Category Archives: Food planning

Kiwis & fruits

It was such a terrific promotion and the kiwis were so sweet that I bought 3 boxes. The usual pack cost $6.95 for 4. This was $9.90 for 8 and came with a free container which I thought was fabulous for storing food neatly in the fridge.

These few months were really awesome with the season of sweet blueberries, kiwis and my all-time favorite New Zealand Fuji apples.

Thank you for dinner 

Z showed his appreciation for my home cooked dinners regularly. He was impressed with the selection of Chinese soups, meats, seafoods, pasta and more. Tonight (at the point of writing) was one such night.

“Mummy, the dinner is so nice. Thank you. All the food you cooked today and last time are so nice. Can you cook them again?”

I was thankful to have more hits than misses, and the simple fanfare put together had garnered his praises too. Most importantly, I was happy to provide MSG-free, reduced oil (or no oil), reduced sodium (or no sodium) and a good balanced of greens and meats to their diet.

I hoped this little act of mine in ensuring a good diet will keep them healthy in the long run. 

Definitely one of the most sinful meals cooked  

Baked eggs

I searched online for an easy baked eggs recipe. To be fair, it was not hard to do but my larder was sorely lacking all the fancy Spanish seasonings mentioned in the list.

Hence, I reinvented based on what I had instead.

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For 2 small ramekins, I used:
1 XXL tomato
4 brown button mushrooms
1 slice of ham
10g of cheddar cheese
4 eggs

Seasoning was based on what I had in my kitchen cupboard:
A dash of salt
1 tsp of Rosemary
1 tsp of all purpose seasoning (unsalted)
1 tsp of Italian mixed herbs

1. Chop tomato and cut the mushroom into preferred size (cubes or slices)
2. Add a tbsp of oil into saucepan
3. Sauté the tomato
4. Add the all purpose seasoning and Rosemary
5. Add the mushroom and mixed herbs
6. Pour mixture into ramekin
7. Stir in chopped cheddar cheese and ham
8. Add 2 raw eggs to the top layer
9. Set to bake at 180°C for 15min for cooked egg yolks or 3min shorter for runny eggs.

Under the weather

The weather had been rather harsh the last few months, no thanks to the heat wave and the haze.

Since the last time I wrote about how guilty I was when X contracted HFMD for the second time in his life, I was adamant that I would step up on the efforts to build up his immunity.

In our household, on top of ensuring that everyone in the family received their daily dose of vitamins from fresh vegetables and fruits, in particular kiwis and apples, as well as ensuring the kids drink sufficient water, I relied on a number of supplements and tonics.

Supplements: Nordic Natural’s Children DHA, Multi Vitamin Gummies and previously, probiotics for Z when he was eating poorly. The kids also occasionally took immunity booster as prescribed by the PD.

However, I felt that despite the fruits and regular supplements, they were not sufficient.

Occasionally, I would get the kids to eat Manuka Honey 5+ once a week. If they were sick or had ulcers, they would eat twice a day. For us, we would take the Manuka Honey 15+ as recommended by a friend. When we were on the verge of getting sore throat or runny nose-to-be, taking Manuka Honey in time helped to improve the situation. I would buy from Holland & Barrett because they usually had some kind of promotion for Comvita Manuka Honey.

Chinese Tonics: I never really realised how effective these tonics were till I experienced its goodness from daily consumption during pregnancy.

1. Yang sheng – It’s known to be a cooling tonic and should be taken when you feel like you are on the verge of falling sick. I find this particularly useful when going on long, cold holidays. There were times when we had colds coming up and this really kept the colds at bay.

How to use – Soak in hot water and drink when the water has cooled. You could repeat this till the herbs become bland.

2. Pao sheng – I usually get this confused with the properties of Dang sheng. If I did not recall wrongly, this was to boost alertness, energy levels and reduce fatigue.

How to use – Soak in hot water and drink when the water has cooled. You could repeat this till the herbs become bland.

3. Dang sheng – This was to boost immunity.

How to use – Boil with red dates and dried longan for 20minute or till the dang sheng had expanded to the max.

4. Bird’s nest – This was to boost immunity, according to most sources heard or read online. However, I would recommend cooking your own bird’s nests as opposed to buying the bottled ones. The taste and concentration would be better, and you could control or omit sugar in the serving.

How to use – Bird’s nests were kept in freezer to maintain their quality. Hence, they had to be thawed overnight. Once thawed, soak the bird’s nests in water for an hour and then picked out the dirt/feather/etc. After draining the tap water, add cool boiled water to the bird’s nest. Thereafter, steam the bowl of bird’s nest for 45min. Add rock sugar if desired, then steamed for another 15min. It could be served hot, warm or cool.

*Disclaimer: We buy our birds’ nests from Albert Centre.

**Cordyceps are great herbs too … But no one in the family could appreciate its unique taste, hence the lack of information on this.

Overnight oats

It has been a hit with Z and sometimes a miss with X.

Z enjoys it so much that he has requested for this to be his weekday breakfast and even has ideas on what I can add into his oats.

He has suggested cookies and banana so far.

What I would usually put:
1/3 cup of organic baby oats
1/2 cup of fresh milk (vanilla or chocolate)
1-2 teaspoon of Nutella
1/2 cup of strawberry yoghurt (or 1 tablespoon of yoghurt powder)
Fresh fruits (banana, strawberry)
Or dried fruits (raisins, dried berries)

I tried adding an oatmeal cookie which was filled with flaxseeds and what’s not. Z declared he didn’t like the nuts or seeds.

Everyone loved the chocolate-strawberry flavoured oats at the moment. Yay for that!

Nurturing green eaters

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/09/02/health/childhood-diet-habits-set-in-infancy-studies-suggest.html?referrer=

So it seemed that I had nurtured green eaters unknowingly. Their first foods, apart from cereal, had been 2-3 weeks’ worth of vegetable purees.

It set the stage for vegetable lovers.

And a relatively easier parenting path for us.

Whether the study was accurate or not, I guessed it was worth attempting to find out if it would work. No parent enjoyed any forms of battle, be it food or sleep.

Sequencing and the order of priority

My friends would know this about me – priority, priority and priority. I applied this a lot at work, at school, in personal life, in motherhood and yes, even at cooking.

One of the questions people loved to ask was how I managed to cook after work, and to keep it within 30min. While I did not cook anything fancy, it would usually still be a delicious home cooked meal of 2 dishes with rice. Delicious with the constraint that it bore minimal or no salt so that X could dine with us, hence, I still felt I had done a good job as well as ensuring a good mix of meat, fish and vegetables.

The fact that Z could tell me that he enjoyed dinner, despite being spoilt with dinners at restaurants, make me feel very appreciated.

Sequence to get things done – Example, say if I were cooking chicken soup & stir-fried vegetables with seafood:

1900h – Grab rice from fridge (and grab the plate of thawed food at the same time), pour the required amount into measuring cup, rinse rice, fill to desired water level and set to cook
1901h – Rinse soup pot, fill water and boil at stove.
1902h – Take seasoning from fridge (alternate with red dates, dried scallops, dried mushroom) or process other ingredients such as potatoes, carrots, pearl beans, celery, pumpkin, old cucumber, corn, apples, pears.  By the time you were done processing, the pot of water should be boiling so it would be time to throw the ingredients in.
1907h – Cut fats and skin from chicken thigh parts
1912h – Place chicken into pot of soup, set to medium heat after the soup boiled
1913h – Soak vegetables, rinse saucepan, wipe saucepan dry, add a little oil to the pan
1915h – Take onion and garlic from fridge to peel and chop or slice.  Once done, set side.
1917h – Clean the seafood (usually prawns or squids) i.e via shelling, cut into frying pieces, add a dash of salt and set aside.  Wash vegetables and cut to smaller pieces for frying.
1920h – Heat saucepan to high heat and add garlic/onion to stir fry till golden brown.
1921h – Add vegetables in and fry.
1923h – Lower heat to low, take the chance to wash the salt off the seafood and add to saucepan.  Stir fry further and taste.  If need be, add a dash of less salt fish sauce.
1926h – The vegetables dish is ready.
1927-1930h – The rice is probably ready by now.  Turn off stove fire for soup as it should be ready too.  Serve.

The second dish could also be alternated with simpler and faster dishes to prepare such as steamed fish, pan fried fish, baked fish, omelette (i.e. with ham, mushroom, sausages, prawns, leek, cheese and more).

Well, cooking was not so difficult, right?