Warm Strawberries & Silent Prayers

The picture above was taken after being on the bus for almost an hour only to realised that I didn't get off at the right stop and I got off the wrong bus stop, walked 30 minutes until I decide to wait at another bus stop. Then I got on another bus, got off the right stop, walked for another 40 minutes and I finally reached the beach. Basically, I got lost in another country and my phone didn't have enough data to check anything. 

 

I was looking through all the pictures (polaroids, printed photos & the digital ones) and for every piece of memory that comes with them, I'm thankful. 2017 has taught so much about love in any kind of relationship ; even the relationship with myself. People have been asking how do I do it ; how am I still whole after watching me fall and tear myself apart. So here's what I wrote in my travel journal while I watched the waves gently hug the shore while I bury my toes in the warm loose sand, eating that box of strawberries : –


"Note to self :

You're at a tender age where life is viciously harsh. Some scars that are within you still sting from time to time. Some scars are sewn shut by your horrible sewing skills that makes them look uneven and jagged. But let me tell you that it is okay. Your best friends and family may not have seen you entirely at your worst where you know your healing mechanism somehow is so broken and you don't know how to fix yourself anymore.

There comes a night where your soul falls apart and you can feel yourself crumbling. It is going to be the toughest night you have to survive through. Everything within you feels hollow ; empty. Your hands are going to tremble because you're terrified. Your insecurities have all awaken and have began tearing you apart ; eating you alive.  You're then forced to face your inner monster with nothing but your stripped down, worn out self. You will break down until your throat feels tight and you're gasping for air. You're both equally exhausted and in so much pain. You're just sitting there waiting for dawn, clinging onto the mere hope that it'll be less horrifying. Yes, you are going be so desperate to stop the pain you're feeling and you'll do anything to divert the pain. But please, please hang in there with me for a while more.

There comes a day where the sky is at its best blue and you'll feel yourself shattering in public. You'll bite your lower lip to stop your eyes from forming tears, trying your hardest not to break down in public. Your fingers will be cold and you'll put them in the pockets of your best jeans while masking the obvious fact you're on the verge of crying. Pieces of your heart and soul will begin chipping apart and this is where you're going to pick it all up by yourself. You're going to try to mend yourself in a failing attempt to do so. Tears will stream down your face ; leaving stains on your cheeks and you're going want to stop breathing because the struggle is too painful. But please, please bare with me a little longer.

Don't give up. It's never the time to give up. Of course, it is easier said than done because who's to say what and how you should feel or not. I don't know what you're going through neither do I understand the pain you're feeling. But all I know is that if you're hurting, just take your time for it is okay. The world is already rough and it can be unkind. The last thing that heart of yours need is for you to be wicked it. The heart, the one that took 9 months for your mother to form and grow in her, is meant to love ; especially your entire well-being. You have to trust and believe in it. Just don't give up for you were born to discover places, create your amazing version of art and build your little path. You're going to stumble and fall but please be gentle. You need to know that you really are something and enough. You are loved by someone ; be it a family, a pet or friend. You've come a long way ; went to hell and back. So believe me when I say you really are strong enough to keep going. You got this, warrior.

With much love"


If you're thinking that I have got it all under control, some days I don't but I do take time off to reflect on my life. I've lost people ; friends and family. I've gotten my heart so broken to the point I could physically feel the pain.  Sitting on that warm sand in the picture, I had my passport, on my lap, that held immigration stamps which was the sole proof that I've went out, explored, and conquered. I learned so much ; so many things that I can't possibly type out in one post. But if it's one thing that I learned is you are never alone in this and you're worth the fight 

 

All visuals and words belong to Win W.™ unless stated otherwise.

 

Here’s to all the hours I’ve spent in orchestras, theatres, art galleries, museums, parks, reading tons of literature and creating art. I shamelessly admit to all the money I’ve spent buying books, entrance fees, and spending doing art ; be it writing or drawing. There’s a certain kind of comfort and quietness that art gives someone. It is like how Leonardo da Vinci once said “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen“. There is a kind of beauty that the art carries with it ; be it a dance, a painting, a picture, a sculpture or a book. It’s as if the artist left a part of his/her soul for you to learn from or to know about. So here’s to the art galleries that comforted little parts of me that I didn’t know how to comfort. Here’s to the orchestras and theatres where it was brought the kind of safety and calmness a wounded soul needs. Here’s to the books and museums that were (still are) my greatest teachers of life and love. My old high school literature teacher was right about art. It reminds you on what it’s like to be human again.

“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” 
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

All visuals and words belong to Win W.™ unless stated otherwise.

Avocado Brownies


I’ve been meaning to upload this recipe for a while but I wasn’t that confident with it until I made some friends try it out. I was trying to mind what I’ve been eating lately as I have way too much unhealthy meals. It doesn’t even help that I’m in the munchy mood that I crave for desserts. This drove me and my brain into coming up with the next best thing…avocado brownies. Without further ado, here it is!


AVOCADO BROWNIES RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup of plain flour
  • 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 ripe avocados, mashed
  • 1/2 cocoa powder
  • 100 grams of chopped chocolate, melted over a double boiler (I used 80% Lindt chocolate bar for this)
  • 3/4 cup of coconut sugar (You can substitute this with maple syrup/agave nectar/honey/brown sugar ; totally up to you!)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line your tray with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, cream the avocado and sugar until light and fluffy with a whisk or a fork.
  3. Add in the vanilla extract and egg and mix it into the creamed avocado.
  4. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt and add to the avocado mixture.
  5. Add the melted chocolate and pour the batter into the prepared tray.
  6. Bake it for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick/knife comes out nearly clean.
  7. Let the brownies cool and enjoy!

Done. It was easy and so fun to make as well. Not to forget, it is healthy too! As you can tell, all my recipes don’t take much time to make so feel free to share your feedback after trying this out so I could improve the recipe. I haven’t tried substituting the sugar with agave nectar or honey yet but if you, dear reader, ever do substitute it, do let me know by leaving me a comment at the bottom of this post. I hope you enjoy making this AND eating the brownies as much as I love doing so.

Enough

Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts (27 April 2017)


‘e·nough’

One word that not many of us tell ourselves. I know I haven’t been updating this space much and some of you might think I’ve gotten too busy with my life that I no longer write. That’s not the case. The real reason is that I’ve been having difficulties penning down my cluttered thoughts and I haven’t been getting much sleep to begin with. It doesn’t even help that my body crashed multiple of times which explains the sore throat, pounding fevers etc. So it brings me back to typing this very post right now as I sit here hoping this cup of camomile tea will aid with my sleep tonight.

I have people telling me that my words have inspired them but honestly, I’m not perfect. One of the hardest thing I struggle with is telling myself that I am enough. Not the kind of ‘enough’ that people expect me to be but more so of the kind of ‘enough’ that I know I am. They say that you are your harshest judge and I really am very harsh with myself.

People can tell you that you’re beautiful 100 times a day and if you still don’t believe it, that is the worst. So every day, I do something called “My Little Daily Enoughs” which is something I tell myself at the end of the day. Here are some of my few :

  1. You’ve done enough for today. You did your best in these 24 hours and the next 24 hours are for you to do more
  2. To someone, you’re beautiful enough.
  3. You are enough.

Everyone has their own definitions and versions of ‘being enough’. What I learned is that your flaws are stitched with good intentions. What I also learned is that you should look at the person that loves you the most and try putting yourself in that person’s shoes to see what you look like in their eyes. I do that sometimes with my mum. I do wonder what it is like for her to love such a difficult emotionally wrecked up daughter like me and not a day in my entire life where she complains and dreads about loving me. Bit by bit, I learn to love myself because of how my mother loves me.

If your partner is having a tough time loving himself/herself, do me a favour but love that person more because everyone deserves to end the day knowing that he/she is more than enough. Take it from a person who went to different countries & states just to slowly mend herself with whatever ability and skills she bears. It wasn’t a pretty sight because I was scared to the point where I would cry, waiting in the train to arrive, for I couldn’t hold myself together any longer. Here’s something to remember, if there comes a split second of the day where your insecurities got the better side of you, take a deep breath and feel your heart beating for a bit.

The heart that pumps life to your soul and every part of your living being ; it is doing more than enough for you. I know it’s easier said than done because the brain does have the loudest voice when it comes to things. What is important is that at the end of every day you know that you’re still breathing, that itself is a victory of its own. Small victories which are better than nothing at all. Remember, you really are enough ❤️

 

Chocolate Banana & Avocado Bread

Today, I woke up with the determination that I will successfully make one a banana and avocado loaf. I have left over Lindt 90% dark chocolate so I thought, ‘Why not put chocolate in it too’. I had a slight panic when I realized I didn’t have my measuring cups with me until I saw a good ol’ coffee cup. Yes, I used a coffee cup for measurements because I didn’t have measuring cups but please kindly do use measuring cups for accuracy. As I was creating this recipe mentally, I was thinking about the measurements and fitting all my estimations into them. Thank God that it turned out well.

I was also thinking whether kids would like it as I’m a swimming teacher. I’ve been trying my best to gain my appetite back after losing it for these past couple of weeks. So what a better way to treat kids with clean eats by making your own bread and spreading the little joy.  Ladies and gents, I hereby present…

CHOCOLATE BANANA & AVOCADO BREAD RECIPE

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup of flour (all purpose or gluten free if you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour (If you don’t have this, just use plain flour)
  • 3 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe medium bananas (mashed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large avocado (mashed)
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar (you can use honey or agave nectar ; you can use 8 teaspoons of sugar if you don’t want it to be too sweet)
  • 3 squares of 90% Lindt dark chocolate (roughly chopped)

INSTURCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line your bread pan with parchment paper or grease it with butter.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the avocado and sugar until light and fluffy with a whisk or a fork.
  3. Add in the mashed banana, vanilla extract and eggs and mix it into the creamed avocado.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon powder, and salt together.
  5. Combine the dry mixture with the avocado mixture until it’s thick.
  6. Add the roughly chopped chocolate into the mixture.
  7. Transfer the mixture into your bread pan.
  8. Bake at 180°C for 35-45 minutes or a toothpick inserted in comes out clean. If the top gets brown faster, cover it with foil until the bread is completely baked.
  9. Cool the loaf completely before enjoying!

 

Tada! All done! I hope you get to try out this recipe and tell me what you think about it. Tip when it comes to cooking/baking, have a little faith in yourself. Trust me, I don’t create recipes because I’m good at it. It takes a lot of failures for me to perfect one recipe or to be confident enough to just wing it in the kitchen. I really hope you enjoy making this as much as I did. The end result was worth it 🙂

Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies

I spent my Saturday afternoon baking avocado cookies and totally…creating a recipe. It’s ‘Macros March’ for me and I was desperately craving for desserts. The next best thing my mind decides is why not I make a healthier version of cookies so I don’t feel that bad eating too much. I know they don’t really look the best but hey, Mun Choong approved of it so…ladies and gentlemen, here’s my

AVOCADO CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup of gluten free flour
  • 2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 5 tablespoons of coconut sugar (you can substitute it with brown sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups of dark chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 of avocado (mashed)

INSTURCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C and line your tray with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, cream the avocado and sugar until light and fluffy with a whisk or a fork.
  3. Add in the vanilla extract and egg and mix it into the creamed avocado.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the avocado mixture.
  5. Combine well until batter is sticky then using a spoon, fold in your chocolate chips.
  6. Using a small spoon, scoop the batter and drop it on the parchment paper on the tray.
  7. Bake 12-15 minutes or until it is lightly browned.
  8. Completely cool off the cookies before serving!

 

Voila! Done. It was easy and so fun to make as well. As you can tell, all my recipes don’t take much time to make so feel free to share your feedback after trying this out so I could improve the recipe. I haven’t tried substituting the sugar with agave nectar or honey yet but if you, dear reader, ever do substitute it, do let me know by leaving me a comment at the bottom of this post. I hope you enjoy making this AND eating the cookies as much as I love doing so.

Tortellini Recipe.

Last week during lunchtime, as I was walking out of the office for lunch, I had the sudden urge of wanting to eat gnocchi and tortellinis from my favorite restaurant. So then, a thought ran through my mind that went “Why don’t I make my own tortellinis so I could put whatever filling I want in them?!” And…I came home with a bag of flour, eggs, mushrooms and I was on an adventure to make my own tortellinis. I searched for recipes about pasta dough and honestly, they really do remind me of ‘Pan Mee’ except for pasta, it has more eggs  than water in the dough. Rolling the dough was a real arm workout but hey, if the Italians can do it, I believe I can do it too!

As you can see in the picture above, my tortellinis were in different sizes because I didn’t know how to properly wrap it. But fret not for it’s been a week and I’ve been better at making pasta now. Practice makes perfect, right? The best part about tortellinis, you can fill in with anything you want. Minced meat, vegetables or cheese and you can serve it with whatever sauce you prefer as well! Yes, it’s that easy. Even I didn’t expect it to be this easy! I’ll write in the recipe for the filling I’ve made which is mushrooms & herbs.

SO HERE’S MY TORTELLINI RECIPE.

INGREDIENTS (Pasta Dough)

  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (or Tipo OO Flour), plus extra for dusting
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large bowl (or on a clean surface if you prefer), mix the flour and salt.
  2. Add in your eggs and the oil.
  3. So here’s the fun part. You have to rub your palms with oil and start kneading the dough on a flour-dusted surface. Knead the dough until it no longer sticks to your fingers or when it’s smooth and elastic. The dough shouldn’t be too wet or dry so if it’s too dry, tweak it a little by adding water or if it’s too wet, add more flour. Once it’s done, wrap it with cling wrap tightly and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.
  4. Use a rolling pin (or a noodle machine) and start rolling your dough. If you’re using a noodle machine, divide your dough into tiny balls to be rolled into the machine.
  5. For tortellinis, roll it to about 1mm thick.
  6. Use a round cookie cutter (I used a metal cup for this) and cut the flattened dough into circles.
  7. Place your filling in the center of a dough circle.
  8. Dip the tip of your index finger into water and brush half of the circle dough.
  9. Fold the circle into half (As shown in the pictures above).
  10. Brush one tip of the half circle with water, and fold it in making it look like a little dumpling.

If you’re not going to eat it immediately, put the tortellinis into the freezer and it will last for 1 week! If you’re eating immediately, boil your tortellinis in salted water for about 10 minutes or more (this depends because it doesn’t necessarily means that if the tortellini is floating, it’s cook. So to be safe, just lift one up and try it first to see if the dough is cook). Serve with whatever sauce you prefer. I love mine with mushroom or chicken soup. If you like yours to be in white sauce or tomato sauce, go ahead 🙂

 

PS : This dough recipe is pretty versatile. You can make raviolis, linguine, tagliatelle and lasagne as well! All you just have to do is cut into the desired shapes that you want and you’re good to go. You can even add spinach or other food coloring if you want. You can make colorful pastas too.

 

Mushroom & Herbs Filling

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 clove of garlic (minced or chopped)
  • 200 grams of oyster mushrooms (cut into small pieces)
  • 1 can of button mushrooms (cut into small pieces)
  • 1 carrot (cubed)
  • 2 teaspoons of Rosemary
  • 3 teaspoons of Parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • A pinch of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of light soy sauce (Depending on your taste buds, you can add more if you like)
  • Extra virgin olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a non-stick pan on medium heat, grease it with olive oil and sauté the garlic.
  2. Add in the mushrooms and carrot. Sauté them and add in the rosemary and parsley.
  3. Add the pinch of brown sugar to the mushroom and carrot along with the light soy sauce.
  4. Stir fry until golden brown and serve! 🙂

 

 

 

All visuals and words belong to Win W.™ unless stated otherwise.