Homecooked Lunch – 6 March 2017

“What’s for lunch today?”  This is the question that the mil and I would ask each other every morning. Whenever we  shrug our shoulders implying a non-verbal “no to outside food”, she would be quick to suggest home cooked food. Then she would stride to the kitchen to defrost meat and hurriedly whip up a few simple yet most tasteful dishes. Thank goodness she finds so much pleasure cooking unlike me, who finds cooking a chore 😖

This is our lunch today, which the mil efficiently whipped up in under an hour:

Sauteed pork strips with homegrown basil and jar choy (preserved vegetable) and sauteed leek flowers with fish cakes. Cass’ bowl of rice has so much dishes that  the rice is  hardly visible. Her appetite is always voracious and it’s such a joy to see her nosh down her food.  She washed down her lunch with a packet of Izumio 👍

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Fruit of the day for today is papaya and guava. She eats her fruits before the main meal.

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What do you usually  have for lunch? Home cooked or easy way out takeout?

Our Friday – 4 March 2017

Friday evenings are reserved for the big girl. After picking her up from the Math tuition center, we would jaunt off to the pasar malam if it doesn’t rain. She’s a pretty simple girl who finds gratification taking long walks at the pasar malam, stopping at all her favorite stalls to get her favorite street food. These are the stalls that I have been patronizing for over 20 years in our neighborhood.  Her favorite is the look look van where we could end up spending over RM10 per person just on fish balls, pork balls and an assortment of balls, which ain’t the healthiest choice of food. But look look is only an occasional indulgence. Our weekly indulgence is popiah, sweet corn, apam and crispy apam balik with coconut, creamy sweet corn and groundnuts. Once in a blue moon, I’ll give them a treat of assam laksa and nasi lemak with deep fried chicken (swoon!).

This pic was taken at the pasar malam today. She was enjoying her piece of crispy apam balik while waiting for our popiah… while I gingerly stood behind her and stole this picture of her ha ha!

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At home, a big pot of seafood porridge was awaiting us! It’s a melting pot of organic quinoa, millet, rice, flower crabs, garoupa fish, squids, lala clams, lean pork for the added sweetness and chopped aromatic coriander and scallions. So yummy!!

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Just 5 days ago, the mil cooked seafood porridge too.  Cass had a raging fever of 41 degrees Celsius and could not eat the crabs. Today she’s all well  and it’s payback time. She noshed the crabs to her heart’s content.

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Cass says “nah, this crab leg is for you!”

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A daily feast for our eyes – view of KL Tower and KLCC from our unit. I took this pic as tonight’s sky is exceptionally clear; and both KL Tower and KLCC illuminated in luminous lights against the black backdrop of the night are truly a sight to behold. I like KL Tower the most when it’s illuminated with dazzling blinking floodlights of rainbow colors.

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Iron Rich Dishes

My mission to increase my red blood cells continues…

Each day, I eat either a handful of dried red dates (about 4 or 5) or drink a few cups of red dates + black dates tonic.  In addition, I eat an egg  every morning and season the egg with half a teaspoon of organic blackstrap molasses. Then there’s my Sangobion tablets (2x a day), seaweed, red bean soup, double boiled chicken essence and liver soup, iron-rich dishes and my Izumio and Super Lutein.

There is a red meat dish placed on the dining table each day. Here are some of the dishes that the mil wokked up…

Minced beef with Portobello mushrooms and red + yellow bell peppers…

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Organic purple long beans tau kok lup with pork, prawns, carrot, peanut and dried radish (all diced).

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Double boiled pork liver soup with lean pork and ginger…

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I have never liked pork liver (tastes too yucky), still dislike and will never like it but I am under pressure by some relatives to eat pork liver.  So I summoned the courage to get some pork liver earlier this week and got the mil to double boil it.  I played cheat and gave some of the soup to Alycia and Drama Queen 😜

Turmeric chicken, pig bone marrow soup with lotus root, sauteed sweet potato leaves with fu yi and chilli, sauteed pucuk paku and vegetable omelette. Green vegetables and bone marrow are a rich source of iron too.

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Turmeric chicken cooked with turmeric from my parents’ garden in Ipoh and lovingly pounded by my papa for us. He had spent hours on end peeling and pounding the turmeric for us.  With the instant ground turmeric on hand, cooking turmeric chicken isn’t that kitchen-messy and time consuming anymore. Thank you papa for the aromatic turmeric 💓💓 I look forward to replenishing our stock soon 😉

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Sauteed organic pucuk paku.

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A big thank you to my mil too for lovingly and patiently prepping all these dishes, red dates tonic and double boiled soups for me 💓💓  My stamina is slowly but surely making a comeback.  I can now jog in the morning without feeling breathless 💪💪 and I can say good riddance to the heart flutters too, thank God!

 

Home-Cooked Dinner

The mil is still feeling a tad under the weather, thus I am still in charged of cooking dinner every day.  Thankfully it’s the school hols and the girls can help out in the kitchen. On some days, they would be very eager to help but on some days, gawd I have to holler at them and drag them into the kitchen as I would dragging a mule in, just like today!

Here are some of the dishes whipped up this week…

Taiwanese Lu Rou (braised pork)…

Sauteed cauliflower with Bunashimeiji mushrooms and carrot strips…

Tomyam chicken fillet with ladies fingers and Bunashimeiji mushrooms.  These mushrooms are on promotion at our neighborhood supermarket, thus I have been buying them and including them in my dishes everyday 😀  Why not when mushrooms are a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins and nutrients, right?

Bitter gourd omelette…

Much as I would like to put my legs up and just sit in front of my computer to do my work or simply go running with the girls downstairs or work out in the gym in the evening, when there’s a little crisis at home, sacrifices have to be made. Can’t wait for the mil to get well soon. I am pretty sick and tired of cooking.  Can’t wait to take a good break and enjoy the year-end celebrations and food outside the house 😀

 

 

 

 

Tomyam Pork

I created this new dish for dinner yesterday!  Tomyam pork is so easy to cook and so yummy that you would think I am not revealing all the steps and ingredients.  Once you have all the ingredients, this dish is a total child’s play. Even Drama Queen can whip this out on her own.  She did help me in the kitchen – with chopping two big onions.  And after watching how I cooked this dish, I think she can cook this dish on her own in future.

Ingredients:
1.  1 packet of Way tomyam sauce or any tomyam paste. You could even prepare the paste from scratch with raw ingredients if you have the time.
2. 2 big onions, chopped
3. Cooking oil
4. Sugar and salt to taste
5. Ladies fingers, pineapple cubes, long beans, brinjal, potatoes or any veggie of your choice

Directions:
1. Marinate the pork slices with some pepper, salt and corn flour (optional) for a few hours.
2. Brown the chopped onions.
3. Brown the pork slices.
4. Add in the tomyam paste.
5. Saute for a few minutes and add water.
6. Add about 1 teaspoon of brown sugar (optional).
7. Let simmer for about 15 minutes.
8. Add in the vegetables and simmer for another 10 minutes.
9. Dish out and serve with hot rice or blanched vermicelli

I cooked an extra portion for the next day’s lunch (today’s lunch) and blanched some vermicelli to go with the tomyam pork.  Also boiled some hard-boiled eggs to go with the vermicelli.  The girls loved this lip-smacking and piquant dish. The tomyam sauce from Way is just right for us, which is very aromatic and most importantly, not too spicy and is preservative and MSG-free.

Also on the dining table yesterday was grilled Teriyaki saba fish.  We bought the saba fish from Isetan on Saturday.

Directions – grill saba fish with sea salt and pepper – 15 minutes on each side at 160C.  Drizzle some Teriyaki sauce on the flesh side of the fish 10 minutes before it’s done grilling in the oven.

 

Compilation Of Easy & Healthy Home-Cooked Dinner

I realized that I have not cooked Chicken Adobo for 3 years when I referred back to my old blog post for the recipe!  Since it is pretty easy to prep and I have ran out of idea on what to dish out, we had Chicken Adobo early this week.

Chicken Adobo is a popular dish in the Philippine cuisine that involves meat, seafood, or vegetables marinated in vinegar, soy sauce and garlic, which is browned in oil, and simmered in the marinade. The chicken is then grilled briefly in the oven.  I added a handful of bay leaves into the simmer sauce for a more flavorful lift.

Below – braised pork belly with garlic, onions, carrots, potatoes and hard-boiled eggs in soy sauce. This is the Chinese equivalent of stew… my creation 😀

Below – sauteed Shimeiji and Maitake mushrooms with minced garlic and organic shoyu.

Below – sauteed organic cabbage with carrots; grilled sesame chicken drumsticks and boneless chicken thighs marinated with aromatic five-spice powder and garlic powder.

 

On busy or lazy days, grilled chicken is always my ‘trump card’ for this dish always gets the thumbs up from the girls. I could have the chicken marinated in any of the myriad flavors using only robust and healthy herbs and spices and the outcome is always pleasurable for everyone. It is so easy to prep and is a very forgiving dish. It can be a total child’s play too – just get your kids to help with marinating the chicken with whatever seasoning and spices that they like and a few hours later, pop it into the oven. While the oven does its job, you can sit back and relax and check your Facebook updates. I normally hang the fresh laundry while the chicken is grilling in the oven or stir fry the vegetables.

Below – sauteed spinach with minced garlic; braised soft baby pork ribs with homemade preserved sour plum (an aunt from Taiwan made this for us), organic miso, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, onions and sour plum sauce.  Braised for 1.5 hours in high flame and I had a very delightful and succulent almost fall-off the bone ribs, which the kids noshed down in a jiffy.

Below – sweet and peppery soft pork slices. Pork slices were marinated for several hours with white pepper, garlic powder, organic brown sugar, corn flour and soy sauce. Pan fry the pork slices until they turn golden brown, then add water and 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce and simmer until sauce thickens and reduces to your desired consistency. This will pair well with rice and vermicelli.

I cooked enough to give some to the girls’ grandaunt and kept some for  next day’s lunch, which I ate with some blanched vermicelli.

 

These are the dishes that busy working mums or dads can prep in under 1.5 hours.  Oil splatter is minimal too.

Lately I have been trying out new dishes and I have been very pleased with the outcome. I cooked Mee Siam (Tomyam noodles) for the first time two days ago and it was a success. Even the persnickety and critical foodie hubs gave his seal of approval. I shall write a new blog post on my Mee Siam next. Stay tuned…

Kids Friendly Avocado Mushroom Pasta

It’s been a while since I last cooked mushroom pasta.  I am not a fan at all of anything creamy with milk / whipped cream cooked into a savoury dish. So is the big girl.  Only Drama Queen likes creamy pastas, especially Carbonara.

This time, I decided to be a tad adventurous and added avocado into the pasta sauce. And we all fell in love.  I just love the pretty hue of pastel green from the avocado and pistachios in the sauce.

Our very green and healthy dinner, bursting with phytochemicals…

I used 2 whole avocados. Thankfully the avos were perfect with no dreaded bruise inside.  Don’t you just LOVE the beautiful green and yellow color of the avocado? I love it!!

Pulse the avocado, a handful of pistachios with about half cup of fresh milk for a few seconds. I prefer a little texture from the pistachio nuts, thus I didn’t pulse till smooth.

 

Add the avocado pistachio puree to the pasta just before serving. Or you can add it to the pasta sauce in the pot to heat it up a little if you prefer warm.

Directions for pasta sauce:
1. Saute chopped garlic and onions
2. Add chicken breast (optional). I omitted meat as we have had quite a bit of meat already over lunch.
3. Add in fresh Portobello mushrooms. I used 2 punnets.
4. When the mushrooms have withered and browned, add whipping cream and cheese. I also added some julienned carrots.
5. Add cracked black pepper and salt to taste.
6. You can add chicken broth too if you have some on hand. I didn’t.
7. Pour the sauce onto the cooked pasta and mix well.
8. Pour avocado + pistachio puree over and serve while still hot.

Vegetables of the day was stir-fried organic French beans with Daylily bulbs, julienned carrots, garlic and onions.

 

 

Final Exams Are Over!

FINALLY the day that all the exams for year 2016 are over and done with is here today. For all 3 girls. Can you feel my relief? Can you? 😀 😀

If you are a parent with school-going kids, I am sure you’ll feel me deeply.

I have not planned out what to do with the girls yet as they still have 1 more month of school to attend before the 1-month school holiday starts. But tomorrow we will be attending a food and fun fair at our church. The girls have been looking forward to attend this fun fair for months.

For me, I have nothing much to look forward to except to catch up on my sleep this weekend.  And it is just about the right time for me to do my yearly medical screening again.  Much as I hate going to the hospital to have blood works (hate the fasting!) and scans done, these can be life-saving.  Don’t scrimp on medical screenings and investing in some good supplements. These are the little things which may seem insignificant to you now and  you may not see the immediate benefits yet. Or you may say that you do not have the budget for them. Not  until  you are dealt with a  shocking diagnosis by which time regretting is the one thing that will corrode you. I wish this will never happen to anyone. I have a customer whose mother skipped just 1 year of not having a medical screening done.  The following year when she went for her medical screening, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had less than a year to live.  She was only in her early sixties.

Have a good and relaxing weekend world! 🙂

Yesterday’s dinner…

Sauteed okra with organic ‘milk white’ vegetable (lai park), big onions, tomatoes, shredded kafir lime leaves and Baba’s rendang curry powder.  The ‘milk white’ veggie is added into this dish coz some fussy pot hates okra.  This kid literally pukes each time I force okra down her throat, I kid you not!

Baked garoupa fish breaded with wholewheat bread crumbs.  If you have kids who dislike eating fish, try baking breaded fish. The bread crumbs lend a very crispy texture and aroma to the fish. My kids who are not great fans of the fish love fish cooked in this style.

Exercise And Eating Clean

Before I share what I cooked again, I’d like to share with you some of my many accounts in my Journey To Fitness.  Just in case my posts on food and nothing-to-shout-about dishes bore you to brink of death 😀

All food and no exercise spells trouble for your body and I kid you not. Exercise is good for your heart, mind, body and soul.  You may not feel the difference now if you are still in your 20s or 30s. But once you have hit forty and lead a sedentary lifestyle, you’d most likely begin to notice the differences in your body.

People who do regular activity have a lower risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers. Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress,depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Given the overwhelming evidence, it seems obvious that we should all be physically active. It’s essential if you want to live a healthy and fulfilling life into old age.  I want to be able to still run around and travel the world even when I am 84 years old or 90 years old.  There’s this 84-year old grandmother at my condo who is fitter than I!  She wakes up at 5am everyday and works out for several hours at the pool area, practising her sword and fan tai chi movements, brisk walking  and does body stretching. She then sits at the gazebo  by the pool and chats with her peers until 10ish am each day. She gives me so much inspiration whenever I chat up with her or simply just by looking at how spirited and sprightly she works out each day, with so much energy bursting in her.

At the same pool area too each morning is a 78 year old grandma who moved in 2 months ago.  She walks with the support of a walking stick and an Indon helper.  She looks like she is into her 90s.  When I chatted up with her, I found out that both her kidneys were removed. She can only eat plain vegetables and nothing else as she is not undergoing dialysis. She is currently consuming Chinese medication.

So the conclusion is eat well, eat clean and exercise regularly and you could be like the 84-year old healthy grandma.  Put crap into your body and you will suffer in your later years. No joke. Love your body for you only have one.

 It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have:
  • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • a 30% lower risk of early death
  • up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
  • up to a 30% lower risk of depression
  • up to a 30% lower risk of dementia

If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented!

This weather this morning was one of gloomy, breezy, chilly and a dark sky with a looming thunderstorm.  I wasn’t in the mood to swim in such compromising weather but with a determination as strong as steel, I went ahead.  The moment I went into the water, my body froze. The key to combat the chilly water and strong wind is to quickly dip your body inside the water and start swimming immediately, as fast as you possibly can, to generate heat in your body.  My body would normally be warmed up within 5 laps of swim on a cool morning but today, it took me over 13 laps to finally feel warmth. It didn’t help that it was extra windy today. *shiver!!*

I was the only person swimming this morning, which makes the pool looks oddly gigantic and creepy. Have you ever tried swimming alone at 6:30 in the morning under the threatening dark skies with no one else in the pool except you? Add the strong howling winds and chilly water and you’ll feel like you are in one of the scenes from Nightmare On Elm Street.  This morning, I felt and saw the currents of the pool water each time the strong wind blew and howled.   I soldiered on and after 30 minutes, I managed to complete 28 laps continuously, complete with body stretches and aqua cycling. It poured just after I completed my 28 laps.

It is hard to explain to you the awesome feelings one gets after exercising. If you haven’t started on an exercise regimen yet, why not try it today?  Yes today! It can be as simple as climbing up and down the stairs in your house or walk up the stairs to your unit if you live in a condo.  I used to jog outside the house at 5am with a baton in my hand and another round of running at 7pm when I returned from work.  Rain or shine, I would exercise, even if it meant running whilst holding an umbrella. I was and still am that determined and no one can break my will power.

Getting regular exercise aside, eating clean is just as important. Whether you are a carb-cutter, carb-loader, paleo warrior, or intermittent faster, your golden rule of clean eating should be to include as much fresh produce in your daily diet as possible.

Ok, enough said and I am stepping down from the soap box 😀

Here’s one of my home-cooked dinners last week  – baked Halibut steak from Greenland.  It was the first time hubs bought this fish and the meat was very smooth and creamy.

I baked the fish in two different styles – two pieces were lightly seasoned with sea salt and black pepper and another piece coated with wholemeal bread crumbs.

Verdict – the breaded one won.  And my conclusion is to bread the fish each time I bake fish in future.

Baked Portobello mushrooms with garlic.

Stir-fried organic cabbage with shredded carrot, garlic, onions and eggs.

 

I got a thumbs up from my most persnickety and critical daughter over dinner that night 😀

 

Monday Dinner – 10 Oct 2016

Dishes on Mondays are normally kept simple and sweat-free. I keep them simple as I know I will most likely be bogged down with work after the weekend and Monday Blues.

Today’s dinner consists of grilled chicken and grilled salmon head.

I cranked up the oven and in went the 2 trays of meat. While I let the oven do its job, I sauteed the veggie.  Once the chicken and fish head were ready, I popped in another tray consisting of strip almonds. Almonds and seeds are my go-to snacks to quell hunger pangs.

Salmon head was seasoned with a few pinches of sea salt and ground black pepper…

 

Grilled chicken thighs were seasoned with 5-spice powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, black pepper, shoyu and at the last 15 minutes in the oven, drizzled with organic honey.

Note : honey / soy sauce or any sauces containing sugar should only be basted on the meat towards the last 15-20 minutes in the oven, otherwise the meat tends to get burnt easily. Burnt meat is carcinogenic.

 

Sauteed organic pea sprouts with garlic.