How You Can Make the Perfect Salad for Any Occasion

From vinaigrettes to Caesar, salad is a dish can either be a side dish or a main course depending on what you add to the mix.

And because there are so many ways you can make a salad, there are also just as many ways you can get it wrong. Here are a few guidelines on how you can make the right salad for any occasion:

  • Wash the vegetables first. This applies whether you bought them at the wet market or at the supermarket. Running them through water and giving them a generous shake in the colander (sealed with aluminum foil) will get rid of any debris in your greens that could ruin the salad.
  • Make the dressing. Dressings are surprisingly easy to prepare. For instance, homemade vinaigrette is simply made of a ratio comprised of three parts oil to one part vinegar. You can even mix in mustard and honey to taste.

Once you start doing this, you’ll find that even the dressing will taste so much better when you make it yourself. 

  • Season your greens! What makes restaurant salads stand out is the seasoning. Even with greens, pro chefs make it a point to introduce a sprinkling of salt and pepper to enhance the flavor.
  • Mix up the said greens. Aside from the seasoning, adding a little variety in your veggies elevates the salad’s overall flavor as well. Fresh herbs also count as greens in their own right, such as cilantro, parsley, and basil, so try giving them a shot when looking for some diversity.
  • Don’t fear the fat. Fat doesn’t have to be wholly unhealthy. In fact, in the right amounts, it can greatly enhance the flavor of your vegetable dish. The best part about them is that they don’t even have to come from meat – avocado, toasted nuts, and chees are all excellent flavor enhancers for your leafy greens.
  • Add the dressing last. It’s easy to forget the dressing when preparing the right combination of vegetable for your salad, but it’s just as important.

While you have the choice of simply leaving on the side, you can always add it in beforehand and distribute it to coat your greens evenly. The trick to keep them from wilting is by adding them only just before you eat, and by adding only a little at a time.

The good news is that vegetables are cheap and easy in Singapore, and you can make just about any salad you want depending on the occasion.

You can even add all types of meat or dressing in your salad if you want – nobody said they had to be healthy!

3 Easy Steps to Find the Right Footwear for Any Occasion

Finding the right footwear is slightly trickier than what you first thought – and it can take a lot of time when you don’t know what you’re looking for.

To save yourself time, here are five steps you can take when choosing footwear:

  1. Consider how your foot is shaped

Size isn’t everything, after all, and the last thing you want is for your shoes to not fit well with your feet when you need them to the most.

Your needs will be different depending on how wide or narrow your foot is. If you really want to feel comfortable, take into account your length, the shape of your arch, and how it swells throughout the day.

  • Consider the occasion

Your shoes should match your outfit and the occasion that you plan on attending. Men’s choices can range from black leather dress shoes for galas and other formal events, canvas shoes for beach and other casual activities, and another all-around pair of loafers, moccasins, or even sneakers and canvas shoes for other types of occasions.

For women, the choices are more varied: open-toed shoes and sandals for galas or casual settings, while closed-toe shoes are more suited for formal or business attire. Other types such as flats or slip-ons are used more for everyday use.

But aside from events, work shoes also need to be considered based on their comfort and durability that will help you do your work with ease. Nurse shoes are a great example of this since they let offer a great deal of both for long hours of walking and running around the hospital.

  • Consider quality

Good footwear is an investment, so you shouldn’t let the price alone dictate your purchase.

In fact, high quality shoes will not only offer you more comfort, but they will also last you a long time. As long as you take good care of them and clean them properly, you don’t have to keep bringing them to a shoe repair to get them fixed.

High quality footwear is also much easier to clean and repair, especially when it comes to polishing or hidings scuff marks, or nailing a broken heel back in place.

Whether it’s formal or casual, it’s footwear that completes your outfit’s ensemble. These days, you have all kinds of choices when it comes to the right shoes depending on your mood and the clothes you like to wear, so be sure to pick the one that works for you.

If you’re not sure about how you can color-code your shoes to match your outfit, don’t fret: you can always go with black as it’s the safest and most versatile option.

6 Natural Appetite Suppressants

Over the years, overeating has become a serious issue and is one of the major culprits of the most complex health issues we have today, including obesity, liver problems and heart health issues. There are many reasons why you feel like eating all the time, including lack of fiber or protein, fatigue, stress or nutrient deficiency. However, it doesn’t always have to be this way. Including these natural appetite suppressants to your diet can help control your appetite and the chances of overeating without the negative side effects that diet pills can cause you.

  1. Almonds

A handful of almonds is already enough to provide you your daily dose of vitamin E, magnesium and antioxidants. It is also said to increase thee feeling of fullness and, therefore, help with weight management. So, instead of having a slice of cake in the cafeteria when you’re hungry, stock up on some almonds on your desk for quick, healthy snacking.

  • Avocado

Full of heart-healthy fats and fiber, avocados are great suppressants when consumed moderately. In fact, the monosaturated fats present in these mushy greens send signals that tells your brain that you’re full.

  • Apples

All varieties of apples help curb hunger for many reasons. First, apples are rich in pectin and soluble fibre, which helps you easily feel full. Apples also help boost your energy and regulate your glucose level. Lastly, apples require more chewing time, which slows the eating down and gives your body more time to realize that you have been eating enough and that your body is not hungry. 

  • Dark Chocolate

If you love chocolate but afraid you might actually devour the whole bar, try slowly savoring a piece of dark chocolate with 70 percent cocoa the next time you crave. A little bit of dark chocolate helps control your cravings as the bitter taste decreases naturally suppresses the appetite. Not to mention the presence of steric acid in it that helps slow down digestion to make you feel full for longer.

  • Oatmeal

While it’s high in carbs, oatmeal has a type of carbs that are slow digesting, which keeps you full for longer hours after breakfast. Also, oatmeal is on glycemic index. Just make sure to get the steel-cut oats to get the most health benefit.

  • Tofu

Tofu, a plant-based protein, is not just for vegetarians. It is rich in isoflavone, which has been shown to suppress appetite and helps control your food intake. An easy way to incorporate tofu into your diet, add it to your next stir-fry dish.

Hunger and appetite are the culprits of ruined diet. You can try ignoring them, but snacking on these will help satiate your food cravings and control your appetite.

Your Zero Waste Living Starter Pack

Just imagine the packaging involved in every product you’re using. Now, multiply that with over millions of other people all over the world. That’s a lot of trash, isn’t it? Since we all want to save Mother Earth, let’s start minimizing the trash by doing some small, individual actions. How can you help reduce the million pounds of waste produced every day? Let’s take a look at these five products to kickstart your journey to zero-waste lifestyle.

  1. Menstrual Cup

Standard menstrual tampons and pads are typically made of plastics and does pile up in sewers and landfills after they are thrown away. Menstrual cups, on the other hand, are reusable products for up to 10 years, which therefore can help drastically reduce landfill waste. It is made of medical-grade silicone that’s not helpful to the environment but also safe for your lady bits.

  • Virgin Coconut Oil

We have all heard the wonders of virgin coconut oil. This multitasking product can serve as alternative to multitude of bottled products on you can usually find in your bathroom and even kitchen shelves. You can use it as healthy substitute to butter and cooking oil, as well as moisturizer, makeup remover and hair serum. Just be sure to grab one in reusable package.

  • Reusable Cloth Pantyliners

For those quite hesitant to use menstrual cups, there is another eco-friendly alternative you can use—reusable pads and pantyliners. These products are more absorbent than their disposable counterparts and feels more comfortable on the skin. Bonus point: they can last up to  five years with proper care and washing.

  • Shampoo Bar

Lather, rinse, repeat—we do that all the time using shampoo packed in plastic bottles. Unfortunately, millions of these bottles make their way into the ocean every day. Shampoo bars are recently developed with the goal to minimize household waste. Most of these products are made with biodegradable materials and does not come in plastic bottles and eventually becomes waste.

  • Reusable Cutlery and Straws

Plastic spoons and forks are the bane of takeaway food—and of single-use plastic problem in the planet.  Good thing you can do something to reduce production of such waste—by opting to use bamboo utensils. Yes, you will have to wash them after every use. But a minute or two of washing for your pair of utensils is no doubt a great exchange for lesser waste in landfills.

In the end, a low and steady pace wins the race. This major lifestyle change does not happen overnight, but small good choices adds up to make a big difference over time. Keep up the job of being an eco-warrior; every day gets better with your smart and eco-friendly decisions.

Reasons Why You Should Learn the Piano

In the past few years, initiatives and street piano movements like Play It Forward has helped promote the flourishing of music easily available for the masses. Some government schools even have put pianos in open areas around campus. But what does this actually lead to?

 Here are some reasons to try the piano out. Who knows? You might get to perform at a concert in the Esplanade Recital Studio, or even overseas.

Relatively easy to start with 

Piano can be a really good foundation when you’re starting to get into music. This is because you can get a picture of the notes, scales, and pitches as they are already displayed thoroughly. Learning the piano can also be thought of as an introduction to music theory because it gives the best impression of how music generally works. This is why you see kids as young sa 4 already playing the piano as their first instrument. It is also very easy to learn now in our time because of the internet. You can get lessons online or even watch videos on YouTube for free.

Helps with brain function

Learning to play the piano will improve the coordination between your body and mind. Just like with other musical instruments, playing the piano can help the signals between our hands, muscles and the brain establish better connections. The brain also gets quite the workout when we play piano. Our left and right hands are executing completely different movements from each other while the brain has to focus on both. As we improve, we get to better interpret and execute what we have learned through muscle memory and cognitive processing.

Helps with relaxation

It has already been established that playing music greatly reduces anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate. For the piano specifically, the feeling that you get from pressing on the keys can be quite relaxing. Think about the time when you were so stressed out that you just want to press hard on certain things. You can somehow get that feel when playing the piano, but of course, in a much calming way. Playing on a traditional piano, though, can be especially satisfying as you can feel the vibrations of the strings as you press on the keys.

Makes you a better musician

If you didn’t learn piano as your first instrument though, learning it now can help make you a more well-rounded musician. The piano is already a pretty versatile instrument in itself and in almost every genre, a piano is being employed. Additionally, because the notes in the piano are already arranged in succession, this allows you to play the treble and bass clefs with both hands at the same time. This is something you cannot do with the guitar, for example. With the guitar, you can only play either the bass or treble clef at one time because you use one hand for the scales and the other for strumming.

Why You Should Stop Trying to Multitask

Singaporeans, like many other people around the world, like to be on their phones while walking. The dangerous part is, we do it all the time. Even while crossing the road! Multitasking doesn’t only spell dangers for us in the forms of accidents, it can also affect our mental well-being.

1. We’re not made to multitask

Our mind simply cannot focus on more than one task. Many people seem to think that they are great multitaskers, but as much as they take pride in this, it’s simply just an illusion. In fact, a study by the University of Utah showed that those who tend to do a single thing at a time scored better on an actual multi-tasking test because they were able to focus on the task they were given.

2. You make more mistakes

When we juggle between doing multiple tasks, it becomes normal to make more mistakes. This is simply because our brain becomes divided with doing too many different things at once. When this happens, the information that we process overlap with other information in another thing that we’re doing, leading to us making more errors. 

3. It slows you down

Now in connection to what was said earlier, you slow down because you now have more mistakes to fix. Even without taking the mistakes into account, it might take you longer to finish two projects when you’re switching back and forth between them compared to separately focusing on each one.

4. It dulls creativity

When we use our attention on too many things at one time, we exhaust our working memory.  Our working memory, in simple terms, holds the temporary information that we use to finish a task. If our working memory is spent, our brain doesn’t have time to “sit back” and put information together. This, as a result, dulls our capabilities to think creatively.  

5. Increase anxiety and stress

When we multitask, our body and mind gets stuck in high alert mode. When we’re doing a lot of things at once, making even just one mistake can snowball into bigger problems and giving us more stress. Especially if we’re chasing the clock, we get anxious and stressed out when things don’t go the right way. And most of the time the reason things don’t go right is brought about by our multitasking.

6. It can affect memory

You may think that multitasking helps you handle your work in the present, but as you get older, things won’t be the same. When we stop doing something and immediately shift our focus to another, it can mess up our short-term memory. Think about walking while looking at your phone, for example. You’re obviously going to miss critical information about your surroundings while you’re on your phone.

4 Easy Steps to Make Chocolate at Home

Chocolate: it’s healthy, it’s delicious, and it’s versatile in so many ways. You can eat it for an afternoon snack yourself, include it as filling in pastry, or add with other types of other confectioneries or even fruit for an extra-sweet treat.

All things chocolate come from the cacao tree’s fruit, which is a pod shaped like a football. Inside this pod are cacao seeds, which are much more valuable than the fruit itself.

Chocolate is also surprisingly easy to make at home, without the need for any fancy kitchen tools or equipment. All you need are the following ingredients:

  • Cocoa powder (2 tablespoons)
  • Sugar (1/2 cup)
  • Flour (1/4 cup)
  • Water (1 cup)
  • Butter (3/4 cup)
  • Milk (2/3 cup)
  • Powdered sugar (1/4 cup)

Once you have your ingredients, you’re set to makeyour own chocolate!

Instructions on Making Home-Made Chocolate

1. Mix the cocoa powder and butter in a processor (or do it manually in a container) until the resulting mixture reaches a paste-like consistency. Once done, add ¼ cup of water to a pan. Place the bowl on top of the water.

2. Place the mixture in the bowl and heat the water. Once the mixture reaches your desired temperature, remove the bowl from the pan and mix it again until it smoothens.  

3. Add sugar, flour, and milk to the cocoa-powder-and-butter mixture and continue to mix to ensure that lumps or air pockets do not form. (Make sure that the milk is at room temperature when you do this.)

4. Once the mixture appears smooth and uniform, pourthe mix into molds and place them in the fridge to harden for about thirtyminutes. Ta-da! You now have your very own batch of home-made chocolate.

What Goes With Chocolate

While chocolate is quite amazing on its own, it works even better when paired with other types of foods that make for the perfect afternoon snack.

Here are a few things that you can do with chocolate for an added twist to your favorite sweet treat:

  • Fruit in chocolate ganache – Because fresh strawberries and bananas paired with chocolate is never boring. If you have a more daring palate, you can even experiment with other fruits such as cherries, grapes, and even pineapple chunks.
  • Chocolate-caramel slice – With caramel and nuts, you can take it one step further by layering them on top of one another and letting them bake in the oven. Pair it with your favorite warm drink, sit back, and relax.
  • Chocolate-chip cookies – Harden your chocolate batch back into chips and add them to your batch of cookie dough. You can even play around with your chocolate recipe to give your cookies an extra kick.

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