Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Guest Post: The Complete Beauty Routine of Doe Deere

The rituals that you perform on your body every morning before leaving your house can either break or make your day. Beauty gives you the freedom to interact with people and perform your daily duties with confidence. Therefore, before your daily routine starts, you have to choose the right products to keep your skin attractive and protected throughout the day. 

Deere’s daily beauty routine allows her to begin her days in the right spirit. She is the Founder of one of the leading cosmetic brands in the world known as Lime Crime. According to Deere, her daily beauty routine plays a vital role in the success of her career in cosmetics. After getting eight to nine hours of comfortable sleep, the beauty queen and fashion diva wake up exactly at 8:30 a.m. every day. She does not need an alarm because she believes that she has an excellent biological clock that keeps her awake at the right time. Getting eight to nine hours of sleep every day allows her body to relax and her skin to stay clear before applying makeup.

Deere lives in Los Angeles in the United States, a city that has dry air most of the time. Therefore, after waking up at 8:30 a.m. she consumes a full glass of water that helps her body to stay hydrated throughout the day. After taking a glass of water, she stretches her body to stay fit and relaxed. The camel exercise suits her body. 

It is not possible to have a complete beauty routine without an excellent diet. Therefore, after stretching and performing daily exercises, Deere moves on to make a perfect breakfast. Her breakfast must include her favorite hot cereal, grits. Grits are nutritious to consume because they are extracted from corn. In addition to this, the beauty queen must consume a variety of fresh fruit juices that play a significant role in keeping the skin hydrated and beautiful. She gets some of the fruits from her well-maintained garden and juices them for her daily consumption.

After a workout and consuming a healthy breakfast, Deere gets on her mobile phone to check the trending activities. Through the internal chat system of the company, Deere communicates easily with her Lime Crime Team, which enables her to know the key activities in her business before leaving her house to the office. She likes opening her Instagram application to stay updated on the trending things in the cosmetics world. Deere responds to official emails frequently to ensure that her business runs smoothly.

Deere listens to music that motivates her when doing her daily makeup. Currently, The Beatles are her favorite records that she must listen to every morning. To ensure that her hair is dry in the morning, the fashion diva showers at night before going to bed. This enables her to come up with her desired hairstyle each morning when doing her makeup. After washing her face, she uses a perfect moisturizer, Hydro-Dynamic Quenching Essence of Murad, to keep her skin hydrated. Next, Deere chooses the right foundation for her face.

Currently, her company, Lime Crime, does not manufacture foundations. However, she has plans to introduce the products soon for her clients. She chooses the right products to fill her eyebrows while checking herself keenly in the mirror to ensure that everything goes well. The favorite part of her makeup process is applying lipstick and blush. She chooses the right colors for her face and ensures it matches with her hair and other accessories. She takes approximately 15 minutes to an hour every day to complete her make up.

After getting her signature looks and wearing her best clothes, she leaves the house and arrives in her office at 12:00 noon. At the office, she interacts with the Lime Crime Team, clients, and enjoys a wonderful lunch. She attends crucial meetings and usually arrives back to her house at 6:00 p.m.

by Kelly Hammond

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Mia Bakes: Banana Bread Muffin

What do you do when you can't finish your huge bunch of bananas before they go all spotted and browned?
Bake some banana bread! :)
Just a small tip: If your banana is getting too "spotty" and you aren't going to bake the banana bread until a few more days later, PEEL the bananas first, then dump them into a ziplock bag and pop them into the freezer. When you're ready to bake, just take them out and thaw them out. It'll be alot easier to mash after they're frozen-and-thawed too.

So, following Genius Kitchen recipe for a standard loaf of banana bread, I made some tweaks here and there to get 7 (small) banana bread muffins of about 152 kcals each (calories for that 6 mini chocolate chips on each muffin NOT counted).

You'll need:
55g unsalted butter, soften
110g castor sugar equivalent of zero calorie sweetener.
(this is how you get 152 kcals)
1 egg
~190g of mashed bananas
(Should be about 1.5 bananas. I've used 1 small-medium banana + 2 baby bananas)
96g all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

optional: chocolate chips/chopped nuts as toppings

First up, mash up your bananas to your preference. If you prefer to still have small chunks of bananas in your muffin, then mash them up until you still have bits of banana flesh left. If not, just mash them up until they're like fruit puree.

In a clean bowl, cream your soften butter and sugar substitute until slightly pale and fluffy. Creaming your butter and sugar substitute will give you a more tender, cakey texture. If you'll prefer a denser, heavier banana bread muffin, use melted butter instead and no creaming is required.
Then, beat in your egg and mashed banana until well combined before adding in the dry ingredients and folding until just combined.
Never, ever overmix the batter or you'll end up with rubbery and tough banana bread.
I know it's tempting to keep mixing when you see your batter still extremely lumpy, but that's how it should be. Your banana bread will be a flop if you end up with a smooth looking batter.

Next, divide your batter into 7 muffin cups, or 6, if you prefer a bigger muffin with the distinctive muffin top. As a form of calorie-control, I chose to shrink my serving size and ended up with more of a cupcake (just a slight dome-top instead of a spillover muffin-top).

Sprinkle topping of your choice over the batter (or skip it if you prefer, as the muffin itself will be sweet and tasty enough on its own) and send your muffins to bake in the oven at about 180 degree Celsius for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
I checked mine at 15 minutes and found just a little bit of wet batter on the toothpick and then left them to bake for another 3 more minutes, checking every minute to make sure I don't overbake my muffins.
Remember, an overbaked banana bread muffin = a failed banana bread muffin!

And tadaa~

These muffins are slightly cakey, extremely moist and much lighter (in texture) compared to those typical dense and heavy banana bread (made with melted butter). Usually my bakes can last us for a few days (as my family really aren't a fan of sweet treats and baked goods in general), but these muffins just disappeared miraculously within 24 hours. 

Till then,
Mia Foo

Monday, 22 January 2018

Hokkaido Travelogue: Day 6 - Otaru

Oh my god, I suddenly realised that in a few months' time, my Hokkaido trip would have been over for ONE YEAR. Not sure if I can complete all 11 (or rather, 10) days before one year is up, but I shall try harder.
Anyway, Day 6 is the day for our Otaru day trip! 
From Sapporo JR Station, take either the JR Semi Rapid Ishikari Liner or JR Hakodate Line to Otaru JR Station, which should only take you about 35 to 40 minutes. 
The total train fees including our trip on the Tozai Line from our hotel to Sapporo JR Station only cost us 840 yen each. :) 

Upon reaching (coming out of) Otaru station, we headed towards the left corner and headed up a short flight of stairs to get to Sankaku Fish Market, for breakfast!

You'll get to a signboard with all the stalls located inside the market, but all reviews online basically just points to Ajidokoro Takeda. 

Which offers really affordable sashimi don, kani don (crab don), and kanijiru (crab miso soup)!

Oyako Don (Salmon sashimi with Salmon Roe) - 1200 Yen.
Look at that generous amount of salmon sashimi and ikura! For just 1200 yen, that's a steal!

We also ordered some grilled hokkigai (first time trying it cooked, and sadly I prefer it raw), raw oyster and more crab miso soup! The miso soup here definitely has more ingredients (see that huge scallop!) as compared to the ones we had in Hakodate (HERE), but in terms of taste, I found the ones in Hakodate much more flavourful. 

After a hearty breakfast, we headed down to the site of Temiya Line to snap an "obligatory" shot on the tracks before moving on down the streets towards Otaru Canal. May I briefly mention that they have extremely cute design for their manhole covers on the road? Saw one with a super duper adorable otter on it, but since it was right smack in the middle of the busy road, I didn't manage to snap a photograph of it. :(

And over at the Otaru Canal, the stone-paved paths alongside the canal gives a certain romantic charm, and was further accented by the old-fashioned lamps that lined the way. 

And it's just so nice that the lamp was nicely cut off in this shot. *ROFL*

You might want to consider taking the Canal Cruise, a 40 minutes day cruise at 1500 Yen, departing every 30 minutes from 12:30pm onwards at Chuobashi Bridge. 

From the Otaru Canal Terminal, all the way to Marchen Intersection is Sakaimachi Street, which is lined with businesses using the old stone warehouses to give us a unique Otaru experience. 
And guess where we're headed off to first?

The Venetian Cafeteria!

To get the famous, 7-layers soft serve!

They also serve other snacks such as potato-churros, takoyaki and rice burger. But I strongly advise that you just get the soft serve and be over and done with it. 

The 7 layers include: Grape, Strawberry, Matcha, Melon, Milk, Chocolate & Lavender. 
Other than lavender, which tasted like perfume, and therefore, not yummy. The rest were pretty good! Other than the safer choices of milk, matcha and chocolate, I found myself really enjoying the grape layer too. 

After filling our tummies with tons of ice cream, we headed further down the streets and explored a few other small shops selling novelty items and cute trinkets, before coming to the next "must-visit" place of Otaru, the Musical Box Museum. 

Everything here is also darned expensive (and friggin fragile), so do be careful to not break anything (and also your bank) while you're here. 
The "beautiful" price tags aside, this museum is indeed filled with beautiful pieces of art, so even if you can't really afford such decorative musical boxes with a luxurious price tags, you surely can afford a bit of your time to admire them. 

And after admiring all my Mickeys and Minnies, we headed right next door to Yume No Oto. 

And guess what?


Everything here is just so cute, it'll bring a smile to literally every human being. Look at all those round and fluffy Totoros!

After bidding the cute and fluffy Totoros goodbye, we retraced our steps back towards LeTAO PATHOS for more yummy treats! There's a total of 3 (or two?) LeTAOs located around Sakaimachi street, each "specialising" in a different food, so I suggest that you do your research before choosing which LeTAO to drop by. 

For me, it's definitely cakes!

And at LeTAO PATHOS, you definitely has to try their Double Fromage Cheesecake, which is a unique blend of double layers of cheesecakes. The top layer is a creamy and smooth no-bake cheesecake, while the bottom layer is a rich, baked cheese cake. And the way these two layers just melts together in your mouth is just magical. 
I'm hardly a fan of cheesecake in general, but this Double Fromage totally got me hooked!

If you have a bit more time to spare, head up to the 3rd floor for a vantage point to admire the view over the busy Sakaimachi street. If you're still game for more food, do check out Kitakaro & Rokkatei for more baked goods or head over to the next street for fish cakes at Kamae Kamaboko. 

And with our nearly bursting tummies, we left the Sakaimachi Street and headed uphill towards Suitengu, the Shinto Shrine that overlooks the Otaru Port and Ishikari Bay. 

But sadly, Lady Luck wasn't shining on us and it was an uphill climb wasted to find that the shrine is undergoing renovations. T.T

So after heading back downhill and loitering around the Otaru Port and bay area, we retraced our steps back towards the Otaru JR station dropped by Wakadori Jidai Naruto Honten for the famous Otaru Fried Chicken for an early dinner!

Just to let you know that, the shop name is indeed THAT long. Just keep a lookout for the cute chicken logo if you can't read Kanji / Hirigana well. 

And of course, you have to get a pint of ice cold beer to go with fried chicken! 

Not your typical battered fried chicken, this famous Otaru fried chicken does seem a little underwhelming when finally served to our table. But do not let the normal appearance fool you! The skin was fried till crispy, yet not too heavy and jerlak like your typical battered skin. The meat was still tender and very flavourful, yet not oily and "overly juicy" either. 
Other than Lucky Pierrot in Hakodate, this fried chicken has to be the other dish that I'm really missing dearly upon returning to Singapore. 

And of course, when in Hokkaido, order MORE Kanijiru! 

From the restaurant, it was only another 10 minutes walk back to Otaru JR station and a ticket back to Sapporo will set you back by merely 640 yen and take you about 40 to 50 minutes. 

And this basically concludes my 6th day in Hokkaido (excluding pachinko and daiso-shopping upon returning to Sapporo). Recount of my 7th day in Sapporo, whereby I got to shake hands with an Otter, is up right HERE!

Till then,
Mia Foo

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Mia Bakes: Cinnamon Roll Scones

After my first (and rather successful) try with Cinnamon Rolls (recipe HERE) a while back, I've been wanting to remake somemore for my #cheatdaysunday breakfast and yet, still want to try baking something new. 
And so, I decided to google for both 'cinnamon rolls' and 'scones' and stumbled upon joyofbaking's recipe for some really yummy looking cinnamon roll scones!
But as you know, it doesn't mean we should all go crazy just because it's cheatday, so I tweaked a little on the quantities to get a more diet-friendly serving size.

For 6 scones, you'll need:

130g All Purpose Flour
15g castor sugar
(I used 1 1/2 tsp of baking stevia instead)
42g unsalted, COLD butter, cut into small cubes
90ml to 100ml buttermilk
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt (or 1/8 tsp)

For the filling, you'll need:
15g soften butter
35g brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
20g raisins (optional)

First up, add all your dry ingredients into a large bowl and whisk to combine (or you may run them through a sieve) before cutting in your cold butter. 
You may do so with a pastry cutter, a simple knife+fork combination, in a food processor, or just by rubbing the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until all your butter pieces are no larger than pea-sized. 
Add in your buttermilk and mix until it just comes together to form a dough. Your dough shouldn't be too wet and sticky that you cannot handle it, and neither too dry that it couldn't form a dough ball. I suggest that you only mix in 90ml of the buttermilk and see how your dough forms, before adding in the other 10ml, if you require it. 

Then, turn out your barely formed dough ball onto a clean working surface, dusted with some plain flour to prevent sticking, and give it a few soft kneads such that it comes together better, and roll it out into a rectangle that is about 9 to 10 inches long, and 5 inches wide. 

And now, it's time for the filling! You may either spread the butter over the rolled out dough and then sprinkle on the brown sugar and raisins, or you may mix your butter with the brown sugar into a paste and spread it evenly over the dough before sprinkling in your raisins (that's what I prefer to do, as it's much less messier). Be sure to leave about half an inch along the long end of the dough such that you can seal it. 

Then, roll away! Starting from the long end of the dough that's nearer to you, flip the dough inwards and start rolling it away from you until you reach the 1/2 inch of dough that's previously left bare. With a pastry brush, brush on some milk along the strip before pressing the roll down onto the ends and giving it a new light nips to make sure that it's well sealed. 

Then, cut your dough log into 6 equal, 1.5 inches thick slices and set them onto a parchment lined baking tray, spaced an inch apart. 
Brush some more milk (or egg wash, which does better with browning as compared to just plain milk) over the top of the scones and set them to bake in the oven at 190 to 200 degree Celsius for 17 to 20 minutes.

And Tadaa~

Though these aren't the most crumbly and tender scone you can get (as you require a little bit more kneading and rolling along the way), the sweet, gooey cinnamon sugar filling that's in every bite surely make up for it!

Best of all, each scone is only 154 kcals! So, eat away!

Till then,
Mia Foo

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