shopping sites linked up for me to earn cashback as I shop! Just sign up for a free account, click through to any store via shopback, make your purchase as usual, earn cashback back into your shopback account, and get payouts on the redeemable cashback directly into our bank account. 
It's really this simple!

Other than iherb & GNC for the health & fitness junkies, all the beauty junkies can also get their fair share of the pie and shop to their hearts' content with up to 5% cashback at Sephora and get up to 9% cashback along with special discounts on beauty treatments with Fave promo codes. And for those globetrotters, you can get Expedia discount code if you travel, up to 6% cashback on your hotel bookings (booking.comhotels.comzuji etc) and up to 1% cashback when you book your air tickets (ScootSingapore AirlinesAirasia, etc).

And just to show that all these cashbacks are real, here's a snapshot of my personal account.


So, what are you still waiting for? Head over to ShopBack and sign up for your free account and start earning while you shop!

Till then,
Mia Foo


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Gogoprint: Yay, I got my namecards!

Well, I've been blogging for quite a while and has attended a couple of bloggers' events along the way, and there will always be this awkward situation whereby the PR / Business Owners ask, "So can I get your namecard?"

And I always had to lie, "Oh, sorry I ran out of it!"

But now I need to lie no more, all thanks to gogoprint.sg!

Gogoprint.sg, a leading online printing marketing and technology firm, has the distinct vision to make ordering printing products easy and cost-effective, thereby helping small- and medium-sized businesses to market their businesses and to grow. Using high-quality press printing and a robust yet simple and easy-to-use online ordering system, Gogoprint.sg provides high-end printing services and reliable color printing at discount printing costs.-credits to gogoprint.sg-
Other than providing high quality prints at low and transparent prices, gogoprint.sg also provide instant quotation along with a convenient and fuss-free ordering process and free delivery across Singapore.
Other than business cards, gogoprint.sg also provide printing services for products like loyalty cards, greeting cards, gift vouchers, wedding cards, postcards, table tents, presentation folders and etc.
The best part is, their business card printing service (at 100 pieces for as low as $10.38) now comes with FREE designing service too!

Which (the free designing service) I obviously didn't opt for. HAHAHA!

gogoprint.sg offers a more customizable printing experience with just 4 easy steps:
1. Configure products & Check Price Online
2. Make payment
3. Upload your artwork (if required)
4. Receive the products

You can get to choose the formats, type of papers, and even down to how fast you need the products delivered! 


For more information, visit gogoprint.sg website HERE , 
or contact them via phone or email.
+65 31590484
info@gogoprint.sg

Till then,
Mia Foo

Monday, 12 June 2017

Lovely Flowers from A Better Florist [Sponsored]

A Better Florist in Singapore believes that sending and receiving flowers should be easy, affordable and beautiful. Forget those last minute dashes to the flower store or disappointing delivery services. Here at the Best Florist in Singapore, we offer express flower delivery. There is a story behind every bouquet we send out, whether it’s for a birthday, an anniversary, a wedding or even just something for yourself.
Every reason is the perfect reason to send out flowers.
At A Better Florist, we source directly from flower farms in the Cameron Highlands to offer you the freshest product imaginable at an affordable price. Our intuitive website means that in just a few clicks you can send an arrangement of fresh flowers to anyone, anywhere in Singapore on the same day.
Our free same-day delivery service is available between 9 am to 6 pm. Whether you’re in BedokHolland VillageTampinesThomson RoadAng Mo KioCBDToa PayohJurongTiong BahruNovenaOrchard or Sentosa, we’ve got your back. No matter where you in Singapore, we can get to you.
If you need any last minute deliveries, we’ve got a 90-minute express flower delivery guarantee islandwide in Singapore. So don’t worry if you suddenly remembered a special occasion like Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, Coworker Appreciation Day or Treat Yourself Day because we’ve got you covered. All you have to do is order your flowers online and we’ll get it to you!
-excerpt from www.abetterflorist.com-
As you know, I recently visited Hokkaido, mainly for shibazakura and tulip festival, but missed the tulip festival by (perhaps) a day or two! :( 
Imagine my excitement when I found out that A Better Florist is going to send me a lovely bouquet of fresh tulips!

Isn't it lovely?

From wedding bouquets, to christmas hampers, office decor, and even opening stands or even condolence wreaths, A Better Florist got you covered with their customisable flowers for all sorts of occasions and holidays. 
You really just need to ask for it. 



All their bouquets also comes with a sachet of flower food and flower care instructions, to ensure that your blooms remains gorgeous for as long as possible. 
(I have horrible flower arrangement skills, so I shall not share how my lovely tulips looked like in the vase.)


A Better Florist is also now hosting an awesome lucky draw for all you lucky ones who got bloomed
Just snap a photo of your flowers and tag @abetterflorist on IG/FB and stand a chance to win a trip for 4 to New Zealand!

For more information, visit A Better Florist HERE

Till then,
Mia Foo
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