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Jul

How to Make Your Own Chicken Rice

So you’ve had a taste of one of Singapore’s iconic dishes and are now tempted to make your own? Here is a really simple guide on how to make your own Hainanese Chicken Rice!

In cooking chicken rice, there are 3 main components: the chicken, the rice, and the sauce.

Chicken

Before anything else, you’ll have to clean the chicken. You can use a little salt to exfoliate the chicken and clean out dead skin and excess gunk. Then, your rinse all that salt off and dry.

The next thing to do is to season the chicken and put in some stuffing. The typical stuffing for the chicken includes spring onions, a bundle of pandan leaves and some small slices of ginger. You insert all these into the cavity of the chicken and use toothpicks to close it off and prevent the stuffing from falling out.

Then you take a pot and fill it with water enough to immerse the whole chicken in it. Using high heat, bring the water to a boil. Some soak the chicken and leave it immersed until the water boils, but there is also another way to do this. Once the water is boiling, you dunk the chicken a few times before actually leaving it in the water. Then, you cover the pot and lower the heat to keep a simmer for about 10 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare a bowl of ice water. After the chicken is done cooking, immediately move it to the ice bath you prepared. This process keeps the skin tight and firm.

Once done, remove the stuffing, chop the chicken into pieces and arrange on the serving plate.

Rice

Depending on how many people are eating, you should be able to determine how many cups of rice you’re going to cook with. You will then wash the rice to get rid of any dust and excess starch. Drain out the water and wash again 2 more times. Then, fill the bowl with water and leave it for 10-15 minutes.

Once that’s done, heat cooking oil in a wok or a pot over medium high heat.  When it gets hot enough, it’s time to put in the ginger and garlic. Make sure you won’t burn them though, so add the drained rice and mix well.

After a minute, you should then add some of the broth you used to boil the chicken with. Use a 1:1 ratio for the broth to equal how many cups of rice you’ve put. Then, turn the heat to low and let it cook for 15 minutes.

Finally, remove from the heat and let it sit for 5 more minutes.

Sauce

Chilli sauce is quite easy to make, though you’ll need a blender. Wash and cut the stalks off of a chilli padi and big chilli. Peel ginger and garlic. Add everything to a blender and let it blend well. And you’re done!

Jul

Health Benefits of Durians

Even though in Singapore (and many other countries), the durian is banned in all types of public transport for its smell, it’s not dubbed the King of Fruits for nothing. Despite people having negative opinions about the smell and sometimes the look of the durian, it actually has a lot of health benefits.

Here are only some of them:

Can help fight Anemia

Anemia is basically a condition that arises when the body does not have enough hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a primary component in red blood cells and functions to bind oxygen to blood. Not having enough healthy red blood cells will mean that all the other cells of the body will not be supplied with oxygen. Folate, in this instance, is vital for the production of red blood cells. Durians contain a high amount of folic acid, so much that one serving already contains almost 20% of the required daily intake.

Improve cardiovascular health

Contrary to popular belief, durians will not increase cholesterol. In fact, durians contain 0 cholesterol! In addition, durian has fiber which can help reduce the bad cholesterol in the body. This means that it can help prevent the build-up of bad cholesterol in the cardiovascular system. It also contains potassium, which can help regulate blood pressure. This basically means that you’re keeping your heart healthy while also getting rid of any bad cholesterol before they can cause further damage.

Promotes healthy bones

Durians contain substantial amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese and a lot more. All of which is known as essential minerals for the development of bones. They contribute to bone growth, strength, and durability. Despite calcium being the more abundant mineral in the bones, the potassium also helps to keep it in the bones so that it is not wasted or released onto the blood unnecessarily.

Possibly slows aging

The durian by nature has significant antioxidant properties all due to its mineral content. The antioxidants help relieve inflammations and can even help eliminate free radicals around the body. If you are “free” of free radicals, you might be able to slow down the development of wrinkles, hair loss, arthritis, and etc.

Is said to fight cancer

The antioxidants of the durian are also attributed to fighting cancer. Vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin B complex, for example, helps reduce stress on the organs caused by free radicals and excess waste in the body. These free radicals basically cause tumor growths and inflammations that will eventually lead to the production of more cancer cells. With the durian’s abundance in nutrients, minerals, and antioxidant properties, these free radicals will be cleaned away easily.

Can aid digestion

Durians also contain a significant amount of dietary fiber which is important for a healthy digestive system. It can help ease bowel movement because it stimulates the production of healthy digestive acid that can aid in the whole process of digesting food. This basically helps against diarrhea, constipation, and problems with the intestines.

Jun

Your Checklist for Planning a Long-Term Travel

When thinking of travelling for a couple of months, it can get daunting trying to plan for it. Perhaps, you want to visit a few countries and some world-famous sights or just have a serious case of wanderlust. Either way, you’ll be able to save a lot of time and money if you spend ample time planning.

A Year Before

  1. Start Researching

This is one of the fun parts of planning for a trip. Read blogs, guidebooks and scour the internet for inspiration. While you don’t need to have a concrete plan yet, you should start making a must-do list.

  • Estimate Trip Cost

Based on the length of the trip and the activities you will be doing, come up with an estimate total cost. Consider the flight tickets, transportations, accommodations, food and tours.

  • Create a Budget and Plan How to Make Extra Income

Based on the estimated cost of your trip, create a daily budget on how much you should save. Cut out unnecessary expenditures and look for ways to make extra money, such as selling unused clothes, accessories and other knick knacks that are still in good condition.

Six to 12 Months Before

  • Start Necessary Immunizations

Visit your doctor during this time to discuss your plans and seek advice for immunizations. It’s important to do this early as some vaccines require multiple shots with days or weeks intervals.

  • Secure Your Passport

If you don’t have passport yet, now is the time to apply for one. If you already have, ensure that its validity will last for the entirety of the trip.

Three to Six Months Before

  • Book Your Flights

Check your must-do lists and look for the different flights available for your route. If you’re flexible with the travel dates, it’s easier to save money from flights. Check different airlines, airports and booking sites for cheaper airfare.

  • Get a Visa

Research if your destinations require visas. You don’t want to get stuck in the airport, cancel plans and waste a flight because your next destination requires a visa, which you don’t have.

One to Two Months Before

  • Take Care of the Cancellation of Contracts

Since you’ll be gone for months, start scheduling cancellations of contracts such as your gym membership, home internet connection and mobile plans. Remember, you need an early notice to minimize hefty cancellation fees.  

  • Shop for Appropriate Gears

Depending on the activities you’ll be doing, you need to bring the necessary gear. Go shopping and look for sales to save money.

One Week Before

  1. Start Packing

Now is the time to pack. Start early and it won’t be stressful to stay organized.

  1. Scan Your Documents

Scan your visa, passport, some valid IDs and other important travel documents. Save it in a flash drive and have it with you anywhere. In case you lose the original documents, the scanned copies are your life saver.

On the Day

  1. Go to the Airport Hours Early

Consider the check-in and security lines, as well as the immigration. You need ample time to get through these gates. Avoid the stress and get to the airport three to four hours early.

Get on that plane and go! You’ve planned for it long enough. Enjoy and savour every minute of that well-deserved vacation.

Jun

5 Myths About Binge Eating Disorder

Eating too much is not an unusual thing—think of the holiday season, when food is everywhere and you stuff yourself full. However, there’s a big difference between occasional overeating and binge eating disorder (BED).

BED is a medical condition and is often about feeling guilty, depressed and out of control. It’s unlike occasional overeating, when a person eats to celebrate—this is one of the common misconceptions. Here are few more.

Myth #1: Binge eaters are obese.

This is the most common myth about BED patients. Binge eating, compulsive eating and emotional eating do not always result in weight gain. In fact, you can’t tell if someone has BED by simply looking at them. The amount of calories taken and the rate at which the calories are burned differs from person to person. Although not all binge eaters are obese, most of them have trouble controlling their weight.

Myth #2: Binge eaters always feel hungry.

Binge eating has nothing to do with physical hunger. In fact, BED has little to do with food or eating; food is just the weapon of choice for this matter. For BED-diagnosed individuals, eating beyond satiety has become a solution to ease stress, depression, anger, sadness and other negative emotion. Some of the effective treatments for BED is to find alternative ways to cope with stress and learn the difference between emotional and physical hunger.

Myth #3: A physician is the expert for this medical condition.

Your physical or medical practitioner may be a great resource for medical health problems that might arise due to binge eating, but they don’t have enough knowledge for the treatment of BED’s root cause. To tackle the disorder from its roots, you will need to consult a psychotherapist and a dietician whose expertise is treating eating disorders. Working with experts with the right knowledge about BED helps ease symptoms and help you recognize emotions feelings that drive you to overeat.

Myth #4: BED is similar to bulimia.

BED and bulimia look similar on the surface. Both tend to make patient binge eat and as a result feel ashamed, distressed and guilty. However, there’s one major difference between these conditions: after binge eating, patients with bulimia try to get rid of extra calories by ‘purging,’ which could mean using laxatives, over-exercising or forcing themselves to vomit.

Myth #5: Binge eaters only need exercise and diet to get better.

The last thing a BED patient should do is to go on a diet. The dieting-overeating-gaining-weight cycle is a sign of eating disorder and a symptom of the common thinking that gets binge eaters into bingeing. Although consulting a dietician and following a structured eating plan helps control binge eating, going on a diet designed for weight loss is not recommended.

May

How to Travel More Even With a Full Time Job

Do you feel like you don’t travel as much as you want? Younger people tend to be money-poor, but time-rich. Professionals, on the other hand, may have the luxury of resources but do not have enough time. Luckily, there are ways you can do to combine your love for travel and a steady income.

  1. Go During Public Holidays

To start with, whenever there’s public holiday, use it to go on a short or longer break. Using public holidays to travel will end up using less of your vacation days allowance.

  • Go on Shorter Trips

Consider taking shorter breaks and filing a holiday leave either on a Monday or a Friday, so you’ll have a three-day weekend for your trip.

  • Make Use of Overtime and Time-in-Lieu

This may not be the case for all employers, but you can get time in lieu for extra hours/days you have worked. This is a great way to get a few extra days throughout the year and spend them for your vacation. If you opt for this route, make sure you’re not burning yourself out and still making your health a priority.

  • Negotiate Unpaid Leaves

If you want longer vacation but are running out of allowable annual leave, talk to your supervisor about taking unpaid leaves instead. Notify your boss in advance and emphasize that it won’t cost them money, since it will be an unpaid leave. Some companies even offer their employees to sell or buy extra days off against their salary.

  • Stay Longer During a Work Trip

If your full-time job gives you the opportunity to go on a business trip, consider extending your trip for a day or two while you’re there. You will have to pay for your extended accommodation, but most companies would be happy to adjust your flight schedule to make this work (since they will be paying for your return flight anyway).

  • Explore Your Hometown

As well as going somewhere far, how about being a tourist in your own city, such us in a nearby luxury hotel, beach, the mountains or in the neighboring city? It’s easy to think of vacation as travelling outside the country, while your hometown may be full of hidden gems you haven’t yet discovered.

  • Embrace Travelling Alone

If you pass up every trip that you didn’t have someone to go with, you’d be sitting at your desk forever. If your goal is to travel more, you cannot bring your close officemates with you, leaving the office half empty because you all went on a five-day trip. Try a staycation alone even just once, you’ll be surprised how enjoyable it is to experience and explore places by yourself.

Don’t let your job kill the nomadic spirit in you. Take your work as an opportunity to afford the vacation you have always dreamed of.

May

4 Important Questions to Ask if Your Partner is Still Friends With His Ex

Are you a bothered because your boyfriend is still in contact with his ex every once in a while? Does it make you feel uncomfortable or insecure?

Whether or not exes should be friends is a controversial subject. But whatever your opinion is, this situation is pretty common and something that couples need to accept the reality of exes hanging out. If you are in that same situation with your beau, here are a few questions you would want to ask to ensure harmless friendship between your S.O. and his ex.

  1. “Does your ex know about us?”

Even if you don’t mind him being friends with his ex, this is an important question to ask to ensure that things are not shady, but be careful not to ask him in an accusatory way.

A ‘no’ as an answer to this question is a red flag. Sometimes, they will add excuses as to why they haven’t yet mentioned about you to his ex, and sometimes they can sound reasonable. Again, regardless of his reason, this is a red flag. Having their ex know about you is a step towards knowing that things are in the safe place.

  • “What’s the reason behind staying friends with your ex?”

Asking this may make you sound interrogative, but affirm him that you have nothing against him and answering this question will make you understand their situation. This question is for you to assess the intent of your partner for remaining in touch with his ex. You may find out that they have to remain in good terms because they have a shared property that they’re processing to split up or they could be co-parenting.

As much as possible, you want to be rational and unselfish towards the situation. As long as your partner has valid reasons, there shouldn’t be a problem to this situation.

  • “How does being friends with your ex benefit your life?”

Again, this doesn’t need to sound like an accusation. You may find out, from asking this question, what does he really get out of this friendship. As a result, you’ll understand your partner more and it’ll be easier for you to accept their friendship.

Sometimes, exes remain friends because they have history together, like being childhood friends, having the same circle of friends or their family have known each other for a long time. However, if the answer to this question is leaning towards emotional benefit, then that is another red flag.

  • “Can I meet your ex?”

If there’s no hidden intention for their friendship, then this shouldn’t be a problem at all. It should appear natural for you to want to get to know the people involved in his social life, just as how you want to get to know his other friends.

Having a partner who is still in contact with their ex shouldn’t be a hindrance to a happy relationship. An open and healthy communication will always be a key factor for a relationship to thrive.

Apr

4 Crucial Reasons Why You Should See a Therapist (and Not Just Your Friends and Family)

Mental health and wellness is one an important aspect of our lives, and having good mental health helps you cope and develop resilience in the face of life’s adversities.

Part of maintaining good mental health is being able to find out what’s in your mind and someone to help you understand why your thoughts are the way they are, and this is why it’s important to make sure that you have someone to talk to.

But while your friends and family may love you to bits, there’s a reason why they can’t replace therapy – and why you should seek it as much as possible:

  1. Your friends and family aren’t trained therapists…

…and this means that they’re not always the best source of advice. They may be there to provide emotional support, but therapists are specifically trained to understand why you think and respond to situations the way that you do.

This also means that therapists are also completely honest and objective without any risk or personal stake.

  • Therapy gives you healthy coping strategies

Mental fitness requires a personalized approach, and there are different coping strategies that suit different people, just as people settle into new things or process obstacles at their own pace.

A licensed therapist will be able to give you the right coping strategy and give you an insight into your psychological behavior. With regular counselling, you’ll be able to grow in ways that might have been impossible to you before.

  • Your problems won’t be minimized

People don’t always get along well with their families, and if you happen to have a difficult relationship with yours, it may not always be safe to share intimate struggles.

There’s also nothing worse than having to go through something painful or traumatic, only to be told by a family member or friend to “get over it” even though they mean well.

Therapists understand that people manage experiences and life events differently, and when it comes to mental issues both serious and sub-clinical, they make sure that you are heard and worthy of attention.

  • You don’t have to feel bad for being “needy”

You – or at least your insurance – will be paying, anyway, so you don’t have to feel bad about constantly “using” one person for support. In fact, because of the nature of the practice, your relationship with your therapist is not meant to be a two-way street.

Unlike most relationships that need reciprocation (i.e. friends may want that friendship back in return, parents need you to be their child), therapists don’t expect anything back from their clients except simply to show up for your sessions.