The Chronicles of a Strange Vannessa

Life in allergies, healthy living, and being a mermaid on the beach.

It’s been a long while since I’ve updated. Or rather, it feels like it.

What’s new? Let’s see.. I ran my 2nd half-marathon ever as a Sundown Ambassador and clocked 2:28 after the most exhausting period at work so i was pretty happy with that. Now I’m an ambassador for the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2015! I’m slowly getting a footing on my career plans when I start a new chapter of my life in Melbourne next year, and am raring to get down and dirty into market research, branding and product development/testing all over again. I plan to eventually set up my own business there, after working for a little more in Australia just so I get a clearer footing in the local market’s demands and needs. I’m REALLY excited about that :)

Sean and I have been wonderful and sometimes we question how we’re doing this long-distance thing so well – but I think the formula to it is pretty straightforward, and we’re surprised at its effectiveness as well. Just being honest, trusting, and communicating well and clearly…understanding each other’s needs and always moving forward/growing together. Now there’s a possible option of Sean being posted to the UK or USA for a couple of months next year, right before I move over in July. If that works out (and I urged him to take up the opportunity if it presents itself), we would continue our long-distance relationship to an even longer-distance relationship haha. The timezone difference would be nothing short of insane.

But that’s that! I’m flying down to Melbourne again this coming weekend. I haven’t seen Sean in 3 months, so we’re both a little delirious to be able to see each other again!!!!!

chwee-kueh

I’ve also been going through a couple of food fads recently. I love chwee kueh. I’ve loved it since I was a little girl and eating 10-cent chwee kueh from the small market at Jurong East. I am now 23 years old..and I still have an unwavering love for chwee kueh. To the point where I asked my mom & Joey if we could go to Tiong Bahru market to eat chwee kueh of epic proportions.

Pardon the above picture. I was so excited about my chwee kueh that it slipped and slid all over the tray on my hurried scurry back to the table. And this was after the grouchy lady took the orders of 3 men behind me in the queue, and then told me off loudly on not voicing out my order (I was patiently waiting for her to acknowledge me for my order as she was busy but I guess I’m not “garang” enough :( ). Under normal circumstances, I would’ve been quite affected and sad at being humiliated in public because a chwee kueh auntie told me that “the whole world is not going to wait for you to open your mouth”. But I was THAT excited to eat my chwee kueh. All the negativity melted away.

Story of my life. Can fight clients, cannot fight chwee kueh aunties.

tiongbahru

But anyway, I was taking a picture of the hawker centre to send to Sean (he loves hawker food thank God) and this was Joey’s face.

Also, if alcohol were remotely equivalent to hanjuku eggs, I think it’s fairly safe to say that I’ve been off on a bender for way too long. I’ve never been such a frequent customer of 7-11 in my life. It’s come to a point whereby I have strategically researched on which outlets near my work/home do and do not stock hanjuku eggs (the lone 7-11 in a private residential corner behind my condo and the 7-11 beside my office building are my main suppliers). The cashiers on certain shifts at the 7-11 behind my house recognise my face, my alarmingly chirpy demeanour upon discovering that the eggs were in stock, and the slightly crazed look in my eyes as I set a packet of eggs down on the counter for purchase.

Joey asked me how long I thought my adoration for hanjuku eggs would last.

To which I replied, “Forever“.

And then we found the fishcake stall that my dad used to buy fishcakes from. I fancied the longish, inappropriately dick-shaped one, I remember. Or the fishballs that were the size of tennis balls. I’d eat away the skin and then dig into the springy fishcake itself. As Joey and I pored over the selection of fishcakes, my eyes settled on the biggest one of all.

fishcake

^THIS.

The fishcake equivalent to the size of a small, cored pineapple. The fishcake comparable to a portion of the size of my round face (and that’s a feat). The fishcake of my dreams.

I proudly proclaimed my dedication to finish this fishcake in 1 sitting, and pondered if I should’ve bought one more.

My claims were soon falsified when I took 2 feeble attempts to finish the fishcake. I should’ve blotted some oil from it as well. But well…………………….what’s done is done.

Green juice anybody? Heh.

cacao bowl

I can safely say that I’ve given up chocolate ice cream. Or all ice cream in general, for bowls of banana ice cream. This chocolatey bowl is made from pure bananas and raw cacao powder, topped with organic granola, raw hazelnuts, cacao nibs & coconut mylk chocolate from Loving Earth.

Banana ice cream bowls taste so much better than ice cream to me now, and I can flavour them however I like – whether I want them sweet & milky, chocolatey, or punched with fruity flavours ranging from berries to peaches. The wonders that a Vitamix can do to change your life :)

Ingredients

3 frozen bananas
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
Handful of raw cacao nibs
Handful of raw hazelnuts
Loving Earth coconut mylk chocolate
Your choice of granola

Instructions
1. Blend bananas & raw cacao powder until smooth, creamy texture
2. Top with all the rest!

healthy-peanut-butter-cup This was quite by accident. I went to 3 different stores in search of rice malt syrup and failed miserably. So just so you know, the organic store at Rail Mall has no clue what rice malt syrup is, Fairprice Finest at Bukit Timah doesn’t have it, and The Marketplace at HillV2 doesn’t have it either.

Times like these I miss Melbourne with its vibrant healthy food scene. But then there’s Sean and the ability to travel 6000km in 7 hours via a large aluminium body hurtling through the sky.

So I’ll get my rice malt syrup in June ^___^

sunbutter-cup

These treats look like Reese’s peanut butter cups, but they’re not. They’re made from Sunbutter instead because peanut butter kills (me). It’s pretty healthy. The chocolate layer is made from cacao and sweetened with coconut sugar. My only gripe is that the Sunbutter layer melts quick in the humidity here. But then again, so does everything.

Here’s the recipe!

Ingredients

For the chocolate layer
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 tbsp cacao powder
2 tbsp coconut sugar
5 tbsp shredded coconut

For the sunbutter layer
2 heaping tbsp sunbutter
1 tbsp honey
3 tbsp coconut oil

Instructions
1. Mix sunbutter, honey & coconut oil in a bowl
2. Pour sunbutter mixture into cupcake liners laid in a muffin tray. Fill them halfway & chuck tray in the freezer
3. Stir cacao powder into coconut oil until it turns chocolatey
4. Stir in shredded coconut & coconut sugar
3. Take the tray out of the freezer & fill them all up with the chocolate mixture. Top with toasted coconut chips & freeze again.

Clean bibimbap

“You have never tried bibimbap?!”

That was the usual reaction I got from anyone who talked about bibimbap, was thinking of eating bibimbap, or was already devouring the mix of eggy yolk over a whole bunch of colourful looking ingredients in a heavy stone bowl. Well, I tried a pretty crappy “healthy” version of it this year. So I decided to re-create a healthy version of bibimbap on my own. (I really ought to be trying an authentic bibimbap soon actually)

It’s hardly any different I think. Instead of rice, I replaced it with quinoa tossed in lemon and a drizzle of sesame oil. And while I had beef bulgolgi still, I had raw grated carrots and cooked Chinese spinach and beansprouts on the side. A very simplified version of bibimbap. I’ll probably attempt a more adventurous/complex version further down the road. But this will do for now!

Ingredients
1/2 packet Chinese spinach
1 cup beansprouts
1 carrot, grated
Beef bulgolgi
1/2 cup quinoa
1 egg
Sesame seeds

Instructions
1. Cook the quinoa in a 1:2, quinoa:water ratio. Salt the water slightly for some flavour if you like. I toss my cooked quinoa in lemon juice and sesame oil after!
2. Cook beansprouts until it just turns translucent
3. Cook spinach in boiling water & drain
4. Grate carrot
5. Fry your egg
6. Plate ’em up & toss in gochujang sauce! (I made a healthy gochujang sauce out of honey, chili, sesame oil and minced garlic but wasn’t too happy about it although my mom loved it) (Get gochujang from your regular Korean mart for an easy fix!)

skate1

I took this baby out on the empty Mindef track near my house to give it a go, and wound up spending 2 hours learning to skate on my own. Last Monday, I brought my longboard to work and had a ball of a time with colleagues between 1 longboard, 1 skateboard, and a brand new scooter won from the Microsoft guys who came by to present at our office LOL.

skate2

After Facetiming with Sean for a bit on the eve of CNY, I headed out to ECP to go skate for a bit before picking Joey up from camp. Got a tiny cut on my left palm – not from carving (carving is BEYOND FUN) but from when I was tired and just rolling along slowly and about to take my phone out from my back pocket, and then my board hit a hardened, smashed palm fruit stuck on the pavement. I flew forward from the jerk and broke my fall with this hand haha. I’m such a doofus.

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Can’t wait to feel confident enough to hit some slopes and carve at a downhill speed…but I really really need to get some safety gear for that.

Longboards are gonna be my best friends in between surfs during Melbourne summers for sure!!!

15 more days before I get to see Sean again. YESSSSSSSSSS.

pomegranate & sunbutter granola bar

Along with my late discovery of Sunbutter, comes the incorporation of it into some form of a breakfast bar. Solely because Sunbutter has been, by far, the closest thing I’ve been capable of eating to peanut butter, that won’t kill me/send me into a week of being very sick. I tried a hand at making roasted pumpkin seed butter before but I wasn’t entirely happy with the texture.

So yes, it’s gotta be Sunbutter for now.

sunbutter breakfast bars

These bars are dairy-free, sugar-free, and completely raw & vegan with a nutty, chewy texture. The buckwheat groats give little pockets of crunch when you munch, so all’s good in my eyes :) Don’t laugh at the instructions below. They’re just that simple.

Ingredients
1 cup buckwheat groats
1/2 cup psyllium husk
1/2 cup raw hemp hearts
7 medjool dates
2 heaping tbsp of Sunbutter
Splash of oat milk

Instructions
1. Blend everything.
2. Mould into bars.

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Received this lovely subscription box last Christmas (I’m beyond late on this and while I would like to conveniently blame my life for being tossed up in the air – that’s not justifiable, sorry!!) and I’ve been meaning to follow up my post on Instagram with a quick review of this cardboard box of gifts. intheBOX is a quarterly subscription box service chockfull of trial sized, high quality, natural, healthy and eco-conscious products. Perfect for the consumer who wants to try EVERYTHING but not blow their money on full-sized products (i.e. me).

I was hit by strong, relaxing aromatherapy scents upon unboxing and honestly, there’s nothing quite like unveiling a box full of surprises because EVERYTHING consists of “OMG WHAT IS THIS DOES IT HAVE A SMELL?????”. I got soy wax melts in the scent “Ocean Breeze”, Japanese green tea, Sunyata aromatic dough, organic moringa powder, Theo10 natural balm, Coco Shambhala shower gel and lotion and a delicious (and very large) vegan cookie to nibble on. Subscription boxes tend to give consumers a whole load of crap to be honest, but intheBOX does a great job curating their products. Plus, the people there were so immensely kind to ensure none of the products in my box had any nuts in them (cue my nut allergy). And that alone completely made my day.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThe soy wax melts were my favourite – look at that colour!! As well as the organic moringa powder because well, I’m Smoothie Queen for a good reason. And I need to talk about the Sunyata aromatic dough because I was honestly just…a little bewildered at the thought of “aromatic dough“, but I read the instructions and took it out of its case. You’re supposed to mould and play with it and be relaxed by the specific essential oils infused into that blend. Kind of like Playdoh for adults.

So either I’m 1. Not all grown up yet or 2. Have a strange obsession with squeezing and pressing dough between my hands – I LOVE THIS THING!!!!! God bless my inner hippie. I am a 23-year-old child.

You can check out more info about intheBOX at their website here!

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