Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pineapple & Coconut goodness

The first time I was introduced to this perfect combination was back in Uni - we had a cooking demo.It was delicious and I kept craving it after.

The benefits of consuming the pineapple core is the presence of Bromelain - which is an anti inflammatory. Pain is a sign of inflammation and bromelain is perfect in combating it. I experimented in consuming this smoothie during my menstrual cycle to reduce menstrual cramps - I was surprised by its effectiveness. Do experiment on this recipe and let me know if it works for you too.

Pineapple & Coconut smoothie

Serves 3-4
Quarter a pineapple, core inclusive
200 mls Ayam brand Coconut milk
500 mls chilled filtered water

Use a sharp knife and cut away the pineapple skin. Cut the pineapple into small cubes and place into blender. Add coconut milk  and water. Blend on high - serve chilled!

P.S. as pineapple can numb the taste buds, I recommend consuming this smoothie away from your main meal.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Pumpkin soup with coconut milk

October (Samhain) has passed and there are still reasons in being involved with pumpkin. Pumpkin has a natural sweetness when cooked and can be enjoyed stewed, steamed, baked or boiled. As mentioned in my previous blog post, pumpkin is a rich source of cartenoids.

Here I share with you a recipe for pumpkin soup
Serves 3-4

1/4 pumpkin, skin removed and cut into medium sized chunks
1 litre filtered water
salt and pepper
100mls coconut milk (Ayam brand)
2 cubes organic chicken/vegetable stock

In a large pot, bring water and pumpkin to boil. Add stock cubes and stir occasionally. After boiling for 30mins, bring soup to a simmer for 20 mins. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Turn off stove fire. Scoop soup into a blender and add coconut milk. Blend at high speed. Pour soup into bowls and serve. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Carotenoids - a story and recipe

Carotenoids are found in bright yellow, orange and red fruit and vegetables. Cartenoids are high in antioxidants, containing beta carotene that is a precursor to vitamin A.

I knew about carotenoids long before I studied Naturopathy, as my mum shared her hilarious story with pumpkin. Here is the story:

While studying nursing in the UK, my mum loved eating fresh fruit and vegetables. It came to a pumpkin phase for her, as she was eating pumpkin every day for months. One day, she noticed her hands were going orange and felt rather alarmed. She headed to the doctor, informing him that she might have jaundice (a liver condition that affects skin color) and that her hands are orange.

The doctor then asked her about her fruit and vegetable consumption, asking her if she had eaten excess orange fruit and vegetables. Then my mum just exclaimed "Oh...PUMPKIN! " Needless to say her hands got back to normal once she eliminated the excessive consumption of pumpkin. The condition is called Carotenemia. As the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

However, in moderation - the benefits of carotenoid rich fruit and vegetables help to boost your immunity, prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Here I share with you a recipe on how to prepare baked Sweet Potato Fries - a healthier alternative compared to deep fried fries.

1 Sweet potato, skin peeled
2 tbs rice bran oil
1 pinch of salt and pepper

To prepare:
Once the skin of the sweet potato is peeled, there is no need to wash it. Water makes your fries too soggy. Proceed to cut them into fries. No standard shape, however do your best to make them a similar thickness.

Preheat oven to 150 degrees. Place the fries at the center of the baking tray, with baking paper below. Add the oil, salt and pepper. Toss evenly with spoon. Then arrange fries neatly by spreading them evenly across the tray. Bake for 20 mins, longer if you want it to be more crispy. Serve with your fav. dip, for me it's hummus. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chinese style rice vermicelli, serves 2

The main reasons that people eat unhealthily are commonly due to the convenience of fast food and unhealthy food. Compare this to the effort required to cook healthily. Here are some tips on how to save time and prepare a healthy meal when you are busy.

Step one:
Invest in a slow cooker. A slow cooker is an important addition to your kitchen. It saves time and allows you to cook stews and soups the day before.

Step two:
Throw away those instant noodles - they aren't good for you! Instant noodles are high in MSG (monosodium glutamate), contain tartarzine (artificial coloring that makes its yellow color) and are made from wheat flour (inflammatory). They do not contain any nutrients that your body requires on a daily basis.

Step three:
Shop smart. Look for bargain deals, for this recipe I purchased a roast chicken at $7 when the deli was about to close. The wings and thighs were consumed for one meal that night and the leftover breast meat and bones were used to make soup stock for this recipe.

Prepare the chicken and veggie stock the day before.

Place in a slow cooker:
5 cups filtered water
1 piece cooked chicken breast, shredded. (or leftover chicken breast from a roast and bones to add to the flavour)
1 carrot, chopped
1 potato, chopped
1 tomato, sliced
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
dash of pepper
1 tablespoon tamari sauce

Slow cook for 6-10 hours.
Remove chicken bones and stir the soup.

Now the fun part - cooking rice vermicelli in 10 mins.

1 bunch rice vermicelli - rough estimate for 2 people
2 eggs
1 tsp ricebran oil
2 tsps chopped spring onions
pepper and 1 tbsp tamari sauce

In a heated small pan, add rice bran oil.  Beat the eggs in a bowl and add the pepper and tamari sauce. Fry eggs in the pan, 3 mins on each side. Place the cooked eggs on a plate to allow them to cool. Once cool, slice the eggs into thin strips with a knife.

In a separate pot, add the soup stock and bring to boil. Add a bunch of rice vermicelli and make sure it is submerged in the soup. Boil for 10 mins. Scoop the rice vermicelli in 2 separate portions, divide the ingredients evenly. Top with sliced egg and spring onions. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Healthy version of a Hobbit feast

It seems I have plenty of time on my hands? I am a Lord of the rings fan and today I am celebrating Hobbit day. I have adapted the hobbit foods to fit into a healthier version of 'second breakfast'.


For the salad, combine:
2 Adelaide tomatoes, sliced
1 bunch of mixed salad (spinach, lettuce, radicchio)
2 tablespoons italian dressing

 For the soup:
2 carrots, chopped fine
2 medium potatoes chopped
1 onion chopped
2 tablespoons Massel chicken stock powder

Boil ingredients in 1-1.5 litres of water. for 20mins Add a pinch of salt, pepper and Massel chicken stock to taste

For the bread: 
2-4 slices of toasted gluten free bread
You can choose butter or hummus as a spread. Olive oil as a dip is also a healthier option.

Stir fry mushrooms:
1 flat mushroom, sliced
8-9 white button mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves minced garlic

In a heated pan, add rice bran oil and stir fry minced garlic. Add mushrooms and cook on medium heat for 10-15mins.

Hobbit corn:
2 ears of corn with husks and leaves intact
Remove one side of the leaves and give the corn a brief rinse
Steam for 15-20mins.

For the drinks:
1 cup seedless grapes
1 apple, sliced
250ml water

Blend on high in a blender. Serves 2 cups.

Happy Hobbit Day!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Quinoa Salad

What is Quinoa? It is an alternative grain that is rich in nutrients and a good source of protein for vegetarians.

Where to find quinoa? Health food stores and organic stores stock this grain.

Is it easy to cook? It can be quite challenging the first time, however you will get the hang of it. It is a wonderful dish to prepare for guests. 

1 cup organic quinoa (mixture of white, red and black)
2 cups water
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup fresh mint, chopped fine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
pinch of sea salt and black pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 120 degrees.

2.  Pour 1 cup of quinoa onto a fine sieve and rinse under water, rubbing them between with your fingers to remove the bitter saponins. In a pot, bring 2 cups of filtered water and 1 cup of rinsed quinoa to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 10-15mins until the seeds look translucent and the germ spiral emerges. Stir occasionally. Allow quinoa to stand for 5 minutes after cooking. Strain off any excess water from the cooked quinoa with a sieve and place in a big bowl.

3. Place the halved tomatoes onto a baking tray with baking paper. Have the sliced side up. Cook for 10-15 mins.

4. In a separate pan, heat olive oil at low heat with chopped garlic. Brown garlic slightly and allow both ingredients time to cool.

5. To toss: In the bowl of cooled quinoa, add the tomatoes, lemon juice, orange juice, mint, salt, pepper, cooled olive oil and garlic.

6. Chill salad for at least 30 mins in the fridge.

7. Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Breakfast, do it right!

Breakfast tips:
So many people skip breakfast, due to the lack of time to prepare it. We miss out on important nutrients by eating unhealthily in the morning. Breakfast gives us the energy to go about our busy day, preventing irregular eating which can contribute to obesity.

Foods high in fibre (e.g. oats) lowers low density lipoprotein (unhealthy) cholesterol levels. This reduces your risk in heart disease. Minimize the intake of dried fruits in commercial muesli, as they are high in sugar. You can do this by halving the amount of dried fruit muesli and increasing the quantity of rolled oats and real fruit.

In order to save time from making breakfast in the morning,  prepare your muesli the day before and place it in the fridge.

Bircher Muesli
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup muesli with dried fruit
1 handful of frozen berries (e.g. mixed berries or blueberries)
1 1/2 cups soy milk (e.g. Pureharvest)
1 tbsp desiccated coconut
1 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tbsp natural yoghurt (e.g. Jalna yoghurt or if vegan, Coyo yoghurt)

Warm Muesli version:
Directions: In a bowl, combine all ingredients except the yoghurt. Leave in fridge overnight. In the morning, take the bowl out and warm muesli in a pot over the stove. Top with yoghurt and consume.

 Cold Muesli version:

Directions: In a bowl, combine all ingredients and the yoghurt. Use a spoon to stir the ingredients evenly. Leave the bowl in the fridge overnight. In the morning, consume.


Monday, July 2, 2012

My Convalescence story

As mentioned in my previous blog post, I was down with a cold and a cough. As a Naturopath I always recommend patients that bed rest is important in recovering from acute sickness. As a cold is a virus, antibiotics do not aid in improving the symptoms. Thus I decided to eat well and sleep. For breakfast everyday, I had rolled oats with soy milk, blueberries and chia seeds.

Day 1 (Friday): I felt a little restless, my mind raced to the future - 'When do I get better? What supplements should I take? I hope I get better by Monday.' The cough was productive and mucus from my nose was flowing like a tap. I rested in bed with a box tissues. I made brown rice porridge for lunch and dinner. It had tomatoes, onions, garlic and cos lettuce. I experimented on different supplements, mainly vitamin C, Andrographis and vitamin D.

Day 2 (Saturday): I decided to go for a walk to the shops to get some chicken for my ginseng chicken soup. Cough was still productive, phlegm was yellow. Started on herbal teas (Peppermint, Licorice, Elderflower and Calendula). Continued with vitamin C and vitamin D

Day 3 (Sunday): I had to meet a friend for a bowen therapy exchange. She worked on my lymph nodes which helped in reducing my flu-like symptoms. Simple porridge with vegetables and egg for lunch. Ginseng chicken soup for dinner. Continued with herbal teas, vitamin C and D. Added Horseradish and garlic tablets. Mood: Feeling a little fatigued from the day out, want to get better soon.

Day 4 (Monday): Woke up feeling much better, mucus dried up considerably. Had an occasional need to blow my nose. Cough is less productive, phlegm clear to yellow. Feeling 70% better. Continued with the herbal teas and supplements I was taking. Egg, garlic and onion porridge for lunch. Broccoli with steamed egg and rice for dinner.

My thoughts:
The convalescence experience was an interesting one. I do not fall sick often (usually once a year). This is the first time the cold virus hit me hard. I was more aware of my body and the sensations I felt when I took certain remedies. It was a positive experience, I feel blessed  as I had so much time for myself. It was  empowering to just rest and let the body heal.

Resting for 4 days is not possible for many people, as they have work commitments or school. This experience reaffirms my belief that health is wealth.

To your health

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ginseng Chicken Soup

Winter is the most 'Yin' time of the year. Yin refers to cold, as opposed to Yang (warm). As a Yin constitution, winter is the worst time for me. I get chilblains (cold feet) and I am unfortunately down with a cold and cough. This is a wonderful winter remedy that I cook when I'm unwell.

1 chicken thigh, bones intact. Remove most of the chicken skin, except skin on the drumstick
4 thick slices of ginger
Ginseng soup pack (bought from Asian grocer) Mine has panax ginseng, chinese yam, lycium and codonopsis. Avoid ginseng packs that come with a msg flavoured cloth bag and those that have astragalus in it. Astragalus is to be avoided in acute colds/sickness.
2.5-3 litres of filtered water
1 tbsp tamari sauce
Dash of pepper
Dried rice vermicelli (enough for 1)

To cook:
Bring water to boil in a huge pot. Wash the herbs (dried herbs and fresh ginger slices) thoroughly and place into boiling water. Turn stove fire to medium and cook for 1 hour. Place the chicken thigh in the pot and cook for another 2 hours. Add tamari and pepper. Check the pot to make sure there is enough water. Top water when necessary. Turn off the stove fire once cooking is done..

To cook the rice vermicelli, scoop enough soup to cook it in a separate, smaller pot. Bring soup to boil and add rice vermicelli. Cook for 10 mins. Turn off the stove fire. I cook the rice noodles separately as they tend to absorb the soup quickly.

To serve:
Scoop chicken thigh in a huge bowl. Consume with noodles in a separate bowl.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fennel, leek and potato soup

 Fantastic fennel. I'm a newbie to fennel and I enjoy experimenting on different foods. I already knew what to do with the fennel bulb, however I wasn't sure what to do with the fennel fronds.

I experimented on using fennel fronds with different foods, on beef stews, soups and fish. I found that the leaves had an anise-like flavour which suits seasoning fish and vegetable soups.

Storage was tricky. It did not have a long shelf life compared to the bulbs. I separated the leaves and wrapped them with newspaper and it kept in the fridge for a good 2 weeks. 

Seasoning fish with freshly chopped fennel fronds

Fennel, leek and potato soup

Recipe for Fennel, leek and potato soup
Serves 4-5

4 medium organic potatoes, chopped to cubes
1 large organic leek, washed and sliced thin (white part only, green leaves can be used in a beef stew)
2 tiny bulbs of fennel, sliced thin
1 white onion, sliced thin
1 tbsp butter
2 litres filtered water
200mls coconut milk
1 pinch pepper
1 pinch sea salt
2 tbsp Massel chicken stock powder
Some fennel fronds, chop fine

In a huge pot, heat and add the butter. Toss in the onion, fennel and leek. Allow the vegetables to wilt slightly for 5-6mins on medium heat. Stir occasionally. Add the water, stock powder, potatoes, pepper and salt. Bring to boil for 15-20 mins. Simmer for 10 mins. Stir in the coconut milk.Turn off the stove fire.

Pour 1/4 the soup into a blender, blend at high speed. Pour soup into bowls and season with pepper and fennel fronds. Repeat the blending process for the rest of the soup. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Parsnip chips

 The humble parsnip is making its comeback, a welcome presence in my Ceres organic fruit and vegetable box. The first time when I encountered parsnips, I tried cooking them in a stew - which was not a proper way to celebrate the unique flavor of parsnips. They have a sweet, nutty taste and gives off a lemon-like aroma. I have come up with a recipe that brings out the sweetness of parsnips.
1 huge parnsip, skin peeled
1 tsp paprika
1 tablespoon butter
1-2 pinch of salt and pepper
1 tablespoon tamari sauce
1 pinch each of dried parsley flakes and thyme
1 ripe avocado
1 clove garlic, skin peeled
Juice of 1/4 a lemon

Preheat your oven to 150 degrees.
Cut the parsnip into slices, like chips.
Heat the pan, melt all the butter in the pan. Toss in the parsnips. Let the parsnips brown on both sides for 6 mins.

On a baking tray, line it with baking paper. Place all the parsnips in the middle of the baking tray. Add salt, pepper, tamari sauce, paprika and dried herbs. Mix everything evenly with a spoon.

Place baking tray into the oven to bake for 20 mins.

Quick, simple gluacamole:
 Cut open a ripe avocado. Remove the seed. Scoop out flesh with a spoon into a blender. Add lemon juice and a dash of filtered water. Add a pinch of salt, pepper and 1 clove garlic. Blend in high speed. Dish the gluacamole on a plate and sprinkle some paprika powder on top.

Once chips are done, take them out the oven and place on your plate. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Oestrogen clearing soup

What is oestrogen? Oestrogen is responsible for feminisation of the skeleton, female pattern body fat, bone health and cardiovascular health. In excess, it is linked to certain female reproductive conditions such as endometriosis and premenstrual syndrome with anxiety dominance (PMS-A). Symptoms of PMS A include irritability, anxiety and feeling more emotional during/before your menstrual cycle.

Oestrogen excess can be due to poor dietary factors (high sugar, inflammatory diets), stress, lifestyle, etc. Circulating oestrogens require the liver to process and excrete them through phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification pathways.

Cruciferous vegetables (e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) are high in indole 3 carbinol - useful in aiding the liver in detoxification of excess oestrogens.

When preparing cruciferous vegetables, it is important to choose organic produce. This is because the surface area of broccoli and cauliflower absorb pesticides readily. If it is not possible to purchase organic produce, soak your broccoli and cauliflower with in your plugged sink with 1 part white vinegar and 4 parts water for 5-10mins. Give it good wash under running water.

Oestrogen clearing soup, serves 2-3


1 organic cauliflower, chopped into bite sized pieces 
1 organic broccoli, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 organic carrot, sliced with skin on (nutrients are in the skin too. Remove skin if carrot is non organic)
1 litre - 1 and 1/2 litres of filtered water
A sprinkle of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons Massel 'chicken' stock powder / 1 Massel stock cube
2 tablespoons tamari sauce
Fennel fronds/fresh dill 
2 tablespoons organic cold pressed flaxseed oil

In a pot, bring water to boil and place the vegetables, tamari, salt and pepper. Boil for 10 mins and bring fire to a low to simmer for another 5-10 mins. Gently stir the soup. You're done. Scoop half the soup into a blender and blend high. Pour the soup into 1-2 bowls. On your chopping board, there would be spare raw cauliflower florets. Sprinkle some on top of the soup. Chop up fresh fennel fronds (anise like flavour) or dill and sprinkle on top. Finally, add 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil.

Blend the other half of the soup in the blender. Serve and top with ingredients as mentioned. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Room temperature Smoothies

As we move towards Winter in Australia - the idea of a cold smoothie loses its appeal. Room temperature smoothies are easier to consume, especially when you are a cold constitution. I got up from a cold winter night of 9 degrees. I wanted a smoothie in the morning and I decided to blog about how to make room temperature smoothies.

Use fruit in season that ripens slowly at room temperature. Examples include kiwi, avocado and bananas.
Avoid the use of cold liquids e.g. chilled soy/rice milk.
Use freshly grated ginger/juiced ginger to add a heat in your smoothies.
Stick to room temperature filtered water.

Be creative, experiment on different fruits and ingredients.

Room temperature Avocado & Honey smoothie with goji berries

1 ripe organic avocado (use your thumb to press on the skin, it should sink in when it's ripe)
3 tsp raw honey
250-300ml filtered water
5-6 dried goji berries
1 tbsp rolled oats

Cut open the avocado, remove the seed. Use a spoon to scoop the avocado into the blender. Add honey and water. Blend at high speed.

In an empty glass, add 1 tbsp of rolled oats at the bottom. You can also add fresh fruit instead, e.g. banana/freshly cut apple slices. Pour avocado smoothie. Sprinkle goji berries on top. Consume.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Spicy Coconut Fish Stew, serves 2

1/2 cup sliced baby chillis
1/4 cup dried shrimp, soaked in water and drained
400ml Coconut milk
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon tamari sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
6-7 button mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch of chye sim/ other green leafy vegetables cut into halves
2 fish fillets, cut into pieces (e.g. whiting)
2 tablespoons chicken stock powder e.g. Massel
1-2 tablespoons rice bran oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, sliced thin
500-700ml water
1 1/2 cups brown rice, cooked

Finely chop dried shrimp and garlic. Slice baby chillis into halves, carefully scrape off the seeds into the bin.
Heat the pan, add rice bran oil and fry chilli, dried shrimp, garlic and onions till fragrant.
Place spices into a pot and add 500ml water. Add the fish sauce, tamari sauce, lemon juice and brown sugar. Bring to boil, simmer for 20 mins. Turn off and let the stock cool.

In your hot pot, carefully fill half the pot with premade stock. Add the mushrooms, fish and 200mls of coconut milk. Bring to boil. Add the chye sim last and let it cook.

Add more stock when it evaporates in the hot pot and add in the remaining coconut milk and ingredients.
Serve with brown rice.

P.s. if you do not own a hot pot, cook the stew as per normal on the stove. The only difference is that you cook everything at once and not in 2 batches.

Spicy rating: 7/10

Time to relax!

 Stress can build up over time - so it is important to take care of yourself. Stress management can be as simple as taking a nice walk along the park, or meditating at home or with a group.

Other stress reduction techniques include deep breathing, listening to relaxing music, having an aromatherapy bath, etc.

Put aside 20 minutes a day to do something for yourself.

Meditation for relaxation
Posture: Sit in a comfortable position on the floor or if you can’t manage, use a chair. In this case, feet should be flat on the floor and back straight, without leaning back in the chair.
Back: Should be straight and relaxed
Eyes: Closed or half open.
Jaw: Have lips together and the jaw relaxed.

As you sit, go through every part of the body. Become aware of it and let it relax. Gently bring awareness to the breath. Are you breathing heavily, gently, quickly or slowly? You may find it hard to concentrate on the breath for more than a minute without your mind wondering off. 

That’s okay. The mind is like a wild horse, it’s used to running around everywhere. Mindfulness is our ability to focus on the object of meditation (e.g. breath) and the mind hasn’t wandered somewhere else.  

Just be aware of the breath and observe it. Focus one third of awareness on your breath. Another one-third focused on making the mind focused and relaxed. Final third should be observing if the mind has wandered off, bringing it back if it has; also being aware if the mind is dull or over excited.

In the beginning we can only focus for a minute before the mind wanders off somewhere. Be patient and gentle with the mind. Gradually we can increase periods of concentration. Slowly, the mind starts to clear.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe - Hit and Miss

620 Collins St  
Melbourne, VIC 3000

I have heard much of this cafe and decided to try out the food at different times of the day. My experience was pretty average. Some dishes were delicious - some fell short to expectations.

Rice ball salad

 The rice ball salad looked really delicious, this was my first dish I tried from the cafe. It is unfortunate that it was a clash of flavours. The potato mash did not go  with the rice salad. And the random veggies with the rice ball made me question the choices in making this dish work.

 The next visit, I brought my friends here and I decided to try the chicken curry - which was done beautifully and left me wanting more. I would prefer it with brown rice instead of white rice. The miso soup that I ordered with had generous chunks of vegetables.

Then I brought my partner here during their lunch period which was really busy. He ordered a beef soba and miso soup. The beef soba tasted average. What was disappointing was how the miso soup was served. The waiter placed a spoon in the bowl and it's price tag was stuck at the bottom. My partner only noticed the sticker on his spoon when he was done with the soup. :( Eww.

I ordered a chicken teriyaki, it was delicious. It came with brown rice and salad yum! I would like my chicken less charred - I do understand that the charred bits add to the flavour.

Chicken curry

Beef soba

Chicken teriyaki

Overall rating: 6/10

Ambience: 5/5

Service: 4/5

Food: 3.5/5 Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Bento

Mum always reassured me about 'Monsters' under the bed. This special Bento is dedicated to my mum.

- Lunch box
-1 Seaweed puncher
- 1 bento sauce bottle
- 3-4 colourful toothpicks
- Special egg slicer
- Cookie cutters with special shapes
- scissors

1 tsp Planet Organic Tahini
1/2 tsp raw honey
2 pieces toasted organic Spelt bread
1/4 Lebanese cucumber
1 small piece of sushi seaweed
1/8 apple
1/2 tsp hummus
1 tsp Cashew + Spinach dip
2 boiled eggs
1-2 tsp tamari sauce
1 tsp salt dissolved in 1/2 cup water

Step 1: Use cookie cutters to cut 2 identical shapes on one piece of bread each. Spread tahini on one side and raw honey on the other. P.s. left over bread can be used as gluten free croutons for soup.

Step 2: Stick them together and place colorful toothpicks through the middle.

Step 3: Boil eggs. Place 2 eggs in boiling water over a stove. Add salt as this prevents the shells from cracking. Boil for 10 mins and let eggs cool on the stove. Carefully peel boiled eggs and put aside. Prepare egg slicer.


Step 4: Place boiled egg on egg slicer. Slice it quickly to get a perfect shape. Do the same for the other egg in another pattern.
Fill tamari sauce into the bento sauce bottle of your choice.

Step 5: Cut the cucumber into 8 sections using a knife to make the 'legs'. Use a seaweed puncher to punch out the face and stick carefully on the cucumber. Use scissors to cut a strip of seaweed for the 'belt'. Add some hummus at the back of the monster to secure the belt around the cucumber.

Place 1 tsp of cashew spread on top of the cucumber for the 'hair'.

Step 6: Assemble ingredients. Slice 1/8 of an apple into 2 wedges and dip into salt water to avoid browning. Place into Lunch box.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Healthy Bento for one

Equipment: I bought most tools from Singapore at Daiso
- Lunch box
-1-2 Seaweed punchers with different expressions
- 1 bento sauce bottle
- 3-4 colourful toothpicks
- 1 rice mold for brown rice sushi
- 1 small plastic container

- 1/2 cup steamed brown rice
- 1 tablespoon Rice wine vinegar (for rice)
- 1-2 tsp Tamari sauce
- 2 boiled eggs
- 1/6  piece Japanese/Korean dried Seaweed
- 1/4 raw carrot
 - 1/4 raw lebanese cucumber
- 1/4 raw red capsicum
- Black Swan roasted garlic hummus
- 6 fresh/frozen blueberries p.s. the frozen berries take a while to thaw, I found them too soggy for bento making
- 6 fresh/frozen raspberries

Step 3
 Step 1: Cook your brown rice. Use the steam method, place 1 cup of water in the pot. Place a metal steam rack and metal container on top that contains 1/2 cup pre-rinsed brown rice and 1/2 cup water. Close lid of pot and steam on high for 10 mins, then bring to low heat and simmer for another 30 mins. Check occasionally at the bottom of the pot that there is enough water. Top up when necessary.

Step 2:  Boil eggs. Place 2 eggs in boiling water over a stove. Add salt as this prevents the shells from cracking. Boil for 10 mins and let eggs cool on the stove. Carefully peel boiled eggs and put aside for later.

Step 3: Choose an animal face sauce bottle. Pour tamari sauce in a sauce dish and use the dropper provided to fill up the sauce bottle till full.

Step 4: Open your hummus and use a small teaspoon to place enough hummus in the small container for your veggie sticks.
Step 6: The rice is not yet filled up fully

 Step 5: Once the brown rice is cooked, remove and place in a wooden/ceramic bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar and mix.

Step 6: Using a teaspoon, carefully add brown rice into the rice mold. Fill it fully to the top.

Step 7: Cover the mold with the cover and press firmly.

Step 8

 Step 8: Slowly slide the rice out of the mold container and place carefully in lunchbox. Place hummus container as well.
Step 9

Step 9 &10: Open your seaweed packet and cut a small piece of crisp seaweed (you don't require much). Place seaweed in the seaweed stamp and press firmly on a plate.

Step 11: Lift the stamp up and look for the stamped out pieces. Carefully use your finger and place it on your boiled eggs. Place boiled eggs in the center of the rice and place sauce bottle in between. Try not to crush the rice while doing this.
Step 10

Step 11

Step 12

Step 12: Spear the berries using pretty bento toothpicks. Experiment on alternate patterns, e.g. 2 raspberries 1 blueberry,  3 blueberries, 3 raspberries. 

Step 13: Cut carrot, red capsicum and lebanese cucumber into small tiny veggie sticks. The amount suggested in the ingredients list is more than is required for this bento. Save the rest in the fridge for snacking with left over hummus.

Step 13


Place veggie sticks next to container of hummus. Wait for rice to cool down before closing your lunch box. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Magnesium rich Raw Almond milk

A dairy free alternative to dairy milk, almond milk is rich in magnesium. Magnesium is a nutrient that is often depleted due to constant coffee consumption. Signs of magnesium deficiency include weakness/tiredness, poor muscle coordination, muscle cramps, 'flickering' eyelids and tremors of the tongue.

Individuals that are of risk of deficiency include history of digestive disorders, renal disorders, endocrine disorders, alcoholism, pregnancy, high physical activity and elderly.

100grams of almonds contain 250-260mg of magnesium. As magnesium is heat sensitive, boiling will result to magnesium loss in magnesium rich foods.

Recipe for Raw Almond milk
What you require
A blender
A cheesecloth/muslin cloth
Stevia drops/Raw honey
Cinnamon powder
8 raw, organic almonds
half a glass of filtered water (for soaking)

Soak 8 raw almonds in a half a glass of filtered water overnight.
 Step 1:
Soaking nuts such as almonds helps to reduce phytic acid - making it easier to digest and reducing symptoms of bloating and gas when consuming nuts/legumes/grains/beans.

Soak 8 raw almonds in a half a glass of filtered water overnight. In the morning, pour away the old water and place the pre soaked almonds in a blender and add a glass of filtered water. Blend the almonds for 3-4 mins.
Filter and separate almond bits from almond milk using a cheesecloth

Step 2:
Strain the blended mixture into a bowl/small pot with a cheesecloth/muslin cloth.

Pour into glass and add stevia and cinnamon to taste

Step 3:
Pour almond milk into glass, add a few drops of stevia or 1/2 tsp of raw honey. Add a dash of cinnamon and stir.
Save the fibre! Keep it in fridge no more than 2 days and toss in with breakfast muesli, or use it as an additional ingredient when baking gluten free muffins.