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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Light And Healthy Snacks For Lunch

My lunch today consists of 2 pieces of sugar-free rye buns with Moondarra garlic and chives cream cheese, Kerry Gold butter and seaweed.

I love rye buns as rye has resistant starches, which are "carbstars".  Carbstars are carbohydrates which are high in resistant starch. Resistant starch is so named because it resists digestion. Resistant starch is a weight-loss powerhouse because it does not get absorbed into the bloodstream or get broken down into glucose.

I read from health blogs that we should eat 10 – 15 grams of resistant starch per day. They say that, if you do this, you will kick up your fat burning by about 25%. Seems too good to be true doesn’t it? As long as the carbs are good for me, I'll be glad to indulge in them, moderately. Carbs are still carbs and we still have to watch our carbs intake at every meal every day.

I love Moondarra range of cream cheese:

Lots of chives and garlic in the Moondarra cheese:

Moondarra Cheese is quite simply the best flavoured cheese that you will ever taste. Made using a base of Australian cream cheese, a variety of natural ingredients are blended together using unique manufacturing process to create a wonderful assortment of flavours.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Why We Should All Exercise!

What's the secret to good health and longevity besides having good genes, eating healthily (and lesser too), getting enough restorative sleep, getting enough laughter each day, managing stress well and be socially connected?

Exercise and lots of movements daily!

In Bama, China, one of the world's "longevity villages", the people were outside, moving their bodies all day. People of all ages engage in physical activities like farming. Everything was done by hand because this remote area had no access to mechanical equipment like power tools until very recently and no televisions or computers. In this village, people live up to 100 years old and beyond. There are no obese people in Bama and it is rare to come across elderly people suffering from common health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, gout or even cancer. The people of Bama live such long lives that at age 70, one is still considered young enough to carry out demanding physical work. Though life is tough, people are happy. Many of the villagers have never been to a hospital.

Research data also shows that people who stay physically active get extra years of life. In a Taiwan study of more than 400,000 people, researchers found active people enjoyed an extra three years of life. They needed only a bare minimum of physical activity to prolong life — 15 minutes each day. The reason relates, in part, to heart health. It’s often said in the cardiology community that you are only as old as your arteries. If your arteries age, it wears out your brain, heart, and even kidneys. This is because by being physically active, you can slow the buildup of plaque in your arteries – and keep your heart and body healthy a lot longer.

There's this 85-year old lady living at my condo whom I really revere.   She exercises every morning, whether is rains or shines. Though she does not run, she does brisk walking, tai chi, qigong and even takes a public bus to the heart of KL city to do banking and run errands! Sometimes she walks to the nearby supermarket to get her groceries. She is also a frequent flyer travelling alone to Australia to visit her children and grandchildren. She's more active than most people half her age are and her complexion is silky smooth and flawless.

I just had to take a picture of this white-haired grandma to motivate you and you who still haven't gotten the inspiration to start an exercise regimen. Each morning, she would walk round the pool for over 20 minutes. Then she would work on her tai chi and qigong.

This former tailor who only started exercising regularly at a ripe old age of 60 has another health secret, which many people like myself often stop her on the street or airport to ask her.  Does she take any supplements?  Besides fish oil, she takes Brewer's Yeast regularly for the past 25 years. Apart from undergoing Lasik to fix glaucoma on her eyes, she has no major health issues.  And she told me that her secret to her good health is exercising everday and she won't sweat over the small stuff.

So does that motivate you enough to start exercising TODAY?

Only 25 percent of longevity is in the genes; the other 75 percent is lifestyle.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Healthy And Simple Lunches

Home-cooked is always the best, however simple it may be.  On most days, I'm very tempted to take the easy and fast way out, which is to get takeout lunch for Cass who comes home to eat after school. But OCD me will always change my mind after reasoning with myself why I should cook instead 😊

These are some of the home-cooked lunches that I whipped up in a jiffy on a school-going day:

A slice of grilled cheese on multi-grain toast; a slice of butter on toast;  boiled chickpeas with curry powder, cumin and salt; fruits of the day consist of red dragon fruit, guava, kyuri.

I used Emmentaler cheese from Emborg, which is the least salty of all the types of cheeses that I've tried. The sodium content is only 1g per 100gm.  It's pretty costly at RM16 for a pack of 8 slices.

As hungry as a wolf - Cass gobbling down her toast the moment she stepped into the house.  There's also a cup of cool and refreshing fresh coconut water for her to wash down her food.

Cha soba with Marmite soup, egg strips and seasoned Korean seaweed; grilled chicken drumsticks (leftover from previous night dinner); orange + apple + passion fruit + lemon + raw honey + goji berry smoothie; and of course her Izumio and Super Lutein to keep her healthy everyday.

Grilled turmeric palm sugar organic chicken drumsticks...

My mid-morning breakfast - a bowl of Marmite soup with scallions.

According to Telegraph.co.uk, science has proven that Marmite is actually rather good for you. In fact, the black stuff was considered so essential for a healthy diet that it was included in soldiers' ration packs during World War One and has subsequently been used to treat conditions ranging from malaria to malnutrition. And according to Huffingtonpost.co.uk, one daily teaspoon of Marmite could be seriously beneficial to brain health.

Pan-fried terriyaki + turmeric + palm sugar organic chicken fillet with caramelised onions, blanched broccoli and Korean seasoned seaweed with rice.  This was our previous night's dinner and I kept a small portion for Cass' lunch.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tom Yam Fried Rice

After a month plus of abstaining from curried food following my surgery on 29 May, I have been craving for spicy food lately.

Yesterday I cooked Tom Yam fried rice.  It's a very simplified version of the authentic Thai Tom Yam fried rice using instant Tom Yam paste and fresh kafir lime leaves.  It's a lazy dish to cook on a busy night, yet wonderfully delish.

I used only 2 tablespoons of Tom Yam paste from Mak Nyonya to suit the girls. You can add however much of Tom Yam paste that you desire, based on how fiery your palate is. I didn't want the girls to eat too spicy, lest they get a bad tummy ache or sore throat. Exam is just days away and they must be in their pinkest of health.

Instant Tom Yam Sauce
The thinly cut kafir lime leaves imparted a lot of flavor to the fried rice and gave it that Thai punch.  I also sprinkled some crispy flavored Korean seaweed to the fried rice to give this dish that more-ishness.

Tom Yam fried rice ingredients:
Cooked low-GI Basmati rice
Tom Yam paste
Lots of onions and garlic, chopped
Thai Fish sauce (optional)
Soy sauce
Chicken, cubed
Chopped scallions
Fried eggs
Kafir lime leaves, cut into very thin strips.
Tomato (optional)
Sweet corn kernel (optional)
You can basically add ingredients that you fancy like prawns, squids and pineapple - anything that's Thai.

Fry some scrambled eggs and plate up.
Brown onion and garlic
Add chicken and saute till cooked and browned.
Add in Tom Yam paste and stir fry till fragrant.
Add in rice, soy sauce, fish sauce, sweet corn, kafir lime leaves and chopped scallions.
Mix well and fry till the rice and all the ingredients are well mixed.
Plate up and decorate with more kafir lime leaves strips, fried eggs and seaweed.

I chose to cook this on a Tuesday night so that I can keep 2 portions for Drama Queen and Cass to bring to school for lunch as Wednesdays are co-curricular days.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Super Smoothies

I'm back at whipping up smoothies again after a hiatus of several months 😀🍹

What I like about making smoothies for the girls is that I can hide raw greens and superfoods like goji berries and almonds in it by blending and mixing them into a wonderful and refreshing drink that the girls wouldn't even be able to tell 😊

Besides, when we drink smoothies, we get our daily allowance of fruits and vegetables. Consuming the daily recommendations of fruits and vegetables can be a challenge. Blending a couple of servings of each into a smoothie helps ensure you meet your body’s daily nutritional needs.

Smoothies are also great for  our digestion. Nobody wants to experience constipation or indigestion. Let your blender help you “chew” your fruits and vegetables and ease the burden on your digestive system while you simultaneously consume plenty of dietary fiber to ensure excellent digestion.

Last week, I whipped up a concoction of  super smoothies.

Below: apple, orange, pineapple, lemon, raw honey and organic lettuce smoothie.  I only use organic greens for smoothies. Cass liked the smoothie so much that she gulped down 2 large jars of it.


I LOVE watching how the colorful fruits and veggies slowly turn into a beautiful hue of green when greens are added while they whiz in my Blendtec blender.

Below: mango, orange, lemon and alfalfa + broccoli sprouts smoothie.

Below: apple, orange, passion fruit, lemon, raw honey and organic goji berry smoothie.

I just love the vibrant orangy red color of the smoothie when goji berries are added.  My girls never like goji berries when used in cooking. They will single out all the goji berries from soups and chicken dishes. But when mixed into a smoothie, they have absolutely no issues with these super berries.

The number of healthy ingredients available for smoothies is practically limitless. After your basic fruits and vegetables, you can add an array of various spices, herbs, super foods and other health foods. The possibilities and combinations are endless. I love making smoothies for my family.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Organic Dinner - 13 July 2017

Tonight's dinner is 90% organic.  If I could afford it, I would want my meals to be 100% organic.

On the menu tonight is pork chop, baked beans with onion omelette, blanch vegetables, onion sauce to go with the pork chop, tomatoes and sliced kyuri.

Organic items on the plate are:
Pork chop from Berkcious free range Berkshire black pigs
Baked beans are organic from Bionova which I got from Green Wellness online shop
Tomatoes - certified organic
Eggs - not organic but are antibiotics-free and growth hormones-free
Vegetables - not organic but are free from pesticides
Soy sauce used to marinate the pork chop are organic
Tomato sauce for the onion sauce is certified organic, which I got from Green Wellness as well.
Brown sugar used to season the onion sauce is organic

Non-organic items are kyuri, onions and cooking oil.

The Berkcious free range black pig pork chop is SO tender and juicy. The girls and I love them.  I used 1 pack of free range black pig pork chop and another pack is non-organic pork chop from the Berkcious range and is also free from antibiotics and growth hormones.

Verdict: the free range black pig tastes way better in that the meat is more tender and juicier.

Even the basil leaves used as decor is organically grown in a pot in my little balcony.  I bought organic soil for my plants.

Organic baked beans from Bionova...

Berkcious free-range Berkshire ribeye from black pig ...

For RM32.08, there were only 5 thin pieces of pork slices, which is definitely not enough for my 3 piranhas! Next time, I have to get 2 packs.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Braised Chicken For Dinner And School Lunch Box

Ever since the mil left for Hawaii exactly a week ago, I still haven't found my mojo to cook yet 😩

I still dread cooking every day. But for the love of my 3 precious and the thought of eating outside food laden with oil, salt, sugar and MSG (SHUDDER!), I am trying to condition my mind to love cooking.

On my menu everyday are very simple dishes.  Yesterday, I dished out braised chicken with Chinese spices (star anise, cardamon, cinnamon, pepper) with soy sauce, thick sauce and sugar.  I used organic Kee Song chicken, organic soy sauce, organic thick sauce and organic brown sugar. This is an oil-splatter free dish.  I cooked a big portion and added some carrots in so that Cass and Drama Queen can have that for lunch in school the next day (today) as Wednesdays are CoCo days.

Veggie of the day was blanched cauliflower.

Today, I bento-ed the braised chicken drumsticks and brought them to school for Cass and Drama Queen. I also brought them each a packet of Izumio hydrogen water. They need the extra energy for a long and hot day doing co-curricular activities in school.

Cass has the tendency to leave her empty lunch boxes behind in school. Just last Wednesday, she left behind a stainless steel lunch box and only remembered to look for it yesterday after umpteen reminders from me.  When I opened the lid, OH MY GAWD, the stench of the mold was so overpowering that I almost passed out inhaling the toxic gas brewing inside for 7 freaking days!!  I soaked the lunch box for half a day with half a bottle of dishwashing liquid (almost!) and yet the stench was still lingering. I guess I will have to discard the lunch box 😓

So today, Cass and Drama Queen's lunch went into disposable plastic takeaway boxes.  And I stuck a note on the lunch box to remind them to bring the lunch box and cutlery home 😏

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Home Cooked Dishes

This is a throwback post on the yummy dishes that the mil whipped up just before she left for Hawaii.

Ribeye steak with homemade mashed potatoes.  I made the mashed potatoes. It was a no-rice dinner and the girls were so happy! Mashed potatoes are so easy to make and this batch that I made tasted so close to those sold at restaurants.  There are only 4 seasonings for the mash: pure butter, salt, fresh milk and coarse black pepper. I figured that the good brand of pure butter that I used gave it a creamy lift. This time, I didn't even bother to use the hand mixer. Cass and I mashed the potatoes with fork and spoon.  The mash tasted even better the next day.

Chicken cooked with rice wine, Bentong ginger and wood fungus; ribeye steak again (YAY from the girls!) with onion sauce and sauteed spinach. This was a meal high in iron, cooked especially for me as I was still then under my 1 month post-surgery 'confinement'.

Now that my total blood count has gone up, I am going easier on red meat.  Fibroids are believed to be a hormone-related disease. Therefore, consuming foods that impact hormone levels are thought to pose a risk. A diet high in meat, especially red meat, is naturally higher in saturated fat and added hormones than a diet limiting these foods. Diets higher in saturated fat have been linked to higher estrogen levels, which could worsen existing fibroids and may cause re-growth of fibroids in the uterus.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Healthy Snacks

This is my healthy breakfast today:

Overnight organic oats with chocolate milk, cranberries, toasted sunflower seeds and Marks and Spencer almond chocolate for the extra chocolaty oomph.

My wholesome breakfast - overnight oats, a packet of Izumio hydrogen water to zap away the free radicals in my body and a boiled guinea fowl egg (not in pic).

I also made smoothie for the girls - orange (2), apple (1), lemon (1), raw honey and stashed in a handful of Australian baby spinach for some greensome rawsome goodness.

Lunch for Cass and Drama Queen was pizza from Ficelle Boulangerie & Patisserie.  I made myself a bowl of ngai (mugwort) soup with chicken stock and 2 eggs. The girls don't like mugwort as it is slightly bitter.

Mugwort is a herb that is known for its medicinal benefits and is also known as artemisia iwayomogi. The herb is typically found in Asia, Northern Europe and North America. It is mostly taken as a tonic, to increase energy levels in the body, to dispel wind from the stomach and to aid fat loss.

Mugwort is also taken by women who experience irregular periods and other issues related to the menstrual cycle. The oil made from the extract of this herb can also be used to prevent early or untimely menopause. When it is ingested, it can cure a number of digestive disorders and help fight infections by preventing infections in the stomach.

In traditional Chinese medicine, burning mugwort in moxibustion heat therapy is one of the oldest forms of Chinese traditional medicine and is used to stimulate the flow of qi and maintain general health. It especially dispels cold and dampness

Monday, July 3, 2017

Outsmarting Her Mum

There's an article in today's newspapers on the health hazards of eating puffer fish. During lunch, I showed Cass the article and pointed out the picture of the puffer fish to her  to warn her never to eat puffer fish as the toxins in the fish are enough to kill an adult within hours.

Me - look at this article, Cassandra. This is puffer fish and it has toxins. Some fishermen are selling these puffer fish to restaurants.

Before I could continue explaining to Cass the dangers  of puffer fish...

Cass - yes I know. My English teacher told us about this fish many months ago. There is poison in certain parts of the fish and if we eat these parts, we will die. I also watched a video on puffer fish on You Tube called Brave Wilderness.  I love watching Brave Wilderness.

Later, as Cass was peeling the shell off a hard-boiled egg...

Cass - mum, do you know that you can boil eggs with baking soda so that you can peel boiled eggs easily?

Me - really? I didn't know about that! I only know that boiling eggs with salt can do the same.  How did you know that?

Cass - I watched it from You Tube too!

Look who's giving me Science lessons!  This little girl is definitely outsmarting her mum.

There we go again on the debate on whether TV / computer / mobile phones are good or bad for children. Allowing your kid to watch TV or watch You Tube from the TV / computer / mobile gadgets really ain't that bad after all  if appropriate programs are allowed within a set duration. You can reward your kid with  half an hour to an hour of screen time after homework is done, like what I am doing now. Cass likes to watch You Tube from our internet TV.  Educational programs are good.   You Tube is not always the the baddie as long as your kid watches educational videos and you monitor what your kid watches.