4 Easy Microwave Recipes

Why beat yourself up trying to prepare an elaborate meal that will take hours? All you need for these 5 awesome meals if your trusty microwave oven.

Risotto Primavera

Ingredients: 350 grams risotto rice, 100 grams goat’s cheese, 175 mL white wine, 100 grams asparagus, 850 mL vegetable stock, 500 grams pea and bean mix, and torn mint leaves

Preparation: In a microwave-safe bowl, pour wine and 1/3 of the vegetable stock on the risotto rice. Microwave for 10 minutes while covered in cling film. Take out the bowl and stir the rice before adding the remaining stock then microwave again for 3 minutes while covered.

Take out and stir the rice to add asparagus and pea and bean mix. Microwave while covered for another 7 minutes. Take out the bowl then stir in mint and cheese. Let stand for 2 minutes before serving.

Microwave Enchiladas

Ingredients: 3 cups enchilada sauce, 1 ½ cups water, 12 corn tortillas, 1 ½ cups chicken broth, 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 cup shredded cheddar, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 2 tablespoons oil, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 3 tablespoons rice flour, ¼ cup red chili powder, and salt

Preparation: To make a sauce, heat oil in a pan then cook flour and spices for 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in water and chicken broth until smooth then bring to a boil. Finally, simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture looks thick.

To make a filling, mix a cup of enchilada sauce with chicken and cilantro until combined. Spread half a cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a microwave-safe pan. Dip the tortilla in enchilada sauce then spoon the filling and roll. Place these in the pan then spread the remaining enchilada sauce on top. Sprinkle with cheese before microwaving for 5 to 7 minutes.

Meat Loaf

Ingredients: 1 pound ground beef, 1 lightly beaten egg, 2 tablespoons mustard, 5 tablespoons ketchup, ½ cup bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons onion soup mix, ¼ cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper

Preparation: In a bowl, mix mustard, egg, 2 tablespoons of ketchup, salt, pepper, soup mix, and bread crumbs with ground beef. Once mixed, form mixture into a loaf then place in a microwave-safe dish with lid. Microwave for 10 to 12 minutes on high heat. In a separate bowl with lid, mix vinegar, ketchup, and vinegar to create a meat loaf sauce. Drizzle on the cooked meat loaf then microwave loaf again for 2 to 3 minutes.

Zucchini and Ham Frittata

Ingredients: 4 cups zucchini, 1 cup cooked and cubed ham, 4 eggs, 1 cup shredded cheddar, ¾ teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and 1 onion

Preparation: Combine onion and zucchini in a microwave-safe plate then microwave while covered for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain excess liquid and set aside. In a bowl, whisk eggs, salt, pepper, ham, and cheese until smooth. Pour this on the zucchini then microwave for 8 to 9 minutes.

What You Need to Know About Hypochondria

Did you know that there is a type of anxiety that causes a person to have serious fear of having an illness even if there is nothing wrong about them physically? It is normal for people to worry about getting sick, but for a hypochondriac, this worry is excessive, persistent, and can be debilitating.

What are the symptoms?

A person with hypochondria might focus on a particular illness, organ, or they could also fear various diseases. Symptoms exhibited include obsessive behavior such as talking excessively about an illness to family and friends, excessive worrying that he/she has an illness despite being cleared by doctors, regularly visiting the doctor because of minor abnormalities and even normal function like sweating or fast heartbeat, keen avoidance of places or food or activities that are associated with health risks, and expending a lot of energy learning about the disease/s.

In some cases, a hypochondriac might avoid going to the doctor for fear that they will be diagnosed with a serious illness like cancer. If these symptoms recur in six months or more, the person should be convinced to get help from a psychiatrist.

What triggers hypochondria?

The cause of hypochondria may be a result of a combination of different factors, just like any other anxiety disorder. A family history of the illness can influence a person’s outlook on body and health, as well as personal experiences of having survived or recently diagnosed with an illness. It can also be triggered by a near-death experience despite having been cleared by several doctors or it could start at a young age as a misunderstanding of how the body works.

In some cases, hypochondria is a result of a major life stress, a history of childhood illness or history of child abuse. Most patients who are diagnosed with hypochondria are also most likely to suffer from other psychiatric illnesses such as generalized anxiety disorder, major depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Can it be treated?

Although some patients with the disorder have been diagnosed with the illness they fear, sometimes the symptoms are mild and treatable. Treatment therefore should not address the illness they fear but the person’s psychological reaction. Treatment begins with the recognition of a family member or a loved one that the person needs professional help. This is to help the person keep functioning normally at work or school, home, and community; to ease the distress felt by the person; and to discourage the person from depleting the resources for the numerous hospital trips.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most effective way to address the problem, preferably with a doctor that the person knows and trusts. That’s because mistrust with other doctors who have previously cleared the patient of the real or imaginary disease can also be a factor during the treatment. Medication might not be necessary if the person does not suffer from other psychiatric illness.

What is Sleep Paralysis?

Ever had an experience when you could not move or speak even when you know you’re awake? Sleep paralysis is quite a common occurrence and may be triggered by different factors.

When does it happen?

There are two instances when sleeping paralysis can happen. Most people experience it when they are waking up from sleep or when they are about to fall asleep. Remember that there are stages the brain goes through when sleeping; that moment when you are about to final fall asleep is called predormital form, while that stage when you’re about to wake up is called postdormital form.

Some people who experience sleep paralysis more often than most have a condition called parasomnia and is associated with other symptoms that point to a sleeping disorder.

How does it happen?

When you go to sleep, your brain has to go through a phase called atonia to feel relaxed. But there are times when atonia happens while you are awake, that is why sleep paralysis happen specifically at those moments already mentioned above.

This is also why people who have experienced it tell you that they are aware of what is happening and are trying to do their best to move or speak. It can be scary, but most people have experienced sleep paralysis at least once, so it is not usually a sign that you have an illness.

Is it nightmare?

For most of human history, sleep paralysis was associated with nightmares. It was only when the stages of sleep were understood that the two were differentiated. Nightmares usually happen during slow-wave sleep, that is why most people having nightmares might be difficult to wake up because they are in deep sleep.

Nightmares also tend to happen in the early part of sleep, while sleep paralysis often occurs at morning or when the person is about to wake. Sleep paralysis tends to cause hallucinations, which is why it is often confused with nightmares.

These hallucinations make the person feel as if there is a threat around, such as ghosts, aliens, and monsters. There are also testimonies that people also go through an out-of-body experience during sleep paralysis or there is an entity sitting on their chest or abdomen.

How can it be prevented?

There is no proven method to prevent sleep paralysis, but there are things that you can do that might help you get better sleep overall. These include not falling asleep on your back, follow a regular sleeping schedule, learn to relax before sleeping, and to avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol before bedtime.

If sleep paralysis happens often, you might want to consult a behavioral therapist to help you. Sometimes it can be triggered by stress, lack of sleep, and mental distress.

If sleep paralysis happens often, you might want to consult a behavioral therapist to help you. Sometimes it can be triggered by stress, lack of sleep, and mental distress.

What should you do when you experience it?

Even experts don’t know what to do when it happens but knowing that it is happening to you can help you calm down instead of panicking. Fortunately, it’s not dangerous, just scary.

A Very Simple Guide to Men’s Skin Care

Usually, the last thing on a man’s list of priorities is skincare. Most like to talk about exercising regularly, having nice haircuts, etc. But they almost don’t talk about cleaning their faces, what type of moisturizers to use, and other such things. Why is that though?

Why men usually don’t care about skincare

Actually, it’s pretty obvious that they don’t talk about skincare because they think of it too much as a “feminine” thing to do. But the thing is, skincare is just like shaving or brushing your teeth, it’s simply basic hygiene!

We have skin too, and our skin has issues that need to be solved just like women’s. That’s why you should start getting rid of the mindset that skincare is only for the ladies. 

The basics

If you’re already convinced and want to start investing in keeping your face clean and healthy, here are some basic things you need to know.

  • Cleansing

As the name suggests, cleansing is about washing your face and using some product to get rid of any dirt that’s stuck in your pores. That being said, you will cleanse at night rather than in the mornings.

This is obviously because your face is still clean as you wake up but when you go home at night, it should have already gathered dirt. You wouldn’t want to leave all that dirt in your face before you sleep if you don’t want to get acne and other skin problems!

  • Protection and moisturizing

There are many things around us that can damage our skin. One, you already know about the heat in Singapore. Of course, too much heat and exposure to sunlight can irritate our skin. Two, there’s smoke from cars and also industrial chemicals that pollute the air.

So aside from cleansing, you should also find ways to protect your skin. Before going out, apply a moisturizer that has SPF. Even if you’re not going to the beach, sunscreen will be a great addition to protect your skin.

There many other things you can do, but these two are the best to start with. Here’s also one thing you should remember:

Do your research

Before you go buying any kind of product, you should do your research first. The most important is to know your skin type. If you have oily skin, for example, you should buy a non-comedogenic cleanser or moisturizer.

If your face is oily, it’s easier for sebum to gather in your pores. Having a non-comedogenic product helps you avoid this. If you didn’t know this and you just went around buying whatever kind of product, it would have had the opposite effect.

Coffee Alternatives for Coffee Addicts

If your doctor ordered you to stop taking more caffeine and yet you need your coffee fix, you can substitute these healthy and filling options instead.

Water

Nothing beats clean water when you’re thirsty. It doesn’t have caffeine and added sugar after all. Drink at least half a gallon of water a day to fight off fatigue, hunger, and dehydration.

Tea

It still has caffeine, so you need to pick green tea instead of regular tea which ahs about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. Green tea or matcha helps you concentrate at work because it has memory-enhancing properties. If green tea isn’t to your liking, there are other types of tea not made from the tea plant (Camellia sinensis).

Probiotic Drink

There are dozens of probiotic drinks to choose from in markets in Singapore. Not only do they taste good, but they are packed with the good stuff to help balance the bacteria in your digestive tract. You can substitute this healthy drink for coffee on your break time.

Sparkling Water

If you want something with more kick than plain water, sparkling water is your best bet. It is sugar-free, hydrating, and delicious as long as you choose varieties made with fruit extracts.

Coconut Water

Instead of coconut smoothies, choose coconut water which has natural sweeteners and is packed with enzymes and electrolytes to help you replenish lost nutrients after a hard day’s work. It’s not only a healthier substitute to coffee, it also works better than energy and sports drinks.

Hot Apple Cider

The tangy taste of the apple cider will remind you of coffee, plus it contains natural sweeteners and will help you feel energized in a lazy rainy morning.

Fruit or Vegetable Juice

You can’t go wrong with fruit or vegetable juices that are made from fresh products. They are easy to make, delicious, and contain less sugar than the juices sold at stores. It’s easy to create fruit juices at a home with only a few items in less than 10 minutes.

Fruit or Vegetable Smoothie

Have fun creating different smoothies from fresh fruits and vegetables, which are packed full of vitamins and nutrients you will not get in a cup of coffee. All you need to create a variety of smoothies is a food processor or blender and an ice maker.

Yerba Mate

This type of drink will remind you of tea and contains slightly less caffeine than coffee. It’s made from the leaves of the holly tree which contains natural caffeine. What’s great about it is that it can also be prepared in so many ways similar to how you make tea and coffee. This is a recommended substitute if you have caffeine sensitivity and jitters. It won’t make you less sleepy, but it almost has the same effect as coffee.

Handy Tips for All Fitness Beginners

So, you’ve finally taken action on your New Year’s resolution of going to an ActiveSG gym (or any gym for that matter). The thing is, going to the gym or starting a fitness regime, in general, is a learning experience. You will make mistakes at the start and, of course, that’s okay. But, there are some mistakes that may affect your progress in the long term without you noticing. So, here are some things you should take note of to keep things smooth during your first months of training.

Work with a trainer

We cannot stress enough how important having a trainer is when you’re just starting out. If you’re going to the gym for the first time, it’s only natural that you’ll feel anxious and intimidated. But having a trainer during those first few sessions will do wonders for your confidence and motivation. The simple idea that you have someone guiding you can be very reassuring. Of course, you will also be taught about the right exercises to do and how to do them correctly. This is important if you want to keep yourself safe from any injuries or accidents in the gym.

Your workout schedule

The thing is, you can always adjust your workout schedule in line with your daily activities. If you can go to the gym 5 times a week, that’s great. If you can only go three times a week, there are also workout plans that can be effective for that! Don’t worry too much about the schedule. What you should be focusing more on is being consistent with your time. Even if you can only go for 3 days a week, be sure to stick with it and not miss a day at all.

Do compound lifts

One of the most common mistakes beginners make is that they only do isolation exercises. Isolation exercises are movements that only involve one particular muscle. If you want to gain more muscle though, you have to focus on the compound movements. Basically, these are exercises that work multiple muscle groups. These are the bench press, deadlift, barbell squat, shoulder press, etc. Because you’re working multiple muscles at the same time, you’re making your workouts much more effective and time-efficient.

The importance of rest and recovery

Let’s say you have enough time to go to the gym for 6 days a week. When it’s your very first time, you’ll usually feel as if you can exercise for hours and days straight. Although that shows your great motivation, you will still need rest periods. If you don’t allow your muscles to rest, you’re beating them up to a point that they might not grow anymore. Plus, it’s during the recovery phase that your body can really maximize muscle growth!

Simple Things That Make You More Attractive

In Singapore, we’re lucky enough to get a lot of great dating spots. But, of course, finding a good dating spot is too easy compared to getting someone to actually like you. So, without further ado, here are some things you need to know to make you appear more attractive!

Taking the time to groom yourself

Let’s start with probably the most obvious thing that makes one attractive, grooming and looking clean. Of course, if you want a person to get attracted to you, it’s obvious that you should always look presentable. Having clean hair or a good haircut, appropriate clothing, and even good posture can mean a lot when presenting yourself to others. Grooming yourself well can show your value as a potential partner.

Smiling more

For one, smiling more makes you look more friendly and approachable. Interestingly, the effects of smiling can be more profound for females than males. When a woman smiles a lot, it can be very effective for attracting the opposite sex, but it isn’t the same case for males. Of course, that’s not to say that males aren’t attractive when they smile more. You can still do it and expect someone to at least notice you. 

Having a sense of humor

This is also another pretty obvious factor of attraction. Although males and females both consider sense of humor as an attractive trait, a man’s desirability is more affected by how funny they are. This is why it’s considered that women are more likely to like men who can make them laugh, while men are likely to choose women who respond to their humor well. A big part of why humor makes one attractive is because it shows that can always create a good mood. That simply suggests you are more fun to be with!

Being kind

More than anything, it’s being kind that awards you the most points in attraction. When it comes to having a certain “type”, people are almost always asked to choose between looks and personality. Of course, it would be great to have both but usually, having a good personality is more preferred. Simple acts like greeting a janitor, opening a door for someone, and being polite to a waiter, can be very appealing to many.

Not playing hard-to-get

Over the years, more and more people prefer choosing a partner whose thoughts and emotions they can easily understand. Before, people liked to keep their partners guessing. But today, that’s proved to be less effective. If you think about it, it makes sense why we would prefer someone who doesn’t make us feel unsure about their feelings. Bottom line is, don’t play hard to get anymore or at least don’t do it too much!